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Friday, June 17, 2011


I'm a little late in posting my Inspiration Thursday post, but who's keeping track?

While researching children's illustrators last week, I came across Crystal Driedger. She's a mom to a toddler who is Baby T's age, as well as an artist. While I was checking out her website, I was struck by her amazing paintings that represent different aspects of motherhood:

This one is called "Sharing Sleep." I can certainly relate, since Little M is all about cosleeping these days.

"Becoming Mother." Need I say more?

"Fed With Love"

"Wearing Baby"

When I came across these, it was almost like looking at a snippet of my own life in pictures. I contacted Crystal to ask about her illustration, her life as a mom, and her inspiration.

This is what she said:

"Mostly, I'm a stay-at-home mom these days. I find time here and there, in between naps, to fit in work as an illustrator, but it's not my focus, and I no longer consider myself a working mom. I have no regrets for this hiatus from my full-time working woman status. I still get to sit down at my easel, at least once a week, and draw or paint. Making time for myself, or even for a client, to create, is therapeutic, calming and wonderful.

It's been a wonderful change of pace and a wonderful change of expectations. Before I became a mother, I fully expected to be able to continue almost as vigorously in my career, regardless of who was crawling around my feet, but becoming a mother has opened my eyes to what my true priorities are. I don't mind being a penny pincher and I'm creative in finding ways to make one salary work with our entire family. I realize that I am truly blessed that my husband makes enough to support us and we are grateful every day for his hard work. My 2 year old and I have been enjoying life, exploring our world together and learning with each other. I'm happy when I get work, because I'm creating, but I'm equally happy when the work is handed in and the deadline has passed because the extra stress makes me a less patient mother.

I would highly recommend, if you are seriously considering working from home, a job like illustration. It's going to take a while to get trained in techniques if you're not already proficient in the software or with the different illustration mediums (acrylic paint, for example), but once you get over that hump, if working and staying at home are a priority, you can make it work. On a serious deadline, I could put in almost 25 hours of work a week, without outside help from a care provider, and make enough money to pay for extra things here and there. I'm not sure being a freelance illustrator is something that a single-parent should consider, because it has no stability, especially when you're first fishing for jobs, but it'd be a great place to start if you have another income to lean on. A graphic designer has more potential for a stable income,  there is more need for design work in the current market (think logos, magazines, fliers, business cards, etc), and you can always work your illustrations into any design work that you do. Going to school for this type of work is even more essential than if you want to become an illustrator.

I'm not a superstar illustrator at the moment and that moment will have to wait until my kids go to school, because right now, I'm in love with being a mom and my day-to-day activities with my son keep me as busy as I need to be. Life is great!"

Can you tell I dig this chick?

It's not just because of her bold, colorful style. It's because she recognizes her passions as well as her priorities. She is an artist at heart, and she recognizes how creating art is good for her soul. Yet she is even more inspired by motherhood and is a devoted mom. On her blog, she posts a monthly free coloring page that people can print out for their kids.

I'm inspired by the way she intertwines mothering and her art. It's something I'm striving for, too, and I feel like it's no coincidence that I found someone so much like myself during my first foray into this research. We mamas have to stick together!


crystal driedger said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much for the plug! Wonderful. :)

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