What Wakes You Up?

An alarm wakes me up!

A few days ago it rained here so much that the septic system alarm for the building I live in roared to life in the middle of the night. Sometime between 1AM and 2AM the alarm began to blare and never shut off. As I understand it, the ground was so saturated that the system was on overdrive. The alarm is a precaution for users to, well, not flush…  This alarm woke me up!

The alarm kept ringing all night, the rain kept coming down, there was no respite from the noise. While it was still dark out, I put my headphones on and went into the factory studio to work. Only one building away. I could still hear the alarm, even through the headphones and music. At least now I was using my time productively instead of lying in bed in anger!

What wakes you up?

For some, this question might provoke worry, for the kids, finances, a lousy boss, health issues, and all sorts of other normal life moments. For others, the question, what wakes you up, might stir up wonderful passions and ideas!

Lately, I have been waking up excited to greet my day. I have a deep desire to get all sorts of ideas and projects out of my head and soul and onto the paper and into the world.

Sketchbook of Dorky Doodle Darlings, inside cover, on Etsy for $13

Last month I awoke eagerly each day to fill a small sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project in Brooklyn New York.

Awaking early each day to greet my studio practice. This time with my iPhone alarm, not the septic system, I enthusiastically created work as a factory worker would—unafraid of repetition and productive labor. My factory studio is a laboratory of labor and love. While a painting a day, a sketch a day, or a journal page a day may get finished, my work is never done.

Capturing fleeting moments in paint, ink, crayon, marker, or whatever tool sparks ideas is the joy in the business of putting the moments that capture my attention into place. Lately, my work has landed on sketchbook pages and watercolor paper. Simple squares, circles, dots, and lines nod to rivets, parts, and pieces of repetition and the building blocks of something bigger. Weaving these basic motifs into patterns and texture I invoke the viewer to look and wonder. Creating curiosity.

With the sketchbook project I added these motifs onto dorky doodle darlings—characters, if you will—creatures of my imagination.

This booklet is now available for sale in my Etsy shop. The end product is a bit wonky, rough around the edges, and not as polished as my usual work. Somehow, this seems right for this project.

However, the raw unfiltered nature of the end result kept me up at night! The evening after I hit “order now” I was already in the zone of, ugh…it is not good enough! No one will want it.

The order arrived and the booklet is ready for an audience.

I ought to allow the audience to decide if it is “good enough.”

What wakes me up at night?

Knowing I may now have inventory that will never reach the consumer. Yet, I have already begun my next project! While hoping there is an audience for the last one…

Along with the Dorky Doodle Darling Booklet I have also added coloring pages to my Etsy site! Be sure to check them out!

Here is Hipster Hiker! Just one of many!

©Suzanne Gibbs, 2018, Dorky Doodle People, Hipster Hiker, for sale as Original Art for $48 or as a coloring book page download file for $2.50 on Etsy.


Tune in next week for more information on the Doodle + Word + Ladder Project.

My last project was a book. My Year of Separation is the title. I mailed copies of it to customers all over the world this past week! Super exciting! If you are interested in the book: My Year of Separation, please order soon! Go to the Factory Store to order. I only have 2 copies left in the factory and I am not sure when I will order another print run.

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