Johanna’s sabbatical has been going so well that when it was time for her to fail, it came in waves.
Johanna Basford is on a four-month sabbatical from paid work to concentrate on making herself a better artist, illustrator and all-round creative person.
Every week Johanna aims to publish a diary entry, which we'll be running on Digital Arts so you can follow the ups and downs – hopefully mainly ups – as she pushes her creativity and vision into new areas.
I love it when a plan comes together – but occasionally you miss the mark and a little rejigging is required.
The last three weeks have been all about the rejigging. I’m a big believer in aiming high – average is not aspirational. The problem with this is that sometimes reality bites: budgets, time constraints, logistics, fundamental limitations of the human body – all these things can scupper your lofty ambitions.
But instead of sitting back and declaring the venture a disaster, I think we’re better to practice the art of the re-jig: alter your plan, shift the parameters and make the best from the new situation.
Don’t be hasty in dishing out the #EpicFails. Always be optimistic and flexible.
Just to illustrate my point, here’s a snippet of the last three weeks’ mini catastrophes:
- Admitting my sabbatical plans were completely unrealistic.
- Blooming cuckoos won’t pop out the cuckoo clocks!
- Missing animals in Wonderbeasts.
- Printing wallpaper by hand morphing into a beast of a task and being rubbish at maths: miscalculating the amount of said wallpaper required.
- Learning that laser cut fabric frays.
- Studio Pup shredding everything he can reach.
No-one likes a moaner, in real life or on Twitter. So I think it best not to dwell on the hiccups in our plans, and focus on the good bits. However I wanted to be honest and share the lows as well as the highs: reality isn’t all cute studio pups, appearances in Vogue (below)and inky bliss…
I’ve spent 21 days furiously rethinking, adjusting and reworking – which is why this diary entry is so late. This is what I’ve come up with:
- My primary focus is now the exhibition, reading can wait.
- I have a new cuckoo clock concept (that’s better than the original)
- Wonderbeasts is now overpopulated instead of under
- I rounded the most wonderful team of print studio helpers, one of whom has borderline OCD and a head for maths (thanks Karen!)
- Binned fabric for paper
- Put things up higher, did a little redrawing…
Things may not be panning out exactly how I had planned – but they so rarely do. I figure there’s no point beating myself up about it – just work out the new way forward, and go at it full power.