• Joellen Kemper

A Brave Illustration


Back in January (the throes of chemo) I took up drawing again. I've abandoned drawing so many times due to great insecurity. In the past, it was best for me spiritually and mentally, to give up drawing due to the consuming thoughts I would have over my lack of abilities and the depression over "failure" that would ensue. But alas, it has kept calling to me. And during the difficult time of my last chemo treatments, I had perspective, and drawing became a form of solace to me. I have kept up the practice since then, determined to try and remain humble through it all.


In that time, I did a lot of figure drawing studies and watched some character design courses. And a couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to cut the apron strings and venture out into illustrating from my imagination (I still use reference as a guide, but only to understand something's form, not to copy). I realized I could take classes and draw from books and pictures forever before I ever actually felt "ready. So stepping out and drawing my own illustrations has been freeing and anxiety provoking all at the same time!


"Leap and the net will appear"...I'm not really sure who said that and I'm too lazy for a google search. But that has been my mantra. Most likely, only other artists understand the crippling anxiety and insecurity that can come from trying to achieve artistic vision and drawing has been a battle for my belief. I think if anything, God has been the one calling me to it, just simply to prove that I can achieve the impossible with humility, belief, and a good old fashioned rolling-up-my-sleeves.


This Merida illustration is my first "walking on water", if you will. I'm excited that I persevered and I had the patience to work with it until I accomplished the result I was hoping to achieve.


I know there are stories in my heart waiting to be told. One of my deepest desires is to cultivate an imagination that glorifies God; showcasing His beauty and His mercies. Story has always brought me closer to His heart and they have always been a source of healing. This past year of reading Narnia throughout the course of cancer treatment, brought a whole new meaning to that healing.


Tomorrow I embark on a drawing challenge. I plan on completing 25 character illustrations in June that revolve around a story that dropped into my heart last Spring. It's just a hazy idea and I'm hoping this challenge will not only help me grow and gain more confidence in my drawing abilities but also help me to develop this story more <3

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