hello, spriggan!

art & curiosities by Leigh Ann Gagnon

My project the last few weeks has been designing gift tags. I’m in love with how they’re turning out, but had a moment where I realized how old some of the artwork was. Let’s talk about that!

There’s such a push on social media to be constantly making new things, all the time, as fast as you can. Feed the algorithm. I’m in a season right now where I just cannot produce a constant stream of polished, finished artwork— and that’s okay.

Everything in my sketchbook, all the ideas I’m trying out, little experiments to test color and texture, little notes about supplies and pricing, it is all so valuable. It matters even if it’s not something I necessarily want to share online, perhaps even more so because it is honest and done with no worry of what others will think of it. I used to struggle to fill one sketchbook a year because I was so worried about everything in it being just right, and for the past few years I’ve ended up with 3-4. That’s so much more practice!

The other side of it is that I do have finished artwork that I really love and am proud of, even if it’s not very recent! I did a series of small paintings for Inktober in 2015, and probably a third of them, I still deeply enjoy. 2016 and 2017 were such weird years for me, with multiple moves and a lot of change, but I did some of my biggest and most complex Spriggan paintings in that time. When I look back at my earliest Spriggan paintings, I see so much room for improvement; when I look at the ones from 2016 onward, I feel like I really hit my stride. My style then and now are so much more similar, and since I’ve been sketching more and have all those extra sketchbooks to show it, I can tell that it’s from consistency rather than just a lack of work to compare to.

Even though they’re older pieces, they still feel very fresh to me! I kept being weirdly surprised at the time stamps on my folders of scans and edits. :0 I’ll talk more about this in another post, but I read two of Marie Kondo’s books and have been thinking a lot about “what sparks joy”, not just in terms of my belongings but also in my creative practice. There was an instant when setting up the tags where I thought, Should I be ashamed at how old these are? and then a very immediate, Fucking no. I absolutely should not be, nor should anyone else. I will have new art, at some point. It’s okay. I’m fortunate to have made artwork that I love unabashedly.

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