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To change is to be alive + Books for artists

What is being an artist?

When I was a child, an artist for me was Picasso, Romero Britto, my grandparents.

My mother always tried to show me a lot of art, she took me to museums, plays, musicals... And even as a child not as interested as they could be, I'm sure it influenced a lot the way I see the world.

I used to draw and my mother called me "Picasso of the family" (detail: it was just stains on the paper, nothing big), I heard stories about my maternal grandfather who made art with bamboo, I saw the wonderful illustrations of my paternal grandmother hanging on the wall, I had some Romero Britto products like many Brazilian families.

When I started to get more excited about illustration, I would take my sketchbook to my paternal grandparents' place and my grandmother would leaf through it excited, showing it to everyone. I am in a strange bubble: a family of Japanese immigrants, who worked hard in the countryside, but who appreciate art and enjoy seeing their grandchildren doing different things. A cousin made gastronomy, another design.

Of course, as a Japanese-Brazilian, I've always had pressure (internal, from my parents, from society?) to get high grades, be an exemplary student, not break rules, be good at math. This model minority that a million lines tried to shape me was suffocating, but it was who I knew how to be. "Oh, but of course she's good at math, she's japa", the nerd, who didn't even use to pass the cheat on because she thought it was too wrong.

At the same time, I ran away from it in my sketchbooks, always something scribbled back and forth. And in the midst of annoying people, I had my support people. My family and friends - mostly grandchildren of Japanese and Korean immigrants - always loved my silly drawings.

I was growing, changing, trying to find myself.

I ended up going from a student who participated in math and physics olympics, who thought she would be an engineer, to a student who graduated in Design.

In college I was lost, I wasn't someone who knew about design, studios, book publishers, famous awards. And there many professors dictated what was art and what was not. Digital illustration? It's not art!

That said, here I am, 2 years after presenting my completion of course work, HIKARI - an autofiction comic that challenged me to produce my first comic book, relive my past and get to know my grandparents and parents better. Here I am, drawing almost every day and actually managing to live this way.

Creating new things, meeting new people...

When I see myself in my apartment, in my workspace, supporting myself, all paid for by my work as an illustrator, I feel grateful. For my efforts. Fot the efforts of my grandparents, who arrived in a country where they did not speak the language, worked the fields and even sent their children to college. The efforts of my parents, children of immigrants, who worked from an early age, graduated and raised me.

I feel weird too, doing a work that sometimes feels so shallow. Just drawings, doodles, lines and colors. Living off art while there's so much bad going on in the world.

But I feel happy too, when I see that my work helps people, makes them sigh, take a deep breath in the midst of the busy routine.

Being an artist is weird. There are ups and downs. A lonely job. I talk to myself a lot in my creations.

But even so, it's what I am, what I know how to be and what I want to be for a long time to come.

Because I change, I changed, and to change is to be alive!

When I think of that word, "change", I always feel very welcome. The world revolves around that, right?

In recent years, I have invested a lot of time in teaching. I recorded illustration and business courses, gave workshops. I still feel weird when I get a message that says "teacher".

But passing on my knowledge and sharing experiences with other people has always been gratifying for me. Even feeling that imposter syndrome saying that I don't know enough to help someone, I'm still in this job. What motivates me is seeing people change because of me. People thanking me for a content I made that opened their eyes, thanking me for teaching me how to something, thanking me for changing and improving their approach to something... Crazy! One human being making a difference in someone else's life is crazy.

Now when I'm asked what I do, I sometimes include "teacher" to describe myself.

It's still new and strange to me, but it's a change. A good change.

These last few days were a rush here, an explosion of different feelings, good and bad, and finally on Monday I opened my first drawing course. The Creating Magical Universes course is live! (Only for portuguese speaking people, for now)

I wanted to write this letter to record all this whirlwind of emotions and reflect on these changes.

I hope this letter motivates someone.

I hope what I do changes someone.

Interesting links:


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