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Welcome to the eighth issue of The Featured Image newsletter, a place where writing meets art. As a reminder, the goal here is to add visual creativity to our work and gain inspiration from those already doing it.
Almost every day on Twitter, Jane Zeke combines quotes or thoughts with portraits she paints digitally in Procreate. The quotes and paintings are great in their own right, but combined they are just a fantastic boost to the quality of visual Twitter. She also provides a time-lapse video for each piece of work. I wish more visual creators would do this!

Two quotes I love from today's interview:

1) "I’m not necessarily proud of the images, but I’m proud that I’m putting unfinished work into the world because not many people are comfortable with that."

2) "Welcome feedback and QTIP (quit taking it personally). Hearing new ideas and implementing feedback will help you grow." 

Please enjoy and be sure to follow Jane! (our new favorite anonymous art teacher). 
Drawing by Jane Zeke

Tell us about the creative work you do on Twitter

started a Twitter account in January as a way to push myself to practice digital drawing. I work under a pseudonym to expand my network. Outside of Twitter, I’m a painter and an art teacher.
Original tweet: "Work like hell! I had 122 rejection slips before I sold a story." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

How long have you been visually creative?

True Story: Before I could write, I saw my mom’s signature on a check and forged it on a piece of paper. Been doodling ever since.

What went into the decision to start including quotes and time-lapse videos of your portraits? 

It’s a healthy exercise to reflect on your day, think of one quote that resonates with you, and share it in a quirky, colorful package. The time-lapses are just a way to invite people into my *virtual studio* to see my drawing process. 

What tools do you like to use for creation and publishing?

Procreate, Adobe Premiere, and my plain ol’ sketchbook. 

Is there one image you are particularly proud of?

I get excited about tiny elements of each portrait. For this feed, I limit myself to about an hour or less per drawing. It’s really hard to decide when to put the pencil down and post them. I’m self critical – you might notice that there are issues with proportions, wacky facial features, and some haven’t achieved a likeness. I’m not necessarily proud of the images, but I’m proud that I’m putting unfinished work into the world because not many people are comfortable with that. 
(one of my favorites). Original tweet: "What you are attempting to do is incredibly difficult. One of the most difficult things there is, way harder than weight training, way harder, what you’re summoning, trying to summon within your brain and your spirit, to create something onto a blank page.” - Jerry Seinfeld

What advice would you give anyone who wants to build an audience using their visuals?

Send me your artwork. I want to see it and cheer you on!

Are there any creators who work at the intersection of writing and art that inspire and motivate you?

Professor Clara Lieu. Total badass. Art Prof podcast powers my morning commute. 

What advice would you give anyone who wants to start (or continue) adding visual creativity to their work?

Welcome feedback and QTIP (quit taking it personally). Hearing new ideas and implementing feedback will help you grow. 

Bonus question: I noticed that David Perell follows you on Twitter. Any particular story behind that?

Didn’t know anything about him until he followed my Twitter – Glad he did because I now enjoy reading his weekly newsletters. Seems to have a good taste in art. 😉 
Click to read the interview online (and share)
First up, I promised to spice up the visual look of this newsletter, and this banner above is my first attempt. This "creative juice" section is reserved for links that will spark creativity, and as a place to share what I'm learning and thinking about with visual creativity.

To share my process for creating it:
1) Looked up proper width for an image in Mailchimp. Turns out it's 564 pixels. I eyeballed what might be a good height to work as a header like this and decided on 200 pixels.
2) Created a new design in Canva 564x200. I went with a font size that felt right and kept with the default font of Open Sans Extra Bold because it matched Mailchimp's default pretty well (Arial).
3) For background color, I went with this teal-ish color that I am really digging. I've been using it as the background for many of my Twitter images. I choose it simply by playing around a ton on Procreate to see what felt right. I now realize it feels fairly close to the color lizandmollie uses, but I think it's different enough to not worry about. Plus I just like it! I might change it, but I dig the idea of having a consistent color for my visual work. 
4) I found a drawing of a brain that I liked and simply tried to copy it the best I could, and drew a flask, and "juice" and bubbles by hand in Procreate, and then imported it into the Canva design. 

I might do something similar for the interview section. I haven't put a logo at the top of this newsletter yet because I am tempted to create a new one. Still thinking through it, but I do like what I came up with on the home page for now (but I hate the overall aesthetic of my landing page, need to improve that). 

I joined the April cohort for Daily Visual, and I'm pretty excited. More on that coming up. 

  • The Toonstack newsletter. A group of cartoonist came together to publish a joint newsletter. I love this introductory post about the Ides of March. 
  • I learned about Toonstack from the Semi-Rad newsletter by Brendan Leonard, a writer/artist who combines adventure writing/humour/and hand-drawn images (and who I hope to interview coming up). 
  • Bardot Brush. I love everything about this site. Tons of free tutorials on digital art and creativity. 
  • Projector. H/T to Ashley Lusk for bringing this to my attention. An interesting tool that looks like an alternative collaborative design tool to Figma. Figma and this are both tools I plan on digging into a little more over the next month. 
Ok, that's it for this week. Be sure to create something cool and share it with someone.

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