MYE DE LEON

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Self-Education and Continuous Improvement + Free Card!

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Happy National Scrapbooking Day! I hope you're all enjoying it!

Today's post is a bit of a continuation of yesterday's post about my personal and business goals. From the beginning of my designing days, I have looked up to some good names in the industry and swore that someday, I'll be able to achieve the same level of skills and knowledge that they possess. Now, there's a bit of irony here because to be honest, I hated school. I wasn't a reader. I hated studying. But I know I'm smart - or at least that's what I believe I am. I'm hardworking and I make things happen.

Going back to my early days of designing. I had to study Photoshop - on my own. There was no formal education and I would always hate reading tutorials because I want to explore things on my own. I did get what I want though - I was able to design my first kit and sold it in a scrapbook shop. As months pass by, I would get bored on my own designs and I'd like to explore new other things. That's probably why my style changed over the last 5 years of my career. Some people loved it. Some hated it. I used to be so sensitive about how people will react to the evolution of my design. I used to always care and take them into consideration when creating. That was the saddest part of my life. That part of losing myself just to please others. And it took a toll on me. But as they say - there's always light at the end of the tunnel. It also became my turning point. It changed my perspective about learning. I knew then, that for me to make my dream of becoming a better designer a reality, I need to make an effort to study. And so I did.

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Late last year, I quietly enrolled myself at Make Art That Sells which is run by Lilla Rogers and produced by Beth Kempton. This is by far, the most expensive investment I have ever made in my design career. I spent all of the sales money I had from closing my personal shop. Prior to this, I also enrolled at Laura Coyle's Illustrator class, which by the way, is an amazing source of knowledge if you are keen about learning Adobe Illustrator.

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For the first time in my life - I loved studying. I enjoyed learning new things. And I enjoyed the process of incorporating my own creations in my products. It eventually led to loving what I do even more, loving what I share, loving what I sell. I was proud of myself.

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My first 2 assignments in MATS made me realize that I can do more. Lilla made sure that her students will get the encouragement they need to flourish. She doesn't tolerate drama in the class and that's what I LOVE about it. The positive outlook in the class made us all feel good about ourselves. Of course, there were way more talented students in there and that can be intimidating at times. But hey, all artists were first amateurs, right? We all started somewhere. So, from then on, I told myself - I need to get better at what I am doing.  I took whatever I can bite in the class and those I can't I let pass. By this time, I already know that I can't do everything. I need to find that "thing" I'm passionate about. Unfortunately, it doesn't come very easy. So, I let go of everything and just focused on creating. I didn't stop.

While working on some of my assignments, I had a lightbulb moment. I never shared about this here before but I used to do handlettering when I was in sixth grade. Then, in highschool I contributed on decorating the guidance office to show my appreciation to the guidance counselor who went out of her way to find me a scholarship program so that I'll be able to finish school. However, I am not a professional on lettering - I didn't take any formal jobs with it nor educated myself about it. But at the back of my mind, I know I need to improve if I am going to do it. And I want to do it. There was this magic I can't describe when I'm holding a pencil and sketching letters.

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So, early this year while doing MATS, I kicked off a new personal project which I call - Handlettering 365. Every day, I shared one handlettering project which I started with letters, then quotes, words, names, quotes again and whatever floats my boat. I gave myself no specification about what I'm going to do on a certain day. That gave me more freedom to do what I can when I've not enough time and do more when I have time to spare. I missed a few days when I need to work but I always try to catch up. That was my commitment to myself.

Then, my new MATS class resumed and I continued working on both while also maintaining my shop. It took a lot of effort on managing my time between my work, my projects and my family.

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You see,  I used to loathe school and studying. But when I changed my perspective, I MADE THINGS HAPPEN! The things that I dreamed about before are slowly becoming real.

When I am being featured in other sites or blogs, I would always say - "Designing is a continuous process of improvement".

I took those words to heart and promised myself, I will never stop learning. After spending some time educating myself and reading a lot more than I usually do, I found what I am looking for - my love for letters and patterns!  So I focused on what I really wanted to do and did more of it. I can't tell you how happy I am right now and how it changed a lot of things in my business. Oh and there's a ton more I wanted to share! But for today, let me leave you with 2 things:

1. Day 118/365 - a quote by Albert Einstein - "When You Stop Learning, You Start Dying"

2. This beautiful 5x7 card that I hope will inspire you and others about the importance of humility, working hard and being kind.

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Again, Happy NSD and have a good weekend ahead!