Art and business - a balancing act!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that it's quite uncommon for me to write long blogposts. I just like to communicate visually. But today, I'm celebrating milestones and just want to share that sometimes, I need to pinch myself: is this really happening?

About one and a half year ago, something happened that caused a huge shift in my life. I had been blogging here on this blog, for quite a while, and I had become an online entrepreneur, developing and offering my online drawing courses and workshops. It was hard work, but worth every drop of sweat for sure! I was able to follow my passion of drawing and making art, and helping others to get inspired and make art too.
Teaching online, and finding out about the vivid online creative community gave me new ideas. I saw new options and new opportunities.

The coffees we drank and drew
Then I met Danny Gregory here in Amsterdam. We talked over coffee, then beers, then Indonesian rijsttafel, and picked each other’s brains about online teaching, art, writing, and many other things. We discussed a vague idea about getting a bunch of people together to inspire others. That idea quickly became a vision and a goal.
What happened? Sketchbook Skool happened.

Inspite of the huge online community of sketchers, drawers and art makers out there, there wasn't a community driven online art course the way we would like to see it. Yes, you can take online courses, to learn techniques and yes, you'll be able to connect with others in such a course. However, we would have loved to take a course in which we would learn from many artists rather than just one person, and get inspired by their points of view. We were, and still are curious to learn from the artists we admire, and then share experiences with peers online. Since a course like that didn't exist, we created it. That's what happened.

Founding Sketchbook Skool with Danny has been a step into a fabulous adventure. Sketchbook Skool Kourses bundle together knowledge and inspiration of amazing sketchbook artists from around the world. It's an absolute dream come true (yep, pinching myself!). Not just for us, but for a lot of people who enrolled in one of the Sketchbook Skool Kourses. I feel so fortunate and proud when I meet Sketchbook Skool students in person and they tell me how much making art means to them, and how they enjoy being part of the online community.
Drawing of my desk when editing videos
We started Sketchbook Skool as a fun creative project, and it still is, but pretty soon I didn’t need any side jobs, I didn’t even have time if I wanted to. Without intending to, Danny and I created a full-time jobs for ourselves in Sketchbook Skool. Jobs in an innovative start-up, in which we need to learn like an apprentice, and make decisions like a CEO. Whew!
We are working with such inspiring artists, creating their lessons for skool, and the community of students is warm, supportive, inspiring, beyond what we ever expected. Then there’s also the corporate side of things: for example, just this morning I found myself tangled up between my book keeper and two accountants, trying to explain things I don’t even fully understand myself!

It's an adventure to enjoy this start-up business and the passion I feel for Sketchbook Skool, but the downside is that work keeps piling up onto our virtual desks. Now don't get me wrong - I am not complaining! I feel blessed with everything that has happened since we founded Sketchbook Skool and I wouldn’t want it any other way. There's just a lot to learn for me: how to plan well and be smart with my time.

Sleep deprivation is not uncommon to me - not because I’m a workaholic, but I also need time to spend on my biggest passion, what started all of this: drawing! I am making less drawings than I did when I had a dull dayjob in a cubicle, but when I do, I truly enjoy the moment and the process. Sometimes I draw in bed just before I go to sleep, and I'll admit that more than once I actually fell asleep while crosshatching the last bits of a drawing! But hey, I drew that day, and it relaxed me - obviously!

Maybe you started a business of your own, or another major life event that influences your creative life. I’m curious: How do you deal with it?

Oh and here's a link for you: Sketchbook Skool's Blog