When I was a kid, I wasn’t great at persevering with things. As soon as something became difficult, or if I wasn’t good at something straight away, I’d give up. I didn’t like feeling that I couldn’t do something. I’ve gotten a bit better at it over time, but it’s something I still struggle with a lot, even now as an adult. I admire people who find problems and roadblocks a motivating force. I think it’s a really tough to keep going, and not give up when things aren’t working out the way you imagine. 

I’ve always been a crafty person. I like sewing, and making things. During lockdown I started to get into watching sewing videos on Youtube. Particularly Youtubers who make historical garments and costumes. There’s something very soothing about watching other people create fabulous things, and solving problems that come up. One of my favourite people to watch is Cathy Hay, who also posts a lot of videos about creativity, and motivation, that I’ve found very inspiring.

About 7 years ago (I think?) I bought this advent calendar kit from AK traditions. I thought it was super cute, and liked the idea of an advent calendar that didn’t rely on exercising willpower to only eat that days chocolate. For the next few years, it sat at the back of my cupboard. I’d remember that I should make it each year, around mid-November. I’d pull it out, look at it, and get intimidated by all the different parts that needed doing. And then give up. 

In June I decided that this year was the year. If I was ever going to do it, a year where I had to stay at home most of the time was it. And it happened! Slowly, slowly but surely, I got it finished. I got stuck a lot. Especially at the parts where I needed to make pockets. Each time I felt stuck I would remember to take a break, research techniques for how to do things, take it slowly, and keep going. 

It feels really good to have finished this project, that I’ve had on the back burner for the better part of a decade. I want to keep working on developing my resilience and perseverance. I think they’re such important skills for life, and ones that I want to get better at practicing day to day.

Hope you all have a fabulous holiday period, stay safe everyone Xx

Ak Traditions

Some of my favourite sewing Youtubers
Cathy Hay
Bernadette Banner
Morgan Donner
Costuming Drama
Rachel Maksy

Karolina Zebrowska

In the Ocean

I drew this picture in mid June. 
I drew it, because at the time I wasn’t feeling great. I’ve had anxiety for a really long time, to the point now where I don’t really remember what it’s like to not feel it at all. It comes in waves, of feeling better or worse. The last time I’d felt it badly was during my mid twenties. This particular period had been building since November, and was mostly centred around my insecurities about my art and career. 
I drew this picture because I wanted to express how I was feeling. When I’m very anxious, it feels like a crushing weight. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep ocean, isolated in darkness. The water is crushing me, and I can’t move or breathe. I feel paralysed by my own thoughts. During these times I feel so afraid of doing the wrong thing, or messing up, that I find it hard to make decisions. I find it hard to stay motivated to try. I feel like I’m at the bottom of a deep ocean, and I’m all alone.

I drew this picture at the end of October. 
Melbourne’s second lockdown has eased, and the weather’s been getting warmer. I’m feeling a bit better. Still anxious, but it’s less overwhelming. During lockdown I’ve been working more on developing my art style. I’ve spent more time figuring out what things inspire me, and improving my technical skills. I’ve also made more of a conscious effort to improve my exercise, diet and self-care routines. 
I’ve been feeling a bit better, and I wanted to draw the picture again, and reframe those feelings of isolation and weight pressing on me. I wanted to show that sometimes it feels more like I’m being held in it. That I can exist in those hard feelings, while holding on to the knowledge and hope that things will improve.

Hope you’re all doing ok in your own battles. We’re all in it together, even in the times we feel alone. If you’re struggling, please reach out for support. Here are a couple of helplines, and you can also get in touch with your local GP to get a referral to mental health services.

Hello again!

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I decided to take a bit of a break this year from pursuing the illustration career. Mostly because my other job has been busier since the start of the pandemic, but also because I wanted to play around and experiment more with my art. I wanted the freedom to do that, without the pressure of feeling like I had to keep promoting myself. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’m glad I’ve done that. I’m feeling a lot better mentally, and that’s the most important thing.

I’ll be back soon(ish), hope you’re all doing ok out there.x

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