Today we’d like to introduce you to Jane Yu.
Jane, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I’m a middle school teacher by day, teaching over 100 energetic 6th graders math, science, and art on a daily basis. I’m currently in my tenth year of teaching and I absolutely love it! On many evenings or weekends, you can find me painting at my craft table or working on some designs on my iPad with Netflix playing in the background.
I started taking art lessons when I was in 1st grade and continued the lessons all the way through high school. I always loved drawing and enjoyed making handmade cards for friends and family’s birthdays and special occasions. In 4th grade, my teacher had us write an essay on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I remember saying that I wanted to be an artist…or a teacher.
When I went to college, I left all of my art supplies at home and focused on getting my degree and eventually fulfilled my childhood dream of being a teacher! In 2014, I got married and moved closer to a friend of mine who had started learning calligraphy for her wedding invitations. She taught me a little bit and I became obsessed with learning everything I could about calligraphy and hand lettering. I watched tutorials online and downloaded lettering worksheets and started practicing every day after school. I slowly started incorporating watercolor into my work and began combining calligraphy with watercolor illustrations.
In 2015, I created an Instagram account to post my work, right as calligraphy and hand lettering was starting to trend online. Through Instagram I was able to connect with some amazing artists who I am still friends with today. That year, I also opened an Etsy shop and started selling cards, fonts, and offering my calligraphy services for weddings and other events. Last year, I had the opportunity to be an instructor in an online course called Watercolor Bootcamp and share how I paint watercolor foods. It has been amazing being able to share my love of calligraphy and watercolor with the world through the internet. It’s also crazy to me that I’m living out my 4th grade dream of being a teacher and an artist.
Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I’ve always loved writing down my favorite quotes from books and saving inspirational quotes in my journal. When I first started my Instagram page, I lettered a lot of quotes and Bible verses in calligraphy to inspire and motivate others. I was mostly creating on paper with nibs, ink, paint brushes, and watercolor. I still love creating on paper, but one problem is that my supplies tend to explode all over my living room and I leave a huge mess. Thankfully, my husband is gracious and does not complain about it, but it still drives me crazy!
At the end of last year, I started using an iPad Pro to create some of my work and it has totally changed the game! It’s amazing being able to create without paint and water and I feel like I waste a lot less paper. I’ve started creating more digital work, such as fonts and printable designs. I love how easy it is to create anywhere I want! I can now work at a coffee shop or even in the car during rush hour traffic without making a mess.
I tend to gravitate toward bright, happy colors and fun designs. When I create, my goal is to be able to spread happiness and positivity through my artwork. I know that life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows and I myself go through my own struggles and challenges. But I hope that when people see my artwork, it brightens their day just a little bit and reminds them that there is always hope and fresh starts.
In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
Since I connect with most of my clients online, I spend much of my time posting and sharing my work on Instagram. With the notorious Instagram algorithm always seeming to be against artists and trying to differentiate yourself in a saturated market, it’s so easy to get discouraged. Some days I feel like it’s not worth sharing my work. Because I spend so much time online, it is also easy to fall into the comparison trap and start focusing on how many likes my posts are getting or how many followers I’ve gained or lost that week, which is terrible!
Rising Tide Society is a community of creatives online that has a motto, “Community over competition.” I think once you have that mindset and understand that these other artists are people who you can learn from and connect with, it really empowers you to support other artists and lift each other up! I’m not saying that there aren’t days when I still feel like my work is not good enough, but it’s so important to connect with other creatives and support each other instead of break each other down.
What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I post most of my work on my Instagram page, @madebyjaneforyu. You can find my fonts, cards, and printable designs in my Etsy shop (www.madebyjaneforyu.etsy.com) and also on Creative Market (www.creativemarket.com/
Lastly, I was recently asked to illustrate a children’s book! You can follow along on Instagram @mightyfortresspress and on the book’s website (www.mightyfortresspress.com).
- Website: www.madebyjaneforyu.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madebyjaneforyu/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madebyjaneforyu