Fool’s Project

Max and monster, Carol, from Where the Wild Things Are in my style. I have been thinking a lot about my productivity as an artist and my desires for my life. I do a lot. I have fun. I do a lot for others. My life is very worthy. But I’m also missing a lot. I have given a lot of thought about what to do about that. So I devised a plan to change my life within the span of one year and to start that plan on April 1st (seriously). I will be posting more art here and writing about the project, what I learn, what I find useful, and how it’s working. The project is pliable so it can change and evolve as I go along – I may add to it or remove from it. The goal is to fulfill my potential as much as possible by this time next year. It’s designed for me in particular but anyone can join in at any time with their own project. So, here it is!

Fool’s Project
By Mike R. Baker
April 1, 2014 – April 1, 2015
The Fool’s Project is a year-long project to actively find happiness, improve life and achieve goals purposefully, consciously, with focus and enthusiasm. The results should be health, love, good work, and gracious living.
This is my manifesto. My rules. My daily reminder. I will begin from here, every day.
“To willingly look the fool is freedom. Only those that strive to never appear the fool are truly foolish.” mike r baker

  • Be the FOOL! Dance in public, even when no one else is. Sing loud, even if it’s off key. Give a smile and a good day to everyone, even it seems to change nothing for them. Be grateful, tip big, and always buy lemonade from children.
  • Make MISTAKES! Fear of mistakes paralyzes. With every mistake made when focused on a goal, you are one step closer to success, as long as you embrace and learn from your mistakes.
  • Kindness and Respect, Always. These are my strengths. The best way for me to achieve happiness and reward is by helping others achieve the same. Everyone is awesome.
  • TIME. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And then more steps. Nothing happens overnight or without effort. Grant yourself time and patience.
  • HEALTH is number one! Exercise daily! Eat smart, drink smart. Keep moving, consciously consume.
  • Organize, Prioritize, Repair, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Remove physical obstacles. De-clutter your environment. Create your creative space. Maintain a healthy atmosphere. Aesthetic plus purpose equals peace.
  • Keep Working, Love your Work! Sketch always, make good art, create, enthuse. Experiment. Praise yourself.
  • RELAX! When indecisive or unfocused, meditate, make tea, make a list, go for a walk, forgive. Then work.
  • Set goals with a deadline that involves an event. “I will paint daily because I have arranged a show on such date.” “I will get in shape because I have planned a backpacking trip on such date.” Work plus deadline to achieve goal equals reward.

So it goes…

Time Management

time-foolishYou just want more time. Sometimes you think you have it and commit to great accomplishments. And fail. Man, the holidays suck up a lot of time. Guests, chores, family commitments, shopping, decorating… so much to do. Thing is, for me, I really do have more time than I end up using. Distractions, feelings of being overwhelmed, lack of a good personal space to get things done… I just need to get it together. Getting it together is my new goal. Time management can be done! It can! So stop laughing.

How do YOU manage your time?

2013 SCBWI Summer Conference

scbwi-logoYes, I’m going. The 2013 SCBWI Summer Conference is on! This will be my 3rd conference. My first was in 2008. Back then I had cancer. Following the conference I went through 7 operations (3 of them life-threatening) and multiple chemo and radiation therapies. In 2010 I met Dr. Lenz at USC Norris and he changed my life. The cancer removed (along with half of my gut). Chemo and operations every year… this is the first year since 2005 I have not had an operation! And I’m 3 years cancer-free! So it’s time for a new start.

I went to the SCBWI Summer Conference last year and learned a lot and was once again inspired. Since then I have decided that if I wait until I think I’m ready I’ll never be ready. So I made motions to start working. I have done a couple of jobs that I will talk about when it’s published but my real goal is children’s books. I’m ready for this conference and I will be working to achieve my goals when I get back (as I am now). I’ll paraphrase the highlights of what I learn here and then get down to business. It won’t be too long before you see a picture book with the words “by Mike R. Baker” on it.

Another New Blog

I told you I was at the SCBWI 2012 Summer Conference in my last post. Well I learned a lot and met a lot of amazing people. So much, in fact, that I’ve started another blog to talk about it. Illustrate For Kids! If you are interested in an illustrative career in the children’s market, please follow it. I am a complete novice and will move forward until I am published (and then beyond). I will tell you what I do wrong, what I do right, how you can do it, and what I learned and my philosophies on it. Children are the future. I intend to do my best to make it a bright one.


New Blog

I am at the 2012 SCBWI Summer Conference right now. It is amazing.

I’m passing out business cards so I want to say “hi!” to you and it was very nice to meet you. Sorry about the state of my site (as of this post). I’m starting all over so it needs work. Please see previous posts for more info and visit my gallery on flickr!

You can see what my old blog looked like at archive.org. Also, you can join in some illustration fun at my other blog, with hundreds of members, Monday Artday.

If you have my card then you have my number. Please feel free to text me! And friend me on Facebook (please mention SCBWI).


Cancer 2011

I’m feeling quite well now. Cancer is gone (for now). I spent all of 2010 fighting intestinal cancer. Two major operations and two really hard chemotherapy sessions (lots and lots of chemotherapy). I know it’s odd, but my strength comes from my own inner little girl. Perhaps it’s from my admiration of my own amazing daughter.

2012… I had another operation last month to remove a bit of my lung. It was about 90% certain it was cancer, from the previous cancer. It turned out to be a fungus. So, still recovering from the operation but, wow… still cancer-free!

So, I have a new lease on life and that is why I am able to, and even more inspired to, pursue my career in art and illustration again. So glad to be back.

A Fresh Start

The old blog, “Knack For Art,” got bulky, impossible to manage, pocked with spam and broken formatting. As much as I loved the history of it, the posts, and all of the wonderful comments, it was time to let it go. It just no longer represented me. So, here it is, the new blog, titled simply by my name, Mike R. Baker. I’m sorry if you’ve linked to any of my old posts – I tried to preserve it but it was just to corrupt from all the spam attacks I’ve suffered. I hope this new blog will be easier to manage. B)-