The second person on my list is...
10 Most Artistically Inspiring People of 2011
for Inspiring use of Copic Markers and
the ability to Inspire Confidence in others
Considering how much of a chatter-box I am I find it relatively funny when I have trouble putting something into words - like now, I've re-written this a few times trying do this awesome woman justice. OK, here goes - Mandi-Lee is a freelance graphic designer, teacher, talented artist, Regional Certification Instructor for Copic Markers in Australia and a truly generous soul. She maintains her own blog Copic Me and is also regularly published in a variety of Scrapbooking and Papercraft magazines, plus is a part of Copic Oz. As part of her job with Copic, Mandi jets around the country carting about some of the biggest suitcases I've ever seen and teaches starry-eyes Copic lovers how to get the most out of their new addiction, err markers.
I was so lucky when I began using my Copics that Mandi was teaching in a city I could get to - OK so I had to fly half the length of Australia to get there, but I'd do that again in a heartbeat to take another of Mandi's classes. Mandi is perhaps one of the bubbliest and most approachable teachers I've ever had the pleasure of spending time with. She was willing to look over everyone's work and offer gentle comment to allow people to improve without feeling like they had done something wrong, or that their work was not as good as the person next to them. This gentle encouragement is a very valuable and rare commodity and at while you are learning something brand new, is worth more than gold. Add to this, Mandi's art is as bold and bubbly as she is and you have a winning combination, one of my favourite pieces of Mandi's card art is featured below - check-out the colouring, now look again more closely - see the attention to detail, the lighting!
BUT these aren't the reasons Mandi Lee is featured on my list. Beautiful inside and out, Mandi possesses the ability to inspire creative confidence in your own abilities. I consider myself VERY lucky to have attended the Copic Intermediate Certification course with Mandi again as my teacher. There she talked about who was an 'artist' and said some things that resonated right down deep in my soul, she opened my eyes and stripped away the limited and narrow view of 'real art' that I had been holding onto - broadened my horizons and then proceeded to show me (and the class) how the complex looking, scary Copic colouring was a series of steps we could all apply to our own work! It was about being bold, trying new things and experimenting - throw away the rules, well most of them. She shared some of her own art and talked about how 'art' was not some stuffy, unachievable goal and to illustrate her point she shared a poem by SARK. Art is fun, it's playful, it's soulful and it's what ever you want it to be - if you create you are an artist, stamps or paintbrushes as your tool of choice doesn't matter! Talk about a revelation!
Now one last thing about Mandi, is that she lives what she teaches, she is brave, multi-talented, puts herself into her art, puts it out there, tries new things and continues to learn. Mandi shares some of her journaling on her blog and shows that Copics aren't just for papercrafters, illustrators and graphic designers. Mandi's use of Copics in her journal is amazing, she has done things with them that I would not have thought of and my goodness don't they look amazing. You can see some of Mandi's Copic work in her journal below - WOW! So not only does Mandi encourage her students to be brave, experiment and have fun with their art - she does this herself. What higher praise can I give other than 'she practices what she preaches' - how many of us can say that?
So thank you so very much Mandy for opening my eyes and convincing me Copic markers aren't only for colouring other people's art and that 'real' art is meant to be fun, messy, exciting and full of joy.
Images re-posted with Mandi's permission.