My Evolution As An Artist with Epilepsy

I live with a chronic condition that has no cure and is difficult to treat, but my refuge is and has always been, that I can paint and draw, design, and create.
Reading My Evolution As An Artist with Epilepsy 3 minutes
I live with a chronic condition that has no cure and is difficult to treat, but my refuge is and has always been, that I can paint and draw, design, and create.

A little over ten years ago Apple launched the first iPad. What is was then is a pale comparison to what it is now, nevertheless it was a tablet that you could draw directly on with a stylus. Up until that point I had been using a Wacom tablet (like every other designer), to draw the print and textile designs I created for clothing, home goods, and accessories. The Wacom Tablet came with it’s own stylus, allowing the artist to connect the tablet to the computer with a chord so that what you drew on the tablet would simultaneously show up on the computer. The Wacom Tablet was pretty awesome in it’s own right, but the iPad was a revelation. With the iPad I could cut out the middle man and just paint the way I would with a pencil on paper, accept no mess and no fuss.

No mess and no fuss is a pretty big deal to me because I have a Seizure Disorder, specifically Generalized Epilepsy, and my particular diagnoses includes four different types of seizures. Since my condition hasn’t been fully controlled by medication I have good and bad days. On my good days I am productive. In fact on my good days I am two or three times as productive compared to most people I know. I feel fine, I can think clearly and concisely, and trust my body to do what I need it to. The bad days are when I have a seizure, ie. the electrical activity in my brain goes cookoo for Coco Puffs, (think fireworks on the Fourth of July). Afterward my entire body is sore, achy, and I am utterly depleted.

On the bad days everything I do feels momentous, even something as simple as getting up to go to the bathroom can be oneorous, and of course painting was out of the question. But with the advent of the new iPad I had something I could bring into bed with me. I could paint without having to set up or clean up. When I was too tired I could just turn it off and put it on my bedside table.

The precursor to the iPad was a little watercolor travel kit and a multimedia sketchbook that I brought everywhere with me. Although great, it was still more effort to use than I could put in on those bad days.

My illness necessitated looking for alternatives to traditional media, and because I was unable to work most “normal” design jobs at an office, working 9-5 (ish) that inevitably would not allow for flexibility, I had to create my own business. That was not my intent, but I was ultimately left with no choice.

So I evolved.

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