Actually some art. How about that?

So, to balance out the last post, this time it has been a bit more than a week, but despite the risk of my pizza burning, here I type. 


Okay, the pizza's been rescued. 

There are just some risks you don't want to take. Death of a family member. Car wheel falling off on the highway. Pizza burnt to inedibility. 

Life continues its regularly scheduled ups and downs (what my mom always called 'my artistic personality', but I later came to discover is more commonly known as 'clinical depression' and 'being an adult is awful'), and I recently fell victim to a very ill-advised crush (stupid troublesome loins)...but something trite like, 'the world keeps turning' or 'the show must go on', or 'the sun will come out tomorrow'...oh wait, that last one's Annie.

Work is...a very strange combination of awesome and terrifying. I'm still in that unenviable position of spending half of any given day pretty sure I don't really know what I'm doing and preparing for them to tell me that they made a huge mistake in hiring me. But then on the other hand, things happen like...well, last week my boss had me take down notes for the team meeting we are going to have this Thursday: 

...and today we sent each other Sherlock and Empire records screen caps to illustrate just how we want that meeting to go down. Basically, I love it there. Despite the continuous terror. 

In my personal art life, I have been making a concerted effort to give my art at least some of the time and attention it deserves. This doesn't always happen. Sometimes I come home and just want to veg and watch House while I browse Tumblr. Sometimes I have a friend in the hospital and don't even get home until after 8 and am still making pizza at 9:30 and updating an overdue website and have to wake up early to take my car to the mechanic.

But I've been trying.

The thing I've really been attempting to put my focus on over the last little while is regaining my sense of FUN with my art. 

I have come to the realization lately that I've gotten into this place where, for whatever reason, I need everything I make to be MEANINGFUL or EPIC or at least REALLY REALLY GOOD and while it is good and important to push yourself as an artist, it is ALSO important to enjoy it and have fun and know that half of what you turn out is going to be crap but you might get a really good idea out of it or just get a stupid idea out of your system. 

So I've been sketching a lot more. 

And I thought that this week, I'd start with sharing a few of my weird little sketches. 

(Yes I am a moleskine-owning whore. Don't judge me.)

(Or do. You know. Whatever.)



Just...random silliness. A lot of it far less than epic. ...Though I actually did the coffee and cats pictures last fall and the camping doodle was started after that and I just finished it recently because I'd just use it to pull out and idly doodle on when I wanted to occupy my hands and not have people breaking my flow. 

Anyway, the point is, it has been working. I don't think I'm going to have time to draw tonight because it is almost 10 and I haven't eaten pizza yet and I have an extra early day tomorrow and I'm really bummed about that fact. I want to stay up and draw. Which I see as a good sign.

I'm going to wrap this up gracelessly because my pizza is getting cold and my lunch today was a handful of skittles, but before I go, one more thing. I finished this and I'm actually happy with it:

If you want to see a larger version and get a little more information on it, you can do so here

Good night my beauties. 


Mini Update 

It hasn't been a full week since my last post but that post didn't have much in the way of art in it so this is more like a...supplemental. 

Not that this will have much art in it. Because I've not been making much worth seeing over the last little bit. But it will have a little. 

More than the last one at least. 

I haven't been idle -- I've been working on, well...I guess the best way to put it is working on playing? I've been rather dissatisfied lately with a lot of what I've done and feeling that my ideas are stagnant. As well as my skill. I've been suffering the perennial fear that my ability and creativity have fled and that I will never make anything good again and will have to become a waitress in a diner in a small town in the Midwest, become mildly racist, start calling everyone 'hun', and change my name to Flo. 

Anyway, to combat this crippling fear, I've been trying to rediscover the enjoyment in just doodling. I've been pulling out my sketchbook and finding old, half-finished sketches and working on them while I marathon How to Get Away With Murder, not sticking to any strict plan, adding things where I feel like adding them and not getting too worked up when a line turns out messy or something doesn't come out quite right, since they were pictures I didn't even care enough about to finish in the first place, just experimenting with style and line weight and decorative elements and taking bits I don't like and doodling over them and trying something new. 

BUUUTTT none of that is really worthwhile quality to post here. It's really honestly not very good doodling. Not self-deprecating 'oh it's just a doodle' masterworks. Honestly pretty crappy doodles.

However, I had worked on one or two things lately. 

This is the first prompt from a 100-theme list of prompts. The prompt was 'introduction'. I wanted to play with dark and light and with landscape, so I decided to take it literally and make it introductory page of a graphic novel or something. I used it as warm-up art at work for a while, doodling on it a little at a time. 

Like, I said, this is the first of 100 themes, and the idea was to use them as warm up drawing material...but work has been too hectic for me to really have time to do warm-ups and I haven't really been doing any drawing at work for which I need to warm up. Most recently, I have been rediscovering whether I know how to use InDesign, which I...kind of do. I mean, I have had to mess around with it for a few projects so far, but right now I'm laying out a whole media kit and holy crap, from remembering how to do columns and remembering how to do duotone colorization and where blending options live...WOW. And know...laying out the whole damn media kit. With which I am still sure I'm going to crash and burn, of course, but...we're making progress. I think. I hope. Something. I was told today not to have any white type on dark blue because the Boss Man doesn't love it -- and of course, half of what I have has white on dark blue so I'm gonna have to rework THAT, but...

Anyway, back to art stuff. 

The other really pretty cool project that I worked on recently was a collaboration with a friend of mine, and  little different than the kind of thing I usually post. 

I had sketches that I used to work out ideas and figure out our themes and setup and unfortunately, they were drawn in 4-H lead and never detailed beyond the very rough stage, and so I just wasn't able to get a good enough picture of them to even clean up in Photoshop -- the contrast was so low that when I tried to adjust the levels the whole thing just got muddy. 

But anyway, I came up with this idea last Christmas when I was going through some stuff and the theme is dark but it was was meant to express dark feelings and some stuff I was going through. I'm just going to post a couple of the images here but I'll post links to some more extensive sets if you are interested. 

I think, tonight my doodling will include a little tightening up of the concept sketches I made, and then I'll come back and add them in. Oh and the links: cocktail hour, suburban necktie, the Joy of Cooking, Clean conscience.

Now, time for tea, art, and murder. 

Until next week! 


We survived 2015

2015 is officially over. (GOOD)

At least by our calendar on this planet in this place. 

I really got off track with my weekly posts over the past couple months but mannnn has it been a hectic couple of months. 

However, now it's January, the holidays are over, I've had a while to acclimate to my job, and I plan to regain focus. 

I don't think I really have anything to show in this post -- I mean, I have some things I WANT to show/post, but I haven't organized them in my brain or this post so I don't think I'll be posting any pictures. I mean, I thought about holding off until I'd sorted everything out but that is the path to endless procrastination, am I right? I think that one of the easiest traps to fall into is the 'I'm not yet ready for this challenge so I'm going to wait until I'm really prepared' trap. Okay and yes, waxing a little philosophical regarding delayed journal posts but I feel that it applies on a small scale as well as a large one. And a lot of times the smaller things are building blocks for the bigger things, like, 'well, I need to work on this project but first I need to make sure my supplies are organized and before I do that I need some desk organizing stuff from the office store and I can't go get that stuff yet because my car is dirty and I want to clean it before I take it anywhere and I can't clean it yet because I don't know where the upholstery cleaning attachment for the vacuum is.'

Or perhaps, in a more immediately personally relevant example, 'well, I need to work on this big project that I've been planning but first I want to do some sketches and before that I should really do some studies and before that I should watch some sketchbook videos for inspiration and before that I should really update my website journal but I want to post some art there and I need to figure out what I want to post and I don't really have anything new, maybe I should do some new sketches/work more on the illustration I'm doing FIRST..'

You see. 

But I decided that instead of nattering, I would go ahead and just post. 

(though I don't have a lot to share, I HAVE had the opportunity to work on some cool projects recently that I will share soon. But not tonight.)

And i think, since we just started a new year, maybe I should do a little of an overview of 2015 and all the things that passed through it or that I passed as I went through it. 

I didn't get a lot of art done at the start of the year because I was pretty occupied with getting my heart broken, and it takes a while to find the joy after that. I've tried channeling misery into my drawings and it never quite comes out right -- I always end up with something that looks like it's out of an emo 14 year old's wall. It makes mockery of my pain and the fact that I made it and am making the mockery well, it's just a vicious cycle.  Actually, I looked back through my deviant art for this year and that's not quite true -- I made a couple cathartic things that actually...sort of worked and that I kind of like a lot. BUT I was pretty depressed and well, depression =/= motivation. So I spent most of the winter just trying to piece myself back together and not creating much. But I did acquire my apartment and my sweet little sister of a roommate.

In the spring I took an active role in trying to get out of the job I hated by applying to be the lead artist at a different store -- something for which my manager was apparently supposed to help and guidance but which I went into pretty blind. And may have mentioned genocide in my interview though they claim that's NOT the reason I didn't get the job. I started my redbubble and society6 stores. (Have I mentioned that sometimes people buy stuff from them?! Like...NOT people I KNOW. People Elsewhere.)

With summer came Heartbreak: The Reckoning and that was pretty awful. But with summer also came work on Crissi Dillon's book cover and that was pretty awesome. Also came sweltering heat for which my unairconditioned Californa apartment was ill-equipped. But so did a book on channeling my creative self into creativity or whatever and as much as it is a woowoo self-help semi-spiritual book, it really did a lot for me regaining my focus and taking a step back from some aspects of my interpersonal relationships that were things I was allowing to take up my time rather than working on art. I seriously love waking up and writing three (if I wake up in a timely fashion) pages every morning. I was somewhat nervous, but I can honestly say that starting the day by clearing out the mental cobwebs and smearing them on a page is very...centering. 

Then autumn arrived and brought, as autumn does, change. But first it brought...more sweltering heat. Yeah, I absolutely have to buy an air conditioner before this summer. And in the middle of that sweltering, as summer ended, I lost my job and that was ...honestly not a tragedy even in the moment because I knew it wasn't personal and I HATED that job. And they gave me severance so I wasn't mentally calculating how long it would be before I had to start turning tricks to make rent. I figured that I had projects I wanted to pursue and MAN I was going to pursue the HELL out of them. And then, before I had really even settled properly into unemployment...I got a new job. A job at which I am doing the work that I went to school to learn. A job at which I am paid well and have a desk and can just put on my headphones and work all day and that is FINE. 

A job at which I am prepetually terrified that they are going to decide I am a total fraud and send me packing. (I spent part of last week working on laying out a media kit in InDesign and I haven't done something like that since school and I really spent most of the project feeling like this: 

...and look at that, I even added a picture.) 

The last couple months, well, I've been acclimating to having a proper adult schedule and to setting for myself a structured schedule around it because my brain really stays happiest when I have a plan.

I also spent a lot of time with and taking care of my cat, who was diagnosed with renal failure at the end of the summer and with lymphoma in December. A lot of my focus and energy was willingly given to her in her last couple months. It still feels strange not to hurry home in the evening to make sure to separate her from my other cat to feed her. Stranger not having her curl up against my belly to sleep at night. 

And now, I move forward into the new year with new and on hold projects I want to tackle, with that stupid Ophelia painting I STILL want to try to go back and fix, with at least a PLAN of being more focused, and inspiration and adventures to seek. 

And now the year, at least as we see it, turns and though it is all just an illusion we give ourselves to organize our linear time stream, we have a new chance at everything. And even though I know that January first is, in the mind of the universe, no more relevant than December 31st, or...August 9th, it still FEELS like a fresh start and fills me with unwarranted optimism. 

Happy New Year, world that follows the same calender that I do! I hope that no matter how great or terrible 2015 was for you, 2016 is better. 




Bear With Me

...i am typing around a cat. 

(she may not look like she's in the way but she's right where my elbow needs to go)

...and may have just spent an inordinate amount of time looking up which spelling of bare/bear to use in the title. 

The fact that this one shares a spelling with the animal resulted in confusion. 

I know I missed last week. Still adjusting to the new schedule and woefully behind in so many areas. I had planned to sketch at least one sketchbook page a week this month and here we are with November half over and I haven't done a thing. I haven't watched sketchbook videos. I haven't started the character designs I need to. Heck, I haven't even gotten up to take my meds and wash my dinner dishes -- but that's more due to being trapped by a cat than to my schedule. 

(Resists urge to go into detailed discussion of many things about my cat)

I continue to like my job. I had forgotten what it was like to have a job I actually look forward to going to. And no, I'm not just writing this in case you read it, Crystal. I have been working on cool projects. I have been getting to do the kinds of things I went to school for. And I work with really cool people. 

My own art, well...see above. 

But, I did finally finish the thing I was working on. I'm...honestly right now, I am not super happy with it, which is always annoying after spending a large amount of time on something...but I don't know if the dissatisfaction is genuine or due to being too close to it and seeing all the flaws. There ARE things I like about it. There are just other things I DON'T like about it. there was this thing I heard. That artists are perpetually dissatisfied with their work because the rate at which our mental skill develops outstrips our technical skill by...was it, about 5 years? Not sure if that number is right...or if any of this is actually true...but it makes a certain amount of sense. 

But either way, here is my latest. It was a personal piece based on personal things. An exorcism of sorts. 

It didn't come out quite how I thought it. And as I've mentioned, I fought with it some. And now that I'm looking at it there are things I'd like to change. Like...I would have liked her shirt to have a logo or design. Her face never quite came together for me. I'm still not sure about the green of the shirt with so much other green, but I experimented with changing the color and I think I liked that best. I THINK. I liked white, but the red light showed up better on green. And there are some things that are purely technical problems. 

But time to move on to the next thing. 

I need to do character designs. 

I want to work on an idea I had based on the song Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips. Something poppy and exciting and fun. I really want to work on that. It will be horizontal and long. The background will be cream. Lots of primary colors and tertiary colors. 

Anyway, about bed time for this girl with a grown up job. 

Until next week (no, really). 


Autumn has fallen doesn't have the same ring

November is here and the air is finally chilly. The sky has been drizzling since the turn of the month.

At work, I have been rediscovering what I do and do not know how to do in InDesign. What I do remember is more than I expected and for the things I don't, a quick internet search usually solves the problem. It is occasionally infuriating the way that the Adobe Creative Suite all work almost alike, but have enough little kinks and differences that a lot of stuff just doesn't carry over. 

I have started a 100 drawing challenge. 

I have resolved to sketch more because I get SO MUCH out of sketching. 

I have been slacking off on my latest piece this week, only working late late late when I'm tired and it is almost time for sleep, but I made at least a decent bit of progress tonight, and figured I'd show you a sneak peek. Just a tiny smidge. 

And now it's time for this employed moi to go to sleep. Good night and good luck, Internet.