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Monday
Oct052015

Big Changes and Small Steps 

 

I am right up against the end of my week because it has been a weird one. I haven't gotten much art done. 

.....

aaaaannnnddd turns out that the coffee shop closes at 10:30 on Sundays, so now I am home and continuing this post here. 

So, as I was saying, it was a weird week. 

Freaking weird

Perhaps not as weird as Mark and Joanne trying to get the sound working for Marueen's spoken word poetry show, but still pretty weird. 

On Monday, I went to work and read the email informing me that my company was planning to lay off 1500 workers worldwide. Later that day I was called into the leadership office and informed of my options, regarding the dissolution of the marketing department. 

So, I am now a slacker unemployed artist. 

And my hands smell like steak so I need to move my cat off my computer cord and go wash my hands before I continue. 

......

That's much better. Now they mostly smell like my roommate's peppermint soap, vanilla lotion, and almost not at all like steak. 

Anyway, I didn't get any art done at Santa Rosa Toy Con, because i actually ended up pretty occupied the whole time, and due to the weird/stressful/uncertain nature of the past week, I didn't get a lot of art done since then. I have mostly been busy staving off crippling waves of panic and trying to decide what I want to do with my life now. And how to direct myself towards the things I think I'd like doing and making lists of things I need to accomplish.

That, and spending some somewhat irresponsible time going to concerts and music festivals and letting friends take me out to lunch out of sympathy. 

But mostly the crippling panic. 

Tomorrow I start working towards my goals in earnest. I guess I finally have that time I've been looking for to update my portfolio, and that's task one. I intend to camp out in my coffee shop and work on making a new layout and adding pictures of stuff I've done more recently than 2013. Streamlining to maybe exclude some stuff that isn't actually relevant to my strengths. Fleshing out the illustration and graphic design areas a bit. Taking deep breaths and reminding myself that at least I live in California and if I become homeless, it doesn't get too terribly cold at night. 

But in the meantime, since I don't have anything new to show you of my own, I'd like to show you some art from a couple of spectacular artists I chatted with at ToyCon: 

Ken Berman --industrial inspired art

 

And Matt Gaser -- Illustrator/Concept Artist

Seriously, both of these guys have art so pretty I could die. Do yourself a favor and go over to their websites and take a look through their work. 

Also, I WANT to post a link to the gorgeous poster I got from the Conor Oberst/M. Ward/Felice Brothers show at the Phoenix Theater last week, but I can't find any information about the art or the artist or any posts of it online, but be assured it is GORGEOUS and I have posted it right where I can see it from my workstation (see: bed where I curl up with my computer and cat and draw) and it can remind me to get off my butt (on my butt?) and make some art. And you wish you had one because it is super pretty.

That's all for this week. 

I hope to have things shiny and new to show you sometime within the next seven days. 

***EDIT***

FOUND the poster artist! I contacted the Phoenix and they sent me a link to his website. 

His name is Charles House, and though the poseter is NOT up on his website, here are a few other examples of his work: 

Friday
Sep252015

Three Weeks and Counting, Regardless of the Unfeeling Void

Well, what I had planned to be a relaxing evening in my local coffee shop has been somewhat derailed due to personal strife, and though I just want to go home and curl up under the covers with an entire batch of brownies and my cat, I AM here and posting my weekly update and getting some work done, damnit. 

The thing I have learned to count on best in life is that plans WILL go awry. This is a lesson I have been taught over and over again. But if you stop every time you get punched in the face by life, you have nothing to show for it all but a face full of punches. So you best squint out your good eye and keep going because at least then you'll have some progress to show for it all. 

This is not to say that I never let myself be stymied by the roadblocks in my path, or that I never crawl under the covers to cry. But I'm trying to hold, at least as much as I can, to a policy of doing my work, and THEN crying about the unfair entropy of the universe. 

So there's your bit of depressed vagueblogging for the evening. 

Now some art. 

I started both of these a while back, and while I had aspirations of them both being done before this year's SF Pride celebration, for my own edification as much as anything else, I hit a bit of a wall, artistically, due to some of those personal factors that I am trying to keep from getting me down, and then I was working on that trouble-making piece of freelance, and the weather was awful and hot and well, you get my drift. Work fell off a bit. A lot. 

But this past week I finally finished the second piece and now I share with you, gay gay merfolk! If the coffee shop wifi decides to play nice. (Why do I do this here again?)

I had originally planned on going in a cute cartoony direction with this, but I am glad I chose this more illustrative style instead. I really like how this one turned out. 

This is the second piece: 

This one, I knew what colors I wanted to go with from pretty early on, but I'm not as pleased with the finished product as I was with the first one. I think I lost some of the grace and stylization due to my lower proficiency with the male form, and so the result is anatomically a little iffy but not in an intentional way like the first one is, in a weird, in-between, neither fish nor fowl fashion. Haha! Fish. Still cute. But lacking the pop of the merladies. 

However, my goal is to learn from my deficiencies and move on to the next project. 

So expect more, and hopefully better, art soon! 

In semi-related news, I plan on going to the Santa Rosa toy and comic convention tomorrow and hope to do some sketches of people there, so maybe next week, if I have anything presentable, I'll post a bit here. 

In unrelated news, I think the girl sitting next to me is being harassed by the guy next to her. He has very much the vibe of 'random hitting on a girl who's trying to do homework dude' and she has very much the attitude of 'girl trying to do homework but being polite to the dude invading her space because that's what we are taught to do'. 

More next week, party people. 

 

 

Tuesday
Sep152015

Work Art

Well, well, well. Two weeks in a row. 

Where's my cookie? 

What's that? I'm an adult and if I want a cookie I have to get it my own darn self? That just sounds unfair. 

I'm, once again, taxing the coffee shop's wifi to upload art, but this time, not because the weather is so hot that my apartment is unbearable, this time just because i like hanging out in the coffee shop and working. I feel like it is one of the privileges of being a graphic designer and sitting in a coffee shop to work just feels so cozy and lovely. 

I also have a mild cold so I'm slightly loopy and waiting for the Tylenol to kick in and delete the fever I was sporting when i got home from work. 

Where I make art. 

(When I'm lucky)

Some of which I will now share with you. 

(insert eloquent introduction that encompasses art and the world and what art means to us as people and the passion I am able to put into my work, drawing on a collective unconscious that stretches back to the earliest cave paintings)

With all that deep stuff I just totally said in mind, here are some of the pieces I have done at work, timeless in their simplicity, with a message that I believe, speaks to us all on some level. 

And in a related vein, here is a portrait I did of our beer Buyer, thought we all find endless amusement in the fact that with the font I used, it kind of looks like it says "Beer Buger". Choose your fonts wisely, kids! 

Since I am apparently posting about all the booze tonight, this was a sign I made for some wine. A wine sign.

*sparkle!*

So I guess the obvious next place to go from the ocean would be fish, but since I like to be unpredictable, instead, here's a sign I made for Irish soda bread, which I'm sure goes great with wine. 

And for um....breakfasty stuff?

And other breakfast stuff (I won't lie -- I love this one. I had some time to work on it and I customer service keeps telling me it makes them want pancakes. I tell them that means it's working.)

And well, I've got nothing clever to say but here's some fruit. 

And another of my favorites: 

That's all for tonight. I have some other work art that I've uploaded but batteries run low -- both for me and and for my little hardworking laptop. They will be seen in another post, another night. 

I hope the evening (or whatever time you are currently enjoying) is treating you well. 

Thursday
Sep102015

Come Here, Cupcake

First and foremost, fantastic freelance. 

My marvelous and amazing friend Crissi Langwell is an author, with a few books under her belt already, and for her latest, she decided that what she really wanted was for me to do the cover art. She hooked me up with the manuscript so I could get the feel for the story and i was immersed in a lovely tale of a young woman living in the fog-shrouded town of Bodega Bay, and her adventures with baking, and love, and magic and...well, I don't want to spoil anything for you, but the story is as sweet as the title would lead you to expect, spiced with mystery and garnished with passion. I loved it and *I* got to do the cover illustration for it! 

So, after chatting with Crissi about what she had in mind,  I went out to Bodega Bay to take some location shots for reference. Even though I've been there 100 times or more, and I could find photos online, this way I could find the view I was imagining and get the feel down, and it's only a short drive away so it seemed silly not to. Plus, an excuse to go out to the ocean, am I right?

The next day I sat down to make some thumbnail sketches, both along the lines of what Crissi and I had discussed and a few other ideas in keeping with the theme of the book. I was going to post photos of them, but honestly, the photos I have were taken in bad lighting and the sketches were pretty light, so the quality just isn't good. But this one was the one she liked best. She saw it and she practically squealed. She said it was exactly what she'd been imagining.  On the one hand, it IS nice when I can create something that my commissioner hadn't even really thought of that they love, but when they can tell me their idea and I can bring it to life for them, it just fills me with joy. 

Anyway, I will now tax this coffee shop's wifi by trying to upload the sketch that she approved.

I often run into problems going from sketch to final product -- when I am doing my sketches, I work looser and go more for the feel than having everything super technically perfect. Then I usually use the sketch as my starting place for my drawing, and at that point I sometimes run into problems and discover anatomical issues and perspective problems. This experience was no difference. I ended up, before I was done, redrawing both characters entirely because oh, his legs and posture were weird and then her pose was coming out too stiff and I could NOT get her face right and I fought with it for AGES (and of course, every time I really planned to lock myself away for a weekend and work on the illustration, California would hit me with another heat wave, making my un-airconditioned apartment unsuitable for getting anything done) and so I finally went back to the drawing board with her too and fixed a few pose problems that came up along the way. And then I ended up visiting Bodega Bay midway through the process and realized that, because I had taken my reference photos on a rare sunny day, the illustration was reflecting that, which didn't fit either the feel of the book OR the feel of the town and that I really needed to make it foggy. 

So here's the cringe-worthy version I couldn't get to work: 

And after some blood, sweat, and tears (I won't lie, mostly sweat. Stupid summer.), here is the final version: 

She was so stoked with how it turned out, she spent most of the night I sent it to her immediately formatting it into her cover. And this is the final result:

This is so exciting! That book is going to be on like, bookstore shelves! And I drew that picture that's on it! *squeals and runs around in circles* And the author loves it! *swoons*

Anyway, I think my apartment may have cooled down enough that I can stop living in this coffee shop, so that's a wrap for tonight. Tune in next week for exciting pictures of what I do all day at work...when I'm very very lucky.

 

Thursday
Sep102015

Building Tracks and Setting Goals

It has, yet again, been months since my last update. 

Yes I know. 

My mom pointed out that she hadn't seen any posts of my work art. 

I guess that keeping my work art for personal use only is a habit I developed when working at Inventionland, but I am no longer required to keep my designs confidential so I should probably be posting photos of the pictures I produce. 

I have been working on a process to help reboot my creative drive and it seems to be helping. It is a process that involves me getting back in the habit of setting clearly outlined goals for myself -- goals that would otherwise simmer in the back of my mind, unrealized, in the eternal limbo of the projects i will work on someday. I've been outlining larger monthly goals and smaller goals to address each week. 

This week's goals included updating my website. So here we go. This is a goal I intend to keep on my weekly checklist, so if all goes to plan (which, let's be honest, nothing ever does), I will be adding new material on a semiregular basis for the forseable future. 

I am a professional and I need to start acting like it. 

Because acting is the first step towards being. Or something.