Archive | October 2013

Awesomeness needs refueling

I really like my latest image. Not only does it look good, but it’s got meaning in it, and it was a bit ambitious for me. I don’t usually involve that many people in one image, which means I’ve also never incorporated such a variety of different poses, they were also in a building, which I don’t normally do. It was fun to conceptualize and fun to see it come together.

 

However, up until this point I’ve managed to go smoothly from one image to the next. As soon as I finished one, I could start in on another almost right away. I thought it was a bit unusual, last year it would usually take me a while between projects to do some brainstorming for my next image. That changed this past year. But after I finished Masquerade… I didn’t have anywhere to go. It’s like… all the images that I did before this year were building up to this last image, and that was the culminating moment. It turned out wonderfully, to the point where I even liked it while I was doing it, but now that it’s done, the awesomeness gage is low, and it needs refueling.

 

Even though I feel like Masquerade was, in some way, a culminating moment for my artwork this year, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing artwork for the year. But it’s falling action at this point. I don’t have a lot of time left in the year, and I have even less time to make my artwork available on Zazzle. You know, on the off chance that some crazy person actually wants to give a calendar with my artwork to someone as a Christmas gift. It could happen.

 

 

AAAAAAAAAAH! Not even long after I posted this, one of my friends asked if I was still selling prints! HAPPINESS! I love my friends. Their awesomeness gage doesn’t even need refueling, because they can hardly contain all of their awesomeness as it is.

 

New Image: Masquerade

The amazing thing is that I actually like this one. In fact, I like it so much I don’t want to look at it too long, for fear I’ll find something about it that I don’t like, thereby ruining the effect.

 

 

I’ve already sort of explained most of the story behind this image in my post “Behind the Mask.” The idea was that each of the costumes/masks are significant in some way either to the character or to me. That’s why it was so fun to conceptualize, it was a creative challenge. Now it’s fun to think about other characters I have and wonder how they would dress for a Masquerade Ball. I tried to create a Cinderella based story that takes place on Masquerade Day and decided that my title character, a fairy godfather named Bastian, would have a gargoyle mask for the occasion. This is partly because he hopes the stoney face will keep people from chatting with him, but also because he’s standing guard on this occasion.

I also imagined that his lady-friend back in the fey realm would dress as a flower girl. The idea was that she would have a basket of flowers, and if you lifted your mask to her and showed her your real face, she would give you a flower based on what she thinks of you. So, if you reveal yourself to her and it turns out that your her friend, she would probably give you a yellow or pink rose, to signify friendship. She carries other flowers like rue for those she disdains, pink carnations for those to whom she is grateful, purple hyacinth for those she feels she has wronged, and a red rose in case the one she loves should reveal himself to her. It’s fun, because the main theme of the holiday is identity, yet instead of picking a costume/mask that speaks something about her own identity, her costume was meant to entice other people to reveal their true identity. People often like to know what other people think of them.

Almost done

I’m almost done with Masquerade. I’ll finish it up tomorrow, then pray it doesn’t lose any quality when it’s scanned in. I’m particularly worried about the reds. It’s been so long since I’ve been this satisfied with an image.

 

I’m worried that I’m becoming one of those kinds of women that feel guilty whenever they’re not doing something productive. I suppose for a lot of them, it’s a matter of not taking care of themselves because they’re busy attending other people’s needs. While I don’t think I’m liable to suffer from over-selflessness towards other people, I do feel like I should be engaged in projects that are helpful, useful, or beneficial– like, for developing talents and stuff. It’s a darned nuisance, because I don’t think it’s quite the right attitude to have, even though there’s a lot of good intent behind it. I don’t want to feel guilty for taking time to read a book. I’ve really felt like reading something lately, but there was my latest artwork looming over my head. Since they take so long to do, sometimes it’s hard to feel like you’re making any progress at all.

It’s kinda sad. I can’t stand the look of some of the images I did two years ago. There’s not a lot from last year that I’m especially fond of. Hours on top of hours go into these images, and then it’s only a few of said images that I actually end up liking.

 

You’d think that with all these grievances I have about art that I would give up on it one of these days. But I can never quite get myself to do that. There is no description for being able to create something. Of course there isn’t. Because you are giving part of your life to it– literally, because of the time that goes into it and even sweat and tears.

Behind the mask

Recent success gave me a boost of energy. I’ve gotten the sketch down for my latest image, now I’m focusing on getting some color down. When it comes to coloring an image, that’s largely the grunt work part of the project. Formulated a concept and drawing it out, that’s fun and exciting. But color is a very important part of my work, and would be incomplete without it. Now, coloring this one will be interesting, because it’s so busy, it’s people heavy rather than giving more attention to the environment. Never have I created a calendar image with this many people in it. It’s really exciting, I’ve wanted to do a masquerade scene for the longest time, but never quite managed to get it until now.

 

This image is based off a holiday I created for the world in which most of my characters live. Masquerade Day was created by Twist, one of the Trickster Fate twins. Like our Halloween, Masquerade Day is a time to dress up in costumes and masks and take on a new identity for a time. But those who participate in the Masquerade tend to put more thought and depth into their costumes than we do as trick-or-treaters. The main themes of the day are identity, disguise, and concealment. Masqueraders keep these themes in mind and play with them as they consider what to wear, so that they create a guise with intrinsic significance.

 

For example, one of my characters is a fairy king. I figured he would be a Fool for Masquerade Day. In old times, like if you read Shakespeare or something (there are examples of Fools in King Lear and Twelfth Night) Fools are hired entertainment for royals or nobles (like King Lear or Olivia.) These are jesters, “licensed fools,” and because of their roles they were given a little more leniency by way of the sort of things they were allowed to say in court. Therefore, they’ve become a sort of archetype in literature, probably best demonstrated in King Lear. Because Fools have a certain amount of leeway, they can mock openly and speak freely against… well, people of authority, among others, exposing them as the real fools. As such, Tison the fairy king would think the irony of being a Fool incredibly delicious– then he could mock the way the kingdom was ruled, instead of actually doing the ruling.

 

This is also the kind of costume I would like to wear, were I to participate in Masquerade Day, so I made a cameo in this latest bit of artwork with a Jester’s mask. Meanwhile, I had to come with a different costume for Tison since I took his idea. I figured bird costumes were pretty simple. Then I did some research to see what different birds symbolized to see which was most likely for him. Then I discovered that was a bit tricky, because each bird could symbolize a lot of different things, and there were just a few traits that Tison had which I wanted to represent in his costume. Besides, I don’t have much by the way of credible sources in which to do this research, and that’s annoying. But at last I picked a Bluejay, which is associated with power used responsibly. Apparently it’s also associated with being pure and faithful. These qualities really suit him and I’m not sure of one that would work better.

 

Another character I included was Piper, the other Trickster Fate Twin. He’s evil, but charming. He typically dresses in black or green (to contrast with his red hair), but on Masquerade Day I figured he would think it fun to dress as he thought angels should. So he’s wearing a white suit. This, again, is a guy who would enjoy the irony of the costume– a guy like him wearing spotless white, including white mask with a soft smile. But his mask doesn’t have eyes, which kinda turns the whole thing creepy. It’s hard to trust someone, or tell what they’re thinking, when you can’t see their eyes. It’s unnerving when something weird is going on with the eyes– just think about some of the movies you’ve seen. And that’s just the thing, you can’t trust Piper. No matter how he presents himself to you, there will always be something he’s withholding.

 

Other ideas I had have made it into the image. For instance, I’ve always loved the Phoenix, which stands for new life and rebirth. I’ve also been interested with the idea of old age, it’s generally something people fear and yet I think there is something to be envied in the wisdom that the elderly can possess. I figure that one of the fun parts of Masquerade Day could be looking at other people are wearing and trying to figure out what they are trying to say about themselves or the way they think others see them with the costume (you can tell I’m a bit of a nerd, right?) That’s why it was so much fun conceptualizing the image.

 

Now the trick is getting it done.

 

New Image: Torrent

I’m finally done with the thing. I finished it, and then I wasn’t happy with it, but now it’s just a thing in the past and nothing to get excited about. Art is interesting that way.

 

 

I tried to make her look angry. My sister said she looked more frightened than angry, but I got a comment from somebody else that says she looks angry. HAH! But then I guess it really doesn’t matter. Frightened or angry, the point is that there is turbulence. I think I succeeded on that point. The picture is a bit chaotic. It fits, my emotions were going a little bit wonky during the making of the image. I had the hardest time convincing myself to work on it, and motivation is usually my strong point. But it’s done now. And now that I’ve gotten some sleep I’ve decided it doesn’t look horrible after all.

 

I’m moving right along to the next image. I’ve already got some concept sketches that I can work on, something I drew before I worked on Torrent. But it’s not very exciting, and I wonder if I could do more for it. Torrent was meant to play to my strengths, like color blending. But this image is rather looking to be a challenge, but if I do it right it’ll look great and it will be fun to do.

 

 

Okay, some time has past and I’ve decided that I do actually kind of like Torrent.  Certainly it creates a bigger impact than a lot of my other images this year. I’ve also done some work on my latest image, which I’m entitling “Masquerade.” I’m actually pretty excited about it. If only I manage to do it right! It’ll be fun to do, and have lots of easter eggs for me. It’s too lovely. It looks like all that brainstorming I did last night while I couldn’t sleep because we had relatives over so people stayed up later than usual was worth it. The concept sketch needs a little more work, but first I have to take a break and clear my head (it’s been a while since I’ve gotten this eager about my artwork, and I’m worried about what the side effects will be). I intend to deliberately distract myself so that it’ll be easier to engage in the free-thinking frame of mind that got me to where I am with this image now.

Hectic weekend

It’s been pretty busy. The siblings didn’t have school on Friday, so we’re having a three-day weekend. This was big, of course, because my brother hadn’t been home for long, so of course we had to do things with him and talk with him and stuff. Also, my grandparents and cousin decided to visit for the occasion. So… now we have a lot of people and a lot of stuff going on.

 

Interestingly enough, I still managed to do a decent amount of artwork yesterday, despite the fact that I wasn’t feeling very much like doing it and that there was so much going on because of my brother. This was mostly because the activities of choice were mainly playing board games and going frisbee golfing, neither of which I find very interesting. That was fine, since I spent a lot of Thursday talking to him, so it gave the rest of my family a chance to spend time with him. So I had some time to myself, and I discovered that Leverage was on Hulu. I could make myself to artwork if I convinced myself not to watch Leverage unless I did so while coloring. My plans for spending time with my brother yesterday were to watch The Hobbit  with him, but my Grandparents arrived in the middle of the troll scene, so we never finished. But that’s okay. Today is my other brother’s birthday. So we’re still going to be busy, but I bet I can find some time to do artwork if I really tried.

 

As for this latest image, I think it looks kinda pretty. I’m already intensely aware of what I consider to be a flaw in the image though, so it’s hard to be completely satisfied. Nevertheless, I think it will be a worthy addition once I finish it. Finishing it is the problem though. There’s an emotional pay off that comes with completing an image, but recently it’s been harder to feel that payoff. I’m not satisfied with what I create, I’m frustrated because I feel limited in my abilities– not only my artistic ability, but other creative endeavors like writing a story– I feel isolated at times, and sometimes I think I would really just rather settle down with a book for a while.

And then of course, there’s all the distractions this week.

 

I can’t think of what else to do except push through, realizing that I will find it all worth it next year when I go to school and show off my artwork. And maybe one day I will complete a story.

 

My brother’s back

My older brother is back from serving a two-year mission.

Yesterday was really fun. I did actually manage to get some artwork done– which was good, because I think in my heart of hearts, if I were really honest with myself instead of lying to myself all the time, what I really wanted to do was read a cute romance. Conveniently, my sister brought home a manga from the library that fit the description perfectly. I am extremely wary of manga and anime in general, but I don’t forbid myself from them. I just wait until my sisters find ones that are actually good. This one, Library Wars, was cute.

In the evening I watched Les Miserables with my Mom and two of my sisters. It ended with us laughing at our own indignation that Javert didn’t get a close-up at the end. Then we hung out a little bit in Mom’s room, chatting about guys with good singing voices and Library Wars and stuff. One of my sisters showed some of her artwork. She’s getting good. This has served as the best motivation I’ve had in a while to work more on my current image, which I did afterwards.

We were all allowed to stay up late so that we could be there when my brother arrived. Now we’re all together again. It’s good.

As for my artwork… I like it well enough I suppose. I just… I get concerned about my work. It’s been a bit hard for me lately, in case you haven’t been able to tell. Discouragement, ailment, and now it’s just hard to have the motivation to work on it. I really would rather sleep or read something cute and sappy. I love artwork, but… it’s rough when you go through all the above, and then you’re not even entirely satisfied with your image. There have been only a few of my works this year that I actually like.

But, what with my brother home, maybe spending time with him and the family will help reinvigorate me so I can produce lots of beautiful work.

Revisiting Pool of Sight

It would be interesting to have five minutes of a specialized amnesia– where I forget about all the work I’ve done on an image, and what I had in mind when creating the image, and how I got the idea for the image. Then I could view my work only as a finished product, like the way everybody else sees it.

 

 

I say this because I’ve been thinking about this most recent work of mine, and a comment made on it. The term she used was ‘serenity.’ This of course was utterly fascinating to me, because it’s not at all what my response is. Of course it wouldn’t be, she doesn’t know the story behind it. To me, this image is filled with tension, rather than serenity. Right now, the Artist is being shown something amazing. It is a show of trust on the part of the fairy king. The artist, at this point, is completely worthy of all the trust the fairy king has shown. She has no malicious intentions, she’s not power hungry, and she would never think of betraying the king. But this is sort of the inciting moment, the turning point. Now she has access to something powerful, and she discovers a way in which she can control it. She gives in to the dark side a little bit, and steals the water.

Sandra being in the picture also makes for an interesting dynamic. Remember that this is an inaccuracy. Even though it’s not set in stone, I had thought that Sandra wouldn’t marry the fairy king until after the Artist is exiled. But looking at it in a thematic sense… it’s kind of sad, because Sandra has trust issues. She would never have let a human outsider in to see the Pool of Sight, she wouldn’t have trusted the artist the same way Tison did. In a way she would have been right, since the Artist does abuse that trust that was shown her. But Sandra isn’t always right. She’s reluctant to trust anybody, including those who would not abuse that trust, like Tison– who genuinely cares for her.

It’s cool that others see serenity when I see tension. I would really like to think that I get a range of different reactions to my artwork.

 

Different kind of trouble

I haven’t been working like I had planned, but not because of emotional problems this time. Physical. I threw up yesterday, I was sill feeling slightly nauseous this morning when I took my sister to seminary and then to school. Whenever I feel like this, there’s always the question- do I push through it and keep working, or do I take the time to rest up and recover? It’s never easy for me, because usually I’m a ‘push through’ type. I take pride in that, but I don’t know if it’s… the right kind of pride. It could just be damaging me, because even when I decide it would be better to rest up, there might be a lingering feeling of guilt, like today.

I’ve decided it’s okay. I need to stop making an end of the world out of little things. Besides, in a sense this is my week. My brother comes back, my other brother has a birthday, and I have movie nights planned with my sister.

As for the emotional turmoil… like I said, I need to stop making an end of the world out of the little things. It’s bound to happen now and then, but hopefully I can learn to calm down and be happy with what I’m doing.

Trouble

I admit I’ve been having difficulty of late. I get these bouts of discouragement and depression. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but it’s been making it hard for me to work today. You may recall that this past year in school was a little rough for me. That’s fine, the only problem is that it still stresses me out, even though I’m home now. I don’t know what to do about it, I don’t even know why I’m still being bothered by it. I’ve approached these problems in my mind so many times, I’ve worked them out through writing, I’ve done it again and again, so I can’t figure out why I haven’t moved past all of it yet. Is this normal?

When I get into these moods, it’s hard to get anything done. It’s kind of disabling. I know I want to do artwork, but getting started on it has been a challenge. This is incredibly frustrating to me, a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and optimism to get work done. I’ve always thought myself a person who could handle stress, one who could get past it and get work done despite setbacks. I think I could handle this too, if only I knew what the problem was– why I’m still letting myself get bothered by things that are over and done. I can’t imagine what I’m doing wrong.

But maybe I’ll take some time to talk about my next image. I’m doing a Wisp picture. Wisp is… I guess you could call her a wind elemental. I really love the wind, so I created an entity who embodied that. She’s great to do artwork for, because the way I tend to depict her includes a lot of color blending, which I consider to be one of my strengths as far as technique goes. In the past I’ve often depicted her as a gentle breeze. This time, she’s more of a torrent. Well actually, just a little stormy wind. I have a hard time drawing anyone with enough ire in their face to really justify being a torrent. It’s pleasant to work on, because it uses a lot of my favorite color, blue. I think the color palette is beautiful. I just hope it still looks good by the time all is finished.

I started on the concept art after I finished The Pool of Sight (which I discussed two posts ago). It was after that image that I felt some of that discouragement, because it wasn’t as wonderful as I had wanted it to be. But I wanted to keep going, I couldn’t stop. I decided to draw Wisp because she’s reliable. It’s hard to go wrong with Wisp. I wanted her to bring in a new wave of beautiful artwork, artwork that I could be really happy with. It’s just been a bumpy start, because of the discouragement, but I suspect I’ll be alright and able to work tomorrow. I still believe there could be a bit of magic this October. It’s not over yet.