First post…kind of rambly.

It’s been a few days since I set this blog up.  In that time, a few things have happened, though none of it really gives me a clear view as to where my interests really lie.  Plus, only some of it is suitable for public consumption…

I’m set up to go back to community college classes in Fall; I have Summer off.  The past couple of weeks have been pretty intense.  The financial aid application and Master’s application for the Library program have been set in motion, but more and more I’m coming to see that working in a public library is an instructional/management/customer service occupation.  This is not really where I want to be.  I mean, I’m not a social person, and library work in the higher ranks would require me to be social for at least a good chunk of my time…if I worked in a Public Library.

My main competitor to this is Web Design.  The training would cost a lot less, it would probably be easier (at least at this stage), and it would put me into the tech field and away from the general public.  It’s also a lot more lucrative than Library Science, but a lot less certain.

I am set up to take Intermediate Drawing, come Fall.  This is majorly so that I can see if I actually still like drawing, and start to draw what I want to draw instead of still-lifes, all the time.  Still-lifes are good for skill building, but it’s like those oil paintings of bowls of fruit — what is that saying, really, or is it just for practice or to show off skill?  There’s a difference to me between skill and creativity; I think that to be a good artist, a person has to have both.  It’s hard to have both when you haven’t done the hard work, but at the same time, the hard work does not guarantee the inspiration.

I’m very close to a stage-one certificate in Animation…what’s keeping me out is the fact that I am not certain of the possibilities of the field, and I’m not certain where or with whom I’d work.  But I suppose that’s always the case.

I’m also not certain if I still love to draw as much as I did when I was younger, and am just stuck in a rut of “what I can draw well.”  Which, you know, gets boring, and when it gets boring I move on to other things.  I’ve thought of using my time during Summer to attempt to challenge myself with trying new things (hopefully things that can contribute to earning money — I don’t know why making tatted doilies came up at all, other than that it was challenging), and learn about these different career paths.

We actually were cleaning out some of the art + craft shelves at my home the other night, and I found my giant pads of paper with drawings still in them, and a lot of blank pages!  😀  What is most difficult for me is trying to figure out what to draw…if I were an Animator, this would become more clear to me.  At least I’d have a set of guiding principles to attempt to express in images.  It kind of runs backward from the way I normally carry out my art (I usually draw first and look for meaning later — could be why it’s hard for me to begin), but I think that drawing to an intended end could be a good exercise for me, at least.

I’m thinking that if I still like Drawing, I could take Web Design classes and augment them with Graphic Arts and Fine Arts classes.  Drawing is really very fundamental as a medium of communication.  I’ve taken two semesters of it, and at the end of the last session (2010?) we were just beginning to break into color.  I’d like to use color a lot more!  On my craft blog, I’ve spoken about what a large motivator color and color dynamics are to me.  It would seem, then, that painting would be something I’d get into?  Watercolor, I’ve very much wanted to try; I’ve just been daunted by the extremely precise-seeming nature of it.  Acrylic…I’ve made some attempts with, but not very many.  Oil paints, I’ve never used; though I do recall there are now water-soluble oil formulations, meaning no turpentine or mineral spirits.  I’ve seen the effects of toxicity from fumes associated with oil painting…something I’d like to avoid.

Then there is this thing which happened within the last few years in my State…apparently there was a crackdown and suddenly everything was labeled as possibly containing cadmium.  I’m not entirely sure what that was about or if it’s still in effect.  What I’m guessing is that everything that might have had some cadmium in it, maybe, or which had not been tested, might have gotten the *toxic!* label.  I really don’t know, and have been intending to research it.  What I do know, I’ve heard from art store employees, some of whom were also art school students.  I think it’s worth looking into, even though the scare may be over.  It’s been a while since I’ve been into an art store to look at the pastels and chalks.

But anyhow, what happened to jump me onto that cadmium track was the fact that a lot of the pastels picked up the warning.  I really do like to work with pastels; but the way they stain my hands and get everywhere is a bit of a cause for concern, to me.  Not like I don’t like it — I feel like, you know, an official artist when the blue-green won’t come out of my fingertips — but I know I’m absorbing the majority of that color…and I know art supplies aren’t known for being healthy.  😉  And then there is the fixative thing and how spray fixative isn’t really good for you to breathe, but the alternative is hairspray; and without it your pastel painting will probably be messed up; and with it, your colors may be altered; so go out in the garage with your organics + particulates respirator (I actually have one of these now, I think) and spray or use Aqua Net, etc.

But as someone who hasn’t often used paint, pastels are a stepping stone into it, it seems.

And toxic compounds can actually have really good working properties, even though they’re unhealthy.  I’m thinking of a certain brand of xylene-based markers which blend beautifully but fume to high heaven.  I literally cannot make myself get marker lines when I use these on marker paper — they’re that good.  But the xylene is cause for concern.  The formulation has been altered to make them a bit less bad for you, but still.  The headache one gets when using them in an unventilated space…and tales of solvent-sniffing teenagers, don’t help.  :/

I’d been set up to take a Computer Science course in Fall, but am planning on dropping it.  I tend to take on too much and then have to bail 1/3 of the way through the semester and run and catch up for the last 2/3.  Not fantastic.  The Comp Sci course also puts me close to half-time on its own, so getting rid of it will free up a lot of hours.  The only reason I’m keeping it for now is that I want to see the syllabus.  A short paragraph in the catalog is not enough to tell me what the class covers.

Anyhow…I realize that both Graphic Arts and Web Design are obviously computer-based, at this time.  It’s just that for me, it’s more intuitive to be able to draw things out in gigantic hard copy and then transfer over those brainstorms into the computer.  I’m not quite a digital native; I grew up during a time when we still hand-wrote our final essays in pen!  So…quite.

If I look at my academic history, as well…I mean, just from memory…it looks like I actually am more of an arts — or, specifically — a creative/communications person.  And I’ve realized that Graphic Design is basically visual communications.  It’s just that, maybe, you’ve got to know what you’re willing to help communicate.  Or, maybe that is an artificial barrier that I’m erecting so that I don’t take this route.

I do have a book here that I bought a while back called How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul, which may be very instructive at this time.  Now, at least, that I’ve gotten out of the Marketing class.  Seriously.  Seriously disliked that class.  But it’s useful to know why what decisions are made when…when it isn’t all in the marketer’s head, that is…

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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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