Feeling more serious and happy than ever. Things are coming together.

(Advance notice:  apologies for this post being ill-placed in the Reader.  I just really felt the need to mark Categories and Tags to reference the mental state and direction I’m facing, now.  This post addresses life and career goals, getting college in line with them, and basically realizing how much I like what I’m doing now, and how I might get where I want to be, with an emphasis on what I can do now.)

I really should be going to bed about now, but I feel the need to post.

I was writing to my prof asking about office hours when I realized that I could see her more quickly by visiting during open Lab time.  Then I checked and found out that one more slot had to be filled before the district would keep the Lab — and I found that tomorrow was the deadline to both add and drop without a “Withdraw” status.  This class had been in development last semester and is experimental…I’d hate to see it go down and not be tried again because it needed just one more student.  Besides, the other 19 students will also probably be really happy, too.

I’m kind of feeling a bit bad about having taken up so much of my prof’s time already — I signed up for her section, so basically I think she’ll be familiarized with my work and process.  At least now, she’ll be getting paid a bit more for helping me.

I just kind of feel like I need the additional tutelage of the Lab, especially when I keep getting more serious about this stuff.  And I’m loving having these three classes anyway — I guess you can say it gives me hope of a qualitatively better and freer/more creative life.  The structure of having to get out on Mondays will probably also really help me stay out of bed and not waste my Mondays asleep.

My prof from last semester (the Department head) still hasn’t written me back with comments on my portfolio or self-evaluation, though she’s been meaning to.  I loved her class, too — I met her back sometime around 2007 when I had her for Intro to Art History.

I talked with my current prof about the possibility of taking Special Projects with the Department head and instead of following a kind of make-your-own-curriculum path, joining in with her Beginning Drawing students and basically re-taking Beginning Drawing.  Because the Beginning class I watched in progress last semester was very different than anything I’d done, and as the class is given as a basis for Animation (same as Figure Drawing), I feel like I need to brush up on or acquire skills I haven’t been directly taught, in order to be competent.  She told me to consult with my prof from last semester, and that maybe we could work something out.  That actually sounds really good; the class was very foundational in a way that showed me how much my own Beginning Drawing class had been lacking.

I was also able to alter the schedule I’d made…I’m now at 9 units, plus 19 hours at my job.  I’ve stopped trying to figure in the complication of whether in-class lab counts as outside work…I have 8 units without the lab; that means to expect 16 hours of outside work.  On the two days I have free afternoons, I have five hours each; three with daylight, two without.  On Mondays, I will have four free hours in the morning if I don’t oversleep, and two after dark (though I did just realize I forgot to factor in lunchtime).  That makes 16.  If I need additional time for that one extra unit from the Lab, I can work on Sundays.

There’s also the possibility of working after dinner, but I probably won’t need to, especially since I have the three-hour lab on Mondays.  But then, there is also the possibility that I will really want to work after dinner.

I had been talking with one of my co-workers a week or so ago.  She was saying that she preferred full schedules.  I can see what she means.  It’s kind of interesting to keep busy all the time and only go to sleep at night.  🙂  I mean, I actually feel like I have a goal, now.  And I actually feel like I’m being serious about a career, now.  Probably the hardest part of this for me is going to be time management and motivation.  I can see it going in a direction like my martial arts training, where I really love it while I’m doing it but have an inertia against doing it.  But, you know, that’s probably really my disorder talking and not me, if it’s at all possible for my disorder to be separate from the person I am.

But yeah.  ♥  I’m feeling pretty good.

What I need to do now, really, is get a handle on this sleep-pattern thing.  I’ve got myself waking at either 7 or 8 AM most days of the week, and setting a bedtime of 10 PM.  Should I keep to that, I’ll get more than enough sleep.  The problem is getting to bed when I’m excited and happy and thoughts are swirling through my mind and I want to write and stay up longer.  But then it becomes difficult to wake, and like today I end up running out of the house without having taken one of my medications because it causes acid reflux without food, and I have no time for breakfast.

But that’s easily remedied, right?  Put a pill in your backpack, and take it at your first break.  Easy.

And I do wonder if things are getting so much easier and clearer because of that med…


Train of thought…

As things go, I have been intensely busy for the last week.  I’ve been reading a lot of material in art, studying a lot; though much of this is visual research.  There’s a lot of educational material that I’ve been made privy to which I did not think to look for, and probably would not have thought to look for, for a very long time.

The positive part of this is that, even though it’s a lot of work — I estimated earlier that I’m committing to an expected load of between 40 and 50 hours a week — I don’t really mind doing the work.  It’s engaging in a way that left-brain-type work is not.

I need to make an appointment with my Figure Drawing professor to ask her about whether the way I’m drawing now is compatible with animation and quick poses.

I have a lot of trouble understanding things in the way that she wants us to draw them.  That is…I can draw figures, but aside from placing the landmarks of head and feet on the page, it’s difficult for me to see the figure as this one object taking up space, because then I feel like I have to get the proportions and position of each body part right.  Without using line and edge, visualizing the angles at which things meet each other and how big the internal shapes are in comparison to each other, I have a hard time visualizing what I’m trying to draw.

Though I do suppose that it may just be part of how my brain works, in that I can start from a small area and work outwards, and things are proportional and at correct angles and lengths and appear to hold volume.  I don’t quite understand how to set landmarks in a blank space with little to no prior reference, and have things work out to be, well, legible.  It probably didn’t help that the model was doing some complicated poses.

I can upload a couple of my best drawings, and try and get some feedback — but I’m thinking that because of lighting considerations, I should schedule that for either Sunday or Monday.  All I have right now are charcoal drawings, and some of those are double-sided (hence, marked up) because I forgot my newsprint pad and had to take paper from class.  Maybe I can give some back…I tore out at least 20 pages of my pad (it’s not a good pad), hoping that I’d be able to leave the bulk of it at home, but as things go now, I’m concerned about running out of paper next class if I *do* take just those pages.

I have been getting support from M, though — I think she can see I’ve been doubting myself — so that’s been nice.

It’s also nice to have an external outlet for the creativity.  Since I’ve been able to work visually, it’s been easier to not worry about the spiritual stuff so much.  Although — it would probably still help if I got back to that book on Channeling that I bought last semester.  I’m finding that a lot of creativity, when it entails expression, puts one into a very vulnerable place.  I’ve also found that not everyone can tolerate that vulnerability.

And not everyone is tolerant enough of their own imperfections to be able to do this — I’ve known some very critical and hostile people, and if that is on all the time, it’s very easy to turn it on oneself.  That can hamper creativity, if it doesn’t destroy it.

Given as well that I set this as my life mission after my last severe bout with depression…it’s fairly apparent, given some thought, that I would arrange my life around my creativity.  One of the links I was presented with led to a blogger on WordPress who is an Art teacher and answers questions from students routinely.  One of the questions had to do with financial stability as a freelance illustrator.  The blogger said that most successful illustrators she knew had part-time jobs which provided steady income, while working a second job doing their art.

That post is here.

I had actually thought, initially, of becoming a Library Assistant and working part-time in order to pay my bills and finance my art (as well as keep me close to various kinds of illustrated books), and then working as an Illustrator the rest of the time.

I could probably also pull an Administrative Assistant position as well — and hey, it might pay better.  Plus, I might get to use my Writing skills and my Business training.  But in order for that to be successful, I’d have to really…recover a bit more from all the sexual harassment I’ve experienced over the course of my life, because I’ve been told to expect it there.  It might not be as big of a deal, though, if things continue as they are now and my air deflects a bit of the sexual attention.

That could actually be really cool, yeah?  Especially if I worked as an AA within a Publishing firm…that could actually be pretty awesome, really!

That would be awesome.  Maybe I should be looking for internships…even though I graduated almost a decade ago!

Well — look for internships, either after I finish the Art and possibly Multimedia Arts training, or take a lower class load?  As things stand, after earning my Certificate(s) and finally exit college, I should be able to hold down one part-time job and look for an internship — or attempt to apply directly to a job, so I can keep working on my art.  I’ve heard that things go downhill when one doesn’t practice.

Actually, skirting an internship seems to be the more realistic approach…I’m no longer 23, after all, and I would have some clerical experience from the Library.  In the meantime, I could enter the County temp pool, or I could try and become a Clerk within the Library and/or County system, first, as well (actually, there is no distinction once one applies as a Clerk, between the County and the Library).  That could then be a stepping stone to a Clerk job within the Publishing industry.  I should ask.  That could be fruitful.

And actually, one of my siblings’ old friends does work with me, and does seem to be pursuing the Art + Clerical combination.  I hadn’t thought of it, but I should talk with him, too.

Finally finished my homework! Aaa! It’s done!!! OMG I can post…

Aww, you guyz!!!

I’ve just completed the last assignment due this week and I’m so happy!!!  I have time to do more of the things!  😀

It was really hard for me to stay mostly offline for the last couple of days while I was getting these first two homework assignments done.  I gave an oral presentation earlier today (would have gone better, except I was underprepared and froze up at one point — I needed 3″x5″ cards, not just a printout).  In addition, I finished my watercolor painting and have turned it in already.  At some point I’ve just got to say, “okay, I’m done,” and just stop.  It would have been better with a more dimensional backdrop, but the way I drew in the background (with transparent watercolors), it wouldn’t have worked out.  Unless, that is, I used that Permanent White gouache mixed with the watercolor to make it opaque…

I did get to use my liner brush for the first time today!  And it works great!  (Which reminds me that I should really have washed out my brushes with tap water [not just almost-clean tub water], hours ago…oops…but I think they’ll be OK, I was just using Prangs.  Melty melty Prangs.  Plus two wash tubs — one for rinsing and one for wetting my colors and rinsing-after-rinsing.)

Also, I did some math while thinking about how much I’m working per week, schoolwork and my job combined…though I haven’t matched up my estimates below to the large numbers here.  The lower estimate is 42.5 hours, if I count all three of my labs as outside-class work time; the higher estimate is 49 hours.  But I kind of suck at math since I haven’t had to use it for years.  GET USED TO WORKING A 40-HR WEEK right…  🙂

Yesterday I got almost three hours to work on my painting in class.  That’s decent, and more than expected.  Normally, there’s one hour of lecture and two of lab.  If I pair that time with the six hours I’m spending on painting outside of class, that’s 10 hours of work and two of lecture, a week.

Figure drawing…now that’s something else…!  It’s two units, so we should be spending four hours outside of class on homework, and we’re basically drawing for about two and a half hours straight.  That’s 6.5 hours of work per week, on top of one hour of lecture.

So I did just have my first Figure Drawing course with an unclothed model, yesterday–!  That was a little bit of a shock, but to a really great extent I recognized how vulnerable the model could feel.  (Of course, it probably didn’t help when I giggled at the choice of alarm that ended the session.)  I think this was the first Figure Drawing session for most of us.

Toward the end, I kind of hit my groove and started drawing some really nice images.  This was the time when I defaulted to my own technique of drawing as versus attempting to map out the figure via its extremities, spine, shoulders, and hips, later adding knees and elbows.  I can’t really do that, and keep proportion, very well.

Then there’s Art History, which was the oral presentation today…I’m supposed to be spending 6 hours a week on that homework outside of class, but I think I did that with the reading (and crash-course familiarization with what the book was talking about) alone.  By the time I had finished all the reading, it was the night before my oral presentation and I had to find a topic and quickly (I chose Lichtenstein) — but that oral only counted for 10 points, maximum.  The worst thing that can happen is that my old classmate becomes ashamed to be seen with me and sits somewhere else, next time.  😉

And I found out today that the teacher doesn’t even expect us to have gotten the book, yet.  SERIOUSLY?!  I did readings in two chapters and online research, and gave an oral presentation, and she doesn’t expect us to have the BOOK yet?

So I’m feeling pretty good.  It will be interesting to see if I can keep up with all of this, all the way through the semester.  I’ll really have to be on top of my time management, but so long as I stay off of the computer (for play) and out of the bed, I think I’ll be OK.  I have been relatively good at easing myself into not having to constantly be on top of social media, and I think that’s actually a really good thing, given especially that I’m looking at having to support myself, and that I’ll need the discipline I develop now, to get my work done.

But seriously, I can’t go lie down in bed and stay awake, anymore.  I’m not sure what it is.

I’m thinking tea will be helpful, too — so long as I don’t overuse it.  I tried some kind of “sweet tea” today which almost tasted like Thai iced tea but without the milk.  It was pretty good!  I have no idea what goes into Thai iced tea, either, except for the condensed milk, so…I don’t know what is in it or if it could have a black tea base like the sweet tea.  I just know it’s orange and tastes good.

Okay, so now I’m talking about the intentional use of legal stimulants.  Okay.  I guess I’m just talking like a typical college student, but still.  No energy drinks.  Just tea.  Tea!

Mmm.  Tea.

*nascent caffeine addiction kicks back in*

*remembers caffeine-withdrawal migraines*

At least I know not to go to Starbucks for anything with milk in it…

I think I need to either go do something else now, or change topics…


I’m just taking a break right now from my Painting homework.  I’ve got the pencils done on the good paper; all that’s left is erasure, possible inking, and the watercolor itself.  I’m going to use the Prangs on this for as long as I can, and maybe add highlights with either watercolor pencil (Derwent) or Neocolor II.

It’s not very late, but some clouds have moved in and so now it’s overcast.  I’m having a hard time seeing my underdrawing, even with overhead lighting.  I will have two hours tomorrow to work on this in class, and then approximately 6 hours on Wednesday, after my presentation for Art History.  I suppose I can work on either the written portion of this, or my reading for Art History, in the meantime.

Art journal?

It seems like it’s been a while since I first established this blog…when I began, it was a project to try and determine a field in which I’d both feel satisfied and also be able to survive without a lot of people-stress.  Since some time and development has passed, I find myself with a new aim — to be an illustrator and/or writer for either graphic novels (adult or teen) or childrens’ books.  (If I do move into kids’ books, I very much don’t want to underestimate my audience; my main goal is quality storytelling without cheap hooks.)

Now that I’ve established that goal, my job has two aims:  work on the writing and work on the art.  This means also to be reading others’ writing, and studying others’ art.

I could be working on my art now, but to be honest, my current project is kind of intimidating.  I’m supposed to make a thumbnail of an art piece by someone I can connect with, and then make variations on that and reproduce, in full size, one of the variations — in watercolor.  I’ve picked Yuta Onoda as my artist.  He’s an illustrator who, at least at one time, was working out of Canada.

The problem with doing this is that I think I picked a digital painting to reproduce in real media.  For now, I’m limited to watercolor or aquarelles, and it’s been such a long time since I used either that I don’t really know what I’m doing, nor do I have, say, a size 4 watercolor filbert…so it’s harder than I thought it would be.

I also have, now, an inkling of how the painting may have been done, but from the image I’m using, it’s not apparent.  This is, at least, unless I take into account the feathering in the facial details of my image which indicates that it may have been drawn using a raster graphics program (I’m familiar with this from attempting to draw in Photoshop).  Said image is also very tightly rendered and — though I didn’t realize this until attempting to reproduce it — probably laid out on a grid.

When I started to do my thumbnail, I initially made it very tight like the drawing I was copying.  But my teacher wants us to do “loose” thumbnails…I don’t know how I make it loose without losing much of the character of the image.  There are a lot of linear and wash elements to it, and the linear elements are both directional and create the illusion of value distinctions.

I also am coming off of three days of work in which I have been doing no homework — I should probably plan on not getting any homework, except maybe reading or writing, done on workdays; I’m stressed enough — and so it’s a bit intimidating to paint.

I did find out that I probably should be using Hues for the cadmium pigments we were told to get for class (my teacher thought cadmium pigments were no longer in use, but from what little research I’ve done, that’s probably only true in the EU, and maybe not even at this time).  I’m thinking of trading one of the toxic paints I got from the art store for a Cadmium Red Medium Hue.  And/or maybe I can find a good watercolor journal.  I have a pad with 12 pages in it…I’m intimidated to use it.  It’s not like what other people are using.  And I don’t feel free to experiment in it — it’s at least 50¢ per page.

But, I have found that maybe if I use this blog as my own “art journal,” I think maybe I’d feel better about doing the art.  Or maybe if I have no concern about spending untold amounts of money on watercolor paper, having my work spread across multiple pads, and possibly running out of watercolor paper, I’d feel better about doing the art…

I kind of do want to make this online space more colorful and visual, even though I don’t think I’ll be shifting to an entirely visual blog format, at least not for quite some time.  Writing is still a big part of my work.  And, you can see, I go on and on.

But maybe I can start really sharing what I’m doing — now that I’ve learned that the complement of sharing is secrecy.  I can probably find a good graphics editor, learn how to post thumbnails which link to larger images, and use my camera a lot more.  Even if it’s just to photograph experiments.  It will probably be new to somebody, right?  😉

Maybe I’ll go and work on a Zendoodle or something, to relax me…

I also found out that part of the research put forth in the Zendoodle program predates Zendoodles.  But I can share that another time…

HahaHahaHa. Spreadsheets are better than planners!

I need to get on scheduling time to work on class projects (reading and studio work, plus writing, photo prep and research time), but I’m not sure exactly where it would be best to do that.

Maybe I *should* buy a weekly planner…I passed on one this last time because it was expensive, and I tend to use them for about two weeks and then forget about them.  Or, I could print out my schedule, like I did this last week, and see what times are open.  Thing is, I’m normally up until at least 10 PM, and scheduling in all my waking hours ranges from about 7:30 AM to 10:30 PM.  Being up for 15 hours sizes me off of my regular calendar.  If I could get to bed by 10:30 PM, though, that would give me a solid 9 hours of rest, even on my earliest day.

That sounds good.  I’d just have to actually wake at 7:30 AM, and stay up all day, so I’m tired enough to quickly fall asleep at night.  I’ve already scheduled in morning hygiene, food, and commute, but I haven’t scheduled in the commute home or getting ready for bed.  Neither have I scheduled in time for meals and food preparation and chores (vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the tub and sinks, laundry), or occasional hygiene (showering, flossing).  It would be good to do that.

Blogging is this extra thing, but it presses on my mind enough so that I should schedule in time for that, too.  Maybe I could prepare 1-2 major posts a week and use the Draft feature here so that I can start writing whenever I want, and then finalize and publish on set days.  This would be instead of logging on to write and then publishing immediately.  I’d have time to think about my topics…I’d just have to make sure that I don’t think it to death prior to publishing.

It would be nice to use my camera more, too; there are things images can communicate that text usually doesn’t, and as regards the art, a lot of stuff comes up around visual problems that could be seed prompts.

And actually…I just recalled a spreadsheet file I made which I can use as a weekly planner.  But it would actually take a lot of ink to print out every week, I’m thinking…

EDIT:  BA HA!  I found my old spreadsheet file and altered it.  It has enough room for me to put in all my waking hours, plus I can edit freely, color-code, and reuse it (unlike a traditional paper planner).  I have about twice as much free time as I need, even with carrying 19 hours at work.  I just need to use it wisely.

I’ve factored in that I need to get to bed by 10 PM and have my first alarm at 7 AM.  That leaves me…not so much time to take a shower tonight!  But I will.

I’m feeling a bit better about this.  Tomorrow in the morning, maybe I can work either on my Painting assignment, or my reading.  There’s an oral presentation due on Wednesday…I don’t know why the first assignment is an oral presentation due in the second class, but I suppose it is just community college.  I probably shouldn’t stress too much over it.

Woo hoo! Finally! I’m done!

I finally finished coloring Bamboo!  Now I can work on other things!  😀

This is how “Bamboo” looked at my last critique in Fall 2014.

I will show the overall image, uncolored, first.  I held off on coloring it at my last critique because I didn’t want to rush it, though then I found myself facing other life tasks over the holidays.

While it was nice to get a break, I had wanted to get back to this for the first two weeks of vacation.  It was kind of frustrating to have my time taken up with other things.

The image following is how it looks colored, today.  It doesn’t look as vivid as it does IRL because I was using evening light without a flash, and because I still don’t have a good graphics editor.

Bamboo, colored.
After layers and layers of coloring with Prismacolor, Faber-Castell Polychromos, and a store-brand of colored pencils.

This image doesn’t quite get the detail, though.  It’s probably just way too small — this was done on 18″x24″ paper, and I ended up using 1/3 of my Chartreuse Prismacolor pencil on the vacuole details.

This is a reason to try the Lyra Color-Giant pencils, if I’m going to be doing gigantic compositions like this which need fine detail and also a large amount of pigment…


Here is a detail photo, before coloring.

This image shows the logic of most of the pattern.


This image shows the basic logic of most of the pattern.  It took a while for me to figure out what I was doing.  (I still can’t find whatever I drew the initial pattern on.)

I did need to use implied equilateral triangles (as versus isosceles) if I wanted everything to be square to all sections that mattered.


And here is a photo of the same area, after coloring:

Little bit, colored
I wish I could have spent more time on coloring so that the marks could not be seen, but as it was, I did my best while still trying not to have this project take another month.

Each of these six mid-sized straw-colored images surrounding the central cross-section has a small message in it.  They’re basically encouragements which popped up in my mind as I was trying to figure out how to conquer my procrastination.

As you can see, the personality of the piece really changed dramatically with the addition of color.


There is no way I could have known at the beginning that it was going to turn out as it did.  Now all that remains is to take more well-lighted photos of this, as I don’t know whether the Prismacolors or the store-brand of colored pencils are lightfast.  I also realize that since I put such a heavy coating of Chartreuse Prismacolor in there, there’s a chance I might get wax bloom, eventually.  Prismacolor does sell a fixative for this, but I’ve never used it.

Or, hey!  I just realized I could use a blending marker or pencil over the colors, to get them smoother.  Have to think about that…