More archives??!

I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that, in addition to helping clean out the junk room, today, I also read 25 pages when I didn’t want to (the majority of which were read tonight, in lieu of writing, here).  At least this textbook makes sense — I can’t say as much for some of the other ones.

I think I’ve found that I really do need quiet and solitude to be able to study easily…which is hard when it’s extended periods of quiet and solitude.

At the very least…I don’t have to worry about a big assignment (or two) due by Monday:  this much is good.

Also…I was able to find and take a peek through some of the drawing pads and random character sketches I had been doing…when I was younger, let’s say:  these things go back to high school, and through my undergrad years.  At this point I’m wondering if I always did have constant mental “noise,” only it was channeled into bits of storytelling.  I used to attribute it to having such a high degree of intelligence (*cough*) that I would get bored in classes, and be able to pay attention by listening and taking notes, as I occupied myself also by drawing.

Of course, though, that was before the more serious troubles kicked in…

I’m actually kind of surprised at the level of quality I was able to get at in a lot of those sketches (it happens when one is doing it constantly and in narrative form:  meaning that there are certain emotions one is pushing oneself towards expressing), even though most of it is linework.  I seemed to have begun to progress into shading…and more realistic drawing.

I remember being intimidated around modeling faces, though (I am fairly certain I was still just working with colored pencil and watercolor at this time)…though when I put that extra effort into going deeper with my work, it showed.  I was just…really young, and scared of messing up my images with color and shading/modeling.  (tip:  you can’t progress if you’re afraid to fail.)  I hadn’t really taken any life drawing classes at the time, though, either:  I knew how to cartoon (from copying manga), but that was majorly it.

By that I mean, cartooning is ideally a form abstracted from knowing first how to draw from observation.  If you don’t know how to draw from observation, you won’t have the groundwork to create your own abstractions…and ultimately won’t know how they work.  This means that when you try to go more realistic…you won’t necessarily know where to go more realistic, or how.  It’s possible to end up using someone else’s formula for abstraction but not know why the artist emphasized and de-emphasized specific areas…and mimicking that without knowing the deeper purpose is basically…derivative art.  Which, obviously, has been a trend in certain periods in Art History.

I’m thinking…either Baroque or Rococo as versus High Renaissance, though I can’t remember the exact name of the movement (this was actually a topic of discussion in one of my old Art History classes).  What happened in this movement was that people would try to paint like the Renaissance, “Old Masters,” (though they weren’t as old, then) particularly where it came to human figures.  The Renaissance Old Masters had perfected the art of drawing humans as they were built, and they did this through extended studies of the human body and anatomy (some study was actually done on cadavers).

With regard to the later artists who mimicked them, however: these artists’ figures would be criticized as disjointed and piecemeal.  Someone’s upper arm, for example, may appear perfectly formed, just as a Michaelangelo, but the figure overall is being viewed from multiple angles at the same time (something Cubism later intentionally exploited, although Picasso, for example, could paint and draw naturalistically), and the shoulder and elbow appear to be physically dislocated.  That is, to the perfection of the parts, unity suffered; and because of that, the piece became cacophonous instead of harmonious.  Beyond that, people were trying to emulate past masters, to the detriment of their own expression.  There’s a difference between putting down roots to grow flowers and cutting off a blooming branch — or arranging cut (or silk) flowers, that is.

This is — one of the traps — that I’ve had to deal with, which isn’t as evident when one hasn’t been through a few reps of Drawing classes and been snubbed by a few Art students.  Most of my work isn’t figurative — but that’s largely because I got tired of drawing people.  And I probably got tired of drawing people because of questioning why I was doing what I was doing, losing faith in myself…and, likely, starting a new medication (which happened right before graduation, and subsequently convinced me that I could no longer easily write).

But to be frank, most of that time just after graduation is either a blur or outright missing from my current memory.

And no…I’m actually not sure that I don’t have some form of dissociation.  In any case, my life is more together than it has been for a while.

I also noticed something else, when going through my old sketchpads…which is that the paranormal stuff has been with me from nearly the beginning of the time I’ve been developing as an artist and writer.  I’m not planning to get into this deeply in this post, but it is actually notable that I’ve been dealing with concepts of ghosts and “good demons” for about as long as I’ve been writing for pleasure.

I do have a set of ideas as to why this is…and it revolves around screwed-up middle school, high school and undergrad dynamics, along with feeling silent and invisible, rejected, in pain, and comforted by things no one else could sense.

But I’ve been over that history for a good amount of my life.  The point is that this is not a new thing, and that dealing with the prospect of getting back into writing means that I’ll need to allow myself to get back to my roots…which means permitting myself to venture into territory I’ve blocked off for years.  Some of which may put me into an idiosyncratic enclave; or maybe I should say, “some of which may make me unpopular with the people who encouraged my demonization.”

Obviously, there are feelings behind this, but I doubt that here and now is the right time to get into it.

More archives??!

Thinking ahead: webcomics?

Taking a brief hiatus from my color work to think on something that caught my imagination last night.  This is the concept of publishing:  specifically, a webcomic.  I had (and have) been thinking on traditional printing, but if I wanted to work in full color, the economic barriers are much lower online; and my potential audience, much higher.

Of course, though, I’m planning on becoming an Information specialist, so I don’t…think? I would have to worry much about being paid.  If I learn web coding, I can also publish this in the manner I choose.  If I printed this stuff, though, it would be a financial loss not to charge for it.  Economically speaking, it’s still a loss if I spend time on it instead of doing other things, but if it makes me happy, that’s something else.

Part of what spurred this off was having run across an old posting of my own, which reminded me of a resource I’d forgotten (now found).  It is only a few pages of notes and a false start for something that looked more like creative nonfiction than a script:  but these are enough to spark off that which I did have in mind, back then.  As a note for the future:  I really should have recorded that dream I referenced, close to the time I had it.  Making it public is better than losing it entirely.

From what I can recall, it tied in my old/first fictive story (dealing with kind “demons”) with the latter/newer one (dealing with mental illness), and a few things wandering around my head which have to do with varying notions of immortality, the paranormal, ghosts, and aliens…it’s not what it looks like, let me assure you.  (This is not the one about the ex-Buddhist warlock [that one could be really fun to write, actually], or the one focused on jewelry and environmental exploitation.)

And now, right, I’m thinking that comics publishers must need librarians, too.  The major issue is that I am now on a data organization and retrieval path, not a Special Libraries one.  But we will see what the future holds.

Ah, wait:  nah.  My current path looks hella more adapted to me specifically.  😉  I’ve actually gotten a bit distracted by this at the moment, though.  It would seem “fun” to work as a librarian for a publishing house, especially where it comes to comics, but I am guessing that those jobs are few and far between.  I’ve also read that traditional publishing is shrinking due to Web influence (not to mention self-publishing), but I can’t recall where or when I read that.

Especially because I’m more of an indy type (when it comes to my own interests)…I think…than a DC or Marvel type…and as the print commercial comics world would seem to be dominated by males (even, it seems, when the target market is female — which doesn’t…really make sense), I could foresee some challenges (not least, being called to represent “women” when I don’t consider myself a woman).  But I’ve been the first female to do a lot of things, which is probably why I needed the shelter of Library & Information Science in the first place.

I have a couple of pages of little scribbled notes here from about 2 AM last night; I’ll see what I can make out.  The first portion of it is a thumbnail for a drawing/painting which I didn’t get to work on, today (I didn’t really wake up until 2 PM, which left me with three hours of daylight).  I had been thinking of working that painting on a small tile and seeing what became of it, but I think it is better to work with the precision of watercolor, as versus acrylics, right now.  Acrylics don’t require masking, but detail can be difficult to obtain on a small scale with heavy-body paints.

Anyhow (this does relate to my notes), through the rest of this week, Blick appears to be having in-store holiday clearance sales.  I’m pretty much too sick to risk going (I’m hoping to be healed up enough not to be immediately infected by something else, by the weekend), but it did get me thinking on what I might try out if I could.

At the beginning of last night’s “trying to go to sleep” stint, I was trying to figure out how to do layout without resorting to my Wacom.  There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just old and kind of awkward to use (where do I put this when I’m not using it?), and without Adobe Illustrator or another vector-drawing program (or maybe the Pen tool in Photoshop CC, which isn’t available in Elements), its uses are limited where it comes to comic production (scribbling in color fills on Photoshop is less than ideal, though I wouldn’t know about this unless I had been exposed to Layer Masking some years ago).

At some point I did realize that I could outline a selection, then use Paste Into Selection in order to insert a scanned drawing into a page that I could later publish, maybe as a .PDF.  Thus, there is no need for me to make a completed page, then scan it in and only do cleanup on it.  So long as I have a template or rough draft of what I want, and keep the images I’m inserting to the right ratio, I should be able to scale and insert the image, and assemble the page using software.  This basically negates the need for a translucent painting foundation like Yupo (of which I had been thinking about getting a tiny pad [should it exist] to try out).

Basically, last night I was trying to figure out how to transfer knowledge of a finished layout from my layout paper over to Bristol board or hot-press watercolor paper for coloring, in some way so that I wouldn’t be drawing the same thing three times:  one rough, one on Layout paper for inking, one which would allow water-based coloring media (though the same is possible by scanning the lineart and then adding color at 100% transparency on the computer).  Yupo would solve this problem by being the paper used both for inking and for coloring (there is a translucent variety), but it’s pretty expensive.  I also don’t know if the inks will stay put on it.

LOW-TECH, BABY.  😉  Well, kind of…?  Not really.  Yupo is polypropylene.

I probably should have marked the time that I realized that I didn’t have to pre-assemble the images, but I didn’t.  😉  In any case, I can create the images separately, even if on Yupo (allowing for disastrous failure) and then assemble them on the computer.  This method also allows for higher-resolution scans, though I’ve experienced my last instance of Photoshop (not the current one…yet) to be a bit irregular where it comes to what resolution anything is kept when imported into a new file.

I should also consider utilizing my Wacom with Creative Cloud services…(or saving money for a newer Wacom, with Creative Cloud services.  The biggest issue for me is whether they will stop billing me when I tell them to stop billing me, and what I can do if they don’t.)

I am also in the process of realizing that there are a number of possible visual formats one could utilize to publish a webcomic, and at the moment, I’m not sure which is best — or which will utilize the least amount of programming knowledge!  Today I started looking through the Reader here for examples, and found a really nice webcomic, Brainchild by Suzanne Geary.  It seems to fall in line with something I would like, at least aesthetically (I haven’t gotten the chance to read much of it, yet, so the story is a bit beyond me at the moment).

The largest issue I can see with web publishing is the scale factor:  how to make sure that the text in my images is actually of a size that is readable, and that the images are actually large enough to appreciate, even on a tablet.  It isn’t so much of an issue when part of an image is given and then the reader scrolls down to get the rest of the panels, but putting a complete page onto a computer screen…may be different.  It would also be different if I designed the pages to be able to be printed and bound, as versus simply read online…which, I’ve gotta say, at this point I’m leaning against, if only because it will make it more difficult to rip off.  😉

Well, yes and no.  🙂  Not only will it make it more difficult to print, it will be vastly easier for me to produce.  ^_^;;  (Yes, I have indeed tried to use bleeds and gutters…the post-print binding and trimming of which, is probably the biggest pain about any of this.)

Gah.  I’ve got to find some way to learn to code…

Thinking ahead: webcomics?

late night color play…

It took me until 5 PM today, to fully wake up.  Accordingly, even though I am tired now…I know I should go to bed; I just don’t want to.  I did, however, get up the courage to play around with some colors.

My one pearlescent FW ink is at center bottom — it’s the one with the glare.

Long story short, all of the non-glittery FW acrylic inks I have at the moment, are transparent, and neither my Micron nor Copic fineliners bleed under them.  The glitter in the pearlescent color I’ve got, however, blocks some of the underlying drawing, even when there isn’t that glare off of the surface (the glare is illustrated above).

Though I’ve tried to color-correct for this, all of the photos in this post were taken under artificial light.  Therefore, some of the more delicate aspects (like the differences between those three yellows up there) are probably not going to be as apparent as they would under full sunlight.

Don’t let the water pool and dry, or you get this:

So, up next was the attempt at color blending.  These guys do a decent job of blending wet-into-wet if you drag the colors into each other with the brush (and not so much water), as indicated on that inside corner between red-orange and yellow-orange; they don’t do so well if you let the water and pigment pool and then dry on its own.

The latter technique was what achieved the blot in the upper right corner of this photograph.  I’m thinking it would have been alright if the amount of water had been far less.  But it’s an obvious difference from Western-style watercolor paints, which would probably not have dried like that.  You can see as well that glazing appears very effective.  I was working on Canson Montval cold-press paper, here.

Drawing a new color into a brushstroke which has already been laid down has the same subtle effect, as seen here:


…and I can actually somewhat see the colors separating out in the bluer “tail” of this doodle.  I’m not sure if that’s due to incomplete mixing or to the pigments actually settling out.  In any case, I’m really surprised that some of the color mixes I’m showing here look as decent as they do, because they looked pretty bad on my palette.  I can just say that.  🙂

At one point I did get the urge to see if these things could work wet-into-wet like regular watercolors.  The short answer to that is “no,” at least not when using staining colors, and at the same time having paper which is not fully saturated with water.

The result of attempting to drop pigment straight onto wet paper.

The image to the right is the result of attempting to drop a few different colors into what was essentially water which I had spread on the paper, but not allowed to soak in.  The stain in the center-top area seems to be the result of Phthalo Blue working its way into the paper itself, as the paper absorbed the water that had been laid on top of it.

I kind of wonder if things would have been different, had I allowed that water to soak in fully before adding in the ink.  It would likely have changed the response a bit.  I notice that neither the green nor the yellow which I dropped in did the same thing, though, so maybe the difference can be attributed to Phthalo Blue being a staining pigment.

And, right:  that same pooling and settling thing happened in the snakes on the right side.  I’ve got to remember not to let that happen again, unless I want the effect.  🙂  (It really didn’t look that way when it was wet…then again, I saw a lot of subtle variations when the inks were wet which became difficult to see after they had dried.

Okay, see, and now I want to do a comparison between these and my true watercolor paints…soon, maybe.  What I can say is that I have got the saying in mind to let paintings be paintings, and drawings be drawings…I don’t remember who said that, but it is surely difficult to wed the two.

Having said that, I went out on a limb and tried drawing a person tonight.  Right now, she’s kind of a wireframe and difficult to see, being totally in pencil.  But if I were going to work in illustration, as for a comic book, I really do think that this media would be ideal for that.  The transparency of the inks allows inked underdrawings to show through, easily, and the acrylic component in the color allows lower layers of acrylic ink to stay put.  However, there is also a bit of an issue in my recording tools not being able to pick up the full spectrum of the light which I can see reflected off of the paper.

I wonder if maybe I should look forward to a dedicated scanner, if I’m going to be doing this stuff seriously (no, that is not a dare)…I just don’t want to deal with public machines where it comes to scans…

late night color play…

Preparing…hoping…(engaging and loving are needed)

Well, I do suppose that I’ve been either taking care of food, hygiene, or study since the time I woke up.  I guess I can do something not required…

Late last night, I was able to come up with a vision for a book which may or may not be made.  Actually, there are at least two main paths I can take:  bound on the side, or on the top.  I’ve noted these down in my Sleep Journal (pretty much the only thing I was awake enough to draw and write in).

I keep having dreams about photocopying 18″x24″ sheets of comic works in order to reduce and print them…last night what was coming to me was the uses of large-sized Layout paper (scan, resize and print the original images going into each panel, then paste them up them behind the Layout paper, and trace the images through the paper for a final layout and inking).  What also came to me was the possibility of using acrylic inks as a color overlay on top of the Layout paper, utilizing frosted acrylic or polyester sheeting (I’ve seen it called “vellum,” but that term also applies to other art surfaces; it may only apply to the texture).  Then both the Layout paper and the sheeting can be scanned in and aligned in Photoshop, with the color layer set to 100% transparency.  At that point it can be printed at less than 8.5″x11″, cut and hand-bound.

Then there are the uses of graph paper, or paper with dots every 1/4″ (I’ve seen this as well; more often in Japanese stores), to fit a comic layout to a grid.  I think that most of the papers I have are not as big as 18″x24″ (as in my dreams), though!  It would be laborious to draw out something that big, anyway.  I’m sure I have something around 11″x14″ or 14″x17″, but I’m not sure the sizes match.

Anyhow, I’ve been thinking on how to make the story I began last Spring into an actual, fleshed-out, written story.  But I don’t know whether to narrate it in prose, or whether to use it as a basis for a series or body of art pieces.  I do have a bit of a dream of putting it in a book:  but books can contain much more than, well, writing like I’m writing, here.  I can put in illustrations and storytelling, and prose poetry (it gets better with editing, which I don’t do much of, here).  And if it’s an art book, it will probably be OK.

I haven’t posted about the topic of the story recently, because if I do plan on going big with it, it wouldn’t be to my direct advantage to speak about it in its natal stages.  On the other hand, I probably don’t have to worry about anybody “stealing” my story, because that is in effect, impossible, just from my disclosing synopses.

The story is born from me, it is spun from me; that individual touch is going to permeate it and distinguish it from any inspiration others may take from my ideas, in order to make their own stories (which would actually most likely be about a different set of concepts than my stories are).  Authenticity and cohesion is palpable, and multiple people can take the same prompt in very different directions:  another thing I learned in Art classes, which wasn’t as visible (if you will) in Writing.

I have decided to go ahead and get a couple more packs of these Signo 207 pens, though, for drawing practice.  They’re just…really nice, even if they aren’t waterproof.  I’m also, as I said before, scared of ruining the good pens (my Microns and Copics) with pressing too hard on them during practice (and not even necessarily drawing anything serious).

This happened to me with a Micron 005, where I bent the fiber-tip and then had to hold it weirdly to be able to get any ink out of it, and it was starting to happen with the tiny Copic nibs (I purchased the disposable ones, so there is no going back and replacing the nibs on these pens, as is possible with the more expensive, refillable Copic fineliners).

I realize that the Signos, being roller-gel pens, are not going to discourage that habit (they have metal tips, not fiber tips, and will in fact incise the paper in finer nib diameters); but at the same time, they’re relatively inexpensive compared to Microns — about $1.50 each.  They just have a nice feel — like I could play with them and run the ink out of them and not worry about messing them up, or about whether anything I happen to draw with them has to be “good”, or worthy of the use of such expensive instruments (as Microns or Copics).

Originally, I was going to give them a pass:  then I was playing around in the margins of my notes the other night and used both a Medium (0.7 mm) and Micro (0.5 mm) tip on a few of the drawings I’d made (really just doodles, but it’s…kind of astonishing, to me, that my mind does this).  The very fine distinction in line width actually matters.  It’s visible.  It surprised me.  While I wouldn’t use the Micro to write with, it comes in handy when illustrating details, and anything you don’t want to have a heavier line weight.  The 207s come in an Ultra Micro (.38 mm?) and a Bold (1 mm), as well.  I’m planning on picking these up for more options.  (Plus, I get irritated when I can’t find any good pens…)

Of course, though, I am in Finals; so my only sure time to be able to play with these hardcore is coming up in — HA, 10 days; though I work on five of them.  I’ve just got to be sure to prioritize things appropriately, given that I have somewhere along the lines of 242 hours left of the semester.

I did spend three hours at the library today, researching and collecting items for a Diversity assignment (fairly interesting, I’ve got to say:  I have three days to work on it), and trying to do research for my last group project (the meeting for which would have been rescheduled to Sunday, but I ran into people online anyway; the take-away from that meeting is that we may need to simplify our approach).

Luckily, I did stay up late last night to complete the paraphrasing of my Librarian interview; so the hard part there (the part I was dreading and avoiding) is over.  (It helps that I was a Creative Writing major; I can extrapolate the meaning of my interviewee’s words and restate it, rather than aiming for exact word-for-word transmission [which would not be possible without a voice recorder, which I don’t have].)  What remains is to add my Reflection piece and edit; then I can turn it in (even though yes, I am scared of getting below 85% on it — my professor is tough).

The only other big thing is a paper on Privacy, which…hasn’t even really been assigned, yet, though I can start working on it after I finish my Diversity paper.  Then there is something to write up as practice for the last element of the program (!) …yeah, okay.

Those are the major assignments; plus saving my records to my friggin’ portfolio (which I don’t entirely know how to do, yet; I should search for tutorials).  I have a hard copy list of everything in total that’s due before the 12th, though.  It’s not looking nearly as bad as it was last night, so that in itself is awesome…

Preparing…hoping…(engaging and loving are needed)

These dreams will draw you in…

What a difference not-writing makes, eh?

I’m becoming much more aware of what happens when I don’t write every day.  I still have my Random Thoughts journal…which is in the blue book I meant to begin a larger project within (the “how to survive when you have a brain like mine,” project).  The major issue with this is that I have been feeling it is a large risk for me to put those latter thoughts to paper (or keyboard)…at least in a place where they may be seen (as when I may take this book and write within it, in public).

The positive thing is that, without the grounding of writing something related to hard reality each day, my thoughts are actually breaking free of the limitations of what I see as the physicality of my situation.  I am not sure if this means that I’m breaking further from reality or not…

In particular, I slept for quite a while today.  I’m trying to keep my immunity up, as yesterday was particularly weird where it came to trying to keep hydrated (I had a sore throat, and trouble speaking, for no discernible reason except dehydration…but I ended up drinking at least 36 ounces of water at work).

While I was asleep, I found a…recurrence of a bit of a story I had been thinking about for years as a teen and young adult.  It started out as a response to vampire fiction (I was that young), then moved into urban paranormal fantasy.  At this point, I’m seriously considering making it about aliens — because it is, basically, about aliens and alienation, hidden worlds, etc.

I have two lead characters…one of whom is human, one who is not.  (In my Creative Writing program, we were given a quote which said that writing a book was a disease that you’re only cured of once the piece is finished…but I can’t remember who it was attributed to, or the exact wording.)  The second started out as a strong side character, but that…led into more.  He had the ability to enter and determine the environment of dreams…and in this, his character design was clearly non-human; his reach and interactions, fairly intimate.

It would be interesting to write this.  There is that thing about Proxima Centauri b being within the habitable zone for life, though at this point in our technological development, it would take until 2060 to hear back from any probes.  Meaning, obviously, that by the time we hear back, most of us who are presently cogent enough to understand the significance of this, will be either old or dead.  But something like that could be used as an excuse to write a story which may actually not be sci-fi (as to be sci-fi, I’ve heard, it has to actually be possible), but rather paranormal urban fiction involving aliens.

I find it very, very interesting, the way my thoughts have turned when I’ve had to keep them inside, and have not been presenting them to anyone.  Because of the lack of fear of judgment, I’m able to do certain things like fundamentally question key foundational tenets of belief systems which I had previously held without question.  Like the idea that actions taken in the past determine the future; that time is linear and only flows in one direction.  That everything in the universe is built upon and explainable via rationality and logic.  Or, and I was working on this one before — that the Universe is inherently moral.

I was having a conversation with M the other day where I said that it doesn’t matter if every decision made in a philosophical system is completely on it and accurate, if the fundamental tenets of the stance (or “canon”) are flawed.  If the fundamental givens aren’t accurate to reality, everything that unfolds from that point is also not accurate to reality, and the philosophical system may cease to apply to reality in any beneficial way.

I’m thinking that fiction writing might actually be a good place to work some of these issues out.  Once I start breaking fundamental rules of thinking, it helps to be able to work at this from several different angles (as I am not entirely certain that any one of them is correct, nor should I be).

So…maybe I’m migrating back to fiction as my art or craft of choice?  I’m not certain.  What I do know is that the dream I had impacted me fairly severely, in a beneficial manner.  …And hey, maybe I want to start work again on character designs.

I should also try and work some of this out in my head, so I can try and parse what the story is actually about…not to mention its optimal length, and format…

…and I should consider giving at least one of my characters the trait of being impacted by mental illness.  Guess which one…

These dreams will draw you in…

Food and Art, eh? Two nourishing things…

Today was a little stressful, though the stress didn’t have to do with me.

I was successful in getting out of the house, to the art store, and to the produce market (though I still [–!] haven’t been able to drive, yet).  Because I have a tendency to let produce rot in the refrigerator, I paid for what I bought, this time — so the loss will be entirely mine, if these go bad.  I got one very full bag of groceries for $23.  Nice; I was expecting $30.

I’ve found that I like soba that isn’t Hakubaku brand.  I ate maybe one-and-one-third bundles of this tonight, with dinner…but I think there is too much wheat flour in it, and not enough buckwheat.  I generally like soba that is kind of rough in the mouth, with some bite to it.  What I don’t like is all the salt that’s added to a bunch of the Japanese brands (I think Hakubaku is actually Australian).

The (U.S.) Nutrition Facts label makes most of them appear really unhealthy, with extremely high sodium levels — but is this cooked, or uncooked?  I don’t remember, and my Japanese reading level isn’t high enough to read the Japanese parts of the packages.  I mean, I have barely any kanji (Chinese character) reading ability, and my last Japanese class was probably a decade and a half ago, so it’s tough.

I’m also not really dieting, so I don’t need yam added to the noodles.  (Yam is added — I’m thinking it’s yamaimo or mountain yam — as filler, to take up space in the stomach without adding calories.  Yamaimo is somewhat indigestible and passes right through the intestinal tract…it’s also made into konnyaku and shirataki, which are both diet foods, IIRC.  In English, konnyaku is called “Devil’s Tongue Jelly”.  It can be seasoned to be really tasty, but has very little nutritional value [or intrinsic flavor], to the best of my knowledge.)

So, tonight I ate well.  Maybe too well…

I prepped most of my own dinner, though D helped with boiling the spinach, and boiling some eggs for me.  It’s probably a good thing he did the eggs, because otherwise this would have been a nearly protein-free meal (I forgot the tofu at the market, because I lost my shopping list, somehow, and was primarily after fresh plant-based food).

This was, in effect, inspired by my counselor telling me to take good care of myself — which, for me, means taking some responsibility for what I eat…and that means, cooking for myself and eating fresh plant-based food.

Tonight I ended up eating most of a hothouse cucumber, in the form of quick pickles (I’ve posted about making these, before — I put too much sugar in them, again; and they do shrink down), an entire bunch of (very clean!) boiled spinach (it boils way down), 1.5 eggs, 1.33 organic soba noodle bunches with tsuyu (dipping sauce — which will go bad in three days)…and two very small Satsuma sweet potatoes.

I don’t know what was up with those sweet potatoes.  It was like they had been cooked in honey, but all I did was roast them.  They were nearly too sweet to eat, which is strange because normally these things come into season in Winter.  They also looked like little balls, which is unusual.  Normally, Satsumas are a little long, but these were all like …pearls, or something.

And then, earlier in the day I had eaten a nectarine, and one of my peaches from the market (immediately after getting it home and finding a bruise in it — I don’t like deflated stone fruit, which is where this one was going if I let it sit in the refrigerator).

We’ll see how my digestive system fares, tomorrow.  I feel mostly OK now, though I think the soba expanded a bit in my stomach.  I kind of want dessert, but I am not entirely sure where that urge is coming from.  I normally don’t eat dessert.

And no, I have no idea of the calorie count of what I just ate…though I don’t expect it to be high.

M says that the stone fruits only last about four days in the refrigerator before they go bad…which was a good thing to ask, before getting any.  I think I have two white nectarines and two flat yellow peaches left.  (I will try not to laugh about the flat peaches; we sometimes jokingly call them “donut peaches”.)  Then there are eight apples (everyone eats these), four bananas, two pears, three mangoes.  I think one of the last is a Tommy Atkins, and the other two are Manila…the last two Tommy Atkins I ate, though, were really fibrous (to the point that it was scary to cut them in my palm), which is why I got the Manilas as insurance.

And…I now have as full a collection of black Microns, black Copic Multiliners, and warm grey Copic Multiliners as I need (or more).  I went back to the store today to fill out my Copic collection…and got a pad of Smooth Bristol Board on which to play with them.  (I noticed that both the Microns and Copics were having trouble with textured paper.)  I’m not sure how the Bristol is going to fare with ink wash, though, let alone watercolor.  The alternative was going to a different store to look for hot-press Watercolor paper…which was chancy.

I may upgrade to the latter, though, if I continue to work with these things.  I do have paper good for pen-and-ink; it’s just that I have to use dry media to color it, as it warps with water.  Smooth Bristol, though:  that’s even good for my steel nibs (should I want to try and use them again), and it’s in a large enough size to retain a decent amount of detail once reduced.  I just don’t know how it’s going to fare with washes, like all the other smooth papers I have.

This does presuppose that I am going to work on a comic layout, though, which kind of requires at least a rudimentary script.  I can try and keep it simple, though there is the possibility of just going Mad Libs-like and drawing out a story visually, adding dialogue to it afterward.

Hmm.  That kind of sounds interesting…

If things go successfully…I’ll probably want to set up a light booth somewhere to photograph my plates, because I don’t have a large enough scanner to deal with the full size of the page (somewhere in the ballpark of 11″x14″, if not larger).  I can, however, take a relatively high-res image by just using my camera and then shrinking down the photo.  I can also draw out individual frames and then crop and place them in a Photoshop file, though I’m certain that InDesign skills would be useful, here.

I don’t think I’m in any shape to rush through an InDesign class right now, though…

In any case, I’ve gotten some consistent issues with lighting (particularly using natural directional light) that I’ll need to resolve before I settle on my camera as a go-to option.


Food and Art, eh? Two nourishing things…

Flash post — got to go

About 15 minutes to write, eh?  Let’s do it.  😉

So…I don’t have much left to do.  I’ve still got to work on that pastel drawing that I posted, a little while ago.  So far it’s been sitting in my portfolio for all of Break.  😛  Yes, I know:  bad.  And exactly what my prof was worried, might happen.  Positive point:  I still have two full days to work on it.

It looks like Easter, for me, is going to be free.  This gives me some extra hours…hours that I was concerned I might have to give up, if there was going to be some sort of gathering.  If we look at it this way, though:  from 12-6 PM on Sunday and Monday, I’ll be able to work, that gives me 12 clear hours to do nothing but freakin’ draw.

I’ve been hesitant about getting into the art for multiple reasons — the biggest one being the concern that I could be doing something “better” with my time than being an artisan.  I know, it sounds messed up.  But art, really…on the surface, it’s a lot of manual labor.  One step deeper, and it’s constant decision-making, inferring a constant (attempt at) control.  But at the core, it’s creating something from personal vision that hasn’t been seen before…

It might have been easier for me if I’d majored in it — I’m only now coming to see hints of possibilities as to what I can do with my skill.  And those are only hints.  The biggest thing that I have in front of me is this idea of making an illustrated fictional book for adults.  (I figure that if adults are working at coloring books, maybe I can be the one to break the illustration barrier.)  Key here is the work that I’ve done with the Symbolic Process assignment; however, I’m uncertain as to the roles of both the text and the imagery.

And, of course, it would have to be a labor of love — as I doubt anyone’s going to take me for the next Neil Gaiman and finance my operations.

Ah — got to get going.

Flash post — got to go