Prioritization of activities

Well, school has officially started.  I also have done what I think I would need to do, in order to get a better job in my same organization.  Everything has been done; I’m just waiting to see my ranking.  I am not sure what I would need to do in order to handle both a Library Assistant position and 9 units of classwork, at the same time…

Let’s just say that it would be a life transition.  Life can’t all be studying and Summer vacations, that is.

In light of my awareness of the relative preciousness of time which I see looming…I’ve been thinking about what “hobbies” I would cut out, if I had the need to.  Right now I have a number of interests, running synchronously:

  • Reading
  • Creative Writing
  • Sequential Art
  • Fine Art
  • Japanese language study
  • Blogging

…and I think I’ve pinpointed Creative Writing and Sequential Art as the tasks which require the most study, effort, time, and (dare I say it) stress, out of all of these.

As I head deeper into the Master’s program, I find it evident that it is training me to reach for study as second-nature.  Over the Summer, for example:  when I wasn’t chipping away at my UX class, it was easier (and a bit more productive) to study Japanese language, than it was to work at Art.  I think there’s just some structure there which helps me.

At the same time as I’ve wanted to work on my own stories, as well, I’ve found that it’s very hard for me to do this, having been divorced from reading-for-pleasure for as long as I have been.  I’m not kidding when I say that it’s hard for me to get into a book which — for one thing — I am aware has (usually) been totally constructed by one mind, often for the purpose of bolstering that mind’s own convictions…

…or maybe I was exposed to too many Classics, and too much of my own stuff, in tandem with a heaping dose of Psychiatry, I don’t know…

The takeaway for me from this is, though, that I’m not as interested in fiction as I once was.  When I was a youth, I felt that I survived in order to write.  But now, I look back on that 23-year-old and I see someone who was almost in shambles from illness, and who needed something to hold onto in order to keep going at all.  And the only thing to hold on to was what I created, myself.

At that time, maybe a semi-mystical life purpose was necessary; is it now, though?

Or maybe more to the point:  there is more than one way to create, and more than one way to tell a story.  And maybe…it may be that I’m not ready to tell this story, yet.  (Or maybe, I’m outgrowing this story.)

In any case, I do think that I retain the skill of persuasive storytelling; but I am not sure that now — as I’m in the middle of a Master’s program and in the middle of becoming independent — is the right time for me to be embroiled in learning even more about things that have no application save in religion, spirituality, and anthropology.  That stuff could have saved my life when I was 23; but right now it’s an incredibly indirect way for me to better my situation.

What is a much more direct way for me to help myself is to get through these next two years of school; to get more and better job skills; and to figure out where it is I want to be going, in my life.  The last reason is why I’m deciding to cut out the fiction writing, but not the art.  Creative Writing has the tendency to be detrimental to my health, but Art tends to improve it.  I’m not entirely sure why the latter may be, but I know the former has to do with cementing inaccurate ideas about the world which were formed in my childhood, in my own little nightmarish sandbox.

On the other hand, writing in a manner like this — on the blog — does help me.  I can be more objective, here.  And I really do enjoy learning Japanese language.  I’m not entirely sure why, but it helps…and I want to be able to read stories and books (etc.) from outside the confines of English.  I just am not positive in any respect that works in English are what I want to emulate:  they’re just what I’ve been exposed to, thus far (not counting translations, though even there, editing occurs).

I also really want to be reading, though I find my drive to read more rewarded when I’m reading non-fiction — like, say, texts on Art History.  It’s a given that I’ll have to read, in my grad program.  But if I’m reading…I like to at least get something out of it, like new understanding, or new skills.  Something.  It’s likely a reason I’ve enjoyed World History, so much.

In any case, I do hope to keep up the blogging, because without it I lose track of what I’m currently doing, and what I’ve done — and what I have to do.  I also want to keep up the Japanese language study.  I want to read more, and I want to continue on with the Art (though I may go back to mandalas with this; I’m not even kidding).  And of course, I’ve got to deal with my job, my schooling, driving and cooking (though my parents help with the latter two).

Aside from this…well, I think this is enough to hold in my mind, this semester.  I’m just hoping it will not still be too much…

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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…