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No more holidays or new year dawdling! Time to get to work! You heard me! Drop and give me 50! Paintings!
Yes, it’s true. After a month of piddling around and hemming and hawing over what to do, and my general dissatisfaction with the state of the games industry in America (although I’m sure Japan and Europe are just as screwy), I’ve decided to switch gears and develop a children’s book.
And damn if it isn’t daunting. All the worst-case scenarios and fire and brimstone lectures from illustration curmudgeons have been coming back, and hitting hard. It’s so easy to get discouraged, and I haven’t even done anything yet! Just reading about the state of the overly saturated publishing industry sets my teeth on edge. Yeeee.
I’m enthusiastic mostly because of two things: I’ve rediscovered how much I missed drawing and reconstructing prehistoric creatures (I’ve been so out of the loop with paleontological discoveries in the past few years: I’m a bad nerd!); and two, I’ve rediscovered how much I missed watercolor. Coming from years of battling digital programs, it alarmed me how easy it was! Just slosh and slop and a painting is done. It’s hard to keep the images from getting to heavy.
I’m going to be sneaky about the details of my book for now, but I will leave you with some preliminary practice work I’ve been toying with to get me back in the groove. Here comes fun!
unfortunately, these things do happen. a few months ago, i was laid off from my job as a concept artist at a start-up video game studio here in the Bay Area, ending three years of work with no product to show for it, and nothing substantial to add to my resume. many friends of mine have been unemployed for a very long time now, and now i’ve joined them. it’s actually quite depressing, the layoff went down just in time for seasonal affective disorder to take hold.
the upside is that work that was being put off can be realized. so far this has limited itself to quick paint sketches, but i have plenty of bigger, more refined pieces coming down the pipeline, which i intend to print and send in for various art competitions. i am also making an endeavor to get back into traditional art, as was inspired by a trip to a sketch-night at a local gallery, where my work was very well received by enthusiastic art scenesters.
but until then, here is what i have so far.
Haibane Renmei is a short (13 episodes) anime series from the creator of Lain, and centers on a few girls living in an isolated village, who have awakened as angel-like creatures with no memory of their past lives. the plot is very slow and meandering, but the emotions that are kindled as the series progresses are searing. i found myself crying while watching the later episodes. i was especially struck by the character of Reki, the selfless caretaker of the group, and her emotional struggles – which of course resemble my own.
Greer Gilman’s Cloud and Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales is the best novel i have read in many years. the craft, the images, the themes, the sheer poetry of the three stories (two shorter ones to set the scene, and a long novella) has filled my mind with beautiful images for months now, but no real complete pieces have come out of it so far. the abstraction and ethereal tone is sometimes difficult to pin down in a precise image or character design, the prose is told as if through a haze of all the words that came before it. the experience of reading Cloud and Ashes is to be fully immersed in the present moment, being overwhelmed with the english language. sounds pretentious, but it’s true. of course it helps that the authoress is a lexicologist.
the plot circles in on the unassuming and reticent girl, Margaret, who was born and raised in the celestial plane of Law by her sinister grandmother, the goddess of the moon, Annis – but escapes. Margaret is the product of an incarnation of Annis’ daughter, Ashes, who came was stolen away to the earthly land of Cloud with a simple fiddler. her journey through Cloud to find her mother and escape the prying eyes and spies of her grandmother is a myth as rich and multilayered as any hero journey from the european tradition.
so far i am on my third reading of the book.
and finally, this piece is purely a personal work, inspired by a particularly distressing session at therapy. the emotional struggle that i have been going through lately, in attempting to reconcile and grieve for my past self, has been harrowing. this piece was done in the weeks leading up to a trip back home to stay with my family, and the anxiety and guilt that i felt was almost enough to make me back out of the whole thing. so this character, whom i named Turmoil, is the representation i have chosen of myself, when i am overwhelmed. i’m using a bit of overt symbolism, but the emotions elicited are what i am after. constriction, suspension, and the feeling of gasping in brackish water.
until next time,
well things have certainly been interesting, but i wanted to share with you all some commissioned work i did for some of the good folks at DeviantArt. it was pretty successful, and some of the pieces were fun to work on. maybe i’ll do another set soon!
overall the commission experience was kindof interesting, i’ve never coordinated something like this online before, and it was actually relatively quick and painless. all the people i worked for were quick to respond, inquisitive, honest, reasonable, and they liked the pieces that came out of it.
this is mostly, i figure, a product of doing art for people who are themselves artists. they know what to look for, know what to provide, and know where to let the person hired for the job go ahead and do their thing. i had all kinds of delays and crises throughout the process, but the clients who were delayed just sent me smilies and love. i wish “real” freelance jobs could be this fun!
until next time,
right now my boyfriend Mike and i are closing on a condo, so there’s been a hiatus on everything.
the interior design of the condo is gonna be awesome, though.
i have been perusing design blogs, buying books, and butchering french magazines for resources. there’s also a ton of great photography and prints for sale at deviantart to slog through, and ebay has been a good lesson that i should go check out some flea markets. yeeee expensive.
it’s been super inspiring, though, so much that i am entertaining the idea of taking some interior design/decoration classes. just gotta do the legwork. it’s pulled me out of my digital rut and even got me painting again!
i had forgotten how happy painting with traditional media made me. and to think i used to do it all day, every day, without thinking there was another approach.
going back to traditional has made me realize how much i ran on autopilot when i painted. i really didnt know anything about color, i just kind of winged it. as far as i was concerned, the drawing was the end result and the painting phase was just a nuisance. but now it is a serious struggle to keep a handle on the colors and values.
i have to let you know i basically consider the first painting to be a failure, hopefully i’ll be more acclimated on the next one.
it’s a series of nine as a personal contribution to our new place. 🙂 when i’m done i’ll throw up some pics. the renovations should be done about then. 😛
so here’s some things ive done lately:
the first self portrait ive done in yeaaaaaaaars.