My Youtube Addiction: Speed Painting

Every morning that I have a little time to enjoy my coffee, I prop open my laptop and pull up Youtube. Usually, my husband is still asleep so I don’t have to listen to him complain about the sound coming from my end of the house.

Growing up, I loved to draw. At first, I did little fashion sketches with the dream of becoming a fashion designer. Later on, I did more character sketches. I pulled people from my head and brought them to paper the best that I could. Through my high school and college years, my drawing filled the edges of my notebooks. It was a mechanism that helped me to better pay attention.

But, I never really took it seriously. Writing was my calling, I threw all of myself into and let the sketches become doodles. Now, I’m wishing that I’d kept up with it, that I’d learned more.

I don’t know if I’m telling myself I’d learn anything from watching these speed paintings or if I just long for the ability to do these things myself (without actually having to work at it, of course). But I let myself fall head long into binges.

Audra Auclair

Audra No FaceThere’s something creepily ethereal about all of Audra Auclair’s paintings that I absolutely love. The best part is that sometimes she takes on fandoms that I love as well. Someday, I want to frame all of her Ghibli paintings and hang them in my home.

Jacquelin Deleon

Jacqueline deleon

I love the graphic nature of her paintings, the heavy outline that makes them so striking. Jacquelin Deleon often paints otherworldly, tattooed women, goddesses, and mermaids. Her ability to create depth with vibrant watercolors makes me so jealous.

Victoria Gedvillas

Victoria

Going by the name of Juicy Ink on youtube, Victoria Gedvillas posts videos the most often, I think. She doesn’t actually paint that much, opting to use copic markers for all of her adorable character drawings. I’ve learned the power of the thumbnail sketch and color study by watching her videos. She loves to take on the coolest women in all of the fandoms, slowly dragging me deeper and deeper into her youtube channel.

Instead of watching these, I really should go upstairs and gather my sketchbooks and watercolors. Perhaps I’ll put these videos on in the background, their lovely music playing in the background.

Disclaimer: All rights to these photos belong to the artists who made them. I just wanted to give them all the shout out that they deserve because they’re all pretty awesome at what they do.

 

Let’s Get Serious About Creative Slumps

I think all bloggers, artists, writers and creators of any kind know what I’m talking about. And I’m lying at the very bottom of that nasty slump.

It’s something that happens for creatives when they stop creating. That voice in the back of their mind tells them that they just can’t do it anymore, that they were never very good at it anyway. We fall into this irritable depression that slaps a lot of gray over the world around you.

kiki

You know what the cure is. You know what could make everything better, even a little.

But you just can’t bring yourself to do it.

You can’t bring yourself to create.

My excuse is that I don’t have enough time. It’s an hour to work and an hour back and after driving on top of my shift, I’m beat. I don’t want to do what my mind is telling me is more work. I let myself get away with it by telling myself I’m not good enough anyway. It isn’t going to be the best seller that I want it to be.

I’m letting it affect other areas of my life, too.

And it has to end. In someways, writing this post is the first step back. I’m making something. I’m stringing together words in a way that no one else would. I can tell myself I’m not that awful at writing. I can tell myself that every first draft is shit.

The next step for me, I think, is painting. I truly, deeply love watercolor painting. I always wanted to be able to paint as a teen and if I’d discovered it then I might have gone to art school like I wanted. So, perhaps when this next paycheck rolls through I’ll go nuts at the craft store. I’ll pick up all the things I’ve seen the artists use in their tutorials.

And use them.

Just for the fun of it.

Eventually I need to get back on track with the book rolling around my head. I’m almost thinking that meditating on the setting and characters might bring each of them more fully to life for me so that writing them flows so much easier. Also, finding the right playlist helps bring emotions to the tips of my fingers while writing.

Moral of the story is when that creative slump hits you and tells you that you’re worthless or that you can’t do what you want, flip it the bird. Then, don’t do your art for profit (or dreams of making it big).

Do it for fun. Do it for you.

Then the beauty of it will come back, bit by bit. I know that any kind of creation can be tasking, but we all know that it’s worth it. That our souls we meant for it.

A Geek Girl’s Guide to the Art of Baking

Last time we spoke, I let you in on my little secret: that I’m a science geek, too.

Science is really important when baking. It gets you the form that you want. On the other hand, there is also an art to baking. Especially the kind of baking you’ll find on here. Of course, you might think of art as re-creating our favorite geeky icons, but there’s a bit more to it than just that.

Totally Not Me, But Totally Cool
Totally Not Me, But Totally Cool

Flavor. I mean, they can be pretty, but we also have to eat what we make in in the end.

Here’s where you can have fun. There’s a lot of ways to add flavor to something these days. There are extracts and concentrates for everything. You can use citrus zests, flavored liqeurs, jams and jellies, as well as anything else you could think of. Add them to your batters and dough. Add them to your icing. You can use only a single note, like plain vanilla, or you can play mix and match to create depth of flavor.

We all know some tried and true flavor combinations that no one should be afraid of. For example: Peanutbutter and Jelly (or Chocolate, duh), Chocolate and Coffee, Lemon and Raspberry. Honey and Lavender is delicious in bread. Sage and Blackberry is deceptively good in tea. Sage and Lemon, even, is good in a shortbread cookie. I had a friend single-handedly devour that batch when I made it. Even, bear with me, Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar is delicious. It so is.

Just make sure that when adding these flavors you account for any extra moisture or dryness in your recipe. Adding too much liquid flavoring can cause your batter to become too runny while a bevy of dry flavor can create something too crumbly. Finding the sweet spot is key in all things, right?

Once all is said and baked, then comes the art of decoration. As I displayed with my Sailor Moon cookies, I used wax paper to draw and cut out a template for my cookie shapes. This kept me from spending a lot on cookie cutter clutter. Feel free to print your desired shape off the internet and trace over it with the wax paper. Then you have a reference photo nearby when decorating!

For piped cookies, draw your templates directly onto the paper with enough space between each so that the cookies don’t touch each other while baking, but don’t cut it out. You can simply lay the (preferably) parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and pipe your cookies directly onto the paper before throwing the whole shebang into the oven. This works well with Macarons and Spritz cookies.

Later, once all is cool, you can use buttercream frosting, royal icing, sprinkles, edible glitter (yeah, that’s real), and fondant to make your cookies geeky and pretty. I saw a DIY where one baker used fondant to cut out and make her own Sailor Moon inspired sprinkles. With a few supplied from your craft shop we could do something cool like that, too!

All in all, have fun in the kitchen. There will be failures. It happens with any venture. Just be sure to laugh it off and try again. For Christmas, Mom and I (both seasoned bakers) left a pan of cookies in the oven for about an hour. We laughed, tossed them away, and went on with our baking. Shit happens.

 

An Artist’s Procrastination; Review of Classic Human Anatomy in Motion

Human anatomy

Classic Human Anatomy in Motion by Valerie Winslow is a such a fabulously made book. It looks as through it would stand the test of time after numerous pulls from the shelf and being half buried by art supplies. That being said, the book itself focuses intensely on the scientific aspect of the human body. I should have known from the title, but it is still a large info dump for someone with a short attention span such as myself. The book does break down each part of the body for the artist to study, but it also addresses movement as well with chapters on Rhythmic movement and Cyclic movement. I do enjoy the photo references and I have much to learn from this book. I enjoy the references that show part of the body and bone structure compared to something else that the eye easily recognizes, making the shapes easier to distill via pen or pencil.

I was really hoping to refine my drawing skills for future art if I really wanted to pursue tattooing but found this book extremely daunting when I opened it. Without an active voice or guidance, such as with a class, I keep closing the book and pushing it away because I’m unable to absorb any of it. Did you ever want something really bad, but the fear of being simply mediocre kept you from trying harder?
I look at Classic Human Anatomy in Motion and think that this is such a great resource to have on hand. I even told myself I’d dedicate a day to just drawing, but the fear sits there under the surface. It tells me I can’t conquer this. This book will take me a long time to get through entirely, but the knowledge of basic human anatomy in gesture drawing is invaluable once I defeat my fear of inadequacy.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in return for an honest review of the book.

Is Every Artist a Master Procrastinator?

I know. I know.
I’ve been away for quite a while now. That hasn’t stopped people from stopping by, though and I’m truly thankful for that. A lot has been going down irl and I totally let a lot of things fall by the wayside, including this blog and Nanowrimo.
Letting go of my Nanowrimo goal was one of the most disappointing things I had to do. This is the first year since I’ve started that I didn’t even get close to finishing. Instead, I devoured Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and fell head over heels in love with Scotland and, of course, Jaime Fraser.
While I wasn’t writing, I decided to start honing my art skills because the time I had spent in tattoo parlors a few months ago felt like home. I’ve always had an obsession with tattoos, starting as a child when I saw my brightly inked aunt and uncle from California. It wasn’t until I turned 22 that I mustered the courage to brave my first tattoo. Now, I envision myself in my home town, happy to go to work everyday because I’m surrounded by art.
So, while my world is still crumbling around me I’m devouring new books every few days, like Jaqueline Carey’s Autumn Bones, and filling my sketchbooks with nerdy sketches and doodles so that I can shape a future for myself. I might not be posting as much, and my subjects might be more on the side of art, but I’m thinking I’m back.