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On resolutions January 11, 2019

Posted by thejinx in art, life.
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newyears2019When I was younger, I wasn’t crazy about New Year’s. (Admittedly, I didn’t get invited to many parties.) These days, however, I like the spirit of renewal. A blank slate. Casting off the wearied remnants of the old year and looking toward the bright potential of the future.

Yes, it’s an arbitrary date and people shouldn’t need an excuse to improve themselves. But it’s a landmark. A reminder, when we’re so often swept up in the chaos of our daily lives, that we should constantly be trying to better ourselves.

And now, in the Information Age, it’s easier than ever to do. Free apps can teach you a new language, how to play an instrument, how to draw and meditate and all sorts of things. YouTube videos can show you how to make or do almost anything. There’s a mountain of free ebooks and online courses out there that can help you master a new skill or subject. Most of these options are even broken down into chunks that only require a few minutes a day. There’s no excuse not to attempt any pursuit one might desire.

I don’t tend to make resolutions. I made an exception with my Goodreads reading challenge for 2019, and I’ll admit I like the push it gives me. Otherwise, however, I don’t want to pressure myself. I prefer goals. Google Fit keeps trying to get me to lower my fitness goals, make them more consistently attainable for me. But I’m not out to check boxes off every day. I want to strive for those goals. I won’t beat myself up if I don’t make them, but I’ll allow myself to feel good if I do.

I don’t have a lot of goals for 2019. I already started trying to exercise regularly a few months ago, and last year I made some changes to my health that significantly improved my overall quality of life. I want to read more, of course. I do want to try to get the second Sisters of Chaos book out this year. Editing continues to be a slog, but I’m using the spirit of improvement the new year provides to try to push myself to at least continue working on it.

Of course, with all these options for personal improvement out there, it’s hard not to get swept up in the different things one can learn or do. I look at the guitar(s) in my bedroom and think about the apps I’ve looked at to try to start playing again. I watch my daughter using new art supplies and think about breaking out some of my own that I haven’t touched for years. I even downloaded one of those language learning apps on a whim last night.

Is it too much? Maybe. Do I have too little time to explore all these interests? Maybe not, at least based on the apps I’ve seen. Will I lose interest before the month’s out? Possibly. But these options are better than just sitting around playing a silly mobile game or watching cat videos on YouTube, which I tend to do more often in my free time because it’s easier than doing anything that can be judged. Maybe my true resolution should be to stop being intimidated by starting anything.

The key to a good new year is not merely hoping or wishing that it will be better. Now’s the time to start making things happen.

Here’s to a great 2019.

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The year of trying more? Oil pastels, 2.5″ x 3.5″

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New art: Garrick July 17, 2018

Posted by thejinx in art, enduring chaos.
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Awfully late with this one, but I wanted to share this fantastic drawing of Garrick from Enduring Chaos by Stephen Peterson of TriCity Studios!

New art: Thunder Vale Huntress June 8, 2018

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On the topic of badly delayed posts, it’s time I shared some art I did only a full month ago. For Christmas, we got ourselves a box set of Super Dungeon Explore. As soon as I saw the Thunder Vale Huntress figure, I wanted to paint her.

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However, I wasn’t crazy about her in-game colour scheme.

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I saw her differently, so I decided to paint her my own way.

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Then, for some reason, the night I finished painting her, I was overcome with a desire to draw her as well. My muse, ADHD as it is, decided to devote my weekend to it. Not only that, but I broke out art supplies I haven’t touched in years, such as my 11″ x 14″ Bristol board (now possibly my favourite paper for markers, which I hadn’t tried before) and the brush pen I had yet to seriously try. I even went and attempted some serious comic inking, as well as more detailed horse anatomy than I’ve ever tried drawing before.

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Admittedly, I am pretty happy with this drawing (even if most of my shading on the horse body disappeared when I added the brown). I just wish my muse would get this excited about the projects I’m actually supposed to be working on.

Mistakes January 21, 2017

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I have a problem with perfectionism. Not with other people’s work, just my own. It causes a lot of stress and impedes my work, and it impacts everything I do. Chopping vegetables. Parking the car. Doing my daughter’s hair. And, of course, it greatly impacts my creative endeavours.

So, in an effort to fight my perfectionism, I challenged myself this week to do some art entirely in pen – no underlying pencil sketch, thumbnailing, studies, or other preparatory work allowed. And in an additional effort to embrace those mistakes, I’m sharing what I drew this week just as it is, no image manipulation involved.

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New art: Breezin’ July 13, 2016

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afro

The best I can do January 19, 2016

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I draw for fun.

That’s the long and short of it. I may get frustrated with it, I may make pieces with the express interest of selling them, but I come back to art time and again because I enjoy it. And these days, I draw almost exclusively for fun of the craft itself.

Lately, that means a lot of unfinished pictures. Admittedly, time and other priorities are a huge part of it, but mainly, I just don’t get taken with the sketches I do enough to see them through to completion. It’s a lot of work – to the tune of up to 20 hours on a single piece.

To an extent, it has always been this way. I have drawings I have yet to finish, and still really want to, that are ten years old, or older still. Life just gets in the way, and I never get around to coming back to it. At least, I haven’t yet – I still hold out hope that I will some day.

As a result, I rarely end up finishing a picture that is the best I can do. Even when I have a very important piece of art to do or one that I really want to make look good – or both – time or interest run out, and I just focus on getting it to a point that I can call it finished, even if I could make it better. I still might be very pleased with my work, and I certainly don’t go back to work on it later, but I take shortcuts or I accept something a little (artistically) messier for the sake of getting it done.

Currently, I am working on a drawing in which that is not the case. It was a fairly quick idea, not necessarily the picture I wanted to try so hard on. And admittedly, this picture is on a schedule that might run out on me. But I wrote last year about how I am pleased with my art, and this drawing especially so. I am trying some new things that so far are working out very well, and time and interest are both there for now.

The drawing is still early in its creation, despite having put 5-6 hours in already, as the lineart isn’t even done yet. I don’t feel like showing anything off yet, but I am planning a step by step post for after it is finished. It might be a while yet – the deadline is a while off still – and I apologize for that.

But of course, I’m only really doing this drawing for me.

Changes January 23, 2015

Posted by thejinx in art, enduring chaos.
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I finished a new drawing last night, my first in over six months:

Sketch22420045It is a simple picture, in many respects, but this drawing is very important to me. Not because of the content, but because of the way it made me feel.

Because I enjoyed working on it. I enjoyed every step of the process – building up the sketch, designing the outfit, finding reference images for things like the hairstyle and anatomy, even learning to work around the limitations of the app I used, as I drew this from start to finish on my tablet. Intimidation reared its head and made it hard to get started at times, but I never had to force myself to work on it or felt discouraged that something wasn’t working and wanted to give up.

I don’t know why or how this changed, but this is a big deal for me, and it led to an even bigger revelation:

I feel good about my art.

I don’t care that it isn’t as good as the artists I follow. I don’t care that there are a lot of things I can’t or at least don’t know how to draw. I don’t care that after so many years I am still learning how to draw faces. I looked through my online gallery last night, both the drawings that kind of make me want to delete almost my entire gallery and the ones I still like, and it just made me want to draw more. For the first time in at least ten years, flaws aren’t the only thing I see, and I’m revelling in the act of creating, itself.

Now if only I had more time to draw.

June update June 2, 2014

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Summer is filling up fast and I am looking forward to getting out to many events this season with my books. Before I get to that, though, I’d like to share a gorgeous portrait of Damian, the star of Enduring Chaos, drawn by the very talented Chris Babarik:

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Huge thanks to Chris for such a lovely drawing.

And now, my schedule for the next few months (so far):

Hope to see you at one of these events this summer/fall.

Also, I’ll let you guys in on a secret – the trailer for Enduring Chaos that so many of you so generously contributed to help make a reality? It’s finally going to be released within the week. Stay tuned.

New art – Damian/Frozen March 21, 2014

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damian-frozen

Joke picture. This is Damian, star of my latest novel Enduring Chaos, which was released last fall. She is a young woman with a strange and unique power which she cannot control, exacerbated when she is upset, and for which she is shunned by others. Hence, a little wardrobe change for kicks. Costume design courtesy Disney.

Micro art May 2, 2013

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Alas, I still have done little art of late – hardly any, in fact. But the art bug has bitten me recently, and I have done a few things on a smaller scale.

For one thing, I’ve been playing a lot of Draw Something. And while most of my drawings there are stick figures, occasionally I get the urge to create something a little more advanced. So, here is a compilation of some of my better turns:

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(My personal favourite may be the pancakes.)

I also recently discovered a painting app for Android called Fresco, and while I haven’t even taken much time with it lately, I have done a little playing around with it:

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These were both done on a 4.2″ screen using a dollar store stylus. The first was done in about an hour, the second in about twenty minutes. This is art for me these days.

Is more coming? Hard to say. I’m still feeling inspired at the moment, but as was proven to me once again, I get a little too absorbed in making art to do any while watching a little one. We shall see.