New Years is my favorite. I would say this one looks the most different but I haven’t ever prioritized staying up until “the ball drops” as much as I have always prioritized reflection, which I have spent lots of time doing the last few days.
And today when I was bored at work I put this together!
Enjoy the visual walk down memory lane.
I think it’s definitely a bit easier to put this together since my blog has been up for almost an entire decade haha.
So these days my husband follows a lot of trendy anime artists on Instagram and he kept mentioning how people were doing the 10 year challenge to finish out the decade.
I do comparison photos a lot but I decided I had so much new art technology I would try my hand at using one of my new devices.
My husband got me an enormous 22in XP-Pen 22E Pro tablet for Christmas and I tried for a while to use that but at the moment the sheer size of it is too overwhelming for me to try a specific drawing on it before I get used to navigating one end of the other, and its 16 hot keys I haven’t really set or gotten familiar with.
So I ended up going to my senior year manga, Farewell Fairytale, and realized immediately I wanted to do this garish drawing of Elodie and Micah. They were my weird mid-20s engaged couple who were weirdly chaste and half their humor was accidentally being intimate even though they were ~*~*~*~*saving themselves for marriage~*~*~*~*~
So after a few attempts to do a half-kiss like usual I realized I wanted to express them as a couple as they WOULD be a “decade” later (of course not really aging them intentionally, and definitely avoiding Micah’s creepy goatee), as I know love and commitment to be now…hanging out in your pajamas, sipping wine in the dark after a long day and making each other laugh in your home, where you’re the most at ease.
I ended up using the iPad because I kept thinking of its glowy brushes and the “street lights” effect that I wanted. The original drawing was used in a website layout with some oldschool Search the City lyrics
Streetlights carry me home tonight
So that kind of inspired the new urban vibe. I got to do a few nods to the original characters. Elodie has a wolf tattoo because of Fyodor. The original drawing is on their phone screen like a Facebook “10 years ago…” and the neon light on their wall is an umbrella since I couldn’t work that ugly thing into the redo, haha.
Okay so on Black Friday this year I convinced my mom to buy me a discounted iPad on Amazon like a true American consumer. But it hasn’t been hugely surprising that I finally seized the opportunity to get one after I hard debated Apple products before deciding on this two-in-one. Also, the allure of adapting to the changing face of digital art was very very strong.
So, without further ado I now present to you my various Apple Pencil ProCreate doodles. Gag, so many mainstream products in that sentence.
Ok so this week we’ve had a new nanny working with Ronan and it’s been REALLY emotional not only because I’m PMSing and it’s making me hella anxious, but because the prospect of choosing someone to be in my life and my husband’s life and most importantly my son’s life when I can’t be is INSANELY daunting.
So I set about on the task of depicting the strong protectiveness I felt (when I saw her tumble down the stairs accidentally while holding my child…oof) and then when I left her in my house to take care of my child. It’s not the same soft affection of kissing Ronan’s forehead when he sleeps, it’s fierce, overwhelming, and sometimes accompanied by frustrating helplessness.
Another big piece, this came up a bit out of nowhere. One of the ladies I follow on Instagram makes merchandise revolving around tough, alternative mamas. And after my first round of holiday gettogethers with Ronan around, I realized how just, primitively protective I am of my little prince. Between that and the wolf theme of the Instagram mama I follow, I hatched a Wolf Mama drawing of me and Ronan. My husband said the furries of the internet would love me for this. That makes me sad.
Regardless here we are, me with my scars and stretch marks and Ronan with his fingers in his mouth and a handful of my hair as he tends to be these days.
I also got an iPad as an early Christmas present from my parents and have been slowly getting familiar with the all-famous ProCreate. But my caseless, fragile, slippery iPad isn’t quite the baby-friendly mobile drawing station I expected yet, so it’s gotta wait till my case comes this weekend before I can really integrate it into my baby time. Here’s the picture I did first on it. My mom said Ronan’s eyes creep her out but I think that’s a personal problem.
The Pencil definitely has enviable brush stabilizing that I would never want my Wacom to have, so that’s a game changer for incorporating text into my work. ProCreate also very obviously works for graphic and illustration work in a way that Clip Paint Pro doesn’t and I also wouldn’t want it to. So so far my conclusion is that the iPad will work for the style of graphic, marketable work I want it to, but it’s not necessarily the same sketching, brainstorming, feeling, serious illustration platform that I didn’t want it to be. That is, my Wacom and my desktop art station will not become obsolete because of the iPad.
I have been mostly focused on video games and cuddling my son in the last few weeks and days of my maternity leave. I go back to work the day after tomorrow. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’ve been home for 2 and a half months with my lil guy. I also can’t believe how painful the thought of leaving him is.
When my husband and I were talking about the announcement of Diablo IV, we were saying how we’d have to train Ronan into being a class that neither of us want to be. Ryan then described a drawing I could do of the three of us in our classes with Ronan as a little head on one of our backs.
Over this last week I ended up putting WAY more work into this than I could have expected, especially since Ronan was super clingy a few days this week and I could only work like 10 minutes at a time before he’d be like “no you’re too distracted cuddle me harder”
I made a point in the drawing especially since I play as a barbarian-type “fuck em up” class to include my scars. One of my laparoscopy scars ended up being the spot for some of my only new stretch marks and they made a cool little lightning bolt. And my huge-ass c-section scar is pretty symbolic to me ultimately.
Also I figured since I didn’t need to showcase my post-breastfeeding small boobs I’d showcase Dat Booty.
Anyway, who knows what’s gonna happen to my art productivity once I go back to work and also have a child to take all my attention when I’m not there!
As I slid my hand around my newborn’s back and settled into bed with him, I realized I never expected to be this kind of mom.
Especially in these early weeks I thought about what I was feeling and deciding about my child and felt like a psychologist, clinical, calculating, and insensitive. Except all of those early child psychologists were men, who weren’t affected by the same rush of hormones as a mother is, who aren’t evolutionarily primed to know their child is sleeping next to them, regulating their breathing and body temperature and feeling secure just by the smell of me.
It’s raised the question a few times in my head about what kind of mother I think like as opposed to what kind of mother I feel like. A lot of my feelings are instincts, intuition, and hormones. My husband has admitted a few times he doesn’t feel connected to our mewling newborn the same way as me, and for someone as clinical and masculine in her thoughts as I am, this has been a remarkable identity transformation.
For me, too, I’m bombarded by sappy mom posts about how overwhelmed with love moms feel for their babies – which is true; I’m confounded by how strongly I feel for Ronan, and the rush of affection I feel when I squeeze his warm squishy body against myself. But for me, the love is honestly aggressive, assaultive, truly hearkening to the “Mama Bear” identity more than anything. Mess with my cub and I’ll rip you apart.
There’s also the fact that as I’m moving through this postpartum period, the hormones are starting to ebb and thus affect my creativity a bit less. I’ve always known the PMS-y hormones make me ultra creative, and giving birth to a baby is truly the ultimate culmination of a rush of female hormones. So I was explosively creative despite my deep and confusing hormonal distress. And now as my body is slowly returning to normal (a new, cyst-free normal), my creative levels are returning to normal as well, and admittedly I feel like I’ve dried up a bit. I don’t ever force myself to create, so I went from making two or three sketches today, baby aside, to knowing I’d rather read a book or play the Untitled Goose Game.
I really will have to redefine normal for myself though, and that’s before I even go back to school in 2 months. Eep.
Yesterday when I was going to lunch with my husband and baby I realized I hadn’t formally introduced my child to my OC boys. I told Ryan I had to make a drawing with the three boys meeting Ronan and Ryan seemed confused and indifferent. Until I started this drawing. Then he told me yesterday night that he felt a little jealous that I had myself drawn with our baby and three guys (my “waifus” he called them. Only Micah was my waifu though…but I didn’t correct him) and he was like “boys get out of here” and then admitted with annoyance that I’ve technically known them longer than him.
I told him unfortunately for him it was delightful to be having a conversation like that with my awesome nerdy husband, who the day before had harshly judged me for telling him that I’d had Yu-Gi-Oh fanart at the library we were driving past when I was a kid.
THAT STARTED MY LIFE AS I KNOW IT OKAY
Anyway, I did the above drawing pretty easily yesterday and slapped some color on it today. I must say I have hit a new level with skin shading and I’m really happy about it. I probably credit Dumping a Dragon for that and for pushing my digital coloring to new heights, but that was a whole year ago now that I was working on DaD according to my Timehop.
Finally when I was working on the picture of my guys meeting my baby I kept thinking of this picture of them.
Based on the jacket I’m wearing this one was from my junior year of high school, so 10 years ago.
The funny history of it is drawing them when I’m 28 and a mother with a husband who in certain lights definitely does look like he could have evolved from Myoku. 🙂
My first alcoholic beverage during daylight (a cider) and I spill it on my nice green keyboard. Nice one Mary.
Anyway, here is some doodling I’ve been doing since Ronan came. Honestly I have a lot more free time than I did when I was working right now. Newborns just sleep, pee/poop, eat, repeat. And my husband is home still for another week too so we just trade off doing whatever we want and holding our calm happy sleeping (attitudey) baby.
In the mornings I get up early, get him dressed, and sit him at my desk with me. I sing terrible 2000s punk rock to him (FOB) and don’t feel sorry for it while I do art on my tablet.
A few mornings ago I finally painted my baby. I think it turned out to be a pretty good likeness of him. He’s the cutest baby in the world fight me.