Art!, Redefining Evil, Sun-Walking

only sketches to show

Getting texts from Kyra at various points in the story while she was reading Sun-Walking made me more sentimental about Lucy. So I drew her post-story with tattoos and scars on her legs. … Yay?

Weird fluffy Ingrid.

This has been a somewhat discouraging last few months for my art. Really, since my art show, I haven’t produced much of anything unless it was a sketch for a student or a birthday card or a mindless doodle. Mostly, I do blame the fact that I work 47 hours a week and I have consequently lacked the time and energy to really dig into a creative project.

But another somewhat stranger thing that I have realized is that many of my most prolific periods have correlated to…uh…well, loneliness. During the height of summer when I’ve been home alone all day, or during semesters where my life revolved around going to class and going home at night. Where I wanted to write the perfect relationships because I didn’t know where they were in my life and I desperately needed them anyway.

All my major projects have reflected upon something I’ve experienced. I wrote Nikkei about my favorite cat, and about all my inside jokes, and all the manga I devoured. I wrote Rebels because I wanted a team, allies. Redefining Evil meant to unite my faith journey and my occult interests. Cadence was a coming of age story about a girl who decides to choose the right path rather than the one she wanted, only to find that they were one in the same. Farewell, Fairytale exposed to me my secret romantic that was hiding beneath the implausibilities in romance. Catcher did the same, poking myself into acknowledging that I could never be as cold as I acted. Sun-Walking declared that I didn’t think romance and independence were mutually exclusive. And Unface, which was the last original idea I completed, was my way of telling myself that some things are meant to end.

And I guess the thing is that I haven’t really had the time to think about where I am now. For the first time in my life, I’m not a student. I haven’t even had the time to think about that because my life transitioned so easily from learning to teaching. More than that, my life has somewhat smoothly transitioned from being alone to feeling like I have someone.

I was really hoping to plunge back into my make-believe worlds in this week off but I’m finding I don’t even really know where to start. I had a sizable start on Stealing from Raquildis but there are two problems. First, every time I open up that last WIP page, I just stare at it, scribble a few lines, and then lose interest. Secondly, my poor computer is beginning to putter out and opening such a massive file creates massive and heartbreaking lag on my computer. I’m not sure I’ve got the patience to wait forever for one damn line to render.

So the only open projects I have are Time-Painting, which actually seems pretty dull now despite my stellar crew of Andrew/Micah/Ingrid, and the rewrite of Redefining Evil. I told my dad that like the story would most likely benefit from as many changes as I’d think about doing, but that changing the shit out of it kind of makes me feel like I’m insulting the work that’s gone into the story. And I got a little stuck in Ingrid’s narrative. Also, dealing with the supernatural/spiritual aspect of the story is difficult. I don’t necessarily believe in the same elements that I charged into the last draft of the story and it’s harder to include the details that I did, yet leaving them out has actually made it feel flatter in places. That should probably be my way of knowing that I shouldn’t work on it right now, but it’s definitely my go-to project and doing that is considerably easier than starting a story from scratch. ARGH!

Weird sexy sex Ingrid. I love the poppiness of this though.

I just did this a few days ago and I love it. I can’t commit as easily to a sketchy digital piece as I did to this and it ended up drawing from Degas and I love the color scheme. It feels slightly unfinished but I don’t know what to add to it.

Oh and here’s some emo crap that I did when I was super stressed out a few weekends ago. I changed the Chevelle lyrics because “scene” didn’t fit but “mess” did.

Some more lyrics I decided to work on for an inordinately long time because typography sucks.
be still my soul

Art!, Comics, Emotional Breakdowns, Manga

come together, come apart

come apart

New coloring format, yeyyyyy. I don’t know why I suddenly wanted to do the colors this way – I was in the middle of trying to be productive on Stealing from Raquildis after sitting on the same panel for a week, and then I realized I just really wanted to do a standalone photo. And, as always during times of soul-searching, I only really wanted to draw Micah. With Fall Out Boy lyrics. Because this is my life. I was going to put the lyrics on the photo until I realized that it didn’t make it any stronger. Holy wow I love black lineart.

Art!, Emotional Breakdowns, Original Characters, Redefining Evil

oh, baby you’re a classic


So I accepted some time ago that Micah represents myself in male form so that nobody’s been able to accuse me of overusing my “Mary Sue” (as Margaret daintily put it…to my chagrin), but recently I have begun to acknowledge that Ingrid/Sophie is my female representation of self…but only when she’s black? Not sure what this means, but I kinda like it I think.

Anyway, I LOVE DRAWING LIKE THIS. I did a really clean sketch and then painted under it in CS5. I tried some light vector shading, staying in a tight color palette to avoid becoming garish. I LOVE TIGHT COLOR PALETTES but so far I haven’t done anything except browns, haha. I don’t really like Micah’s lips but I couldn’t give Ingrid full lips and then keep to my lipless stylized style for him.

Art!, Emotional Breakdowns

too close for me, too distant for them

This weekend, I had my first experience with attempting to market my art. I was a participant in the Skyline Art Crawl. When I first eagerly and naively agreed to give it a shot – and when I was then admitted as an artist and signed my name in $70 blood – I had no idea about the amount of money, time, and emotion that was going to go into this.

As I realized that I had to come up with an affordable and professional way to display my art, and to pay for the means to make my existing art ready to purchase, I started lowering my expectations for what the show would be like. skyline I did this as a means for protecting myself and my relationship to my art, because I was afraid that if I thought everyone would love me then having an average time would damage my relationship with my art. I think that was the best decision I made.

Facing a commercial audience of strangers with wildly varying levels of interest in my (or anyone’s) art was a challenge. Having people express interest in someone else’s art while seeing mine and not connecting with it was like having a child whose friends all win awards that your own child doesn’t get. It was just kind of ridiculous jealousy. Like, one artist, my neighbor all weekend, did phenomenal artwork with gun powder that nobody knew was possible. She deserved sales and attention. She was a sweetheart, personable and friendly and warm. But my yearning for the same sort of attention never went away.

At the same time (I typed “bed” the first time, clearly I am ready for bed) I made a lot of great connections with a lot of the artists there. And I have never felt closer to my work, or taken more ownership of it. I also decided what directions I do want to go, and which directions I absolutely do not want to go. I know that I have absolutely no interest in doing anything “commercial” with my art. I will continue to draw the things that I want to draw, for my own health and happiness. I was told by a few people what I “should” draw and nothing makes me want to draw something less than unsolicited advice. I make art because art moves me, and I refuse to allow that to ever change. If that means I will never work on commission, fine. If that means that my art will never make more than a couple hundred bucks, I will not lose any sleep over that. My art will change as I change, and it will grow as I learn and experiment. I am not the same artist I was seven years ago, or last year, and I will not be the same artist next year, or ten years from now.

The difficult part about putting all my work on display relates to the amount of passion and “self” that I put into my work. This definitely ties into having no desire to go commercial with my work. And, you know, dropping my art major to a minor, haha. I’ve always resisted being told what to do with my work, no matter who tries to tell me. And like, this is a little unrelated but I don’t want to forget to write it, even some other artists there agreed that some of the people who came through the crawl were “kind of cheap” and didn’t want to spend money on anybody. One lady told me she thought that was a Minnesota thing, to be reserved with your money – and she was from L.A., so I suppose she knows.

purple rain
This was when I was pretty calm in the afternoon with Brooke there, and I had had a number of good sales and good conversation with people that cared about me. I did a silver umbrella underneath, which I then covered up, so the whole thing has a lovely rich silver sparkle. The magenta was colored over white, so it’s lovely and opaque.

So not only did this match the tablecloth that I had on my table PERFECTLY (which was creepy – I realized this AFTER doing it), Margaret told me it looked like an octopus, which I would have gotten from my neighbor’s octopus drawing haha. I tried to go really slow with this because I needed something besides the crawl to focus on, because it was really stressing me out in a number of instances. So I worked with a brush (weird) and left those light half-circles as negative space, which was a lot of fun to do. One older guy watched me start this and stood over me for a good five minutes just watching me, and it was great because he was silent and I was silent. Then he came back about a half hour later with his wife and he was like “Oh 🙂 It’s really coming along!”

This weekend, I agreed to be a live demonstrator and work on my artwork while the crawl was going on. This ended up allowing me to channel my admittedly tumultuous emotions into artwork. This is always how I work – I told one of my coworkers that stopped by that I could tell you every emotion and consequentially each event that occurred and led to each of the pieces I was selling.
With this particular piece, I was deliberately trying to speak to myself through my work. The words are pretty transparent in that I was really struggling with worrying about how I was doing when I knew that the crawl was going as I expected it to, if not better considering that I almost broke even and made money when I went in knowing full well that there was a chance I could make nothing.

I feel a stronger connection to my art now, and I feel even more driven to keep searching for the places where my art fits. I made some really special sales to three different strangers who really connected with my art. Two of these strangers fell in love with the same piece, “Breathe In.” The original was priced at a heartbreaking $200. I never felt worse about my prices than when someone passionately wanted that picture and couldn’t afford it. Both these strangers came back over and over again looking at the prints. I ended up dropping the prices for both of them, and I feel absolutely no guilt for doing so, no matter what any wise and experienced art seller would ever try to tell me. One of my buyers was a precious thirteen-year-old girl. She borrowed money from her aunt and uncle, who both said they know that of any of their nieces she was most likely to pay them back. She wanted my print so desperately that she asked for money for it. I know how hard that is, though it was probably easier at her age than it is now. I asked her how easy it would have been for her to get a frame for it, and when she hesitated, I pulled down the original “Breathe In” and swapped in the print into the frame for her. Later on, her aunt came by with the emerging artist and told me how starstruck that thirteen-year-old was by my kindness and by that silly piece. The other instance with “Breathe In” was pretty similar. It was a woman who came with her young son and her teenage (niece?) and also came back multiple times to look at “Breathe In.” I gave her an 8×10 print for $10 though it began at $45, and again, I have no regrets. I told her that I wanted people to have my art who passionately wanted it. If this is how I always sell my work from now on, I will never be unhappy about it. The last stranger who bought something bought something after standing with me for at least 15 minutes. She wanted to know the history behind every single piece I was selling. She fell in love with my digital work – she was the first person to make me feel like my digital work can be valued, too. She was an empathetic listener, which I rarely run into.

And now the movie I’m watching is almost over, and it’s about time to crawl into bed and black out for the night. Here’s to finding myself in my art all over again, and making a little bit of money and a lot of wonderful memories of passionate people.

Art!, Redefining Evil

Fall Cast


So working on this piece got my extremely sentimental and nostalgic. Missy Higgins’ song “Warm Whispers” made it worse. Any time I am in between creative projects (not that my art crawl isn’t taking up ALL of my energy), it’s always this cast that I come back to. And I got sad, too, thinking about how this picture would have to be set in some alternate timeline when Danny doesn’t get brutally slaughtered at the end of the story. ;_; But it’s so richly autumn because my family was talking about apple orchards today and the weather this weekend has been cold and sunny, which is perfect.

I thought I had more to say about this, but all I’ve been thinking is that maybe I should rewrite “The Terror of Night” from scratch so I can really, really eliminate all the remaining awkwardness. But I always feel compelled to rewrite precious projects when I’m not working on anything else, so I don’t know how seriously to take myself, haha.

Oh and Sotoka is the scarecrow in the background hehehe.

Art!, Writing Journey, Writing!


Though I’ve been doing more reading than art in the past few days (I just finished “Mansfield Park” and am now swooping in on both a Patricia McKillip novel “Ombria in Shadow” and a Patricia C. Wrede novel “A Matter of Magic”, all great female authors with great female-focused casts, although Fanny would have made me puke if she had that personality now), I went and bought myself a dozen canvases (always feels like that word should be “canvasi”) and so I’ve been experimenting more and more with ink on canvas. The only downside to ink on canvas is that the canvas soaks up a lot of the pigment. I did this huge 16×20 canvas and finished off 3 bottles of ink (though they were mostly empty). So these smaller ones make me feel less guilty for smearing deep dark pools of ink on canvas. God I love messy loose art.

So here’s that huge one I mentioned. I did it a week or so ago so I’ve already raved about it here or there, but every time I look at it (it’s sitting on my desk) I still feel a little swell of affection for it.
And though Margaret said it brought to mind a Sara Bareilles song, which is fine, I actually resisted the impulse to quote a whole Chevelle line, “So be brave/reshape/create/reclaim” because I EFFING LOVE THAT LINE AND HIS VOICE AND UNF. I always wanna use Chevelle lyrics everywhere (at least the few lines that make sense). But it totally fits the wild style of this painting, which dyed my hands and nails indigo for 3 days.

Believe it or not, I set out with this painting to make myself a “fashionable girl” picture where I’d get to flex my muscles making a stylish outfit for some made-up two-dimensional girl. But as usual my work gets much creepier than that very quickly. I still love her great hair and though I honestly was going for, like, a face, this is much more interesting.

SOOOOO when it hits me, it’s unstoppable, and I LOVE how this turned out! (I just finished it 15 minutes ago) I really wanted to try my new acrylic-based ink (stanks like hell and isn’t as nice as it looks like it should be) and that’s pretty much the only reason I went for a faintly pee-like streaky yellow background. I’m not perfectly happy with how the background came out, especially compared to the cloudy blue beauty in the piece above this one. But then I let it dry for a bit and dove into the lineart and forgot about my mediocre background. BECAUSE QUILLS WORK WOOOO. So I’d been wondering about this since I bought my store of canvas, because honestly drawing with a quill is totally my favorite way to get sharp, loose, dark lines, but I figured it’d catch on the canvas or be too narrow to put down any pigment. WRONG AND WRONG! I’m less at risk to rip canvas than paper, and as long as I’m not drawing on wet canvas, the lines go down like silk. Then on canvas there’s the added benefit of being able to daub SUPER RICH spots of pigment onto the canvas, and also create very thin, blotted washes. So if it’s not clear, OMG I LOVE INK ON CANVAS
And then that last piece (I call her Ingrid) inspired me to try real figure drawings again. Looking at her I thought she kind of looked like she was leaning into a conversation, so at first I was going to make a second panel in yellow, in the same dropper style. But then, I don’t know, BAM? I decided to do Andrew and Micah “exchanging secrets” which of course means Andrew’s duping Micah, what else is new. And then everything fell immediately into place and, barring tiny details, turned out exactly how I meant for it to. And in this case, this piece is actually stronger in the flesh than scanned, as you really get the impression of the two interacting canvases (canvasi) when you see it. I’m going to try more pieces like this, especially figures with the watercolory pigmenting contrasting with the strong blots and lines. YEAH ART
*edit* I just fixed the strongly pee-yellow background but it’s still super wet so I’m just gonna let it dry and then maybe scan the whole thing (rather than photographing it with my iPhone) and post an update with it later!
*edit* Yeeeeeeeahhhhhhhhhhh

Oh and finally, when I was putsing for the second week on the same page of “Cadence” it struck me that I was always at liberty to start a brand new graphic novel, just as easily as I could start a new novel or short story. So I went to work plotting out what kind of story I wanted, etc., etc., and just as soon as I got to the point of thumbnailing pages I realized that I’m kind of horrible at layouts and that was heavily discouraging. Not knowing if the story would even work out seemed like a hefty gamble when considering that I’d push myself into a graphic novel and take lots and lots of time on each phase. So I guess I kind of chickened out. I just don’t know if I’m patient or deliberating enough for graphic novels, not like the quality demands. I mean three years on Sun-Walking was enormous to me, and I don’t expect to have another writing project to work on for that long for a while. I’m too fickle and I seek resolution too quickly with my creative endeavors to feel like committing even to a short story graphic novel (~80 pages I would guess) is worth it. That being said, I started my story idea as a short story and I’m still struggling with it. But if I do finish it, and I do end up thinking it’s got potential for becoming totally visual, then I will try it out. In a way, I see this as an opportunity to do a mean pre-write for the graphic novel, and at the same time maximize the format capabilities for the story.

Anyway, here are the two characters who would pretty much make up the whole cast. Raquildis Spencer is new; she came out of liking the idea of Ingrid being black in my efforts towards “Time-Painters.” She kinda ended up resembling Zoe Washburn as soon as I decided to make her face narrow rather than wide in order to offset Micah’s round face. I still haven’t decided what to call Micah, or if it will even really be him in the story form, but as usual I love writing him and he’s hard to resist.

The story’s called “Stealing from Raquildis.” Raquildis is a witch who makes potions on commission out of combinations like toothpaste and memories or dog urine and fears. Micah is a dirt-poor elementary school teacher whose desperation makes a thief out of him. But when he falls into the library of a witch, Raquildis takes him captive as she likes to keep a low profile and can’t have him blabbing about all the magical oddities in her house. She intends to make a memory potion to take away his memories of her house…but complications ensue.

Emotional Breakdowns, Writing Journey, Writing!

And Dad Told Me, “Move On”

When you take something you believe in, and you offer it to someone you want to believe in, but it’s turned away, it’s hard. Sorry for being cryptic – I’m not even sure if I should be writing about this here. And these are raw feelings. But I just receive a polite rejection to my query of “Sun-Walking,” having been checking my email spastically for the last week and a half to hear such word.

There were several difficult things about having sent out “Sun-Walking.” First, I’d finished it so soon before I sent it. I mentioned somewhere else that I’m used to sitting on a story for much longer, until my feelings about it have cooled, before sending it into the arms of a critic. And this particular query included the first 5,000 words, which I hastily patched up but still read with slight unease. This is such a long story (140k, omg), and I knew that the arc of the story is too big to be viewed in parts. That’s why I would have pitched it as an epic, rather than a trilogy. But I also wanted to pitch it as one rather than three stories because I knew it had its weak spots. One such weak spot was…you know, the entire beginning. It didn’t help that I started it three years ago, and that the beginning of the story had yet to have a really thorough run-through, and that several times I’d almost decided to re-work the whole story.

It had its weaknesses, and now having been rejected, those weaknesses look particularly garish. It’ll probably be best for me to not even read through it until I’ve accepted what this rejection does and does not mean. But I can’t help wondering what to do with it now. As I’ve gushed previously, I really believe in Lucienne. So I’ll find a way to make that clear to others, no matter how long it takes me.

Emotional Breakdowns, Webdesign

New Domain Name!

I’m feeling a little emotional over having switched domain names once and for all today. I just shifted over the whole RE portion of the site, and that was long after I quickly got Dreaming in Color up and running. With the exception of the cute thumbnail images for my entries. ): Trying to decide if I should go through EVERY SINGLE MEDIA ITEM and associate it with their respective blog entries, or if that’s just silly. (Then again, from that perspective, this whole thing is just silly)

Anyway, I’ve been contemplating switching out of OMS for a long time, but it still feels weird to actually have done it. But it came with the revelation that if I publish I’ll go under the penname M. Elizabeth Stewart. My dad and I thought it had a good ring to it and my mom said that it’s fine as long as I give her some of the money I make (as her name is Elizabeth Stewart and I’d be “stealing it”).

But now I’m thinking of My Mental Breakdown and how I’ve never really liked the layout since I made it so I should use this as an opportunity to start that from scratch AGAIN. Possibly with a less image-heavy layout because although I always wanted a large image in my layouts, I think I sling-shot to an unpleasant extreme with that last layout, haha.

Art!, Nikkei


So I must have seen the date on my phone and I jumped because suddenly it’s that date I’ve been recognizing since I was an overly dramatic 13-year-old girl writing her first graphic novel. And since I just finished a project, that classic old nostalgia’s flooding in.

In fact, it’s a little funny this year because everything that Nikkei began in my life is sort of…sorted out. Sorted out, and still alive. I’ve got three stories off in the cyberspace of publisher’s queues, and I’m likely going to be exhibiting my artwork in my first professional art crawl, and I’ve got a degree and I’ve got a future and Nikkei threw me into my life as I know it.

This little Nikkei doodle looks almost exactly like the sketch I did two years ago on this day, so I started drawing a more complicated piece and then I was like THIS ISN’T FUN JUST STOP NOW