Making no progress

I wanted to show you the cool sketches I’ve done on my new Wacom digital art tablet for my computer (see below), but my computer hates me.

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First time I tried using it, I used the free “lite” software that was available for download with the registration of the tablet. This software worked great, with one small problem: it saved the image to a specific file folder (would not permit me to save to Pictures) and I cannot find said folder anywhere on the computer. FML #1

Then this morning I spent over two hours working on another sketch in Photoshop. It turned out great…up until the point I was almost finished. Then Photoshop quit working all of a sudden (and guess who didn’t save her work) and it was all lost. All of it. FML #2

I really like drawing with this tablet, but my luck in finishing and sharing a drawing with it is terrible. I’m going to try more this weekend (saving my work as I go), but I’m just so frustrated that I can’t get anything to save.

Soon. Soon.

The Great Outdoors (kind of)

Well, it’s official: I’m am now a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. (Not a card-carrying member yet; those won’t come in the mail for a bit.)

This weekend is my first official SCA event. A camping event. I am not a “camping person.” I am a “creature of comfort” person. But I’m going to give it a try for my husband. He’s so excited for this weekend and for me to be joining the SCA, so I’m glad I can make him happy with this.

I don’t have any “garb” (medieval-style clothing) of my own, so I’m borrowing some from a friend. I’ll be making us some clothing soon, which will cut into my cosplay time, but some of the garb is fairly simple to make so I think I’ll still be able to finish the cosplays by Phoenix Comicon.

So far I enjoy the rapier fighting practice part of the SCA (although it will be quite some time before I participate in any kind of actual fighting/competition). There are apparently a lot of arts things that are available to try/learn, like calligraphy and scroll making and sewing, so hopefully I’ll find more things to do than just stabby-stab people with tipped swords. Not that that’s not fun, but y’know, gotta keep occupied. Plus I’m not a card-carrying fighter, which I guess is a thing that means I’m cleared to actually do more than just practice as a noob. I don’t know how long/how much experience it takes to get one of those cards, but I don’t mind if I just practice for the time being.

One of the pieces of garb that I need to make (technically two, because I need one for me and one for my husband) is some kind of jacket for fencing/rapier practice. It has to be kind of specific in that the fabric has to be puncture-resistant. And I’d really like to have a jacket that fits better than the loaner gear our friends have. Not that I’m not grateful that they provide loaner gear, but I’d like something that doesn’t restrict my movement due to being a bit tight. I’ve already got a fencing mask thanks to my husband being a former fencer, and we plan on ordering a gorget (neck protection) and gloves and stuff for me soon. Basically, all the things I can’t make myself besides the actual swords. Those are expensive. Or at least to me they seem expensive, but I guess for quality you have to pay for what it’s worth, so I don’t mind. We’ll just have to wait a bit and use the loaner swords until we can afford to get our own.

I suppose I should check out the SCA websites (for the SCA itself, our kingdom, and our barony, etc) to see what options I have for activities. Art is probably the way I’ll go, because sewing can get expensive once you factor in all the fabric. Then again, so is cosplay. So I guess this is kind of cosplay of a different sort.

This weekend will be spent in tents and on cots, with a few people I know (and a ton of people I don’t know), and lots of drinking. Not that I want to turn alcoholic, but I may end up getting lit just to cope with the social aspect of it all. I tend to get physically exhausted from too much social interaction, especially with people I don’t know. Our friends will be there, but they’ve all got things to do at this event, so I’m either going to be a social barnacle to my husband or I’m going to sit awkwardly off to the side by myself and try to become invisible.

I try to keep telling myself I can do this. I can do the camping, the outdoorsy stuff, the social stuff … but I’m not sure I have myself convinced yet.

I just hope my social anxiety/agoraphobia doesn’t get so bad I start crying. If that happens, I’ll probably be hiding in the tent for a while. A hermit in a social club. “Hermits United,” as The Doctor said in the “Utopia” episode:

The Doctor: Bit of a hermit.
The Professor: A hermit? With friends?
The Doctor: Hermits United. We meet up every ten years. Swap stories about caves. It’s good fun. For a hermit.

(Had to incorporate Doctor Who into this … because, c’mon, medieval-era stuff? Definitely timey-wimey.)

Well, it’s time to get ready for work. My last bit of modern day before diving into the past. Well, pseudo-past.

Let’s do this!

Harnessing my creativity

Pinterest is great for organizing ideas, tips, and tutorials.

It also sucks when you can’t find where or how you organized something important.

So here’s a little backstory: I made a phoenix-shaped breastplate for my Dark Phoenix cosplay. It looks really cool, but I have to make a harness to wear it. I’ve got the leather, got the leather dye, got rivets and buckles and all that fun stuff…but I don’t have the harness tutorial I found months ago.

Fuck.

Luckily, I have enough artistic ability to design something that might work. The problem is figuring out which something will work best. I’m coming up with several different options, and I can’t make up my mind. That’s the tough part of design–settling on an actual design.

think I know what I’m going to do, but until I get the leather straps out and start assembling the thing I won’t know for sure if it’ll work. I’d try a mock-up, but I don’t have any fabric straps that are the same width/length (and I don’t want to cut into the leather until I’m ready). I suppose I could dig the leather straps out of the bag they’re in, but they’re in the bottom of a bag in a bag that’s packed up for going over to a friend’s house today to work on it.

Yeah. Queen of last-minute crunching. I’ve had months to figure this out, and I’m only just sitting down and getting serious about it now. FML.

I’ll get it done, it’s just frustrating that I had such a good tutorial with step-by-step pics and I lost it somehow. Maybe I forgot to pin it when I found it? Who knows at this point.

Something poignant on New Year’s Eve

There. I wrote “something poignant” on New Year’s Eve.

To be honest, I have no idea what I’m going to write. Has 2016 sucked? Well, yes and no. Yeah, a lot of celebrities died; it happens. A lot of them were older, some of them were younger. Social media has made this more visible, with more “tributes” and memorials that last as long as the individual person’s grief does. Prince has been dead for months–and I still see memorial posts on Twitter. Same with David Bowie. Grief lasts forever when people don’t let go of it.

2016 has also been pretty good to me… personally at least. I’ve advanced significantly in my sewing and cosplay skills. I’ve advanced at work. I’ve finished the first draft of my next novel and started in on the sequel.

It hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. I’ve gained a lot of weight…a lot. So I need to work on that in the next year and the years to follow. I have to make life changes as opposed to resolutions, I think. I’ve got to try to find time/ways to exercise, and try to resist the urge to eat sweets and drink sodas. And resist Frappuccinos. I’m addicted to those.

For next year, I hope to be able to revise and edit my second novel to the point where it’s ready for self publication. I’m still quite anxious when I think about the process of submitting to agents and publishers. Like, full-on panic attack mode. Sick to my stomach, frantic thoughts, freezing up…yeah, all that and more. I have friends who encourage me, but sometimes friendly encouragement isn’t the same as personal confidence. I need to build up myself and tell myself that I can do it. And maybe, just maybe, having a series in mind will help me sell my book to a publisher. Also it will help that I’m not working in as much of a narrow-niche genre as Whispers of Death was.

I also hope to increase my cosplay work and skills. I want to make more costumes with more details. Hell, I want to increase all my art. I want to use the EVA and craft foam to create actual art pieces. I want to draw and paint more. I want to get back to working with clay to create art. I want to bring beauty into my life.

Let’s see…what else? I want to read more. I want to write more. I want to do more. Live my life. Be alive. Enjoy life. I’m reminded again of Carrie Fisher. Yes, I’ve already written a post on her and I just mentioned above about the drawn-out grief on social media, but she was an amazing woman. I want to get a Jedi Order tattoo (yeah, yeah, say what you will, but I wanted it before Carrie Fisher died). I want to be more open, to be more of myself but still myself…if that makes any sense.

So that’s my year-end review and my hopes for the coming year. Perhaps some of it was a bit poignant, but mostly it’s just me being me…and that is, I think, a great thing to be.

Out with the old, in with the new year

It’s hard to keep the new year’s resolution to take better care of myself when there’s Christmas candy around.

Guess I have to eat it all before the new year. 😉

I brought a bag of candy to work yesterday to try to get rid of some of it (and to be nice, because I tend to forget that my coworkers like chocolates too), but not too much got eaten. Maybe everyone else is trying to eat better, too.

I still want to lose weight. I want to get fit. I’m just terrible at getting motivated.

Soon I’ll start on the cosplay again. I didn’t get any done this morning because I was exhausted from being up so early yesterday, so I went back to sleep after I fed the cat instead. There’s no getting back to sleep before feeding the cat…believe me, I’ve tried.

Hard to believe 2016 is almost over. I’ve already had to write 2017 on several appointment cards at work, and it feels weird. Didn’t 2016 just start? Where did it go?

It went to cosplay–lots of “cosplay crunch,” lots of sewing and trying new things. It went to a cross-country trip with my husband to our first out-of-state convention. It went to writing (first draft of my second novel completed, plus began the first draft of my 3rd novel). It went to my first big commission art project (with royalties and everything). It went to working…I learned a lot at my job this year. It went to working at Talk Nerdy With Us (though I don’t do as much as I’d like due to the day job’s hours and responsibilities).

I don’t know what 2017 will bring. I’m sure it will bring more cosplay, more writing (possibly publishing my second novel?), more work for sure, and more talking nerdy.

Beyond that? We shall see….

Bring it on, 2017!

Resolve

It’s that time of year again: the New Year’s resolutions that will get largely ignored by the end of January.

Well, not this coming year. Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing has opened my eyes. I need to take care of myself. As, er, big as I am, I’m at greater risk for heart disease…as well as diabetes and a whole host of physical illnesses (in addition to the mental illness that still lurks in the background, under control but never gone).

I’m going to finish and publish Book 1. It may not get “professionally” published, but I plan on at least self-publishing it…and pushing the marketing more than I did for Whispers of Death. I can’t waste time thinking I’m not in the mood to write or I don’t have time. I have to get it done.

I also hope to get the first draft for Book 2 done. Gotta keep that momentum going, because I hope for at least a trilogy, possibly a series out of this. There is a whole host of characters that need their stories told.

More cosplay. I need to create. I need to expand my mind and use it for things I’m still not 100% comfortable with, including sewing and construction.

Art. Art is so important to quality of life, and I need to get back to it. More paintings, clay crafting, foam crafts.

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I want to get a Jedi Order symbol tattoo. Cheesy, I know, but I wanted it before Carrie’s heart attack. This just cements it in my mind. I want the symbol of the Order with a quote from the new movie (even though Fisher isn’t truly in it): “I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.” Okay, so it’s a fictional religion–the point is, it’s a good point. Whether you call it God or the Goddess or the Universe, the Force is prevalent in everything. You change “the Force” to “God” or “the Universe,” etc, it is still a great mantra to have.

I’m going to make changes in my life. I’m going to make more time to create. I’m going to exercise more and eat less (or at least eat better). I’m going to make my life one I’m proud to live.

I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.

I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.

I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.

Creative challenges

It never fails. I can’t do something, so naturally I want to do it.

I’m talking about artwork and crafts, and I have an idea in mind for something for my steampunk Dark Phoenix cosplay that I can’t implement until after my in-laws come to visit this weekend. I mean, I can draw up a paper mockup but that’s not getting the actual project done now, is it?

The same goes for making a phoenix wall hanging sculpture to sell on Etsy and sewing my husband’s Cyclops cosplay pants….it seems like I’ve regained my crafting drive right when it’s least convenient.

At this same time, I’ve once again stalled on my WIP. It’s not too bad of a stall….just decided to take out a chapter that wasn’t flowing with the rest of the story, which means taking out the lead in from the previous chapter, rewriting the chapter to fit, and of course rewriting the beginning of the following chapter (and possibly rewriting the majority of the following chapter). I know a lot of “experts” say to just get the story down and worry about rewrites later, but that’s not how I operate. I want it to flow, and if I can’t get it to flow I can’t envision the next step in the narrative.

I’m going to give myself a few days to see if something clicks on the WIP. You never know; it could happen. I’ve surprised myself before.

So there’s my creativity for you: I want to do all the projects I can’t do right now, and the one project I can easily do I’m stuck on. Maybe I should just play Bloodborne for a while until I get bored with dying.

Grand Designs

The first sketch is drawn up for my first phoenix wall sculpture and I’m pretty excited. I have to work around my work schedule and the time I get over at my parents’ house (since apartment neighbors frown on excessive fumes from heat sealing, contact cement, and spray paint).

Gotta start scanning art to my computer too. Now that I have a quality scanner that scans & prints larger-sized images, I can take advantage of that and make my own art prints. I may start making more clay designs in coming weeks as well. I had planned on getting at least one new item up in the Etsy shop each week, so I have to start producing more stuff. No product, no $$. Basic economics.

Since I don’t have the time this morning to actually start cutting foam for anything, I may sketch up something else to make as well. I’ve considered a dragon sculpture, and I’ve gotten some suggestions of things like a flying unicorn or even a flying pig! (I gotta admit, the pig thing’s kinda funny….And I happen to know where I can get bright pink craft foam) 😉

And, of course, I’m going to retake some of the photos of the things I’ve already listed on Etsy. I want to get better quality images, with good lighting, that showcase the art.

But first thing’s first: shower. Then doctor’s appointment. Then work. Then artsy stuff. 🙂

Work of Art…Friday?

It’s not alliteration, but it’ll have to do. I haven’t had any new art to show in a while, but the new printer/scanner I got has me excited about drawing again. Here’s a little something I cooked up in the wee hours this morning:

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A tad off-center, but overall I like it. I’ve been experimenting a lot in the past year with more abstract, fluid shapes instead of drawing lifelike details. I think it’s a better style for me, and I kind of like the ink drawing/coloring. It’s a little frustrating at time (can’t erase, after all), but it’s also a little soothing. Sometimes I try to ink out specific things, like the dragon with flames above, or sometimes it’s just random shapes, like this:

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That one was scanned on a different printer/scanner, but you get my drift. Just letting the forms take shape as they will, and maybe thickening the lines/curves if I goof up a bit. Turning those mistakes into happy little trees. Or something.

The great thing about this new printer is that I can scan and print different sized images (not just letter or legal sizes) to be able to scan and print more of my art, and even make prints on photo paper. I mean, it was a pain trying to scan 11 x 14 images at an office supply store, then paying for the scan and paying even more if I wanted it printed. Now? Now I can do it myself, at home, whenever I want. And yeah, I have to pay for the photo quality paper–but it’s all mine.

I will probably post more art in the coming days/weeks/whatever. Some will be brand new, some will be older stuff that I couldn’t scan previously. I may even reinstate my “Work of Art Wednesday” (and bring back that good ol’ alliteration). 😉

A tad behind….

Okay, so more than a tad behind. Really behind. Like, 3 1/2 years behind.

I’m talking about getting my wedding photos printed. I’ve been meaning to since the day after we got married, but I just haven’t gotten around to it until now. Why, you ask? Well, there are several reasons. 1) I’m a known procrastinator. 2) Expensive to print at Wal-Mart/Walgreens/etc etc. 3) I didn’t have the super mega awesome printer that I have now.

I’m loving the way the photos came out. They’ve been on our Facebook page for our wedding, but there’s something about seeing them printed out that feels great. And all nice and neat in an album? Even better!

Next on my plans for the printer is to print a few samples of my art and see how they turn out. If they turn out looking nice, I’ll print them on photo paper and be able to have actual prints that I can sell to people, rather than just the plain paper drawing/painting/etc. I might even be able to make and sell (or give away) prints of the painting I did for the cover art of my novel. That might be nice, being able to have a giveaway deal…might garner some interest in the book and if I can sell the prints even better, because that means more $$ for me (however little lol).

Nothing much else to report. It’s been a slow few days. I got started on the cutting of the fabric for my husband’s Cyclops cosplay, but then my serger kind of is acting up and I want to troubleshoot that when I get a chance–most likely this weekend–and see if I can jigger it to where it’s behaving before I start sewing any pieces together.