Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Artists Help Asia SketchCrawl Fund

Hello Everyone!

Please feel free to forward this on. The more people chip in the better it will be. As everyone knows, last week Japan suffered a massive earthquake and tsunami devastating homes, families and lives. Yet the response to this natural disaster has been a third as effective as to other recent natural disasters in Chile and Haiti. So
Enrico Casarosa, the founder of the worldwide SketchCrawl has asked artists planning to participate in the April 16th worldwide sketch crawl to raise money to draw that day. If every artist participating around the world (hundreds) raised at minimum $100, there would be a great deal of money going toward the disaster relief. And if you're an artist, you can participate as well!

We support people running marathons for a cause, now support me in drawing for a cause! My personal goal is $1000 and if you donate $50 or more, you will get an original signed sketchbook page from the SketchCrawl! (If too many people donate that much, then you will get an original, signed "Thank You" sketch :) )

So please follow this link to my
Fundraiser Page. All money will go directly to Give2Asia, official partner to Artists Help Japan Fund. Please give generously!

Thank you so much!



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time or lack thereof: A Rant

My muse and I have a pretty good relationship. She shows up fairly regularly, albeit at times when I am at work and cannot act on her inspirations (in those cases I just jot down a thumbnail to consider later). The problem is, I can't always show up on my end.

I'm a night owl in a diurnal world. Always have been. It's a shame really. I wish I were a morning person, I truly do, because they seem to get more DONE! There are advantages to being a morning person. A major one is that you're up and have energy when the stores open so you can get your errands done right away. In fact, you're up and have energy BEFORE the stores are open so you can get other stuff done before you even go out and do your errands or go to work.

Of course, being a night owl isn't so bad. You're up when the rest of the world has gone to sleep so worldly distractions are minimal and you can focus on what you want. In my case it's drawing or painting. But here's the problem: I'm a night owl with a day job.

So every morning Monday through Friday I have to wake up before I want to because I can't seem to get myself into bed before 11 or 12 (or later), I slowly stumble my way through my morning routine, hopefully without tripping over the kittens, which eventually leads to me rushing through the remainder of my routine so I can get out the door and to work on time (which is 8:30am). What I wish is that I could get myself to wake up at 5 or 5:30am every morning to either go for a jog or workout, with a little time leftover for some sketching, get to work, come home from work, eat dinner and then back to the drawing board. But I'm not a morning person.

There is the argument that I could go straight to the gym after work, home for dinner, drawing board then bed but the problem I have is I'll get caught up in my work, be up way too late and then it'll be very difficult to get moving for work the next day. Sigh...

So I don't think my problem is necessarily that I'm a night owl. Here are the two major problems I can see:
  1. There aren't enough hours in the day. Not much to be done about this one... kinda hard to slow done the Earth's rotation. I remember in my undergrad days learning about sleep patterns in humans. Turns out, at whatever point we had evolved into homo sapiens, there was a whole extra hour and 15 minutes in our day. That's right, Earth's rotation was slower. Hence why we humans ended up with this need for 8 - 9 hours of sleep (for us normal mortals that is. I can't speak for those that need only 4. I wish I were them). So why did the Earth have to go and get itself in a big damn hurry? Why couldn't it have slowed down a little more, given us more TIME!? Sheesh!
  2. We NEED sleep. This is THE BIG problem. I lose about 6 - 8 hours of good, productive time EVERY NIGHT!!! Every night! All because of some biological need to shut down for that time. Which can be blamed on evolution. Once upon a time, mammals were nocturnal. We had to hide from the dinosaurs and other super-sized predators and it was easier to keep still if you were sleeping. Then the dinosaurs died out and suddenly our early mammalian ancestors are free to roam in daylight. So by the time homo sapiens evolved, we had lost whatever good night sight ability we had. Well, since animals need to sleep anyway to recharge our batteries and work out our parental issues in dreams (thanks Freud), Mother Nature thought it would be good for us to find a place to hole up for the night and sleep since we were no longer well equipped to avoid the now dangerous nocturnal predators. The need for sleep was a good way to keep us out of trouble. So now we are bumbling idiots without it, and we lose YEARS of time in our lifetimes.
Don't get me wrong. I L-O-V-E love sleep! Always have. Ask anyone who has known me a while, particularly my parents. They can tell you. Heck, I stayed in the womb late. What I hate is that I NEED sleep. It's a totally unhealthy codependent relationship. I need it, I want it, I can't live without it, but it's a time waster! Why can't I have a recreational relationship with sleep? I'd fall asleep for a complete sleep cycle (about 90 minutes, or go crazy and enjoy 2 cycles for 3 hours) enjoy a couple dreams, then wake up refreshed and inspired by strange visions and enjoy endless hours of drawing pleasure! Why do we need 8 - 9 in a row??? It's that whole evolutionary advantage thing, that's the average length of the dark time on Earth. Gotta avoid those nighttime predators! Hasn't Mother Nature learned we've invented light bulbs and efficient weapons? Not to mention, the really scary predators completely avoid our overly large settlements. We don't really need to need 8 hours anymore. Sigh.

Of course griping isn't the answer, making a schedule is. But as far as the morning hours goes, it's hit or miss with me. Without a hard-ass trainer like Teena from my Cornell days threatening suicide runs or fat burners on the bike if I show up late for a 6 am workout, there isn't much motivation for me to comply. So shift everything over to the evening. perhaps my early morning will be some sketch studies for an hour, then work, then workout, then dinner then more drawing. Hmmm....
Well this will require some tweaking over the next week or so. We'll see how it goes and I'll let you guys know how it's progressing.

In the long run, perhaps what I need is a thriving freelance career where I can work on MY schedule instead of Mother Nature's. Because it really is hers you know. The reason the human race holds the hours it does is because of her. And for us poor throwbacks that love the quiet witching hours of the night, we lose out. Or is it that we've evolved slightly ahead of the curve realizing a diurnal existence is no longer a necessity. The only one that seems to be on our side is 711.

Well... for those of you who skimmed through this long rant, or got tired of the whining, here's the rub of this post: I wish I didn't NEED to sleep. I have a feeling I would be a lot more productive (not to mention sleep deprived hallucinations can be rather inspiring). ;)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A fabulous take on the creative process

As an artist, one often suffers from anxiety of whether or not one is good enough. Perhaps you do some brilliant work, that everyone loves, and then suddenly there is this pressure to continue to perform at that level. What if you can't? Fear of failure, some would say, but really it all comes down to a fear of success. After all, if we succeed, people are going to continue to expect success from us. Yikes! The pressure. I feel that what I truly suffer from is a fear of success.

So today, while at work, I was listening to some of my podcasts as I worked on some new designs, which lead me to check out Iain McCaig's blog which lead me to check out some of the blogs on his sidebar which lead me to a TED talk by Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert about the creative process. And I must say, it certainly has changed me outlook on the work process and takes off a bit of the pressure. I often complain that the muse doesn't always speak to me, and she often decides to nag me at times when I cannot accommodate her with my pencil or paintbrush. But now I come across this video, and a certain amount of calm washes over me and gives me a new perspective on how to work. As long as I show up at the drawing table everyday, there is nothing to fear, because I've done my part.

So check it out! :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pirate attack thumbnails

So I have found a mentor! YAY!! His name is Craig J. Spearing and he is awesome and humble all at the same time! Perfect mix. At first we were thinking I would revisit the Dungeon Delve challenge and make it a sweet portfolio piece, but I was feeling sort of burned out on it, so we've moved on to greener pastures with plans to revisit the Dungeon Delve at a time when it nags me to work on it again :)

So here's the art spec he gave me for my first "assignment" :)

A Ship Being Invaded-

8"W x 10"H

A pirate aboard a ship at night. Several humanoid creatures (more than one, but it doesn't have to be dozens) are boarding the ship. It can be a combat scene, or a moment of lurking tension before the pirate notices them. The ship is only a setting, focus must be on the characters.

Certainly sounds like fun huh? So here are my thumbnails. I did at least 16, reallllly rough ones in my small Moleskine, but some were so rough I'd probably be the only one who would be able to tell what was going on. I made a point to only use a cheapy ball point pen so wouldn't be able to erase and get picky with the details. I took my 5 strongest ones and put them in Photoshop to clean up/clarify. There were a few others I still wanted to visit and see what I could do with them, but the main character is a tad too small I felt or it's face was hidden from view. So here they are:
(click for larger image)