Current Announcement

Stuff always being prepped in the background.

Lots of stuff has happened in the last few years. And some of the older posts need maintenance. A buffer of entries is being developed.

In the process of updating tons of parts of my website, shops and web presence.

Tons planned for this year including splitting some topics into separate blogs.
See the Announcements page for a bit more info.

May 22, 2015

Saturday, January 3, 2015

So Long 2014, Hello 2015

In the background are some digital art pieces I want to finish in 2015.

As usual when a new year starts, I'm glad to be starting off fresh, and to be rid of the old frame. Some of this may be my ambition exceeded the means of any individual human being. My expectations are not altogether unrealistic, however. More often than not though they would benefit from better organization, prioritization, time management, resource access, and energy. My god the energy. Oh and the ability to simply focus far too often eludes me. Things like motivation and ideas are plentiful, as is the passion for what I do, thankfully.

Last year saw some major adjustments for me. I reached the one year married mark in October, and since we had only lived together for a month before we got married (and had only just met two months prior to moving in), and though we spent the majority of our waking hours together getting to know each other before getting married, it was a very large adjustment. We had to catch some kind of more routine dynamic than we started with, because life was a little too vacation like at the beginning. Plus, I put too many things aside to focus on figuring out what the heck I was doing as far as wifery goes. This heavy adjusting phase has only just started mellowing out about a month and a half ago. I'd never been married before. Six months after marrying we got a dog (his name is Echo, he was already 3 when he came to live with us). The dog was a huge adjustment. And I'm not just saying that cause he's an attention junkie, thinks he's a lap dog even though he's a 50 pounder, having a dog involves a lot of extra cleaning and he is very under foot any time we walk about in our house. Or maybe I am.

There was a lot of hammered chaos going on all around, the whole year. And my big office organizational break through did not start until August when I acquired 3 big shelving units. In November I got a 2nd filing cabinet which also really helped.

So far I am looking at 2015 being a much more artistically successful year. As well as my other areas.

2014 saw many improvements across the board. Among the notable, was my writing, art and making habits did improve. Paving the way for the specific improvements I aim to make this year. I also got better at not only working a project to deadline but also with multiple items in a short time frame. That alone is a massive and very needed chunk of progress. Increased my capacity for timing my efforts as well as working within specific time frames on a specific task.

At the close of the year, I even initiated and worked on a huge chunk of a year end review assessment of Bent Realm Studios. So far the most useful section of it that is already completed is the section where I listed what worked well and what did NOT work well.

As far as what 2014's biggest hurdle was - indecision. There were several matters throughout the whole year that drastically slowed me down and held me back all over my projects due to major decisions needing to be made and my inability to be sure which option to pursue. One of these decisions is whether to sort my fields into more digestible topical platforms, or stick with the simplicity of having a main platform that cobbles it all together. This even prevented me from truly getting into my blogging and so many other projects. I'm thinking however, if I am to truly build any of my work big I am going to have to platform them off more. For example when I blog about writing specifically it should have it's own blog, YouTube channel, amazon associates store, zazzle shop etc. or else the people who came just for the writing are going to flitter away whenever I post repeatedly about my additional main topics. Kinda like how don't put your salad into your spaghetti dinner but next to it.

I will go into exactly what I am separating out of this blog in a later post which I'll link to here.

Ridiculously what helped me decide that, and be sure this time, just the other morning was simply deciding that I am sick of being so indecisive and being held back by the consequence of not making them in a more timely matter. Basically deciding very forcefully that I am simply done being so freaking indecisive and I will move forward and progress with the goals that cannot be worked on until such decisions are made. I have done that before with something and it worked surprisingly well. A pity I did not remember that little trick. Funny enough the trick is making a decision. To sum up - I made a decision to end the indecision.

The biggest highlight of the year (aside from good memories from my personal life, especially with my beloved husband, who does The Jay Report) - all the awesome art, writing and making (crafting and such) that I did manage to work on throughout the year.
I will end up posting some more about my year end review as well as more on my 2015 plans soon. Do be aware that some of the sections in this blog will end up ported to different platforms soon.

What was your biggest progress or accomplishment in 2014? What was your biggest hurdle? What do you think will help you to have an epic 2015?

You can follow me on Instagram @bentrealm

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Halloween Supply-mageddon

This is the first year since starting up my website and online shops that I have been able to get started on Halloween (plus 
Autumn / Fall / Harvest) themed items more than a week before Halloween! It’s not your imagination, I am ridiculously excited about this, as both a milestone and a sign of progress to come.

Art, writing, and making stuff is really a lot of work, and my fields are a bit broader than the average handmade artisan. It may seem, to some, as though I put to much on myself project wise, but this is such a huge part of my sanity maintenance regimen it’s unreal. To have too many un-acted on ideas floating through my mind is just too stagnant a life for me to live through, if that makes any sense. May as well live through the bits that I’m alive for. The fact that I am finally to the point where I can start prepping in advance for holiday seasons, means so much. It means things like – I’ll have more cohesive presence across the board, many ducks have lined up in the rows they need to be in, I have gotten massively better at coping with deadlines on multiple project types (this one is super freaking huge for so many reasons but especially due to the giant obstacles I face on that), and that my office / art studio is far more organized.

Currently in the middle of a deeper cleaning of my studio shelves. A thing that has become more than a little urgent, since I tore into my supplies a little over three weeks ago to pull out supplies that will work particularly well for Halloween & Autumn etc themed projects. Getting tired of how disheveled that made many things. There is no space on the shelves for this special supply sort yet, and well most of it’s going to be needed out until Thanksgiving. And Christmas supplies will need to be brought out before that. Not liking these things taking extra space, especially when unsorted it all fits on the shelves. I had no idea I have this many supplies that work for these themes! Though I should have, seeing as how Halloween goes along the same lines as two of my main genres - horror and goth.

Yet, despite this bit of chaos disrupting the studio space, and ease of supply access, I’m still finding plenty of motivation for these Halloween and other seasonal projects. The workflow is less stunted by it than I had imagined it would be. Naturally, this being a milestone & major progress in my creative process does have a large amount to do with that. On top of that I am finding myself growing ever more accustomed to working to deadlines.

I have known my husband a few months over a year now (our 1st wedding anniversary is this month and he has actually started a GoFundMe campaign to try and get us the honeymoon we’ve never had, any donations would seriously rock) and in that time I set myself many deadlines. Mostly involving art and handmade gifts for family members for holidays, as well as a couple commissions. I’m exceptionally pleased with how effective this practice has been in helping me move forward on that key skill. Looking forward to applying that to my writing as well.

Is anybody else working on some creative projects for Halloween and /or Autumn / Harvest? If so, what are your favorite mediums and subjects for theses seasonal projects?

Anybody else making improvements on things like working to deadlines, supply organization, cohesiveness and /or obstacle stomping?

To get in the Halloween spirit some more why not check out some of the goth and horror type themed boards on my Pinterest profile!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Brain is Finally Thawing Out from Winter

In November I had this grand plan for getting stuff done over the winter. I had a feeling winter was going to put me into a really freaking out of it state where my normal exhaustion levels spiked like I was some bear trying desperately to hibernate. It seems to do that. And overcast skies practically knock me unconscious.

Yet somehow I had convinced myself that I’d be able to get tons of writing done this last winter. And yeah it sounded logical at 1st, especially since in December I had 2 whole days where I didn’t feel exhausted, which is something that I hadn’t experienced since before I was 13 & puberty hit. But I completely failed to realize that I get extra quiet when at that level of exhausted. Feeling quiet does not lend itself well to writing. Maybe next winter I’ll try to bury myself in sketching like a fiend. It could work, despite being burrito wrapped in blankets.

Oh snap, those two days I had where I wasn’t even tired back in December, that’s still screwing with my mind pretty hard. What a tease that was. Seriously.

In feeling so quiet all those months really made me question hard whether I should keep trying to go forward with my writing, art and other creative projects. Keeping to a schedule is awfully difficult to do even before one factors in my exhaustion and other such problems, just out of the sheer unpredictability of creative energy and it’s unruly whim.

Yet now that summer is starting to feel like it’ll be here soon my ability to accomplish project tasks and like my cognitive brain functions are thawing or whatever, here I am back in the thick of it. Maybe next year when it happens again I’ll get to not worry so dang much and just work around it all in a more efficient and useful way. It could happen.

Do you experience a noticeable difference in your productivity and ability to function between winter and summer?

If so, have you come up with any work arounds for that?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Spawn Sketch and Stitches

Spawn chracter study mini sketch jan 5 2013
Oh my, me doing fan art?! Almost as rare as my foot NOT getting caught in the mouse cord. Still can’t figure out how my foot keeps getting tangled like that… Did this character study sketch of Spawn in my mini sketchbook. This makes like my 3rd or 4th whack at drawing him. I hadn’t drawn this comic book character since early 1999.

It will not, however, be my last Spawn drawing this month. The reason I drew this lil sketch is – somebody commissioned me to do a Spawn piece. I say commissioned like it’s all that fancy & official. What actually happened was more of a special request that I’m not charging for. Normally, I do not do non-commission requests, but I made an exemption for this one.

Did this sketch to just feel out drawing Spawn, since it has been so long since I drew him. Sort of an encouragement pick me up exercise. Up next- thumbnails and layouts for the main piece.

Gotta take it slow, since I had minor surgery on the 4th, and I’m trying not to disturb the stitches too much. Never had stitches before. It’s making me a nervous wreck, especially since it’s in a location that most movement pulls at the spot where the stitches are. Guess I ought to just watch videos online most of this week. Do the healing and resting thing. Especially since I’m the kind of girl who trips over her own pants leg, who will bawl like a baby and feel all kinds of defeated if I manage to tear these stitches. Typing hurts and pulls on them even, how annoying is that?!

Enjoyed the holy heck out of doing this sketch. Must admit I kept forgetting to mind the stitches and shrieking when I reached for a different pencil in a “hey don’t grab stuff that way when you have stitches crazyface!” way. Also, my hypoglycemia made an appearance, when I got the hunger shakes while drawing the mechanical pencil lines at the top of the cape. A hunger signal from my stomach in advance woulda been helpful, but well not like poodles can be in a mariachi band just cuz they want to. *le sigh* And yes I do think sighing in French WAS called for there.

Comment about Spawn, Fan Art, or even stitches below Smile

Spawn is not my character, he was created by Todd McFarlane [Spawn on wikipedia].

[I’ll link to the specially requested Spawn piece here once it’s done & posted]

Monday, October 29, 2012

NaNo 2012 Check In 1

At the beginning of October, I posted a few goals for preparation of this year’s NaNoWriMo in my Impending NaNo 2012 blog entry. Despite being pretty sick most of this month, I managed to accomplish all but one of them.

The one I didn’t make progress on was practicing regular draft writing. Had my health been better this October, I probably would have. However, now that it’s only a few days until the start of November, I think it’s for the best. If I had spent the month heavily working on  Wet Shades 1, my head would be way too into the wrong book. Although, it does mean there’s little chance to finish the 1st draft of Wet Shades 1 by year’s end. I’ll try not to let that bother me though.

Otherwise I got the rest of the prep work done. Like last year, I opted to attempt starting book one of a series. The series title is Black Bubblegum, and book one will be called Obsidian Throne (as usual - unless I come up with a better titles later). I came up with a premise, settings, characters, the genres & the basic plot etc. I also sketched the layout for for the cover, which I’ pleased with. Eventually, I’ll post the layout sketch and subsequent Black Bubblegum art.

Black Bubblegum is based on a project I wrote two sentences of description for since May of 2009 and have had brewing on the backburner all this time. As I came across it in my files, I knew it was the one to work on in November, and the prep notes for it poured outta me like water. I expect this project to eventually have sort of dark pop artwork that’ll be released for it.

This is what I filled out on my novels page under the synopsis-
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Sci Fi/ Fantasy / Paranormal / Adventure; New Adult
Setting: mostly the Phoenix, Arizona of a semi-dystopian future in which supernatural creatures no longer bother to hide, where the USA is now Nuevo America & is merged with several other countries.

When Tabitha Sawyer turns 18 her father gives her the ever popular get a job or get out ultimatum. So she turns to a cousin who runs a mechanics shop and stumbles into a strangely fulfilling career as an assassin/ mercenary.

In book 1, Obsidian Throne, Tabby gets her first death gig. Two separate clients hire Tabby to kill the same target - a local dark faerie king. It's too much for Tabby to hope that the duel clients won't find out about each other.

In the last few days before the kick off, I’ll be setting up my novel’s file in the writing program. Inputting the characters, settings and so on, which will be attached to scenes as I write. And filling out other such fields in the program.


Also, I’m planning to try posting a NaNo Check In on this blog at least once a week, where you can share your progress in the comments as well if you like. 

Among those also planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, who did some prep work this month?

Is anybody planning to do something unconventional with their NaNo novel this year?

I know some people do work on novels that they already started prior, as in adding 50,000 words to a novel draft for a longer work.

Since I’m supposed to avoid stress for the sake of my health, I use it as more of a stepping stone or push off point for jumpstarting a novel project. 50,000 words, which is about 175 pages, is actually pretty short for a novel, especially in fiction. So considering it just a jumpstarting activity isn’t much of a stretch. Not every day is cooperative with writing, no matter what one’s goals are, so I have to do my best not to let such things bother me too badly.

Monday, October 22, 2012

This Drawing Renews My Resolve to Develop a Good Schedule

Goth Girl Lost. Pencil sketch April 24, 2012.

I was happy with the way this quick, spontaneous sketch of a lost goth girl turned out. Can’t really think of much else to say about it, aside from the fact that I really enjoyed drawing it. Most of my sketches don’t have much of a story behind them more than a simple sat down with sketchbook & pencil drawing supplies then drew. This is one of those.

Somehow it makes me smile more when the drawing comes out looking like a comic book character, as this one did. At times I do wonder if I really am cut out for making comic books. It’s the thing where I draw something then I have the thought cross my mind, “Curses, I don’t think I could draw this character or special object, or environment correctly again even if I spent a year solid trying to.” It’s not a particularly helpful thought. They say people average about 60,000 thoughts a day. Sad as it makes me, I’d have to cop to the reality that probably half (or more) of mine are not useful on most days.

Though I have a lot on my plate all the time, I do know I need some hard core regimens for art, writing, making, and the tech parts. Guess what I need is a proper work schedule. I have yet to figure out one out that actually works well for me. Among a zillion other things, I need more time spent sketching, especially practicing things like sequential art and character drawing. An entirely self run & developed work schedule is hard to develop for one’s self. Anyone who says otherwise just got lucky.

I have tried splitting my time into small varied blocks, working on like six different types of things on a given day. I’ve tried scheduling the day into 2 or 3 large blocks of a few project types. And I have tried several other things. But the right recipe still eludes me. I suppose starting my day off with a block of things like checking emails, checking into social networks, checking into my shops and a bunch of other similar tasks is not an effective thing for me to do. Too bad it didn't sink in quicker. From now on I will spread those tasks apart despite keeping them next to each other on the to do list, instead of letting it eat up my brain for the day.

It's not as though my life has been particularly cooperative in matters of organization and such. What with all the moving I've had to do. In fact right now, most of my stuff is still in storage very far away and has been nearly a year now. And unless I've moved again by the time I can get my stuff up here, I won't have room for it at my place anyways. Among the stuff I need regular access to in order for my work schedule to work better are things like the rest of my clothes, my easel, most of my art supplies, the other half of my project files, my character designs done before this last year and much more.

Other than all my annoying hindrances, now is a good time for things to have big progress made, in things like my organization, my schedule, my projects and even slipping into posting a few blog entries a week. I try not to be too annoyed and controlled by all these hindrances. Frankly, though, attempts at a positive outlook and attitude only goes so far, and sometimes a person really needs more cooperation from the universe. Wish it weren't so easy to be distracted by distractions, but life is funny that way.

My gut says that eventually I will figure out a decent, useful schedule and organization system for myself, etc. Even though my brain not so subtly reminds me that predicting what zone my brain will be real functional in on what day is not exactly possible, let alone probable. Creativity is sort of random and unpredictable, especially when one is involved in several fields of creativity.

It would be cool if I could just pull out a piece of paper to write a schedule and magically know what works when. However, my brain is in the zone it is in, when it is in it and it does not file an itinerary with me. Heck, even same day it's hard to figure which is a great day for writing, which is good for fiddling with technical issues, which days are good for socializing and hunting for content to share, which are good for bead & wire work or sewing, which are good for drawing or painting, and which days are good days to have be the day off. Those who can make their brains obey things like their scheduling whims by simple application of things like discipline are lucky, and I hope they don't take it for granted. Not everyone gets gifts like that. Never mistake that for a lack of effort on my part. I try very hard each and every day. And thankfully somedays are less destroyed by my scattered mind.

Sure it might help if I didn't have one of those overachiever type doses of ambition and drive, if my vision was smaller, or if school had taught useful things like organization skills. Once I tried not to be an overachiever, but that made me feel so much crazier than simply allowing myself to be an overachiever. It would also help if I didn't keep misplacing my notes on what stuff needs to be done.
Despite all the road blocks, I am determined to get a real art practice schedule going right away. Among other things.

Who else gets tripped up by all the little things? The little things really do add up. Who has figured out a good schedule for themselves? Share some tips on your time management successes in the comments.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Drawing When You Don’t Think You Can

Swooping Dragon Sketch. March 9, 2012.
Seven months later - I’m still amazed I was able to draw this dragon. Painful memories fill too much space in my head, for example the time directly surrounding when this was sketched. Suffice it to say, something bad happened, then I went to live somewhere a girl never wants to have to go, and it was not a good environment for me in there. Thankfully, circumstances allowed me to leave after only a few days. While there, I did not feel up to doing anything creative.

Somehow I made myself pull out the mini sketchbook and loosely sketch in the dragon’s frame. When I started it, I had zero motivation, save boredom and the desire to get my mind off of what ailed me. While that’s enough to start a drawing, it’s not enough to get beyond the basic framework of a drawing.

At the completion of the framework, I was sure I’d have to stop. As I said, I was very upset and had pitiful little motivation to create, but more than that my hands were shaky, and my coordination was extra bad. Suddenly, the person sitting next to me started taking notice of what I was working on. Other people began to drift through the kitchen and watch for a bit. While I filled in details, they were asking questions, complimenting my art, and some wanted to see more of my artwork.

Usually people watching me draw makes me uncomfortable and awkward at best. This was too, but somehow encouraging. It became fun and encouraging enough to actually finish the dragon.

By setting aside my usual discomfort at an audience while drawing and giving myself more time to warm up to it, I wound up feeling better than I would’ve otherwise. Sometimes starting a drawing cold does warm up and work out. That’s a little rare in my case. Normally, when I feel awful, it requires some kind of outside influence to push me to do more than sketching layouts and frameworks. Be it encouragement from people wandering by, or a getting a good phone call or text. Once in awhile, watching TV or a movie while drawing provides the genuine mood boost needed to give me that extra push.

Occasionally, frameworks and layouts drawn cold or drawings that couldn’t be finished in the original sitting do eventually get finished. A single session for a piece is preferable but not always feasible.

As an artist (and writer, etc.) it’s important to work on my projects and pieces regularly. It’s not always do-able, often enough it’s wiser to let it alone for the day, but the thought is always there. Though I generally feel proud of myself and my accomplishment when I finish a project or a chunk of it, there’s an extra oomph to having done so when I didn’t think I could.

Truth be told, I didn’t feel up to writing this blog entry. But I’m trying to build up my frequency of working on my projects, including this blog. Fortunately, I had a starting point to spring from. I have some basic blog ideas noted, and I have some snapshots from my sketchbook prepped too. So I just selected the one that chronologically should come next. I opened the blog draft writer that’s on my computer, then inserted the picture. While staring at it, trying to come up with a title and topic, I thought about the process for drawing this dragon. Then it just flooded out. Normally, though there isn’t much to say about most drawings…

Do you sometimes continue trying to work on some art when you really are not up to it? Are you able to turn cold drawing into hot drawing? Yes, technically that is writing terminology but it applies to art too, nonetheless.

Who else loves drawing dragons? Anyone else have trouble making their sketchbook obey some kind of routine?

The creative process seems to have whims of it’s own and a rebellious attitude towards pithy things such as schedules and routines…