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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Where the heck is part 2?

For those of you who read my post The Art of Sleep part 1 back at the end of October, you may be wondering where part 2 is. Well it’s been awhile since I wrote the 1st one, I fully expected to write up part 2 within the next week. Due to being crazy sleepy when I finished writing part 1, no notes were written on what I’d intended to put in part two. I sat down to write part two on more than one occasion since, but have not been able to pull outta my head what in tarnation I’d originally had planned for it.

So now if I’m going to do a second part I will have to come up with it from scratch. I fully intend to brainstorm some notes for it after I finish writing this post. Who needs a whole blog entry to say just that?!

Patience my turtle friends. My point is that various things can cause disruption to plans for writing a second or subsequent parts of a series of entries. It’s common enough for sleepiness or a crazy busy day to make you lose sight of such intentions.

It’s not a great idea to title a blog post or even a novel part 1 if you don’t have at least the barest bones of part 2 written down. In the case of a blog entry it is advisable to have the whole series of entries already written or at least outlined before even posting the 1st one. In the case of a novel if you aim to do a series you’d be shooting yourself in the foot by telling folks hey a second bit is coming, without having written any notes on subsequent entries in said series.

And that is my writing tip for this fine but cold day.

What’s your method for writing a series of blog posts or novels, etc? Have you accidentally left floaters in your blog by titling something part 1 without immediately notating what you want in the next part?

Why oh why did I call you turtles? [Meh, it was a spontaneous choice for a term of endearment. I like the word turtle.]

Friday, December 17, 2010

Organization Beat Down & Muse Housebreaking

Been having a hard time getting into the rhythm of posting regularly. While it did help immensely to stop posting stuff that seemed to belong in here to several separate blogs, I have surprisingly still felt really held back. It has finally dawned on me what it is. In addition to needing to have an organization process & schedule that works for me, I must settle into a balance between my need to talk shops and my need to yammer about creativity, while still having regular output of projects.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NaNo Fail

Ok so I attempted to do NaNoWriMo this November [read previous post about it], and it was an epic fail! Waaaaahhhh!!! Pout! I was pretty bummed.

I just could not for the life of me figure out which project to spend a whole 30 days of being insane with! Trying to pump out 50,000 words of one rough draft in only 30 days is definitely a commitment to crazy. Or in my case, crazier. The thing is I have tons of projects, most involving writing, for me picking which to ride for that long proved to be more difficult than I ever thought it would be.

It turns out that sticking to the same writing project for more than a week consecutively is an extra level of crazy for me. Somehow I need the freedom to bounce into which ever project is occupying the most of my brain space that day. That’s a bit discouraging for the idea of finishing a whole novel in a reasonable amount of time. But then again it’s not unusual to hear of people taking two years or more on the same novel.

Naturally, all this leads me to wonder if NaNoWriMo is going to ever work for me. Then I wonder, well, hey maybe if I select a project & do a little bit of prep work on it in October, so that my first 15 days of November aren’t spent trying to pick something out. The preparations should help me get off on the right foot and invest me in that selection as the one I’m actually going to do, get my head in the game, so to speak. It’s probable that I’ll try that next year.

It’s also a good idea to spend this coming year being accustomed to achieving a word count goal regularly. Say a minimum of 250 words of blogging and 250 words of story-writing most days to start with and then increase from there. I’m not used to paying any attention to my word counts, nor holding myself accountable for specific length goals. In fact the idea of keeping track of my word count goal during the writing of the draft, rather than  ignoring it completely (or just checking it between edits which seems a less neurotic approach), used to piss me off quite a bit. I’m only just now beginning to have a begrudging tentative acceptance of the concept of word counts. Could have something to with most of my writing until recently being only in notebooks (never gonna hand count ‘em, no freaking way). In theory it should be beneficial to start tracking the stupid word count.

But will it be enough? That I cannot predict.

I suppose I’d be happy enough to just make a little over half of the 50,000 words on the next attempt & then increase each year from there. Better than less or not trying.

Another thought plagues me though. Another very large problem I faced when attempting this year’s NaNo was that all those other writing projects my mind kept wandering to were not novels, they were my Decadent Angels series (which is an ongoing horror story-poem I post online), and several of my comic book projects. How does one devote a whole 30 days to knocking out the rough draft of a novel when all they can think about is comic books & a serial story-poem? Would it be too much of a deviation if I were to do the rough draft of a script for a graphic novel? Or the roughs of several episodes of Decadent Angels, or of several issues of a comic book series?

That’s definitely something I’ve got to get some feedback on before October.

Also, I realize that 50,000 words is a proper & reasonable size for 30 days, but I cannot for the life of me imagine ever writing a novel only 175 pages long. Couldn’t imagine being very satisfied reading a novel of that small size. It’s definitely been said that a writer should write what they like to read. I love big, grand epic-y stuff. So the question there is – since the goal is to write a completed novel weighing in at 50,000 words, is it too much of a deviation to have 50,000 words but not a completed rough of a novel? Sure this paragraph may be putting the cart before the horse, but I can’t help it, my mind does love to torture me this way. Besides, when writing hot I never know how much I could churn out. My record on that is one time in the space of about a day and a half I pumped out 90 pages handwritten in a notebook of a comic book story arc. My hand hurt for days. Pretty sure typing hurts less…

At any rate, it seems I am left with more questions than answers. Too bad I didn’t have the presence of mind to pose those questions to the NaNo forum during the challenge. It’s not a total loss though, since it vigorously renewed my resolve to get more writing done this year and at a steadier more measurable pace.

Who tried out NaNoWriMo this year? How did you do? What discoveries did you make? Who’s going to try it next year?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yay it’s National Novel Writing Month

It’s that time of year. NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, every November a bunch of crazy writers challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Obviously this doesn’t include editing or writing stages.

I first heard of it a few years ago and have always been interested in trying it. Usually there is some thing going on in my life during that month that puts up excessive road blocks to that. For example, last year during November I had to paint the interior of my house, it had to be done entirely in November in order to get December’s rent waived, we would have been badly behind on bills due to a rough few months before my fiancé got transferred out here last October.

This year seems much better for trying it. For one thing I actually remembered it on the 1st of November out of nowhere. So assuming I can figure out what I want to try writing by the end of today, I’m going for it. It breaks down to about 1666 words per day, assuming you write all 30 days. If you only write 20 of those days that would be 2500 words per day.

I’ve just signed up on the NaNoWriMo site and am pretty excited. If I miss more than 10 days writing in the 1st half of the month I’ll just try again next year, it’d be a bad idea to stress myself out cramming during the last half of the month.

I really hope I can figure out a starting point by 5 pm, I really want to get the writing started today. Wish me luck on this!

Who has heard of NaNoWriMo before? Who is participating this year? Who’s thinking about it? Any of you won it before?

I’d really love to have a 1st draft of a novel finished by November 30th. It’d be so sweet and would break a lot of walls for me too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Art of Sleep part 1

It’s official. I’m on a daysleeping schedule this week. Trying not to be frustrated with the schedule flop around currently. It’s a recurring cycle. Believe it or not my natural sleeping rhythm is to be awake days (daywaking) for a week or so then flip around to sleeping days (daysleeping) for a week or so, it cycles this way. I’m a lot better off obeying it trust me. Been down the fighting it road, not pretty.

It is vital that I get sleep with in every 24 hour period, and also that I get enough sleep. This may sound overly dramatic. It’s not. If I don’t get enough sleep I get hospitalized. I lost my early twenties to not being able to avoid the hospital due the results of not getting enough sleep. I have permanent damage from all that.

It’s easy for people to say just get some sleep. It’s just as easy for those same people to wake you up and demand that you not be asleep when you should be, with zero regard to what that in fact does to you.

What’s this sleep stuff got to do with art and writing?

  • When I was going through the hospital system, etc, for it they kept putting me on zombification medications. For me those had side effects like making it impossible to write or draw or otherwise be creative. My creativity is the biggest part of who I am, when I was artificially impaired from doing my creative things I was dead inside and way suicidal. But I don’t want to get too deep into all that, but it definitely is an artistic issue related to sleep I need to not repeat. And I’m not the only one.
  • Day & Night are suited to different things, as well as very different atmospherically. As any creative has experienced atmosphere makes a vast difference in what you’re doing. So a schedule that works for one probably is not ideal for the other.
  • Quality & Quantity of creative output suffers when one doesn’t get enough sleep.
  • Other people in your house affect your schedule. If you sleep days and they work days then your most convenient hours for really getting knee deep in a creative project are being slept through. If you then sleep when the other people in your house are sleeping then they’ll be getting up and doing their morning thing which sorry to say will throw your optimal morning routine way behind and much of what other people do when they wake up or get home is not conducive to your being in the midst of some creative project. Much of it is unpredictable for the purposes of accurate scheduling.
  • Suddenly you get sleepy and wake up later to discover you’ve drooled all over your project or keyboard.
  • You fight the sleep too long and wind up with nothing of value to show for your time.
  • If your sleep schedule bounces between day & night like mine naturally does, you may discover there is stuff you are supposed to do regularly that can only really be done on one and not the other. Obvious things like going to the post office calling your utility company or going to the bank, which are clearly daytime activities. Then there are not so obvious things. I have come to discover that writing blog entries worth a darn is more attainable at night…though this may go for most real writing (as in working on a draft as opposed to background things like making a character list)

I’m sure there’s more but well I’m starting to get tired since it’s now early morning.

How does sleep affect your art, writing & creativity?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Love Drawing Dragons

ser dra ske 90dpi



There is just something about drawing these fierce majestic creatures, I can’t help it, I love drawing dragons. Gotta say though I haven’t drawn nearly enough dragons this year, let alone thus far in my lifetime. There are 3 of my dragon illustrations hanging in my parents home and I really don’t think this is enough. Two of them are large and I wish I had proper pictures of them to show off here. But then I think, eh well, they are more than five years old anyhow.

Before I tried drawing dragons for the first time I imagined they would be extremely difficult to draw. Then I got my hands on an art book full of sea serpent illustrations. I studied it and then dove right in trying to draw dragons. They turned out to be a lot less tricky to draw than I expected, especially when ya sketch in the frame lines first. Which of course didn’t fully occur to me the first time I did one. It turned out fine but once I started sketching in proper framelines first they got easier.

Realistically though I haven’t drawn very many dragons at all, despite how much I love it. Maybe only 10 of them, a few of those lower level sketch attempts. So come to think of it, I’m doing a lot better at them than I would have expected at them, for that many. Guess that means I ought to draw a bunch more. Heh.

Oh no I feel a self challenge coming on. Something along the lines of doubling the number of dragons I’ve drawn before years end. Wonder if I can snap that out with little schedule troubles.

Do any of you really love dragon art? Who likes drawing, painting, illustrating, writing about, or creating crafts involving dragons? What is it that makes this mythological creature so interesting?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Been Doing Lots of Re-organizing

Oh my goodness, I have been busy making lots of changes around Bent Realm Studios during August. One thing is I’m trying to do is simplify the way I have things set up around here. Now since I’m kind of a spaz, naturally I had many things set up more separate and complicated than they ought to be. Ok, sure some of that was simply because I wasn’t yet sure what would work best for me and my endeavors, some things  I was just guessing and others I was trying out different venues. One of the things that was in need of major simplification is my blogs.

So over the next week or so both the Bent Realm Chronicles and Samples From Bent Realm Studios blogs will be combining with this blog.

I kept feeling a need to mention posts from each of these 3 blogs within each other then forgetting more often than not, and the efforts began to seem redundant to the point of pretty much halting them to a stand-still. This will be a lot better than trying to direct traffic through 3 different blogs that I now realize ought to be only one. I’ll simply index it as needed and update the other parts of my website to reflect the change properly. This will free up the time spent having a headache over managing the excess ones, for more productive things. It was splitting my focus too much. And well this blog is definitely my favorite of the three to write.

I had good intentions and solid reasons when set these up as three separate blogs, most of them involve indexing issues, and an attempt to make browsing my art samples and Bent Realm news simple. So naturally it came out all complicated, and along the way I figured out a better and genuinely simple way to address those things. And yeah it was one of those things that make ya go duh.

Sorry for any inconveniences. This change should make things a lot simpler for everyone. Plus it should relieve the tension I’ve been feeling when I sit down to write a blog entry past couple months. Wish me luck and a smooth transition.

Questions? Thoughts? Diatribes about ninjas?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some shots of some of my fan art

Now before anyone says a word, I’m aware of the not stellar quality of these photos. My camera is just a an old cell phone that no longer is attached to a service and has a usb port, taking proper pictures is difficult at best given it’s screen display issues when the sun is out and finding the right lighting in this house is an ongoing quest. Some day I will be able to get a proper digital camera but until that day comes, meh, this is what I got to use. Some of them I cleaned up in photoshop.

All the pieces in this are several years old. Several. I’m not so very into doing fan art so this is likely going to be the last time I put fan art up. I much prefer creating my own characters, and working on art that is not based on some one else’s. Please note these should fall under fair use as I mostly was doing them to learn how to illustrate and they are just fan art.

This was 1 of 3 pieces I did for my godson’s 1st birthday, somewhere around 2001 or 2002, the originals were sent to him & his mother (Grasshopper!). Above is Superman done in watercolors and india ink.

Here’s the second, done with watercolors, india ink and a touch of white out, I also applied some special glow in the dark paint which had a little glitter in it. SpiderMan at the extreme front, on top of one building is Black Cat (her hair was done in white-out) and atop another is the Punisher. Figures can be seen inside several windows on the original as well, and I included a window washer on his rig.

Here’s the third of those for my godson, done in charcoal with a little of that glow in the dark paint applied, Batman.

03-06-10_1552 03-06-10_1552_02
Above is Roman Dirge’s Lenore, in ink, done 2002. The 1st is taken directly from my sketchbook and Jhonen Vasquez’s Happy Noodle Boy can partially be seen next to her. The second image I cleaned up in photoshop, and enhanced the name.

Above is Spawn in pencil & charcoal, perhaps 1999. Drew him maybe twice. This one is a 12’ by 18’ I do believe.

My one playful attempt at Harley Quinn in 2000.

The above is based on Anna from Shaman King in 2004.

The above was loosely based on a figure in a Brom painting. I want to say 2007.

The above was my first real crack at a manga style drawing, about 1999, based on some random manga character, not real sure who, I am sure some of that is my own embellishments though.

Love making up my own characters way too much to spend much time dabbling around with fan art. Anyhow hope you liked them. I might bother to get higher quality photos out for these but then because they’re fan art, might not.

Who has ever drawn fan art? Did you enjoy that? Who’s your favorite characters to draw? Do you ever make up your own characters? Who among you has big plans for your own illustrated characters?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Slave to the Music

How in the crap did people survive without music in their daily lives?!! Music is something I love beyond reason. It has kept me sane in moments where madness seemed the only possible result. In moments of madness it still gave me something to hang on to. I genuinely believe mp3 players should be developed as therapy devices, covered by health insurance, and allowed in the work place as an assistive device. Aside from music helping me to concentrate when I feel like my brain is trying to make a run for it, it also helps me fight stress, keep my mood on an even keel and helps me keep track of how long I’ve been at a task I might otherwise be at too long. In my writing and art, oh please, it is, forgive the pun, instrumental.

Sure some may need the quiet to write or make art, etc. Silence is more than a little horrific to me, and never really all that quiet. For me in particular it is an essential ingredient to the art and writing process. Even if only some days to keep me from spacing out or losing my train of thought.

There are moments where the music runs through me and I realize, ack I have been still for way too long. So I’ll get up and take a dance break. Instant exercise for those tasks which are too easy to allow to be incredibly sedentary activities.

I’ve never found anything that can get me into the mindframe of specific characters and worlds, whether in writing or drawing them, faster than certain songs, playlists or types of music.
So many feel that music is crucial to them, I can’t help but imagine times before music was so abundantly available as at best lost.

Writing poetry without some pounding pulsating rhythm echoing in my headphones, is not something I even care to think about. Some may have difficulties keeping the lyrics from invading their written word. This is not a problem I personally have had, and I’m sure there are plenty out there who can keep it more than separate. It helps my pen fly across the page and my fingers glide across the keyboard. You’d never guess I’d been listening to Buried Alive by OTEP as I wrote this paragraph. It helps build rhythm.

Granted I listen to some stuff that many artists & writers probably would never attempt to write and do art to, or even listen to. I think the last time I was into mainstream pop the Bangles had just been walking like an Egyptian, of course I was also digging stuff like Pink Floyd and Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold as a kid, then in the late ‘80’s Enter Sandman by Metallica was high on my list of adored music. My taste is fairly eclectic, I’ll listen to some visual kei, then switch to some aggrotech, then put on my favorite band- Tool. I also like: belly dancing music (examples – Hossam Ramzy, Azam Ali), Talvin Singh, Beethoven, Tricky and other random things. Was into hip-hop, r&b and rap for about five minutes in the 8th grade.

I also enjoy singing, dancing and making music too. I’ve been writing songs since high school. Never had much access to instruments or anything aside from a brief attempt at saxophone in the 5th grade, wanted to play bass but they told me I was too little.  Every time I got my hands on one I’d end up making patterns on them especially if I could play with the instrument when no one was around. If someone were to give me a drum set…oops drooling now. Anyhow I digress.

There are times when writing  story or for a series that if you listen to the same playlist it can instantly re-acclimate you to the whole thing.  Especially if you made the playlist specifically for the series, character or whatever.

I’ve also found music to be great at helping to fully visualize an art piece during the layout stage.
Music is a great way to help dissolve the brute force of distractions.

Anyhoo that’s what was on my mind this early am. I find that music only awakens and edifies the muse. And it’s something I develop further in my own creative endeavors.

Here’s a few places online to check out the music I listen to:
You may be interested to check out this: Musically Enhanced Free-write

Do you listen music while you write? While you create art? What kind of music best helps you with your creative efforts? What works best for you?



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Flaws in the Organization System

From outward appearances this blog may appear to have been forgotten! Oh, how can this be? Simple, it’s an illusion. Over the past several weeks, amidst the inevitable chaos of my life, I hunkered down and made a plan for what I wanted to do with this blog. I made schedule of days and which topic types should be addressed on those days. I also spent some time developing a few ongoing columns for Artistical Exploration. The system is flawed and I aim to do more than slap a band-aid on it.

Couldn’t forget about this blog if I tried. In some strange way I really love this blogging thing. Events of the past several months have been of the sort that point out, in harsh contrast, the most extreme fatal flaws of my organization system. Not that I’m complaining. Not at all. I really needed that flashlight shone on those flaws, because I was wanting to know what they were. Without the events of late, I would not have found them as quickly, nor would I have had the chance to spend a bit of time working out a way to resolve so many of them.

Among the things the organization problem affected was the rate at which I could put out new art and writing, as well as just about every other thing in my life. I simply was not taught in school, nor at home how to organize things properly. My mom showed me much about general organizing, sure, but not how to set up filing systems, nor how to untangle my belongings properly after a move. Growing up and until very recently, we moved around a lot. This is not an exaggeration, more like an understatement. The last place I lived, I broke the “2 years at one address consecutively” mark for the first time in my entire life. But I was only able to break it by about 7 months. Where I live now, as I approach the one year mark - some 4 months away, I’m doing everything I can to unravel the mess that our sudden move caused. The cause for the sudden move this time was an extremely positive one, however it took the two & a half years of the last place and the ton of moves before it and scrambled the snot out of my belongings in a way it never had before.

So since we moved here I’ve been trying to re-train myself in my organizing, and well the things that piled on me this year, so many of them I just didn’t expect to clash with that at all. Yet there they were all tangled up. Which I guess, in the end, is lucky. Now, I can see more clearly what needs to be done regularly with what, and which kinds of files I need most, which as it turns out were not the files I already had going. At least my head will not explode, as I thought might be around the bend if I didn’t figure this out well enough by now.

What obstacles do you face in your creative endeavors, especially when it comes to organization?

Did anyone show you what to do with index cards?

I would hear all over the place, oh index cards they’re so useful but no one would go into to any details about what they did with them, so I guess I’ll just have to write a little book about my discoveries with that.

Have you got a proper calendar system for your art, writing, crafting or other such things?

Took me a long while to get my calendars to work with my stuff, they’re just now starting to fall into place. And now that they are I sorta wonder how I kept my head from rolling off in frustration before they started to work right.

Wish they taught life management classes in school, ahh such a pretty dream…

Well, I’ve got to go now lots more to do today, and the day is pretty well gone.

1st entry in the Organization for the Creative column.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sleep and the Creative

Been up to lots of things in the background lately. A flurry of activity mostly offline, and much planning too. We’ve had a house guest come to stay long term. This is taking adjustment, naturally. I’ve got several entries for Artistical Exploration started up and in various stages of being written.

My sleep schedule has been upside down for the last week or so. I’d worry except this absolutely nothing new. Silly thing flips upside down on a fairly regular basis. Me awake days for a week or so, me asleep nights for a week or so then the cycle repeats. It’s among the major reasons working at home is just about the only reasonable option for me.

It’s funny the different ways that this affects my creativity and other processes. In my more awake days I look for patterns, curiously seeking out the best bet times for doing specific tasks whether that be the art, writing, business and networking aspects. I’ve yet to find anything conclusive on this. The scientist in me is disappointed by that. The free spirit in me revels in it, muwahahaha conformity can suck it that part of me says. And well no one wants to hear what the practical side of me thinks.

I wonder how does your sleeping pattern interfere with enhance or otherwise affect your creative processes? And for those who run businesses around your creativity, how does your sleep pattern affect your business efforts? I’m curious how other people in similar boats handle the whole sleep issue…

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Making the Best of an Ink Spill

The Darkness Wants Milady. 2001
Spilling India Ink on the carpet is bad! Really bad. And pity, such a waste of ink. Or does it have to be wasted? Nah.

In 2001, I was doing a piece in my sketchbook using watercolors and India ink. I was using both a brush and sketching pen set (the kind with penholders and nibs). I had absolutely no plans to include such a large dark area in it. If not for the spilled ink, I never would have included that. Ultimately I think, and others have commented that, the large darkness within this painting adds a great effect to it. It probably wouldn’t have been all that compelling with out it.

The ink washes added due to the spill took the painting to a darker and more sinister place, more inline with the sort of painting I was in the mood to do. However, I’d been hesitant to use any large amount of ink. Never knew when I would be able to get my next bottle of India ink. I had no clue where the art supplies lived in proximity to where I lived. So, while I was certainly toying with the idea of foregoing a bit of food to replace my ink as randomly needed, that only works if you know a good place to regularly pick such things up.

Here’s how it went down:
  • In the mood to paint and play with my pen & ink supplies, I pulled out my sketchbook, India ink, watercolors, paint brushes, sketching pen set, a paper towel, water cups, stuff like that. The memory is a little fuzzy in some areas of what happened.
  • Lying on my belly on the floor of my bedroom, I began painting the basic figure of the girl, next I painted in the man. I did the watercolor background washes then. Then I painted in the basic shapes of the stairs. Since then, I’ve heard the washes are supposed be done before the main figure work, as ever I am the backwards sort.
  • Then I opened the ink I don’t think I put the ink into my lovely sturdy old glass ink well, I recall it being there against that hideous orange carpet with me, but I can’t recall exactly how the ink spilled. I do remember it wasn’t long after I began sketching in the inked details with my pens.
  • Ink spills, I freaked out for a moment swearing, crying, lamenting the loss of ink. I used my paper towel to try and blot the ink out of the carpet. Then I ran to my little bathroom to grab the toilet paper roll, not sure how much I’d need.
  • As I stared at the toilet paper soaked in ink and I looked at my picture sadly, I thought, screw this I’m not just wasting all this ink like that! So I squeezed some into my ink well and most I just applied directly to the painting with the toilet paper straight off the carpet.
  • I blotted as much out of the carpet as I could, my trash can nearby, for the used T.P. (that sounds wrong, ignore how wrong that sounds). I was careful not to rub I didn’t want to make the carpet worse. My fingers were covered in ink. I used my fingers a little bit on the painting too, just a bit.
  • I stopped messing with the carpet for a minute. Using a paint brush to enhance and blend what I applied with the TP.
  • Then I went and got a bowl of clean water, putting in a few drops of dish soap and finished cleaning up the floor, still using a little TP & paper towels. I finished that as quickly as I could, wanting to get back to the painting. The ink stain wasn’t too noticeable, well, not if you didn’t know exactly where it was.
  • I finished putting in the details with pen, did some very light ink washes using a brush & the carpet-recovered ink. There was surprisingly very few little hairs to pull off the art.
And voila, project salvaged!



Tell us a little about your own experiences with project near disasters.
Have you ever spilled India ink? Or some other liquid art supply? What happened? Did your art get ruined? Or were you able to make the best out of your unfortunate mess?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Doodle: Burn & Scorch, an art experiment

03-06-10_1537 Here’s a snapshot of a doodle I did clear back in freshman year of high school. The entire thing was a spontaneous experiment, an exercise in artistic exploration. I took this here doodle of mine then burned and scorched it to come out with this. It’s an experiment I enjoyed and occasionally revisit every few years.

  • Be extremely careful if you try this, you do so at your own risk. Paper is highly flammable, as I’m sure you know.
  • The way I do the burning and scorching is via an extremely controlled environment and manner with safety being the top priority, paying full attention to it.
  • Most people should probably never even attempt this.
  • I don’t recommend doing this often. People tend to get complacent and casual in habitual practices. Lighting stuff on fire is not a casual thing and should never be taken lightly or abused.
Here’s How I did this experiment:
  • I started with pen and doodled during class while the teacher was discussing something.
  • When I began to see shapes taking place I strengthened and enhanced those impressions and lines with my pen.
  • I sketched in the letters for the words I had chosen to compliment the image that had emerged - “Evil Dwells in the Hearts of Men”
  • Next I enhanced the shape and style of the lettering.
  • Then I thought I was done, put it in one of my school folders and randomly glanced at it during normal school activities. There it remained until one night of too much homework.
  • I pulled it out and stared, thinking this isn’t done yet huh… needs fire.
  • So I went to the kitchen got a mixing bowl, swiped one of my parents lighters and took them and the drawing to the bathroom.
  • I set the drawing aside away from the water, and filled the bowl most of the way full with water and placed it on the counter next to the sink in case the controlled burning of the paper got out of control. I also made sure no towels or other flammable items were anywhere near the sink. Also I left the door open and ensured that my two youngest sisters (who at the time were very young but old enough to attempt monkey-see monkey-do, and run in and jostle me), volatile step-dad and anxious mother weren’t around or wouldn’t be underfoot, my sis AJ appreciated art experiments and didn’t need to be avoided.
  • I brought the drawing closer then proceeded to spend about 10 minutes igniting the lighter. I suck at starting lighters.
  • Once I had a long flame going from it I picked up the drawing and carefully brushed it up against the paper, while holding it directly over the sink (in case the flames got larger than anticipated so I could drop the paper into the sink immediately and to catch any pieces that burned off).
  • I burned the edges all around and in further some places than others very slowly and only a small section at a time, this is where the flame gets it’s largest & has to be monitored very carefully and blown out once it reaches the desired point on the paper. At times I needed to slightly wet my fingers in the bowl of water and snuff out the still slightly smoldering edge.
  • I scorched parts of the interior image by holding the lit lighter below the underside of the paper not touching it with the flame. This typically took only a few seconds and I pulled the paper away from the flame quickly before it could do much to it beyond that, though the first scorch I did was too close to the paper and held there too long, I’m sure you can tell which one that was.
  • I made sure the artwork had cooled before I was done. When using matches rather than lighters be sure to wet the match thoroughly before throwing away, though I recommend lighters over matches for this. Lighters are easier to control, matches have that sulphur smell that could be a costly distraction (the burning paper smells like cooking flour tortillas I thought, which made me hungry), also having to light new matches through out could cause a grave error.
  • Luckily I have never needed to use the bowl of water beyond wetting my fingers to extinguish slight smoldering. But it’s the time that one forgets to have the bowl of water that it’ll be needed most.
  • I put away the supplies and kept the lighter. This experiment also kept my urge to play with fire safely in check, by busting it out every few years, well that and burning things like sprite boxes at campfires to see pretty colored flames. Fire pretty, it’s a thing I have to face. Yep, fire like shiny is compelling to me. Better to tame the beast than for the beast to tame me. At least for me anyhow, I imagine others with stronger compulsions for fire and less discipline would not be able to tame it this way.
Remember this is an experiment that must be done very carefully in a controlled environment or not at all.
Anyhoo, hope you found that brief artistic foray into mild pyromania an interesting diversion.

Who has ever tried using controlled fire as an art supply before? What safety precautions do you use? What types of effects have you developed?

Who has a workshop set-up for art or making that incorporates fire or burning, scorching and melting, or even kilns in someway? Who uses Photoshop (etc) to develop effects like this in digital art? How’s that going?



Be safe artists.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Major Options for a Fiction Writer

For the 1st time ever I felt compelled to respond to a question on Yahoo Answers. That is the question was interesting enough and I had relevant advice to mention. The question was from someone who wanted to be a fiction writer who was asking advice on what she should major in in college, her aunt recommended Journalism which she’s not at all keen on and she’s thinking of going for a creative writing major. It sounds as though she’s serious about being a fiction writer and she mentions developing her writing skills as the key factor behind the urge to attend college. [view the question & other answers submitted]

The answer I submitted:

If you despise journalism do not under any circumstances study it as your major, you will only grow to hate it more as time passes. No offense to your knowledgeable aunt, but you are the one who would have to deal with the consequences of majoring in something you despise. I too loathe journalism, I took a journalism class once due to late registration, and will never be into doing that type of writing. Though I have nothing against doing a few interviews for my blog.

Some thoughts on how best to approach your dilemma:
* If you truly want to excel as a fiction writer, you may be better off not majoring in anything specifically writing related.
* College is very expensive. As far as majors go, creative writing is a not a particularly functional degree. 
* If you need to earn a living on a day to day basis and do not have the luxury of waiting for your writing to find it's place amongst the stars: you need more marketable skills (a more marketable degree) that will BOTH enhance your fictional writing goals and interests & be easy to use for a day job. The day job will likely be necessary for quite awhile while further honing your writing skills, completing your initial fictional novels (assuming novels will be your main format), and more to cover basic needs and bills.
* English & Writing classes have a tendency to attempt to systematically destroy all things a fiction writer loves, especially when taken on as a major.
* I also hear you can't do much with an English major; except maybe become an English or writing teacher. Though additional teaching certification is typically required. Perhaps being a creative writing teacher might be the way to pay the bills, perhaps major in teaching (or major in whatever is the most applicable relevant major for becoming a writing teacher is) and minor in creative writing. All while using your down-time and summer vacations to pursue a fiction writing career, it could be a good way to go. The discomfort of dealing with people would be offset by teaching the awesome creative writing classes. I personally found my semester long creative writing class in high school beyond beneficial.
* Buy books on writing, grammar, punctuation, techniques and so on. Read them and explore the methods and exercises within them on your own. Explore any facet of fictional writing that peeks your interest. Take notes about what you like and dislike while studying said books.
* While reading fiction pay close attention to the wordplay in the story and the ways in which the story is crafted and held together. Know what you like and what you dislike in the way the author told the story and strive to keep your own tastes in mind as you write your own stories. This is something no degree can offer and no teacher can teach you, yet it is extremely important to developing your skills as a writer.
* Take a creative writing class as an elective. And/ or add a creative writing correspondence course from a reputable source (check with the Better Business Bureau while selecting your correspondence school). And/ or try taking a creative writing class at a community college or via your local community center, or some such thing.
* The major that I think could be most beneficial in your situation- business. All the better to market your writing & manage your fictional writing career, and useful in numerous day job type fields, it has the added bonus of being a day job choice that will not overly deplete the creative juices you will need to pour into your fictional writing work.
* Also, psychology is a great minor for someone who is very interested in writing fiction. Knowing the psychological angles could really enhance your fiction writing so long as you avoid writing stuff that sounds pulled from some psych 101 tome. Additionally, it would compliment a business major. If you don't like dealing with people I would not opt to make the psychology your major. Though realistically, a psychologist is dealing with far less people on a regular basis than say a cashier at a grocery store and in a much more controlled environment too, not that I'd ever recommend psychologist as a day job for a fictional writer type. At the very least whatever minor you choose should be something that can enhance your writing.
* You might consider minoring in creative writing and choosing a more widely marketable skill for your major, in a field that will enhance your writing career.
* Join a creative writing support group or something similar.
* You might consider postponing college a bit longer or skipping it entirely, until after you have tried out many of the other less expensive things I have mentioned. If after trying those out creative writing is still your passion, then consider whether or not you want to go to college for it. A college degree really isn't necessary to be a fiction writer. If something in which a degree would be worth the money you'll spend on it sparks your interest later on down the road consider it then for that.
* According to Sherrilyn Kenyon, NY Times best selling author, paranormal romance, in an interview I saw awhile back (as well as other random writers and people in the publishing field) - there is more money in non-fiction. So be sure to learn those skills as well. Who knows you may enjoy doing something like writing non-fiction e-books to supplement your income, possibly even someday you might find yourself writing non-fiction books about fiction writing techniques.
* If the only reason you're are planning to go to college is to hone your writing skills then I'd recommend not going for any degree at this time. You'll hone them more by habitually writing, and perhaps auditing a couple of relevant classes, and many of the other things I've mentioned.

* I read the first page of the writing sample you included. I might read more later if I have time. I would say that you have solid grasp of many key writing fundamentals. Though you could use a bit more study of proper use of punctuation. In many instances the way you used punctuation I found distracted me and pulled me out of the story. Your punctuation became less distracting as I went down the page- illustrating nicely the principal that to write well one must simply keep writing. The story itself shows promise and potential. I loved the line about his hair looking ridiculous if he didn't "set it into palatability."

My job - Artist/ Writer, owner of Bent Realm Studios
My college experience - I was only able to attend for two months. Five years later I'm still paying that off and I'm not even close to finished. I did meet my fiancé, the love of my life because I went to the school I went to, when I went, majoring in what I majored in (which in fact was what I expected to get out of it, though I did think it would be a nice bonus if I got a nice career out of it too). The major had been Video Game Design. I also learned some valuable useful info while there that benefit my ultimate writing and art goals.
Correspondence course - art
I've been writing and drawing seriously since 1994, but I have only begun the genuine attempt to make a living with it this year. I wanted to do do something very specific with my work long before the means to do exactly as I wished even existed. I also wanted to develop my skills majorly prior to making this attempt. I prefer writing fiction but don't mind writing reference-centric non-fiction.

What would I have done differently- Practiced writing and drawing with specific goals and deadlines more often than I did.

I hope that helps even if in only a small way. Who knows, maybe it’ll help someone else even. But that’s my $20 on the matter (my two cents adjusted for inflation). And drat I just noticed that I accidentally used “you’re are,” bizarre how much difference the display makes in editing. I also just noticed what actually posted to Yahoo Answers was drastically cut short. That is incredibly irritating. The submission process did not indicate a character limit, nor did it inform me I had passed it. I’ll have to edit it to include a link to this post. World –1 Me- 0… wonder if it really is a good idea to start keeping score on that…my impulse would be to retro-count the score too. *sigh*

Writers, what have your experiences with the usefulness of college degrees been? Artists? Crafters? Makers? Who has stuff to add to what I said? Who has majored in creative writing? Did you graduate? What were you able to do with said creative writing degree? Who else has character limits make them randomly feel like beating a coconut to death? What other majors would you recommend for someone who wants to be a fiction writer?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adepts, Dabblers & Chocolaty Death

Initially, I considered calling this Random Thoughts Inspired by Death Sex. Since this has plenty to do with the blog post Death Sex by @VickiDeath. However, enough of what’s in here has long dwelt within my brainmeats being un-voiced, not to mention too much a rip of her catchy title. She’s only started using her blog regularly recently. Though more recently than I. Her blogging shows promise, I’d say.

In her post, she talked about two questions she gets repeatedly that largely pry into her techniques and methods for creating certain effects in her art. She then goes on to explain why those two questions annoy her hardcore. Once again, I was writing way too much in a comment and realized I’d started a new blog entry. As does happen when a blog poster goes being all thought provoke-y.

Thoughts largely &/or vaguely related to her post:
Thought 1 – Art Teachers & Students

There is no end to the amusement when non-artists treat all artists as teachers. Not all artists are interested, willing or even capable of being teachers. Of course, on the flipside there is always the saying - those who can’t do teach.

I wonder if the art teachers who have students come away feeling as she did, do they fall into that category? As though they learned very little or only re-hashed what the student already knew or even deciding to discontinue their art studies. Some who discontinue their formal studies do continue to be an artist and learn on their own.

Are those teachers unable to earn a living with their art, unable to make a career of it and therefore just bitter enough to quickly have their students dismiss them? I’m sure this happens, the traditional art world is very hard to break into. Notice I say traditional. Certainly some feel teaching is their place and art is simply what they are to teach. Those are the art teachers you are more likely to learn a lot from, but the population being what it is, that’s rare. Even more so as funding for art programs gets continually sliced to shreds.

Or maybe the way art needs to be taught has changed. If people are asking questions that should be posed to a teacher directly of artists who have given no real public indication that they care for being a teacher or imparting hard fought self-taught knowledge to those looking for quick easy answers, then yeah, that is a clear sign that something needs to change [a post expanding upon this will be linked here later]. Granted one cannot always tell when someone has been mostly self-taught, but self-taught or not the path of art is typically hard fought. That was fraught with rhyming…yep.

Thought 2 – Broke Artists Cringe When Brands are Mentioned

If people asked me those two questions I'd not answer and be more than irritated too. I have nothing against doing a little art teaching [a related post will be linked here later] or sharing knowledge, but those particular questions are of a maddening variety.

I pay little attention to brands & makes when knee deep in an art project & dislike writing down what I use through out the process, that & growing up poor causes disdain for discussing brands.
Besides telling somebody your tool is an f'n generic q-tip and having them be so shocked, probably not as satisfying as one might imagine.

Personally I have to work with what I have, I’m not in a position yet to buy fancy art supplies, or even new ones all that often. Luckily, from the time I started playing hard and purposefully with art around age 14, people who gave me presents went for the easy here’s some art supplies kid, and I’d randomly buy some when I had money. I’ve a decent stockpile to last while I wait for the money to stop being such a heartless prick to me.

Plus going into detail about specific techniques is time-consuming, especially repeatedly. If I was just an artist maybe that wouldn't make much difference to me but I'm also a writer. When I'm doing art, I'm thinking about the art. The writer needs to be turned off while I complete my illustration, painting or whatever if it’s not for sequential art purposes. The project, not the ins & outs of what specifically I’m doing, that stuff goes to or comes from a more subconscious place and I get lost in it. I like to work fast and hard, from deep inside where explanation is more like a stranger.

I’d love to make videos to teach with, I think it would be the only way I could do it. Film myself working on art, narrate it later and even write notes for instructional blogs and eventually books. Do I have a video camera? Of course not crazyface! However my mother has a plot to send me a webcam packed in chocolate bunnies soon. Chocolate bunnies?! Ha! Of course it will be packed in chocolate bunnies, Easter just happened and my mom is awesome like that. She has a webcam she bought for one of my sisters that never got used. I think the sister accidentally killed her laptop by drowning it with hot chocolate. This is what happens when the oldest doesn’t even get a card for graduating high school and the 3rd child gets a laptop, it’s called karma. Either that or just keep your drinks away from the electronics.

Thought 3 – the Dabblers Are Not Allowed to Eat the Adepts

A lot of my art & writing skills are largely self-taught. Naturally, I can relate to the fabulous Miss Death’s disinclination to divulge such hard-won life lessons to dabblers. One can tell they’re dabblers too.

To be a true artist, once you discover your interest in making art -you spend your life organically learning all you can absorb about the process of making art and then applying and improving upon the knowledge picked up throughout your quest. It is intense hard work, dabblers haven’t the stones to live that quest. Adepts should never share too much info with dabblers. As an artist, whatever your chosen art form, you embrace the pain. I think some people call it studying.

I never really studied so much as bothered to learn as I went. I used to have people ask me, after I aced a test, if they could study with me. I don’t really know how to study. I’ve seen it on TV. It looks nothing like what I do. The looks on their faces when I would tell them sorry I don’t study for tests was …alarming. So I’m not one to advise precisely how to study art on your own, per se. Everyone has a different learning style, they just need to find theirs.

I’d say the questions that the fabulous Miss Death keeps getting ticked off by, imply “dabbler.”
What do I mean by dabbler -
  • a lack of seriousness about being an artist
  • an expectation of the world to give them quick easy neat answers and things served in silver platters
  • a habit of slurping up the hardwork of others and trying to ride it like it can take them somewhere they cannot go, a propensity to play around in someone else’s garden wreak some havoc
  • flittering away giggling or complaining at the earliest signs of real challenge
  • an utter lack of giving a crap if they dented the holy hell out of something in the process
  • Like they wouldn’t properly appreciate the gift of your knowledge if you went out of your way to articulate on your own techniques
  • nor are they the sort to genuinely appreciate any skills they gain, nor are they the sort to actually connect with their own art.
But more than that is the fact that they were asked of an artist who does not post tutorials or even links to tutorials, or in any other way publically indicate that she is the teaching sort. Yet she gets asked.
I imagine that sounded harsh to some but dabblers make me have headaches and you’ll notice I kindly left out the word lazy…oh wait there it is. I have no taste for dabblers, and I imagine I am far from alone in that.

Dabblers are not to be confused with people who:
  • aren’t sure if they want to start exploring art
  • have recently started and are looking for guidance
  • have not accepted how much of an artist they are yet.
  • The “I AM an artist” realization is a unique personal moment that comes at it’s own pace, often only after clearing away enough of the debris from the train wreck that is life.
  • are just kinda lost as to where to explore next
  • were never encouraged or permitted to explore art as a child
  • If not from dabblers, those questions would have come with an indication of some sort that they were just seeking your guidance for a bit. Non-dabblers are the kind who are far more likely to ask an artist who publically indicates an interest in teaching, whether by posting tutorials, art lesson videos, tips, &/or tweeting links to art how-to’s, tips & tutorials. 
The questions I get repeatedly asked that make me crankiest- (Usually by non-artists)
  • Wow, you drew that? Yes, yes I did draw that. That only makes crankiness because of the repetition…and well, look at the question and tell me how it would make you feel. Yeah.
  • Will you draw me a picture (for free)? Drawing pictures for other people…well if it’s not a gift I thought to make someone and they’re not paying me, then I’m going hungry and all my clothes have holes in them for no good reason. I’m not doing that so much anymore.
  • Will you design me a tattoo? That one always throws me, and more often than not they would indicate they’d not be paying me for that. I’ve thought about it. It’s not something I’m ever going to do for free. It’s something enough people have requested or suggested that I’m likely to someday offer it as a service or in packs of designs for tattooists to buy. For now I’m going to field all custom tattoo design requests over to Vicki (request from her shop or via her email that she gave in the interview when I asked her about custom tattoo designs). Even if I do start offering it as a service myself I’m likely to randomly direct people to her for that, since it’s her forte.
---- This thing is clocking in near 1900 words! I read somewhere that blog posts of that sort of length are considered very long. Yes, new concept to me, learned it a week or two ago. Either I’ll be able to do more posts at widely acceptable sizes or I’ll get even more used to writing than I already am and pour out novels, as I’ve been so often accused of. I’d like to believe I’ll wind up with a fair mix.

What questions about art, writing or crafting make you crankiest?
Do you see yourself as a professional artist, writer or crafter?
What was your “aha! I AM an artist” moment like or are you still waiting for it?
What are your experiences with dabblers?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Working on a bunch of posts for this right now. I expect one to go up later today, and to post with more frequency. The last month & a half have been tricky with stress & random goings on in my personal life. It's truly difficult to post some days, I imagine as I become more practiced & used to my new schedule that will have less of an effect.

Meanwhile, wondering what everybody else is up to quite often lately. So I thought I'd post a general check in.

  • Who has done or started any of the National Poetry Month challenges?
  • In general what kinds of arts, crafts, or writing are you guys working on?
  • What kinds of topics would you guys like to see most in this blog?
  • For the writers, what's your daily word-count looking like lately?

    As for me, I typically have a hard time counting my words, for me that's the hardest part of it. Well, I have to go right now, falling asleep at the keyboard.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April is National Poetry Month

During April, I will be posting many things in honor of National Poetry Month. Basically a month long event. There will be various poetry related challenges. Not all challenges will be exclusively for writers. Yeah you heard me right. Some will be for artists, some will be for crafters & makers. Also to come - a few discussions and poetry information posts. I’m not sure how deep into poetry tutorials I’ll get but there will definitely be some how to info.
All challenges are just here for your own amusement and to encourage creativity. Yay creativity! Participate at random as you like, feel free to share results, achievements, crankiful griping and so on relating to these challenges in the comments on any post in the National Poetry Month category. I’ll be participating in some of them as well.
Here are the challenges that should be spread out through the entire month.
Challenge #1 – A Poem a Day
Write at least one poem per day in the month of April. Any topic any poetry style.

Challenge #2 – A Poem a Week
Write one or a few poems a week during the month of April. Same deal as challenge #1.

Challenge #3 – 20 Short Form Poems
Write at least 20 short form poems this month. By short form I mean poems up to 500 words in length. Any topic, any poetry style.

Challenge #4 – 10 Long Form Poems
Write at least 10 long form poems in April. Long form as in any poem over 500 words. Pick whatever topic, and any any poetry style that can exceed 500 words.

Challenge #5 – 5 Poems with Illustrations
Write 5 poems, any kind. Then do one of these variations. Variation 1- write  your poem in calligraphy or some other fancy lettering and draw some sort of sweet border. Variation 2 – write your poem then illustrate a scene or image from it. Variation 3 – If you don’t want to write your own poem, if your an artist not a writer, then pick a favorite poem and either do the lettering & border variation or the illustrate a scene thing. For variation 3 it is a good idea to only use a poem that is under public domain.

Challenge #6 – Some Poetry Inspired Crafting or Making
As the challenge name implies this one is about crafting or making inspired by a poem. Either write the poem yourself or use a favorite. Remember if you plan to sell the result and didn’t write the poem yourself be sure you have permission or it falls under public domain, not all projects require that but some do, so watch yourself. Depending on how long your particular craft etc takes to complete you may want to do more than one. Pretty much take any element of the poem and somehow incorporate it into the project. Examples – embroidering the poem onto some gorgeous bit of cloth for hanging on the wall, screen printing your favorite line with some fancy bit of awesome included, do up a little sculpture inspired by some element from the poem, poetry inspired metalwork or jewelry, make an item or object in the poem (for example if there is say a description of a magic mirror make some version of it). You get the idea.

Well, I figure this is a nice way to kick off National Poetry Month. Have fun with it, blow your own mind if you can. There will be more challenges (typically more specific) plus discussions etc. this month. Not that that’s all I intend to post this month, but there will be plenty more for the month. Oh, and if these challenges aren’t exactly as you want them, then customize them, maybe even mix and match elements between these 6 month long ones. Remember I’ll be posting more, so many will be suitable for use in conjunction with these.

Which of these challenges do you think you’ll tackle? What kinds of poems do you like to read and why? What kinds of poems do you like to write and why? If you hate poetry, why (be tasteful)? Have you ever written long poems? Would you consider yourself a poet? What genre do you use most while poem writing? Horror is my most frequently employed genre for poetry.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On the Matter of Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

     On Twitter, mystery author Elizabeth S. Craig (@elizabethscraig | her blog) posts many useful & interesting links concerning writing. Recently this one caught my attention Has Digital and Self Publishing Devalued Authorship?

     First let me just say that entire debate about self-publishing somehow being less valid and any such related ideals fills me with a profound anger. Why? Largely because much of what is said negatively about self-publishing is broad generalizations that rarely encompass situations like mine while implying that what I do is somehow less and the opines disclosed frequently reveal to me an air of taking for granted things I struggle with that are for whatever reason somehow easier for them. Not that I have a clue if they genuinely do take such things for granted, it’s besides the point whether they do or not, the grumbliness happens regardless.

     Reading the article I frowned and harrumphed. It was the 1st real comment, however, that made me feel like responding. The comment was made by writer Joni Rodgers. I never heard of her prior.

     Her comment was lengthy and eloquent. Some of it tweaked a nerve, however, and I began writing a response in the comment section. As it began to grow in length I realized it was more of a blog entry than a comment. Plus I don’t care for hashing out long rants in comment form.

So now I weigh in on the whole traditional publishing vs. self-publishing debate.

     I'd say it always depends on the writer, the individual, and the work itself whether or not anything is devalued. Some self-publishers are: simply content with dabbling for the remainder of their years, stubborn, tired of rejection, delusional, vain or some other random thing. And others are none of those. Some are visionary and unorthodox. Some have very specific goals or other circumstances that are not conducive to the traditional publishing format and environment. Each situation is very different.

     I plan to begin self-publishing this year. It is not remotely in dismissal of the necessity of all the work that people that are involved in producing a traditionally published book. They and their work are extremely necessary, however I haven't the luxury of having the time nor resources required for pursuing traditional means of publishing.

I have many reasons for self-publishing.

  • Art and writing are my calling and have been since junior high some 15 years ago, I did not ever consider myself a dabbler. I threw myself in heart and soul.
  • I always had very specific plans for what I wanted to do and I've also always had extremely limited resources.
  • Printing and postage costs alone involved in the usual submissions process have always been beyond my means, and that's to say nothing of the cost of acquiring an agent.
  • The thought of: writing out queries, sending large samples of my writing to a multitude of strangers, spending copious amounts of valuable time being a nervous wreck while awaiting a reply, going through a contract process before finding my footing, and many other standard procedures native to the traditional route - those things to me are unappealing, horrific, torturous, stressful, sleep-depriving and crazy-making. I need my sanity and I need enough sleep. While insanity has it’s merits, sanity is not over-rated it’s required, without it they lock you away.
  • Many of my writing projects involve the incorporation of my artwork.
  • A great deal of what I want to do is difficult to convey to other people.
  • A solid decade of my life was, well, rough for lack of a better term, and due to all that went on I have to be very careful of my stress levels. Many forms of paperwork are exceptionally difficult for me, and the entire submission and trying to get discovered process are seriously stressful to me as well. Large amounts of stress cause me sleep deprivation, which is very bad for me.
  • One could say my health requires a simpler, more mellow process.
  • And about a kagillion and three other random reasons all of them thoroughly valid and respectable.

The only piece of writing I ever submitted was published. I only submitted it because I could handle the submission process.

Self-publishing allows me to both answer my calling and go at my own pace. Few things in life allow me that.

What do you think about the whole traditional vs. self-publishing debate? What experiences have you had with either?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Must Play with Pastels More Often

Flowers In Blue Vase. In pastels.
A few years back I did this pastel drawing on newsprint paper of some yellow flowers in a blue vase with doodled sort of design on it.

I remember being very pleased with it when I finished it. It was so much fun to make, I sincerely don’t know why I haven’t done more of this type of simple sketching with pastels. I’ve done many monochromatic warm-up sketches with pastels since, but not much quite the way I worked on this one.

Recently, I came across it whilst flipping through many of my sketchbooks looking for material for blogging. It was unexpected just how much this one made me want to play with my pastels. Then I looked around and a longing to play with all my art supplies on a much more epic scale hit me.

In so many ways it’s a relief to be making this Bent Realm Studios, the art and the writing into my full-time gig. It’s something I’ve longed to do for what seems an eternity. Life is not allowed to get in my way on this anymore. Because I forbid it.

Later today I had better get to break out my pastels and play with them.

Custom art makes excellent Mother's Day gifts, you can request a pastel drawing like this one (or something else in a different medium). Fill out the form for requesting a commission on the contact page. A pastel drawing like this one, approximately 11 in. x 17 in, would run about $25 plus shipping & handling. See the services page for more info on some other mediums, genres and subject matter I enjoy working on.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick’s Day Challenges

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!

     Originally, I’d started this in a different blog with the intention of releasing each of the four parts separately, and had posted part 1 of this 4 part challenge. But I realized that entire blog was sort of redundant and it’s categories needed to be hacked up and scavenged elsewhere on
     Obviously it’s too late to post or start working on merchandise art and shop items for this year’s green-centric holiday. Yet somehow I always feel like doing holiday themed artwork in the week surrounding said holiday, it’d be a shame to waste that creative feeling simply because it’s too late to put said artwork out. So, here I thought the challenge then would be in planning next St. Patrick’s Day’s arts, crafts and related thingamajigs.
     This round of challenges are then mostly for artists, crafters and various shopkeepers, maybe writer’s too. There are four parts to this round and I will post results once I have a decent amount.
You can share the results of any or all of the parts of the challenge or hoard them like a king plotting his next take-over.

Part One

A Basic word and image association game.
What is associated with the St. Patrick’s holiday? I’ll kick it off.
  • The color green
  • Clovers, especially of the 4 leaf kind
  • Ireland & Irish motifs
  • Luck
  • Leprechauns, rainbows, pots of gold, drinking (I’m not a drinker myself), partying, and so on, mostly stereo-typical things here.
Are there things that I’ve left out?
What else could be associated with it?
The challenge lies in trying to come up with less common associations or even inventing new ones.

Part Two

Info to use to make a shopkeeper guide.
Let’s discuss best practices for St. Patrick’s themed promotions for art, crafts, shops, and related writing & blog posts. I’ll then input the collaborative info into Shopkeeper’s guide to St. Patrick’s Day as a resource for us.
  • When is the best time to begin publicly promoting your St. Patrick’s themed items? How early is too early? How close to St. Patty’s is too late?
  • When is the best time to start working on projects for the holiday, whether they be artwork, stories, blog posts, jewelry or random products? Obviously the answer is dependant upon how elaborate and numerous the projects are as well as the project types.
  • What sort of projects work well?
  • What kind don’t work well?
  • What sort of themed promos are particularly suited to this holiday?
  • I’m sure there’s more items that ought to be covered for a shopkeeper’s guide, so by all means include other related thoughts. Stuff from part 1 of this challenge will be included in that guide.
Part Three

Do some advanced planning for next year’s St. Patrick's activities while the holiday is still fresh in your mind.
  • Plan out some promotional ideas and set a schedule for them.
  • Plan out a few related projects for a nice head start, and then either finish them quickly, over the coming year, or finish them closer to when you want them completed by.
  • If you’re doing artwork, draw up multiple layouts
  • If you’re doing a story, build the frame for it, outline the basics and maybe even draft up much of the plot. Either finish it or let it stew.
  • If you’re doing just blog posts, brainstorm and do research.
  • Brainstorm for a party.
  • You get the idea.
I expect the early planning would make the next year’s themed events far more mellow to set up. Not only that but being right in the midst of the holiday now it’s easier to see and think up related material.

Part Four

Complete some related project.
A drawing, painting, blog entry, poem, short story, you name it, but complete one project, if you choose to do this part of the challenge. Feel free to share it in the comments if you post your project online.

Bookmark and Share

Well that’s all four parts finished. Don’t know why I was thinking to post them separately before. What are your thoughts on this challenge? Who’s going to participate? Who’s looking forward to future challenges? What categories would you like challenges done up for?



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Busy Like a Nutter

Wow have I been busy lately, busy like a nutter. It’s easy to get caught up in my activities. Then there is how long it takes to wake up. Sure, I guess I could drink coffee, but it’s yucky and I don’t want to add that to my budget.

Here’s a bit of what I’ve been working on:
  • Scrambling to complete an entry for a contest I didn't find out about until last minute. Sadly, I had no real chance to make that deadline.
  • Trying to get my blogs in order. They all need new posts, or rather a back stock of posts to come, which I’ve been throwing together, in addition figuring out some adjustments I want to make to the layouts. 
  • Random stuff around the house.
  • Working on art to post to my etsy shop and my store on Zazzle
  • General organizing and Bent Realm work
  • Working on a feature for this blog on the fabulous artist Vicki Death ( @VickiDeath | her shop | the feature will link here).
  • I intend to start featuring other artists and writers around once a month. I love the artist/writer community support vibe, I think it’s incredibly important to be there for each other in this crazy creativity whirlwind we are swept up in. I’ll get a page up with submission details soon.
  • New Decadent Angels episodes begin releasing sometime next month, meanwhile the already written episodes will continue posting until then (it’s done through part 12:1). Plus there’s supplementary content to prepare for that.
  • Been hunting for a proper way to put my feeds onto my home page, honestly I’d simply prefer to know how to code that myself so I can plug one in where ever on my site I need one without having to worry about whether or not it’s allowed to be used on a small business site type bs. Can’t begin to tell you how much that sort of crap drives me bonkers, like it’s not ok for simple broke as hell creative types like me to try and get somewhere without popping blood vessels, selling our souls or hocking a kidney or some such non-sense. I digress feeling a little irate at certain aspects of the world, grumble grumble. Claw my way to the top, grawr. The top of what? Eh, who knows, but cookies may be involved.
  • Lots impending releases this year that I am working on.
  • Concept work.
  • Probably other stuff I’m forgetting to mention.
I think it’d be real easy to feel overwhelmed. But I’ve forbidden myself to be overwhelmed. Yep. Cuz that totally works.
Bookmark and Share

What are you working on lately? Are you overwhelmed by your project load? Do you have any tips for being less overwhelmed, more productive and /or de-stressing?

Place orders soon for Mother’s Day gifts of unique Custom Art. If it is the thought that counts a custom illustration done with your mom in mind would count on an epic scale.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Drawing a cyborg

Here’s a snapshot out of my sketchbook. This is a cyborg femme fatale I’m working on drawing. It will be available for sale in my etsy shop as soon as it’s finished. It was started in January I had to set it aside for a little while, I’ll admit I got distracted. But also some projects need to brew while I sleep, and turn out better for having set them aside. I keep looking at it every so often so that I have it fresh in my mind and sort of contemplate what I want to do with specific areas and so on. I think it comes out far better having done that, with a trickier piece.
     Some pieces however must be finished immediately or they are doomed, I have a few unfinished pieces idling in my art studio going back as far as junior high. Luckily I don’t do that too often. If I’d have been able to get to back to those few pieces within months they would have been finished, but until around 4 years ago my life was such that I had to move around a lot, things tended to get packed up long term or even lost entirely. I must say I like the much more stable home environment I’ve had since meeting my fiancé.
     I picked up a taste for drawing cyborgs while I was briefly able to attend college, then majoring in video game design. If given the opportunity to begin school again I think I’d go for an animation degree since that would benefit my company more and were I to try getting a job with in the game design industry, they prefer you to specialize in a specific field.
     Anyhow I love sci-fi a great deal, and since cyborgs are fun to draw, I’m hoping to draw more of them.
So what do you think? Would you like to see me do more sci-fi art? Do you like drawing sci-fi? What kind?

Check out the Studio Supply Shop for tons of art supplies in many categories items like these:


Hope you enjoyed this sketchbook sneek peek.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Musically Enhanced Free-write

This is a very simple and basic creative writing exercise.
     Basically, you crank up some music loud and just type - letting the words flow out of you, do not pause, do not give much thought to what you are writing,type rapidly and steadily.
     It's a free-write, excellent for a warm-up before your days writing begins. Write about whatever flows out of your mind, whatever subject matter, format, viewpoint, fiction, non-fiction, etc feels most natural at the time. Poetry or prose, both are good for this. Typically, 10 minutes is good enough, however if you find yourself on a real roll keep writing until you need to break for food, facilities or just plain getting out of the chair, but be aware the momentum is very difficult to resume after a break during the same free-write.
     This is best done on a computer - typing fast as you can, plus this makes it easier to go back and make something out of it. Typically, Notepad with Word Wrap turned on, or any equivalent simple text program, is ideal for this, small file size and no distractions from playing with the formatting or spell checker. You can use pen and paper for this if you really want to but that goes slower and it's a bit more difficult to build up any real momentum, also you can't do the inline editing later which is especially useful when turning it into a polished poem or story bit.
     Some people may need to use only instrumental music. Either way some streaming music sites that go well with this are Last.FM (my Last.FM profile), Pandora (my Pandora profile), and (my playlist profile), feel free to add me as a friend on any of them. Radio stations are ok unless they're heavy on the commercials, which can break your concentration.
     The first few times through this free-write may feel awkward or even clumsy. Going the full ten minutes will probably take some getting used to. After a few tries you should loosen up, and begin feeling comfortable with it.
     In my own forays with this creative writing exercise, I have found it can produce some great poetry, among other things. Often it provides seeds for stories or scenes. Since you are basically streaming from your subconscious more than usual, it can even help guide you to solutions for story pieces or plot points you may be struggling with if you have been thinking about it a lot. Free-writes are great for mining for scraps to use in your regular writing. Sometimes you'll find that you are writing a story you didn't even know was in your head.
     When I created Decadent Angels, this was one of two creative writing exercises I used simultaneously (the other will be linked here). Of all the writing warm-ups I've tried this one is my favorite. It's great for exploring your imagination and for exploring your stories and characters in a way that can remove some of the pressures and confines of your novel or story. Largely because you can feel more comfortable not using whatever material you come up with through it, after all it is just a warm-up. It also can put you into the frame of mind to work on said story quickly. Maybe even kick the snot of writer's block more often than without it. I'd recommend making special playlists or Pandora stations some of your more personally compelling stories, characters or series. Music is a powerful tool for rapidly immersing yourself in one of your created worlds.
     Hope you find this useful. Who has tried this? What were your experiences with it? Did anything come out of it that surprised you?