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Don’t Be a Peeved Pickle, You Got This!

Child Study

Sometimes a project gets put on hold until I level up enough as an artist to take it back out and complete it. Usually this happens when I’m stuck in my head, and I start to draw the life out of everything.

And when it’s time to bring it out, I feel determined. I’m RESOLVED to draw the thing. But I’m also intimidated. I remember how frustrating it was, and I find myself stalling. “oh, I was going to work on that, but I decided to cook bacon! Uh.. I needed to fold towels! I have to run an errand! Oh does that need cleaning AGAIN? Just a few more chapters in this book, and I’ll get right to it.”

Procrastination is sneaky.

Before I know it, I’m completely stressed out because I’m not taking charge and I really WANT TO FINISH THIS, but now it’s a BILLION TIMES HARDER because it has grown teeth while I ignored it and keeps making threatening chomping noises.

Enter the drawing studies and the silly sketches. Above is a study of child. I’ve been leaning a lot towards drawing toddlers lately, and I wanted to get familiar again with bigger kids! Kids who run and play, hug their toys, get embarrassed, and grin when they figure out tying their shoes when 5 minutes ago IT WAS SO HARD AND THEY WERE NEVER GOING TO GET IT RIGHT.

*lightbulb flashes above my head*

Huh! I guess some things don’t change. Next time I want to shout “It’s TOO HARD I CAN’T DO IT! I’ll remember I learned to tie my shoes and just get to work instead of being a peeved pickle like below. 😀

 

 

Peeved Pickle

I love grouchy characters.

Battle Strategies Against S.A.D.

Winter is not my favorite season. It is so grey outside and gloomy. I’ve been posting pictures in social media, but I wanted to share a bit here too.

This is how I feel a lot in the winter. It’s really hard to get going and every year I promise myself, NOT THIS YEAR, but it comes back. S.A.D. is real and ferocious. And I noticed a lot of people are struggling this year.

So while I don’t have a cure for SAD, here are some things that help me:

Warm colors and spring themes are absolutely essential for me. Flowers, greens, yellows oinks*, I mean pinks, oranges..I have plants that are still alive somehow, and I usually draw something just to focus on the colors until I feel a sense of peace and contentment.

Warm beverages. Hot cocoa, coffee, tea are all wonderful. They warm up my hands and the steam from the mug just lifts the gentle scent and I imagine the heaviness of winter breaks away from me and is carried away with the steam to a magical place where goblins will eat it and enjoy its gloomy textures.

Sometimes when it’s really bad, I go back to bed. I dont need to sleep, I just close the curtains, turn on my lamps, and just appreciate the warm fluffiness of my pillows and comforter. Sometimes I read a book, but mostly, I just focus on the warm lamplight, and pretend my bedroom is a springtime fairy garden and everything is going to be okay. Sometimes I do fall asleep for a little while, and when that happens, it feels like hitting a reset button on the day.

I embrace the trendiest of winter fashions. Comforter chic is all the rage this season. Dont forget your fluffy slippers!

Things I havent drawn yet but are really helpful in the winter are

  1. Vitamin D3 supplements. I noticed a marked mood improvement when I take these.
  2. Exercise. My favorite is Fitness Boxing on the nintendo switch. Punching works out a lot of frustration and I find myself laughing by the end of it.
  3. Terrible jokes. The ones that are so bad, they’re good. My dad texted me one he heard recently: “A tyrannosaurus rex was arrested for selling handguns to the locals here. Apparently, he was a small arms dealer”
  4. Keeping up with friends and family. You need someone to share those terrible jokes with, and good company can be an excellent remedy for seasonal depression.
  5. Peppy music. When I feel really sad, I pay upbeat tunes. When its an emergency, I play this Song

*some typos are worth keeping

New Year, New Goals!

Are you making resolutions for the new year? This year I have two goals, and some steps to help me get there.

 

  1.  To get ready to query:
    1. Draw every day – Even on bad days, and sometimes especially on bad days. I want to push outside my “Aw, that’s really pleasant” comfort zone.
    2. Finish 3 pictures books WIPs- I have the ideas. I just need to finish them! I’m using an action planner workbook to focus on a task a week to get this done.
    3.  Submit to agents! I have a small list of agents I’d love to work with based on personal and online interactions. Once my WIPs are finished, I’m going to start contacting agents (and of course, following their submission guidelines)
  2. Get Travel Ready:
    1. Build strength, endurance, and flexibility for dream hiking, with exercise and hiking local trails 5 times a week.
    2.  Practice languages for places I’m visiting 10 minutes a day. Most people speak English, but I prefer knowing some of the language because it’s a languages are fun and a great way to connect to people.

 

Cecilia Yung had an amazing session at an SCBWI conference about goal-setting, and she stressed multiple times the importance of not setting goals that weren’t in your control. To say “I’m going to get an agent and get published this year” is a terrible goal, because I have NO control over whether I’ll get a “yes!” from someone else. But I DO have control over the work I do and submitting it. I still have a note from that session reminding me of this; it is wonderful advice.

 

This Fluff and Flowers was drawn with Copic Markers and color pencils. Copics are colorful and fun, but not my favorite tool to use. I’m not SURE what my favorite is, maybe by the end of the year I’ll have an answer for you 🙂

Fluff and Flowers

Birthday Fun

Today is my birthday! Woo! I’m in a really great mood today, because it’s a super relaxing wonderful kind of day and I have no appointments, deadlines, or general worrying to fret over.

I wanted to sketch some puppies, and you know, a lot of puppies look really sad, and tired, and just like “just lemme take a nap already!” And so I was delighted to sketch some of these pups and draw them PARTY HATS!

Omg this puppies are ready for a party! Maybe a pity party. Anyway, HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND, and since its my birthday, go ahead and celebrate with me by ordering dessert!

A review of the HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation-Performance Unit

I’ve really enjoyed writing posts about attending conferences, especially with the NYC SCBWI Winter Conference coming up. However, I’m not attending this winter because I spent all my conference money on a new computer.

HP often has some amazing sales, and this was no exception. I recently purchased the HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation-Customizable Performance Unit. This workstation is amazing, and I was able to really beef it up for a very awesome price thanks to their previous fall sale where prices were like 60% off.

I’m linking you to the product because they are having a similar flash sale, and if you are in the same boat I was in, it’s good to know.  You can customize this workstation to 8 cores, which is 16 threads which means, you can multitask wonderfully on this machine. I can have ALL THE LAYERS open in Clip Studio, while streaming music and chatting on Twitter and it doesn’t hiccup. What I really love about it is that it’s quiet, small, and fast.

It’s nice to be able to work and not take a coffee break each time I move my stylus. I’m using my Cintiq as a monitor and it’s working really well. This is the first computer that works seamlessly with the Cintiq.

Some Potential downsides: The power brick is pretty big, but not as big as some of them out there, and I find it hides behind the main computer pretty well.  Honestly, there’s really not much to dislike about this machine.

 

HP isn’t paying me for this review by the way. But IF THEY WANTED TO… LOL.

I ended up paying about 2300 for this machine. Which is a really good deal given all the upgrades I requested for it.  But it also means that I’ll be missing out on this year’s conference fer sure now because I spent the money I usually save for conferences on this. It was a good investment. I’ll be drawing up a storm and following along the Twitter feeds for conference updates in February 😀

 

 

Short and Squirrely

I had a doozy of a migraine last weekend that left me hiding in a dark room for a few days. I still have some light sensitivity so this is a short post.

Last week a squirrel came up really close, and I took a photo of it. This one really made me think of someone who needs to know what caused that noise, but is also really scared. So I gave him a baseball bat and had some fun with it.

Have a good week, everyone!

SCBWI Conferences: Socialize! (Especially you, introverts! I believe in you!)

 

It’s such an odd thing to think that an introvert will tell you how important it is to socialize at conferences, but I would argue that it’s one of the most important things about attending a conference. Taking a deep breath and allowing yourself to meet someone new opens the door to potentially wonderful friendships.  

While you’re sitting at home in front of your computer, it’s easy to say “YES. I am going to TALK to people!” but then suddenly you’re standing in the middle of a room while people are networking and talking. You are an awkward island and you don’t know how to move (what do I do with my arms?), make eye contact (am I staring? Don’t look at anyone! AH! I JUST LOOKED AT THAT PERSON AND THEY LOOKED AT ME!) , and the panic is rising up your body until you flee to your hotel room and eat a sleeve of cookies.  

It may not be cookies. That might just be me 😉 

First, take a deep breath. I know I said this before, but taking a deep breath will let your body know that you’re not being chased by tigers or zombies, OR ZOMBIE TIGERS. That will signal to your body that it can calm down a little bit. Keep breathing. Let yourself feel your feet on the floor and repeat this in your head: 

“Everyone gets nervous. I’m worth meeting. I can do this. I got this.” 

Some great places to introduce yourself: 

  • By the water jugs. Everyone gets thirsty. People actually talk about getting thirsty.  
  • In line for food. “What’s that? Mashed potatoes? Oooh I want to eat that!” 
  • Sitting next to someone at a session or before a keynote. (I know, you can do it! Be brave!) 
  • Looking at portfolios during the show case. “Whoa, this is beautiful work! Look at this image!”  

 

If you get really stuck, you can always fall back on these subjects:

  • Music (“What kind of music do you like to listen to?”)
  • What someone is reading, at this conference, it’s safe to assume everyone has a book they really enjoy
  •  What part of the conference they are most looking forward to, or if it’s later in the weekend, what part they really enjoyed.
  • Where they are from. I love hearing about people’s hometowns and what it’s like there. But if someone looks different from you, dont’ ask “Ohio? No, where are you REALLY from?” (I’m looking at you fellow white people. Don’t be that person)

 

If you don’t have plans for lunch, be bold, find a friendly group of people and ask “May I join you?” Most people will say yes. Don’t monopolize the conversation but also be proud of who you are and don’t cower within yourself when someone asks about you.  

And if someone invites you to have dinner or drinks with a group, go for it. Yes, it’s going to be exhausting if you are an introvert , but it will also be FUN! You’ll make friends, and pretty soon, you’ll find yourself a part of a group of people who are just amazing, and you’ll be making plans to come back to the next conference so you can hang out with them again.

 

And because, what is a post without pictures? here are some cat studies I did last week.

  Surfing the Webs

 

SCBWI Conferences: Stay an extra day!

Going to conferences can be a lot of fun, but also a bit nerve wracking to plan for. With SCBWI’s annual Winter Conference in New York coming up, and some amazing local conferences like the one in Pittsburgh (November 8&9, 2019) I wanted to write a few posts about conferences and what I wish someone had told me when I started out.

When planning your trip, I really encourage you to book at least one extra day in the city. You’ve traveled all this way to go somewhere new, plan out some sights you want to see and schedule a day to enjoy being a tourist. If you can, schedule more than one day! I love doing this when I go to New York for the winter conference, and each time I get to try something new. I saw the show Wicked, got a selfie at Rockefeller Center, and tried some restaurants that were new to me! I also probably ate way too many black and white cookies. Enjoy being a tourist!

If you are coming to Pittsburgh for our annual conference this November (link here), you’ll be glad you took an extra day or two to stay. There’s a LOT of really cool stuff here that I take for granted in this city, like our amazing museums, the science center, Phipps, concerts, plays and musicals, etc. There’s something for everyone from the music lover to the sports fan. And you can finally try that Primanti’s sandwich you’ve heard so many good things about.

Below is a drawing I did in colored pencils. I really am mostly a digital artist, but there’s something about the sounds and smells of traditional media, and the response of the tools in your hands. Several times, I did try to zoom into the drawing to see what I was doing more clearly, but I’m really proud that I only hit the imaginary ctrl z once 😀 

Drawing In Pencil