May. 7th, 2014 03:59 pm
chantico: (Honest)
This oil painting thing being directly tied to one of the projects I want to get done was a mistake. To bind the necessary exploration of a new medium so closely with a project that I have a clear vision for, in terms of what the finals should look like and the stylistic choices I want to make, handicaps me from the start. I have picked the wrong boundaries to put on the learning process. SO. Going back to digital for this project, keeping oil painting as something I'm doing to play, fuck around with, and learn something from.

I'd proud of myself for not running away again. Comparing my approach now to my approach in college, I'm much less likely to view an artistic challenge as a threat to my survival, more likely to see it as the obstacle it is-- and also less likely to continue bashing my head against it until it breaks or I do. I have become slier in my approach. If I run face first into something and it doesn't immediately dissolve in a puff of fairy dust, it occurs to me that I might actually be able to *climb over*. Or under, or around, what have you.
chantico: (Indecisive)
Watercolors are a slippery beast. They look so pretty, so simple, so elegantly clean. You do not see the fangs until it's feasting time. Luckily, with practice and courage, they can be leashed. I . . . am not so much with the leashing, yet. More like circling the corral, rope in my hands, while watercolors growl at me from the opposite side of the sawdust floor. They've kicked my as for two days, but the moon has changed it's face and dammit, I figured out a few tricks to wrangle the fuckers into compliance. Mostly.

The problem with them is that watercolors are both a fickle medium *and* a permanent one. It is really hard to undo a stroke once you've laid it down, and estimating exactly how the paint will move is just as difficult. I'm sure masters have no problem estimating color density and how a stroke will dry, but I the definitive dilettante in this arena. Complicating things is the nature of the work: I'm trying to complete additional illustrations for an author who came to us with a set already completed by another artist. My handicap is matching their style-- and like I said, since watercolor is a stroke-by-stroke record, there's no slamming some stuff down on paper and then realizing the person you're doppleganging always used horizontal strokes and you used vertical. Plus I have no idea what colors she used, in what brands (even more so than in other paints, watercolor shades seem to vary a lot between companies; a cadmium red in Windsor and Newton might be pretty damn different than a cadmium red in a competitor-- close enough that they are both still cadmium red, but far enough apart to make my whole palette just a liittttllle cooler, warmer, etc than my predecessor.) AND the images I'm working off of are really bad scans that muck with the colors anyway.

I am legit having a blast. No sarcasm. This is fun.


No progress on Light. I am stymied by my lack of tools and waiting for other people to have time/inclination to lend me access to their tools. Frustrated. Working on parasols instead, or maybe writing. Maybe. It's my newest habit: 500 words a day in any medium. So journaling counts. Expect to see more updates as I flee my stories.


Been bad about making dinner. It's so hard after the gym! Have been good about going to the gym, though. Bonus. Worked out my arms WAY too much last time; they went from sore to "wow, I feel a little nauseous when I bend my elbows".


New Music you should listen to: Gang Gang Dance's Saint Dymphna (for all your african/tartar inspired eclectic electronic needs) and "Once I Was An Eagle" by Laura Marling (who must be a being made of glass to have a voice so clear and sharp).
chantico: (Impatient)
Been a really productive couple of days. I credit HabitRPG, being that it was plucked straight from my "technological programs I wish existed" fantasies and made real.

First, I'm keeping up with an updated workload. The Higher Ups finally figured out a way to track production hours for the artists, using averages of our work times. It's not that bad, really. Some stuff that I do *really* fast is slotted to take a lot longer, some stuff I take longer on is expected faster, and they predict things to balance out so they don't really sweat it unless you are consistently under goals.

Second, got paid for a project I did a while back, which had not been collected due to my own laziness.

Third, finished an Album cover for B, an illustration I'm quite proud of, and I did it way fast-- five hours from sketch to completion. It's nice to see myself getting even faster . . . and getting better. My colors are stronger, my drawing better. I know, it should be expected with working my job, but I'd been plateaued for a while, and it looks like I've a level up in my future.

Fourth, finished all but one sketch for the coolest job I've gotten in a long while: botanical illustrations for a scientific paper. A new species has been discovered, and I get to do the plates for the introductory paper. Eeee! It's tough stuff, being so specific and detail oriented, but FUN.

And fifth, most importantly, I have finished the studies for Light. It's ready for me to start the painting process. And *that* deserves an entry to itself, but not right now because I have a car waiting to pick me up.

chantico: (Thoughtful)
Better today. I didn't get much work done, but I pushed through the horrible torture picture on my queue and now I am free of that one forever. Going out tonight for a birthday celebration for someone I have made the acquaintance of but don't really "know" know. He seems like a good dude, and it's important to keep getting up and running the friend-making marathon. And I finished a painting study for my Light picture. It is good. I am pleased. I am *very* pleased that I did well on estimating the colors, which I always have some problem with, but as usual I am not so great at figuring out value. Especially in situations where something is highly saturated. I am not sure how to train my eye to detect that, other than continual practice. Well, it would be continual practice either way, but like many art things, sometimes it takes a special way of thinking about a subject to get it through my head.

Speaking of painting.

Right now, I spend a lot of time contemplating my place in the artistic universe. There's lots more to write about that; it's a dodecahedron of issues, but this facet is all about Why I Do Art. Or more specifically, Why I Have Done Art. (And even more specifically, "One Significant Fraction of Why I Do and Have Done Art" but now we're getting pedantic and I don't want to think about how you divide one side of a polyhedron by thirds because math, whatever, ANYWAY) Look, I'm not shy about the fact that I am a Leo and I live up to the attention seeking stereotype. I like eyes on me-- or deflected slightly, onto my art. Maybe I didn't start to draw because of this, but I sure as shit started showing my work to people because of it. I drew, drew *publicly*, because I wanted the attention. I was good at the drawing, or good enough to merit a lingering glance, and it was a convenient cipher through which I could gain the praise I craved without offering up my vulnerable self. Everyone likes someone who can draw, because they can draw for *you*. And I hammered away at getting better so that I could be *better than*. I was in competition with anyone that picked up pencil, and the poor folks either never knew it or were befuddled by my antipathy. I wouldn't have made a career, a *life* out of this if I didn't enjoy it on a base level. But how do I ingratiate myself with people I want to be friends with? I draw them something. It was the Like button before Facebook existed. It was the safest way I knew of being popular.

In high school.

And then in college, I started unraveling that, but I still craved the adoration of people even if I wasn't pursuing it out of blood-tinged jealousy. But . . . if I was okay with being the second best in the class, I *wasn't* okay with being the fourth, fifth, sixth. Things that were tough for me, like color theory and oil painting? I avoided. I dropped out, because what I was producing wasn't worth being looked at. And since college, that has been the metric by which I have judged my work: is this worth being looked at? That's a fabulous skill for an illustrator to have, because it means that my focus is intrinsically on pleasing the client or the crowd.

Note that not once in this have I mentioned doing art for myself.

Because I don't.

Oh . . . sometimes I draw my own characters. And by sometimes I mean I have done some sketches. But. Well. Did you ever see a painting done of Liza? Bethy? Barty? I illustrated other folks characters, but not once did I put the time in for mine beyond some half-hour pieces. Most of my paintings in my portfolio are commissions. It's more than a matter of doing art just for other people and never giving the time to what *I* want-- it's subconsciously selecting what I want to create based on an opaque mental calculation automatically done that tallies the People Pleasing Quotient. Number ain't high enough? The image in my head dies a miserable death, never to be developed.

What has made me notice this toxic relationship with my work is the Oracle deck I want to make.

Really, the first brick to tumble was when I started working my job, and suddenly I didn't "need" to do other people's stuff, but it was an invisible brick, and only recently have the foundational cracks been visible. For a little while, I have decided that I am done doing work for other folks (for the time being). I'm mopping up some old commissions and then not taking on freelance, pocketbook be damned. But no, it was before that decision-- it was in August, maybe? April? It started when I decided to work on the Oracle Deck instead of the book, because I needed to lick my wounds after the latest writing fiasco and work on reigniting some Magick to keep the Void at bay. Oracle deck let me be comfortable, have fun playing around with my own ideas, and was intrinsically magickal, so. I picked some cards that I felt I could do right now, and asked folks on Facebook to help me pick which one to start on. ( . . .)

I worked on a draft. It came along okay, but halfway through, I realized it didn't feel right. I couldn't make it work. The thematic ideas were sound, but I just . . . it wasn't the card I wanted to paint. It had a good composition and color palette. The scene told a story and the characters looked cool. It was engaging for an audience, could be a good print at my next show. Why wasn't it Right?

Set it aside, slipped into depression. Ruminated on it, brooded. Got better with the extra meds, decided to work for myself, we are caught up in time to the end of the holidays, and I still don't understand why-- and our gentle eureka moment.

It wasn't working because it wasn't for me. What I envisioned, before doing all the things an illustrator is supposed to do, is an image that isn't all that exciting, but appeals to me personally. I rejected it out of hand-- out of the barest whisper of thought-- because it wasn't marketable. And I didn't even notice I'd done it.

Alright, so all this rambling explains the backstory, I guess, or a fragment of it. There's more. I'll write a whole other post about illustration as a mask and what I wrote above about drawing being a safe way to socialize and why that explains my befuddlement at the idea an execution of Art as Emotional Expression, but I'll write that later. *The point*. Yes. Okay.

The point is, I'm not sure if I should show off my oracle work until the project is completed. And the idea of that is driving my BATTY. Completely ape shit. *Art without feedback*. WAT. HOW. Show off is the right phrasing-- I can get some critiques, but I think I'd do it in small groups, over email, or in person.

I don't know, though. Am I grasping at an empty solution to a complex problem? I don't think liking the attention is in and of itself An Issue, but having it seated in the Captain's chair is. Is this a good way to derail that? It feels like it, but I'm not one for trusting myself overly much. I think the compromise I've come to is that I might share the developmental work, studies and so on, but the painting itself will stay a secret until they are all ready to be revealed.

And there is something Magick about that . . . but again, that's another post. I have used up my words, shitty as they might be, in blurting all of this stream-of-consciousness.

To show, or not to show.

chantico: (Dominant)
Kelly Turnbull on artistic Time Management

What say I?

Fucking word. And so many feels, in so many different directions. Prep rant: go.

Working professionally, one of the absolute truths I would pass on to people looking to do make art a career: do what you can with what time you have, and when the time is up, let it go. It might haunt you to see a piece you know is not your best go into the great beyond, but that's the price of an Art Career. We have all heard that Perfection Doesn't Exist, but when it's our babies, accepting that is nigh impossible. Our scribblings are our face to the world, especially online, and who doesn't want to present their best selves?

The problem, of course, is that hired work is *not* your baby. It is not the sum of your true artistic self; it is the face of your professional self. This thing you are creating, even if it is created with love, is not yours to obsess over-- it is your client's. What I'm putting into a piece isn't always my heart and soul, but it is *always* my integrity as a working artist, and sometimes, integrity and perfection do not line up. Part of being honest, professional, honorable and a good freelancer is doing all your business with respect: respecting the images and stories you're working on, respecting the client's wishes, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, respecting yourself. A lot of the time, what you are charging a client for *isn't actually the finished piece of art*. That is the product they desire, but it isn't what's justifies the fee-- that would be your time, your energy, and your skill. The moneymakers, the things that define your professional worth. Respecting that means charging appropriate rates for appropriate time spent, taking care of your health, and cultivating a healthy divide between the energy you are willing to put into other people's projects and your own. That DOESN'T mean producing consistently subpar stuff-- it means being able to estimate how long something will take you, and charge a commiserate amount, and sticking to it.

One of the biggest secrets of being a Working Artist is this: sometimes, people don't want the best, they want good enough.

Obviously, every industry is different. My freelance work is difference from my in-house work, and I don't do animation or videogames at this point, so the corporate culture there might be different. But here's what I do know:

With freelance, I give a client couple of estimates for what they're looking for. A full color illustration will always have a base price, and what I will produce for that will be competent work. That's the respecting the client part-- no matter what, I promise competency. But I don't promise magic for that base price. They want magic, they pay for magic-- by the hour, usually. And I cannot tell you how happy it makes people. No. Really. Like with little kids, boundaries make clients happier. Boundaries? Code for respect.

My in-house work can be *exhausting*. I'm salaried, so I'm paid the same no matter how much I put out, but you better believe I need to keep up with production times, and that can mean completing 11 illustration in a day. If I dedicated myself to making each and every one of those drawings perfect, I would *die*. Or, at least, my creative self would. Art is exhausting, yo! It's different when it's yours, but after the first few times, money is no substitution for inspiration. Chugging that shit out-- and chugging it out competently-- is an invaluable skill. I've seen artists *far* better than I in technical skill be turned away from the job because they can't hit that magic spot of Good Enough in the allotted time. Inspiration is great, because it fills you up while you work; for every iota of energy you put into the art, you get half an iota back (MATH, bitches). I love my job, and the joy of having it is certainly fulfilling, but it is hard work, and I am bone-tired when I come home. My mental well is dry.

And *that* is why it's so important not to give 110% all the time . . . if you don't have a sliver of mental wherewithal after your work, you will never produce anything for yourself-- and I will venture to say that without that time to play, stretch your artistic muscles, and focus on things that interest you, it will take a hell of a lot longer to get better at your craft. Learning takes energy too, remember. And while work might be good for some lessons, and often for rote practice, breaking out of the mold of other people's ideas is 100% necessary to level up. You ever wonder why most of the prolific fan artists out there are in college or high school, and most professional artists don't do a lot of fan art or trades or the like? It's because they have learned, or are still learning, how to apportion their creative energy, and a lot of the time that energy goes two places (with luck): client work and personal work. Fan work is a wonderful luxury, and exists in this weird liminal place when the play part can really, really help you grow, but you never develop the skills you need for original work.

Not everyone fits this mold, of course! I have MAD respect for people like Kelly and Brianne Drouhard and E.K. Weaver who rock the fuck out a career, side projects, fan work and their own fun. But what you're seeing there isn't easy-- it's the result of years learning how to respect themselves and their time, a practice, heh, rarely perfected.

When you bitch about perfection, the only thing you're saying is this: I am not a professional, and I don't know what it takes to be one.
chantico: (Pleasent)
FFFF OH GOD some of the TF2 sound file names for the movie were leaked and SJKFBMJSF SCOUT AND PAULINE ALL OVER THE PLACE DEATH CRIES HEEEEAVVVVYYYY I'm flailing.


I got a big dose of Momma time yesterday evening, in which she made me a grilled cheese sandwich and rubbed my back. It was painful at the time, and resulted in one of the bizarre pains I've had: a shooting spasm in my sternum, up to my throat, and inside my ear. Very weird, and wouldn't let up. Getting to sleep was difficulty and had to be accompanied by a muscle relaxer. This morning, though, I'm feeling dandy. We are not yet at 100%, but I'll take 75%. I can stand up!

Though trying to do some of the exercise to stretch the back reminded me that I have a kinesthetic intelligence score of zero. Or whatever number comes past "able to walk and breathe at the same time". Isolating muscle groups is . . . not my thing.

Still very sleepy from the muscle relaxer.

Energy check yesterday still small. Noting that for future reference; will compare it to other times in pain. Meditation was a distracted bust, between back and cats vying for my attention.

While brushing my teeth, had an observational epiphany about my creativity. The hardest part of sitting down to write is leaping off the fear cliff: to put my hands on the keyboard, I must vault an incredible surge of terror. Noting that helped me get past it last night, when I started making excuses. I wondered if it wasn't something unique to writing for me, but, no, I get the same burst of fear when I sit down to draw. My art fear is a pond stone, smoothed by years of washing over it; my writing fear is a sharp crag clearing the ocean. I must generate great waves to wear it down.
chantico: (Haphazard)
I'm trying to listen to the signs of something being wrong with my mental state but I just don't know what to make of them. Focus problems- yes, okay. Everyday I have focus problems. 10 minutes is my attention span, max. Why? Dunno. Maybe it's just bad habits, lack of discipline. Maybe my brain has been trained to be only absorb tiny bites of internet information. I like that explanation but I don't know if it's right.

I can focus, if I want to be doing what I'm doing. If I don't . . . well. I feel like I'm going to crawl out of my skin within five minutes. So probably a discipline problem? Feh.

Wrote that, went to the bathroom and breathed it out, then sat down and plowed through the thing that interested me most on my to-do list.

Speaking of which, I'm working on some superhero designs for Monkeyden again, and I luuurve working for them. I did a series of villains a little while ago, and now I'm working on the heroes. Happy as a clam, especially since they are really, really supportive of lots of women and POC characters, and very loose in what they ask for so I have a lot of room to develop a whole character concept.

For one of them, I've got a First Nations dude, and I really don't want to fuck this up and be insulting, so I did some research and emailed some folks connected to the Tribal Council for the tribe coalition I want him to be from; they put me in touch with a historian. Mostly, I want to make sure the images I'm using aren't deeply sacred and used in an insulting way-- he's a shield and force field projector, and I thought it would be really beautiful if his shields looked like Native art. RESEARCH.

We've also got a femme, flowery, badass tokyo neon speedster girl and a sprightly muslim Batman lady.

FUCK I want a cupcake.
chantico: (Imperiled)
Wrote a long post, accidentally deleted it. FULL OF PIQUE. In short: Life hectic! Anxious, but it's normal with life so hectic, and there is an end date to the insanity.

That's Darla, secondary protagonist from The Book.


May. 22nd, 2012 03:22 pm
chantico: (Benevolent)
Some recent sketches and doodles, some of them for my sponsors, some for fun. Relearning watercolors-- hoo boy, I'm out of practice.

Pictures! Many pictures! )

A Plea

Mar. 27th, 2012 11:07 am
chantico: (Default)
Hi folks. I need your help.

Some backstory, if you want. )

The short of it? I have a proposal.

I want to get healthier in mind and body. I want to get back in shape. But I'm already fighting a battle with that out-of-control weed that is my ED, so it's a little harder to get the gumption required to move my ass out the door. And gym memberships, which keep my motivated, are hella expensive. So are fitness classes, or yoga, or even eating healthier.

What if I was accountable not just to myself, but to you? What if y'all could help a lady out with some of those financial hurdles? And what if you got something awesome out of the deal?

Seeking: Healthy Living Patrons.

For 5 dollars a week, any week you feel like donating, I'll make you an original piece of art. Something beautiful, just for you, from the happiest place I can find in myself. You get art, I get help. You get to be a Big Time Philanthropist for very little moolah, and I get a big juicy to carrot to chase. (healthy, see?)

Here's the details, specifically: )

Art for cheap, help a person out. A pretty good deal, right?

I have one last favor to ask: I am not a well-known figure, and my audience is small. If y'all could pass this plea about, if you're comfortable? That would be AMAZING. Who knows-- maybe I'll be able to afford a nutritionist, or martial arts classes, or to fix up my bike.

Thanks, everyone. Now back to your regular blogging.


Feb. 29th, 2012 08:59 am
chantico: (Cheery)
Look, art! Like I promised. This is going back to last spring, I think? Maybe early summer. Changeling people should recognize Ree, as [profile] swantower commissioned a painting of her. A *real* painting of her. My first ever acrylic painting.

It was, uh, a challenge. )
chantico: (Gloomy)
Turn-arounds for a ~project in development~. Main character what what.

I don’t usually say this, but since I made her up and know her state of health: damn, girl, eat a sandwich.

One day she will have clothes.



Jun. 2nd, 2011 11:30 pm
chantico: (Bad Ass)
All the jobs I have held in my short adult life have been retail or food service positions ranging from the abomidable to the entertaining, but they have all been underscored with the way familiar to anyone low-income attitude of "You are incredibly replaceable, so *tow the line*". Places like the local movie theatre and the ice-cream shop I worked at were unsurprisingly the worst; anytime you have a business designed to take advantage of an abundant and youthful workforce, you're going to have a meat grinder environment. Even my nice downtown retail positions had the same problem, being highly desired by a great many people and dependant, really, on how much the boss liked you. As one of the few people I know who actually enjoyed retail, *especially* the customer service angle, this was incredibly frustrating. I was and am very good at making people feel welcome to a store and valued whether or not they made a purchase, which I firmly believe is a cornerstone of getting repeat customers (though getting me to be so chipper about cleaning is a little harder, I will admit). I still miss My Favorite Retail Job, but, um, disagreements with the manager there meant it was clear I was not welcome back after I took a school-related sabbatical. I had essentially lost my place, and that was a deep shame.

It isn't just my personal experience, either, but the experience of my family; of watching my mother, my sister, and my many of my friends be abused and dismissed as a valuable part of the workforce. Others have more elegantly dissected the class issues involved with this, but I feel it worth pointing out that one component in impoverished folks staying that way is that the feeling of being replaceable and worthless in a work place is deeply ingrained within service industry jobs. (Skilled blue collar labor is also devalued for not being intellectual enough, or for being antique). Confidence seems to be one of those invisible class keys to unlocking the passage between low income and middle class, even middle and upper middle class, and it is hard to be confident when you know what a replaceable part you are.

All of this is a very long winded run-up to this fact: I have a job, and I was desired for it. That is both an exhilarating and disturbing experience.

First, well deserved squee: OMG. YOU GUYS. You are now reading the job of a staff illustrator, meaning I have a DESK and there is a SALARY and it is easily *double* what I have ever made in my life. AND BENEFITS ON TOP. Like all the cherries, ever, and sprinkles. life insurance. 401K. Health, vision, dental, o, hark, the holy trinity is among us!

I have a secure job doing what I love with all of those mythical grown-up things that make life just the little bit less scary. And this luscious sundae of security, this dream-wrapped dessert of employment, is drizzled with the sweetest sauce of all: they *wanted* me. I wasn't pushed through the process, but the interview and applicaton really seemed more like impatient formalities. They saw what I could do, and valued me for it.


But when I am done a'skipping with well-deserved glee, even though I am still so happy and so pleased with myself and making plans about how I will save for a house and pay off my debts and all will be rainbows, a more critical eye is open, and marvels: I am SO very grateful, beyond the grace of a thankful and confident craftsperson. Some base part of me is grateful like a dog fed real meat. I used the word mythical up there, to describe benefits that are taken for granted in so many professional spheres, and the idea that I have landed a slaary at all overwhelms the fact that I still make less than most bartenders. I am *not* complaining about the position; far from it, especially since it opens me up to focus on fine art and my own paintings, and turning a profit from those as well (what is this "work-life balance" you speak of? I am suspicious of your implications that art can be personal and fun.). I am not turning a blind eye to the fact that there is something deeply wrong in our work culture when these things that are necessary to living a financially sound life seem like mana from heaven.

Tonight, though, I'm just going to swallow the blue pill, and be pleased as punch with my awesome fucking new job. That I totally earned, yo, by putting in a lot of hours at the drawing board, and countless more pushing myself mentally to not give up, not ever.
chantico: (Anxious)
I had my first piece of art in a real show today.

It wasn't that big a deal-- the show was huge, but it was a group thing, and I contributed a singular print to a show with about a hundred other pieces. Nothing particularly important or notable. I, of course, was a nervous wreck. Would the piece even get hung? Did it suck? Did I mount it well enough? Did it suck? Will anyone show at the show? Did it suck?

You get the reoccurring theme here.

I have been reading lots of art and illustration blogs as of late and I also picked up my copy of Spectrum 17, chock full of just AMAZING work. I wish I could say that these things were for inspiration and instruction, but . . . often they leave me the so anxious I can't draw for the next few hours, at least. I think "I'll never, ever be that good, or maybe you could have been once, but you blew it." ArtOrder is a blog that hosts competitions and reviews by art directors. One of the recent posts talks about the use of Pick-Up art in books (art that has been used before and then is recycled). Sometimes, it was explained, art directors have to reuse a piece because the artist they have commissioned has turned in something that is just unnacceptable. And even *typing* that, my somach drops, I feel nauseaous, and there is a thunderclap of recognition: Oh god, that's me, that's me.

I have never competed in the ArtOrder championships. I am too afraid to. I didn't tell most people about the art show until tonight becasue I was so worried my print would not be up to par and they'd, like, throw it in the dumpster or something ridiculous.

I am scared that if I fuck up ONCE, do something less than perfect ONCE, I will never work in this town again, or something. This fear is also why I keep my mouth firmly shut most of the time. Reputations linger, it's the internet, nothing ever goes away. It's all taint, and I'm not that good -- why bother giving someone another shot when there's so many other lovely people out there to work with?

I *know* this is inaccurate. I have fucked up before! I have had pieces rejected, for good reason! It has been okay!

But the sickness doesn't seem to fade. And I have a mandatory break day after I finish a painting, because I inevitably work myself into a lather freaking out about how bad it is post completion.

Does *any* other creative type on my Flist have this problem? And how do you guys deal with it? Because it is seriously getting in the way of pursuing this dream: for the first time really ever, I find myself wondering if I have wasted the last ten years of my life.
chantico: (Transparent)
Behind on posting paintings. I've got two others that are done, behind the cuts.

First, Erasmus. [ profile] deadmanwade's character from World's Largest Dungeon. Working on lighting, storytelling, and emotion.
... )

Then, Strength, for my personal Oracle project that I haven't worked on for ages. From my notes about the card:
4th of Earth.

True strength means less about arrogance and displays of power than it does about support and protection. Strength both is the shield and the power to hold it, to brace yourself and others against onslaught. It is the four pillars, stolid and secure that keep the sky up. It is the mountains below our feet, carrying our weight without notice or complaint. It is the courage to be faceless, and the clarity of conviction."

... )

Working on another. Prepprepprep.
chantico: (Dazzled)
Getting behind on art! I'm pressing to finish a parasol and a painting a week through June in prep for origins, and neither are yet complete. But! I do have a painting from a couple of weeks ago that I forgot to post here.
Picture! )
chantico: (Curious)
The decision to work in a non-representational style for my latest project (or one of many, really) came out of a lot of churning over what makes, well, Art. Which is a ridiculously large and unspecific question, so framing it as it relates to my life: can illustration be Art? Can fantastic art be Art? And what, really, separates the wheat from the chaff?

My answers for the first two have always been yes and yes, but those have been knee-jerk, instinctual responses and that doesn't cut it for me these days. Being educated in a very rigid fine arts environment, my arguments focused more on using historical examples both modern (Mucha, Rockwell) and classical (most of the great masters, illustration scenes from mythology and the Bible) to show that, clearly, dismissing illustration as a field salted by commercialization was a presumptuous mistake based in ill-educated snobbery. I required wearing the mask of the snob myself to argue the academic record, and that worked often enough that I never actually had to define what it was about those masters that elevated them from commercial illustrators to adored artists. Alas, because I never defined that, I've hit a wall in my own work. So now I have to ask my third question-- in the spirit of intellectual and artistic honesty, at least.

... )
chantico: (Tired)
Guys, my life is so hard--- I have all this art and can't post it because it's not yet published. Woe is me, actually working in the field I want. Woe.

Okay, it is sad that I haven't got a whit of art done for myself, but I'm trying. Once again I'm not going to have enough to carry off a con booth, though seeing as I could never afford one at GenCon anyway (2000$ dollars, what), and Origins is naught but two weeks before my wedding, I'm not sweating it too much. it's not for lack of ideas, either--- I'm totally backed up on art I want to do, both in inks and digital painting. I am also hearing, from across the ocean of possibility, the siren call of comics once again. I'm thinking of stretching my legs with some five panel one shots, probably for the Exalted game, because other than art that is the only thinkg I am thinking about anymore.

Once in a very great while, when the clouds part and the gods smile upon me, I get some time to paint for myself. This is a preview of what I'm currently working on:
Not that big, but I am polite )
for long sufering Ben O., who was promised this picture so very long ago in exchange for his mad massage skills. ACtually, orginally it was just a character sketch, but since it has been owed to him for FOUR YEARS, I decided a painting was the least I could do.

Man, I waffle on where I want to be taking my style. At this point, I have two very distinct ways of painting-- full digital paint, like this, and paint laid under inks, which is a lot of the work I'm doing now for, you know, real work. They both have their merits and their markets. The inks are definitely more distinct and unique, but the digital painting is more universally acceptable (by the stands set by WotC, at least, who have specifically advised me for the past three years to move more toward this style). I fear that by splitting myself between them both, I'm watering down an artistic trademark, but on the other hand, I like being this versatile, because certain pictures call for one style more than the other. But, ehhhhh . . . when I think of hanging a show, I'm not so sure it will look united.

It doesn't help that, for another new project, I'm trying an *entirely* different method.


For the time being, I will let Sho'nuff soothe my soul.

Who's bad?

chantico: (Okay)
We have a hawk or falcon coming by for visits in the trees behind our house. He's pretty magnificent; grey plumage, spotted chest, maybe 2-3 feet tall. Next time he comes by, I'm going to try and take a picture of him. Mostly what he does is perch up on the bigger branches to rend his prey. I'm not sure if I should fill my birdfeeder, as I would feel rather like I was tricking all the pretty birdies into showing up at a buffet simply to *be* a buffet. We saw him there eating something, but realized it wasn't a fluke when a couple of days agao, he dropped a pigeon head and torso on out back porch. A friendly gift from a neighbor, perhaps.

That cats, of course, are not outside, though Steve keeps peering out the window and meowing, giving us that look like "Mom mom mom let me out mom I can take him, I can take him moooooom!"

Dealing well with Winter this year, at least so far. Mid january is really when it goes all to hell (and to be fair, today was a bad day for crushing anxiety and the desire to set the world aflame.)

NSFW Art )

And to reiterate, I'm also trying to help out at [ profile] help_haiti by offering three commissions for auction, so head over there and bid if you want to give money and recieve something cool in return. Even if art isn't your thing, there's plenty of other awesomeness at the community, from jewelry to writings. Go forth and help.
chantico: (Default)
Sketch Commissions, hooooo!

Massive image dump under cut, be warned.

Here there be doodles )


chantico: (Default)

May 2014

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