So I've been (very slowly) packing things up around here, and yesterday I came across some of my old sketchbooks. These drawings are weird for me to look at because I think my style is visible every one, but there is a huge change as far as my technical skills go. I started to wonder... could you see a gradual improvement in my drawing over the years, if I put everything side by side? I've always been super inspired by the timelines of other artists (especially this one by loish). So I dug around in my closet (and my deviantart) and put together a timeline, so I (and you) could see what has, or hasn't, changed over time.
Here's a TON of sketches, because I haven't posted any since Feburary first (double oops). I did try to draw every day, but not every sketch has made it on here... and some of the sketches that have... well they're quick and sloppy and unfinished. But I've been consistent, I've been trying new things, and I've been learning. My drawing professors would be proud.
skull with washi tape study // shaman // a girlified Lurtz cosplay // puppy! // tribal girl
yarn study // an explorer // lines // girl riding a dinosaur (cause why not) // writing on the wall
I like drawing girls with skulls, feathers, war paint... dainty tomboys who've gone feral. I've been trying to do some more studies, because I feel like it will improve my art overall. Every few months I have to sit and draw a few people from references, or nothing I draw looks right. Arms too short, legs too long, joints bending in ways that even a contortionist couldn't manage...
A lot of these pictures have stories attached, so hopefully they'll turn into something bigger. Ideas are flowing, and this project is already proving useful. :]
It's snowing. I dislike winter, I dislike being cold, but when I'm cuddled up in my room with snowflakes swirling outside, I can't even pretend to be grumpy. Also, I've been excited about these ten things links for two weeks now. So, in turn, I'm even more excited to share them with you (finally!).
Yesterday I had the outstanding revelation that not all of my ten things had to be full of links to random stuff I like. I think that realization could be counted as life changing, but it might be too early to tell. :P So the ten things feature is going to be broadening a little bit, which is kind of a relief for me... and hopefully fun for you, too. So this week's ten things is... (drum roll?)
Ten amazing love stories that (hopefully) won't make you barf.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffengger
I've read this book many times. I love the style of writing, and the complex plot line... but what I really love are the two main characters. A paper artist and a punk librarian, they're like my soul mate couple. This story chronicles the love between a woman and a man with a unique problem... he randomly travels through time. I can't write a plot synopsis that will do this amazing story justice, so I really suggest that you just go check it out yourself.
The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
I basically grew up with the Alice series. The main character is average, awkward, and just so wonderfully human. She taught me about life, love, and all that other cheesy stuff. Her love story is a typical teen story, but it always got to me how she's was practically a one man girl throughout the whole series. The last installment is coming out this year, and it's going to be a bittersweet read for me.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
This is one of my favorite books, hands down. It follows the story of a young girl in Prague who has a few secrets. Okay, maybe more than a few. Like, how is her hair always such a bright blue, and who are the grotesque characters so lovingly drawn in her sketchbook? As you go through the story, though, you find out that the girl has more secrets than even she knows. Angels fall in love, and the demons are the good guys in this amazing series.
Wurthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Okay, I know. This book is so completely depressing. Full of human errors, misunderstandings, and horribly emo main characters. But I still love it. I'm putting it on this list because I'm a major Heathcliff fan, and I love the way fate works it all out in the end.
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Half of you are probably cringing at the thought of a Stephanie Meyer book, but I have to say that if books were people, and Twilight is like the teenage hopeless romantic, then The Host is like the awesome strong female lead who just happens to have a real heart that can actually be capable of love (unlike another awesome strong female lead... there's a reason Hunger Games isn't on this list). This book is kinda like the aftermath of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Earth has already lost, the aliens have taken over, and there's are just a few rebels left. It is told from the point of view of an alien, but we also get a lot of the story of a human. It's hard to explain, but I would definitely suggest reading it. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
Pride and Prejudice is a great story (duh, Jes. There's a reason it's a classic.) I'm a HUGE Darcy fangirl. I like the grumpy, sullen ones I guess. Strong female lead, brooding male lead, surprise love letters... sigh. If you don't think you can make it though an Austen book, though, give the zombies version a try. It stays pretty true to the plot line, but adding in the zombies makes it an easier read. Otter and Odder: a Love Story by James Howe
A children's book where an otter falls in love with his food, a beautiful fish. This is a simple story dealing with differences and the idea that to make a relationship work, sometimes you have to change. And sometimes change is good.
The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton
In case you haven't heard of it, Nightmare Before Christmas is a film about a skeleton that doesn't want to be scary anymore, and the girl that loves him. She supports him throughout his mid-death crisis, and eventually he realizes that everything he needs to be happy is right in front of him. It's a pretty cliche love story plot, but it's made awesome with creepy characters and settings. The book version features the twisted drawings of Burton himself.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
While I was thinking about this list, I decided to limit myself to only one or two dystopian novels. So while this isn't my favorite (Uglies by Scott Westerfeld) or the most romantic (Matched by Allie Condie) this has my favorite love story. The book takes place in a post-apocalyptic world (in Chicago!) where you are sorted into factions based on what characteristics you value. The main couple, Tris and Four, are, to put it bluntly, bad asses. They have both chosen to be part of a community that favors bravery above all else. But in the end, it's their love for each other that they hold most dear. As cheesy as it sounds, there's enough action, backstabbing, and mind control to save it from being a corny romance.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
While Harry's romance itself is kind of lame, there are three other love stories that make this series one of my favorites. I'm really attached to these characters, so I'm going to try to keep it together while I talk about it. Joking, but only barely. (SPOILERS AHEAD) Snape's love story is by far my favorite. Again, I can't resist a good brooding character. And the fact that he held on for so long... really, can you imagine anything more romantic? I would love to have a book that was just about Snape's past. The second favorite romance is Lupin and Tonks. Tonks is the character of the series that I most identify with. He resists her for so long, and she keeps trying. And her persistence pays off in the end, which is a lot like the third couple of the list, James and Lily. Because without them, there wouldn't have been a Harry. :] So I guess Rowling's main focus is persistence, and eternal love. I can back that.
Are there any books that you've read that you think belong on this list? Let me know in the comments. I'm always searching for something new to read. :]
PS... Looking at this list...apparently to get me to love a love story, you have to have a strong, quirky female, a dark, brooding male, and some sort of tragic twist.
Happy early Valentines Day! Again, I guess, if you include the pancakes post as celebrating. Man, I must be coming off as a total mushy Valentine's sucker. I promise I'm not. I just always want to find a stellar present for my boyfriend, so I come up with a million (equally lame) ideas that are so atrociously cheesy that they just HAVE to be created.
These valentines, based off of old card catalog cards, are one of those ideas. All of the pick up lines were found in various places on the internet, and were chosen because they amused me far more than they should have. I hope they cheer you up as well! Feel free to print them out, write them down, memorize them... However, I can't assure that you won't get banned from the building for life if you try them out on a local librarian, so use at your own risk. Haha!
The ombre effect was pretty easy to make. I just started with the red velvet mix, made a few pancakes, then poured in some normal pancake mix until I got a pink I wanted. Made a few more pancakes, then added more normal pancake batter. Seeing a pattern? Stack them up and serve them with some syrup. Or maybe a little icing?
As for the taste, you really can't go wrong with pancakes. The red ones were a little dense, but that was just because I mixed them for too long. The red velvet is very subtle, so don't expect extreme flavors. The colors came out very nicely, though, and that makes it a perfect breakfast for Valentines day. :]
I've seen a lot of talk about preserving good memories in a jar, which I think is an awesome idea. I finally got off my butt to find a jar when this post from Scathingly Brilliant came up on my feed. How cute is that scrapbook? And so simple, too!
Using watercolor pencils to color it all in. This is just the first layer... so we'll see how it goes. Having this feature every other week has really been forcing me to progress with this piece. It's nice.
I love Adobe Illustrator. When I was in college I used it every day. It's such a great tool for design or art. I just recently started falling for Photoshop, too. Its such a complicated program, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.
But guys... can I let you in on a little secret? I'm poor. Like, can't afford the Adobe Suite with the student discount poor. But I've still found a way to edit my photos and play with vectors. Because I have found free design replacements If are like me, and can't possibly drop $200 plus on photo-editing software, it's definitely worth your while to have a look at these links.
Gimp is a free photo-editing software that is comparable to Photoshop. For a beginner, like any editing program, it can be hard to navigate, but there are lots of great resources on the web, so you can always find a tutorial for what you need to do. Google is your friend. At first I was skeptical about the program, thinking there was no way it was as good as the Adobe product. But for my very limited use, it's perfect. I have never run into a Photoshop tutorial I liked that I couldn't replicate with Gimp.
Finding an Illustrator replacement was a little more difficult, but a little research brought me to Inkscape. While it's not as in depth as illustrator, it's fit my purposes just fine. I've done all sorts of design work, drawing, and type-editing with this program. Every image for my ten things has been complied with inkscape. It's defiantly worth the amazing price tag of... free.
I LOVE dafont.com. It's an amazing resource. BUT make sure you check the licensing for the font before using it for anything. It should be right above the download button. A LOT of fonts are free for personal use, but you really should never sell anything with a font on it without checking with the author, and probably donating. It's just common courtesy.
deviantart.com's stock images collection
I love looking through the human stock images for inspiration, and the textures aren't bad either. Though you might have to shuffle through some beginner's work, the price (free again!) makes a little bit of work worth it. Before you use any image, however, make sure to check the description. A lot of the time the original photographer/creator will ask you just to link back to their page, and send a link of your work to them. Easy, but it's important to respect their wishes.
In-home practice sketch model
Any art student will tell you that gesture sketches are the basis of any art lesson. Personally, gesture sketches help me switch to the right brain frame of mind. This site is an amazing tool for those who want to get in their gesture sketches, but don't have the money to afford a model (so... mostly everyone). You can select whether you want your model to be decent or nude, male or female, and how long you would like to sketch each pose.
Pinterest (my Design Tools board)
I don't really think I need to explain the greatness of Pinterest as a resource. You guys already know. :] I will tell you, however, that I have a whole board full of color pallets, links to free fonts and textures, and little tips and tricks to make your work more professional. Check it out, follow it, or even start your own board!
old school (cs2) Adobe Suite (free) download
And if all of these awesome free substitutes still can't fill in for the real thing in your heart, Adobe has offered up some of their old software for free on their site. So you should totally nab that while you've got the chance.