Friday, July 29, 2011

Book bag!

Maybe 2 years ago, I picked a small canvas purse out of a free box. That's been my main wallet and carry-all ever since. But, after those faithful years of service, it finally got to a point where the velcro was shredded, pockets hole-ridden, quilting miserably stained, and carrying capacity too limited. I wanted to bring along a book or sketchpad without flank-smacking people with tote bags as I walked down the bus aisle.

So I stitched up a new all-purpose bag. It's made out of scrap fabric I got from a local upholsterer. I even "harvested" the ID window and credit card inserts from my last bag and sewed them to the inner liner. Perfect!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Children's book progress.

I have had serious motivational problems with this project. It was offered to me around Christmastime, when I was already busy with other commissions, but I said that I would get started regardless. My first draft came with such smoothness, ease, and aplomb that I haven't been able to reproduce those results in a cleaned-up final format. Furthermore, the deadline of "whenever" and total creative control - from illustration style to number of pages to grammatical editing - have been oddly damning. It's sad when a project that starts out so fun and breezy turns into an object of dread and pressure. I literally wake up and think, "oh, God, I need to work on that" and throw the covers over my head. That's the sort of guilt I tend to experience: one that's so deep that it paralyzes and thereby prevents any progress from actually occurring!

The more time passes, the more I realize my bipolar disorder - diagnosed only a few years ago -has been the constant life-and-death cycle of my creative life. The euphoria of a new idea - hurling myself headlong into developing anything from a comic book to an operatic suite - quickly followed by the deep, sinking depression of perceived "failure" - wherein I can barely summon the motivation to play video games or feed myself - makes for one difficult process. I have been struggling a great deal in the past few weeks, trying to grasp what it will take to find the middle ground between these two stages. But the fact is, I've never found one for longer than a day or two. I can't consider myself a "professional" artist, nor expect "professional" results, until I can firmly take my mental wellness in hand. It's been a long process, and will continue to be so... as frustrating as that is to admit. I would love to think that if I did X and Y, art would just flow out of me eight hours a day and I would be blissfully happy. It's going to be more like A-Z, in some agonizingly encoded order. And maybe even then, it will be 2 hours a week. I just don't know.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

My first dress.

My friend, who owns a resale shop, originally gave me a few vintage pillowcases to make skirts, but in a depressive, oh-my-God-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life sinkhole, I thought that a fun, totally self-indulgent project could perk me up. So I made a pillowcase dress instead. I patterned the pillowcase base from something I already own, so it fits like a glove. I added gussets, a pocket, and the ruffles and elastic sash you see here. There were a lot of happy accidents - aren't there always? - and I love how it turned out. There are still imperfections, of course - the back has some funky puckers - but it's not bad for my second clothing creation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sheng and the wolf.

Very quick trials. See! I draw men!

I am growing more and more fond of the look of an inked subject with the original pencil lines still intact. I think it's sort of a training wheels thing, but also a stylistic thing. My pencil lines flow freely, but when it comes down to the white-knuckled, where's-some-diazepam, unforgiving inks, the resulting art is often vastly different, and vastly more ugly. I like the depth that remains in a blocked-out ghost figure.