My Normal got- for Art Supplies
Blick is my normal spot to get art supplies when shopping online. They have good speed when shipping, and their prices are pretty decent. Amazon has taken over the art supply sales business in many ways, and they do an okay job of it - but with Blick I KNOW what to expect. The last time I had a delivery from Amazon, some dude in a car showed up and looked at me with this strange and confused expression. I wasn't sure what his issue was, and getting a package hand delivered was okay I guess. But, the fact it was some random guy, in his regular car, put me off.
I learned later that this was Amazon's way to increase deliveries while reducing overhead.
My work on rebranding my YouTube channel, I realize that there is so much work I still need to do across my other social media accounts. Also, The number of searches I've done for new graphic templates made me realize that I'm not the only one looking for such resources!
My Youtube banner art incorporates several sketches into the design while highlighting the branding and description. I created a template from a kit-bash of several others.
The Thumbnail template took some time and a little experimentation to get done just right. I choose to work at a larger size with a higher dpi in order to retain crispness when it was reduced in size. This is a personal preference. I may modify it one more time in regards to the background glow behind the subtitle "Photo Manipulation Speed Paint".
Being successful depends on many factors. Most of all are your perceptions of what "success" means, and the things you value in life. I often sturggle daily with just trying to keep my head above the water, as the saying goes - a single-parent household with two kids and a full-time career that is upwardly mobile faster then I could ever imagine mixed in with a daily 2+ hour commute. I have, in all seriousness, very little time.
I also suffer from depression and have my moments of ups and downs. There are days where I can go whole weeks on autopilot, get to the weekend and realized there is a birthday party I have to organize.... 2 weeks ago. When you have other people you are responsible for, everything goes out of whack without some kind of help. Being a single parent is very hard - harder then what some couples who may have one parent that is responsible for 90%+ of everything in the relationship. That 10%, that 2%, those occasions when you get some time to shower without the "mom!" or "dad!" are tiny luxuries, golden moments that I can't get as a single parent unless my kids are ASLEEP.
So the question is - am I successful?
I have a nice career, something that a lot of people strive for most of their lives and never achieve. So maybe? Yet, it isn't what I went to college for, and it's not in an industry I expected to end up working. Something inside of me yearns yet to be able to work from home, so I can be and do for my kids the way a stay-at-home parent might be able to and still afford to keep a roof over our heads. I'm not asking for lifetime passes to Disney (though that would be nice) or annual passes to Busch Gardens (again, a luxury I dream of), I only want to be able to afford my bills, struggle and WORRY FREE. Am I successful in that?
But I haven't given up. I'm not in a good place right now, sure. But, I have the internet and that's a start. I have networking contacts that I've developed over the years (real friendships with people in various industries). I have set myself up with the right tools - all I need is the time. I feel that time every day, as I am older, but I try to not let it get to me.
I go online whenever life gets me down, and I hit the YoutTube Channels of TED, TEDex, and TED edu. There is much wisdom there. The struggle is real, but it's there to teach us. Embrace it, find the good in it, and look past the bad. The bad isn't the end, it's just a lesson.
So what is success? When you can view life without the negativity and can see it for what it is - lessons.
So I decided to do a little NaNoWriMo Calendar sort of thing. :) Simple enough design to mimic a not card, just square. This limits how long of a thing I can write on it, but the point is to track the day, my total word count, and a little bit of something highlighting the day.
Since I only just started these, here's an art dump of the first group.
So I jumped on the Virtual Write in a Little late but was able to get a whole new scene I hadn't been planning on writing into my novel. So I'm going to share it here. Mind you it is an extremely rough WIP. You have been warned.
Tarra ran across the street. Cars blared their horns and tires screeched as traffic slammed to a standstill. Angry voices rose, and some people got out of their vehicles to shout obscenities. The sounds faded into the background as her inborn hunter vision narrowed to the young girl struggling against the kidnapper.
Heart racing, Tarra felt like all the world pressed down upon her. No matter how much effort she put into each stride, she felt confined, trapped, and slow. Too slow. One pale hand reached for a car door, as he made apologetic excuses to some passers-by who were only marginally alerted to the girl's cries for help. City folk.
Tarra’s anger rose. Why did so many people turn a blind eye t what was obviously a problem? So what if it was a parent trying to cope with an unruly child, it took a village to raise children after all. The social values and constraints of the people around a child helped to shape the rules that would guide them in their lives. But, why did people in the cities just pretend not to see the problems around them? Why didn’t they want to get involved?
Her heart ached and tears jumped to her eyes. The car door was open. The small girl struggled and bit the man who cursed and backhanded the girl. Some passers-by actually applauded the action. A twisted knot of horrified anger wrenched her stomach and bile rose. Could they not see the truth? What was wrong with them?
The girl’s head rocked back and her eyes rolled up. The hit was more powerful than needed. Anger boiled inside of her, just beneath the skin. She had seconds left before the child was tossed in the car like a load of rags, and second after that where he’d had to round the car to get inside of it.
Everything slowed around her, and it was like running through thick mud. Her lungs burned with the sudden burst of effort and stress. She dodged two people, got tangled up with a third and shoved him to the ground utterly ignoring his protest as hot coffee splashed on them both.
In pain, but driven by fear, she reached out to the man as he shut the door, spun him around and slapped him. Some passers-by paused and stared. In the back of her mind, Tarra snorted. Of course, that would catch their attention.
The man stumbled back in shock, one hand against his face where Tarra’s hit started raising a red welt on his skin. A jolt of anger fed the roiling mess of emotions inside - she knew him. He was the man that had smacked the cloth over her face last night! Both sets of eyes widened as they recognized each other.
Before he could stutter a response, she slugged him in the gut, stepped on his instep in the same motion, and followed him to the sidewalk. Sounds of the city and onlookers faced to nothing, as she pushed herself up into a sitting position and started pummeling him. Disable, don’t kill ran through her head in a mantra that kept her in check.
A sound of a siren in the distance filled her head, and the man panicked. He tried to rise, and Tarra wrapped her hands around his throat. Oh no, he wasn’t going anywhere.
She felt hands on her shoulders trying to pull her off, and she snarled. One hand grabbed her by the hair. At this, she spun and snapped her teeth at the hands trying to pull her off the man. No words could be spoken, if the so-called “helpful” folks succeeded in pulling her off of him, he’d bolt. People cried out and complained. Name calling with the nastiest of phrases fell through the air, and still, she clung to his neck.
The girl appeared in the corner of Tarra’s vision, shoving people off and trying to get them to pay attention to her. But the angered adults had their own kind of hunter vision. They only saw some crazy woman, didn’t they? Some psycho that jumped some guy out of nowhere, right? And as always, the child was ignored.
The sirens screamed, drowning out the child’s horrified cry as another set of hands grabbed her. Tarra’s instincts redirected her anger and attention the moment that child’s cry sounded, as she was close enough to hear it.
Lunging up, trying to break away from the hands that held onto it, she intentionally stepped on the man’s genitals and stomach and wrenched herself free. Some of those who had stronger grips were drug to the ground with Tarra’s adrenaline-surge-enhanced strength. With a powerful shrug she ripped free and shoved through the crowd, but it was as if the soft human bodies had become an impenetrable wall.
Tarra grabbed the face of a woman closest to her, some African American woman, and screamed in her face.
“YOU JUST LET A KID GET KIDNAPPED YOU BITCH!”
The woman froze, stared at Tarra in incredulity. Others heard those words as well and fell back in alarm and confusion. Other eyes started looking around and someone shouted and pointed “THERE!”
A mob surged after the woman who now had the girl by the scruff of her coat. Tarra turned back to the man, her hands dropping away from the other woman’s face, and she pointed at him. “He kidnapped me, but I was able to get away. Make sure the cops get him, I want to press charges.”
Shocked looks on multiple faces soured Tarra’s stomach. A few wiser, more aware people pushed through the crowd and grabbed the man roughly, ignoring his pained groans. She turned back and saw the woman getting hassled by a number of people, slowing her down. Tarra shoved her way past the milling people and ran.
She didn’t bother with the woman who was distracted by the onslaught of voices and a struggling girl in her grasp. Tarra slid to a stop just behind the woman, coming in low so that she was out of the line of sight. Smaller child-eyes met hers and she reached her arms out to the child with a nod of her head. The girl lunged, and at the same moment so did Tarra.
With a powerful yank, she pulled the girl out of her coat and away from the woman. When the woman turned to look at Tarra, cold anger met cold anger as their gazes locked. It was Sylvia, the woman who had strapped her into the chair in the facility. Sylvia’s anger faded into shocked surprise.
“How.. how did you get out?”
“Why are you after this kid?” Tara snarled an almost wolf-like growl. Sylvia shied backwards into the arms of another bystander who held her tight.
“She’s… like you….” Sylvia’s shock melted into fear. “Please… I don’t want to go to jail.”
Tarra’s eyes narrowed. “Hold on to her, “she spoke to the man currently in control of Sylvia while her eyes remained on the woman. “My ex-friend here is in a lot of trouble.”
“You know her?” The strange not-quite male voice spoke over Sylvia’s shoulder.
“Apparently not as well as I thought.”
I'm not going to try and keep a daily journal. That just won't happen with how short my days are in terms of personal free time. I'm being trained by my company to be in a proposal support role. (IE. I get a lot of the "keep track of this" and "call this person"). It's interesting but doesn't challenge my creative mind.
So, I make sure to bring a sketchbook or to actually bring my laptop so I can write. :)
When I get home, I have parental responsibilities. Then.... sleep? But, sometimes, if the kids go to bed early enough, I'll get a little while in order to write or art.
If you want to follow more regular updates, consider bookmarking my Werewolf Tales Patreon campaign. I offer regular public posts as well as patron only posts.
As Halloween looms, the beginning of NaNoWriMo also looms. My last attempt succeeded, but a book wasn't properly finished. However, the world is much more developed. So in the essence of NaNo (starting fresh with a new story), I will try to take a different character and write from their perspective and experiences.
Now the character I want to pick is one I've written before, however, I've always felt that the start if her story was a bit off and where I was going with it, although decent, was too... "Romance-like". Now, I don't have anything against Romances as a genre in general. I just don't prefer to read them, and my skills I writing them are hampered by that lack. It is my understanding that you write best that which you read most.
I will reinvigorate my Patreon campaign(s) with this new content and will be offering the development bibles for both the world and the characters to Patrons Only - until they are completed. Then my Patrons will get a discount on the completed items, and the first chance to buy them if they so choose.
That said, the novel will focus on Tarra Gassner, sister to Roland, and a non-shape shifter. Her derth of spiritual energies made her unsuitable for the Bonding. However, those same skills make her a vital asset to her community and used for intra-community politics wrangling. She runs off to the city, terrified of her father (and she's always been a daddy's girl - so that's extra tragic), and finds her place with the werewolves there.
Her more rural lifestyle didn't prepare her for the city life, to be sure. Her special skills make her a target for more than one group of werewolves and other supernatural things. She's had to struggle to forge her own path, and yet she is still regulated to a second-class citizen among her people because she isn't a shapeshifter.
This leaves he open to being poached by other groups.
The question is... will she be able to maintain her honor code, or will she succumb?
So, as Flight Rising has both male and female dragons, with specific morphology, I took the time to re-sketch and re-ink using the same base sketch. I had some trouble with the crest of feathers interfering with the overall silhouette. So I had to move the tail.
So I decided to do more cute character work using the Flight Rising dragon morphology as a base. As I was looking through my Lair (yes, I play FR), I was inspired to do a Coatl dragon.
After some feedback from fellow artists on one the (various) Flight Rising Discord servers, the one on the far left was picked and I refine the sketch using a tradigial hybrid process.
First I worked up a traditional sketch. Then scanned it, and took it into Photoshop. After which I reduced the opacity to almost invisible after cleaning up and increasing the contrast on the image.
Then I print it out on decent printer paper (white) and adjust the sketch again. I do this until I am satisfied. I scan it in another time, then print it on higher quality paper (bristol, watercolor paper, good sketch paper that holds ink well).
At this stage I ink it, and if I mess it up very badly, I can always print another (and NEVER ruin a finished sketch again! I end up with two originals (or more depending on how often I feel the need to reprint and resketch).