Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Confession of an Inktober Quitter

I made it a little over half way through Inktober. And then I quit.

It wasn't one of those "petering out" events, where I just got tired of the activity and didn't make time to do it. In fact, I actually drew more during the second half of Inktober than I did in the beginning.

Just not in ink.

And why? Because I discovered, via the Inktober challenge to draw something in ink every day, that I am not very good at making finished pieces in ink. I really only like it for the sake of hashing out a thumbnail idea. It's actually great for that, because something about sketching quickly in ink prevents me from noodling unnecessary details into the concept stage. But when it comes to finished pieces that I really feel good about, pencil is my medium of choice. It just is. It's my first love.

 Now, it's not that people didn't appreciate the ink drawings I was doing, even while I was struggling to do them. In fact, the Asian-inspired villain I drew got the most "likes" of any Inktober drawing I offered up.

But the further I got into the process, the more I really wanted to sink my teeth in making something finished. And the more I tried to finish pieces in ink, the worse they got.

My awesome writers' group was super encouraging when I posted, for their eyes only, something I considered a failure. None of them reacted with the old "Not everything is a masterpiece," but with "I don't see why you hate this drawing." So at least I know I don't churn out total garbage, even on my worst days. At least not in the eyes of the casual viewer.

But the pleasure in drawing was ebbing and it was becoming a chore. I needed to pick up the pencils again. And so, with a couple weeks of the challenge to go, I put the pens away and got my assortment of Prismacolor pencils back out, ranging from 6H (super hard lead--I don't think I've actually used the pencil. It just makes score marks in my paper) to 4B (creamy-soft lead.) And drawing was a pleasure again.

This Vinyanel and Veranna drawing was the first to sneak back in and remind me of my passion for pencil. From there, I decided to dig into something meatier, which yielded a pretty dynamic piece of interior art for an upcoming short story release.

Speaking of which, another tool set I wandered into during my truancy from Inktober was the world of digital art. I am a complete noob to this area,so my efforts here are fledgling, but I think I'm learning fast. And more importantly for me at this stage of my art journey, working on the digital art never felt like a chore. It was more: "Can I drink another cup of coffee and keep going on this, because I really want to! No, I will hate myself at work in the morning if I do that."

So, I hope you aren't too disappointed in me as an Inktober dropout. But if I'm making art that isn't a commission, I think I owe it to myself to spend my time on images that bring me joy.




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Artwork in the Pipeline

Inktober continues here in my world, and it's been a fun and therapeutic exercise to "take requests" in making artwork. No real musing today, just a sampling of the projects that have come out of the process.
From the start, multiple people chimed in with dragon requests, so I found a day where I could put more than 10 minutes into the drawing before I did one. Granted, a drawing like this, you could noodle for hours and hours--but hours are something in short supply right now, so this 25 minute drawing is where it landed.
This octopus is part of an ongoing collaborative project that I hope to get some traction on soon. Yes, an octopus composer is a pretty ridiculous premise--but I bet it's not one that's overdone, right?
This final image, which is not part of the Inktober challenge, but has been in process during this time, has been the subject of much consternation for me. I took a leap into a minimalist, stylistic experiment. As with all experiments, they either tend to be genius or failures. This one, though the image has some nice qualities, is landing on the "failure" side of the line and will likely just be filed away with the "stuff I played around with but will never grow beyond that."

What is art if not a learning experience? Sometimes it just a takes a few total strangers to be absolutely straight with you, and that's ok.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Inktober as a Remedy to the Mid-Life Crisis

I think it’s pretty safe to say that I am having a legitimate mid-life crisis. It feels so cliché, so true to form, I have an immediate knee-jerk reaction to the notion. But really—given life expectancy in this day and age, I am indeed facing the count of my years to come likely being fewer than those I have lived, and it’s a sobering prospect. I’ve been doing a lot of self-examination about where I am in life, what I’ve done with the time I’ve already passed (and sometimes squandered, especially the 10 years I got to stay home with my kids) and what I’m going to do with those that remain.

One of the main conclusions I’ve come to is that I am going to spend more time going forward drawing. Since I left the animation industry in February of 2000, I have mostly neglected this skill area. I have a long list of excuses I could trot out if I wanted, but at the end of the day, excuses only
keep you in the place you’re apologizing for being, so I’m not giving that list any air time.

One of the external motivators I’ve latched onto in an effort to do more drawing is to participate in Inktober. The challenge is simple: do a drawing, in ink, every day, all month.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Beyond Price, conclusion, short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

Part V
Part VI
The wee hours of the morning wore on, and Veranna’s cheek bounced against her father’s back, since the strength to hold her head up another moment had left her long ago. The horse they rode grew slower and slower, tripping more often. They splashed through a shallow brook at a plodding trot, and the water spattered Veranna’s face with cold spray. She flinched but did not lift her head. How odd to be clutching a virtual stranger so closely, and yet at the same time, to feel more at home than she could ever remember. If only the fierce tingle harassing her skin would abate, she could almost be comfortable. Drift to sleep, even.
Her father reined the horse to a stop once they had put the stream behind them. “Veranna,” he whispered.
“Yes.” Veranna grimaced. In the time her swollen lips had gone unused, they had stiffened. Were any of her teeth loose? In all the commotion, she had failed to check.
“Let us see to your hurts and put you in some proper travel clothes, now that we have put some distance between ourselves and the caravan.” Veranna’s father bent his knee to his chest and pulled his foot over the horse’s neck, then worked his other boot free of the stirrup and hopped to the ground. He reached up and took her by the waist. When he slid her from the saddle, she eased gently to the ground, and her father showed no sign of the slightest strain in lowering her. His ageless face bore no lines of weariness in the wan glow of the setting moon.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Beyond Price, Part VI short fiction by Rebecca P Minor


Playing catch up on this story? Find all the previous installments here:
Veranna hopped down from the edge of the stage and stalked for the showground exit. What choice do I have? The weasel. But he’s wrong—how could I ever love someone like him? At least I’ll still have many years to live once he’s in his grave . . .
Something slammed into Veranna’s side and bowled her over. Fingers groped through her hair and wrenched her head back. A fist drove into her teeth, and stars burst across her vision. She kicked and clawed from her attacker’s grasp.
“Oh no you don’t!” a female voice shrieked. The attacker caught hold of the rear panel of Veranna’s skirt. Seams strained and threatened to tear.
Veranna wheeled. Merina. She spat a mouthful of blood.
“Two nights now we’ve made no money on your account, you shameless tramp,” Merina said. “We all know why he keeps you.” She pulled a knife from her belt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Beyond Price, Part V, short fiction by Rebecca P Minor

Please Note: this story steps solidly into PG-13 territory for occasional frankness of content from this point forward

Veranna knelt on one knee, her arms opened wide, her face to the stars, her chest rising and falling with hungry draughts of air. A trickle of perspiration ran down her bare back, and the night air chilled the trail it left. But she had finished the dance, the most technically challenging she had ever performed. Magnificently, even to her own critical appraisal. The crowd of men beyond the stage lights whooped and whistled.
“I give you, the enchantress Veranna!” Bodini boomed from stage left. “Faerie princess of all delights!”
“Dance it again!” a man yelled through cupped hands.
“Yeah, again,” others echoed. “Dance, princess!”
A tall, ruddy-haired man in a smartly-tailored waistcoat, knickers, and a short cape lined in gold satin shouted over them all, “But without the skirt!”

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Beyond Price, Part IV, short fiction by Rebecca P Minor




A shiver ran through Veranna’s body, and she sank to her knees, burying her face in her hands. After a moment of shock too great for tears, a familiar softness enrobed her shoulders. She lifted her face to find Mamá draping an angora blanket over her. For a moment she was childlike again, and her mother possessed tenderness for her, not just wearied exasperation. A black and blue knot rising on Mamá’s cheek shattered the memory.
“What was he talking about, Mamá?” Veranna asked. “What’s his . . . what we deserve?”
Mamá avoided her glance. “I don’t want to talk—”
“No!” Veranna clutched the blanket closer. “What is this ‘arrangement?’ Is there some way to keep me from having to dance in this? It’s beautiful in some ways, but . . .”
“It’s alluring, not beautiful,” Mamá said. “There’s a difference.”
“Why is Master Bodini acting like he can sell me?”
Mamá’s resident look of pain resurfaced and contorted her face. “Because he can.” The words came out so quietly that Veranna nearly missed them.
“What? How?”