Can An Animal Have A Spirit Animal?

always_hungry_by_salva_nos-d9h1iv11

….Because Jasper’s spirit animal would be like a Macy’s Thanksgiving balloon.  Doesn’t matter how much he eats, he will always always be begging for food!  Doodled this during a phone meeting today.

I haven’t been too motivated to post lately, just feeling really drained.  It’d be nice to just not do anything.  I don’t mean just staying home from work, I mean I want to be a hermit and do absolutely nothing except my hobbies.  No more house chores either.  But that’s never going to happen, realistically.  People rely on me.  I guess that can be a nice thought, but right now I just feel drained.  I want some help too.  But I don’t even know how others could help me with my non-work workload.  I’m slowly trying to push myself to just DO the stuff I want to do.  Things I let fall by the wayside.  I uploaded a bunch of photos I took 2 months ago in Japan — it was actually done a month ago but I never got around to sharing them online.  Not sure where that sudden drop in motivation comes from.  At the same time, I feel like I am strangely, unwillingly, but undeniably have a direct connection of getting likes on photos to self-esteem, in times like this.  It’s unhealthy!  But it’s there.  At least I don’t do drugs? :)

17 Years of Cold Feet

Fresh original sketch for my fresh blog post ;)

White vines entwined her neck, making it hard to swallow. Yards of tulle and silk wrapped her legs, immobilized them. She could barely breathe. And all she wanted to do, deep down, instinctually, was RUN.

Is this really what I’m supposed to think on the day of my wedding? Is this a sign, a red flag that we aren’t meant to be together? She looked in the full length mirror of her bridal suite, and sighed. I look like my mother, she thought. I look like a girly girl. I look….unrecognizable. She worried about losing herself to this marriage, losing her personality and becoming a slave, a zombie, a…housewife. The bride shuddered. It went against her entire self-image for the past 28 years. Hell, the bride never thought she’d live past 25, and took all the drugs she could to ensure of that.
And yet here she was, 30 minutes before her wedding….about to walk down the aisle and commit herself (which is crazy considering she could never even commit to a tattoo design) to a man who was….stable. Never partied in college. Has a financial job. He represented everything she rallied against just 10 years ago.

There was a knock on the door. No wait, it was the window. The bride struggled to pull up her 15lb skirt, tripped and nearly tore it. There was now a black streak on the hem, but she didn’t notice nor care. Two unfamiliarly lacey arms stretched out infront of her, and without much conscious thought, she threw open the window, slamming it upwards on its track. And there he was, her friend of the past 15 years, the man who had seen her at her worst…the man who held her hair when she threw up, who raced his motorcycle right by hers in the best memories of her life, the man who was everything Mike the Groom was not. With no hesitation, without feeling the white lacy vines strangle her throat as she swallowed, the Bride could say it comfortably. Casey was her best friend.

Casey stretched out his hand.

Casey was her salvation.

“This isn’t you,” he said. Everyone else gawked and cried and said things like “you look beautiful”, “you look like a princess”, but he said exactly what she was thinking. “You look like a princess,” he said, with a snarl and a scoff. “Come with us. The van’s parked right out here. We’ll take you away, far away from this.”

Her tunnel vision broke, and she noticed the other voices coming from behind him. All her friends, they spilled out from the side of a junky van, calling and beckoning to her. It would be so easy to just jump out the window and run. Throw off the hideous white gown. Leave behind this adult, mature life she was marrying in to.

But then, a thought occurred to her. What if this is “cold feet”, as they say? What if this is natural, this is what EVERY bride in history felt before walking down the aisle? They had spent so much money, spared no expense. At first, she demanded Mike buy her things she didn’t even want for the wedding, just to test him…just to make him feel fed up and maybe he’d call it all off himself. But here they were, at someone’s dream wedding, the kind a normal little girl would see in a magazine and envy for the rest of her days. Her family, many of whom had scattered to the wind since she was 8, was here. They were all here, all together, sitting and waiting eagerly to watch their youngest daughter hit this milestone in her life. This was what her cousin, her de facto mother, had wanted for her – a normal life. Her father flew from the opposite side of the world to be here, to see her.

One step out the window, and she would disappoint them all yet again. It would be worse than all the arrests of her teenage years, and all the times they had come to see her at the hospital after a (mild, in her thinking) overdose. This could, this would, wreck any chance of a family connection she could have.

Casey stood there, his hand still outstretched, ready to pull her and that hideous dress through to freedom. The faces of her friends screamed at her, beckoning, begging.

The Bride tilted her head up just slightly, took a deep breathe and didn’t exhale. “I love you guys,” she squeaked, tears threatening to spill over her cheeks. She tilted her head just slightly higher. “But I have a date with my future husband.”

Casey didn’t move, even when she tried to close the window. He made no expression, he had no words, for the very first time in his young life.

The Bride turned her back to her only escape. She fluffed her dress, straightened her veil, wiped a finger under each eye.

And then she got married to the man of someone else’s dreams.

Part of her knew it was a mistake. She told herself it was just cold feet, but even before the engagement ring was on her finger, she had her doubts. The thing is, who didn’t? The first time they moved in together, they had a small apartment in the heart of the City. And it was barely tolerable. Thing is, she had never really lived with just one other person in her entire life; even as a kid, there was always at least 5 other family members running around, slamming doors and screaming. Maybe it was just her, she thought at the time. Maybe it’s normal to need several layers of rooms and walls between you and your roommate, to feel sane and unaggravated. Instead of dealing with why they couldn’t coexist in the same or adjacent rooms happily, they simply got a new and much larger home. Mike could afford it, after all. And now that they were married, she could afford it too.

Two kids and a dog later, 16 years after her marriage, Jessica found herself looking back at her old wedding photo. She held a bouquet in her hands, her pitch-black hair was pinned up, white veil pouring down over her shoulders. And then there was her smile, or more like a grimace. She was a frightened animal showing her teeth, feeling cornered. And 16 years later, she felt even more cornered. Jessica stared at the day she ruined her life, and cried.

Once her emotions were spent, Jessica found herself able to think logically. Coldly, one might even say. She came up with a strategy. She wasn’t that bad looking. Hell, when she reposted her old wedding photo on Facebook earlier today, dozens of her friends commented that she barely aged at all. She was in her early 40s and had kept herself trim; Jessica was one of the lucky women who worked her body like hell after her two pregnancies and managed to get back in to her high school jeans….the dream goal of every woman over age 20. So what if she ruined the past 16 years of her life. So what if her kids are a disappointment, if her kids are assholes, if her dog is a piece of hyperactive shit that doesn’t even respond to a shock collar. 40 is almost the middle of her life. 40, she never thought she’d make it. But the human life expectancy leaves her with another 40 years at least, and she sure as hell wasn’t going to waste any more time with Mike, who just never understood her.

Jessica put her strategy to work. She tackled the issues holding her back…using Mike’s money to pay for driving lessons and eventually getting her license. She cried to her friends that this was freedom, that she could finally drive the hell away from her housewife life. She was free to go anywhere in North America. She entered grad school, claiming it was time to go back to work, now that the kids were teens and didn’t need constant supervision. She claimed the new training would help her help and understand her eldest son more, who was somewhere on the spectrum that made the first few years of his life her own living hell. It was just enough of a self-less thing that she could feel okay doing this selfish thing. She bought vintage motorcycles and hid them from her husband, her way of reliving days past. The housewife bought a condo in a state 500 miles away, attended a school 500 miles away from her children, and flew back once a month for a weekend. Jessica gave herself a means to escape and the ability to sustain herself on Mike’s dime, after “wasting” her life for the past 16 years.

And then, once graduation was in sight….she filed for divorce. And she was not ever going to return to her old home, except to sign some papers. Her kids came to visit now and then, and the dog, well, good riddance. That dog was nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the genius of the same breed she grew up with, who could understand human commands instantly and calmly, as she bragged online to friends.

*********

This a true story, though of course dramatized since I was not actually present in most of Jessica’s life. But it’s things I’ve heard from herself, things I’ve gathered from her husband, and from her social media. I don’t know what to think about this woman. She’s a huge disaster. I saw her husband the other day, which is when he told me about his impending divorce, and I feel a bit of regret not telling him that…as a child of divorce….this could be the single best thing that happened to him in the past 17 years. That now he can finally be happy without that negative deadweight. It’s weird. When I first met Jessica, she seemed like a cool lady; she seemed “real”, unlike many of the rich housewives here. But she was really just a lost soul, lost since she was born and came in to this world, a person who could only see the downsides to heaven. The more time I spent with her, the more I wondered how her husband or any of her friends could put up with it for more than an hour. Her logic wasn’t sound, the way she thought was bizarre, and she was so miserably unhappy. The more I got to know her, the more I realized Jessica wasn’t a cool lady, she was a selfish asshole who hated her kids, her dog, her entire life and what she has “become”, and blamed it all on Mike.

On the other hand. It’s quite smart of her to use Mike’s money to get on her feet before divorcing. To get herself a place to live, a job to keep her sustained. It’s really pretty smart of her. But also really…unethical. Devious. Not illegal, but very…I don’t know. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Creative [non-fic] writing isn’t really my thing, but after thinking about their situation for a while, I just had to get this out.  I do think this was a long time coming, and I’m actually….happy for both of them to be divorcing.  I don’t know Mike well, I don’t know if he’s truly as bad as she claims (which didn’t sound that bad when she complained), but they were very clearly unhappy together…and I think that affects the kids way more than a divorce does.

Atom Eve Fan-art

Drawn & Colored in Photoshop

After burning myself out with work since March, it feels good to draw something again :) I’ve also been reading a lot of comics on my commute, so here’s those two hobbies together…some fanart of Atom Eve, a character from Invincible. Right now, it’s my favorite comic. At its core, it’s a satire, a spoof of classic superhero comics…but takes things seriously at the same time. Side characters always return and death is very real. I noticed there isn’t much fandom/merch out there for Invincible, so it felt good to throw my own fanart out there!

Figure Drawing Weekend #2


Forgot to post these!  I went to another figure drawing session a week or so ago.  It was fun, but this time the model wasn’t as pro as they usually are.  Ah well, still got some great practice out of it :)  I pretty much stuck with an H pencil for the whole 3 hours.  I was a little sad that everyone who said they’d come with me, and even RSVP’d, ended up not coming.  It was quiet and a little lonely, but that’s alright.  Here’s my favorite 3 of the batch!

Figure Drawing Weekend!

This weekend was extra fun, partly because I finished working at a hellhole, and partly because it was social!  Saturday, I went to the movies with my boyfriend and some college friends that he hasn’t seen in a long time.  They were all really friendly and easy to talk to.  We had drinks, saw the movie, and ate wayyy too much Thai food.

Sunday, I did a bunch of boring errands and then my boyfriend, a couple friends, and I went to Midtown to attend a figure drawing meetup.  It was great!  It’s the second we’ve (all) done this year.  Most of us are out of practice by years, so everyone is struggling, haha!  It feels good though, and I’m happy to see improvement already.  The guy who runs the Meetup runs it like a traditional figure drawing class, so we started with ten 30-second poses, 10 one minute poses, and then switched to 20 minute poses for the rest of the 3 hours.

The model was absolutely BEAUTIFUL…she had almost no fat except in her butt and boobs, so her shoulders and back showed off these muscles I didn’t really know about till now.  My own back is uh, too soft to learn anatomy off of :P

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re in an art store and try buying everything…and blaming your personal lack of skill on the tools.  I hear people say that in the room.  But as long as you have something sharp and something to shade with, that’s all you need.  Sometimes, like in the case of a graphite pencil, you get both in the same tool.  It’s a pet peeve of mine to hear people blame their tools when there is no shame is simply saying, “I need more practice,” or “I’m pretty rusty”.

[COMIC] Jazzy Adventures #001

That’s a temp name. I’m terrible at naming things!  And those of you who know me on Facebook have already seen this, but here’s my first comic strip.  Or 1-page short story.

This is a true story.  The events depicted in this comic took place in Brooklyn in 2014 (1 week ago).  At the request of the artist, there won’t be many people in each panel, because it’s hard to draw.    Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

More to come :)  Probably in color, too.

Life Update: I’m Back!

One of my latest drawings on tumblr (http://jelliefishielicious.tumblr.com/).

And it feels great!  A lot has happened since the last time I posted.  I tried writing a few posts on my phone, but the WordPress App is pretty screwed.  It LOVES to crash and delete posts, or never upload them, so I guess I’ll have to backtrack with another “Life Update”.

May Was A Monumental Month.

Remember how I could go on and on about the sucky roommate my boyfriend had?  Well DING DONG, THE WITCH IS DEAD!!!!  Okay, not dead – but GONE, along with her filthy, neglected cats and the clutter she’d been hoarding!!  Elle moved out with her boyfriend.  The other roommate also moved out with her boyfriend.  And…then I moved in with my boyfriend!  That’s right…I left my childhood home.  It feels weird, man.  I still refer to his place as..well…HIS place, not as my/our home.  I’ve slowly been shuttling things over.  Other than my computer, there’s really just my clothes to contend with, and it’s been a good opportunity to toss some stuff that I’ve had since middle school…and didn’t even wear back then because it was too ugly!

We live in a railroad apartment, so The Office is connected to Small Bedroom #1 (technically mine), which is connected to Small Bedroom #2.  It’s nice that we have this whole section of the house to us now, and that means I don’t have to walk OUT in to the lobby to go to the bathroom anymore.  YES.  Small Bedroom #1 got a fresh coat of paint, and went from icky pale yellow (reminiscent of cigarette smoke) to a grey-blue known to Benjamin Moore as “November Sky”.  What’s neat is, if you stand outside and look in to the room, it looks grey.  When you step inside and you’re surrounded by it, it looks blue :O  Lighting is mystical like that.  So I got some stuff from the IKEA STOLMEN system and now my stuff is in a walk in closet!!!  It’s so cool that I can say that!!!  A walk in closet…in New York City!  I share it with my boyfriend, of course.  I’ll have a picture once we really finish; some of the top shelving is not yet assembled.

There’s a lot more left to do.  Paint the bedroom, paint the living room (having trouble picking colors…).  My damn coffee table came in this morning, after 2 weeks of waiting, and it was damaged in delivery (-___- ).  Gotta wait another 2 weeks for a replacement.  Gotta organize all the cabinets and under the sink areas.  Gotta get crafty :P   Crafty Project #1, by the way, was a complete failure!  I tried cutting drawer dividers out of the ample cardboard we have here….it looked terrible and doesn’t stay up.  I ended up just buying some….for like $30…..but it looks great, and it’s DONE.

Oh yeah, and there’s a new roommate!  Annie’s pretty cool.  She’s really in to board games, Blizzard’s Hearthstone game, and hanging out with her boyfriend.  They’re chill, and they’re neat, so I like’m so far.

Went Rafting & Camping For A Week In The Grand Canyon.
DSC00257

The bucket list trip I never knew I had on my bucket list!!  I’ve mentioned this before – my boyfriend’s parents like to treat their kids/kids-in-law to a vacation on their 30th birthday.  They took their older son and his wife to St. John’s in the Caribbean, and stayed for a week in a villa by the water.  It sounded really fancy, with outdoor bathtubs, great views, a staircase down to the turquoise water, and their own chef…!  They offered the same trip to my boyfriend, but neither of us wanted to lay around and drink all day, with butlers waiting on us.  So his parents took us to the Grand Canyon!!!  I have TONS of pictures and will fill out another post solely about this trip, because it was truly amazing and deserves at least that!  It was life changing, it was beautiful, it was relaxing yet active, I gained a tan and 10lb because of all the good food…and I think it really is something everyone should do before they die.

…And I’m Getting Back In To Drawing.

Lady Knight

I finally took the plunge and bought a Cintiq 22HD!  It’s amazing and, aside from my Kindle, one of my most favorite purchases ever.  Although it’s hard to draw after work when you put in overtime, it’s let me draw and paint a lot more than I have in a long, long time.  I’ve put a lot more stuff in my tumblr page, which I’ve been using more and more lately too.  And pretty soon I’ll have some comic strips to put up :)  It’s always been a thing I wanted to do, just to get more drawing practice on stuff I don’t normally like to draw.  If you look at my tumblr, it’s all characters…no backgrounds! I hate backgrounds!!  But you do need that for a comic, to ground stuff and set the mood.  I’ve wanted to do this for years, but never just went for it.  The other week, I was chatting with Elle’s boyfriend and he had the same dream. That made me wonder, what was I waiting for? This guy has “paralyzed” himself from starting because he wants to have perfect drawing skills before beginning.  I say, the comic will make you perfect, in time.   So I started my first one tonight!  Hopefully I’ll finish it soon and you’ll see it here tomorrow.  There’s no overarching story, but it’s all kind of “diary-esque”; little snippets of my life that I thought were worth drawing for hours and hours.

This probably sounds really ridiculous – it sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud – but one of the big things that held me back from starting a life-inspired comic (like everyone else on the internet) is self consciousness.  It would require that I draw myself….and that sent my brain for a spin.  Do I draw myself as an animal?  Do I bother drawing my face?  Do I draw what I think I look like, even if it’s guaranteed to be a 300% beautified and idealized version?  Wouldn’t that show how vain I really am, deep down, despite not wanting to admit it?  But now my mindset is, drawing practice is first and foremost.  And drawing in a timely manner. So I’m just gonna do what I do, vainness be damned.

Quick Sketch: Woman in Leather Armor

Photoshop, Intuos 5, 30 minutes.

Photoshop, Intuos 5, 30 minutes.

I purposefully wanted her to be on the androgynous side, but I think it’s a little TOO androgynous :P  Did a quick sketch in Photoshop while trying to figure out a leather armor outfit.  It’s not quite there yet.  But figured I should share the results so the world knows I’m not slacking off here!

Sketch: Grisly Old Man

Photoshop + Intuos tablet, as usual.  Click to make it bigger.

Do you ever get the urge to draw a grisly old man?  To trace the wrinkles on his face, and the darkness on his skin?  The mood struck me today.  It’s been a long while since the last time I drew and this felt really good.  He’s actually one of the slave abusers from Django Unchained, though I forget his name.  I’m pretty happy with how this turned out, especially since my warm-up figure drawing before the portrait were absolutely awful.  I felt like I was drawing with my foot!  Clearly, I’m out of practice.

Practicing Noses, Sorta.

Last night, I was talking to a 3D animator who’s been taking some time off to work on his drawing skills…specifically, he’s doing online anatomy lessons.  Well, that sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?!  I never had a firm grasp of anatomy, and I think it probably shows in my drawings. My stuff is very flat, kind of comic booky, not as much volume in the figures as there should be.  If I draw a person from reference except for one body part, everyone can tell which body part was from “imagination”.  Inspired by his enthusiasm, I started looking at the numerous figure drawing tutorials on Youtube.  I still lament that we had so much mandatory crap to do in college that I never got to take a proper Anatomy class.

I have two Youtube Channel favorites so far:

  • Proko – Formatted very well, he describes how to draw figures better than most teachers explain anything.  His foundational stuff is truly essential to anyone who wants to draw figures, and it’s what really helped me get started on noses and faces (above).  Everything is easy to understand.  I can’t stress enough how invaluable his videos have been, I keep rewatching them.
  • Sycra – More of the type of digital artist you tend to see on youtube, with lots of speedpainting recordings….but he also has some great tutorials on how to draw, particularly his video about foreshortening.  He clearly has a great grasp of traditional figure drawing as well.

Today’s noses and faces were drawn while looking at screenshots of movies at Cinema Squid (awesome resource if you love staring at stillframes of movies…which I do!).