wayfaringwordhack: (kicking it island style)
As I mentioned in another post, I spent a hectic couple of weeks doing hand-lettered signs to raise money for Egyptian charities.

I rented a booth at a Spring Fair, held by the Maadi Women's Guild, on the premises of St John's church in Maadi. I decided to give 50% of all sales to charities, and I sold exactly enough to pay for my booth and my framing expenses. I sold one more painting after the fact (and gave 100% to charity) and also got some interest to sell any remaining pieces in a store and two requests for commissions. One of the commission hasn't gotten back to me, and I haven't given my price to the other one. I think once I do, though, she won't accept. She wants me to hand-letter an entire Psalms and embellish it with watercolor. I know what a crazy amount of work that is going to be and won't just give the piece away. Ah, the joys of putting a price on one's time and creativity. I think she will refuse because she already winced when I told her (custom) framing would cost $25. That is crazy cheap, especially for the size of are we are talking about, which is 100cm X 70cm.

Here are some samples of what I did (click on thumbnail for larger image):

wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
Sheesh. Almost let another Sunday slip past me.

These past two weeks were crazy busy with the pageant, making costumes and working on the painting that I have to do onstage, and with writing. It takes a lot of prep work to pull off something that is A) big and B) painted live.  Not something I really want to repeat in the near future.

We had a dress rehearsal yesterday, and all went well. This week, i have to adjust some costumes and tweak a few things for the painting. One more dress rehearsal on Saturday, followed by two shows, and then this will be finished.

And what comes next? Christmas. :P

NaNo will end in a couple of days, and I can ease up on the word goal. I don't, however, want to stop writing, unless of course I finish the story. I am writing towards the climax now. 
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
As planned, I did mostly sewing these past two weeks. I sewed a cover for our kiddy pool.  It is one of those inflatable affairs that is over 2mx1.5m, so the cover had to be almost 3x2m.

I also made a mosquito net for our king-size bed, not an easy task moving all that netting about!  But I'm not finished with the stuff; I have to make a net "room" (3mX2.8mx1.8m) for our yard, otherwise flies and mosquitos make it too miserable to eat outside.  Man, how I wish we had stocked up on some mosquito nets when we lived in Mayotte. They were huge and, even better, CHEAP!  *sigh*

I'm a little over "big projects."

I did sew two newborn hats for Coquille's first day...plus a test-run hat that turned out the perfect size for Junebug's baby dolll. LOL

Next up I have to make a new "diaper" bag and repair the nursing pillow I made for when I had Junebug. I would like to sew something for an Egyptian friend who just gave birth, but I need to find some cute, quality fabric first. Not easy at the best of times and not something I feel like doing while hot, heavily pregnant, and car-less.

On the art front, I made some more color charts, more "targeted" ones, kind of like this. I also sketch cows. I suck at cows. Must sketch some more. Lazy me thinks I should just practice some "cartoony" cows since this book is not about cows. My more studious side thinks I shoud work on getting the real deal right first.

Anyone else want to share their creative endeavors from the past couple of weeks?
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
So, it wasn't an April Fool's joke that the repair shop would be open on April 1st, but it did not come to pass. Color me Not Surprised. Turns out they are still awaiting their acreditation from Apple, so who knows when they will be open for business. In the meantime, there is no alternative because the Doki shop was transfered here. The wait continues. To make matters more interesting, J's laptop has been on the fritz for at least a year now, and it seems to be getting even more fickle about turning on and staying on.

Healthwise, we are all doing better, even if this infernal cough is still making me miserable. Oh for a good night's sleep of no wheezing lungs and racking coughs.  Someday...

My bruises have greatly faded, and I feel no more aches from the scooter accident. I've started driving it again but not with Sprout. She has gone out with J, though, and yesterday, she declared she is no longer afraid of it.

On the creativity front, I've been making watercolor mixing charts and experimenting in general with my new paints. I don't have the energy for storyboarding work right now, so this sort of play is the perfect way for me to learn about my supplies without the stress of "producing something."


I began my 8th month on Thursday and have started going through baby clothes to see what we have for Coquille. Verdict: Not much in the newborn department. Only found two onesies for that age. But after the first few weeks Coquille won't be wearing much as temperatures soar.

I have other newborn stuff. But where? I thought I knew where we put it after the move but have yet to lay hands on it. Must continue looking. And I have a couple of things I want to sew. Those projects may be the focus for the next snippet.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
Forgot to post yesterday.

I mostly spent last week making some belated Christmas gifts that will be given when we go to France this weekend.  I did sketch a few animals, notably dogs and cows, but haven't touched my larger storyboard as intended.  It is foldable, so I'll stick it in my sketchbook and take it on the trip.

it is going to be a busy two weeks, what with visiting family, scouting out houses, and simply taking time to enjoy nature, so I'm not going to be hard on myself if I don't make any progress on the story.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
In case anyone is curious about how the thumbnail sketches work for me and what kinds of things I'm looking at, beneath the cut are a few things that I've done/thought about since doing this storyboard.

A bit of waffling )
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: book)
I was able to make progress this week after a major "D'uh!" moment.

I wanted to do a book dummy to wrap my mind around the 3-d aspect of images on page flaps when all I had to do was cup out scraps of paper and tape them down on my thumbnail sketches. Problems of recto-verso solved! The whole book at a glance!  I feel like such an idjit that it took me so long to find this simple and obvious solution.  Live and learn. :)

So a little snapshot of what the thumbnails look like:



Two of the pages won't have flaps. The sketches are all rough and need revising, but at least I can now get a sense of the over all flow.

It was a rough week. I hope the next one is better and allows me to get a bit more done. I would like to have some solid sketches to play around with when I get my new art supplies.

Anyone else want to share their week's creative endeavors or plans for the coming week?
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
I kinda sorta failed in my mission to make a dummy this week. I did make one; I just didn't get past the assembly of it. I had hoped for more, but c'est la vie. My storyboard may not have advanced on paper, but my ideas are a bit clearer for some of the pages.

I instead spent an inordinate amount of time researching paints and placing orders to be delivered while we are in France next month. Not a waste of time--it needed to be done--but it ate my brain.

And now I don't feel well--pregnancy-related heartburn and vomiting--so I am heading to bed even though it is not yet 7:30.

G'night, LJ.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
Just a wee bit of sketching this week.  I did one of my imaginary storybook critters and played around more with my watercolor blobs, using them to loosen up before beginning my "real" work.

I dusted off my manuscript, though, trying to tighten up the text and make sure I have good flow. My next step this week is to go ahead and design a book dummy to help me establish (I hope once and for all) if a lift-the-flap format is the best for this project.

I also worked on renovating the side table for my chair in the living room. It is coming along. Maybe I'll have pictures next week.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
I sketched quite a bit again this week, even though I didn't fill up pages and pages in my sketchbook. I discovered that some of my critters (and even the roosters, to be honest) did not and will not need so much time dedicated to them. So I took time out to do some technical exercises as well as create new things out bits of old art projects/scrap paper and color tests.

Behold watercolor blob fish:


The bodies of the fish are from a sample chart of watercolors I made for Sprout many years ago.  The recipe used cornflour, if memory serves, and so the paint goes on thick and chalky and chips pretty easily. I would have liked to put in my details with pens but didn't want to gunk up the nibs, so graphite it is, even though the lines don't pop as much.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
I don't know that I'll keep it up, but I was quite productive on the sketching front this week. By "keep it up," I mean follow the same sort of schedule, i.e. dedicate a whole week to sketching only one animal.  Doing a few calculations, I think I'll run short of time if I don't bring a bit more focus to what I'm doing. I need to sketch (learn to draw) 22 real critters and invent 11. That's 33 weeks just on the animals, and I'll still have to develop two kid characters, do roughs, and draw a couple of actual page spreads for the dummy.

So I definitely need to work faster, or rather do fewer sketches. I think, though, with time, I'll naturally get quicker as I improve my drawing skills.

Here is a compilation from my sketchbook since Jan 1:


I doubt you can read the headings, which are: "reference photos," "ref and drawing from memory," and "illustration references and tutorials."

What is still missing is the page(s) where I work on my own illustrative style. I already moved on to the next critter and will come back to drafting my own roosters once my brain has cleared a bit from other people's styles.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Haven't done one of these in awhile.

I thought I would share a view of our craftroom. We don't have it perfect--and it probably never will be, so don't hold your breath; I'm not--but it is serviceable and we use and enjoy it everyday.

Those who have been around awhile will probably recognize some of my unfinished work above my desk. Yay, inspiration and motivation. :P The painting of Sprout, at least, will be finished someday.  Hopefully someday will come about this year.



The left side is for my art and the right for sewing and such. [livejournal.com profile] asakiyume, you can't tell, but the three photos hanging down the far right wall are of Timor Leste with inspirational quotes between them.

The table along the right wall is where J works on his knives and projects that touch it. He made himself a leather apron, for example.

(The side table in the foreground is a recup/renovation project.)

Then there is the where the kids work:



I really need to organize those shelves...

I've filled a full page in my new sketchbook (dedicated to this kids' book I've been working on) since New Year's day.

What creative endeavors have you been up to these days?
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
A bit of a mixed bag today. Lots of emotions, not all good.

This morning we all went to the store and bought food to give to those in need, then J went this afternoon and bought lots kids clothes, blankets, socks, and hats. We went to a roundabout where we know some families sleep and handed out the stuff. After everything but two bags of food had been given, another lady came running and tried to make someone share with her. The sharing did not happen, so I gave her the remaining two bags. She wanted us to give her more, but we had nothing else. Then two other men showed up, and J tried to explain that we had given everything out and they should divide it amongst themselves. We drove off with some still begging and others sitting on their goods. Don't know what they decided, how it was settled, but it left us feeling bad.* :(

Sprout was asking hard questions today, like: How do you make yourself die when your family dies so you don't have to live lonely? :-/

On a brighter side, I bought a new sketchbook to motivate me to finally get some work done on the kids book I started last year and to organize my thoughts/ideas better since my doodles were scattered all over the place in my other drawing pad. I did two studies this afternoon and hoped to do a third, but I feel a bit beat up and am carrying stress in my lower back. I think the wiser thing to do is to go to bed.

__________
* I've been repeating to myself that the giving is not about me and was never meant to make me feel good about myself or what-have-you. I believe one should give a gift without any kind of strings or expectations projected onto the receiver. But I do feel that we weren't responsible givers in that we didn't try to spread things out a bit make to make sure more people got help. Knowing that people live in such desperation that they will fight to get or keep anything makes me feel totally hopeless to help in a meaningful way.
wayfaringwordhack: (writing: paper flames)
I did it: I progressed from Zero Draft to a decent First Draft.  Woot.

I also did some sketching. Sprout drew in the teeth on this one, as well as an earring. I can't express how much I love her toothy touch. :P

Then I found this mini-tutorial for drawing cartoonish faces in profile, so I did quite a few:

wayfaringwordhack: (art: energized)
At last, a full week on the creative front.  I finally finised the "Project of the Week" that I've had on my agenda since we got back from our holiday by the sea:  Make Junebug a bucket hat.

I used fabric from my stash, which means one side of the reversible hat is exactly like the last hat I made him, and the other is from one of the hooded towels I made from Sprout before she was born. Nothing like getting mileage out of one's purchase.

The model was not too pleased with having to wear the hat. Naturally.

Photographic proof of productivity this way... )

I also did a lot of research about illustrating children's books--watching videos, tutorials, browsing sites for inspiration--and now I need to get back to finishing up the text.
____________
* Sticky tack is the greatest thing for paper dolls, infinitely re-stickable yet mess-free. Way better than paper tabs that get weak and tear from overuse.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
This week was a bit of this and a bit of that and not a whole lot of anything in particular.  I researched some, sketched some, wrote some, thought some, crocheted none, and only sewed up an unraveling seam on a pair of pants, making no headway at all on Junebug's hat, which was supposed to be my project of the week.

I am proud of myself for resisting the urge to sew Sprout a last-minute Easter dress, though.

Today, we went to Al-Fustat Potters Village to meet with someone who will give me some pottery lessons. I also dropped by a design school in the "village" to discuss taking some courses come fall for jewelry making.


Never dull moment. Seriously, what is this "boredom" thing I hear tell of?
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Valentine's Day, 1980, my older sister came home from school with a drawing for my mother. It was of a heart, a long heart, a bit pinched at the top and stretched out on the bottom, like a fought-over piece of taffy. My mother laughed. Not a nice laugh.  And when I heard her, my heart hurt for my sister. Even before I saw my sister's face, I knew that my mother's laugh had done something to her. Sure enough, I never saw my sister draw again. She was 7.

A while back, an aunt of mine mailed some pictures to me at my mil's house. Because I was impatient to see them, I asked my mil to open the envelope and show them to me via SKype.  Enclosed was a drawing I had done when I was 7.

miq giraffe 7.5 yrs

When she saw it, my mil laughed. Not a nice laugh.  "Ha! Look how big you made the giraffe! You sure don't know anything about proportions, do you!?" Knowing that my mil is not artistically inclined herself and being well over the age of 7 myself, I was able to dismiss her jibes, but part of me thought, How hurtful would that laughter have been to me as a child?



As it was, I was pretty chuffed at how well I had done without a reference photo, without Wikipedia around to let me know that giraffes don't eat apples. And I know from up close and personal experience just how big giraffes are, so the joke is on her, so to speak.

And then this, from a journal entry 23.04.2013:
I also want to do some rough sketches for Beanie and the fish book idea I have...I remember now that once upon a time, while I was at university, I thought about writing and illustrating children's books. A forgotten dream! Another thing I let people discourage me from with tales of "It's too hard/near impossible to break into."  And instead of using their "helpful," well-intentioned discouragements to work harder, I took their comments as a veiled way of saying that I wasn't good enough and left it at that. I could have used them as fuel to practice and improve.



Instead, I gave up, thinking, "Well, my passion isn't deep enough. Guess that means it isn't my calling."



Well, to hell with well-intentioned discouragements and misplaced laughter. I'm trying my hand at it anyhow.  To quote again from that journal entry: Don't fold. Resist. Keep trying. Get better.

wayfaringwordhack: (art: monk)
Art is partly communication, but only partly. The rest is discovery. -William Golding, novelist, playwright, poet, Nobelist (1911-1993)

The above is a quote that I received in my inbox.  Very apt as I'm working on my painting and am a bit terrified of moving on (read: messing up). I thought I had a better paint selection on hand than what I actually have, so now the question is: Continue with the discovery or put progress on hold until I buy more paint.  My creative impulse is telling me to 'Get out and make your own discoveries!*' but my mind is screaming, "Don't you dare ruin it!"

In any case, I have the underpainting done in raw umber and burnt sienna:

underpainting


_________________
*Paraphrasing Dr. Scott, who, at the end of each episode of the cartoon "Dinosaur Train," encourages kids to:  "Get outside, get into nature and make your own discoveries!"
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
I did two things this week.

First, I played around with watercolors, using lots of different techniques.

Second, I realized the mistake in my previous thinking. I posted last week that I wanted to "retro-fit a background" onto my sketch. It occurred to me that retro-fitting is a recipe for disaster. I must not think of how to back up, if you will; I must think of a way to go forward if I want to make an organic whole.

So, this is the sketch as is:
bird lady2
Hopefully next week, I'll have mustered the courage to put brush or glue or whatever to it.

Snippet

25 Mar 2013 10:35 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
A day late. And a dollar short?

I had a very busy weekend, and last night we had dinner with friends, not getting home until after midnight.

I did work on my chapter, but it needs another quick pass before being ready to share.

Instead, I shall show a snippet of something else I was working on this week.

in the deeps

This piece is hard going for me because I had such a strong flash (inspired by an awesome poem by an awesome person), and I know how I want it to turn out. I've been hesitant to start painting because I fear what I want and what I'll do will be so far apart that I'll despair.  Today, with lots of physical and mental shrugging, I finally starting laying down the paint. It will be what it will be, and I'll doubtless learn from it.  I also scanned the sketch and photographed it so I may be able to salvage it digitally if I completely fail at the watercolor version.

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