Thursday, October 31, 2013

The REAL Day 403

Today we continued our long-standing Halloween tradition of turning all the lights off and hiding in the back part of the house.  The doorbell's dulcet tones were not to be heard all evening and there was much rejoicing.

That sort of makes the Wells sound like they're not fun.  That's not true... we've got fun comin' out the wazoo, we just don't need a holiday to mandate when we're to be fun.  How anti-establishment of us.  The REAL reason we don't hand out candy on Trick-or-Treat night mostly has to do with the large, striped feline that lives in our house.  She doesn't like the doorbell and we don't want her getting out.

Moving on!

Today I asked a co-worker what his kids were going to be for Halloween.  His son was going as Iron Man (solid choice) and his daughter had yet to pick between multiple princess options and a skunk.  The non-conformist in me says skunk all the way.  I suggested that she could always been a princess skunk if the decision became too arduous to make.

That turned out to be harder to draw that I had anticipated... my first sketch is ok but I struggled with the logistics of the tail (having never, to the best of my memory, worn/drawn/been in the presence of a skunk costume)

I switched up the pose on the second one (I like the first better, though) and it made it easier to position the tail.  I've got to find a happy medium between the two.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NOT Day 403

As I'm sure you're tired of reading by now, I've been sick.  Not deathly ill, not even severely ill... just sinus-infection-that-won't-go-away sick.  I finally got some antibiotics today so I should be back in business soon.

I didn't draw today.

What I did do today was watch most of the BBC miniseries Jekyll.  Unsolicited opinion: Good... but not my favorite Steven Moffat production.

Anyway, all of my energy today went to holding down the couch and I had nothing left over with which to draw.  I'm not happy about that but it is what it is.

While we're on the subject of me not being happy with myself... I'm not happy with myself!  I had a great run of amusing, somewhat competently drawn entries over the summer but since I hit the one year mark I feel as though my quality levels took a nose dive.  I blame it on all the "stuff for other people" that I have going on now and recently.  I'm nearly done with "stuff for other people" and can finally refocus my creative energy on "stupid stuff that makes me laugh" instead. That seems to be where I find the most success.

In summation: Today I was sick.  I didn't draw. I need to start drawing better. The End.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 402 - It's Been Awhile...

It's been a long time since I've shared any progress that I've made on my aunt's painting.  Said progress has been slow and arduous.  I fight with it a little at a time, give up, go back to it and fight more, give up, lather, rinse, repeat.

Anyway, it's starting to get "somewhere"... especially considering last time posted about it, it looked like this.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 401 - Start of Some Color

I limped through eight hours of work today in a DayQuil haze.  I wasn't sure what I would be capable of producing tonight but my brain is starved for some sort of stimulation that doesn't involve Netflix so I thought I'd test the waters.

You might remember this drawing from several days ago... I thought I'd start throwing some color on it.  I'm not sure I'm  married to the solid black shadow but I thought I'd give it a shot.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 400 - The Birthday Meatball

You might've noticed that I haven't posted for the last few days.  I've been floating in a DayQuil-induced haze since Thursday evening and trying my best to cough up pieces of my lungs in the process.  I actually did finish my birdhouses on Friday evening but didn't have it in me to sit down and post about it.

So... the Birthday Meatball... today is my mom's birthday (and my parents' anniversary as well).  Last night I managed to drag my sorry self into public to go to dinner at a local Italian restaurant with my family and some friends.  It's not really worth rehashing because of its you-had-to-be-there factor but "the Birthday Meatball" found itself borne into existence at the dinner table.

Of course my mother could count on her only child to make a stupid drawing for her birthday...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 399 - I Shouldn't Even Post This

As my title suggests... I shouldn't even post this.

After feeling crusty for the better part of the last two weeks, I'm finally, officially sick.  I left work early today so as not to snot all over the residents and visitors.  Before I left, I did manage to start some very preliminary work for a small project my sister-in-law asked me for input on.

Long story short: she does custom vinyl stickers for people and a client asked for a stick figure version of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Now I love dogs more than I love some people but I've never heard of this breed so I had to do a little preliminary research before I pared it down to stick figure elements (which I still haven't figured out how to do.)

So why the "I shouldn't even post this"? Well... see for yourself.  But as it's literally the only thing I drew today it's what you get...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 398 - Quite a Haul

Every year, without fail, I question the wisdom that Big Candy had when they chose to name their small, trick-or-treat sized bars "Fun Size."

To a chocoholic like myself "Fun Size" would be a little something like this:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 397 - Birdhouses, Continued

See yesterday for a proper explanation of whatever the heck it is I'm doing here...

I finished the Starry Night birdhouse tonight... don't compare it too closely with the original because... well... just don't, ok?

I started a base coat on the second birdhouse, also.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 396 - Birdhouse of a Different Color

As you may recollect, I was asked to put my own particular brand of mess on two ceramic bird houses which will then be donated to the annual craft show that my work holds.  I finally stopped avoiding this task and set to work on the one based on VanGogh's Starry Night. Notice, I say "based on" because I have neither the man's gift for color nor the skill to emulate his brush work.  I can only pay homage in my own sad, little way.

The other birdhouse, which I haven't started yet, will have flowers/leaves in the style of botanical illustrations but, you know... not as good.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 395 - In Progress

I'm blessed to know an awful lot of of nifty people and it was with a sampling of those nifty people (and at various gatherings) that I spent a large chunk of my weekend.

You might have noticed that I didn't post yesterday.  Since I hit the one year mark, I've decided to not be as militant about posting as I was.  If I have a day, like yesterday, where my social obligations don't let up until around 11:00 PM, I'm not going to kill myself to get a drawing done.  And that's ok.

I had a similar day today and didn't sit down to work until 9:00 tonight.  I got tired when I was three quarters of the way through with this sketch for my church mural project.  Because of that you get to see all the ugly stray lines, overlapping shapes, and not-tweaked-yet color.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 394 - Chair-ade

Well, yesterday I drew a sasquatch mascot... the day before, my couch... and today I've drawn a chair.  So I guess, if you want to (and why wouldn't you?) you could refer to the last three days as a sasquatch sandwich.

Full disclosure: I just really wanted to use the phrase "sasquatch sandwich".

So yeah... I drew a chair while we caught up on New Girl episodes.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 393 - Silly Sassy Sasquatch

Do you know what this blog has been missing? Silliness.

 I wrote a few days ago that I've been so tired and stressed out from all my other projects that I don't have anything left to contribute to my much-needed mental silly fund.  A solution to that problem arrived last night in the form of a silly conversation about very silly things with equally silly people.  I can't recall the conversation in its entirety but it ended with someone asking if there were any colleges that had a Sasquatch as a mascot.  It was suggested that "Sassy the Sasquatch" should be someone's mascot if it wasn't already.

It's become the custom that, when something like this is said, multiple pairs of eyes turn in my direction. These people use me to bring their crazy ideas to life, like some sort of surrogate Dr. Frankenstein.

I love it!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 392 - Couch Potato

I was feeling less than terrific today and I stayed home from work.  During some of my time spent on the couch, I drew our other couch.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 391 - Make a Little Birdhouse In Your Soul

It just dawned on me how utterly boring this blog has become over the last few weeks.  You know why? Because I've been so busy (and subsequently burnt out) doing paid commissions for people that I don't have anything left over to be silly with.

I sold out, man.

Anyway, in keeping with the "stuff for other people" theme, I give you birdhouses!  In what has become an embarrassingly long time ago, a coworker gave me two blank, ceramic birdhouses and asked me if I'd paint 'em up purty for to donate to our annual craft show on November 2nd.  At the time November 2nd seemed an awfully long way off.

I figured I'd better start thinking about it.

I understand fully that, without color, these aren't interesting.  One will be a sort of botanical illustration style and the other will be VanGogh's Starry Night.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 390 - Crisis Averted

In case you're just tuning in for the first time:  Friends commissioned me to do a tree and some characters from "The Gruffalo" in their two-year-old's room.  I began on Saturday.

What Happened on Saturday: I freaked out when things weren't going the way I'd intended with my mural and subsequently my mental state put a damper on my weekend.

What I Knew Would Happen Tonight: I'd show up to finish and everything would turn out just fine and life would again be sunshine and unicorns.

What Actually Happened Tonight: I showed up to finish and everything did turn out just fine.  As for the sunshine and unicorns... Well... I didn't finish until after dark but I did see a sort of big dog on the way home that could've been a unicorn if you squinted.

I brought Josh along to fill in some large, flat spaces of color for me while I did other parts.  It was a massive help and he's a massively wonderful human being for helpin' me out.  Here's the final product that has been color corrected as much as Photoshop would allow.  It's still not quite true to life, though.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 389 - Negative Nancy & Debbie Downer

Well... As I said previously, I painted a mural today.  More accurately, I painted half of a mural today.

Every time I've ever painted a mural I go through the same stages.... Stage 1 is feeling good about the project as I start drawing on the wall. Stage 2 gets a little hesitant. By the time we get to stage 3 I've hit full blown panic and my brain starts dumping copious amounts of chemicals into my bloodstream that tell me that this time is finally "that one" that I can't do. That I'll mess up so badly the homeowners will have to repaint over it.  That I'm a fraud and why is someone paying me to do this, again?  Stage 4 I calm down and things go fine.

Today, friends, was Stage 3 from the start and for the next five hours.  My paint was acting oddly with the wall paint, I couldn't get a good cover, I couldn't get my colors mixed properly, etc.  I didn't move anywhere near as fast as I thought I would so, needless to say, I didn't finish today.  Fortunately, my clients are friends and lovely people and they don't mind me invading their home again on Monday night to finish what I wasn't able to today.

I must possess some personality flaw that causes me to allow myself to be affected by my own shortcomings in such a way that it ruins my entire weekend.  I've been haunted all day by the prospect of finishing this thing.

I don't even have any pictures to show you because, as I discovered right before leaving this morning, our camera died and my only other camera is on Josh's phone, an hour north, as he's out of town for the weekend.

So to sum up... it's been a craptastic day.  I'm still taking tomorrow off... I need it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 388 - I've Earned It

Ok, so here's the thing... I am burnt the heck out.  I've drawn every day for the last 388 days, I've been swimming (borderline drowning) in commissions for the last few weeks and I've determined  that I need to take a few days off.

And I'm not going to feel bad about it.

Technically speaking, I won't be taking the entire weekend off.  Tomorrow morning I'm painting a mural but after that I'm putting down the pencils, the brushes, the Wacom pen, until Monday.

To be honest, I'm sort of conflicted about this because, lately, the weekend is when I get a lot of my work done.  I've noticed, however, that I've been increasingly dull in the last two weeks or so.  I have very little creative energy and ZERO sense of humor (which for me is a big deal and very much not good).  Yesterday it finally dawned on me that I'm in dire need of a rest, even if it is just for a few days.

So tonight, I'm getting Thai food and thinning out my Netflix instant queue.  Tomorrow I'm painting and then commencing with goofing off for the remainder of the weekend.

My projects will still be there when I get back and I'll be better prepared to tackle 'em. does sort of kill me that this is the first blog post in 388 days without a drawing.  So just picture one, ok?   And make it a good one because I'm certainly incapable of doing that right now.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 387 - Not Much

I feel like at this point, I'm limping into the home stretch with all of my various commissions.  On Saturday morning I'll get a long-planned mural done for some friends and can put a nice, fat check mark next to that on my list.

I did a little dress rehearsal of sorts with the main focal point of this mural, the tree.  I wanted to cement it in my head before I face drawing it on the wall on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 386 - Stuff I Worked On Today

I got a lot of positive progress done on The Painting tonight... I didn't let the figurative, non-verbal insults that it regularly hurls at me get under my skin as much as I have been.  Still, I'm not quite ready to post any pictures of it yet.

I did work on this, however... Another color sketch for the church mural project.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 385 - Cat in the Box

You'd think I'd be better at drawing cats than I am since I've observed one everyday for the last three years.  Drawing them from memory is NEVER successful and rarely do I have any luck when I try to draw one from life or from a picture.

Someday, when I once again have free time, I need to sit down and do a little cat anatomy study - skeletal structure, muscle, etc.  For now, though, I just referenced a picture that Josh took of our goofy piece of work, Charlie

It's not bad, really... It's not meant to be a complete, shaded, finished drawing.  Just a sketch. I'm aware that the eyes don't quite match...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 384 - If You Squint...

If you squint just right... these drawings look vaguely like cats.

I don't feel super terrific today... I feel like a cold bug might be circling my airspace and my immune system is doing everything it can to deny it landing privileges.  It's a standoff right now... we'll see who wins.

Because of my feeling crusty I didn't get much accomplished today.  I was very tempted to just give myself an off night on the couch but instead I started work on another color sketch for my church mural project. That's not fit for human consumption just yet so here's some sketches I did at work.

I was doing some very preliminary thinking about potential Christmas card ideas.  I've really got to brush up on my cat anatomy because I had trouble drawing a mouth in mid-bite.  As you can see, it never even got past my non-photo blue pencil sketch stage.

I have no idea how my paper keeps getting so crinkly lately.  I'll again argue that the crinkles are more interesting than the drawings themselves.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 383 - Calmer Coloring

I took a break from my nemesis, The Painting, and decided to work more on some color sketches for the church mural project.  I watched more football today than I did actual work but I still managed to get one thing done.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 382 - Keep Calm and... Just Keep Calm

I come from a long, proud line of highly impatient people... and I expect entirely too much out of myself. Last weekend when I'd started on my aunt's painting, I didn't see what I wanted to see within 20 minutes so I panicked and subsequently ruined the rest of my day (and the days after).

I did that again today.

Today's breakdown was accompanied by a tenacious soliloquy that explored the various reasons that I, Sarah Wells, should never have started this painting in the first place and how I should just give up on it, how I never was taught to properly paint, etc.  My poor husband absorbed all of my words and lovingly returned them to me in the form of gently worded encouragement.

Darn amazing husband and his unconditional support!

I walked away for a few minutes... changed up my music from Alt+J/Maccabees to a more soothing mix if classical pieces, opened the window to listen to the rain and... most importantly... I CALMED THE HECK DOWN.

I put a tremendous amount of unnecessary pressure on myself when I'm doing a project for someone else.

So picked my embittered self up off of my too-dusty office floor, plunked myself down in my chair and fought back against my oppressor.

Now, most of this is underpainting... and the greenish looking sections are erroneous and I've got to go over them.  Same goes for the gray.  I'm getting somewhere, at least.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 381 - Pay No Attention To These Poorly Drawn Tomatoes

Ok, so hear me out...

I was supremely busy at work today and only had time to do some sketchy, thinking-on-paper for the logo/label I'm designing.  Then I got home, quickly ate dinner and went right back out to help some friends move into their new house.  I'm just now sitting down at the computer at 10:40.  And I'm really tired.

So today, you get poorly drawn tomatoes... I fully acknowledge that they look like nothing special.  I'll even go so far as to say that the wrinkles in the paper are more interesting than the sketches themselves (I had to run to my car in the rain after work today -the papers got soggy).  It's my visual equivalent of taking notes.
Since it's all I drew today, it's all you get.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 380 - Relief!

After a solid week (plus) of having really awful, unproductive, icky, stinky drawing days I finally got something going in the right direction.

I won't actually post all of what I've done this evening until I'm done done with it... I'm designing a logo/label for a corporate caterer and until it's approved and finalized I'll keep it to myself.  It's not that I don't trust you but... you know... you know?

Yesterday evening at my church life group (known to you regular readers as "those crazy people who give me all my ideas") I got yet another influx of inspiration.  The five year old daughter of friends has, like most five-year-olds, an enviable amount of imagination and creativity.  She wrote a song last week about an octopus and, in her mother's words, it is "better than anything on the radio right now."

I'd have to agree.

The song was actually about a scary octopus but I didn't want to draw Miss S here with a scary octopus. Instead... I went back a few weeks and found this guy and decided he'd do just fine.  I'll have to flip him to face the opposite direction (yay, Photoshop!) and retool a tentacle or two to relate more to the sketch below but when all is said and done I think that she'll like the drawing.

This child regularly tells me that I'm "a really, really good drawer" so she obviously has incredible taste.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 379 - Scapegoat

As is always the case when I'm tired and/or I don't know what else to draw, I fall back on my first love of Disney animation.

It is one thing I remain consistently competent at and, as my funk from earlier in the week still hasn't lifted, I needed to determine whether or not I'm still competent at anything.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 378 - Better!

I was in much less of an onerous mood today and was able to actually progress on some of my projects.

I'm designing a label for a corporate catering firm and I did some sketchy ideas today.  I did more with this this evening but I don't think enough of any of it yet to post it.