Inktober #1

From following other artists on Twitter, I heard about Inktober a couple years ago. It sounded fun, but usually I was so busy that by the time I had the realization that it was going on, October was nearly over.

For those of you who don’t know what Inktober is, you can learn more about it here.

This year, I was paying attention. Even though adding a drawing session to my day seems impossible, I’m going to give it a try.  Worse (at least for me) I’m going to post what I accomplish here on Thursdays during Inktober. Perhaps with an explanation behind the drawing. If you want to see the pictures more regularly, I suggest you follow me on Instagram.

So far, I’ve started drawing off the prompts. #1 was “Poison.”

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This picture came about because of my youngest son. He had his wisdom teeth pulled out several years ago and was given this prescription mouth wash to flush with. As it sat in our bathroom, a weird image began to surface. To me, it looked like a skull facing sideways. I’ve often thought about drawing it, and the only reason it has stayed in the bathroom for so long is because I keep thinking of drawing it, but not ever doing it. So, here it is, Inktober #1. Now maybe I can throw the dang bottle away.

Prompt #2 was “Tranquility.”

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She makes me relax. I see her as meditating outside with a light breeze stirring her hair. Yep, to me, that would be tranquility.

Prompt #3 was “Roasted.”

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All I could think of was roasted chicken. Or s’mores. Okay, you can tell where my mind was: food! It did finally hit upon roasted peanuts. Then, during the afternoon as I was still mulling this over, I saw a minion and thought of there bananas. See, what did I tell you: food! That’s when the image of a minion roasting a banana on a can of peanuts came to mind.

I hope you enjoyed and if you’d like to join Inktober, it’s a great time to do so. If you do, tag me with your photos on social media. Maybe we can pull each other through this month of drawing.

Progress – October 1, 2018

I can’t believe we’re sitting at October already. Where has the year gone?

Okay, it’s still only September 30th as I write this, knowing it will post tomorrow morning. But by my clock, we’re about an hour and a half away.

Snake River Fandom Con is wrapped up for this year. I am signed up to attend next year. It will be earlier in September. I’ll be sending a list of my 2019 shows in a later newsletter, as well as updating on my websites when I have a moment. Right now, the con in Pocatello was my last show of the year, though I do hope to find another one or two before this year closes out. Heck, I still have one who box of books that I haven’t even opened up yet, so I want to do that before year end.

After the show, I had dinner with my boys, one of which lives in Pocatello right now while he’s going to school. That’s another thing that makes SRFC so nice because I get to spend some extra time with my baby.

Then, Adrian and I drove home. He’s got work tomorrow. I’ve got to go get the dogs and get things settled, so I’m betting that Monday, when this posts, is going to be another busy day. 

Continue reading

Do I know who you are?

Need a break from the bookkeeping posts? Yeah, me too.

Okay, picture this… it’s Cyber Monday. Lots of people are out shopping on the Internet for all the things they couldn’t find on Black Friday. Now I’m not a believer in these one-day blowout specials. However, that day I’d been convinced to make a purchase for my art career. But with my finger poised on the Commit to Buy button, I lingered… was this something I really needed?

I decided to think out loud in a short conversation with my children. In their teens now, I hope I’ve raised them to be free thinkers. So, when I asked my youngest if he thought I was making a good buy, he shrugged and told me, “What do you know about them?”

Tree Swing
3.5 x 2.5 acrylic ACEO
© 2010 Dawn Blair
Find me at http://www.zibbet.com/dawnblair

Good question. What did I know about these people? From Twitter and looking at their website, I knew they were trying to promote art. They run artists’ galleries and forums on their website for free and support it buy selling information. Not a new thing in today’s age. A noble cause. But yes, what did I know about them personally?

My finger left the Buy button.

Stop! Isn’t this what we’re trying to avoid? Don’t we want people to carry through with the purchase. Social media is about gaining people’s trust to convert them to customers. This sounds callous and flat, but it’s true — people buy from people they trust. Someone’s got goods and someone wants to buy. We all want to buy, but we don’t want to be sold. Here I was ready to buy, but I suddenly didn’t trust enough to let them sell to me.

I started looking at their profiles on their sales site and Twitter — the profiles all talked about their company (the face they want the world to see), but not about them personally. Part of their sales pitch was that they had been involved with this sort of information since “she” was 19. Pardon me for the “she” but I don’t even know the gender of the people I’m dealing with, though I do remember seeing a pronoun of “he” somewhere when the text mentioned “her” partner. So, now I realize that I don’t know if I’m dealing with he, she, or something else. I don’t know if these people are 20, 40, 60, or 500. Yeah, here I was about to make a purchase from someone who may have only been doing this for a year (or less!) but because the text said “since I was 19” it sounded more impressive than it may have been.

Eventually I ended up back on their artist website to look for an About page. Guess what? If you’re seeing the trend as I was you’ll know no such page existed. A contact page, yes. I could’ve emailed them with my questions, but at that point if they wanted to tell me they were four-legged Chinese men permanently tied together in a three legged race stance who painted while they stood on their heads, oh and paint brushes in their eight toes and furry lips, who was I to know any different. No pictures of these people either anywhere. Their Twitter avatar is a logo.

Finally, I gave up my quest. I had no idea who these people were, what they believed in, what they did in their spare time, how old they were, who they collected, etc. How could I trust someone who stood behind a black screen. It was really like going to an artist’s booth at a show and finding only the art inside and a whole bunch of unresponsive people sitting around behind the booth. If they didn’t care to interact with me, then I didn’t want to make a purchase. So, my “almost vendors” on Cyber Monday went away without making the sale.

It’s too bad. This would’ve been easy to remedy and a purchase would’ve been made. I know, you’re thinking, “Yes, with a simple profile or About page. But I really hate writing about myself. I don’t even like mine!” Yeah, well I hope to soon change your mind about that! Let me know what you hate about your About page and next time I’ll share so ideas with you.

You’re going to love this!

Graphic Novel updates

I’ve been inking and toning the new page for Weblinks this week as well as relearning Manga Studio – the program I use for drawing the comic. Worse off, I can’t find my copy of Manga Studios for Dummies – don’t laugh! I really need it now.

Last night on Twitter (@morningsky1), I said I’d once read a manga artist lamenting about spending hours on a page that would be read in 30 seconds. I agreed with him then, but now even more so.

Still, I’m excited to get back to Weblinks and Sacred Knight. It’s been so long. I discovered the other day that Weblinks has had over 48,000 page views since I started it. Must be all those Twilight fans! LOL!

As for Sacred Knight, I’ve got the script for the first story arc all drafted out. Until New Year’s Eve, there were only three arcs, but now I’ve discovered a 4th. It keeps getting bigger and bigger. Now I’m working on character sketches and getting the thumbnails done for the second chapter.

If you want to follow along with me and get first-hand looks at the art, character bios, and plot summaries, please feel free to join me on my Facebook fan pages:
Sacred Knight
Weblinks

And don’t forget: if you want to prove yourself to be a true fan, order the single chapter copies as they come out. Right now that includes Sacred Knight: Legend 1 and Weblinks: Bite 1 & 2 (soon to be 3). Inside are special commentaries by me. I’m only doing a few copies of each one because I publish them myself (layout, printing, and assembly all done by me). Once I have enough chapters to assemble into a book, the single chapter books will no longer be printed so these will become collector’s editions. Did I mention how affordable they are? Only $2.00 + $1.00 for shipping per chapter. $3.00 total. For something that will be collectable! Get yours now by clicking on the links below.

Sacred Knight: Legend 1
Weblinks: Bite 1, 2, or preorder 3

Quick note for international readers: I do ship internationally, but please e-mail me with a list of books you’d like so that I can get the shipping costs for you and prepare a special invoice through Paypal.

Again, don’t forget to check out the fan pages. Together, we can make these stories a success.

On a side note, I saw that Manga Studio 4 has the capability of coloring pages. You can do it now in the version I use (MS3), but you have to jump through hoops to get it into Photoshop. I’d love to color the pages – as though I have time with the monstrous stories that come to me to consume my life! I’ve already been working on Sacred Knight for 15 years! My last gasping breath will probably be “Steigan.” But I love coloring (which is probably why I love painting), so I’d enjoy releasing a colored version of Sacred Knight.

Shouting in the wind

My son has a Wolverine walkie-talkie. Somewhere, he also has a Spiderman counterpart. Several times a week, he picks up Wolverine, turns it on and calls against the static, “Spiderman, come in Spiderman” as though someday the lost Spiderman will answer back and reveal his location. Tonight, I added even more by saying, “Web-boy, Web-boy, Nails here. Come in Web-boy. Nails wants to talk to you.” At first, I got a glare, until I started to laugh, then my son laughed with me. It’s good like that.

I’ve just gotten a copy of I’d Rather Be In the Studio by Alyson Stanfield and started reading it. So far, I have to say that it’s really good.

Now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this and how these two things relate together. Well, here I am reading a book about self-promotion and teasing my son about calling out to dead air. It seems like everyone now days has something they are trying to sell or promote. Ads abound everwhere saying that advertising during a recession pays off. On and on it goes. With everyone, especially on the Internet, shouting “LOOK AT ME!” is anyone getting anywhere or are we just shouting into the wind? Don’t get me wrong. I’ve made a lot of great friends on the Internet. I’ve reconnected with some I’ve lost.  I enjoy my Twitter and Facebook family – people I don’t even know telling me about their lives each day. For someone like me who enjoys sitting back and watching how people do things, it’s great.

But in the end, after we’ve spent all day talking about what we’ve been doing and reading what everyone else has done, have we really added value to the world? Or have we just wasted our time? Is directing traffic to this website or that really functional? I have to wonder if we are just learning to settle down into our new little villages. If you stop and think about it, a little over 100 years ago the whole town knew that Bob ran the grocery store where farmer Sam sold his eggs. Everyone in town was friends with Bob and Sam. Bob didn’t stand outside and shout, “I’m Bob. Come check out my store.” and Sam didn’t ring the cowbell as he delievered his eggs to Bob’s store and yell, “Fresh eggs, going right now to be sold. Come one, come all to Bob’s store.” Not to say that they didn’t do their own advertising, but just that it was different.

What do you think? Is social networking a good thing, or are we just giving the Internet a hoarse throat?

One weird painting

I remember it being said that writers develop obsessions – certain things or subjects they have to write about. While that’s a topic all by itself, let’s just say that I know what I obsess about. It’s more of a character than a topic though. His name is Steigan (with the ei pronounced as a long e rather than the long a sound that it should make). His story was the last one I was working on when I gave up writing a few years ago and turned to art. I have a box full of research, hard copies of manuscript drafts, notes, etc. and the box weighs 41 pounds. Yes, that’s how big my baby is! Speaking of which, I started writing this monster a year before my oldest son came along. Steigan has been with me for a long, long, long time. I’ve had people offer to bring hot dogs and marshmallows to the bonfire when I’ve thought about purging him from my life. In my last dealings with him, I started writing his story as a graphic novel – it’s available out on Lulu if you want to go look up Sacred Knight, but it’s only just started and the artwork is basement art at best.

I’ve been feeling guilty for so long about not telling Steigan’s story. Every now and then, I hear him (oh yes, writers do hear the characters so I don’t feel crazy) telling me something that I need to remember or do. I’ve tried to be patient with him. But how do you ignore someone you love?

Okay, so what does all this have to do with painting? Subliminal messaging.

One evening without a whole lot of planning, I block in the painting below:

blocked in painting

I put this castle in the painting later, then left it alone for the night. I came back to it later and was standing beside it watching tv when suddenly I felt someone watching me. Strange since I was all alone in the house at the time. I turned and saw this man in my painting. I grabbed a piece of charcoal and went to sketch him in. Ha ha! He thought he could hide from me. But when I got back to the canvas, he’d hidden in the bushes. I went back to watching tv. Shortly, with the charcoal still in my hand, I felt myself being watched again. This time, I didn’t take my eyes off him and just sketched him in.

It was a little odd with this guy that stood there than disappeared and reappeared. I didn’t work on the painting again for awhile. When my children came home, my son looked at it and commented on the guy in the painting. I told him my story about how he appeared. My son looked at me oddly, tilted his head, and said, “But Mom, he’s not looking at you. He’s looking at the castle.”

That night, I went to paint him in. I was still set on him staring out of the painting. But as I painted, I realized that the man was indeed looking at the castle. Another odd realization hit me. I realized that he was half as tall as the castle. Chills swept over me. It wasn’t a castle. It was a Channeling House. This was a special place used for focusing magic in Steigan’s story. I’d had a dream about these Channeling Houses shortly after I started Steigan’s story. I was really afraid that I was painting Steigan into my picture. I’d already done a painting about the Woman in White from Steigan’s story, but that was when I was still working on the graphic novel so it didn’t bother me so much that Steigan had once again crept back in my life. But now, when I’d finally managed to release the heart ache. If you’ve read my posts about writing, then you probably now realize the full scale of it. However, as I continued painting the man in, I realized that it wasn’t Steigan. It was another character from the story called Rivic.

Here it is below with the beginnings of the man showing up:

Looking Towards Yesterday

As I finished him up, I knew that Rivic wasn’t just there, but he’d come to get my attention. He’d come to remind me to look back, that even though the house was crumbling and falling apart, it was still there and still powerful. He was telling me that the story is still there and pulling me.

The picture isn’t nearly complete yet, but I figured I’d start with this much since I know there’s a long story wrapped up in this painting. And much like painting, I can’t give up on this story, Steigan’s story. I’ve spent the last week refreshing the story in my head and working out some of the kinks still in it.

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you probably saw my tweet about working on a Doctor Who story for my boys. That shocked all my writing friends who’d given up hope on me. Yep, this week I’ve also spent time working on the story. Me, writing again. Okay, so it’s a story that will probably never see the light of day, but who knows. I think it’s a great piece of fan fiction with so much potential.

Could this floodgate of stories that’s been opened be due to Rivic entering my painting? Has he reminded me to focus my creative energies? The title of the painting is Looking Toward Yesterday. I know that Rivic is looking back into the memories of his past, but he will have to move on to tomorrow. He knows this and accepts it, but everything from his past will be carried into the future.  It’s not a matter of carrying it around like painful baggage though. It’s more of letting it be. Rivic accepts it. I have felt more comfortable this week going between painting, Steigan, and Doctor Who than I’ve felt in a long time. My chest feels free of tension as I just let myself be. There are still stories I want to tell. I have so much work to be done if I’m going to do them in graphic novel format, which I realized after trying unsuccessfully to write Steigan’s story as a novel again and getting 4 agonizing sentences into it before giving up, but I’m willing to take the time. It takes a lot of work. I have to do the work as it comes, let it be and not force it. Discipline tempered with ease rather than a do or die attitude. Have fun with it.

Okay, I’ve yammered on for quite awhile. Let me ask you this: what is it that you feel uncomfortable with in your life? What is it that you’re not doing that you know you should be doing? If you look back toward yesterday, what will you be reminded to carry forward with you? Now, go out and do it!

What a Monday!

Okay, it’s been a day. I won’t go into all of it, but it’s been a Monday oh so totally.

Woke up to a couple inches of snow, not that it was unexpected. But today, everyone and their dog decided to drop their kids off at school. Traffic was backed up a whole block. I couldn’t get the boys any closer to school than I usually do unless I wanted to be stuck in traffic for at least half an hour.

Then, I had to pick the boys up right before school got out for an appointment. I was waiting for my oldest and when he showed up, I was irritated and ranting at him for taking so long as we left the school. I walked right in front of the buses lined up for students and out to where cars were coming in and slipped on the ice. My son tried to step around me, but slid himself. He worked very hard to not fall on top of me.  In the process, so I would learn a bit later, he ripped his shoe in half during the fall. Ripped the bottom right off. And the other shoe had a smaller tear in it. I couldn’t believe the shoes just blew out like that.

Then I get home and start reading the news and see that the Twitter accounts were hacked in the same weekend that I signed up for the account. That is so my luck!

But, I count my blessings. If this is the extent of the drama in my life, then I am very fortunate. There’s so much going on in the world. I know that people are all wanting to know about the death of John Travolta’s son and read about the details of Madonna’s divorce. In my own town, I know of a woman who just walked out on her husband and kids. In another family, there was a girl (the same age as my youngest son) that died of hypothermia on Christmas day when her father let her and her brother out of their stranded car to walk home to their mother. The brother who barely survived the incident shares many classes with my son. Today was the first day back at school after the holidays. I asked my son if the brother was there and he wasn’t, which I thought was good. I couldn’t imagine being that mother waiting for school to get out knowing that one of her children was coming home while the other would never walk through the door again. Yet the whole world (according to a news statement I heard this morning) was going to be mourning the loss of Jett Travolta. No, sorry. While I am sorry that the Travolta’s lost a child, I feel less sympathy for Jett knowing that he lived a life of privilage than I have for an underprivelaged child who died in the snow long before she should have because of an intoxicated stupid moment on the part of her father – the person who should loved and protected her the most. Appreciate the people around you because you never know when they will be taken from this life. I very much believe in John Edwards’ saying of “Appreciate, communicate, and validate.” Sorry, I have probably ranted on about this longer than I should have, but it’s been nagging at me for a week, even before I knew much my children knew the little girl and her brother, but my heart goes out to this family. It makes me wonder why people can spend so much time caring about the Brad – Angelina – Jen triangle when we have so many lives around us that are not so far removed and that we should be caring about.

Don’t even get me started on most of the brain rot they call good television!

Okay, next time: more art, less depression! Just wanted to let you all know that I do stick my head up out of the sand sometimes!

Twitter

I have to admit that when I signed up for Twitter, I wasn’t sure about it, wasn’t sure if I’d like it. I mean, really, how interesting is my life and what I do. However, I’ve already met some really interesting people and it’s been awesome interacting with them, getting insights into their lives. It’s how you really get to know people.

On to other things. Yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble and was reading an art magazine. There was a comic of a blank canvas on a palette. At first I didn’t really focus on it, but when I did, I saw this artist cowering in a darkened corner.  If you’ve read my previous post regarding hypergraphia, then you know that I never understood what it meant for a writer to have writer’s block when looking at  a blank page. That never happened to me. I always had words just waiting to get out. However, since I’ve taken up painting, I understand about artist block and fearing the blank canvas. I can see now why so many people paint their canvases any color but white before they start. To me though, it’s merely a canvas of another color then and still just as blank. And, after I’ve started splashing on paint I get to a point where I absolutely hate it. I know that if I feel like I should just paint the canvas all white again and start over that I’ve got a gem on my hands. If I don’t have that moment of fear where I feel like I’ve wasted a bunch of time and paint, then I’m not pushing the painting hard enough. It’s that moment of worry that gives me the courage to go on. The sign that tells me my intuition is on track. I very much believe it’s true that if the dream or the goal gives you no fear, then the goal isn’t big enough. That poor cowering artist in the comic, if he’d only realize that his fear means he’s on the right path, then he might have the courage to begin his masterpiece.