Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Of Portfolios and Line Art

So, I've been setting up my portfolio on Behance (and I'm about halfway finished!) and I've run across a really neat thing some artists do there. Because the site resizes images down to about 600 px, a lot of larger works don't show as many details as are there, so a lot of artists also post close-ups of art so you can see those details. I think it provides some really interesting views of the artwork, and lets people see how much an artist really puts into their work. *nods* Sort of a neat little 'behind the scenes' kind of thing.

On to today's line art, which is called The Writer...

The Fiance looks at it and sees frustrations, but that's not what I was thinking. For me, it's a representation of the practice it takes to get good at writing (or anything else) and how a single page that really works is built on all the crumpled up pages that came before it. Often, writers (and artists) forget that it's the failures, the misspellings and the missteps, that show us how to do it right, and that's what this reminds me of. *nods*

(And yay! I got through a whole post without mentioning sleep! ... Crap.  Oh, well, maybe tomorrow.)

Monday, May 30, 2016

So Many of These...

are about how I slept the night before. This one's kind of about that, too. *shakes head at self* Or, actually, it's more about how I woke up, which was in the middle of a three ring cat circus. Cats everywhere and all of them bouncing and playing and meowing at each other. Since we lost Smudge and Peacock, there's only Meinu, Caramel, and Houdini, but they were playing like there were twelve of them! They broke their water bowl, bounced all over us, and then laughed at us when we grumbled. It was not a great wake up, but looking it back I realize it must have been totally adorable from the outside! Like an episode of Simon's Cat come to life.

Thus concludes your daily update on my sleeping habits and my cat's antics. I hope you enjoyed it.  *G*  Now to the line art...

I wanted to do something a little more complex, and I've been seeing a lot of birds lately in the parents-in-laws' yard, so I ... birdie! Some of the finer detail in the legs gets lost, but overall I think it came out alright. If it had been more than a morning line art thing, I would have done some deeper detailing and a little more background, but I can always go back and add that in later if I decide to. But right now I've got a billion other projects to work on. I'm doing some silly superheroes (Orangina and Apple Boy! They fight crime!  *G*) for my portfolio and some Wonder Woman fanart that will be full color rather than only line art.  So, it's not as if I need another project right now.

Which is, of course, why I've been itching to write lately. When else would that happen except when I'm trying to focus on illustraiton? *sigh* But, I may have a compromise for my brain. Instead of working on something new, I'm thinking about editing some of the half finished stories I have laying around oh.... just... everywhere.

We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I Actually Slept!

Last night we took steps to make sure that the Caramel cat would have no reason to complain and I told Rene that today was his turn to get up if Caramel did cause a fuss, and we BOTH got to sleep! It's amazing how much better sleep can make you feel!

This is not, however, reflected in today's line art, which came out looking a little sadder than I'd intended...

It was the shape of his eyes that gave me trouble, and no matter what I did with them they just didn't seem to perk him up.  But, he's Eeyore, so that happens sometimes.  He's adorable no matter what, though, so that helps.  *G*

Thursday, May 26, 2016

And a Title Would be Nice...

Really, really busy morning.  *yawn*  So instead of fresh fanart, I give you some WIP line art from my portfolio work.  *nods*

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Creativity is a Struggle

Morning everyone!  Today I have some thoughts on 'creative block' (because it doesn't just happen to writers) and some line art, of course!  First, my thoughts.  Creative block has been a topic of discussion among creative people... Well, probably for as long as their have been creative people. Some insist it doesn't exist, others are like, "It totally exists, because I'm living it."  And I don't think it's ever possible to define another person's existence, so I say Creative block exists, but it doesn't affect everyone.  Which, I think, makes sense.  My own personal maxim is that if something has been around a while, and has not definite definition, it's probably because it isn't as simple as all that.  I think there are a number of different causes for creative blocks, and not everyone suffers from them the same, or suffers from them at all.

From my perspective, the major causes of creative blocks are:

Fear: It's hard as hell to get words down when you're afraid you're doing it wrong, or that you're going to say something stupid or offensive, or that your audience is going to hate it, or that it's just plain bad.

Depression/Anxiety: Now, this may seem similar to the first one, but it's not.  Not in anyway.  This isn't just feeling sad or anxious about doing something.  You can't just wave away your diabetes or your asthma, and you can't just wave away your depression or anxiety disorder.  These are mental illnesses, and creative people are more prone to them than others, and they can be devastating to a creative person's productivity and their ability to create.

Too Much Happening:  Everyone has times in their lives when their brains are just too taken up with other things.  Whether it's a a huge thing that's monopolizing your brain space, or a hundred small things that just make it impossible to concentrate, sometimes everyone just has to focus on other things and so their brains just won't get in that creative groove.

Boredom:  It is so easy to get stuck in a rut, even with creative projects.  It's important for creative people to stretch themselves, but it can be hard to do and it is absolutely possible to become bored with a project.  And getting bored with a project you've already dedicated a lot of time to can make it really hard to let go of it and start something new and fresh.  Sometimes you can push forward, and sometimes you just can't.

And, if creative blocks are a symptom and not the problem per se, then the best way to get through it is to address the actual problem.  Figure out what's causing the block and deal with that and the block itself will (hopefully) dissolve.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.  Now on to the art!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Little WIP

Just something I've been playing with...

Of Cats and Line Art

While I wish this post was later than usual because I actually slept past 6:30 this morning, the cats are determined that that not be the case.  Additionally, a completely different cat (who is now happily purring on my CPU) decided to jump on my keyboard, changing my settings in Photoshop.  It took me over an hour to figure out everything she'd done and get it all set back to rights.  *eyes her*  But, jumpy cat feet cannot stop the line art!

I'm really enjoying this line art in the morning.  It's a nice warm up for the day, even if I don't immediately go into making other art. I feel as if I've accomplished something, and it lets my brain kick into gear slowly.  I especially like doing fanart because the characters are already designed and all I have do is get the sketch right and then lay down the line art.  It's a great way to kick off the day.  *nods*

I chose Dory and Marlin for today because I love Finding Nemo, but especially love Dory. After all, she knows the secret to life... Just keep swimming!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Don't Tell Me It's Not Work

So, this morning I have both a little rant for y'all, and some line art.  First, the rant, which is about a premise I know we've all heard.  "Do something you love and you'll never work a day in your life."  We've all heard it, read it, shared it--I know I have--but it's actually pretty bullshit when you think about it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it's not worth doing something you love, it absolutely is and I would rather be writing and drawing than doing anything else in the world, but that doesn't mean that creative people don't work themselves to the bone.  Being good at writing or painting--or any creative endeavor--requires as much work and practice, as much time and dedication, as much sweat and as many tears, as being good at anything else.

We tend to fall back on this idea of 'talent,' a belief that creative people just naturally have this gift that lets us do what we do.  And while it's totally possible that some people are naturally more attuned to stringing words together or the way that shadow and light work together, that means exactly nothing if that person doesn't sit down and work at it.  More importantly, someone who doesn't have that, but still sits down and works on it, will always get better, faster, than someone who doesn't.  It's the work that matters, it's the time and effort that a creative person puts in that makes them good.  And saying it's not work undervalues all the time creative people put into their craft.  Writers and artists spend years developing their own styles, their own voices.  They spend years practicing and trying new techniques.  They spend years FAILING over and over and over again, until one day they finally get it right.  And if that's not work, I don't know what is.

There is a huge, cultural trend that undervalues art (written or visual or craft, whatever), and this trend doesn't just affect people who can't/don't 'art.'  Even we creative types do this to ourselves, because we're told that, since we're doing something we love, it's not work.  We're supposed to feel fulfilled just because we got to write or draw or sew or knit.  We're supposed to be thrilled to make any money at all, and draw a greater satisfaction from the work itself.

Now, of course, that doesn't mean that it's not tremendously satisfying at times.  I can't even articulate how awesome it is to create something and see other people enjoy it.  It's fantastic.  But there are also heartbreaking nights when it's 2 am and you're almost in tears because you can't make the words work or the forms function.  Or those depressing days you spend doing the same damn thing over and over and over so you can get it right, and never actually manage to.  The great thing is that nothing else compares to the feeling when it finally, finally, clicks.

So, maybe the saying should be something more like, "Do something you love, because it's worth it."  *nods*  And now?  Onto the line art!

This is another bit of Steven Universe fanart, because Garnet is just plain awesome.  I want to do more with this line art, but I'm just not sure what direction to go in, yet.  I think--think--I'm going to color it instead of sticking with a more graphic, black and white style, but that still leaves me with a lot of options.  So... Well, when I figure it out, I'll let you know!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I Hate Mornings

I am so not a morning person. *yawn*  Throughout my life, it has actually been more common for me to go to bed at this hour than it has for me to get up at this hour.  I am very much a night person. And yet... here I am, awake... (if you can call it that).  It's quite disconcerting.  Nonetheless?  Avatar: The Last Airbender fanart!

This started out as line art, but I was really wanted to play with the light from Aang's avatar state, and I love backlit silhouettes, and and so this happened!  *G*  I had a ton of fun with it!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Good Morning, I Suppose.

Rough night, not much sleep, brain only partially functional.  *yawn*  But!  I still come bearing line art!

This is from a sketch I did ages ago.  I scanned it into the computer and then promptly forgot about it.  I've gone back to it several times over the years, but never really figured out what I wanted to do with it.  Then I started working on my line art and I wanted to see how this would work in it.  I kind of love it.  *nods*

Friday, May 20, 2016

Summer Sale!

Oh, and remember guys, I'm having a Summer Sale! 25% off all cover art and illustration! It's best to get in touch with me at least a month before you need the cover, and two is even better, so if you're going to need cover art before the end of the summer, now is absolutely the time to get in touch! marysipe@gmail.com or message me here!

A Cold and Lazy Morning

Hello all!  Rene is out at a job interview (wish him luck!) and I actually have the space to myself for the moment.  It's awfully quiet...  *eyes the room*  It's also chilly.  I have the urge to dive back into bed under the warm covers with my warm kitties.  Which makes it the perfect day to post a little Eeyore line art!

PS - Also, I'm taking requests for line art! Anybody have a favorite cartoon character they'd like to see me do?

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Computer is working, art is accessible, and in celebration, I give you Mars or Bust!

I had so much fun with this girl.  I love that she's scratched out 'fragile' and she's got just a cardboard box and a couple of handfuls of balloons, but she's damn sure going to Mars!  She totally makes me smile!  I feel like her, right now.  New Orleans was bust for us, it just wasn't doable, and now we're starting over (with a stopover in Texarkana to save up some money to make it happen) and we've set our sights on Olympia, Washington.  We know cool people there, the weather sounds good (apart from the cold thing, Rene's already hording sweaters!), and it sounds like a really cool and creative place.  So, I'm all set on the Washington or bust bandwagon.  I just hope my goals prove a little more achievable than my girl's here! LOL!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Computer Issues

Today was not a good day.  I woke up, went to turn on my computer and ... nothing.  Talk about panic.  I'm extremely attached to my computer.  Without I can't work or... you know, think!  *G*  I had to resort to ... *leans forward and lowers voice* cleaning.  *shudders*

Luckily, my fiance has been kind enough to let me monopolize his computer, but I don't have any of my files on it, hence the lack of artwork today.  :-(  However, my own computer--pets her--should be up and running again in a few days and I promise artwork then.

In the meantime, I should still be around, just not as much as usual and, as I said, I will be artless.  *eyebrow arch*  I will, however, be opening up to illustration, pet portrait, and painting commissions soon, so start thinking what you'd like!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Blog is Back!

Okay, so the blog function on the website was awful.  In using it, I found that a blog is what I actually need the most and everything else is just a gadget.  So, here I am again!  I know, you're all so thrilled.  *G*  Feel free to comment!  I will actually know about it now and be able to respond!  (Major problem with website blog.)

But the redesign is pretty, yes?  Yes.  *nods*

So, here's what's up with me.  I'm currently in Texarkana for about the next three months, staying with my fiance's mom and stepfather and saving up for a big move to Washington state.  Austin, TX is as far west as I've ever lived, so I'm looking forward to that new experience.  Plus, I love a good rainy climate. *nods*

I've been working on my line art lately, and I think it's coming along nicely, although I'm still fine tuning it.  Here are some examples of what I've been doing...

I chose fanart because I wanted to concentrate on the line art, and using established characters helps me with that, and I chose Steven Universe for it because the show's made of awesome, obviously.  Also been working on some new coloring techniques, which has gotten me these...

 Both of which are up over at my Threadless artist shop if you're looking for cool t-shirts!

There's still some work to do here, though.  I have to redo my portfolio page, for instance, but I think this is good start!