I love the little half-sketchbook that I use for the FUN stuff. The standard 8.5x11" sketchbook is good, though sometimes it seems just a bit too big. A bit too disjointed with the random patches of this and that.
This video will go up on Sunday. Doing some fun gouache playtime. Pretty lucky, actually, because I knew I needed to make something, and it had to be done today, and I had no idea what to do.
I also made a few more of the mini sketchies, since the others have been sent off into the world to be filled in with tiny things! Get yours here!
This week is all about Lionfish. This coming thursday video is gonna be this sketchbook page full of different species of Lionfish. I'm disappointed to learn that we are at oceanic war against them, as they are such a fancy and beautiful creature. Apparently in truth they are rude and destructive - but they are edible so when they are the last living non-human thing on the planet, we will one day be truly sick of eating them.
Destructive, multiplying like crazy, taking over everything...
In a similar sentiment, I am consumed by even the most basic of responsibilities. This photo of Maggie falling off of a pile of blankets and being very confused about it really illustrates my current state:
I've become a hermit. I don't even mind working weekends anymore because it keeps me solitary. My last job had me working mostly alone in a kitchen for nearly a decade, and now I'm always surrounded by people and it keeps that basic level of anxiety at about "Exhausting". But this year, I have to take another driving test, and find some way to visit family I haven't seen in three years (because I can never ask for vacation).
The driving test seems hopeless with a deadline hurtling toward me faster than I can process it. I may give up and risk losing my driver's license entirely (which would suck in many ways but wouldn't be life-ending because I'm a hermit after all). But it took me weeks just to muster up the courage to ask for vacation time, and when I finally did, I was rejected. Now I'm procrastinating on telling my family that I failed to further advocate for myself, because they will just tell me to quit my job and go anyway.
So um... I'm hiding from life. A little bit. I like painting. I like these little youtube deadlines because they are steady and distract me from actual, important things. Like maintaining friendships! I'm the lousiest friend ever. Everyone wants something from me, but I'm just over here, panicking about dumb things like driving exams. Guarding my cat's food from Other Cat, every waking minute. Thinking about how I'm gonna be 32 and how I've never lived a day in my life thanks to anxiety.
So if I'm not "there", it's because I'm trapped in my own fear spiral. I will never come out. I made a fort. Someone will bring me endless frappucinos and lasagna.
So this is weird, because I vlog about my misadventures in laser print media, but the weekly video isn't out until tomorrow morning so this must seem so out of the blue.
But here it is: I'm playing with colouring books. I spent a bunch of time last week putting together line art to make a nice little themed colouring book, because the ONE thing the laser printer is good at is a simple, crisp line. ALSO, on a whim I threw a torn out sketchbook page into the paper tray and it took it without jamming like some kind of miracle.
It's not cardstock, but it is a heavier weight than copy paper, it is ever so slightly cream coloured, AND it has a bit of tooth to it seeing as it is sketchbook paper. From a book. And it's for drawing, so it should be damn luxurious to colour on compared to your typical storebought colouring book.
Each book has about 10 images, single-sided (in case you want to brave markers/paint). The last detail I'm working out is whether I should stick to classic heavy, black lines for the nostalgia, or if I want to make them this light grey colour, for people who want a little more control. I could just offer both options. The images are somewhat... plain I guess? I left lots of room for your creative additions: adding more layers of leaves in the background, or laying down a pattern as I sometimes do? Writing? Collage? The limit is your imagination! You'll see what I mean later when it's finished.
In the meantime, for Family Day, the VanDusen garden was offering a $5 admission so we trekked out to finally see it.
In the middle of winter.
It was as exciting as one would expect for a garden full of "dead" things. But one cool plant stood out:
IT'S A CACTUS. COVERED IN SNOW.
I didn't know this was even an option. I get that we have the mildest winter around, but I'm pretty impressed. I'm always keen on a plant that doesn't have to be tortured indoors over the winter every year. I must have him.
This is the 2nd video this week that I accidentally uploaded a bit later than normal! Woops. I have no good reason for it, I just can't keep track of what's going on.
So lately I've been pushing my cheap laser printer as far as it can go, which is admittedly not very far. I've been playing with settings, and failing to get any really good tones or colours. No surprise there. And then I discovered that it prints things out slightly askew, by about an eighth of an inch. Barely perceptible, until I try to print out tiny copies of the mini sketchie and finding that they don't quite line up properly.
And then my corner rounder arrived and I discovered that it isn't as life-changing as I was expecting it to be.
But I was momentarily delighted when, on a whim, I put a torn out sketchbook page into the paper tray and printed a random line drawing onto it. I expected it to cause a paper jam, because in addition to being lousy at images, the laser printer is also very fussy about paper weight. But it printed! Ooh, this is interesting... Also, it seems quite decent for line drawings.
So... while all my attempts at printing pictures and zines and what-not keeps coming to a dead end, there is quite a bit of hope for colouring pages! Which would be perfect because laser toner doesn't smear when wet. It also seems pretty resilient against alcohol markers as well, if I could print on a paper that could handle it.
So that's what I'm working on this week. Slowly tracing some line art to play with. Stay tuned!
And then I forget to update the blog for a bit. I guess it gets a bit old just posting youtube videos onto the blog. I assume you must want more than that. With the weekly vlog happening, I guess I feel like I'm expressing myself enough as it is. I suppose, I can share something that I will probably forget by the time my next moment alone with come around. I can tell you about a dream.
Oh gross, a dream. It's true, what people say that dreams are one of the most boring things a person could talk about. It's hard to relate to something that only makes sense to the dreamer (temporarily), and isn't very interesting because it isn't even true.
Regardless: in this dream I was at a party of strangers (see? me at a party? not a thing.), and this woman runs up to me in excitement. She had spotted me and told everyone at the party that I was the artist she'd met at some convention and was showing people some prints of some fanart she'd purchased from me. I had to tell her that the artwork wasn't done by me, that signature was not my name, and that I'd never been at a convention!
The disappointment washed over her face and she backed away, embarrassed to admit to everyone that I was nothing special. I was just a regular nobody. I felt bad about disappointing her, and I felt like a giant loser. And this really encapsulates how I feel on a regular basis.
See, I figured this dream is one to which most people can relate.
Dreams are also just visual representations of things we think and feel that day, and I know it just came about because I watch a lot of youtube videos and one was about what makes someone a "professional" artist.
See, I don't imagine myself to be a professional artist. I've sold a good number of things and I've had my name in the local gallery. As long as I'm earning even a single dollar of profit, my city government treats me as a professional and charges me a good chunk of fees for that dollar. But it doesn't feel professional. I don't have enough creative work to do. Most of my energy goes into my day job, because they effectively own me. They make my schedule. Their minimum wage keeps me alive.
If survival is what makes a professional, then I'm nobody. But if you want to consume someone's work for practically nothing, be sure to subscribe to my channel! I have a Found Poetry journal layout popping up tomorrow, and a casual weekly vlog going up on Tuesdays. You want to see more of my personality? My cats? My terrible time management? I actually quite enjoy compiling the vlogs. I don't post them anywhere, so you'd have to subscribe on youtube for those. And you would also be fully updated on the process videos in case I do this thing again where I forget to blog about them. Because do people watch videos on blogs? Do people still read blogs?
Hello! I'm Melissa, and here you'll find some behind-the-scenes footage of an artful life. Won't you join me?
Tuesday, February 14, 1pm PST