Balancing Impatience With Procrastination

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update about my original work, so this post will have some of that as well as some musing about a behaviour I’ve noticed myself exhibiting for a while now (which, as you can tell by the title, has something to do with time management.)

Story

But first up, what have I been up to? I swear, I’ve actually been hard at work. In the middle of January, I decided to use the last half of the month to try and finish off the second draft of my original story. I managed to get through a week or so of something like a self-imposed NaNoWriMo, writing 1,667 words each day. I got to a certain point, where I just thought: “Man, if I keep going with the way I planned this story, I’m going to end up with something really messy. Still.” I say “still,” because if you’ve been following my blog you know that I’ve done nothing in the past year but revise outlines and drafts to pluck out elements and streamline my story. The last time I wrote about my original project, I talked about eliminating one of the main characters and his arc entirely. And as I tried to move forward with that in mind, I still found myself stumbling over multiple other elements.Read More »

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2017 Art Review + Schoolism Gesture Drawing

2017 Summary of Art

In the beginning of last year, one of my new year’s resolution was to make at least one coloured art piece a month. Well, that totally didn’t happen. At first it was just because I didn’t have time, but as the year progressed it was because of an increasing dissatisfaction with my artwork. Even at the sketching stage, I felt increasingly frustrated with my art that I just didn’t bother to colour them in.

In November, I participated in NaNoWriMo so I didn’t have time for art at all. And in December, I finally decided to take some online art lessons to improve. I chose schoolism.com because after shopping around for online courses, this was the only one I found that is a good match for the skill level I’m currently at and want to get to, without passing my budget. I opted for the 1-year subscription instead of the critiqued classes, so I can go at my own pace.

Throughout December, I worked my way through the gesture drawing course taught by Alex Woo. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I think the best part about the structure of the course is that you can see the critiques for the students who took the critique sessions, so you get to see how other people are doing and have a better idea of how to improve your own skills.

Here are a few samples of my work from the course. Mind you, these are not polished up. The course is typically 7-week long and I breezed through it in December (often forgoing that cafe drawings) for personal reasons. If I had taken the critique sessions, I would definitely polish my drafts up a bit more. So if you think, “Oh these are not that good,” definitely attribute it to my rush and not to the quality of the course. There are student submissions that were awesome. As a matter of fact, I was really surprised to see some amazing works that seemed to be getting only 3-stars from the instructor, so based on that, I’m pretty sure these drafts would be like 1 to 2 stars only.

Lecture 1: Line of Action

The line of action is about distilling a pose into a single line to capture the main idea or the main movement of the body. This sample is probably not gonna make much sense without the actual poses as reference, heh.

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Lecture 2: Shape

Like the line of action, shape tries to distill a pose into a single entity that captures its main feeling. It’s great for composition because you know what space your figure is taking up.

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Lecture 3: Silhouette

This is probably one of the most important things I learned in the course. Silhouette is about capturing the action of your figure even without details. In good gesture drawing, the action of your figure must still be recognizable even if the figure is completely blacked out. I think one of the problems I had before was that a lot of the poses I put my characters in had terrible silhouettes. I had a lot of fun doing the exercise for this lecture.

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Lecture 4: Space

I didn’t do the homework for this lecture, because I was so excited about the upcoming lectures. I know, I’m terrible. But this lecture is about establishing a sense of 3-dimensionality in your figure. So things like… putting your figure’s feet in different altitudes.

Lecture 5: Exaggeration

This was one of my favourite lectures. I probably failed it but it was so informative. Exaggeration is about taking the idea of a pose and exaggerating the figure so that the idea becomes more pronounced. In order for us to do this, we had to assign a story to the poses so that we know how to exaggerate it. Some of these worked out better than others. I wonder if we were supposed to really stick to the 2-minute time frame. I spent about 5 to 10 minutes on the better ones here, but even they don’t look as good as the ones that the other students handed in.

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Lecture 6: Extrapolation

Extrapolation is about using the main idea of the model’s pose and applying it to another thing, like an animal. For this lecture we were asked to study the anatomy of an animal and to do all the exercises using this animal. To my everlasting regret, I chose the Philippine tarsier, because it’s an animal that appears in my story and I thought, might as well have a bit of practice. But this ended up being such a poor choice. The tarsier is curled up in itself most of the time; it can’t really stretch its arms, and it rarely stretches its legs (only to jump). So I had a LOT of difficulty applying the stretched out poses. I tried to have the head and eyes capture the main idea, but there’s only so much variability I can do. Either that or I’m just not terribly creative.

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Lecture 7: Story

Story is about using a pose in a larger context of a story. For this lecture we were assigned to come up with a story using a series of poses. In the sketch below, you’ll see the poses in the upper left corner. I ended up modifying most of them to fit my story.

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And that’s it! What a ride! I learned so much from this course, and even if I rushed it, I will certainly keep the lessons in mind and apply them to my upcoming artwork.

August Artwork

always_these_two_by_mander_lee-dbl63t3the_king_of_attolia_by_mander_lee-dbjq1di

After writing every day during Camp NaNoWriMo in July, I really took the time to focus on art in August. Considering that it usually takes me 2 weeks to make a complete artwork, I think having finished four is good turnout for me. It’s a mix of fanart for The Queen’s Thief series as well as my original project.

Writing Woes: Somebody’s Getting Axed

half_the_cast_by_mander_lee-db90i4b

Well, I think I’m realizing more and more how isolating an endeavour writing can be. Considering how many times I’ve fallen into writing angst in the past several months, I think it’s safe to say that I’m far from the image of the highly energetic, happy-go-lucky writer that I imagined myself to be while working on a fun, light-hearted adventure story. Clearly, I’m not have as much fun as my characters, that’s for sure.

And it seems as if several of them won’t be having fun any longer either.

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2017 Jan – Apr Books Read So Far

Ahh, well, I guess my plan of getting back into writing book reviews in the new year sort of fell through. That’s okay though, here’s a combined post of everything I’ve read so far.

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The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
This one is a reread. The Queen’s Thief series is my favourite book series ever, but the last time I read this book was a few years ago. Because of the new installment in the series next month, I’ve joined the read-along over at Sounis.

The Thief of Eddis is captured by the Queen of Attolia when he was spying for his queen. After suffering a cruel punishment, Eugenides struggles with his identity amidst the onslaught of war and the possibility of… uhm, I don’t want to spoil it for you guys. This is a terrible overview of the plot, but each book in the Queen’s Thief series in general is difficult to summarize, because of the risk of revealing crucial plot twists.

Since my last reread, I’ve forgotten much of the intricacies of the plot. That’s why it’s probably not much of a shock that I found myself reacting to Attolia in much the same way I initially reacted to her. I hated her at first, and then by the end of the book, I just wanted to cuddle her up. I think it’s a testament to Turner’s amazing writing skills that I could undergo this transformation as a reader, not just once, but twice.

The Reader by Traci Chee
I reviewed this book in this other blog post.

Read More »

Pandanggo Sa Ilaw

pandanggo_sa_ilaw_by_mander_lee-day13ih

Ahh, okay, okay, okay. I don’t really know what to say about this. A mutual on tumblr suggested I draw my OC’s dancing, and I realized that I didn’t really know any Filipino precolonial dances :headdesk: , and my story is set in precolonial times (well, inspired by precolonial culture at least). So consider this an AU.

I really want to draw more of my OCs, but I’m kind of drawing a blank? I don’t really know what people would want to see, what would make them excited about my OCs, and what would make me excited about them? bunneh icon17 I think it’s a travesty that I care more about making fanarts of other people’s characters than making art of my own. It’s weird, I feel like I’m somehow neglecting someone I’m responsible for, or something. Weird, huh?

I think I’ll do some of the memes here on DA for OCs for practice. And if you guys have any suggestions, let me know!!! Like, if you’re curious about something about my OCs, feel free to ask!