Friday, August 31, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

I think I have a crappy scanner.  Now to be fair, I hate scanning. I'm not a fan on a good day, but recently I've been looking at my work after I've scanned and edited it (or at least attempted to) and I am starting to wonder if it's just . . . my scanner.

Does anyone know anything about scanners?  Like what a good one is and how much it costs?  I'd love to get some insight . . .

Anyway, I am back.  Washington was both awesome and stressful which means it was a good trip.

Coffee should both start and end a good trip - coffee and a good book.

Or groping.  My brother would go with groping.  Either way, my trip was staunchly supported on either end by all three.

I got to the airport with enough time to grab a cup of joe after having my bags ransacked and my personal being patted down by the very nice TSA lady.  But I couldn't leave because there was something wrong with my backpack (I don't check bags, especially when I am going to a workshop where loosing my art supplies would be . . . really not good).  They kept talking about a water bottle I had in my backpack.  I was very confused because the only water holding container I had in my backpack was my Nalgene - which was in the lid of my pack and not the main compartment.

Assorted chargers, papers, and knickknacks I had shoved into the lid poured out as another TSA agent went searching for the said Nalgene.  I ginned sheepishly. I wanted to help, I really did!  But you're not allowed to touch your stuff if you've elected to be pat down until you're cleared.  The poor flustered guy looked at the assortment of buckles and straps and chords holding my life for the week together and said, "Yeah, let me run it through again."

It was only later after 4 runs through the x-ray machine and they had released me with no small measure of exasperation and relief that I thought about the bottle of graphite powder I had carefully secured in a ziplock and stuffed down into the main compartment of my pack.  Oops.

Anyway, grabbed the joe and sat and read "Mind of the Maker", by Dorothy L. Sayers.  The first chapter - which isn't even about art knocks my socks off.

And that was only the beginning of my week.  First, the plane malfunctioned and they unloaded all the passengers  so they could drain the fuel tank and refill the plane.  They told us it would take 10 minutes or so.  I laughed.

An hour (or more) later we were on our way.

My rental car was fire-engine red, which pleased me far more than it should have - considering that it wasn't like I was going to keep the car or something.

I also got lost.  A lot.  I am of the opinion that whoever designed the streets and non-existent signage is at fault and I am sticking with that opinion.  Also, who puts all the entrances to and exits from the highway on the same side of the street?  I cannot tell you how many times that threw me and I had to drive down to where I could make a U-turn and come back.  And did I mention the absence of signage?

Anyway.  I explored Seattle a little on the first day I was there while battling a massive migraine.  Love those.    I went to the original Starbucks and Pikes Place Market early in the morning and watched them unload all the flowers and produce and fish.  That was cool.   And such a vast assortment of smells.  Conflicting smells . . . But in all seriousness, I have never smelled flowers like that.  They were so beautiful - and I am not a flower person.  Their fragrance filled the air.  Literally.  Occasionally the smell of the bread from the French Bakery would waft through the market and set my mouth watering.  I wanted to go in - the set-up was really fascinating (and did I mention the smell?) but I didn't trust myself to stay away from the gluten.  So irritating, but I've decided that it's not as painful as the subsequent days of pain and discomfort would have been.

Look at me making progress.

The only disappointing thing was that I never got there at just the right time to see them throwing the fish.  Everyone who's ever been to Seattle and Pikes Place Market told me to go watch them throw the fish . . . and I think I either got there too early or too late on all three times I tried.

Also went to the original REI.  Dear Lord in Heaven.  That was traumatizing.  In a good way.  I have never seen so much outdoor stuff in one place.  And they've made a kind of "forest" you have to walk through to just get to the front door.  You have to see it to believe it.

Next day I went to the San Juan Islands - I made the dock just as the ferry was loading.  But I couldn't get on until the next one which didn't leave for another two hours.  Gah.  This was a recurring them for the entire trip, by the way.  I didn't plan as compulsively as I usually do and it reinforced why I am/need to be so anal about planning.  There is something to be said about just going with the flow, though.  And that was another theme for the week (mainly as a result of my poor planning).  I rolled with it, went down to the beach and did a little watercolor of the view.  Not great but good practice.

None of these pictures have been edited yet . . . I love light and shadow so you'll see a lot of that.  I'm not a photographer.  For me all this is reference for later pieces.

The next day the class started.  I checked out of the hostel I had been staying in, dumped everything in the car and drove to Bothell.  I got there early, camped out at a coffee shop for an hour or so and tried to calm my "raging nerves".

I debated with myself about how honest I wanted to be about my struggles over that weekend.  Especially with the Internet.  But I was rather humbled and encouraged by Nicholas Kole's heartfelt honesty about his struggles with art on his blog, so I am taking a leap.

I felt inadequate and painfully out of place.  It was like my first day of high school all over again (which was really horrible, I had been home schooled up to that point and did not want to go to a public school).  "You're 25, for goodness sake," I told myself over and over again, "Get a grip."  It didn't really work - my personal pep talks usually don't, I've found.  And by the end of the day, despite both Iain and Brom being absolutely wonderful and encouraging, I was so emotionally frazzled by the end of the day I had to run to the hotel, check in, and hide in my room for a couple of hours.  I was really irritated with myself. I went searching for some bubble tea, watched a stupid TV show and tried to laugh off my emotional state, but I still couldn't sleep, couldn't relax.  Finally after trying to ignore it and hope that it went away, I had to get up and deal with it.  

So I put on a song that had really spoken to me on the ferry ride out to San Juan - "I Am All He Says I Am" performed by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes, opened up my bible to the book of Psalms and started praying the verses that stuck out to me. And then I started speaking those truths over myself. I don't know how long that was, but eventually I was able to go to sleep.

The next day was better. I got there early and Iain was looking over some of my sketched for the Pied Piper and asked if he could look at my sketchbook.

No, Iain, I do not want you to look at my sketchbook. (and just to be clear, that was sarcasm. I find that it doesn't translate so well in type . . .)

Actually, I was more like "Oh, well, yes, of course." But you have to imagine the squee-ing and bouncing, 'cause that was only going on in my head. For real. Only in my head.

He loved the toned paper that I was working on and was surprised when I told him what I was doing for a living. He had lovely things to say about my drawings. It was very encouraging. To put it mildly.

And the kicker is that he's giving me an art assignment that he's going to "art-direct" with me. Comps are due before the end of September and the final in December. My soul is kinda singing right now.

Anyway, enough about me.

Iain McCaig and Brom are fantastic people.  So much fun to be around and great teachers.  It was awesome to be back in a class after being out of school for so long.  I'm not going to lie to you, I hated high school, but I LOVED college.  I loved going to class, I loved the challenge, I loved LEARNING.  Everyday there was something new to learn or discover, some new piece of wisdom to unfold.  And this workshop brought a piece of that back for me.

Everyone there was working in the art field in some capacity.  A lot of game designers and full time illustrators.  Everyone was so talented and it was really awesome to be in such an art-rich environment for 3 whole days!

The focus of the workshop was storytelling - which is right up my alley.  We took the story of the Pied Piper and basically re-wrote it as a class, designed the characters and story-boarded the beats out in three days.  Each of us was given one or two beats to draw.  Interspersed throughout were a series of demos on oil painting by Brom - I have been re-inspired to try oils, so expect to see some of that in the near future.

Above are some of the sketches from my sketchbook.  I was in the group that was designing the townspeople and I tried my hand at some ideas for the piper and his pipe, too.  

The weekend was awesome with so many cool stories about Brom and Iain's adventures in illustration.  I love stories.  And it culminated with the video of all our our beats put together with music.  We talked about which parts were weak or needed more panels, etc.  Iain's doing the extra panels himself and sending us a link to the final.  Before December, we all are going to "finish" our panels and send them to Iain who is then going to make the final video with music and titles and such and either send it to us or create a web page for it.  I'll keep you updated.  

I moved back to the hostel for the next two nights.  Went hiking near Mt Rainier on Monday.  But FIRST I had to go back to the hotel because I leftmydigitalSLRinthenightstand.  Hehem. Good thing I remembered.  Here's pictures from the "hike".  Again, they're not edited, and I take pictures with the idea that I am going to use them as reference at some point, so . . . 

It's rather hard taking pictures of yourself with a DSLR . . . 

I either got my face or the mountain - kinda . . . 

And the next day I went home.  After first having to go back to the hostel because I had left my iPad in the room.  Yep.  I promise, this was not usual for me.

Seattle has ridiculously long lines for security.  Fortunately I had less trouble with the backpack.  Still patted down.  Then because I was still EARLY, despite my fiasco with the iPad, I got a cuppa joe and sat and read my copy of Alex Alice's "Siegfried".  Again.  I love this thing so much.  I can't wait for "Valkyrie" to come out in English.  I might just cave and get the French version to tide me over.  

And then I drew some stuff.

And then I got on the plane.  And subsequently got OFF the plane because of something with the fuel tank gauge things (wait, I've heard this story before . . . ), got on ANOTHER plane after much delay, and drew some more.

The End.

At least until next week.


Angie Lawson said...

hey how's it going?? finally found your blog - yay!!!

from Angie Lawson (the one who met you last year at that Conference in Clarksville - remember? i gave you my email address last year so feel free to email me when you get a chance!)

Unknown said...

Hi, Angie! I think you might have the wrong person. I haven't ever been to Clarksville. Thanks for taking a look at my blog though!

Angie Lawson said...

Oops, sorry - wrong blog! I really like your blog though.
(Wow this is so embarrassing!)
-Angie Lawson