Archive for the ‘ My Life ’ Category

Spring

…is at least on the way, if not quite here yet. And we had sun this afternoon, so that was nice. I walked into town – I really do love walking and did a lot of it last term, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it when it’s winter – and took this photograph of some lovely blossom while I was on the way.

I also took a number of photographs of roadsigns for the unit I’ve just started at uni. The link will take you to my project blog for said unit, where you can find more information and watch my creative process as it happens, if that’s your sort of thing.

 

A Surfeit of Inspiration

Ever feel like you have too many ideas?

It’s not something I ever expected to find myself complaining about. A lot of the time, inspiration is fairly thin on the ground for me, and producing anything at all is a struggle. I live for the other times. When inspiration is plentiful – when ideas are coming thick and fast – that’s when I feel like I’m flying, and I remember why I love creating art, writing stories, whatever I happen to be trying my hand at.

Today, I decided I was going to sit down and work on my coursework (and yes, I did manage to get some done). As soon as I picked up my pencil, I felt full of inspiration – for every possible project except the one I was working on. Yup. All these ideas, and not one of them remotely related to what I was supposed to be drawing.

Part of my problem is that my ideas tend to come in packs – I get inspiration for about a dozen new projects at once, and have to restrain myself from starting every single one of them, since I know I’ll never have time to finish them all. There is also the fact that developing these ideas is much more difficult. I have one particular concept for a story that’s been brewing in my head for at least a year now, but it’s never gone beyond that embryonic form – it keeps coming up, in various different guises (different settings, different characters, different ideas for what will happen next) but I never seem to really develop further. It’s definitely an idea I want to move forward with, but actually doing so is another matter.

I don’t know. It feels ungrateful, almost, to complain about having too much inspiration – just recently I was moaning about having none at all. But it’s certainly distracting when you have a number of illustrations of a set text to complete and concepts for a horror/mystery story are waving their little hands at you.

On another note, happy winter solstice, everyone! I walked along the sea front today – the sky was absolutely gorgeous. Shortest day of the year; utterly beautiful sunset. 🙂

In Which I Continue to Whine

So, a couple of months ago I posted about the difficulties I’ve been having adjusting to second year. Unfortunately, these problems have failed to get much better… Most of the time I feel okay – I like living here, I like my classes, and I like hanging out with my friends – and I’ve had a lot of fun over the past few months, but it’s like there’s this… thing lurking beneath the surface.

I feel very insecure about my work. Maybe that doesn’t quite describe it – I feel like a lot of the things I’m doing just aren’t working, and it’s frustrating me. Sure, some times I produce things I’m proud of, but a lot of the time (like this evening) it feels like nothing’s coming out quite right. On top of that, I know I’m not putting in nearly as much work as I should to do well on this course. I try, but I have so little enthusiasm for my uni work right now. This may be to do with my choice of project, but I doubt it – I find the stories I’m illustrating plently interesting, and in fact I’m usually sufficiently enthusiastic about a piece until I actually start on it, at which point I become sick of it (and work in general) after about half an hour.

The upshot of this is that I’m taking a very long time to produce a comparitively small amount of work – something I can’t keep doing if I want to succeed with this project. This just adds to my frustrations – not am I not happy with the work I’m producing, I’m taking forever to finish it. I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time (it doesn’t help that I have a tendency to procrastinate, but I feel I wouldn’t procrastinate so much if I didn’t have so much trouble staying interested in my work).

Obviously I’m not thinking about this all the time, but every now and then something will set me off and I’ll spend the evening in a horrible negative spiral where I hate my work, I hate my life, and I wonder what the hell I’m doing on this course. I’ve done a lot of wondering along these lines lately – probably not the best thing for my state of mind, but once you start it’s hard to stop. At times I feel like I’m not cut out to be here at all. Other times, I feel like maybe illustration was the wrong course for me – but all I really want to do with my life is draw comics and tell stories, so if not illustration, what then? Changing to another field would mean needing to essentially re-do all my education from around age 16 onwards (my sixth-form choices were entirely geared towards getting me on to an illustration degree course as early as possible), and that just feels like so much of a waste that I’m not ready to accept it – besides, I genuinely do have a passion for illustration.

I don’t have such an enthusiasm problem with my personal work, but the problem with that is that it never gets finished. It would be possible, I’m sure – in fact, I know at least one person who’s doing it – for me to combine these personal projects with my uni work, but aside from copyright issues (the university takes copyright of the work we submit, if I recall correctly, and while I doubt they’d prevent me from continuing to do things with said work I would feel highly uncomfortable with it) I feel like it’s the pressure of working towards a submission that’s killing my enthusiasm – I don’t want to have my personal projects ruined by that.

So, I work. And I look at my work, and I wonder why I spent so much time getting so little done. I have no idea how to get out of this funk – I though finishing something, anything, might help, but it’s so hard getting there when halfway through you’re thinking, “This is absolute crap.” I need a way out if I want to move forward – if I want to succeed – but I can’t find one, and I don’t know what else to try.

London MCM Expo October 2011

I spent this weekend at the Manga, Comics and Media Expo in London.  This is the second year running that I’ve attended, and I’ve got to say, I had a lot of fun.

We set off on Friday evening – took a coach up to London after everyone (there were four of us going) was finished with their classes. The journey up went all right – I think I slept for the first half of it. The downside to travelling up so late – we set off at about six thirty PM – was that it was after nine when we arrived in London. Not a huge deal, but navigating the tube and London buses is enough of a pain without it also being night-time.

The plus side of travelling up on Friday night was that it was much easier and less stressful to get to the convention on Saturday morning. For one thing, we were able to leave all our luggage etc. in our hotel room, rather than dragging it up and down the stairs to the cloakroom at the con like we did last year.

My friend and I spent the first day cosplaying as Nezumi and Sion from the anime No. 6. I feel like we could have made better costumes – something to remember for next year – but on the whole I think we did fairly well. People recognised who we were supposed to be, and we got a few compliments (and unsolicited hugs) which was nice. I enjoy cosplaying, but there’s a lot of stress involved – not only does it involve an absolutely HUGE amount of preparation time, but it makes getting ready on the day of the convention a lot more difficult than it would otherwise be, and you spend the day worrying about your wig falling off or sweating in ridiculously heavy clothes. (My costume involved about three or four layers, and my friend was wearing a leather jacket as part of hers – neither of these are good choices for a crowded dealer’s room.) Still, it’s pretty enjoyable, especially when people tell us they like our costumes. I’m hoping to do it again next year.

We spent a lot of time (not to mention a considerable amount of money!) in the dealer’s room and artist’s alley this year. One of my favourite parts of the convention is seeing people selling their work – not only do I get the chance to buy things I might not have found otherwise, I’m hoping to sell work there myself in future, so I get to do a bit of sneaky market research. One of the highlights for me this year was meeting Paul Duffield, who, among other things, did the (absolutely gorgeous) art for the webcomic FreakAngels. (I now own a signed copy of his recent comic, Signal.)

Because of how stressful it had been the first day, we didn’t bother cosplaying on the Sunday. We had enough to deal with – we had to be checked out of our hotel by ten-thirty AM, which meant – guess what? – lugging all of our bags to the convention centre. (Getting there, incidentally, involved taking the bus and then two different trains on the underground. Not a lot of fun when you’re carrying a heavy, awkward suitcase.) At least there was a cloakroom once we’d got there.

Getting home was, once again, a bit of a stressful matter. I don’t think we’d left ourselves enough time to get from the convention to the coach station, especially since we needed to stop and get food. But, as you can tell, we made it home safely, and overall the experience was a lot of fun and something I look forward to doing again next year.

Now I have to go and not spend any money for the rest of the term.

Second Year Blues

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated this thing. Just to fill you guys in, I’m now back in Bournemouth again, term has started, and I am living with three of my friends, which is cool. It’s the first time I’ve lived in a proper house that is not my parents’ house, which is also cool – and a little scary if I let myself dwell on it too much, to be quite honest.

We’re only a couple of weeks into the first term, and we’ve already had some pretty difficult assignments. (Well, it’s less the assignments and more the stupidly short deadlines.) I’m not exactly surprised by this – I knew second year was going to be tougher – but it’s kind of exhausting and scary and all sorts of other not-so-cool-things. It doesn’t help that we spent the first two weeks pretty much doing research – this is not terribly inspiring after a whole summer of reading course texts. (Or avoiding reading course texts.)

I feel like I’m starting to get into the swing of things now, which is good – for the past couple of weeks I’ve been feeling incredibly insecure about my work and my reasons for being here, and while these feelings haven’t entirely gone away, I have a slightly more positive attitude. The work I’ve produced over the last week has plenty of flaws, but there’s also stuff in there I’m proud of, and things that I would like to develop further, so there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

One of the things I want to do more of is updating this blog – I’m the first to admit I’m not great at remembering to do so, but an internet presence is important for an illustrator. I’m actually considering switching over to Blogger – I have no personal feelings about it one way or another (actually, I like WordPress just fine) but a lot of my friends and coursemates have blogs there, so it may be better from a networking point of view. We shall see.

Anyway, I’ve got a couple ideas for blog posts lined up, which you shall hopefully be seeing soon, and I’ll probably upload some more art some time next week.

The Return of the Exhaustion Boxes

So I’ve basically spent the last couple of days packing. And procrastinating when I should be packing.

Tonight is my last night in halls before I return to Penzance for the summer. I’m… excited and not, if that makes sense. I love Penzance and I’m looking forward to coming home, but also I really don’t want to leave all my friends in Bournemouth. (Except most of them are leaving too, so it’s not so bad.)

I’m supposed to leave tomorrow morning but I’m so very, very not packed yet. Hopefully we can get it all done as quick as possible and then I will be out of here – which feels really strange.

I’ll be in a proper house next year – really looking forward to this. I’ve enjoyed my time in halls, but there are a lot of things I certainly won’t miss. Like the kitchen. Oh God, our kitchen.

Oh well. It’s been a fun first year. Roll on summer holiday! Now I just have to find a job or a work placement or something…

I am a deviant.

So my project is finally over – much relief, followed by sudden illness but never mind that. I still have, like, another month up here in Bournemouth before I head back to Cornwall, but to the best of my knowledge I only have to be in uni one more day. Except, of course, for the fact that I live on campus and am thus technically in uni every day whether I need to be or not, but you all know what I mean.

One of the side-effects of having no more classes is that I suddenly find myself with a lot more free time. Which is good, obviously, but it does mean that I feel kind of… without drive, I suppose is the way to put it. I’m certainly not producing as much artwork without a deadline immenant.

That’s not to say I haven’t done anything – but a lot of it is rough and unfinished and I don’t really want to post it. In an effort to keep my hand in, I’ve been taking part in a weekly speedpainting contest my friend runs on deviantArt – you can find details here if you’re interested in taking part. (I encourage you to do so; it’s tons of fun.) I was considering posting my efforts here, but it’s a lot easier to just link to my dA page – so here you go. I hope you’ll all check it out and maybe consider following me or commenting on my work if you have an account yourself. 🙂

This has been a thinly-veiled self-advertisement. We now return you to your regularly scheduled internet, already in progress.