Welcome to “Between the Lines,” my (hopefully) semi-regular blog series where I discuss my digital painting process from start to finish. First we have a portrait commission for my cousin, who just started her sophomore year in college, yay! I hope she likes it. <3
Portraits, whether done digitally or traditionally, are some of my favorite subjects to paint. Capturing the likeness of a real-life person is extremely difficult. Even if you’re using a specific photo for reference, it’s very easy to end up in the uncanny valley. Your eye skims over the image, feeling that something is off, but you can’t exactly say why.
There is a never-ending war raging between writers and editors — writers say editors are constantly crushing their immaculate vision into generic slime and editors say writers are terrible at the most basic concepts of grammar. When we compare the difficulty of editing versus writing…who’s right? As someone who works as both a writer and editor, I feel like I’m uniquely positioned to settle this maddening infighting once and for all.
Ah yes, editors…the people no one notices unless we screw up. We’re like ninjas that way. No wonder we’re always
the first ones to get the axe when a company tanks so damn cheerful all the time.
No, but really, we’re actually lovely people. We just want the best for you and your writing, I promise. Still, you may be wondering: “I’ve got Spell Check and I’m writing in my native language, so why do I have to pay someone to do what I can do myself?” Good question, I’m glad you asked. The truth is, no matter how long you’ve been speaking a language or how many classes you’ve taken, you probably have quite a few weak spots. That’s not me being self-righteous, either—I say that from personal experience, because I have quite a few weak spots, too.
Photo courtesy of Sunny Mama via Wikimedia Commons.
First of all, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step toward publishing: deciding on an idea, however vague. This is by far the easiest part. The next part involves asking yourself a series of questions about the project in question and how you plan to publish it. (Naturally you also have to write it, but that goes without saying. So let’s talk about the business side.)
I’ve been blown away by all the positive responses I’ve received for the blog post I published about my depression. I haven’t been able to respond to all the messages and comments scattered around, but thank you so much to everyone who read it, shared it, and took the time to tell me how much they care about me. Knowing that someone you love is struggling is extremely hard, and sometimes you might think that the little gestures you make don’t make a difference, but they do. They really do.
[Content warning for discussion of depression and suicidal ideation]
I graduated from college three years ago. My family was ecstatic. After four long years of exams, 10-page papers, and struggling to stay awake during lectures, I was getting a bachelor’s degree. I was one step closer to the elusive status of “independent adult” that had seemed so foreign to me since I was a kid.
I had a lot of advantages, but it wasn’t an easy path at all. My anxiety and depression had peaked my sophomore year in high school, leading me to be home schooled for 11th and 12th grades. I didn’t go to a prom, a senior trip, or walk across a stage in cap and gown. Years ago my mom asked me for one request: that I wear a dress when I graduated from middle school and high school, and for my wedding. When I graduated from middle school, I wore a bright red, flowy dress that showed off my legs and arms. For high school, I ordered a $30 diploma online and stayed in my pajamas for most of the summer.
Someone on Twitter (another artist) posted a poll asking whether digital art is “real” art, meaning does it have intrinsic value the way “traditional” art (art made with physical materials like canvas, paint, pencil, etc.) is always assumed to have. When it popped up on my timeline about 90% of people had given the right answer (which is a big “HELL YES”) but it got me in my feels and I had to drop some T on it that I didn’t even know I had in the pantry.
I literally can’t with reality right now. Two more black men were shot by racist assholes, and I’ll probably end up voting for Hillary Clinton next year. Everything is terrible. So I *may* have spent this weekend watching video game walkthroughs on YouTube, gorging on dairy products and drawing black girls watching the sun set together:
Things that I have learned so far: 1) I never draw more than two characters in one picture and 2) My art portfolio is so sparse it’s pathetic. Maybe I should make drawing cute girls a weekly thing.
I don’t even know if I have the energy to finish this. The sky will be fun, though!
As you can plainly see, “Dreams in Tandem” is no more and I’ve migrated my online presence to this here website, which was gorgeously designed by Hafsah Faizal of IceyDesigns. I created my first blog over five years ago, back when I was still in high school and my biggest concern was not being prepared and flunking out of college. Now, I’ve graduated and moved on to a whole new, bigger set of life problems including finding a job, reconnecting with my creative roots in writing and painting, and learning to adult without overloading from all the cynicism such pursuits entail.
(#IHaveNoIdeaWhatImDoingWithMyLifeButImPrettySureImAlreadyAFailure definitely applies.)
Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson has a fairly standard sci-fi plot: A deadly flu mutates and begins killing thousands of people worldwide, causing international panic and war as the United States declares martial law at home. Then, in the middle of the chaos, a political conspiracy begins taking shape… etc., etc.
Then there’s Emily Bird, a senior at an elite prep school in Washington D.C., who has always bent to her mother’s will. Now, she’s facing a crisis of identity. Continue reading