october 2022 blog post

As I’ve always said, you can tell what I’m thinking about by what I’ve been drawing. Lately I’ve been thinking about the song Barbie Girl by Aqua and I drew a still of the lead singer from the music video and I’ve been binging Todd in the Shadows for months now. I’ve always liked line work, I’ve done a lot of it in traditional media (I’m a late comer to digital art formerly) and I love this technique I learned about using two ellipses over lapped and clipped (?? I’m bad with the terminology AND I’m still learning about some of these functions) and copied then you can use that shape in the bezier tool (this likely isn’t blowing your mind like it did mine, because you’re either thinking “Duh” or “Wat”, however it was a big moment for me). The cat in the reference wasn’t all white (just the chest) but once I put the outline against the white and gave her the green eye (cropped from the ref pic, her eyes were already so beautiful) she started to resemble a longer hair version of my cat growing up, so I left it white for her ❤

I got a bug in my brain, as you do, and I got hooked on the movie poster format. The first one is for the next video I’m doing but idk if it’s going to come out in 2023. I’m in no rush and it’s the most ambitious video I’ve challenged yet and I’m kinda coming off the tail end of burning out on making videos and animation and most of the reason I’m coming out of it is because I’m shifting gears towards art and I’m not committing to making a video or cartoon until 2024 (I probably will finish bartkira at least but the point is no more deadlines for that stuff, it’s done when it’s done). The second is the first version of a horror movie poster idea I’ve had for years, drew in pencil for inktober 2020, and in this first version I was playing with bit map tracing and some filters, I kinda like the gritty realistic-ish/mildly 2.5D idk maybe its just me. But i’ve looked at this all states of sober and flavours of intoxicated just to be through and it always looks kinda really trippy especially the tassels and shadow on the table leg which is, interestingly enough, a shadow of my hand from taking a picture of the hand drawing (because I have inadequate lighting in my studio) that showed up on the bit map trace and happened to work really well. Very happy accident and something I may try playing around with in the future. The third is a movie poster idea from a gimp tutorial (all the rest were made in inkscape) that I probably had too much fun with but it was worth it because when the idea of an astronaut’s last thoughts whilst falling into a black hole, a rather profound way to die, is about something as petty as the break room politics and how he should have taken the last donut because “fuck Steve” had me crying with laughter for a solid 20 minutes (I’m literally giggling now as I write this thinking about this).

Ever since i was a child i’ve been fascinated by the cover art of horror films, particularly from the 70’s and 80’s. Not only the golden age for horror but also, imo, the golden age of VHS cover art, srly some of them are real works of art, sleep away camp comes to mind, and as I get older I’m afraid the art of cover art (whether it be for a film, album, book, whatever) is becoming a lost art. I don’t claim to be making any difference in that but i do draw a lot of inspiration from these sources.

So on a surprise day off I decided to try my hand at photo restoration and colouration and it was really fun until the part in the colouration part where I was trying to pick out palettes and apply them to the picture but it kept coming out really grainy/pixelated (I seriously spent 3 hours making different palettes, trying other people’s palettes, trying dumb shit like turning the picture B&W thinking it might have been the sepia colour affecting things, ect) until I found something I felt was close enough where I could smudge/blend it out but it wouldn’t look real so I accepted that it would turn out more like a painting than a picture and resumed the tutorial only to find I forgot to change the layer type to lCh colour at which point I will admit I screamed a little bit. However once I got that figured out I, thankfully, started having fun again and I’m really glad I did because I’m really VERY happy with how this turned out.

I’ve been doing a bunch of tutorials on logo design because A) it’s a great way to learn inkscape and B) I figure logo design is probably the easiest way to break into freelance work (read: “easiest” not “easy”, I don’t anticipate any thing I to get myself out of my current dead end restaurant job to be easy but I’m hoping my willingness to flesh out existing skills and learning new skills is evident).

This was my big halloween art project this year. I’ve done inktober for the last 2 years but this year I kinda dropped the ball and forgot about it until like the 20th so I decided to make a spooky omage to my favourite cartoon from my childhood. There’s a fan made sequel series in the works right now called Peach Creek and they have a few mini episodes available on youtube for free. Here’s a link

https://www.youtube.com/c/PeachCreek

And here’s the not small versions for your viewing pleasure

“Belfort’s Fall” this will probably be the last picture I finish for October.

So this picture was inspired by a greek myth I heard from the Myths and Legends podcast ep34 and to butcher the myth, Belfort was some sort of mortal hero who was able to do many legendary things and at one point was even gifted Pegasus by one of the gods. After obtaining Pegasus Belfort decided that he deserved a seat at the table…of the gods. He rode Pegasus up and up through brewing storms and dodging lightening until getting just with in sight distance of Mt Olympus when one of the gods sent a gadfly (a horse fly or any other fly that bites livestock) to bite Pegasus. Pegasus bucked to try to get the fly off and succeeded in dislodging the fly, but they also dislodged Belfort too. However Pegasus didn’t notice until they got back to Mt Olympus. So Belfort fell, reaching out for the red reins trying to save himself but when he couldn’t get them in time, he resigned himself to his fate. The gods had other ideas. They said “So you want to be immortal like a god? Well there’s your participation prize, now have fun aging for all of eternity.” Belfort didn’t know it yet, but he would become god like with immortality but he wouldn’t enjoy also having his youth. Between breaking literally every bone in his body and not being able to die, Belfort lost the rest of his youth to recovering from injuries and suffered the residual injuries of bones broken not set right when healing.

***

Looking back on the month, it’s been a good month for art and not much else. I went through a lot of changes, most of which I feel like will be for the best but it’s been a hard time. After 2 years of making videos to almost complete radio silence from: my friends, co workers, internet strangers, and the all mighty algorithm. That kinda hurt. I wasn’t expecting to hit a million subs or anything but no comments in real life, no comments on the video, none on social media just created a crushing silence that was hard to deal with because a video takes me about 3 weeks or about 70 hours and part of the enjoyment of working on something is sharing. So I was planning to make Stars Die, my Halloween video, my last video for like a year (I still have some videos in me but I have to take time to channel my energies else where for a while). However in cleaning up my external drives, I figured I’d delete the b-roll for the videos because I wouldn’t need it and I more need the hard drive space. Well in cleaning up, maybe I named the file wrong, maybe wasn’t paying attention but at some point I had accidently deleted the Stars Die video, one which I was really happy with and the first one I was like actually excited to share with people as I had given up on telling anyone irl or posting on social media about my videos. After that, I decided to delete all the videos. Both my copies and off youtube.

Speaking of time consuming projects that caused me more misery than joy, I also cancelled the animation project I was working on. After one hellish 100 hour work week (working on the animation, ON TOP OF my day job mind) I finished the first of 3 episodes. Then I got started on episode two and I was making this background using vector graphics and as I was working away I realised that more and more in my videos and animation I was finding excuses to make more backgrounds or more memes or whatever and I started thinking to myself, “Am I enjoying this more than making videos/animating?” Spoilers: YES yes I was. However back to the time investment, I started thinking: if it takes me 100 hours to make 1 minute of animation (I’m sure I’m pretty slow or there are better techniques), what’s it going to feel like if/when people have zero reaction to it like my videos and why should I expect anything different? The answer to that question hurts just to think about especially since I’m kind of attached to these characters. And how would it feel if it does get notice…but like by all the trolls and only the trolls? The risk just wasn’t worth possible reward. I have an idea for future animations but I’d probably have to team up with someone and in my experience people are not reliable even if they volunteer their efforts first. So I’ll try my hand at making the story boards into a comic. However that’s a pretty low priority.

As you can see, if you’ve been around for a while, I’ve given the website a bit of a makeover. I’ve been a traditional medium artist most of my life and since starting to make videos, especially with season 2 I really started getting back into digital art which is something I started way back in 2016 with my comics. I never really stopped doing digital art in the strictest sense but I was doing a lot of my work on a smart phone that had a touch screen and could run auto desk, then that phone broke and I was still making memes on my “not as smart phone” and eventually I got a pc and here we are. I find a lot of joy in both traditional art and digital art in both the process and the sharing (the process of video making and animating wasn’t as rewarding on its own to me, like there’s a lot of art I make and don’t share with anyone because I just liked making it but it was either a goof or something I wasn’t taking too seriously or whatever but it still feels very satisfying) plus what I like, probably because I have ADHD, is if it took me 3 weeks to make one video, I can easily make 30 pieces in the same time. Plus I have all these art supplies sitting around on my second desk (yea I have 2 kitchen tables end to end as my desks, being single is awesome) staring at me and idk I collect art supplies like other people collect clips and memes that would be good in a video or something (something I didn’t even think of until I was making the video).

All this being said I had one more revelation: I turned 35 this September and I can feel the shadow of the spectre of middle age creeping up on me and it got me thinking seriously about what I’m doing with my life. I took a look at what I really like doing, what I do for fun and for free, and what I feel like I’m already good enough at that I could achieve professional level in a realistic amount of time (I just want a career and not a dead end job by 40) and I kept coming back to art. I am a novelist but I know I’m not a Stephen King or R.L. Stein type who can just crank out book after book and I’m realistic enough to know that my trilogy of novels wont be the next King Killer Chronicles (ie I can take as much time as I want and maintain a rabid fan base) so if I make any money off those books, that’s just going to be a pretty neat side job but nothing more. I liked making videos enough to do it for 40 hours a week but the places/people that can afford a video editor (or an animator for that matter) will be looking for someone who’s better than me and the time I would have to spend to get that good would take me well into my 40’s (like 10 years maybe) and I’m not young enough to have that time anymore. So art is my most marketable skill and given my skill level if I buckle down for a solid year, I feel very strongly that I could have a portfolio to present to tattoo shops and in the mean time I’m working on building my logo portfolio and starting to look for freelance work.

So anyway, that’s been my month in a nutshell. It’s been very stressful but ultimately I feel more optimistic than I have in a long time. I hope you’re having a happy and safe (and spooky) Halloween weekend(ish, I’m not working Monday and since it’s a holiday I’m calling it a long weekend). See you next month!!

-danni