In Lieu of TEC

So I’ve abandoned all strict regularity in regards to The Echo Chambers as you may or may not have noticed. I’ve always done well with deadlines, but not so much with assignments. It’s a strange distinction, I’ll grant you, but there you go. So The Echo Chambers will continue with the ultimate goal of posts three times a week, but I can’t promise it. Alas, when one has a full-time job, it’s hard to do everything one wants to do in the limited space that remains between the work that pays the bills and the work that keeps the household functional.

Sketches 003 Edited

I’ve also been exploring some of the hobbies I’ve let drop off over the years. In fact, TEC is what inspired me to get back into art and painting.

 My friend, the Lovely K, slipped in the little mind-seed that TEC could work well as a graphic novel. With no income, connections, or time to seek out a compatible artist to explore this possibility, I decided to dust off the old pencils and give it a go myself. 

I just had one problem: in the 10+ years of formal art education, I successfully avoided all figure drawing classes.

Beehive Painting

That’s right. I’d never drawn a full person. I excelled at parts, oddly enough. Eyes and hands mostly, as all good art class teenagers must sketch and imbue with Great Meaning. So I found a website that offered still images for practice, joined a weekly figure drawing group, and bought a big sketchbook. I have the TEC pictures in my head. We’ll see if they make it out in any way similar to the mental images, though I still have some practice to do.

I’ve also been practicing with a new style of painting, in keeping with my exploration of the comics design. It’s been fun and productive, even if it’s mostly behind the scenes. I just wanted to give thanks to all those who have and will continue to stick around. Venturing beyond our comfort zones is how we learn and grow, and it’s easier to do with support.

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Monday Update

Continuing what seems to be a weekly theme, here’s where I stand on my varied projects:

  • I finished reading the Golden Heart entries and submitted my scores, and whew! That’s a lot of pressure. I felt bad giving anyone too low of a score because I know that’s their dream the same as mine, but at the same time giving a mediocre manuscript a higher score because I sympathize with the author isn’t fair to the really good manuscripts that deserve those scores. I just did the best I could and reminded myself that my score’s one of five for the preliminary round, so it’ll all average out.
  • Because of the GH judging and another mini-project I was working on for a fellow ARWAer, I haven’t done any further editing on CAROLINA NORTH. Wait, scratch that–I got one scene semi-edited late last night. (“Semi” as in I ended up rewriting it and need to go back and read it again tonight to confirm that this is indeed the direction that I want to go.)
  • Because of the GH judging, the other mini-project, and the non-editing of CN, I haven’t written anything new (other than blog posts) in the last week. I’m starting to get the itch, but I really want to finish editing. My goal this year is to finally get an agent, which requires me to have a polished manuscript and a decent synopsis, conduct research, and start querying. And it’s already March.
  • I did, however, sketch out a scene from BEAR. Apparently I’m obsessed with it, as I’ve drawn it in oil pastels, sketched it in pencil, started painting it in acrylics, and bought both prismacolor pencils and chalk pastels with the intention of doing it again. In fact, I’m planning on doing an entire series of the architecture from that world, but I’m not sure why. I get obsessed with the weirdest aspects of my worlds. (In the Padeia trilogy, it’s the clothes, which Misi–Middle Sister–sketched for me, and in CN it’s the dialogue which, blessedly, cannot be drawn but does need to be sharply edited.)

It felt good to draw again, but it’s been so long that I was shocked about my lack of supplies. I don’t have a decent sized sketch pad, no prismacolors, no chalk pastels (until I bought some), no paint thinner, not even any #2 pencils! It’s probably just as well considering how horribly rusty I am. I tried sketching out my heroine from BEAR and, aside from the fact that I was always terrible with portraits, it was fairly pitiful. But that’s besides the point. I just enjoyed having that charcoal stick in my hand again.

Project Runway

I love Project Runway. I love watching people who are both skilled and passionate do what they love to do. I find it inspiring and, yes, even entertaining, but my favorite part is, of course, the end where the designs are modeled. I watch these people agonizing over fabric, sewing machines, and fit. Will the judges like them? Will they be a hit with the viewers? Will anything ever come of all that time spent learning to sew and studying design?

              Project Runway - Chris                       Project Runway - Rami

Project Runway taught me to understand the concept of high fashion. I never got it before. I’d look at photos from Parisian runways and think, “No one could ever wear that. What’s the point? It’s stupid.” Yes, I passed judgment on something I didn’t understand. Tsk tsk on me. But I’m glad to say I reformed. High fashion or haute couture or whatever they want to call it still isn’t really my cup of joe, but at least now I know to look at it as art.

And the fashion designer’s collection is the writer’s manuscript, what we spend hours on not just creating, but tinkering, adjusting, trimming here and tightening there. Will the editors like it? Will it be a hit with the readers?

The Project Runway challenge this week was to create a piece that had been inspired by artwork from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I loved this concept because I feel that it’s important for people, especially those who choose to create works of their own, to explore other forms and expressions of art. It not only inspires, but we can learn from it, even if it’s just a better understanding of what we do or do not like and why.

So whether it’s fashion, sculpture, painting, writing, film, music, or any of the other numerous forms of art, I say get out there, take a look around, and allow it to influence your own work. Share inspiration.