30 September 2010

in completely Unrelated news...

I learned to whistle this morning.

I was in my car when it happened. I can't really describe how or why it started, but I ended up whistling the whole way to school. I've never been able to whistle in my life. Even after practicing this morning, I'm not very good at it. I was able to consistently hit three notes and that was about it. I couldn't even make the tune to "Jingle Bells." But it made for a fun commute, even if I did look like an idiot to the other drivers.

The hermit Within Me emerges Again

I've got a busy day ahead of me. At 11:30 I've got two 3-hour classes back-to-back, then I have to sprint across campus to get to a lecture and right after that I've got to sprint back to the original side of campus to get my car (second sprint is all up-hill. not really looking forward to that) and then drive to another campus to hear another lecture (which lecture I'm actually looking forward to - I'm not complaining about the lecture as much as the sprinting). I'll probably get out of that between 8 - 8:30, at which point I'll go home and break out my homework assignments.

Busy, busy day.

But right now I'm sitting at work, in a nearly-empty office, with nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs (and blog). I would work on certain assignments, like the 200 page sketchbook I need to fill up by December, but every time I bring that sketchbook out at work I get swarmed. Random people come out of the woodworks to gawk at the pages and make weird elementary-school suggestions ("you should draw him doing this..." "have you tried drawing a ____?" "can you draw a ______?") which makes me tense and irritable and kills the creative juices.

Please leave me alone so I can draw. You leave me alone when I blog. Drawing should not be any different.

The craziest part is that, even though no one is in the office right now, I just know that as soon as I open up my sketchbook everyone will swarm in at once, gather around my desk, and hover over my shoulders and point fingers at my drawings. There is literally no one in the office right now. Completely empty. Just me in here. Doing nothing. But the moment I try to do anything productive, people are going to show up out of nowhere and pester me.

I know this because it has happened. More than once. It keeps happening.

I would love to draw here. I have hours and hours on my hands, sitting at a desk with nothing to do but occasional grading or data-input, that I could use to do some much-needed catching up in my classes. But I've come to hate drawing here because it attracts too much attention.

Yesterday afternoon, for example: I was brainstorming ideas when a teacher sees what I'm doing and starts giving his input. I was patient and everything, but in my head I'm thinking, Look, no offense, but your ideas are not helping me at all because I've already brainstormed through them. These ideas are cliche and predictable and we all have them until we brainstorm through and past them. And I've already done that part. As much as you think you're helping, you're really just slowing me down. The worst part was when Blockhead overheard the conversation and decided to jump in. So of course he shoves his way right into my personal space, leans over my desk, puts his nose in my sketchbook and starts asking stupid questions, "Whatchya doin? Whatchya assignment? Have you tried this? This? I think you should do this!"

I couldn't get a word in edgewise. I just sat and stared at them while they both pummeled me with ideas that I had already had, drawn, and scrapped. It was a little overwhelming and quite frustrating.

After a while I realized that it was no longer about me at all. They were enjoying the creative challenge and throwing out ideas, building off each other's suggestions, and really working the right-brain.
And that's great.
I encourage that. I embrace that. As an artist, I believe in the importance of that.

Just do it somewhere else.

27 September 2010

ah, The guilt

I've been comparing Blockhead to my brother-in-law.

Important note: I like my brother-in-law. He's odd, quirky, and hard to understand sometimes. But I understand the reason for this, so I can let abnormalities slide. He's a good guy.

Now, back to the comparisons:
  • Never tells a lie. It doesn't even cross their minds to ever tell a lie. It doesn't enter into their scheme of logic to ever tell any kind of falsehood. Honest to a fault.
  • No understanding of personal boundaries. My brother-in-law has worked on this over the years and rarely, if ever, butts into your personal space. No one seems to have pointed this out to Blockhead, though, and he bursts into my bubble all the time.
  • Very little comprehension of humor. Blockhead asked me to explain a joke, a particularly wry joke, and he never did get it. He told me a joke once, a lame and corny joke, and when I didn't laugh he proceeded to explain it to me. Really sad, really painful situation for both of us. Well, mostly just for me.
  • Clear desire to take part in conversations with equally clear misunderstanding of what appropriate conversation topics might be. As much as I would love to expound on this particular point, it'd probably be best if we just left it alone...
  • Unable to quite grasp the finer points of smooth communication with other people. They invariably end up saying something related to the topic, but too off-topic to make any sense in the context of your discussion. Or they'll miss their cue to stop talking, and will chatter on and on with no way of stopping them.
For the longest time I've labored under the belief that Blockhead was nothing more than that: a blockhead. Pure and simple idiot, sent to make my workdays difficult. But after talking about him with my Mother-in-law, I began to see that these similarities are more than just coincidence.

I think Blockhead has Asperger's Syndrome. He clearly hasn't had the chance to learn the skills that my brother-in-law has, so I didn't catch on right away. Looking at it now, I'm sure it's Asperger's.

Not gonna lie: I feel the slightest bit guilty. I've complained about this guy on the internet, to my friends, to my husband, and it turns out it's not even (really) his fault. I can only imagine what his days are like. They probably suck. All of them.

But, if he really does have Asperger's, then that probably doesn't bother him. They're able to shrug these kinds of things off, for the same reason that they can't grasp interpersonal interactions. A gift and a curse in a lot of ways.

Still! This means that he's the "weird guy" all the time! Not just at the office, but in all his classes, even at home! No wonder he has so many problems with his roommates... I don't know why, but I really thought he was just awkward in this one sphere of life. It hadn't occurred to me that he's like this all the time.

Maybe I'll be able to respond to him in a more patient manner from now on. Now that I know the reason behind his strangeness, I'll be able to work with him.

If it goes well, I'll have to change his nickname from Blockhead to something else. My posts about him will have to change from "I'm complaining about this person!" to "So, this is what he did today, and it was weird, but life goes on."

(well, of course I'm going to keep posting about him! just because he has asperger's doesn't mean you don't want to hear all about the awkwardness I go through at work. you live to hear my tales of awkwardness, I just know it!)

24 September 2010

A tick For Every tock

I'm extremely bored right now, which is highly unusual for me.

There's always something to do. Something to work on. Some project waiting to be picked up and finished.

I have a sketch book I need to fill up by December - that always needs to be worked on.
not in the mood to sketch right now. brain is dead. inspiration levels are bottomed-out.

Oliver Twist is in my backpack, just waiting to be finished. I'm coming upon the exciting conclusion!!
a certain attention span is required for Charles Dickens, and I just don't have it right now.

There's a computer right in front of me, the World Wide Web is at my fingertips!
after checking my email, bank accounts, and a brief stint on facebook, there's really nothing else to see.


Well, good grief, woman! What am I going to do with myself when I leave this office?

easy. go downstairs to the computer lab where I can finish coloring an illustration. then I'm going to work out in the school's gym because I desperately need to do something about all the doughnuts I ate yesterday. and then I'm going to a social function with my husband in the evening. there are plenty of things to do, I just can't do any of them here!

Oh look! Time to clock out. Hooray!!

23 September 2010

a story Of adventure, But Without purpose

Took a little road-trip to SLC yesterday. First, we went to the Utrecht store so I could stock up on supplies. I enjoy shopping for school/art supplies, because the Pell Grant pays for it. It's completely guilt-free and a surprisingly enjoyable experience. (for anyone who has shopped for art supplies, you know that these things can get expensive fast, even if you're just shopping for brushes, and you rarely leave a store feeling completely confident after spending that sort of money - unless the money isn't yours! ha!)

I love the Utrecht store. Discounts up the wazoo, neatly organized, amazing selection...why does it have to be so far away??
*impossibly sad face*

On the way back to the car, we (husband and I) noticed that we had parked right outside a used bookstore (is it "used bookstore"? saying "used bookstore" makes the store sound used, not the books themselves..."used book store"?..."used books store"?...who knows?). The store's called The Central Book Exchange. Neither of us can resist bookstores. Especially used book(s) stores. There's something about the absence of a Dewey Decimal system and the often hap-hazard stacking of books in, on and around bookshelves, that makes the journey into a used book store turn into an expedition of surprise discoveries.
Central Book Exchange is one of the best used book stores I've ever been in.  They have a remarkable selection!
If we'd had money, I would have left that store with at least 6 new/used books. But as we cannot currently afford to be $42 poorer, we left the store without any books, only a lingering sense of awe and a longing to hear the voices trapped on pages we have yet to open.
*somewhat impossibly sad face*

I love books. I wish I had more time to read. I wish I could read faster, then time wouldn't matter. I'd just zip through my to-read list instead of watching it grow steadily, insurmountably, larger and larger.

There are houses, little starter-homes, down the street from the Central Book Exchange. They're cute, out of the way, with decent sized yards.

I want one.

Cozy neighborhood, walking distance from used books and Utrecht...it's like a match made in heaven!

It will probably never happen, just one of those nonsensical fantasies you find and cling to for awhile. Still, I hope the people who actually live there know how good they have it. I hope they're all avid readers and visual artists. I'd like to think they are.
I'd like to think the universe works that way on rare (rare) occasion.

22 September 2010

it's Not so Bad On the Whole

Things I'm working on:
  • I'm trying to learn how to draw in pen
  • I'm trying to stay away from sugars
  • I'm trying to eat more vegetables
  • I'm trying to get better sleep

Things I've already failed at:
  • staying on track in my classes
  • wow-ing my professors
  • finishing Oliver Twist
  • getting my gym clothes washed

15 September 2010

/*===== comment Here =====*/

There are some days where I feel like I have the potential to be the greatest illustrator ever.

And then there are days like today...when my brain feels like mush and I can't activate my imagination. I'm finite and limited and I'm not sure where I got the idea that I had any potential in the first place.

I just...love it so much. It makes me happy. Surely that counts for something.

At the same time there's an incredulous voice in the back of my mind, the observer, who looks at me and says, "An illustrator? Really? Where did that crackpot idea come from? This can't possibly work. It's too unorthodox, too risky, too...unconventional. It'll never get off the ground."

I almost believe the voice.

But it doesn't matter. Whether it gets off the ground, whether or not other people like my work enough to pay me for it, none of that matters. There are other ways to make a living. This is mostly for me. Learning this skill is for my own satisfaction.

However, if someone feels like paying me for it now and then, I certainly wouldn't complain.

After school today I will meet my husband at Barnes and Noble and take part in their Buy 2 Classics, Get 1 Free sale (I'm terribly excited about the whole thing). I recommend you all do the same.

13 September 2010

just Thinking

I'm just thinking....

But I should be focusing instead. I've got quite a to-do list growing. I haven't had a to-do list all summer and it's good to feel it growing back. My constant companion: the to-do list.

There are some skips and stutters in my to-do list (it happens after months of disuse) but soon it'll be back to it's normal setting of Play All and Repeat.

I need to focus. Three daily sketches, one Illustration, five gessoed (gesso= noun and verb; gesso-ed=to gesso something in past tense) illustration boards, 25 thumbnails and one Adobe Illustrator template.

I can do this. I just need to coerce a couple more hours out of my days. I'll find where those extra hours are hiding, bring them out and put them to proper use. I'm sure they're there. Somewhere. Oh yes, I can do this.

09 September 2010

tearing down My cages

I've got to stop caring about what people think. I've got to let go.

I can't.
I can't not care about what people think - I even care about what you think, and I'm not even sure who you are!

My sketchbook: a safehaven, a journal, an unbiased playground where ideas can (and should) run free.
But what will people think? No one will get it. It's not good enough. It's not clever enough. I need to think more (but then I draw less) and worry more (because I'm drawing less). What are the expectations??

There are no expectations. You've got to stop thinking in terms of expectations, because it holds you back.

Don (illustration) is trying to teach us (me) to be more creative. To trust myself, and my imagination, to solve problems and to create interesting situations. Catherine (fine arts) is trying to teach us (me) to trust the creative process. To let go of control and let things happen.

A lot of the students I work with complain about the severe differences between the Illustration Dept and the Fine Arts Dept, but I'm finding a lot of parallels. I think taking these two classes in the same semester will prove to be fortuitous.

Favorite instructor quote this semester: "You need to be willing to destroy some things. Destruction is what furthers the creative process."
Favorite student quote this semester: "Oh no! I didn't draw a building - I drew a bug!"

07 September 2010

welcome Back

How is it that I'm more tired after the long weekend than I was before I left on Friday? I had a whole extra day to sleep and I wasted it.
Well...I didn't really "waste" it. It just wasn't used to provide optimum sleep quality the way I had planned.

I'm not going to resort to caffeine. I'm going to tough it out.

("caffeine" doesn't follow the i-before-e-except-after-c rule, which rule I tend to take issue with anyway, but can we all agree that it's not so much a rule as a general guideline? From here on out it will be the i-before-e-except-after-c guideline. There. Doesn't everybody feel better now?)

I don't want sugar, either. My metabolism can't handle it, no matter what my sweet tooth says.

I'm getting too old to act this way. I've got to take care of myself.

Not only that, but the HTML page on blogger is acting totally goofy (which I can say with utmost confidence now, as I am taking an Interactive Design class, where I'm being taught about things such as HTML and CSS, so you can believe me when I say that the HTML page is being completely irrational.)

I have nothing else to say here. Only that I feel old. Everyone around me acts old. Aching hips and backs, complaints of headache and joint pain, and the sincere desire to take afternoon naps. What happened to carefree youth? We're too young to feel this old!