Okay, so technically - techincally - I skipped a day, but you know what? It's only an hour after midnight, so this counts as a thing of the day.
I tried doing concept art for more of the not-so-tiny stories, but the only one I got anywhere with was Cupid and Psyche. I tried to make them look vaguely like they stepped off some Greek pottery only, you know, clothed. Unsure if I succeeded. Whatever. I've been staring at this picture for about thirteen hours straight. I have no objectivity anymore.
I don't usually draw or create art that's personal or meaningful, I more go for "is it pretty?" I also used to draw self-portraits a lot but I hadn't done one since shortly after high school so... that's new-ish.
I guess what this came down to is, I started this last night when I spent all weekend in that purely adolescent feeling of generalized anger at the world, and at myself, and navel-gazing, and feeling sullen - the kind of feeling, in short, that not only defines adolescence but that you pray to dear God stays in adolescence. So, why not revert to my adolescent practice of drawing vaguely melancholy self-portraits to deal with my angst?
The thing is, I'm not a particularly balanced person, which I know makes me sound crazy. What I mean is, I tend to fluctuate between extremes or fixate on obsessions. And I get extremely impassioned about these things, which can make me difficult to live with. Which means that, in order not to be a complete asshole, I need to at least endeavor to not let my relatively short-lived passions get the best of me, which I also have to balance with how much I let people in on my ever-fluctuating whims.
...isn't re-visiting your teenaged years always fun?
I had a free day today, so I decided to in and color a character who'd been bouncing around in my head for a while that's somewhere in between the Shadow collab and Creation collab. It was sort of this idea of a cloaked/shadow being with a mask that was the creator of the shadows, or their mother goddess.
I would like to note that I am aware of the following two things; a) this is shamelessly derivative of Japanese woodcuts (which is probably my favorite subgenre of art and, to some extent, all of my work is shamelessly derivative of) and b) my patterning on the "cloak" got a little sloppy towards the botom because my hand got really, really tired. Don't judge me. You try drawing consistent scallops for forty-five minutes. Harder than it sounds.
Lately I've seen a lot of Japan/tsunami awareness on hitRECord (and the internet in general), and a lot of artists putting up pieces inspired by it with little links at the bottom to donate. Which, don't get me wrong, I think is totally amazing, but I sort of wonder why no one's doing that for all the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Libya.
I mean, part of me gets it. We, as humans, like problems we can fix. We like feeling like we can make a difference in things. With Japan, there are concrete things you can do to help improve people's lives. In Libya (and Bahrain, and Yemen, and Iran, etc, etc, etc.), there isn't a lot anyone can do. It's messy and what's more, it's political. People don't like to rally behind political causes, people like to ban together on stuff they all agree on, like "earthquakes are really bad". No one disagrees that earthquakes that huge are a problem, or thinks that the Red Cross sucks, and if they do, they're probably not the kind of person you want to talk to, anyway. But people disagree about what to do with all this turmoil in the Middle East because all the solutions are, let's face it, crappy. We can argue over which way might minimize the crapiness, but when you get down to it, it sucks. And people, understandably, hate that.
I don't know, though. I understand the aversion, and the weariness, and the urge to just close your eyes, plug your ears, and turn away. Some days, I have to do that myself. But I still think, even if you check in just once a week to see what's changed, it's important, and something worth sparing thought for or spreading awareness of.
And thus concludes my preaching while simultaneously fulfilling my topical art quota for the next year.
I love all the onesies coming out that are taking old favorite art, but I think new babies deserve new designs. I wanted this to be unisex, though I'm pretty sure it just ended up looking girly. But it's hitRECord colors! Well, hitRECord colors with a hefty dose of white.
Attention, everyone! My ability to draw has returned!!! It made a ten-day hiatus that led to a lot of once-full erasers disintingrating into nothingness, crumpled wasted paper, and headaches in general. Celebrate with me, okay? This is a personal victory.
I really wanted to draw more of Cupid and Psyche because it was so much fun the first time, but damn, they did not want to cooperate. Like, okay, there are three times (count 'em, three!) in the story in which one of them is asleep/incapacitated and the other watches over them lovingly. Great scenes to draw, right? Wrong. I have three different sheets of paper that are all barely held together because they have been erased and abused so much. They did not want to work with me. So instead, have Psyche ascending from Hades after getting some of Persephone's beauty in a box. Which she then stupidly opens (have we learned nothing from Pandora? Damn, girl) and nearly dies, but Cupid saves her and tells his mom to cool it and stop being the mother-in-law from hell, and everyone lives happily ever after, the end.
I have attempted to source everyone who's been putting work towards this story, but if I missed you, I'm sorry. There are a whole lotta people to source.
Happy Chinese New Year, hitRECord! I'm not Chinese, but it's the year of the Rabbit, and I will take any excuse to draw a bunny and run with it.
Happy Birthday, Joe! And I say that coming from both me and my gerbils, who were very patient while I held them at all sorts of odd angles so I could draw them and properly Zeppelin Zoo them out.
Generally I am a believer in cooking for people's birthdays, but since I can't do that, I attempted to throw together a small mix... tape? CD? .mp3 widget? A mix, anyway. I didn't feel comfortable embedding on hitRECord, so I made a little page here for you to listen to your heart's content. (Legally, even!)
Because they were so tiny on the actual birthday card, big versions of my very dapper gerbils! I figured that Charlie (left) and Gus (right) had been posed and examined from so many angles and done so very, very patiently, they deserved to be seen in their full-scale glory.
And no, Charlie's tail isn't a mistake, it got broken when he was a baby, so he's got a half-tail, which is one of the reasons I chose him. I think it gives him a bit of rascal-y character.
Happy (belated) birthday to my dearest Strudel, without whom I would not be here on hitRECord at all. I love you so much, darling, and I'm sorry this is so late. <3
Today's doodly comic was inspired by my trip to the Verizon store, wherein I met and tested my very first iPad. And I did not like it one bit. And my back hurt from the unnatural hunch I had to develop to look at the screen.
Normally, I'm a big pro-technology person, but I don't like a lot of the new technology that's coming out, especially fthe bi-annual Apple iSomething. It makes me feel irrationally old fashioned for wanting a free-standing screen and fully functional keyboard. But I don't know. Maybe I find Apple products sinister because they all look to me like they belong on the Death Star.
(By the way, my height is not comic exaggeration. When you're 4'11", everyone really is just that much taller than you.)
A doodle I do sometimes when I'm bored and out of creative ideas - figured it could be used for a texture or background by someone, somehow. It's not exactly perfect, but I kind of like the little inconsistancies. Gives it character, I think.
This is a super-duper high resolution file, so download if you want it ginormous.
This year's Valentine for everyone - including all the lovely new people I've met at hitRECord! Featuring my valentines, my dog and gerbils.
I hope you all are having (or have had) a lovely, magnificent, splendiferous day eating lots and lots of chocolate and telling everyone you love just how very spectacular they are.
Julia (and Ella, Gus, and Charlie)
P.S. Whoops, this works better when you attach the Valentine, self.
In a fit of temporary holiday madness, I decided to spend my time off making my first foray into stop-motion animation to go along with the "Are we recording?" audio at the beginning of some of the video RECords. I've got all the frames, and in the morning I'm gathering my courage and losing my Adobe Flash virginity.
So here's the teaser. Also known as - the loop I'm using to animate walking. I expect it to be jerky and possibly painful.
Found this going through old photos. I took this on the side of the road somewhere in Boston near the MFA close to one of the millions of teeny-tiny parks there, though I can't tell you much more than that, since I took it over two years ago and the details are kinda blurry.
I continue to be utterly floored by the positive response to my dinky little circles texture I drew a while back, mostly because I'm sort of infamous for being incapable of drawing circles. Like, it's a thing, where I'll be trying to diagram something quickly for my mother and she'll take one look at it and go, "Julia, how is it that you can draw so beautifully and yet you are incapable of making a circle look like a circle?" That is a good question, Mom! I have no idea!
So when I saw the texture rejjie made of my circles I was flabbergasted and overcome with joy. Like, even more than I was when the circles got re-rec'd. I seriously suggest you go to the resources, heart the texture, and use it as much as physically possible, because it's mind-bogglingly gorgeous. And I instantly had to draw something for it. It's not anything particularly imaginative - pretty lady + cool texture so I don't have to bother with background is sort of my default mode and a lot of what I drew back when I was considering doing art for a living, but I think it looks nice. And when my mom walked past, she gave it a verbal thumbs up. So we already know it's better than my circles.
For my second accomplishment today, I finished my present for Attilee - a drawing of Elsie from her and Crispy's lovely noir stories. There might be someone who can resist drawing pulp-style noir dames, but that someone ain't me.
"stories grew and blossomed then
sung in by hevn’s choirs.
they formed their shape aloft in space,
took life from urthly fires."
I really, really, really wanted to contribute to the Creation collab, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about drawing for it. Compared to most people on the site, I'm a particularly traditional sort of artist. I'm good at drawing people, but not so good at drawing other things. So I decided to draw fetuses.
This sounds a lot more gross and random than it actually is. I did have some logic behind why I google image searched the word "fetus" looking for reference pictures. (I suggest unless you have a strong stomach, don't do that.) See, fetuses, no matter what species they come from,kinda look the same for the first two thirds of their gestation. Which is pretty interesting, if you think about it. There is a sort of universal constructive logic to how an animal is put together, and it's easiest to observe the templates used when something is a fetus. Which is why evolutionary scientists look at them a lot.
Plus, I thought that was a good thing to reference, for the representation of a tiny story. Because in addition to them being pretty abstracted forms, it worked well symbolically. The whole point of stories is you don't know what they're going to mean or become, right? So it all makes sense. (Though they do look particularly human, for fetuses, but I made an effort.)
As for the lotus, there's two reasons behind that. One, it's common in Indian creation myths. A lot of their gods are born out of lotuses - in particular, my favorite goddess, Sarasvati, patron of all forms of learning and creativity, was born from one. She's often depicted floating cross-legged on a giant lotus, and usually carries a blossom in one of her many hands. But also, two, I just really like lotus flowers. And I think they're pretty.
Here are the little Tiny Story fetus-things in black and white (and bigger), in case anyone wants to fuss with them or put them in a different background or what have you. Go nuts, munchkins.
"so with a song and dance
a tiny story came to be
a star that lit their eyes up
and enabled them to see."
Fun fact - apparently y'all love fetuses! (Fetii? Either way sounds wrong.) So since I got the okay from the community and the thumbs up from Wirrow, I decided to go ahead and explore the concept further. Here's an itty-bitty story being born. Looks a little less human, I think. I have this larger and in black and white for when we actually will need to use it, but for posting purposes, I like giving things a little color.
Also, anyone who knows how to use Adobe Flash to animate this and does is my hero. I will pretty much throw a ticker-tape parade in your honor.
Part of the reason I've been on radio silent lately is because I've been re-arranging my life to (hopefully) become an official freelance writer and, fingers crossed, illustrator. But while I have an extensive portfolio of all sorts of writing, most of my art is not professional quality. The difference between professional quality and what I normally do is:
a) extensive attention to every pixel
b) cleaner lines
c) an extra week's worth of work coloring
d) a giant fucking headache.
So first illustration up - Little Red Riding Hood! I'm trying to bridge my doodly style with my slightly more formal style. It was a massive pain in my ass. But at least it looks nice.
During the few weeks my computer was down, I went on a bit of a doodling frenzy, which I'll be putting up in bits over the course of the night. Since textures are popular with you folks, let's start with a bit more of a tiled square sort of thing. As you can see, straight lines and I are about as friendly as circles and I are - that is, we have an open yet troubled relationship. I'm just really not good at shapes, is what I mean, but you seem to like those best of all the things I do, so what do I know, clearly.
Second page 'o doodles, or, how Julia amuses herself when she has a black pen, a mirror, and a morning with nothing to do.
Also, notice how I only have one eye in each drawing? I'd like to pretend it was some artistic choice, but the truth is I can't draw two matching eyes if I can't erase. I'm a fraud. You have found me out.
So if you've talked to me for, oh, longer than two minutes, you've probably heard me mention a few billion times that I have these two gerbils, Gus (left) and Charlie (right) who I'm rather fond of. And while I was computer-less and bored, I spent a lot of time (like, even more than usual) staring at them, which led to me sketching them. They're harder to sketch than one would think, though. Not only do they not stay still, but they're often so cute that I stop sketching and start playing with them or feeding them instead. In other, related news, they are the most spoiled rodents in the universe.
I think, though I'm aware no one else agrees with me, that it's super-cool that for such tiny creatures, gerbils really do have very individualized features. I mean, besides just the color, Gus and Charlie have totally different faces, which I hope I captured. This is a pretty accurate sketch, except I tastefully left out drawing their wee bits. I feel like adding a little gerbil penis to a sketch is just a whole level of artistic realism no one would appreciate.
So, I designed an album cover. It's not what Marke and Joe asked for. In fact, it's pretty much the opposite of what Marke and Joe asked for. They asked for a cover that is Not Your Mama's Vinyl and I made something that is, well, exactly like your mama's vinyl. Or maybe even your grandmama's, depending on your age. At some point, I will learn to listen to authority figures and do what they ask of me. Today is not that day. It was, however, fun to draw, something that could be used potentially on this site for another purpose, and something that could go in an illustration portfolio. So in that sense, mission accomplished.
A little piece of art I threw together for fun and because I wanted to use the two pieces I resourced so very, very badly. Watch this space - soon there'll be a making-of video of this piece.
(And this time I mean it.)
I promised you it existed! Because I like to pretend you all care desperately, here is how I make a piece of art; a lazy, meandering week-long project that I have boiled down to six minutes.
I decided to go through my old art files on my computer and see what I could find that was worth reviving, cleaning up, and posting. First up, this little fella! Not sure what to use him for, but he's pretty cute.
An illustration for one of my very favorite tiny stories by Dusty (with a few tiny textual tweaks), who is one of my very favorite people. I had hoped to get this done for her birthday yesterday, but alas. Cleaning up the text took way longer than anticipated.
By the way, if you are an animator and interested, I would love love love love love to make an animated version of this, since I initially saw the illustration in my head as a little movie. If you are, I would be happy to provide way more in-between images or a storyboard or whatever you might need. Clearly I don't know what that would be, since I have no idea how to animate anything.
Hyuck, hyuck, hyuck.
This was a pun/tiny story I'd doodled out an illustration for about five or six years ago, which I found while thumbing through old sketchbooks. I re-did the drawings to look nicer, laid it out, and voila! I would say this is the worst pun I've ever made, but it's not even the worst pun I've made in the last 24 hours.
Also, I know, I know, the Tiny Book of Tiny Stories is in black and white, but I really wanted this one to have color. If this actually gets selected, I'll go back and re-work it.
I'm re-vamping my blog to add my illustration portfolio, and that meant I needed a new header, and that meant I needed to draw a self-portrait. After overloading on self-portraiture in high school, I generally find drawing myself to be pretty boring. I'm also not sure how this could be useful on hitRECord, but the result too nice (and pretty accurate, I think) to just be shrunk and left in my computer's art folder. So voila. Do with it what you will, so long as illustrated!me is not put in any compromising positions.
One illustration I wanted to do for a tiny story down, about eight billion to go!
This is another one I wished I could do in color, but I'm really trying to stick to black and white so I don't get my heart broken. If this book gets published in color, though, first I will do an unladylike and awkward dance of glee, and then I'm coloring this in, stat.
Tiny Story illustraion du jour. I officially decided fuck it, I really want color. I'm gonna put stuff in color.
Isn't the little peeve so cute? He went through a lot of incarnations, but this one is my favorite. I'd like one of my very own, but I doubt he'd be very well behaved.
My recipe for peanut sauce! I figured we could use a little savory up in this business. And this stuff goes with anything; stick it on veggies, tofu, noodles, I bet you could even use it for a meat marinade. I was planning on doing a dessert recipe I made up a few years ago for a Christmas party, but even something as simple as this was way more time and labor intensive than I thought it would be. So who knows? It'll probably go up, but may take me even longer to do than this one did. (A week. Really. Little doodles are hard.) (That's what she said.)
I apologize if my handwriting is hard to read in this, but I refuse to apologize for the little nerdy joke in the corner.
This is an extraordinarily rough version of a background for a larger work I'm going to put together while on vacation. (I'm really bad at this whole "vacation" concept.) Normally I'd be horrified to put up something this rough, quality-wise, but I'm leaving really early tomorrow morning for the scary land of no internets and don't have much time to do anything in the way of cleaning this up, so you get it in this state. Don't party too hard together while I'm gone.
I know it's kind of against the point, but I really wanted poor Turniphead to get a happy ending (albeit one I was far too lazy to finish coloring). And if you think the title is a bad pun, I was also considering naming it "I Really Dig You", so count your blessings.
Whoever said that the big, bad wolf can't also be a sexy lady? With wolf ears? (I assume some people are into that sort of thing.)
And yes, she does look like Irene Adler from Sherlock on sort-of-purpose, her face is just too interesting not to draw.
One thing my good (Canadian) buddy Reverie and I share is an unhealthy love for our (and each other's) small, fuzzy, squeaky rodent pets. So when Reverie asked me to doodle something, of course I had no choice but to doodle her beloved Peeg.
It should be noted that Peeg is, in fact, even cuter than my drawings suggest.
Continuing the theme of "people who have similar pets to mine asking me to draw them", Dusty's puppy Leo! Leo and my part-time puppers Ella are technically different breeds (Leo is full Poodle, Ella is a Poodle mix), but we still both look like we went to the "Muppets bred with sheep" factory and ordered the same model in a different color.
Dusty asked for Leo as the prince he very clearly is, et voila! It's still rough (or should I say "ruff"? Har har har, I hate myself), but I could never deny Dusty the chance to play with something in photoshop and fix my spirals into conforming to the golden ratio, as they so clearly long to.
Prototype Grandma doll! I'll color it in when a color scheme is decided on. Also, I filmed the entire process, so the video should be up soon-ish.
I believe in giving the people the options they want. Also, I really enjoy drawing kickass little girls.
Can be colored or paper doll-ified on request, but I've got about four different other things I need to do this week, so for now, a sketch.
Edit: Aw, dang, Kubi beat me to it. It happens. And there are never too many iterations of a clearly awesome idea.
Sometimes, as an artist, you need to know when to officially give up on something. Case in point, this piece. I've decided I want to illustrate Nightsfall as though it were a story book, but it's been two weeks on this version of the queen and it... is not working. So for now, I give up. This is a first draft. I'm going to use that as an excuse for why the lines are so messy and call it a day.
Expect more illustrations along this vein, only hopefully they take two weeks and are also better.
Some call it narcissism, some call it self-acceptance.
I can, upon request, upload the paper I used to draw on for use as a texture, as well as a clean, black and white version of the drawing.
Some ideas for bundled-up monsters to go on my holiday cards that ultimately did not make the final cut, but were too cute to not give a home.
I'm just going to go ahead and assume I'm not the only person who thinks about how different animals would look wearing Groucho Marx glasses.