Monday, October 28, 2013

What does Thumper say?

Maybe kids now don't grow up watching Bambi, but I believe that at least most of my generation did, and have therefore had reason to be reminded of Thumper's little saying, "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nuthin' at all."

Seeing the types of comments that come up on almost every blog post or article I've read online recently, I've been thinking about this a lot . There are a whole lot of people saying a whole lot of not-nice things. And this is basically what you expect to see when you scroll down to the comments section.

And the fact of the matter is, the world isn't black and white, and sometimes there are not-nice things that need saying.

So I am proposing my own version of Thumper's mantra:

If you can't say something nicely, don't say it at all.

By this I do not mean that we should say rude or sarcastic things prettily. What I mean is, if you disagree, feel free to do so. Do it tactfully, intelligently, chivalrously, without mud-slinging or name calling.

Can you do that for me, internet?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

and then I lost my phone

Today was a happy day.

Note, I said a happy day, not a good day.
Isn't that the same thing, you ask?
Not really, at least in this case.

Today was very normal, overall. I went to work, made some progress on my current project. Went to class (Womens Lit), talked about cool stuff. Next class (Senior English Course--wait, you're not an English major, you say. Well, so what, I say. Anyway, I'm just auditing it. I'll have to tell all two of you blog readers about it sometime, its a pretty interesting class.) Talked about cool stuff again.

Next class was sketchbook. I drew pictures. I tried out my new brush pens, which are awesome. Sketchbook has been a kinda weirdly hard class for me so far.

Wait, what? Sketchbook, hard? Don't you just go and draw pictures the whole time? Yes. I have... a kind of interesting relationship with my sketchbook, and with sketching, which I've really come to realize more lately since my two illustration classes are Sketchbook and Head Painting--very different.

TANGENT. I keep meaning to take pictures of my paintings and sketches to post on my art blog. And I keep forgetting when I'm at school, and I remember when I'm at home and my pictures aren't. Blah. END TANGENT.

Anyway, long story short, in sketchbook class I've been experimenting with different sketching media because pens just aren't fun, and I really am loving the brush pens. I got the idea to use them because I've been having SO MUCH fun in head painting DESPITE the fact that we use no color, or even white paint for that matter. Paint just works so much better with how I think than pen does. Its not as.... stiff. Brush pens unite the convenience of a pen with the looseness and real-estate-covering qualities of a brush. Which makes Sarah happy.

So while I'm having all this fun with my new brush pens my phone decides that it wants a bit of sunlight so it sneaks out of my pocket and then, not satisfied with just getting some sunshine, decides to play hide-and-seek too. So far, its winning.

And then class ended early so we could eat before going down to the guest artist lecture by the awesome Jillian Tamaki. I'm really glad I went, it was overall a very interesting and encouraging lecture, and I had maybe a smallish epiphany as a result. Epiphanies of every size are happifying.

Also, today I wore one of my favorite outfits. Mom/Aunt Allisons old couduroy paisleyish jumper with pockets. I love jumpers with pockets, and paisleyish things.

So I would call today a happy day, not a good one. Because it really was just a normal day. And I lost my phone, which is very not good, because I actually really need to use it. But... I just felt happy anyway. Despite the fact (or because?) I lost my phone.

Also, happy talk like a pirate day, world. Despite being made aware of the holiday before even going out the door this morning, I failed to celebrate it in its traditional way. And was happy anyway.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Grin and Bear It

I haven't really blogged in awhile. I've really fallen out of the habit of blogging.

The other day something reminded me of an old blog entry I'd written, and I decided to go back and find it. I ended up looking over a bunch of old blog entries. I'd for gotten how often I'd written, and how much. I wrote in more than one blog, too. And, even if I do say it myself--some of my blog posts were really entertaining. I ended up laughing out loud when I read a few of them.

I made alot of good new habits on my mission, but I think I lost some good ones too.

I'd like to get back into the habit of blogging. I never really had a schedule before, I just wrote when I had a thought I wanted to throw out of a funny story to share. I'd like to try and see if I can get back into that habit again... if it doesn't work, I may set a more specific schedule for myself.

This is connected to a thought thats been rolling around in the back of my head (which I just posted as my facebook status). It is this: activities where I've learned to get over my mistakes and have fun are those that I've improved most in and bring me the most joy--art and dancing. Those that I still have a hard time getting over my mistakes in I haven't improved in and tend to avoid--specifically, speaking and writing.

What started me thinking about this was a little thing, really. In one of my classes I made a comment that didn't make much sense. It was actually a really dumb comment. I got some raised eyebrows and chuckles and the class discussion moved on. Nobody else in the class probably remembers my dumb comment, at least not very specifically. But all day afterward and into the next, I kept remembering the mistake and wincing. Why did I say such a dumb thing?

In dancing I am very aware of the fact that I'm not great, sometimes I slip or don't follow an obvious lead or, yes, step on someones toes, and thats just how the dance goes, and I laugh and keep dancing. After years of participating in art critiques, I'm pretty good at not getting offended at comments, instead just taking them as they're meant, analyzing them, and then applying those that I feel will actually be helpful--all without getting all hurt and offended.

Actually, I think this was one of the biggest reasons that I chose to major in Art rather than English (which, when it really comes down to it, are the only two majors I really considered--I can't see myself actually majoring an anything else.) I enjoy both. But I knew that I would have a much harder time accepting critiques of my writing than of my art, and would therefore have an easier time in art. Did I choose the easy way out? Maybe in this specific aspect of the choice. Overall, I don't think so. I chose the one where I knew I would be better able to learn from my mistakes.

Is that strange? It seems like someone should either be good at getting over any mistake, or not. You're either prideful, or not. I guess people aren't that simple.

Anyway. So I want to get back to writing a blog again, just as a way to do a little low-pressure writing.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Farmers Market

This week was my first time actually going out and selling my artwork in person--I've sold art online, but not really face-to-face with potential buyers. It was a great experience! My main goal first off was just to get the experience, to get an idea of what to expect with this sort of thing in order to do it better in the future. Goal achieved---huzzah!

I learned some things that are maybe obvious to some people, but are new to me, and hopefully helpful in future. Some of them are:

  • -People aren't just going to line up to give you their money (duh). You have to catch their interest first. This can be a problem when your art is the you-only-get-it-when-you-look-again (upside-down) kind.
  • -Clouds are one of those good-or-bad, awesome-or-terrible things when you're selling outside. They either mean rain (no!) or shade (yes!). Fortunately, we had the shade kind of clouds for most of the day.
  • -People like to buy things when they have a 'thing'. Like, some people have a cat thing, or a book thing, or a dancing thing, or a mustache thing, or something. This is why fanart sells... and also why people get in trouble for selling fanart. I want to figure out some "things" that people like that are NOT trademarked and design things they might like.
  • -I sell like a missionary, and so does Normandie. We tended to focus alot more on the person than the product. Which lead to some fun conversations, but I have no idea whether things would sell better if we had focused otherwise. So far, I've enjoyed using my missionary conversation skills so I'll stick with that for now :-)
  • -Sitting/standing around and doing nothing except greet people is tiring. 
  • -You don't know if something will sell well just because you like it. You just have to see how people respond when they see your work, and notice what catches their eye. It might not be what you think.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New York--quick and boring write up

So a couple people wanted to hear about my New York trip, and I wanted to tell you all about it. But one of the effects of the New York trip was that I am now VERY behind on my homework, so finding the time to do a good thorough job of it is just not possible. This is the best I can do. Truth be told, no effort has been made to make this report at all interesting. I basically just looked at the itinerary and wrote a couple lines about each place we went.

The first place we visited after our flight was the National Portrait Galleries in Washington D.C.. It was here that I started my method of museum-viewing that I used throughout the trip—don’t worry about running through the whole museum to see the famous pictures, don’t worry about appreciating every single piece of art there, just walk around until a piece catches your eye. Take a closer look, try and figure out why it caught your eye, maybe take a picture or a sketch, then move on. The portrait gallery was really fun, it was really interesting to see all the different types of art there.

Afterward we visited some of the monuments, which was fun, but I’d already seen most of them at least once on my previous trips there.

The next morning we went to the Delaware Art museum, where I got to see lots of Howard Pyle originals. It was SO COOL. Howard Pyle was amazing. There was also some work by other artists that was fun to see as well.

Right after that we headed to the Brandywine museum, which have a lot of the Wyeth’s work (N.C., Andrew, and Jamie). The N.C. Wyeth gallery was closed at that time, but Bethanne, being Bethanne, talked to the people in charge and got them to let us in anyway, which was awesome. The N.C. Wyeth gallery was probably the highlight of the trip for me, I wish I could have stayed longer but I’m glad that they let us in at all. I also really liked some of Jamie Wyeth’s paintings, he was a great colorist. Before leaving I bought a couple postcards for myself of N.C. Wyeths paintings, I chose those that I thought had the most accurate color reproduction (since I had just barely seen the originals, I thought that that was probably the best time for me to make that kind of call :-). I only realized later that the two illustrations I had chosen were both from Treasure Island...but that's not surprising, since that's probably N.C.'s most well known work. 

After the Brandywine museum, each of the 3 vans went their separate ways to get lunch. We decided to get snacks at a grocery store just to tide us over until we could get real Philly Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia.

Finally, we headed over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. My favorite pieces there were probably those I saw by Monet and Cassat—I guess I just kinda have a thing for impressionists.

Then, we went to get our real Philly Cheesesteaks. We went to a place called Genos, which is apparently one of the two places that claims to be the originators of the Philly Cheesesteak. The sandwiches were delicious (if a bit expensive).

Thursday, we drove to New York. Our first visit was to Blue Sky studios—you know, the people who made Ice Age and Rio. They gave us a tour and then we got to eat lunch with all the BYU alumni (/Mormons) who work there. It was really fun and inspiring to see how much art and work (and artwork) goes into making movies.

Next we visited Bob McGuiness, who was just the nicest guy. We all crammed into his studio and we talked about art. It felt kinda like we were visiting someones grandpa or something (which I guess we were, haha). 

The next day started with a visit to a certain bakery, the name of which has slipped my mind. But we got the thickest, richest, creamiest hot chocolate I have ever tasted or probably ever will taste. It was seriously amazing. I was surprised at first that one small cup was 6 dollars… then I understood.

Our first visit was to Abrams Books. I was pretty sure that I had walked into heaven. I mean, this was a place filled with books, book lovers, and book makers. And they gave us cookies and picture books and were just really nice in general. Yeah. I used to want to be an Editor… I know that I would have loved that, but illustrating is so much fun. Yeah. Anyway. I guess we've established that as long as books are a big part of my future, I'll be happy.

We went to the Society of Illustrators for lunch and oh my do they have a whole lot of awesome art there. Definitely a feast for the eyes, and they fed our mouths as well. It was basically a buffet style thing and it was all delicious—my favorite was the cuscus salad. Yum.

Then we visited an artist’s agent, Richard Solomon. They talked a lot about what they do and what they look for in artists they represent, etc.
Then, the Museum of Modern art. They had some interesting stuff there, and also stuff I didn’t quite understand… I got to see some famous paintings in person though, which was cool, including Christina’s World, The Scream, and Starry Night, among others. Afterward we got street food for dinner and visited the Strand Bookstore, where I was sorely tempted to by so many things but I didn’t :D.

Saturday morning Rebecca and I went and bought tickets to see The Mystery of Edwin Drood. We were late getting to the box office but it turned out being a good thing because their servers were down and they weren’t able to sell tickets yet. We waited around for awhile, and with the help of some really nice people we were able to give them our names and number, so they could call when the system was working again. We walked around, saw a cool church which we explored, and they called Rebecca back and we were able to buy our Student tickets for 32 dollars. Success all around!

Then we visited Sam Weber’s studio, which  was way cool—he was a really nice guy and we got to look through his originals, which I’d seen in print (both in book covers and art books) but it was interesting to see what the paintings looked like before he altered them digitally.

Next, we headed to Paul Zelinsky’s studio, which may have been my favorite studio visit of the trip. He was really nice and accommodating, and we got to look at the originals of his Rapunzel picture book, which won the Caldecott a few years ago.
After that, we headed straight back to Broadway to see our play. We got a delicious torta from a street vendor outside the subway station which was possibly the most delicious thing I ate on the trip.

The show was fun. The singing was amazing and there was a lot of fun comedy in the show. The voting at the end for the detective/killer/etc. was also fun. So overall, the play was a fun experience but it wasn’t particularly moving or life changing as other Broadways (or equivalent) I’ve seen. But it was worth the 32 dollars, so I'm happy :-).

Sunday was a bit of a rest day, as it should be. We went to the YSA ward at 11:30 and afterward headed to the Met. By this point in the trip (actually well before this) my feet were feeling pretty abused and complaining fairly loudly. Fortunately, the Met is one museum we visited on the trip where most rooms are well supplied with benches. I continued to use my wandering method of museum viewing, adding a long sketching period in front of paintings I liked which also happened to have a bench in front of them. It turned out to be a very fun and restful way to experience the museum.  Afterward Bro. Barret took us walking through some fun sites to see in New York, including some murals by Maxfield Parrish and Dean Cornwell.

Monday morning we visited Peter de Seve’s studio, which was fun. He’d actually forgotten we were coming, but was very friendly and accommodating anyway. He offered a lot of good thoughts and insights about the industry.

Afterward we visited Brett Helquist’s studio, which was wonderful. He showed us a bunch of his original paintings and gave us some really inspiring and sound advice about how to go through school and get started as an illustrator.

Then, we had free time until 4, when we would have to head to the airport. I got Rebecca and Stephanie to come with me to a Filipino restaurant I’d found by searching online. I got to have Sisig and they tried Tocsilog and Bangsilog. Then we wandered around Soho, looking at random shops, my favorite of which sold all kinds of fancy and exotic foods. I got a pear-almond tart, which was delicious.

Then, we headed to the airport and home.

And lived happily ever after.

Friday, February 8, 2013

This I Believe essay

For my Writing about Arts and Humanities class, we had to write a "this I believe" essay. These are essays collected and published by about (of course) peoples beliefs. Here is my essay--though imperfect, I'm mostly happy with how it turned out, and I feel that I was at least able to communicate my belief clearly.

Sketchbooks and Stick Figures
We’ve all experienced hundreds of getting-to-know-you conversations. We all know the questions you’re supposed to ask. What’s your name? Where are you from? And for me and most of my peers, this next one is inescapable:
What’s your major?
Illustration, I answer.
Oh, Illustration, they say. Is that, like, art?
Yes, I confirm, Illustration is art.
Wow, they say. I can’t even draw a stick figure. You must be really talented.
After participating in variations of this conversation hundreds of times, it’s really got me thinking. What do they mean by that last comment—“You must be really talented”? Sometimes it seems like an explanation, or even an excuse, for being good at something.
I do believe that there is such a thing as talent—raw natural ability in a certain area. What is strange to me about the comment “You must be really talented” is that, in the end, I don’t feel that talent has very much to do with my success as an artist. Talent, or raw natural ability, is just that—raw, unrefined, and untried. Even a person that apparently doesn’t have talent can excel beyond someone who does—if they invest the required time and effort.
So, you can’t even draw a stick figure. This doesn’t prove that you’re not talented and could never do “good” art. It simply shows that you haven’t spent much time drawing stick figures—yet. You could, though. And you could get really good at it, given enough time. This is why artists carry sketchbooks.
I first learned the value of sketchbooks from my high school art teacher. Every week she would collect our sketchbooks, not to critique them, but to make sure that we were drawing, observing, and recording ideas constantly. “You don’t have to show your sketchbook to anyone if you don’t want to,” she’d say. “This is where you mess up and make mistakes. It’s where you think. It’s where you learn. It’s not to show off how talented you are to anyone else.” Through sketchbooking I learned how much time and effort is required to produce good art. The merely talented who aren’t constantly sketching get left by the wayside. Artists succeed because, even when they’re not in front of a canvas with brushes in hand, the have a sketchbook that they carry everywhere.
Believing in effort over talent is extremely liberating—just think about it. I really can do, and be, and accomplish anything I want, provided that I am willing to put in enough time and effort. And so can you. Your hopes of what you want do and be and accomplish can be realized, if you are ready to do what it takes. Try it—invest a little time and effort. I believe in you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Books read in 2012 (incomplete)

 In the past I've kept lists of the books (novels) I've read and then posted them online at the end of the year. I wasn't very consistent with keeping track this year so this list isn't complete, but here are most of the books I read this year. If I counted correctly, there are 52 books on this list, averaging only one per week. In past years I've read nearly 3 times this many, but things have gotten in the way this year it seems. Well, one per week ain't too shabby, is it?

  • The Spirit Eater, Rachel Aaron
  • The Spirit Rebellion, Rachel Aaron
  • The Spirit Thief, Rachel Aaron
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
  • Leadership and Self Deception
  • The World is Flat
  • Les Miserables, Victor Hugo (didn't finish, but I got pretty close.)
  • The Enchanted Glass (didn't finish but I will come back to it) Diana Wynne Jones
  • Finnikin of the Rock (didn't finish), Melina Marchetta
  • The Homeward Bounders, Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater
  • Dragonhaven (again), Robin McKinley
  • the Emerald Thread (again), Mordena Babich
  • Paladin of Souls, Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Fall of a Kingdom, Hillari Bell
  • Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms; Fumiyo Kouno
  • Anya's Ghost, Vera Brosgol
  • Howl's Moving Castle (again), Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Vor Game (again), Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Mountains of Mourning (again), Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Warriors Apprentice (again), Lois McMaster Bujold
  • The Curse of Chalion (again), Lois McMaster Bujold
  • A Long Way From Chicago, Richard Peck
  • The Chocolate War, Robert Cormier
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
  • White Cat, Holly Black
  • American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Yang
  • The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
  • How I Live Now, Meg Rossoff
  • The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
  • Matched, Ally Condie
  • The Sky is Everywhere, Jandy Nelson
  • The Braid, Helen Frost
  • Skin Hunger, Kathleen Duey
  • The Chosen One, Carol Lynch Williams
  • Getting Away with Murder, Chris Crowe
  • Leviathan, Scott Westerfield
  • Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein
  • Out of Sight, Out of Time, Ally Carter
  • Only the Good Spy Young, Ally Carter
  • Don't Judge a Girl by her Cover, Ally Carter
  • Cross My Heart And Hope To Spy
  • I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You
  • A Matter of Magic, by Patricia Wrede
  • The Seven Towers, by Patricia Wrede
  • Hexwood, by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Sherwood Ring, Elizabeth Marie Pope
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznik
  • Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine
  • A Conspiracy of Kings, by Megan Whalen Turner
  • The King of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner