Friday, March 8, 2019

Meanwhile, Back in the Studio...

Here's another behind-the-scenes for a different project I'm working on.

Starting on January 1st this year, I gave myself the goal of drawing a Toy Every Day!
Then I added a few more parameters.

First, I was aiming for 5 out of 7 days - it's not always possible to spend the time necessary since I always overdo these things. And the week that I was in the hospital - I didn't do any drawings.

Second, I'd work on 6"x6" cards, and use materials, like alcohol markers, that I needed more practice with.

Third, the toys (I have thousands) would primarily focus on figures. So, not a drawing of an American Girl bicycle, unless there was also an AG doll on it.

Here is the process for the toy I drew today:

pencil sketch

inked

darker markers in the brown and gold shadowy areas

warmer browns and yellows, then darkest blues

blending the blues so it looks SHINY!

Finished!
And then I post them to Instagram
It is very satisfying to see the collection grow...



...if I can keep this up, then later this year, we can do another Kickstarter and turn the toy comics into a book!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

You know you want THIS!

The Kickstarter only has a few days left (it ends at 8:30am (ET) on Monday, March 11! And we still need to raise about $1,000 more. We CAN do this!!


As extra incentive, I've added two super special, limited quantity, Rewards.


Boxes of Books and Goodies!
I have so many Zentangle books and tiles and pens and tangle cards and tangle tattoos... tangled everything!!! Help me untangle...



There are only five of each of these rewards available and they will have lots of really great, special STUFF in them - so go back the project right away!!

If I can get backers for these boxes of goodies, I will consider this Project a MAJOR success (and I'll have a bit more space in my Studio Shop) - and YOU will be so busy playing with your new art supplies and getting inspiration from all the books, you won't leave your house for weeks! But don't forget to feed your pets before you disappear into your studio.

Monday, March 4, 2019

READ! Behind-the-Scenes

In my QUO VADIS Kickstarter Project Rewards, I have an option for Custom Original Artwork. As I was writing the description, and trying to describe what I would actually create for a Backer - I wrote this:

To clarify, here's another example: Let's say you are a librarian and want artwork to hang in your elementary school library... you could ask for the word "READ!" with some Lilah Beans. I would create the R-E-A-D letters made from books and stacks of books with Lilah Beans sitting on the stacks and reading other books. You could also tell me if there are particular titles you'd like on some of the books. Hmmm.... that sounds pretty cool - I may have to draw that one for myself!

I really liked the image in my head, so I decided to draw it!

I start with a pencil sketch that I trace over lightly with pen

I clean up and clarify the lines with ballpoint pen

I love ballpoint pen because I can do shading with it as well

I like it simple, but I was determined to do a piece with more detail and color

I have lots of colored ballpoint pens too


I like this part with B&W and just pink cheeks

color is cool too...
I get most obsessed over the shading!

I was really excited about how it turned out! So I added it to the Rewards - you can get this original artwork or you can get a 12"x 8" print of it on heavyweight, archival paper. I also have the "BEGIN" art available as a Print too.



Please take a look at the QUO VADIS Kickstarter Project and scroll to the bottom of the project description to see the New Rewards added for this final week!


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Alrighty, Universe...

I take the melatonin. I take the Trazodone. I sleep until 11am. And I'm excited and start to think of all the cool things I had been working on and all the new projects I want to do and places to go and people to reconnect with...

And then I have a night like last night where I only sleep three hours then lay awake... thinking. And thinking...

I am incredibly exhausted today.

Yesterday I wore my mom out over FaceTime. Actually, I wore out both our phones too. There was just so much that I was worrying about and it all seems so impossible to solve. I know it's impossible to solve because no one wants to talk about any of it. Plus I'm tired and cranky.

Mom had no solutions. But then, right before she went to bed, she texted:

One thing we all seem to have forgotten.....The Universe!..... how 
about thinking of a request, like you’ve done in the past. This thought 
just came to me as I was asking for help from my end of things, 
as I was trying to get to sleep. Then I had to turn on the light and tell you. 
Now, goodnight!😴😘💤🌙 🙏😻💤💤💤

She's right. So I spent a lot of time overthinking that too. And then, I got out of bed and got to work.

Here's a page from the Quo Vadis calendar comic (my current Kickstarter project)


No, I didn't get all those things. But I have since learned that I was TOO specific on some of them which actually set me up to be disappointed.

According to Mike Dooley, who is an expert on the Universe and Manifesting, The Universe is always listening and gives you what you want. Unfortunately, WE don't know what we want and don't even realize that we are asking for it.

He suggests that we think of it more like a cosmic GPS system:
First, you have to get IN the car (decide you want something).
Second, you set the GPS with the destination. (What do you want? You don't need to know the directions to get there, just the final destination).
Third, put the car in gear and start moving! Just start. The Universe will adjust the GPS directions no matter what wrong turns you take, you just need to keep moving.

I also need to re-read to Danielle LaPorte's amazing book, The Firestarter Sessions. I'd forgotten how blown away I was when I first read that intentions, goals, etc. will lead to disappointment if they are based on wanting someTHING or to achieve some success. We need to think about why we want that and how it would make us FEEL. For example, I want a buttload of money so I can pay my bills and go to retreats. Definitely. But what I really want is the FEELING of abundance, and financial freedom, and security.

So if you combine the two theories, you'd get something like...

This is the Destination I'm entering into the Universe's GPS system -
"I want to feel financially secure and generous"
Then I start driving by rereading Ramit Sethi's book I Will Teach You to Be Rich.
I clean up my accounts, set up auto payments and auto savings.
I run into an old acquaintance who invites me to sketch-note a conference in exchange for admission and lunch. At the conference, one of the speakers notices my sketch-notes...
...and the GPS keeps readjusting to move me toward the Destination.

If I insist on the incredibly specific money intentions I wrote in the comic above - I will be disappointed. Not only because I won't/didn't achieve them, but because I am so focused on those that I am overlooking much better opportunities that the Universe is tossing in my path. That's self-limiting. Like driving your car into a wall rather than taking the turn suggested by the GPS.

What do I really want? I have to think some more about it - but at the moment - I want financial stability, a healthy mind and body, and I want to feel like I belong with other creative, inspiring, funny, loving people.

I removed all my silly intentions from the comic (seriously - how can I get a man to ruin my lipstick - if I don't even wear lipstick!?) and made a blank mini-print:


I just added it to the Kickstarter campaign too. If I can get the pledges up over $1000, then everyone who chooses a Reward, no matter the amount of the pledge, will get this mini-print! Then you can write out your own intentions and stick it where you can see it and remember what you really want.

OK - so please go back the Kickstarter and remember to "Follow" so you can get comic updates.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

A Little Nap'll Do Ya Wonders...

It's amazing what can happen in a week, right?

Last week, I was curled into a tight, painful ball of frustration and panic. I reached out to you all on Facebook and here on my blog. (Hys-ter-ic-al) That post got me into a bit of trouble with my ex (someone suggested my kid might be in danger...), but it also got me what I really NEEDED - reassurance. I received a lot of comments and emails telling me personal experiences with hysterectomies. And that "CRAZY" feeling was actually NORMAL. Anesthesia, pain meds, healing, hormones... I guess it's kind of like the Baby Blues some of us get after giving birth. Not something Doctors tell you. It's the stuff other Moms tell you.

I talked with my RN and she said major "Sleep Deprivation." She gave me a Prescription, a Plan, and Permission to feel crappy, complain, and sleep as long as my body needed. It helped. A lot. Now I'm back to my typical levels of anxiety - and healing what feels like an enormous paper-cut in my tummy.

Point is - I... WE... need other humans - Moms, creative brainstormer friends, neighbors with cookies. I believe a group of determined women can solve any problem - and my biggest problem right now is loneliness and isolation.

[Sidenote: if that makes you want to report me to my ex or social services - don't worry - I am very responsible, and an excellent Mom to my kids. They are safe.]

At the end of that previous blog post I wrote:
My plan is to do a Kickstarter that will run for a few weeks while I am "recovering" (ie: curled up in a tiny ball or crying hysterically). My goal is to raise some money to cover the bills, buy me some time to work on the "Hysterical-ectomy" comic, and renovate the new studio space. Go big or go home right? (yes, I know, I'm already home!)
I'm working on the Kickstarter now. Well - in my head. But writing this blog post is one step closer to making it a reality.


See what your advice and reassurance did? I actually got that Kickstarter up on Friday - and by Saturday evening, I had made the first goal!

Now, I'm working towards the bigger goal mentioned above. Moving forward with life, new projects, and an anti-isolation Studio. (Is that a thing?)


I know that I can overwhelm people and there are some who don't think it's appropriate to talk about things like depression, parenting... or hysterectomies... in public. But I disagree. Very. Strongly. Stuff needs to be discussed. And I prefer to think that - maybe - the reason so much crap happens to me - is RESEARCH, for the comics and books I'm meant to draw.

If you agree, please back the Kickstarter! Here are a couple of samples of comics from the Quo Vadis comic that is part of the Kickstarter:

Yes. That donut was just hanging there at the public market in White River Junction, after the (Halloween) Gory Daze Parade. My kid and I still laugh hysterically at this comic. Warped. I know.


Friday, February 22, 2019

Kick-It! (#6!)

OK! I actually DID IT! I've been trying to get this Kickstarter project kicking since.... December!

This is my sixth Kickstarter so it shouldn't be so scary, but I think with all the medical stuff, I just haven't had the energy to spare - until now.

 
I plan to write more and tell you interesting things - tomorrow - right now, I am incredibly exhausted and need SLEEP! But I just wanted to let you know that there is an "Early Bird Special" on one of the Rewards. You can get both the Quo Vadis comics, the ArtGenda Sketchbook, and the prints - for $50 (save $15) -- but only through Monday night. Then the Special disappears!

Click on the image below, and then scroll down the Rewards list until you see this one:


Friday, February 15, 2019

Hys-ter-ic-al

I have spent a lot of time... months? curled up, staring at the backs of my eyelids... thinking. I have sketched out numerous pages for the graphic medicine/autobio comic I  want to write about my hysterectomy. In my head. I have written emails and sent cards. In my head. I have designed some online classes and outlined a new Zentangle book. In my head. And I've written many, many blog posts. In my head.

Last night, I uncurled, a little bit - and reached out on Facebook:

Anyone else awake? I had no idea the recovery time would be so hard for this hysterectomy. I figured it would hurt, sure, but what’s with my screwy head and emotions? I just feel so scared all the time. The tumor was the size of a baby - so maybe this is like having post-baby blues?

And I was amazed and reassured by the responses I received - both public and private. My surgery was only a week ago and it was a lot more involved and traumatic than expected. Well - expected by medical folks - I knew it would be unpredictable. One night in the hospital dragged on into the weekend... 

Just walking to the kitchen exhausts me. Or taking a shower. Or having a conversation with my kid. Well... that's pretty typical. Scratch that. I forget ordinary words and names or where my conversation was going. And then suddenly think of completely random things... 

Today, I suddenly remembered an argument from years ago about why someone like me should have disability insurance. You know, if something were to happen to my hand and I couldn't draw. Or I had my insides ripped out through multiple holes in my stomach and needed to rest and heal for 6-8 weeks and reduce my stress and I couldn't think coherently for a few weeks and had no way to earn money. Yeh. I should take myself more seriously in the future.

I have plenty of ideas. And tons of really cool things that I had started. It's just that right now - where it takes me a week just to open my computer and write a blog post... those genius plans feel SO far away.

There are moments... in between the crying hysterically - and the staring at the backs of my eyelids... when I feel a sense of calm and purpose return. At those moments, I remember what I need to do. At the top of that list is to turn this whole experience - of trying to understand the depression, anxiety, panic... bleeding - discovering the tumor, doing research, making decisions, doing research on autism, trying to get myself and my family prepared for the surgery and the down-time, and now - desperately trying to find some help and solutions --- it all needs to be "drawn out." I need to turn it into a comic. Not necessarily funny - although I do remember there were some very funny bits.

And I need to create a new studio space. I lost the space I had been creating in Concord last summer, right about the same time that my financial plans and my health betrayed me. So this time, I want to create the Studio, here, in my home. I have an amazing studio here in my barn where I draw and create  - and many years ago, I had a public studio where I did Open Studios and workshops. I want to resurrect that space. It will be a bright, cheerful space for meetings, Open Studios, playdays, Studio Sales, workshops, and the home base of Bumblebat, my publishing company and Etsy shop.

I need people and I need cool projects and I need to feel like there is a point to waking up each day. I know I can do this. I've done it before. And I've pulled myself out of some pretty bad depressions too.  Although, I have to admit that, although I have had many, many intense surgeries, this one was the biggest and messiest yet.

So, taking into consideration the excellent advice from my Facebook friends that I need to give myself time to heal and recover fully - and the crazy, but true, logical thoughts running through my head in endless loops "you can't afford this!?", "you can't afford the medical expenses!?", "you'll need to sell a kidney!", "you should have sold the uterus!" Anyway. My plan is to do a Kickstarter that will run for a few weeks while I am "recovering" (ie: curled up in a tiny ball or crying hysterically). My goal is to raise some money to cover the bills, buy me some time to work on the "Hysterical-ectomy" comic, and renovate the new studio space. Go big or go home right? (yes, I know, I'm already home!)
I'm working on the Kickstarter now. Well - in my head. But writing this blog post is one step closer to making it a reality.

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