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Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Pin-up Maker


This is the Melanie pin-up I made using the Pin-up Maker.

Check out the Pin-up maker. You can create you own pin-up by customizing clothing, hair, make-up, and tattoos. It’s fun and feeds my addiction to pin-up art and fashion. Enjoy!

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Kelly McKernan


Kelly McKernan.

This is the portfolio site of an artist I’ve been following. Her stuff has this very etherial feel to it and I am incredibly jealous of her amazing talent. Check her out!

The Name of the Beast


My Anatomy, the way I see it anyway.

Today I began Phase One of Operation: Regain Control Over My Body. Since it seems to have developed a mind of its own, I think I’ve been letting my body walk all over me. Oh sure, I changed my hair and updated my wardrobe, but that more like putting a fresh coat of paint on a rotting house. It just covers up the real mess on the inside. It’s time to do something about the inside.

Let me explain. I have body issues. It has decided to stop working properly. A few years ago, I started to have some major pain issues. I would get these bolts of pain that would shoot from the top of my head to the base of my spine and there was a constant ache between my shoulder blades. Of course I went to the doctor and after several x-rays, the doc just shrugged and offered me pain killers and muscle relaxers. I was passed on to a physical therapist who helped a little, but buried me in medical bills. A few months later, I quit school and picked up multiple jobs to help cover my medical expenses.

Let’s flash forward a couple years to the present. I finally got back to school. A good design school. I’d been spending several hours at the drawing table and my computer. Gradually, my body turned against me. The pain between my shoulder blades came back. It slid down my spine to my lower back. Eventually, it branched out down my arms, sending searing shocks of pain down to my fingertips. My hands stopped working. They would frequently go numb and I couldn’t type or grip a pencil. I was frequently cutting out of class early because I couldn’t work through the pain. To say that I was terrified is putting in mildly.
I saw a different doctor. She again gave me pain medication, but she also sent me through several tests. First I saw an orthopedic doctor who poked and prodded and shot more x-rays. Then he charged me $700 to tell me that he didn’t know what was going on and he couldn’t help me. Next, I had some neuro tests performed. Once again, I was given a bill for several hundred dollars and a conclusion of, “I dunno.” From there, I was shoved into an MRI. I have to admit that the pictures were really cool. I made the tech show them to me when I was finished. But once again, nobody could figure out what was wrong with me.

Back to my doctor I went. It turns out that I have fibromyalgia, a weird neuro-muscular disease that causes chronic pain. The way I understand it, the pain center in my brain tends to be a bit of a drama queen and frequently overreacts to stimuli. You’d never hear a doctor explain it that way, but that’s the way I like to think of it. Anyway, I finally have the name of the demon. That’s half the battle, right? All of mythology seems to think so. Once you know something’s true name, you have power over it. I have power over this.

That still doesn’t make the battle any easier. I have to admit that I’m not as strong as I would like to be. It’s very hard for me to accept that the pain’s not going away and this is just something that I’m going to have to live with. I guess at first I was hoping for some miracle pill that I could take to keep the monster at bay. I’m currently on Cymbalta for the fibro, I have pain meds for when I need them, I have Ambien so I can sleep. I have to tell you that pills aren’t really my thing. I have no idea why people would do this stuff for fun. My pain meds turn me into a zombie so I only use them in extreme circumstances. I hate it.

I’m beginning to realize that I need to take a more active approach to helping myself. I’ve started walking around my neighborhood when it’s not blazing hot out. I just started a yoga class today, phase one of Operation: Reclaim Control Over My Body. I’ve read that exercise is supposed to help. At first it’s going to hurt like hell, but then things are supposed to get better. Right now I’m at the hurts-like-hell part, but I’m going to stick with it. My art, my writing, my love life is all worth fighting for. I’m tired of letting my body control me. Starting today, I’m taking over.

Graphic Design Campfire Stories


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“…Then he used Papyrus and Comic Sans…IN THE SAME LAYOUT!!!”

“…Then he said in a small, scratchy voice, ‘It’s not like you have a real job…'”

“…Then Grandma asked, “What is it you do all day?”

“…’I think we should take this in a different direction,’ said the client.”

Send me your scary story.

Sebastiana


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This is potentially a new project I’m working on. It’s just for me, nobody else. This lady has been haunting me for a while. She practically demanded to come out on paper. This is just a feverish drawing I did in my sketchbook last night. She is inspired by the Caravaggio painting of Saint Sebastian. I don’t know why that particular image stands out so strongly in my head.
I was raised in a Catholic family. For my first communion, I was given a picture book of saints. I remember being in awe of the gorgeous classic paintings on the pages, but I was also somewhat horrified by several of these saints’ gruesome stories. A man being roasted alive on a spit, beheadings, torture, young women being forced to marry their fathers is a lot to take in for a eight-year-old. I wasn’t allowed to read the Goosebumps books, but I was encouraged to read these stories. It’s a weird dichotomy if you think about it. It created this morbid fascination for me. I loved the saint book.
One thing that has always disturbed me is how romanticized these stories were to us. They were always told to us in gruesome detail with a sense of awe. We were always asked how we could live our lives like this saint or that one. I always wondered in the back of my mind if we were all expected to experience these horrors sometime in our lives. There was always something alluring and at the same time repulsive about the idea. I think that’s what I wanted to portray. I like the idea, so I think I may play with it more. I’m intrigued by playing with the repulsive beauty. It’s been a long time since I’ve made art for myself.

You Don’t See Me


I am currently in the middle of this nifty little book called Imagine by Jonathan Lehrer. It’s all about creativity from a neuroscience perspective. I can’t give a full review right now because I’m only about halfway through it, but let’s just say so far so good. The reason I’m writing this is because I have just stumbled into a part of the book that has struck me profoundly. At this point, the author talks about perception and how creativity needs persistence. He uses graphic designer Milton Glaser as a case study in this particular section.

At sixteen, Glaser decided to draw a portrait of his mother. Sitting down with a pencil and paper, he realized that he really had no idea what his mother looked like. Her image had been set in Glaser’s mind at a young age and hadn’t changed.

This phenomena is actually very common. We walk around barely seeing those around us. Our minds just get used to the everyday people and places and carries with it a set image of how they’re supposed to look. Our brain saves its attention for new places and experiences. As Glaser says, “We are always looking, but we never really see.” It’s a little sad, isn’t it? Just think, we don’t really know what our loved ones look like. We just think we do. This is where drawing comes in. Drawing actually forces the brain to pay extremely close attention to the artist’s subject. One will see the lines around the eye or the quirk of the mouth that you could swear was never there before. Drawing is a form of thinking. I’ve noticed this in my own portrait work. I usually consider myself a relatively observant person when I’m not drifting around daydream land. However, I still feel like I’ve not truly seen a person until I’ve drawn them. Maybe this is why I enjoy doing portraits so much. This is also probably why I also hate self-portraits. I’m my own worst critic.

I hope you’ve found this little tidbit interesting. I couldn’t help sharing. So, my challenge to you is this: Draw somebody. I don’t want to hear any of that BS about how you can’t draw a stick figure either. Just sit down with a pencil and paper and really look at somebody. Study the lines of their face. Trace the shape of their nose and mouth. Really, truly SEE them for the first time.

“Falling in love is like owning a dog,” by Taylor Mali


Minion aka “Love”

First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!
Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.

This was our wedding reading. Feel free to steal it. I recommend having someone animated reading it.
You can find more like this here.

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