My current methods of zoning out and calming down continue to mostly be drawing and making maps. I bought a book of gridded paper off Amazon recently, and have started filling pages with designs that I may never end up using, but that are still an outlet that allow me to work out the story of their use and history.
The sketchbook also continues to grow full of designs, and I’m posting things mostly to Instagram as I go to share with the world. I’m very much enjoying the wider availability of pigment ink and fine pens for the more consistent finishes they offer.
Some of them I’ve started adapting using the map building sites and software so versions of some of these locations may appear, but then again maybe not – that’ll depend on which way the stories go.
We’re still batting ideas around for cool ideas for tshirt designs around the Dungeons and Dragons group – the DDC – and so a lot of the random pieces of paper or journals around me are covered in detail ideas or rough outlines at the moment. One of the designs we’ve talked about was a composite logo-style image referring to individual characters – and what we might choose to highlight in them.
One that sprung very quickly to mind was a design for Caeluma – our Cleric/Warlock Tiefling with a love of knitting. A simple design sprang to mind of a set of horns surmounting a ball of wool and some knitting needles. I ran up a simple rough of that and then it started evolving
The suggestion quickly came in from myr s to include the wings from Shriken, and some reference to Coal – Caeluma’s boyfriend, a warforged thief. Shriken is Caeluma’s familiar, a faerie dragon, rescued from an alchemist’s kiln a few months ago. The three have become a close-knit unit within the group – and an illustration of how we can build our own families rather than settle with the ones we’re born with.
So – now you know – and it’s available for sale through Amazon. I will make these designs available through RedBubble in time, but for now this is keeping the designs in one place for the DDC material.
I’m focusing on being positive this week, what with the anniversary and my brain’s attempts to continue to sabotage me. For the most part this has manifested in new writing, new items going up in the shop (180 odd designs and rising as of time of writing), and going through old backups to find the graphics that time forgot.
Oh, there are so, so, many. I forgot how prolific I was when I was ill back in the early to mid 2000s. Some of the archives have aged very badly, others look amazing, and others are currently inspiring new works as a revisit.
Its interesting to see how I’ve progressed in some areas, and what looks familiar even now. More than anything else it has got me wanting to spend more time pushing to rediscover digital art techniques.
As ever, I’ve been drawing away fairly constantly during downtime. Some of it has even looked like things, while other times its been a bit abstract as I experiment. Sometimes the experiments work too…
I’m mostly creating images based on my line art at the moment for inclusion in the shop rather than the more abstract items. Its partly the joy of seeing something complete the transition from page to screen to physical object; and partly a good excuse to get more practice with transparencies and therefore with more varied backgrounds.
Indeed, some of the most entertaining moments have come from settling on a range of colours for each form, whether it is a throw cushion, a clock, or a metal print. Yes, my life really is that slow sometimes.
I’m back to work in the library next week, so I’m enjoying the quiet before my return. Hush.
I had myr s half jokingly beg me yesterday to stop putting up new pieces on https://ludd72.redbubble.com because there was no way they could afford to buy everything.
I don’t know about that; there’s something very viscerally satisfying about seeing something I’ve created printed on a physical object. Even if I’m the only one who uses it as a print on demand service, its worth it to me. That said if you do like anything on there enough to buy it then know that you will be fuelling my coffee consumption, not just stroking my ego.
Its a great distraction from everything else going on in the world at the moment, so there’s very little chance of my not continuing to put more items up to tempt, bemuse, or entertain you all
The days have been blurring a bit, not helped by the persistent trapped nerve pain in my leg and lower back – but going into one of my branch libraries has given me a bit more exercise as a change in routine and does seem to have helped with the worst of it.
In the meantime I’ve been continuing to draw and play around with software so there’s at least something constructive going on.
I also finally managed to solo complete a legendary list sector in Destiny2 to retrieve the Four Horsemen exotic before the option disappears with the new season later today. There may have been some quiet swearing involved.
I’ve been a little lacksadaisical about exercising regularly in lockdown, and so this week has seen a concerted effort to at the very least get my step count back up by going on walks round the block – about thirty-forty minutes depending on pace – with Lady M.
Today my body has decided to register its protest by twinging at the base of my spine across my hips; so I am currently sitting carefully, reading and writing while I let a hot water bottle ease the spasmed muscles. Later, I shall slowly shuffle to the shops to get some painkillers, and a few minor groceries – and count that as today’s exercise.
Back to the walking tomorrow when everything is a bit more sensible. A pity really, because it looks really nice out there at the moment. On the plus side, I’ve been getting some nice snaps on the phone as I’ve been walking about – so that’s another reason to keep doing it as there really are some hidden gems locally.
Whether it’s local plantlife, or views across the horizon, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we’re right on the edge of London, just where the countryside starts to open up into parklands,woods, and farming but still also relatively urban. It makes finding signs of spring both easy, but also easy to overlook because it rarely takes the form of woodland clearings covered in snowdrops and daffodils. Instead there is blossom on trees and bushes, thick verdant foliage, and the sound of birdsong – all of which do surprisingly well at pushing out past concrete and asphalt – albeit sometimes quite discretely.
Right, I can feel my muscles easing – so I shall change to go out, and try not to look like my spine is fused.
It’s no mystery to long-time readers and people who know me that I use art to centre and calm myself. All the things that happen around me flow through my pens to evoke patterns and flows. Sometimes there are creatures and more figurative elements, and sometimes it is a lot more abstract.
A common theme is one of disparate elements flowing into and through each other. There are knots and reflections, sinuous morphology and interlocking pieces. Tension and worry tends to result in spikes, while calmer emotions bring curves and loops.
In a very real sense, a whole page of my sketchpad will reflect the ebbs and flows of my mind and emotions across a period of time.
Some of these pieces get thrown away when done on scrap paper or consigned to collections that rarely see air. Others I’m actually quite happy with, especially if there’s something innovative or new that has emerged in terms of technique or detail. These are details from this week or so’s decompression work
I probably spend far too much playing around with the silly filters on social media – mostly as we send updates to each other to put a smile on each others faces.
What I find interesting is to see how much fun I can have to produce the more unusual poses rather than just the stereotypical straight to camera glares. It appeals to me on an aesthetic level, and can be a fun way of practicing for the cosplay photos.
While that may seem of limited use – it a) is something that makes me happy and b) means I have more confidence when more official photos are taken. I recently had a shot taken at a work event to go on an ID card, and was able to pose enough within the limits that I actually appear to be full of life rather than sapped of the will to live.
Being able to have confidence in my own appearance is a relatively new development. My weight gains due to disordered eating while depressed were huge – at one point I weighed over twenty-one stone (135kg) which played no small part in my developing type two diabetes. I came to loathe images of me, especially when I compared them to the slim and athletic appearance I had when I was younger.
It has only really been the last couple of years since I’ve started cosplaying that I’ve begun to be comfortable with having my photo taken. Dressing up and putting myself in the hands of photographers keen to help me make the best images has both boosted my confidence and given me practical guidance in how to hold myself in healthier and more flattering ways – and to stop caring about looking silly along the way.
Discarding the voice that cares and frets about not looking ridiculous has been a freeing experience and helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin. It has helped me in my own journeys to know myself, and it has helped reduce my retention of stress.
And that’s why I love playing the Fool for selfies. I can let go, laugh at myself and with others. I can welcome the silliness and feel both childlike and more adult in my appreciation of using my body with at least a little less shame.