fantasy

NaNoWriMo Day 2 + Self Care

WEDNESDAY

Day 2’s writing session is about to begin. Today I’ll be writing about how two of my planned three main characters first meet.

(Procrastinates on WordPress.Com first.)

I am trying (again) to take half-decent care of my health during NaNoWriMo. Otherwise, based on past experience, I get to the end of consistently stressful Novembers having gained unwanted weight, with sore wrists and a sore back and sore eyes from too much computer time, and I have to attend family Christmases feeling like I’m more a hideous potato goblin than a human. So I took half an hour to tidy up and get some washing done (reduces mess-induced stress) and another half hour to do some exercise before taking a seat in front of the computer. I’m still recovering from a couple of hours walking through steep mountainside bushland at the National Rhododendron Gardens on the weekend so the exercise was a chance to stretch out my sore legs and wake up my posture before writing for the day while the kids are at school.

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I’ve been plugging away (slowly) at trying to get the hang of digital art. At this stage I am using MediBang Paint Pro – if I continue to progress I plan to upgrade to one of the more professional art programmes, but that said MediBang Paint is proving to be a wonderful learning tool. I have a Wacom Intuos tablet that is absolutely fantastic.

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June – July 2016: Scenes from my sketchbook

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The Husband has been reading a lot of Slavic mythology lately (he has Ukrainian ancestry but a lot of the family history was lost after his grandfather was released from a prisoner of war camp after World War II and migrated to Australia, and so The Husband’s been tapping into his cultural heritage through studying traditional mythology, which I think is super awesome), and noticed a lot of mermaid themes. He asked if I could draw a mermaid riding a seahorse, and this is what I came up with. It was just a quick sketch but I was really happy with how it turned out. To clarify, though, this mermaid is not one that I have drawn based on Slavic myth!

I’ve got some products featuring this drawing over at my RedBubble store.

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New drawing: UFO with whimsical landscape and night sky

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Here is one of my recent drawings, now available for sale on stickers, notebook covers, t-shirts, art prints, post cards and more at my RedBubble portfolio. (If you buy it, there won’t be an obnoxious blue copyright watermark.)

The original illustration is one of several UFO and alien-themed illustrations and paintings I’ve made over the summer (December to February in my end of the world).

This one was drawn by hand using ink fineliners on A3 paper.

UFOs are one of my perennial drawing and writing themes. Ever since the day I discovered the section on the uncanny in my high school library (a sunny winter’s day, circa 1994, with the books on Atlantis and Bermuda Triangle located by the window with some couches) it was as if the universe expanded. In the face of an awe-inspiring, massive universe, human concerns like war, violence, political borders and greed seem so small and petty. Look at the vast expanses out there, the further we look we find more to admire, we find more questions, we find incredibly complex and beautiful structures… It makes me think of the lyrics from Tool’s song ‘Right in Two’ from the 2006 album 10,000 Days:

“Monkey killing monkey killing monkey.
Over pieces of the ground.
Silly monkeys give them thumbs.
They make a club.
And beat their brother, down.
How they survive so misguided is a mystery.
Repugnant is a creature who would squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven conscious of his fleeting time here.”

Whether or not there are extra-terrestrial beings out there is a topic on which I’m a happy fence-sitter. I desperately wish Star Wars and Star Trek represented a genuine reality. I have pored over all kinds of alien books over the years, from the terrifying Whitley Striber’s Communion to Gary Bates’s Alien Intrusion – a fascinating exploration of a Creationist Christian approach to alien abductions that envisages them as manifestations of ancient Biblical demons, and again, I’m not going to posit my own personal view on that (I don’t identify as a Creationist but know many people who do and I’m not interested in ridiculing or attacking people who hold to a different origins story). One of my most-consulted reference books is the Reader’s Digest Almanac of the Uncanny, a wonderfully inspiring illustrated chronology of human beliefs, superstitions and interpretations of the metaphysical realm. I have also seen unexplained lights in the sky (okay, in retrospect they were probably easily explainable, but at the time I was convinced I’d seen something uncanny), and I come from a part of the world where it was fairly common to encounter people who had a tale of UFOs or demonic manifestations. So, who knows? I’m happy to stay open-minded, as well as keep a little skeptical distance… and I try to be reflexive about the fact that my desire for UFOs to represent a real manifestation of other worlds within our universe mustn’t override my capacity to reason through it.