Show & Tell

I entered my first art show!

Okay, technically, it’s my second show. The first was a small exhibit at the community center, while I was in high school. I took my family to see it and quickly realized my work was no where to be found. They accidentally forgot to include it or something. Neat.

So unless that happens again, this will be the first time my work is shown in public!

And I’m terrified!

I’m trying to remind myself that what I’m feeling is much more likely excitement than anxiety, but it’s tough to tell. Maybe I’ll know for sure when it’s over…

I actually have to muster up some courage each and every time I share my work on Instagram, Facebook or Etsy. EVERY TIME. It is never done spontaneously. I couldn’t handle it… Well, I’d handle it about as well as I am– knowing my work is moving from a tiny corner of the internet to a physical wall somewhere.

Plus, this wall happens to be in a particular building near a specific neighborhood during a prominent art event. An event that I only dreamed of participating in as a undergraduate art-school-drop-out-turned-philosophy-student.

I’m trying not to think about that part at all.

giphy

Summer Reading List 2018

I thought it would be fun to do another reading list this year!

Since there have been so many superhero movies and TV shows, it can be easy to forget that their is such a diversity of genres and characters in the illustrative medium. And while I love comic art, I struggle with keeping up with most of them, and these days that goes for the shows and movies too. (Now, I seem to have plenty of time to watch and re-watch World Cup matches right now, but that’s another story).

So, if you’re like me, and want to try a graphic novel or two but are intimidated by decades-old characters and multi-verses, here are a few well-loved alternatives. These are available as “trades” (paperback collections of issues), and can likely be found digitally, in the library, or at a bookstore.

Summer Reading 2018
Probably pretty obvious from some of the covers, but I’ll note that these are all fairly mature in theme or content. So use common sense and avoid gifting to any young persons, just sayin’.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
This series is still on-going, and has for a while, but don’t let that intimidate you. I’ve read the first three or four volumes and they are fantastic. It’s a beautifully illustrated series, featuring wonderful characters and a story with heart and excitement… Okay, so I’m a little fuzzy on details since I haven’t read it in a while. But it’s GOOD. Just trust me.

The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen
We treat our celebrities like gods-among-men. But what if they really were? That’s basically the initial premise of this British comic. But if that isn’t intriguing enough, the art itself makes it worth checking out. It’s gorgeous. I’ve given the first volume as a gift at least once, and it’s usually one of the first I list as a favorite graphic novel.

Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Weibe
This series was recommended to me, and I’m so glad I listened! It’s a fantasy story about a group of badass women, which is a refreshing “twist”. Admittedly the art can vary a bit and some of it’s not my favorite, but when it’s good it’s great!

Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick
I bought this one for the cover art and stayed for the story. Although, it’s the fake advertisements between issues that might be my favorite part. I’ve only read the first volume of this series, so I really only got a sample of it, but I can tell it’s going somewhere powerful.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
I have no hesitation in saying I saved the best for last. This two-book comic is one of my favorite books, of any genre. It’s an autobiography, and can get pretty intense, since it tells the story of one young woman’s experience during the Iranian Revolution. So yeah, not a light read. But definitely worthwhile.

So there you have it! My list of “something other than superheroes” graphic novels. If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to know what you think! And if there are any others you’d recommend, let me know in the comments below!

The Comfort Zone

You know that little voice in the back of your mind, that says things like “hey, don’t go to the party. You should bail. It will be awkward and you don’t know enough people. Just stay home, a quiet night in sounds great.” And then you go to the party, you don’t know anyone, and next time decide to politely decline and mope at home?

Yeah, I’ve learned to trust that voice.

That voice, that gut-instinct, is like the faintly audible beeping sensor of our comfort zone– like on a fancy new car that can park itself. BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Some people I’m sure treat their comfort zone as unnecessary, or a boundary that needs to be pushed. A comfort zone isn’t comfortable to them at all, but a sign that they are bored or something… I don’t know, as I’m very clearly not one of those people. #sorrynotsorry

Sometimes it can be great fun to push past those boundaries. Try something new. Learn something. Sometimes.

Other times, I’ve found that the comfort zone is less about sticking to the safety of my couch (although that’s good too) but it’s often about finding what is authentic to me. So comfortable that it’s almost boring (if it wasn’t so endearing). Like an soft, threadbare quilt. A safety blanket, as it were.

Sometimes the things that I think are boring and dull only seem that way because they are so pervasive in my life that I take them for granted. Conversely, the things that seem exciting and new are sometimes less bold choices and more just flashy distractions from what’s really important.

I don’t really know the point of saying all this. Honestly, it’s just things I was thinking about picking out a font for my new logo. It was a lot more challenging to decide what font was so clearly “Summer Child Designs” than it ever is to just pick up a pen and draw something. I thought that being authentic and myself would be natural and easy, but I actually spent a lot of time worrying about it. Is that pride? Vanity? Ego? I don’t know. But it really only worked out when I paid closer attention to the things that I had originally dismissed as boring. Those were the things that were most authentic and comfortable when I really noticed them.

Anyway, that’s all from me today! And of course, May the Fourth be with you!

An Artist’s Statement. Kinda.

What I thought was creative-block was actually a rather quiet imagination. I’m not really a dreamer, unless it’s day-dreaming (I don’t want to say I’ve spent hours staring off into whatever, but… yes, yes I have).

I think sometimes I expect my ideas to be super-complicated and outlandish. How about a…unicorn… riding a leopard… into a volcano… in a lightning storm? …Um, I mean, I guess I could. But probably not gonna happen.

When I’m paying attention, I notice that things that inspire me are fairly simple and calming. I’m drawn towards comfortable, and peaceful. Those are the things I tend to imagine as an artist, and aspire to in my personal life.

So, if you find yourself browsing my work online thinking “geez, this girl really likes flowers and desserts” and wondering if there is something more too it, the answer is: not really. Both of those things are awesome!

I hope I don’t sound defensive of my work. This is more of a super-informal artist’s statement, if anything. (Those were the worst in college by the way. I’m really glad I didn’t get far enough in the art program to have to write one of those! Yuck! (she says, sarcastically)).

But really, I just want to be one of those people on Instagram who lives by the ocean, cuddled up under blankets with tea and flowers and hardcover books, and a sh*t ton of freshly baked cookies. Is that too much to ask? I’ll take that over a crazy technicolor zombie-flamingo wonderland any day (although that sounds pretty cool now that I say it).

Hibernation & Motivation

I didn’t mean to disappear this winter.

I blame hygge (basically a version of coziness perfected by the Danes)…

So, I do my homework first and read up on it. I have candles lit and wooly socks on, and am crocheting a giant blanket. My house is clean for holiday gatherings, and everything is just so cute and sweet. I even get an illustration done, read a bunch, curate my wardrobe, and start to feel like everything I worked towards all year is finally coming together.

And then BAM, it’s January, and I haven’t taken a shower in days, I’m covered in all the blankets, and am basically eating Cheerios for as many meals as I can… What happened?!

I suspect I hygged too hard. I practically hibernated.

Okay, in all seriousness, it wasn’t hygge’s fault. It stopped being hygge the minute I stopped keeping the house tidy…

But the good news is that Spring will be here any day now. I can already tell that the days are getting longer and just a little bit brighter. For me, that makes such a difference!

It’s hard to will yourself to be creative. You can’t force or rush it — it just takes time. But this year, I’m really hoping that I can push myself to work more often and achieve bigger goals. I think last year I was overly optimistic — “I have an idea, yay!” But this year, the approach is “I don’t have an idea, but I’m going to work anyway.”

I’m already seeing a difference, and of course, am excited about it. In the last two weeks, I’ve created five new illustrations. And inspired or not, I’m sure there will be more on the way. Because if there is anything I’ve learned this year so far, it’s that we only get so much time, and I don’t want to waste mine on the couch.

Bring on Spring!

Switches & Dimmers

Switches & DimmersHello!

August was a total blur. There were visits from friends and family, and a birthday celebration (mine!). Plus I spent two weeks fighting a cold (and by “fighting,” I mean napping on the couch and watching 14 hours of documentary about the Roosevelts (highly recommend it, by the way)).

As far as colds go, it was pretty solid timing. I’ve been feeling 100% unmotivated lately. I knew what I needed to do to be productive, and I just couldn’t do it. I was completely uninspired and without discipline.

Fortunately, I had enough distraction with not-working; instead enjoying plenty of summer events with good company. Sure enough, it seemed the only thing that helped with the discomfort with not getting anything done, was not worrying about not getting anything done. Apparently I needed an unofficial, accidental, vacation…

So that’s what I did, kind of. And it was wonderful.

My family jokes that there are two types of people — switches and dimmers (as in light fixtures). My mother is a switch. When she’s “on” she’s go-go-go. She’s unstoppable, keeps going, until she’s exhausted. Then she pauses, takes a vacation (or fights a cold), and before we know it, she’s back to normal, marching ahead and blazing trails. On. Off.

I’m more like my father — a dimmer, as it were. There are some occasions and some things for which we go forth and conquer. But also, sometimes, we’re comfortable with a stroll, with watching the clouds go by, or telling the same well-loved story again. Occasionally, we too need to be “off” from everything, being particularly fond of napping. We have all kinds of variables of intensity, being dimmers. Not quite on, sometimes off.

After a year of being busy trying to get things started as an artist, and building momentum and a professional work-ethic, I seem to have forgotten my natural habits. Sure, hard work is super important, but I’ve decided it’s okay to not be “on” all time time too. I didn’t mean to take a vacation of sorts. For a while, it felt a lot like giving up and quitting…and probably looked like it too. Instead, I’m back and ready to go again, feeling more energized and enthusiastic than ever before!

I may have been “off” in August, but it’s “on” for September!

-Belinda

More About Summer

Hello!

So obviously from the last post, we established I view the Summer like this:

Schlitz
Schliiiitttzzz

But more accurately, it’s something like this:

olaf-frozen-summer
“…in sssuuuummmmer!” (Frozen 2013)

Sure, it looks lovely outside…and super inviting…and totally awesome.

But I’m not exactly built for it. At all.

For example, I have visited the pool exactly once so far, and managed to summon a random, isolated thunderstorm over my neighborhood. Even then, I still happened to get a little sunburned in that half hour and with like 70 SPF sunscreen! *grumbles*

Admittedly a lot of this summer is currently being spent curled up on the sofa, binge-watching Downton Abbey, reading a bunch of books, and learning new ways to draw. (I’ve given up on the office until it cools off a bit, as I fear I really could melt! 😉 )

I forgot how exciting book-reading is in the summer. I don’t know why, and I don’t know if it’s a girly thing, but the idea of a “beach read” is enchanting (no sand required!). And I do believe that there are books meant to be read in certain seasons of the year, and seasons of our lives.

So, yet again I will put on my rose-colored glasses and celebrate that sitting in the shade anywhere (even indoors) and reading a good book is as summery as it gets! Here are a few “summer books” that I’ve enjoyed (or am currently reading).

Legally_Blonde
Elle Woods knows what’s up.  (Legally Blonde 2001)

 

Hondo by Louis L’Amour

I do not usually read Westerns. I don’t even remember buying this book, but it was on my Kindle anyway and I thought I’d give it a try… And it’s not perfect. It’s definitely dated– not just historical fiction, but written in the 50’s. And not exactly progressive… BUT if you can look past that, it’s surprisingly well written. The rough, desert landscapes of the Southwest actually feel like the main character in this story.

At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe by Tsh Oxenreider

I have not read this one yet, but am super excited to do so! The author took her family on a nine-month trip around the world. As someone who dislikes flying, hasn’t left the country, and literally can’t even imagine having to do either with children in tow– I’m looking forward to living vicariously through this book from the comfort of my sofa.

Gracious: A Practical Primer on Charm, Tact, and Unsinkable Strength by Kelly Williams Brown

This one I’m currently reading, and I absolutely love it. It is a gem. So far it has made me laugh out loud (literally), been 100% quotable, and made me tear up a little. Not only does it inspire me to be a better person, but it demonstrates how. The only way I could enjoy this book more is if my home had a sunny wrap-around porch to read it on, while sipping fresh-squeezed lemonade, y’all.

So, what are you reading? Do you have any favorite summer books?

-Belinda