Rage Quit Your Nightmare

This post is not the planner post, either. Tangentially. Today’s picture is technically an art journal spread, but the insert is in a traveler’s notebook. Big Pink, to be exact, though I am also thinking about what I am going to name my new A6 planner, which is now the main writing notebook, also pink, and bigger than Big Pink. That’s not this post, either. Maybe that will be the planner post for April, and hopefully that will be next week.

Right now, the day is gray, not yet rainy, but hopefully soon. Rain is my second favorite weather, after snow. Even I am done with snow for the season. It can come back in late November. In the meantime, I am very happy to see rain. My goal for today is to power through the writing tasks, so that I can be ready for a 3PM library run (fingers crossed that volume 23 of Fruits Basket will have arrived) and hang out with Housemate. In the best of all possible worlds, I will also be able to get back to my art stuff, because that is where my brain is today.

Yeah, yeah, I can hear some of you saying, get to the Rage Quit Your Nightmare part. This is that. It’s also the tangentially planner related part of this post. Part of the way I learn things is to jump in with both feet, splash around, figure out what I’m doing, while I’m doing it, climb back out, make a plan, and then jump back in. This holds true for planning and art, as well as writing. It also ties into the whole branding thing from this past weekend’s CR-RWA meeting, which is still circling around in the back of my mind.

Okay. So. I want to say that it was last year that I fully embraced the whole planner/bullet journal/art journal sort of thing. I knew that I definitely wanted to do it, but how would I do it? That’s a much more complex question. The most important thing for me, in any putting ink on paper endeavor, is that it look/feel like me. Not that I am passionately dedicated to the art of self-portraiture, which I do not. More that I want what I put out to be authentic. Even, and maybe especially, the stuff that is only for myself, not outside eyes. Which, um, :points to picture above post: is not exactly pertinent here, but I’m going to roll with it.

Focus, Anna. Okay. Part of the jumping in and splashing about was grabbing inserts and such that looked even remotely interesting, while on a budget. This means getting a chance to get creative. Pick up things that could work, with a little tweaking, then put them where I think they might belong, and add stuff until it feels right. Often, when I’m doing this, that’s when the story stuff works itself out on its own, on my brain’s back burner. As with many of us, the clearance sections of stores that sell things I can use in the ink and paper arena, are my friends. Such place is where I found the insert for this picture.

I loved the color of the pages. The price was right. I did not get it, because the outside…ehhhhh, not feeling it. Still thought about the lovely pastel ombre inside pages, though, and, when it showed up in a swap with another paper obsessed friend, I figured this was a sign. I was also trying out a new size of insert, so it was a lot of new stuff all at once. There were also words where I did not necessarily need or want words to be, and the colors of covers, etc, eh, not always my thing. The “don’t quit your daydream” bit was one of those things with words where I didn’t want there to be words. I have issues with the dream/daydream terminology, so it’s not a phrase I would choose to put on something meant to inspire my own creative process.

I also didn’t want to have to slap something over it, in “Hey! I am covering something here!” fashion. Opposite action, steer into the skid. Embrace it. Draw a flowery border. Add more words. The first question that came to mind was, “what’s the opposite of that phrase?” Hence “Rage Quit Your Nightmare.”  That, I like. I like it a lot. What, exactly, does it mean to me? I would say I am still figuring that out, but I think I do have an idea on that one.

My nightmare would be not writing. Being published is great, and I hope to publish, or have published, many, many more books. At the same time, if I knew, today, that I would one hundred percent never ever get anything published, ever again, I’d still write. I would still write historical romance on my own, and I would still want to get together with Melva, to put together our two very different styles, to make something unique and fun. If the nightmare would be not-writing, then rage quitting that would be…? Writing, I imagine. Not sitting down to a duty, but remembering the love of the game.

Speaking of which, the pages are calling.

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Typing With Stuffed Paws: Anything That Doesn’t Look Like An Umbrella Edition

Greetings, foolish mortals. Sebastian Thunderpaws Hart-Bowling coming at you, with some of the stuff of the week that was, with special guest, Writer Chick. Why is Writer Chick here on Friday? Easy. She went to what Skye’s notes refer to as the people vet, and there was apparently medicine involved and she forgot what day was what day, and here we are. Anyway, what that means is that she did most of my work for me, so I will drop her link to last week’s Buried Under Romance here, and hand it on over.

Read it here.

Writer Chick also read this book, and will be reading these:

Current library TBR

I will pause (or paws) here for some fur-sonal maintenance, while Writer Chick has her say. Here’s the picture she had as her header:

The header that would have been….

Interior, coffee shop, day.

Two women, A and N, sit in a booth, with hot beverages and various art materials. Both hold pencils in hand, blank pages in front of them. A traces around the base of a plastic to-go lid, then sections the circle into pie-like sections.

N: (peers at A’s page) Is that your umbrella?

A: Hopefully.

N: Do you know how to draw an umbrella?

A: (deadpan) Yes. Erase everything that doesn’t look like an umbrella. :flips the lid, to add small arches to the inner edges of the circle, then erases parts of outer circle that do not look like an umbrella:

Annnd scene. :curtsies:

This scene, as you may have guessed, comes, as the best dramas do, from real life. Real life, in this case, meaning my real life, and my weekly breakfast with N. This week, it was an artist’s date (artists’ date, as there were two of us?) N brought the wrong paper, so ended up doing her sketch on regular notebook paper (spoiler: it looked fabulous anyway, and I want real versions of the dresses she sketched, please and thank you.

I, as promised, brought my new water=soluble crayons and watercolor paper, along with a pack of baby wipes (for the smushing around of colors) and mechanical pencil (for the drawing of things,) metal ruler (for the drawing of straight things) and fancy eraser (for erasing of drawn things that are in the wrong place.) The umbrella thing was a passing mention. IT’s for the cover image of my April monthly planner section, so, really, all I needed to do was sketch, and N wanted to see how the water-soluble crayons worked, and the background kind of happened on its own. The black blob in the corner was supposed to be another umbrella, but that didn’t work out so well, so now it’s…a shadow? Ominous cloud? Artistic license? Yeah, I’ll go with that.

We both drew, as we talked about writing, and both put some color on the pages. N had woodless colored pencils. These are new to me, and I am guessing they are colored pencil guts without the usual casing. I paid attention to the way she held the pencils (she is an artist of some years’ standing) and how she lay down the color, while I scribbled and glopped crayon onto my paper, then attacked it with baby wipes, turning aimless scribbles into soft washes that built on each other. We talked about stories we’d both like to write, vague terms for me, more specific ones for her, and the domestic tornadoes whirring through both our families, thankfully at lower levels.

When Mr. N came to retrieve us, he asked, as he always does, if we had a good meeting. N, as she always does, said that we did. She waxed (pun intended) rhapsodic about the crayons, and the store at which they might be purchased. Mr. N is, himself, an artist, so this is relevant to his interests as well. In time, they dropped me home. I touched base with Real Life Romance Hero, then dug out marker paper, to try the same design on another surface. Yep. Still works.

N did suggest that I could tilt the umbrella, to show it from an angle instead of straight on, and I may try that, later, but, for today, I am content to say that yes, I do know how to draw an umbrella. At least this umbrella, and that’s all I really need to know. Okay, except for the size of the monthly divider, but I can tackle that one another day.

TL:DR: Yes, I can draw an umbrella. Yes, this applies to writing. Yes, I am being purposely vague because I have to be out the door in five minutes. I have a picture of an umbrella, though, even with color, and a mood, from a certain perspective, and I am confident that I can draw it again. I can also write books. This is very useful, because I am a writer. Tell the story and don’t worry about all the fiddly other stuff.

Yeah, so that’s about it. I will direct Writer Chick back to one of her multiple calendars, and, hopefully, things will be back on track next week.


Peace Out,

Typing With Wet Claws: Art Journal Therapy Edition

Hello, all. Skye here, for another Typing With Wet Claws. Anty is still battling her very bad cold, but she thinks she is getting the upper hand on it, at last. I will keep you all posted.

When Anty finds it difficult to concentrate on writing but still wants to be creative, she can spend time with her art notebooks (most people say art journals.) Even when Anty finds putting words or images on the page too much  for her brain, she can still put down backgrounds, which is what she spent some time doing this week.

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This spread is only gesso and watercolor, but she still finds it very interesting. The page with different colors on it is leftover paint from other backgrounds brushed on top of gesso, and the page with only gray on it is gray watercolor painted over gesso into which she scratched lines into while it was still wet. I could have helped her with that. I have claws.

These pages are also backgrounds, or the starts of backgrounds. Anty does not have to know what is going to go on the page in the final version, but only concentrates on what feels right for what she is doing in the present. Sometimes, that means putting down a mask, to keep part of the page the original color while she puts other colors on top of it.

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Cropping is hard when you have paws…

Anty has learned that, when an art page is not working, it is due to one of two things:

  1. Not enough layers
  2. Clean sweep

Either Anty has not added enough things to the page for it to look right, or she needs to start over, completely fresh, with a clear idea of what her focus should be. Maybe she wants to see what kind of mark a pen or brush can make, or what she can do with a particular color of paint.  As you can see in the picture above, she has ripped out a few pages in her time. Sometimes they cannot be saved, but, usually, they can, by turning into something else.

Any really really loves a calendar she had a few years back, from PaPaYa! Art, so she wanted to use it as an altered book and add in her own art. One of the first things she thought she would do would be put a coat of gesso over the calendar pages, to make a new background. That was a good idea. What was not a good idea was to do all of them at once, and “protect” the wet pages by putting scrap paper in between them.

Well. She knows, now, that she needs to use wax paper when she does that. Back then, she did not know. To make matters worse, the pages she used were very very very bright blue. They had things printed on them, and she thought it might be interesting, once she figured out that the pages were now adhered to the calendar pages, to see if she could treat it like a gel medium resist and gently rub away the blue paper, leaving the words, and incorporate that in the art. That was not what happened.

What happened was that the warm water that dissolved the blue paper also dissolved part of the page beneath it. Some pages had to be torn out altogether, but, since they were already total losses, then she could use them to experiment with other techniques. Which often turns into something else she really can use, like this:

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The watercolor went over the parts of paper Anty could not rub off differently than it went over the parts of the page that were plain gesso, and even the part of the page that came off at the top could be interesting as a part of something else. Anty can use this page as part of a bigger page, or she can cut it down into smaller parts and use some or all of them as parts of several other pages or projects.

If you think this is where I remind Anty that this advice can carry over into writing as well, you are right. If a scene is not working out, either there are not enough layers, or it is time for a clean sweep. Go back to the idea at the heart of the scene and start over, with the heart of the idea in mind. Usually, one of those two things will do the trick, and she can fill the page with whatever it needs, then move on to the next.

My nursing duties call, so that is going to be about it for this week. Until next time, I remain very truly yours,

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Until next week…

Skye O’Malley Hart-Bowling
(the kitty, not the book)