Where’s The Key Alice? Work in Progress!

Today, I want to talk about my latest photomanipulation.  This post, of course, comes later than the creation I uploaded on DeviantART, simply because I haven’t had the time to write it up.  Life, as always, has been busy.  But lately, it’s been so much busier because asides from researching, I’ve been writing.  Oh yes.  I’ve been writing, and it’s taking such an immense amount of my concentration, I can’t even think beyond my day life (researching), and for the moment, night life (writing project: Golden Phoenix).  But sometime over the last month, I’d managed to find the time to do this:

Where's the Key Alice by N-arteest

My second greatest feat since I returned back to doing what a hobby artist does in her spare time: create, is Where’s the Key Alice?  

Creating something big, wonderful, and beautiful, takes a painstaking amount of time out of one’s day.  While I won’t say that what I make is beautiful, but I do feel extremely proud of my accomplishments.  Until, of course the next one, which makes the previous one seem like it needs a lot of work! Haha.

Every time I come back to creating something new, I find myself improved over time.  This is probably very normal, and is, like with most things, writing, reading, singing, dancing, probably influenced by the changes that have occurred in our lives, that gives us a new perspective on the world.  For me, I just got a little bit older, and hopefully, a little bit wiser.  Every day, though, I still fear the thought of losing yesterday (like the poem I wrote: Voices of Yesterday), of having my world become clear and focussed, rather than that beautiful rosy tint. I don’t, obviously, want to go back to being a child.  I like growing up.  But I don’t want to lose the endless daydreams of childhood, or the boundless abundance of hope that filled them.

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Time is such a precious commodity. I know I spend a lot of time thinking, I’m wasting time sitting here!  Eating is a waste of time!  Why am I wasting my time right now?  Every moment counts.

But some days.  We just need to sit back.  Relax.  It might be hard.  But there is a whole world in front of you.  And just maybe something will inspire you.  If you push yourself to the limit, you will go mad!  Or become so overstressed by the problems that are attacking you from left to right.  I would say get organised!  But maybe what you need is a little disorganisation?  Something to break up the chock-a-block routine you have going, and to completely disrupt your system until it’s in complete smithereens, and all you can do is think…I’ve had.  I’m going to take that damn break.  And maybe, like Forest Gump, you might want to run back and forth across the country, think things through, until sudden you stop, and realise.  That’s it.  I don’t need to think anymore.

Working on Where’s the Key Alice? became my spontaneous inspirational-drop-everything-else break.  Sure I had my research up in the day and I was researching and thinking and reading.  But I also had a jpg of my project up so I could stare at it and analyse what could be eliminated and what could be added.  At some points, I put it away and turned to my research, and found myself thinking…oh…now I didn’t think about that before.  And at night, I spent most of my time piecing and unpiecing, editing, and blending my gigantic mess, all the while, my writing project is open in the background, to glance at every so often, but with no pressure for me to really think about it.  Since there was no need.  Writing comes when it comes.  You don’t force it.  Otherwise you might want to get a pair of scissors and stab the screen for its corniness, or lameness.

So I focussed, with no real solid idea in mind, except that I was inspired while randomly looking for garden pics.  I came across this picture with a fairy girl hunched over a book, and beside her was a great sleeping dragon of some sort.  Overall the composition was very simple.  But I liked this idea of a secret garden.  A second scene to the first Which Way Alice which I really didn’t plan to make a sequel of.

Which Way Alice by N-arteest

Unfortunately, the hair on the two ‘Alices’ look different, because I was trying a different technique.  The feel between them is different too.  However, if I were to ever make it into a series (depending on whether I’m inspired or not), there’d definitely be an explanation! But now that they’re both done and next to each other, I feel like the second one, is the first scene, and the first is the second!

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And now, for the works in progress!  I think I should counted how many layers I used, but in the end, I lost track.  I do know there is at least 100!

So.  Part 1: The Background.  The background in my works is usually just piecing stock photos together, blending it into a much bigger scenery, one that’ll match my imagination.  Unlike with Which Way Alice? I didn’t change my design after I began it.  Right from the beginning, I was pretty set on my idea.  The question was, how do I do it?  when it comes to photomanipulation, the best thing is to have good stock.   It doesn’t have to have the best lighting, or even the best angle, so long as it fits your idea and you can manipulate it realistically.  Lighting you can edit later.

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Above, is the first part, and which I called ‘background’ when I was layering my image.  Since I use many pictures to create a bigger picture, many little elements blended to be one, there are alot of layers.  Coupled with the fact that I use clipped layers for each one to adjust the Colour Balance, it can get a little messy.  So I divide my picture into sections. For Where’s the Key Alice, I went from left to right, and grouped the sections according to an approximate third of the pic.  At the moment, there’s only the colour change applied.  2

The next part of the background, was the middle ground and I wanted waterfalls. I’ve always wanted to manipulate a photo to have an amazing waterfall!  But as you can see, I’m getting there!  Colour Balance again.  You want to have a nice even colour scheme overall.  Mine was aiming for a vivia entrancing, luxurious green for the flora, and a mysterious magical blue-green for the waterfall.

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And of course, a stone mini castle there at the edge of the waterfall.  I wanted to add as many pathways as possible too, since to me, mostly, I love pathways.  I love lots of meandering paths, and misleading doors, that bring up the questions of which way?  4

The Foreground.  Above, we have the last part of the picture.  Originally, I’d enlarged the floating island so that it was at the very forefront of the picture, however, since I wanted to show it floating, I had to shrink it.  Which may have been for the better, but I feel, here, I might have erred, since you can’t see the writing on the lamp post as clearly.  And most of that is important.  Important to the floating island, is the doorway seemingly to another world. This, I definitely, absolutely wanted to add, because the calm of the scenery inside the archway was to contrast against the beauty outside.

5Lighting!  And adding in all the details.  Like the lights, the glow of the lamps.  The faeries.  I brightened up the image using the burn and dodge tool, adding in shadows in some places, and then dodging others to be brighter.

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Stone angels were inserted for their significance.  Just like the other image (Which way Alice) there are exactly 3.  Death is also present.

And now, below, for the Close Ups! The first is of the left side of the picture, by the crystal fountain.  I did blend in sun rays, because I wanted the light shining through, blindingly and brilliantly.  Here as you can see, in the light of the crystal fountain, the shadow of death is waiting along the path.  Just another obstacle along the way.  I still think I probably overdid it with the crystal fountain, and also think I tried something too early too soon.  But hey, when you’re constantly honing your skills, it’s all about the trial and error!  The faeries are all different sizes though,I deliberately did like that because well, they’re magical beings, no need to be rational there!

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Sorry, my WIP kind of went astray and I didn’t talk about the techniques I used as much, but I’ve never really been very good at describing them.  After all, I’ve only just learnt half of the techniques I used for Where’s the Key Alice and Which Way Alice recently myself!  Plus, my method is really very simple, and learnt from tutorials online.  But if you want to know more, let me know!  I will try and whip one up!  Since I know, sometimes tutorials aren’t all that useful, because they’re bam, bam, bam, and unless you’re trialling and errorring, you don’t really know what they’re talking about.

Main Tools of Use:

  • Photoshop (I use C2 since that was the one version of photoshop I first fell in love with!  But I do want to upgrade to the latest since the newer update has a tool I really want to use!)
  • DeviantART stocks and resources (absolutely fabulous)
  • My brain (yes, I did use this, and though it’s obvious, I figure I’d add it in ;P)

I had a lot of fun making this.  And it’s now my laptop wallpaper.  It’s a completed thing, but my skills, like always, are a work in progress.  Everything in life is a work in progress. Nothing is ever truly finished!  When you put your mind to it, you can create something amazing that you didn’t think you could, and when you get older, you can look back and think, wow, I can’t believe I did that then, look what I can do now?  For me, that’s how I hope I’ll see the things I did this year, last year, back when I was 15, in 20 or 30 years time.

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**NOTE: All stocks used for “Where’s The Key Alice” are listed on DeviantART (Another link for you: HERE.  And wow.  I’m amazed.  It’s taken me a few hours to write this all up, and WordPress has autosaved it for me 84 times!  I don’t know why, but I find it quite impressive!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

So this is a little early, but I want to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone who follows my blog, who has come past my blog and liked a post, who are friends of mine, and to everyone!

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With the new year almost upon me again, I’ve been looking back over my blog.  This year, I’ve noticed I haven’t been around much, and for that, I’m sorry!  If you follow my blog, then you know I love being around!  This blog is my baby. Just like my laptop, anything I write, and the book club I host with Sam!

 

And Now Some Quotes!  

For the New Year, I will be keeping these quotes in mind, for this year has turned out so much harder than I expected, for a variety of reasons.

From Alfred Tennyson….. 

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

From Oprah Winfrey…

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

From Edith Lovejoy Pierce…

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

And One From Me:

Never Give Up.  

Every year is hard.  The new year is the one time of the year when you can give yourself that resolution to either chug along, or change something.  I can’t say it’ll be successful, I’m not a motivator.  I’m just a girl going about life.  And this past year, hasn’t been the best.  But there’s no point thinking that next year will be worse.  I’m going to think positive, and believe, really believe, deep down inside of me, where my optimism meter is at its lowest already, and I’m going to drag it out.  I’m going to believe with all I have left, that next year will be better.  Because tomorrow will be the first day of the new year, the doorway to change.  If change is what we want.  Me:  I need a bit more courage, a bit more confidence, and plenty of determination.

Growing up.  Getting older.  No matter how old you are.  Gets harder every year.  But I always want to remember the Voices of Yesterday.

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Resolutions

This year, I wrote a post about my New Years Resolutions.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t manage to completely stick with my resolutions!  Let’s dissect my resolutions from last year:

[1] I will read at least 3 debut novels this year (having failed to do so in the previous years, I’m adamant about it this year).  This will probably be one of my personal reading challenges for The Quarterly Book Club.

I did it!  Omg, I’m surprised with myself!  I’ve read a total of 108 books this year, but I didn’t know how many debut novels I read.  But, checking over my challenge shelf in QBC over on Goodreads, I have indeed read 3 2015 debut novels.  I read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, and Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff.  All of them were very interesting, entertaining, and great debut novels!

[2] I’m going to read at least 3 classics (I think I only read one last year).  This one too.

This one, I absolutely and utterly failed.  I honestly am ashamed of myself for not spending at least five days reading a great classic!  I can’t believe it!  I didn’t read one single classic this year! Granted, I did start Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.  But that itself is not finished.  Which brings me to–

[3] I’m going to read Lord of the Rings (I read the first line of the Two Towers earlier after seeing the Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and realised, I might actually really want to read it – for those who read the Grinch Book Tag it’s a book that’s been on my shelf for years).  And this one as well!

-______- I failed.  Epically.  However, I am still reading it, and about halfway through!

[4] I plan to post stories this year.  I have a story I’ve been working on, and to face my fear of sharing lengthier works, I’m going to definitely post it this time.

I did this!  A bit, but waned towards the second half of the year.  However, this I still intend to continue, since The Curse Mark still has a few more chapters before it reaches the part where I stopped writing (putting it on hiatus).

[5] Even if postgrad takes my time, I do not plan to go on such a long hiatus in 2015 like I did in 2014, I missed this blog too much.

I started my postgrad about six months ago now, and for the past year, according to my stats–and thankfully I have my annual report to look at!  This year I posted 130 times.  Whereas in 2014, I posted only 102 times.  So better!  And also, I was only more consistently this year compared to last year.  In 2014, I disappeared for 3 months.  But this year, I didn’t disappear for more than three weeks or so!

I think, for 2015 New Years resolutions, I did a good job.  What are my resolutions for Next Year?  Truthfully I haven’t decided yet, but I will within the next week! What are some of your New Years Resolutions? 

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And that’s it!  I leave you with:

And I still like Lea Michele’s rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

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Oh!  And of course, again, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Goodbye 2015!  I hope you all have a great one, and that your new year’s eve shall be full of fun, celebration and champagne!

Signing off for the rest of today and year,

Your Always Here, Waterblogging wordy blogger,

   Nina   

Which Way Alice?

As promised!  Here is the final result of my procrastination, as mentioned here weeks back–> Procrastination, Thesis Diaries Part 4? I had to wait a while to upload it for two reasons: 1) I’ve been busy.  Busy, it seems to be the common denominator for every fraction of each day that comes.  So while I schedule well, some things just take time!  And making sure I credit every person whose stock resources made it possible, required ALOT of time.  I’ve always found linking to be such a pain, but well, they all deserve credit!  2) I had to wait because I had three other works to upload first.  And it seems I’m a bit of a sucker for doing things in a particular order.  My water photomanipulation series needed uploading before I could upload Which Way Alice?  since after all, I did create them first: Sweet Surrender, Euphoria, and Emancipation.

Here it is:  Which Way Alice?  The completed version!

And also, to go with it, a micro poem I wrote on Twitter:

She stared at the pathways

Running away from her

Stretching terrifyingly into the unknown…

Which Way Alice?

The above is a photomanipulation, which, were I much better at painting with a brush and a canvas, I would have love to do by hand (but alas, I am not good at all with a brush, lack the patience and skill to do it by hand, and do not think a finelined version would be worthy, thus, I went to my trusty laptop, opened up photoshop and decided to go from there).  Although I called this ‘Which Way Alice’ this one isn’t really an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ scene.  But rather, it’s based on the idea of Alice in Wonderland, and grew to be something else entirely (as one has probably gathered if you’ve read my Procrastination post).

When I started out with this, I began with two thoughts:
1) An Alice image, a girl in wonderland.
2) An image about a girl who has a number of choices in front of her, all looking decidedly positive and good..  But which one is the right one?

I had a thought of making this available as a print on DA, but as I’ve never before wanted something printed, I don’t know.  But maybe, if I get enough views, I will seek out the necessary permissions and make this available as a print.  As for now!  This has been made as a 1366×768 sized wallpaper (and of which is currently set as my laptop wallpaper, as I’ve mentioned previously, I love being able to make my own wallpapers and really loving them too).  Hmm I’d actually love to have this as a jigsaw puzzle lol.  Maybe one day, for my kids if I ever have any! Haha.

Of course, I could still improve on this!  But this is the first time I’ve done something so detailed in terms of photomanipulation.  I never thought I could, but well!

Credits: Please go through to my DA page for the credits: Which Way Alice?

Procrastination. Thesis Diaries part 4?

Oh dear…this topic…I bring it up, sadly, because over the last few days, despite the scholarly book in front of me, and the articles up in various tabs on my computer, I haven’t felt like I’ve read much.  Instead, I horrify myself by spending hours and hours on something else….namely, a little project in photoshop.  I don’t know what possessed me to do so, but the other day, sometime either Thursday or Friday last week, I became obsessed with the idea of REALLY trying to create an indepth, detailed wallpaper.  Though, this time, not for my own computer.  I just used the 1366 x 768 dimensions as a foundation.  I really don’t know what possessed me.  It was spontaneous, nutty, and obsessive.  And at the same time, it wasn’t like I wasn’t studying.  I was.  But that’s the problem you see, since although I did do reading, and I did scan through texts, I didn’t do half as much as I probably could if I spent the whole day focussed.

But well.  From Bachelors to Honours to now, PhD, procrastination has become a bigger and bigger problem for me.  And I know why.  It’s because unlike my mum, I don’t believe in having to study all day.  I believe in taking breaks.  Spend an hour reading to a certain page of my book, then take an hour break.  Or depending on the mood.  If stressed, restrict my break time to lunch time, and spend the morning accomplishing a number of goals.  More than anything, I hate feeling like I’ve done nothing!  And so, for many years now, I’ve learnt that it’s important to have these mini goals.  Today, I haven’t really done much.  But yesterday, I made it a goal to finish off the last 30 odd pages of a book I was reading that had been suggested by my associate supervisor (down under, we have two supervisors, one is Main, and the other is the associate), and read one article, as well as go through a few pages of a text I’m looking at.  I did that, and I also got a little further on something else.

Remember I said something came over me?  Well this is what I was working on for many hours–thankfully I don’t study after dinner.  I only study during the day when my head is screwed on tightest, unlike at night, where friends are prone to receiving, odd, nonsensical text messages from me–clearly, I can’t think half as well.  The good thing about not being able to study in the evenings is that I can take on private tutoring and other night shifts for the moment.  And on days with nothing like that of the sort, and since at current, my social life is nil since all my friends are busy with their own careers (there’s just something about this time of the year that has everyone in a frenzy), it’s a perfect time for working on other things.   Such as digital art in Photoshop.  I’ve always been interested in it, but never really had the courage or time to explore various techniques in the past.  In the past, it was always much easier to just get out the sketchbook and draw with pencil and fineliner.  These days I don’t have as much time (and apparently I stress less if I have the laptop in front of me….maybe it’s because everything is digitally stored in soft copy everywhere), and yet have more time to explore and experiment with photoshop.

And so when the desire hit, I just went with it.  My nights over the last few days have been dedicated to this project, which!  I will we be uploading onto my DeviantART Profile here: N-arteest with a full description and list of credits for the stock used.  But for now, because I’m writing this here in a very brief procrastination post about procrastination, lord knows why I’m doing such a thing, I’ll post a few of the Work In Progress images ;).  My dear readers, this is my little gift to you, and well, I’m just really glad it’s mostly finished now.  I can’t believe it took around 12 – 14hrs approx to complete (mostly because I only worked on it at night, and I changed my mind several times, particularly about how it would look.)

The Original Concept

Work in progress 1

This is the original concept I had.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, since I had all these beautiful stock images, some of which I blended together (Like on the right) yet, left me with no wiggle space as to what to do next.  I was so frustrated by this, I didn’t know what to do, so I spent the next day…while reading, and trying to draw lines with all the dots of information I had for my PhD research, thinking about what I wanted to conceptualise in my wallpaper digital thingy!

Work in progress 2

I changed my concept to this.  With a giant stone plinth covered in moss.  And I started thinking of a ‘Which Way Alice’.  Something that was also sparking in my head the day before, with all the paths I had laid out for the female.  So what if I made a concept based on someone given a variety of choices?  And then I started thinking about myself, and about the future, and about the choices we can all potentially make that might seem good, but aren’t.  I mean, even in the original concept I was already considering the idea of making all the various paths seem innocent, yet really, in the depths, it’d show some silent warnings.  The hidden dangers.

Work in progress 3

I’ve added the Archways here, and there, you can see the original concepts there too ^^.   With ‘Alice’ looking on, perhaps wondering which way is the right way to go.

Work in progress 4

And the Last Screenshot here, the last sneak peak before the whole thing goes up on my DA, I’ve gone in for a close up.  The lamp post.  I didn’t know how I would do this part, but when I saw the stock, I knew I wanted a lamp post.  I originally had a vague image in my head of signs surrounding Alice, each one saying something seductive about the various entrances.  But in the end, this is what was conceived.  A sign.  And signs, with a few little touches.  There’s what seems like blood, red paint of some such covering over the part of the signs that says ‘warning’, ‘danger’, and ‘the Future’.  On the other side, there’s the sign labelling the Way Back.  But of course, there’s a chicken standing on it.

In a way, this was kind of related to my PhD, not that I’m doing something based on Alice in Wonderland or anything.  Nor is my research an art project.  But there are similar themes between this and that that seem familiar to me, and in a way, for me to feel less guilty about spending so many hours procrastinating–which I still did because during the day, during breaks, I sometimes scrolled through a whole bunch of stock images when I should have been reading.

And well, yes, I should add here, to sign off for today, that it’s bad to procrastinate!  But we all know that’s a lie.  WE can’t help procrastinating.  Rather, it’s how you manage it, how you tone down the stress and guilt, and do enough research, as well as take enough breaks that’s important.  Burning out early on, with Passion turning into a Passionate Hate, isn’t how you want to spend the three-four years of your PhD.

Passion. Thesis Diaries part 3?

This time will DEFINITELY be short!

I have really only one thing to say.  Being around 3 months into my PhD, I have learnt (though I already knew, seeing as I can’t help but think about things in the long term) that when it comes to your Doctor of Philosophy, and to all the years you’ll spend doing it, the most important thing is this:  Passion.  You have to love what you want to do, have to want to study it immensely, have to have the desire to make a change about something (even if it’s really small, that’s fine! Just don’t think about a Nobel Prize just yet–you’re not ready, or that might be too big a goal if you’re just starting out), and most of all, you absolutely cannot think ‘This sucks. This is boring.  It’s so bloody dry.  I hate this.’

There are a lot of pressures of life, I’m beginning to notice that will make one think about the ‘job opportunities’ that lay at the other end of the continuum–things like financial situation, peer and parental pressure, reality.  Those sorts of things.  But while, I can’t really say so myself, not really, since I haven’t yet passed all my lifetime milestones, I do want to say this.  I want to be able to say next year, or the year after, or the year after that, that I love what I’m doing.  I want to be able to light up, have sparkles in my eyes, and good hair, when I say ‘I have no regrets’ with the choice I made–one that, in the beginning, may not have been very  practical at all.  Yet it’s the fact that there was Passion that makes me light up like that.

Even though it’s hard, and sometimes inconceivable, I want to be able to make choices in the future that aren’t half-heartedly, that are full of careful thought and reckless yet passionate choices.  It’ll be hard.  But before I even began my PhD, I never wanted to not do it.  Even if I faltered half a dozen times and had to endure a long and agonising wait for my application to be processed.

In the end though–particularly today as I sat with my Supervisors in our almost monthly meetings, I could feel it in the air.  I just couldn’t shut up about what I felt and thought even though my brain kept telling my mouth ‘you’re boring people!’  It just kept flowing out of me, what I loved and what I found so far.  And I knew in that moment, I didn’t want to be studying any other topic.  This topic is mine.  I thought it up.  I picked the area.  And though it might seem like an English Literature research, I will definitely make it Linguistics.  This topic is mine.  And I will make it significant in the future, even though I am soooooooo daunted right now, I’m a bit scared I might wet my pants, and I have never done that ever.

So.  (And crap, because bloody hell, this was longer than I had planned!)  Passion.  Find a topic you’re really passionate about when it comes to postgraduate studies, don’t just pick from a list–unless you’re someone who grows into the topic and becomes passionate later on–it’ll just kill you over the two (masters/depends on the masters course) or three (or four or more depending on the PhD course).  Pick something you’ll love–it’ll define you later.  And you don’t want to hate it, right?

It’s Out!!! — Lazy Day Writing, the Literary Journal

AHHHHHHH IT’S OUT!  A new Literary Journal that accepts writers of all ages, background and experience and gives them a chance to share their work with other readers and writers.  And guess who submitted one of their short stories to this Journal? Me!!!  I’m published!  Guys I’m published!  This feels amazing!  And I was so excited!  So of course, I want to share this all with you :). (Even if it’s one short story in a new journal, it still counts, plus I love the feeling I get from this journal–you know how you can get a ‘feeling’ about a good journal and a bad one?  Well I had a good one here!)

Now, the story I published, called A Story in Time: New Years Wishes is actually not a new story for you, my lovely followers.  You may have remembered me publishing here for the New Year of 2014:

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part One.

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part Two.

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part Three.

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part Four.

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part Five.

However, the story I submitted to Lazy Day Writing has been edited a little and expanding 😉 .  So feel free to take a look!  It’s free to download (though only PDF for now) and it’s full of some of the most interesting stories :).  I’m hoping the journal continues running, because it’s a great idea!  Furthermore, the Editor has done a great job with the whole journal.

Redecorating!

It seems like a week for redecorating, changing things around and trying something new.  It has also been a very odd week for me too.  Earlier this week for example, I was having lunch with a friend, and silly me, I’m not sure how it happened, but I almost walked out without paying!  Thankfully my friend (most gorgeous and adorable best friend of mine!) was there to pull me in the right direction, that is: the cashiers.  The desk where I hastily pulled out my share of lunch and laughed off my dd spate of forgetfulness.

As for redecorating.  I’ve been in a mood to redesign my Words That Flow Like Water Logo.  And not just that, I made it my business to also make time to make a new header!  In the beginning, when I first started this blog, I was admittedly quite shy about putting my own works up.  I didn’t really want to put my own sketches where it seemed like I was boasting, and being overly proud of artwork which while not brilliant, are things I just so happen to like sketching.  So I kept it pretty minimal.  But lately, over the last year or so, I’ve been feeling a little bit more confident.  I just love how you can see the personal development in skill whenever I look through my old sketches or read over old work–it’s a wonderful feeling to feel like I’ve accomplished something!

For example, my original Blog logo:

I remember drawing that in 2011, as I was attempting to hone my skills.  I was getting there slowly with different body positions and things I hadn’t really explored previously.  Now, the new and improved drawing, updated as a my Blog’s logo:

Avatar copy 2

Creative tools: – hand sketch and ink – Photoshop – Starwalt Brushes from DeviantARTRedheadstock rose brushes from DeviantART

I was surprised at how much my sketch style changed when I sketched out the new logo.  Not only that, I was pleased to find how much easier it was to draw such a body position for my main figure!  Not only that, I’ve clearly become much more skilled at drawing hands–this was one of my worst skills before, one I didn’t think I’d ever improve on.

Guess it goes to show how much one can achieve given time and hard work honing existing skills!  I always believe in bettering oneself, and that there is always room for improvement.  This goes for writing as much as it does for art.  Same with attitudes to life :).  If it’s looking down, then surely, it’ll look up at one stage!

Lastly, as for redecorating, I finally got round to making a Header for WTFLW.  I didn’t know how it would look, and I always wanted to stay away from using brushes from DeviantART, thus the result is quite different to my logo.  I’m not sure if I’m too happy with it, but I like for now.

What do you think?

Undoubtedly it has a similar feel to the masthead I made for The Quarterly Book Club but this is primarily because WTFLW is mainly water and blue orientated.  The writing (written in my own hand!) in the background are actually taken from here: The Dream Weaver in which I used Edgar Allen Poe’s poem Dreams as part of the background (not brilliantly thought out, but that’s where the writing comes from!)  I shall perhaps redo the banner, make it simpler or perhaps even scrap it and start again because of course! although I like it, my need to make it perfect has struck!

My dear followers, fellow bloggers, friends and random visitors!  I hope you are all well, and that life is going well for you.  If not, I hope it gets better, just like I hope mine is going where I want it to :).

I will be posting a poem next!  (Well I hope.  I’ve been getting bursts of inspiration, but nothing has been fully formed yet!

Very Inspiring Blog Award; One Lovely Blog Award; & Versatile Blogger Award

Hi All, so I’ve been given the pleasure of receiving to lovely awards recently, and I must really thank Aquileana @ aquileana.wordpress.com, Liam @ LiamsLibrary and Emma@Emdoesbookreviews for the following awards.  Thank you both so much!  And Congratulations to all I nominate, which I hope covers a lot, but knowing how many blogs I see every day, I know there will be a lot of unmentioned, yet wonderful and amazing blogs out there!  Also, I would like to point out, I nominate each and everyone of these blogs to show how much I admire and appreciate one.  If you have been nominated and don’t accept awards, then please accept my appreciation for your blog in its stead and don’t worry about the technicalities 🙂 , and know that I wish to share it with others.  So thank you all for having such wonderful blogs.   Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

 Thank You again Aquileana for this beautiful award.

►Here are the Awards Rules for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

1) The nominee shall display the respective logo on her/his blog and link to the blogger that has nominated her/him.

2) The nominee shall nominate fifteen (15) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about the nomination.

3) The nominee has to answer these seven (7)  questions.

THE QUESTIONS:

1. Who is your favorite public figure? My favourite public figure?  That would be Georgette Heyer, I guess.
2. What do you like most? I like weaving stories the most, but then, there are a lot of things I like the most.  I like stopping and looking at the clouds, and taking pictures of them.  There’s something so wonderfully ordinary about them.
3. Do you follow trends?  Not really.  In fact, whether its books, movies, certain slang, clothes, etc, I’m pretty much behind all the time.  I prefer my own things, and moving at my own pace.  I’d rather not have to follow something just because it’s a trend.
4. What do you do when someone gets angry? Depending on who, I would try and be as calm as possible.
5. What have you loved most?  Why is this question so hard to answer???  And I can firmly say I have no one thing that I  loved most.  I have too many things I loved.  Is it odd to say that the thing I loved the most was my old laptop?  It saw me through good and bad writing times, and sure it’s just a piece of technology, but it was the very first personal item that I owned that I could indeed write my stories on without an old fashioned pen and paper.
6. Do you have causes?  No, not really.  
7. What quality do you admire most?  In people? Honesty.  I like it when people can just be themselves.  How ordinary, but yet, that is how I feel.  In books, emotion.  I want to feel the emotions of character, and it doesn’t matter how many times a plot like that is done, so long as the character is well formed, and expressive, as well as relatable, then I will love the story.

THE NOMINEES:

1. Poison For The Senses

2.  I Am A Writing Monkey

3.  Story Smitten

4. RenxKyoko’s Space

5.  Walking with the Alligators

6. Retireediary

7. Dock Kitty

8. Terry1954

9. Kindness Blog

10. Good Time Stories

11. You’ve Been Jaded

12. Written Word Worlds

13.  Flashlight City Blues

14.  Emdoesbookreviews

15.  Battered Wife Seeking Better Life

one-lovely-blog-award1

Thank you Liam for this Lovely Award!

Here are the guidelines:

1) Thank the person who nominated you for the award.

2) Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post and/or blog.

3) Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.

4) Nominate 5 bloggers you admire.

THE SEVEN FACTS:

1.  In summer, there is nothing more acceptable than a good pile of figs to eat, I love figs the most during summer.

2.  Most of the books I read come from the library, and all those that I own but haven’t read, have a tendency to sit on my shelf for a long period of time before I can bring myself to read them.

3.  I have a tendency to be clingy with the things I love the most (though in a relationship I will hold back to give space, but make sure that I love my partner alot of course!) ad find it difficult to part with them, even though they’re old or broken or not really much use any more.  Hence why I tend to have the same piece of technology for six years and more.

4.  I eat rice with almost anything, but if I have a dinner meal that doesn’t consist of rice (and perhaps another kind of grain) then I’ll most likely be hungry throughout the night.  It’s funny, even though I only eat rice with perhaps some small side dish, I’d still be fuller than when I eat a dinner meal (might be a full dish) without it.

5.  I like to go cloud gazing.  Not just for the shapes, but because I like seeing the different patterns in the sky.  And you’ll probably more often than not see more pictures of clouds in my phone than of people.

6.  Even though I’m Pisces, I don’t exactly like eating fish.  But this might be related to the fact that we cook fish whole at home rather than filleting them, and because of that, I find it incredibly troublesome, avoiding all those bones, big and small, just to eat my fish.

7.  While I’m on the topic of food, I actually have a very economic diet.  I eat enough for each meal, snack in between but would be pretty happy to go without food in between meals.

THE NOMINEES:

1)  Apple Pie and Napalm  — Great Blog, and love the name and design too!

2)  The Savvy Senorita — A lovely blog indeed!

3) The Happy Lifeaholic –What can I say?

4) Harvesting Hecate — Always lovely!

5) Leanne Cole Photography — Beautiful as always.

versatile-blogger-award versatile-blogger-award-pic

Thank You Emma for this wonderful Award!

HERE ARE THE RULES:

1. Show the award on your blog

2. Thank the person that has nominated you.

3. Share 7 different facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 blogs of your choice

5. Link your nominees and let them know of your nomination.

THE SEVEN FACTS (additional, well aren’t you lucky to learn a bit more about me? 😛 ):

1)  I have been to 2 primary schools, 3 high schools (since I’m in Australia, that’s including middle school, and none of my high schools, I’ve actually attended twice), and 1 university.

2)  I’m obsessed with Eurovision and must catch it every year.

3)  I have three dogs, two of whom are still puppies, and adorable little rats.  They’re all part Jack Russell, the two pups though, are half pomeranian.

4)  Did I mention clouds?  Oh yes I did lol.   Well okay, here’s another cloud fact about me, I did my yr 12 art-photography portfolio on cloudscapes.

5)  Reading is good for writing.  Writing is good for writing.  But reflection is the best for writing.  Thinking about what you’re writing and then making the changes to improve it.

6)  I pretty much have a very open minded taste of all things and usually am willing try anything (any genre, or type) when it comes to movies, books and other creative stuff.  I don’t believe in restricting oneself to one genre or style or type, it doesn’t allow for development nor for a wider scope of what’s actually available to read out there.

7) Which brings me to my last fact on this page.  I love my Book Club:  The Quarterly Book Club and can’t wait to experiment with books I never thought about reading (which despite my previous fact, is a lot.  Since there are times where even I dismiss something based on the cover or premise).  P.s.  I know, it’s shameless advertising the Quarterly Book Club, but hey, I believe in and want to have as many book discussions with any and every one who wants to!

THE 15 NOMINEES:

1.  Belsbror

2.  Nirvana’s Pocketful

3. Liamslibrary

4. Chester Maynes

5. Dear Kitty.  Some Blog.

6.  Howdy YAL

7.  Darly – Lifestyle Blog

8.  Beautiful Insanity

9. My Success is Your Success

10. Christian Mihai

11. Richard Ankers

12. B00kreader

13. Legends of Windemere

14.  Stars Rain Sun Moon

15. Helen Valentina

Thank you all and congratulations to your beautiful blogs.  I wanted to nominate some of your for two awards, but well, too many…anyway, CONGRATULATIONS!

New Year’s Resolutions.

So this is a spontaneous post, but I actually have some New Year’s Resolutions this year (cannot, for the life of me remember if I had any for 2014).   And I’m actually excited about seeing these resolutions through.

[1] I will read at least 3 debut novels this year (having failed to do so in the previous years, I’m adamant about it this year).  This will probably be one of my personal reading challenges for The Quarterly Book Club.

[2] I’m going to read at least 3 classics (I think I only read one last year).  This one too.

[3] I’m going to read Lord of the Rings (I read the first line of the Two Towers earlier after seeing the Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and realised, I might actually really want to read it – for those who read the Grinch Book Tag it’s a book that’s been on my shelf for years).  And this one as well!

[4] I plan to post stories this year.  I have a story I’ve been working on, and to face my fear of sharing lengthier works, I’m going to definitely post it this time.

[5] Even if postgrad takes my time, I do not plan to go on such a long hiatus in 2015 like I did in 2014, I missed this blog too much.

 

What are your new year’s resolutions for this year, book, writing or otherwise?

Scorpio. The Zodiac Project #3.

SOOOOO it’s been too long since I last posted one of these.  I’m surprised at myself for only previously posting two.  It might because I don’t like Scorpio as much as all the others that I did.  But her design, well, it wasn’t too difficult, since she’s considerd the sex symbol of the group, ruled by her/they’re genitalia lol.  So the design:

2013-05-18 23.14.28

Source: me
The easy part. Stage 1 complete!

So a little bit about her design.  Once again, it’s ancient greek influenced gowns, soft and flowy tunic-like dresses.  But because Scorio is supposed to be sexy or somesuch, I was having a hard time dressing her because of the pose I’d given her.  I figured I might as well give her the least amount of clothing as possible, even though I know that less clothes doesn’t always equate to sexy!

Anyway like Virgo and Libra I did a little research on Scorpio and came up with some criteria to follow:

  1. Secretive
  2. Passionate
  3. Resolute,
  4. Insensitive,
  5. Steadfast,
  6. Painstaking,
  7. Magnetic, 
  8. Elusive,
  9. Sexy,
  10. Determined
  11. Stubborn

All of which seemed pretty reasonable.  Except my Scorpio hardly seems secretive, maybe a bit Passionate, definitely Sexy and Stubborn.  It’s so hard to create an emotive character!! I always feel as though my drawings are emotionless, but my head always ends up creating a dialogue for them towards some other imaginary character, which is a) either a sign that I am a literary genius full of creative imaginings :P or b) I’m going crazy…. . Now in my honest opinion I hope it’s ‘a’, because the idea that I’m crazy seems unreal and totally uncool!  Plus I’m pretty sure my head is screwed on tight because I know exactly what I’m doing 24/7, I know it so well, I think it’s boring lol!

When I was drawing Scorpio in this pose I had issues with her arms and how they were placed so I remember spending hours in front of the mirror posing (gosh so narcisstic lol) and finding the the right way to fit all the puzzle pieces together lol.

But once that was done and Stage 1 was completely, I went and did Stage 2:

2013-05-19 23.43.05

Source: me
Stage 2 complete!

Unlike the air elements: Libra, Aquarius and Gemini, where their Stage 2 colour pencil drawings are relatively the same across all three, the water elements designs differed.  Mostly because when I first drew Cancer, the design I had wasn’t really malleable to the other two.

The background.  While Virgo was complex with flowers and trees and a greeny background, and Libra was relatively ‘airy’ with light colours and a cloud-like background, Scorpio’sbackground is slightly different to most. It’s got a more solid colour as the backgroud, with a stormy pattern.  It’s water-like, yet it’s also kind of dark and grim.  I don’t like it as much as Libra or Virgo, but well, it’s still one of twelve.   At least has what I was aiming for.  What remains the me across all twelve zodiacs is: 1) girl dressed in ancient greek influenced gowns; 2) the background is a vivid array of colour and texture; 3) there is either a faint or strong impression of the element present;  and 4) there’s shadows that take up a portion of the frame, and to contrast the other portion must in a sense ‘glow’.

Once again, must thank these love Deviants on Deviantart for their great brushes that greatly assisted the creation of Libra by N-arteest!

Brushes for the Background:
Sky and Water: [Here] 
Floral Brushes: [Here]
Koi/Carp Brushes: [Here]
 
Brushes for the bubble effect:
Anticipation Brushes: [Here]

So the process of Stage 3:  I used different layers and messed with the layer style to create different effects.  I think there were about three layers for this background.  For the glowing flowers, there were also about three layers, each a different colour, but all of them with the same blending option (outer and inner glow with a pale yellow colour) – I thought this effect was really cool. Most importantly, because I was going for a contrast between black and white (original sketch), and colour (the photoshopped background), I masked the original sketch using the mask tool. And I guess I really love the mask tool, because it definitely selects the area much better than the select too, and it’s also much more effective for blending in an original sketch and a photoshopped background.  Feathering the edges of the selection also blends in the scanned object ad the background much better (of course, you have to feather it before you start working on the background lol!)

And Wah-la!  Stage 3 complete!

And lastly, so I’ve mentioned there were twelve.  I will slowly reveal all twelve soon, if you’re still interested, keep watching!  (Also, if it sounds like I’m bragging, I apologise!!!)

—-ALSO feel free to comment about the subject of Scorpio, my research was pretty scattered and varied to things related to the sketch, relevant or not, so I feel pretty bad, so if you have some interesting facts about being a Scorpio, Scorpios and whatnot, tell me! I’m always interested in learning more.

Scorpio

Scorpio by ~ N-arteest on deviantART

Being Rejected…

I think this is a great article! —->

Click Here

 

Because hey!  When you’re a n aspiring author, or even just looking for a job, rejection is a major part, and well, we can’t feel down because we’ve been rejected so many times.  We should try and be optimistic.  The authors named in the article were!

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR EVERYONE! (新年快乐大家!)

Dear Friends, Followers, Fellow Bloggers,

Today, I want to wish everyone Happy New Year, and celebrate the coming of the Lunar, not only with fellow Chinesemen but Everyone! Because, even though in the media and whatnot today is marked as a “Chinese” thing, it is actually a day for any culture or peoples who celebrate the coming of the first of the Lunar Year. So therefore:

恭喜发财!

By coincidence I went with my mother down to Springvale today, a hotspot for all things asian and was delighted to see a lion dance occuring inside the shopping centre. To be honest, I had forgotten momentarily that it was Chinese New Year, so when I heard the loud clashing of those giant cymbals and red (lucky colour of the day!) dressed people, I found myself watching (briefly, albeit) a miniature performance of the lion dance. It was pretty awesome. I can’t remember the last time I watched and experienced all things Chinese. It’s been a while, considering my background is Chinese and the expectation I know and see these things all the time. But really, I still get delighted and happy every time the New Year rolls around. Chinese or not, I wish good luck on everyone! (Even though I really wanted to cut my hair today because we were within the vicinity of one of my favourite hairdressers, I decided to hold off since well, it’s bad luck to cut hair on Chinese New Year!)

I’ve also spent the last week making preparations for today.  I’ve never actually worked so hard or tried so hard to celebrate Chinese New Year, but this is the second year my entire family have been at  home at the same time.  Usually everyone is elsewhere working or some such so no one ever has time to prepare anything.  But not only that, after finishing my degree last year and (for once) really paying attention to what my teachers were teaching me about culture, language and cross-cultural interactions, I really felt like I would like to be just a little bit more Chinese.  Of course studying Chinese was difficult (and still ongoing I assure you!  I have a lot to catch up on all the years I hadn’t learnt it because well, when you quit Chinese school at a young age to merge with the mainstream “in-group”, you tend to become less Chinese in the process and bound to crave a want for cultural identity later on).  And then at some point, I wanted to really invest in celebrating something, and I figured, it might as well be Chinese New Year since it was next big cultural thing on the Chinese calendar, and hey!  I got mum to make Yau Gok and Nian Gao,
and later today, a whole bunch of other stuff (which I’m really proud of making since I’ve never really spent the time or energy to make them for any particular day, or on time for a particular day either which is clearly all my fault).  And while I may have botched up these particular Chinese foods along the way and they may lack in sweetness or be slightly chewy to eat, I like to think it’s the thought that counts, and the fact that everyone is willing to try makes me want to try harder next time to get it right lol!

But this year, I will put twenty years of effort in (and from now on, I hope do better in celebrating every year) and celebrate the coming of the Year of the Horse!

Well I must leave, and I leave you with saying, once more:

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR

From Your Always Present Writer,
Nina!
Fellow Blogger, Friend, and Follower!

RIP Paul Walker.

Paul Walker of <i>The Fast and the Furious</i> movies has died in a car accident.

I have always been a fan of The Fast and the Furious series, not matter what others say (including my boyfriend), I find that there is something about the series that I’m always drawn to.  It’s actiony, adventurous, heist-licious, emotional, and a full on blast of sky high fun stuff.  I like it.  It’s cool.  And I like that it seemed as though to Paul Walker and Vin Diesel this was a very important series of movies for them.  I like what they did to it, I like that they continued the series to tie in all the other movies. I thought that was great.  That is why, even though I am one tiny little fan down under, I am saddened by the loss of an actor, who I’ve only seen in movies.  People die every day but yet only a few affect you, and when they do affect you, you can tell from the way your heart seems to be heavy.  Even though the one who is affecting you is not someone you know, it shows that you are a fan, shows that you have a heart to care.   I hope Paul Walker lived a full life even though it was too soon for him to go.  As a fan, I will always remember your works!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest criticism and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty and find the best in others; to leave this world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived–this is to have succeeded.”


Ordinarily I won’t write a RIP message, I would just remember in silence, but this time round, I guess I’m just feeling a little sad at the reminder how short life can be and how important it is that life should be lived well!  It seems that this is one celebrity whose works have somehow affected me.  I don’t know much about him, strange ey?  I’m a fan but I don’t know much.  All I know is that if he has a new movie out or if he’s in the news I would check it out, because he’s one celebrity who does not make me think anything bad of, if that makes any sense?  But I fail as a fan for knowing so little.  All I can say really is, this is a very sad tragedy.  It’s sad that this should happen to Paul Walker.  It’s also a reminder of how young I am, still yet to experience the  true pain of losing someone I love and being able to cry for them wholeheartedly, and that I must live my life well, because you’ll never know when it’s over.

RIP Paul Walker.  You did good.  I can hardly believe this,

Your fan.

NaNoWriMo…….Winner….!

Yay!  So I joined Nanowrimo this year on a sudden whim.  Rather, I had a story idea and I really wanted to write it, but I figured I wouldn’t write it because I had my exams coming up.  But technically I only had one exam so I figured I might as well write a novel on the side, giving me something to do.  And then I joined Nanowrimo.  It’s actually been a while since I’ve written anything more than 10000 words and I found Nanowrimo both stressing and fun.  It also reminded me the familiar feeling of writing a full-length novel.  Oh yes, and that other feeling of being dissatisfied with how the story ended, but! I’m glad I wrote the story I wanted to write.  It’s been over a year since I last felt like writing a full-length novel.

Sure I had my ups and downs throughout the whole process.  And the idea of having a word limit every day to be completed in time is a first for me, since usually I write as much as I need to when I feel like it, which is probably why all those other times in the past when I’ve written a full 300 page story or so it takes me like three months or so.  I like taking my time.  But I also like writing it out all at once.  So this was definitely different!

I’m happy to say though that this was a great experience.  It sucks though that I didn’t take part in any of the events because I just couldn’t fit it in to my schedule.  But hopefully next year maybe I’ll be able to!

Wooooo!  Happy Dance!  And now, onto usual business, reading some more, writing more poetry, short stories, drawing and sketching, reading manga, catching up with friends, and oh yeah maybe another crack at writing a novel longer than 50000 words!

Virgo. The Zodiac Project.

So.  Today’s post is going to a bit random.  I’m going to be talking about a drawing/creation/thingy of mine that I’ve done over the year as a personal hobby project.  Personally, I’m quite proud of myself for actually completing it.  As you know, if you’ve read my About page, you’ll know that for many years I never really committed to anything, and that this blog is the first thing I have pledged (personally of course) to keep committed to, same as my writing.  SO I’m even more excited that I finished this project, since well, it’s something that started off with inspiration and grew until it became an entire set, and a major personal project.  There were so many drawbacks, so many things getting in the way I wasn’t sure that I’d get it done. But I did.  And then I realised, with the exception of two of the completed works, I wouldn’t be showing these to anyone, except those on my deviantart page.  And I felt like I’d be bragging too much if every friend I met, I jumped them with this.  Which I did do with some of my friends the weeks after I completed the project – oh gee my poor friends, they sure had to suffer my boasting through twelve images – except that I was really excited, and I know it can be considered bragging, but in my head it didn’t feel like it.  It felt more like, I’ve done something I’m proud of, I’ve achieved something, I want to tell the world about it.  

But you know, sometimes the things you do, don’t exactly translate to the people you tell, because they only see what’s on the surface and not the personal achievements underneath.  And you want to explain it to them, but it’s too much trouble, so in the end, the whole process of showing is wayyyy too much trouble, and you decide, nah, I’ll keep it to myself.  Which is what I did after the first initial weeks.   It’s not that all my friends thought I was bragging, no, rather they actually liked what I did and it was all positive.  It was only a few male specimen who thought every single one looked the same, and that they’ve all seen it before (I had actually shown them the previous stages), which is fair enough, since there is no denying that they are all the same.  They are a set of Twelve, so obviously they have the same design.

So let me tell you a little about the project.  Sometime way back in April I was testing out my drawing skills.   As a hobby artist, I don’t draw 24/7 because more often than not I don’t have any inspiration.  It’s just not the same as with words.  And sooooo when I started drawing in April again, it was random, and mainly because my laptop was out of commission temporarily (thank goodness it works again!!).  I really had no idea what to sketch, except that I had this hairstyle in my head I really wanted to try out.  So I sketched it.  Then I had a dress.  So I sketched that.  I kept drawing until I finished…with a pair of ram horns on her head.  I figured I’d call her Aries.  Then I started on twins.  So there was Gemini.  Then Cancer.  You know, I never though Cancer would be so hard to sketch.  And so on until I had a series of twelve, you guessed it, zodiacs.  Suddenly I had this idea to make them more interesting, and into the mix went colour pencil.

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Source: me
The first initial stage, just finelined, no colour.

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Source: me
So Virgo is associated with Earth, so I figured, how do I make her earthy? Add the colour, and floating trees…we have stage 2 mid-way completed.

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Source: me
Stage 2 completed. Excuse the blurriness, I did not realise I shook the camera when I took this pic, but you can see it, there is virgo with two floating trees. Of course, I was definitely taking this one more step.

Wahhh yay!  I love step-by-steps done by other people with their own work, so I wanted to try it for myself!  Anyway.  I guess for Virgo, even though they’re labelled a Virgin, according to this site, just one of many out there who have attempted to define and outline who and what is a Virgo, a Virgo is:

  1. Loving
  2. Susceptible
  3. Sympathetic
  4. Sensual
  5. Faithful
  6. Instinctive
  7. Charitable
  8. Over-reactive
  9. Moody

So with all this criteria, I really had my head in a spin.  Either way, I just kept sketching, doing my best to incorporate all these characteristics. I hope I succeeded, I hope she’s a little loving, a little sensual, a little instinctive.  Though she doesn’t really seem susceptible or charitable.  Maybe I’ll write a story about her!

Now the clothes.  It seems I love drawing clothes the most, especially long gowns and intricately decorated gowns.  I have loved that ever since I was a kid.

So, since the main style of clothing I was going for in this series was ancient Greek influenced, soft and flowy, I knew how I wanted it to look like.  The other thing I was gunning for with the clothing was slightly revealing, yet totally modest.  Well, both Virgo and Scorpio was a hit and miss with the modest aspect, because they have both been described as “sensual” and/or “passionate”.  So they’re clothes had to be a little more passionate I think.  I also wanted to incorporate the fact that each zodiac was associated with a body part.  And according to this site, Virgos rule the stomach, so I figured I might as well leave the stomach uncovered, and make this Virgo a little bit more modest by hiding her legs.  I actually really admired the original sketch of Virgo, but as for the background…

Here, firstly, are the links for the many brushes I borrowed to create the background.

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I want to thank them for their beautiful brushes that made my hobbby art project something I can admire in my own space.  Because really without them, I probably wouldn’t have such a great series.

And next the final stage.  That was the photoshop stage.  Again I was going for mixed medium, and it was a bit time consuming.  The entire background took about two and a half hours, including deciding what I wanted to do, how I was going to do it, what was I going to use, and a lot of trial and error.  In the end I settled for a green shaded background with fiery red, orange and brown trees and blowing about the background, glowing flowers, mixture of lilies and plumerias.  I think I read somewhere that lillies were symbolic to Virgos? (I think this fact is wrong, sorry Virgos!  But I liked the brushes, so I used them instead lol)

Stage 3 midway, Photoshop!

Stage 3 midway, Photoshop!

Virgo by ~N-arteest on deviantART

 To complete stage three, I used different layers and messed with the layer style to create different effects.  I think there were about three layers for this background.  For the glowing flowers, there were also about three layers, each a different colour, but all of them with the same blending option (outer and inner glow with a pale yellow colour) – I thought this effect was really cool, except I might have overdone the amount of flowers in this one.  And the trees, I spiced those up with several brushes, actually I could have done this bit better, you can still see my original drawing underneath.  Maybe I should have changed the layer style for that as well, but oh well.  And most importantly, because I was going for a contrast between black and white, and colour, I masked the original sketch using the mask too – really that tool is so amazing for selecting the parts that you need, I’m surprised I hadn’t figured it out earlier!

And lastly, so I’ve mentioned there were twelve.  I will slowly reveal all twelve soon, if you’re still interested, keep watching!  (Also, if it sounds like I’m bragging, I apologise!!!)

—-ALSO feel free to comment about the subject of Virgo, my research was pretty scattered and varied to things related to the sketch, relevant or not, so I feel pretty bad, so if you have some interesting facts about being a Virgo, Virgos and whatnot, tell me! I’m always interested in learning more.

How I Spend Me-Time (TAG!)

SO Sophie over at Young, Wild and Writing has started this new blog post called TAG! and it’s all about what you do and how you spend your ‘me-time’ which I think sounds pretty cool.  After all, I’ve only recently finished my exams – albeit it was only one exam (but it was at the end of the exam period) – I’ve suddenly got so much to catch up on which I missed out doing while I was at uni.

The TAG! topic is “Me-time” according to Sophie’s post, so what do I do in my me time?

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My little Book of Musings which I use to write random things

1- Writing – Writing for me is a me-time thing to do.  I usually pick up a lot of inspiration wherever I go and for as long as I can remember, for me, it’s all about my Book of Musings and the possibility of either writing another short story/poem or building up another imaginary fantasy world to chase after my dream career.  It really is a relief that I can use words to express things, especially when there was a time when I felt I couldn’t express myself at all.

2- Reading – I am a serial reader.  I can’t help it, I read too much.  Seriously, I put books on hold at the library and then I put more books on hold, until I have too many books on hold and I can barely carry then out of the library.  Haha, it’s a good thing the borrowing period if four weeks, but still, there are times, that my crazy holding-of-omg-the-new-release-books spree becomes a pile of books that even I can’t finish in four weeks.  During the uni semester though, I miss out on reading a lot because I spend so much time reading academic papers which more often than not, are kinda boring (no offence!).

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Sketch books! I think the blue one is number 11

3- Drawing – I love drawing, it’s one of my favourite things to do.  Unfortunately, unlike writing I have a much harder time gathering inspiration.  I also think I have a tendency to be unable to picture how things fit together, so I take twice as long sketching than inking.  You know I was once told that people who are good at maths are also good at art.  I’m fairly good at maths, so I guess I’m fairly good at art? Well Whatever it is, I really enjoy drawing, good or not, I do it in my me-time.  I’m not that great, but feel free to check out some of it here.

4- Pondering the English Language – Okay cut me a break…haha, so since I decided to major in English as an International Language, I’ve become more aware of the issues that we discuss in class, and alot of the time, I watch something and then I question it.  It sounds like a totally nerdy thing to do, but I really do love looking at the current state of the English language and how it’s developed around the word, I just think its fascinating!

5- Manga – I love reading manga, almost otaku level (I actually prefer it over anime).  So this a total me-time thing.  The idea of spending a good few hours doing nothing but reading manga whether it’s online or in paperback form.

Instruction for Tag:

Bloggers tagged in this post are not being obliged to do a similar post.  After all this is just for fun so if you feel like doing it, feel free and if not, then don’t.  No harm done.  If you are saying yes to this, all you have to do is make a similar post presenting your list in any possible way.  It is up to you for as long as it shows how you spend me-time.  Be it through pictures, poetry, a narrative, haiku, etc.  As you finish, it is also suggested that you tag another five bloggers to your post so the fun will spread and who knows, a little self-reflection may go a long way.

I hope fellow tagged bloggers that you might join in on the fun as well :)!

As for me, here are my tagged bloggers:

1) www.stephrogers.com

2) www.walkingwiththealligators.wordpress.com

3) www.bokunosekai.wordpress.com/

4) www.peacelovegreatcountrymusic.com/

5) www.theelusivescribe.wordpress.com/

Sweetly Blogging~!!

Well Well Well isn’t this a surprise, albeit a super sweet one!  Thank you ELUSIVE SCRIBE over at The Elusive Scribe, you’re wonderful, thank you for this sweet blogging award!

Sweetness!

 

First, the rules!

  • Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you.
  • Answer five Super Sweet questions.
  • Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in your blog post.
  • Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other bloggers.
  • Notify your nominees on their blog.

Here are the five questions:

  1. Cookies or Cake? Cake! But this is such a ridiculous choice since I loveee cookies just as much!
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate.  But vanilla ice-cream, hell yes!
  3. Favourite Sweet Treat? Anything Cadbury!
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most? When I’ve just had a two hour seminar at uni, my goodness, a sweet treat is just what I need!
  5. Sweet Nick Name? Sweetie? Pie? Lol

On to my nominees who are as sweet as sweet can be! Congratulations!

1) http://awindowofwisdom.wordpress.com/

2) http://bigmacandwhys.wordpress.com/

3) http://allysonmellone.wordpress.com/

4) http://thewritingmonkey.wordpress.com/

5) http://shinemine.wordpress.com/

6) http://walkingwiththealligators.wordpress.com/

7) http://andrawatkins.com/

8) http://addgrainonearth.com/

9) http://moontoefairy.wordpress.com/

10) http://peacelovegreatcountrymusic.com/

11) http://chicpress.wordpress.com/

12) http://makingspacetobreathe.wordpress.com/

13) http://stephrogers.com/

 

Thank you all for your sweet words and beautiful posts!  I hope those who read this post come by and visit all your blogs because they all very wonderful!  Congratulations to you all!