Year of the Churro!

If you were wondering what happens when I let one of John Scalzi’s tweets ferment in my head for far too long, this happens. Plus, you know, I’m just doing my part to fulfill the MOAR CHURROS thing. Thanks, John, for all the silliness. I, for one, am eager to hear of your next churro adventure.

Also, the sugar coated steed does not have a name yet. I think I will leave that task up to you, dear internet. I suspect you shall not disappoint.

churro-ride

(P.S. WOOOO! ANOTHER SNOW DAY IN PORTLAND! Stay home Portlanders, you don’t know how to do snow.)

UPDATE: Thanks so much to John for honoring me with this charming post about my image. You’re making me blush all sorts of colors over here. Also, welcome to all the Whatever readers who have found themselves on my humble little site. Also, also, a challenge has been issued to out best me at Scalzi themed fan art. I’m sure there’s someone out there up for this. I encourage any and all attempts (and successes). This is an exercise in silliness and creating awesome things, after all. :)

 

 

Thursday’s Children

Back in November, I was approached by friend and author Curtis Chen to produce the art for his upcoming book, Thursday’s Children. A couple weeks ago he announced the cover on his website, so… tada!

512-6x9_Front_Cover_blogHe also is going through the book building process on his 512 Words or Fewer blog including some of the steps involved in designing the cover. You really should go check it out. I’ll wait.

Back? Cool.

I really loved working on this cover piece (and the interior spot illustrations, tease tease). Even the revisions were enjoyable because the resulting image turned out so much stronger.

Curtis is the master of setting a scene and this book is the culmination of his five year 512 Words or Fewer flash-fiction project. All the best of his snack-sized stories were put into this collection (mmm… snack-sized fiction). I highly recommend checking it out. The official release date is Friday, January 31st, so get those reminders set. Here’s a handy link to the official book page.

 

 

Overcoming the Cold Start

Passage(Please excuse me while I ramble about my issues with creative block.)

I also like to call this the great stall, or “blergfffpptt” on special occasions.

Sometimes starting things is easy. You get exited about something and are all over it like a hyperactive puppy on a brand new squeaky ball. OMG! IT’S SO SQUEAKY! AND IT ROLLS! HOLY CRAP DID YOU SEE THAT?! IT BOUNCES TOO?! EEEEEEEE!!!!

Sometimes, not so much. And sometimes jumping back into a once exciting project is difficult. It starts with “oh, that’s a neat idea, I should start that” or “I really should finish that project I started” and then turns into “except that project/idea is now a slathering fell-beast of despair”. At which point the only logical action is to scour the internet for articles discussing ways to overcome this imaginary wall, but instead you find yourself, three hours later, at the bottom of a funny cat video pit.

Don’t deny it. We’ve all been there.

Truth is, I don’t know the best way to push past this confounding illogical creative block. A method that sometimes works for me is to wave a dancing stoat (totally not making this up) in front of my brain, distracting it with something cute and immediately enjoyable in order to maul it from the backside with the project that I was trying to get started in the first place. For example, sketching out some tentacles or hedgehogs or tentacled hedgehogs. In a fez. I think this works because the momentum from little mindless doodles pushes me through the mental wall. Also, another reason to warm up before working on a project. Also, fezzed tentacled hedgehogs with bow-ties.

Alternatively, I just put on some battle-pants and charge flailing into the beast of despair, kicking it in the junk as I run by with my eyes closed. Honestly, that takes a lot of energy. I mean, half the time my battle-pants are in the wash and my aim really isn’t that good with my eyes closed anyway.

While setting the project aflame and chucking it though the nearest window (metaphorically speaking of course) is, technically, effective in burning down the creative block, it’s not all that productive. Although, there may be a point where a project needs to be put out of it’s misery. However, that’s another topic entirely.

All things considered, I prefer the dancing stoat method. However, because the human mind is a complex chaotic thing, there isn’t one method that always works.

OR MAYBE THERE IS? <cue suspenseful music>

Probably not, though. <sad trombone>

Part of this, I think, is because a good deal of my creative projects have no deadlines. “Oh!” I hear you cry, “What about self-imposed deadlines?”

Rubbish, I say. Balderdash and poppycock!

Does a magician get surprised by his own tricks? No. Does a ventriloquist know that the creepy puppet he’s talking to isn’t himself? No. Well… unless the puppet is possessed by a chatty demon, a very clever parrot, or is a sentient robot. The point is, I know they’re self-imposed therefore my brain is like, “Hey, I made that deadline so I can change it to whatever. Ha ha, me. Nice try. You really should know me better, me.”  Brains can be real jerks sometimes.

However, an actual deadline set by a distinctly not-me entity works pretty well, but not helpful on personal projects.

So, yeah…

To summarize, have some dancing stoats handy and make sure your battle-pants are clean. I think that covers it.

What methods work for you when faced with a creative block?

 

Nearly Daily Sketchdump

In an effort to tighten up my skills, I’m going to post daily sketches to my Tumblr site, affectionately named Davy Jones’ Academy of Moderate Dampness for no apparent reason. Well… the reasoning was that if Davy Jones did have an Academy it would be, at the very least, moderately damp. Any other rationale behind the name is lost, tossed into to my well of whims long ago.

Why there and not here? Well, mostly because I like to keep this blog for thoughts and mostly finished work. However, I may do a monthly “best of” post here.

So, if you have any interest in my terrible attempts at producing non-cartoony anatomy and other miscellany, feel free to follow this Tumblr stream.

There may also be the occasional cat because the internet is made of cats. In fact, the internet would explode if we didn’t keep feeding it cat imagery. This is a well known phenomenon. I’m just doing my part to make sure the internet doesn’t explode.

You’re welcome.

To sum up, go look at my Tumblr for silly sketches and possibly cats.