A Head Full of Static

Is normally the result of trying to force an idea when you’re:

Tired

Ill

Burnt out from all the other ideas you’ve worked on

Anxious

Depressed

Or otherwise inhibited.

The problem with acknowledging this problem is, you still have to come up with the ideas if you do creative work.  It’s the way you get the funds to eat and pay rent and all the other important things most of us humans seem to feel necessary.

So…How to recharge?  I have some ideas.

Sleep.  You’ll be amazed how much better your brain functions if you try to get a solid eight hours of sleep.

Get out and socialize for once.  It’s an established fact that people need people.  It’s important psychologically and physiologically.  Don’t risk your mental health.  And who knows, maybe someone will say something that will trigger an idea.

Bake some cookies.  Just fast ones.  Chocolate chip, preferably.  They only really need five ingredients.  You get to feel productive because you’re making something, but you also get an immediate award–chocolate–which doesn’t always come with other creative jobs.

“Will write for chocolate.”  I should hang up a sign.

You could also do something creative that isn’t in your normal field.  I play guitar when writing and drawing burn me out.  There’s less pressure with it, since I’m not trying to get paid for it, so perfectionism isn’t quite as much of an issue.

If you’re on a deadline and can’t do any of that, I’d recommend listening to some music.  Coldplay’s new album “A Head Full of Dreams” (which DEFINITELY has no relation to this post’s title.  Definitely.) is a good one that I’ve been listening to.  Anything upbeat should help, though.  Music has this inevitable tendency to alter your thoughts and mood when you listen to it, even if just slightly, so it’s good when you’re stuck for ideas.

(Speaking of Coldplay, I’ve been working on a design for their t shirt contest.  I’ll post a link when it’s up)

If none of those ideas work, try picturing my mermaid doodle coming after you.  That should be motivation, if nothing else.

Happy creating!

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Excuses

Yes, I missed Tuesday’s scheduled post.  And excuses won’t fix it.

Instead, let me tell you about something I’m currently working on.

My university has a talent awards shindig happening soon, in which various forms of art students send in their portfolios in hopes that the university will deem their abilities worthy of some generous assistance and pay their tuition for a year.  In my case, winning will also make me officially part of the school’s illustration program.

I’ve got a decent portfolio, which demonstrates my bizarre imagination, but it doesn’t have nearly enough figure drawings, so guess what I’m doing this coming week?  All week?

Drawing people.  Which generally requires being around people, since the illustration portfolio needs at least a few life drawings.

I’ve got a couple in the works already, from wandering around campus, so hopefully I’ll get the rest finished by the deadline.  If I’m really lucky, I’ll have figured out how to manipulate Paint better by then so I can throw in a digital drawing.  I might even do a self-portrait.  It’s been a while since I’ve stared intently at my own face.

So, if I’m a tad quiet on the blog next week, I have a very good excuse.  Which doesn’t make up for missing a post, sorry, but I’ll try to keep you all up to date on how it’s going.

A Strange Occurrence

Unfortunately, the strange occurrence was not the death of Severus Snape actor Alan Rickman.  People die with depressing regularity.  I wish Mr. Rickman hadn’t died, and hope his family and friends are okay after his loss, but that isn’t what I’m talking about.  (Sorry, Mr. Rickman).

The strange occurrence is difficulty with schoolwork.

My figure drawing assignment was actually difficult–difficult to understand and complete, not merely difficult to complete without getting bored dizzy by all the little details.

I don’t think that’s happened to me in a long time.  Not with an art assignment, anyways.

I’ve realized this week that perhaps for the first time in my life, I am as close to average as someone who insists on being called Dragon can be.  I’m attending a university full of people just as smart as me, most of whom share my same religious values, and who all have plans to change the world in one way or another.

It’s rather refreshing.  Complete strangers get as excited about Spiderman as I do, or about art, or storytelling themes, and I can have in-depth conversations with them on the shuttle from the dorms.  Everyone else seems to play some form of musical instrument, too.  I’m not the one getting glared at by my classmates when I complete a test quickly.  No one’s asking the professor for extra time on an assignment.  Well, that last bit didn’t really happen in my community college that often either.  Still.

It is really weird.

I’m still trying to work out how the making-friends thing works, but otherwise I feel like pretty much any student.  Not like I’m being ignored.  This university does a lot to reach out to and assist its students, especially its new ones.  But like I belong.

I could get used to it.  But I won’t.

Having achieved averageness, I am going to enjoy it while it’s here, and work to get out of it as quickly as possible.  I’ve got a long weekend ahead of me just begging to be used for figuring out my problematic assignments.

Being average doesn’t fit into my plans to upend the storytelling world, you see.

Breaking News

Spiderman’s controversial unicorn acquisition continues to concern law enforcement.

Scientists report that a strange chemical substance has settled throughout our planet.  It is easily found in the human body and covers more than half the surface of the Earth.  Science has yet to determine whether this substance is beneficial to us, though they have pointed out that every serial killer in history had this substance in large quantities in their bodies.

Comic book artists were shocked to discover this week that the human body, particularly the female body, looks almost nothing like the way they thought it did.

University student missing:  last seen throwing a computer at the library wall.  Apparently not all millennials have as much skill with digital technology as they try to make us believe.

The oceans are flooding and the sun is on fire.

Biology major taken in for questioning after writing the Latin phrases for an exorcism on test instead of things like “musca domestica“.

Woman hospitalized after vicious public attack by a sarcastic wit.  PETA claims the owner, who is now under investigation, mistreated the wit–it hadn’t been walked in over a month, or fed in a week.

And now, the weather

I’ve just survived my first week of university classes. I’ve really enjoyed them. There’s some problem with city air and hills and my lungs, but I’m used to it, and working on improving it.

The other problem is the weather.

I grew up somewhere that experiences very little snow. Once or twice a year, it gets a little bit of snow, which melts by midafternoon, and is an Event that sometimes manages to cancel school.

Now I’m somewhere where snow is a persistent presence, and it’s a bit alien to me.

Okay. A lot alien.

So here are my thoughts on it.

Mounds of cold white stuff. When first I arrived, they covered practically everything, but the sun has snuck enough heat through the thick cloud cover to melt all but the thickest patches of snow. Who knows how long that will last.

The snowmelt frees dead leaves from autumn from their icy cages, but then it rains and freezes overnight and by morning the ice glues the leaves to the pavement like a collage. It snows again, and the process restarts.

Some enterprising soul has been stomping giant words into the snow to support one or another of the university’s sports teams. It wasn’t me, because a) ew, snow, and b) I have slightly less school spirit than a wet paper towel.

I like my university, I wouldn’t be attending it otherwise, but I’m just here for an education. If one of the school’s teams wins some big game, good for them, but I probably won’t be paying enough attention to notice.

Besides, I just can’t relate to someone who’d want to run around in this soggy cold stuff wearing sports gear  on a regular basis for fun. The track team I can be okay with, since the track is indoors and running can be fun, but not the rest.

That is the environment I found myself in when I received an email from the Illustrators of the Future contest. I didn’t win, but I was a semifinalist! And they hope I’ll enter again.

I’ll start on a new submission as soon as my homework is finished.

Today’s picture is another effort at digital art. Someday I’ll figure it out.

Glasses and the Apocalypse

I’ve wondered vaguely about this for a long time, but this article really articulated my thoughts about it.

How am I supposed to survive the apocalypse?

Apocalyptic stories act as though all apocalypse survivors are healthy and able-bodied (at least before the apocalypse begins), and while I suppose that could be true, there are so many of us that aren’t I doubt we’ll all be exterminated unless the sun swallows the earth, in which case nobody, however healthy, is getting out alive and there isn’t really a story to tell.  Not a hopeful one, anyways.

As the Mental Floss article mentions, people with vision problems are going to have difficulties.  Contacts don’t last forever, and if you’re stuck without any visual correction, you’re a) not going to see approaching threats, and b) going to get a lot of headaches trying to see aforementioned threats.

Aforementioned.  I love that word.

The article suggested carrying glasses at all times, just in case, which is good for days when contacts tear or fall off my eyeballs (they’re capricious little beasts), but I’m afraid I see some flaws with that plan too.

Glasses are difficult to keep clean and scratch-free even in the largely safe and healthy living conditions I’m currently enjoying.  The frames break, too, especially in the poorly made ones.  I don’t want to think about the level of damage they could sustain in a post-apocalyptic world.  And while contacts in the correct prescription can be found in most optometrist’s offices, glasses are harder to get right–especially when there’s no one to order them from, like after an apocalypse.

Besides that, I feel like contacts are more useful in the urgent days of the post-apocalypse.  There’s no distortion from the lens, the frames don’t interfere, so I could see threats better, and if I got into a fight, my opponent wouldn’t be able to immediately impair me by knocking my glasses off.  Also, the fewer obvious limitations I have, the fewer people might actually decide fighting me is worthwhile, which would make survival more likely.

I’m not sure why I’m wondering about this.  I have enough physical limitations that if an apocalypse comes, I’m probably dead anyways.  But hey, a dragon can dream, right?