Monsters

They don’t wear

slimy scales

or shining fangs.

They might be as ugly

or pretty

as anyone else.

They wear business suits or t shirts,

sundresses or pajamas.

They’re hard to spot

and they can’t be fought

in shining armor.

Monsters

are just

people

who treat people

like things.

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Constant Improvement

A lot of Internet advice in creative fields runs along the lines of “Practice. And then practice more.” While not inaccurate, this advice doesn’t specify much as to how one should practice–how often? What specific aspects of the work should be practiced most? What sort of improvement can be expected or hoped for?

Truth to tell, that’s because it’s different for everyone. But reading the advice to “practice” with no further elaboration can be discouraging, so I’m going to share my practice method for drawing.

Every morning, as soon as I wake up, I fill a page in my sketchbook. At the top of the page is written the area I need to work in for the day-whether it’s hands or faces or a specific character or flowers, anything I feel needs improving. I fill the page up with practice. They aren’t large pages, so truth to tell that isn’t a massive amount of practice per day, but it is consistent. That’s enough that I’ve seen vast improvement between my work at the beginning of the summer as opposed to the end.

Once the page is filled, I start with the breakfast and putting on socially acceptable clothes and the other things that have to be done for a day to be productive.

I also have a file on my tablet for a digital sketchbook, where I work on character designs and drawing things I see during my day and ideas. I draw in that one during church, pretty often. I’m not super great at sitting still and just listening.

Occasionally this means jotting down notes in between doodles, or allowing the friend next to me to write down the name of the Pokémon he thought I was drawing, but that’s all right.

Unfortunately, all this practice is easiest to accomplish during a summer of relatively few responsibilities. Hopefully I can maintain some of those habits when classes start again.

Icarus

Icarus  flew

too close to the sun, and

fell,

A stream of

melted wax

breaking wings

a father’s love.

Did someone,

one of Poseidon’s people,

anyone,

find him?

Did they wonder

at all the things

around him?

The story doesn’t say.

Icarus

was a boy.

They turned him

to a lesson.

They forget–

Icarus flew.

Icarus flew.

It’s more

than most can claim.

Michael Vey: Fall of Hades review

Story time. I actually met Richard Paul Evans, author of this and other amazing books, this past spring at an education summit he spoke at. His talk was all about what he wishes he’d known in middle school, but I’m  in college and found it relevant and inspiring.

Why was I, the arts major, at an education summit? My grandparents were running it.

But that’s another story. Let’s talk about the story I’m reviewing.

  If the best books are the ones that have you desperate for someone to rage with about the ending, this probably outranks even that most infuriating of cliffhanger books, Mark of Athena.

They both have Greek deities’ names in the title. Funny coincidence.

But it isn’t just the cliffhanger that makes this book memorable. Without a story of substance and characters worth caring for, a cliffhanger is just a cheap trick. This one was the real deal, especially regarding the characters. Mr. Evans has a particular gift for  creating diverse, relatable characters.

And then putting them through the worst a twisted imagination can throw at them, because why not?

All the characters, even many of the supposedly bad guys, were relateable in their own ways. We may not have agreed with them, but we understood why they did what they did and it didn’t feel like it was just for the plot.  It’s difficult to do that with a cast that large. And then to have the main ones all have their own arcs too? Pretty good.

I loved it. Loved the characters, at least, which lead to loving the story. I may have been sorely tempted to throw the book at a wall at the incredibly awesome but ambiguous end, but I loved it.

I’ll probably talk more about what exactly was awesome about the end, along with speculations about the last book, after more people have had time to read it.

Today’s drawing: Not an inktober piece, but there was this kid asleep at the library while I was studying and I just couldn’t resist a quick sketch.