November 30, 2008
90 thousand and… something. 83 by my count, 539 by the NaNoWriMo word count. And while I did not finish the draft of the novel, I did come to the end of the first section, and a natural break. Call it Part One: A Coat of Green. M-M F, R (formerly C G) and their merry company will return in Part Two: A Staff of Ash. Added to the 12,000 words I wrote a month or two ago, it gets me past the 100,000 word draft I put on my list of Aspirations for 2008.
There are interesting things in it. Salveagable things. Possibly even some parts that with pruning and research could become a story. Aimee, if/when she gets to read it, has strict instructions to just indicate the parts she likes.
I want to celebrate but I think I would fall over. Maybe I will celebrate by sleeping in until 6am tomorrow. Or doing something with ink.
November 28, 2008
This was a rough sketch for a Christmas card but I left it too late to finish and have printed in time to send(*coughNaNoWriMocough*). The backup plan involves brayers and presses and using black ink which splashes everywhere when you wash it off the perspex. Especially if I am still wearing office clothes.
In writing, which subsumes… well, obviously not every waking moment, but a lot of them, I am over 81,000 words on the NaNoWriMo project. It is eventful if not cohesive. Bruce Gillespie of Steam Engine Times was very nice about the part of a story that I read at Conflux. I am also accumulating short story ideas to take further when November ends. There are werewolves and masks and ibises and alien anthropologists and archivists and librarians and time travel and tramyard fires and a city which was almost called Edenglassie (that part’s apparently true), and given that I am overdoing NaNoWriMo, working on art, going to life drawing classes, showing up at work, learning to do lino printing, going to the movies and practising writing with my left hand, I will not admit to writing more than the working titles, my favourite of which is about pineapples.
And yes, I know I haven’t done the reviews for last month yet. Two more days to get them done and still be within time!
November 24, 2008
Cross-posted from the blog for the 42nd Moleskine Exchange. To see larger images, click on the picture to go to its Flickr page and then click on “all sizes” above the image.
Here is my contribution to Chensio‘s moleskine (at last!). I ran with the idea of wind, because it certainly looked like a windy day on those first few pages. I swept the end of the circle of dancers up into the air, added a scattering of numbers blowing apart, a flowing scarf, autumn leaves, a flock of nannies (my favourite part :) and The Goose Girl (from the fairy tale), along with scraps of poems.
Here is a close-up of the nannies:
And here is a snippet from the all-in work on the back of the pages:
November 22, 2008
Another scratchboard illustration for this week’s Illustration Friday topic: Opinion. It is 5×7 cm (2×2.8 inches), scanned on my mother’s scanner (with which I have a fraught relationship) and coloured in Photoshop. It is a combination of two ideas: someone staying aloof in spite of the opinions of critics, and Kipling’s Cat (which walked by itself, and all places were alike to it).
Here is the black and white version:
And while I was drawing dogs, which is rare for me, I did a quick scratchboard illustration for I. R. Mcleod’s poem Lone Dog:
November 19, 2008
Average daily word count: 2,634
First word: Marion
50,000th word: could
Primary motivation: spreadsheet
Plot: let’s not talk about that
Reward: Acer Aspire One netbook
(Wordle can be seen larger at Wordle. Chart extracted from my Excel spreadsheet tracking goals, averages etc).
November 17, 2008
A lyrebird for this week’s Illustration Friday topic, “Pretend”. There are two types of lyrebird: the Superb (which has the more lyre-like tail feathers) and the Albert’s, which lives in Queensland and is the one I have seen in the wild when walking at Mt Tamborine. This is an Albert’s lyrebird drawn with markers. I like the way that, enlarged, it looks a bit like a bird on salt-glaze pottery.
They are astonishing imitators – really strikingly accurate (that’s an Albert’s above and a Superb below it). This is a link to David Attenborough’s by-now-pretty-famous footage of their imitations (on YouTube).
The fun thing about drawing them is they have this natural balance going on – more like an ornament than a bird. The design work is already done.
Just going for silhouettes and facial expressions here.
But it isn’t all lyrebirds! I usually go through a dozen or more designs in notebooks and on scrap paper, fall in love with some and discard most of my favourites because of time constraints and the need to sleep occasionally if I am going to finish NaNoWriMo (42,000/50,000 to date, so I probably don’t need to worry to much there yet). As a bonus – and because I know I’m not posting as often this month – here are two sketches that have been messed with in Photoshop.
I’d like her dress, except for the whole obvious ironing aspect, but the teapot shadow is creeping me out a little.
And doesn’t everyone sing into fans and pretend to be Judith Durham?
November 13, 2008
In bad news:
- Coffee, the only readily available hot non-sweet beverage (excluding tea: I try to avoid paying $3.50 for a teabag and hot water) seems to be having undesirable effects on me – now where am I going to get most of my writing and sketching done? Or how can I get more cafes to make chai lattes with tea leaves instead of syrup (tastes like syrup) or powder (tastes like ants)?
- My beautiful cherry-red ikea desk chair is not working out (one of the reasons for working in cafes) and (a) I don’t know where to buy a cheap kneeling chair and (b) I’m worried that if I try to get up from one in a hurry I will cause extensive destruction.
- I went for a vigorous walk last night to OfficeWorks to ogle mini pcs. I had pretty much convinced myself I would get an Asus Eeepc. This had taken me many ogling-trips to decide. AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY.
- I submitted a short story (“E&tF”) to an anthology and am feeling the loss.
- I have written over 30,600 words for NaNoWriMo, one of my favourite characters from the original inspiration is turning into a paranoid psycho (well, several of them are, actually) and at this rate I am not going to know what to do with myself for the end of the month.
- I can write 1,667 words in less than 45 minutes which leaves me with no excuses, generally.
- I have no story to submit to One Book One Brisbane because “The Splendour Falls”, which was going there next, wasn’t rejected after all but has found a home!!!!
November 9, 2008
A scratchboard/scraperboard illustration: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6).
The original is a little over two inches square (est.) and the letter is based on two or three 16th century alphabets from Historic Ornamental Alphabets which seems to be from Delamotte’s The Embroiderers’ Book of Design, containing initials, cyphers, ornamental borders, ecclesiastical devices, monograms, alphabets mediaeval and original, national emblems, &c. &c. I left many of the horizontal lines, etc, to make it look (I hope) more like a woodcut. The ant is from memory, personal observation, unsatisfactory images in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (my parents have a very slow internet connection) and trying to get a clear photo of ants on the veranda.
They were on the veranda because swarms of Christmas beetles died – or were incapacitated – there the night before. In the morning, ants and magpies and butcher birds came to carry them away. A kookaburra also came along and landed on the washing line while I was hanging clothes. Later, I got within almost a metre of it:
I also made a quick watercolour birthday card for my sister (Genevieve, who went shopping with me, thought I should get a more age-appropriate gift bag for a 26 year old, but I resisted):
November 5, 2008
I have decided not to learn to juggle. It is incompatible with my personality.
As an illustration, it is now November. On 1 November, a Saturday, I celebrated the beginning of NaNoWriMo by going out for morning tea, shopping and high tea, went for a run and wrote 3,336 words. On Sunday, after doing chores, I left the house at 10.00am, had coffee at Togninis while reading stories for critique, went to Vision, was inadvertently elected president, went out to lunch with assorted Visionaries, went to church, had church dinner, stopped in to visit friends in Toowong and wrote 3,639 words. Monday and Tuesday were work days. I stayed ahead of the writing curve on Monday while working, went to admission drinks after work, went to an improv comedy session after that then came home and drew. On Tuesday night I went to the usual Tuesday night dinner and movies, came home and drew. Today, I was distracted by elections, had a translation due and also started designing Christmas cards. I am holding steady on work hours, and have just reached 13,876 words.
If I were ever to learn to juggle, I am pretty sure someone would teach me to juggle three balls. I would then think to myself, “Oh, I can do this – with seven! – chainsaws! – running! – on fire! – with no instruction! – first time!”.
This is why I consider NaNoWriMo more a character building exercise than a writing challenge. It teaches me many things about myself. And it is safer than juggling with flaming chainsaws.
For those interested in such things, current NaNoStats are:
Title: Crown of Leaves
Synopsis: All the myths that’ll fit to print
First word: Marion
10,000th word: Clorinda
Deaths on screen: 0
Murders, implied: 5
November 5, 2008
I’ve been working out some illustration ideas for a Yeats poem, among others – trying to write 50,000 words in a month tends to increase the number of other projects I will take on. This is from a very small picture in black and grey markers, tinted in Photoshop. I predict more digital illustration this month, given that I am revolving around a keyboard more than usual, but I have been wrong before.
Of course, I could have gone with the new blog header as well, as featured in my last post (apologies to those seeing it again). It might be a blue screen of death, or having no idea what to write, although that is not yet a problem – I’m up to 11,204 words as of yesterday and I’m backing up. This one is coloured markers and some Photoshop editing:
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