4/20/22: …Blaze It??

But not really, but maybe? I’m very pro-weed, but found out fairly early on — from pretty frightening experiences — that high levels of THC and chronic hypertension and tachycardia don’t mix.

But I thought “blaze it” would be cute anyway, because I wanted to make a post about Trans-Scribed, which is a monologue series written and performed by transgender actors about their experience, and which was formerly put on by Errant Phoenix Productions (phoenix, “blaze it,” get it?? Ok, it… wasn’t my best work, sorry).

Errant Phoenix is, sadly, dissolving, and will not be producing Trans-Scribed this year, so my wife is actually taking up the reigns and will be recruiting, organizing, and co-producing the show. She just needs writers and performers, obviously.

If you know — or if you are! — a trans writer or performer who might be interested and would like more info, please contact me. You can use the contact form right here on my website.

I hope all is going well for you all. I lost my one working digital pen, on the first day of my break — you know, the brief window of time when I’m totally free to create? — and if that doesn’t just encapsulate my whole life right there.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

4/19/22: Finished

I’m throwing in the towel on Blogging A-to-Z.

I’m not out of ideas, or aesthetics. I actually had up to — what, N? O? Picked out and somewhat planned. I’ve been in a good headspace. I’ve been making blogging and art a priority.

I just think I’ve achieved what I set out to do already, and I’m getting restless.

It’s interesting, because I know the “challenge” of thirty day challenges is supposed to be, you know, to blog for thirty days straight, to force yourself to generate ideas and get into a flow state of sorts (or at least develop a daily habit).

But the purpose of my individual entries was idea generation — I’ve been trying to generate art ideas because I felt like my tank was running low (it was; I was at the very end of my old Art Ideas list).

As it stands now, I have eleven whole ideas — not all of which I am equally enthused about, but most of which are workable, and many of which I an excited about — and right now I’m just excited to develop and work on them.

I’ll be honest, I think challenges are wonderful ideas and there are some I think I’ll either continue with or jump back into — NaPoWriMo, next year, I’m coming for you wholeheartedly — but with regards to A-to-Z, I don’t know. Doing it the way I’ve done the last two years has certainly been beneficial to me as creative brainstorms, though I never finish them out, so on the one hand, I’d hate to lose that simply because I know “failure” (i.e., not finishing out the thirty days) is almost inevitable. On the other, why embark on a challenge when you know you’re going to quit??

Well, I have a full year to figure that out, I suppose. In the meantime, take this as my A-to-Z resignation. It was fun and productive, and I’m excited to have enough ideas that, given the pace at which I produce, may well take me to the end of the year just on their own.

Hello from Spring vacation! We are taking it slow this week, as we are without a car (Kira still has to work) and we are homebound. Yesterday we did chores, then made popcorn and watched “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” and today we’re making ice cream and hopefully catching up on some reading.

We hit the library on Saturday, but the Children’s Room was closed (staffing has been a big problem lately), so Bear got a few books from the Teen section that might be somewhat challenging, but are definitely within the scope of his ability, so it should be a nice brain exercise. Both books are about science: Beastly Brains: Exploring How Animals Think, Talk, and Feel, by Nancy F. Castaldo, and Seeing Science: An Illustrated Guide to the Wonders of the Universe, by Iris Gottlieb.

The plan tomorrow is visiting my mom and the kids downstairs (my brother should be around too, which is always nice), and hopefully on either Thursday or Friday seeing my sister, but her oldest is still in school this week and she does pickup and drop-off, so planning that is really going to be about her and what her schedule looks likes.

Either way, it’s nice to be home this week. By the time we go back, it’s going to be the start of May, and about seven weeks left until the end. I have summer work lined up, but those are shorter days and shorter weeks, with a nice three week buffer on either end, so I’m looking forward to that.

Hope you all are doing well. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

A-to-Z Challenge, (late) Day 11: Kidcore

Work has gotten crazy the last couple of days, so you know what? I’m going to let myself be a day behind and make it up this weekend.

Today’s aesthetic is:  Kidcore.

From the Wiki:

Kidcore is an aesthetic that centers around bright colors, nostalgia for icons from the 90s, and kid themes. While its origins can be traced back to the 1990s/80s, it appears the aesthetic is a nostalgia-based creation of the 2010s.

Common motifs in Kidcore visuals are bright colors frequently used on children’s toys, most frequently highly saturated versions of the traditional primary colors (red, yellow, and blue), playgrounds, stuffed animals such as Beanie Babies and TY, robot pets like Furbies, Lisa Frank artwork, rainbows, and other kid themes. 

Ugh, so… there are several different ways I could go with this.  

Part of me says – given that it specifically references nostalgia for media properties of the 80s and 90s (and 2000s to a lesser extent) – part of me says, go straight up fanart.  Pick a property you loved and just go hog.  Or!  Pick several properties and do the epic crossover you know you friggin’ wished had actually happened back in the day.*  

But then, as discussed in a previous blog entry, I have a complicated relationship with fanart, and while I have very fond memories of several properties from my youth, entirely focusing a piece around them would require far more referencing and general legwork than I feel would be worth the actual fulfillment I would get from having done it.  I just don’t have the same level of passion for any of those loves of my past that would compel me to do fanart (even my Damien LaVey fanart has temporarily fallen by the wayside, and I growl at my wife when she pursues him romantically in-game).

The other option is doing another character who embodies the general aesthetic without going too into detail with specific nostalgia.  I’m going to be honest, this isn’t much better.

The third option is sort of my favorite at the moment.  It’s not a “high art” piece, but you know what, fuck the concept of “high art.”  I’m here to have fun and make cute/creepy/pretty things for people to look at.

The third option is a hybrid of the first two, casting a younger me as the main character.  I would do it as an “About the Artist” piece – the kind you see pinned to the top of Twitter profiles, or in DeviantArt profile sections.  I would be wearing an iconic outfit from my youth (hell, I even know which outfit I’m going to draw!), and surround myself with my favorite things from the time (I will likely pick a time frame – I’m thinking ages nine to thirteen would be the most fun) and write the “About Me” about, well, me, during that time frame.  I think it would be a cute thing to temporarily pin to my About Me on this blog, and potentially even Twitter (since I likely won’t actually be open to commissions again until summer anyway).  

But look, I’m standing like a magical girl, like Sailor Moon striking a pose, and I have plenty of old pics of myself to use as reference thanks to my sister and her obsessions with old photos.  I’m surrounded by things like Ninja Turtles, Animaniacs, 16-bit Nintendo characters (especially Mario and Starfox), my old tape recorder, Rock-a-Doodle (shut up), Disney stuff, Queen merch, screengrabs of old Usenet UIs, Lisa Frank, poetry books, and my About Me is stuff like, “Favorite Medium: Crayola Colored Pencils (24 count!),” and “Likes: AOL, Freddie Mercury’s solo work, Darkwing Duck, reading fanfic (especially lemons – don’t tell my mom!)”  Like, how beautifully, endearing cringy is that?  Oh man, I have to do this one.  I have to.

A student walked into class this morning not knowing what day of the week it was, what schedule day, or the date, and – hardcore relate.  I am having an easier time keeping track of the days now that I have a result routine to adhere to, where Tuesdays and Thursday are distinguished by an off-campus internship.  That’s going away soon, though, so it’s only a matter of time before I am free-floating in a temporal void again.

Regardless, I’m feeling chipper.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  I am excited about my own personal future and looking forward to seeing what’s next for me.  I hope you are, too.

Take care of yourselves, and each other

*Speaking of nostalgia and crossovers, did anyone else go absolutely feral as a kid for Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue?  Kind of sucks now, as an adult, to look back and primarily see a really cheesy piece of anti-drug propaganda, but at the time – holy hell, it was just the greatest crossover of all time.  

A-to-Z Challenge, Day 10: Jamcore

I’m playing against type today.  My first instinct for today’s aesthetic was one called Joyride, which is all about the peace and serenity of long car rides, especially at night or in the rain, and honestly, there have been a lot of aesthetic so far that’s I’ve liked or I’ve related to, but if I had to pick one that resonates with me on a soul-deep level, it’s Joyride.  I will have to wax poetic about my car ride obsession later, but I will say, I am one of very few of my friends who can ride in a car for six or eight hours in relative silence and not only not be bored, but be transcendentally happy.

That being said – I’ve put off a lot of aesthetics that are of the cozy, cottagecore vibe because I said there’d be a lot of them on this list, and that constant pushing them off may actually wind up removing them from the list entirely, ironically enough.  So with that being said, and wanting to hit at least one of those cozy, springtime-esque vibes –

Today’s aesthetic is: jamcore.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

From the Wiki:

Jamcore is an aesthetic based on picnics, gingham patterns, pastries, and jam. Jamcore is also based upon helping the environment, such as reusing jars and other materials, or being self sustainable if possible and growing your own food. Conserving the environment and wildlife is also a big part of Jamcore. It takes heavy inspiration from the Honeycore aesthetic as well, and are related in many ways.

So, actually, that Steven Universe clips is genuinely a pretty good encapsulation of Jamcore, really.  Warm days, coziness, picnics, sunshine, gingham, good books.  It’s no Joyride, for sure, but I sure as hell love this aesthetic, especially around this time of year when all those things are part of my life again.

My thoughts for this piece is again a human figure, but composed a little differently this time.  The lens through which we are viewing this scene is on the ground; there are several errant blades of grass, yellow and verdant green, slightly out of focus in the forefront.  Beyond those, we see a jar of jam, resting on a gingham blanket, open with a used knife leaning against it; next to it is a small loaf of home-baked bread with about a quarter missing.  Beyond/above that is out human figure, laying on her elbows with a book propped in front of her.  We only see her from about chin to the bridge of her nose; she is chomping a thick slice of bread between her teeth and smiling. I see a lot of stark shadows, bright highlights, vibrant reds, pinks, and greens.

I’m weirdly excited to do this one, mainly because I’m interested in trying different framing and perspectives — I spent so long doing the “3/4 portraits from the right” kind of that seems to be a cliche among beginner artists, and I’m eager to do new things.

I am at a loss — why do I never know what to do when my house is clean? It’s like my brain can’t figure out what to do with itself when I’m not budy procrastinating on chores, ha. I’m tapping out for tonight, though. I completed linet art for Stag King 3, and now I’m going to tune out with a beer, some snacks, and good old AO3.

Oh! Here’s the Gloomcore-esque piece I finished yesterday:

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

A-to-Z Challenge, (late) Day 9: Icepunk

NB: Ahh, once again the day got away from me, and despite having written this blog post during my downtime yesterday, I once again neglected to post it. I also have today’s entry done and ready to go, but I’ll let a little time pass before posting that one as well. Ugh, sorry. Hopefully I can be more consistent the rest of the month.

Today’s (or yesterdays, I guess, ugh) aesthetic is: Icepunk.

From the Wiki:

Icepunk (or Icecore) is an aesthetic revolving around frozen, snowed-over and icy places which give an eerie and otherworldly feel.

It shares elements with Cleancore, as the colours are similar (Icepunk being less bright and more misty) and frozen places typically have a smooth and sanitized feel to them.

So, here is where relying on a aesthetic wiki for this challenge becomes difficult – I’m not entirely sure if this is a visual aesthetic, if it is a sound aesthetic, if it is something else all together – music and memes are both referenced repeatedly – and I’m not familiar with any of the aesthetics that they are making reference to as a means of comparing or contrasting.  That being said, there is a line or two referring to “icepunk art,” and there are visual examples on the page, so I am going to base my concept off of that.

Given my almost year – oh my God – of off-and-on studying Finnish, I can’t hear “icepunk” and not think, Aurora Borealis, so I will be borrowing my color palette from that (and likely incorporate Aurora Borealis-esque lighting/patterns in the background).  

I am mildly obsessed with organic things – flowers, mushrooms, vines – sprouting from the bodies of my subjects, if you couldn’t tell from the last, oh, all of my entries.  In this case I’m thinking of a diadem of spired icicles, like stalagmites, coming up from the crown of her head.  Our perspective is from slightly below, looking up at her.  Her expression is somewhere between stern and neutral.

 I’m having some trouble thinking of exactly what to do with her hair.  Part of me is thinking braiding, close to the scalp, and pinned back, to form an almost fauxhawk along the top of her head (that’s going to be tricky to draw, but in an, “ooh, that sounds like fun, let me try that” sort of way), but also, the visual space taken up by the icicles is going to at least partially influence what I ultimately choose to do in that arena.  I’m also thinking of silver threads woven through and tied around her hair in bunches (hard to describe in a verbal medium, but I know what I mean, and I just need language enough so that if I go back to engage with this later, I can decipher my own intentions).  

She is wearing pelts and furs, cast in a greenish-blue with the ambient lighting, studded and held together with toggle buttons, perhaps with a hood pulled three-quarters down (a hood seems a bit nonsensical what with the diadem of ice, but also, I feel like it’s such an iconic component of a that kind of outerwear, it would feel incomplete without it; also I feel like a slightly more dynamic pose – instead of simply standing, arms by her sides – might be having her pulling down the hood with one hand as the wind whips around her.  Her face is studded by semi-translucent patches of ice and frost, climbing in snowflake patterns up her cheeks.  Her lashes are thick with snow.  Her hair is stark white, but glowing eerily green and blue, her eyes the same vibrant, fluorescent green as the lights in the sky.

I’m not as passionate about this one as I have been about some of the others, though I certainly wouldn’t complain if this was one of the top five; I’m in love with the color palette, and am very excited to do something with the Aurora Borealis, but it’s not in my personal top five at the moment.

I saved this until the end of the entry because I know probably no one else cares, and no one else genuinely understands how big of a deal this is, but – Sunday Kira took Bear to see some family, and I spent from 8:30 am until 5:00 pm cleaning the house.  Lo and behold, the house is livable again!  It’s such a weight off my shoulders.  The cruel reality of my neurodivergence is, I cannot operate at full capacity when my surroundings are in utter chaos, but also, I am woefully inclined to allow my surroundings to slide into utter chaos.  Having had COVID a couple of weeks ago (even though it was, blessedly, quite mild) made it even worse, as I was conscientiously not exerting myself as a precaution, and as a result, the house was an absolute cesspool (it had been pretty bad prior to, and after the fact it was just awful).

Anyway, I am incredibly proud of the work I put in yesterday, and it frees me up, both physically and mentally, to focus on other projects, both personal and creative.  Tonight I am hoping to finish a digital piece I’ve been working on (the one that called to mind the Gloomcore aesthetic I spoke of the other day), and to start inking the last of my Stag King series (the one I’ve been calling the “deer” series.  Stag King sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?  Still not the most imaginative title, but worlds better, regardless).

Four days until I am on a week long break, and hoo boy, am I ready for it.

Take care of yourselves and each other.  Cheers.

A-to-Z Challenge, Day 8: Happycore

Here’s an aesthetic that I like consuming but don’t really produce much of.

Today’s aesthetic is: Happycore.

From the Aesthetic wiki:

Happycore is an aesthetic that’s based around positivity. Its sole purpose is to help others cope with stressful or sensitive topics. Some ways Happycore is shown is through small quotes, drawings, photos of cute animals, and bright stickers.

This one is tough because I feel like positive quotes and words is so ingrained in this aesthetic that I’m going to have to incorporate typography, and unless I want to just slap something like that on a shirt a character is wearing, I’m going to have to be more creative about how to incorporate it.

I was thinking of going a little meta — maybe showing a hand drawing on a tablet, maybe from two perspectives, a picture-in-picture style image — where you can see both the back of the tablet (with cutesy, on-brand-for-the-aesthetic stickers), and the screen where I am drawing, maybe a cute, soft bunny-and-puppy illustration with an apt quote. The colors would all be pale, pastels — lots of yellows and pinks, maybe a gingham pattern for the background. I don’t have a ton of well-detailed ideas, but I know I would do something a bit meta, something veering away from the single character designs that are sort of my bread-and-butter.

I am exhausted. Covid came for me pretty meekly, but days and days later, I am feeling the fatigue more acutely than I had initially. I’m not dead-on-my-feet by any means, but I am definitely more tired than I should be given what I’ve actually been doing.

Still, making slow progress on my digital painting and hyping myself up for tomorrow.

Take care of yourselves and each other.

A-to-Z Challenge, (late) Day 7: Gloomcore

While the week overall actually moved pretty quickly, yesterday felt like it lasted about ten years.  It wasn’t a bad day, nor an extraordinary day in any way – just a Friday, when I’ve been greatly anticipating the weekend.  

I’ve been trying to not obsess over the horrific state of the house, instead simply reminding myself and reaffirming to myself the promise that I will get it all done on Sunday (and it’s doable, too; I’ve started from worse and gotten it done in a day, so long as I’m alone and motivated).

Instead, I’m choosing to celebrate those things I have accomplished instead of lamenting those that I haven’t.  So, yesterday I: completed (but didn’t post!) my A-to-Z entry, caught up on Finnish lessons, read a few chapters of a book, made a meal plan and a grocery list, and wrote up a plan of action for Sunday, and today I’m going to the library, grocery pick-up, and visiting my mom now that we are post-Covid and testing negative again.  

There, that looks a lot better than “didn’t clean the house.”  Let’s go with that.

Today’s aesthetic is: Gloomcore.

This is one hundred percent my aesthetic at the moment.  It actually fits quite well with something I’ve been pondering over as a sort of companion to the thing I’m working on right now, which, fortuitously, would also likely fit into the Gloomcore aesthetic.

From the Aesthetics wiki:

Gloomcore is an aesthetic inspired by the tranquil forests and foggy beaches of the pacific northwest, and obscure hobbies and interests. The aim is to appreciate the quiet through dim surroundings. Those who take a liking to such genre tend to find beauty in cloudy skies, foggy coastlines and tall, endless, green forests. Gloomcore folks love all things odd and otherworldly…

I love rainy days.  This is not exactly a secret – in college, one of my greatest loves was rainy days when campus was nearly dead and I had long stretches between classes.  I would take slow, meandering walks through the trees, walk across the quad and admire the glow of the windows from the dorms and the campus center, and ultimately stake out a seat in an empty carrol at the library, facing the massive floor-to-ceiling windows on the first floor.  Everything was muted grey and green and brown, and it was beautiful.

As I got older, my brother and I used to venture out more frequently on rainy day walks, down by the mills and the man-made falls, up by the Castle and the Gatehouse, and through the old walking trails behind the hospital.  It was there that we’d clamber over downed trees covered in moss and walk by eerie patches of monotropa uniflora (Ghost Pipes – which I fell head over heels for an which I am incorporating into my current drawing).

I guess what I’m saying was choosing today’s aesthetic was not difficult for me.

I’m picturing a very elegant woman – I say woman, but her skin is a silver gray, and her head is crowned by mushrooms, growing at varying heights.  I’m not an expert on mushrooms – I like the “mushroom aesthetic,” as in I like depictions of mushrooms in art, but I’m not sure what variety I want to incorporate into this piece yet; it will depend on the overall vibe, I think, if I want something stouter or longer or with a pop of color.  Mushrooms TBD, I suppose.  Anyway, her face is angled towards us, but really it’s angled so she can glance at the bird on her shoulder, a stern barn owl, its face cheated slightly toward us, but looking more sharply off to the right.  Her eyes are heavy-lidded, half closed; you can see the ghost of a pupil and iris, but her eyes are milky and mostly colorless.  Her hair is a stark white (I will have to work to make this contrast satisfyingly with her skin), and she is draped not in clothing, but in thick blankets of moss and ivy.

I feel like I would like to add more detail, though I’m also considering the framing of the scene; part of me would like a wider, full-body scene, and part of me would like for it to be more of a close up, to really focus on the detail s of her face, of the owl, of the mushrooms, etc. Given that I’m not drawing this piece, like, tomorrow, I don’t have to have it figured out just yet, but I will eventually. Whether this is in my Top Five for this month or not, I actually expect that it’s a piece I will be working on regardless — it’s just too good of a companion for the piece I’m working on now.

So, I finally tripped up and fell a day behind — not for lack of work! I actually wrote all but this closer yesterday (I tweaked the intro before posting this morning, obviously), but last night we had our “family sleepover” (now that Kira and I are no longer contagious), and posting got lost in the shuffle. I’ll probably post today’s either today or tomorrow to be fully reset by Monday.

I’m at my parents’ house today, and Bear is currently happily playing with the neighbor children, so I am going to take this opportunity for coffee, conversation, and some down time. Cheers.

A-to-Z Challenge, Day 6: Fairycore

Running late with this one today, and currently hyper-fixating on a new digital painting, so this one is going to be quick.

Today’s aesthetic is: Fairycore.

From the Aesthetics Wiki:

Fairycore, also known as Fairy Folk is a fantasy themed aesthetic that centers predominantly around fairy and elf mythology. Visuals include nature, soft pastels, butterflies, magic, flowers, soft animals like bunnies, and the vibe of springtime…

Key motifs: Wings, sparkles, pixie/fairy dust, cute/small animals (deer, kittens, puppies.) flowers.

I am particularly drawn to the colors that are listed as being key colors in this aesthetic — primarily yellow, cream, and green — which are all colors that I use fairly sparingly (particularly in their pastel shades) and which I am incredibly interested in trying out as a palette.

The second portrait above is also especially intriguing to me — the painting I’m working on rigt now has ghost flowers growing from the shoulders and chest of an ethereal forest figure (not really a fairy, but something like it, maybe) and I think it would be interesting to have a fairy character with more traditional blossoms framing her face, growing from her head in place of (or in addition to) hair.

I’m thinking yellow dresses, yellow flowers. I’m thinking fairies curled against cream colored rabbits, dandelion puffballs and buttercups, blonde hair tied in up-dos that call to mind flowers, twists of greenery growing from their scalps n intricate patterns, looping around them like climbing ivy. I would like the entire scene to be painted in stark overlays to mimic a soft glow, like the fairies are lit from within. The rabbits are sleeping — it’s an evening scene — and the air is studded with fireflies.

It’s not super well-defined, at the moment, but all the components are there. Will it make my top five, for voting at the end of the month? Who knows. But I wouldn’t be mad, let’s say. I think with some thought it could be good, and would certainly fit with my repertoire as of late.

I am glad tomorrow is Friday. We have a library visit and a visit to my folks on Saturday (assuming Bear still tests negative), and Camelot for Kira and Bear on Sunday (so I can clean — at last! I was literally in tears tonight, feeling so overwhelmed by this house. I look forward to getting a handle on it again). I hope April is treating you all well and you all have something restful and restorative to look forward to this weekend.

Take care of yourselves and each other. Cheers.

A-to-Z Challenge, Day 5: Erokawa

Today, this fifth day of The A-to-Z Challenge, I am going to use my brief introduction before heading into the substance of the entry to issue a call to action and tell you all: buy a body pillow.  Holy hell.  I don’t know how I got through pregnancy without one, and honestly, I am retroactively resentful and having had to do so.  Kira bought herself one a few weeks ago to combat chronic back pain, and while it worked really well, she opted to upgrade to a slightly larger one, and passed the smaller one on to me.  Oh, guys, it’s a game changer.  Granted the bed is getting a little, uh, crowded, what with two full grown (and not small) adults and two full body pillows, but it’s so good, guys.  So, so good.

No, this has nothing to do with art.  Sorry not sorry.  I slept through the night, people!  This is a big deal!

Today’s aesthetic is:  erokawa.

From the Aesthetics wiki:

Erokawa (エロカワ) is a Japanese aesthetic that is supposed to contrast the popular kawaii trends by drawing notions of the western concept of sexiness. The term, coined in 2005, is a fusion of ero (shortened from the English word “erotic”, which has negative connotations in Japanese culture) and the lighter kawaii, meaning “cute”. Different to previous erotic trends in Japan, it was created by women for women and gave a sense of empowerment as it was the first time Japanese women were able to claim ownership over their sexuality in a way that catred to their own tastes rather than the male sexual desire.

So, today comes with some self-reflection – what do I find cute, and what do I find sexy, and how can I bring the two together?

I don’t know how many people are familiar with Moriah Elizabeth — she’s a YouTube art/crafter who specializes in super cutesy art, and I think all her stuff is absolutely adorable. Most of her art centers around ice cream and pastries and rainbows, and I imagine whatever I decide to draw would do the same — I had so much fun with my #NoFilters portrait that I would love to do something like that again. That being said, all her stuff is one hundred percent family-friendly, so I still need to bring in the sexy aspect, and find a way to mesh it with her cutesy style.

I’m also thinking, catgirls? Catgirls are a very sort of on-brand cute/sexy kawaii icon, though honestly, I’m not super into them personally?

To pull back the veil a bit more — and arguably to get a bit TMI — I’ve lately been very into reading fanfic about the “Just Pudding” web shorts series with James Acaster and Ed Gamble, and a lot of that is borderline D/s feeder kink? I’m not one hundred percent hardcore into that, but I’m thinking maybe I incorporate some of the aspects that really surprised me with their appeal. Maybe a woman wearing loli clothing lounging about a top of giant donut, sprinkles and pastry motifs mirrored in her outfit? A very scantily clad woman surrounded by candy, indulging her sweet tooth in pastel hues?

This one is tough. I think it could be fun, conceptually, but it’s not really in my wheelhouse — I can do cute, to some extent, and I can do sexy, but I am not accustomed to doing both in the same piece.

I am exhausted tonight! Looking forward to the weekend — now that COVID seems to have passed (still have a few more days of testing for my son), it looks like I’ll finally get my day alone this weekend to get some major cleaning done, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

Hope you are all doing well, taking care of yourselves and each other. Cheers.

A-to-Z Challenge, Day 4: Dazecore

No beating around the bush today; today’s aesthetic is: Dazecore.

From the Aesthetics wiki:

Dazecore is an aesthetic inspired by sleepless nights and the buzz of late night/early morning thoughts. It is very closely linked to UrbancoreGeek, and Dark Minimalism, heavily influenced by artists working in the early hours of the morning and students staying up late at night working on papers…

A lot of elements of Dazecore can cross over into the After Hours aesthetic, but viewed through more of a Dreamy lens.

Softly glowing screens in dark rooms

Lo-Fi music, crackling through broken headphones

Stacks of notebooks with scribbles in the margin

Time seeming to slow down around 3am

Racing thoughts and shaking hands

Unknown footsteps on creaky stairs

Late-night texts to loved ones

Reoccurring dreams of falling endlessly

After I got married, my wife and I – still subsisting on only my income while she job hunted, living in a rent controlled apartment with bars on the windows – were graciously gifted a makeshift honeymoon by her grandparents.  We would fly out to Florida and stay with them in Ormond Beach for ten days, and they would escort us to and pay our way through the parks, beaches, and tourist attractions.  It was an incredibly kind gesture, and we booked for the middle of August, slightly less than a month after our wedding.  The night before our flight, we turned all the lights low in our apartment and got into bed, armed with anticipation, magazines, and a boxed set of “The Simpsons,” knowing we wouldn’t sleep (our flight was at like six am, our Easy Tran bus at 3 am), but not quite knowing what else we should do.  In the low, artificial golden light of our lamps, everything seemed to buzz; everything we said sounded like an inside joke and was infinitely funnier than it would have been in the light of day.  We read each other Cosmo quizzes while the TV provided some grounding familiarity, and when it was time to load up and head out, the heavy humidity and the absolute stillness of the air (save for the sounds of crickets) made stepping out the door feel like stepping into an alternate reality.

I fucking love that feeling.  I love everything about it.  I fell in love at 3 am; I’ve had some of my most treasured memories sleep deprived in the hours just before dawn.  The sky just before sunrise is such a lovely thing.

I’m thinking a simpler piece this time, but one that takes the focus away from the comfort of drawing human figures.  Drawing on my own experiences, both from the night before my honeymoon, and countless vacation and convention weekends.  I see two people in bed, not in a romantic sense, but definitely an intimate scene.  We see them from the back; they aren’t fully in silhouette, but they are backlit, from our perspective (woo, rim lighting!) One is curled in on themself, dozing, or close to sleep. The other has their hands on their knees, resting their head on their arms, a glowing laptop laid in front of them, playing their favorite familiar show. Beyond that, around them, the darkness of 3 am; out their window, a glowing, metropolitan cityscape, a Boston or a New York, where the skyline always dotted with points of light. An empty bottle of wine and two precariously balanced glasses are nestled in the space between them. The duvets are messy from a night full of not-sleeping, of hushed conversation on hand-over-mouth giggles, their nightshirts oversized and falling off their shoulders, and they too tired to fix them.

Ugh, I need a convention weekend soon. This has made me so miss the sleepless nights of an Anime Boston or an Arisia or an MJ.

Anyway, I hope you are all doing well. I’m working my way very slowly through a drawing that I am, uh, well — a drawing that I like in theory, but that I’m not absolutely sold on just yet, but I’m willing to work through and hopefully come around to it.

Grand things on the horizon, guys. It’s so enchanting being excited for what lies ahead. Spring always puts me in that frame of mind.

Take care of yourselves, and each other. Cheers.