30 DAYS PROJECT, DAY ONE: “Invaders Must Die,” Self-Portrait

"Invaders Must Die." 8.5" x 11.5". Watercolor on cold press paper, graph paper, ballpoint pen, white charcoal.

"Invaders Must Die." 8.5" x 11.5". Watercolor on cold press paper, graph paper, ballpoint pen, white charcoal.

Picture up front, as per as per. Click on the lovely “Continue Reading” link if you want to hear about the process for Day 1!

  • 2:16 PM: Finally get something on paper after waking up late, waking up even later, eventually getting enough brains to make myself a smoothie for lunch, and making myself into a respectable person. To be honest, all of these hurdles are usually the excuses I give for not getting down into the studio since I figure ugh, it’s all too late now since it’s mid-afternoon and there’s no hope, but Thirty Days accepts no excuses. Although I had a composition originally planned for the first day, it is tossed out the window after I stared at my sketchbook blankly for planning sketches and realized this was not going to happen. Instead, I go with gut instinct; one watercolor pad, spray bottle, and five minutes’ worth of dicking around later and I have a riot of scarlets, magentas, and yellow-oranges staring back up at me. I may scan it in for my website lettering before I use it for its original purpose — that is, when it dries. Nothing says hours of fun like waiting for a puddle of cadmium red watercolor to soak into the paper. In unrelated news: the basement studio smells like mildew and I’m scared shitless that I’m going to get some fucked up lung disease again. Last time I sat down here for an extended period of time, I managed to get a week-long sinus infection from hell, but I was also super under stress from a project so perhaps this is a moot point. Okay, time to go back to the sketchbook before I get the grid paper. … after I okay some comments.
  • 2:30 PM: Was fooled into thinking that this first draft of the live blog was deleted by WordPress! I even said so in comments in my last blog! Rageahol abounds! But then it comes back and I’m okay? UGH, THESE INTERNET HICCUPS! Going upstairs to fetch my tea, breathe non-gross air, fume.
  • 2:41 PM: So, definitely finding out that aimless art is not doing me any favors. Before the week is over, this project is going to need a directive. Weekly historical inspirations, perhaps? For the moment, I don’t quite have those, so I’m going to have to work on the fact that I have a slowly-drying sheet of watercolor paper that looks like a sunset is tripping balls. Post-apocalyptic endeavors are always of interest to me, so that’s a possible direction. With all this red, a possible “murder investigation” could be another possibility. Still another: puffer fish tripping balls. See, this isn’t working out quite the way I had imagined. Perhaps it’s time for my friend, The Associative List.
  • 2:51 PM: Associative List always delivers. After floundering (har har) about for a good five minutes, I came across a thread imagining the dread idea of swimming to escape the depths of some awesomely scary underwater creature. That being said, let me share some of the gems from my sketchbook list. (And really, I swear that’s what my sketchbook is: lists, lists, and more lists.)
    • RE: Puddles of Dark Red — Soviet Russia, bubbles (soap)
    • RE: Acid Trips — Johnny Depp, Benicio del Toro, that one movie about Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalism, Yellow Kid?!
    • RE: Fantasy — LotR (lol no), that one weird cavern place I made up, unicorns, Ben Whishaw not being gay
    • Admittedly, I just made this list to highlight the RE: Fantasy points.
  • 3:34 PM: After coming up for a tea break, executive decision to do the part of this drawing that involves ballpoint pen upstairs. Perhaps part of my “creative work” this week can be to clean the fuck out of whatever is molding downstairs, because it is seriously giving me some allergy nasty and it’s hard to focus on actual body parts and draw when you’re sure you’re going to get an asthma attack . Speaking of focus, this entire exercise is reminding me how hard looking can be. That sounds like a silly thing to say, but the best pose I could find for the idea in question was from a .gif of a girl swimming to the surface of a pool and the study sketches I made of her are atrocious. But it’s all about loosening up again, isn’t it, feeling the figure? Also, focusing, since it’s almost 4:00 as I type the last of this point. Goofing off is allowed to a certain extent in these projects, but not a lot.
  • 3:58 PM: Taking break from feeling out body contours to be amazed at United Art & Supply’s awesome coupons for this month. I suddenly know what one of my projects is going to be this month, and it involves the words “origami garland.”
  • 4:01 PM: Not sure I’m feeling swimming girl after all. Back to post-apocalyptic fun?
  • 5:06 PM: Technically, I’m over my deadline for “time to be done” today, but it seems that once I finally got my idea in my head as soon as time was up. First, I’m going to chill out and blank my mind out of the bad half-sketches for the past hour by making the basis graphics for my portfolio and then we’re on like Donkey Kong. After all, when all else fails: go go Gadget Self-Portrait.
  • 5:45 PM: Did all this work for the website, only to discover that I’d much rather a different look. ISN’T THAT WHAT HAPPENS SOMETIMES, THOUGH? Better do this and figure out that I’m not about it than, you know, not. Tonight’s losses: cut. Now it’s time for Operation: Self Portrait.
  • 6:24 PM: Time to brew tea, let paper rest before I blow dry it and go onto Part B, walk with mi madre as we take puppy on walk. Things I’ve learned from Part A of Operation: Self Portrait:
    • Graph paper (or at least, the graph paper I’ve been given) is super-fragile. Within 30 seconds of coloring the rims on my glasses, it already tore from the ballpoint pen. Dayum.
    • My nose still sucks RE: drawing it. I fucking hate having non-prominent nostrils.
    • More on graph paper being fragile: meant it was scary as fuck to glue onto the watercolor.
    • I look really creepy without my eyes and mouth.
  • 6:53 PM: Score, everything’s done! All I have to do is scan and upload.
  1. June 1st, 2010

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