Monday, December 17, 2012

Bleeding High Hopes

I don't know...  I'm still not feeling AMAZING about the pen bleeding... but I will carry on until I think of some magical solution.

I'm back to working on my short and let me just say: CHANGES ARE HAPPING

As I've mentioned before I don't think I will be returning to the studio space that I occupied before.  There are several reasons for that, but I won't bother going into them.  This has caused me to realize that I have a lot less square feet in which to shoot in.  This means - SET REDESIGNS.  It's going to be challenging in a whole new way but I'm a firm believer that when you have immovable obstacles a greater and more creative solution can be the net profit than if everything just goes swimmingly.  After I post this blog post I'm going to go on walkabout to scavenge some materials to shoot some tests with.  I have high hopes and hopefully they will stay this high after the testing has been done.  Overall though when I brainstormed "Solution A" last week I got very excited as to how it could actually enhance the storytelling in my film.  If all goes well this week I may be able to share with you some tests.  Of course in my experience with stop motion things only go as you expect they will 5% of the time.  So no promises!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bye Bye B&W

So I decided to JUST DEAL WITH IT.

Yes, the ink will bleed.  But I want to continue with this pen and this paint.
I think if I am aware of the fact that the ink will bleed I just need to be more careful about my brushwork.  The past few sketchbooks I have filled have been pure black and white since I have been separated from my paints for so long.  Seeing colour back in my sketchbook just makes me feel....happy.  Another piece of my soul puzzle in place!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Uh Oh

Mid way through the year, it finally happened.  I FOUND THE PERFECT PEN.  I had been searching for years for the perfect sketching pen.  In college I was all about the ballpoint.  Later on it was all about Micron.  Then I came close early this year with the Pentel Hybrid Technica.  THEN, when I thought I could do no better, fate intervened and I found the glorious Pilot G-TEC-C4.  The most perfect pen I have ever sketched with.  I have done about 2 full sketchbooks with the Pilot and I have been loving it.  However I haven't painted in SO LONG.  Mostly due to the fact that my paints were in storage when I moved to SF.  Now that I'm back in Vancouver and my office is mostly set up I found the time to paint.  I had been looking forward to it since.......well it seems like forever!  So today, I painted.  I painted on top of my sketch and..... the EFFING INK BLED.
It never bled with the Micron, but the felt tips wore down after 1 or 2 pages and I was going through a pen a week.  With the Pilot I can actually use up the ink completely (which can last anywhere from 3-5 weeks).  AND I love sketching with it.... It feels great and the lines are really nice.
So now I am torn.  There is no way I want to give up my gouache.  There is no way I want to give up this pen.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Like Riding A Bike!

My bike (white lightning) is back!  YOU BETTER BELIEVE I went on a sweeeeeeeeeet bike ride.  It's just one more thing that makes me feel pretty great.  Other than that I've been working on setting up what I like to call "Alicia's Workspace 2.0".
Here and there I've had some pretty righteous workspaces, but none of them were ever really made to my satisfaction.  I had a pretty sweet (but small) thing going on in TO a while back.  Then I had a great studio space in Vancouver but I gave it up when I got the contract for SF.  Now that I'm back I'm trying to make it work in my apartment before going out and getting another studio space.  The one I was at before had a heating problem and it's hard to get work done (especially when working on intricate stop mo armature pieces) when your fingers are freezing.  I'm pretty excited about what I've got going on in the apartment right now.  I just need a few ikea pieces (drawers mainly) to make it organized and functional.  Once I've got everything set up I'll share a pic.   Anyways, surprise surprise here's some more cafe sketches!  I love being back at my regular cafe here.  Good energy and great people.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Word Of The Day


Today the final piece of my life was delivered back to me.  After packing up my life to move to San Francisco it has arrived back at my doorstep in Vancouver.  My stuff made a round trip pretty much from Vancouver, to SF then back again without ever being unpacked.  I've gone without about 85% of my personal belongings since July.  Whatever didn't fit in a suitcase and carry on has now been returned.  I've been thinking about this day with excitement for a while and now that it's here I feel anxious.  My apartment is scattered with boxes.  I have to unpack.  Again.  I am swinging between the excitement of picking up working on my own art (including my short!!!!) and the paralyzing fear that once again, I am unemployed.

This industry can be a dream come true and a nightmare.  I'm so thankful for the amazing support that I constantly feel from my friends and family.  Nobody has ever told me they don't believe in me, and I think thats why I am always able to believe in myself.  Even now, under the weight of my fears.... I think I can still make this work.


Time to rehang the hooks I took down.  Put together the desk I took apart.  Refill the drawers I emptied.

And put the luggage AWAY.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

So Much To Say....

....that I can't sort out my thoughts today in any coherent manner.

Drawing was fun but now my brain is screaming!  AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012


I finished working on Robot Chicken last week and WOW that was fun!!!!  I'm so proud of the work I did while I was down there and so proud to have worked with such a fantastic team.  I enjoyed that contract so much but I also had so much on my mind in regards to reconstructing my life from what I like to call "The Great San Francisco Detour" that there were times that my head was not totally there.

I arrived back in Vancouver this week and felt all sorts of discombobulation for the last few days.  I've been running around taking care of errands, piecing things back together.  I also just got over a cold so I've been feeling SUPER low energy.  Today was the first day I went drawing since I've been back.  I returned to my usual spot where I was welcomed very warmly by the staff who remembered me.  It's one of life's little joys to be a regular at a coffee shop I think...  The cafe was bustling with activity and before I  took a sip of my latte I felt like someone had injected me with caffeine.  The cafe I go to has such a fantastic energy.... I think probably the best in my neighborhood.  I've tried at least 3 other places but this one always comes out ahead.  I felt shocked back to life in the best way possible.

The last few weeks my drawings have kind of been lacking in something, but as I started to sketch I felt that something come back.  I felt so excited and alive and ready to DRAW.  When I first moved to Vancouver it took me such a long time to really connect with it.  Now I feel connected.  I can see the art everywhere.  Life can be so strange sometimes.

I tried to love markers.... I just... don't.
This woman was so simply dressed but so elegant.

Within the next few weeks my belongings will be shipped back to me from SF.  Including my bike (YAY) and paints (YAY!).  Even though I have a mounting list of errands to run, even though I gave up my studio when I moved to SF and now have nowhere to work on my short, even though I don't have a job right now, I feel really happy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Head and Heart

BLARG.  There is so much going on in my life right now that I have tried to write this post three times already.  All I've managed to do with it is throw myself a pity party which I am totally over!!!!  Without things getting too heavy I think I will reduce my thoughts into bullet points:

- I have a cold and feel totally worn out
- Job is going amazingly, I'm having the best time!  9am-7pm, Mon-Fri is a GOOD TIME.
- I realized lately that its been almost a year since I've done an improv class or performed improv.  This kills me.
- I need to work yoga into my life regularly to help me cope with the anxieties in my life that worsen when I go through transitions (i.e.- moving).  When things get bad I get obsessive AND compulsive.  I wouldn't say I'm at disorder stage but it's definitely not comfortable!
- I miss biking so much.  Hopefully when I get back to Vancouver there will be some rain-less days that I can take advantage of.
- I feel sad that I haven't posted on my blog in so long.  But today I feel happy that I am posting.
- I think I'm in some sort of personal rut.  There.  I've said it.  Now hopefully I can get out of it.

I have some pretty big thoughts about 2013.  I have a loose idea of how I'd like it to go but of course we won't know till we get there :)

Anyone else have some big feeling they want to share in bullet points?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Choosing Choice

With so many changes and transitions happening in my life in the past few months there were a lot of times when I felt like dissolving into a puddle on the ground.  I felt so out of control of my life and powerless as external forces moved the trajectory of my life around.  I felt like I was on a string being yanked every which way and I had no choice but to follow.  Somewhere in the midst of all the craziness I remembered this rhyme by Dr. Seuss that I had seen somewhere on the internet months before:

You have brains in your head. 

You have feet in your shoes. 

You can steer yourself any direction you choose. 

You're on your own. 

And you know what you know. 

And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go

Just reading this made me feel so calm.  Try saying this to yourself replacing the word "you" with "I".  Don't you feel better?  It made me reflect back on all of the times I let other people make choices for me when I believed I had no choice and all of the times I stood up and made my own choices for my life and where it took me.  We are all so responsible for our own lives.  We are as responsible for the choice of believing we are powerless and let other choose for us as we are for the choice of taking charge of our own lives and living a deliberate life where we choose our own paths.  Either way you are responsible for the outcome.  Be powerful or powerless, it is your choice but it IS a choice.  It is easy to slip between the spectrum of the two back and forth, and I think that this is how most people live their lives.  It's certainly what I used to do.  But I just can't afford to do that anymore, the stakes are higher now and I just can't risk my future in anyones hands but my own.  I get to choose where I go and what I do and who I spend my time with.  And if I make a bad decision then the responsibility is on me and I can't blame it on anyone but myself.  And if I make a good decision then I can own it and not say "well I was lucky...".  I know that my life is exactly the way it is because of my own doing.  Because of this somehow it makes me able to be as proud of my bad decisions as I am of my good decisions.  It feels good to own up to something and take responsibility, fixing it if it is bad or reveling in it if it is good.

So there's that.  Do me a favor, next time you feel helpless say this Dr. Seuss thing to yourself.  See if you can find a choice for change in your life where you didn't think you had one before.  When you do discover the power you have in your own life you will feel amazing, I promise.  Choose Choice.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

In Celebration of Failure

I have failed so much in my life, both publicly and privately, professionally and personally, in any way you can imagine I have failed at least once but most often multiple times and more than once making the same mistake over and over again until I learned from it.  I have no doubt that I will continue to fail in the future.  This fact used to be upsetting to me and something that I would instinctively want to hide and deny.  Many times when I failed I felt like I couldn't even admit it to myself, instead making justifications as to why other variables out of my control had set me up to fail and that I was just a victim of circumstance, and even then I still managed to beat myself up about it. 

This is a topic I think about a lot, and I have been meaning to write about it for so long.  I think because of that I find it hard to write this post.  My relationship with failure is such a huge part of who I am now and I can only hope to articulate it well enough.  We all have our own unique relationships with failure.  I'm just here to share mine.  

"Failure is not an option"

I think we have all heard that one before, and I think we have all said that to ourselves.  Well guess what?  Failure actually is an option!!  And it's actually a pretty great one.  When I started drawing again I just wanted so badly for my drawings to reflect what I actually was seeing in my head.  This was easier said then done and after so many failed attempts at this I became so fearful to draw because I knew I would fail.  I froze every time I saw something I knew I couldn't draw.  This led to much self loathing.  It got so bad that everyday I would just totally freeze up and find myself staring at a blank page for minutes.  Finally I had enough and one day I looked down at a blank page in my sketchbook and said to myself "This page is for failing".  I gave myself permission to fail, and I made it my main directive to fail and only fail on that one page of my sketchbook.  Suddenly I felt like I had been freed and I drew things that I never would have attempted otherwise.  I wasn't frozen.  When it became my goal to fail I felt so free and I drew so horribly and it meant I had succeeded!  By giving myself this freedom I stopped being scared, I stopped beating myself up.  Self loathing ceased and was replaced by encouragement.  I kept giving myself permission and the goal to fail weekly.  Eventually my "fail" pages in my sketchbook became the ones with the most energy  and the best drawings.  Now when I look at a blank page the permission to fail is automatic and I think that this was the main key to my improvement in my drawing over the past year.  

This is just one small way in which I have embraced failure in my everyday life.  So in honor of this I thought I'd share a page of my sketchbook that I think is just about the worst!  I'm not ashamed of it, I know that this one page doesn't define me and I also know it is an important and successful step forward.  

GO FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!

I actually wasn't expecting to fail on this page but after I drew it  I was really not happy with how it turned out!  So here it is, a failed page.  

When I saw this couple I felt apprehensive about drawing them, but I gave myself permission to fail and I went for it.  I ended up really liking this drawing.  Technically it's nothing special but theres something about the energy of it that I feel like I captured successfully   

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Growing Pains

Well this post has been a long time coming.  Crazy changes have happened and I've been physically and emotionally all over the map.  After SF fell through I thought about my options.  To make a long story short I ended up getting a spot animating on Robot Chicken in Burbank.  It's been crazy amazing and the studio is fantastic.

I've still been drawing every day and thank goodness for that.  In this time of my life that seems to be full of constant transition and change, drawing has been the one consistent thing that I can count on.  It is the one thing that after being laid off, with no job and few friends in SF, gave me a reason to get up in the morning and get out.  Every time before this time I knew when I would be unemployed and I was able to plan for it.  There would be an end date on my contract that I could prepare for it.  This time around it came out of nowhere and I wasn't prepared.  If I hadn't started drawing again so long ago I literally would have had nothing to fall back on.  If you move to a city for a job and then the job disappears, what are you left with?  A city that is indifferent to your existence.  When I am working and living in a city I feel like I am a contributing and valuable part of the community.  Anytime the work dried up in a city I've been living in I immediately feel like I've overstayed my welcome.  To stay longer in SF would have been like being the last person at a party that can't take the hint even though the host is yawning and saying "well it's getting to be that time....." as they load up the dishwasher.  I love Toronto, New York and San Francisco.  I loved working and living in those place.  But once I had no more work those cities seemed to close themselves off to me.  Every day I felt like they were saying "oh, are you still here?".  With no work I am not needed, nobody notices my existence and nobody would miss the absence of it.  This is a strange place to be in.  I had the option of staying in SF longer just to hang out but I left as soon as I could.  It became such an empty place with nothing there for me.  San Francisco is such a beautiful and vibrant city with so much to offer, but I had nothing to offer it in return and so our relationship felt like it had come to a natural (though abrupt) ending.

I suppose that is all there really is to say about that situation.  Now I am in Burbank.  A city that wants me here.  When I arrived last week it was very bittersweet.  I am in a job that I love, but I really hadn't expected to find myself here.  I don't regret anything but I feel like there is still a version of myself in a parallel universe still in San Francisco working on a feature.  And yet another version of myself in Vancouver still working on my short and living quite happily.  The past week when I have woken up it takes me a good few minutes to realize where I am and what I am doing here.

And then I get up and go to work.

I have begun experimenting with markers!  They are a more portable solution than paint.   Stay tuned for more fun experimenting with markers!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Day At A Time

So... it's been a stressful week.

Aside from any other nonsense I've been having a lot of really nice moments.  It's amazing that no matter what is going on in your life if you look hard enough you can always find some measure of peace.

The other day I started my day by going sketching and getting a latte.  Then I wandered over to a juice bar and grabbed a really great vegetable juice.  From there I meandered up the street to a used book store and picked up a new-to-me book.  Then I found a nice shady spot in one of the most beautiful parks I've ever been in and I sat and read (and laughed out loud - thank you David Sedaris) for a few hours.

No matter what is going on in any other area of my life, that is a damn good day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Oh Jeeeeeeez

Wow Ok.  I did not expect it to be almost a month before I blogged again but here we are.  So THE BIG MOVE is completed.  I am now in San Francisco for the time being working at a great new job.  Every move gets a little easier, the logistics still stress me out to no end but adjusting to this new city was pretty easy for me.  There is a great energy here.  The people are diverse and inspiring.  The coffee shops are plentiful.  Improv lives.  I know I will be just fine here :).

I'm happy to report that although my time blogging was very off and on I have still been drawing every day.  I even found a really great cafe nearby that I go to an hour before work and sketch.  Heaven.

Currently I still am looking for a more permanent place to live but once THAT monkey is off my back every thing will be peachy........right?

This move has stirred some thoughts.  That combined with starting a new job has really got my brain spinning.  Once I have a things more in place I hope to post about some of the things I have been thinking about. 


Thursday, July 12, 2012

So Much

Well if you have noticed I took a bit of a blogging break.  I have a big move coming up (more on that later) and I'm afraid I really let the tasks associated with the move overwhelm me.  I actually attempted a few blog posts but I found that I was just writing my heart out and it was really more of a personal journal entry that nobody would really understand except me.  Even as I am writing this now I feel the urge to write about some of the things I have been thinking about but I know my mind is to much of a mess to do that right now so I'll keep it short and sweet so I actually end up posting!
So YAY ME.  I finally did it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Back Forward

Oh Boy.

I ripped apart my leg build up.
disassembled the hip/thigh and feet joints
I cleaned them.
I put them back together with JB weld.
I came back 24 hours later.
Things are looking good!

Oh wait... no things are looking bad.

I stopped and had a moment with myself.

I should just rip this whole thing apart and start again / that will take a long time / sometimes its worth it to just cut your losses / if I don't take the extra time now I may be screwing myself horribly in the future / but I really like the way the torso came out.... and it is still working fine / if it ain't broke don't fix it / what the hell should I do


Yup.  In the midst of complaining and cursing to myself I found myself smiling.  The truth of the matter is no matter what I love building things.  I also love destroying things that have been craftily built (if you are a stop mo animator you KNOW the joy of being handed a beautiful pristine prop knowing that to do your shot right you MUST DESTROY IT).  So I ripped off what was left of the legs.  I cleaned them again.  I JB welded again, this time a little more thoroughly.  Then I posed the crap out of my puppet because a) it seemed like a fun idea b) I could test if the torso and arms were still holding up.

Cleaned off the parts with rubbing alcohol

Skinny thighs after ripping off all of the foam leg build up.  All that remains is the apoxy sculpt that I reinforced the  lower leg with.  I think I will go back and reinforce the upper leg as well. 

Posing without fingers!!  The fingers are being kept safe in a ziploc for now.   I'm also going to redo where the neck joint attaches to the head.  This is only a placeholder head anyways!

They held up.  I'm gonna leave them for now.  If I need to rip apart the precious work I have put into my puppets in the next few weeks, I'm ok with it.  In fact it's going to be a good time.

Oh yes and back to the point of this entire post.
For ever step backwards that has happened, I learn something.  Even if it is the tiniest something I still have a little more information than when I started.

Therefore every step backwards is really just another step forward.

So there are no backwards steps.  This makes me feel pretty alright.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Me and my Brain

Today I went to the coffee shop.  My usual seat was taken.  As were my two backup seats.  So I had to sit in my 4th choice (which on the bright side is far better than my 5th choice).  Whenever this happens I get all up in my head and can't stop thinking about how perfect everything would just be if I could sit in my usual spot.  Then I stop and think about how this is a metaphor for life and to just be ok with where I am and see if I can find anything special about seeing things from (literally) a new perspective. This would be fine if I could just learn the lesson once and be good every time thereafter.  But this happens every time and it makes me annoyed with my brain.  My inside conversation with myself goes something like this:

Me: Oh man, looks like my top three seats are taken, well at least I can still sit in my 4th choice!  If I had to sit in my fifth choice I would be soooooooo annoyed.


Me: That father playing with his newborn and singing to him is really sweet.


Me: Hmmm... I kinda wish I had got a cookie with my latte today.... The cookies here are insane.... I wonder what makes them so good.  Oh look, that girl is reading The Artists Way.  I wonder if I should go talk to her on my way out.


So as I was saying. this is totally annoying.  Seriously brain, get over it.  Anyways I have faith that my brain will chill out eventually.  Until then, just one day at a time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Doodlee Doo

I started a new sketchbook yesterday.  Whenever I complete a sketchbook and move onto another I give myself a little pat on the back.  It's a nice sense of accomplishment and physical proof that I have put time into something I love to do just for the sake of doing it.  All of my old sketchbooks are home in Toronto so it's nice to start a new pile in a new city.

I'm getting kind of tired of photographing my sketchbook for my blog though.  I left my scanner in Toronto and haven't had it for over a year now.  But I miss it....  Maybe I will buy a new one or maybe I'll get my old one.  We'll see!!

Oh yah!  And check out the new pages I put on the blog.  There is an About Me page and a Where Do I Draw? page.  Fun!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Time Out

Sometimes I fall into this false sense of security where I think I have gotten everything in my life really figured out.  I think more than anything I want to believe I have figured it all out.  Optimism abounds.  Then something will inevitably happen, some new situation and I will not be prepared to handle it with as much grace as I would have thought I could.  I know this is normal and I know that it hurts to grow but sometimes I really just need a solid time-out from life.  There is no such thing though.  I suppose if there was some of us would never want to tag back in.  We have to go through it.  This is life and this is art.  We never really know if the decisions we make are right or wrong, or if there even is such a thing as right or wrong and maybe all there is are the things we have already done, the decisions we have already decided on and made.  Right and wrong then become irrelevant.

So let's see what happens.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wrappity Wrap!

I am aspiring to make my progress posts clearer and more explanatory.  I'm figuring things out as I go along and I want to share my thought process as much as I can so ANYWAYS here's some stuff.
I realized that I was not quite getting the silhouette that I was after mostly out of the neck.  I also wanted to redo the knees and start working on the feet.  So I went in and sandwiched foam with spray adhesive over the parts I wanted to build up.

Then I wrapped/compressed those parts with foam wrap and left it over night for the adhesive to set.  I am SO impatient so if I don't walk away and leave the room I WILL TOUCH everything and anything before it is ready.

So I left the studio and came back the next day and just started trimming, first with big scissors then with little ones.  Here is what I ended up with:

So now I have a better silhouette with the neck that I was after.  The feet still need a lot of work.... so I am still working on them.  Of course I need to keep reminding myself that to get a really good silhouette you really need 10% a good puppet and 90% a good animator.  So I need to stop being such a perfectionist with this puppet and move it along so that I can get closer to animating.  It's easy to get distracted by your own thoughts when your the only one working on a project!!  Truth be told I am scared of working on the skin.  I haven't settled on a method yet and I'm kinda scared!  Which is silly!  So I'm just gonna get started on it!  Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gouache Succeeded

Well look what happened.  Finally some colour to brighten up my sketchbook.  HAPPINESS.  I can feel the wheels beginning to turn again.  I am slowly (so slowly) but surely returning to the mental state of productiveness.  Today I read another chapter in The Artists Way and there was a sentence in there that came to the effect of "self respect comes from the doing, not from the done".  Something I totally needed to hear today.  It's a simple way of me being able to understand that even though I am so proud of all the things I have accomplished, it is not enough to sustain my happiness as an artist.  The only thing that make me really feel happy is doing.  So that is why I feel so much peace when I draw in the morning.  That is why I feel like I have accomplished the best day of my life if I go into my studio and test out a method that ultimately won't even work for my purposes.  Cause I'm doing.  That's really the thing that gets me out of bed and instead of saying to myself "you have not done enough" I say "what can I create today?"

GO DO!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Everything Everywhere All The Time

Lately my mind has been a jumbled mess.  It is frustrating because I've had some really good extended periods of time of non-jumbledness and those times are so productive and fun.  But I suppose what goes up must come down and I'm just in one of those down times.  I have confidence that the next time I am up it will surpass my last most creative period.  Things just seem to happen that way.  For now I am trudging along, doing what I know I should be doing the best I can until I can snap out of it and run (creatively speaking of course...).  I've been experimenting with some textiles!  I made a rule recently that if something sounds like I fun I do it.  So buying embroidery thread and experimenting with different ways of wrapping it and even having a go at knitting with it using fine wire as knitting needles happened. It was fun and interesting.  So mission accomplished.  I had this thought about using embroidery thread instead of latex paint for the skin of my Old Man.  Experimentally it is not working in a way that I like.  But I think I want to explore some new colour themes and then maybe some new approaches.  I'm not fully giving up on the idea yet.....  I'll let you know how it goes.

Experimenting with mixing different colours of embroidery thread to see how different colour combinations/wrapping and weaving read optically.  These are wrapped around his legs.  Screen Left leg is just wrapped while Screen Right leg I braided the thread first then wrapped it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What in the world....

Today I slept in.  Went drawing.  Now I am feeling stuck.  It is beautiful out and there are so many things I want to do, so many things I should do.  I am paralyzed by all of the tasks that have the potential to be completed today and as a result nothing is being done.  So I know that since I bought new gouache about a week ago I should paint something.  But I really want to get out on Black Thunder (my bike) and enjoy the weather.  And I really want to experiment and play with some new materials I bought for my puppet.  I know I should get groceries and go to the bank and research some things that I need to figure out.  I should also read a chapter in The Artists Way because its been over a week since I read the last one (you are supposed to read a chapter a week).  And I would but I want to get outside before the sun disappears.  I also have A TON of new ideas for new projects (thank you Artists Way) and I want to somehow organize these idea and begin executing some of them.  So I sit here semi-paralyzed writing on my blog (which is good.... because it is a task I needed to complete) and already I guess that makes me feel better.  So now I have made a decision.  Today I will not do what I should do.  I will do what I want.  Which means packing up my laptop and taking Black Thunder along the Vancouver Seawall to my studio and playing with my new material.  So here, unapologetically is another black and white sketch.  There will be colour at some point.....but I guess not until I really want it.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gouache Thwarted

While I was drawing today I suddenly felt inspired to paint a full page in my sketchbook.  When I got home I got out my brushes, filled my stainless steel pail with water and got out the paper towels.  I moved my desk chair by the balcony so I could paint by the white daylight instead of the yellow lightbulbs we have in the apartment.  So excited.  Then I opened my box of gouache and found 3 lonely tube: black, lemon yellow and green.  The three colours I never use.  Somewhere along my travels I must have left my gouache behind.  Darn.  
Well now I have a reason to visit and wander the local art store.  
On another note I'm having some really interesting brain thoughts about how to approach water in my film..... I can't wait to start experimenting.  THINGS ARE GOING TO GET MESSY!!!!!!!!!!!  Just to give some context I am avoiding realism like the plague.  I want artsy metaphorical interpretive EVERYTHING!!!!!!  It's just more fun to make your own rules...... your paper! You have no idea I'm staring at your  eyelid!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I'm down with a cold....gross.  All I want in the world right now is to get into my studio and do some work but I'm right in the middle part of my cold where everything is just gross AND I barely slept last night.  I almost missed going out and drawing today but I just ended up going later than usual.  And I bought myself a cookie.
And now I am posting on my blog.
I am content.

There is a long and weird story to go along with this guy.  Too long for me to post about.  Suffice it to say I know everything there is to know about him, his girlfriend, his girlfriends ex-husband, his girlfriends ex-husbands current girlfriend, and his girlfriend and her ex-husbands kids.  These people  did not bother controlling the volume of their voice when it came to personal details.  Which is fine cause eavesdropping is fun.

Friday, May 11, 2012

I'm Baaaaaaaack.....

My contract in California has finished.  Seriously if I could sum it up in one word I would just say: FUN.
Going into a studio that you have never worked at before, In a city you have no professional contacts in could go either way.  But if I could have planned my experience or had any kind of control over it I couldn't have imagined it would be as great as it was.  The people I worked with were beyond talented and I learned so much in so little time.  That goes for every department from production to sets, puppets, and of course animation.  So so fun.

BUT NOW I'm back!  And I'm soooo excited to pick up where I left off on my short.  My time away has enabled me to have a fresh perspective and even changed my approach to some of the aspects of my short (fabrication mainly) that I thought I had nailed down.  I can't wait to get back in my studio (MONDAY!!) and get going!  And of course, I can't wait to share it with you!

This guy was a regular at the coffee shop I drew at in Burbank.  He had the WORST attitude about everything and I never once heard him say something that wasn't a complaint.  Now I'm complaining!  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

SUPER shuttle

When I arrived at LAX a few weeks ago I took a shuttle to the apartment I'm staying at in Burbank.  I had a very personable driver.  It turned out to be only me in the shuttle so the two of us drove along in what started out as silence.  He asked me what I was in town for etc. and we started talking.  He said some really interesting things that I want to share, because I keep thinking about them and I think they were really special.  What I should point out is that he turned out to be an observant faithful religious man, and although I did not share his religion I related to what he was saying and we really had a nice conversation.
Here are the things I now never go a day without thinking about.

1) A person is a diamond.
You can get into trouble, you can make bad decisions.  You can be at fault.  You may even hurt people you care about.  You may be a victim of circumstance or you could just be responsible for some bad choices.  But a person is a diamond and no matter how much dirt you bury a diamond in you can always wash it off and it will have lost none of its value.

2) Everyday is your Birthday.
You know the feeling you get on New Years or your Birthday?  That hopeful clean slate "this could be the start of something new" feeling?  Optimism and reflection abound.  Well everyday is a new day.  Every day you wake up is a clean slate.  It's all about you today.  Every day is your birthday.

We spoke about many other things on the car ride but these two things have stuck with me the most.  In fact we spoke for a long time until suddenly there was a weighty silence in between his sentences.  It was only then that he shared with me the religion he believed in and I could hear in his voice that he was expecting for me to judge him perhaps and lose interest in our conversation.  But I didn't.  I truly was interested to continue talking and hearing his story.  I'm glad I did.  While he didn't change my mind about what religion to believe in he reinforced in me a feeling of decency in humanity.  He asked me to please pass on what he said although I think he also wanted me to pass on the goodness of his particular religion.  But really I don't think religion is the important part here.  I think humanity is what is important and when I think about the things we talked about I don't think about the differences of our religion, I think about the sameness of our humanity.  He was kind and warm and helped me with my bags.  When I got to my apartment I thanked him and shook his hand.

This couple comes every night to the coffee shop I draw at in Burbank.  They sit in absolute silence, both staring at their phones and barely acknowledging each other.  I often wondered if their relationship was so horrible that they never spoke.  Then the other night the man asked the woman something and she came over and giggled and pointed to his phone.  I glanced at the reflection of his phone in a window and saw that they were playing a game together.  They had been coming to the coffee shop every night to play games together.  Suddenly something I thought was so sad became so sweet.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Up and Down and All Around

Short Update on Big Change:

I got a wonderful job opportunity (for some stop-mo animation) and have moved to Burbank to pursue it.
This means - Physical production of my short has come to a standstill (although I'm making a effort to keep it on my mind....I still have some aspects of it that I need to trouble shoot so I'm constantly thinking about things like that)

So here I am.

AND NOW to ramble.

The first time I made a big move (from Toronto to New York) it sort of threw me for a loop and I stopped drawing and updating my blog for about a month or two.  That whole time I kept telling myself its ok, you just need to adjust.  But what I failed to realize is that by taking out the one thing in my life that I consistently did for myself alone, I had inadvertently sabotaged my total adjustment to my new situation.  As soon as I finally said enough's enough and picked up a pen and started drawing, thats the first time I felt at home in NY.  Looking back on it now I'm like DUH I should have started drawing immediately.  I think I would have adjusted a lot sooner and just felt better (not that I wasn't having a great time from the moment I arrived :) )  But lesson learned.  Then when I moved from NY back to Toronto the first thing I made sure to do was get out for a walk and draw EVERY morning.  Oh man....that was awesome.  An unexpected benefit: my mom and my sister even came with me a few times and it was really great being able to spend time relaxing with my family at the start of my day.
From then on every move I've since made (Toronto to Vancouver, then Vancouver to Burbank) I've only missed a day or two of drawing.  I finally draw again because I just want to.  Not because I feel like I have to but because if I didn't I'd be fighting against doing something I just want to do.  I still haven't achieved child like creative doodling (which is where I am trying to go) but the want to draw exists quite powerfully in myself and the more I do it the more I want to do it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

There'd be days like this....

I have recently (today) come to the realization that "staying motivated" isn't really the problem we think it is.  As artists we tend to think that staying motivated is the KEY to success, without it we are lazy and time wasters, no good and will never get better.  We've all experienced excitement at a project!  The feeling that you just can't wait to get going on something.  And then....  for whatever reason..... you loose motivation.  You sleep in or feel cranky or something in your personal life is exploding a little and you really just don't have the energy to be excited for your art.  You don't even WANT the energy to be excited for your art.  And then you give up a little and it hurts the artist inside you that you would dare give up on something that is really at your core very important to you.  And then we ask ourselves with regret and shame "Why can't I just stay motivated?  What's wrong with me?" I totally get it, I think we all do.
Hello from my Old Man!!!!!

Here's the thing though, the key is not to stay motivated.  The key is to forgive yourself when you are not motivated.  I have spent a lot of time just beating myself up for not working hard enough or long enough or good enough.  I always thought if I could just "stay motivated" I could be the artist I always wanted to be.  But this just isn't life.  Things are constantly colliding with us that knock our focus and energy away from our art.  This is life.  And its ok.  I think where the trouble really starts is when we start beating ourselves up about it instead of just moving on.  How can we be expected to create when there is someone in our head questioning our own dedication to our craft?  It's ridiculous.
Next time you feel completely unmotivated... Just let it be.  More than that try to recognize what is distracting you, maybe take some steps to manage or get rid of your distraction.  Then forgive yourself for not drawing for a week (or whatever) and you would be surprised at how fast your own brain will wake up excited instead of remorseful screaming "Let's go!!!!"

Friday, March 9, 2012


What have you been up to?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I Get By

Things are moving along at a slow but sure pace.  There is still some sort of mental equilibrium that I am chasing after but I think I'll get there soon.  It's a whole new challenge when you are working on your own film, your own idea.  I feel so spoiled to say this but I MISS having a crew around to do things for me.  If I had a puppet/set/lighting problem in the past I just took it to the experts I worked with and said FIX THIS PLEASE.  And fix it they did.  I have been incredibly fortunate to have worked with so many amazing knowledgable people, and let me tell you I am really missing them.  Now when I have a problem to work through with my puppet/set/lighting its all on me to fix it.  And don't get me wrong, I'm loving the chance to learn all this great stuff, and yes I am have wild fun doing it.  But I know myself and when it comes right down to it there is just nothing in the world I love more than animating.  Building is fun, storyboarding and drawing are fun.  I love it, it's great.  But it doesn't compare to animating.  And I miss animating.  I suppose its just frustrating that every time I have a setback and can't move forward I am the only one who is accountable for that.  Anyways, you know what they say:  Anything worth doing isn't easy!
Forward I go.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Grumpy Old Men

So this is not the best picture (I took it with my MacBook) but its better than nothing!  For some reason I can't seem to co-ordinate bringing my SD card and point and shoot camera with me.  I'll get the hang of it then better pics will follow!  So at this point I'm kinda stalled on the puppet construction as I wait for some more supplies to be shipped.  Since this is the case I am now switching gears to focus on the set.  I've been sketching and colour swatching like a mad woman.  My heart is still with my puppet though so I'm just kinda going through the motions with the set until I get excited about it.   WEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Just Me and Me

I just listened to this great podcast interview with Conan O'Brian.  He said when he was younger and working part time jobs trying to make it as a comedian, all he ever wanted for his career and his life was for it to be interesting.  That really made me stop and think...  And yeah, I really agree with him.  I've realized that the only times I was really unhappy was when things were boring, when I was stagnating in my art and not taking risks and trying new things.  Not failing but not succeeding.  It kinda made me see my life and my future in a new light.  And I like it.
Keep it interesting!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Half Alive

It's really weird to see things progressing like this.  I've had this idea in my head for so long and actually seeing it take some sort of physical form is magical to me.  I've assembled my armature and hope to to have build up PHASE ONE (blue foam) done by the end of tomorrow.  Soon it will be time to work on the head sculpt and replacement mouth parts.  WOW.  I'm excited.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Sketchy Conversation

So things are going well at the studio....other than some random threadlock issues I can't complain too much.  I'm thinking by the end of this week I should have some pretty exciting progress to show!
In fact I had brought my point and shoot camera to the studio today to take some progress pics, only to find that I had forgotten to put an SD card in it!  Arg......silly me!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Oh yesssssssss.....

This is my life.
It is happy.
Need I say more?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Let's Hear It For The Boys!

I really used to hate drawing men.  And still to this day my sketchbook is about 75% women.  They are just more interesting to me!!  Most of the time they dress way cooler or do something weird with their hair.  Men were always just kinda blah looking.  Well I drew these guys today and I gotta say it was a lot of fun.  I GUESS boys are ok............

By the way tomorrow is my first day in my new studio space.  After months of gathering supplies and psyching myself up this is it!  Tomorrow I begin work on my short.
I could not be happier.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I"ll tell ya what I want what I really really want!

I have found that throughout my life, life itself has given me clear indications of what choices to make.  Whether a big or small decision, whenever I thought I didn't have the answer, I found that in fact I did.  Sometimes its hard to listen to yourself and trust that your instincts have your best interests in mind.  A few years ago I found it much easier to listen to my head rather than my heart.  My head led me to making choices that were comfortable for me and offered little to no room for failure (and therefore little to no room for growth!).  This ultimately leads to a very melancholy type of life.  Not really the life I had intended on living.  I found myself unsure of how to dig myself out of the safe dull place I had put myself in.  Well I really have to attribute a book for showing me the way.  The Artists Way By Julie Cameron really changed the way I thought about a lot of things.  Be warned if you do decide to check it out - there is a spiritual element that you may or may not buy into.  But know that it wasn't that which changed things for me.  This book is basically a twelve week course on figuring out who you are an an artist.  Really it teaches you how to hear your own instincts because believe it or not, the answers are already there.  Now I'm happy and proud to say that it is easier to listen to my heart than my head, and my heart so far has taken me on a crazy unpredictable amazing ride!
Thats more like it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Look Forward

So as you all know my lovely job in NY wrapped a little while ago.  I had a heck of a time working on that project with such great and talented people.  Now that its over and I've left NY I've had a few people as me, "Are you sad that its done?  Does it suck that you had to leave NY?".  To that I say no and no!  Here's the thing: I've learned in order to move forward in any way you really can't look back.  If you don't let the old stuff go then you can't make room for the new stuff!  I am so freakin happy and grateful for the opportunity that I had, really there is nothing to be sad about.  It happened and it was awesome!!  Now onto the next amazing thing!
I moved to Vancouver!!!
This was in some ways one of the hardest and easiest decisions I've ever made.  More about it in the next blog post :)
(by the way my paint is still being shipped across Canada along with some other belongings, so the next few posts will be colourless)