Back to business

Hey, you may have heard about that derecho storm the eastern half of the US experienced the other night! We were pretty lucky here in Annapolis, in that I don’t believe there were any deaths or major injuries (except to trees). There was a fair bit of property damage (none to mine) and quite a few people lost power (including me). The worst was probably the heat index of 105F+ on Sunday, which didn’t combine well with lack of electricity.

The power just came back on early this morning, after about 76 hours without. Really grateful to have the AC and internet back. Also grateful to not have to look forward to another evening of reading by oil lamp (there are cons as well as pros to oil lamps, and the cons multiply the longer you have to use them).

Evan and I were up late when the storm hit and had the opportunity to watch it arrive. The night was perfectly still and quiet, almost oppressively so, though the lamps in our room had been flickering intermittently. Then a wall of wind abruptly hit the trees with speed and force akin to a massive train, causing them to whip back and forth violently. It brought copious amounts of thunder and almost constant flickerings of white and purple lightning with it, and sheets of rain.

Normally our huge, damaging storms come from the opposite direction and give us a little bit more warning. Time enough to panic and hoard bottled water and city-provided sandbags. Thanks, derecho.

(I think we actually experienced a fair bit more damage than the much-dreaded hurricane Irene produced last year. Though there wasn’t really any flooding this time, which was a nice change of pace).

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The freelance mindset

One of the dangers of setting your own schedule: it’s really easy to allow weeks to slip by without noticing. I’ve been pretty loose with scheduling lately, as a follow-up to a contract that had me pretty rigidly locked in for a few weeks, and it has not done good things for my timeliness.

For one, I forgot to blog a mention about my guest post over at Inkpunks, which outlines some basics of website design (applicable even to lazy folks like me who rely upon blogs and premade themes to do the bulk of our work).

Today Evan’s guest post went live on Inkpunks, in which he talks about his struggles in finding a comfortable space he can feel creative in, even in cramped living situations.

And this past weekend, my little brother graduated from JMU! In an outdoor stadium, in the pouring rain! Congrats Warren! I’m so proud of you. I hope your celebratory 3 day, 50-mile canoe and camping trip in the pouring rain still manages to be extremely enjoyable despite everything.

And just for fun, something new from my sketchbook:

Wizard + cat

Happy agenda management, everyone!

Brooklyn in the springtime

Folks who keep up with me on social media might have noticed how quiet I’ve been for the past few days. I’ve been in New York! In Brooklyn mostly, though there was a nice hike across Brooklyn and over the bridge to Manhattan.

Brooklyn bridge 1Brooklyn bridge 4Brooklyn bridge 3

Which ended in highline park just as it was closing on Sunday. What a beautiful way to reclaim obsolete architecture. Seattle? You hear me?

Highline tracksHighline underpass

Hudson sunset

I spent the weekend catching up with my good college chum Eve, meeting her cat and her local friends. Finally seeing Teresa Galus and Babette Daniels in person. There was also a very nice (though cold, and too brief!) dinner with Zelda Devon and Kurt Huggins, the dynamic duo behind Teetering Bulb studio and their gorgeous and prolific output. Also a tour of their studio, which has made me feel like a complete slacker. The illustration chops on those two! (though Zelda definitely needs to work on more watercolors and personal work… :3)

On a tangent, our respective art school experiences were a repeated topic of conversation. None of us were very satisfied with our formal illustration educations. Technical skill has been almost completely subsumed by the nebulous blanket of “concept”, which is really of pretty limited application to most of us. Perhaps I’d advise burgeoning illustrators to spend the money on illustration master classes, figure drawing sessions, and tickets to illuxcon instead. If I could do it again, this might have been my strategy. If I could have convinced my parents to endorse it.

All that aside: my feelings about New York have always been mixed. I get so easily lost in cities, and in one so big I feel lost almost by default. Yet the people there are wonderful, and the art scene so much more relevant to my ambitions than DC’s. It’s a wonderful place, and I hope I can get back there soon. Who knows, next time I might even make it to the Way station to drink some beer and see their Tardis.

Ghostbusters firehouseManhattan street

There…but back again

I’ve been a little quiet lately. My deadline for big secret project is coming up, and in the midst of scrambling to try and fall close to it I suddenly had a week long trip to Seattle.

The view from Phinney Ridge

It was sort of business-related, but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying the hell out of the scenery, the weather, the pastries and hot chocolate and library and bookstores…

Central column of the 11 story Seattle central public library

Hot chocolate (with cayenne) from Chocolati in Wallingford

Distressingly, I couldn’t bring my work with me. My drawing pad is too big and there are all those weird TSA rules about pointy things (like pens and metal rulers) and gooey things (like glass bottles full of opaque black ink). This made the trip slightly fraught… it’s tough not getting work done when a deadline’s close.

Now I’m back and somewhat recovered, I’ll be chugging ahead on that. And maybe getting some side work done, you never know. I’ll be sure to share any doodles. Once I whip out my oh-so-intimidating dip pen again…

The Renfest

Oh I know there are folks who have disparaging things to say about Renaissance Festivals, or the “kind of people” who attend them. Those folks have likely never lived in a real Renfest town.
Living in Annapolis, I’m about 20 minutes down the road from one of the largest Renaissance Festivals in the world. It’s not just and event that happens every fall around here, it’s pretty much the event happening every fall here. I have very few friends in the tri-state area that do not attend at least once a season, regardless of their nerdiness level, and some friends for whom the fair is basically home. I’ve never gotten quite that into it, I’m not a big costume person (and I’d want to wear hose and a tunic, not a huge unwieldy gown if I was). Though I do appreciate a good beesting (beer and mead) and a cheesecake-on-a-stick (90% of renfest food is on-a-stick) and a round or two of jousting (our state sport!) a few times a season.

This post is an excuse to share a few photos I took on Saturday, during my brief foray. I’m really going to miss this when I move to Seattle. Gotta remember to snap some photos of the jousts next time I go.

A blustery day

Annapolis, after Irene

Annapolis, after Irene

One rainy, windy, tumultuous night and almost three days without power afterwards. Little flooding (surprisingly), but a lot of downed trees and branches. There are still houses and businesses about town that don’t have electricity. Still stoplights that blink yellow or not at all (though things have improved greatly since Sunday morning, when we left the house to find coffee and maybe 50% of the stoplights around town were working).

Three days living by flashlight and candlelight after 7pm, without internet or a way to cook, or refrigerate our food (except for copious bags of ice, when we finally found a place in town that still had ice in stock) has really made me appreciate living where I do. I know this is a problem faced far more often in some areas. It’s not that I’m entirely incapable of going without electricity (I love tent camping, the longer and more isolated the trip the better) but I’m not terribly prepared to face that when at home. House + source of power have really become inextricable in this country, and it surprised me how much like a cave my home felt when it lost that capability. But mostly I was worried about frozen foods melting.

Of course, this also means I’m suddenly extremely behind on work. Especially work-related emails. Getting on that, but it’s going to be a busy few days.

Especially since I took off yesterday, the first full day with power back, in order to celebrate Evan‘s birthday. :3 Happy birthday to him.

To do list

Today:

  • Finish, scan, and send sample cards to letterpress card company. √
  • Begin throwing together wordpress blog for Cinnamonopteryx Press*. √
  • Finish, scan, and send promo illustration (involving a dinosaur) to client. √
  • Work in Adobe Illustrator a bit, slap together something cute to show a potential client my vector art skills.
  • Work on further character illustrations for comic I’m collaborating on.
  • Finish (belated) birthday present for dad, a painting of a sailing ship.

And I’m participating in Artomatic Frederick which begins at the end of next month. And I’m possibly flying to Seattle for a week at the beginning of September, due to one of the aforementioned potential clients. :| Sadly, I can’t promise you’ll hear from me much during the next several months. Wish me luck.

* This is Evan and I’s collaborative press/studio. We’re finally getting it together!