Recent completed and near-finished projects!
Yesterday, I drew 18 pages in less than 18 hours, a comic-night at a local art and comic gallery. The result is Planet Hop, a cyberpunk immigration story! Plans are to have this ready for Short Run, which I am exhibiting in, this November 5th.
That's the other exciting news- I am in Short Run!
Definitely tempted to do the 24 hour one... I can see now what's in my abilities, just need to prepare two things: a script, thumbnails, and lots of coffee. That was three things.
Links round up time, because the internet is ephemeral and knowledge is a collection of I-read-on-somewhere-that...
"Genteficación": cuando los jóvenes modernos que llegan a tu barrio también son latinos, on CityLab Latino - gentrification and displacement via the educated millennial lanitx
Seven spaces Seattle can't afford to lose to development, a concise and vivid summary by Laura Bernstein covering a sixteen speaker event hosted by Ghosts of Seattle Past at the Center for Architecture and Design.
A favorite topic of mine, article on DADUs in the Seattle Times. Opinion piece More housing density keeps Seattle affordable for younger residents by Caleb Heeringa.
Why Bicycle Justice Isn't a White Guy in Spandex on expanding bike culture and spatial justice to people of color
Urbanist summary on #BlocktheBunker in Seattle before today's tense City Hall meeting
Another Go Play NW has come and go. And here I am writing about weeks later. Go Play is one of my favorite events in Seattle during the summer. A low-key, very inclusive game convention (though it is noticably still mostly men) with an intimate, innovative, and positive gaming environment.
Friday night feast meant seeing old friends and playing Spartacus, a board game based on the TV show- and it looks it from the cheesy graphic design. It was, however, a very entertaining strategic game with a very fun bidding system and combat.
After going to bed at a reasonable hour and rising at too-early-o'clock for some coffee and tiny donuts, Saturday begins with a small game by Brendan Ankins called Loose Leaves. This poetic game grows from the dynamics between the "leaf" and "wind" roles, characterized by skill versus cunning, beauty versus obstacle respectively. The leaves and wind ask each other questions, shaping the story with each answer, which is chronicled by the third player on a piece of paper. At the beginning of play, each player draws a card which contains a prescribed phrase only known to that player. These phrases, such as "This is where we part" or "This is what we came for" not only signify the flow and end of game, but bring closure, resolution and direction to the story. They are statements, not dancing around the questions asked. We made story about lost children, cursed villages, empty seasons and ravenous woodsmen.
Following this was the second playtest of my partners game The Emperor is Dead, a game of political intrigue, hidden agendas, and subverting influence, which I'm guessing I will write about at length as we continue to playtest it.
This session will be very hard to top in a long time.
To set you up: It is a 6 player game, one whom plays the AI of a ship which is damaged and declining fast. The other 5 players are passengers in the ship in deep sleep. These are not ordinary people- but are living relics from all walks of life. The AI has 20 turns to listen to their dreams, their stories, their convictions, their reasons to continue living, before deciding to load and launch the one and only remaining life pod.
The five characters are well varied and really lend themselves to a variety of philosophical discussion on a life's worth.
Our direct setting was key to the mood. We ended up in a small dorm study room on the 12th floor of Seattle U's dormitory. We entered in twilight, with the sun's rays dying over the city, suburbs and Cascades. Max placed twenty black dice in the middle of the table. Then started reading the rules... In the voice of Elios, our beloved but declining ship, one which we will later argue with, feed information to, and dream with.
Elios has twenty actions, which hinge of the GM's knowledge of arc, pace and giving players equal influence over the story. Elios can watch two character's dream together, dream with another character but as that character's companion, read about the public background of a character, read an encrypted block containing confidential information about a character, wake up a character and speak to them directly, load a lifeboat, and launch a lifeboat.. A lifeboat was really never meant to be used...
As Elios placed us in dreams, and us in ours, the dice kept leaving the table. The room darkened. Moments of intensity, sorrow, and thirst for knowledge. The five characters, having different ages, species, and occupations, lend themselves to very telling dynamics and conversations. What life is what worth preserving? What values and thoughts does Elios want to preserve? The scientist, though in his seventies, has seen millions and millions of years of human and non-human development, seen as a prophet by some for his discoveries. A courtesan, "revived" every generation to raise and love the sons and daugheters of a tall, handsome man. A sculptor, lighthearted and eager for perfecting the imperfect shells of all creation. The scholar, middle aged and invested in teaching and mentoring the gifted youth... Which happened to be my mentor and future caretaker, a seventeen-year old "experiential subject."
One of my favorite moments was a very tense one- Elios had woken up the sculptor, Sorrel, with about 6 turns left. After some banter on philosophy, chaos and form ("the universe is just all clay"), Elios breaks the news that everyone is going to die.. Save one. Elios then sheepishly asks for any last words. Sorrel laughs angrily, demanding in hopelessness and desperation, why Elios would ever think it is a good idea to be woken up. Gritting his teeth, he spits: you expect me to create my legacy moments before death? Elios cannot answer.
Sorrel, with nothing left to say, wants sleep. Elios cannot return him to sleep. No dreams left, but full consciousness of imminent demise in the vastness of quiet and lonely space.
I'd like to point out, that as this confrontation was happening, fireworks were going off behind our GM, over Lake Washington. We all turned to look at them, but dared not to disrupt. It was kind of surreal, being a dark room, with one of my greatest fears and questions played out in front of me with sparks and joy beyond.
Suffice to say, that was one of the top five roles playing experiences of late. After our game, we stepped out of the little study room. Around us a LARP had finished, and other RPGs were wrapping up around us. We wondered if, like the tallies and statistics Tell Tale games would display after every episode, the youngest member was saved. Is hope the balm to our reptilian brain?
Sunday began with us running in late, but getting into a small game of Rogue Wizard Warrior, a game where characters of traditional Dungeon and Dragons worlds get into the wrong module...say, running a bakery.
Next was a Dread session, Fury Road style, ran by Andy (who was Sorrel in last night's game). Very vivid fill-in-the-blank character creation with mechanics which directly reward high-adrenaline stunts- one pull of the Jenga blocks versus two pulls required for a safe and mundane action. To top it off, Andy decided to turn on the large industrial fan in the corner of the room (it's Seattle summer, meaning fan city as buildings here normally do not have air conditioning) as we were chased by a giant hovercraft. Which is fitting of course... until you realize the fan is pointed at the precariously wobbling Jenga tower. I had to move to avoid looking at it- the tactility of the tension was too much for me to bear.
We finished the weekend with a game of Eclipse. Essentially my current favorite 4X game (as Kayla says, "Extreme, Extreme, Extreme, EXTREME!") One of these days I'll reign the universe without a single iota of war.
One week until print.
Sometimes your job is making paper architecture look good in a few hours. It was fun! Now for the rest of my work...
Witchaus #1 is trudging along.... I have two weeks left to print. Seems like a long time, but can't take any day for granted.
Another project done!
Currently working on Issue #1 of Witchaus so that I have more than one zine to sell at VanCAF this May!
This week, clients invited us over to show off the finished product. The landscaping was finally in. The furniture was finally in. They were very happy with our work, and explained how design has changed their life, down to their morning ritual... Where homework is done, where the dog sleeps, where the mind is taken off the day. My client joked "this is my first real adult house...at age 50."
My camera is sadly not wide enough to capture the entirety of the project. Hopefully we will hire a professional to take pictures of it soon!
It's been a while, sorry about that. Time flies when my conscious and unconscious mind piles projects, causes and events into heaps. I'm just starting to get out of it.
First and foremost, I have a Patreon. Opening an account, writing on my motivations and hopeful outcomes, adding the URL on my business card, and sharing the link in social media has been my official "introduction" into the art world, with me drawing more consistently and lovingly.
After the holidays, I finished two competition entries and one art-related application. We're one for three, but this means more production: I'll be tabling at Exterminator City, a comic and art mini-fest at Push/Pull Gallery.
I also humbly attended Advocacy Day for Affordable Housing and Homelessness at Olympia, representing the 43rd district. It's something that I deeply care about, and was very happy to have a boss that thought of me first with this event. We both went and though we took a passive role, we absorbed as much as we could for the next fight.
There are a few bills in the pipes on affordable housing. One of them is HB 1565, which outlaws source of income discrimination, such as Section 8 vouchers and other government subsidies. This sort of discrimination happens quite blatantly. Advocates also reminded their legislators to continue support for the Housing Trust Fund and programs such as HEN, ABD, and SSI Facilitation services.
In Seattle, HALA is the housing affordability giant getting attacked and praised from all sides. My next steps with advocacy is joining a community organization (begun by the Capitol Hill Eco District crowd) representing neighborhood renters, as we feel the conversation so far has revolved around property owners, and not around majority of residents: renters.
March holds emptiness, but not for long. I'm hoping to get selected to be part of the HALA Community Focus Group for my neighborhood. There's also comics to submit for one anthology or two, as well as other mini projects cropping up like flies.
For architecture, I am managing two house remodels, plus all my other responsibilities as architectural staff. 2016 has been treating me well.
Currently, my mind is unnecessarily worried about moving. I'm only 27, but definitely feel like I already have accumulated too many worldly possessions! It's very easy to when you are both creative and cheap- surely I'll use this remnant at some point when sewing a skirt right?
The last few "art projects" have been work-related. For example, a playing card, comprised of my bosses' sketches from his travels to Sweden, Spain and France, which I compiled into a cityscape in Photoshop, then shaded it in.
I decided to add my own little sketch hidden in the mayhem. A Seattle landmark, easily seen while on I-5 or on the Aurora Bridge.
I'll return to drawing once I'm moved and the November holidays are over. I'm even buying a new drawing table!
I have a lot to write about- a backlog of things learned, things discovered, things broken, things recovered. First I will write about the immediate past, which is Short Run, an indie comix festival in Seattle, which was this past Halloween!
I completed my first zine, Witchaus Issue#0. From there, I learned a few things! Such as: make sure you plan out your center spread. Or what a long arm stapler is- and that they are expensive. What a bone folder is. Also that trading zines is fun and enjoyable- well, at least the first two, then you are tired and shaky because ~introvert~
My excitement cannot be contained!
I'm finally going to start using nibs. I bought bristol board. I cleaned my nibs. I found my Rapidographs...now to clean them. I have ink. At the moment I am doing a lot of projects outside of work, mainly work with the Seattle Design Festival and the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle. For art, I am drawing little witches in little houses.
I also made a logo for a bar crawl a week ago. I carried a six foot tall banner leading the way.
Lastly, I'm my boss's minion. He's really into drawing very technical political cartoons, not going under this "anonymous" moniker.
Went car camping and to a kite festival with friends. Returned with drawings and wishful thinking.
I'll be moving on to using nibs & ink soon. In the meantime, some fat markers and cheap paper.
You can see two of my submissions for the La Raza Anthology in my "Comix" section, but I have a little detail here mostly to show the cool textures I got out of Manga Studio. I've been very happy with the program for its versatility and affordability, especially with Adobe being subscription only at this point in the game (which is very, very costly in the long run, especially if you have no use for the entire suite.)
I'm also continuing my "I've got a friend in Alaska" drawings, and populating these little hippie cabins with hippie witches. Reminds me of that little lone house found in Skyrim with the Nightshade in the back. Definitely a witch house.
Body acceptance and body diversity has been highly discussed in the internet, especially in regards to TV shows and film castings. Animation is no different. The "magical girl" genre (think Sailor Moon, Escaflowne) seems to always surround the lives of already conventionally beautiful girls and women as they find their secret powers, transforming into one powerful, beautiful, and magical being. Though the genre suffers from a lack of both racial and body diversity, I am still drawn to it: These girls save worlds, make friends, find lovers. These girls struggle with school work, with friendship, with parents, with peers and with their body image. These girls become women.
One of the little projects I am working on is monster girl- a magical girl that doesn't transform into a more skinny, more white, more beautiful version of herself, but instead transforms into the monster she feels like inside. How many teenagers do you know feel inadequate, like little unwanted and ineffectual monsters - inexperienced and awkward in the social, political, sexual, economic ladders of human life.
The "magical girl" genre is a good answer to this inadequacy, by cladding it in fantasy.The magical girls don't graduate to the adult world (bills, job, rent) when they find their powerful selves but instead are in between childhood and adulthood: protecting the world from evil with all their good, despite just having learned it.
Building a moral compass. Accepting one's special strengths. Finding hope in your friends (because adults are seriously no help.) The genre provides a safe space for fantasy and growth- if done right of course!
Thinking about spears and guerilla seed bombs.
Sometimes I draw my diagrams like cartoons.