Sunday, February 22, 2015

It is with the feeling of utmost relief that I will be allowing myself to take tomorrow as it comes... other words, thanks IN ADVANCE for reading's long...

Dearest Readers,

If you read the Book of Lael, you probably know I've been focusing on beading, paper cutting, and other more “hands on” activities lately.

If you read the Book of Lael, you probably have noticed there haven't been too many actual comics lately.

If you read the Book of Lael, you probably know this has been building for awhile. Perhaps you read this comic from last October 19th.

On some level I clearly knew then, but I didn't. I didn't really know for sure until about a month ago.

And so it's time for a pretty heavy announcement...

This does not mean I will never do a comic again, but it does mean it could be weeks, months, or even longer in between.

Because the truth is I dread drawing. I dread it.

I used to sort of like it. Some of my Baltimore friends will remember mid 2009 to late 2010 when I was hard to find without my sketchbook. But, it was a constant struggle. I could never draw what I was envisioning or even replicate the simplest of drawings. I could have taken a drawing class so many times by now or made any real effort to improve my drawing. I haven't.

One of the things I've been wanting to do is to write. I've wanted to write a narrative for over two years now. Initially, I thought it would be a graphic novel or a narrative form web comic, but I just couldn't get it going because the idea of doing the art work kept overwhelming me.

Additionally, for those of you who don't know, I wanted to be a novelist, a short story writer, or a poet from the time I was around 12 until I gave all those things up to devote myself to academic art history at 20. I decided my fiction wasn't so great, so I should give myself to research. I ran away from something I had been doing in my spare time since middle school. I would put off doing homework in high school and write 10 page single spaced short stories while my mom yelled at me to get off the computer and go to bed. I remember those nights in my mom's office, complete with AIM and her left-handed mouse. 

(so many gems in this photo)

Before any of that, I whiled away many a Saturday morning with construction paper, scissors, and tape....My more recent forays into paper art have been exciting and promising. I've watched more tutorials and read up more on paper art in the last few months than I have about drawing in the last almost 6 years. I feel good about myself when I make paper art. I truly love using my hands. I am attracted to the simple shapes and solid color of working with paper, but, honestly, I am finding it much easier to express myself with cut paper.

I want to create with more depth and with more meaning and not just make jokes about eating too much, pop culture, and relationships. I love those things, and I'm really proud of many of my comics, but I have been itching to do more for so long. I want to say something, not just say things.

And somehow I see the path for that as either being with words or with abstract forms. A dichotomy I'd love to explore more fully in my own art.

In certain ways, it's easy to post something weekly and not work on something long form. It's easy to post something to be casually consumed in a few minutes and not work on your opus or on work that requires practice, development, editing, and depth of thought. Unlike the work of many comics artists I greatly admire, my comics, although often time consuming to create, did not often meet such higher bar criteria.

It may sound strange, but drawing is preventing me from writing. Drawing is preventing me from creating uncluttered forms imbued with so much more than angry pencil strokes. My comic is holding me back from what I truly want to create...whatever that may be...

I don't know where exactly my artistic future lies—paper crafts, fiction writing, or some combination there of, but it can't be this anymore. It can't be straining to come up with something vaguely funny with forced drawings because I established that I would do this every week.

Posting my comic every week HAS been an anchor holding me together and keeping me creating. Posting my comic every week has been the reversal of that moment in college when I threw away my fiction writing career to become an art historian.

When my professional student life fell to pieces, I clung to this new homework I had assigned myself. I created an identity of myself as a comics artist, but yet, I don't think I ever embraced that identity or really filled its shoes. I was always pushing away just as hard as I was pushing forward.

I'm not the person I was trying to be. I'm someone else. However cliché this may sound, I need to find out more about that someone else.

Forcing myself to be creative every week is all well and good but to force myself to be creative in a way I don't want to be is just preventing me—stalling me—from working on all of the other projects I'm interested in. How many times have I not created the art I wanted to create because I HAD to do my comic?

I appreciate all of your support more than you can know. I want everyone reading this to know that, but I have to do what's right for myself. I can't do a halfhearted job every week on something I don't love anymore.

The night I definitively realized I was feeling this way a few weeks ago, I contacted a dear friend who likes my comic enough to have printed and posted one of them in her office. She said, “If you want to stop your comic and start doing something new, that makes me excited for you.”

I'm sad and scared to end such an important chapter of my life, but I'm excited for me, too.

Sometimes you have to admit to yourself that what was once a good relationship is over—that you're not happy. Maybe you can still be friends, but you have to know when to say goodbye. I'm proud of my consistency, but perfect attendance doesn't an honor student make. Sometimes something is at an end, and it's time to just let go.

As I relieve myself of this burden, please stay tuned to the Book of Lael because there will still be lots to see, just not what you've been accustomed to seeing. I'll need your support to keep me going in new directions to see what sticks. Change isn't always bad. Change is okay. Change can be good. I'll thank you in advance for taking this journey of discovery with me...

All my love to my supporters from the very beginning, all my new supporters along the way, my fuzz ball, the celebrity crushes and insane strangers who lent me so much fodder, the Insular illuminators who first inspired me, and especially to Dr. A who keeps me grounded in a way that my art never has.


PS. There are so incredibly many people to thank but an especial thanks to Dr. A, dr. ks., Isabelle, Kristen Ann, Lady J, Jesse, and my mom. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mom! and A Belated Valentine

Hello, Readers, 

I wanted to make some paper crafts for my mom's birthday, especially as she is one of my biggest artistic supporters. I made her a card and a journal. For both of these projects I embellished both the insides and the outsides. With the journal I experimented with using foam tape to pop up some of the elements. I am really getting interested in how I can layer paper cuts and create zones and windows. 

This is an image from a large format slide from my grandfather's collection that I recently had scanned. This is now, officially, my favorite picture of my mom ever! Happy Birthday, again, Mom! 

I also made a belated Valentine's Day card. This was my first shaker card, and although I am not super pleased with the end product, I'm proud of myself for trying something a bit more complicated. 


Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Thank You Card and a Left-Handed Journal

Howdy! In my joyous foray into paper crafts, I tried my hand at a 35 mm slide themed thank you card and at a mini journal that opens up and down instead of side to side. 

The more I do these sorts of projects the more I define how I want to proceed aesthetically with paper art, and hopefully continued research and practice will improve my execution! I am learning so much, but I definitely think I need to spend more effort on adhesives. 

This thank you card uses the front of a Gepe slide mount with the glass removed. This is another project that is making me really want a die cutting machine. 

I wanted to make a mini journal for Dr. A, but since he is left-handed I made it "reporter notebook" style. I want to expand work with cutting spirals. 

Until next time, 


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Plugging Away...

Howdy, Readers,

I am working on a bunch of different kinds of projects I'm really excited about right now, but nothing is quite finished enough for a feature here, so today I thought I'd do a bit of plugging for some incredibly diverse artists and events. In fact, some might argue that I've chosen a strange medley for this post, but I'd like to believe that there is room for so much in our artistic and philosophical sphere...different views and different types of expressions that maybe don't have to be so far apart...

First of all, those of you who have been reading the last few weeks know that I've been working on a lot of paper crafts--a huge part of my inspiration has come from Mixed Method. The name of this awesome blog implies my favorite part about it--the variety. You are equally as likely to come across an amazing manicure like these turquoise marbled nails as you are to discover these nifty shaker cards

I was also excited this week to see the opening of the ArtifactGirl etsy shop showcasing collected vintage and antique pieces. 

If you're in the Baltimore area, consider coming to see A Bucket of Blood, the Roger Corman film adapted as a play by the stellar Melissa LaMartina. I think the IMDb's description says it all: "A frustrated and talentless artist finds acclaim for a plaster covered dead cat that is mistaken as a skillful statuette. Soon the desire for more praise leads to an increasingly deadly series of works." If you're still not convinced, the YouTube trailer is pretty hilarious. A Bucket of Blood will be at the Yellow Sign Theater February 19-22, February 26-March 1, and March 5-8. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets

And finally, thanks to Facebook, I was invited to this incredibly interesting and thought provoking online exhibit entitled "Body Anxiety." To quote The Hundred's article about the exhibit, "The show features only female identified artists dealing with the female body as it exists online." In Sleek's article, Nathan Ma describes the exhibit thusly, "But what is contemporary femininity? While the dissemination of text, images and ideas on this topic seems at an all-time high, the scope of these concepts is still remarkably focused around male fantasies. 'Body Anxiety', which launched on 24 January, aims to empower women by letting them write their own narratives on gendered appropriation."

Yes, we did just transverse crafts, artifacts, B movies, and female empowerment.

Until next time,