A Knack for Drawing

There is a strange bit of pleasure to be found in drawing. A happiness in jotting down your thoughts and finding that it forms an image on the paper. I call the pleasure strange because everyday, I still find it faintly unbelievable that I have the ability for it. I’m not good at drawing or painting. No one would every call me an expert, but I’m not bad either, and I believe that to be an incredible piece of luck for me.

I’ve always fancied myself a writer. I spent my days inside libraries and in bookstores. If ever I drew, it was only in school when the teacher bored me and I could not sneak a book to read. The teachers had cottoned on to what I did, and I could not bend my head down for any length of time without them getting angry with me. Oh, I admired people who had the talent, and envied them their passion for it, but I never could quite find the same passion in myself. Instead, all my dreams were of books and writing. Strange worlds. Strange creatures. Strange cultures and practices. All in my head and waiting to be written.

Which is why I call myself lucky, because despite all the time I’d spent on reading and writing, every time I picked up a pencil and decided to draw for a bit, I seemed to get a bit better at it. Oh, not fast. Most times, I find myself unbearably slow at it, and I stop. But somehow, through all those years spent mostly reading, I seem to have picked up the knack for it, just enough that when I draw, I can get the faces right at least.

I’m still horrid when it comes to arms and legs, and any sort of anatomy whatsoever. But faces make me happy, because with just faces, I get to see what my characters look like if they were real. My head is too much of a scatter-brain. I forget things too easily, which is why I must write them down.

I wonder when it was that I started bringing a notebook not to write in, but to draw in. I think it was in the middle of college. I was in a bit of a crisis. I was bringing myself down and getting all dull and grey. Classes were a pain and I seemed to stop moving. Just. Stop. Moving. Life slowed for me and I couldn’t find the energy to speed it up again. I started skipping and getting late for things. I didn’t submit projects on time. I didn’t even bother remembering my teacher’s names, or my classmates faces. I kept forgetting dates and losing touch with reality. I wasn’t going crazy. No. Just escaping, for a bit. And my books didn’t help at all. Instead, they just helped me escape more.

But drawing helped. I don’t know why. There is a strange bit of force to be found when someone draws, as if gravity pulls you to the person, tempts you to look over his shoulder, peak at what he’s drawing, and ask questions. Truly, I don’t know if this happens to everyone, but because I drew, here and there, I seemed to have found friends. New friends. People who talked more and had such energy. Sometimes, I feel a bit like a plant, soaking up all that energy, willing myself to get excited, to join it, to move, to act, to push myself into reality.

There is an openness to drawing that I haven’t yet found in my writing. An easier path for finding people, for finding fun. Writing is fun, but it’s a lonely sort of thing.  Right now, I write. But I draw too. And I count myself lucky everyday for having the knack for it. For somehow, bit by bit, year by year, finding the ways of it. Just enough, just enough, that I sometimes get things right. I’m happy when I draw, and when I write. Someday, my stories will be both.

Doodling…

Doodling is not the hip thing to do. Tell someone you meet up once a week just to doodle, and most of them will stare at you blankly, as if thinking, “why?” Most people don’t understand the point of doodling. To them, it’s a waste of time. Not to say, they don’t do it themselves. Because they do. Most people have doodled at one time or another, maybe when they were kids, maybe during work, or any other time when they’re bored. But people doodle with the thought in their minds that what they’re doing is somehow wrong. As if they should feel guilty about it.

And not without reason. For centuries, people have viewed doodling as a bad word. Did you know that in the early 17th century, “doodle” meant “fool”? It’s from the Low German word, “dudeltopf” meaning, “simpleton. Famous example, “Yankee doodle”. In the Oxford American Dictionary, it is defined as “to scribble absentmindedly.” “Scribbling”, not exactly the kind of word to denote usefulness.

However, it has been found out, that doodling actually helps with the memory. A study in 2009, made by Professor Jackie Andrade, PhD, of the University of Plymouth, states that subjects given a doodling task while listening to a dull phone message have a 29% improved recall compared to their non-doodling counterparts. Apparently, when we do boring tasks, like listening to monotonous teachers, or droning bosses, a secondary activity, like doodling, actually helps us retain information more.

When we’re bored, for example, we daydream. Andrade says that “Daydreaming distracts people from the task at hand, resulting in poorer performance. A simple task, like doodling, may be sufficient to stop daydreaming without affecting performance on the main task.”

In short, doodling is an asset, not liability. It useFUL, not useLESS. It’s not just random scribbling, it’s an aid to the memory. So we shouldn’t deride doodling, we should embrace it.

So to all the doodlers out there, keep on doing what you’re doing. And to those non-doodlers, now’s the best time to start. :D

The White Queen

Ever since I’ve been hanging around all the people from ICCON, I’ve really gotten a double dose of comic characters, art, composition, etc… It’s influenced me more and more to try my hand at doing a popular Marvel or DC character. So, for my first try, I decided to go with Emma Frost. She seemed simple enough to do. Still, I didn’t want to be a complete copycat, so I decided to give a burlesque feel to her. What do you think?

img007

 

Morpheus Watercolor Fanart

img058Morpheus

This is about the only decent piece of art I’ve done in a while.  This is Dream, or Morpheus as he is also called, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. He’s a rockstar among comic geeks, kinda like Dr. Who is among…urgh…the slightly more tasteful female crowd. My brother said I made him too pretty. Well f*ck u bro.

Played Spelljammer…wish I were in a McCaffrey world instead.

Went out with my rpg group on Sunday and played Spelljammer. I still can’t get my head around a ship that’s basically, just a flying tub of wood. No screens, no intercom, no doors opening and closing with a ‘swoosh’. It flies by “magic”. Really. Magic. Ugh. I stopped dreaming of magical flying ships when I read Anne McCaffrey’s Brain Ship series, and realized that if a ship were your body, and a “spaceship” at that, you could really kill people in so many different way.

In Spelljammer, you’re stuck in a chair, seeing everything, but able to do nothing. And when you’re twelve hours in the “chair” is done, all your personal spells have been sucked out too. You’re useless for the rest of the game.

I want to be able to plant booby traps. Lock doors. Control the air systems and suffocate intruders. I don’t want to just, roll dice, move the ship, and hope someone trips. I could, roll for suffocation of enemies, but my stats are dismal. The likelihood of me winning is teeny at best.

My friends say I have a god-complex. How can I not? If I’m going to be a ship, I want to be the whole ship. Body and soul.

And on, and on, and on…

I sit on a too soft couch.
Sipping the tepid coffee I ordered
Staring beyond the glass doors to the street outside
And I see the buildings beyond,
Where their edges meet the sky.

I can’t see beyond those edges,
But I can imagine what’s there,
A road, a cafe, a Chinese sweet store,
A river, a bridge, the edge of the sea,
And on, and on, and on…

And that’s all I do.
As I sit on that too soft couch.
That makes me sink so my chest just meets the table.
At that awkward height,
Where my back bends and starts aching.

Staring, just staring,
Where clear blue sky meets gray
And all I do is imagine,
Of old food stalls, and little shops,
Of Churches, tolling bells, and the smell of burning meat.

I’ll imagine the world beyond that gray line
Beyond the edge where sky and concrete meet,
And on, and on, and on beyond
Til’ I come to places I know nothing about
Where my own memories desert me.

And sitting on that too soft couch,
Sipping that now cold coffee,
I’ll imagine of places beyond,
That road, that cafe, that Chinese sweet store,
The river, that bridge, and the edge of the sea.

Staring, just staring,
Going beyond what I know
Imagining what I have never seen myself
Of strange food stalls, and stranger shops
Of taller Churches, with no bells, perhaps,
(and still the smell, of burning meat).

And on, and on, and on…
Always imagining…
in my mind’s eye…
While sitting down on a too soft couch
And making do with cold coffee.

Neil Gaiman’s Dream

I did an acrylic painting of Dream on my friend’s book. He’s this awesome comic fanatic who really loves Neil Gaiman. He asked me to do Dream on his book, and at first, I didn’t want to, because the book is hardbound, and expensive. It’s The Sandman: King of Dreams by Alisa Kwitney. What if I’d messed up? I’d feel really really bad. But he says he likes it, so, well, that’s a relief.

tumblr_mzovgrAtBK1sh99h4o1_1280

Children’s Story: Jan and Coffee

I recently wrote a new story, which might turn into a bigger story, or stay the way it is right now. I don’t know yet. However, I do have plans of turning it into a children’s story, complete with drawings. It’s one of my art resolutions for this year.

———————————————–

Jan had a problem. He’d been thinking about his problem for a very long time. For five days in fact.
Jan thought…that he, well, “thought” too much. He would think so loud it would drown out his teacher’s voice. He would think so quiet his friends forgot he was there.
One day, Jan thought all the way to Lemon St. He liked the name, Lemon St. But still, Jan knew he was lost. So he sat on a doorstep, buried his head in his arms, and thought about crying. He felt the tears come up and he let them fall. He was feeling very sorry for himself. Then light as a feather, Jan felt a touch on his cheek. He ignored it, but the touch turned to repetitive tapping on his head. Breathing in his sobs and brushing away the tears on his face with a sleeve, Jan turned his head towards the intrude, and he saw… a cup turned upside down.
“Hello. My name is Coffee.” The cup said. Jan stared at it for a long moment. A cup was talking to him. But tugging on his arm made him look all the way down, and what he saw, was a tiny little face, under the cup, looking right at him. Jan stopped thinking. He stopped breathing.

Maybe they stayed like that for five minutes. Ten minutes. Just staring at each other. Who knows. But a loud honking noise blared loudly from nowhere, and Jan finally found his voice. He said, hesitantly, “Hello? I’m, uh…Jan.”
“Yes! I know! I’m Coffee! And you’re Jan! How are you?!”
Now Jan was the kind of little boy who often thought of strange things and read a great many books about strange things. So it came as no surprise to him that something strange was happening to him right then at that very moment. After all, he was lost. It made sense, in Jan’s head, in a weirdly wonderful way. But Jan was a nice boy, so though he was very very curious, all he said was, “I’m fine, thank you. How are you?”
“Oh, I’m great. Excited! Happy to meet you!”
“Ah yes, I can see that.” Jan laughed. Coffee was jumping around now, so hyper, she looked like she’d blow right out of her socks. “I drew a little man with a cup on his head once.”
“Yes! That was me! I’m Coffee! Thank you very much.” Coffee bowed.

“No? Really? But I drew a man.” Jan said, confused.

Coffee just shrugged.

“Ah, um, well…you’re very welcome.” Jan said a bit hesitantly, bowing in return.

Coffee grinned. “I am very happy to be here. I am only still, very young, but I am having fun.”

“Ah well, that’s nice. I’m seven, how old are you?”

Coffee wowed silently. “I’m only 1.”

“1,” Jan asked, confused. “But you look…”

“I’m still the youngest. It’s very unfair to be the youngest.”

“Really?” Jan asked.

“Yes.” Coffee grimaced. “The others make me do all the boring stuff just because I’m the youngest.”

“The others?” Jan asked.

“Yes, the others—Oh wait!!! Mr. Lost and Found told me to find you!”

Jan bent his head to the side, as he’d seen his mother do when she had a question. “Mr. Lost and Found?”

“Yes. He is for things-that-are-lost-but-wish-to-be-found. He found me.” Coffee grinned even wider. She was super excited.

“Well, he sounds great.” Jan said. “I’m lost right now. I don’t think I like being lost. It’s not very fun.”

“Well, that’s what I’m here for.” Coffee puffed out her chest, looking very proud. She took off her coffee cup hat and laid it on the ground. It grew in size. “Step inside Jan,” Coffee said, opening a little door at the side.

Jan looked at the cup, and then at Coffee. “Em…Coffee…”

“Yes.” Coffee looked at Jan, then back at the cup. “Oh no. You’re still too big!” Her face looked, dismayed. She looked back at the cup, then at him. “Well, nothing for it then. You’ll have to get smaller. “

Jan grew confused. He thought it was great fun to sit inside a cup. Jan had never done anything like that before. But getting smaller was beyond him.

Coffee laughed. “No worries. No worries. Here, swallow this.” She held out a bean.

Jan took it slowly. “What is it?””It’s a shrinking coffee bean. It’ll make you fit.”

Jan chewed. “Blegh!!!” He grew smaller. “Hey! I really did get smaller.”

“I said you would!” Coffee grinned. “Sorry for the taste. C’mon. Get in.”

Jan followed Coffee inside, grimacing still from the bitterness.The coffee cup started floating. Jan’s mouth gaped open in surprise.

Coffee laughed in glee. Standing like a little marshall, she puffed out her chest and pointed. “And away we go!!!”

It was better than any roller coaster ride Jan had ever had in his life. They went so fast his lips stretched from cheek to cheek. He held on for dear life, laughing all the while.

When they finally got home. The coffee cup floated through an open window, sailing into the kitchen. It landed gently on a counter top. Jan and Coffee got out.

“We’re here.” Coffee said.

Jan laughed crazily. “That was amazing! I want to do that again!” He shouted, throwing out his arms.

Coffee laughed. “Tap on a coffee cup then. You’ll see me around.”

“Really?” Jan asked.

“You thought me up you know. With all your thinking, day in and day out.”

“Really?” Jan’s eyes grew round.

“Uhuh.” Coffee nodded vigorously. “You thought really really hard. Really really loud. And I came out.”

Jan’s eyes grew rounder. “I can do that?”

“Well, not all the time, I think.” Coffee said. “I think I already wanted to come out. I just chose your head to come out of.” She giggled.

“Where’d you come from.” Jan asked.

Coffee shrugged. “Dunno. But I’m Coffee now, and I like being me.” She dug around in her pocket, and gave Jan another bean. This one looked the same as the last one.

Jan grimaced. “What’s this one do?”

“This one’s super special. It’ll cancel out the shrinking coffee bean. Make you big again.”

“Will it still taste the same?”

Coffee, who’d been shrinking her coffee cup, turned around. “Ah yeah. Sorry for that.” And she put her hat back on her head.

“Well, bye bye. Coffee.” Jan said sadly.

“No bye’s Jan. Like I said, I’m always around. Especially in the mornings.” Coffee said knowingly.

Jan just looked down at the bean. He sat on the edge of the counter, closed his eyes, and swallowed the bean. When he opened them, he was big again. When he looked at his side, Coffee was gone. But when he looked really really close, he saw a tiny little coffee bean, left on the counter. Jan smiled. He pinched it between his fingers, jumped off the edge, then ran up to his room.

Later on that night, Jan would go right back to doing what he did best. Thinking. And he would think, and finally decide, that he didn’t have a problem at all with thinking so much. In fact, he thought to himself, it might just be the best thing in the world.

Children’s books: Where’s My Cow by Terry Pratchett

Art and a Story.

Two things I love come together. That is why I love children’s books. I always spend time hanging around the children’s section of a bookstore, because I know that you can find little nuggets of beauty in the children’s section. I always pick the books where the stories and illustrations are amazing. I like to look at them and marvel at how clever the authors are, and admire the artists who do the pictures. You discover a lot of good art, just hanging around the children’s section.

But, for this post, I didn’t find this children’s book in a bookstore. I was actually scouring the internet for books by Terry Pratchett because there are hardly any Terry Pratchett books being sold in my local bookstore. I live in a small city in the Philippines, so the bookstores are pretty lacking here. Thank goodness for ebooks.

I found this children’s book titled, Where’s my Cow by Terry Pratchett. The art is by Melvyn Grant. And like all stories by Terry Pratchett, it’s funny, and clever, and even though the book is for kids, I still laughed at the end. But I really, really, liked looking at the illustrations done by Melvyn Grant. The characters are expressive and extremely cute. It’s a beautiful picture book. I hate to say that it’s even a children’s book, because it seems like it would fit very well on any adult’s bookshelf.

Take a look.

wheres my cow p32 wheres my cow p01 wheres my cow p02-3 wheres my cow p04 wheres my cow p05 wheres my cow p06-7 wheres my cow p08-9 wheres my cow p10-11 wheres my cow p12 wheres my cow p13 wheres my cow p14 wheres my cow p15 wheres my cow p16-17 wheres my cow p18-19 wheres my cow p20-21 wheres my cow p22-23 wheres my cow p24-25 wheres my cow p26-27 wheres my cow p28-29 wheres my cow p30-31

Brain Drain

Prologue

The day the Box was unveiled to the world was the day Mars Douglas was killed. It’s official name was Intelligence Transference Device, but that was a mouthful, so all the newspapers just called it the “Box”. Someone tried to call it the “ITD”, but that didn’t catch on. It looked like a box. Just a simple, plain, black box that would never open. It looked like it hid a secret, but everybody thought they had a pretty good idea about what it did. For months now, little hints about the device had been dropped here and there, in various magazines, newspapers, and tv stations. There was a lot of hype about the device. And with any new, attractively packaged, piece of tech, there are allies and detractors. Mars Douglas belonged to the latter group.

He was important. A political lion. And like all political lions, he was charming, brilliant, and very paranoid. Lots of people wanted to kill Mars Douglas, but not many could do it. His death would have been expensive to plan, and very difficult to do. But where there is a will, there is a way. The media jokingly called him, “The Fortress”, as he owned, and practically ran, the securities industry. For years, everyone thought Mars Douglas was invincible. That is until, he died.

“The Fortress was Breached”. That was the headline on the New York Times. Every news agency and journalist ran around like chickens with their heads cut off. Everyone wanted to know how it was done. His death was major news. And it shook up the world. Or at least, it shook up the worlds of people who mattered. Enemies and allies alike would stare at the grotesquely unrecognizable remnants of his body. Pictures of which, would be given to them by their own informants. Because the one, and only picture the media got, was a photo of his very famous head, now lying on its side, separate from the body, and staring at nothing. Obviously, someone wanted to make sure that everyone knew who had died. These people would look at their own personal security, realize how well-timed his death was with the unveiling of the Box, and put two and two together. So his fellow detractors became quiet. They were cowed for a time. And the Box unveiled itself under the radar, camouflaged by Mars Douglas’ death, and enjoyed several weeks of peace before people noticed it again. And by that time, it was out there. Established. It was in operation, and all safeguards were in place.

———————————-

Chapter One: A lot can happen in 25 years…

“Welcome to Brainchild Corp., where your child’s needs are our only priority. No longer are your children limited by the intelligence they inherit at conception…Come to any Brainchild Corp., outlet, conveniently placed near medical facilities, for instant advice and consultation about your child, or better yet, online, where…The best opportunity for your child…Be like Tania Moretti, adopted daughter of our CEO, Carlos Moretti…Your child’s success depends on you. As…”

The man stared grimly at the ad flashing on the billboard sized screen stuck to a building. He wished the jeepney would move already. Damn traffic. He stared at the child on the screen. Brown skin, black hair. Brown eyes. A familiar face. He turned away as the jeepney started to move. He was already late for his job.

He stopped the jeep at a sidestreet, and got out. From there, he started walking, his back hunched, hands stuck in his pockets. He’d be called tall, if he stood straight. He’d be called handsome, if his face weren’t so empty. He looked normal. Ordinary. I don’t what it was about men like him. People always knew. People would avoid looking at his face, but as soon as he passed them, they’d turn around, unable to control themselves. His black shaggy hair was kept intentionally long. But you could see it if you looked hard enough, just peeking on top his collar, a glint of metal between the strands of hair. The old ones would shiver and look away. The younger ones would stare. Like looking at a train wreck in slow motion. No matter how horrible the outcome is, you could never quite look away.

The man ignored them all. He ignored the hidden stares and scared children. He’d follow the route, and be at work in 5 mins.

——————————————————
(I’m going to update this every week on the same page. Tell me what you think. Also, I would love some help with the grammar and typos. Thank you!

I’ve decided to write without worrying about making sense. So if you say it looks like a first draft. Well, yes, it is. :D)