Alone with my art (and other musings about being yourself)

An old illustration I started for a Poe story. I've always liked it. That's all.

An old illustration I started for a Poe story. I’ve always liked it. That’s all.

In fine black ink lines and thin washes of color, I’m illustrating the classic Vampire tale Dracula.

I tried to start The Christmas Carol but I had some sort of mental block.

But Dracula is fun and weird and full of Vampires who aren’t like me. I don’t have to drag a coffin full of dirt around me. I’m a mom so my big mom purse is big enough. My kids make jokes that it is full of river rocks. I can’t imagine a coffin surrounded by dirt much less a coffin.

It would be fun to have a crazy guy at my beck and call to do my bidding (read the book you’ll know who I’m talking about.) Oh right, I have a husband. HA HA HA.

When Dracula came out we all read it. I loved the format in letters and diary entries. We laughed and then we went back to our world of darkness and love and the fine art of sharing blood and bring the friendly predators we are.

My first copy of Dracula was given to me by Lola, my great great great grandmother. She called it quaint but said I’d better read it because it would have a huge impact on culture and our lives. Fiction often does that. There are so many examples: Sherlock Holmes, The Lord of the Rings, Frankenstein, Animal Farm, Travels with Charley, Anna Karenina. The list is extensive. But we’re Vampires so Dracula was a big thing for us.

This blog is about Vampires – Modern Vampires. So you’re in the right place. I muse too. Want musings? You’re in the right place.

Lola is old and conniving and can charm the soul out of man unlike any other Vampire I’ve here met. She was born the same year as Jeffery Chaucer but can pass for 25. Except in her eyes that are as cold and deep as the Arctic Sea. I like using flowery descriptions when I talk about Lola. It fits her. She breaks all rules of good taste and correctness so when I write about her I’ll break all the rules too.

She tells me I need to draw more. Something that used to come so easy is hard for me now. Some clarification – I draw everyday. I just don’t draw my own art for my own pleasure.

By the way, I hate playing Pictionary. No. I’m done with parlor games that don’t contain trivia or aren’t played on the Wii.

At the very core of my dark heart and cold soul I am an artist. It is always how I’ve identified myself to myself. That isn’t dependent on how much I draw or paint.

How we see ourselves doesn’t depend on how we’re seen by the general public or anyone else. To your core you know who you are and what you are.

I live around teens. Some of them already know who they are. Some are still growing into their identities. They’re good kids – smart kids. They’ll find their identities. Sure they’ll change and mature as the years pass (as the centuries pass for some) but they’ll always know who they are.

You can live up to the expectations of others and do well. But you need to also live up to your own expectations. Living up to your own expectations is always much more difficult than living up to the expectations of others. It can be painfully difficult, but the rewards are infinitely greater.

So do your own art, whatever that is.

Have a good weekend everyone. Maybe in another post I’ll show some of my “good stuff.”

Lola and I are off to the museum to see a new show of someone she knew in the 1870’s.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Maman (look I drew something, now leave me alone)

Vampire Maman (look I drew something, now leave me alone)

Vampire Maman – Ink Master (Trying My Hand at Tattoo Design)

Oh no, we got hooked on Ink Masters – the show (SPIKE) where 12 Master Tattoo Artists compete for $100,000 to become INK MASTER.

That isn’t such a bad thing because it inspired me to draw up my own ink designs.

I used to draw – a lot. I still do some illustrations professionally, but not a lot of personal work. This pushed me to sit down with paper, a sort of dull pencil, an eraser and a Sharpie pen and have a half hour of creative fun last night. Hey, if  you’re a mom, any alone time creative fun is a good thing. It is a very very very good thing.

So here is my first go at a Vampire Maman Tattoo design. I’m still working on the hand. The script is rough. The little girl has an ugly face. And NO don’t mistake this with any characters from Twilight (gag). I drew those faces and erased each about 10 times. But over all I like it.

I’ll be doing more. It was really fun. Maybe even show some in color if I have time. But right now I’m happy amusing myself and my husband and kids with paper and pen. Not skin and needle (not yet).

And remember my regular human friends…Life is too short to get bad ink.

Vampire Maman Tattoo Design Round 1

Illustrating One’s Self – Vampire Maman Logo Sketches Round One

Last night my daughter said “Why don’t you make some Vampire Maman logos, you know like bands do.”

Good idea. What have I gotten myself into.

Fast Designs. Rule ONE – don’t spend too much time on anything or over think it. NEVER OVER THINK ANYTHING CREATIVE.

I made one quick sketch and outlined it with a fine point Sharpie. The Sharpie tip with thicker than I would have wanted and it wasn’t even the sketch I wanted but it was a start. The kids are too young and there are other assorted problems. Since I have NO attention span for anything that takes more than 10 minutes (make that 5 minutes) – I quickly scanned the drawing and took it into PhotoShop where I colored and tweeked it a bit into several different versions – a work in progress. I know how to use Illustrator but I don’t find it fun so I’m going to keep drawing by hand.

I tried a few fonts. This is far from done and not well thought out but like I said, it is a start. I’m not sure I like the image, but it is growing on me. Not loving the kid faces, but I can fix that and redo it and start over. No problem starting over on something I’ve only spent 3 minutes on (on the pencil sketches, add two minutes for the PhotoShop work etc).

I thought I’d better stop for now until I can get some paper with a decent finish, the right pens and do this up proper. I also should not do my drawings on the kitchen counter where water and other unidentified substances are on the counter and being soaked up by the paper.

 
But this is how I work and how the creative process, or at least my version of the creative process makes things happen.

 
When you are a mom, especially when you are a working mom, you have to make things happen FAST. FAST is the key or nothing will get done. OK not all of that is true – I use the kids as an excuse – it’s really my husband who eats up all my time (HA HA HA just kidding – they all do).

 

So I’ll keep you updated on my Vampire Maman logo ideas. By the way…I love to draw. More than almost anything. I just don’t spend enough time doing it.

The moral of this story…find time, have fun, that’s all.