Thursday, November 15, 2012

3 Reasons to Make Friends with Creative People.

  I realized while reading through past posts that I had really good intentions of keeping this blog up (at least monthly). Well, I just wanted you to know that I know that my blog is hopelessly sporadic and random.

Moving on.

While reading said old posts I came across something important. It's about surrounding yourself with creative people. When I was young I thought this was stupid. Creative people are quiet and weird; why would any of us want to hang out and have nothing but quiet awkwardness to deal with? It's silly and I don't wanna.

 Now that I'm older and wiser (*snort*) I have come to realize that it's not silly and I have to...and so do you.

So here are my reasons why making friends with other artistic types is the best thing a creative person can do.

 1. Inspiration

 I'm just going to go ahead and steal from my own Inspiration blog post:
"Not only are (most) creatives incredibly supportive, but, generally, every word out of their mouths is something interesting/funny/epic/thought provoking...because when writers or artists have to speak (i.e. have to stop thinking about whatever they are currently working on) they make it count.  

2. Support

I have found that the more I get to know people in the writing and art community the more I feel like pushing on and trying my best. Maybe it's because I'm inspired by my colleagues, maybe it's because I know I'm not alone when I have writer's block or artist's...cramp...(sure, that's a thing), or maybe it's just because I feel more capable, happier, and supported when I have friends who share my interests and have my back.  

3. Networking

Once upon a time I was scared of networking simply because I didn't know what it meant. For those who don't know  I will tell you the magical secret. Shhh, come, closer...networking is making friends.

Not just hitting the "friend request"  button in your social network of choice, but genuinely creating true relationships and keeping in contact!  Yep, successful networking comes from a genuine desire to befriend someone.

Now, go make some friends.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Sketches are the new masterpieces.

I love sketches, and speed paints; oftentimes more than a finished piece of art. There is something so alluring and personal about a drawing that retains that first spark of the artist's inspiration and the wild, unrestrained passion that comes in those first moments when an artist falls in love with an idea. It lets the viewer feel the motion of the artist's hand across the paper and experience the raw vulnerability of something new and hopeful, just waiting to be refined.

Love. It
Check out some of my favorites:

by AliceChan on deviantart
by FrozenLilacs on deviantart

by Stabstabstab on deviantart

by iya-chen on devinatart

Friday, April 6, 2012

Zombies and Pop Tarts

Thanks to my good gahllie, some facebook friends, and the hubster, I have gotten in to zombies. I am not obsessed. I can definitely live without them, but they are everywhere lately and I figure, if I can't beat 'em, join 'em.

So, this morning while I was washing my hair in the shower and silently praying that I wouldn't get eaten alive while my eyes were closed, I asked myself a groundbreaking question:

Why must zombies eat people?

Well, because they are hungry! Duh. Zombies aren't vicious or evil, they are simply starving. And of course they are; we shun them from society, how on earth are they supposed to get a good meal? So instead of freaking out and running around till they take a nibble of your arm why can't we just toss 'em pop tart? Or better yet, a snickers bar! Those are satisfying, right?

Okay, so maybe we wouldn't have the awesomeness of The Walking Dead or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies if zombies were snacking on veggie burgers instead of your vital organs, but there could still be an apocalypse of the worldwide famine sort.  If we opened up the grocery stores and gave zombies free range of our farms and Frigidaires, food would definitely start to get scarce. Humans could still die and give writers something dramatic to write about, the whole thing just wouldn't be as bloody. And, think about it, we wouldn't have to deal with this drooling blood thing that zombies are so hot on. They could drool…milk, like a baby.  Way less gross.

In closing, I'd like to say that Mummies are not the new zombies. I saw this on a blog or website somewhere and it is utter nonsense. I would even say ludicrous. (Yes, much more ludicrous than feeding zombies pop tarts.) Mummies are simply gift wrapped zombies. They can't scratch or bite you through all that cloth. They are harmless and the only time a harmless corpse is interesting is in a Tim Burton movie or Weekend at Bernie's (which I have never seen, but can only assume it is hilarious based on the fact that it was referenced in a How I Met Your Mother episode).


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Happy Bree Appreciation Day!

What is Bree Appreciation Day you ask? It is that wonderful holiday in which children of all ages dress up in the scariest costumes they can find and traipse through their neighborhoods knocking on doors and demanding candy from their neighbors...

No, wait.

It's better than that. Bree Appreciation Day is that holiday in which everyone who admires, appreciates, or adores Bree Ogden gets to show her in some fantastically creative way how they feel. (And, probably, if you wanted to wear a scary costume that would be okay).

So the real question remains; why do I admire, appreciate, or adore Bree? Allow me to make a list:

1. She likes awesome things like pin-up girls, horror, Justice League, art, literature, humor, comic books, and from what I gather, Prince.
2. She co-operates Underneath the Juniper Tree, one of my most favorite-est things on the internet.
3. She's said nice things to me. (What? So I'm a pushover)
4. She is genuinely kind and selflessly supportive to other writers and artists.
5. She is a freaking incredible writer. I still can't get her stories, Family Secrets and The Heart Eater's Society out of my head.
6. She is simply cool. And I don't mean nifty, I mean 1950's greaser-hep cat daddy-o-Frank Sinatra-chick in a cloak with a sword and two zombies on leashes - cool.
7. Finally, and most importantly, I wanted to show Bree I appreciate her because, in regard to my writing and artistic endeavors, I have never felt a greater sense of belonging, self-worth, ambition to achieve my goals, and motivation to fight against obstacles than I have since I came in contact with this incredible woman.

Thanks Bree. This is for you:
Because zombie slaying is sexy.
Feel free to download and spread the love!!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap-Year-Day!!!!!

Last night I got an overwhelming feeling that I should do something important for Leap-Year-Day. It's that same feeling you get when a once in a lifetime opportunity is about to pass you by and you get all panicky trying to seize the day before it's gone forever...only on a much smaller, less important scale.

So, I decided to do something. But what? An evening Facebook post asking for advice yielded silly responses and a general consensus that I should just come up with something. Thanks guys. :/ So I stayed up late into the night (barely midnight) and did some intensive and extensive research (a quick wikipedia scan).

Here's what I found:

A tradition called Ladies privilege in which, " is a tradition that women may propose marriage...on leap years." 

And this:
Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation ranged from a kiss to £1 to a silk gown, in order to soften the blow.[9] 
And finally this:
'The Maydes Metamorphosis,' has it that 'this is leape year/women wear breeches.' A few hundred years later, breeches wouldn't do at all: Women looking to take advantage of their opportunity to pitch woo were expected to wear a scarlet petticoat—fair warning, if you will."[10]

So with this meager amount of information I came up with four NEW Leap-Year-Day traditions. Ready?

1. Wear something red.
If I owned a red petticoat, I would definitely be sporting it today. But I don't so...
2. If you are single, ask random men to marry you. 
When they refuse you, demand they pay the fine.
3. If you are married you are allowed to wear your wedding dress all day.
Even if it doesn't fit anymore you are permitted to do this without fear of ridicule today. No more of this "It's a dress you'll only wear once" bologna.
4. Do something absurd.
Back in the day, women asking men to marry and frolicking around in breeches was absurd. It's not so absurd today, women are probably asking men to marry them all day, every day (directly or indirectly), so I've decided that ANYTHING absurd will do. Just as April Fool's day - one of my favorite holidays - is all about committing silly pranks on others, Leap-Year-Day should be about doing ridiculous things for yourself. It's only fair.

So what am I doing today? Well my one-year-old is wearing polka dots and stripes TOGETHER. Preposterious! My four-year-old has resolutely outfitted our German Shepard with hair-bows. Ridiculous! And I petitioned my husband to stay home from work today. ...A little TOO absurd, he left twenty minutes ago.

I'm making a list of some more silly things I could do. If I had balloons I'd tape a bunch of them to my car and drive around blasting 99 Red Balloons and waving to onlookers. But I used all my balloons on my kid's birthday party. *sigh*

Even if you don't actually get around to it, what crazy things are you going to do today? This is important, people. We need a list for future generations to work with. GO!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Crystal Method

From time to time, I've had people ask how I create some of my drawings and this week I had the presence of mind to save each stage of the progress of my latest drawing, The Rebel.

I start with a rough sketch. Really the past this stage took about five sketches/pieces of paper. Now I'm down to one. Go me!

Next, I do, what I like to call, a clean sketch. I choose my lines, I add detail (clothes and hair), and I fix her wonky left hand.

Now I get to ink! I love inking, it's calming somehow. Basically inking is just tracing my lines and refining them even more. Not a lot of thinking, just pulling and curving an art pen over clean, white paper. I use a light box to see my pencil lines on the paper beneath.

Now for the stressful fun. I have a serious love/hate thing going on with coloring. I love color, I hate the process. It takes me forever and I always second guess myself. Anyway, I scan my inked drawing into Photoshop and start blocking out my colors. Then I start adding highlights and shadows. I do this with a mouse. All of it. *grumble* I really want a tablet.

After a lot of grumbling I get to a point where I can add fun details, like blood and tears. Then I flatten my layers, save, and post it for the masses. ;)

Hope you enjoyed this and hope you have a great Friday!!!

<3 Crystal

Friday, January 20, 2012

Use your Words Wisely

I'm convinced that words have more power over us than we realize. 

I've always thought this but a recent conversation with a new writer friend of mine, the awesome M.C.V. Egan, made me start thinking about it in more depth. It all began when she informed me that my last name means "Word" in Swedish.  Unfortunately, it isn't my maiden name but it's still pretty darn cool for a writer. When M.C.V. asked me if I had started writing more once I got married and my name changed, I was surprised to realized that I didn't get really serious about writing until after my marriage. Coincidence? Probably...


I know a few other people who take their names very seriously. Who actually draw inspiration from them and who represent the meaning of their names more than they know. That is power. Word power.

I went to a writer's conference last summer and in one of the classes we talked extensively about words. C.C. Humphrey's was the speaker. He's awesome: hilarious, passionate about writing, pleasantly scattered. Anyway, he talked about words in a way that truly touched me. 

As if they are alive. 

Makes sense. To me anyway.  

  We don't control words. (No, hush, we don't.) We can woo them, coax them, lure them to behave. We can corral them together into sentences and, hopefully, create something meaningful, but, still, one single word can have so many different meanings that a sentence you designed to portray one thing comes across meaning something completely different to someone else.

 We may harness their power momentarily when we write them down but then they will do as they please, they will affect others however they want.

Like a reader raving about the brilliance of the double meaning in a certain passage of your book that you had no idea existed until that very moment. ("Why, yes, of course I meant to do that!")....But you didn't did you? It was those sneaky, brilliant, living words.
So, I guess this (pleasantly?) scattered post is my roundabout way of saying, be careful with words.  Use them wisely. They have power to influence our very natures, they have power to change they way others see things. They have power.

What is your take on the power of words? Are they just tools to write with or something more?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Good book or Fart bomb?

After reading Angela Scott’s blog post about mean reviewers (which is worth a read, and not only to see the words “freaking fart-bomb” in print) I started thinking about a discussion I had with my mother a couple days ago. We were driving home from Bellingham, a nearly three hour trip, and I asked my mom:

What makes a book good and how am I supposed to know when my book is good enough?

Revising feels a little like this.
A little back story here, I have been in revision mode for a while and have been struggling to figure out, “how much revising is too much revising”. Night. Mare....

So, what makes a good book?

Now, I’m not talking about writing; we should all try our best to ‘show not tell’ and rein in our adverbs and such, but what do we have to do to make readers leave their world and cling to ours even after the last page is turned? 

Is it lyrical prose, a good hook, unique voice, action packed page-turners, heavy mind-boggling philosophical doorstops that make you lie awake nights pondering your very existence and freaking out over how huge and endless the universe is?!


Or is it all purely subjective and there is no answer?

I’m going to leave this one to you guys. What do YOU think makes a good book? Go!