Saturday, September 17, 2016

Adventures In Art

I recently moved to Philadelphia, PA for college. I'm studying secondary education and Latin at Temple, which is great and all, but I'm also finding myself reconsidering all of my life choices on a daily basis.

The move has been a very rough process, during which anything that could backfire and go wrong did. I'm dorming with six other girls in an apartment-style dorm, which would be great if it were not for the six other girls. Don't get me wrong, they're all very nice and we sometimes have fun talking, but they party and go to football games while I'm at my desk playing Skyrim, so there's virtually nothing in common.

I'm also reconsidering what it means to be a teacher and whether or not I want to follow through on this plan. My classes on teaching are really hammering in the responsibilities of a classroom and the difficulties new teachers face. It's a bleak outlook, to be blunt. Between the overall miserable college experience and the doubtful career prospects, I've not been happy here.

I got myself back into drawing last year when I joined the Lackawanna College Creative Arts Club. I feel like my abilities have improved substantially in my recent works. I practiced with colored pencils that I hadn't touched in years and played with watercolors.

I began doing small animal characters and worked on improving my line work. I bought new supplies and practiced characters from reference and my own imagination. Looking through my sketch books, I can't believe how drastic the improvements are between the early pages and the latest.

A Jam Bear drawn back in March
Zero from Drakengard 3 drawn from reference in June

One of my goals as an artist has always been to see a character in my mind and be able to put them down on a page. Especially as a writer, the ability to create people I've never seen before is a handy talent to have. It's something I've been practicing especially hard.

I've been drawing a lot lately to deal with the stress of college. I find it very grounding. I recently spent several hours a day for a solid eight days working on a Christmas present for a friend (just in case you're reading this, Justin, no, you do not get to see it early!). It was a tremendously therapeutic process, getting lost for large chunks of time in ink and colored pencil.

With that project complete, I didn't know what to draw next. I've decided I like drawing animal characters, and my adventures in Dungeons and Dragons had inspired me to write a story of a character who wants to be a bard. This character is unfortunately talentless when it comes to music, so he uses magic to make everyone think he's an amazing bard.

I was talking with my friend about what kind of animal would make a good bard wizard if I were to do this as a whimsical illustrated story or a comic. He pitched the idea of a bird, maybe an owl or a crow. Well, crows are perfect for this. They're associated with witches and magic, and they're voices are not that of their songbird cousins. With the idea in mind, I started doodling.

I'd never so easily been able to put a character on a page before. I'm very proud of how far my abilities have come. I love his design, and while I'm still not 100% sure what format his story will take, I know I have the ability to do it well.

I am starting to consider switching gears with school and going for something more artistic. Art has always been what keeps me going. Perhaps it should be more of a priority in my life than it is. I don't think I would ever want to be an illustrator, but graphic design is high on my list of alternate career choices. I don't really know where my art adventures will take me, but at the very least, I'm going to keep moving forward.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Free Art Resources

As a poor college student and artist, I know what it's like to have no money to spend on luxuries like Photoshop, expensive paints, and fancy drinks from the local coffee shop. Luckily, there are a lot of cheap options out there.

General Art and Craft Supplies
This website has a ton of different art supplies for reasonable prices. Especially canvases.

Craft supplies!

Great for project supplies and fun beads.

For all your candle, soap and beauty, and potpourri needs!

Digital Drawing
A free program with almost as much functionality as Photoshop (and it supports .psd files, too!)

A free sketching program

A free vector program

A free program with comic illustrators in mind

Dig through the resources for free digital brushes, stock images, reference images, and more. Sometimes the artists have limits on how you can use their resources, so always read their terms and respect their work.

A little labor intensive and needs some tools, but much cheaper than the $90+ canvases you find at the craft store.

DIY Crackle Paint
Beacuse crackle paint is expensive.

Check the paint counter at your local hardware store. They typically have a shelf of marked down paints that weren't mixed to the right color or that the customer decided they didn't want. I grabbed a full gallon of raspberry pink paint for only $10; the original price would have been $31!

Cheap Brushes
I've been using cheap $4 packs of paint brushes for years. I love the variety of textures and sizes they give me! Expensive brushes are great, of course, but don't be afraid to go for some super cheap ones.

I have thrown so much money at this website for my jewelry. You get discounts that get bigger as you buy more things, and shipping is a flat $5. I have yet to find a site consistently cheaper than Fire Mountain!

Another reasonable option for gemstone beads.

Found Objects
I once found some neat pieces of green floor tile that were broken. I took them home and made pendents. They got so much attention and sold within two craft shows! I have since collected all sorts of things to use for jewelry, including broken plate shards, river glass, shells, and bones. They're my most popular pieces whenever I do shows, and I think they're the most fun to work with.

Upcycled Objects
Ask your friends if they have any old jewelry (costume or otherwise) that you can have for cheap or free. Especially broken stuff; people love to give away broken stuff. I have more old costume jewelry than I have time to take apart! Thrift stores and yard sales are also great for old jewelry.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cupcakes and Minecraft

This is my obligatory welcome post on The Geeky Cupcake. Hi, world!

I'm a college student planning on pursuing a career as a high school Latin teacher. I'm involved in my school's Creative Arts Club, and once I transfer to another school in the fall, I plan on diving into their Photography Club. There are definitely going to be posts about college things, club things, and making poor decisions on what I want to do with my life.

When I'm not in school, I'm either doing crafts or playing games. I have a craft business called Dragonistic, which I started at 14 when I set up a website to draw dragons for people. Somehow it developed into scarves, pumpkin hats, and jewelry made out of bones. Dragons are still involved in that there is one on the banner I display at craft fairs. I play an unreasonable amount of Age of Mythology, and I just downloaded Minecraft in an effort to waste the maximum amount of time per day.

As the blog title implies, I like cupcakes (and sheet cakes, and cookies, and bread, and doughnuts). I love to cook and bake, and if I didn't have other obligations, I would be in the kitchen constantly. There will absolutely be recipes involved in this blog.

I'm also very low on the income scale and suffer from undiagnosed chronic illness(es) that limit my ability to function as a normal human being. I limit my hours at work to avoid making my joints feel like they're on fire, and sometimes my stomach decides that perfectly tasty, sometimes healthy foods are alien substances that must be destroyed, usually resulting in me feeling like I'm being stabbed all over my abdominal area. There may be posts about these sorts of things as well, and there will certainly be posts about how to conserve your money and limited resources when ramen is what's for dinner every night.

That should cover it, I think. Sit tight for actual blog content!