Stay for a Coffee, and Maybe Buy Me One Too

Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

Dr. Seuss

Over the last few months I have been considering Patreon and Ko-fi as options to give fans of my work more access to me as a creator. It has taken some consideration, and I have decided to go with… Ko-fi!

Maybe this isn’t a surprise as my page has been accessible since October, but the current plan I’m using is Free. The change will be that I’m moving to Ko-fi Gold, a subscription to both support Ko-fi’s development and to give me access to a number of features that I can put to good use for those following and supporting my work.

I am aiming to be ready to go early February.

As a note, this does not mean my blog and portfolio won’t be updated anymore. However, how I update will change. Ko-fi will be updated first with work in progress and final images, and have some exclusive content. I’m still working out the exact changes, and feedback is not just welcome but heavily encouraged.

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Review; Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Gender Queer
Maia Kobabe (Goodreads Author) (Author, Illustrator), Phoebe Kobabe (Goodreads Author) (Colorist)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity-what it means.

Goodreads.com

I have never come across a book that so closely captured the feeling of dysphoria that I felt growing up. Mine was caused by different things, but much of how I dealt with it is mirrored in portions of this graphic novel.

I invented and named a lost male twin who had always felt like he should be a girl. If I could just find him we would both finally feel like whole complete people.

Gender Queer, Maia Kobabe

This book is an amazing read and so honest and open. I didn’t know it, but I needed to read it. I picked it up out of curiosity, thinking I may learn something. I didn’t expect to get so much out of it, though.

The Difference of a Decade

Time is an illusion.

Albert Einstein

There’s a trend going on these days, which I have seen on Twitter specifically, of artists sharing the difference in their work after a decade. Seeing so many people do this, and to see such drastic improvements over time, is inspiring. I didn’t want to just share a couple of images in a tweet, though. That couldn’t quite cover the time in a way that’s acceptable to me.

I haven’t looked at much of my artwork over the last ten years. Before reviewing it, I knew that not much would be there compared to others. I knew it wouldn’t be high in quality and that I would be embarrassed by how bad it all will be. But I also knew that I shouldn’t be comparing myself, or my artwork, to others in this way.

It turns out, though, only one of those things is true. There’s not much of it. However, the quality isn’t bad and it certainly doesn’t embarrass me. I tried to create and succeeded in making new things. Some are more complete than others, and I did my best. That much is evident.

I had, and have, room to improve. And overall, it looks like I managed to do it. I fell down a few times, took a couple stumbling steps back, but in the end my skill in digital art is moving forward again.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Something New

Ten years ago, in the spring of 2009, I was finishing up a course at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. It was a two-semester course called Performing Arts Preparation, that I took out of personal interest. I wanted to practice acting, singing, and hoped to become more confident. I did manage these things, and while the year was stressful I do value what I learned and the people I met.

During that time, my health was extremely poor. I wasn’t sleeping and I was always exhausted, depressed, anxious, and spent most of my mental space focusing on staying conscious.

It took a few more years before I got myself into a better place.

I did a lot of drawing during this time. Sketches on paper and only sometimes colouring on the PC with Photoshop. It was intended as a distraction but it was a start.

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Digital Art and Illustration: December Update

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a model maker, a potter, a dancer, a programmer, a writer, a political activist, a teacher, a musician, a milliner, whatever. It’s all the same. Making is making, and none of it is failure.”

Adam Savage, Every Tool’s A Hammer: Life Is What You Make It

Starting in September, I started to make some big changes.

I don’t know the exact cause or the specific thing that made these changes a priority.

It is likely a culmination of things. A bunch of small pieces, perhaps insignificant on their own, that started the avalanche of creativity. Because that’s what changed: the desire to create with the strength to finally do it. The want and need has always been there, lurking, but the catalyst was missing.

And I know why it was missing. But I couldn’t fix it. I didn’t know how.

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Keeping Busy with Design

Earlier this year I mentioned that I began taking courses on Udemy and how much I was enjoying the process. That’s still the case! I have finished the Photoshop Essentials and Advanced courses, and moved on to both the Illustrator and InDesign Essentials courses by Daniel Scott.

And for being a person who was using InDesign and Illustrator CS6 on a daily basis for work last year, I’m surprised at how much I have learned about both programs in just the Essentials courses alone. I didn’t consider myself an expert, but felt comfortable in InDesign especially. And while I was competent in the program, I had (and have) so much more to learn not only about working more efficiently but also the real capabilities of the program itself.

And we haven’t even touched on the interactivity in PDFs yet.

Projects

My goal of late has been to create more recent graphic design work for my portfolios since much of what I have done in the past has been proprietary. It is fine if I am pitching to those who have seen my work but, alas, most have not.

Taking the courses on Udemy has been really good for building the portfolio, and it’s part of the reason I chose to check out Daniel Scott’s courses: he lists that there are many real-world projects for just that purpose.

And that’s just what I need.

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Now with Ko-fi

My Ko-fi page is now live!

Ko-fi is a platform that allows creators, like me, to be easily supported by fans of their work. Supporters can give a “ko-fi”, which is similar to the price of a coffee, to show someone that they value their work and would like to offer support. It’s pretty great!

If you enjoy my work and would like to help me make more, please consider supporting me on Ko-fi!

As a thank you from me, all supporters are given access to a wallpaper package, containing a variety of sunset photos from my collection of work.

Check out the page to learn more. 😊

Thanks! ❤

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

September Adventures: Sugar Pine Reservoir Part 2

Last week I shared Part 1 of my adventures in Sugar Pine Reservoir, where I visited the area in late September with my husband and mother-in-law. It’s a gorgeous area to spend the day wandering around and soaking in the beauty of nature.

I had heard stories from my husband and his family about how beautiful and peaceful the area was, but had yet the chance in any of my travels to visit the space.

This all changed last month. And I think it’s safe to say it’s now one of my favourite places in California. I want to back!

Let’s get to the photographs, shall we?

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September Adventures: Sugar Pine Reservoir Part 1

In late September, my husband, mother-in-law and I traveled to Sugar Pine Reservoir, located in Northern California, to spend the day wandering around. I had heard stories from my husband and his family about how beautiful and peaceful the area was, but had not yet had the chance to visit.

This was all about to change.

In preparation, I purchased a new SD Card for my camera, a nearly-ten-year-old Canon EOS REBEL T3. In previous years, I have shied away from shooting photographs in RAW. My excuse was that SD Cards were expensive and I would rather take more photos and experiment, rather than have to stop early and miss something because I didn’t have card space.

These days, SD Cards don’t really cost all that much and I have no excuse not to ensure I have ample room for the photos I need to take. I never had any excuse, to be honest.

And after editing RAW photos in Adobe Lightroom Classic recently, I don’t think I will ever go back to using only Adobe Photoshop. For photo editing, if I don’t need to edit people out of them or work on a design, I can see myself using Lightroom for most retouching instead. It’s amazing for organization and batch editing. I love it!

Let’s get to the photographs, shall we?

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