Category: Personal

Fiddling – August

Fiddling – August

What I’m fiddling with:

August was when I really, really tried to create useful content for other creators. It feels a bit backwards because I put my big workbook project aside to focus on the blog. I hope creating some helpful posts around the same topic for the next few weeks now will open my time up to continue working on it. I’m really excited about it because it’s so much fun for me to write and I hope it’ll be fun and useful for you guys too! I’m really focusing on helping other creators combat their fears and doing that while I’m dealing with my some of own fear is really interestingly challenging.

I’m always looking for new revenue streams to support my creative work and my efforts to help other creatives, and this month I’ve been working on designing premade book covers. I’m working with a company that has incredibly high standards, so it’s been a lot of trial and error, but it’s forced me to up my game. I hope to open commissions after a few more months of practice.
Because I’m creating book covers on a budget (no $ for certain stock image commercial licenses) I’ve been practicing my illustration and art skills. For the past year or so in which I’ve been IDing as an artist I’ve been using Kyle’s big brush pack but recently I’ve downloaded Borodante‘s brushes which I have been LOVING. There’s a textured soft brush that really fits into my process and it makes everything feel nice and glowy. I also feel like his blending brushes are what I’ve been looking for, I used them in my chubby witch piece. Basically they’ve made my process a lot smoother and improved my ability to create quality paintings in less time, which means more practice! 

What I’ve been inspired by:

I made my drawing inspo board public so you can see what visual works have been inspiring me. It was a bit scary unlocking it because I’m always scared people will be like “this is obviously your reference, that’s cheating” even though it’s not cheating and I only directly use like .5% of what I’ve pinned as direct reference. Or like “you’re just trying to copy [insert artist] style” when 1) I’m not 2) trying out what you like about other artists styles is how you find your own style. Building that visual library, y’all.

 I’ve been listening exclusively to Youtube’s Indie mix while I’m doing visual art and I’m kinda obsessed with Alvvays right now. Archie, Marry Me  on repeat gets me in the painting ZONE, my guys. 

Tacocat is always fueling my art-ing, and Mitski’s Your Best American Girl is amaze. Angel Olsen‘s and Vivian Girls/La Sera‘s music videos have been super inspiring my sketching lately like nobodies business.

In August I watched what I believe is the best film ever made, for the first time. Nolan’s The Prestige is honestly the greatest piece of storytelling of all time. Like, I’m planning a post on how to write plot twists with some major examples for this film. Like, oh my god. My mind is still blown. Ask anyone who knows me, I have not shut up about this movie for WEEKS. That’s how you write a mystery, y’all.  I have a project I’ve been in the early outlining stage and at a bit of a standstill with so I watched this since it’s the right subject and time period and whew did it help ground the magacian-y element of my story. Seriously, like, Now You See Me WHOO???

I read what will probably be my favorite YA book of this year, if my not favorite overall book of the year, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. You guys know I love Bollywood and playing with tropes and strong, smart female characters and soft, good boys…so obviously I love this!!! I can’t imagine being a fan of romcoms and not liking this novel. Plus, it’s #ownvoices, which we could all read more of. Five stars all the way around, y’all. Hollywood romcom’s should take notice, this novelist made a better romantic comedy movie than actual romantic comedy movies. I vote either Gauri Shinde or Farah Khan directing the probably-soon-to-be-announced film adaption.

Last, but certainly not least, The Writing Revolt has been saving my effing LIFE. So entertaining, so inspiring, so useful. Jordan is who I always wanted to be when I grew up. She’s a badass who took her life into her own hands to create a freelance writing business, but she didn’t confirm to the sugary sweet industry personality. She will kick your ass in the best way. Here’s my favorite post by her so far!

Thanks for reading! What were you fiddling with in August? What were you inspired by?

5 YA Authors Reveal Their Writing Process + A Discussion on Fear

5 YA Authors Reveal Their Writing Process + A Discussion on Fear

Scroll down for author processes + a downloadable PDF w/ more of their writing advice ♥

In the fall of 2015 I attended the very first Nerdcon: Stories in Minneapolis, MN. The convention basically catered to two types of attendees: the fan and the creator. It very much wanted the people who came into the convention center as fans to leave as creators, and the creators to become fans of not only their fellow creators but of their own fans.

Creator, Fan, Both, Neither?

I was at a very weird crossroads in my life where going into the con I wasn’t really either fan or creator.

Once I had been a huge fan of John and Hank Green, who were the masterminds behind this gathering. It was 2015 when I started drifting away from the nerdfighter community for various reasons. Let’s say I was…at odds with one of the Vlog Brothers at the time and the communities treatment of their audience. 

I love these people! I am actually in this, waaaay in the back recording Hank’s singing next to a pillar away from the anxiety of the crowd. Image from the official NerdCon twitter.

So, not exactly a fan of some of the “big name” special guests. I was definitely star struck by Mara Wilson, it’s always nice to see Lev Grossman, and the energy is always great at these things. The HPA 10 year anniversary gave me all the feels. I came away with a to-read list taller than I am, from all the great authors I heard speak but didn’t know about before hand. Not to mention, I became pretty much obsessed with every performer to grace the stage.

Every other con I had attended before this one, I at least always thought of myself as a creator. I was a YouTuber. Not just any YouTuber but a BookTuber. I was sent free books, I had an upload schedule, I had thousands of subscribers, I was a proper creator.

In the fall of 2015 to early 2016 I was struggling against the storm of a reddit community who didn’t like the content I was making. That makes it sound way more benign than it was, and I’ve talked about ways to avoid it, but long story short: I was scared. I struggled against my instinct to stop creating (not just YouTube, but everything) and my urge to create. The instinct to stop was largely winning.


An Alternative Solution To Depression

An Alternative Solution To Depression

Witchcraft > Running, digital speedpaint. Big thanks to my model Alyssa Panda Eyes.


There’s an announcement repeated over the speaker system of my life:


and one of these days I’m going to find the room

where this voice sits without a body

and perform an exhilarating exorcism

on that green tea drinking, cannabis oil infused,

higher middle class, failed medical school,

unconcerned concern troll while screaming

in it’s invisible pompous, genetically and chemically gifted hydrated face:



Fiddlin’ – July

Fiddlin’ – July

What I’m currently fiddling with:
-This painting that actually looks better as a WIP than what the finished product will look like I’m sure. I’m trying to push myself to be less loyal to my references and making more experimental work so at this point I’m like, hey this WIP is like MODERN ART just by its self! It basically just went down hill from here anyway.

-Jack the Ripper and Frankenstein! Two wildly complex murder boys. Separate projects, a series of articles and a screenplay respectfully, but IMAGINE. since I’m really focusing on the whole time management aspect of freelancing. You can organize different projects for different clients and record individual actions within those projects and then it tracks everything with graphs which are always nice. I’m this close to buying a pro membership because I’m really enjoying it and would love to be able to automate my hourly wages. Just excited about getting properly organized, not sponsored! 

-On the same note I finally tried out Evernote to keep all my smaller freelance projects organized which is nice. I’ll have to read up and all it’s features because right now it does seems unnecessarily tedious.

-The words to review or even talk about the utter perfection that is Dear Zindagi (2016) directed by Gauri Shinde. It is, in my opinion, the most progressive film dealing with mental health out today. Frankly it is not in my lane to talk about how being made in Indian contributes to the artful nature of the narrative but it is so hard to talk about when trying to dissect the culture from the story, since they are obviously so intertwined. So if I never find the proper words to review this film, let me say this: watch it, it’s great, it’s on Netflix.

-Scrivener for things that aren’t novels/novellas. I love Scrivener, like literally all writers who own it…but just like literally every writer I know, I do not utilize everything it could be. That’s not to say that I’m working with advanced features or anything, but whew boy is the screenplay format good. I also compiled my poetry chapbook, with an index and everything, last month which was exhilarating. I’m really doing so much that I just wouldn’t have tried or even imagined in Word or Google docs.


What I’m being inspired by:


-The Chronicle script, Matt Johnson movies,  and music mockumentaries, oh my! I’m not a fan of the writer of Chronicle but because it’s not improvised like a majority of found footage film, the formatting is super interesting. Also did y’all know that the ending of the script is super weird and not at all like the movie? Operation Avalanche by Matt Johnson inspired me to get my butt in gear and make movies, with which my recent viewing of both This is Spinal Tap and Popstar: Never Stop Stopping has really got me thinking about the strict technical aspect combined with the casual dialog.

Keep on reading!

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a YouTube Channel

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting a YouTube Channel

Alt headlines for this post: YouTube Advice From One of YouTube’s Bitter Exes, How To Succeed on YouTube Without Losing Your Goddamn Mind, Do Not Let a Social Media Platform Traumatize You For Life Please, I Only Watch Videos of People Painting Because Anything Else Makes Me Cry

I’m approaching the point where I’ve been on a hiatus for almost YouTube as long as I was actually on Youtube and I’ve been playing with the idea of getting back on the horse. Thankfully, if I do decide to start over with a new channel it’ll (hopefully) go much smoother than the first time around. Here are some things I’m glad I already know, that I wish someone had told me the first time around.

Keep on reading!