“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) / It is always ourselves we find in the sea.” ― E.E. Cummings                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
            Hola, long time no talk!

            I know, I know, I always say I'll start updating this blog more frequently but most of the time, I just end up pulling a disappearing act for three months, go back, apologise for not updating frequently, and repeat cycle. HOWEVER (wait mom, let me make my case), I realize that if I did do it every week, most of my writing would be diary-type stuff that really doesn't hold much substance (i.e. Here's what happened to my day!!! *random photo party*.)

            There's a great Longform podcast with writer Meghan Daum that touches on this topic and talks about the importance of letting ~ideas and thoughts~ sit through before putting it out on the world aka internet. Here's a great quote excerpt:


             *sits down* ANYWAY. 

           For the past couple of weeks, I've been listening to the new Florence + The Machine songs St. Jude in particular (which I'm in love with, music video and all). I'm the type of person who obsessively listens to a song repeatedly for a whole week. Side effect: imageries of the ocean and water started seeping into my dreams over and over again.  


                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                   
            If there's anything (among many things) I particularly love about Florence, it's her lyric-writing. Especially how almost all of them read like a poem or a gospel chorus BUT thing is, her go-to metaphors (ever since her album Ceremonials) are always always bodies of water or storms or Virginia Woolf or some type of drowning. Her new music video series (which are ridden with visual metaphors) also heavily bank on water. Way past my point, this led to a small personal project that projects my love for Florence into an illustration because I'm all about projecting!!! the!!! feelz!!!

           Also, hurray for the first process post on this blahg:
I keep all my pens in one convenient box, pencils kept separately. #neatfreak


Like almost all of my illustration work, everything starts out as a draft (left) and the final (right).


Ever since school ended, I've been pushing to go back to traditional again. Mostly because I work in front of a computer most of the time (hurts! the! eyes!) and doing line art/color traditionally is way different than digital (it's almost therapeutic?). If I had the time, I would almost always choose to do stuff trad. 

The final cleaned up version of the line art. My scanner is really crappy but it's not a problem. Usually it just takes a little bit more time since the paper doesn't fit entirely and it's not super clean.



The final colored version side-by-side with the scanned digital line art.









                So there!

                If you've never listened to Florence + The Machine before, I urge you to! Best ambience: In the dark with headphones before going to sleep (when the feelz hit the hardest). My favorite thing is to dissect the lyrics and geek over the details. There's a bunch of great, super-geeky analysis of her recent video series, here. Fangirl! With! Me! Asking for a friend. I'm so excited for her new album, tears may be induced. 

                Literally this is just a music fangirl post masqueraded as a documentation of my illustration process. GOTCHA. 

Keep on keepin' on,
Yhel

               P.S. If you want to view the illustration process pics in higher quality, go visit my website here
               P.S. I might do a weekly favorites (of stuff I find online and in ~real lyf~) thing just to keep the content on this blog alive. Might.


       "Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we're curious... and curiosity keeps leading us to new paths." — Walt Disney 


       "So, what have you been up to?" a friend asks, eager-eyed, expecting me to share what I've been doing in the past couple of months. Post-college graduation, for the very first time in a looong time, I finally have the luxury of free time *cue audible audience gasp*. 

       This question continues to pop-up in several conversations I have with people. Donning the label of a ~*creative person*~ seems to me that it's expected you'd always be up to something — as if equivalent to a magician flipping his coat going: *deep magician voice* "and for my next trick—." 

       Except, well, for the past couple of months, I haven't really been doing anything. Have I finally self-actualised my dreams as a hermit living in the mountains?! Probably. Don't get me wrong though, I've been wanting to make/write something about the brouhaha that was last year for forever! As clearly exhibited in this super eloquent tweet sent out circa October 2k14:


     If there's anything I've learned from the shit-storm that was senior year, it's this: Children, burn out is for reals and busy is not an accolade of honor. By the end of it, I was turning into someone completely separate from me. A 'self' that I vaguely recognised. It's like having an alter-ego — I call her Gertrude (idek, stay with me).

      *Cue Jaws theme* Gertrude was the triple-threat: overworked, perpetually tired, and a chronic complainer. I was in a constant haze of hate. Believe me, there's nothing worse when your constant source of negativity is yourself. I was my own rain cloud and by the end of the year, I was completely soaked (cha-ching metaphor nailed). My work suffered. I suffered. The supply of energy drinks at 7-Eleven suffered. Gertrude sucked ballz, yo (not literally, ew): 


           Long story short, yo momma needed a break! That's what I did. That's what I've been doing. I went on a mission to shut down my negative inner voice (damn you, Gertrude!) and to recover the quiet importance of doing absolutely nothing. No goals, no chasing,  just *insert zen yoga music*. My tiny form of sabbatical can be summed up with this quote from the incredible book by Dani Shapiro called Still Writing:


            In the general pursuit of dreams! and goals!! and life!!! I've slowly forgotten the importance of the long still days — as Dani Shapiro called it, the "saving up of crumbs." This could mean a variety of things: watching movies in my 'When I Get The Time' list; listening to music and I mean actually listening to music; seeing friends who have gotten the 'I'm busy' excuse far too much. I've forgotten how to NOT take myself too seriously and subsequently became a goal-chasing grandma.

            In the grand scheme of things, it's never the grandiose moments that I found most ~life-defining~. It was always the quiet ones. 

            I remember sitting in my college dorm room the night before I left thinking how fervently memory weaves itself in places we choose to later leave behind. The morning after college graduation getting the all too familiar queasy-in-the-stomach feeling that comes with change. A quiet afternoon in February listening to The Killers alone in my room and for the first time in awhile, not giving one damn bit what the future holds.       




               As the fireworks went off last New Year's Eve, I remember thinking: "Holy shit balls batman, by this time next year, everything would be different." Frankly, I was scared. The next morning, I woke up to my mom showing me a window in the house filled with dandelion seeds stuck on the glass. I take this as a sign from the universe wishing me well. 

               I've just graduated, turned twenty, and my teenage years are well beyond me. It's so easy to get caught up on what comes next, fixate myself on the future, to succumb to the rat race — but as I get older, I start to realize the importance of the every day. Of the now. Of the long uneventful days. Of being present. Of being here. As Dani Shapiro puts it: 


               I realize that my absolute distaste of the past year (aka the demented rise of Gertrude) came from me romanticising the future too much — how everything would be better if this was over or if so and so happened. In turn, I became such a sour potato about everything that was presently happening ~in the now~. Which! Is! No! Way! To! Live! Bruh! 

               I repeat the tru tru words of Dani S., "If I dismiss the ordinary — waiting for the special, the extreme, the extraordinary to happen — I may just miss my life." She goes on to say how appreciating the ordinary occurrences of every day is so essential to art and creation and the general act of making things:


             Sometimes I ask if losing faith in the universe is a birthright to growing up — to finally see the world for what it is. Then I remind myself how much I value optimism and how its meaning continually waxes and wanes as I grow up. As a kid, optimism is all rainbows! butterflies! unicorns! peanut butter! the good things!!! As a twenty year old, it's more of seeing the Gertrude-side of the universe and actively choosing to see the good in it. To bet on the losing side. Every day. 
              
             Hmm, I guess this is my way of telling myself that it's OK to take it easy. To be present. To be here. To take it day by day. And to you, my lovely internet void, that if you ever find yourself turning into your own version of Gertrude — a tiny goblin that hates everything — that you find the courage "to conceal, to save up crumbs, to reglue, regild, and to change the worst into the not-so-bad." 

             So here I am, starting anew.

             From my tiny corner of the internet to yours, a piece of my dandelion window. I wish you well. Always.





             These days, I'm beginning to grow bored. The good kind. The kind of bored that makes you wanna do stuff. 

Keep on keepin' on,
Yhel

               P.S. Welcome to my new blog! Bring in the dancing lobsters!



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