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Day 3

In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you did not create.

I'm going to try to go for smaller fandoms here (Hunger Games probably being the largest of the bunch). Otherwise, all my recs would be in SPN, Avengers, Sherlock, etc. and would probably have been recced in a bazillion other places already.

So, here we go...

Much Unseen

This Friday Night Lights story is heartwarming without being cloying. Tyra Colette embarks on an unofficial summer reading program, and it will take her places she never expected. I love reading stories about people falling in love with reading. Even if you're not that familiar with the show, you'll probably enjoy this story a lot.

Dweller on the Threshold

I just recced this for Yuletide, and I'm going to rec it again here. This is the Twin Peaks fic I have been wanting for years. It resolves (but not too neatly, and with plenty of Lynchian weirdness) the series-ending cliffhanger. It has a fantastic Albert voice, and Audrey is simply magnificent. Plus, Denise gets a meaty role and Harry is wonderfully tortured (mentally, that is).

Hope In the Darkness That I Will See the Light

Hunger Games AU, covering the events of Catching Fire and Mockingjay. In the Quarter Quell, Haymitch goes into the arena instead of Peeta. This story (along with its sequel) has amazing world building, going far beyond what we see from Katniss's point of view in the books.


This beautifully written Chronicles of Narnia fic follows what happens to the Pevensies after they defeat the White Witch. As the author says, "after the coronation festivities, the real work begins." This work introduces a heavy dose of reality to the Chronicles, but without destroying the feel of the series or making things too dark.

(Also, I'm delaying challenge #4 until and if I find an appropriate opportunity)
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Day 2

In your own space, promote three communities, challenges, blogs, pages, Twitters, Tumblrs or platforms and explain why you love them.

SPN Artist Swap: This LJ comm was a fun place to play with some other artists in the SPN fandom. I love the premise, which is that each artist submits a rough sketch, that is then assigned to another player in the round. That artist then creates something based on that rough sketch. Working off of someone else's idea is definitely a challenge, but it was a good way to stretch myself.

31_days: This LJ comm provides a list of various prompts - things like idioms, quotes, snippets of poetry or lyrics etc. - with a different prompt for each day of the month. The comm is still active, though not as active as it once was. It's a fun place to read fic in unexpected fandoms, and it's a great place to go find a prompt to get the juices flowing again. Prompt lists are posted a few days before the beginning of each month.

Diane Duane's Tumblr: Not only does Duane post about her own writing, she is also an unabashed and enthusiastic fangirl. Sherlock is a huge favorite, as is Star Trek (fittingly enough, as she's written some of the best ST novels out there).
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Day One

In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you have created. It can be your favorite fanworks that you've created, or fanworks you feel no one ever saw, or fanworks you say would define you as a creator.

I thought I'd rec across a sampling of the various fandoms I've dabbled in across the years.

Apocrypha (SPN)
This is the longest complete work I've ever written, and it's also the fic I feel is the one that most represents me as a writer. In short, it's my baby. It's also probably the ultimate example of my love of telling stories out of exact order, with multiple timelines echoing each other as they pull towards the conclusion.

Home Front (X1999)
This story illustrates two of my proclivities - playing with history and tying canon to history (WWII in this case) and exploring the backstory and motivation of minor characters.

Child's Play (Bleach)
In this story, I indulge my love for a particular character archetype - the apparently easy-going, lackadaisical, irreverent type (frequently a functional alcoholic and/or lecher) who has hidden, and frequently very dark depths.
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[personal profile] de_nugis asked me "Pick a piece of your art that you are proud of and say a bit about its inspiration or your process for that piece or just why it's one you especially like."

Lots of rambling behind cut. )
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[profile] amy37 asked me "What is one thing you would love to learn to do?"

I have to think of just one thing? Eek.

Seriously, one thing I adore is learning, whether it's learning about something or learning how to do something. I'm an inveterate dabbler, and sometimes something that catches my fancy "sticks" and becomes a lifelong interest.

That said, one thing in particular that has been nagging at me for the past several weeks is the desire to learn calligraphy. I'm pretty sure that this came from starting to use dip pens with various nibs in some of my drawing (if all goes well, you'll see results in my spn_j2_xmas entry) and enjoying the way they feel and the quality of the line I get from them. My everyday handwriting kind of sucks, so there's an appeal to the idea of producing letters and having them come out pretty. I could also see it being a fairly meditative process, allowing me to concentrate on one. simple. action. at a time and having it all flow together (currently I get some of that from weightlifting, but calligraphy would be less sweaty).

I'm also seeing there as being a fair amount of application to my artwork, both in terms of lettering things (not-so-secret dream: create a webcomic) and in terms of getting better control of my linework for doing things that I don't want to look "sketchy."

Just for grins, here are the next four runners-up on "things I want to learn how to do."

1. Home brewing - not to actually do at home, but just to learn the process for grins. I may see if there's some sort of class at one of the local microbreweries.
2. Draftsmanship. Dear heavens, do I need this for some of the art projects I've got noodling around in my head
3. Coding - I'd kind of like to be able to build a web site to my specs without having to hire someone to do it
4. How to actually use some graphics software effectively. I doubt I'll ever shift my focus away from traditional art, but having a few more basic skillz would be good for when/if I start promoting my stuff.
5. How to grill meat and have it be something I would like to eat.
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Finn the cat continues to be adorable, although he decided that I should stop drawing 1 page before my end goal for tonight. I decided to stop, as fang marks in bristol board would not be a lovely visual effect for this project.

Also, I may have done something incredibly stupid with regards to Finn's leisure activities. I saw that he was intrigued by seeing things move on my iPad, so I checked the app store to see if there were any apps for cats. I found one, and it was only 99 cents, so I figured it might be worth a laugh.

Bad move. I can't use the iPad unless I give Finn a minute or two to chase the mousie first. Afterwards, he's only moderately obnoxious instead of completely obnoxious. He will still bat at the screen when I turn the page on the Kindle app (sometimes turning the page back, or turning it ahead). He will also try to attack the Bitizens when I play Tiny Death Star.

It's a good thing he's adorable.
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Sorry this is a day late! I ended up crashing about two hours earlier than usual last night.

Anyhow, the question for today yesterday is: "How does world history influence you and/or your art?"

Well, the first part of that question is one that could take pages and pages to answer, or could be summed up simply. In this case, I'll elect to keep it simple. To wit, when I look at various events in world history - especially when it comes to the way that people treated (more often mistreated) other people - I wonder, "how would people judge me ten, fifty, a hundred years from now?"

It's easy to look at news reports of groups of angry people waving signs and make assumptions about how they'll be compared to other groups of angry people waving signs forty or fifty years ago. It's a little harder, cognitively and emotionally, to think of myself. It's relatively easy to pinpoint the biases, unconscious cruelty, etc. of my Victorian or 1950's counterparts, but to pinpoint my own? Not so easy. But when I do pinpoint something, I find it has an interesting effect beyond prompting change in my own life. I find it increases my empathy, both for those who came before me and for those who are around me now.

Well, that went longer than expected... now on to the second part, and how history influences my art.

When it comes to visual art, I've only been back in that particular sandbox for about two years after a long, long hiatus from doing anything besides doodling during meetings. So, I'm still figuring that out to some degree - if you go back and look at the sort of stuff I've been posting, my style jumps around all over the place. That being said, I can see where some of my thinking has been influenced by my studies in medieval and early Renaissance art in terms of how I get my art to tell the kind of story I want it to tell. It's not just the subject matter - it's the composition, the color, the context, etc. This is something that I will continue to think about as I continue to draw and paint.

The answer's a little easier when it comes to my writing. Most of what I do is set fairly contemporary, but I also love to write stuff set in the latter half of the 20th century. What I love to try to do is get across an immersive sense of what it was like to be there at that time, with the history, slang, accoutrements, etc. (hopefully) settling naturally into the background and pulling the reader into the experience rather than providing the distancing effect of a "period piece." Am I successful at this? Not always, but there are a couple of stories (Homing, Apocrypha) where I feel like I nailed it.

If you want to ask me a question, there are still plenty of open slots - feel free to sign up here.

January 2014

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