aesthetics: a memoir

I’ve always fantasized about disappearing, something about leaving without a trace draws me in like flame igniting on a match. Maybe I feel that way because everyone disappears from me

Cynthia Chapman

You can’t stay in the dark for too long. Something inside you starts to fade, and you become like a starving person, crazy-hungry for light.
—  The Joy Luck Club
Falling out of a story hurts. But it’s nothing compared to the loss of an actual person, the loss of all the bright details that make up that person. All the flashing, radiant fragments that constitute an affair, or a love. If there has been a betrayal, you may find yourself holding each of these fragments up to a new light and rotating them there, watching each one grow an unwanted shadow.
—  Maggie Nelson, The Red Parts: a Memoir
Happy 200th birthday, Serena!

My dearest baby Serena da Silva has her birthday today, October 17th, and it’s not just any birthday - today marks the day she was born 200 years ago! EEEP how exciting is that? You only get to celebrate an anniversary like that once in your lifetime!

If you’re unfamiliar with Serena, she is my character from my book project series for Amnesia: The Dark Descent, in which she plays a major role. She’s probably the character nearest and dearest to my heart, and she tends to be a fan favourite among readers as well, so I wanted to do something extra special for this particular anniversary.

So here comes: a birthday feature! In which I display all the amazing gifts Serena has received today.

First of all, I want to show the wip of what I had planned to do for Serena, which unfortunately I couldn’t finish in time since my laptop screen broke at the WORST. TIMING. EVER. I meant to have this artwork ready for today, but since I won’t be able to finish it until later, I’ll share a wip of the clean sketch:

I must admit, I’m quite proud of it! It’s the first time I experiment with perspective and interiors for real, and I also usually suck at drawing animals, but Cleo (Serena’s cat) came out quite okay here, so I’m happy! I hope I’ll be able to finish it sooner rather than later.

And now, let’s get into the amazing gifts my baby has received today AAAHHH!


@juliajm15

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that @juliajm15 is an art goddess who’s been making amazing beautiful fanart of my characters for the past couple years. She always goes so above and beyond for me, and that can be seen by LOOKING AT THIS GORGEOUS PIECE OF SERANIEL FANART.

IT’S THEIR FIRST KISS. THEY’RE SO YOUNG AND INNOCENT HERE. THAT HEIGHT DIFFERENCE. THAT DRESS. THAT HAIR (BOTH OF THEM). I COULD GO ON GUSHING BUT WE’D BE HERE ALL DAY.

OH YEAH, AND THAT BACKGROUND.

I just had to mention that.

OMG I die over how perfect and cute and romantic this is, it just completely captures the essence and emotion of that scene in my book! I feel so blessed and privileged, how am I ever gonna recover from this perfection?

But not only did she do this amazing gorgeous romantic piece for me, she also did a complete remake of Serena’s character portrait and DAMN SHE LOOKS GORGEOUS.

HOW does she always manage to capture Serena so perfectly? Ugh I honestly just can’t with this perfection, I just can’t. That expression, that hair, those LIPS. Okay, I’m gonna move on because I could literally gush about Serena’s face all day, but then we’d miss out on all the other amazing gifts she received today! Just, thank you so much @juliajm15 my darling, you’re such a generous and ultra skilled human being, thank you so much for being in my life and supporting me always


@shaelinwrites

So meme and aesthetics queen @shaelinwrites totally disarmed me today when she sent me THIS GORGEOUS MOODBOARD FOR SERENA OH MY LORD.

LOOK AT THAT GORGEOUS WINTER AESTHETIC. OMG LOOK, CLEO MADE A CAMEO ON THE BOTTOM LEFT. Omg these colours are just too beautiful I CAN’T. The art supplies, the gesture and expression of this girl, it’s all SO Serena. The whole feel of this moodboard is just so romantic and cosy and wintery and ugh, the nightgown, the long dark hair. I’m aware I’m just rambling and gushing throughout this post DEAL WITH IT.

And @shaelinwrites didn’t stop there, no, as any good bae, she knew how important the bae is. HAVE SOME MORE SERANIEL, THIS TIME BLACK AND WHITE SEXY EDITION.

OH MY LORD. HOW WILL I EVER RECOVER FROM ALL OF THIS. I CANNOT DEAL, CAN. NOT. DEAL.

All of this is literally just so accurate. Like, it’s so friggin’ hard to find good stock images that can embody a fictional character, BUT MY BAE DID IT *CRIES*. Thank you so much bae, omg this surprise was such a highlight today!!


@coffeeandcalligraphy

Another dear friend of mine (who’s a total cinnamon roll btw), @coffeeandcalligraphy, also went above and beyond for my character’s birthday because LOOK AT THIS:

I swear, everyone remembers the bae Baeniel. Eeeeeveryone.

Omg I swear, MY BABIES LOOK SO ATTRACTIVE HERE LIKE OH MY LORD. Daniel boooiiiiiii with that Expression of Angst™ and them puffy lips, and SERENA OMG THE HAIR AND THE LIPS AND EYES, HER INDIGENOUS ROOTS ARE SO PRONOUNCED WITH HER EYES AND I LOVE THAT.

I actually can’t??? Like how do I have so many talented af friends??? I must be a talent MAGNET I’m telling ya.

Oh and Rachel had the same idea as Baelin and went the sexy Black and White edition with the OTP as well:

BECAUSE CAN WE EVER HAVE TOO MUCH SEXINESS? I THINK NOT. Thank you so much @coffeeandcalligraphy I swear your art just blows me away, you’re improving at such a rapid pace, slow down, I can’t keep up


@sarahkelsiwrites

Also @sarahkelsiwrites is a close friend of mine, and actually @coffeeandcalligraphy‘s twin sister (gotta collect the whole pack amirite), and as part of her inktober challenge she did THIS GORGEOUS INKED PORTRAIT OF SERENA:

LIKE OMG OKAY SO the Victorian aesthetic is on POINT here, and OMG I love that her Hispanic features are soooo visible here. ALSO DAMN, THE DETAIL ON THE JEWELLERY. THE INKING OF THIS IS ALSO SO GREAT, LIKE, DO YOU SEE THE LINES IN HER HAIR???? I’m sorry, I’m an artist, I have to appreciate it when I see good craft, okay? I also gotta note that I’m living for how everyone always remembers Serena’s choker because girl never goes without one

Ugh HER EYES AND LIPS okay I gotta stop. I mention the eyes and lips every time, when will I switch it up. NEVER. Okay, glad we got that settled.

(Yes, I’m a dork, but only when I’m overwhelmed with this much love and beauty, I swear.)

Also omg THE SONG LYRICS, THOSE ARE SELENA GOMEZ LYRICS, AND IT’S STARS DANCE, AND I LOVE THAT SONG, AND IT’S SO RELEVANT, AND I’M ACTUALLY SHOOK. LORD thank you so much @sarahkelsiwrites god I just can’t believe how friggin’ talented and generous and thoughtful all of you are, I will never get over it.


Constance

So I’ve not mentioned this, but not too long ago I was totally taken by surprise and utterly *shook* when I received a private message on the site where I have Memoirs posted. This long message came from an angel named Constance, who registered a profile just to tell me how much she adored my story, give me fanart, and TELL ME SHE’S TRANSLATING THE ENTIRE THING TO FRENCH BRUH.

So if any of you out there are speaking French and not super comfortable with English, but still interested in reading Memoirs, it’s Constance you wanna hit up. She’s got you covered.

But back to the FANART.

Constance is working on this GORGEOUS Serena fanart for me, and while it’s not all finished yet, she said I could still post it for the birthday feature! (I’m going to update the post with the finished piece once it’s ready)

LOOK HOW CUTE AND PRETTY AND YOUNG MY SERENA IS HERE. THIS DRESS IS SO PRETTY, I DIE. OMG SHE HAS THE LOCKET. I realise like 90% of this post is all caps, but WHO CAN BLAME ME? I’m so #blessedyouknow right.

All I wanted in my life is Serena in a pink pretty dress. Thank you for realising my dreams, Constance *cries* and thank you so much for the endless support and this generosity! Seeing other people getting so invested in my story and characters really moves me so much, it’s all that I could hope for waaahh.


2k17 - Birthday One Shot

Okay, so I know how I said I couldn’t finish my artwork for Serena in time as I had intended, which made me very, very Sad™, BUT. I came up with something else.

So this was actually SUPER spontaneous and I usually NEVER do something like this, but I took a chance, and you know what? It worked out. I just wanna say thank you so much to my bae @shaelinwrites who pushed and motivated me to do this, I dunno what happened, but you must’ve transferred some of your writing machine abilities to me, because I actually managed to finish an entire one shot in JUST ONE DAY. (Are you as shook as I am? Cuz I can never seem to finish a chapter so I’m shook.)

Since I couldn’t finish my artwork for Serena like I planned, I decided to write a short fluffy non-canon one shot for her birthday. It was super spontaneous and unplanned, but it actually came surprisingly easy to write! I’ve not written in first person in many, many years, so this was really a leap of faith LOL, but I like the end result! A major thanks to @shaelinwrites, who encouraged me and critiqued the short before publication, and @coffeeandcalligraphy, @sarahkelsiwrites and @juliajm15 for giving it a read and telling me their thoughts as well! I hope you all enjoy this little piece of fluff; since I’m taking so long to write my book, maybe this can keep y’all entertained meanwhile

Thank you so much to everyone who’s supported me and celebrated Serena’s birthday with me, even just in spirit! It makes the long journey all worth it, knowing there are people out there who care (’:

(short story starts under the cut!)

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