that is the greatest piece of abstract art i have ever seen

Long-winded thoughts on levelling up as an artist

Hi everyone,

Sometimes, I get asks from people who want to know if I have any tips on how to go about something when drawing. This is very flattering to me; I’m awed that complete strangers have the courage to contact another complete stranger and ask them for help with their art. And that this second stranger, in this case, is me is difficult to grasp. In a cool way. I would never dare to do that.

So thank you, all of you, who consider me an artist you’d like to seek advice from.

Sadly, I only reply to a very small portion of these asks. I want to respond to all of them, but unless they are very specific, I rarely get around to it. Broader subjects, such as how to convey volume and weight in a picture, or how to ger proportions and perspective right are good questions worth looking into, but they are still very broad subjects. Whenever I answer these kind of asks, I try to do it with pictures and thought through explanations. All of this takes a lot of time, and that’s hours that I don’t always have. To answer questions about the fundamentals of image composition and anatomy is a huge deal, and I don’t have any quick solutions to any of it, just a lot of thoughts and some experience. To package all of this into a tumblr post that is actually useful is close to a full time job. This is why I don’t do it so often. I wish I could, but I can’t. I’ll continue to post my process pictures and might, if people are interested, try on streaming in the future. We’ll see. 

Flitting lightly over that… I’ll leave you with what I, and many others, feel is the most important part in learning how to draw: USE REFERENCES.

There are a million posts out there stressing this a million and two times, but I’ll do it again. If you like the way I draw, which isn’t exactly realistic, but not exactly cartoony either, references is your best shot for practically everything. If you’re stuck: use references. If you don’t know what something looks like (you don’t): use references. It’s not cheating (seriously, it’s not). If you’re not an abstract artist, you probably already use references when you draw, in a way, even if its just your memory’s poor rendering of them. There’s no way you can know what a human, cat, cloud or road sign looks like if you’ve never seen one. So look again. I’ve come across a few good articles and posts on how to use references, so use your Google-fu if you’re interested. Here’s a gif I recycled for this post: 

There. Now I’ve said that, and can move on to some other thoughts that I’ve had. Anything below here might just be silly nonsense.

I’m pretty sure all artists have their ups and downs when it comes to their art. No one is on top of the wave all the time (and if there is such a person, they are probably a superhero of sorts). I dip frequently, then bounce back up and spit out ten pictures in two days, all in pretty regular intervals. The world ends whenever I’m at the bottom of my inspiration pool, because it ran dry, and I’ll never ever stop drawing or smiling whenever I’m swimming in ideas and creativity. At this latter point, I also forget to eat. I’m sure I could make a pretty nice, even graph out of my pattern.

But then there’s this other line on my graph. My level. Pretty much every artist I’ve ever talked to about getting better have had some sort of experience when they felt they’ve come a new, higher point in their craft. A new level of experience, often reached after finishing a piece that had something new to it. Something outside of that worn out “comfort zone”. I’ve heard it described as a feeling of achievement followed by a period of confidence, as “NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE I AM THE GREATEST”, and as everything in-between those two. I’ve experienced both (and a lot of in-betweens). Few things are as satisfying as this.

And how do you level up? Yeaaaah… y’all know how to level up ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°). Ninety-eight more random encounters, five bosses and nine annoying-ass quests, because there ain’t no rare candy or cheats in this game. Only your hard work and I love it. My friends tease me for it regularly, but:

I’m a grinder.

I’m an honest to god level hundred gotta catch ‘em all gamer who explored every inch of every map to get the crystal bunnies and I’m writing like I’m running out of time. Each brush stroke is another point of experience, and I brush my strokes like I run on Duracell batteries. I believe this is one of the main reasons why I’m an okay artist. I artist a lot. I also verbify nouns.

So here comes my second piece of boring, always given advice, as worded by Shia LaBeouf: JUST DO IT.

Draw. Draw. Draw. Hate it. Love it. Do it. Tell a friend when you get there. Proud of you. How much experience you’ll need to reach the point where you feel you’ve gained a level will vary of course vary and it will be hard work, but when you get there, it’s the best feeling of all. A girl worth fighting for ~♫

That’s my longest text post thus far, I think… and will probably stay that way. You might’ve noticed that I’m a pretty shy and private person, but here you go! A peek into my head. LLAP.

(TL;DR: read the only bold words in this post. That’ll get you far.)

My 5 Favorite Movies

As payment for the lovely Patreon contribution of Alice, I agreed to provide a list of my top 5 favorite movies (horror or not) and whatever film quotes I remember that I love. So, here we are:

5.  Kill Bill (Yes, Both Parts)

Any real fan of Quentin Tarantino knows that Kill Bill is not two movies–it is one movie, split into parts because that’s how the studio wanted to deliver it. Don’t say you don’t like part two as much as part one; Kill Bill is one movie. 

Why is this on my list? To tell you the truth, it doesn’t really seem to make sense considering who I am and what I do… except that it 100% is a Nick Nocturne kind of film.

There are no major psychological mystery elements, there’s no major abstract symbolism to decode or puzzle to break, and while the story of Kill Bill is horrifying, it’s not strictly horror.

And yet, Kill Bill is extremely valuable to me. So much so that I have the physical DVD copies of both parts and my own Hanzo sword replica, given to me during a past Christmas from someone who knew me better than I had realized up until that point.

Quentin Tarantino is a role model for me and anyone who believes in the Night Mind mission statement. An independent creator who taught himself, did his own work, and fought his way into the industry on his own terms making original work that challenged the field and broke the mold, Quentin Tarantino is revered for a very good reason. He told us unique, engaging stories that spoke to him and never bowed to the entertainment field’s requests to make “more of what sold last summer.” 

Kill Bill is probably the bravest, boldest movie Quentin Tarantino could have ever made before Django Unchained, and I don’t think anyone else could have ever gotten away with doing this. Outrageously violent, over-the-top action sequences, and oozing with charisma that’s equally cool and absurd, this world doesn’t follow cinema rules of the time it came out. Kill Bill stands alone, much like The Bride herself, and it takes no prisoners.

And the story? That awesome story! You cannot get a more badass, engaging revenge tale than the bloody path of The Bride. And let’s face it: you never, ever imagined a movie involving a woman punching her way out of a coffin, did you? And you probably never expected to enjoy seeing that as much as you did.


4 - Trick ‘r Treat

Let’s get something straight here, mmkay?

Michael Dougherty is brilliant and cannot make a bad movie.

Trick ‘r Treat is one of the best Halloween movies I’ve ever seen. I love it so much, it shares the same treatment I gave Kill Bill–I have the DVD, and I bought a Sam Hain Pop Vinyl figure. If I can get more Sam stuff while browsing geek merchandise stores, I absolutely will.

A short story collection horror movie on Halloween that feels like Halloween and celebrates a bunch of different Halloween monster and horror characters and situations is so valuable. I enjoy every aspect of this movie, and it just keeps surprising you. It’s fresh, it’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s disturbing, and it just brings so many different pieces of what Halloween is for people into one film. And like Quentin Tarantino, Michael Dougherty kind of had to fight his way into the field, too. 

Trick ‘r Treat began its life as an animated short film by Micahel Dougherty in 1996 called “Season’s Greetings.” It was a traditional animation by the actual director and writer! And he had to hold onto his idea for about ten years before he could make it. The film was was originally intended for wide release in theaters in October of 2007, but got pushed off the theatrical release plans for that year and sat in limbo. Trick ‘r Treat was only given screenings at festivals after this and, after buzz was created on the festival circuit, it was given a DVD & Blu-Ray release in 2009. 

Michael Dougherty waited about ten years to make his idea into the movie. And then it took another two years for a wide audience to actually see it.

But now, Dougherty’s having the last laugh—Trick ‘r Treat is a cult classic with so much love and merchandising success behind it that he was given the power to make Krampus, a movie I gave my first glowing review for on the channel last year. I even bought the DVD this year and watched it again on December 23rd.


3- The Matrix

The Matrix was the first film I ever saw that really opened up my mind and shocked me with ideas and imagination. It’s not just a sci-fi action movie, it’s a classic and potent revelation film.

The entire idea of the Matrix is shocking, startling, and so enticing to explore. Conspiracies, secret societies, breaking cages around the mind built by the world–this movie will do so much for you.

Again, you can make jokes about my reverence for his movie like you might with my respect for the quotes of Tyler Durden, but movies like The Matrix become huge success stories and stay in the public consciousness for years for major reasons. This is a movie that opens up your mind to see so much more than meets the eye and really think about a lot of things.


2 - The Wall (Pink Floyd)

The greatest tragedy of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” is that not many people know this movie exists. Before I found David Lynch, before I found Donnie Darko, before all of other movies I can call Night Mind material, there was The Wall.

I can never properly express how much love I have for the entire creation of Pink Floyd’s The Wall. The album, the movie, the concert, the concept… this is a piece of my heart.

You want to talk about an abstract, surrealist art film that gets under your skin and generates a form of empathy you’ve never felt? This movie will do that. It’s tough for people who can’t even fully get into David Lynch’s more accessible stuff, but for those who know how to walk through the weird side of film, this movie will do incredible things to you.

Taken entirely from the perspective of a rock star character named Pink Floyd, we explore the inner thoughts, feelings, and guarded memories in the brain of a superstar musician who stumbled his way into fame after a life of suffering, loneliness, and disconnection with human beings. If you ever wanted to dive headfirst into the psyche of a troubled celebrity with a major artistic bend, this is your chance. And it is, of course, all set to the awesome music of the classic concept album.

If I were going to hand you guys an official Night Mind challenge, it would be tackling The Wall and coming back to explain it to me. If I’ve managed to teach you guys anything at all through my investigation methods and explanations, you’ll be able to show me the result by interpreting this masterpiece.


1- Mulholland Drive

How did I react after watching Mulholland Drive for the first time?

I did something I never do after watching a movie:

I thought to myself, very seriously, “I think I finally watched a perfect movie.”

And that feeling has never left me.


Mulholland Drive is the most accessible David Lynch property besides Twin Peaks. If you watch it, you’ll understand it, even if you don’t fully get it. If you pay attention watching the movie and feel what’s coming across, even if you have no idea what the ending actually was or what it meant, you’ll still understand perfectly what it’s trying to convey, and that’s a flawless victory for a David Lynch piece.

I’ll warn you now: if you watch this movie, it’s going to hurt you. It will do things to you that you don’t expect. Watch it alone if you can, and watch it entirely, seriously, with full focus and an isolated atmosphere. Don’t let anything get in the way of your experience or interrupt your viewing.

Like The Wall, this is a Night Mind challenge movie. And like The Wall, it’s not an emotionally or mentally easy piece to experience. But if you want to inject art straight into your brain and give yourself emotional heart palpitations, this is the film for you.

And yes, it’s a puzzlebox, because it is a David Lynch piece. But even without putting all the pieces together, you’ll see enough of the picture to feel the weight of what it represents. 

If you’re a crying kind of person when it comes to certain movies, then get the tissues ready and a pillow. Hold on tight.

Mulholland Drive is an important film–one of the most important films I’ve ever seen. And after seeing Eraserhead as my introduction to David Lynch, which pissed me off entirely and made me think Lynch was just some overly artsy hack, Mulholland Drive made me fall in love with the man’s brain and revere him.

Hate and laughter against a director to love and ultimate respect in a single movie–that’s the power of Mulholland Drive.

—————————————————————-

And those are my top five! I have a lot more movies I love and respect, but these are the ones I feel deserve to be shared and given their positions here.

And… wow, I’m seriously bad at thinking of quotes. I’m sorry, haha. Hope the list suffices!

07. dexterity pt. 2

Genre: Smut.

Content: Jung Hoseok [and Kim Taehyung]. The striking aftermath of a resentful night.

Word Count: 2,150


Time slowed.

His fingers trembled and fluttered erratically against the flesh of his palms, but it wasn’t from the volatile amounts of caffeine he had consumed hours before

His smile was impotent and forged, but it wasn’t because he was afraid of the cameras catching him at a bad angle.

His limbs ached and agonized, but it wasn’t in behalf of the 7,234 steps he had taken within the past hour

Jung Hoseok was experiencing a searing, arduous torment, one that was long overdue. Although the deafening applause cloaked itself over every animate, inanimate object, seeping into each nook and cranny, he could still hear and feel your soft, emphysematous pants carelessly trailing goosebumps down the weary, muscular limbs of Kim Taehyung.

Keep reading

Some commission advise:

So I got this question from a super sweetie on DA:

I am a huge fan of yours! I’ve seen a lot of your commissions through some of my RP buddies and you’re a real inspiration. I wish that I could be able to paint professionally. Do you have any tips for a beginner like me? Especially for commissions?

And I wanted to post my answer, and hopefully it will help some more people! (theres also a bit of gushing gratefulness that I cut out for the sake of brevity, which I am not known for). 

On to the advise!

- Look at every tutorial you find (i like conceptart.org, layerpaint and youtubes) and dont get bogged down by technique, try lots of them, figure out what works for you in which situations, most just play around a lot. Sometimes when I want to try something new for a particular texture or way to render something I’ll just google something like “fur painting digital tutorial” and see what comes up. 

- Reference is better than no reference. I use reference for everything, textures, shapes, poses, lighting, anatomy, etc etc. Dont forget that the some of the greatest artists of all time we’re strictly reference only.

- Try new things. Try an abstract painting or some stream of conscious doodling. Try to do a piece where the end result doesnt matter, and enjoy the process of making it. Art as a process is really important for artists to do every now and again. If you dont like it, you dont have to show anyone. 

- Work smarter not harder (I cant bold this enough). For example: If you have a brush that does stone textures, dont putter around trying to paint a stone texture when you have a built in reference. Its totally okay to go back over that stone texture and add some more elements to it later.

- Never ever charge less then minimum wage, $5 commissions attract a crowd that you probably dont have the patience to deal with, I dont know what it is, but boy that $5 apparently means they can ask you to redo stuff for days on end, be abusive and rude, and they think you owe them the world. Charging low on commissions only promotes people to devalue art and artists time. Plus, you’re better then that. The super nice $5 person is a rare treat. DA points are a horrible idea, I have no idea why people insist on using them. The only time I used them was for a charity drive for a group I moderate. 

- When creating a price list, think about how long it takes you to complete a piece, and then think about how much an hour you’d be making per hour. 

- Take a day off (im guilty of not doing this, and i pay the price for it in creativity and wrist/hand problems)

- Remember that whatever program you use is a tool, and you can pretty much use whatever program/tool you want. Photoshop, sai, manga studio, painter, they all get results, and its all about how you use them. You can pretty much mimic all the other programs inside of each other. I have no idea why people argue about it, same with traditional vs digital. Its all tools and one doesnt trump any others, they’re just different. 

- Doodle a lot, watch movies, play games, get ideas from everywhere. Sometimes I’ll be driving to the grocery store and see a cloud that inspires a color palette or composition. Its weird but inspiration is everywhere. Consider life a research project

- Dont take things too seriously

- Regardless of how you are feeling, you have to be ultra nice to commissioners, but sometimes stern too. Its tricky and takes practice. You are basically running a business, so keep that in mind. 

- Drink coffee. Or tea, tea is good. Smoke breaks are good too. Try to head outside for one an hour if you smoke (weather permitting). Little breaks for these things can give you fresh eyes, or an idea.

- If someone is insulted or affronted by something (a price you have or a rule you set) remember that they are probably offended by a lot of stuff, and its not your fault. Its your job to make art, not to play the apology game with someone who just wants to be a jerk

- 99.999999999% of people that buy commissions are amazing, lovely, gentle, kind and generous. They are vital to the livelihood of art, artists, and part of a really fundamental part of our culture, economy and way of life. Have no fear of them, for they are the sweetest darlings you will ever meet. Commissioned art has been around for many millenia, and it fuels artists to create the beautiful world we live in. Most of the art created in the renaissance was commissioned!