bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 08:35pm on 02/01/2013 under , , , , , ,

I tend to feel like I don’t make enough or do enough creative work. Compared to the output I used to do, I don’t. I try to remind myself that it’s okay! I work a fulfilling, creative job and sleep more and am pretty much happy. But it bums me out, especially since so many folks I know are constantly pumping out notable, awesome work. So when I sat down with my Flickr archive for this year (because Flickr has been my memory bank for years now), I didn’t expect much. This was the year I stopped doing focus months, I mean, how much could I have done?

Turns out? A decent amount.

Focus month: Branding Ma-Mé. I built and did the branding work for a friend’s site. It was super fun and I got paid for it! I like making other people’s ideas because I just like making stuff more than thinking of what to make.

Non-focus things made:
• I painted a painting that I then slid behind a bookcase, because I couldn’t throw it away, but why keep it?
• A TARDIS piñata for a dear friend. This has been re-Pinned on Pinterest about a million times.
Tardis piñata


Focus month: Airbrush! I have an airbrush and love it, but spent this month really learning it.

Non-focus things made:
Rebuilt arbour in yard.
• Murder-wall anniversary present for Chase.
Anniversary present, murder wall


Focus month: Mending & old work. Cleaned a bunch of stuff, got rid of a bunch of stuff, a really great feeling.

Non-focus things made:
• I did get a wig that is now my web avatar wig. God, I love this fake hair.
• Wrote a short-short.
Finished serialising the first draft of The Audacity Gambit.


Focus month: Chase’s show production, in which I showed you nothing.

Non-focus things made:
• Nothin. But I did start using Instagram.
Found my balloons and pump.


Focus month: Embroidery. Which was fun, but not a lot produced.

Non-focus things made:
• Taught myself eggshell veneer.
First try ay eggshell veneer, not terrible.


Focus Month: Another writing month. Editing The Audacity Gambit and working on the second book!

Non-focus things made:
• Made a sky bison costume for a cat.
• Shot a cover for TAG’s Draft 2 Lulu print.
Shooting The Audacity Gambit draft 2 cover


Focus month: Animatic. Which got extended, due to summer fun.

Non-focus things made:
Swatched my insane nail polish collection.
• Helped manage my workplace’s move to a new place.
• Made Chase a hell of a cake for his birthday.
Chase's petit fours cake, with the colours and pillars he picked out.


Focus month: Animatic, still. Which didn’t end how I expected. I decided to stop doing focus months.

Non-focus things made:
• Research for a friend’s Halloween costume.
• Ridiculous Adventure Time/Breaking Bad drawing.
• Modified a department store ball-jointed doll into a dryad.
Dryad Doll outside


•We bought a car, wtf.
Built rig for San’s cape from Princess Mononoke.
• Wrote lots of TAG book 2
Emily and the hare from book two.


• Got my first hand tattoos
• Made Princess Mononoke costume.
There. Done with San's cape and hood. Ended up going for attatching hood permanently. #fb


• Worked on a thing I hope to show you guys soon.
• Made a ridiculous cake
Surf cake


• Shot photos of cats in both old west and Avedon’s In the American West styles as presents.
Christmas Kitty: Avedon edit Bailey


So, a decent amount of things, I think? And through all of it, trying to keep my nails sick.


Not a bad 2012, let’s hope for more in 2013!

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

Oh god, I failed this last last two month’s focus.  I did not make an animatic.  Oh, but that’s because I used the paintings I did to make this.

I know it's just a Lulu of a draft, but. #fb

And I spent a bunch of time making this

Dryad Doll outside

And writing like 7,000 words of the sequel to The Audacity Gambit.

Bailey helps me write book two.

And researching how exactly San’s cape in Princess Mononoke works. Talking to Chase about his show, which is now next spring (a good thing!). Being excited with my favourite people about their new house and looking at fridges with them. Watching ALL the Adventure Time and drawing this.

Breaking Bad - Adventure Time

I don’t know if the focus months are necessary any more. The reasons why I needed an outside force to make me stop feeling like I was neglecting things, or leaving things unfinished have eased up. The stress of the commute I used to have is in the past, my brain is sort of coming together, I dunno. but I want to make stuff unbound.


Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)


A combo of my work moving locations, a change in focus of Chase’s show (now in October!) and a sudden trip to the coast (doctor’s orders, because it’s been two years since we last went, and both Chase and I needed out of the city to refresh), and and and.

Point being, I’m behind in goals and dammit, it’s the summer. So I’m extending this focus a month. I have got a lot done, just not enough (so many thumbnails, if you’re following me on Instagram, you may have seen some). So, excuses but whatev. I’ll leave you with a finished frame from the new chapter written for draft two.


Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 07:33pm on 07/02/2012 under , ,

For some gift holiday last year, Chase got me an airbrush.  It’s not just any airbrush, it’s an airbrush gun and air compressor specifically made for nail art and miniature work. It came with little stencils and fake nails, because some wonderful lady in southern middle America had made an investment and then decided against it.

I haven’t been very good with this gift, I use it sometimes, and got most of the awkwards out, but I don’t use it nearly enough—nor have I practised basic technique enough with it.  So this month I’m doing the exercises over at How to Airbrush and getting this tool to where most tools and skills I have are at: skilled-workable. Which just means that I can use it to do what I want, without thinking about it, but not feeling like I’m perfect at it.

Not that I can’t bully it into doing what I want as it is right now.  At the start of the month I went up to Seattle and had a semi-planned (as in, I brought all the things and we picked through what things we’d use) photoshoot with the amazing and wonderful Libby Bulloff.  I pushed my airbrush to the limit of the total area it can cover, which was good to learn—because now I need one that is made to cover large areas of skin, since I love the images Libby got.


(airbrushed through lace and tipped nails with white)


(acrylic housepaint up to wrists, airbrushed gradients from there)

Alas, not all life is glorious photoshoots with wonderful people, so when I got home, I started doing the airbrush lessons. The first was lines and dots. I’m at a disadvantage, because my kit is for miniature work and I’m still pushing it to work bigger.  But that’s why we do learning things.

Aaaaand gradients.  I can do gradients pretty well on dimensional stuff, but not on flat stuff. I think a big problem here is scale. I need to figure out the ideal scale for this particular airbrush.

Beyond doing these lessons I don’t have any particular goals set, but I love using this thing, so who knows what will come of it?




Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

Want some more noodling about the writing process of The Audacity Gambit? Like you have a choice. Let’s talk themes. I’ll outline them even.

Trailer parks

I grew up in a double-wide trailer on the outskirts of, what was at the time, a 13,000-ish population town. I lived between there and what could politely be called a township—there was a payphone box, even—of a couple hundred-ish. A good percentage of people I knew lived in trailer parks, which was rather different than the acre of land our mobile home was on. I was jealous of the kids who lived there, with their built-in neighbours and plenty of friends their own age.

There is something wonderful about the old mobile homes from the 1970-1980. The layouts of each are nearly identical, regardless of manufacturer, with only the slightest of add-on variations, depending on what the original owners sprung for (I’ve only known two people who bought brand-new mobile homes and one of them was a lotto winner). So somebody might have a fireplace, or a panelled “feature wall”, or a raised area in the living room to separate it more clearly from the kitchen—but the bedrooms were always at the same end, everybody had a sliding glass door and the bathroom was probably across from the dining room.

It was so noticeably different than actual houses. I mean, you often still pay DMV fees on your home, even if it is never going anywhere. There’s a culture there and though it wasn’t a huge part of the story I was dealing with, it informed the characters’ relationships quite a bit.

The teens of small towns

I’ve found a pervasive misconception about those shitty little towns that line highways, forcing you into one-way grids for a mile or two before spitting cars back out into runways through the fields and forests. You know these towns. They struggle to become a respectable bedroom community after the mill closes.

They’re not backwaters, devoid of culture. The people are not idiots. There’s just less people, so what idiots they have stand out more. Teens tend to suffer under similar pre-judgement—they are, for all their youth, actual people. They feel and think and reason, only with less years to pull their reasoning from. A lot of them still retain hope and impossible dreams, tatters that haven’t been beat out of them by life quite yet. They’re in the process of trying to learn the social dances that make society accept you as an adult who’s opinion is worthy of listening to and possibly respecting.

There’s not much to do as a teen in a small town. The people I grew up with would go on aimless drives, create intricate master plans that could never come to fruition and play videogames in a group—half the people watching the other half play. We were pretty good and boring kids. The other end of the spectrum is Over the Edge. You have to make your own fun and sometimes it isn’t very.

The chosen one trope

In the 80′s and 90′s I think there was a sort of barrage of this trope. I love it, and have looked at it before. What kid doesn’t hope that for realsies they’ll find the creepy shop with the magical whatsit, or meet the goblin king (and stay with him, because seriously), or whatever. Your trials would all have been preparation for your life as a hero. You were chosen.

I’m sure modern YA still carries the banner for this theme, it’s a great trope. But my interest was in a group’s attempt to manipulate it. Fairies like rules, it’s my favourite thing about them. And rules that exist because that’s how things have always been done and told are just as legit as any rule in the book.


From here on out, it might be kind of spoilery, not outright so much, but in feeling

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 06:00pm on 29/12/2011 under , , ,

Folks, you’re gong to need to indulge me. Having finished the edits of The Audacity Gambit, I need to decompress and talk some process.

At the start of this year, when I started this focus thing, my focus was writing—specifically, getting some significant headway into a book. The longest finished piece I think I’ve ever written was a little over 4,000 words long and itself a product of that focus month. One of the standard definitions of a novel is 40,000 words—ten times that.

But I had an idea that I wanted to mangle out that long. Your regular idea, born of several obsessions and personal themes. It wasn’t like I hadn’t written things of total length. There was that weekly webcomic I had for what? Two and a half years? I could finish a story (let’s ignore Anise and Slow Build here), I wasn’t going to let word count stop me.

A dear friend of mine had recently finished her first book and another has been serialising theirs for a while, so there was encouragement that it could be done. I could so do this, however daunting. In the three-ish years since I finished that comic, my outlining process had changed significantly. Back then it was constantly evolving outlines, sub-outlines, plotted timelines and so forth, each more detailed down to the script. For this story I made the loosest outline possible. I barely knew how it’d end (and don’t worry, spoiler-fearers, what you see below is an old version, not the outline I ended up using for the end).

But I got a big chunk of it written in January, enough to put in the can and start updating once my lovely first reader had edited it. And once I had a title.

It was the title that really pushed back the first update. I hate naming things, because there is a stupid amount of weight involved in a name. Since I was focusing on tropes, I rabbit-holed TVTropes, looking for some one thing to click in my head. I couldn’t tell you how exactly I decided on “The Audacity Gambit”, but I do know that I love the idea of audaciousness. There’s a sense of foolhardiness to it when applied to bravery.

So, it was named and began updating and I started again that weird cycle I’d set aside years before—of building up and depleting an update queue, then building it back up—a flurry of behind the scenes attempts to not fail an invisible audience who in theory expected a regular schedule. I serialised it as I wrote because I’ve learned over the years that promising the internet regular updates is enough to shame me into keeping up a working pace. It also meant I’d get intermittent feedback from folks who have opinions I value. It’s encouraging for me to have that while I’m writing.

I wanted to finish the damn thing by the end of the year. And I handwrote the last line in early December (the majority of the first draft has been written by hand since the summer). Not too long later I typed up the last chapter and passed it on to my first reader. It’s all queued up and will run until March 11, 2012. Less than a year of weekly updates, but not a bad little run.

I look forward to not thinking about Audacity Gambit for a couple of months. Then I can read the thing from start to finish and run another series of edits. I don’t know what all I’m doing with it once it’s all done, but something written and edited in pieces like this needs another inspection as a whole.

Here’s where The Audacity gambit was written:

  • On the MAX light rail, when I commuted from the suburbs into the city for work.
  • During the second half of C.O.P.S. classes, since I didn’t always want to attend a critique class.
  • In two coffee shops, Tiny’s SE and Press Club. I finished the thing at Press Club (and drafted this post there, even).
  • During my smoke breaks at work.
  • At the laundromat (which is where I am typing up this post). I actually don’t know what I’ll do while I wait for my laundry now.


This is probably boring, as most introspective looks at process are, but I’m still coming down. I wrote a book guys! At 38,000+ words it isn’t technically a novel, but who cares. I am warning you, expect a nerdy, meandering look at themes and junk that I had to look up in the future.

Anyway, why don’t you (if you haven’t yet) try reading The Audacity Gambit? It updates Sundays at 9pm and all the entries are linked to here.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 10:59pm on 27/12/2011 under , ,

We had a very TV Christmas, with food and presents and hangouts and a full day of happiness, starting off with Chase dressed up in full Santa kit, making our friend’s day.

The reveal

I gave out the last of the handmade gifts, more of the patchwork animals and a mini sculpt of the protagonist of a friend’s book.

Fo's shark

Anne's corgi

Bust of Zoe

I’ve got a bunch of the CD covers folded and will be mailing them out (with CDs) by the end of the week. I’m pretty happy with this year’s cover. And the mix, of course, but since not everybody has theirs, I’ll keep that back for now.

I’ll have a little round up of how this year of focus months went soon. I think it went well.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

All the lovelies that I mail things to, I am sad to say, are not getting crafty presents this year.  It turns out that when you don’t spend 4 hours commuting via public transit, you kind of end up with less dedicated crafting time. I am super sad about this, by the way.

I ended up only crafting a couple of things, which (as I said at the beginning) I expected to give out less this year.  Mostly because the bulk of my present crafting time was taken up by something I’ll show you after the holiday and this beauty:

RuPaul fashion doll, closeup 2

Gorgeous, right? As is Ru. (And, as always, images link to Flickr, so click through for more views)

This was for my lovely friend Laurel, who has watched RuPaul’s Drag Race with me for years now.

I took a Barbie Fashionistas doll, removed the hair, re-rooted some strawberry blonde to mimic Ru’s most common colour, removed the face decals and repainted it, then added hella false lashes.

There’s a dress too, but I couldn’t find good shoes, so Ru is currently barefoot. This will be remedied soon.

Gelsey’s present was a little thing that you put notebooks in, so you always have something sturdy to write against.  It has horses because she likes horses.

Gelsey's notebook

Rachel and Cam got patchwork animals, which probably most people will end up with over the next year, because these were hella fun to make.

Rachel's fox

Cam's cuttlefish

Whatever the hell Chase got me is wrapped amazingly. We don’t get fancy things much, so holidays and special occasions are when we do that. And it’s nice to get people things. I am excited for what I got him, but now I am kind of super curious about what he got me.

How Chase wrapped my present

He probably, as someone said at work “understands that [I] want to be a Bruce Willis princess.”

After I’ve mailed out our hella boss holiday CD I’ll share the cover and playlist. It’s pretty great, guys.

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)
posted by [personal profile] bzedan at 05:59pm on 01/12/2011 under , ,

Now, we don’t really celebrate Christmas.  There’s a lot of reasons for that that don’t matter—and the way we tend to do it is more often than not on the Orthodox calendar—but we do give folks presents this time of year because I am utterly terrible at remembering birthdays.

I’ve also moved to being someone who gets you something only if I can think of a thing, because we’re all grownups here and we all have a lot of junky shit we don’t need, so I’m not going to add to that out of social obligation.  What presents I do get people vary from totally made to purchased, depending.

But! We do a limited edition mix CD for folks as a sort of card/present.  Some years a person gets just the CD, some years they get a thing too.  I’m really proud of the CDs we make, Chase is a genius at creating a listenable playlist within a tight theme and I love doing the covers for them and folding all the little envelopes.

The first year we did this we made a short album of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem—an album that for some reason the Henson folks never have put out.  The easily available stuff was on there and we pulled a lot from good Muppet Show videos.  The cover was based off of the Wu-Tang Forever album art.

Last year the theme was bands singing songs about themselves. It varied from Wu-Tang to Prince to a bunch of killer metal.  The album art was based off of a Caravaggio painting of Narcissus.

We’ve made a rule not to tell folks the theme straight off, to see if they can guess it.  This year I am super in love with the theme even more and I cannot wait to start the cover design.

So, you’re not going to get updates on the focus month, since I do like presents to be a surprise.  At the end of the month, though, there will be a dump of images (hopefully!).  This is another easy month, since I’ve got crazy work times and am trying to finish The Audacity Gambit (which! Foley did the sweetest fan art for!!)

Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.

bzedan: Cropped image of suspenders worn over collared shirt (me)

I percentage of how I use the internet is based in finding that something is missing and adding it to the cloud, or whatever that’s being called now.  Things like the paper making photo set and the mini comic stand template were perfect for Flickr because they were information-based and easy to notate and download.

I’ve been using Tumblr a lot lately, and you know what it’s good for? Screencaps.

Recently I just gave up and capped the scenes RE: Sally Bowles’ nails that for some stupid reason still aren’t easy to find (if in existence) online, even though they’re two key lines.

And yesterday, looking for good side-by-sides of the signage in They Live, I found an equal amount of nothing. How? There are people more obsessive than me and I feel they’re slacking on the job.  So I made some.  But, because I really feel the need to make sure that other people can find these (the Cabaret ‘caps I know are niche) I am posting them here too.  So get ready for a handful of comparison screencaps from the first They Live sunglasses scene of signage, signs, billboards (keywords) and then, for fun, a still from the last scene showing a framed print (FYI: and also boobs) that Chase and I kind of want to get.  All images can be clicked on for bigger.


Mirrored from Journal of a Something or Other.


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