Doing Time

First, I have to both come clean and apologize. As for coming clean, it was my intention when I committed to writing a blog that I would write a post Monday through Friday and take the weekends off. Here comes the apology and excuse. I had to take a few days off because I have been doing epic battle with a dual ear and sinus infection. Don’t worry, I’m not kicking myself too hard. It’s been my experience that with a Mini-me in the house, I tend to get sick when he does.

This was not a good week to be sick. I had a bunch of things to do. Needless to say, I canceled some things, put others on the back burner, and, though miserable, hauled my clammy, wobbly self off the couch to handle my business.

But I spent a lot of time on the couch.

Because I live with ADHD, I have a terrible time watching movies. Even if it’s riveting, I usually need a second activity in order to remain seated in one place. So you can imagine how awesomely fun it is to be sick and needing to babysit the couch. To keep myself occupied, I brought out my newest project.

In my family while I was growing up, art was not really an acceptable pastime. Because I was labeled as the smart one in the family, the bar for my educational goals was set fairly high. This meant no study hall periods in my schedule and no art classes. To fill my fine arts credit requirement, I was allowed to take chorus. I love to sing and didn’t resent the pigeonholing until much later in life. In my mid-twenties I discovered that I was creative and artistic. Beyond just being creative and artistic, I got it on good authority that I was talented at these things. It was quite a shock. I was pushing 30 before I could introduce myself as an artist without internally cringing.

But I’ve never had the opportunity to take basic art classes outside of photography. I liked to doodle frequently Capt’n D-Bag (the critical cretin that lives in my head) would come out and tell me how awful and uninspired the drawings, and indeed myself, were. So I never really tried to teach myself.

And then something changed. I moved in with a man. And, I know, you’re scoffing and rolling your eyes about Prince Charming changing my universe. But this bearded man succeeded in doing something that no one has ever done before. And I’m sure people have tried. He gently but firmly encouraged me to take my doodles one step further. It wasn’t an all out plea or a command. He just said, “You should keep doing that. It looks like it makes you really happy.” His words struck a chord. Because those silly little doodles did make me very happy. And calm. And being calm is a hot commodity around here. 

So, he found me a book on drawing manga (Japanese comics) characters. He even bought me a new sketchbook which made me deliriously happy. You know you’re an art geek when the prospect of new art supplies induces swooning. And I delved in. Having a book to show me how to make lines and how to place lines has made all the difference. I doubt very highly if it’s the same as taking a class, but it’s a start.

So, while I’ve been sick, I’ve been drawing and watching movies simultaneously. I’ve been focusing on a type of manga character called kawaii (or cute). Kawaii are adorable and funny little guys and gals (and often animals and food) that seem like a very fitting place for me to start. When I’m done with kawaii, I’m going to move on to regular manga men and women. You know how my bio on this blog mentions that I’m typically knee-deep in a crazy project? Here it comes!

Here’s the back story. We recently moved all the living room furniture around to accommodate a marvelous thrift store find of a 3-piece sectional couch. In the process, the back of our entertainment system became exposed. It’s not hazardous, just sort of unsightly. For my crazy project, I am going to do entertainment center sized piece of artwork. It will be in manga style, so it will look something like a comic book page, In and through the panels will be manga versions of our family. It’s going to take some time and patience to learn to draw each of us in a different style. Each of us deserves our own style because we are so different but we blend so well to truly create a modern blended family. Oh, and cats. We can’t forget the cats.

The kicker on the story is the bearded gentleman who gave the nudge enjoyed what I was doing so much that he started doing it too. Now there are two artists in the house! 

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