Iron Head Jane

A Little Hard Headed

Mediocre Tie-dye Shirts for Planned Parenthood

January 24, 2017 by Jane | 0 comments

Hi! I’ve made a few tie-dyes this past weekend, and I’d like to sell you one and give the profits to Planned Parenthood! The shirts in this batch are all Unisex Medium, and $27 shipping included. If this works out, subsequent batches will hopefully cost less in materials and shipping, and have more profits go to the charity. Just contact me if you want one, and we’ll work out the details.

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November 2, 2016
by Jane
Comments Off on And so it goes.

And so it goes.

I did a lot of planning to write yesterday and today. Perhaps planning is my worst enemy. I finally sat down to write, and after about 350 words, I sat back and realized I felt like I was drowning. I like building characters. I like building worlds. Unfortunately, I like the details in worlds. I like the minutiae. I could get lost in trying to make sure that every little detail makes sense, is self-consistant, etc. This means that if I want something scientifically based, I have to research it.

So now I have more research and plans and notes than I have actual words on a page, and then other parts of the idea start to unravel. Maybe this is why I’ve had a preference for fantasy over science fiction, at least when I was younger. I like consuming hard science fiction. Fantasy? It’s so great because you can make up the engines that make things go. You don’t have to know about nuclear reactors, or combustion engines, or steam or whatever. You can just say, “magic that works in phases of the moons” and “fairies!” and other bullshit.

I know that the first thing you do is WRITE IT DOWN. I hate that. I hate that about as much as I hate just sitting there and doing a sketch and having it look far from what you envisioned, knowing deep inside there’s some kid out there who draws better than you.

The way you get there is practice. Does that mean I just write whatever gobbled-gook that doesn’t make sense? Filled with logical fallacies, bad science, bad geography, and worst, bad character motivations?

It’s Game 7 of the World Series tonight. Perhaps I should focus on where I’m going to watch it.

November 1, 2016
by Jane
Comments Off on NaNoWriMo 2016: You Have to be Kidding

NaNoWriMo 2016: You Have to be Kidding

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-5-02-46-pm I’ll admit that I really don’t think I have the time to write anything these days.

That’s not entirely true. I now have the time, but I’ve been in a creative slump for a decade, and writing and drawing are the two most daunting things in my day. Diapers, and the never-ending cycle of cleaning dumped out containers of whatever in my house, are preferable to the soul crushing experience of trying to create something. The thing is, I know I can do *something* – what, who knows. Of quality? Who can say. I’m brilliant in my own mind, but there’s nothing like a blank screen or sheet of paper to make me whither inside. The presence of a mere paragraph that is somehow not up to my own standards makes me want to shut my laptop to never revisit again. And that character drawing? The one that makes the store mannequins look dynamic and animated?

Yes, as I said, soul crushing.o

Today, though, I did something different. I allowed all these ridiculous story fragments lodged in my head to converge on a story, and a loose outline was created combining parts of a remembered dream from seven years ago and my personal cosmology.

I didn’t get actual writing done, but I got organized! A plan, at least, to fill in the blanks. I should probably add a few dream sequences before I close Scrivener for the night.

Anyhow, folks. In 30 days, if I have something to show for it, I’ll consider it a minor miracle.

July 13, 2016
by Jane
Comments Off on Bad Art, or Why Did I Stop Trying?

Bad Art, or Why Did I Stop Trying?

butterfly fantasy

A bad recreation of a painting that I have a complicated relationship with.

I’ve been in a slow, painful decline of creative output. This is not entirely true, but it’s the story I tell myself. The truth is, that I still have sporadic creative output, but it’s shifted to more ephemeral experiences, such as cooking, baking, sewing (which never seems to be completed), and musing on these pursuits on the daily.

In preparation for my mom moving to Washington, I’ve had the opportunity to revisit my past, whether I’ve wanted to or not. Part of that includes remembering those things I used to do regularly. Draw, paint, write, play music. I’ve tried many instruments. I’ve belted out song with a guitar I mostly taught myself how to play. I used to play the piano, even, though not very well. My music reading is basic, at best, but I had aspirations. I have stacks and stacks of stories and poetry. Piles of paper and canvases, including those two years at a prestigious art school. I had friends back in Chicago who would creatively set fire beneath one another.

I lost that, and slowly resigned myself into being a former aspirational artist.

I even start blog posts that are unfinished. This one promises to be rambly, but I’ll publish it anyway.

*deep breath*

What was the big turning point? Where did I start to finally doubt that I couldn’t actually hack it and become the professional artist of my dreams?

It wasn’t when I left art school in 1998, which I often excused as a money-saving venture, but it really didn’t save me anything other than the complete decline of faith in myself.

It’s that fucking painting (see above). The real painting was part of my final for my Freshman 2D art class. It was to be my finest moment. I had decided that I wanted to finally do a large-scale emulation of the work that I’d been so excited about over the past 6 years – the art of great fantasy illustrators like Larry Elmore and other cover artists doing work for TSR. Though we were to base something off of sketches we did on a field trip to the Field Museum, I decided I’d use that as a thin pretext for a Celtic fantasy butterfly magical romp.

To be fair, what I turned in was unfinished. It lacked polish. It needed work. I was disappointed in the perspective and the depth of the piece. My classmates and teacher were unimpressed, and I took it home to my mom, thinking I’d finish it one day. Instead, I spent every visit taking it off the wall where she proudly hung it, and trying to hide it behind the couch. I told her I hated it. I told her to throw it away. Then she moved. Then she framed it. She FRAMED that piece of shit. Now she’s moving to Washington, and to my dismay, I gave her the OK to throw out so many other things, but I wanted to tell her, “PLEASE don’t bring that painting.”

Art school didn’t work for me on a few levels. One was the fact that I lacked internal discipline, and wasn’t prepared to develop it yet. Then there was the fact that I was in way over my head. I wasn’t mature enough to handle some of the work that needed to be done. I needed mentorship, but didn’t know how to get it. Then there’s the work I wanted to do. As much as I loved making abstract art, anyone can do that without art school. The work I revered were comics and illustration, but it was a challenged to do, and instead of trying over and over again to get it right, I gave up.

It’s 20 years since I started art school, I’ve got two kids, and I’m a bit terrified that I’ve given up all my opportunities. I’m having to restructure how I think about things, but after this long post, I think I’ll save that for another time.