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Category: Creations

on Windows 10, Art Work, and Self Care

I was apprehensive about updating my laptop to Windows 10, especially after getting it and needing to wait for patches for games to work on Windows 8. Since the entire reason I have a windows laptop is to play PC games, it seemed like a good idea to not rush into upgrading until I knew I would still be able to play something.

But the other thing I was waiting for was the roll-out, because Win10 launches on a rollout so the other day I got the notification that it was ready (and that I could switch back) so I thought I’d give it a try.

First of all, everything still seems to run – Guild Wars2, Origin, Minecraft, Steam. And Secondly, my laptop has finally come to grips with it being a laptop and gotten rid of the tablet interface and strange outside-of-desktop fullscreen apps. Which means, there’s a twitter client, and I’m not accidentally popping out to the start screen at random, and the UI is generally nicer and easier to use because it’s in laptop mode. Of course, if you have one of those “it’s a laptop! it’s a tablet! what is it even!” computers, there is a tablet mode for you.

So, I like it, and I can play my games, and have twitter open on the desktop instead of in browser, and Microsoft Edge is actually a pretty nice browser.


I haven’t drawn a proper E.R.A. comic in a couple weeks and I’ve been feeling guilty. It’s not that I don’t want to or I’m lacking motivation (it’s not), it’s just that the last couple weeks have been intense. I don’t want to apologize for not drawing because of exhaustion or need to self-care, but I did realize something – a couple things actually.

1. I make my best art when my physical and mental health is taken care of. Depressed Kiery’s art is still (pretty decent) art but it’s not as good as the things I’m capable of making when I’m actually doing okay.

Which, has what to do with E.R.A., exactly? I draw when I’m not okay all the time, in fact I make a lot of angsty comics because they’re important for my mental health and they’re great – I often keep coming back to reference the comics I made out of frustration because they’re powerful and they stick. But unlike the one-shots I usually do, E.R.A. is a story with a lot of arcs and… I’m going to be honest here – it terrifies me.

I’m not used to writing long stories that don’t end after 10 panels or go on longer than the length of a children’s book. I don’t even think I’ve successfully written anything longer than a short story for NaNoWriMo.

E.R.A. is a story that I feel like needs to be written regardless of how much it terrifies me and makes me stare at my insecurities about my ability to write interesting fiction. I think about it all the time, I have pages of notes that are arcs ahead of where we are right now that are constantly be added to and revised and the world is growing. It’s really magical and amazing and scary.

So sometimes, if I am as utterly exhausted as I have been, and it’s all I can manage to doodle to a prompt…..I don’t end up sitting down for hours to draw E.R.A. because I know I’ll scrap it. I’ll be spending energy becoming frustrated because it’s not what I know I could make it be if I only just let myself rest. So instead, I rest, and come back to it stronger and better and prettier, and make something I’m at least a little more proud of than I would have been if I had made it when I was burnt out, just to say that I had made it that week. I really want E.R.A. to take off massively and my theory is that it has to be consistent in order for that to happen, but sometimes, I just can’t.

And I think that’s okay. Because I make the rules for this particular comic, and I want it to be as amazing as I imagine it. It’s a process and I’m not there yet, but I know the days I’m incapable of even coming close and those are the days when everything else is telling me that I need to rest.

2. My health and sanity is more important than my productivity.

It feels scary to be writing that professionally, but it’s true. If I want to keep making art (and writing code) I need to remember that productivity shouldn’t come at the expense of my health and calm, because I need both of those in order to make anything and be able to actually live. That I make cool things is just a perk of me being me, it’s not my point or value. I’m saying this just as much for myself (and for coming back and reminding later) as anything. My value is inherent and it’s not based on what I make even though what I make has the potential to be really amazing (and I hope it is).

So at like 4 this morning I finally reached a point where I was calm, and I’m just going to spend the rest of the day trying to stay in that zone and have some Kiery chill time.

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E.R.A. Update

I moved E.R.A. to WordPress so that way when I’m done making the theme for artists I can test it there and that’ll be easier. But also because I felt like the Ruby app I made was unfinished and I want to make it better (and I will) and that was weirdly enough contributing to a lot of block with continuing the story.

But then I thought, you know what would be cool? A book. And then I made a vlog about it.

[kad_vimeo url=”https://vimeo.com/136145117″ ]

 

Stay tuned for the update on when that’s actually available. Or follow along on patreon to see it first.

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Recalculating

WP_20150609_001 (2)I’ve been planning to make a Ruby app for hosting web comics – I still kind of am – but then I realized that as cool as a Ruby App is for me, personally, it might not be as accessible as I want to make it. I thought about maybe making my own blog hosting back-end, and quickly remembered how much I hate having to deal with hosting complications. I thought maybe I could just give detailed instructions for installing it to a handful of specific hosts – but then I remembered how some hosts don’t work well with Ruby and running it may require having to retrofit the app. Which still isn’t accessible to artists who don’t know how to code, and is kind of a nightmare in general.

 

So then I thought, if accessibility is my goal (yes), then maybe what I should do instead of moving artists off of WordPress is make a theme with all the features I want for WordPress. But not just WordPress, if I’m feeling extra ambitious, I’ll also make a theme for Ghost, maybe something for Tumblr, and finally, actually make my Ruby app for the other unicorns, or people with friends who they can convince to set it up for them.

 

Today I started using Team Treehouse to get a primer on making WordPress themes and PHP (because my resistance to not just starting with WordPress is that PHP and I don’t get along), drafted out the priorities for the design, what features I want users to be able to customize, and some of the things I want to integrate. I don’t want this to be complicated, I want a clean and responsive design that features the comic, with plenty of space in the margins so nothing looks busy or squished. I want to optionally be able to associate blog posts to the comic by time (still sketchy on exactly how I’m going to do it. Think recent posts, but stuck by date?) for those comics with writers, or comics who don’t want to cloud the comic post area with a general post but still want it to be somewhat associated. While also still leaving a spot for a comic post/description and comments.

If you were (or are) an artist looking for a new theme to showcase your work, what would you want it to have?

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The Groove

The feeling you have when you want to do things and you even make progress on things just not in a way anyone can see yet, because you want more than anything to get back into your rhythm but you’re just not there.

And then you remember that you moved barely a month ago, and the fact that you can think and even make a little progress outside readjusting to life again is a pretty big deal.

Oh and remember, you spent last night plotting out story arcs, after a week of really draining work, so that’s something.

This has been a post.

 

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Wield it Wisely

Free speech is important, vital, even, and should be protected, yet does not serve as a buffer or shield from criticism. Just because you are free to say something doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences for the words you speak or write. The pen is mightier than the sword. We can say so much, so much more powerfully with ink and lines than we can in other ways, which is why it’s important to remember than when we choose pens as our weapons, as creators, we are more dangerous and more powerful than we realize. While doodles and letters put together in sentences and satire don’t physically harm anyone, we are making a difference (however small, however subtle) and we are either moving society forward or protecting the status quo. We are dismantling society, or perpetuating oppression, or maybe we do some of both because we’re human. We are communicating on a level that surpasses the conscious and meets people in their souls. When we are cruel, and racist, homophobic, or misogynistic, that still matters, it still affects people, it still hurts.

We should never be afraid to create, to say what we feel needs to be said. But we need to know, we need to be aware, that our words, our drawings, our art is powerful. That’s why so many people try to destroy it, so many people try to hide from it, and if we really want to, we can make the world a better, more equal, represented, and understanding place with it.

The pen is mightier than the sword, wield it wisely.

WP_20150108_001

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It’s Okay To Be Sporadic

I feel like my year just exploded with a bunch of different things, and in a way, it did, I’ve added a lot more personal projects – including hardcore game development, which is going to involve a lot of learning C#, unity, and javascript, and how to build 3D worlds….and, it’s not a light undertaking. Also, 5 comics, two ruby apps/sites, moar livestreams for kierygeek, and writing, oh yeah, and moving.

So, Monday was the first day back into life again from taking a two week vacation (in which we gamed 90% of the time and it rocked) and I feel so disoriented. I knew it was coming, it always does, and it’s good, and by next week I’ll be fine again, but I’m realizing, as I have all these things I’m super excited about doing – that I’m also overwhelmed.

Moving is taking up a huge chunk of my brain space, if not practical space, and it’s only going to become more so as we get closer to our lease ending, so as I was trying to sort out my life on paper earlier, I realized that it’s going to be sporadic for at least the near future, and it’s okay to be sporadic.

The only things I know for sure will be happening consistently is Humorotica and Matt & Kiery Vs. SAO, and that’s okay (also, Humorotica has a patreon and it would be so rad if  you checked it out).

As much as I want to be consistently updating and progressing all my projects, at this point, I need to make sure I can keep myself sane.

My weight has been fluctuating a lot lately, and it’s starting to bother me in a way it never used to before. I need to center and be okay with myself in my body, whatever it is. I don’t really know how or have the words to talk about it yet, but it’s not fun. My headspace hasn’t been overly awesome, but the awfulness doesn’t last so, I just need to….be able to be okay.

Long story short, my life is going to be sporadic for a while, between projects, moving, and mental health, and that’s perfectly okay.

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RubyArt

So, I talked a little about this comic project I want to make. Originally I thought I was going to build the entire back-end from scratch like I did with E.R.A. but after falling down a google rabbit hole I found Refinery CMS, which is a Ruby on Rails CMS where you can add extensions which means….

drumroll

Instead of putting most of my time and energy into creating a backend that does basically the same thing refinery does, I can just make the comic extension and put all of my effort into that!

People who don’t program probably don’t understand the excitement I’m feeling right now, but it’s pretty huge. Building your own CMS from scratch is HARD (good to do at least once, but still, hard), there are still things I could improve with E.R.A. changes I was planning on having to make and setup with what I’ve been calling “RubyArt”, which, for just wanting a comic platform…involves so much more than you would imagine.

It’s an interesting mind shift – I mean, I have to do my own tweaking and setup with the CMS, get the gem that imports wordpress xml files, but for the most part I can focus on the actual functionality I want to add with the comic feature (the fun part) instead of building an entire system over again.

But still! I’m excited to try this out. I’ll be putting it on github and stuff when I’m done and sharing it with the refinery people so other cartoonists can use it too.

 

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misc

My kitchen cabinets that store dishes and food are organized and nice now.

We came back home from the park and I was like, wow, it’s so clean. It’s a nice feeling. We’ll see if I can’t stay on top of it.

Eventually I should reach the top of the fridge, but that involves a chair (as do all the high shelves) so maybe I’ll wait for my bruise to heal from when I used the chair and then failed the dismount, first. 😛 You know, so I can do it again.

I’ve been playing minecraft so much it’s invading my dreams. Seriously. EVERYTHING IS MADE OUT OF BLOCKS, and I keep finding coal (which I’m cool with because XP, woot, but dream XP doesn’t transfer dammit).

Minecraft is super fun, but also, upon reaching the 4th hour straight I start to seriously reconsider my life (as I make an inventory full of pickaxes and get back to mining) and like, why am I even? So I will probably attempt to resist the urge to mine tonight to give my brain and dreamspace a break from….mining and crafting.

I drew again yesterday and today for inktober, and fought the urge to burn them right after posting. My lines are shitty and my drawing is crap right now. It feels broken, but meh. I drew my coworkers as superheroes which was fun. This is what I get for taking a break and not drawing for a couple days, apparently. My hands just forget how pens work…which isn’t depressing at all….or anything.

Apparently “taking a break” = Kiery posts random boring shit on hen’s blog everyday.

I wrote about my recent weight gain on my fitblr, and I’ve been confused as to how I feel about it. Mostly because I feel several conflicting things at once and things I expect to feel but don’t, necessarily. On one hand, I feel heavy (because weight) and that makes me uncomfortable. On the other hand, when I look at my body, I see a human, instead of whatever I saw or didn’t see before. On another hand (lets pretend I’m like an octopi or something) when I look in the mirror I see a human body but I don’t necessarily recognize it as my own, just like, oh, there’s a person in the mirror. On yet another hand, I actually almost sort of feel comfortable like I’m at where I should be….right before I get bombarded by my mom’s voice and criticism about how she was so much thinner and tinier than me at my age and all the ages, and how she was a size 6 but should be smaller and and and….

But then earlier today, as I was trying to figure out how exactly I felt about my body and whether I felt good or bad about it today, I thought maybe it’s not either, maybe my body just is today, and it’s whatever it is. I don’t have to judge all the things all the time.

Sometimes I feel like if I’m not constantly at war with myself it means something’s wrong or makes my identity somehow less valid, which, now that I’ve written it out, seems kind of absurd. I think judging whether I, or bits of me (my body) are good or bad and having to almost decide that, stems from old fundamentalist mentality where the answer is almost always “bad”. But I don’t think everything is inherently anything, it just is, so why can’t I extend that to my body?

And, importantly: how I feel about my body (and myself in it) on any given day doesn’t change my gender identity, validity, or who I am.

Jerk brain, for some reason, doesn’t find that obvious unless I write it in a sentence. As if trying to feel better about my body + me is somehow a bad thing. Sometimes my brain is a real asshole.

Apparently the autumn is at peak so we went to one of the state parks and walked around and I stepped on all the crunchy leaves.

 

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Humorotica + Patreon

[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPLIJKitrdk]

 

So, as Humorotica turned one and is becoming a thing Matt and I thought it would be a good idea to launch a patreon specifically for our comic. We have high hopes and plans and honestly, it’s a really cool patreon, so you should check it out, share it – every little bit helps – my (somewhat) selfish goal is to be able to get Matt a computer that isn’t on it’s last breath so we can hangout and write comics without wondering if it’ll signal an unintentional break because, well, we don’t make the comics together IRL so without a computer we haz nothing.

Anyway, there’s also some really cool rewards that involve Matt writing things and exclusive patron only (and inspired/derived) comics!

Become my patron

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Introducing Don’t Panic[k]: Life Beyond The Kitchen Table

I had this idea several months ago, about making a site that’s basically just a compilation of advice, thoughts, and resources for people just leaving/graduating the world of homeschooling and religious fundamentalism.

It takes a lot of work and energy to find resources for life in the real world when you don’t even really know how or where to start, which is kinda why I liked the idea of Don’t Panic[k]. I hope to grow it, with the help of people from similar backgrounds submitting resources and articles and ideas, into something useful for people just leaving their parents kitchen table.

So check it out, share it, submit ideas/resources/etc if you have any, and don’t panic (you’ve got this).

DPbutton

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