Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meme Day!

Good day Blogger world! 

I'm gong to try to do one meme day a week here on Sketches and Swatches :P.  Here is the latest one from Steampunk on facebook:

Lady or Lord + First Name of the Last Video Game Character you played + Name of the last tea you drank + Favorite weapon = your Steampunk name

So today I'm writing to you as Lady Bubbles Chocolate Monkey Scimitar :P.

Steampunk is awesome.  I have come to believe this.  I'm not even totally sure I can explain it fully.  Maybe it's the sci-fi aspect with Victorian aesthetics.  I'm definitely a fan of Steampunk fashion, as well as books and tea (2 other important things in the Steampunk world).  Needless to say, the movement has inspired some beautiful artwork.  I've attempted to create some of my own in the same spirit:

Woman With Octopus Fan by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Inkblot Steampunk Gentleman by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Ink Scratch Steampunk Gentleman With Gears by ~Eseopia on deviantART

I DO NOT consider myself a Steampunk expert.  I can name (and have even seen) some Steampunk movies, such as Wild Wild West, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the Sherlock Holmes movies (I gather that these count).  The fact that I'm still discovering Steampunk makes it extra fun for me, especially now that there are so many ways to explore the movement.  Conventions, communities, artwork...and yes, even internet memes :P.

BTW, I should also include this drawing, which is actually half of a drawing mirrored:

Ink Scratch Octopus 1 by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Octopi are a part of Steampunk culture too, which I'm told has to do with Jules Verne.  Whatever the reason, I'm for it ^_^.

All of these drawings are done in pen (brush pen for "Inkblot Steampunk Gentleman") on paper.  Lady Bubbles was of course coloured in Photoshop.  I look forward to doing more work on this theme.

This seems like a good place to end this post right now.  Thanks for reading, and have a good day Blogger world!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: Lucasfilm's Alien Chronicles

Good Day Blogger world!

Good news on the job front: Not only do I have an interview for 3 potential jobs this week, but my People Answers answers just came in handy for a completely different job application than the one I was doing when I originally signed up. It's like when you're playing a video game and you get enough stars to unlock other worlds. Does this mean I've leveled up :B? I'm put in mind of the part of Neil Gammon's commencement speech (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you can find a link to it in the blog entry before this) where he described having become someone who answers emails professionally and writes as a hobby. It occurs to me that I am in very real danger of becoming a professional job seeker, and I don't yet have a way to stop it that doesn't involved self-sabotage. That said, I scored a few commissions this week too, so there is hope.

In the meantime, I'd like to make this a book review post.

The book(s) for today will be a work in fiction, departing from the trend set by my first 2 book reviews. I have always been a fan of science fiction, and at no time more so than when I was in high school. One of the books sets I remember best was the trilogy of Lucasfilm's Alien Chronicles, written by Deborah Chester. This is not, as far as I can tell, related in any way to Star Wars. Are there parallels? Absolutely. A fight for freedom from an oppressive regime, many and various fictional races of sentient creatures, and no Earth anywhere in the story, to name a few. It is a 3 part science fiction epic like many, and thoroughly enjoyable as such. But there are some interesting differences, which I'd like to explore.

Difference #1: No human characters. It's actually kind of easy to forget this while reading the book, because the characters are easy to relate to on a human level. At the same time, the specific characteristics of each species, and the ways their lives and cultures are built around them, are well thought-out. It's a colourful world, the like of which Lucasfilm is known for creating.

Difference #2: Female characters for protagonist AND antagonist. Statistically, I think it's safe to say the incidences of this happening in science fiction, and possibly in fiction as a whole, are not high. What is also interesting is that it feels less unusual that these two main characters are female because of the fact that they are not human. This is not to say there are no good, complex male characters. Our female antagonist finds a loyal and steadfast friend in a male co-protagonist, whose personal story is as compelling as hers. In case you're wondering if there is romance here, the short answer is no. This could be because they are of different species, and while there is more than enough ground for the possibility of inter-species relationships to be explored, no such romances actually form in the story.

These are the major differences. They are refreshing enough that I felt I was reading something special and unique, though I still got to go on the joy ride of reading a sci-fi epic. I really must emphasize that these are books for adults. There is violence and cruelty in this story, particularly in book 2. That said, I think this would fit well into the reading repertoire of many a Star Wars fan, and many sci-fi readers in general.

Thanks for reading, Blogger world :)!

February 24th, 2013:  Aang and the Beach of Time by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Following Your Dreams

365 day project, # 31:

February 23rd, 2013:  Aang and Sketches by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Now to business.

Good Day Blogger world!

Following your dreams.  A lot of people - including reputable minds - are for this.  But lots of people see a problem.  Most of the time, it's to do with sacrificing the practical for your "dream".  I would like to weigh on this.

I'm sure you know the practical and the dream need not be in opposition - for some lucky people, they will be one and the same.  But I would go further to say that what is practical may be an integral part of achieving this dream.  We know they don't have to be opposed, but we do tend to see them in opposition, just as part of a narrative that we've come to accept "life".  Consider this - suppose follow your dream doesn't mean giving up that job at Tim Hortons to live your dream, but working overtime at Tim Hortons to save up the money to go to the school that will lead to the achievement of your dream?  Or working at Tim's while taking those classes that will ultimately lead to the achievement of your dream?  Or just working there long enough to save up the money to buy that plane ticket that will help you achieve your dream?  Perhaps what the Follow Your Dream-ers are saying, is that it's worth the extra work to achieve your dreams.  After all, it's entirely possible to work at Tim Hortons for the rest of your life and be "comfortable".

Having said that, I'd like to look at another thing we take for granted - that to achieve anything in life, you must suffer, sacrificing your physical and mental health for whatever that prize is at the end of the line.  There will be sacrifice, and pain, but are these the things that get you there?  Probably not.  Commitment would seem to be the thing that gets us there.  There is no law of nature that says your level of suffering is directly related to your level of success.  Also, while hard work is a very safe bet, it's perfectly legal for a lucky break to be part of your success story.  It's OK if you find a different way of getting there than most people.  Chances are you'll have to struggle somewhere along the line, so you might as well save your strength for that.  But staying committed seems like the best strategy.  

Finally, there are no rules as to what your dream has to be.  If you can actually be comfortable and happy working at Tim Hortons, there is no rule against it.  I find my dreams and goals hard to define sometimes.  I love making art - nothing will keep me from doing that.  I'd LIKE for it to be what I make my living on, because then I could spend more time doing it.  But I'll never not make art, so that's one thing I have.  At the same time, I know that's not all I want to do.  I won't digress to far on this - I'd just like to say there doesn't have to be just one way to achieve one's dream, and dreams don't have to take just one form.

Those are my thoughts on the subject.  If you're (understandably) a little uncertain about my expertise, you may want to hear what someone with some serious achievements to his name has to say:

'Till next time, Blogger world :)!