Reading

Manga Art: Inspiration and Techniques

Lately I’ve been trying to practice my people drawing skills. I can draw them, don’t get me wrong, they just look… off. So I thought this book, Manga Art: Inspiration and Techniques from an Expert Illustrator by Mark Crilley, might help with that. However, this book is not a step-by-step for drawing people. So it didn’t help me with that aspect.

But this book did help me with a lot. It’s very well put together, and the author takes you through the basics of Manga art. He talks about coloring techniques and even tells you the different methods he used to finish each piece in the book, and the ideas behind the piece. He even goes so far as to share Youtube tutorials for some of his work featured in the book. I personally think that his art is beautiful. Manga style art usually is, and someday I will learn to draw it.

While reading this book, I also learned a bit about the Japanese culture. He tries to incorporate it into his work. There are are pieces featuring traditional food stalls, temples, doorways, train rides and canned coffee (which apparently a thing in Japan, hot canned coffee from a vending machine.) He mentions that his wife is Japanese and credits her with much of his knowledge.  Through out the chapters he does give assignments if you’d like to try some of the techniques he uses, I think someday soon, I might sit down and go through the book again, and try to complete them all.

He also encourages you to imitate famous art styles. It’s good practice and it broadens your horizons. It will push you to try thing you wouldn’t ordinarily try with your art, it makes you think outside the box. he demonstrates his own art in a variety of different styles from Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbs style art to Gustav Klimt pattern filled style.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and seeing all the art work he completed for it (including sketches to finished pieces.) Anyone who is interesting, in drawing, Manga or Japanese culture should definitely pick up this book because it’s great! (Click on the cover image below to view/buy the book from Amazon, any purchase through my affiliate links help me greatly)

Reading

Protected

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Protected by Claire Zorn is the story of girl who loses her sister in a car accident. It the draw for me to pick up this book. I’ve never read a story like this and I felt like I would identify strongly with it. As it turns out, I did. Hannah and her family is in mourning over the loss of her sister Katie. I lost my sister in a car accident in 2009. It changed my life, and the way I look at life. A small part of me, I know, will never be happy again. “People say stupid, stupid things when someone you love dies. Rubbish. Nothing gets easier Hannah. You just go on with life.page 197. Hannah and her sister didn’t have the best relationship, they weren’t best friends anything, they didn’t even socialize at school. It’s coming up on the one year anniversary of Katie’s death and Hannah is dealing with remembering the hazy details of the accident so she can recount it for their court date. Did her dad cause the accident? Is he the reason why Katie is dead? Or did Hannah cause it? Was everything somehow her fault?

On top of this, Hannah is bullied in school. I’ve read stories about people being bullied, but they’ve never seemed more familiar to me than this one. I feel like the author somehow knew what I personally went through. This could be my story. I could be Hannah. In high school, I was her. She dreads everyday. She’d public bullied and humiliated on the bus, no one stands up for her, or does anything to stop it. People throw food at her, write on her, terrorize her daily. They make up stories and spread them across Facebook and Instagram. They torment her when the teachers aren’t looking and they just teases her relentlessly. It gave me flash backs to cold mornings on the bus with everyone laughing at me. That time they stuck gum in my hair. The name calling, the rumors, the pranks. I feel like this is one the best books to read if you really want to know what school bullying is like. This is it. This is real.

This girl has a lot going on and I felt for her so much. I saw myself in her. Everyone needs to read this book. Also, the cover of this book, I think is perfect. I have a vase full of dead, old, funeral roses. Sad reminders of  people that have died. Love that has been lost. The flower on the cover is symbolic, to me, of loss, sadness, and grief.

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Wedding Weekend

This weekend was the wedding we’ve been planning for weeks, months, actually. I’m exhausted. The weather was beautiful this weekend, the sun was shining and a breeze was blowing, but it was still so hot, especially dressed in our black “server” outfits. We spent Friday night at Holly’s Mamaw’s, we set up chairs for the ceremony and stayed up cooking until 2 am. Awake again at 9:30 to cook some more. We nearly caught her front porch on fire when the deep fryer overflowed, and the closer it got to 4 o’clock the more hectic things became. We were trying to get last minute food stuff done, Haley was getting ready to walk down the aisle, her parents were getting ready, the photographer was wandering around taking pictures and my parents showed up too, so we had a full house. Eventually we managed to get all the food up to the tent and set up.

The ceremony wasn’t perfect by any means, the speaker kept messing up, the wind was blowing, so the candles wouldn’t light and the aisle runner blew out of place. No one seemed to know when to sit or stand… Haley was beautiful though and she seemed so happy.  As her mother said “She has loved his guts since the moment she met him.” I don’t think he’s good enough for her, I don’t think anyone could be though, I’ve watched her grow up, she’s a sister to me, and since I don’t have Carmen anymore, even more so.

It was a long weekend and my whole body hurts. I’m so glad that it’s over. Next weekend is Father’s Day and my birthday. We’re going to go cook dinner at my Papaws and spent the first half of the day with my family before going to Holly’s Mamaws to spend the last part of the day with her family. I’m going to my dad’s tomorrow to visit with Elizabeth also. I’m so thankful to have so much family in my life. I grew up with a big family and I loved it. But then things happened, too many people passed away, others moved away. My family became very small.  Then I became part of Holly’s family, at least I like to think I am anyway. And then I met my Dad and Elizabeth, and my family grew a little more. Now, Haley and Trevor are married and it’s gotten a little bigger.  I’m thankful for all of the people I consider to be my family. And even when I don’t agree with their choices, I’ll be there to support them, and celebrate with them. And apparently cook 200 pieces of chicken on very little sleep for them too.

Reading

Owlcrate May Unboxing!

The theme for Owlcrates May box was “Comic Explosion!”  If you read my blog at all, by now you know that Owlcrate sends out 1 box a month, featuring a newly released Young Adult book and some bookish goodies to go along with the theme.

The book this month was Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. It featured an Owlcrate exclusive cover, and we got the book before it’s official release date! I was so excited to find this book in my box. It’s about a socially awkward girl named Eliza who writes a web comic, that is immensely popular. Stuff happens and her identity is revealed. Suddenly she has all this attention on her and her comic and she finds herself unable to continue writing it. I thought this book was fantastic. It took me a minute to get into, but by page 50 I was flying through it. This book also came with a signed book plate, a letter from the author and a print, made by the author, exclusively for Owlcrate!

Also in this months box was a  full sized Funko Pop! – There were 7 different ones that went out in the boxes: Batman, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, Captain America, Loki, Harley Quinn, and Sailor Moon. I received Harley Quinn. I don’t really watch superhero movies and I definitely don’t read the comics, so I didn’t really care about this at all.

Next was an Ink pen from Ooly, that has 6 different colors of ink. Ink pens are always useful.

A zipper pull created exclusively for this box by Owlcrate.

A Wonder Woman mini candle from the Dio Candle Company. It smells like Hawaiian Punch and I can’t stop sniffing it!

Some Coffee Candies from a company called Kafe! Zing! – I gave these to Holly because I hate coffee flavor.

A chapter sampler from AFAR, a new release by Imagine Comics.

And lastly, the Owlcrate collectible button that we get in every box.

Overall this box was not my favorite. I’m not into comic books and felt like the items in the box were just not up to their usual standards. I did love the book and the candle though, so it wasn’t a complete let down. The best part though is the theme announcement for next month! “Make it Out Alive!” It’s a dystopian theme and I’m so excited about it. I love dystopian novels, The 100, The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, I can’t get enough of them, so I’m super excited. Plus June is my birth month and I should get my box just a few days after my birthday!

Reading

Hag-Seed

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood is a modern day retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I’ve never read The Tempest, but after having read this novel, I feel as if I have. It’s more than a retelling. It explores the original play, delving into it’s themes and characters and plots.

After losing his wife, and his 3 three year old daughter, Miranda, Felix Phillips is unfairly booted from his job. He abandons the life he knows and goes off to the middle of nowhere, where he lives in a shack alone. Except he isn’t alone because he carries the memory of his daughter with him. He judges time by how old she would be. He imagines her playing outside, he’s even, on occasion, heard her voice. He talks to her, teaches her things and to him, she is there, always. He grows bored of his new life and looks for something to do with his time. He ends up teaching a literacy program at a correctional facility. Each year the inmates in the class perform a play.

The Tempest in it’s original form is about a man named Prospero and his daughter Miranda who are stranded on an island. He is set on revenge and conjures up a storm to make his enemies believe that they too, are trapped on this island.

Once Felix finds out that the very people who booted him from his previous position will be coming to the prison to see the play, he knows that the inmates must preform The Tempest. He sees this as his time for revenge and sets to work, plotting against them, with the help of the inmates, of course.

I won’t tell you what happens exactly, but I will say that this book is a twisted read. It’s a book about a play, inside of a play, inside of a play. It would be an excellent companion novel for anyone reading the original play The Tempest. It explores the characters and their motives, and even what they could possibly be doing once the story is over.

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Behold, the wonders of the Netty Pot.

I hate being sick. Who doesn’t, though? Monday I was fine. I got things accomplished, I even exercised that day, but by Monday night I was a snotty mess. By Tuesday, I had a sinus headache and a sore throat. Fast forward to today and I’m still sick, but I don’t feel like something ran me over repeatedly anymore.

I learned the last time I had a sinus infection that I can’t take sinus medication with my anxiety medication. Holly talked me into trying a Netty Pot and I was skeptical but willing to try just about anything. So I used it and while it was an odd thing to do, it helped. If you don’t know what a Netty Pot is, it’s essentially just a teapot for your nose. It comes with a saline solution, that you mix in with room temperature water (not from the tap!) You stick the spout up one side of your nose and tip your head (over a sink, obviously) and the water goes through your sinus’ and out the other side of your nose! The salt water clears out all the gunk clogged up in there. So you alternate, pouring water through and blowing your nose until you’ve used the whole pot and then you’re basically a new person. Sort of. It helped me a lot! I’ve used it everyday this week, which is probably the only reason why I’m getting better.

Other than that, I’ve been vegged out on the couch most of the week watching the Gilmore Girls over again. I’m on season 5, my favorite season. In Omnia Paratus!

Hopefully I’ll kick this infection completely soon, because as you all know, we have so much to do over the next couple of weeks and I don’t want to be doing it all while sick.

Also, I know that this post was pretty Netty Pot central, so I thought I’d let you know that while it totally could have been, it wasn’t sponsored. I just really like the Netty Pot and how much it helped me 🙂

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Class of 2017

Saturday was Graduation day where I live. Holly’s sister graduated, so we were up way too early for a Saturday morning. (Holly worked 3rd shift Friday night, so she just didn’t get sleep.) We arrived at the school more than 2 hours early just to get a seat. We ended up having to stand in line anyway. It was crazy! They didn’t even get to fit everyone in the Gymnasium. Some people had to go to the Library or the Auditorium to watch the ceremony on a television screen. Lucky we were in the gym. I feel like if you aren’t going to be watching the ceremony in person, why be there at all? They really need larger accommodations for graduation, or else, only allow a certain number of guests per student. So we waited in the packed gym, squished into the bleachers. The people in front of us were extremely rude and kept yelling at their particular graduate on the floor randomly through the whole thing. Whenever it would get quiet, you could expect them to start shouting to her.

Finally though, it was over and we went to her celebration party. We didn’t stay longer than an hour or so because Holly needed sleep. It was strange, being back in the school that I went to, seeing the small changes that have happened over the years. It still smelled the same. Don’t schools always smell that way? I think they do. It was strange to see Haley graduating, because I’m pretty sure that she was just turning 13 yesterday and was so excited to finally get a Facebook account. That was yesterday. I swear. I feel old. Not to mention that I did not graduate from this school like I should have. I dropped out. Twice. And ended up getting my GED. We all have regrets and that is one of mine. But being back there brought up all that regret.

I’m happy for Haley though, she’s a great person, and though I might not always agree with the choices she makes (getting married so young and so fast) I love her like a sister, I watched her grow up and I hope that she goes far in life.

Congratulations to the class of 2017!