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Sundar Pichai, Google

Another New Year, Another Chance for Growth

I was just looking at last year’s New Year post, and I think 2017 really did live up to my expectations, despite my efforts to go into it with a positive attitude. However, despite everything, I’m not beaten down, and I hope you aren’t either. Every year, in fact every day, is another chance for change for the better. Here’s hoping the coin toss comes out in our favor and we get the opportunity to pursue our own happiness without taking away from other people’s pursuits.

This year hasn’t had the best start. My kitty baby is currently at the vet, because she has been sick and the antibiotic shot she got on Monday hasn’t made her any better. She has been refusing all food, even her favorite things, for the last couple days. I’ve had her since she was a little peanut, and it was just her and me for a long time. I have never bonded with an animal the way I have bonded with her, and I have been losing sleep worrying about her. I just want her to be well again.

Apart from her and everyone else in the house’s illness, and apart from not being with my mom and brothers, my Christmas was actually really nice. I got a nice acrylic paint set (among many other really nice things), and then inherited lots of other art supplies, including more acrylics, watercolors, oil pastels, paper, canvases, and brushes. I’m excited about being able to work with traditional mediums again, though I haven’t actually had a chance to do much with it yet due to the illness and tiredness from anxiety. However, my plans for this year include re-learning how to paint with acrylics and learning how to properly paint with watercolor.

I had a few Christmas commissions again this year, which was especially good since I had an entire week of no work due to clients not having work over the holidays. This year they were for heads of Discovery, Coca-Cola, Google, and Global Citizen. The greater part of my work currently is for Global Citizen, so that one was especially meaningful for me.

My trusty old (as in 15 years or so) Wacom drawing tablet had been giving me issues ever since I got this new computer, and it was putting me off of digital painting. It didn’t play nice with Windows 10, and no amount of fiddling with the drivers fixed all the problems. So I finally gave in and got myself a new tablet, a cheaper Huion this time.

Initially I was concerned that it didn’t have mouse mode, which I had always used with the Wacom. Mouse mode makes the stylus control the cursor exactly like a mouse, while pen mode maps the display to the tablet so you are using the full space of the tablet. It’s actually silly, if you think about it, to have a tablet and use it in mouse mode, so I decided to learn how to use it that way and it was fine. It didn’t take long at all to get used to.

Unfortunately, while testing it out on a practice portrait, it kept freezing my computer, resulting in me losing all my work to a corrupted file more than once. Since I had these commissions to do and no time to learn different software, I grudgingly upgraded to Photoshop CC and that worked great. It only froze on me once or twice the entire time, just because that’s just what my computer does and I don’t know how to troubleshoot it. On the occasions where it did freeze, it was able to recover the files. Ultimately, it’s easier paying a monthly fee than paying for the entire program at once, but it’s still an added cost that I really shouldn’t have right now.

Lost work in progress

In addition, I ended up with an iPad. I didn’t really want an iPad, but it happened. It’s a long story. So since I had one, I thought I could make use of it as a sort of portable art tablet. With the Amazon gift card I got from work for Christmas, I bought an Adonit stylus to use with it. I haven’t done extensive work with it yet, but I think it should work okay. I played a little bit with Adobe Sketch, but Autodesk Sketchbook might be a better option. The brush options seem to be nice, and the pressure sensitivity works with both apps. The stylus doesn’t seem to be quite accurate in Adobe Sketch though, so it’s a bit difficult to be precise. This is not necessarily a problem, since I don’t care to do photorealism. I just need to get used to how they work so I can do some real art with it.

I think that’s all for now.