Thursday, December 31, 2009

Underpainting!


So here's (finally) a picture of that watercolor I've been working on. I'm using a watercolor paper called Yupo, which lends itself to some really interesting effects. If you look at the lower arms of the figure, they're "outlined" by prepping the page with an eraser, then applying watercolor over it.

This is an underpainting, so there will be a lot more color and tonality and detail coming up, but I love the raw shading you can get from basically one note. Blue has an infinite web of variety, and it's great to explore every strand of it.

The image comes from a half-dream I had - from that hazy twilight time when you're just falling asleep and a million things are still running through your brain - relating to a story I'm working on. It's a bit ominous-looking, but the little crow-man is more complex than just a wicked figment ready to pounce. :P

Have a Happy New Year everyone! May your days be creative, productive, and filled with love.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Beginning Again!

I've been crazily mired - between looking for work and working on art for my Jack the Ripper game - life has just been a total rollercoaster. But I promise I'll have some stuff up soon, even if it's just a quick digi doodle. :)

Much love from the Lopes!

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Painting Up Soon!

I've done a bunch of sketches for a new painting I'm working on, and I think I'm getting close to an end result I'd like to really focus on. I'll be sure to post both sketches and final artwork as soon as I'm done. Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Bird Going to Fly

I'm about to go visit my dad for a week, so tomorrow is a *big* day. Need to go to school to return some equipment from the Gamebryo training session, stop off at the Registrar's office, and then hit the road from here to Vegas. I'm not a huge fan of the drive, but it's not bad as long as I remember to charge my ipod up tonight. Then I get my vintage radio programs to keep me company (Suspense anyone?).

All of this is a little stressful, and I'm hoping a weird sprain I got on Saturday will be totally cleared up by then (it's in the center of my chest and makes practically everything uncomfortable...yuck).

I wanted to draw something for this post but everything I put a pen to just seems to fail. Next time. :P

Friday, September 25, 2009

Getting Ahead...





Yes, I like puns. That's what happens when you raise a girl on Piers Anthony books.

So! These are photographs of a head I sculpted for the Jack the Ripper game I'm developing at school. I wanted her neutral expression to have some tension in it and fatigue, while still retaining some vestiges of beauty. The character is a prostitute about to challenge one of the most infamous prostitute killers in history, so I believe some fatigue and tension are definitely in order.

Using this head as a model, a Maya head is going to be made based on it. I'd say my biggest critique is that there's something uneven about the jawline, but that can be doctored up.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Joy in the Clouds


Another new design for a tattoo contest from Createmytattoo.com. Fingers crossed that the lovely lady likes it. :P

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Twitter Background and Signature





I made myself a new Twitter background and signature for fun and to surround myself with prettiness! The signature is in reference to my "missmeat" screen name (which I often use), and the background just combines quite a few of my fave visual memes. For fun, go check out the Top Ten Things No One Ever Told You About Being an Animator while I stroke my one long chin hair pensively.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Life Is Complicated - I Know, Right?


So a million trillion unlucky little things are happening in my life right now, and I'm trying to focus on doing creative stuff but feeling a bit glum. So here's a list of places online I like to sneak away to when I'm a bit down and out:

Shiny Shiny - where all things gadget-y and girly crossbreed. A story about a connect-the-dots tattoo caught my eye (it's the last pic in the gallery).

Gather - because reading things that other people write can either really intrigue me, or really annoy me, depending on my perspective at that moment. I don't understand the new pinging system and sincerely hope that at some point someone will either explain it to me, or hold me and tell me it's o.k. to have no idea.

Deviant Art - I don't know why I'm not a member - I never feel like I have enough interesting pieces I want to share with them...yet. Anyhoo it's fun to browse this site.

The New Music Video King Rat by Modest Mouse - I linked this video because I really love the use of limited animation in the video, and it matches the song so well! A beautiful piece overall.

There's other places, too - I'll try to think of them so I can add them in another list next time. Happy browsing!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Fun Things and Stuff...

So I have a meeting tomorrow to help get the game I designed into an official bit of code - and thereafter demoland (yay!), and let's see, what else is going on?

I'm doing a bunch of sketches for a painting I'd like to do - having problems with the right angle I'd like.

Archiving five years of notes for a novel I'm starting to tackle - yippee yay! I like research. Researching myself is a bit weird though.

Hit number one for multiple minipet collections at warcraftpets.com (silly, but nifty).

Bought the coolest handwarmers ever from super sweetheart Dottie at etsy - I'm using them all the time when I'm at the keyboard!

Still looking for work, but trying not to stress about it - it'll come. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nine Premiere Party


Tonight I went to a premiere party for the upcoming film 9, which I worked on as an intern for the art department! I helped paint the texture for the protagonist's weapon, among my other duties, and I'm super stoked to see how gorgeous this film turned out. It's based on Shane Acker's Oscar-winning short (also named 9) which I recommend you see if you get a chance.

Good work, guys! Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard on the film!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What I'm Reading


I'm a pretty omnivorous reader, and so in the middle of my job search/portfolio work I thought I'd share what books have been on my mind (and in my bag) lately.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - A beautiful novel set in Duke Wellington's England where magic is both malevolent and malnourished, reawakening in a land that has long deserted the principles of English magic's proponent, the Raven King. A great, easy read that I've been savoring for a month or so, simply because I hate leaving a compelling Victorian world.

The Were-Wolf by Clemence Housman - A short novel/novella where the werewolf is actually a female. The piece is primarily religious allegory, but exciting and interesting for its own merit. Published in 1896, I read a version off of my Kindle.

Black God's Kiss by C.L. Moore - Sword and sandal fare with a blend of the supernatural, the supreme female protagonist Jirel faces off with all sorts of beasties in this collection of short stories.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett - This is a re-read for me, but I felt compelled to return to England (perhaps Mr. Strange took me by the hand to lead me there) where a Cinderella-type story simmers in the well-done atmosphere of a moody, bleak boarding school. This is also traveling via my Kindle.

All of them are heartily recommended - Black God's Kiss is especially delicious if you've been missing some pulp in your fare.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ipod Cover!

For a while I've been kind of dissatisfied with my ipod case - even though it was skintight, it tended to get dirty, and somehow scratched my mp3 player, which I didn't like. Plus I wanted something cuter, and kind of personal.



I made this cover for my ipod using a pattern I invented myself. I'm not even sure how to follow a real pattern, so this was kind of a challenge. :P I first sketched out my design, then measured it out onto tissue paper using my video ipod to help me make sure the final cover would be snug, but not too tight or too baggy. I then ironed the fabric, cut it out, marked the fabric using pins and an ink pen, and sewed away! I kind of wish I had a sewing machine, since working by hand took me a bit of time, but it was still really fun to sink my teeth into a project like this.



I only made a partial lining so that when I flip the case open the backside of the lid won't look ugly. Lastly, I sewed a charm my mom found a while ago onto the lid to act as a weight. I was debating about adding snaps or a handle, but so far I don't seem to need them.



The whole project took me about four or five hours to make, and I'm very happy with the results. I purchased the fabric from This n That From Japan, and absolutely love the Bremen Town Musician theme - it's super cute! ^_^

If anyone would like a copy of the pattern I made, let me know and I'll scan it in and post it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In Brief


My life as it stands: Entered a contest, didn't get into the final running. Sent in at least five job inquiries yesterday, no news back yet. Wrote an article on Gather reviewing the Kindle 2. Started a new blog about something I'm pretty good at - making money in Warcraft - and received one comment about the income tax rates in Los Angeles. The comment part actually cracked me up. Haven't broken into my ipod cover project yet, but I'd like to this week.

When life is a farce, it does it in full force. :P

Friday, August 07, 2009

Contests, Ipod Covers, and More...


The job search continues! So far I haven't had a lot of luck, but I'm still persevering. The art for today is from a contest I entered at createmytattoo.com. It's very specific to the wishes of the contest holder (a Suicide Girl named Antigone), so it's not 100 percent Michelle here, but pretty fun nonetheless. I omitted putting mold on the "dead" mermaid, for example. Mold and visible bones occasionally poking through is much more my style.

I'm going to be working on sewing an ipod cover using some adorable fabric from This and That From Japan. The theme of the fabric is the Bremen Town Musicians - a fairy tale I really loved as a child. I'll posted my methods and result right here, and if I'm successful, I'm thinking of making my Kindle a new cover, too.

Hope everyone's been having a good summer - one of my fave times of year is coming, the fall. When stationary goes on sale, the air gets chill, and summer turns into a memory you get a time for reflection, and plenty of snuggling.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Woman in a Wolf Mask


I finished this painting last weekend. It's painted with oils, using turpentine for thinner, on a wood board. It's actually part of a series of images I'd like to do - let me know what ya think. ^_^

And because I love fabric, and I really think this blog is very cute - try out Rae Gun Ramblings if you're in need of some idyllic crafting fun time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Painting in Progress...

Actually, it's an old painting! But it's going to finally get finished up this weekend. I'll post all the delicious (and/or chaotic) results once I'm done. Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Vectorized Drunken Owl...Yeah


So I pulled out Flash 8 to kind of keep my hand in it today and came up with this drunken owl. He made me fairly happy today amidst the crush and pull of the crazy mundane crap. I think he probably needs more contrast, but I'm going to try some other techniques out tomorrow.

I wonder why my vector art never tends to turn into a jpg very gracefully? (I.e. retain its beautiful vector crispness when it's a jpg) Is there a way to do this that I'm overlooking?

Edit: So I solved some of the problem by exporting the image from Flash at a higher dpi resolution - 300 dpi instead of 72 - and exporting as a png file. If you click on the owl below, you'll actually see a much improved image. However, the shrinking Blogger does in order to make a button for this post currently makes the vectors look a bit yucky on this page. I'm still wondering if I can preserve a vector-friendly file that will present itself gracefully once it's been turned into a button. Hmm...

Friday, July 03, 2009

27 Whacks With A Paddle...



I turned 27 today! In celebration, I took a nice long hike with my guy at the Will Rogers State Park. Also, Little Dude was introduced to the family and as you can see, he's quite fond of cake. Or screaming at people. One can't be quite certain...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Foothold On The Public's Attention is Slipping!

According to imdb's STARmeter, my popularity fell 80 percent this week. DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN, HOW COULD THIS BE? Could it be, perchance, that I'm not actually a star? Well paint me disillusioned. I'll have to cancel my catered dinner for seventy I was holding tonight...in my one bedroom apartment. Yes, the canapes were going to be by the litter box, and I suspect it would have been extremely awkward to talk shop around the leopard geckos, but really? Take away my glittering stardom? How utterly heartless!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No Posts Makes Lopes A Dull Girl


I haven't posted recently because I wanted newcomers to the blog to see my movie before they caught a gander of anything else. Life has been pretty hectic, and yet static all the same. I've been running around doing errands (getting money and a smog check for my car registration, taking care of a sick kitty that went to the emergency room, and all the little things in between) and been absolutely stagnant creatively. I worked on some drawings, but need to go into school or Kinko's to scan them (and after drawing them, discovered I'd run out of paper...yeesh). In the interim, I've been making notes on a post I'd like to do about female characters - specifically protagonists - in animation. That'll get posted once I get a moment to breathe a bit.

I'm reading (and probably going to finish today) The Fabulous Clipjoint by Frederic Brown as a recommendation from the Kunz. It's a clean, easy read with a lot of neat language that harangues and pulls and plummets all at once - very good stuff. The crime is mildly interesting, but the characters are the real treat - complex, yet tidy in description and execution. This will be my Kindle read while I wait out the twenty (or thirty, or forty) minute smog check today. I gotta say, knowing what percentage of a book I've read doesn't compare to having good old-fashioned page numbers.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Flicker



This is the film I made for my computer animation requirement. I used primarily After Effects and Photoshop, drawing a great deal of it by hand in computer and offline. It's a little choppy to play at the moment, so I'll likely recompress it and try uploading another version soon.

Edit: I swapped it out for another version which you're watching now.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Fixed? Perhaps!

I think I fixed my html for this blog, but I'm still unhappy with the archive set up. I'd like a cascading style archive section perhaps - something that would hide that long, intimidating column of dates. Nobody knows how intimidating dates are like an artist. Deadlines, like sharks among ducks, are rather suspicious and altogether deadly if not paid the proper respect.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Final Finals


I somehow broke my template while I was trying to fix the ugly archive thingy on this blog to the right so now if the posts are beyond a certain length, the stylish green strip in the center will not grow in length to match it! Fie on you, html! Double fie!

This is my last week of finals for graduate school - very sentimental and stressful all at once, like a wedding or something. But with less prenups.

I'll post my film up as soon as I get the sound/editing done. I tried to have it done in time for the Prom screening at school, but I failed at that and ended up making myself exhausted and unwell in the process. I went through a couple days of utter failure blues, but I'm up and at 'em today to make the workload go round once more (and screw up my blog's html).

Enjoy today's image - it's a portrait of me with a very weird expression on my face. That's probably the expression I usually have though...so that's the "normal" expression. Weird would probably be the strained stewardess-type grimace most people pop when the flash goes off.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And Today...Foliage!


Mmm...shrubbery...

This is a rough composition for my opening shot in Flicker. The forest and foliage will definitely be used, but there's going to be more of it - if that makes sense. And yeah, the ground is a temporary surface, so if it looks weird to you, that's because it is.

Also, I'm voracious. I think it's time to grab a bite or two.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Titles!


I've been pretty productive today! Thus far I've finished fixing a scene that had some hangdog problems in Flash, and I designed the opening titles for Flicker. The image I posted shows a piece of the title design. I love racking focus, and being playful with darkness and light - it communicates something very primal and yet cultivated to me. Now back to work!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

F is for Fabric...

I'm really excited about a purse I've been making off and on for about a year now (sad, but true...some projects take me forever). It's aquarium-themed and with some embroidery and hand-painted business on the silk. I'll be sure to post it when I'm done.

But this post is about my newest object of fascination - Twitter - and how it led me in a roundabout way to a contest for free (adorable) fabric. A day or two within joining the Twitter community and following a couple of blogs (Wowinsider and Craftzine) that I also keep tabs on with my Kindle, I've picked up a few followers. Some of these followers are entirely random, but quite a few are craft and/or Warcraft related. So I have Twitter to thank for finding the gorgeous fabrics from This And That From Japan, and This and That to thank for finding The Crafty Crow. Oh what a tangled (inter)web we weave!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Black and White




These photos were taken by Brian Kunz a month ago. I messed with them in Photoshop afterwards.

I love the simple poetry of black and white - how everything complicated can be pared down into hard edges and angles and shadows. I also have a secret love of power lines - dirty, sharp, and magnificent - power lines are ubiquitous, important, and mysterious all at once. Their presence can be linked to disease and industry. Their hum is nasal, constant, and something like a prayer.

I could go on a while about them. :P

Friday, May 15, 2009

Flicker is Coming!


I'll be screening the film I've been working on, entitled "Flicker," this year at UCLA's Festival of Animation. It'll happen on June 6th, at 5:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Here's a link for RSVPs and further information - hope to see you there!

The above image is a still from my film, which is a very experimental piece. If that's not your cup of tea, don't worry - there's tons of narrative pieces screening this year too. :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And Now I Twitter...

I just joined Twitter today. To follow me (or let me follow you) look for spasticsnap. See you there!

Oh yeah - you may have noticed I've changed my blog around a bit. I like the new color scheme a lot, and am still mulling around the subscript in the header a bit. Lemme know whatcha think - constructive criticism is good. :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Where Did the Myspace Go?



Just to let my friends and family know that I cancelled my myspace account, so it should be slowly melting (or abruptly falling? or violently crashing?) off the internet fairly soon. I've always loathed the ugliness of myspace, and I'm thinking of taking up facebook instead within the next month or so.

As part of the spring cleaning extravaganza going on in my life, I'm going to (finally) tackle a new blog banner, finish up this hunky dory computer film I'm working on so I can move onto my thesis (and find work - yay!), and start working on a new novel! I have a few different ideas for novels, so I really want to find one that will not only be interesting to me for the next few months and/or years of my life, but will have a nice firm structure I can pick at. I have notebooks full of notes for each of my novel ideas (I couldn't resist the pun...really, no, I couldn't), so each venue is fairly fleshed out already. Let the adventure begin!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Spring Cleaning!


I don't know if my cleaning is early or late, but I was working at school on cleaning up some lines on the above image and thinking about how this week is all about cleaning! I want to give my apartment a good scrub-down - bathroom floor and all, and clean up my schedule so that I get more stuff done in the period of a week, and clean up the desk at home to finally find my renegade Wacom tablet pen (please come home if you're reading this, pen, I miss you very much!).

So bust out the ammonia and rubber gloves! It's time to get squeaky!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Yard Tub


There's a house not too far from where I live where they keep a bathtub in the front yard filled with water. To top off the ambiance there's a doll floating in the tub, solemnly proclaiming the moral of bathing children in any yard tubs screened by vegetation. Apparently the sheer swampy nature of the situation either led to crazy hijinks (so the kid lost their dolly in the shuffle), or something far more sinister...

I've doctored this image to bring out the extra creep. Copyright retained by the fabulous Lopes!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Hooray!

My computer is back home again! But...I'm going away this weekend so this is my only opportunity to use it...

Cruel, cruel fate.

/sigh

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Get Well G5!

My computer died two weeks ago, and I've finally scraped together the money to go get it out of the shop. Hopefully, it'll be happy to see me...but not so happy that it goes into shock and dies again.

:(

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Before and After!

I'm actually pretty peeved because I think my Wacom tablet's pen is slowly dying. As I fought the pen, trying to make it write only while the nib was pressed to the tablet (and not up in the air) I growled and cursed up a regular storm. Below are the results. I like the colors fairly well at the moment, and just need to clean up the trees I think. And...here we go!

Before:



After:



I'm reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way right now, and feel like it's really helping me recuperate artistically. I sort of need direction, and the book is awfully *nice* - nothing completely out of left field...it kind of rings like a conversation I've had before but forgot somehow along the way. Resonant like remembering things, I suppose. I'm going to start doing morning pages tomorrow, and hopefully progress from there to other activities.

And you know what? I really want to be a writer. And...I already am. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'd Buy That For a Dollar



Here's a nifty site that lets you generate whatever message you want on a church sign board! And if you like your cleverness terribly well, you can buy your image on a little magnet for a dollar (and ninety five cents). I haven't gone so far as to purchase a magnet from them, but that's due more to a wealth of possibilities on my part than any lack in shiny-shiny from them.

And no, the mice don't really love you - they just love to lick things.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Current Preoccupation

Warcraft...writing...let's combine two of my favourite "W" things-to-do and voila! A World of Warcraft Writing Contest! The prizes aren't really my kind of bait: although I would definitely be excited to meet the Blizzard writing staff, I'm not sure what I would do exactly with a giant sword replica. Perhaps I would impress my new neighbors with my ability to garden with an oversized relic from the fantastic realm of Northrend? More likely I would get drunk and wave it about wildly in the perfect solitude of my living room, hoping to avoid any permanent scratching on the wall plaster - but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Story time! Oooh la la, let's write something fun, kiddies!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

You Know What You Need?



I love that question. It's so rife with possibilities! "You know what you need?" A lime green waffle iron? A leatherette collection of classical literature from Spain? A bicycle with a dildo seat?

Alas, the real answers are usually quite mundane: a Philips head screwdriver, a new light bulb, an oil filter. Fie on you, mundanity (not a word)! Double fie!

The above image includes some flora I'm working on painting for my final - which has been delayed (due to a hard drive nosedive) for a few days. Mmmm...painting stuff in Photoshop...I'll post the trees when I make 'em look pretty, too. I drew those trees with my fave mechanical pencils, the good ole Papermate Sharpwriter - plebian and friendly through its hearty plastic soul.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something Green...


Here's something to prevent the omniscient pinching of my blog...I've been using pics like this in my project for textures n' stuff, and I really love this one in particular, although I don't think it'll get into my final film.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Everyone I Draw Looks Like Me



I don't know if that statement is entirely true, but I do tend to draw a lot of strawberry blonde chicks with overly large peepers. My final is on Wednesday, which means that this image will become one part of a vainglorious whole including: decay! houses! rampant tearful orbs raising their orisons to the heavens and hells!

Which in turn means more content for this blog - goody goody!

Personal: I am stressed due to finals and apartment hunting (I need to be out of my old place by the end of the month), and am therefore napping a lot, much to my personal dissatisfaction. Despite this narcoleptic stress release factor, I am actually progressing very rapidly on this project. Magic eight ball sez: done on time! Go go magic eight ball!