Entering 2016 - New Goals, New Hopes, New Intentions

I'm normally not one for resolutions.  Too often people put off self-improvement until they have some artificial "starting point" they can use as a milestone, and then quickly forget what it was that they were trying to do, and just put it off until the next artificial milestone.  I'm no exception.  Still, I make them, mostly at the prompting of others; generic stuff, like "work out more" or "cut back on fast food" or "communicate with humans more often".  

Still, I've done a lot of thinking about where I am, what I'm doing, and where I'm going in the last year.  I've had a lot of false starts, beginnings of things that went no where, and goals I had at the start of the year that got pushed aside when life got in the way. The fact is that I'm NOT happy with where I am now.  I've spoken before of feeling like I'm treading water, just sort of drifting through my life without making any (to me) noticeable change, and it's exhausting to the point that making any effort TO change seems almost insurmountable. 

Still, I'd like to make the effort.  Not just for me, but for you guys.  I do what I do - ya know, the whole "art" and "comic" nonsense - because I like sharing it with others and feeling like I made someone else's day just a little nicer.  It's a promise I made when I first started posting art online over 10 years ago, and one I renewed when I started BPD in 2009.  And it's a promise I feel like I've been breaking recently.

So in short, for full transparency (and so maybe you guys can maybe help me out with these), here's my list of Things-I-Want-To-Change-Or-Improve-Or-Do-Differently-That-Aren't-Necessary-Resolutions 2016 Resolutions:

  1. I need to fix my brain.  I've had problems with depression and anxiety for YEARS now that have only gotten worse with time, to the point where it's affected just about everything in my life.  It's a matter I've done everything I could to not bring up publically, because I don't want to open myself up to either ridicule or pity.  But given how it's affected so much of not just my personal life, but my professional artistic life as well, I feel you SHOULD know, if only to explain "where the heck the art/comic is".  And now that I have health insurance than can cover seeing a professional, I intend to do just that.
  2. Once item #1 is addressed, I intend to post online more often.  I have a YouTube Channel, LizardbethArt, where I would like to post videos on a regular schedule.  I'd like to do the same here, and for my Patreon.  I'd like to get back into comics too, either with BPD (if there's even an audience left for it) or for something else entirely.  I can't expect any of you to support me if I don't make good on the expectations of that support, so hopefully once I can clear my head of this depression fog I can actually give you the content you guys all deserve.
  3. I need, NEED to get healthy. I'm the heaviest I've ever been in my entire life, gaining steadily, and I just don't like what I see in the mirror every day.  I feel tired and lethargic all the time as well, so it's not just a vanity issue.  I've never been any good at keeping up with a work-out routine, and apart from completely cutting out soda and almost all high fructose corn syrup, my eating habits are pretty terrible.  Something needs to change; I just need to find where to start.  Advice on this one, if you have it, would be appreciated.
  4. on a semi-related note, I want to start taking a little more pride in my appearance.  I've always consciously seen caring about how I look to be half unnecessarily vain, and half a waste of time because I will always be unsatisfied.  Still, I feel that maybe getting a nice haircut or maybe putting a little effort into some simple make-up, just so I don't absolutely hate my reflection in the mirror, isn't a total waste.  I doubt I'll turn into an appearance-obsessed Barbie doll, but I think I'm done with the "slob" look.
  5. I want to make progress towards my Tiny House.  The finances are the BIGGEST hurdle for me right now.  To even begin the process, I need the trailer base itself, which would easily set me back $6k+, plus professional plans which could cost a few hundred dollars more or less depending on where they come from.  There's other concerns as well - will I be able to build it here? Will I have access to the right tools? Will neighbors complain?  If I'm able to start building this year, will I have enough finances to get it at least enclosed and weatherproof by next winter?  I don't have to be DONE this year; but I do want noticeable, tangible progress.  For those that might want to assist with this (no obligation & no pressure of course), I have a GoFundMe page set up for taking donations here: https://www.gofundme.com/InfinityTinyHouse
  6. I need to up my "Me Time" game.  And by that I mean, I need to find a better way to spend my solo time than "play Skyrim for 3 hours because I can't be bothered to Human right now".  I need to get out and do more fun stuff.  I need to allow myself some guilt-free time to work on art & creative projects that can't/won't make me money.  SOMETHING.  This may be easier to find motivation for once #1 is fixed, but it's something even then I think I'll have trouble with.  I'm so used to the mindset of "I have A Thing I need to do because if I don't someone will be pissed off at me", which is why my default "me" activity usually revolve around shutting down completely and dissolving into a videogame or mindless web surfing.   Joyful, free creativity is a learned skill, and one I'm sorely out of practice with.

 

I think that about covers it.  2016 has just as much potential to be amazing as 2015 did, but only if I can find the will and the means to make it so.  Otherwise, I'll find myself in this same place a year from now, making the same promises as I am now, because somewhere along the way I lost track of what I needed to do.  This is going to take work on my part, I know.  I just hope I'm up to the task.

To all of you, with your own hopes and goals, I wish you all the best in 2016 and beyond.

-Lizzy B.

Pandora Pals and #Inktober

A bit of an art dump!

I was commissioned by a wonderful return customer, "Rooth", to do a scene with a character he had designed named Cinnamon, who is a Na'Vi & jackrabbit hybrid.  All he asked was that I pull out all the stops, go "all in" on the backdrop, etc and do a really nice Pandora scene that did the character (along with a little gecko dragon pal that I had designed & which he adopted) justice in all it's brightly colored, glowing glory.  It's one of my favorite pieces in a while, but it definitely makes me want to practice doing detailed backgrounds more.

I've also been participating in the #Inktober... event?  Meme?  Hashtag?  I don't know what to call it. ;^_^  But anyway, I've been doing a lot of drawings on what are basically half-sheet sticker labels that I usually use for printing customs forms for my international shipping.  

So what you end up with are these super cool 8.5" x 5.5" original drawings that can be stuck to anything (though they wouldn't hold up to moisture or really any outdoor exposure; they're just paper with an adhesive backing).  But I have one stuck to the cover of a sketchbook right now, and it looks great. They're pretty neat, and fun to do!

 I've drawn a few for myself, as well as a bunch as commissions for folks, and have been posting them all to my newly-resurrected Instagram account as each one is finished.  If you would like one for yourself, I'll be doing them for $20 until the end of the month.  Just send me an e-mail!  

Last thing of note: I will be moving between now and the end of the month from my current apartment to a house nearby my current roommate will be closing on within the week.  We don't know the EXACT close date so I'm not sure when the move will happen, but there will likely be a couple days of radio silence on my end.  So if you follow me on twitter or e-mail me and get crickets, that's why.

Once I've moved and settled in, I've got a bunch of stuff planned that I want to make/do and share with you guys.  Stay tuned! ^_^

-Lizzy B.

Extra Life NEWS!

I've participated in the Extra Life gaming charity for the last 4 years.  Sadly, due to other obligations (I'll be moving; a small move less than 5 minutes from where I am now, but a move none the less) I will not be able to participate directly in this year's charity.

HOWEVER!  I would like to do what I can to help encourage and cheer on those folks who ARE participating.  I can't do much, but what I can do is this:

First, if you're participating in the 24 hour gaming marathon and have a donation page, let me know! Just post a link in the comments.  If you'll be streaming, I will share that too, and - if the stars align and I'm lucky enough to have internet hooked up at the new place early - I'd love to jump in as a guest if you think it'll help bring in eyeballs. :) Plus I love gaming!

Second, to encourage you guys to really raise the money, if you follow me on Twitter and raise more money by the end of the event than any of my other followers, I will do a 100% free digital commission for you.  I don't have specific limitations for said commission, but I'll be happy to work it out with whomever wins it. :)

Hopefully I'll be able to toss my hat into the charity ring next year.  But for now, I'll just have to sit on the sidelines and cheer on everyone that IS participating.  You guys are awesome!  ^_^

-Lizzy B

2 Personal Projects : One Small, and One "Tiny"

Hello, everyone! I've been back from Anthrocon for about a week now, and (mostly) recovered.  Thank you SO MUCH for everyone who came by to say Hi!  And if you're one of the folks that were like "OMG BPD IS BACK AAHH!!", than welcome to the new site.  :)  The new comics can be found over on the "comics" tab to the left.  (side note: I know brokenplotdevice.com has exploded.  The old comic archives will be brought over here soon, and the URL will be updated.)

Now, on to the purpose of the post: along side BPD and other public commissions, I'm trying to allow myself time to work on some "me" projects.  It's been YEARS since I've really allowed myself the opportunity to do things that were purely selfish creations.  Art I wanted to make for ME, and not simply art I chose to make that would then be resold as prints or whatnot.  I've decided I want to let you guys in on those projects, with the idea that in the future I may come to you guys for advice/input, and because I genuinely like sharing what I'm doing with you. :)

The first project is what I'm referring to as The Bohemian Grimoire (though the name may change as time goes on).  The idea is that it's inspired by the Wiccan Book of Shadows.  If you don't know what a BoS is, it's sort of like a cross between a religious text and a journal, kept by practicing witches & neo-pagans to explore and record their spiritual journey.  I am NOT Wiccan/Pagan so that description is likely insufficient (and also why I'm not calling my book a BoS, as I don't feel it appropriate to use that name if I'm not practicing the religion), so I DEFINITELY welcome Wicca/Pagan folks to elaborate in the comments.  

The BohoGrim's living in a Simple Stories scrapbooking binder for now, but eventually I'd like to make a fancier cover for it.  The sticker is from the Sticker of the Month club at stickerofthemonth.com; the piece is called "3 of Hearts", by Dan McCarthy - DanMcCarthy.org

The BohoGrim's living in a Simple Stories scrapbooking binder for now, but eventually I'd like to make a fancier cover for it.  The sticker is from the Sticker of the Month club at stickerofthemonth.com; the piece is called "3 of Hearts", by Dan McCarthy - DanMcCarthy.org

The idea I'm going for with the Grimoire is that over time I'll collect interesting stories, quotes, information, recipes (aging paper, making home-made natural dyes and inks, etc), and collect them with illustrations in the book.  I'm treating it half as an art project, and half as a visual life journal, with possible dabbling in the spiritual.  I don't consider myself a religious person, but I am fascinated with a lot of the old fables and tales of different cultures and I'd like to explore that too.  Basically I'm just gonna fill the book with whatever feels right and just sort of let it evolve over time. 

The book itself is pretty small.  The pages inside are only 8.5" x 7". The bulk of them are blank right now, though it feels better to keep them in for now for the bulk.  There's even some divided pockets that currently just have random memorabilia in them, which may or may not stay as-is, changed, or get taken out entirely.  Not sure; it's still evolving!

The book itself is pretty small.  The pages inside are only 8.5" x 7". The bulk of them are blank right now, though it feels better to keep them in for now for the bulk.  There's even some divided pockets that currently just have random memorabilia in them, which may or may not stay as-is, changed, or get taken out entirely.  Not sure; it's still evolving!

I would like to ask, for those of you who ARE Wiccan/Pagan, for any sort of advice/tips you might have, specifically if you currently keep or have kept a Book of Shadows.  What types of things do you keep in it?  Do you have a particularly favorite page/section you think would be nice to keep?  I would love to even see samples or flip-through videos, though I know some see their BoS as very personal so obviously only share if you feel comfortable.  My general theme I'm pushing it towards is right now is that "Every Perspective has Value", so I'd love to include bits and pieces from all over inside it.  That is entirely up to you of course; but if you would like, I would absolutely love to hear your input and thoughts on this project.

Yes, Lizardbeth will have her own page.  :)  What, I couldn't leave out my personal mascot who's been mushing around in my brain for 15 years, could I?  

Yes, Lizardbeth will have her own page.  :)  What, I couldn't leave out my personal mascot who's been mushing around in my brain for 15 years, could I?  

The second project, while being a MUCH bigger project, is the one I'm referring to as the "Tiny" project:  And that is, to build myself a Tiny House.

The Tiny House movement is a little too big for me to go into here in one blog post, so instead I will provide you with a few links:

The big, obvious, McMansion-sized question, obviously, is WHY?  Why would I want to build a tiny house?  Why am I not happy with a normal house/apartment?  A lot of those questions can actually be answered generally in the We The Tiny House People documentary, but for me personally, the reasons why I want to do this are:

  1. I am an artist on limited income. Tiny Houses can be extremely economical; many people have build their own for less money than it would cost to buy a brand new car, and your annual utility bills are less than the average American pays in 1 month.  The cost of construction is the biggest expense, which can also be drastically reduced by being smart & thrifty; for example, CraigsList has piles of like-new construction materials for dirt cheap.  Do a search in your area for "windows" alone, and you'll see what I mean.
  2. I can literally do my work from anywhere as long as I have my art supplies and an internet connection.  I also have family and friends scattered all over the US and Canada.  A huge benefit to the Tiny House is the ability to pick up and move whenever I wish.  My aunt & uncle in Cali need help with their twins for a few months? I'm there.  I feel like spending the winter with friends in North Carolina? Find me parking.  Do I feel like taking a cross-country year long trip? Just need gas & toll money.
  3. A tiny house, to me, is security.  I plan on building it myself, so I will know how everything works, I will now how to fix something if it breaks, and if god-forbid I loose the entire house to fire, flood, or aliens, I can rebuild it.  And because it will not be paid for on a mortgage or by rent, I will own it outright from day one.  It will be mine, and no one will be able to take it away from me.  This is quite possibly the most important thing to me.  I spent nearly 2 years in and out of what was essentially homelessness, living by the generosity of family and friend-of-family, because an ex made a decision that was completely out of my control.  The tiny house, no matter what happens, will be mine.  Even if some day I do move into a "normal" house, the Tiny House will always be there as a back-up should something happen.

The Tiny House is a project that has been mostly in the conceptial & planning stages for over a year.  I've been able to do little more than doodle up floor plans and ideas for how I'd like my house to look (which I've pretty much settled on it looking sort of like This House, called The Lilipad by it's owner.)  

Building the actual house will, in all honesty, require outside help.  That help is not necessarily just in the form of money (though at some point I'll likely set up a GoFundMe page, in case anyone actually wants to help out that way).  I'd also accept barters for construction supplies/home goods (small oven, sinks, windows, hardware, a 250/350 TRUCK to tow the thing in the end, etc etc), construction advice, borrowing of tools and possibly even a location where I can build the thing (and possibly rent a room & stay during construction).  If you happen to know someone who has built a tiny house OR if you've built one yourself, get in touch!  I would LOVE to hear from you. I've been collecting as much information as possible over the last year as I can, but the more I get the better.

The most immediate assistance - and yes, this is a financial one - is to help me get to a Tiny House construction workshop.  Tumbleweed Tiny Houses holds them all over the country, and their Philadelphia one is coming up in late September.  They're holding a sale for 30% off tickets that runs out July 31st, and a $70 off until August 31st.  So as of this posting, I have 12 days to purchase my ticket at the lowest possible price of $279 (the full price is $399).  

I understand everyone is tight these days; I wouldn't be asking this if I weren't as well.  The Tiny House is something I've been secretly passionate about for a while, and I feel like this year is The Year I finally want to get it started.  If you could help me get it going, I promise I will be writing about and documenting the entire process here so you can see exactly what your contribution is going towards.  You can use the black Tip Jar link in the left side bar, or you can contact me directly at LizardbethArt@gmail.com.  

Anyway, I know that was all a HUGE wall of text, so if you've gotten this far, THANK YOU!! I am trying my best to get back to being more active in posting online (falling back on my old shy-introverted ways ;^_^).  With these two projects gaining momentum now and in the (hopefully) near future, I will have a lot more to share.   So thank you for taking the time to read all of this, and as always, if you have any questions or things you'd like to share on either project, don't hesitate to post it in the comments!

It's the little things that keep me going. :)

-Lizzy B.