Sunday, March 23, 2014

Change for the better: Part 6

Long overdue but here I am once again, with a little recap on my challenge to #changeforthebetter, aka to overcome my fear of failure.

What I have noticed throughout this process is that I am terrific at making excuses for myself: I don't have the right equipment (thanks to Special K, now I do!), I have to do the dishes (leave'em! it's not like I'm going to do them anyway!), my desk is a mess (then clean it!) etc etc etc... If I was half as good at getting shit done, I'd be a a full-time illustrator by now.

That nagging little voice in my head is still there, but it's become a lot easier to talk back to it considering the joy I get from completing a drawing. The therapy sessions I had made me realise I was being way too hard on myself. What's so bad about failing anyway? What is the worst that could happen if I try to draw Lala and end up failing miserably? I mean, it's not like Lala is suddenly going to start looking like her penciled counterpart, right. RIGHT?

But the biggest change was definitely my loving and ultra-supportive boyfriend. He'll literally be cheering me on when I'm working on something and he truly is my biggest fan (and I'm his because he's a rock star durh).
Don't have a boyfriend? Acknowledge the importance of feedback, and take note of what people are saying. Before I met James I just brushed off the compliments I got about my drawing, my photography or my writing, but then he came along, forced me to look at him in the eyes and believe what he was saying. I had to learn to accept and appreciate compliments, and my confidence skyrocketed.

For now, I think I have found my niche, I know what I like to draw and I have developed my own modus operandi and will continue to draw cute animals with funky headgear for a little bit before I move on to bigger and greater things.

My goals for the coming weeks/months include setting up some sort of portfolio, make room in my closet for James' stuff*, take outfit pictures (we have yet to find a moment in which I feel like getting out of my jammies, dammit!), stay creative and live the best life possible.

I have very much enjoyed this challenge and I can definitely say it made me grow as a person. So thank you Special K for this opportunity, thank you to my therapist who pushed me through a dark time and thank you James for being your amazing self. I take my party hat off to you.

Next up? I've been fiddling with the blog a little bit and will be doing a relaunch... Someday... Hopefully soon... But yeah you never know. Keep in touch on Instagram for shoddy mirror outfit pictures and snaps of Lala being adorble!

*On that note: Check out my Tictail because I'm selling things! I'll gradually add more as I go but check it out, and be sure to e-mail me for a better deal on shipping at discometooblivion at gmail dot com! Yeah!


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Long time, no see.

Hey everyone, happy belated newyear! I've been MIA for over a month because that's kinda what I do once in a while. In my previous post I already noted how shitty I was feeling and it all got even worse so I kind of collapsed like a bad batch of jello pudding. I completely gave up on the Special K #changeforthebetter challenge (3 more chapters to go though!) and bitched my way through work. 
Snappy comments were all around. 

It had been a year since my dad got ill, and half a year since he passed away and in a way it took me those 6 months to let it sink in that I'll never see him again. I was overwhelmed with feels and didn't know what to do myself.

But three and a half weeks ago, I met someone who turned my frown upside down. I saw him playing the guitar at a show of a local band and I said to my friend that I thought that guy up there was cute. With a little help from another friend, we got talking.
An hour later we were best friends. Another hour later, we were lovers <3 (Though I don't mean that we had sex in the bathroom or whatever, ew, no, what are we, animals?!) His name is James and he is amazing.

All of my time has been going to snuggling and generally cheesy behaviour, although I think we're ready to not-lick each other's faces all the time now, so that means I may have some more spare time again for blogging purposes. I definitely bought a ton of things to take pictures of (holy crap such great sales!) and I feel motivated to get started again. Woohoo!

And until I get some content fixed for you, you can take a look at my Instagram! I'm quite active over there because SUCH FUN.

I'm going to stop typing before I revert into complete Doge mode. Such confuse. Wow.


Sunday, December 01, 2013

Change for the better: Part 5

A while ago I posted on my Facebook page about my plan to draw out some of my favourite drunk pictures for my Special K challenge and although it took me loads of time, here's the first attempt. Like with the 'Fat Kitty or Matryoshka Doll?' drawing, I'm not too pleased with the result. Whilst I think the different elements add up better than they did in last drawing, I feel the colours are too dreary. I'll probably try brightening our frighteningly grey skin colour, perhaps scrap the beige knit I'm wearing and go for something cheerful, I don't know.

The cold weather and early darkness are definitely not motivational in any way. I live in an old building with shitty isolation so staying nice and cozy can be a bit tricky when you're sitting still. And lord knows I love to sit still!
So I spent 3 weekends straight doing nothing at all with my free time. On Sunday evening I would be sitting at my mom's kitchen table, looking at all sorts of DIY projects on Pinterest, telling my mom about all the things I was planning on doing next weekend and it just left me feeling so disappointed in myself. I was on such a roll and then boom it all kind of collapsed like a bad pastry, and before I knew it I was back in a vicious circle.

One of the things I've learned after losing my dad and dealing with the many emotions that come with grief, is that when it comes to how you feel, there is no black and white. No definite yes or no. One day I'll wake up feeling pretty darn awesome about myself and my creative endeavors, and the next I just want to stay in my jammies and sulk some, feeling like I'm back to square one. And that right there, feels like a whole new failure, too. Because making a shitty drawing is shitty, but not doing anything at all is perhaps what frightens me most. Which is paradoxical considering the fact that this fear I feel is so paralysing I end up glued to my couch.

The more I think about it, the more I start to realise I need to let go. I hold on to so much anger and sadness in daily life and not only does it wreak havoc in my head, it's probably why I bite my lip, scratch my nail folds (I never knew that had a name by the way - it's the part where the side of your nail meets the skin) and clench my jaw in my sleep. I have briefly thought about breathing exercises or yoga or whatever a while ago but perhaps I need to look into it again. I'll add it up to my list of things to do.

Sorry for the banter, I'm pretty sure this post reads like a grammatically correct version of Doge's internal monologue, but for now, that's the best my hungover head can do.

See you all next weekend!
(Or on Instagram, where you will find pictures of cats and jammies, mostly.)


Saturday, November 23, 2013

DaWanda Designmarket Brussels: A report

On Sunday me and my bestie Sarah went on a roadtrip to the urban jungle that is out nation's capital: Brussels. The city reminds me of lengthy school trips and that nagging dear-god-please-let-this-be-over-soon feeling that comes with lengthy school trips. But not this time, as we went to see the DaWanda Designmarket! Yay!

DaWanda, originating from Germany and now available in English, French and Dutch too, is an online marketplace for DIY-ers to sell their goods. Kind of like Etsy, but more local.

In the goodie bag: 
Tablet sleeve by kaltwasser-TaschenTick, bunting by Van Jeanne, illustrations by HerrPfeffer

The concept of the Designmarket: A hotel is turned into a mini mall of 90-or-so mini pop up shops filled to the brim with Done-It-Themselves goodies. Needless to say, I was sold when I was invited to a bloggers' meet-up and workshop! This was actually the first time I EVER got invited to something because of my blog, and browsing through pretty things just so happens to be one of my favorite ways of spending a lazy Sunday.

But there was NO TIME for laziness, as the workshop included cross stitching a design on a tote bag! There were templates for mustaches, anchors and foxes and I was like "A FOX COULD BE A CAT" and thus I made a kitty tote. Durh.

If anyone was still wondering why I never have my pictures taken and do it all myself in my living room: That's my Chandler face. All of my posed photos are like this: Doubled up chin, fake smile, frightened eyes. SRSLY. My friend will confirm!

You know, I had been thinking about picking up embroidering for a while so I'm just going to go ahead and assume this is a sign I SHOULD pick up embroidering. I love detailed handiwork like that, it's so soothing, and much more of a before-bedtime activity than, say, watching Dexter. (I once dreamt I woke up to a bed full of limbs and in my dream I wasn't even the leastest bit freaked out about it.)

Anyway, I digress! On to the shopping experience! I decided to stick to browsing only considering Lala's shenanigans and having to buy a new phone have left me with a food-only budget for the rest of the month. Insert silent weeping here.
I personally found there to be a lot of relatively kitschy shops, which isn't really my thing but those shops seemed like the most popular ones amongst visitors so who am I, right?

I wasn't able to take a lot of pictures because the rooms were fairly dark. As a customer it didn't really bother me, but as a shaky photographer without a tripod, I would have liked a few extra light fixtures haha.

I definitely saw a lot of inspired and inspiring stuff. What did however disappoint me a little is that many designers missed an opportunity to present a brand instead of a product, seeing as it is far more expensive to create the experience of a brand online (in which you mostly rely on web- and print design) than it is when doing so in a shop! I mean, some props can go a long way!
But then again, I'm a huge branding geek and I could look at moodboards on Pinterest all day, so that's probably on me.

Instead of boring you with lengthy descriptions of stuff I saw, I just picked 3 of my favorite shops to show you some of their products available online at DaWanda!

Upon walking into the Adaoz shop I felt sort of a Frida Kahlo-esque vibe going, and lord knows I love some Frida! Am I crazy or are you feeling it too? There's some folk, some kitsch but a whole lot of life going on in these Parisian designs made primarily of vintage fabrics, and especially the sweatshirts felt really current and relevant: I could easily see these being sold as part of Urban Outfitters' or ASOS' vintage collections. Super sweet!

RAVENblakk is one of the shops that went all out on the branding: There were antlers, candles and even a small shrine in the room, I wish I could have gotten some pictures here but alas! They'd even switched off the lights completely, and it definitely enhanced the spooky/sexy vibe!
Some of the things online make me want to run to the thrift shop, buy everything that remotely fits and go wild with the scissors and embellishment, haha. Also check out their lookbook photoshoots on their website, lots of nipples but very editorial!

So I know steam punk is a thing, with the costumes and the whole gimmick, but these jewels weren't gimmicky at all, au contraire! Everything looked so refined and elegant, I felt like pulling out my AllSaints Haya maxi dress and strutting my stuff like I'm at the motherfucking Oscars. (Back in my days as a sales associate at AllSaints, I would wear that dress at the store and our manager would always be joking that I looked like I was going to present an award but bitch please we all know I'd be getting one for being so awesome. )

All in all, I enjoyed my day at DaWanda and I left so much more inspired than I came in, so I say that is a mission completed! On to the next chapter of #changeforthebetter!

PS: Just so you know, I changed my Twitter handle and there's no frikkin' way in hell I'm going to change the link in the icon in every post besides this one, so yeah. Now you know!


Saturday, November 09, 2013

Change for the better: Part 4

When I look back at life, I can only find a few things I truly regret. Sure there are some friends I've drifted apart from that I wish were still in my life, and there are some nasty things that I've said to people I care or cared about that I'd prefer to take back, but real regret? Apart from not spending enough time with my dad when he was alive, I can only find one thing I really look back upon with deep sadness: Dropping out of college.

As I've mentioned a million times before (which only goes to show the mark it has left on my poor, poor soul), after a gap year I went back to school with high hopes and a mind open to all the cool stuff I would learn. I didn't do much research on what studying Graphic Design would entail but I figured I would love it anyway, considering the fact it was hard to knock me away from my computer as I was designing little layouts for my then-very new blog, and boy was I eager to learn.

And hell, was I wrong, too. Turns out I'm a very pragmatic person, a yes-or-no, black-or-white-and-I-don't-care-about-your-so-called-greys kind of gal: Which is the exact reason why I don't like magic, I hate thinking about the vastness of the universe and economics. Okay that one is kind of off but dammit I do not understand a notion about economics. (My solution is just to print mo' damn money yo!)

There is no set answer when it comes to designing, no right or wrong (unless you're using Comic Sans, because well, that's just wrong), no yes or no. Thus the only way of learning, was to make mistakes, to talk about the mistakes, and think of ways to improve. We had one professor who really knew what he was doing. We'd be drawing the naked lady in the center of the room and he would stop by every student and use the famous sandwich technique.
If you're ever in the position to give criticism, I suggest you listen up - this was the only class I kept going to even after I had decided to drop out - The sandwich technique is when you say something nice, then gently drop the c-bomb (criticism, you dirtbag!), then end with something nice again.
Worked like a charm. We all saw right through it, but even so, most of us felt so much more confident in his class and thus more willing to try new things than in any other class.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, a little bit of feel good goes a long way: Positive reinforcement helps you break out the vicious circle of fear of failure, and over the past few weeks I have come to notice that I don't feel as anxious to start a new project anymore, ideas are flowing and taking action is starting to become so much easier! Hurray!

That little voice inside my head telling me I'll fail is still there, perhaps even louder than ever but at least now I can understand what it's rambling on about.
Our heads are so full of white noise, it can be hard to solidify thoughts. You probably know that feeling when you want to redecorate your bedroom/give yourself a make-over and you think you have it all figured out but then you hit the stores and you're clueless (or if you're like me you buy ALL THE THINGS and realise when you get home that nothing matches, or that this was not quite the look you were going for, after all). That's when moodboards come in handy, because unlike vague ideas and fleeting thoughts, they present actual visual guidelines.
So I thought long and hard about what exactly that voice in my head is saying, filtered out the white noise, and tried reversing these negative mantras:

... Yet that's probably because they put a lot more time and effort into their passion than I do. The reason why I put up that drawing of my mom's cat Enya in a Matryoshka costume, is because I don't want to only showcase the perfect work, because hey, everyone fails. It's like the lyrics in one of Macklemore's (I LOVE THAT DUDE) songs, Ten Thousand Hours, which I quoted in the image atop this post. I bet even bitchy-looking Rembrandt up there did some paintings that were sort of shitty.

Ah, the American dream. Hard work only comes in secondly, because first and foremost, you have to really want it and set your mind to it. Laws of attraction, you know, that kind of thing that Oprah likes so much. Obviously it worked out pretty well for her, but not for me. I'm not an existentialist, in the nature versus nurture discussion I stand somewhere in the middle, I realise I'm privileged just by being born in a first world country, in a white middle class family and that compared to the rest of the world, I don't have many battles to fight. I have everything going for me, but until recently I still didn't manage to pick up a pencil on a regular basis even though I really want to - lord knows how badly! Maybe even too badly - The need for success created a huge amount of pressure, and I think I just couldn't bare it any longer and snapped.

When I was a kid, we didn't have a lot of money. We were never poor, but prioritising was essential, and to me, that meant I hated spending my pocket money on candy, entrance fees to parties, lunches with friends etc... I let go of that throughout the years, when my parents had a little bit more to spend and more so when I got my first job at the local shoe store when I was 17. Money is not an issue anymore, but another thing gained value rapidly: Time. Ten thousand hours is a lot you guys, how do I find the time to draw if I can't even prepare a frikkin' meal before 8PM on a weekday?!

But alas, practice is much needed, and luckily I enjoy it more than I did now that some of the pressure is wearing off. Once again: Have some tea, pet your cat (if you don't have one, get one) and have fun.

This is what I wake up with from my naps in the couch (unless she's using my body as a trampoline, that is).

This one is probably the most damaging of all. Before seeing a psychologist during my year in college and she told me that what I was feeling was fear, not laziness, I, and others, chastised myself for being a lazy fuck, but peepz, do NOT let anyone tell you you're just lazy when you're fighting every fibre of your body trying to do what you love: Clearly you're a perseverer if you're trying so hard to make it work even if the wheels of your wagon aren't as round as others'. 
So instead of blaming yourself, pat yourself on the back, even if the work that's being done is mostly in your head. Okay that makes us sound like we're crazy people but lets just agree that it's about darn time to get them hands dirty, yo!

Oh and, by the way, you guys! Lala decided she didn't like my old phone so she climbed on my bedroom shelf and shmacked my phone to the floor. I upgraded to an iPhone and I got a little app-crazy, so I have Instagram like everyone else now! See that little purple icon down there? Click it! Follow me! I promise I won't go too far with the cat pictures (unless you want me to, which YOU OBVIOUSLY DO).

Yours truly,

Vicky and Lala.


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