Artists Who Inspired My To Try Digital Painting and My New Dark Poetry Project

Recently I posted an update of my recent project on Instagram.

It’s not too bad so far… I’m loving that while I paint, I get into kind of a zone, but when I get uneasy or unsure, listening to other artists and finding other artists helped me put things into a more productive perspective. Let me share what I’ve found.

First one, Ethan Becker. This guy is a goof, but he gave really good advice.

He is totally against drawing from imagination. Instead, you should reference and “steal” from other artists you admire, which is any art that makes you go, “Yes! I want to do that!” In the past, my otaku (anime loving) self really wanted to work on the anime/manga style, but it screwed me and my confidence up so bad. Some people do amazing anime art, but I am just not one of those people mostly because some of the styles even from my favorite artists, wasn’t what I really wanted to do. It took a while for the real artist in me to dig out of the pile of manga and let me know that they wanted to be more of an illustrator so they could create work that was more conceptual or evoked a story/ambience.

One artist who really caught my attention and lit that spark under my ass was Nan Fe , a dark fantasy/horror artist from Singapore.

love lockdown by Nan Fe

Most of Nan Fe’s art has a dark mood that is sensual, macabre, gloomy, mystical; I could go on, but these are the moods I want to embody in my work. I am IN LOVE with her art. The piece she made here is based on the COVID19 crisis. I sense so much doom and vulnerability from this piece combined with a genuine desire to reconnect again. Love it.

Another artist who inspires me and is actually a new discovery while I was looking for references for my new project is Denis Forkas Kostromitin

Death and the Maiden by Denis Forkas

There’s something about Denis’s art that gives off almost an Italian renaissance atmosphere braided with metaphysical and occult symbolism. Studying Denis’s art helped be develop a better understanding of value, mood, texture, and even realizing that the cliche “less is more” actually works. This article, displays more of his work.

After I found a few artists that inspire, the next question was, “Where do I start?” I’ve never been much of a painter, but always wanted to try. Sketching was more my schtick, so going out of my comfort zone was intimidating until I found another art teacher on YouTube: Marco Bucci

I watched a few of his “10 Minutes To Better Painting” series and felt less and less afraid with each lesson. I was doing less overthinking and doing more critical thinking. Marco really is an excellent teacher with a very “teacher” sense of humor, but I couldn’t be more grateful that I came across him.

Since finding all these artists, painting hasn’t been excruciating. Now I’m just exploring and learning.

Poetry as Painting Prompts

After I published my horror short story “Autonomy Bleeds Black” (Available on Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Scribd, and more) I really wanted to create some illustration for it, but I wasn’t confident. This is as far as I got and I never shared the completion of the work because I changed the story a bit.

So, to build up my confidence, I’m using some of my dark poetry pieces as painting prompts. Like I said, I’ve been having a lot of fun learning and exploring painting rather than pressuring myself and hope to share the journey with you all.

Thanks for reading. Be well and if you’re a budding or experienced artist, comment below, I would love any advice or artist recommendations.

The Egg and Andy Weir – [Video]

The Egg is an extraordinary video that you just need to see for yourself. The animation, done by Kurzgesagt, is inspired by a short story by Andy Weir. It’s received over 7 million views in four days and honestly that really makes me happy. This is an interesting perspective on existentialism and how our many perceptions on life and death seem to come together.

Andy Weir is also the author of the book-to-film novel The Martian and the novel Artemis.

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Jen Sincero and The Lack Mentality

I am in LOVE with an audiobook right now: “You’re A Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero. I’m sorry if you’re reading this as someone who is up to their ears with self-help books, but as someone who has swam through various self-help books hoping to find something that has scratched me where I itched, I promise you…this one’s a keeper.

I wrote an article called “The ‘Lack Mentality’ is Killing Us”, which was inspired by my own lack mentality and the lack mentality from the people around me. Misery became our currency, when really it’s what I called “a slow, subtle suicide,” (Authentikei 2018). The main points of my article were:

  • Dropping expectations will help you more in the long run. (This doesn’t mean lower your expectations. It means let go of the unrealistic ones that stress you out and don’t force yourself to be positive. Instead, face your reality objectively.)
  • You are not worthless, useless, shameful, or horrible. You have value that supersedes your monetary and/or social status.
  • If the dis-ease is present, face it. You do not deserve to suffer.
  • Taking care of your needs is a process. There is no get-rich-quick or solve-all-problems solution, but every step you take towards what you need is evidence of hope.
  • Replace satisfying those impulsive acts with appreciating what you have and investing in that by applying what you have to your reality.

Listening to Jen Sincero’s book has made me ecstatic. While listening to the audiobook, I would be yelling “YES! FINALLY SOMEONE GETS IT!” out loud. I’ve already disturbed some family members, especially those who overheard the narrator saying “you’re one powerful motherfucker” while I was listening to it in the car, but Sincero’s book is ANYTHING but disturbing. It’s a fucking wake-up call. It’s something I’ve wanted to scream for so long. It’s made me wake up over things I thought I understood but really didn’t.

I’d like to share a few of her quotes that have hit me HARD so far:

“The walls of your comfort zone are lovingly decorated with your lifelong collection of favorite excuses.” 

“What comes out of your mouth comes into your life.” 

“Time wasted rationalizing the mediocre could be time spent creating the magnificent.”

“When you don’t investigate what’s going on with your words, thoughts, and beliefs, you risk stumbling through life on autopilot.” 

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” 

“There is no lack of things to be grateful for if you remember to pay attention.” 

“You can choose to be a victim to your circumstances or take responsibility for how you choose to perceive them.” 

There is such a big difference between agreeing with these statements and actually living these statements. I would add so many more, but I’ll end up copying and pasting the whole book. Her book reminds me of the last paragraph in the “Poor Application of Support and Resources” section of my article:

Challenge the Illusion: Challenge the lack mentality with a mentality of abundance and gratitude. What do you have and how can you apply that to help you in the present moment? If you find it doesn’t satisfy all of your problems, address how what you have helps with one or a few of the issues. That counts.”

I want to address a slight difference between myself and Sincero. When I wrote this article, I was still perceiving money and being rich in general as something that wasn’t that important in life (even though I do financial abundance spells almost every month). I was fine with receiving money, but I never felt comfortable loving money. Loving money was the equivalent of greed. Yeah, it’s not. Sincero describes money as not just our currency that makes the world go round, but it’s also a type of energy flowing throughout the universe reminding us we have a right to be wealthy and enjoy it. You’ll only be greedy if you choose to be greedy. Some of us have very generous and philanthropic ideas that we would love to make into reality if we had the funding. Sincero encourages the reader throughout to constantly keep in mind of all the awesomeness you can do with money (which doesn’t all have to be philanthropic, by the way. Treat yourself is definitely a thing too and can be harmless act without being greedy).

So when I look back at my article, yes her and I address the “lack mentality” in very similar ways, but I must say, she’s taken it a step further and exalted the abandonment of the “lack mentality” to a place of complete badassery.

I have to share one more quote from her:

“Your heart is the most powerful muscle in your body. Do what it says.”

Seriously, either buy or listen to this book right now.

Try out Audible. This would be a great first pick.

Gothic Rock/Symphonic Rock Bands I Found Today

To find some music inspiration for music production in the future, I went hunting for some bands. Some bands I knew and some bands are new to me. I’d like to share what I found if you’re into this kind of genre.

Okay, well I already knew about EPICA, but I didn’t know the lead singer was a fan of Attack on Titan so that’s NEAT!

Lacuna Coil is an old favorite. I think my friends like this band more than I did when they became more popular. Their album Delirium though is extraordinary! Blood, Tears, and Dust is fantastic.

House of Shame is a great too.

Okay, for a few artists who are new to me.

So, LACRIMOSA is a gothic rock/darkwave band that really reminds me of older “trad” gothic rock bands, which is spectacular. It’s the kind of music you want to listen to when you really feel dead inside (it’s just satisfying to find music that really captures that).

This band is less goth and more symphonic rock. Their music is truly mystical, I’m in love with the lead singer’s vocals, and I’m hoping to hear more music from them too. Lunatica (which by the way, they really missed the chance to name their band Lu-NAUT-ica…) has music that reminds me of high fantasy stories. Their newest album, New Shores, really seems to capture a steampunk-like story. I’m all for it.

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I already knew about Akiko Shikata and although they’re neither goth nor symphonic rock, I want to recommend this group if you like glorious, folk inspired music. There’s something really heavenly about it. Hard to describe, just listen.

And now for something completely different. Dremora is a deathcore band. I really liked the lyrics to this song. Apparently this band makes quite a few songs based off The Elder Scrolls games, like Skyrim and Oblivion.

I already knew about Blackbriar, but if this song isn’t witchy AF. I listen to Blackbriar on and off, but this is my new favorite song. In addition to…

…this song. This I’m sure is about two sister witches…or they’re lesbians, I don’t know. I’m fine with either story. I think for these lyrics lesbian witches makes more sense. I think the song is melodically beautiful.

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My last discovery was Erutan, who is such a precious gift to this world. Her music based off of literature is great, but I recently learned that I listened to one of her older songs on Spotify a while ago. She has a wonderful voice and plays multiple instruments. Very mystical and fantasy like. I like her song “Tarts” too.

Hope you like my taste in music.

Need Help Writing Dialogue For Your Novel? Follow These Tips from Jenna Moreci

First, let me just say I LOVE Jenna. Someone shared one of her videos on Tumblr and I just fell in love with the way she broke down her writing tips. She’s very frank and incredibly open-minded. I like watching a video from her or other authortubers before I jump into my own novel to get my head in the game. Enjoy!

Also, please consider checking out her book The Savior’s Champion and her other book Eve: The Awakening. I’ve added both to my reading list on Amazon. I’m ready to see her work for myself. FYI if you have Kindle Unlimited, Eve: The Awakening is free to read.

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The Most Beautiful Response to Sleep Paralysis – Photographer Nicolas Bruno

I highly recommend watching the documentary from BBC on photographer Nicolas Bruno, an artist who battles with sleep paralysis and transforms his nightmares into reality. The pieces shown on his Facebook Page and Instagram are absolutely captivating and I think for those of us who have endured sleep paralysis and questioned the mystery around it, you’ll experience an involuntary empathy. When I look at his work, the fear rumbles in my gut. It’s satisfying to see this because, once again, a brave artist reached out about an odd phenomena that many of us link to the supernatural. Now many more of us feel less alone. He’s even willing to contact others who have been through similar experiences.

I wrote an article on sleep paralysis, lucid dreaming, and astral projection as part of my metaphysical research for my upcoming dark science fantasy novel. In the article, I discuss how science and medical studies say one thing about sleep paralysis, but I encourage that we’re not too quick to dismiss the supernatural experience that can mingle with sleep paralysis. After all, lucid dreaming and astral projection have overlapped as well, so what could be happening while your lucid dreaming is still going when you’re awake? In the documentary, Nicolas discusses how his upbringing influenced his view on the supernatural and his sleep paralysis.

One of my favorite elements of Nicolas’s photography is the use of water, which he mentions in the BBC documentary. From a PHLearn interview, he discusses his use of water as psychological symbolism:

“Water, to me, is the unconscious mind or the realm of sleep. Being above the water represents the conscious mind or wakefulness. A lot of my characters are halfway submerged, trapped between the worlds of being asleep or awake. Ominous figures and props protrude from the sleep realm, and the wakeful protagonists within the images generally are tormented or trying to escape. I enjoy depicting the play between the conscious/subconscious mind. The water can also symbolize the suffocating feeling within sleep paralysis, where it almost feels that you are drowning in your own bed.”

From “Transforming Nightmares Into Hauntingly Beautiful Works of Art with Nicolas Bruno” by Jennifer Berube, 2018

Please find Nicolas on his social media accounts and support his work. We need this type of art.