Hello,

I hope you all are well. I’m finally getting back into a good working groove again for my art projects and my novel, which reminded me about how much I miss blogging about my progress/research.

Starting with the progress with my novel series, what really helped was using a cork board and sticky notes to jot out the main plot. My first draft was written with more of a pantser mentality. I kept beating myself up for it before, but now that I’ve accepted that I’m at where I’m at and there’s no changing that, I can lean more into my plotter side.

Using a cork board and sticky notes to track the plot/character arc of one of my protagonists has helped tremendously. I think seeing the story’s progression through one character’s point of view and having more of a visual/tangible mode of seeing my work brought it more to life. Specifically, I was able to pinpoint how many other characters cross the path of this protagonist along with what areas and events they come to interact with whether they expect it or not. It’s an interesting process because initially I was down on myself for not plotting more for my first draft, but it was pointless to think that way. I’m learning to trust my creative process more and I’ve accepted how chaotic it is, but it’s also has a natural order to it. In other words, there’s an order to my chaos and I should never have compared myself to other authors/writers to begin with. It does help to learn about the creative process of others, but at the end of the day, just do your own thing.

As for the Russian/Slavic witchcraft venture, I previously posted of a podcast I listen to where author Natasha Helvin describes her own experiences. I’ve been reading both of her books Russian Black Magic and Slavic Witchcraft. Both are intriguing reads and are very inspiring for a specific character of my novel, which I hope I can capture well with the utmost respect of the craft.

Here’s the Instagram of one fellow writer I follow who reminded me of cork board plotting.

Now, for my art projects. I focused on my poetry collection for most of the winter season. While working, I kept having these visual ideas being paired with my poems. I’ve done photography with poetry before when I was younger (like a teenager), but looking back on my creations in the past, it’s not really up to my standard of quality today, although I love that I tried my best back then. So what’s the next level? Photomanipulation. I’ve been taking lessons with photoshop, photography, and digital art to see if I can bring my dark fantasy vision and poetry to life through a darker medium. The surrealists and dark self-portraiture artists of the photoshop composite world are amazing.

Danny Bittencourt is a Brazilian visual poet whose work I’ve fallen in love with.

Another is Flóra Borsi, whose fine art self-portraits are surreal and captivating.

I hope to enter this world one day, so I’m working hard. Diving into the world of photoshop and photography was very unexpected while working on my poetry. At first it felt like I was distracting myself from the main goal of the project. Quite the opposite; this is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do since I was a teenager. I don’t want the poetry collection to just be in a book. I want each work to be a masterpiece.

Here’s to ambition and the crazy chaos of creativity.

Be well.

  • Leliel

Featured Image: © Danny Bittencourt

Here’s the progress I’ve made on my current painting. Obviously it’s not finished. I watched one of Marco Bucci’s 10 Minutes to Better Painting videos (and I just realized I’ve been watching them out of order lol) to get me in the mood and really think about my piece. So far I really like it, but I do get tired near the end of the day. I’m going to rest now. The video is below if anyone is curious.

Stay safe. Please…

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.