March 28, 2011

Humbling experiences

This is where I take the time to thank everyone that's chipped in to help me with my project. In the spirit of anonymity, I won't mention names but you know who you are.

I would NOT have been able to accomplish this on my own. Searching for reference photos online is like trying to find an overly used cliche in a haystack. It just couldn't be done.
I didn't have to search high and low for images, I didn't have to do hours of altering. I got pretty much what I wanted the first round through.

I even had help from someone I've never met in person. The power of social networking is highlighted AGAIN in my thesis!

If you see one of my images that looks familiar, but doesn't look like you. Good! I worked really hard to change the way they looked. Mostly because I used some school mates, and while these are hanging, I didn't want the spirit of my project to be overshadowed with "Oh, I know her, and here she is in her undies".

I also didn't want them to look exactly like my models because I didn't wan to disappoint if they didn't look EXACTLY like them. This is where my severe case of perfectionism comes into play. Altering them took some of this weight off. Again, it was mainly just to make my dolls more "every woman". They are, for the most part ethnically ambiguous. Again, because I didn't want this to overshadow the "every woman" feel I was going for.

Sneaky peek.

There is one that is eerily close to the model, and if that bothers her, I apologize in advance. In my defense, it's a good looking doll. The other that concerned me, is one that I changed the face SO much, it no longer resembles the model at all. Save for the body shape. This model is highly recognizable when drawn, and I was afraid that if I even remotely used her face, it would deflect. I hope that she's not disappointed.

And there is my partner in crime who's gone out on a limb, spent time, weekends, energy and money building my displays. I really have no idea how I'm ever going to repay his kindness and hard work. I mean, seriously hard work. Just look at the diagrams he drew for the boxes:

He's spent entire days laboring over these, countless trips to Home Depot to replace wood, primer and paint. Inhaled fumes for hours (he already has had sinus surgery to remove polyps) and froze his freckly buns off in the garage cutting, spraying and nailing. It means the world to me.

So, before I get weepy and emotional, I mean it from the pit of my soul. THANK YOU to all that have helped. Now, I have to get back to work.

I'll leave you with more relavant fat humor. I know this is meant as a put-down, but I think that doll is beautiful!

Eat this low fat food, you'll fit into your clothes!

March 23, 2011

I have to interrupt this blog

To scream at the top of my lungs... that I'm GETTING MARRIED!

Taking a long weekend to the coast with the boy and his brother did me well. It reset my brain, and reset my motivation. I felt like I was swimming through mud, and I feel like I "click" and am ready to get back into the swing of pumping out work.
Although it's hard to get out of vacation mode and pulling myself out of euphoria to get work done.

I'm going to keep it short, because I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it. I've known him practically all my life, and our reconnection is the stuff of fairy tales, and before I get barf-worthy, I have to show the junk! The gushy junk!

He knows me well. I'm not a trend follower, or a trend setter. I didn't get a mass-produced ring straight from Fred Meyers. It's an art deco ring from the 20's and individual as I hope that I am. I'm not a ring upgrader, I didn't even require a ring. He's the old fashioned one. Either way, I'm happy as a lark.

Could I be, growing up?

March 10, 2011

I'll just leave this here

Not much in the research and facts to share for this blog post. Mostly photos of how things are going.

I started the large (and final) version of my doll last week. After sketching the face and patting myself on the shoulder because I was happy with what I had, I started inking it only to realize that the eye was NOT OK! Crossed, even.
When drawing facial features like eyes, even a slight mistake becomes GLARING and just not right. No matter how hard I tried to fix it, it just would work.

I had to start over. I handled it better than expected. There was no throwing stuff, and only minimal cussing.

It looks ok now, but when the ink started
flying, the eye started running.

I can say that I'm honestly very happy with how the new one came out. So much so that when I put the highlight in the eye, I started to cry. It's very rare that I'm that satisfied with my work. I think after the terrible afternoon I had and having to start over, it was a welcome relief to have magic happen.

Already the newer, prettier sister came out to play

So not only is this thesis process helping me learn to love my own body, it's also teaching me that I've grown considerably in the last several years. I can tell you that I wasn't like this years ago. If I was at the peak of my frustration, I would break things and scream. Much like a baby. Growth is magical. It shows in my work, too.

Only a peek for now. I don't want to share
the entire image until I have all of the girls done.

I also have a mockup done of my hourglass shaped doll. Note: my dolls do not look like their human models. This is done on purpose. While they WILL resemble them slightly, if you've modeled for me, you will probably recognize parts of yourself in the dolls (characteristics, personality, sense of humor, etc). The doll I used to represent me, does look like me, because it IS me.

Hourglass shape:

In pieces!

As much as I look at them, I still get creeped
out by looking at all the parts separately.
Your closeup, miss hourglass.

The mockup versions of the dolls help me visualize how the parts are going to go together for the larger versions. Because I want these to be pretty close to anatomically correct, I don't want to go from rough sketch to final and find out that the pose does not work. I'm used to making very illustrative dolls, anatomy didn't matter. I could "make it work". But I really appreciate having the little versions to work from.

While this lady may resemble the model to people
who know her, you shouldn't be able to flip through
my Facebook friends list and pick her out. I hope I captured
the "quirk".
We also had our midterm reviews this week. This event is for second semester seniors to get together with members of the community who work in illustration and design fields (I'm speaking purely for the illustration department, here). Each student has 45 minutes to present their thesis idea, sketches, and whatever finals that are complete to a 3-person panel (who don't know you, and have never seen your work and don't know a thing about your thesis).
I figured I'd wing it because somewhere in my brain, I have the ego of Donald Trump. I figured I could blow through my ideas and get to the questions.

WRONG. I lost my train of thought halfway through, and (in my mind) I couldn't describe what I thought was a very concise version of my thesis project (see right side of my blog).

Promo card for the midterm review panel to
take. I think I'll print some of these to keep
on hand and to give out at my oral.
Even though I felt like I rambled through something I'd tell my grandmother, my wobbly knees and sweat-soaked forehead (was it hot or just me?) I got some amazing feedback and the energy was out of sight. I was given some things to watch out for, things that I need to make sure to include, and some great support. My mentor popped in a couple of times and having her in the room really gave me a little spine that I needed. 

When it was over and I was clearing up my space, the department head came in and commented on my progress. See, I had him last semester for my Professional Practices class and I struggled through the first half of the semester while we were formulating our thesis ideas. I struggled with my concept, I struggled with assignments, I struggled to get my act together because I had to change my thesis idea after having it all planned out for two years. Needless to say, we had moments where it seemed he was talking and it wasn't sinking in. (We won't talk about the one time he high-fived me)

This is the first time he'd seen my thesis work this semester. We had a pleasant conversation about it and he seemed pleased, which sort of caught me off guard because honestly, I'm used to being a little intimidated by him. For a moment I felt like a peer, like what I was doing could even be considered professional. Well, especially since he held open my plastic bag while I put my sketches and presentation materials in it.

I haven't been able to read the summary and evaluation sheet from the review. I know that it's mostly positive, but I just can't bring myself to do it just yet.

Maybe tomorrow.

March 3, 2011

Color Me Confused

I love clothes (see last post). I have some clothing companies on my Facebook page. I like seeing what's out there, especially for companies that make plus-sized clothing.

Imagine my confusion when I looked at my news feed and saw one City Chic's posts about body slimmers, or shapewear. I like having this company on my feed because they normally post links to amazing blogs about body acceptance and plus sized models, etc.
But, check this out:

Now help me figure this out, because I'm a little confused.
What about squeezing into shapewear is celebrating and EMBRACING your body? I'm a little dense at times, but one would think that by squeezing your fat and curves into underclothes that mask, flatten and mould your body into acceptable shapes (acceptable by social standards) would be HIDING your body, and not accepting it for what it is naturally. I know I'm far from wanting to embrace anything when I spend 30 minutes trying to get my ass into Spanx, that's for sure.

But that's just me.

Help me find a common ground here before I make a rude comment on this post.

Oh, and *DING* *DING* *DING* we have a winner for catch phrase of the century. Can you guess what it is?!

Yep: "Real Women".

March 2, 2011

Fashionable, even.

While I'm not a very fashionable person, I love reading about my fellow fatties who are. While browsing Lips, Hips and FATshion tips, I saw a post about dresses at an online plus-sized retailer, eShakti. After spending way too much time wishing I had money to buy dresses, I came upon this dress:

I showed this dress to both my mom and dad, and the three of us had tears in our eyes, and my mom offered to buy this for me as a graduation pressent. I couldn't be happier.

The hummingbirds are especially meaningful to me. They're my big brothers' spirit animal. I won't go into detail about my brother's death and hummingbirds. I'll just say one visited me while talking to my therapist the day after he died in 2007. Ever since then, I've noticed hummingbirds in unusual situations where they shouldn't be. I know that is his way of watching out for me.

My brother was a BIG supporter of my art. He was and always will be, my #1 fan. Encouraged me to go back to school, and couldn't wait to get something of mine tattooed on him. We may not have had the easiest relationship, but I'm glad that he was in my life and I miss him incredibly every day.

So that being said, I ordered this dress so that I can honor his memory when I finally complete what he was so supportive of.
It seems a little silly, a chunk of fabric sewed into a dress can be meaningful, it's the intent behind it. It's silly and serious at the same time. I think he'd appreciate it.

I miss him terribly.

Also, I really like the shop's motto, it fits with the spirit of what I'm doing:

I've spent plenty of time complaining that the fashion industry isn't built for women, especially women of size. Bras, shirts, etc. Not meant to fit us at all, but a mannequin. This retailer makes some of my fashion issues a little easier. They have an option where you can customize the fit. Which is great for my big hipped, small breasted body happy. I'm sure I'll have a lot to say when my dress gets here.
It's just like Christmas!