Listening to music while drawing: good or bad?

Who doesn’t love to hear a good melody while working? It’s relaxing and often it’s a lot more fun to write/draw/work with music than without it.  But is it any good? Maybe you are thinking that of course it is, good music inspires creativity, right? Here’s the thing: hearing music while working it’s (technically) multitasking. Your brain is switching on and off between activities. One moment you are paying attention to the music, the other you are paying attention to the drawing. This can be very unproductive.

Ok. I’m not here to lecture anybody on how to do their things, this is also not a formal article but my own take on the matter. Do I believe drawing while listening music is bad? I kinda do, to be honest. I feel like silence can help you focus a lot better. This idea of working on silence came to me after I saw this Mattias Pilhede‘s video, although I don’t take his word as gospel I see where he is coming from and have tried this approach by myself.

But I want to tackle this from another angle; I want to tackle this based off my personal experiences and my struggling with my ‘space of work’. You see, silence is a tricky thing, and at first you don’t know it but it’s very rare. Of course, if you live alone sure you don’t relate with this issue, but in a family household there are noises more distracting that whatever music one listen to. I specially dislike the sound of whispers behind my back, it’s annoy me to the point that I prefer to stop working on whatever I’m doing and just go somewhere far away. The emotional distress of having a person in your own house that often talk to herself whispering very negative and accusatory comments that you can still hear it’s something I don’t wish to anybody, seriously. Other annoying noises are televisions, radios and… well, that’s pretty much my case, I don’t live with any kid, but I know those can be very noisy too, heh. It’s in circumstances like these where a pair of head phones are life saving.

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But wait! Not any kind of music will do the job. Ok, maybe most kind of music will DO the job, but I really want to point out that listening new music is always more inspiring that hear the same 12 songs you have in your playlist. Get on spotify and find a playlist of an artist or a band you had never listened before. Maybe something atmospheric, maybe some lofi, classical or jazz. Listen to the indie new hits or whatever suit your taste, but make sure it is something new.

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If that’s doesn’t work for you it’s ok. If you work listening to your favorite music it’s ok, if you work in silence it’s ok too. Everyone it’s different and work different. I just think that try a new approach may be good from time to time. In the end, people listen to music because music make them enjoy the work they are doing and that’s totally fine.

One more thing before I end this post: If you watched Mattias’ video you noticed he mentioned a particular experience the animator Richard Williams had that made him stop listening to music while working. Animator Eduardo Quintana bring to life that same experience with a fluid and FLAWLESS animated short. Do yourself a favor and watch it because it’s gorgeous.

 

 

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About masks and artists (and Sia)

It’s christmas. Time to forget and forgive, time to spend with the family, humans friends and non-human friends. Time to give and receive, and, why not, time to be joyful about the things we have in our lives. It’s also time for us, artists to think about what we gonna do in the near future, because the new year is around the corner and we want to start with the right foot this new adventure: improving, enjoying and making tons of money. Living the dream, you know what I mean, right?

Because of that, I want to share this reflection about the masks we use. You see, masks are no uncommon to artists and content creators (especially on the internet). But I’m not talking about a literal mask like having an avatar or don’t showing your face in your youtube videos. I’m talking about one mask (or masks) that can hurt the creations we make. I’m talking about the fact that we are not true to ourselves and we want so desesperately to attract people to our works, that we end doing the very same thing that we criticize about others: being fake.

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I believe almost every creator that had reached certain amount of madurity can understand this. Art requires passion and compromise, and if you hate the very subject you are trying, that will reflect in your work. That’s why the vast majority of Marvel comics sucks nowadays: because these persons are not interested in the superhero genre at all. They hate it and it shows.

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I had been really fascinated with Sia lately. That’s becasue she delivers quality and it is at the same time highly commercial. She often use a mask (a literal one) but she is very honest about the subjects she is singing about. Alcoholism, self esteem, depression, drugs. All that stuff that she has passed thru. And to talk/sing about the very same demons that hunt you is an act of honestity that I admire.sia2

It’s christmas. Let’s be honest with ourselves. I think we deserve it and our public deserve it too 🙂

The reaper and I, chilling and taking coffee

The clock is ticking, the time is pasing. People is aging, and dying. The reaper is here already (for us), just waiting through the door of our homes, just waiting.

One day, Ms Reaper talked to me about having  a coffee. I thought it was a strange proposition. The mere thought of her souless eyes looking into mine just fritened me. But at the same time, I was bored spending all my summer inside my home, like a emo teenager with no self esteem. I needed something to do beside work and drawing, so I said yes.

She is a very exquisite being (I don’t know if I can call her a person, but whatever), and has a good taste. The café she picked was a lovely bistro with vintage air. The colors magenta and brown with the subtle light of the roof lamps gave the place a peaceful atmosphere. If I was scared earlier, I completely forgot about that when I saw that place. Also, she didn’t looked like The Reaper at all, I mean, a hot pink hoodie, a pair of blue jeans and pointy boots. Pretty casual. What was she thinking?

“I will take an espresso, and you?” That’s the first thing she said… and good lord, her voice was so soft that I can barely describe it. It was like the tail of a fluffy and chubby bunny. I was shocked. The Angel of Death, huh? “I will take a Moccachino, thanks”.

Silence was reigning in the café, except for a selection of mellow jazz and some other tunes that hipsters have on their playlists. The waitress came with the coffe. We both thanked and gazed into the light brown of the hot drink. Shit, things were getting awkward with all tha silence.

“You must be wondering about the meaning of this meeting.”

“Well, yes. Am I going to die soon?”

“I don’t know” She just drank a little bit of her coffee like nothing could ever affect her. “I don’t know when a person is going to die, I just collect souls.” I was more confused that ever. What was ever going on?

“The reason why I wanted to have this talk with you is because I know the answer”

“The Answer?” The Answer? I haven’t drank at all and her noticed. She told me to chill and drink my coffee, that this would be one of the most importants talks of my life but at the same time she wanted me to enjoy the momment.

“Yes, The Answer” she said after drink some more. Then she closed her souless eyes “What do you want in this world, more than anything?” I took a minute, then I said:

“I want to make comics. Like, for a living”

She smiled with the most pure and honest expression I haven’t ever seen in my life.

“Then you have to work hard making comics. That’s all”

Silence. She finished her coffee, looked in her wallet and payed the drinks. I still had plenty to drink but she waved my hand in a goodbye. She was busy, sure, plenty of souls to collect, but I asked one last thing:

“Do you have this conversation with everyone is this world?”

She laughed. “At some point everyone thinks the reaper is coming to take them, but sometimes I only want to give a little reminder of The Answer.”

“It was a pleasure to meet you”

“Sure, and remember. Perfection doesn’t exist. Memento mori!

She walked away. I finished my coffee and thanked the waitress for all. Then I left too. I actually enjoyed that moment.

My life so far

Hello internet and welcome to Behind the Meme!

Oh wait, that wasn’t the line, shit. Hey, it’s me, Minerva and I’m gonna tell what have I done so far to this momment, ok?

Almost are my cats are neutered now

Finally changed the OS of my computer. Now I have windows.

I have Photoshop CS6 and I’m learning to use it well.

Now I can do streamings on youtube.

I’m working on a website now! I’m the chief editor.

I had made a lot of sketches. A lot.

My Scanner works again so I scanned some of the traditional sketches I had made.

I had been less depressed. That a good thing.

I want to work more on my comics. That’s it. That’s my ultimate goal.

 

Next post I’m gonna talk about the perks of working hard, as an artist. That’s a topic I had been struggling with.

How vaporwave helped me shape my (kitschy) style

Oh, the internet, what we would do without it? Maybe harvest potatoes like our grandfathers did many years ago, but instead, we are here, in front of our flat high definition screens, looking to the future with our own eyes. Truly an amazing time to be alive.

Or maybe… we look to the past? Our generation is obsessed with all things vintage. It’s the wish for (what we think) were the better, simpler and most romantic times. You see it everywhere, especially when it comes to music. Just get yourself a look into the youtube comment section of an old song, and like 90% of the comments are from twelve-year-old kiddos saying that they were born in the wrong generation. Sure pal, whatever you say (boy, we all were stupid as kids, don’t we?)

So, how this jibber jabber has anything to do with my drawing style? Oh well, the nostalgia is a powerful force, and sometimes can led us to discover wonderful things, especially when you are not searching for them.

I remember being looking at my Facebook’s timeline and discovering something that really kept my attention. One of my friends had been sharing, almost everyday, images of an estrange but engaging atmosphere. These Images would use often greco-roman sculptures, neon colors, japanese lettering and old Windows graphics. Of course, these images are part of the Vaporwave ‘aesthetics’.

Vaporwave is a microgenre of electronic music and an Internet meme that emerged in the early 2010s. The music typically features a fascination with 1980s and 1990s styles such as elevator music, smooth jazz, R&B, and lounge music often sampling or manipulating tracks via chopped and screwed techniques and other effects.

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Being the silly goof I’m, I thought it was kinda funny. Vaporwave is essentially a parody of capitalism that mocks capitalism… by exalting it. It thought it was great! You know, we all love capitalism but at the same time, it has gave us some weird shit through the decades. More or less at the same time, I was trying to design myself a mascot. A character that people could associate with me. The challenge you face designing a mascot is that must be simple enough to be remembered, but not so simple that could be forgot.

 

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I came out with this, but it was weird to me. I wasn’t used to draw minimalistic pieces, I would rather draw more realistic ones, with intricate details.

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I started to develope my cartoony, more simple style, inspirated by the pop simplicity of the vaporwave/future funk genre. All of a sudden, I was obsessed with neon colors and 80s aesthetics, things considered ugly, kitsch.

Kitsch, also called cheesiness or tackiness, is art or other objects that appeal to popular or uncultivated taste because they are garish or overly sentimental, which means that these objects are considered by other people to be ugly, without style, false, or in poor taste but enjoyed or appreciated by still other people in an ironic or knowing way or because it is funny.

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You know, Vaporwave it’s the mix of dated music and modern DJs tecnology, I started to see this cutesy style as a mix between kawaii and kitsch, vulgar, lewd art. Very, very pop!

I’m really thoughtful about my creative process: I think about the things that inspires me, I try to find patterns, conducts, habits… anything that can make a better artist. Being concious about our processes (creatives or not) it’s a great excercise. I has discovered that.

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What to do when life gets crazy

Well, life it’s always crazy, but sometimes it gets a little too crazy, right?

I know, I know, dear. I’ve been here and there, bad feelings after bad feelings, disaster after disaster, struggling with the same issues as many other people in the world. Shit is crazy. Shit is bananas. Whatever. Even now that I’m writing these lines, I’m struggling to find the correct words to express myself and not to think in the future and its many possibilities for me, not all of them good. It’s scary to think too much about it.

Why I’m saying this nonsense? Oh, I’ve just been really thoughtful lately. Maybe my health is not so good as I thought. Put many things in perspective. College, for instance, is really awful to me. When I’m in that classroom with all the other young kiddos who are trying to become a professional journalist, I feel tired, and sad. I don’t belong there, I think. Am I learning or just wasting my time? What Am I learning? How me, a B+ student, became the most apathic being of the classroom? Am I being selfish if I only want to draw…?  What to do? Well, you get the point.

Sometimes you just have to breath in, follow your heart, BUT without leaving your mind behind. Other people’s expectations are chains, you must get rid off them. Care about yourself, exersise yourself, eat well and make your dream a reality. I know life is crazy, hard, nonsesical, but we still can try. Every day a little harder, everyday a little smarter.

Atte: Minerva