Recap: My 30 Day Art Challenge

I posted about this challenge at the half-way point already (read more about it here), but now the challenge is done and I just wanted to recap what all went down and share some more of my art!

STATS

I am happy to announce that I have managed to write more than 13K words this past month. I know that it’s not nearly as much as many reach during their NaNoWriMo challenge or camp sessions, but it catapults me to over 35K words for my current WIP (a YA contemporary), which means I am more than halfway through what I want the first draft to be in terms of length.
I will admit that I skipped out on writing during a couple of the last days of the challenge. I was just so stuck with where I wanted to go and wanted to do some plotting. I really wasn’t sure what to do in the last third of the story, to make sure it actually had tension and wasn’t just trickling along. Therefore, I plotted, which is writing-related, but had no word count to speak of.

I drew a total of 14 more drawings since the last update. I followed my own advice and didn’t overdo it by trying to complete a drawing per day. Sometimes I would do the line work on one day and then the colors on the next. It definitely helped me feel less stressed about it, while I was still doing something daily.

REALIZATIONS

I think I already covered quite a lot of the realizations last time and they still sound true to me. Doing everything all the time is impossible, external validation helps and so on, but I will try and tell you a bit more anyway.

  • Forcing yourself to do something every day will yield results, but not necessarily good ones. I am happy I did the challenge and it really got my creative juices flowing again, but there are days where you just don’t have it in you. I still ended up doing my writing (or writing related activity) and drawing every single day, but the results weren’t always something I was happy with. Accepting that not everything will be perfect is another thing you need to learn as an artist, but it’s still frustrating when things don’t work. Just make sure that doesn’t deter you.
  • It’s perfectly okay to draw something because you know it has an audience. While I didn’t stick to just Stargirl portraits in the end, the cast and characters still made up the majority of what I drew. I just knew, and clearly saw in my stats, that these posts worked a lot better and make up the posts that perform the best. The fact that the cast likes to interact with that stuff helps too, of course. So, I don’t see why I shouldn’t lean into doing something, even if it seems repetitive in terms of motif, knowing that there’s a group of people who will hype it up.
  • Try to make yourself do something new and get out of your comfort zone! It’s obvious that I only did portraits, however, I leaned more into doing pencil instead of watercolor work again, which wasn’t something I felt too comfortable with earlier. And I also started experimenting again with gold/silver foil and am really happy with the results.

DRAWINGS

This time it’s really a mix of things! There’s Jeanine Mason from Roswell, New Mexico, cast and characters from Stargirl (where I often made sure to focus on characters/scenes that were important for the airing episode) as well as Bess from Little Voice, the weeping monk from Cursed and two self-portraits (one experimental and one more traditional).


I hope you enjoyed this look into my challenge! Feel free to ask me anything about it! In hindsight, I think it was more about being consistent than making progress with my skill set, although I think I came into my style some more as well.

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #38

As you can see, I haven’t really had the time to read lately, because drawing and writing every day takes up a lot of time. However, it’s super easy to just have a show or movie play in the background while I work, so here’s another post on what I’ve been watching!

Little Voice (Season 1 ongoing)

Ever since I saw the trailer, I knew I wanted to check out the show! The music is absolutely the kind I like and I prefer shows where people don’t just start singing randomly, but rather have a reason to do so. If I had to complain about one thing so far, it’d be that Apple didn’t release all episodes at once, which I would have much preferred. One episode isn’t very long, so by the time I really am vibing with it and feeling like I’m in that world, it already ends again. But that’s just my spoiled mindset with all other streaming services out there dropping their content all at once.

I find the characters all super likable and relatable. They feel real and I especially appreciate Bess’ (the main character) relationship with her autistic brother Louis. Those two are so precious together and their shared love of music and musicals is everything. I am a little more torn on the romance front, just because I don’t like the idea of cheating? Obviously Sean’s character Ethan is a dreamboat and there’s a connection there with Bess, but so is with Samuel and he’d definitely be the better choice in terms of availability.

Lastly, there is also a lesbian storyline for a character with a traditional Indian family background and I’m super curious to see how they will explore that in future episodes.

For fans of: Brittany O’Grady singing, JJ Abrams going back too his Felicity-esque roots, Sara Bareilles songs, music seamlessly incorporated in TV without making it a musical

Blood & Water (Season 1)

I had meant to watch this for the longest time! This is one of the first productions on Netflix that came from South Africa and I know that a lot of people had been waiting for it. There’s definitely a bit of buzz around the show and I was so relieved that the wallpaper with the season two production announcement came right after I finished this season.

The plot has a whole is super interesting. Adoption scandals, child kidnappings, rich people vs. poor people – all of that had me hooked pretty easily and I was invested in finding out what actually happened. Sometimes I was a bit annoyed with the secrecy and the lack of trust vs. blind faith some of the characters portrayed, but I just tried to remind myself that those are all teenagers and I was dramatic af as a teen myself (I still am sometimes).

For fans of: international Netflix productions, majority Black cast

Cursed (Season 1)

I have not read the book this is based on and neither do I intend to, so, I can’t really talk about any similarities or differences in that matter. However, I can tell you that this definitely isn’t a traditional retelling of what you’d consider an Arthurian legend.

I’m not going to lie to you, it was off to a rough start for me. I hated the transitions (until the very end) and thought that things just looked a bit off. Everything had such a bright (which sometimes looks fake?) look, but then also was just extremely violent with chopped off body parts multiple times per episode. That didn’t exactly fit together in my head? But ultimately it didn’t deter me and the show grew on me with every episode I kept watching.

There’s not yet been an announcement on whether they’ll continue with the show, but I’d definitely watch it if it got released, just for the sake of finding out how this will end up with Arthur on the throne and all the key players in their “traditional” places. Cause at the moment, I cannot see that happening at all yet. But I guess I also wouldn’t be sad for days if it didn’t get renewed.

And yes, on a final note, I totally kept watching because I liked the weeping monk. Sue me! (Other favourite characters included Squirrel, Morgana, Pym, Merlin, Gawain and when he wasn’t a fool in love, Arthur.)

For fans of: twists (and not very accurate) Arthurian legend inspired material

Absentia (Season 1)

I 100% started watching this show because of Neil Jackson. This is NOT my genre at all and I couldn’t look at some of the bleeding eye/drowning stuff. The storyline was interesting to me, because while I often care very little about the crime element, I am fascinated by family dynamics in unusual situations. I definitely didn’t understand all of the choices made by the characters, but I’m also no FBI agent … who knows? Maybe they actually knew what they were doing constantly going off on their own.

I already started to watch Season 2, but I actually need to pay attention, so, I can’t just play it in the background like some other stuff.

For fans of: Stana Katic, dark psychological thrillers, shows that aren’t afraid to get gross

The Kissing Booth 2

Look, I get it. A bunch of people watched the first one, they made another one and set up a third. Views don’t lie? But that doesn’t mean I don’t think this movie series is still utter trash. Granted, the sequel was actually less annoying than the first Kissing Booth movie, but doesn’t make it a good movie all of a sudden.

The relationships these kids have are not healthy. They lie and cheat and clearly have boundary issues, but they rarely look for the fault in themselves. I don’t understand why everyone is so enchanted by Elle as if she’s a really great person, when she’s just as flawed as the others?

Anyway, this is no way needed to be 2+ hours long. Just no.

For fans of: the wattpad novel? the cast??


This is what I’ve been watching! Have you seen any of those things? I’d love to chat!

Never Have I Ever – Writing Tag!

One of my favourite blogger buddies, The Orang-utan Librarian, has tagged me for the Never Have I Ever Writing Tag. I read their answers and it was great to read and I implore you to check out the post yourself, that is, after you read mine, because this is going to be fun!

The original was created by the Long Voyage – so definitely check out that here!

NEVER HAVE I EVER …

. . . started a novel that I did not finish.

Ha! That’s a good one!! I started about 15 different stories and finished one of them. My track record in that department is abysmal.

. . . written a story completely by hand.

I … don’t think so? I think I started stories and maybe I’ve written a short story here or there by hand, but definitely not a full one. I already get annoyed with regular editing, I can’t imagine having to transfer everything to my laptop first.

. . . changed tenses midway through a story.

Not on purpose. I think, sometimes, when I return to a story after a long time, I have to get back into the tense maybe and mess it up a bit. But never on purpose.

. . . not researched anything before starting a story.

What is research? No, in all honesty, I probably should do research sometimes, but I love winging it and then despairing in the middle of the story because I have no clue what I am doing. I really do the bare minimum sometimes …

. . . changed my protagonist’s name halfway through a draft.

Nope, not the protagonist’s name, but definitely some side characters.

. . . written a story in a month or less.

YES! The one and only story I ever finished writing – Break Up Buddy – was one I did during NaNoWriMo. I was so proud to have finished it in a month and I still am. I admire people that just throw out stories in days or weeks (and there are more than you might think).

. . . fallen asleep while writing.

I don’t think so?

. . . corrected someone’s grammar irl / online.

Guilty as charged. I’m not running around correcting everyone all the time, but sometimes I just couldn’t not say anything? Most of the time I just keep it to myself, especially since I make plenty of mistakes myself.

. . . yelled in all caps at myself in the middle of a novel.

Like … “started writing in all caps unrelated to the story, because I was frustrated with myself”-all caps? That’s not really something I do?

. . . used “I’m writing” as an excuse.

I just don’t think that people leave me alone or listen to me when I say that I am writing. At least I know a certain someone who will interrupt me like a thousand times, even if I have made it clear that I was trying to focus on writing. Guess that excuse doesn’t fly with people in my life?

. . . killed a character who was based on someone I know in real life.

I’m not even sure I’ve killed a character on page yet, so that’s a no? But also, no one is based on someone I personally know. On actors? That’s a whole different story … but not actual real life friends and/or enemies.

. . . used pop culture references in a story.

These questions should be so easy to answer, but I really have to think hard about them. I am pretty sure there must have been some kind of reference, right? Something to indicate a time period? I just literally can’t think of a single example …

. . . written between the hours of 1am and 6am.

100% YES!

. . . drank an entire pot of coffee while writing.

I don’t drink coffee ever, so that’s a clear no from my side. (Tea all the way!)

. . . written down dreams to use in potential novels.

I actually have a designated journal for my dreams. They are wild sometimes, people! I still like the timey-wimey one where Adam Driver turns out to be my son, but I am technically younger than him? We shall, however, never mention the dolphin story again. That was borderline body horror and that’s not my genre …

. . . published an unedited story on the internet / Wattpad / blog.

Yes, yes and yes? There used to be this website called figment, where I posted a lot of my really, really old stuff. But also recently, totally!

Arcadia is on wattpad. Click here to read it!
Dreamer was on wattpad, but is not published there anymore …
The witchy WIP is published on a private blog that’s password protected. However, friends can request the password and I’m pretty easygoing in sharing it.

. . . procrastinated homework because I wanted to write.

Absolutely! I have to agree with the Orang-utan Librarian here, I sometimes even spaced out in class to write my story. And honestly, even at work from time to time (imagine me doing retail work and there being zero customers for over an hour).

. . . typed so long that my wrists hurt.

That happens so easily, but also, I just don’t have the best set up for writing.

. . . spilled a drink on my laptop while writing.

Thank the heavens that never happened!!! THE HORROR!

. . . forgotten to save my work / draft.

No? I think I forgot to save something for school a couple times, but never the really important stuff aka my stuff.

. . . finished a novel.

As in, written a beginning, middle and end to a story? Yes. As in, edited the story to make it presentable and potentially marketable? No. no no no.

. . . laughed like an evil villain while writing a scene.

I WISH!

. . . cried while writing a scene.

I was close, but I don’t think so?

. . . created maps of my fictional worlds.

YES! But funny enough, not for a fantasy world, but rather a contemporary novel instead. I just printed out maps from Google maps from places that I’ve been to and liked/lived at. It was hilarious in hindsight.

. . . researched something shady for a novel.

I think I researched some illnesses and symptoms. Or “what to do when someone has a seizure”, but that’s not really all that shady, is it?

I TAG THEE

I would love for the sister-writer-duo Nyx and Marie to do this tag and also Caro!


I hope you enjoyed this tag and if you feel like doing it yourself, GO FOR IT! I’d love to chat some more in the comments and also feel free to ask me anything, if you want to know more!

Half-Time Check In: My 30 Day Art Challenge

For those of you who missed the announcement, I have been challenging myself to draw and write every single day starting July 1st. It was very important to me to lean more into my creative side and to push myself even when I wasn’t feeling it all the time. Having now surpassed the half-way mark, I thought it was time to check in on the progress etc.

STATS

I have decided to keep writing my Football WIP! Coincidentally, July 1st was also the start of Camp NaNoWriMo, which meant that I had the perfect tool to track my writing with their website. Honestly, my motivation for drawing was much higher than for writing, because I stopped at a tough chapter back in May. But I still wrote every single day and made a whooping progress of 7,364 words in total so far!

As intended with this challenge, I have also managed to draw every single day. I completed 12 drawings (most of them full watercolor portraits) and sketched with pencil but not in way I would like to showcase the other days.

REALIZATIONS

There’s a couple things I learned from this so far and I really would like to share as well! It will also be fun to see if I still think the same once I have completed the 30 days.

  • I can’t do everything all the time! This was probably the hardest one to come to terms with. If I draw every single day and if I write too, that amounts to the time a regular person would spend at a full time job. As much as I wanted to read all the books, write all the blog posts and watch all the movies and TV shows, it’s impossible to do it all. There’s not enough time and quite frankly also not brain power/creative energy to get to every single thing.
  • While I am fairly self-motivated, external validation helps! I would definitely be lying if I said that validation from others doesn’t help. I really do appreciate every single like and comment, because it has helped me so much in keeping up with this challenge. Also, I went from 160 followers to 200+ in two weeks even though I have had my account for years, so this is just mind-boggling to me (click here if you want to follow my art insta too).
    I will post my drawings at the end of this post, but you will see that they are mostly exclusively about the cast from Stargirl. This is not just because I adore the show (which I do), but because the cast is incredibly friendly and appreciative of fan work. It’s so lovely to do this and get the recognition from the people you drew.
  • Some things won’t ever look the way I want them to, and that’s okay! Having done this challenge, it has helped me so much with accepting that not everything I put out into the world needs to be perfect or flawless. Some things don’t work out the way I want them to, that’s fine and I just need to let it go. So often, people still appreciated my work, even when I didn’t love it. (I’m being serious here, I maybe really really like three of the drawings from the past two weeks …….)
  • Writing is hard (duh!), but editing exists for a reason. I was always someone who was very focused on working on a single project, until things got hard and I dropped it. I also always wrote very linearly, but not this time. I was really super stuck, but I didn’t confine myself to just keep writing a chapter I disliked, but rather wrote other scenes I was looking forward to. The chapter I finally managed to conclude and still don’t like won’t deter me any more either, because that is what editing is for. Just because I don’t currently know how to fix things doesn’t mean that I won’t ever know.

DRAWINGS

As I’ve already mentioned, all of these drawings are from the show Stargirl or its cast. (I am pretty sure I will do a full currently watching post about the show once I am done with the entire season, because I really do love everything about it.) There is only one more drawing that I didn’t include, because it was a private one I drew for a family member and don’t think it should be online.


What do you think about my challenge and my progress? Do you like my art? I am happy to chat about it here!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #37

While I am doing all my art stuff, I am having a really hard time being in a quiet room. Mostly, I turn to music, but a lot of the time, I just let movies or TV shows run in the background. Which is partially the reason why I went on a bit of a movie marathon lately. I haven’t watched that many films in a long time …

Palm Springs

This might just be one of my new favourite movies. I know, I have included the trailer and it gives quite a few things away, but this is totally a movie that is super fun (and unpredictable) if you don’t know anything about it beforehand.

While I mostly enjoy Andy Samberg, sometimes his movies can be a bit too borderline weird. Somehow, that didn’t deter me here at all. He has amazing chemistry with Cristin Milioti and even though the story has some ridiculously bonkers moments, they still felt like very grounded and real characters. It had such human moments about connection and fear of loneliness. I enjoyed those underlying themes a lot. The fact that it worked brilliantly as a whole was just the cherry on top!

For fans of: bonkers plot, quantum physics for fun, time loops, the cast

The Old Guard

I came to see Charlize Theron kick ass again, but I stayed for literally everything else. I know people who love it and people who were incredibly bored and in a way, I can get both of those things, but I fell in love with that story.

Based on a comic book series, The Old Guard is about immortal soldiers, who try to do good in the world. They have lived here for so long, with the world just getting worse, that sometimes everything seems pointless. But then, right when they are on the brink of being exposed, a new member shows up.

The storytelling is pretty slow and sometimes you would maybe prefer learning more about the background of everyone and how they became to be the people they are, rather than watch them rain bullets on faceless dudes again. BUT this is clearly a set up for a whole franchise and I found myself caring for the characters deeply already, so I would adore to watch more of them!

For fans of: Charlize Theron with an axe, immortal people, action packed movie where you care about the character development, female director of color, strong black female lead, gay ship that lasts a millennia

Table 19

I just clicked on a random Netflix suggestion that didn’t seem too far out of what I would normally watch and Table 19 it was. I would not call this movie groundbreaking in any way. It’s just a bunch of misfits, each with their own problems, being placed at the worst table at a wedding together.

I find it easy to root for the underdog, but I was actually quite surprised by the love story in this movie. I definitely didn’t expect that based on the premise or trailer, but found it to be something really sweet in the end. This isn’t a perfect movie, but I also don’t regret checking it out at all.

For fans of: Anna Kendrick, wedding setting but not super cheesy

Desperados

Please, I wanted to like this movie, because Ali and Winston from New Girl seemed like a good combo (I realise they have actual names, but let me think of them as their characters), but it was utter trash. I am usually not that harsh, you know me. I like lifting movies up that I enjoy, rather than tear things down, but this was not good!

We need to stop normalising/romanticizing/quirkifying obsessive and stalking behavior. It’s just not cool. Neither is making pedophilia into a joke. There was also a part about getting raped by a dolphin and getting hit with a dolphin’s dick. I don’t even know what more to say.

For fans of: Ali and Winston from New Girl?

Feel the Beat

This was surprisingly wholesome. Sofia Carson plays a bitter dancer who is mean to everyone as a way of coping with her trauma of getting left behind by her mother. One of her means of getting by is biting into a full block of cheese, and I just feel that on a deep, deep level.

Anyway, the kids are adorable, the love interest nice enough looking, the families so supportive and cute. This isn’t a movie that’s going to stay with you forever. It’s not even the best dance movie in recent years (like really not), but it’s not terrible either. Depends on whether you like Hallmark-esque Netflix movies or not!

For fans of: Sofia Carson, small town charm, dance movies, light entertainment


Aside from all of the things I talked about today, I am still living for Stargirl and I have also started Little Voice on Apple TV and am liking it so far. I would like to talk about those once I am done with the entire season though! Have you watched any of the things I mentioned?

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #36

I still owe you a couple mini-reviews to the stuff I have watched lately. I actually got around to way more than I thought I did, although at least two of those shows were streamed while I barely looked at them drawing all the time, but still … I say they count.

Dark (Season 3/Final Season)

I cannot tell you how happy I was with this final season!

I hope you all know how much I adored this show, but I, unlike my much wiser friends, did not 100% believe that the producers planned every minute detail and had a solid plan. I was legit terrified they would ruin it in the end, but it completely made sense. Of course, there wasn’t going to be a super happy ever after or anything like that, but I found the finale we got very fitting.

There were only two or three decisions that I didn’t 100% understand or back the way they did them. But once again, super impressive casting choices and smart storytelling. I was really wistful when it came to the end and think it is one of the best German (and international) shows to ever come out of Netflix. Pro tip: watch it with subtitles and not dubbed! The cadence of the voices is far better that way.

If you want to talk about it in more detail with me, feel free to do so in the comment section. I just don’t want to spoil anyone who has yet to watch it.

For fans of: complex shows, time travel, different realities, international Netflix content

The Baby-Sitters Club (Season 1)

Unlike a lot of people on Twitter, I have never read or watched anything regarding the Baby-Sitters Club before. Maybe, and even that is a huge stretch, I have seen some film stills, but I would not have known what it is or where it’s from. I just think it’s more of an American thing? I could be totally off-base with that, but I can assure you that it’s nothing anyone would know in my country.

However, having said all that, I get why people like it. The kids, despite their young age, are super relatable and have complex and not just comedy-based interests and relationships. It talks about serious topics, but also has a light-hearted feel to it. While I don’t think this show will be a huge priority for me moving forward, I am still glad I watched it.

I’ve read everything from “It’s better than the books” to “the best adaptation yet”, so I feel pretty good about this being my first real contact with the matter. I can really recommend it, not just to parents who want to talk about more serious topics with their kids in a productive way, but also just for people who enjoy the nostalgia and cuteness of it all.

For fans of: kids being relatable, children with actual fully developed personalities, the books and the previous movies (?)

Warrior Nun (Season 1)

I kind of like shows that mess with angels and demons and I could not tell you why that is the case, it just is!

Warrior Nun is based on a comic series from the 90s, but Netflix definitely made it more angsty. The dialogue and the voice over from the main character can be … cringey to say the least. I think it has a lot to do with the actors and actresses being from a lot of different countries and sometimes they sound a bit off in their non-native tongue … like the intonation is just the tiniest bit different? If you can overlook that though, I think it’s a decent enough show.

I have to admit that I mostly wanted to check it out because Emilio Sakraya is in it and that would mean that non-German people would discover him and I had to know how he did! But, I kind of liked it overall, with Emilio being the lesser interesting part. However, beware of a cliffhanger at the end, with a lot of potential for another season.

Overall, this is a show that needs to grow on you and definitely needs a couple episodes to either win you over or not … and then it’s best to skip it.

For fans of: religion as undercurrent of story, action sequences, the og material?

The High Note

You all know how much I loved Late Night and this is basically the same just in music instead of comedy. I’m not even joking, the movies have the same director and both are about women lifting up women in a very competitive field. Like, it’s such a simple premise, but I am here for it!

First of all, the soundtrack for the movie is really beautiful and I would have gladly listened to the songs on repeat afterwards. I liked the lore they built around the characters and while I found the plot predictable, I still enjoyed the journey.

Lastly, this is not a movie that will stay with you forever (even though, if it does, all the more power to you), but it is a nice way to pass time. I am pretty sure you will come out of this movie with a fuzzy feeling inside of you and a smile on your face and sometimes that’s all I want/need from a film.

For fans of: Late Night (the movie), sweet but kind of forgettable stories, music industry setting

That’s it from me today! What do you all think? Do you have any interest in watching these shows as well? Have you already watched them? Let’s talk!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Jun 29-Jul 5)

This week was super busy! My self-imposed art challenge is actually very time consuming, but on top of that, we had a lot of preparations and final details for my grandma’s 80th birthday, which is TODAY! I am glad she enjoyed the day and liked her presents as everyone tried their best with creative input and such. But it also means I once again almost forgot about trailer day, yet here we are. Let’s go!

Read More »