April 2021 Wrap-Up

I can’t believe April is over already. I’ve had all these plans and ideas for the year, but once again, little of that is going according to said plans. Anyway, I managed to read/listen to three books and that’s what we will start this post with. It’s not a huge amount of reads, but my motivation in the reading department is a continuous flow and ebb.

  • Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin (4 stars)
  • The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
    This book not having a rating has nothing to do with the quality of the writing, but simply with my decision not to rate and review books by friends and people I know. Elena is an old blogging buddy and I was so happy to see her dream of releasing her own romance novel come true. I HAD to support that and had a really good time reading The Spanish Love Deception. Romance isn’t my usual genre, so I don’t feel super qualified to comment on it anyway, but the banter between Lina and Aaron was so much fun.
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman/audiobook (3 stars)
    I still don’t know how people sit through audiobooks, because I’m apparently a very visual reader and completely space out after a while. The fact that The Sandman had a fantastic voice cast (with the likes of James McAvoy, Kat Dennings, Michael Sheen, Riz Ahmed and many more) and thus making it more of an audioplay than audiobook helped immensely. Still, I struggled with paying attention a lot … I keep trying this medium, but apparently it’s just not for me (as I’ve talked about before in this post)

Hana Khan Carries On The Spanish Love Deception The Sandman (Sandman Audible Original, #1)

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

At the end of April, I took a little social media break and I’m basically still on it and it feels quite nice. It’s not that anything in particular happened that drove me away, but I did not enjoy being constantly glued to my phone and putting my entire energy into that thing. After a while, it also spiked my anxiety to voice my opinions, despite no one ever coming for me and I just decided to dip out for a while. I’m not completely gone and if anyone needs me, it’s fairly easy to contact me, but I just thought I’d let you know why my timeline is a little bit more quiet. It definitely helped in eliminating one of the many excuses I had created for myself in order to not pursue any of my creative ideas (be that writing, drawing or something else entirely).

For those of you who are interested in the status of my Canada-move, it’s still very much looking grim. I have decided to apply for another extension of the visa once that is possible (you can only do so 30 days before yours expires), but that I cannot put my life on hold for this any longer. I’m currently taking steps to figure out what I might be able to do instead and how I could move on, but it’s all a process. This really still is my biggest dream and giving up on it is soul crushing to even contemplate.

My creativity still isn’t at a peak, but I can feel some of it returning. I may or may not have splurged on some new materials that I’m excited to work with, even though I still have to get acquainted with a lot of them. I don’t think I will post any portraits or other drawings in the near future, but rather just try to get a feel back for myself without having to put anything of it out into the world yet.

MY FAVORITE THINGS

As much as I struggled with the fact that the finale of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on the same day and at the same time as Shadow and Bone, I loved doing those weekly reviews. They may not have sparked as much engagement and views as some of the WandaVision content, but it was nice to dig deep on content I feel so passionate about. I’m still unsure whether to go through the trouble for Loki, but at the same time, I felt a big hole this past Friday without anything to review. Please, let me know in the comments which other shows (besides Loki) you could imagine me doing weekly or in depth seasonal reviews for! I obviously can’t promise anything, because I don’t know if I will always have the time for it, but I enjoyed the routine and if you *want* me to talk about something in particular, I’d really like to know what, so I can at least think about it!

I’m all ears for your ideas!

MY OTHER POSTS

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS/CONTENT

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


Hope your April went well! What are some posts you enjoyed reading this past month? Did you encounter some great books and TV shows? Let’s talk!

March 2021 Wrap-Up

So, March was another month? I don’t even really know what to say about it, but let’s just start with what I always start with – the books! I actually read quite a lot considering what my usual monthly average was the past years and I also think I picked some great books! Let’s see what we’ve got:

  • Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (3 stars)
    I was on a roll when it came to the Grisha books and mostly read them in one day. Siege and Storm was not my favourite though. While I was never against Mal in the first book, the bad communication in this one drove me nuts. Still, the slow corruption of Alina Starkov had its draws and I generally enjoyed myself.
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (4 stars)
    What a satisfying ending! There really wasn’t many ways this could have gone and I personally liked it a lot. The book really had no right making me as emotional as it did in those final pages.
  • Any Place But Here by Sarah Van Name (4 stars)
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (3.5 stars)
  • The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther (4 stars)

Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2) Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone, #3) Any Place But Here King of Scars (King of Scars, #1) The Summer of Broken Rules

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

I’ve been contemplating how to best tackle my life this past month. After some personal struggles as well as a lengthy recovery from dental surgery (still healing, but all good), I knew I couldn’t put off the Canada topic any longer – I had to act! Most of you know that there is little I want more than to go back to my beloved Vancouver. The only issue is – this pandemic! It has messed up literally all my plans, I have zero desire to travel anywhere in this climate, vaccine roll outs are slow where I live and my once so very open work permit now hinges on me finding a job offer before I actually get to enter the country anyway. I’ve been writing dozens of cold applications as well as trying to apply for jobs I saw online, even if they aren’t all in the industry I used to work for. It’s been a very frustrating process. Please, for those of you who care, keep your fingers crossed for me, because at this point, my dream coming true really is just a matter of ridiculous luck …

Should I not be able to secure a job offer before the end of June (and not get another extension for the visa), this is it. I can never apply for that work permit again (as you can only do so once and getting approved is seen as taking part, even if you never enter the country), which means I literally have to rethink my entire life plan, where I want to live and what I want to do. To say I’m panicking inwardly is the understatement of the century, because I really don’t want to give up on this, but I might have to come to terms with the fact that I have to (especially since I can’t keep doing nothing in Vienna … I need to work! I LOVE work!). Sorry for this very rambly and personal outburst …

As much as I’ve tried my best at *all of that*, I still haven’t gotten back any kind of motivation to keep doing anything creatively. I have posted a couple things on my art instagram, but I wasn’t really happy with any of it. I keep not enjoying the end result and it’s really demotivating. I hope I will get some inspiration/motivation back soon, because I’m tired of being tired.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

Many of you have probably seen me freak out on Twitter about Shadow and Bone on the regular and I apologize in advance about the person I will become on April 23. However, to not just rehash my gushing from last month, I want to talk about my massive dilemma, because speaking of April 23 … that day is also the day of the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. (Links for the reviews to the first two episodes below!!!) I always, always enjoy Marvel content, but I didn’t expect to fall that hard for this particular show. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan just have an incredible dynamic and the character work they’re doing is beautiful! I may also have gone on a slight binge of their interviews together …

Another thing I would like to highlight is Sofii @A Book. A Thought. and the incredible work she has done to compile a really extensive list of book bloggers. Especially with the blow bloggers received after finding out how willing publishing is to throw money at tiktokers (no shade to tiktokers!!! Go get that coin!), but still pay regular bloggers nothing but dust, I love to go on lists like that and support other bloggers with likes and comments whenever I can. It’s super handy. Click HERE to check it out!

MY OTHER POSTS

WANDAVISION + THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS/CONTENT

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you all had a good March and are looking forward to April! I can’t decide whether time is rushing by or going really slowly in this odd odd year that is 2021 …

TMP – Oscar Winner Edition: Best Actor/Actress

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

This week is once again part of the Oscar Winner Edition, which will pop up every now and then during the year and will let us focus on movies that received the Academy Award. As I’ve established before, this is not exactly a specialty of mine, but let’s see what I can come up with for Best Actor/Actress today. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of the movies from the past 2-3 decades, but I never felt that those movies were my favourites.

Room – Brie Larson

This movie is just outstanding. The premise is so heartbreaking and the point of view unique, since it mostly rests on Jacob Tremblay’s character. Still, Brie Larson gave this everything she got and made me cry several times with the impossible decisions that had to be made.

The Blind Side – Sandra Bullock

I realise this is one of those white saviour movies and I’m not excusing that narrative, but I’m a weird sucker for American Football content and I really liked it when I saw it for the first time. I think this was also the year Sandra Bullock was nominated and received the Golden Raspberry for worst performance, which I just find hilarious.

Forrest Gump – Tom Hanks

Forrest Gump is just a classic and Tom Hanks will forever been associated with the iconic role. Is there more to say?

The Artist – Jean Dujardin

I just thought it was fantastic that a French actor won in this category with a black and white silent movie in the year 2011. I mean, what are the chances?

Nominees Who Would Have (Also) Deserved the Win

I’m not here to debate whether someone rightfully got the Oscar or not, but sometimes there’s just people who I’d also have liked to see get the award. So, here are some examples:

  • Captain Fantastic – Viggo Mortensen
  • Get Out – Daniel Kaluuya
  • Little Women – Saoirse Ronan (or for Brooklyn, or Lady Bird)
  • The Devil Wears Prada – Meryl Streep
  • Pride & Prejudice – Keira Knightley
  • Finding Neverland – Johnny Depp


What are some of your favourite Best Actor/Actress Oscar Winners? What did you think of my picks? Let’s talk!

February 2021 Wrap-Up

Where January felt like a whole year in itself, I barely registered February. It’s always so short to begin with, but somehow it felt even shorter now. Nevertheless, I actually managed to read a decent amount of books, even if you probably wouldn’t have been able to tell from the lack of reviews I wrote. I just found for myself that I don’t want to review every book I finish, so I’m gonna give you a brief summary of my thoughts in the wrap-up instead.

  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (4 stars)
    I don’t think I properly reviewed any of the books in the To All the Boys series, so I didn’t want to do the final book either. I enjoyed it, just as I did the others. Some parts felt a bit rushed, but I liked the main conflict, because making decisions about your future is hard, but it’s sweet to think that some things might last.
  • S. by J.J. Abrams/Doug Dorst (3 stars)
    Reading S. is an experience and a challenge. The different timelines, meanings and stories are a lot and not all of them are really exciting. I enjoyed that this was a love letter to so many things, but the main storyline was still a bit lackluster.
  • Soulswift by Megan Bannen (5 stars)
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (4 stars)
    Now that the teaser for the upcoming Netflix adaptation is out, I could not resist finally picking up the books. I finished Shadow and Bone in half a day and I haven’t read anything this quick in YEARS. I agree with the people who say that Six of Crows is better, Bardugo improved her craft in since her first books, but I still loved it. I just don’t get where this incessant Darklina shipping comes from, but I do get loving the Darkling?

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3) S. Soulswift Shadow and Bone (Shadow and Bone, #1)

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

So, I was scheduled to get my two remaining wisdom teeth removed in February and due to some annoying stuff, I ended up only getting one out and it’s still in the healing phase and that really knocked me out for a while there. I’m really not even that huge on food usually, but I was craving the most ridiculous things and I still haven’t been able to eat everything I wanted, but I WILL!

The health aspect being really draining, I wasn’t very motivated to do anything creatively. I didn’t write. I didn’t really draw, but I did try and keep up with my blogging. I think I chucked out a decent amount of posts and I hope you enjoyed them.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

I have rarely been as excited for anything as I have for Shadow and Bone. I’ve watched the IGN Fan Fest exclusive trailer premiere and the cast q&a afterwards and I was in heaven. I don’t know what it is about all of it, because we got like 5 seconds of my baby crows, but I was beyond hyped. The sound design, the effects, the casting – all of it looks perfect! They put so much love into this show and I want to see it succeed.

Don’t hesitate to follow me over at Twitter for continuous Shadow and Bones spam!

MY OTHER POSTS

WANDAVISION REVIEWS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


How was your February? Did you enjoy the content I put out? Is there something you would like to see more of? Let’s talk!

January 2021 Wrap-Up

January was A MONTH for me. I refuse to go into detail, but it literally got worse than 2020, which, frankly, I thought was hard to accomplish. Unfortunately, most of February and possibly March will be tainted with struggle as well. I only have my fingers crossed for the summer, because there is a limit to my patience, but it is what it is for now. I just genuinely hope you all had a better time.

I also dragged myself through only two books, so, I didn’t read that much, but that’s for now not a real worry:

Don't Tell a Soul    My Year Abroad

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

I don’t really know what to tell you about the month, because the highs were high and the lows were low. I am so very grateful to have friends and family who keep checking in with me, because sometimes things just aren’t easy and even if we all know we can’t actually do anything about it, venting helps. I am not going to unload here as well, but know that everyone who comes and visits this blog and gives me something to do and distract myself with has my utmost gratitude. 

After a long, long pause from writing, I have finally returned to that world again too. I want to keep the WIP close to my heart, but I have jotted down more than 7K words and will be rewriting the ones I have before continuing on. It’s like I am creating a very detailed outline for what I want the readers to know, just to take it all apart and write into something that isn’t just a plain info dump.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

WandaVision. I have waited so long. I have anticipated that show for what feels like eternity, because Wanda Maximoff has always been one of my favourite characters and she’s finally getting the attention she deserves. I adore that even non-Marvel fans are checking out the show and letting themselves get dragged into the madness. Below you will find the list of reviews I have written for the series so far and I will continue to post weekly, spoiler-filled posts as the remaining episodes release.

A little stylized Wanda drawing I made!

Duskwood finally released the new episode!! I have talked about the mobile game before (check it out here) and it’s still one of my favourite things. I feel like this episode wasn’t as intricate as the previous one, but it once again left on a massive cruel cliffhanger. Here’s to hoping it won’t take another two months until we get new content.

MY OTHER POSTS

WANDAVISION REVIEWS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


Hope you had a better January than I did! On we venture into the rest of 2021! 

My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee (eARC Review)

Publisher: Riverhead Books
Page Count
: 496
Release Date: February 2, 2021

Further synopsis taken from Goodreads:

In the breathtaking, “precise, elliptical prose” that Chang-rae Lee is known for (The New York Times), the narrative alternates between Tiller’s outlandish, mind-boggling year with Pong and the strange, riveting, emotionally complex domestic life that follows it, as Tiller processes what happened to him abroad and what it means for his future. Rich with commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism, global trade, mental health, parenthood, mentorship, and more, My Year Abroad is also an exploration of the surprising effects of cultural immersion–on a young American in Asia, on a Chinese man in America, and on an unlikely couple hiding out in the suburbs. Tinged at once with humor and darkness, electric with its accumulating surprises and suspense, My Year Abroad is a novel that only Chang-rae Lee could have written, and one that will be read and discussed for years to come.

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: parental abandonment, suicidal ideation, mental illness, forced labor, forced sexual intercourse, sex work

Let’s get it out of the way. Unfortunately, I was not the right reader for this book.

I had been very eager to pick up this novel, because of my own experiences abroad. Be it during my formative High School years or later on in life, every time I went to a different country for a longer period of time, I learned something about the world, about people and most importantly myself. No matter where I stayed, it changed me and taught me valuable lessons. I cherish those experiences and thought it would be a great connection to this story. But no matter how hard I tried, I constantly found myself losing interest.

Told between alternating timelines of now and the adventure that got Tiller to his present situation, I couldn’t always quite make the connection between the different scenarios. I felt that the story was disjointed and didn’t evoke the emotional effect I had hoped for. The journey abroad and its aftermath were so important, yet Tiller doesn’t even leave his country until about 40% into the book.

While everything Tiller describes has a purpose, it’s still hard to follow him as he finds value in situations you wish he had never gotten into. I don’t think anything ever goes smoothly when you set out for something potentially life-changing, but where he found himself along the way was among the worst that could happen. There are some clear themes around parenthood, taking action (which Tiller does very late in the book, mostly being an inactive protagonist who things happen to rather than someone who makes things happen – but that’s all part of the journey!) kinship and the privilege of certain opportunities. And yet, I still couldn’t always grasp the fondness for certain people and experiences I would have rather never thought of ever again, while Tiller had them on the highest of pedestals.

Ultimately, I think that this style of writing just wasn’t for me. I can see many literary fans rejoicing in the details, but I found myself drifting off mid-sentence as the descriptions became ever more elaborate and lengthy. In general, this book was just too long, offering pages of minute details of various foods and drinks or other things, just information on top of information, but not the connection to me as a reader I really sought. I am certain others will be able to appreciate Lee’s craftsmanship and skill more than I could. 

Fazit: 2/5 stars! Unfortunately, My Year Abroad failed to capture me.


Have you spent some time abroad? What was it like for you? Can you see yourself picking up a book like this?

December 2020 Wrap-Up / The Year in Review

I concluded the last year by reading a decent 5 more books. Considering that I went back to reading more in 2020 than in previous years, but still not a staggering amount, I am quite happy with that. I definitely managed to pass my Goodreads reading goal even earlier than that already, so, at least there was no “end of the year”-pressure involved. Here’s my December books:

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club, #1) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue This Is How You Lose the Time War Beartown (Beartown, #1) This Is Not a Ghost Story

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

Because this has also turned into a bit of a tradition on here, I’ll also share parts of my reading year (curated by Goodreads) with you again. You can check out the full post here. I know there are now a couple really interesting other platforms that offer even better statistics etc. and I plan to look into that for 2021 (e.g. Storygraph), but for now, Goodreads it is.

My plan for 2020 was to read 30 books and I ended up passing that goal and reading a total of 40 books, which translates to 12,586 pages in my specific case. I’ve had more time to read, for obvious reasons, than in past years, but I also still gravitate towards books of medium length rather than huge tomes. I don’t know how I more or less inhaled them in my younger days. My shortest “book” in 2020 was a single issue of Deadpool. Usually, I only put entire volumes towards my reading goals, but I only had that one and it was listed, so … I put it in too.

Lastly, my average rating has increased again. I always do try to actively choose books I might like instead of going for cover fancy as I used to do. I also managed to not get a single 1-star-book in 2020, so, there’s always that.

2020 was A YEAR.

2020 was full of loss and waiting and restrictions. I know it hasn’t been easy on anyone and I truly wish that more people had been empathetic enough to follow pretty simple rules to get this contained quicker instead of dragging it out for so long. I have found myself in a rather privileged position, having been able to stay with my parents when my plans to emigrate to Canada fell through. I really do not want to get into the personal details of my year, but let’s just say it felt like I was stuck in limbo for most of it. But I am tired of talking about it and thinking about it, because I can’t change much aside from doing my part in staying home and keeping others safe. I do not intend to put any kind of pressure or expectations on 2021, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have the tiny hope of it being better again.

Having had so much time, I was able to have more time for the blog again. Not all things were bad! I am so very grateful for everyone who has made my year better by engaging and getting my stats up again, since 2019 was the worst blogging year. It has made me feel more connected to the community again and I appreciated that endlessly. Here’s some updated info:

  • The blog now has more than 2,666 WordPress followers, which is awesome. I did not grow in an excessive amount, but that anyone actually cares about my super random rambles – it’s forever a mystery to me.
  • This very post is post #1,245. I should probably go all the way back to my early days and maybe put some posts on private that weren’t of great quality, but that’s going to be quite the task.
  • Once again, I’d also like to give a huge thanks and shout-out to my top commenters! You keep showing up and making my day better and it means so much to me! So, please feel free to show some love to RamiLoisThe Orang-utan LibrarianRae, Becks and Marie!

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2020

(click on the title of the post to read the full thing!)

Something Different: Duskwood (Game) – I never talk about any sort of game, well I never did, but maybe I should reconsider that stance! My post about the mobile app Duskwood was by far the most clicked post in all of 2020. I still encourage anyone who wants to play a free chat-based mystery game to check it out (although I did splurge on a pass).

Movies and TV Shows for Book Lovers – I mean, the title says it all and the topic pretty much combines all my passions aka books, movies and TV shows. I really hope the post included some content you weren’t already aware of.

Kiss, Marry, Kill: TV Edition 2020 – You all love that feature so much, it’s literally in the top posts every single year, no matter the theme I choose. I think you all like to see me squirm, because I never want to off any of the characters that get picked.

A Discovery of Witches: Book vs. TV Show: These are my favourite posts to write and although they don’t always garner a lot of comments, they do get a lot of clicks, which makes me think that people enjoy the comparisons. On a side note, I am also very pumped for the new season, which starts in a less than two weeks.

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily (Book Review) – Nothing warms my heart more than to see an actual book review among the top clicked posts. We all know that despite blogs being all about reviews, they are often not the posts that garner any kind of attention. This makes it feel worthwhile.

MY 2020 RANKINGS

I’ve also gone through the trouble of ranking all the content I read and watched in the past year. I am pretty sure I missed stuff (how did I not even mention the second season of the Boys!?), but it still is a pretty accurate reflection of my viewing and reading preferences. Here are the links in case you missed them:

MY OTHER DECEMBER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

TRAILER POSTS


Now, before we leave this dreadful year behind: were there some posts you really enjoyed on my blog this past year? Finally, I hope we all have a better, healthy and prosperous 2021! THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY ON HERE!

November 2020 Wrap-Up

November was A MONTH for me. I was glad that I had already finished my reading challenge for the year in the previous month, because I barely had the energy at the beginning of November to do anything. However, I did end up reading the following books:

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily #2) Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily Admission

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

I still remember mentioning that I got a job last month. Well, I am not at that job anymore, but I also don’t want to talk about it. I think it’s just better for now.

Additionally to me having to get tested for Covid (I was negative, woot! woot!), my country went into a hard lockdown with all shops and restaurants closed (unless they can provide take out) for the second time. Weirdly, I think people aren’t taking it as seriously as the first time, which in turn makes me angry because it’s gonna drag out things even more. As much as all of them want to go back to “normal”, a whole lot of them refuse to do the bare minimum necessary to achieve that. But here’s to hoping the lockdown will have positive effects (in all ways except for covid testing results).

I have found myself in a really big life slump. Even after finding out that I might be able to get an extension for my Canada work permit, I could not motivate myself to do anything. It’s been a pretty arduous time for a lot of us and I know I am not the only one struggling occasionally, but it definitely didn’t feel nice. I didn’t draw. I didn’t write. I barely read anything. However, I DID create a tips and tricks post for watercolour art and if you haven’t checked it out, I’d really appreciate it if you gave it a look HERE.

If you have any specific questions about my process and art in general, I’d really love for you to post them in the comments of the tips & tricks post! I am more than happy to collect them and give it my best shot at answering them in a possible new post! (please don’t let it flop!!)

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

I was really, really looking forward to Dash & Lily on Netflix and I am so happy that it didn’t disappoint. I already watched it through several times and it’s the reason I also finally read the sequels! On the show, Lily makes this puppet of Dash and it looks so funny and *drum roll* I have decided to give it a try myself and I now have it as a goal to recreate the puppet until Christmas.

I already have a lot of the materials, except for the hair, eyebrows and these floofy balls. I am not sure I am gonna get them until Christmas, but I will try and get as far as I can.

Also, in a desperate attempt to feel productive in some shape or form, I finished my MasterClass for TV writing with Shonda Rhimes as well as the Art of Storytelling with Neil Gaiman. They are both incredible instructors and have provided great course material even beyond the videos. I have to say, it’s easy to listen to them for hours though, they did a great job and it did make me feel just the tiniest bit more motivated to do something … even if I didn’t follow up on it.

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS


How was your November? Did you get into the holiday spirit a little bit with all the topical shows and movies releasing?

Kat’s Tips & Tricks – Watercolour Art

As many of you know, I’ve really dug deep into the world of watercolour art this year. I would like to point out that I am still, in absolutely no way, an expert on the matter, but I do enjoy myself quite a lot. I have focused on portraits, so, bear in mind that that’s mostly the viewpoint I am talking from in the following post. And what is this post?

Well, I’ve now been approached a couple times about how I do things and I thought, why not share my “insights”? I’ve also done a poll on Twitter and had quite a few people interested in it. I will try and do a short summary of this post on the platform as well (hopefully).

MATERIALS

First off, let’s talk basics aka materials. I am of the strong opinion that you don’t need to spend loads of money when you start out. Try using a basic watercolour palette, like the ones you might use for school, and regular paper to work on your technique. If you like what you’re doing and find yourself enjoying the process and would now like to dig deeper, there’s a whole world of different papers, brushes and colours you get to explore. Everyone needs to find the materials they are most comfortable with, so, here are my favourite products and the reason why I like them so much:

  • paper: I’m currently mostly working on 100% cotton/300g/cold-pressed paper in DIN A4 size. It’s my preferred size, because I neither like to do very small artwork nor do I have the space for big projects. The other components are important, because you’ll want to look for durable paper that can hold a lot of water.
  • brushes: I don’t go for certain brands, but I found I prefer round brushes. I have them in all different sizes, but my saving grace has really been an investment in detail brushes (the kind you’d use for model making). I could not imagine having to botch my way through a drawing without those anymore.

  • watercolour palettes: as I said above, I think you can do a lot with a very basic palette. The colours might not be as durable and rich, but you can still mix a great many shades out of them. Only after I had worked with regular colours for a while, did I front some money for higher quality palettes. I went for a 24-colour-White Night palette and then different palettes (e.g. metallic colours …) from Van Gogh. I personally don’t work with colours in tubes, I prefer them solid.
  • masking fluid: this is one of my favourite gadgets ever. I have a masking fluid pen with which I mark certain areas that will be highlighted later on (this is done before you start working with watercolours). You can go into great detail with those pens and make sure single hairs are noticeable even in very dark areas.
  • masking tape, paper towels, several vessels containing water: believe me, you’ll need those!

PREPARATION

This varies from person to person and, again, I can only speak to how I do things. There’s people who really enjoy drawing on their sketch pad directly, but I like to draw on single sheets of paper. I fix that sheet of paper to my drawing base with the above mentioned masking tape.

Attention: if you use light paper/lower quality paper, there’s a danger of the masking tape ripping it!

Even before that though, I make my initial sketch/outline of the person I want to draw. I use a mechanical pencil for my sketches and am always careful that I don’t press down on the paper too hard. These sketches help me to get proportions right before I put something irreversible on the paper. You have to make sure you don’t need to erase too much, because that will likely irritate the paper and make things harder for you once you get to the water-stage of things.

Sneaky tip: if you are unsure about your proportions and getting the initial sketch right, just turn up the brightness on your laptop/computer screen and trace whoever/whatever you want to draw.

The amount of detail you go into is completely up to you. Hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and difficult patterns are things I like to put into my pencil sketch. As I said above, I make sure to not press down too hard with the pencil, because you want it to be a guideline for you later on, but not something that is noticeable through the watercolours. The outline helps guide the water a little bit and I like that, so I don’t erase it all, even though I have seen several artists do sketches just to erase them so that they are barely visible at all.

   

Above you can see examples of my outlines and the finished projects!

PROCESS

There is no way for me to tell you just how much water vs how much colour you should use. As always, it very much depends on what you are trying to do and what effect you are trying to accomplish. There’s a couple things I can try to explain though and I just really hope that they make sense.

General rule of watercolour: always go from light to dark colours and not the other way round!

When I tackle my drawings, I like to work in certain blocks. You should always choose whether to start with the background or the object/person in the foreground. I prefer doing the background first, because I feel like I can make less “mistakes” that way. There’s really nothing worse than having done a beautiful portrait just to go a bit overboard with the background …

Here’s how I do backgrounds:
First, I wet the areas I want to colour with a brush. I use quite big brushes to get a moderate amount of water on there, but always make sure not to cross over the outline of the person’s face or clothes. Sometimes I get a bit too cautious, which can leave an unlucky white area later on.
After the paper has been wetted, I mostly use the colours directly on paper without much mixing or watering. I enjoy the way they merge with the water create all sorts of patterns.

Handy trick: when you aren’t yet confident with your colour intensity and selection, always have a piece of paper ready to try your colours before putting it on for good. I still do this all the time!

As mentioned above, I like to work in blocks. So, after the background is dry (and really only then), I start on the face. If you are impatient and want to work on several areas, make sure that they do not touch! Water is sneaky and colours will easily bleed over. Since you work from light to dark colours, you will need to work with several layers and wait so that they can dry as well.

When I work on faces and clothes, I never apply the colour directly on the paper/canvas. I always mix it with water first, use paper towels to adjust the wetness of the brush and only then get to work. Watercolours are pretty unforgiving, but having paper towels at the ready can make a difference sometimes. Or, if you accidentally used too much colour, you can always try to soften it with more water.

As a benchmark, I need about 4-5 hours in total per portrait I do. Compared to other artists I know, who use the medium as well for their art, this is actually on the lower end of the time spectrum. There’s people who do their watercolour work over the course of several days!

Never forget: Watercolour art requires a lot of patience! Let layers dry!

Final details can be done with detail brushes and watercolor, but I like to do a lot of the finishing touches with a white gel pen and coloured pencils (which I sharpen with a knife for more precision). It’s a balancing act to make sure the pencils’ structure on the paper doesn’t overtake the delicacy of the watercolours.

SOME EXAMPLES OF MY WORK


I hope you enjoyed this post! Please, let me know in the comments if you would like to see further insights into how I create art etc. Are you working with watercolour as well? What’s your favourite medium?

October 2020 Wrap-Up

October was A LOT for me. Initially, I was still on a blogging and reading high, but then halfway through the month it all fizzled out as I got busy with something else. However, I did finish my Goodreads reading goal for the year (30 books) and even surpassed it. Usually I have to scramble to get all the reads in by the end of December, so, it’s super neat to not feel that pressure. Even if, all things considered, I put that pressure on myself.

Anyway, here’s what I read:

  • Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe (3 stars)
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (5 stars)
  • The Lives of Saints by Leigh Bardugo (5 stars)
    I did not review this on the blog, because I didn’t know how. It’s like dark fairy tales, but everyone ends up being a saint in the Grishaverse. I think especially the later entries might have had more impact if I had read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, but it still worked great for me. I do love it when a universe is expanded upon.
  • DKMH by Dacre Montgomery (2.5 stars)
    While this had a great opening, I really struggled to connect to the actual poems. I know it was incredibly personal for Dacre, but they felt random to me.

Charming as a Verb Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1) The Lives of Saints DKMH

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

As mentioned above, I got super busy about halfway through the month. That is due to me finding a job (it’s a call center job, we don’t need to talk about) and having gone to multiple job interviews before that and also scheduling a bunch of doctor appointments to get check ups. I don’t know why I made life for myself harder, but yeah …

Now, my country is entering a second lockdown. I don’t think it affects my work (yet?), but we will have a curfew from 8PM to 6AM and I heard a lot of people went to parties this weekend to have like a last hoorah before it is mandatory … don’t think that was the smartest idea? This whole situation is just so endlessly frustrating. I really think this whole year is a dumpster fire, but I also don’t really see the prospect of 2021 being any better.

Sorry for having been such a downer! On to other things!

I wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, but I don’t think I will have the time at all. Maybe I will check in every now and then though and try and get some words in. Will any of you be participating?

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

I was caught completely off guard by just how much I loved the Haunting of series but I completely lost myself in those ghostly love and family stories. It reignited my love for Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Victoria Pedretti, which had been pretty strong as is anyway. But now I just want to watch even more of all their existing and future work.

I made this for Oli’s birthday!

Also, I went back down a rabbit hole of watching Dylan O’Brien stuff. One was Love and Monsters and the other an episode of Amazing Stories (on Apple TV+) called The Cellar. Both were great and will be talked about in a separate post. But … Victoria Pedretti and Dylan O’Brien in the Cellar was just plain heartbreaking. I can’t stop thinking about them!

The fan video below is pretty spoilery, but SO. GOOD!

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS


Hope you had a great month! Is there something you are planning on doing in November? How is the situation in your country?