Friday, May 13, 2011

Memory #28: A New Adjective

Way more then half of what happens to me on a regular basis is totally unexpected. Having observed patterns in my life this way, I try to plan the rest of my life around knowing this.

When I started this blog, besides trying to find an excuse to have sketch assignments, I thought it might help me embrace and welcome my 30's. After about 8 months of updating, I started running on empty. My brain ached to live in the present and not in the past. I had a pretty long roller coaster ride from age 20-30 and I think having this record of events will give me a slight advantage when I become old and those little random gray hairs take over my head. I referenced a lot of journals that I kept mostly between the ages of 22-25. Why only those years? I don't know. Life was more confusing for me then and it was easier to think on paper, I guess.
I've come a long way... :)
I left a lot of stuff out, too. I left out all the vacations I took...Italy, Seattle, Vero Beach, the Bahamas, our yearly Cape Cod trips. Besides Michael Burns, I left out all the friends and family I've lost... Aunt Mary, Jan, Danielle, Robert Kaufman. College, boyfriends, Weddings, Mix CD, Babies. I left out my best friend's courage to conquer Hodgkin's Disease. I even left out the time she threw her beer in a guys face because he told me I was fat (awesome). But, I got tired and to be honest, I started to get worried that it was making me depressed.

In this process I discovered there is a reason people tell you to look to the future. I remember at one point saying "Please God, can I just turn 30 already so this can be over?" Mission accomplished...30's embraced! And when I let the memories go, I felt happy again to leave them in the past, tucked away very carefully of course.

With two weeks to go until 30, My boyfriend Keith and I went to Boston ComicCon where we spent a good part of the afternoon hanging out with some really cool people. That morning, the sky was overcast, but it was still sort of warm. We parked our car in the Boston Commons garage and planned for a day in the city. I've discovered over the years that one of my most favorite things to do in this city is park and walk from the Public Gardens to Newbury Street. I love the Back Bay because it holds not only all my precious college memories...but the very first memories made in Boston when I moved here 12 years ago.
That day, we spent time with a lot of his friends who were selling comics and prints and I remember at one point during the afternoon...just feeling happy...watching Keith interact with people. I could have hugged him over and over again. But anyone who's ever been to a con knows that if you don't eat, you might just pass out after a while. When our faces started to hurt from smiling, and our stomaches wouldn't let us take another step...we dragged ourselves to an open booth at Pour House and got lunch, where we ordered the exact same meal. The Bruins were in game 1 of the playoffs against Philadelphia, it was our server's first day.

Afterwards, while we walked back to the car to drop off all the stuff we acquired, the sun poked itself out of the clouds. We walked down the Comm. Ave mall which triggered millions of memories. Discovering that Ryan Luby as just as obsessed with Pearl Jam as I was! Smoking cigarettes on the stairs of 127. Waiting for my parents to come pick me up for the holidays. Big pants, bikes, Ben Harper, daisies, and the smell of oil paint. I pointed out all the spots to Keith as we walked by. "That's where I used to live!" "That's where we almost got kicked out of school for having a barbeque in the alley!" I'm sure he gets tired of hearing those stories, but he listens. :)

We made it to the car and back to the Public Gardens where we walked around the Swan Boat Pond looking for a good bench. We sat in one and Keith spied another. "I kinda want to sit over there, it's nice under that tree." There was a weird man sitting there fiddling with his headphones. "Err, what about that rock? Let's go sit on that rock." "Ok," I said. We walked over to the rock and just as we were getting close, another couple stole the rock. We ended up in the grass, close to the water, across from the dock where all the ducks were quacking at each other.
I closed my eyes, trying to shake off a headache and Keith started rambling about wondering whether or not I liked where we lived...if I still wanted a house. (A conversation we've had a million times.) So I just started laughing. "What?!...hahahaha" And then he said, "Well what about us...our relationship?" I just continued laughing, "I'm happy with you!! Why?!" "Well I have a question...for youuu..."

Keith said that my face wiped itself of all laughter immediately. Now that I think about it, it was the biggest shift in emotion I have ever felt. The tears came almost immediately.

"Will you ma..."


"Waiit! You have to let me finish!"
"Ok, ok ok ok..." (sniffle sniffle)
"Will you marry me?"

I've always wanted to do that experiment where you make a list of adjectives about yourself. I'm constantly thinking of what I would write: Quirky, Happy, Funny, Artistic, Creative, know. Those are all boring, but now I can add... ENGAGED!
Keith said he had the ring for about a month and never could find the right time, and I don't really know how the universe works...but something aligned in the stars that day. You can't plan around that! Now I get to start my 30s engaged to the most wonderful guy. He makes me laugh, he makes me feel wanted, he shares the same affinity for books and funny toys, and he has the best family who has always made me feel welcome. That's the short list...(I wouldn't want his head getting too big) :) But, I love him so much.

I never thought such a big memory would be made with such little time left, but I guess that's the beauty of the unexpected!

Another huge thank you everyone for following along! Maybe I'll see you again in 10 years when I count down the memories of my 30s..... errr, I'll probably think of something better by then. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Goin' out in style...

A little over a year ago, right before falling asleep one night, I had an idea to start a memory blog counting down the last year of my 20's. In my head, it was the best idea was fun and also a little painful going through old journals - digging up old memories and attempting, at best, to capture them in sketchy, kinda stupid looking illustrations. :) Some were more finished than others, but all along the goal was to at least keep myself sketching for an entire year. 

This particular drawing was inspired both in line and color by Emily Carroll. If you don't know her work, just go - go look at it NOW!! I don't have anything that important to say...yet! Emily, I hope you don't mind being an inspiration for this sketch. :)

I want to thank all of you for following me through this sketchy journey. Your comments, support, cheers, and encouragement have been what keeps me coming back to update it. 

I have one more big post planned for this week...stay tuned for the last post of Goodbye, my 20's!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Memory #27: Making my Mark *Part 5

(...continued from the previous post)

That November, at the age of 24 (circa 2005), I started my first day at FableVision. I feel lucky that I got to work in the Watertown office because a few years later, I helped pack the entire company into boxes for a big move downtown, atop the Boston Children's Museum.

Ok. I have to mention the irony again because only 3 years prior, I was unsuccessfully trying to teach kids how to draw cows at a Boston Children's Museum event. I think I should change my middle name to Irony?

Back then, there might have been about 10-12 staff employees. I was a freelancer, but hired as a full time employee not long after the move (On the very same day as my future boyfriend! Err, that's future that is now the present. <3)

Now, at the age of 29, I get to work every day with nearly 40 people I admire. The credit really starts with the first two artists I met at FableVision. The reason I have any blog at all is because of Bob Flynn. The reason I have the perseverance to work around the clock is because I admire John Lechner who is passionate enough to do just that. And, in the past 5 years we have added so many amazingly inspiring people to the team.

I can't say enough that I owe each and every one of these people not only my career, but my continued passion for art, illustration, and animation. (Kate, Ryan, Didi, Bob, Hannah, Keith, John, Tami, Taryn, Naomi, Samantha, James, Brian, Karen, Peter, Gary, Adam, Paul R., Shelby, Fiana, Shannon, Caryn, Matt, Jordan, Leigh, Bill, Paul C., Michele, Margarita, Toby, Ellen, Abby, Andy, Kip, Chris, Marcy - you guys ARE AWESOME.) You have to surround yourself with people that inspire you and anything is possible. Simple as that!

So, that being said and in true FableVision fashion, this post can only end one way because it's not the's:

You can see a small sampling of some art I've made at FableVision here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Memory #27: Making My Mark *Part 4

(...continued from the previous post)

The days afterward flew by slowly at first, but then like a crazy breeze. I was disheartened because I had already failed interviews with various companies (aheermBigBlueDot), but FableVision seemed different.

Back then, the company was in Watertown, a 5 minute drive from my apartment on a semi-industrial back road. You'd never have known it was there. When I found it, I felt special, like I uncovered a hidden jewel all on my own. To be turned down at a place like that is a hard feeling and it's really amazing how I didn't lose the drive or courage I needed to be in the animation industry.

The reason I didn't get the job was that I had never used Adobe Flash before (Macromedia Flash back then, hehe), so I continued waitressing, dropped $600+ on the software (thanks Mom and Dad) and quickly realized that Flash is way too hard to teach yourself. I spent hours at night studying FVTV and growing to love FableVision more and more - but felt it becoming more unattainable by the minute. 

I had pretty much given up on Flash when I got a call from my good friend from college, Mike Annear. Another animation studio named Soup2Nuts was doing a mass-hiring and needed artists to help work on the TV series Time Warp Trio. I said, "Mike, I have no idea what I'm doing..." He said, "It's cool, I'll help you." I unsurely said, "Well...ooohhkayy," with perplexed eyebrows and sent the same resume to Soup2Nuts. I might have fibbed a little, maybe told Phil and Davio I knew a little more about Flash than I did (ARGH! I'm sorry guys!) But they took a chance on me and, instead of a Server, I became a:

And listen to THIS unimportant but ironic detail! I quit my waitressing job on a Friday and the very next Monday every other employee arrived at work to a locked door with a sign on it telling them to go home because the restaurant was closed. CLOSED! How evil. 

During my first week at Soup2Nuts, I cried my way home every single night. It was so hard. I found that my job was to be somewhat of an apprentice to John Dee (who I immediately found to be AWESOME) and help to prep his characters for the animators. And that is what I did...for 8 months. Time Warp Trio was a great learning experience for me. I got to work with some really interesting and worldly characters, drawing turnarounds, separating body parts, and creating expressions for hundreds of them. I also met a lot of really cool real-life characters and since a lot of us got hired on the same day, we bonded very quickly. The talent I was surrounded by everyday was surmountable. How did I even fit IN!? It was a dream!

But, so quickly, it was over.

I think the company was going through some growing pains and when my contract was up, it was really up. Like pack your stuff and we'll be in touch kind of "up." A lot of us left that day and it was really sad. However, it didn't take many people a long time to find new jobs and I'm pretty sure it didn't take me too long to email FableVision.

While I was waiting to hear back, I found a job at a coffee shop (another random life goal I wanted to attain) even though the owner deemed me too qualified for the job and predicted I'd find a better one soon. I told him, "Noooo, really, I WANT to work here." And he hired me. But, of course I got a second interview at FV. I barely went to sleep the night before because I spent the entire night putting together a character design demo reel. I wanted to prove myself SO badly.

A few days after my second interview, I remember I was watching Shaun of the Dead in my fourth apartment and I got a phone call.

I also got myself a new job and, for the record, I still feel bad about ditching that coffee shop. :)

(to be continued...)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Memory #27: Making My Mark *Part 3

(...continued from the previous post)

When we got to the Ritz, I was informed that, even though my name was printed on hundreds of invitations, they were able to get Peter H. Reynolds to come and be the guest of honor at the last minute instead.

Reminder, I was 23 and clueless, but in my head I'm all like: "WhothehellisPeterHReynolds!!??"

I was disappointed, but as soon as I witnessed the chaos of children rushing in with their parents, I became immediately thrilled to have some pressure taken off my shoulders. I still got to run a small workshop in the corner of the room to which many, many children flocked to. I gave them a "how-to" printout with the steps involved in drawing a cow:

Actual printout (HAhaha...hoo least I had my sense of humor)

 to which most of them replied:


The "workshop" lasted one long, gruesome, painful hour and before I knew it I was being told to clean up my area because it was being taken over by Peter H. Reynolds.

I don't know what I thought when I met him. I was still sweaty and shaky from dealing with the hordes of children. I cleared away my sheets of paper, crayons, and markers, while he replaced them with one flimsy easel and a giant post-it pad. "Plop!"

While the museum staff gathered all the kids around, I chatted with Peter. He barely looked at me when he spoke... I know now that he was carefully surveying his audience and mentally preparing for his spotlight moment. In the five minutes we talked, he managed to tell me about FableVision. I'm so happy that my nerves let me take away that one little piece of information. (I usually forget things when I'm nervous.)

I weaved my way to the back of the room while the hundreds of children crowded in the middle. Peter began to read from his book The Dot. The kids sat there, quiet, well behaved, and my jaw dropped to the ground. I thought, "How'd he DO that?!" When he was finished, he drew a squiggly line on his giant post it pad and asked the kids what they saw:

 They all started yelling and screaming, but he chose an answer from a little girl in the front... "Of course, it's an alligator!" Then he actually made it into an alligator.

Again, "How'd he DO that!? Why didn't the kids question the resemblance of HIS alligator!?"

Kelly and I left soon after and wandered around the Boston Common for a bit.

Here's the picture Kelly was talking about in her last comment. I look pissed off, but I'm really just trying to look cool for the camera...haha.

I knew I still had a long way to go after that day, but exactly 3 minutes after we got home I was readying a resume and cover letter.

I sent it in, had an interview... but I didn't get the job.

(to be continued...)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Memory #27: Making My Mark *Part 2

(...continued from the previous post)

As it turned out... nobody even SIGNED UP for the class. I drove home to my 3rd Apartment with the caffeine shakes and laughing uncontrollably at my failure.

I will always have a sense of humor.

After my first failed attempt at doing something with my college degree, I decided to take on one of my "do before I die" sort of challenges. I tried to master a different kind of art: the art of being a waitress. Because, you know, there really is an art to it. There's a steady beat that needs to happen and if you get knocked off that beat, your entire day plummets downhill at a rapid pace. (Tip your waiters, people, and stop being so demanding, jeeez!) I would imagine this was around the time of Memory #2.

One day, a little less than a year after my failed attempt at teaching, I got an email from a staff employee at the Boston Children's Museum. Those emails, the ones that just pop up out of nowhere, can totally change your life.

This particular email was from an event planner at the museum and had heard about my 'artistic talents' through Yssa and James at About the Arts. (Say what!?) The Children's Museum staff wanted me to teach the workshop I spent so much time preparing, to kids at their next fundraising event and be the GUEST OF HONOR. (oOoOoooooh!)

OK, now...let me elaborate. When I was 23-24 years website looked like this:

And my showcased illustration, aka, my favorite...was this:
This was back when I actually used paint!
It was a miracle that anyone even gave me the time of day!

(Thank you - Check out the third iteration of my website! It's animated!!
Oh wait...this whole thing is a flashback.
You see, the most important advice I can give anyone who's trying to do anything with their life is: DO IT. Remember the stupid Nike ads and suck it up. And for crying out loud, do it with a smile. Even if you have the self confidence of a snail.

I wrote back about 2 milliseconds later with an overly enthusiastic:
A few weeks later, I got dressed up to the best of my knowledge of dressing up and headed out to the Ritz Carlton in Boston to mingle with people who were much richer than I was ( And guess what? I even managed to get Kelly in as the event photographer!

( be continued)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Memory #27: Making My Mark *Part 1

Ten years ago, I never could have known how many times I would have to describe how I got to where I am today. Ten years ago I had no idea...what I was doing! 
My future was looming, as you can see.
I have a lot of things lined up with my Alma Mater, The Art Institute of Boston, in the coming months, and without realizing it, answering some interview questions for them has forced me to remember a very important timeline that took place in my early 20's - the start of my career.

When something you wanted so badly for so long somehow, one day, becomes ingrained in your routine, it's very easy to forget the way it felt before you had it. And the truth is, I worked really, really, really hard to get to where I am today. I struggled so bad, I really did (and I still do!)

When I graduated from college, the first thing I did was develop a name for my "business." You can see it took me a long time:
I was 23 and like a bait at the end of a fishing line. I went with whatever jumped up and bit me, and a lot of times, I was spit out...
You already know I tried waitressing. Before that, directly out of school, I worked with an organization called About the Arts. James and Yssa were so welcoming to me, a new and energetic college grad they found on the internet.

They worked with me to develop a lesson plan (that I proposed) in response to their artist query ad on Craig's List: "Illustration for Kids." My nerves were completely shot on the opening day of their brand new studio, just south of Boston. I was lined up to be the very first event taking place in their new space. I remember white, fresh paint, iced coffee, and a slight vomit feeling. (I was so nervous that I would mess up or worse, the kids would HATE me.) They unlocked the door and we waited, and waited, and waited...

But, nobody showed up for class.

(to be continued...)