Finally, some creative progress!

I know I have mentioned before how the autumn is really my time to get my butt kicked into high gear and work on all the things, and that is how it has been feeling. Several projects are finally culminating into their final swing, some serious personal development has been going on, and I am excited to continue sharing here everything that I can. That being said, I wanted to give a little bit of a run down of where I’m at on things, partially to give me something to look back on in a month when I am reflecting on the year overall.

Writing: 

  • I am currently compiling my second poetry collection and really hope to have this out by the end of the year.
  • I wrote a huge chunk in my post-apocalyptic short story and hope to actually start shopping it around along with a few others after the first of the year.
  • I’m making good progress on my Shakespeare poems and will start doing art pieces to go with those at some point next year.

Art:

  • I have scanned and am in the process of editing the illustrations for my poetry collection and am designing the book cover for said collection.
  • I am teaching myself to work on a tablet for digital designs in the hopes of eventually designing my own fabric prints to use in my sewing career.
  • I am designing my next two shows and committing the costumes to paper this week, which is always a little scary but exciting.

Music:

  • I finished writing another song last night! This is the one I scrapped and rewrote, and I need to edit it, but it feels good to have it done.
  • I have started getting my singing chops back again slowly after another break from it due to crazy parenting and gig schedule.
  • I’ve been playing my flute once or twice a week while my daughter is in preschool, even if I have other things I “should” be doing, and it’s felt great.

Now how much I can push forward will depend again on both my paying design gigs and also I am trying to open a custom clothing boutique online as we go into the new year. So we shall see how that goes. But it feels good to be creating right now.

Update on Creative Workings

It’s been a while since I’ve shared what I’ve been working on, so I thought I would pop by and do that. Everything is taking much longer than I’ve wanted it to with my personal projects, but I’ve come to expect that in my life of parenting and freelancing.

Art – I’ve been working on colored pencil illustrations for my next poetry collection, which will be a sampling of my poetry on love. I hope to finish these up in the next couple of weeks and begin prepping the book for publication. I’m also in the middle of my first big illustration in a while to accompany my Humpty Dumpty poem, which I posted a couple in progress pics on my Instagram account. I’m really hoping to finish that one up this week. And I’ve started working on art because I want to try my hand at designing fabric, so I probably won’t be posting any of that here.

Music – After the success of fully putting down on paper my first song in years, I had hoped that the process would get easier, but my next song is proving difficult, and I am scrapping what I’ve started to rewrite part of it. As I have nothing really planned yet for my music, I want to take the time to get it the way I really want it. I also am starting to do my vocal exercises and play my flute more regularly, which is important. I really want to find a way to be making music more a part of my life again. It’s just one of those things that got put on hold when both my kids were young and we were in transition. But it is still one of the easiest ways for me to center myself and decompress.

Writing – I have been chipping away at both a new short story that I want to shop around and my novel. While I can’t always find the time to write every day, I’ve recently been writing longer chunks when I do sit down, so hopefully I can continue growing that. I’m also continuing to produce poems and pieces for another couple collections I’m working toward. I want to try submitting some poems places too, but that means I can’t share them here, and that is tough for me.

Other creative stuff I’m currently sewing a gift for someone that I’m really excited about, and I’ve been doing a lot of work with building my sewing and costuming work, which is good because this is where my money is coming in.

So slow progress is better than no progress, and as I come off of my contract job, I’m looking forward to having a few weeks of more time before the next contract really takes off. I am also going to try to post here more regularly again, but we shall see how that goes.

Discarded Art

I’ve been picking at two gouache paintings for practice for a long time now, and I put a few more layers on last week and I’m just sick of looking at them now. So I’m setting them aside before they’re finished. Giving up? Yes, but they were just for practice anyway, and I learned some interesting techniques and areas I need to strengthen, and it served the purpose of getting me used to painting in the medium again. I’m going to share them even though they aren’t “done”.

Eyes-web

Eyes – Copyright 2016, Kat Micari

This one was a practice in painting flesh and eyes.  It was getting there, but needs some more shading. Part of my problem is the watercolor paper I’m using isn’t that great. I actually really enjoy using gouache on illustration board and that is what I’ll be doing some bigger projects in.

daisiesinherfootstep-web

Daisies in Her Footsteps – Copyright 2016, Kat Micari

This one was an idea from the Ben Folds Five song “Kate”, taking the line ‘Daisies in her footsteps’. The idea is a cute one but could have been better executed. I’m confident I got the shape of the foot right but there needs a lot more shading to get it to look 3 dimensional, and I just am not feeling it anymore.

I get to do art for me so rarely that I need to move on to more soul-deep, meaningful work. Has that ever happened to any of you? You chip away at a project, and give up before coming to the end? I hate feeling like I’m throwing in the towel, but I need to.

Book Fair Wrap Up and a Sale!

The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair is complete, and for my first event, I am pleased. I managed to break even on most of the expenses, barring just food and gas to the event, but as it was also a chance to socialize with friends, and those items are a tax write-off, I’m considering it a success. I’ve actually had quite a few experiences with art shows and conventions, and there is always a potential for a huge loss (especially if you have to add in hotel cost to the mix).

The event itself was lovely. It is always a good opportunity to see what other writers and artists are doing, how they set up their displays, chat about your experiences, etc. The Buffalo community is an extremely indie crowd, very supportive of local work, and very willing to try something new. As it was free to the public, there was always a heavy flow of traffic. Downsides to the event – the first day, I was put in an upstairs room with stair access only, so that may have decreased some of the traffic, and the historic building that the event took place in was freezing cold the entire time. I also have a very hard time sitting with nothing to do, but the tables were so crammed close together, I felt like I couldn’t really occupy myself when the crowds ebbed.

Here is a slightly blurry picture of my set up from the first day, including a profile shot of me conversing with my neighbor, the awesome Madeline Claire Franklin.

table set up

Some of the many things I’ve learned:

  1. The artwork drew people over to the table, but didn’t lead to any sales of the prints. A different crowd, maybe, would have been more willing to buy, but I definitely need to decide if I want to invest the money into carrying the stock with me in the future.
  2. In some other poetry imprints’ opinions, I am undercharging on my Little Book, especially as it includes illustrations. I’m not going to be change the price anytime soon, but it is something to consider if I do further releases in the future.
  3. I need to probably start going to poetry readings if I want to get more people reading the Little Book. I hadn’t ever considered this before, and the thought of doing it makes me a little uncomfortable, which is a sign that it would probably be a good thing for me to do for personal growth. I won’t have any time until mid-July to start researching this, but it is percolating in the back of my head.
  4. It may be a smart idea to get together with some other writer friends and create our own small press label, to then be able to have a sign on the front of our table. It lends a little legitimacy to the self-published author, even though it is ridiculous that one still has to play the legitimacy game in this day and age.

Other than that, I had a lot of fun looking at the vast assortments of beards and mustaches on the men, both those vending and in the general crowd, had some great conversations with fellow writers and artists, had a fantastic Vietnamese meal with friends, and got to soak up the ambiance of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.

And now, I am offering an enormous sale on the leftover prints at my Etsy shop, including an amazing bundled deal, where you can get all three prints and a signed copy of the Little Book for just $25. This will probably be the lowest I ever sell these at, so if you’re interested, take advantage! I will have the sale available until I run out of my current stock or until the Etsy listing expires.

First Small Press event booked!

I will be vending at the 2014 Buffalo Small Press Book Fair on April 5th and 6th! I will be bringing print copies of The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent, along with some prints and a few of the original illustrations. I’ll also have 1/4 sheets with info on Penumbra to pass out.

So, if you are in the Buffalo, NY area, please stop by, even if it’s just to say “hello”.

The Little Book Of Insurrection… has now been released!

Little Book of Insurrection coverI am pleased to announce the release of The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent.

Links:

Download ebook for free at Smashwords (Note: if you do not have an e-reader, .pdf is the cleanest file to view on your computer).

Buy print copy on Amazon

Buy a signed print copy or prints of the illustrations at my new Etsy shop: Phantasms of Truth

 

This volume of poetry collects twelve of Kat Micari’s most politically and socially charged poems and song lyrics with eight accompanying illustrations. They are the product of a disenchanting coming-of-age in the United States of recent decades, a passionate retaliation against many of the aspects of modern society.

From the author: Poetry is a way to let the heart and soul speak directly to others without societal structure getting in the way. This is the truth of our society through my eyes. May it resonate with you and cause you to question more. 

Illustrations for Poetry Collection Finally Completed!!!

Phew!  And only a year and 1/2 past the time I wanted them to be done, I am finally finished with the illustrations for my poetry collection.  Tonight, I will be scanning them all, and then I get to wrestle with formatting images, deciding on the order of the poems, formatting in CreateSpace, formatting for digital release, and THEN I get to set up my DeviantArt and Etsy shop, plus a new gallery and poetry section for this site.  I’ve got my work cut out for me over the next couple of weeks, but I am so, so, so happy to have finished.  

Almost Completed “Sword of Truth” Illustration

Again, please forgive the poor quality of the photo.  This was snatched this morning on my way out the door.  Good scans will occur once the illustration is 100% complete.  All that is really lacking now is going through and accenting with white ink.  I may try to clean up some of the edge work, or I may wait and digitally clean it up later.

Sword of Truth

Sword of Truth Illustration Progress

I FINALLY have some pictures to share of my Sword of Truth illustration.  Please excuse the quality of the photos.  I unfortunately do most of my painting at night, and the quality of light is not optimal for photography.  They will be scanned in before being added to the poetry collection.  You probably don’t remember, but a long time ago I posted this image of the pencils (darkened to actually show the image):

Sword of Truth with Serpents

And here are the layers of ink as I’ve painted them.

First I painted in the sword with a mid-level gray (achieved by mixing water into the black ink only).

100_7189

Then I decided that since I really wanted a dark background, I better do that next in case I messed it up.  No point spending hours detailing the serpents in the background if I mess up the black background.

100_7192

Here is round two of the black background!  No major mistakes, but you can still see the wetness from the ink.  Both these layers were done in straight ink, although I did wet my brush a few times when the bristles started to, well, get too bristly.

100_7195

And here is the final layers that I’ve added.

100_7196

I’m excited to have most of the basic wash done on all eight illustrations.  Soon I will get to go back in and add the shading, then detailed line work with pen(s), and finish with popping highlights with white ink.