The thing about being an anxious perfectionist

skewed sophie.jpg

This is the problem: I am an anxious being. More importantly, I am an anxious perfectionist. I don’t know why- it might have something to do with maybe being partially OCD, or trying to control the uncontrollable, or just having the need for that one good thing. All in all, this is who I am.

The thing is, this knowledge does not make my life any easier when illustrating. Because I don’t know if I am being realistic in my self-criticism, or delusional and controlled by the self-deprecating realisation that perfection, by definition, cannot be achieved. So as I look at the illustrations I have done so far for “Howl’s Moving Castle”, part of me wants to say is pleased and happy for some weird reason. Another part, and a bigger one at that, is mortified by this complacency and utter blindness when it comes to the work produced. Surely, there are so many things to be improved. I mean, even looking at the illustration above, I can see where shadows are missing, where more contrast was needed, where I relied too much on the ink itself to cover my own insufficiency. And yet, this image remains my favourite from the series so far. I think it’s because of the emotion I managed to capture on Sophie’s face. I put a bit of me in there. And it sort of lives, I think.

But then there are other, less successful images in my project. There is a scene where Old Sophie sees the castle on the moors for the first time. And it’s meant to be dark, bluish, and menacing. It is supposed to be an awe-inspiring scene. But all I can think of when looking at that illustration is how much I relied on Photoshop to edit on top of my incompetence. I was so afraid of using watercolour on a landscape, that I forgot to feel, and I forgot to play. And I think that is visible there. It’s a bit… amateurish.

There are other illustrations where I can find something to complain about. I feel like I am constantly a few steps back from where I should be, from a technical perspective. I am not good enough. Never. And it’s infuriating.

And then again, there are images which if I were to describe their shortcomings, would make the whole thing sound like nit-picking. There are some illustrations in the project (so far), with which I am actually almost pleased. Almost. I can’t actually be pleased because they are not good enough. And they are not perfect. And if you somehow have a doubt in your mind that I don’t have any logical grounds to sustain the above mentioned opinion, oh, believe you me, I can find plenty of plausible arguments to sustain it. It’s the problem with art. It is so damn subjective, you can see a gem in any pile of rubbish, but you can also nit-pick at a masterpiece. Apart from the greats from Art History (I mean anything before Modernism, of course). We do not touch the greats.

Nevertheless, the strange thing is… I don’t (and I am trying very hard not to) want to nit-pick at “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Yes, there is, as always room for improvement. But considering the fact that I am not good enough, it does kind of work. The images feel like the book to me. It has that weird, kooky atmosphere. It feels…like Diana Wynne Jones’ world. It also has a lot of me in it.

So I can only try to be better in the future…

 

Indesign…or that teacher who beats you half to death to show you the importance of life.

50evhxh

I have been working in Indesign more than any same person aged 22 should ever do, all in the span of a month. Now, it has to be mentioned that I have developed a love/hate relationship with this software.

It is truly, amazingly useful when putting together a book, but also as capricious as a famed mistress in a book which cannot possibly exist because who on earth could be that capricious -except, of course, the software called Indesign.

If anyone has ever wondered how they can learn the mysterious ways of the above mentioned, I have the answer. Just try putting together a book. Any book. But give yourself lots of time and patience, and, above all, pints of hot steamy tea. You will need it. Because most of the times, using Indesign is a very frustrating, grueling experience, that leaves you panting after a fit of rage, pointing your fists at the gods, right before the penny drops and you realise that you’ve learnt something and nevermind you gods, this is really quite fun.

As I beavered away on putting together the illustrations and text for Howl’s Moving Castle, I have learned a great many things. For example, wrap text is a really cool trick when you want the text to play around, or interact with your images. But I’ve also learned about the thousands of questions and decisions someone assembling a book has to consider. How many inches for the gutter? Should I leave more space at the bottom or the top? Am I going to write down the name of the author on every page? What about the book title or the chapter name? Do people genuinely get lost in books to the extent that they need the title/chapter written as a footer/header on every damn page? Also…what on earth is a Master page and how can I actually use it?

That last question remains unanswered, despite the multiple attempts to google it.

I also have to admit, I am a bit of a fan of all the lines and grids that help a perfectionist like me align everything.

To be fair, I haven’t discovered even a tenth of what Indesign can do, which is probably why I still have moments of rage and hatred for it. But I am sure that once I do get more fluent in using it, I will appreciate it more.

P.S. If anyone wants to baby-talk me through the whole Master page thing, I would be very grateful.

MIVC600.1 (for my tutors)

To my tutors,

I do realise that this is somewhat unconventional, however, after submitting my final PDF, I felt the need to explain an error with two of my final spreads.

For some unknown reason, when I exported the Indesign file into a PDF, two of the illustrations which had a text wrap application on them changed into…well, illustrations without the text wrap. I know for a fact that it was a weird technological freak failure, as after I noticed the error on the submission page, I went back to the original Indesign file, and the anomaly was not present. So something has happened while exporting it.

In case it hasn’t yet been noticed, I am referring to the illustration on page 13, and on page 20. I have attached to this post a link for the 2 pages as they appear in the original file.

I am so sorry for the inconvenience of this post, but I would hate to appear as stupid as to have the illustrations on those pages as they appear in the final PDF.

 

fixed-spreads