That vent art I was talking about in my previous post…

I drew this the week after we found out I was carrying our rainbow baby, as you can see I wasn’t feeling very optimistic.
[Glitter markers and black Posca on rough sketchbook paper]

So, I’m pregnant again. I updated my “about” page a while back to reflect this, but unless you’re new here you probably haven’t seen that.

They say it’ll happen when you stop trying. For us that really was the case, I conceived the same month that I completely and utterly gave up. It’s really annoying it worked out that way though because that is the most condescending and insensitive advice you can give to anyone trying to conceive.

Due to how traumatized I am from my first pregnancy ending in miscarriage, I have spent most of this one convinced that something will go terribly wrong. It doesn’t help that I already have a severe anxiety disorder, I worry about everything all the time no matter what!

So far though, everything is going suspiciously smoothly. We have seen our dear “Birdie” (their nickname until they are born) twice now, and both times they were in perfect health for their gestational age. We are now in the 14th week and if everything continues to go as planned they will arrive in October.

Of course, now we’ve been exposed to COVID-19, so I have a legitimate reason to worry about the health of our baby. That hasn’t been fun at all, I had an extreme panic attack the day we found out, and now I’m worried I hurt Birdie from panicking so hard! Hopefully nothing terrible will happen, most pregnant women who get COVID end up fine and have healthy babies. I just can’t forget the stories of loss, those lost mothers and children matter so much to me. I wish this pandemic never happened.

The longer this pregnancy progresses, the more I get my hopes up. It’s impossible for me to regain the naivety I’ve lost though, I’ve read plenty of horror stories about late miscarriages, stillbirth, and neonatal death to know that you’re never truly out of the woods. Life is just crazy like that. If it’s alive, it can die. It’s not fair and we don’t have to like it, but life in general isn’t fair and shit just happens.

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer but honestly that’s just who I am. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m extremely excited and grateful for this child. I even dedicated an entire blog to writing letters to them. (Although frankly a lot of those are pretty depressing too. I’m not the kind to lie to my kid and try to shelter them, life is hard so I’m gonna be honest about it! I want them to get to know ME… not a projection of who I wish I was.)

You shouldn’t be all that surprised that this isn’t a unicorns and butterflies kind of post though, it did say “vent art” in the title didn’t it? Haha.

Well anyway, thanks for reading, if you read any or all of that. Any well-wishes, prayers, words of sympathy, etc. are very much welcomed and appreciated! It’s gonna be a looong 6 more months.

Getting back into the swing of things…

An experimental piece I did today, just playing around with color and texture. Not sure what to title this one.
[Copic marker on smooth sketchbook paper]

I practically haven’t drawn in months. I did a little bit of vent art earlier on in the year, and then a little bit of doodling here and there on my 3DS, but nothing aside from that.

Now that the weather is nicer, and since my partner and I are under quarantine due to her testing positive for COVID-19, I started thinking about picking up my markers again.

Last year I did a 90 day video game “detox” during the warm months and I used that time to do a lot of drawing while lounging outside in our backyard, so I guess it’s only natural for me to associate this time of year with creating. I like allowing myself to play as many video games as I want during the cold months when I can’t spend as long outside, and then taking extended breaks from them when it warms up again.

I don’t know if I’m ready to undertake another daily drawing challenge just yet. Since she’s had COVID for about a week now and we haven’t had any symptoms yet, I’m worried it’s going to hit like a brick in the next week. Though I haven’t tested positive yet, I know I will absolutely get it because there’s no way for my partner and I to isolate ourselves from each other effectively in our current living arrangements. Getting sick would definitely make me have to postpone any challenge I take up.

If I don’t catch COVID this entire time, that will be the craziest stroke of luck I’ve ever had. Maybe it does help that we got vaccinated, even though it was only days before the COVID exposure. If I test negative again this Friday, we will be able to end our quarantine a few days later on Tuesday. If either of us start having obvious symptoms, or if I do test positive on Friday, we will be restarting the two week countdown from that day. We will be playing things incredibly safe on the 3rd week, whenever that is, only extending our freedom to large outdoor spaces and drive-thrus.

Regardless of all that, I hope to be making more art soon and posting here more often again. Stay tuned!

This is what I’ve been up to lately

Christmas cards and crafts, and lots of them!
[Start scrolling down if you just wanna see the images without slogging through a wall of text about my personal life lol.]

I’ve always really loved the winter holidays, and I’ve really been missing my dear old Santa, the reindeer, and brightly decorated Yule trees!

Why exactly I’m going so hardcore into the holiday season this year:
As you might already know, I spent 3 Decembers celebrating Hanukkah and not celebrating Christmas because I was trying to convert to Judaism.

Well last December, right in the middle of Hanukkah actually, I decided to leave Judaism.
I just came to the conclusion that 1) I didn’t feel welcome/wanted at my Shul anymore, just didn’t really connect to anyone there. And 2) I no longer feel that any religion will ever really do it for me. I am truly a hardcore agnostic through and through. There’s also a 3), Religions exacerbate my OCD.

I consider myself both ex-Christian because of my upbringing, and also ex-Jewish because I got pretty much all the way through my conversion I just never “did the dip” to finalize it. The whole conversion process is actually a very modern convention to weed out predatory people anyway, in the Torah itself Ruth was just like “I’m going with you guys no matter what” and then she was a Jew and there were no questions asked. I went through the whole thing with genuine intention and believed wholly that one day I would be ~A Real Jew™~ and tried to be the best convert I could be. So whether or not you consider me to have ever “been Jewish” I don’t really care, I call myself ex-Jewish because it’s shorter and easier. I still to this day know more about Judaism than a lot of born Jews, because a lot of Jews are simply secular Jews. There’s even a running joke that if you don’t know something, like you forgot one of the brachot, you just ask a convert!

So this year I’m reclaiming the Christmas I loved throughout my childhood and missed deeply when I was celebrating Hanukkah instead. I do miss Hanukkah now though! They’re both really good Winter holidays and I’m grateful that they both exist. I will certainly still get very excited if I see a hanukkiah through somebody’s window!

Christmas for me, to the disdain of many Christians (sorry Grandma!), is 100% about the pagan aspects: the Santa Claus and his elves, the decorated trees and yule logs, the winter solstice, etc. Even when I was a devout Christian as a child, let’s be honest, it was still about those things for me. I knew from a young age that Jesus’s birthday was actually more likely in the Spring, but I sure did belt out a good “Silent Night” in the kids choir!

Okay, okay, let’s get to the pictures already!!!

This is our cat-proof, minimalist, wall-hanging “Christmas tree”! Everything used to create this: The tinsel, the clip-on poinsettia ornament, the baubles (“ornaments,” but “baubles” is such a cute word!), and even the hooked thumb tacks were all from the Dollar Tree! That’s a total of $4 for a cute and simple Christmas tree that we can use for years to come.
This first card I made for my Grandma! I used Copic Ciaos, glitter markers, and metallic sharpies, and it took HOURS to complete because I did the pine needles in a stippling/hatching hybrid style. Learned the hard way that even though watercolor takes a bit more work to set up, it usually produces a more professional looking result and is easier on my wrists. The small image was my test thumbnail, which I actually think turned out cuter than the actual card. Oh well! I know my Grandma will like it at least!
This second card, for my Father-In-Law who has an early December birthday, also took a bit longer than I expected it to but I am much happier with the result. I ended up trying to crop the card a bit and the cutting job was too messy for my liking, so I cut the whole thing out and pasted the illustration + lettering bit onto a new card with a watercolor border. I am actually really glad I messed up because I ended up liking it so much better with the slight 3D adjustment!
Showing off the first two cards I made, with my tiny desk tree (also from the Dollar Tree lol), my new desktop background, and the card my Grandma sent me.
This was the card I made for my Mom! Both of my main presents to her were feet-themed: some indoor slippers that she requested and a nice pair of fluffy socks, so I figured a stocking would be perfect. This one took even longer than the card I made for my Grandma because I spent way too long trying to get it to look super fluffy! I did do a good job on the texture, but I feel I really could have restrained myself a little bit in the name of saving time. At first I didn’t even like it! Then I started doodling on it with my silver metallic Sharpie and that saved it for me. Luckily my Mom did love it, I knew she’d love anything I made her though.
For my dad and his band mate (who’s like a brother to me) I did some guitar-ornament themed cards!! I really went out of my way to be looser with these ones so that they wouldn’t take forever and a half. Even though they’re a little messier and less polished I’m really happy with them. They’re just what they need to be: cute, fun, and simple.
For one of my friends and for my upstairs neighbors, some abstract tree themed cards! I figured out this way to illustrate a Christmas tree when I was looking up doodles for my mom’s card. I love those bouncy lines, and using white space to separate the tiers gives it such an interesting look.
One of the loosest and quickest cards I’ve done so far, this one is for the lady that ran the youth group I attended growing up! She’s kindof like an aunt to me. I’m really happy with how this one turned out. Messy, simple, yet somehow a touch of elegance. Using the white ink to add splatter snowflakes and some snow on the branches gives this tree the look of it standing out in a winter storm! This one was very much inspired by the simple card tutorials Marta Lapkowska puts up on YouTube, I love listening to her talk while I paint!
Last for now, but certainly not least, the card I made for my beautiful wonderful beloved partner! I made this cute little penguin with much help from Nianiani’s tutorial on Youtube! I typically illustrate animals in a more realistic style, I use real reference photos and let my hands do the stylization, but my partner loves cute cartoony things so I decided to get some help. I loved her take on baby penguins so much, her style was perfect because it’s a wonderful blend of cartoon and realism. I am so grateful to people who put tutorials out into the world at no cost just so that others can learn to create the same beautiful things they do. I’d love to be one of those people someday, perhaps when I feel more confident in my skills!

Well, that’s all from me for now. Happy Holidays!! Stay safe and warm!!

Okay, I did it. I drew. Here’s #Inktober day 1: “Fish”

I’m quite rusty after a few weeks of not drawing, but something is better than nothing!
He’s based on a butterfish. I think they just look much like the quintessential fish to me.

I’m going to be doing all my inktober sketches in the same small sketchpad I’m bringing with me on my trip to Texas later this month, for consistency, and because the small format is less intimidating given I’m just now getting back into daily drawing.

I will probably continue to do small doodle-y things like this, nothing too fancy because I’d like to complete the monthly challenge for once and if I try to be too detailed every day it’s going to wear me out. Which is exactly what happened last year, lol.

I’m proud of myself for pushing through the very strong feelings of not wanting to draw and making this little guy. He’s cute.

“Ex-Planner” Sketchbook – the fastest I’ve ever filled up a sketchbook so far!

My favourite spread in this one is actually the first one 0:
If you’d like to flip through this sketchbook yourself, check out the Google Drive folder!

As the name implies, this sketchbook was originally a planner.
I wanted to do something like a bullet journal for the conversion classes I had been attending but I didn’t realize how difficult that is to do without a dotted notebook.
I gave up quickly, and the book sat in my shelf for a long time. I realized that paper planners aren’t really for me anyway, I do just fine using my phone’s calendar app.

In October 2019 I started drawing in this sketchbook, but the 1+ page per day challenge wasn’t started until late December 2019(?), most of the sketchbook was filled between January and February 2020. 133 days total, from very start to finish.

But here are the rules I lived by for this particular sketchbook challenge:
>I, Ari October, had to fill at least one page per day with a drawing.
>Other people could help me fill pages, but those were bonus pages.
>The drawings didn’t have to be good, they just had to get done.

So not 100% of the works are mine, my partner also assisted me in my goal to fill this baby up ASAP 🙂 You can tell which are hers because she signs them as Jasper or Jazzy.
And quite a few of the pages in this one are just lazy plaid patterns and other very lazy pattern doodles, because it was a good and safe place to experiment with color pallets.

This time I didn’t include 100% of the pages like I did in the last sketchbook folder, because many of them were just journal entries that would not be of interest to anyone but myself. I included pretty much all the doodles though.
There’s a page where I left the journal entry visible because of the placement of the mandala doodle, but you can easily just not read it. I don’t mind either way.

I had a lot of fun filling this guy up. Not so much fun taking pictures of every page though, my legs went numb @__@ Had to make use of that morning light though! It’s the only way for me to take decent enough pictures of my art without extensive editing of each image.

Prompt drawing with our nephew! “Unicorn on a lazy Sunday”

This cute doodle took about 25 minutes total, just a fun little quickie.
Doodled on the white inside of a Banquet dinner box! #Upcycling 🙂
Like I always say, if it’s not glittery, why bother!?

I asked my partner’s nephew if he ever draws. Apparently he does! When he’s not playing video games or bored to death with school work. He said we should all draw together, using this prompt generator he downloaded onto his phone.
My partner and her nephew both went off something I said, since they were having trouble figuring out what exactly to do with the prompt. I said, “what do you guys do on a lazy Sunday, why don’t you draw a unicorn playing video games or something?” So they both did that. Hilarity ensued!
And I of course took a cutesy route, because I am a sucker for cute stuff. Plus, I had already grouped my 3 purple Copic Ciaos together, thinking about doodling a mandala or something, and figured that’d be a perfect pallet for a unicorn 🙂
Certainly not a masterpiece or anything, but this prompt got me drawing something I normally wouldn’t have even considered drawing, and I think the result is quite endearing.
I gifted the finished piece to my partner ❤

Triumph over procrastination!

A birthday present for my best friend that I procrastinated coloring for TWO years O_O
He stands at about 18” tall.

On my birthday (June 17th!) this year, I spent a good chunk of it finally coloring the birthday present I had started for my best friend an entire 2 years earlier.
Said friend’s birthday is now a little over a month away, which reminded me I’d like to post this here.

I was so incredibly relieved to finally have this done, but in the end I’m think I’m glad I finished when I did because my coloring skills had greatly improved in the 2 years since I did the line art! So super happy with the final product, he looks so cute!

The character is Punchy from Animal Crossing, the theme was “Fight Club Punchy”, because that’s what they asked for 🙂 I do like that movie a lot, a little too painful for me to watch nowadays though. I’m a lot more sensitive to violence than I used to be, and I have always been sensitive.

I encourage anyone reading to consider the projects they’ve been procrastinating, perhaps it’s time to decide to finish or ‘frog it’ 🙂

Inktober 2019

Unfortunately I ended up giving up in the first week, but I’m still really happy with the illustrations that came of it.
I’m really excited to give it another go this year, probably trying to theme mandalas around the prompts! I haven’t done a themed mandala in a while because they’re more effort, but they are so much more interesting.
Whatever I decide to do, I do plan on at least participating to the best of my ability. Wouldn’t be right if I didn’t, being an artist under the name October and all 😉