Craftsy drawing class

I picked up a Craftsy class, 10 Essential Techniques for Better Drawing by Patricia Watwood, and this is what I produced for lesson three, where she's talking about composition lines, block in lines, and contour lines.

Craftsy drawing class, lesson 3.

Above is my drawing with just the block-in lines to show where the angles and edges are. Below is the finished drawing.

Craftsy drawing class, lesson 3.

I have another 7 lessons to go, I'm liking the format and this is one of my better drawings yet.

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Two reasons I’m not buying a Tesla Model S

Got this in an email from Tesla about the Model S:

At this time, the Model S does not have the ability to lock and unlock individual doors. That said, we give owners the option to disable the keyless entry function of the car.

Not sure how you'd get in without keyless entry, but it must be possible. It's really odd that the Model S doesn't have a feature that every woman I've talked to definitely wants. With most cars, you can open just the driver's door, then a second unlock opens the rest of the car, assuming it's safe to do so. Everyone I talked to shuddered a little at the thought of a car always unlocking all the doors, especially after dark when you're alone.

Their solution to the seat belt cutting into my neck was to raise the seat. Tried that, but I still need to be able to reach the pedals. So, as a woman, and as someone with short legs, that's two strikes against me buying a Model S.

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Doodle revolution

The second half of the Doodle Revolution book is about the Infodoodle, and it's a lot more text-heavy. The Infodoodle sounds a lot like a sketchnote, it's a tool for remembering and summarising a large amount of verbal or written information into an easy-to-recall image and text display.

This part of the book has infrequent exercises in, it's about group Infodoodles. Since I don't lead many meetings, there's not too much here I'll immediately use. I like the descriptions of ways you can use a doodle in meetings, and I'll see if I can use them at work. We do have a lot of walls you can write on.

The next books in my drawing discovery are going to be Mike Rohdes The Sketchnote Handbook and Henning Nelms Thinking With a Pencil. I'm also going to try a few Zentangles, and design an alien.

Designing an alien

I've been drawing the same cartoon hedgehog since high school, it's time there was a companion doodle. I'm calling this guy Boris, and he's a work in progress.

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Tesla Model S mini review

We test-drove the Tesla Model S P85D (bigger battery, dual motors, all-wheel drive) on Saturday. It's a gorgeous car, with breathtaking acceleration, and amazing amounts of cargo space in both front and back.

Tesla Motors Model S.

The red is a deep, rich, lipstick colour. We were told it's made by putting translucent red over gold.

Tesla Motors Model S.

There's cargo space in the front, where you'd expect to find an engine. Cargo space, and a lid for the screen-wash fluid. There's no transmission hump across the back, so more legroom, and space to put a purse in the front because it has only one gear, according to our sales guy.

Tesla Motors Model S.

I have a couple of niggles with it though. I'm 5ft 4in on a good day and I have short legs. While I could move the seat far enough forward to reach the pedals, the seat belt was cutting into my neck the whole way, with no way of shifting it up or down, unlike my trusty Mazda3 hatchback. If I shifted the seat up to reduce the seatbelt problem, I couldn't have reached the pedals. Uncomfortable, and we've dropped cars from our possibles list for the same annoyance. I'm not going to buy something I'm not going to be comfortable driving. Which brings us to my second worry.

It's a personal safely issue. I work in downtown St Louis. I'm female. The last thing I want, when I'm walking up to my car at night, is for all four doors to unlock themselves when I'm several feet away, which the Tesla helpfully does. I want only one, the driver's door, and I want it to open only when I'm right by it and ready to get in. I feel it is not safe to have my car open to the world from multiple feet away. I'd hope that's configurable on the Model S, if not, please fix that Tesla.

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I'm reading Sunni Brown's book The Doodle Revolution, and this is from two of the exercises in chapter four:

Doodle game - Stickify and Face Matrix.

Sunni Brown has a six minute TED talk, Doodler's Unite! that includes some of the material from the book. I've drawn cartoon animals on sunny landscapes since I was in high school (thanks to dull history lessons at Copleston High), and I love the idea of drawing, but my practice always falls short. Doodling has a much lower bar.

My plan is to finish this book and keep doodling. Pictures of my doodles will end up in a Flickr album, Drawing and Doodles. The next book about doodling I'll work through is The Sketchnote Handbook.

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2015 resolutions

There are three resolutions I want to stick to for 2015:

  1. I will not stab anyone in 2015 (for another year...)
  2. Get my first degree brown belt in karate.
  3. Write daily in my new Five Year Diary (my second five years of daily journalling)

I'm about to finish my first Five Year Diary. It's strange to read those five lines a day and remember a day multiple years ago, but good. One of my Christmas presents was a new journal, the original was a birthday gift five years ago.

There's a few habits I want to install for the next year too. I'm trying to add a morning yoga routine in the 30 minutes with my light box each morning. After a few yoga lessons and some 6am classes, I like the results in terms of flexibility, balance, and calmness of mood.

I started tracking my mood twice a day as an experiment to see what bothers me and makes me happy, I have 14 weeks of data so far. My scale is one to ten, where ten is the best day ever, five is neutral, and one is a dangerous place to be. I've seen some eights and twos, one ten. No ones yet.

Roll on 2015, bring on the longer days and sunshine.

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2014 round up

My 2014 resolutions were:

  1. I will not stab anyone in 2014 (just one more year...)
  2. Get my second degree brown belt and make a run at 1st degree.
  3. Finish book #2 and write book #3 for NaNoWriMo

I have not stabbed anyone this year, fulfilling my annual resolution. Punching anyone at the karate studio doesn't count because we use control and we spar a lot.

Got my 2nd degree brown belt in June with a new instructor, and I'm in reviews for my 1st degree brown belt. The belt test after that is 1st degree black belt, when I can officially call myself a Shodan.

I wrote book #3 of my multiverse four-part series of novels (there's a part #0 prequel), and wrote the ending scenes. The back end of book #2 remains undone, but writing book #3 gave me an idea how to deal with the monster.

By year end, I will have gifted 18 knitted things. I have worked on 25 projects this year, and finished almost all of them (2 cardigans outstanding right now but one is almost there, a pair of socks in progress).

I was promoted to Director of Quality Advocacy at work, and I have business cards to prove it. I'm running a team of 20 bad-ass diabolically creative software tamperers. I taught a 2-day workshop class solo on Agile software QA, and did a solo Lunch and Learn on Object Oriented Programming basics. Both are scary things off my 2015 work goals list. There's another Lunch and Learn planned for January 7th, probably more Agile QA classes too.

We went to the NaNoWriMo Night of Writing Dangerously for the first time, travelling to San Francisco in November.It was great to meet people in person we've only emailed, and see my writerly tribe on their annual celebration.

It's been a pretty good year.

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Project explosion

I have a rule that there's no crafting output during November until I've made my 2000 words for the day on the current novel. Since my 10th NaNoWriMo win, I have done all this:

Crafting output since NaNoWriMo.

  • Knit 2 hats (a Windschief and a modified Dustland)
  • Started knitting a third hat of my own design in green merino/possum yarn.
  • Knit a modified Dungarees cowl.
  • Knit 3 can cozies after gifting my work cozy to a friend.
  • Started knitting a pair of purple socks with birthday yarn from Paul.
  • Mailed out all the Christmas presents that need mailing.
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NaNoWriMo 2014 – Week Four

Took some drastic steps to get to the end of my story, I left it a bit over the halfway point and jumped ahead to the final scene, wrapping up a four-book series.

Saturday 22nd
45043 words, 2212 today. Planning to catch up to my original 2k a day goal today, nearly made it last night. Got some work done in the Crooked Tree write-in, more at home while it was raining hard, with a cat on my lap. Loving that the NaNoWriMo funding graph only has 2 unfilled books, the $1.2m and the fully-funded $1.3m. Would love to see those completed by month end, donate today!

Sunday 23rd
46545 words, 1502 today. Horrible rainy grey day, perfect for staying inside. Got over the thousand mark before dinner, character threads are converging nicely.

Monday 24th
46691 words, 146 today. Tired, got sent home by my instructor with no sparring after a (hopefully) minor ankle injury from skidding on a wet grocery store floor yesterday.

Tuesday 25th
46978 words, 287 today. Assembling a bucket of scenes to work from, looking for the ending. I think I have some endings, but they're still a way away from here. I'm going to write some of the later scenes and skip ahead.

Wednesday 26th
49032 words, 2054 today. Wrote the final scene for my four-part series. I'm missing about 20 scenes before I can officially consider this thing done, but I have an ending for two of my main characters (three if you count the cat, and the cat is crucial). I'm working backwards and it's showing me what needs to go in the space in between. Also today it snowed.

Thursday 27th
50464 words, 1432 today. Happy Thanksgiving! Crossed the 50k mark with the scent of roasting turkey wafting through the house and my faithful cat by my side. I have at least 17 more scenes to write, which could each be a thousand words, so I'm not done yet, but I'm filling in the gap between the middle and the end now. I love my series ending. But for now, I can knit again, and read. Snow still on the ground.

Friday 28th
Took the day off writing, ate turkey leftovers for 2 meals, started knitting an orange hat, relaxed at home with the husband.

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NaNoWriMo 2014 – Week Three

Where our hero discovers novel writing isn't as bad as last week, and interrogates some characters. After ten years of novel writing, we made it to the Night of Writing Dangerously!

Saturday 15th
32667 words, 2017 today. Wrote in Bread and Cocoa after breakfast, before heading out to Imagiknit in the Castro district. San Francisco feels like a very European city, good public transport, everyone walking around, diverse population. So many iPhones! The PDF copy of my novel so far is 90 pages long and I'm about to throw a big wrench into the story. Wrote more in Samovar Tea Lounge, across the street from Imagiknit. Left the hoodie behind today, way too warm for that extra layer. Went to the NaNoWriMo Out-Of-Towner's get-together in the evening, met Grant Faulkner, and saw the others from the office again, plus some of the LA train contingent.

Sunday 16th
36275 words, 3608 today. It's the Night of Writing Dangerously! Wrote a little before breakfast and after, went out to Pier 39 to see sea lions. There were two sets of sea lions, plus a couple of introvert sea lions on their own floating platforms away form the others. Had crab for lunch and took a tram back to the hotel. Walked to the Julia Morgan Ballroom in a purple velvet dress with a hefty laptop bag. Hit the candy buffet, there were tea refills at the table, and so many people writing. Wrote over three thousand words and made up my deficit from last week's lack-of-plot-induced wobble. There were cupcakes, milk and cookies, singing and dancing, and so many words. Met Chris Baty right at the end of the night to say thanks for a decade of craziness and fun.

Monday 17th
37017 words, 742 today. Leaving sunny California and going home to below-freezing, snowy, St Louis. Succumbed to the caffé bon-bon at Bread and Cocoa, double espresso shot with condensed milk, powerful stuff. Took the Bart train to the airport, lazy lunch before a 4pm flight back home. Heading from t-shirt weather to snow and below freezing till Wednesday, ugh. Still feeling the effects of not having a plan up-front but some plot appears to be happening in spite of it.

Tuesday 18th
37528 words, 511 today. So tired. Horribly late night due to a delayed plane, asked a friend to sit with me in the last meeting of the day and make sure I stayed awake. Wrote a little at lunch and took the night off, fed a friend steak and kidney pie, he made brownies and we compared the UK and US versions of Top Gear. Hands down a UK win, no question.

Wednesday 19th
39631 words, 2103 today. Writing in the gap between work and karate, and between karate group class and my private lesson. It's amazing what a decent night's sleep can do for you. Interrogating one of my main characters to find out what she actually wants. She got what she wanted, but what happens next for her? Also she got to make tea, proper English tea with milk and sugar. Everything's better when there's tea.

Thursday 20th
40359 words, 728 today. Another lunchtime writing session in the hidden conference room at work, the one no-one knows is there. Got ambushed by an Apple Update in the evening, and a Founders Porter.

Friday 21st
42831 words, 2472 today. Playing with my Villain and her minions today, and I'm ending it right before a big fight scene so I can get a good start tomorrow. This story won't be done at 50k, but I really want to find out where it's going.

Daily updates over on the NaNoWriMo 2014 daily diary.

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