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Welcome to rachelsays... The blog of Rachel Lewis, containing my thoughts and musings on illustration, design, fashion, music, cakey-bakey goodness, culture and things that I generally find cool. There's also a good chance my own illustration work will pop up on here.

All work on this blog is copyright to me unless I state that it isn't. Obviously. Don't do stealing, kids.

So come on in, have a look around, and leave a comment if you like what you see.

www.rachelsayshello.com
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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hello.

Apparently I can update my blog from Word 2007 now. Which is what I'm doing right now. Isn't that clever. Word 07 is sexy, I love it. Unfortunately I only have the trial version and the full version is obviously expensive. Stupid Microsoft.

Anyway, I have Word 2007 because I have a new (Vista, ooo) Laptop. I have a new laptop because my old (not so old really) laptop got stolen about a month ago. Yes. Life got suckier. I think I should explain how the last 3 months have treated me. It's not really illustration related and I didn't plan to include much of my personal life in this blog, but it's an explanation of why I haven't produced anything creative and why the blog has ceased functioning recently. Also this is probably going to be quite cathartic. Here goes:

  • Most people who paid any attention to my recent posts probably gathered about my boyfriend splitting up with me, and the horribleness that ensued. Lies, lies, deceit, cheating, more lies. He broke my heart and I honestly don't know how I'm still breathing. But I am. It affected me a great deal, and still is everyday – my creativity, let alone everything else, kind of went on hold as the feelings of pointlessness set in.
  • I then went on holiday to Tenerife, which was lovely if quite lonely, and when I arrived back I found out one of my closest friends who I was planning to live with at Uni had made the decision to not come back in September. She lives in Northern Ireland and I haven't seen her since; we speak regularly but I miss her like crazy.

Second slap in the face. Two people who had become such important parts of my immediate life had just disappeared from it. Right, ok. I thought. Fine. I'll just get back to university, move in to my new house with my other new housemates, and just focus on work and try to forget.

  • Four days after I had moved into my house, we were burgled whilst I was in the house, and I was attacked. I was hit and kicked in the head and held on the floor while all of our laptops were stolen, as well as both of my digital cameras, my phone, my Nintendo DS, my bank card and other various things were taken from me. I was lucky; I hadn't been hurt that badly (they could have done anything to me) and after being taken to hospital I was discharged with just a mild head injury. Obviously, it was horrifying, and I've never, and never ever hope to be again, in the position that I was actually scared for my life. Anyway, the police came and did their CSI thing the next day and took statements and bla bla, and luckily I was insured. I got quite a good payout, but it's just the personal things you can't replace, such as music, photos, videos, especially ones of my ex boyfriend; things that I can never get back. Also the emotional scars have been extremely difficult to deal with, my family and friends have been brilliant but both the break-up and the break-in happening at the same time has really made me question well...everything.
  • I then really tried to focus on university work, it's all I could do really. Every thought was either of the ex-boyfriend or what I was going to do if I was left on my own again. So, I suppose quite understandably, I just couldn't do my uni work. Second year is so much tougher and I've always put a lot of pressure on myself; I want to succeed so much. So when I got this creative block or whatever, I freaked out even more. I just couldn't deal with it. I wanted to do my work so much but I had no ideas, no motivation, just a complete lack of self esteem and self belief. I was just crying all the time. The universe, I thought, hated me. Why did all this have to happen? Why me? You know, all those selfish thoughts and stuff like that.

So I decided then it was probably a good idea to see a counsellor. I hated that thought; it really made me feel like a failure. I used to be so happy and in love with life, but I'd been turned in to this person that would rather just lay in bed all day and waste away. It's been good though... I've been to a few sessions now and I'm starting to feel a bit more positive. I didn't want to accept that I was suffering from depression but I really think I was. Am. I don't know really. Some days I'm ok and some days are...hard. I miss being happy, I miss who I used to be and what I had. I'm appreciative of what I still have but I have to be honest, I haven't woken up and felt glad about it for months. It's that horrible feeling of dread that gets to me. I feel scared every day because I'm really thinking: "What next?" What's life going to throw at me next?

  • Anaemia, that's what. Hurrah! I haven't been for the proper blood test yet to confirm it, it's just a preliminary diagnosis but it makes a lot of sense. I thought I was just feeling weak and tired all the time because I was so busy at uni and stressed and getting upset too much, but yeah. And I've been feeling extra cold (I'm a cold person anyway), but I always put that down to bad circulation. Maybe I've always been a bit anaemic and now it's gotten worse. I hadn't realised but I haven't really been eating properly. Not consciously, I just keep forgetting to eat. I've lost a stone since all this happened and although I can notice it and I do actually feel good about being thinner, I didn't plan to, and it's worried me. Has not eating properly made me anaemic? If so then I've been neglecting myself and that's a horrible thought. So once I get the blood test, I shall find out for sure. But I'm expecting it to confirm it. Everyone says I look pale but I don't really think so. Who knows.

So that's it. So far. I'm half expecting something else to happen soon, I mean why not, this has been the toughest time of my life, the universe may as well add to it. It's all just been incredibly unfair and I've lost faith in everything I used to believe in.

Returning to illustration related things. This is all why I haven't been doing much. Uni has been good ish and the projects are interesting, I'm starting to be able to come up with ideas a lot more and slowly I'm getting up to speed. I'm so behind though. I've been wondering about leaving the course, leaving this whole place and just starting again somewhere else, but I haven't made any decisions yet. I don't want to run away but being here kinda reminds me of everything I've lost. I don't know. That's a sad thought so I'm going to change the subject and tell you about my modules.

I have 4. They are Contextual Studies (booo), Narrative Illustration (Gah), Negotiated Study (Argh) and Editorial Illustration (Yay).

Contextual – Meh, not much to say, lectures, seminars, Modernism, stuff like that. And a bloody research journal. A whole lot of work, I tell you.

Narrative – We have a project to choose one of 4 extracts from novels and creating a series of 25 frames to convey the story. It's pretty mental, I have 7 weeks left. I've decided to Choose a story called "Norwegian Wood" but I can't remember the author. I'll get back to you on that. Hopefully that'll come out well and I can start to show actual work from it soon.

Negotiated – This one we basically write our own brief and do what we want. Which is cool, but hard. I've decided to design a series of illustrated hang tags to enhance the brand identity of Topshop. Hurrah! Hang tags are the price tags basically. But I'm going to make them PRETTEH. Well, aesthetically pleasing with a focussed message. Of course.

Editorial – This is the hardest module I reckon because each project has a turnaround of 3 weeks. Our first one was only 2 weeks. I think that's partly why I melted down. SO much pressure. I'm doing... ok on that. Not great. But Editorial is my favourite area of illustration at the moment I think. Our current article is called "How to mooch about." Yeah. Illustrate that, bitches. Owch.

To end on a more positive note, I'm going to introduce you to a wonderful Illustrator. She is Simone Lia and she is amazing. She created the graphic novel/comic "Fluffy", about this rabbit who thinks a man called Michael is his daddy. It's so cute and so hopelessly sad. Makes me smile and cry at the same time. You need this. Buy it now.

Go to: http://www.cabanonpress.com/simonesshed/1.lamp.htm or http://www.simonelia.com/

She is awesome. So that's the end. I'm going to post more frequently and hopefully soon I'll be able to post more of my actual own work. Fingers crossed. This is a long post. Bye.

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