Future Career

Journal from 11.01.12

I’m really excited about my future career in graphic design. Just this week I arrived at a new milestone: I said “no” to a job offer.

Although I didn’t go to college after high school, I was smart and I learned quickly. I was able to get jobs doing data entry which let to accounting and administrative work. It’s easy work without reward. Obviously, I’m not considering a paycheck a reward here.

Last week I got a phone call from a temp agency I have worked for in the past. They offered me a part-time job with great pay that would work perfectly with my school schedule. So when I hesitated to accept the offer, I took note.

I realized that I’m at the point where I would rather be a graphic design intern without pay than an office lackey with some spare change.

How exciting!

How terrifying!

What now?

I suppose this is the part where I stop saying, “Oh, I’ve just started. I don’t know anything yet.” and I start filling out applications.

It feels so good to be purposefully carving out a future instead of following the path through any and every open door. It’s such a different life, and I am so very grateful for it.

The Best Advice

As a new mother, I have received a lot of advice recently.  It is all overshadowing any other advice I’ve ever gotten in my life.  Probably the best advice I’ve gotten is to let housework go and enjoy my daughter.  At first this was not hard.  I slept when she slept and I only cared about feeding her, watching her and changing her.  Once a routine began and I started to feel better, I tried to keep up with the house.  I got so stressed out.  I felt like a horrible wife, an inattentive mother and an overall failure.

Thankfully, Erick is on the same slob-level as I, so as dishes and laundry began to pile up, he didn’t complain.  He started to make meals, do laundry and slowly the housework got done. 

There was a period where I ignored messes for the sake of spending time with my family.  Now messes, family, and sometimes sleep are left unattended as I do homework.  My slob-level has now exceeded Erick’s.  I feel his frustrated gaze as it lingers on my unwashed dishes, in-process school projects, my growing number of “to-do-eventually” piles, but I feel loved by meals that wait for me when I get home for work, the lunches he has packed for me as I run out the door, and the bathed and fed daughter who kisses me with sweet muah-muah kisses. 

Our home may not be clean, but it is happy.

Though my goal is to have a clean AND happy home, I haven’t figured out how to maintain that longer than one evening.

If I ever do figure that out, then I will be the one giving out the best advice of all time.

Time Travel

I wish I could go back and talk to 2007 Natalie.  She had no idea how much her life would change over the next several years.  I wouldn’t give away any of her plot twists, but I would tell her to relax, enjoy friends and save money.

2007 Natalie wouldn’t believe me if I told her about the changes ahead of her, but I suppose that’s what makes life so exciting: the unknown and the unbelievable.

Speaking of unbelievable…. Claire.  She is growing up so fast, and it’s slowly starting to dawn on me that this little person is a person.  She’ll have a life of her own, friends I won’t know, heartache, regret, and moments of reflection.

If I had the power to travel in time, maybe I would save it for Claire.  I’d jump to different points in her life, and although I wouldn’t be able to give her any insight into her future, I could hug her and encourage her.  I could laugh at her jokes, watch her grow old and witness moments that will happen long after I am gone.

Then again, that might be kind of creepy.

She’d probably need counseling.  “My mom keeps showing up.  Randomly.  From the past.”

Actually forget counseling.  They’ll lock her up in an institution for talking like that.  

In closing, time travel is dangerous.  

Happy New Year

On the first day of this new year, I feel compelled to write something.  Anything.

I often feel that when I journal (as I consider most of my blog entries) my words are dull and un-revealing  It’s always surprising then when I read back and find out that my written words are often telling of where my head was at the time.  So I’ll write my dull words for now in the hopes that they become more interesting with time.

2012 was a big year for me.  I became a mom.  That’s about all I remember.  I know that a lot of other things happened, but discovering the mom side of me has been exciting.  I’m pretty sure it has completely changed the way I relate to the human race.

I have high hopes for 2013.  Some of them are typical: lose weight, get in shape, get my sexytime body back, eat healthier…. wait, those are all the same.  Excuse my random low self-esteem.  Usually I feel pretty awesome about my awesome self, but today I felt sorry for myself.  It’s ok.  Sometimes I just need a day like that.  

I have other hopes as well, but for now I’ll keep those to myself.

I hope your year is fabulous.

Self-Loathing and Taco Bell

Today I am coming out of a few very intense days of self-loathing. Not the kind of self-loathing where you sit in a dark room and listen to all the music that made up the sound track of the darkest time of your life, but the kind where you eat two pieces of cake while making your morning coffee and then eat two bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast.

It’s annoying. One day I have so much confidence; “I do amazing work”, “I’m a witty writer”, “I’m the best mother of all time and Erick is the luckiest man on the planet”. Then I have the last three days; “I am worthless and unimaginative”, “Words are poop”, “Poor, poor Claire.” (Erick’s still the luckiest man on the planet.)

The nice thing is that now I’m old enough to recognize that the shitty-ness will pass, so I just have to find a way to pass the shitty time.

My lowest point happened yesterday. I had to grab a quick lunch, so I went to Taco Bell. Drive-thru. I ordered recklessly. Without forethought or reason. I panicked. I ended up with two chalupas and a soft taco. I hate chalupas and I hate soft tacos. I actually had to make a special request to have it be a soft taco.

I pulled my car into a dark corner of the parking lot and devoured the food I didn’t want. It didn’t taste good. I almost considered ordering something else, but the thought of paying so much money for Taco Bell made me sad. The chalupas were cold and I had sour cream on my forehead when I was done.

I sat in shame. Don’t I want to be a better person? Don’t I want to lose weight and get in shape? Don’t I at least know what I want to order at Taco Bell?

Obviously I’m feeling much better today. The shitty spell has passed. But now I’m really craving a chicken Meximelt and a bean burrito from Taco Bell. However, Claire is asleep, so I’ll probably just go finish that cake.

First Year Portfolio Review

I had my first year portfolio review this morning.  It went well.  I got some good feedback.  The constructive criticism was mostly on type.  I am ok with this because I still haven’t taken typography.  I’m putting my portfolio here as I presented it this morning.  The only change I made was using straight double quotation marks with numbers instead of regular quotation marks.  I did not know there was a difference!

All comments, critiques and questions are welcome from friends and design professionals alike.

Natalie Wood Portfolio

Mmmm… Welch’s…..

Remember when I moved to NYC to get into acting?  Yeah, me either.

Although there are several reasons I’m glad I did it, (NYC experience, cheaper and quicker than therapy, getting it out of my system, meeting Erick), I am still horribly embarrassed by my attempts at acting.  Also, shame on all of you who ever saw me “act” and then encouraged it.  I look like Mandy Moore’s not-as-cute-sister-who-can’t-sing-or-act-as-good-as-Mandy-Moore.

“But Mandy Moore can’t sing or act…..  oh……. I get it.”

(Actually, I would totally be Mandy Moore’s BFF if she would have me.  I digress.)

Until now, no one but I knew of the existence of a certain USB drive.  One that contains both audio and video of my month of acting classes.  Over the past four years I have attempted to watch bits, but I always die of embarrassment.

I guess the experience is far enough behind me that I felt this particular gem was worth sharing.  Although I did turn an impressively warm shade of panicky red, I also laughed out loud, and thought others might enjoy seeing me make an ass out of myself.

The story, I think, is that I kept screwing up this Welch’s ad.  I just could not get it right.  And it was so easy.  And I messed it up yet again.  So of course, I react.  Overreact, that is.

100th post!!!

I’ve finally created a DeviantArt profile. Don’t worry, it’s not yet another social platform you have to join. I’m using it as a tool to post my school projects and get feedback from other artists.

I only have one project posted so far. (I’ll show you in a minute. Promise.)

It was supposed to be a portrait of Emily Blunt, and although it doesn’t exactly look like her, I am very pleased with it.

Details: Created in Adobe Illustrator.

Face: Gradient Mesh tool

Eyeballs/Hair: Pen tool

Eyebrows/Eyelashes: Brush tool


Have any of my readers ever done vector art?  Any experience with the gradient mesh tool?  I’m turning this project in on Thursday as my final project for my Vector II class.  So you can see how much I’ve learned, this is what I “created” on my first day in this class 7 weeks ago.


I have been earning this degree, man.  I’m going to be a well paid graphic designer, gosh darn it!!!!!  And people will like me!


Drawing Progress

(WARNING!  NUDE SKETCHES ALERT!  You know, if that kind of thing bothers you…..)

I’ve been in school for a year now and a part of me wishes that I had been posting more of my work so I could really see my progress at a glance.  However, instead of working on homework, I’m posting my homework on my blog.  Right now I’m working on a vector portrait of Emily Blunt.  I didn’t realize what a crappy resource photo I was using until I was halfway through because I really had no idea what I was doing when I started.  It’s due next Thursday and I will ABSOLUTELY be posting that.  


Here is an example from my first figure drawing class that I took last summer.  I was very proud of this sketch. 


I’m currently taking an anatomy class where we use models and reference material to study essentially surface anatomy: bones and muscles that provide key landmarks when drawing the human figure.  Here are some examples of my most recent stuff.  




Whenever I’ve finished labeling whatever part we’re studying, I’ve found that I like to practice shading by drawing butts.  My sketch pages are littered with butt sketches.  A student who sits next to me commented on it.

Him: “You like drawing butts, eh?”

Me: “It’s true.”

Him: “Ah. Haha.  Butts.  That’s a funny word.”

Snake Surprise?

Spending less time on the internet makes me feel cut off from the world. Then I remember how five minutes ago we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter or THE INTERNET. The good news is I am becoming a better designer and a better artist.  My current anatomy class has literally changed the way I see the world.  Here’s a sample of my latest work in Illustrator.

This looks super shitty as a JPEG. Oh well. PS: Out of my 4 designs, this was my instructor’s least favorite.

I have an anatomy midterm this morning, so I’ll try to post some of those sketches soon.