Tag Archives: Brian Froud

The workings of my brain

So I demanded room for my writing in the house, away from all of the noise and I have won; I have said this before, but I am proud of this little victory, it means a lot to me and my writing.

I have made peace with my body too, I am no longer trying to control its habit of dominating me but now working along with it, going with the flow; I’ve learned to go with the flow because my Chinese astrological sign is the water dog, when I go against the flow I get into all sorts of problems.

So instead of forcing my body and mind to do things it doesn’t want to do, I have decided to see what my body wants from me instead. 

So, when my brain is most likely to be active creatively, instead of forcing myself to stay asleep or go to bed at a semi-reasonable time; I have decided to let my brain do what it needs to do in order to get things done. 

Doing things this way has proven that I am losing the habit of procrastination, because I am not using up my energy fighting against my flow.

This is all well and good, but when I have deadlines to fulfil for my publishers in the future, how will I fare then?  My brain has to get used to the idea of doing some things it doesn’t like at times that might not be suitable for it.

So far this week I have started to write as soon as Paul goes to bed, this is the best time for me, because once Paul is in bed, the whole household is still and quiet – except for me, I look like a ferocious grim reaper tapping away at night in dim light with the strange gnarls of steampunk in the background.

It is autumn and I am getting cold in the night, so I am wearing hooded navy blue fleece pyjamas, with the hood up and a hot water bottle stuffed up my vest.

A grim reaper using Morse code to contact the dead or at least that’s what comes to my mind when I see myself in the mirror as I glance up.

Half in my bed with a little adjustable table, typing away; with ten books at the foot of my bed and a note pad, chamomile or green tea at the side table and the sound of a windy steampunk world all around me; it is as cosy as it sounds, or weird, whatever your persuasion.

I love my space.

I fought hard for this space and it is pretty here, the best room in the house.

I have a trio of different coleus plants in a huge pot in the window with a crystal hanging down at the centre catching rainbows to throw at me as I work during the day; because sometimes I do write during the day, usually around 1pm to 3pm as that’s the quietest time of day for me when Henry is at school and lunch is done.

I have my purple fleece blanket, my Alice in Wonderland and dragon collection all around me – to see my bedroom you’d think I was a teenager; you know, that girl from the movie Labyrinth Sarah? My room is like a homage to the movie, with the Brian Froud artwork here and there and the amount of fair folk and goblin books I have in the room, you wouldn’t know I am forty tomorrow.

Yes, I am forty tomorrow.

So that’s when my life is going to start, I’ve always planned it.

Just because tomorrow I will be forty and my life starts doesn’t mean I will grow up however, I will never grow up and you can’t make me!  I will still keep my strange and dorky childish things and I will still lack a sense of responsibility and I will always need a daddy figure in my life.

I won’t change that about me, it’s something I made peace with a long time ago and it is the thing about me that I am most proud of, more proud than any of my accomplishments to date.

Strange I know, but at least I know who I am and who I want to be in the future.

I didn’t choose to lock away my childishness because it didn’t suit other adults around me, I didn’t choose to lie to myself and regret it for the rest of my life.

I chose to be me, the best and most honest version of myself possible.

But I digress.

My post was about what my brain gets up to, or at least that’s what I think this post is about?

My brain is the most creative between 8pm and 6am, but I tended to try and relax with books or YouTube from midnight until I sleep around 3am, just because it’s more reasonable than sleeping at 6am.

So I thought, OK, give into the brain and work as soon as Paul goes to bed at 10:30/11pm and write until 6am, but get this… my brain works only until around 2am before it actually decides it is sleepy now.  It never does that.

In giving into my brains demands, I am now sleeping three or four hours earlier than when I chose to ignore it – are you baffled by this?  I know I am!

Though saying that, twice this week I have woken up because my brain had a random idea I had to write down – but ultimately, I am sleeping earlier and longer.

My brain is a funny old thing.

You know if something is complicated I will breeze through it, if it’s easy I fail.

Take eggs on toast for example, I burn the toast and break the egg yolk with egg shell in it, but make me do cakes, soufflés, pies and whatever I am a champion in the kitchen!

I am the same with sawing wood, it takes me twenty minutes to cut an inch into the wood with a saw, but I can carve any piece of wood into a pretty statue if you give me a whittling knife!

Don’t ask, because even I don’t get it.

Well, there you are an introduction to the ways and habits of my brain – I hope you enjoyed the somewhat weird insight.

Thanks for reading!

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Do you show yourself up?

I have started my writer’s journal yesterday (6th June 2022) and I was finding it insightful rethinking how my projects developed over the years and how I have grown as a writer.

Because I get so wrapped up in my projects I often forget to post on my blog, so I often do blog posts around two weeks in advance, just to help maintain activity here – because if I don’t, the blog goes quiet for three months at a time and I don’t like to do that!

Anyway, going back to my first paragraph of this post, I discovered that certain projects were bland when I originally started them – but over time, they fleshed out really well and morphed into something completely different, even character names changed to suit the new situations that ensued.

For example, I had a young child protagonist who was originally seven years old, she then became twelve and now the character is going to be fifteen.  Simply because of how the story developed into something much different and my goals are very different today than they were back then!

I also only had around five characters that were friends of the hero and helped her on her journey; this grew to become nine solid friends and a small number of fly by helpful friends.

I decided the villain dies in the end and that so does the heroine too, but this changed, I leave no spoilers as to my current decision or you’d be looking for it in any book that sounds alike, when it gets published.

But what threw me was the fact that the book developed when I developed – I don’t mean creatively developed, I mean, its subjects developed with what was going on in my life at the time of writing…

The heroine was a runaway –then she was not.

I was a runaway at the same time this story originated in my mind, the characters plot of running away changed, when I no longer felt the need to run away in my real life. 

This is a development I didn’t notice until I revisited the writing process to add to my current projects journal – it is interesting.  I used to pooh-pooh the idea about creative people subconsciously putting their lives into print and that people psychoanalysed everything that wasn’t really there, but, you know… I think there is something about all of that!

If you write a certain theme, it’s because you think or feel or have experienced it in the past or at the present and it is coming out in your writing. 

So be careful at what you are writing out there, I know a lot of real life bitches who tend to write a lot of romantic dramas where there are mega bitches and they just think, their work is set apart from themselves… but… hey… what will literary psychoanalysts say about you in the future, what will they see in you through your work?

It does reveal a lot – I have a writer friend who writes a lot of childish roles in her stories that are not entirely based around children and she struggles a lot with her inner child, she is trying to be mature, but she just can’t hack it and she doesn’t mind I am writing this, I asked her!  But she found it amusing about how accurate this seems to be even with her!

I know another writer who always wanted to be a rock star or a Goth, but was always nervous to do so because of societal stigma, particularly within the Jewish community – so, they write those kinds of characters.  Sorry I didn’t ask them about this, but being that they aren’t named… do they really mind?  I hope not!

You don’t know it until you see it!

But you write yourself in everything!

Since learning this, it has kind of made me paranoid about what people will think about me… but then again… I am happy with who I have become and I am happy I am not who I used to be anymore, so I won’t stress too much!

I just don’t want the analysts to harp on about my mental illness all the time and look back on me with pity!  I don’t like that.

The journal has been a revelation.

What is included in the journal is my journey and thought processes about what is happening in the book – any movies or books that influenced those pivotal scenes, are my characters actually a mock-up of say, my favourite movie characters?  Yes, actually, I can see that a lot in my work!  But it is unique enough to not come across as a total rip off!  That’s very important!

I have even included lyrics which also helped me think of scenes, with references to the singer and the song name. 

Why am I doing this?

Because these journals are on a work by work basis, when I get a piece of work published I have this goal that if I sell ten thousand books, I will send out to publish these snippets from my writers journal to show my readers how I got it done and what influenced me, because I don’t know about you – but I am a very nosy reader!  When I read an author’s book, I want to know more about them as a person, what they think and what they like so I can see who influenced them!  Because I love evolution!

Being a creative, whether you are a writer, song writer, musician, artist etc; you are going through an evolution which will influence and inspire other creatives in the future.  This is exciting and I love this sort of thing!  I am obsessed with evolution, particularly the evolution of the mind, culture and society!

At this point in time, there are hundreds of works by other people who have influenced all seventy nine of my nearly finished works, yes, seventy nine!  There have been many things which have influenced me several times over in most of my works and those are;

Nox Arcana music, art and lyrics

Neil Gaiman’s works, particularly his prose and comics

Colleen Doran’s Raphaelite style artworks

Various wrestling shows with their gimmicks and storylines

Aurora Aksnes lyrics and music videos

Anne Rice vampires

Vampire movies in general

Modern gothic art, particularly by Anne Stokes

Tim Burton’s movies and artworks

Ancient myth and legends worldwide

Roald Dahl’s works and movie adaptions

Lady Gaga’s music videos and lyrics

Stephen King’s works and movie adaptions

Brian Froud and the Froud families’ artworks and puppet movies

The Mad Max series and franchise

Mafia movies and history

Max Brooks works and movie adaptions

Children’s classic bedtime fairy-tales

Marilyn Manson music videos

Queen music and music videos and adaptions

The Rocky horror picture show and its adaptions

Suzanne Collins works and adaptions

The Animals of Farthing wood

Watership down and its adaptions

Wind in the willows and its adaptions

Monty Python TV shows and movies

Terry Pratchett’s works and adaptions

Johnny Depp’s characters

Robert Downy Jr’s characters

Gabriel Byrne’s characters

Al Pacino’s characters

Bette Midler characters

Kathleen Turner characters

Pam Ferris characters

James Earl Jones characters

Bon Jovi lyrics

To name but a few, I know it’s really a lot, but its few in the real number of influences I have had over the years!

So you see – you are what you are and you can’t hide it!

Happy reading everybody!

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Filed under About my work

Simplifying my art makes me happier

Yesterday I discussed how I am struggling with what comes to me naturally and what I really wanted to do in my writing; How I wanted to be a serious writer of adult fantasy and horror, but instead I am naturally drawn to corny humour, vampires and comedy fantasy as a natural lean to in my actual first draft writings.

Today I am focusing on the fact that I wanted to be a realist artist, who paints mostly portraits of my characters and some impressionistic landscapes and watercolours, but instead, I am naturally drawn to creating cartoonish characters suitable for children illustration or satire comics.

Increasingly a few of my writing and art ideas are becoming more and more comic ideas, not just funny, but comic as a whole, including the art I do.

My colour palletes are specific and consistent, my doodles are too and I am finding that comedy is punching its way through my art too!

I am creating funny creatures and doodling faces into random splatters and blobs and creating unique characters; with Henry’s help, we have been deciding names and personalities for the beings and progressively Henry is encouraging me to make stories of them.

This is something I have fought against in a professional way and kept to only doing this as a hobby with Henry – but more and more, I am starting to become more inclined in doing art consistently, when I do this, than when I do what I feel I am supposed to be doing!

I have noticed also that I am simplifying my art increasingly instead of refining it to become more detailed and realistic, to such an extent that it is very suitable for many children’s novels.  My style is looking similar to artists such as Quentin Blake, Katie Risor, Dr Suess and the likes.

Yet my aim was to be more detailed and to eventually brave steampunk and to perhaps be of a similar style to, Brian Froud, H.R Giger and Colleen Doran eventually, though my colour palette is very different.  I tend to like pastel primaries or as I call them, candy colours, or my darker palette which concentrates mostly on black, purples, orange and gold.

As I am fighting against my natural inclinations to develop a wanted style, I am finding that I am burning myself out in both art and writing and therefore becoming grossly unproductive.

When I ignore what I really want to become and focus on who I really am, I tend to do more and feel happier in myself doing those things.

But I do worry a lot about how simplistic my art is – I mean, other than children who would really be interested in this kind of art?

Something I did for inktober a couple of years back! See the injected humour… couldn’t help myself!
Pictures originally made to cheer Henry up after a bad day, being bullied at school. But instead, Henry is trying to collaborate a series of stories with me, regarding them.
created via blobbing random water colour paint on paper and drawing details of what my mind saw in those blobs.

Maybe I am a snob – no definitely I know I am a snob, it must be true.  Why else do I fight against the grain?  I must be… up until now a snob in denial?

Happy reading!

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Filed under About my work