What is it you mostly do on Elftown?
I'm a bit of a traveling creative in Elftown. I explore around the site and latch on to pretty much anything arty I see, trying my hand at it: poetry, writing, photography, roleplay, visual art, competitions, submissions, own pages. Competitions here for me aren't something I enter to win, so much as I enter for the fun of creating something for a reason - which makes submissions equally exciting! I just need something to push me to keep making things~
When I'm not actually posting anything to/about arts (which was quite a lot when I'm busy, like my last semester of uni at the end of last year), I usually at least poke my head in to see what everyone is doing - it's pretty inspiring sometimes :)
Do you have a preferred medium of expression?
Visual art for sure(!)...although from there it gets a bit cluttered.
Drawing with fineliners, watercolour, and anything I can make a mess with, like charcoal and ink, has been my preferred medium for the last year or two.
For three years before that I was a digital artist, painting with Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop - these days it mostly only comes up now when I have to paint things super fast, or for graphics. I would like to merge digital with messy and make the most of all the past five years, that's probably my real preference, but it's all been experimentation rather than expression so far.
Have you ever tried expressing yourself through literary means such as poems and short stories?
Oh definitely, and with Elftown to thank for that actually!
I've written a few short stories over the years, but hadn't ever really gotten into it, nor ever written a poem outside of a task for school. I properly tried out poetry for the first time last year as submissions to various contests and such around Elftown. Inspired by how many poems and stories I was playing around with I also worked a heap of haiku into my Kreaturen Project 2011 project for illustration, because I was studying abroad in Germany at the time. Poetry added an extra something to my art that I wasn't getting before without text.
I'm nowhere near confident with my words as I am with visual imagery yet, but I'm pretty excited that I've given it a go now, seeing as for two decades I thought I would never write poetry at all!
Studying abroad in Germany must have been a fun and interesting experience! What was that like?
It was really really fun, super-duper challenging and also majorly life-changing.
I had (and still have) pretty bad anxiety, I'd never lived out of home before in my life, seen ice or snow, learned another language outside of primary school/junior high, nor done pretty much anything outside of my computer - so I was really thrown in the deep end when I realised I was overseas away from my spoilt brat life and had to learn to cook, clean, budget, balance study with all of the above, while also trying to work out a completely different study system and language.
All super challenging for a potential lifelong basement-liver like I was, but I've come out of it almost a completely different person, living out of home, baking, cooking, DIY, independent, with confidence I'd have never known if I continued to sit around afraid of the world!
It wasn't all challenge, there were also parties, travel, exciting classes, friends, awesome new food, adventure. Coming from far North Queensland in Australia, I had never been able to just take a quick, cheap train to another city or country, so travel was bliss for me, especially excursions. Back home afterwards, I could even see the positives about my own city and country, which I'd certainly never seen before (oh and Tim Tams and Fairy Bread now seem like luxury food). Most importantly I also now understand why it's damn useful to learn other languages even if I don't "have to", and how of a challenge it is for others to speak English here!
What are your hobbies outside of Elftown?
Reading mostly fantasy novels and non-fiction biographies, playing RPG and FPS PC games, web design, walking... I do a lot of art too but I hope that's more of a career than a hobby by now, especially seeing that I've sold an exhibited work finally! If exhibiting work is a hobby I'm well into that, I've had work in 10 exhibitions since 2009 and it's going to be an 11th one soon :D
I've also recently started to get into baking and sewing after years of being stubbornly against both, my sewing has only been patches onto bags and stitches on paper so far, but I'm hoping not long now until I can fix clothing and keep my tattery skirt living for another decade or two :P
Oh I forgot in my hobbies I do gardening as well, at the moment I'm reviving a vine that attracts the Cairns Birdwing and it's super cool/scary looking caterpillars :D
Do you take commissions?
I definitely do take paid illustration and design commissions! Unfortunately although now that I'm working full time I can't make them as quick or cheap as I did during uni. I've done posters, t-shirts, a couple of web sites, and most recently concept art for an alien species that I had heaps of fun with :)
Is there a particular page on Elftown that you like or visit often?
I catch up on the Elftown news every day that I log in, and I check Reading Challenge 2012 every time there is a change to make myself feel guilty for how slow I'm reading!
What inspire you to be creative?
I'd say there are 4 major things that inspire me equally: music, books, galleries and life.
Music is one of my biggest inspirations, even when I'm feeling completely blocked I can usually still produce something as long as I have the right playlist! Books are another huge inspiration, starting first with fantasy novels, followed by horror novels and then biographies.
My third of my greatest inspirations is working in a gallery, which is both a blessing and a struggle because I see a heap of really wonderful art. Seeing so much professional art is so inspirational that it works in a different way and makes me much more critical of my own art, causing me to produce less that I'm actually happy with... but then when I finally do make something, it is definitely more awesome!
Finally: daily life gives me the rest of my inspiration. My perception of life is slowly becoming more positive, but is it still usually where my darker stuff comes from. I think the two things that come up the most are the mental illness struggles of myself and those around me, and current events.
Do you have any suggestions/comments/criticisms for Elftown?
One major criticism I have is about the overall look and navigation of Elftown, although I'm sure it's something that's been brought up countless times. I personally can navigate the site perfectly fine, being reared on (or by) the internet as a child, but I haven't been able to get any of my friends to join Elftown because they are all rather overwhelmed by how confusing and old the site looks compared to what they are used to. It sort of makes me think more of an ancient, overgrown forest, rather than a town.
As for the things on Elftown that most of the Crew can actually do anything about... those seem to be going pretty good actually. I'm happy with the frequency of fun stuff happening on the calendar, from a busy life point of view they are spaced out just right. I also adore the badge system, and the community here.
Actually I think the community is the biggest reason why I keep coming back: Elftown is the most positive and creative place I have seen anywhere on the internet. Obviously there are some dramas here, as there are anywhere, but regardless it feels like a safe haven to me.
What do you like most about fantasy/science fiction?
I love that in fantasy and sci-fi I can learn life lessons and see new perspectives through the most wonderful social commentary available. My morals were all fed by the fantasy I saw and read whilst growing up: Anne McCaffrey taught me through female characters living in a harsh world that I could be successful no matter where I'd come from, Harry Potter taught me to not always trust that authority has my best interests in mind, Star Trek taught me about the importance of diversity, and the list goes on.
I think I'd be a dreadfully boring lump if fantasy and science fiction had never been in my life!
What is your message to all Elftowners?
Try everything once, especially creative things.
Enter every competition, workshop or exhibition callout you have the time to try, even if you don't think you'll be very good at it. Everything you attempt improves your skills at whatever it is you are attempting, broadens the awesomeness-numbers of whatever you are entering... and sometimes you might even be lucky enough to be the only one to enter when there is a prize. This applies not only in Elftown or even just on the internet, but anywhere in the world that has opportunities available for you :)
And last, two pictures of you:
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