Hey there everyone!
It's been a stretch since I made a blog post over here, that's because I finally finished building that home I was talking about last November. I have since moved all my old posts from this blog over there and have built an RSS feed for it as well as general large updates to my site such as new or improved digital garden posts and new gallery pages. If you want to keep up with my blogging as well as my art you can start following me over there.
I've been having a lot of fun building an informal space that isn't tied to a social media platform, and I'm excited about what extra stuff I can add to it, such as adding a comments section to my blog and digital garden posts. For now they are commentary free, and will remain so while I'm done getting everything organized.
I'm glad that through learning web design I've been able to figure out what I actually want out of a website. I've always wanted a place that I could put a bunch of my art and writing that wasn't reliant on a platform. If I want to bail, I could easily pack up and move elsewhere, along with everyone who has been following my RSS feeds. You can't do that with social media.
For giseletheweaver.com I will be putting it through some changes, in particular taking it off of Weebly and hosting it on a cheaper platform (very likely Neocities, but we'll see) and downscaling. It'll still be my more professional facing portfolio site, but there won't be a blog.
Thanks again to everyone who has followed me here. This isn't the end of my presence online. I've finally figured out where I like to be, and I am the happiest I've ever been on the internet.
A better life is possible.
Weekend Sketches #18 - Building A Home
I don’t think I’ve made it much of a secret that I’m not all that fond of what the internet has become. It has morphed into a wasteland of platforms, and everyone who’s on one of these platforms calls it some form of “Hellsite.” We sacrifice our personal data, mental health, and creativity for ease of use and visibility. I’ve learned that ease of use and visibility aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and the value placed on these two things is a smoke screen created by the corporations that own the new internet.
I’ve been reading up on the indie web and getting a sense of how the internet was, before corporate platforms took over, and what it could become moving forward. I’ve also been spending a lot of time on Neocities looking at all the unique websites that community members have built using the three simple building blocks of web design. Some of them are just simple pages of text, others are vibrant and complex journeys, and all of them are beautiful in their own way. They have all been sources of inspiration for me and gave me and idea of how I wanted to build my own website.
I started learning HTML, CSS, and JS back in March and sketched out the structure of my proper home. While learning to code I discovered that ease of use is possible, if you want to work for it a bit. I know not everyone does, and this isn’t to shame anyone for that. For me, though, learning how to code and then weighing the cost of the time that took versus the cost that comes with being on a platform, I came to my own conclusion that this was a price I was willing to pay.
The thing is, even though learning to code has its own frustrating trials, I never feel burnt out on it, and when I triumph through a problem I feel so dang good. From my experience, the tribulations of a corporate platform and the alienation that comes with it are never ending. They aren’t things a single user can fix, they are a problem deep in the core of the thing. On a corporate social media platform it’s a game the developers are playing with the users, but we barely get to touch the ball, the rules keep changing, and we’re always losing. For me, something had to give.
Building my own site also has me thinking about what digital and online art could look like. I think my art will be better treated in a space I have created for myself. I’ve noticed for artists on corporate social media there is a mounting malaise, a feeling that what we make doesn’t matter because it will eventually get lost in the algorithm. The corpo sites are also all the same. Everyone has the same looking cell, and after a point the art we put up there feels samey as well. Why do we put up with this? Well, it’s for the traffic! But that traffic is so fleeting. I’ve been thinking about the longevity of my art and the value it has to me personally. I still want people to be able to see it, but it deserves a better place to call home than some cold soulless feed built around a corporation’s aesthetics. I’m building my site as a work of art that holds my art, so that the container matches and respects what I put in it. Like a beautiful frame that compliments the painting in it.
Returning to the learning process of it all, there is so much value in what I’m learning while coding a site compared to what I got out of a corporate platform. Corpo gets more eyes on me so long as I conform to its rules. From that attention maybe I’ll get a couple of Patreon subscribers for that month, or an agent might reach out to me (though I have a lot to say about the presumed value of traditional publishing). Meanwhile, while learning how to code, I am alone. No one is looking at me, but I am looking inwards at myself and I am learning a new skill that has a far wider application than being really good at twitter or instagram. I’m nurturing something inside of myself.
Making my own website nourishes me and teaches me to be self sufficient, it is also, hopefully, teaching me how to spend my time on corpo social media as well. Corporate social media is like shopping mall or a freeway, it is not a home. My website is a home that I am building with my own two hands. It is a haven in this maelstrom of noise. Maybe one day I will show people where to find it, but for now it’ll stay hidden while I finish applying the wallpaper.
I hope all of you can have, or have found, a quiet place for yourselves in this corporation controlled internet. Maybe one day these massive miserable districts will crumble and all that will be left are villages made up of all our hand-built homes.
When I posted this early to my Patreon a friend asked me if I had any resources on learning to code. I wanted to share some of what I sent to them here as well.
For building the code for your website you can just type it in a text document, but if you want something more intuitive I recommend the Brackets app if you are using a Mac or Notepad++ if you are using PC.
Finally if you're ever looking for inspiration for what direction you want to take your site definitely browse sites on Neocities. Also don't be shy about right-clicking and viewing the page source to get a sense of how your favourite sites are built. Seeing what material other people have used are very useful jumping off points.
And finally! Have fun! No matter what your build you can always update it and change it. The web is your oyster! I hope my tips helped.
Hello and welcome back to another round of Weekend Sketches!
This past week I took part in a challenge started on Tumblr called OC Kiss Week, which was designed to highlight original characters on a platform that tends to capitulate towards fandom. I personally used it to get better at drawing my characters kissing, and had a lot of fun with some friends in a private server talking about our OCs with each other and sharing our drawings there. This small group of friends has been more fun and supportive than any fandom I have ever been a part of. It’s a delight sharing stories, drawing fanart of each other’s characters, and taking part in challenges together. It feels like the best example of parallel play, where we have our own spaces to play in but will sometimes overlap our creative games or share what we are building with each other.
Anyways, I could gush about this small friend circle for paragraphs, it’s time to move on to the characters kissing. I was pretty proud that I was able to draw OCs for all 7 days. I think what drove me to draw as much as I did is the fact that all my subjects are lesbians. Draw what you love and all that! I will admit, after the first 3 drawings I started to phone it in with forehead/cheek kisses and nose touching. Drawing kissing is hard and, not to make excuses, even drawing forehead and cheek kisses requires coordinating two (or sometimes three) different bodies to connect in a way that doesn’t look weird. I now know what I can do to improve, and I’m looking forward to what I can draw in the future.
My first drawing is of my favourite demon hunting lesbians Sol and Nyx who are from my upcoming illustrated novel Earthshine. I don’t have much to say about these two that either hasn’t already been said or would just be spoilers. They’re in love. That’s that!
The second is of the main characters in a mecha space opera story I’m developing. Their names are Mel (left) and Harmony (right). They are the mechanic and pilot respectively of their shared mech, and they do not get along at first. This kiss takes place after they finally start cooperating and win a war game together. Harmony decides to take a celebratory hug to 11, much to Mel’s pleasant surprise.
These two are also from Earthshine and are Sol’s moms, the God of The Earth and the witch Yarrow. I don’t have much to say about these two either that won’t be spoilers for the story, but I will say that their relationship starts off a little fraught in a similar way to Sol and Nyx’s.
These two are Crin and Wolf. They are the leaders of a band of lesbian werewolf space pirates from a fun little side project I’ve been building called Wolf Star. Their designs and story were conceived when a friend dared me to make OCs based on various wolf and wild dog species while we were watching a nature doc together. The taller one on the left is Crin and she is a Maned Wolf, while Wolf is a Timber Wolf. These two love each other sooooo much, and I think they are so cute.
These three are from another story I’m developing that I plan to keep very close to my chest, sharing it with only a very select few people (though I might share some drawings here in the future). Their names from left to right are Sylva, Angela, and Gem. They are a trio of witches in an urban fantasy setting. The three of them decided to leave their respective covens behind to become hedge witches and go on a magical road trip together to recover from their strict and oppressive upbringings.
These two are also from Wolf Star. The shorter is named Wild Dog and I have described her to friends as “Tetsuo if he was an angry little lesbian.” She has a bit of an inferiority complex and is often butting heads with Crin and Wolf. Her girlfriend, Jackal, adores her and loves to enable her worst behaviours.
Ohhh these lesbians look familiar, hehe. I landed on these two as my final two OCs to draw since I don’t do a lot of Star Trip art just for fun. I’m feeling pretty excited thinking about Ajo and Kagra since these two finally reunite in Chapter 10 of Star Trip, which I am working on right now!
That’s all for this week of OC art. I think I will be searching for future challenges, since this one helped me break out of my shell and gave me a good reason to draw more of my own characters. Also working on this challenge with friends was a plus. Please check out the art that my buddy Dee has be posting of her own OCs. I adore her re-imagining of The Snow Queen and Gerda. Winter is also a part of this core group of OC enjoyers, and although they haven’t shared their OC kiss art anywhere publicly, they do have a lot of posts on their blog about their characters in general. Give it a look!
Hello, my name is Gisele! I'm a cartoonist, editor, and writer living on the cold shoulder of Canada. You can support me and my work through Patreon.
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