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Sorry for being so absent, my dA friends! Life has been exceptionally busy and I've had little time for art. That ought to change once the semester is over. 

So ... how're you all holding up?
  • Mood: Tired
  • Drinking: Coffee
The shot answer is "a lot". Getting caught up on overdue homework mostly. (In hindsight taking two programming courses, a class on software requirements and web design in a single semester was probably a bad idea.) I'll put this in bulleted form 'cause I'm too lazy to type actual coherent paragraphs at this point:
  • Math class is unexpectedly fun! Everyone gets along well. I daresay too well since study sessions tend to veer off into unrelated discussions about anything/everything on a far-too-regular basis. By her own admission, our professor would be furious at us if we weren't all keeping up with the material relatively well. 
  • It's also bringing out my inner perfectionist. So there's that. 
  • I could do with less software requirements homework and more programming. Even though the later is probably more important, the actual coding is so much more fun... 
  • I'm now an officer in our Women in Technology club. (Somehow — I got elected without even knowing I was nominated). Anyway, I'm in the midst of organizing a field trip. Hopefully I don't lose anyone in Cambridge. 
  • I also got nominated to teach basic programming to middle schoolers. [breathes into paper bag]
  • We're using Objective-C in mobile software development, another language to confuse me while I'm being confused by learning other languages! Though we do get to play with Macs now. So it's not all bad. 
  • I wanna draw more often but I don't have the time.... *cries* 
  • Mood: Tired
Hey, at least I'm trying to be creative with my weekly "I haven't gone away, I'm just busy" update-journal titles...

Math class continues to eat up much of my free time, but I feel like I'm starting to overcome my comfortable mediocrity at the subject. (Or so it would seem — I've had good performance ever since those first two disastrous quizzes.) I've also discovered the joy of explaining mathematical topics to less mathematically-inclined people and am becoming something of a team-mother to my study group, what with my constantly bringing them healthy snacks and giving pep-talks and whatnot. Probably helps that we all get along with each other. Hooray friendly study groups! 

The Java class is alright but at this point I mostly want to explore the concept of object orientated programming more thoroughly, in a not-necessarily-language-specific context. Any recommendations for books/websites/other learning resources on the topic would be greatly appreciated. 

Contrary to my lack of uploads, I'm drawing somewhat regularly, but have been too lazy/busy to post much here. A sketch-dump is in order ... perhaps. 
  • Mood: Tired
  • Eating: Soon!
Just wanted to let everyone know I'm still alive. Sorta. My life's pretty much been taken over by my math class for ... a variety of reasons, including two truly ego-shattering quiz performances. Our professor is both really tough and vaguely uninterested in teaching the actual topics we're covering so there's a lot more self-instruction than I'm used to. I'm like a week behind of half my (non-math) homework, ffff. 

Mobile application development is unexpectedly fun and utterly time-consuming. Still have to come up with a project proposal; I want to make a color scheme generator, but I don't know where to start either. And don't really have any time to. (See above point.)

I keep meaning to draw in my spare time, but I can never decide what to make. Maybe I should just draw something regardless, since I've always found sketching to be very relaxing and therapeutic and I could certainly use both right now... 
  • Mood: Tired
My dear dA friends, it seems I am currently facing a dilemma finding a suitable Java development environment. My only viable work computer is a Mac running OS X 10.6.8. Our class is going to be working with Java Development Kit 7, which is only available for OS X 10.7 and up. I've already attempted to shoehorn JDK 7 onto OS X 10.6.8 using these instructions; I followed everything to the letter (complete with using the JDK 7 version specified in the post) and it still didn't work. (I didn't press the point further because I was concerned about screwing up JDK 6, currently installed.)

Right now I'm faced with this set of options:

  1. Upgrade to OS X 10.7 and risk losing my rather impressive software investment in OS X 10.6 (the thought of losing Photoshop alone makes me want to cry); 
  2. Partition my drive and dual-boot with Windows or some JDK 7-supported flavor of Linux or Unix and be faced with having to reboot constantly to switch between tasks;
  3. Install JDK 7 on a Linux/Unix/Windows virtual machine and risk poor performance / completely decimating my system resources, or;
  4. Attempt to work on my Windows 7 laptop and not get anything done, because I loathe using that computer (it's about as loud and vibrate-y as a blender and has a really, really bad screen) ... OR
  5. LIVING DANGEROUSLY BONUS OPTION — The textbook we're using proclaims that most of the lessons and examples are compatible with JDK 6, so just use that until I run into work that requires the use of JDK 7, at which point I decide between options 1 — 4. 

Of the options I'm leaning most toward #3, simply because it requires the least amount of risk and monetary/time investment. But I'm wondering if any of my (undoubtedly smarter) friends / watchers have advice because they're all on the table at the moment. 

As for potential OSes to use — I've been kind of out of the Linux/Unix/thingsthataren'tspecificallyOSXorWindows game for awhile (not on my own volition, mind you), does anyone more knowledgable in this particular area have any suggestions? If I'm going to be running it in a VM, I'd rather use an OS with a small resource footprint. The only other requirement is that it can run JDK 7. 
  • Mood: Pain
  • Eating: Kettle corn
So things have been kind of quiet here. There's a little over a week until classes start, I guess I'm just quietly contemplating with my impending doom (by which I mean having responsibilities and a three day a week early morning commute). Hopefully C++ will have girded me for work with Java. Also, some things happened and I ended up getting into a web development class, so that ought to be fun. Hopefully. 

I've been doing a little less drawing than usual for lack of ideas/motivation. But I also got struck by the urge to do some world-building type stuff, including work on "my" OS-tan universe (quote marks since it borrows from/is related to the worlds developed by cptlfrghtr and NejinOniwa among others). I'm trying to write some in-universe texts but it turns out I'm poor fictional-nonfiction author. I guess the fact that some of the most basic questions about the OS-tan universe have been left intentionally unanswered, fundamentally thwarting any attempt to properly describe them. Maybe I'll just stick to writing what we do know.

Also, a parting question to my visual artist friends. Do any of you have trouble capturing your own physical likeness in drawn form? I'm working on a self-portrait thing and let me tell you, I might as well have never seen my face before. I just can't translate the features into my own art style — it's bizarre. Is this an actual cognitive phenomena or are faces just easier to draw when they aren't your own?
  • Mood: Pain
Might as well hop on the bandwagon, no? 

My story started when DeviantArt was around half its current age. I had recently started drawing "manga-style" artwork and wanted a place to share it. It wasn't very good, but I found it quite liberating learning to draw in a new style.

Dy by BellaCielo
Fig. 1.1: KAWAIIII UUUGUU

For a variety of (obvious) factors I never got much attention and my art was never well-received. I grew dissatisfied and left not long after joining. While gone, I ended up on OS-tan Collections, a small forum, gallery and wiki where I met many welcoming people who helped me grow as an artist. The departure of my friend C-quel from the site and his (and Kattlanna's!) subsequent move to DeviantArt motivated me to revive my account and start posting my works here again. I'd become more technically-skilled as an artist, but my works were still riddled with a variety of anatomy, posing and color/lighting issues. 

Multics-sama and Unix-sama by BellaCielo A Very Unix Christmas by BellaCielo  
Fig. 2.1 — 2.2: Vector art from 2008

I became more experimental in 2009. I began working with watercolors, paying more attention to traditional art and attempting to branch out into new styles. However I continued to neglect fundamentals like proper anatomy. And posing. And lighting. I also fell into this rut where I drew everyone's head way too big? And was plagued by borderline Moon Over June-style expressions. Whoops. 

Checkerboard Caren by BellaCielo LOST: Daniel Faraday by BellaCielo THE Constant--June 7-- by BellaCielo
Fig. 3.1 — 3.3: Faces are hard

Interesting things happened toward the end of 2009. I became more serious about watercolors and produced many large paintings. I finally fulfilled my childhood dream of owning a Mac. I developed renewed interest in OS-tans and returned to OSC after spending about a year away. I was welcomed (back) warmly and I became friends with many members there, including the infinitely rad cptlfrghtr, Choco-la-te NejinOniwa and PentiumMMX (later on), all of whom engaged my mind and helped me grow as an artist. 

Livingstone by BellaCielo SAGE-tan by BellaCielo  Island of Misfit Toys by BellaCielo
Fig. 3.4 — 3.6: A brief respite from awful anatomy

2010 was a very busy and productive year for me. I bought a Wacom Bamboo and experimented with a variety of tools: Inkscape, GIMP, Photoshop, watercolors, pencils. This was the year that laid down the foundation for my later works, especially 2013 forward. But more on that in a moment.

Unix and Linux-tan FINAL by BellaCielo DevID: I Love You Both by BellaCielo Two Sisters and a Tagalong by BellaCielo 01: Gullman by BellaCielo
Fig. 4.1 — 4.4: Mediums galore!

If there's one thing I remember about my artwork in 2011, it's the color schemes. No idea what happened, but they're pleasing to my eyes to this day. I also feel this was the apex of my anime-esque coloring style, which went steeply downhill and became quite plasticky and lifeless by 2013.

Spring by BellaCielo Bday Gift - Eleonore and Celia by BellaCielo LINC-8 Colored -v1- by BellaCielo 
Fig. 5.1 — 5.4: Look at those colors.

I don't want to talk about 2012 because it wasn't a very good year, personal-life-wise or art-wise. Anyway, here are a few of the better pieces, even if I hadn't yet discovered how to draw body types besides skinny-ish and leggy (I was possessed with malevolent CLAMP spirits, sorry). 

Ubuntu-tan Portrait by BellaCielo Mittans by BellaCielo Request: Trefoil and Steel Innocence by BellaCielo
Fig. 6.1 — 6.3: Good enough.

2013 was strange. The first part of the year was more-or-less a continuation of 2012's works ... 

 LINC-8 Family by BellaCielo 
Fig. 7.1: Still sufficient.

...but then something happened around the half-way point of the year and my art ended up looking like this: 
VMS-tan Bust by BellaCielo MTS-tan Portrait by BellaCielo Linux Glow by BellaCielo 
Fig. 7.2 — 7.4: Who are you and what have you done with the Real BellaCielo?!

It was a culmination of events: cptlfrghtr encouraging me to learn to draw a wider range of body and facial structures, Samantha-Wright helping me get a better handle on lighting and coloring, and the matter of my body finally developing the hand-eye coordination to sketch directly on a tablet. I also got much better at conceptualizing 3D objects and understanding 3D forms (which I secretly suspect is related to me getting back into gaming for the first time in ages, even though that's probably not the actual reason). 

So far 2014 is a continuation of the skills I developed in 2013. I'm completely obsessed with dramatic lighting schemes, learning the mysteries form and light and color theory and drawing characters of a wide variety of body types. Also shipping. And Valve fanart. There's a lot of that. (Sorryimnotsorry.)

The Little Princess by BellaCielo The Cave by BellaCielo One Fine Morning by BellaCielo
Fig. 8.1 — 8.3: How about that lighting?

Finally I want to thank all my wonderful friends and watchers here. Your comments, advice and critiques have been absolutely invaluable to my development, and I'm not sure I'd have progressed this far without your support. Thank you for making DeviantArt such a fantastic community. :heart:
  • Mood: Artistic
...cleaning out my replies inbox. I have things there from two years ago. Literally, July 2012. Granted that was the year I developed borderline-crippling anxiety over (what turned out to be far less serious than expected) medical things and was all but inactive online, because who has time for the internet when you're incapacitated by low-grade psychological disorder? (It subsided for awhile after I had dental surgery in the fall, but then came back with a vengeance when I got fairly badly ill in the spring of 2013. And really hasn't been a problem since last spring, for what it's worth.) But I digress. While most of the replies are thank-you messages and other courtesies, others are conversation threads concluded or lost under heaps of other messages, some of which I'm tempted to reply to for ... various reasons. Even if it would confuse the hell out of the original posters, in all likelihood. A few are from old friends who've since left dA ... as trivial as it may sound, there are so many bittersweet memories, it hurts to just think about. 

On a totally unrelated note, I survived the New England Tornadocalypse. Even though it was more of a eight-hour-thunderstormegeddon where I live. 

Also I have to go to the dentist tomorrow. And have blood drawn for usual testing things. Should probably stop simmering-panicking over that and get to sleep...  

Llama Emoji-06 (Depress) [V1] 
  • Mood: Shame
Not a whole lot's happening on my end. I've been tasked with taking care of the family dog in my father's absence, which has resulted in my sleep schedule pretty much going to hell because she's decided to channel the spirit of a colicky baby/nocturnal animal and wake me up repeatedly during the night, every night. And bark at me nonstop if I try to take a nap during the day. Which I think is technically a form of torture under international law. Luckily I found a way to soothe her to sleep, but I have to leave the TV on all night and sneak into bed without her noticing ... 

In less terrible news my website is coming along slowly (and hopefully "surely"). I think I have a basic layout figured out, now I'm focusing mostly on making it look good and not like something designed by a 12 year old on Geocities or an atrociously flashy tumblr theme. On a related note, do any of my readers know if there's a simple way to scale down images by percentage that ISN'T dependent on window size? Or is it just easier to scale them by width/height? I ask because I'm making an image gallery and I'd like to code the gallery stylesheet in a way that automatically scales the pictures to whatever-percentage of the original image size, rather than resize the images one by one in the HTML. (Hopefully that question is decipherable — idk if I explained it well.)

In other news ... I really want to put something together for the first anniversary of me getting my shit together art-wise (since that happened about this time last year), maybe I'll do one of those massive art-improvement-over-the-years memes (pictured below), some more redo pieces or perhaps I'll just write about it here. Dunno yet. Unrelated, but I'm ALSO still deliberating throwing together an art/ask tumblr.

...actually, I'm starting to think I'm not unmotivated, I'm just motivated in about a dozen different directions at once.
  • Mood: Artistic
  • Listening to: News
  • Playing: Portal 2 community chambers
  • Drinking: Coffee
In sets of three, as usual:

1) Noooooooo, MORNING MATH CLASSES. WHYYYYYY. I can barely remember how to tie my shoelaces at 8AM. HOW AM I EXPECTED TO SOMEHOW GET READY, DRIVE TO CLASS AND NOT PASS OUT WITHIN THE FIRST FEW MINUTES. AAAAH. Also I'm a pathological night-owl, I'm extremely lucky if I can get to sleep by 2AM. So I have to do ALL THIS ON 6 HOURS OF SLEEP ... and that's a generous estimate.

2) My computer's HDD is neeeeearly full, which means I have to start moving some of the bigger files onto my 1TB drive (current Time Machine drive) and set up the not-yet-opened-3TB drive as the new backup drive ... OH GOD, TEDIOUS FILE-SHUFFLING WORK. HOW DO FIND THE WILL?

3) Doctor's appointment tomorrow. OH GOD. Possibly shots. And/or a blood test. AAAAAAH. I mean I should really go because I haven't had a checkup in ages, not to mention I accidentally cut my leg awhile back and I'd like to have it looked at by a medical professional ... but I'm still scared, white-coat panic and all. 

Llama Emoji-56 (Hiding) [V3] 

On a happier note I want to thank everyone who offered me help and advice on the website-building front!  I had no idea where to start before, but I feel like I can actually get this done now! If only I can decide on a theme / layout for the site ... 

Pretty sure the hunt for a suitable set of fonts alone is gonna slow me down by a few weeks. (There are just so many nice fonts out there, how do I chooooooose?)
  • Mood: Hysterical
  • Eating: Kettlecorn
So a couple things have happened and I'm considering trying my hand at website-creation. I've made websites in the very distant past so most of what I know is woefully outdated. There are two different projects I'm considering: a portfolio-type website for my works and a webpage for my dad's business.

Considering building a personal website because there's been an uptick in interest in my art (photography in particular) among friends and family and other people I don't necessarily want snooping around my dA and I'd like to be able to refer them there. Plus it'd be good for future freelance work opportunities. As for a website for my dad's business, he's offered to pay me to build one for him, and that's really all the motivation I need. Both would be fairly simple, I suppose, but the problem is I'm not really sure where to start.

To my dA friends who have done stuff of this nature, do you have any recommendations for learning resources? Decently-priced web hosting? General tips/things to look out for?
  • Mood: Tired
  • Drinking: Raspberry kefir
Hi dA friends! I'm back from vacation but still in the process of getting back into my usual routine. There are a bunch of comments and replies I need to answer, and I still owe a couple reviews as well — don't fear, I haven't forgotten about them. ^^; 

Life feels boring now that the excitement of traveling and whatnot has passed. Don't know why but I'm usually very relaxed on vacation, when I'm at home I tend to run a lot hotter, so to speak, even if there's nothing particularly stressful going on. I'd like to think that being on vacation affords me a chance to not only get away from my usual surroundings, but also a chance to take a "vacation away from myself" — silly as that may seem. 

My plan to work through my reading backlog didn't go entirely as I wished, mostly because I spent a lot less time hiding behind a screen or the pages of a book than I imagined initially. Did get about halfway through Iono The Fanatics and various one-shots. Also started re-reading cptlfrghtr's stories (it's been awhile — not since they were first posted in some cases) and checking out Samantha-Wright's writings too. ^.^

Not gonna lie, it felt a little strange picking up a tablet pen and trying to draw after a week away, but I think I managed to regain my coordination in full. Still considering doing some "redeux" pieces and maybe a few of those now-and-then memes — if only I can find some old pieces I like enough to remake. 

On an entirely unrelated, inspired-by-current-iTunes-listening-note, why is it I find these songs so damn addictive? 
  • Mood: Tired
Tomorrow I head home. Expect more regular posting/replies then!
  • Mood: Nervous
Good god this trip was terrible.

New York was uglier than I remembered but Ohio was surprisingly pretty. What gives?

Also thank you CBC for keeping me sane during the last part of the trip.

Hopefully this bed won't screw up my back. I swear it's stuffed with PAIN and DISCONTENT.
  • Mood: Nervous
So my trip got delayed by a few days for family illness reasons. Probably for the best, since I wasn't as well-prepared as I'd have liked to be. Now, at least, I have plenty of reading materials for the trip / to bury myself behind if I don't feel like interacting. In e-book and physical form. (I just hope dad doesn't mind I put 2+ GB of manga on his Kindle, ahahaha.)

Speaking of which, finally took the plunge and bought the Galaxy S5. Enjoying it so far but I'm feeling a little freaked out since this is the first 'contemporary' smartphone I've owned. It's also a bit big for my tiny pianist hands/fingers, hopefully I'll develop the strength/coordination to operate it. 

In other news, probably going to do a small sketch dump between now and my departure this weekend. 
  • Mood: Nervous
Next week I'm going on a trip. Not calling it a "vacation" since I'm actually dreading going, because there's nothing fun about 12 hour car trips through the Rust Belt or rural Michigan or being stuck in a cottage with passive-aggressive midwesterners. Also the last three times I've traveled there I've become oh-hell-I-am-going-to-die-level sick. And was almost blown up/set ablaze in an amateur fireworks accident. It's a string of bad luck I can only attribute to pissing off some wrathful midwestern spirits.

Might be picking up that Galaxy S5 after the weekend though. Still feeling a little sad about retiring Lina I but it's had a good run. Also I live in a constant state of annoyance/acceptance with it, which is probably a sign I should upgrade. Stupid emotional attachments to electronics!
  • Mood: Nervous
I wanted to bump that old journal off my profile since the issue's been resolved.

There's still an old request I have to finish and post, but I'm not sure what I'll work on after that. Probably random sketches and whatnot as usual. I'm also thinking of perhaps coloring some favorite old sketches of mine, and maybe even redoing some old pieces. We'll see!

In other news, I'm considering getting a Galaxy S5. My Galaxy S is super slow and some of its buttons don't work, but it works just well enough for me to feel hesitant about upgrading. :|
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Eating: Cabernet dark chocolate
How long has the Deviant ID "bio" section had this dreadful automatic center-alignment? I just took a look at my profile to admire my artfully-arranged stamp collection when BAM, I was hit over the head with a bag-full of ugly. It really only looks "right" when my browser window is resized to ~960px wide — about one-half of my 1920x1200 monitor — so I wonder if this is an attempt to make DeviantArt display better on smaller resolution screens. (Which I didn't even know was a problem before, because it's always looked fine on my 1300some x 700some laptop.)

Well, off to rearrange my bio/stamps so they look decent. /sigh
  • Mood: Not Impressed
  • Eating: Chicken cashew & rice
Finals are over ... looking back I'm really happy with my algebra class, C++ programming class and photography class, but I'm disappointed with creative writing. I can't say I subscribe to a belief in the supernatural but Game Programming definitely has me wondering if my team was cursed by a wrathful deity.* At least I got through it ... 

Now I have to figure out what to do with my summer vacation. >>

*Not really.
  • Mood: Relief
...until the end of semester. 

I actually had a fun with my classes this year (excluding game programming, which kind of turned shitshow once my team abandoned ship) and learned a lot but I'm really looking forward to not having anything to do for a change. u.u

More regular updates / replies should resume then! (Unless I pass out for like a week afterward.)
  • Mood: Tired
  • Watching: The Late Late Show