November 19, 2014

On Writing, Concept Art, and Youtube Speedpaints

Sometimes the only thing you can do is to just sit down, and start writing.

It doesn't matter that you have nothing to say, and it doesn't matter that the words aren't coming to you. Maybe you don't have an elaborately specific outline with carefully plotted bullet points all festooned together, real neat and tidy like, ready to be conjured up on a whim once you set forth writing. Nor do you perhaps possess a clever hook with which to entice your readers and successfully snag their attention, pushing them past the boundary of difficult indecision which is those first couple of lines.

Perhaps you believe that you have nothing to say. 

You have no opinions to share, no insights to expound upon. You possess no observations on the world surrounding you, nor questions inspired by said observations. You wonder nothing, are surprised by nothing, expect nothing. You accept everything in life as it is, the good and the bad, and don't care whether anyone else cares.

You alone are perfectly indifferent to the world.

If this is you, shame on you for lying through your teeth.

Everyone feels something. We, as human beings, have a habit of not only tuning out our emotions, our inner voices, our conscience, our instincts, our intuition, (or whatever else it is you may call it), but also of constantly fighting to disguise these thoughts and emotions as something else, hence writing them off as unimportant or unnecessary.

I had a Language Arts teacher in high school who once made the argument that indifference was the greatest evil that could possibly exist in the world.

If in truth you really are villainous in the most realistic sense--lack utter human compassion, take pleasure in the suffering of other creatures, or hate with an animosity worthy of the insatiable burning of hell- then you are only guilty of being human. To feel nothing, nothing at all, and to care for nothing, not even oneself's self-preservation or pleasure is inhuman in every possible sense. A man who feels nothing and cares for nothing has nothing to prove and nothing to lose. No desire, no ambition, no reason. No fear, no reward, no resolution. A man of this sort would be merely a shell of a man; an empty nothing.

It seems that as of late, I am consistently barraged by a smothering wall of combination lethargy, exhaustion, and indifference so intense that I find myself fighting an internal war of universal proportions just to retain a minimal amount of cohesiveness throughout any given day.

Anxiety is normal. Natural. In many scenarios, beneficial, in fact.
Anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is slowly stealing my humanity.

It's just past week six of fall term, and already the renewal of spirit I associated with the change of pace that accompanies the start of a new school year has all but dissipated.


I do, however, have this new piece of concept art to share with you all that I completed at the start of this past summer.

This is an experimental style of digital artwork based on an older concept sketch that had been nearly forgotten in one of my many numerous stacks of sketchbooks and heaps of loose leaf paper. It took approximately 9 hours to complete. I had no tablet or pen to help quicken the process, only an old wired mouse.

At any rate, the advice to just start-- regardless of what, exactly-- is absolute brilliance. Especially if you are struggling with your own inner demons, exerting the will power necessary to take a single small step like deciding to do something (just deciding, not necessarily doing it mind you) is sometimes all it takes.

After working and re-working my original sketch into something that vaguely resembled the final image I had in mind, I drew a final version in ink which was then scanned and finally made ready to be digitally colored (See the image above-- it's didn't even fit on one page to begin with).

At this point, the genius thought occurred to me to record the drawing process so I could put it on YouTube to share with you all. I've always waned to start a YouTube channel for either art or video game-related junk, and I finally decided to pursue it.

You gotta start somewhere, right?

I'm not expecting to get internet famous or anything silly like that; I just want a new visual outlet through which to share my art and get others involved with what I create. Video seemed like a good way to get that done.

So check it out below: the first speedpaint in what will hopefully become a series of many.

I've been making some changes to our lovely little blog here (some more substantial than others), and you can expect further ongoing renovations in the future. It's slowly getting where it needs to be (or rather, where I want it) piece by piece.

I recently joined DrawCrowd, and have to admit I personally am rather disappointed with it thus far.

I recommend fellow artists and creatives check it out, and let me know what you think. Am I, shall we say, "jumping the shark" with my opinion?

You can check out my Draw Crowd Profile here, or you can go to Draw Crowd and search for artist "Krystal Dawn."

All right, that's it for now. I've let this post run on quite long enough, don't you think? There are many more improvements I hope to apply to this blog before the new year, and I hope to get posts back on something that at least vaguely resembles a regular schedule.

See you all soon! :)

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April 17, 2014

Tattoo Designs and Cheap Pens

I'm nearly through the third week of my first term back to school, and everyday I'm downright exhausted.

Between essay-extensive classes with excessive homework overload, lugging a back-breaking amount of textbooks to and from the bus stop twice a day, cramming freelance writing into my lunch break and coming home with just enough time to shower and tackle the chores that have been piling up since lunch, it's no wonder my daily 45 minute commute to and back from school with the public transportation system is the most relaxation I get in a single week day.

I should probably be concerned by this, but to be honest, I'm not.

On my journey home from the great exertion that was college classes this past Wednesday, a young man probably just a few years older than myself sat by me on the overly crowded student express bus.

Out of necessity of bus etiquette, he decided to strike up a polite conversation.
The conversation itself was decent. Not exceptional, but decent.

I wasn't in the most fond of moods, but politely responded and replied with sincerity, although my mind was mostly elsewhere. There was a point in our conversation where my attention was suddenly taken prisoner however, and I found myself listening raptly as he told me the sort of short story I knew would stick with me long after I got off that cramped, damp city bus.

I can't recall for the life of me where he was at (the fellow seemed to travel quite a bit), but he was in a big city visiting family when he encountered an apparently homeless woman sitting alongside the streets, drawing massive sketches with cheap bic ink pens. The woman was a drug addict of some sort--heroine, I believe he said, although I didn't ask how he knew-- and he asked her how much it would cost for him to purchase one of her drawings. He thought of it a win-win situation--it was a kind way for him to give her money without hurting her pride, as well as a way for him to pick up an extraordinarily impressive piece of art with an intriguing origin story.

She looked at him and replied quite easily, "$250," at which he was flabbergasted. The artwork was worth it, but it seemed rich for a woman in her state to be demanding such a high price when you'd asssume she should be grateful for any money at all. "Do you sell a lot of these?" He asked disbelievingly.

 "All the time," she breezily replied.

"Because heroine is expensive," he made  point to inform me. She had to charge that much to pay for her addiction of choice.

The point to take away from this was that this particular woman spent no money on advertising, or sharing examples of her work on social media sites or prostituting her artistic skills for back-breaking commissions. She just sat around drawing pictures of what she wanted to draw. People bought her works when they saw them-- even with the hefty price tag attached-- because they were breathtaking works of art. The sort of works that left your jaw dropped and speechless in stunned amazement.

Maybe she was an art school dropout.

All kidding aside, this story got me to thinking about the quality of my work.

There was no way that this young man could have understood the scope of my skills from our brief conversation, but I felt a pang of jealousy towards this woman's unprecedented "success". It reminded me of the depth of skill level I'm actually capable of and how ashamed I've felt time and time again when I've completed an artwork that was sub-par in my own mind.

I've received praise so often for works I was never particularly proud of that I've sort of stopped striving to reach that level of perfection. Or imperfection, rather. It can't quite be perfection I suppose, because it is attainable. Either way, I've continuously allowed myself to accept works of art as being "complete" simply because I was tired of working on them, didn't have time to do with them what I wanted, or had a severe lack of patience.

If possible, this is something I hope to begin to rectify with future artworks. I want to put in the effort that's equal to the idea behind the piece.

The below isn't necessarily one of those pieces, but I quite like it just the same.

I call this tribal-inspired peacock tattoo illustration "Gemini." It too was drawn completely with cheap ink pens, but weeks before I ever heard the story about the woman with a heroine addiction who was making bank on daily basis from an un-named stranger on the city bus. There was literally no practice lines, no sketching before I began inking. It simply took form on the page as I went along.

I'm interested in hearing what suggestions some of you may have as to what I should attempt to draw next in this particular style. Another animal inspired design, people, specific video game characters, a place...The sky is the limit, really. And of course, I may just end up drawing whatever it is that comes to mind next time my pen and paper meet.

If you do have a suggestion, write it in the comments section, or tweet at me at the below profile. Make sure to give me a name or way to reference you if I do decide to draw inspiration from your suggestion.

So as always, thanks for reading and being a part of this stage in my life and artistic career.
I can't wait to get started on whatever projects tomorrow has in store for me.

-Krystal Dawn

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April 11, 2014

Working as a Freelance Writer

Despite my valiant efforts, extensive enthusiasm and outstanding diligence, my journey with the masses into the treacherous search for suitable employment went less than un-rewarded for a significantly depressing amount of time.

It was during this point of brooding when it occurred to me that while my enthusiasm towards art commissions had been somewhat diminished for the time being, that perhaps I could find work using one of my other skills--in this case, writing. Lo and behold, I was in luck. After researching and hunting down freelance writing jobs online, I finally landed a paying job that was right up my alley-- writing articles for the online art community at

If you love my blog and writing or are supportive of my artistic and creative endeavors, or maybe are an art enthusiast in general or are just plain curious as to what thalo is all about, go check it out. And please, don't just stop by to read what I have written; there are many other talented writers working to provide quality content on a wide range of art-related topics. Don't hesitate to wander around their site.

Below I've listed a short preview of some of my published articles and the links to the full articles on Feel free to have a look, "like," and share. From here on out, I'll be adding new articles to this initial list under a special standalone page located under the "Writing" tab on the home screen of this blog, which will be used as a point of reference for a complete list of my most up-to-date published writing pieces.

As always, comment, like, and share if you feel so inclined! Follow me on Twitter, "like" my facebook page, and add me to your circles on Google+. You know, as if you use Google+, because honestly, who does?

-Krystal Dawn

Crafts and Arts: A challenge of Perspective
"Arts and crafts" - It has become customary to see these two separate concepts in a state of constant comparison. The reality behind the individual nuances of each have dissipated over time; bound to each other by cliché, the fine line between the two has been blurred practically into nonexistence.

See Full Article Here

The Other Renaissance Master
While the history books may remember the High Renaissance as having taken place during a brief span of 40 or so years, the consequences of this cultural "revival" that swept Italy and consequently engulfed all of Europe would continue to shape history beyond the 1400's.

See Full Article Here

Oculus Rift: Redefining the Future of the Gaming Industry
It is beautiful, really. Somehow these two words seem strange, almost foreign. And yet, the name of what may be one of the most historically important developments in video game technologies rolls right off the tongue, like a snippet of steamy celebrity gossip.

See Full Article Here

The Walking Dead: Slaughtering Zombies and Breaking Records

October 9th 2013 marked the 10 year anniversary of Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore's provocative and trendsetting apocalyptic new cult classic, The Walking Dead. Avid fans of the emotionally enthralling zombie comic book turned controversial hit AMC television series had an appetite to rival that of the flesh-eating objects of their admiration; A hunger that was near insatiable, as was all too evident in their response to this highly-anticipated issue.

See Full Article Here

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April 3, 2014

Recycling Memories

Once upon a time, there was an itty bitty little girl who's mom bought her a gorgeous, girly jewelry box--the first and only she would ever own--for her birthday.

As time wore on, the corners of the box were scuffed, and the white-as-white-can-be paint began to peel. Splotches of sparkly nail polish spattered the drawers on the left-hand side of the box's face; the pink velvet lining on the inside of the box became soiled and discolored. An early attempt to revitalize and return the box to a shadow of its former glory ended promptly when she quickly realized she didn't have enough hot pink nail polish to do the job and do it right.

I had tried so desperately and clung so valiantly to the ideal that I would someday find this pitiable jewelry box to be at least somewhat salvageable.

During one of my routine room-wide purges of useless junk and worthless "mementos," I stumbled once again upon this present from my childhood. Once again, I felt much too sentimental to just throw the thing out. I even considered repainting it for my younger sister, but it soon occurred to me that she had ample jewelry boxes whereas I have never purchased another besides this one. I was also painfully aware that it wouldn't mean the same thing to her as this gift meant to me.

But what to do with it?

I fetched my paint, dusted off my brushes and sponges and let a perfectly synced combination  of imagination, inspiration, and ingenuity drive the direction of this unique transformation project.

I regret to admit that Legend of Zelda, while hugely popular with the right people for years now, has only just recently made an impact on my gaming radar. That being said, as one of my newest obsessions, this jewelry box seemed like the perfect scenario to attempt recreating these newly beloved characters of mine for the very first time.

I was on a fairly short time frame (especially considering that I'm quite the slow painter), so I went for an abstract rendition of the characters and their essence rather than photo realism in this particular instance. This is especially apparent in the Ganon and Zelda portraits, seen below.

Ideas have a tendency to change between bud and blossom; originally the box was going to be solely based on a Majora's Mask theme. I was rather partial to the idea, and even was intending to include an abstract image of the happy mask salesmen which was to be painted on the inside of the main door. However, I ended up shifting my plans and instead gravitated towards a more general theme based around the sybolism of the triforce itself.

Major updates to Krystal Dawn Blog are in the works right now. I'm employing my every ounce of programming cunning to design a 100% custom  Blogger template from absolute scratch for use on this blog. It's super exciting, and I'm having a lot of fun with it, but its a lot of work too. I've even taken the liberty of designing a super special awesome custom logo, straight from the heart of my very own graphic design prowess, and its turned out just gorgeous!

On an ending note, I've nearly finished my first week of school having returned to college after an extended break, and I am downright exhausted. I've also been working part-time as a freelance writer-- that's right, Krystal Dawn's been getting paid to write. I honestly never saw that one coming, but hey, work is work. More on my writing and school and blog improvements will be discussed in more detail in the very near future, so sit tight, and enjoy the ride.

Thanks guys, you're all lovely and wonderful and so fantastically supportive! As always, comments and questions are more than welcome :) Hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

Facebook: Krystal Dawn
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January 14, 2014


"A well-proportioned mind is one which shows no particular bias: one of which we may safely say that it will never cause it's owner to be confined as a mad man, tortured as a heretic, or crucified as a blasphemer.

Also, on the other hand, that it will never cause him to be applauded as a prophet, revered as a priest, or exalted as a king."

-Thomas Hardy (Return of the Native)


As of late, I've been morbidly consumed with the here and now.

There is so much more to living than preoccupation with the present moment; however, it's difficult to convince oneself of such a thing when you find the present is providing you with constant trials and the (misleading) promise of instant gratification.

Its quite easy to write off something that hasn't happened as of yet as something that won't happen at all. As such, it's much harder to be ignorant towards that which is upon you.

Constantly worrying yourself and your deeds and your small little thoughts with nothing but that which the present presents to you can be crippling at best, even to those of us who have every true intention of avoiding misdirection. Intention and result are two different animals entirely; to compare what we mean to do and what we actually accomplish is a terrifying aspect, to say the very least.

I found the above Hardy quote scribbled on a crumpled torn notebook page in a stack of old school papers; presumably I referenced the quote in an expository essay when we dissected Hardy's novel in my high school AP Literature class.

I held on to this scrap for a socially insubstantial yet personally justifiable reason.

My name is Krystal Dawn, and I am a hoarder.

Now, mix in my innate tendency towards obsessive compulsive habits, and you may come to understand how it is that I've managed to develop bizarre rituals regarding the salvaging of such "sentimental" paper scraps as the aforementioned.

I simply can't help but to keep quotes and notes, random written observations, sketches, advertisements, printouts, magazine pages, the backs of cereal boxes, candy wrappers, stickers, buttons, etc. Unfortunately, I also have an instinctual need for order and organization, and have a deep dislike for wasted space. These ideals conflict; and so, at some point in my childhood I devised a compromise in order to satiate these two internal needs. I would use scissors to cut out the pieces of these various pages I wanted to keep, and throw out or recycle the undesired parts-- an act I unbelievably still perform today. Binders of page "pieces" and plastic baggies stuffed to the bursting point with paper cutouts inhabit the crevices and crannies of my personal living space.

In an attempt to comply with what is perceived as regular behavioral social norms, I purge my collection of bits and pieces every now and then, combing it over, piece by piece, eliminating that which no longer pertains to my interest. A handful or so of papers, wrappers and receipts are expelled; this particular scrap has consistently made the cut, as I connect to the quote on a deeper personal level than other objects.

Sometimes, (and I'm certain I'm not alone), I question the extent and stability of my own sanity.

Instead of bemoaning that I am not, and will never be "normal," I choose to revel in the fact that that which is my greatest weakness is also my most potent of strengths. My thoughts, reactions, perspective and behaviors may be unusual, quaint, or even a tad bizarre; but it is this fact that will allow me to excel in places where others have failed.


I've had little time to be online for quite some time now. October onward has been a catastrophic wave of things to do and things to be done, leading up to a part time job I held from late November to Christmas eve. Actually, my job continued even a tad longer, into the New year a week or so. I'm not complaining, however. Work is work. Money pays for stuff and things, that which makes the world turn and life move forward.

While I was working, I'd spend 8-10 hours working a physically demanding job and come home to eat, shower, sleep, then wake up early to do it all again. For the first time in my life, I truly understood why Friday is revered by most as the holy grail of all weekdays. TGIF became a prophetic promise; a single light that guided the weary and lost through the hazy uncertainty and shadowy struggle of Mondays and mornings.

Excuses, you say? Certainly.

I had comic book reviews lined up for the rest of October and was too bogged down and exhausted from the inside out to pull off the miraculous.

I hope that as the new year raises its haunches and stretches wide the arms of opportunity, I may find time to blog on a more regular schedule than I have as of late-- or blog at all, for that matter.


On a final side note, I want to point out how gratifying it is to make time during the hurried bustle of the day to just sit down and write. It's the sort of emotional release that I associate with charcoal drawing.

Is that odd?

 I always find that blending charcoal with a blending device never fails to lift the dark a bit more than I'd like, and so I often use my hands to blend the dust instead. There's something inexplicably beautiful about drawing an image with your own bare hands, like you're leaving more than an imprint, but a physical part of your self on the page.

Anyhow, writing is like that. In the back of my mind, I like to believe I'm writing a novel. Mostly I'm writing simply to entertain myself and to prove that I haven't lost my innate ability to imagine a world outside the one reality has imprisoned me to. I'm writing simply for the sake of doing so.

Wish me luck,
Krystal Dawn

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