I have an Etsy store! – updated


etsy screen

UPDATE. Actually I have decided to phase out the digital clipart and focus on paper products, which I feel are more ‘me’. So, right now there are already three sticker sets and the two Scarecrow President zines available and next week I will add some posters. It will be a part of my New Year’s resolution this year to get this little store going.


Somehow I’ve never mentioned here that I also have an Etsy shop where I sell zines and digital clipart! Well, this mistake is about to get fixed right now.

I’m in the process of re-working the clipart sets, so there are bigger and better sets on the way soon.

Link to the shop here: BonaramisArt

About the benefits of life drawing

I’ve now been organizing open life drawing sessions here in Athens for over 2 years. It’s been a slow but steady progress – from 1-2 people the first year to 5-6 on the second and now occasional bursts of 10+ alternated with 1-2. It still puzzles me that in the city the size of Athens there seems to be no tradition or knowledge about this type of life drawing classes. Even the usual word for quick sketching, the French “croquis”, denotes a certain type of architectural drawings here.

About half of the crowd we draw are foreigners – people who are familiar with the practice and actively looking for this type of sessions. The Greeks who take it seriously have either studied abroad in art schools where a strong base in live drawing is expected or professional artists who find it useful. From the rest I still get the question that’s really become a pet peeve of mine: “What’s the use of life drawing?” What I hear is a sportsperson or musician asking: “Why should I train?” “Why should I practice?”

If an artist wants to be any good, to reach a level of mastery that is higher than plain mediocre, she needs to practice. Practice constantly and practice with thought – ideally with a teacher who can point out the weaknesses – but if that’s not possible, with a critical mind, pushing oneself to new areas if the old ones are getting too comfortable.

What does this training finally achieve? It achieves to build up a full 3D model of a human body in your mind, a real moving body that allows you to draw believable dynamic figures from fantasy and eliminates a great deal of need for references. Once you have this model, you can focus on it and make it move as you wish, then freeze it in time and draw. That’s what live drawing practice can do for you. It sets you free.


Portraits, and more portraits

Human faces are fascinating things. You can draw them for years and still find them fascinating and fresh. Technique needs to be shaken up now and then though, as that is surely something that can get boring after a measure of repetition.

I was honestly planning to do the Inktober challenge this year as well ( I almost completed it last year). However, things did not go exactly as planned. I did three black-and-white pieces… and it started to bore me. The strange thing is that my “inherent” (yes it is strange to call it that, but I’ll explain) style seems to be different from the style I’m quite frequently trying to do. Meaning that my brain pushes clean linework, more attention to details, etc etc and yet, those times where I’ve just gone about making a piece without much thought, it’s always coloured, rather loose – even painterly, or mixed media and collage, layers of different media on top of each other.

Occasionally it feels like a dilemma – should I follow one or the other? Or try to conjoin them into an amalgam? I’m still not sure. Perhaps the artistic style is simply the reflection of my way of being – interested in a multitude of things, a natural generalist. Nevertheless, during the years the main interests have crystallized, become reasonably clear; the rest, while still there, has resumed lower priorities. Hopefully the style follows the same route – sheds the unnecessary and keeps what should be there.


No such thing as creative block

How easy it is to fall out of a writing habit – especially after solemnly promising to myself to continue writing more often. All of a sudden there’s all this other work to do: comics to prepare, illustrations to finish, paste-ups to colour, and all these things sneak past writing on the priority list and writing plonks lower and lower until it’s left out altogether. Then one fine day you stumble over it as it lies on the floor not forgotten but definitely neglected, pick it up and say: all right then. And here I am.

I’ve been getting tired of music lately. An important reason for this is surely that I hardly ever change my playlists – I’m almost sure that the playlist on my iPad is more or less the same since I first uploaded it in 2011. Minus the songs I’ve gotten tired of along the way and deleted. In a way it’s an inevitability – I cannot concentrate when I listen to something new, so I’m bound to those old favourites. However, sometimes it’s good to take a break, give the ears some rest and clear the mind. So, I’ve been listening to a number of writer interviews instead.

It started with Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech that I’ve already mentioned; also commencement speeches by Peter Dinklage and J.K. Rowling. These three I can listen to on repeat. After listening to them for a while I got curious about what else they’ve said – so I listened to some interviews with Neil Gaiman and his wife Amanda Palmer and then moved on to J.K. Rowling.

From J.K. Rowling on to Stephen King (whose generous swearing often results in viewer discretion warnings on his videos), John Grisham (who still sounds more like a lawyer than a writer), Lee Child with his dry British wit and Janet Evanovich, whose books I haven’t read, but definitely will now as she turned out to have a delightful sense of humour. Something that struck me as a common thread in several of those interviews, was that these writers do not believe in writer’s block.

Why not? After all, it’s an established part of the myth of the tortured genius – one day the sacred milk of the muse runs dry and the creator suffers, needing to create, yet being unable to do so. All they can do is wait and hope for some new drops – or a stream – one day.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Do I believe in it myself? No.

There is another common trait all these writers share which, I believe, is the main cause of this disbelief. All of these authors are from working-class backgrounds. All of them have had periods in their lives that they have either spent in poverty or just on the brink of it. All of them have held other jobs besides writing. A drive and desire to write that is strong enough to overcome these obstacles indeed does not and cannot know creative block. It only knows it cannot afford it. A step not taken is a step back as the road ahead can be like a treadmill to those starting at the bottom, a current running in the wrong direction. For someone used to doing things it needs to do to survive regardless whether it wants to or not, the sheer pleasure of creation is so great that it becomes impossible to see it as anything but joy. Add to it a solid work ethic and here you go.

And yes, I’m from a working-class background too.