Let There Be Light!
Basics of Composition
First Thoughts when choosing a Costume
The Sun, Part 1
Living with an Artistby J. Ryan Decker
Living with someone is a major commitment, no matter if you're dating, married, or just college roommates. Getting used to their little quirks can be tricky, especially if they happen to be one of the rare breed known as an artist. If mysterious piles of sketchbooks and stacks of photo references suddenly start appearing in random locations around the house, do not be alarmed! Chances are you're living with an artist. In their natural environment they can often be found wandering around muttering incoherently about mysterious things called Micron, Prismacolor, and Wacom. If you find yourself lucky enough to be living with an artist, I've found a few general rules that might come in handy:
Rule Number 1: You do not touch anything. Artist tend to nest in a particularly comfy location and spread out from there. These spots can easily be identified by the distinctive radial pattern the various notepads, pencil boxes, and other brightly colored items make from the central location. There may be one or more of these art nests showing up at once—often in the middle of the floor and littered with half empty glasses. Despite any temptation to move the objects, you must not touch anything! Woe be to the person who loses an artist's favorite .5mm mechanical pencil.
Rule number 2: You DO NOT touch anything! Thought you were just going to clean up those half empty glasses I mentioned earlier? No! You never know if you're about to dump out the perfect watercolor mix of purple and burnt umbra. Just learn to step around the piles very carefully my friend, you'll be better off for it.
Rule number 3: Food is good. When the muse strikes them, artists very often forget to eat. It's up to you to make sure they get nutrition occasionally. I recommend finger foods or a nice soup, anything that can be eaten with one hand and not too greasy. They will sometimes forget to eat even when you bring it to them, so just drop back by later and wrap it up. When they come staggering out of their art nest a few hours later whimpering pitifully about being hungry, it's a snap to pop the food out of the fridge and nuke it. Don't be discouraged if they ignore a meal that you took a lot of time preparing for them, when they've got a dragon-led chariot, or poker-playing pixies, or anime fanart in their heads screaming to be let out they can't help it.
Rule number 4: Warm is better. This one is easy, just keep them supplied with fuzzy slippers and a nice blanket. Artists like to be warm, but will rarely move to put these things on once they're stared in with the scribbling. I'd recommend getting a space heater. You can toast up their little corner while leaving the rest of the house mercifully temperate.
Rule number 5: More important than all the others combined: Learn the balance between expressing an interest in their art and being nosy. Some artists love people watching as they draw, others will claw your eyes out for doing the same thing. It's trial and error to learn what any given artist prefers, but it's a very important level to know! Small steps, and keep your hands up to protect the head.
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