quarridors: Sporting a giant Tangle (not a chrome snake) (September 2012)

It's been a year since I was first referred for assessment, and seven months since I was diagnosed with an autistic spectrum condition. This September I gained the knowledge of exactly why I was different, 20 years after becoming painfully and hopelessly aware at age 12 that I wasn't and couldn't be like other kids, no matter how hard I tried. After years of searching, I finally knew for certain that the word that described me was 'autistic'.

I have many challenges. I don't deal with stress well, I'm not very aware of my body or my emotions, I find it difficult to organise myself without making a lot of conscious effort, I have sensory sensitivities that can easily overwhelm me, I tend to hyperfocus on 'irrelevant' details, I struggle to maintain friendships, I'm difficult to live with, the things I love doing are considered odd by most others, and I can be too rigid or literal when I communicate.

A year ago I was having a very difficult time of things, which is why I sought help from my GP, to finally know for sure why I struggled with so many 'simple' things. Getting a diagnosis was a huge relief but also triggered some painful reflection on friendships I'd lost, opportunities I missed, decisions I'd made then discounted based on how that change hadn't solved my personal problems.

But six months on from that difficult first month, I'm able to look back on the positive results of the initially difficult conversations with friends and family, I can see the improvements from disclosing to my employers. I can reflect on the help I've been given to identify and act on my emotions. I can look at my home life, my social life and my work life and see just how much happier and more effective I am when I'm able to focus on getting things done and being a good person without worrying about doing things in a way that looks 'normal'.

Continue reading... )

This post is part of the Autism Positivity Day 2013 Flashblog, finishing off Autism Acceptance Month 2013.

To learn more about the autistic spectrum, read the Storify I created for World Autism Awareness Day 2013.

quarridors: (AE-36 Unit)
As in 2006 and 2007, I'm making a costume for the BiCon Ball again this year.

The theme this year is Crime And Punishment and, as before, I have a (secret) idea involving me going as an appropriate inanimate object.

The construction of this year's costume is quite similar to 2006's IRN-BRU can, but a little more complicated. I can exclusively reveal that, as well as a top structure and bottom structure with fabric hanging between, this costume involves both foam and velcro!

This isn't actually technically day 1 as it's the third day in which I've been gathering costume materials, but it's the first day I've had all my materials together, so I'm declaring it the starting point! I haven't actually performed any construction today other than laying all the materials out and working out proportions, hopefully tomorrow will be the first day I actually put things together (depends on how I feel after going supermarket shopping and whether I go to the cinema).

I've really been appreciating how lucky I was in 2006 to find wide, long roman blinds in exactly the colours and size I needed in a £2 shop - meaning back then my fabric only cost me £4, went down to below my knees and all the way around my body with a generous amount left over for straps, tabs and test material. Cut to 2009 and I had to go to a market stall to buy fabric, where I found the cheapest lowest quality fabric was £3 a metre, not as long, not as heavy duty and not seamed at the bottom. Foam also cost £9.40 a sheet, so the costs of this costume have grown rapidly over my expectations! Oh well, hopefully it'll be worth it - I'm certainly going to do my best to justify the expense!

I also wasn't lucky enough to find something appropriate for my top and bottom structures at a pound shop this time, so one of my first construction tasks will be to make the top structure out of wood... now, I have dyspraxia and a few traumatic childhood memories involving woodwork classes! But I'm hopeful that all will go well, especially as I'm working with pretty lightweight model shop bought wood and I'll be working with glue rather than nails... So I'll post another update once I've screwed that up and glued myself to something! ;)


Jul. 5th, 2009 11:50 pm
quarridors: Sporting a giant Tangle (not a chrome snake) (Psychic Paper)
Barn Owl digital paintingThe image to the right is a digital painting of a barn owl that I've been working on for quite some time. This accounts for approaching 40 hours work ...mostly due to me being really inefficient in my method, as only half of that was detail work. I completely lost the will to go on half way through and ended up leaving it aside for two months before I could finish it off!

As always this was drawn entirely in Autodesk SketchBook Pro using the digital airbrush tool, the eraser and nothing else (well, apart from a pen for the signature). I used a Tablet PC where I draw directly on the screen.

The reference image was a stock photograph from deviantART, taken by the extremely talented Kev Lewis.

(I know I said that I wasn't going to crosspost art here, but I've realised there'd be nothing in this journal otherwise!)

I also have my most ambitious fan art project yet on the go, involving four different characters and eight complex props. I've spent more than 24 hours on it so far and I've just about finished the line art! The colour should (hopefully!) be a lot quicker now...

On top of that I'm planning a secret costume for the BiCon 2009 'Crime And Punishment' Ball, which I'll hopefully start making next weekend and when that's finished I'll be kicking off an even more ambitious long term Doctor Who fan art project...

I'm going to two conventions in August so I won't be able to do National Art Making Month (NaArMaMo) again, but I am planning a Doctor Who project that'll overlap with NaArMaMo and hopefully keep me motivated. Last year I drew a Doctor Who new series monster or character for every letter of the alphabet, this year my ambitious project is to draw or paint individual covers/posters to represent each the 30 TV seasons of Doctor Who so far, and likely the Eight Doctor and the 2009 specials too. I've always found that my favourite Doctor Who art involves multiple images from one story combined in an interesting composition. I think my biggest influences are the Target Novelisation covers that were a huge part of my childhood. I've got 30 seasons to cover, so I should be able to try lots of different styles, including tributes to some of the most influential Doctor Who artists. Obviously this is likely to take me longer than a month, so the deadline I'm giving myself is to finish all the seasons before the Matt Smith Series 5 starts in Easter 2010... I'll likely be starting in early August once NaArMaMo's kicked off - wish me luck!

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