2017: Looking Back and a Look Ahead

2017 was a wild ride, wasn’t it? I mean…creatively. Along with the inevitable creative slumps here and there, I can comfortably say I’ve learned and done some new things.

This year I’ve done/learned/picked up:

A few more tables!

Oh, a bit of this and a bit of that…

Ok. Just TWO tables, but that’s two more than I imagine I’d do. Both tables were smaller crowds or smaller-trafficked due to them being either in malls where artist alley tables aren’t on many shoppers’ radar or the first of a type of con. Either way, there was always much to learn in terms of the type of shoppers and what’s popular at certain venues. Took me a while to learn that Pokemon is very much popular as it was years ago.

Started a web comic!

Don’t mess with the Ess

No more what-ifs or other hesitations – I just went and did it. Didn’t care if it’s terrible – I just needed to get off my butt and start drawing…digitally. And to give the Clip Studio Paint and Surface Pro some mileage! I felt I wasn’t using both tools to their full potential as well as putting the ideas in my head to pen and paper. I’m a true believer of learning while doing and I definitely feel like I’m learning with each comic. It’s definitely a good exercise and gives me a sense of a schedule. I also feel like I’m developing my OC more even if all of her weekly stories are limited to four panels. Either way – I hope you’ll come by to read them!

Drew Inktober as a comic story

For the prompt “underwater”

I couldn’t say no to participating in Inktober. Not only did I follow the official prompts, but I centered them around a comic that was almost an origin story for my take on Snow White. This idea I borrowed from a friend of mine who did this last year with the prompts. I found this to be a pretty cool exercise in coming up with a story where each comic centered on a single word and to look at the words from different angles. I might want to do this next year.

Started using the sewing machine!

Yeah, sew?

Nya!

I don’t know why I was so afraid of using a sewing machine. In my eyes it was a thing of wonder and terror – all those dials, numbers, and…how the heck do I thread this thing?! But I started small…and soon I was confident to sew better plush! Actually, I’m still starting small. Better machine this time, but same plush.

Met new artists and made new friends in Drawing Meats

The Meet of MEATs

Each year I’ve met and befriended some awesome artists in our bi-monthly MEATup. This year was no exception. Here’s to a new year of more drawing and, hopefully, new friends!

Became a workshop coach

I took the initiative to meet the folks who opened the new local art studio in my town. After a few chats, I became a workshop coach for sketch cards and greeting cards! Admittedly, it’s a little slow, but even inspiring a small group is a lot of fun.

Creative Goals for 2018

Improve my Etsy page

This is my goal EVERY year. I’m owning up to the slump in sales – I haven’t been pushing it as much as I should. As much as I love making fan art and fan crafts, I really want to move on to making originals. Which leads me into….

Making a name for myself

So I’ve started building this with my webcomic. Fan art is a great way to draw people in with something familiar and I hope I can draw their eyes to my original content.

Improve plush-making

Since I’m a bit more confident with the sewing machine, I’d love to start making better plush. So I’ve JUST mentioned that I want to do more original content…but I may have to experiment with making bigger versions of the fan plush I’ve made. Maybe a Kylo Ren plush you’d want to hug….or choke.

Improve sewing, in general

Toward the end of the year I actually tried to make a few zipper pouches. I still have much to learn despite pouches being one of the more simpler projects. From there, I’d love to print fabric with my own art and make zipper pouches from them.

Improve drawing, in general

There’s ALWAYS much to learn in any creative endeavor. I could definitely kick myself in the pants more to draw hands better.

Take commissions and not be afraid to sell my art

I’ve done very few commissions but trades are hardly ever a problem. So why am I so hesitant to take commissions? Folks will often tell me my art is pretty neat, but even that doesn’t give me enough confidence to draw something by request. That’s something I need to step up on.

Continue everything, improve everything

Everything I’ve done this year and beyond, I definitely want to keep going and get better.

Let’s keep drawing, painting, crafting, writing, and learning into the new year. Thanks to everyone who have been and continue to support me – I definitely want to give back with my best.

While we wait for 2017 to end, come talk to me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook! And, if you enjoy what I do, come by my Ko-fi page!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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Sew What?

I’ve overcome a fear…and found a new addiction…

…in sewing!

Ok, yeah. I’ve already been sewing with just needle and thread. But I vowed earlier this year that I’d get around to moving on up to the sewing machine. Months later, I finally did!

*poses*

My mom had this portable little machine she got as a gift many ages ago. And, as is my mantra (or something, am I using that word right?) – maximize the sources that are already available. Or – use up the crap I already have in layman’s terms.

Baby steps, remember? This machine’s not too fancy  – only one stitch and two speeds: fast and ludicrous speed. But the stitches are pretty sturdy for what I needed. So here goes nothing!

First few tries with just making a Chibi Totoro…

Uh…

Yeah..I can almost see it.

Welp.

After resizing the eyes and taking things VERY slowly….

Your souls are ours now.

Now they look more like the creatures I’d chase up a camphor tree!

Soon…

Of course, some hand-stitching is still involved – particularly the tails and after the stuffing. But, I’m sold – the sewing machine is no longer a thing to be feared. Maybe ones that have like, 300 stitches…

And now, I just can’t staaahp!

*slow motion walk*

Then, one day I got a little overconfident…

Let’s pretend this didn’t happen…

But from his death, a Chibi Totoro was born…

Aaaand, back to the Chibi Totoros.  With so much felt I’ve acquired, I’ve been making Chibi Totoro plushies of different colors – and they’re all equally as cute.

Chibi Totoro Grey Scale.

Soon, I’ll graduate to a real sewing machine…you can watch me panic as I tweet and/or Instagram my progress!

What creative progress have you conquered or are starting your quest to conquer?

Happy making!

 

 

Because I FELT like it

I made a thing doing a thing I didn’t think I was going to do anymore. After ridding my living space of nearly everything that had to do with it…it hooked me back in.

All because of a current obsession that isn’t Skyrim or Middle Earth.

For the pasts two months, I’ve temporarily left the land of the Nords, Elves, and Dragons to venture into  land of sorta-Nords, Elves, and….Dragons.

Anyhoo, to get to the point – I made a little felt plush of Dragon Age: Inquisition character – Cullen Rutherford:

To work?

If you look closely, you can see the lip scar. *cough*

Earlier on, I doodled some plush ideas. Oftentimes, when I’m really obsessed with something all these creative things run through my head on how to really get it out of my system. I hesitated at first because – 1. all my felt stuff I gave to a friend thinking I’d never touch them again and 2. Ugh, sewing? Again?

But since I was kinda encouraged by, like, 2 people and I happened to be at a store that sold crafting materials, AND I had the time I went ahead and bought the felt and began the labor.

The design and technique largely stemmed from the Aranzi Aranzo plushes I used to make. Differences are, other than this not being a rabbit, bunny, or Totoro was that there are stuffed limbs, hair, and NO French knots. No way I was tackling that again.

The fun part was designing the character in felt plush form. The actual character’s outfit has lots of lovely details that, in felt plush form had to be simplified or left out – especially if he won’t be any larger than the palm of my hand. Sewing all these things together was a bit of a challenge because of the size and thickness of the felt.

Check out the first run:

Please, Inquisitor. Don't trap me under a pile of tampons.

Please, Inquisitor. Don’t trap me under a pile of tampons.

Eh, not bad, huh? I’m quite proud of the hair – especially adding that little Dib curl. But the pièce de résistance was the fur collar…which I wasn’t too hot about on the first run. While the shop I was in had tons of felt, there wasn’t much for a fur look. Maybe some feathers, but…eh wrong color. I settled with some woolen felt which I struggled in taming and shaping. So this little guy had to make do with a woolen collar that kind of looked more like a piece of dreadlock around his neck.

I was content with the finished plush, but not entirely happy. I had to get into the mind of someone obsessed with details. I thought of Etsy-worthy crafts, cosplayers, and plush makers. It was time to get some actual faux fur.

His coat needed some work as well. Gingerly, I took apart his coat to tighten up some of the stitches – including the “gold” trim. He even got the belt he should have had in the first place with a neater cord.

"This is ridiculous"

“This is ridiculous”

And – TA DAA! Chibi Cullen gets real (faux) fur for his lovely collar.

To work?

To work?

IMG_2254

Ahem, my eyes are up…oh wait.

Very happy with Chibi Cullen 2.0. However, I still need to work on how to sew the head onto the body better so that it doesn’t look so stitchy.

Now this little guy’s neat and pretty for more adventures hiding behind bottles of various condiments in grocery stores.

Soon...

Soon…