Thursday, March 29, 2012

Asajj Ventress Process

Asajj Ventress is seriously one of the coolest bad guys in Star Wars. Took more hours than I'd like to admit, mainly because I redid her 7 times. Oh well, I'd say it came out well for a first time. She's my "practice" digital painting with the new custom brushes I just set up. I think I made her look a little too serene. Perhaps next time I will give her some crazy evil eyes. Image size is HUGE. Currently my desktop wallpaper. :D Feel free to use.
So I thought I'd share my steps. It's pretty much a blunder through as I tried to figure out how to do this amazing digital painting phenomena. As I pick up new tricks, I'll share them here. Eventually I'll set up a dedicated page listing Tutorials.

Step 1
Rough sketching. I'd say it's pretty self explanatory. I drew different layers with different colors. It's the only way my brain can keep all this straight. Brown = base/body, black = clothing, blue = lightsaber. Most of the time I sketch with a pencil in photoshop but this one is done with a hard round brush. She's up against a dark background so I figured the bold lines would make her stand out better once all was done.
 Step 2
Clean up the picture. Normally I use the pen tool to map out the curves. I... lazed out. The pen tool is an enormous pain in the arse even with a tablet. The only advantage is smoother lines. For this picture, I just traced over the sketch layer with a hard round brush. The lightsaber itself is not drawn in, but I'll get to that later. I also did a little fixing on the fingers, nose, and fine details.
Step 3
Lay down flat colors. Not too hard. I mainly use this as a reference to what color combinations I want to move forward with, although some artists will use the flats as a base to start off. I put each color in a different layer to make it easier to fix or replace colors I don't like. Merge them when finished but don't include the outline.All layers should be set to Multiply.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Share Time: Zombie Ears

I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead. So far I have to admit I like the show better than the comics. I think it's because all the characters look the same in the comic. That and Glen looks like a typical gook. Like many other WD fans, Daryl Dixon is my favorite character. Period. Imagine my reaction when I stumbled across these fantastic zombie ears on Etsy.
Oh yeah, that's awesome. A job well done to FunkyFriedArtist. I'm not sure I'd ever have the courage or social grace to pull these off, but they'd make a great costume accessory.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pre-Release Lalaloopsy

I found these new Mini Lalaloopsy dolls at KMart yesterday. Never seen them before. So I picked them up and headed to the register. They rang up as NOF. I figured someone forgot to scan them out of the back bay when putting them on the floor. Happens once in a while with new products. However, it dawned on me that they weren't supposed to be released yet... and I was right. But KMart sold them to me anyway.

So these girls are part of the line "Shoppe Girls" to be released this April. Oops! There are a few others that I didn't pick up since I don't obsessively collect. I only collect the ones I love. Now my collection has grown to 7 girls and a few sets of setting including the ferris wheel.

 Scoops Waffle Cone
Neapolitan ice cream design.
Jelly Wiggly Jiggle
Green jello. She comes with a little turtle. ^_^
Bun Bun Sticky Icing
Cinnamon rolls and a cutie snail.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Convention Pictures

My table, super crammed with stuff.
I only managed to snap a couple of pictures last weekend since I was so busy running around and being... social. Here are a few of my favorite people.
Anime Gravy right behind us.

Bast's Garden

Ling from Nitrogencity (creepy smile)

Wil and Tyrine from MUSETAP. Don't ask.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sailor Moon Crystal WIP

I've been on a Sailor Moon kick lately. I want to redraw all the chibis I used for the buttons. My drawing style has changed so much since I made those that I'd like to restart characters including the outer planets.

Here's a picture of Sailor Moon I outlined tonight. The wings are not for sure. I also originally drew her kneeling, hence the arched back. It looks a little unnatural but I also originally had her holding a little Luna. I might go back to that, but I do like the new look.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deviant Art

Hey you guys, just linked my DeviantArt page at the top right. I've been on the fence about doing this because my account is under WhiteInk instead of Sweet Apple Tea. Note this is because I've had a DA account for 7 years... so yeah. There you go.

Monday, March 19, 2012

KawaKon Review for Artists

Well, the weekend is over and I'm finally back! I figured it might be useful to share some information on how the weekend went for future artists and attendees who are on the fence about whether to attend next year.

I've been an artist at Kawa two years now and I have to admit my experience has been consistent so far.

Dealer/Artist Space: Good, bad, but not too ugly.

Vendors and artists are put into the same room, which can be both a blessing and a disaster. The artists are generally lumped together, although a few get stranded into "open spaces" between vendors or backed into corners. The good thing is the vendors will draw a lot of attendees into the shopping space. The bad thing is the artists are almost always overshadows by the gigantic vendor displays.

The table setup this year was also strange. The shape of the room was all sorts of wacked out and some tables ended up getting bumped so close together that one you couldn't even reach a few artists because a table was literally blocking them off. Of course, the hotel also misinformed KawaKon staff about the exact size of the space, which made things even more cramped. The room is also completed removed from the convention, like last year. You really have to go out of your way to get to the dealers/artists room. On the good side, the room is locked and secured each night so there's no need to take down each evening. With all the tiny jewelry I have, this is a blessing.

The hotel was very nice and the hotel staff are the best. I love the Sheraton.

Variety: My Shopping Paradise

For smaller conventions, KawaKon has a fantastic variety of artists and vendors. This might not seem so important until you hit a con where half the artists are making the same thing. They say they are first come first served but somehow always manage a good variety. There was amigurumi, plenty of print artists, jewelry, weapons, props, knick knacks, bodices and even a licensed masseuse (she's fantastic). A lot of the variety was likely due to the fact that KawaKon's programming is not your typical anime convention blurb. There were steampunk designers, comic-con and Ren-fair sellers. All sorts of great shopping and did I mention a masseuse?

Sales and Attendees: Slow and painful

I noticed last year that KawaKon had a snippier crowd attending. Not like everyone was a shrieking brat, but you get quite a few who are downright rude. It might have to do with a younger crowd. I'd say most attendees were 14 to 20. There was a lot of unnecessary commenting from quite a few bad apples. However, a majority of the crowd is just there to have a good time and they do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Finished Jewelry

Finally wrapping up the jewelry for KawaKon this weekend. Here are a few of my favorite bullet pieces. I've also made key jewelry, clockwork jewelry, and polymer clay of course. Check it out! Anything that doesn't sell this weekend will be listed onto Etsy the following week. Come to the show to see everything. :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Steampunk Cosplay Progress

I've been enlisting the help of my ever wonderful fiance in the making of my second cosplay costume. It's loosely based off steampunk and western. Think Joss Whedon's Firefly. Most of the costume is salvaged clothing. The belt is made from scratch. I have my own Eagle Scout to help me with the leather works. It's a 3 belt system that has my gun harness and a few military surplus pouches.

This is still a WIP. I plan on attaching my knife, a few more leather accessories (I want to get my hands on a steel flask and wrap it in leather), and my bullet works. Doubtful this costume will be completed by Kawa but I will wear it. I'll have it finished for sure for Anime STL.

KawaKon Table Location

I only get to check my email so many times this week so guess how excited I was to finally get updates for Kawa. You know, it's just a few days away. They also sent a fantastic little map that I wish I could share with you all but it's too big. The setup seems strange to me, almost like they set up the vendors first then fit the artists where they could. Last year at Kawa I remember there were artist tables literally dwarfed by giant vendor's stands. I hope that's not a problem this year, although I do see a few stranded artists. :\

Here's where we will be:
Look who's across the aisle! I get a whole nother week to bug em. :) Obviously this is a very small portion of the room. There are a load of vendors and artists this year that you can check out on Kawa's list.

Anyway, I can't complain about location this year. Last year we were put in a cubby that got no traffic and we were constantly blocked from view. A very unpleasant weekend. Hopefully being next to a bunch of vendors won't be terrible. Maybe I'll find something I like! After all, half the fun is shopping.

Speaking of which: here are some of the non clay earrings I'll be giving out as freebies. Remember, they're limited along with my polymer clay and bullet freebies so come visit me early in the weekend!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mock Table Setup

I started a mock setup for my table since I have new displays to coordinate. Here's my skeletal setup with a few things.
The displays are too cramped. The left peg board and white spinner are for the paracord items my fiance will have. Polymer clay jewelry will be sorted onto the 2 black racks in the center of the table. Bullet, key, and clockwork jewelry will be on the right pegboard. I'm also going to spray paint the pegboards black. Buttons and plushies will go in the front to take up the flat table space. 

I think we're going to take out the left pegboard and paracord will just have to adjust. There's still not enough room... Well I'm going to keep working on it. I'll take another picture at Kawa and compare those to some older setups I have.

Current Product Line
  • Polymer clay earrings $7
  • Polymer clay pendants $5
  • Buttons $1
  • Plushies $3
  • Cap pendants $8 (?)
  • Bullet pendants $10-15
  • Bullet earrings $12-20
  • Key pendants $10-15
  • Watch movement pendant $15-20

Everything below cap pendants on the list doesn't have a firm price yet because I'm adjusting my Etsy prices for the convention. That and I'm actually individually pricing the metal items since the supplies and parts are so expensive. Don't know how the more expensive items will go, but they're androgynous so I'm hoping to attract some guys for the pendants too.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Button Samples

Here's a sample of some of the buttons I'll have at KawaKon. I have over 50 designs ready to go.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Share Time: Mimosa Studios

These adorable orange charms are from Mimosa Studio by Melissa Francis. I met her at ASTL last year and fell in love with the charms she made. At the time she had polymer clay charms and a few other knick knacks. She's not got acrylic charms, a little jewelry, and Sailor Moon prints. She'll be at KawaKon in St. Louis.

I have one of these guys hanging out in my treasure box (a big golden apple) with a few other things I've picked up at different conventions.

Visit her ArtFire to support a local artist
Check out her DeviantArt

My Other Ride's A Firefly

Want your own firefly? Check out this fiberglass replica (lights up!) of Serenity. That's what I want hanging from my ceiling. One of the best Etsy finds for Firefly I've ever seen.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Digital Spring Cleaning

Quick update on my situation: I am working on a gallery from scratch and Dreamweaver is being a pain. It might be a while before I can put up my gallery again. Sad face. I'll still find a way to constantly update.

So last night at about 2am, I was cleaning out one of my flash drives. I have to do this routinely or else homework from years ago will accumulate. Well I'm deleting all these files when I find this: 
This is a commission I asked of my buddy Wil Woods as a gift for my fiance's birthday. I had this fantastic drawing I wanted colored and he was the first to come to mind. Of course, it also gave me fuzzy wuzzies because he hates is not a fan of clone troopers. [Say what?] In case you don't recognize the markings on their helmets, this is Captain Rex kneeling at the memorial of ARC Trooper Echo. I was very unhappy when he died.

Star Wars Clone Wars has easily jumped to the top of my favorite shows, with Rex sitting atop the pyramid. Currently I'm on the hunt of a Rex action figure keychain. I have Cody currently, but it's high time I found me a Rex.

Wil and Tyrine do a lot more Star Wars and pop culture art under the studio name MUSETAP. They also attend a lot of niche conventions in the Midwest. I can't wait to see these two this convention season. Some of my favorites by these two:

Want to see more? [Yes you do.] Check out their DeviantArts to have your mind blown.