Monday, December 23, 2013

WoW & Ni No Kuni Stuff!


OK so it's been a pretty busy season, can't complain. We've been completely iced in for a few days so there's not much to do aside from playing Final Fantasy and making jewelry. Seriously, if you scrape at the ice outside, you can just barely see the ground underneath. Walking my dog has become a faint glimmer in my memories of warmer days.

So here I've got some new things to share. One is a little hippogryph hatchling from World of Warcraft. Did it for a monthly challenge on my favorite Etsy team: Addicted Gamers.



And Ni No Kuni fans will love this. Oliver's locket and all the pieces of heart, and Mr. Drippy's lanterns! Yeah I had some serious fun making these.




Holy smokes just 2 days til Christmas! Did you get your shopping done yet? I have!  For myself this year I got 2 new banners for conventions. They won't be ready by AnimeZAP, which btw is in 2 weeks, but will be up after that. So excited to have real banners after 5 years!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Conventions, say whaaaat

Well we have quiiiite the convention rollout for 2014 (and only the first half of 2014 so far!) and I am more excited than a Keebler elf in Walmart's cookie aisle.

So the still-growing list can be found at the bottom of the "About" page up there ^^^

Moving on, so we'll be at a few bigger shows like Naka-Kon and Anime Midwest this year. This is great because they will be the biggest shows I will have been to in... what four years? Five? I don't even know. We'll also be at home shows this year like Anime St. Louis and Kawa Kon.

Information on KawaKon:
Artists and vendors recently got an email about the new location to be hosting their 2014 show. The unfortunate side effect of the venue swap is that the vendors room will be far removed from the convention. You get to travel down a magical hallway and around the fancy corner to find us and shop. That being said, artists and vendors were given the option to withdraw and get their money back. Now I love you guys so freakin much that I'm still attending.

HA.

Just kidding. Sorta. I don't mind the trip home even if the show risks tanking. Historically KawaKon isn't an amazing show anyway so it can't possibly be that bad. I get a weekend to crash with my family and visit St. Louis so it's all good. The point is: COME VISIT THE VENDORS ROOM. All those who attend are taking big risks and still paying to have booths and tables. Don't worry, I'll remind you guys when it gets closer to February :D

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What, want some art? Ok fine, here's the beautiful Lilith from Borderlands.


 Want some more art? Like my FB page. With my mobile-only internet situation right now, it's a bazillion times easier for me to update FB than this blog. Lame, I know.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lilith WIP

Been on a video game girls kick. I was stuck between Chun Li, Diao Chan, Lilith, or Lightning. Finally settled on Lilith, to be followed by Maya. I'm interested to see how many individual sirens (and how many Borderlands sequels) are to come. It has been hinted that there might be as many as 6. I love the siren class plus they have fantastic character designs.

So here it is. It shall remain mostly black and white with a few color accents. I still work better in BW. :P


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Hey guys, just wanted to say have a sweet and safe Halloween. I don't know where you are but its supposed to storm here this evening. Yikes!

I didn't make any themed items this year but a bunch of new stuff has been uploaded to Etsy.




And we've also been invited back for our... 5th (?) year at Anime St. Louis! Haha I've lost count but you all know its my faaaaaavorite show ever.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review for Artists: Aoi Uma Con 2013

Disclaimer: opinions expressed are mine alone and review the artist alley or exhibitor's space only.


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This was my second year at AUC. Last year was their debut and I'd say it was pretty slow but I did well enough to give the con another chance.

Venue
This year the con was held at the Ramada Plaza in Louisville. That's a step up from the dinky place last year, right? So I chose to stay in the con hotel since they actually had a rate cheaper than the con discount. The Ramada Plaza is located in a great part of the city on the southeastern side far from downtown. The area was a nice commercial suburbia type place with tons of food and shopping. There's a DQ right across the parking lot too!

Since I didn't use the con discount I was hoping my room would be a little separated from other attendees. Nope. Well I don't recommend the hotel for lodging. For the price I paid, it was pretty disappointing. The rooms were clean but it sure didn't feel like it. That might've had something to do with the fact that we were right down the hall from the giant laundry facility and it was really hot and humid unless the air was on high. Ugh. No mini fridge, microwave or mats in the bathroom. I didn't realize Ramada didn't have those things but I could've paid half the price for the same experience.

My biggest complaint is the housekeeping staff. The front desk clerks and bartenders were fantastic but housekeeping... meh. I woke up at 7 am on Saturday to the sound of techno, laughing and shouting. I thought some con kids were up making a ruckus but nope, it was a dozen women dancing in the laundry room. For real. There are tons of other inns and hotels within a mile that are more worth your money.

Artist/Dealer Space
Two words: poorly planned. Last year artists were split between the hall and dealers room. This year we were broken up again, between the hall and this cubby near an event room. There were 4 artists in the hall and 8 in the cubby in the corner. The cubby was right by the main events 1 room, but I honestly don't think people knew it was there. The main events attracted only a couple dozen people. Talk about a small show. Total lack of traffic.

Artist space was all open so that means tear down every night. Unfortunately it was pouring rain Friday night so everyone just left their things boxed up and covered behind the tables. No problems reported.

Artists in the actual hall got 8' tables while those in the cubby got 5' tables. Don't know why but damn it's hard to cram onto a 5 footer. Poor setup.

Variety
I met a lot of new artists and the variety was pretty good. Between a dozen artists there was jewelry, plushies, prints, chain mail and other fun stuff. There were quite a few new artists and I hope this show didn't put them off.

The dealers room was also small. There was a decent variety but nothing I really cared for. Maybe I'm just jaded.

Sales & Attendees
Let's start with the good. Attendees ROCKED! I always enjoy shows in KY and IN cuz the people are the best. Unfortunately there aren't enough of them, literally. This show was severely lacking in warm bodies. I'd be surprised if 200 people showed up.

Sales were terrible all around. Artists and dealers all felt the pinch. Last year only a few artists broke even and this year was the same. Hell I broke even by jusr a smidge, taking home about a tenth of what I did last year. This show is not worth another trip next year.

Staff
I had minimal interaction with staff. I has applied back In March and heard nothing from anyone until 2 days before the show. I sent them a message asking for hours, docking, loading, location, table assignment, etc. I recieved an email with the time the doors open on Friday. Useful.

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The artist alley at AUC could use a lot of work. Two years in a row just flat out tanked for artists and dealers but I don't know why. I don't have plans on returning next year and wouldn't recommend it, especially for out-of-staters. If you want a table just to earn back your badge cost, the con is really fantastic with great panels and guests.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Review for Artists: Dodecacon II The Revenge



Venue/Location
Dodecacon II was held in the Days Inn Conference Center in Columbia, MO. Easy access right off highway 70. Unfortunately, that exits been under some strange construction for a really long time so a little looping was involved to get to the hotel. The center was pretty small but not bad. I wouldn’t consider it a prime vanue but hopefully next year the show will be big enough to move somewhere bigger.

Artist/Dealer Space
This was somewhat disappointing. Because of some confusion with the venue, space seemed more lacking than I would’ve liked. We originally thought we would be getting 8 foot tables, artists and dealers alike. A few days before the show, we got an email stating that artists would be downsized to a 6’ table but refunded $5. Upon arrival, it turns out that artists and dealers alike got 5’ tables. Huh.

Even better, some dealers were given a smaller space than they were promised and I didn’t even have a spot when I arrived. A volunteer made a spot for me on the map and found me a table. Part way through setting up, I was told that table was designated for something else and had to tear it back down. What a way to start my weekend. I guess I can’t really complain, my new “spot” was right next to the door and super close to the bathrooms.

The dealer’s room did lock up at night which was nice. It was also the first thing you got to when arriving at the con. I think there was only 1 other room being used for the con panels and events so there wasn’t much to take away from the attention. The room was freezing all weekend though. Guess there were never enough bodies to warm it up.

The hours were… wrong. We were emailed a list of hours which were cut down each day and I didn’t know what time the room would open and close until the day of.

Variety
This was definitely a comic and steampunk show. The main guests were comic artists and Airship Vindus, a live action steampunk acting group. Because of this, many of the artists were novelists, comic artists, and steampunk jewelry sellers. Come to think of it, over half of the artists sold jewelry. Only a couple artists with prints and a few with plushies and sewn/crocheted goods. Vendors sold a lot of action figures and comics. This was a small show but the variety was pretty good for the audience. The only thing missing was a snack vendor.

Sales
So for starters, my table stuck out just a wee bit. My stuff is more geared towards anime cons and this show was much more comic and steampunk. Naturally my sales were slower than at other shows. I went through many hours without a sale. I barely sold any jewelry but the buttons pretty much kept me afloat all weekend. I’d say it was where I expected it to be for such a small show. On the bright side, there was great company to keep the weekend fun.

I’d say artists who sell items more related to comics, tabletop gaming, and scifi niches would do really well.

Staff
Randy and Tony (not sure I spelled that right) are fantastic people. They’re nice and really go out of the way to help make things work. I don’t know who else was staff because they weren’t identifiable but the volunteers were also great. Despite the confusion and almost misery trying to figure out tables, lunch, and hours, I did feel that everyone was trying.


To wrap it up, Dodecacon was a ton of fun. I had a great weekend just hanging out and seeing the other artists. I would recommend it for comic artists and scifi fans, perhaps not so much for anime artists. There was some disorganization but overall worked out. The cost to enter to dealer’s room is pretty low so you don’t have a very high overhead. I wouldn’t suggest traveling for it, but if you’re local it’s a good show to check out.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sept Updates and Art



::Updates::
September is going to be a busy month! We’ve got Dodecacon II in Columbia, MO the first weekend, my birthday the second weekend, and Aoi Uma Con the third weekend! This wraps up my shows for this year. I was hoping to make it to at least 2 more but time and money just aren’t on my side right now. We are currently planning which 2014 shows to apply for.

New items are being loaded onto Etsy! Including design-your-own-donuts, new prints, and more pendants. Go check it out! GO!

Also updates and posts are going to be slower than sin for another month or so until I get some sort of internet setup here. Man, never thought I’d find myself living in a place without internet.
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Well I’d also like to say that September 19th is the Mid Autumn Festival this year! It’s my favorite lunar holiday because... MOON CAKE! Aw yeah, it’s that time of year when you can buy those tasty moon cakes. Omnomnom!

Oh right, been working on a few new pieces that I’d like to share. This one’s for the Festival:

Here’s another piece. It’s been on DeviantArt for a little bit now but I thought I’d share here anyway. I wanted to do a little red riding hood piece. Originally the idea was to make it real spooky. I was trying to get a real lycan feel for her but she turned into another sultry one. Hm.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Review for Artists: Natsucon 2013



Disclaimer: All opinions and statements made in this review are my own and do not reflect on the convention as a whole. I am specifically writing about the artist alley for future artists to use a reference.
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So Natsucon 2013 had a pretty terrible AA weekend, especially when you consider what a success last year was. I didn’t do too bad, but I will write this in the general perspective because no one I talked to did well. Hell, we didn’t even make half our goal. Problems with coordination early on screwed a lot of the artists and staff who tried to patch things up. So here we go.

Venue: Gateway Center, Collinsville, IL
Collinsville’s Gateway Center is home to many events because they are a large and spacious area. Parking is free and rooms are aplenty.  If you’ve been before, the only “new” thing to note is that they no longer contract out to Securitas for convention security. Looks like there was no actual armed security patrolling the place, which could be a problem for such a large gathering. The center staff are wonderful and usually have no problems with even the strangest of happenings. They do have hot food and concessions on site, which is a plus. If you have a taste for something else, there’s plenty of fast food nearby as well.

Natsucon did place people at every doorway to restrict access to staff only. This left only the front doors for everyone else, which was pretty inconvenient.

Space: Hallway
The setup was the same as last year. Artists are spread out throughout the hallway. This means you have to setup and tear down each morning and evening. Tables were spaced out well enough that you had room on both sides to store boxes and move about. Natsucon setup their events in a way that placed registration and the main events hall on polar opposite ends of the long hallway, so traffic actually flowed across all the tables. This is nice because many artists remember the snafoo two years back when Natsucon placed quite a few artists in a back corner where nothing happened and there was no traffic.

There was a small issue with table assignment and some artists were double booked, leaving open tables in the hallway. That was obviously not cool because that takes away a space that another artist might’ve been able to buy and sell at. I’ll cover more on this issue in the “Staff” section of this review.

Variety: Crafts, Crafts and More Crafts
Natsucon is primarily filled with crafters. This year there were only a handful of tables with prints. However, you can find a huge variety of other things like hats, masks, bead sprites, and stickers. I was one of two tables with jewelry, which was surprising. There were actually so many crafters that a few were denied and chose to buy a vendors booth just to get into the show. I should also note that Natsucon used a juried system this year to select their artists so I guess the print artists I usually see just didn’t apply.

So here’s a little tidbit about the dealers. So the dealer’s room this year was gigantic. They had about triple the number of dealers as last year, which is a crazy leap. Apparently they wanted to compete with ASTL. The dealer’s were also really diverse and fantastic. From plushies to DVDs to corsets to trading cards and figurines. I couldn’t find much in the snack department, only a small table in the back corner. Oh well.

Sales & Attendees: One Button at a Time
Last year’s Natsucon was sensational. It was my #2 show of 2012 for profit and I had extremely high hopes for the weekend. So at the end of the weekend, I would say I had an ok show. I would also say that I was ridiculously lucky because many other artists I spoke to barely broke even, if they did at all. There’s no obvious explanation for what happened to make this year so terrible but there’s plenty of speculation. The entire weekend was slow to the point that hours would pass without someone stopping to even chat. I found myself selling one button at a time all weekend which is just unheard of. I sell buttons for $1 each or 6 for $5 and most people have no problem dropping that $5. By the end of the weekend, my earring rack was still full. So right, sales sucked hardcore. Some artists and dealers were chatting and discussing how it was slow all around. Some packed up early on Sunday because they knew they weren’t breaking even.

As for attendees, I did see quite a few familiar faces (I love you guys) but the crowd this year seemed much younger. Even my regulars only stopped by for a quick hello. I saw more minor badges than I ever have at a con.  With a younger crowd comes a different spending pattern. The thing I heard the most was, “I already spent all my money. I only had $40.” A lot of people wouldn’t even stop by to chat because they’d spent all they had within the first hour of the convention.

I also read some of the FB comments and overheard many conversations of unhappy con goers. More than usual, that is. It seems Natsucon wanted to charge badges for those who just wanted to hang out in the hall and not attend any events or panels. This made many people unhappy enough to declare they were never coming back. Also, there were no programs. They uploaded a file online but it only had Friday’s schedule. At the con, they had a sign stating they were going green and therefore not printing programs. So I don’t know what was at this show, but according to a lot of attendees there was a severe lack of fan panels.

Staff: This is important.
Ok, I’m going to break this down as specifically as possible. The staff that worked with us (artists) at the convention were fantastic. J (Jay?) was the very newly appointed AA coordinator and he stopped by more times than I can remember. Polite, professional, and awesome. The other staff I interacted with were also awesome, as they have been in years past. So what went wrong?

Well I have no idea what all the commotion was but I have a vague idea. The person running artist alley before J was not doing their job and was therefore replaced. But because this individual didn’t keep up with AA stuff, there were quite a few problems for artists this year. As I mentioned before, some artists, including myself, were double booked by accident. Hell I never got an acceptance email, an invoice, or anything to say I’d gotten in. I had to sent FaceBook messages and emails to everyone just to get an “Oh yeah, you’re in.” So I paid without them billing me.

 Also, there was ZERO communication until the last little stretch where another staff member started emailing me answering questions from months prior. Even he seemed a little confused about what was happening with the AA because of the disorganization. In the end, no list of artists were ever uploaded, no schedule for times, no nothing was ever emailed out to artists. Terrible.

So here’s what I’m mostly upset about. Remember that badge contest they held a while back? Yeah. Well they were going to put all the entries up on their website in April for our viewing pleasure. That got pushed back to “after the con” and now it’s probably going to be a never. Such a bummer, but I guess that’s not too bad. Did I mention I won one of the badge designs? I have no idea who the other winners were and no one knew that the badges were designed by some of the artists. That kind of removes the incentive for us to do that again. Well the prizes were supposed to be: half off the artist table, Fast Pass, con tshirt, and access to premium events. Well I only sent the half payment and I had to ask J is I could get some of the hotel key FastPasses for myself (did I mention he was awesome). No one seemed to know that there were even supposed to be prizes. Lame.
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I feel for the staff who scrambled at the last minute to get things fixed and I’m grateful that they tried their best. If I can, next year will still be on my list because I know that the convention staff are more than willing to learn from their mistakes and rectify situations, as demonstrated last weekend. Hopefully this won’t happen again but I know several artists who will not be returning.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pre-Natsucon Roundup

Well, Natsucon starts tomorrow. I've already had a few announcements on FB regrading what we will have this year but things have been so jumbled it's nutters.

So Natsucon's been a little behind on information and updates about the AA so I still don't know what to expect aside from the hours. For those who are curious:
  • Friday 2pm-8pm
  • Saturday 8am-8pm
  • Sunday 8am-2pm

That's really early for a show. Ugh. Also it seems there's a miscommunication about whether we will be in the hallway or in a room. Different artists have received different answers. We shall see.

Well here comes the news:

Buttons: Unfortunately, there will only be about half as many buttons available as usual because I seem to have run out of parts and forgotten to order more. My bad. On the bright side, over 50 designs have been retired to make way for a whole shaboodle of new ones!

Notebooks: I have a crazy supply of notebooks this time, both the art ones and trading card ones. TCG will now have pokemon, yugioh, and MTG cards.







Bookmarks & Prints: bunch of new stuff. See it all on DeviantArt.


Jewelry: jewelry is about standard. This show, I have a special set of Diglet and Dugtrio that I've only made one of. A koi set will also be available. These sets are limited and will go for $25.



Monday, June 24, 2013

Mad Moxxi Print Complete

Spent about 12 hours today working on the Mad Moxxie pinup I sketched out yesterday because I'm crazy.
This will be my last new print before Natsucon. I was really wanting to do an original character but just couldn't get the inspiration. So Moxxi it was. Also, no lines!


Also noticed I never put up my Sea Nettle piece completed a few weeks ago. Tada!


Dozens of new art notebooks, bookmarks, and TCG notebooks have also been completed for the next few conventions. The rest of this week is to catch up on orders and take a small break with my sweetheart. Then back to work on jewelry!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Maleficent

Here's finally another piece. Just a quick doodle of Maleficent. It's a portrait head on, which is good an bad. Good because it was quick and easy. Less than 4 hours for this baby, no outlining. Bad because it's much more boring than if I had her standing in a fiery blaze with her dragon counterpart leering in the background. One day...
So a little tip: outlining is too long of a process. If you're in between making the jump to straight painting and lining, just do it. Stop lining your work unless you're working in a lot of detail. I can't believe that I cut out so much work by not outlining her first. I finally understand how some artists finish their commission in a few hours at a show.

Also a little self-promotion. Check out my Deviantart and +Watch me dagnabbit.

Did I mention I'll be at Natsucon in July? Because I am. We're going to have all the new prints, bookmarks, and notebooks there. And the usual of course, jewelry and buttons. Over the next while, I'm thinking about phasing out the buttons and possibly jewelry. We'll have to see.

Commission Status: OPEN for jewelry and drawings.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sea Nettle

News:
We will be attending Natsucon (July), Dodecacon (Aug), and Aoi Uma Con (Sept).

After 3 weeks of not doing any art whatsoever, I sat down tonight and busted out a new drawing in one shot. Note to self, stop doing that. It's killing my shoulders but I can't let the inspiration slip by! But I haven't "proofread" it yet so I'll upload the finalized drawing on DeviantArt tomorrow. Here's a sneak peak for ya:


I woke up one morning last week and thought, "Jellyfish are cool. I should draw jellyfish." The entire piece is loaded with Chrysaora fuscescens (Sea Nettles) with a gorgeous siren/nymph being the attention grabber. I'm getting much better at faces.

Also beginning to transition to no-outline drawings. Pretty proud of that.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

How Ni No Kuni Should End



[SPOILERS]
No, this isn't how the game really ends. I haven't made it that far yet. I'm just messing around.
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So I’ve put in about 6 hours into Ni No Kuni. I think I’ve logged enough time to call the ending, or at least how I think it should end. I’ve avoided reading anything except a few reviews about the battle system. Here we go.

Ms. Leila comes in with breakfast and asks Oliver if he’s going to go play outside again today. She smiles sadly as she sets the tray down and heads down the stairs and back to her shop. Oliver looks over at the table where Drippy is sitting, picks up the wand and book, and heads outside. Everyone in Motorville watches with a sad smile as Oliver begins another day.

After the tragic passing of his mother, Oliver felt such devastation that he folded within himself and slowly lost touch with reality. The precious doll his mother gave him became the only piece of her that remained and he clung to it. His heart ached so much that he conjured up an imaginary friend in the doll in the form of a Fairy named Drippy. Drippy offered him a noble quest to save another world and the chance to save his mother, which were all coping mechanisms Oliver created to hide from the harsh reality of his loneliness.


Oliver found a family photo album, filled with the pictures of his mother, and headed out onto the street with his toy. It became his Wizard’s Companion Book. The lady two houses down was sweeping the leaves and twigs off the street when Oliver happened upon one that was perfect as a pretend wand. From that moment on, Oliver became so engrossed  in the fantasy he created that he was unable to differentiate between his imagination and reality anymore.

The fantasy world Oliver created was a parallel existence to reality, but Oliver only experienced brief moments of lucidity enough to see his Motorville home as it was. But when his fantasy overcame his senses, he perceived the Gateway spell has transported him back to the magical world where he can still save his mother. Each real person and creature that existed in Oliver’s real world became the basis for a fantasy version that Oliver used to forward his hallucinations.

The “soul mates’s” problems became an excuse for his adventures, driving him further in denial and psychosis.  When the Ms. Leila’s cat disappeared, Oliver found it hunting mice behind one of the buildings in town, and immediately conjured the fantasy of King Hickory fighting the Meowjesty. Every day events became twisted versions, providing Oliver with fuel to continue his “playing”.


When Oliver would run around and talk to Drippy in front of other people, they couldn’t hear or see Drippy because he was nothing by a figment of a poor boy’s imagination. There never was any magic, only the hallucinations that that Oliver wished to see.

The town of Motorville is too small to have their own psychiatric hospital and without any living relatives, his neighbors, especially Ms. Leila, have taken it upon themselves to take care of him. They watch, day after day, as he dons the red cape and runs around the neighborhood talking to a doll and flipping through that photo album. But they hope one day he will break free from his sadness and be able to face his pain and the loss of his mother.

When you get to the end to and defeat Shadar or the Zodiarchs or whoever is the final bad guy, Oliver gets transported back to Motorville where he wakes up in his room. The doll his mom gave him is sitting by his bedside, just a toy, next to a small wooden stick and a family photo album. He looks over, waiting for Drippy to start moving, but he never does.

Several years have passed since the passing of his mother and Oliver is finally able to begin coming to terms with reality. He has defeated his imaginary demons, the fear of mortality, and knows that he can’t save his mother. Sometimes he still slips back into psychosis, talking to Drippy and reciting the spells he created to try and do something but his episodes are becoming more and more rare as he slowly recovers.