Finding Swan Lake

 

I’m taking a break from the immigration application stress, and deviating from the usual posts about projects and sketches and things, to tell the story of how I finally tracked down a long-lost book from my childhood.  It’s a very long story, and it does include a drawing I’ve never posted before. Continue reading

One tiny update before I disappear back under the pile of paperwork that will hopefully allow me to continue living in the same country as my husband:

I have created a separate section in my portfolio for wrestling merchandise, since I’ve had a blast working on these designs and really hope I get to do more in the future.  This includes the newest design for Candy Floss, and my first successful attempt at vector graphics!

And sadly that’s it for now.  I’ve got a lot of stuff on hold right now.  To my clients with ongoing projects, thank you very much for your patience, understanding and support during this stressful time.  Your work is my highest priority when all of this is done.  I also have some personal work that’s on the back burner until the more important stuff is finished, and one of these is a story that is very special to me, has been in development for years, and now finally has an ending.

I should have another update toward the end of next month.

Wrestling merch + Artist questions

Two of the three designs I’ve done for British wrestling are now available, and I’ve got permission to go ahead and share the third one!  I already posted the Spike Trivet one, but I’ll post it again here just to have them all in one place.

The second one is a design for Candy Floss, who is currently in Japan and wanted a design combining Japanese pop culture with her cute, colourful style.  Her design is inspired by Sailor Moon, with a font that mimics the title font of the anime, along with katakana that translates her name phonetically (“Kyandī furosu” = candy floss) and kanji that translates it literally (“Wata kashi” = cotton candy/candy floss).  This one was fun because I haven’t drawn anime style in ages!  More on that later.  So far the Candy Floss shirt is only available in Japan, but I’ll post a link when it’s for sale on her web site!

The third design is actually the first one I finished, for Millie McKenzie.  She is well-known for both her suplexes and her angry faces.  I sketched one of those angry faces and sent it to her as a sample, and she chose it for her merchandise, which is why I didn’t share one of my daily sketches for that week!  This particular drawing is the design for her stickers, but there is a t-shirt that’s basically the same thing but in black and white.  These also aren’t available yet, but I’ll make a new post as soon as that changes.

And I owe a huge thank you to Ash Versus for sending these awesome people my way.  I have really enjoyed working on these!

While I’m here, I’ll go ahead and answer the next artist question, including a note on drawing in anime style.

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Artist Questions #4 + Personal Projects

4. What defines your artistic style?

This is a difficult question. It took me a while to even figure out I have a style, so putting it into words is a bit tricky. I asked my husband “What would you say my style is?” and he shrugged and said “I don’t know. Cartoon, comic book?”

And I guess that’s it. My style was shaped very much by the cartoons of the 90s and early 2000s (especially The Zeta Project), and by the books and comics I borrowed from my Dad and copied. I like bright, solid colours and bold ink lines of varying weight. I like big eyes and flowing hair, throwbacks to my anime phase.

There is a later questions that asks “what are your artspirations?” and I think I can answer that one a lot more easily when the time comes. My style is shaped by the things I like, and it is a thing that keeps evolving. The best answer to this question, I think, is the one my husband gave.

Let me know what you think! It’s often hard for artists to see their own style, so tell me in the comments if there’s anything you can see that sets my art apart as distinctively mine.

Over the past week or so, I’ve been juggling commissions with babysitting and other commitments, and trying to develop some of my personal projects on the side. It’s teaching me a lot about time management, which is one of my weak points that I’m trying to improve. Here’s a quick look at one of the projects I’m developing, based on a story I’ve been thinking about for ages.

characters

This is the ensemble cast. I’m still developing their unique looks, but this is a pretty good start. I think the only one I’m not really happy with is #8. She didn’t come out looking the way she does in my head, and her appearance doesn’t fit her character very much. Number 4 is a bit out of character, but I get tired of drawing her grumpy every time I draw her.

I had another one to show today, but I noticed a mistake in it and I’m not posting it until that’s fixed!  I will most likely make another post tomorrow afternoon, since I have a couple more wrestling commissions to show.  I probably won’t have any more personal work to show for this week since I’ll be cracking down more on commissions!

Artist Questions #3 + T-shirt design

I’ve fallen behind in my regular posting, mainly due to one of the most challenging and rewarding commissions I’ve done recently.  More on that later, but first, artist question number three!

3.  Show us your oldest piece of art you have on hand.

I’m certain that I have older art than this on my external drive, but since I can’t access that at the moment, here’s the oldest piece I could get.  It’s over fifteen years old!

waterfallThis was drawn in pencil and coloured in a very old version of Photoshop.  I’m pretty sure I used a reference for it, but that’s been lost to time.  Surprisingly, for a piece of art that’s this old, I don’t completely hate it!  I mean, water doesn’t really work that way, the sky looks terrible, and I relied way too much on Photoshop filters, but it’s not all bad.  If I had to do it again (and maybe I will, just for fun), I would make the waterfall more natural-looking and gravity-obeying, the rocks and trees would be painted with texture rather than just having a texture filter slapped on, and the entire sky would be different.  But it’s still not as embarrassing a result as I thought I would find.

Next week I’ll try to figure out how to answer “What defines your artistic style?”

Lately I’ve been working on a lot of stuff that I can’t show yet, but one of my British wrestling clients has released the t-shirt I designed for him.  Spike Trivet is a wrestler known for his upper-class snobbery and tendency toward violent matches.  In his most recent one, he was injured when he was thrown through a mirror and got a shard of glass in his leg.  This t-shirt design commemorates that fight and is available to order here.

This is honestly one of the most difficult commissions I’ve ever done, mainly due to the amount of detail and need for perspective in the background, but I had a blast figuring it all out and I learned a lot from it.  The colouring was also a challenge since I was given a limit of five colours, preferably Victorian ones.  I’ve never really worked with a limited palette before, but I chose the colours from a sample of Victorian paint, and again, I’m quite happy with it!

Also I have realised that, for someone with a very low tolerance for blood in TV and movies, I find it fun to draw!

I’ll have a lot more to post very soon.  In between commissions, I have been developing more of my personal projects, and I can’t wait to share my ideas!

Sketchbook Sunday, one day late

I missed Sketchbook Sunday yesterday.  I kept thinking it was Saturday all day!  So here it is, one day late, before I exile myself from the internet again to work on commissions.

120318-buster

I’ve drawn my cat Buster for Sketchbook Sunday before but wasn’t very happy with it, but I am this time!  I was watching TV with my husband last Monday, and Buster was sitting in his chair with her paws up on the arm of it looking so cute that I had to grab my iPad and draw her right away!  She may become a more frequent sketchbook subject if she continues to be this cute all the time!

 

 

 

130318-unicorn

 

I got the idea for this part-unicorn creature after watching a couple of Guillermo del Toro films, especially Pan’s Labyrinth.  I just love the monsters and creatures in his movies.  (There will probably be an Amphibian Man sketch in a future post!)  This doesn’t look much like a del Toro creature, but still, seeing them inspired me.  I plan on turning this into a full creature design; I just haven’t decided if it will be more human-shaped or more centaur-like.

 

 

My sketches on Wednesday and Thursday were done quickly because I didn’t have a lot of free time.  I’m not entirely happy with them since they’re pretty standard, generic character designs.  I feel like I could do something more interesting with them later.

160318-frog

 

At some point during the week, I saw a photo of an adorable, lumpy little frog, and thought ‘I can make a creature out of this!’  And here is my first drawing of him!  There are things I’d like to redo, like his arms and giving him more creative clothing, so you can probably expect more frog designs in the future, too.

 

 

170318-zeta

When I can’t think of what to draw, I draw The Zeta Project!  Saturday was not a very creative day for me, since I was working to finish one commission and start on the next, so I fell back on my old favourite.  Here’s Zeta and his human form Zee, both in running poses.

And one last sketch before I disappear to work on a new wrestling t-shirt.  An old character, slightly redesigned, from a fairy tale story that I keep telling myself I’ll write one day.  Maybe one day soon.  I have a lot of time for drawing now, after all!

180318-character

Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday, when I’ll embarrass myself by digging up the oldest piece of art I can find!

Artist Questions #2

2.  What art-related sites have you ever signed up for?

I signed up for DeviantArt ages ago, and more recently made a new account for my freelance work, which is the one I link here. I like DeviantArt because, of all the sites I’ve signed up for, it gives the best sense of community and interaction. I really need to get it more up to date!

I have portfolios at Coroflot and Carbonmade. Both have been pretty much abandoned.  I don’t like Coroflot’s layout and have had no interaction there, so it’s been abandoned.  I like Carbonmade’s look, but there’s no community, and all the job offers I’ve had through that site haven’t been legit.

Most recently I’ve signed up for Instagram. I’m still learning how to use it properly, but I love it so far!

But I think the best art site I’ve signed up for is my own site. It’s nice to have more control over how it looks and how my work is presented, and I really enjoy looking at my stats and seeing how many visitors I’ve had from all over the world. (Please, feel free to say hello!)

On Sunday, I’ll have a new sketchbook post ready, and next week I’ll be looking into my old files to answer question #3:  What is the oldest piece of art you have on hand?

Artist Questions + New Project

I’m very happy to announce that one of the projects I’ve been helping with recently is now available!  “One Day I Swear I’ll Reach You” is a visual novel by SetsunaNoroi that works something like a choose-your-own-adventure book.  In it, you play as an up-and-coming YouTube gamer invited to speak at a convention.  There, you meet the Let’s Play YouTubers Markiplier, Jacksepticeye, and Matpat, and depending on the interactions you choose, you can either earn their respect and friendship or alienate them and destroy your popularity online.  While it’s made with dating sim software, it is definitely not romantic in nature, as that would be crossing a line that SetsunaNoroi understandably did not want to cross.

Even though I know very little about Let’s Play, I had a lot of fun with this project and it was definitely a learning experience drawing on my new iPad.  I drew three characters with five facial expressions each, plus the game’s creator for the end.  Jackskepticeye was the most fun.  He’s so expressive, which made drawing cartoon versions of him easy and fun.

bdANoL

I’ve played through two scenarios of this game so far and it’s great.  You can really see the amount of dedication that SetsunaNoroi put into it, and how much these three mean to her, especially in her very touching message at the end.  And with all the recent controversy surrounding a YouTuber not associated with Let’s Play, this game sets Let’s Play and these three YouTubers in particular apart as people who care about their viewers and truly love what they do, rather than just being in it for the popularity.  I think this game should be played not only by fans, but by anyone thinking of starting on YouTube.  It really gives a sense of perspective.

On to the weekly Artist Question topic!

I mentioned recently that I found a list of questions from reblogger-ocelot on Tumblr that I wanted to answer once a week, and now that I’m mostly caught up on projects, I’m going to get started!

1.  When did you get into art?

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Update 26-02-18

No sketchbook post this week either.  The bad news is that it’s been a little harder for me to keep up with daily sketches, especially after catching a bad cold.  The good news is that I’ve also been kept busy with a lot of freelance work, including t-shirt designs for British wrestlers, a game, and new tabletop RPG art!  I can’t share any of it yet, but hopefully I can very soon.

I am also going to try to start selling prints this year.  I have a new account with Society6, which is empty for now due to the fact that all the stuff I wanted to sell is apparently too small for printing.  Oops!  In between freelancing, I’m going to work on redrawing some things at a higher resolution, so watch for updates on that later!

Starting Wednesday, I’m going to be making a weekly blog post based on this list of questions from reblogger-ocelot on Tumblr.  If anyone has any questions that aren’t on this list or suggestions for things you’d like to see on my blog, please let me know in the comments!

Notice about July-August

I will not be available to take commissions or freelance work from July to around mid-August.  During that time I will be preparing to apply for my second Further Leave to Remain visa in order to continue to stay in the UK with my husband.  This will be a very stressful time for us, but if all goes well (and there’s no reason it shouldn’t!) then I’ll be able to start again in late August.