Since everyone else is doing it. I had to think for a while to come up with anything I accomplished, but maybe there actually is something there. Usually I don't feel as if I have done much.
• Survived until my 30th birthday (today)
• Finished 12+ paintings for my first book from a major publisher: "Watercolour Made Easy: Fairies And Fantasy" which come out in February.
• Was a vendor at a good size craft show for the first time in years and did surprisingly well considering we had snow in May and no heating.
• Self published my webcomic in an actual professionally printed book form.
• Finished around 65 paintings total
• Reached 500 sales on Etsy.
• Completely my first digital painting since 2003.
• Learned offering commissions in Artist Alley isn't so bad. • Re-designed my website to the first original design since it's birth.
• Received an award from an art show
• Sold an original at Dragon Con
• Was featured in Art Scene International
• Fixed some bad licensing choices to the best of my ability.
• Got a bike and actually used it a bit.
• Realized my art is not good enough if I want to accomplish the illustration goals I'd originally had years ago and future projects I would like to do and determined things I would like to improve. Somewhere I got stuck being a "fairy artist" because it was easier to do things that I knew I could sell rather than work on improving things which were not immediately marketable. I have finally reached a point where I can look at something not completely beautiful and think it might actually be fun to paint.
• Be more organized.
• Draw more comics and improve them because I am horribly out of practice.
• Sketch more often just for the purpose of improving, not only when planning a painting (I've made a good start at this because I filled as many pages in a month as I did all summer).
• Work on sketching expressions, animals, kids, movement, proportions, buildings etc. Remember to sketch from a basic skeleton rather than starting with the head. Try not to center compositions.
• Paint some ideas from my long list of painting ideas
• Try to start on one of the themed illustration lists
• Complete another painting with water soluble oils.
I've been a little unhappy with some bad habits in my work and need to simply start sketching more for practice. I am jealous of people who went to animation school. So tonight I thought that I would try to find a nice animation book that would help me with movement. The only problem is that 90% of the animation/fantasy/comic drawing books at B&N are now Christopher Hart books. This is unfortunately since most of them are the same book with slightly different art (yes it irks me that they continue to publish them). I only found one actual animation book, which I think I will pick up later. I don't have any intention of animating but I think it would help with drawing.
There's really no reason I should be doing more illustration since I'm seeing children's books with the quality of art I am capable of. I just need get myself to believe I can.
So what I did find with what I was looking for was book 4 and 5 from the How to Draw Manga series Ultimate Manga Lessons. Most of the older books don't have a lot of useful information on how to apply techniques to your art rather than just copying poses in the books. There's some later books that go into detail about inking and specific techniques that are better though.
I also saw a new John Howe Book on dragons and and a Licensing book that I thought looked pretty helpful. Other than the author's idea that self publishing prints is more difficult than using a publisher (Fantasy and comic genre art is different than the market for, say Terry Redlin and Thomas Kinkaide), there's lot of information that no one tells new artists such as actual %s for different products (believe me, I was sure this was somehow secret information for a long time).
And some sketches:
These were preliminary sketches for my Christmas card design this year:
I posted my 12 month 2009 Calendar at deviantart, at zazzle or cafepress. It features 14 images from the last year or so. It's was a little too late to do a print run this year but the quality from Deviantart's prints is quite nice.
My new website design is done and live now. I added a few new products while I was at it.
Site updates: - Lotus Fairy ACEO - Card sets featuring two Christmas images and anime fairies - 21 new keychains. I've had these for years but haven't had them on my site before.
Gears and Glass is a painting inspired by gothic lolita and steampunk fashion. I plan on offering prints of this but have not gotten around to it yet. I've been redesigning my websites and am almost done. They are looking good but there are a few things to fix still.
Today I was surprised to receive a copy of Linda Ravenscroft's new book "How to Draw and Paint Fairyland: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the World of Fairies" in the mail from the UK. I had almost forgotten about it. My painting Daydreamer was published in the back gallery section.
I just got a letter today and saying I might have do jury duty in December for a week. The best part is parking in downtown St. Paul is expensive and they suggest I use public transportation. I am not looking forward to standing at the bus stop at 7 am, in the snow in December!
Like a bad citizen I say: What did I do to deserve this punishment? :) I can just imagine Phoenix Wright references invading my brain at the wrong time.
One of my favorite things do has always been to collect rocks, especially Agates here in Minnesota. I might mean to go swimming but usually I end up digging through the beach instead. I collected two bowls full of small ones in on weekend recently.
Kyrn is a character I began writing and drawing in high school. I was asked to redraw her by someone who had a seen a much older picture. Originally she had dark hair and the white came about once when I decided I really liked a drawing in an unfinished state. Long, long ago, Gargoyles was my first fandom so Kyrn herself had gargoyle wings in one form.
My ideas have changed a lot since then with every painting, and now I associate her with magic, life, growth, change, and ivy. The title this time was surprisingly easy because there wasn't anything else it could be.
If you've read my comic she's in there a little bit so far.
I'm a great fan (addict) of tea and I recently designed this tea label design for Blue Raven Tea - blueraventea.com.
All of these were commissions, but for the last two I did with very little direction and as a result they are more me than some other paintings. I don't often get to paint men, but when I do I enjoy it. The armor was inspired by Burne-Jones's designs.
The painting is now up for auction starting at $24.99 and a buy-it-now price of $130. The reserve is somewhere in between and bids below the reserve are certainly appreciated no matter if they win or not.
I'm getting stuff ready for Anime Detour tommorow (Sorry, if you didn't already register they won't let you in). I have to go to UPS later to pick up what I hope is the keychain rack I ordered.
I noticed Liquid Skin now has my tattoo flash set up. These are large prints for professional tattoo artists to use. Individual designs are available through their other site SkinU. Those have been up since last fall and I have completely forgot to point that out.
I just did some more small tattoo designs like moons last week, and re-colored one of the kitsune I did last week.
Unfortunately I can't show the other illustrations I've been doing for Orion's Bell the last few months yet (actually you can see one on the link there), but I finished a really neat one yesterday. I also sent my comic book/graphic novel off to be printed last Thursday and should be getting them in a couple days. I'm excited! So I will have actual books at Anime Detour and Anime Central this year.
There just happens to be a FAQ on my site outlining how you can use my art, how it should be credited and what you need permission for. It's not that complicated. But, people continually don't read or disregard it.
And all I ask the rest of the time is that you don't post my art on commerical sites (where you are selling something or where there are ad banners, or sites like photobucket which sell prints), credit and link to me so that every time someone else takes that art they know where it came from:
It's been well below zero for the last week in Minnesota. On Thursday I was unable to start my car so I couldn't mail end of the week orders. Attempts at having a friend jump it failed so yesterday I called AAA and took it to get the battery replaced. I'm surprised it lasted 7 or 8 years anyway. So tommorow I can finally finish running my errands and get caught up.
I am working on 3 new paintings for the how-to book I mentioned earlier. Meanwhile I did put up prints of the previous 3: Castles in the Sky, Among the Mushrooms and Poppies. Yujean released 5 new sticker designs and those are also available from me
Time not spent on commissions has been spent on painting a couple of comic covers for Tempest of the Soul, as well as re-"lettering" the old pages I've scanned. I have to laugh at the number of typos I had in the old version. I am confident that even without touched up art the new typeface would make the new book will look many times better.
I opened a shop on Dawanda. There is not much there yet because I am still figuring the site out. But soon people will have the option to shop with Euros.
This is a wonderful book. I am a big fan of Mr. Howe's work and much of the advice in this book is familiar from John's forum but it's a good chance to see how he works step by step, as well as how he organizes his studio and prepares for illustration jobs. There are lots of tips even I who has been painting for many years didn't think of before. John Howe makes a point to encourage readers to find their own unique style and way of painting, unlike many how to books which only show one way of doing things. I particularly love that his sense of humor shows. He honest about illustration and admits that he isn't perfect and procrastinates as much as possible before every job (just like me^^)
Scott Pilgrim 1-4 by Mal (Bryan O Malley but he'll always be Mal to me!)
Way back when I was a senior in high school I discovered the internet and the anime fanart community. Mal was one of the artists who was always around the forum and irc channel, and I did fanart for his online comic Winged Misa. Mal grew up and published the incredibly awesome and funny Scott Pilgrim. Read it!
(I still haven't read them all, but it took a month for the comic store to get them all for me)