Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkey Day Countdown

The holidays are looming and Turkey Day is close at hand. Super busy right now getting things cleaned for family visits, but I'm forcing in some drawing time before bed. I finally finished a Photoshop piece (here) based on an older sketch and threw down a pen/marker sketch tonight because I feel oddly energized and restless. That's all for now. Busy busy busy.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Socially awkward penguin is socially awkward.

So, I did the small shindig at the lake Saturday evening. There was so much stacked against it from the people who were supposed to help my friend's wife in organizing it to the weather. I was actually there before anyone else and it was just me helping her and her best friend set up the tables and get stuff ready. The drizzly cold rain made things extra complicated, too. There weren't even any chairs there at first (I'd brought my own, because JWF taught me to think ahead) and no heat till later in the day. I felt bad for her that some of the other slated vendors and guests were no shows ontop of others backing out at the last minute, so I was determined not to be a wussie just because of some damp cold. But all in all, I made a modest amount of cash from the evening and happily sold bug rocks, a couple of dragons, and painted faces because apparently the campgrounds were oddly full of children.

But the awkward part comes in when you have the celebrity guests gawking at my dragons. I was asked more than once if I had a facebook specifically for them or the like, and awkwardly had to explain that no, I don't, and I've not got the kinks out in selling them online yet. I felt like such a tool admitting such shortcomings because I get that Facebook is very much a thing that artists and crafters do. I'm just...Not very good at it. I can blog here because I pretend that no one actually sees this space barring a few friends. And I can banter and whatnot with strangers and accept their compliments. So, I'm not sure exactly what it is about social media that makes me balk. I guess part of it stems from not considering myself good enough "yet", or the daunting task of having to respond to (potentially) a lot of people and questions. Hell, I don't even really interact on DeviantArt except with VanHeist or the very rare comments on journals of people I watch. Even then I feel like sort of a dweeb for doing so.

But as time goes on, this is going to have to be something I need to just get over. I'm just not sure how. And I've found myself really wanting to connect to other artists somehow. Or other crafters, if they don't abruptly duck and run when I give them my name like this one awesome girl did at JWF after realizing we were totally having a nerd moment over clay. Perhaps I need to practice having conversations better, or trying not to be too eager in making friends? I have no clue. Ugh. Grownup problems and friend-making are hard.

But I did a fun doodle that I will share.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Festival and Beyond

So, wow, it's already been two weeks since the JWF. It was a slow year for it this year, despite the great weather. This area's being hit hard with mining layoffs as well as just generally being a poorer area of the state. I wasn't too far down in my face painting sales, but my paintings and dragons barely sold. Kinda depressing, but some years are like that--just no money flowing freely around. Our booth still did better than the majority in the craft tent, I dare say. I've already got a day fair lined up to set up at...uh...tomorrow. Yikes. The weather is supposed to be utter crap, too. That's worrisome because this is the little fair's first year being organized (by a buddy and his wife), and I really want it to do well for my buddy's sake, not just my own wallet's sake. But, those are the risks in doing festivals and junk, I guess. Why yes, I do take my optimism with a grain of salt. How'd you guess?

On the bright side, I'm pulling my head up enough to draw more. (Pics below.) And digitally! Go me! I guess I've felt really inspired lately. Both by friends and artists on Tumblr. I also have to crack down on myself to sketch more. I am starting to remember that I used to have ideas and daydreams about doing things or drawing things. I mean, don't get me wrong, sculpting dragons is fun and awesome, and painting rocks is a soothing hobby, but it's not my true medium. I guess my joy in drawing got crushed somewhere along the way in fighting personal crap and renewed efforts to find employment. Kind of a "I'm stuck anyway, so I may as well get back to doing what I want to with my time." Of course...This has lead to some sleepless nights lately (both from drawing and worrying), but overall, I'm satisfied with that part of me waking the hell up. Speaking of insomnia, look at the time...

Shutting up now. Look! Peektures! The bottom is still a work in progress, but there's a peek.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sneak Peak

Here are a couple of peeks at new dragon concepts. I know the classic "dragon with a d20" is so old, but it's always a favorite. With that one it was my first time using a armature for the body and neck. I'm not happy with the neck, but it's my first so I know what to correct. I also have finally found the sweet spot between timing and temperature to get the maximum hardness in my dragons. Those spindly horns are rock solid, and that pleases me no end. Also, I was incredibly relieved that the die didn't so much as loose its luster. I didn't quite trust all the online tutorials on that score.

The second one is going to take time for me to get right. I started making settings with my dragons last year. This year I'm putting them in jars. For one thing, this was my first jar attempt and it was really far, far too big. I have smaller flip-top jars that I will use for others and will actually have to (and be able to) create the setting first and then insert it into the jar to bake. It's trickier to get the timing right for the jars because the jar interferes with the clay's heating. But, it's just a matter of baking it longer. Overall, I'm pleased with this second experiment. I also don't have to worry as much about using armatures with the dragons in jars because there will be little threat of them being broken by inquisitive hands. (You'd be surprised that adults more often than kids are the culprits...)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Festival and Sketch Dumping

So, wow. It's October already. Where has the year gone? It seems like last week it was only June. I've been busily working in the evenings on painted rocks and such for the upcoming festival. I feel moderately on schedule though I wish I were a faster painter. (Thus able to increase my volume.) Now it's less than two weeks away, so I'm starting on dragon sculpting. I think I've finally, thanks to some handy bits of info posted by people like dragonsandbeasties, worked out some of the kinks with my dragons in terms of their hardness and overall stability. But! Just to be on the safe side at this festival, now I have a nice little rotating display for my dragons that will keep people from squeezing and breaking them. I had a real problem with that last year because I couldn't keep track of everything at once. I even bought these nice string LED lights to wrap around inside and really make the display pop.

Aside from that, on the mundane aspect of things, I've been spending the cool/warm days trying to catch up on all the yard work I slacked on because of the overwhelming heat of summer. Not ease being a one-woman lawn care crew, but them's the breaks. I'm also assiduously applying for work all over and crossing my fingers for a more steady paycheck than the lagging craft/bait store. I was hopeful of landing a job today, but I was one of a handful of favored candidates for a single position and didn't make the cut. It's...discouraging. But I'm nothing if not persistent. I have reasons to perservere.

That about covers things for now. So, have some sketches.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sketch Dump

So, typically I've been trying to sketch and doodle more. Here are a few that happened during recent Pathfinder sessions (as you can clearly see all my notes and such in one of them). Just a place holder till I have some actual content to report.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ever Uphill.

Wow. Has it really been since March since I've posted anything here?  I'm fairly bad at this staying connected thing, I suppose. 

I can't say I have a whole lot to report. I've done some painted rocks since my last post (to be photo'd later this week) for a Mother's Day commission that never panned out. (More on that in a bit.) I am proud to have recently finished a drawing which is up over on my deviantArt page, but mostly random scraps and doodles (some of which are also in my dA scrapbook). I've begun my production of crafts and paintings for the festival this week. I want to try to get everything done early for JWF this year rather than finishing up the weekend before. I also have many ideas for new dragons.

It's been slow going. I fell into another funk and it's been an uphill climb trying to shake it. The events of this month have had a big toll on me in that department. But I'm making myself sketch even just a little at a time. I'm making myself paint. I'm making myself try to get back to where I can feel confident that I'm doing all I can. I'll get there, slowly but surely. I have a score to settle with this depression nonsense.

Okay, so, now that that's off my chest, I want to share the lesson I have learned. I have long since learned the lesson of taking a down payment before starting any rock commissions, especially for larger rocks (or other items like canvas and saw blades), but now I have a new addition to make to that personal rule. From now on when taking such local orders, I am going to have to start taking payment in full. A lady--we'll call her "R" to save on excessive pronouns--came to the store in early/mid-May and wanted a bunch of stuff made and she also bought a large fawn I had painted on a rock. R then commissioned me to paint flower rocks of the same size and I priced them for the same price at $25 each, so $100 in all. I took $30 down since that was all the cash she claimed to have left and got to work because she wanted them for her daughter for Mother's Day. R returned on that particular holiday with her daughter (who seemed wholly exasperated with her mom wanting to buy her all the things), but said she couldn't take the rocks yet cause she wanted to surprise her daughter etc etc. Fine. We continue to fill her woodworking order while she put $50 on a swing. Fast forward to now. I have called this woman two or three times now. She knows that everything is completed and awaiting payment and pick up. I have since placed all items up for sale because we are not a storage facility. And this woman must have been the sickliest person because she seemed to have been recovering from a week in the hospital every time I made contact with her. What I suspect the truth of the matter is, because I witnessed it for myself, is that R is the type of person to completely give in to impulse purchasing in the name of buying things for her daughter. Either way, she has broken my nice/understanding bone and I have since instituted a blanket rule for the store that all special orders are to be picked up within a week of their completion and notification. And my personal rule, as I stated, is to take any payment for painting commissions up front first and foremost. It only takes one bad apple to spoil it for everyone.

Now, obviously, if I ever work up the nerve to take online commissions, I'll have trouble and have to make exception to this new personal rule. But for now I feel comfortable with it. There may be those who are shy to do so because there are a lot of people that will take money and not do the work (been burned there several times with brush clearing). I will certainly negotiate with such people, but I need to count on being paid for my efforts in full. Not getting the rest of that money set me back and initiated a trickle-down effect that I am not happy with. It's bad enough I get the occasional people wanting to dicker set prices or think I should be practically giving things away. 

So, that about covers new events. Gotta get the computer away from me and back to painting now. Hopefully a more fruitful post in the future will come.