February 2022 Newsletter

Hello February!

SHOP UPDATE

As a reminder, my art is now available at Society6 and INPRNT!

I just finished a new illustration for my personal portfolio project! “The Guardian!”

“The Guardian”

And it’s now available as a print on INPRNT!


ART

I spent a lot of January working on The Guardian. It takes a lot longer to finish pieces when I don’t skip steps… like creating thumbnails and value studies…

Early value study

A lot of the fun of this piece though was going back to working in a larger format and using pen and ink for the linework! I did the color digitally still, since it’s so forgiving and I have no confidence with applying color theory. I get to change my mind a lot this way! I will probably do some pieces in watercolor again, I finally brought out my paints for the first time since last spring! But I think digital coloring might still be my favorite… I’m super pleased with the palette I created in the end. I love fun complementary pop of color!

I also tried to work in my studio more to start the year. Instead of exclusively working for the couch in the living room… Although I should say, my studio has a couch instead of a desk. I like to be comfortable! But it makes a big difference, as it is definitely easier to focus in the studio, and it doesn’t have a TV…

Plus, I’ve been trying the Pomodoro method for time management. I thought I could write like a big dedicated blog post about it, but I stuck with it for like a week. Which honestly is pretty good for me. But I now like setting a timer now for focused work. I’m just way more flexible with it. Mostly just being more intentional with how I break up my day for different tasks. But nothing too rigid since creative work can ebb and flow so much. I mean, if I’m feeling stuck I can still set a timer and sketch for half an hour. Just to do something… But also I’ve gotta have longer breaks. I’m an artist! I need lots of time to scroll my phone and get inspiration!

But mostly I have a lot of stuff I’m wanting to work on right now, and it can get a bit overwhelming. So between a weekly planner and setting a timer, I’m definitely finding a better way to focus and stay on a single task, but still find balance to work on multiple projects. Yay!


BOOKS

Wheel of Time progress report: I’m halfway through book two. It’s still good, I think. That’s all.

I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels and a few manga recently.

Kaiju No. 8 (a manga) was a lot of fun. A blend of Pacific Rim, One Punch Man, and My Hero Academia. It’s not my favorite, but I enjoyed it and preordered volume 2! I also got a manga where the conceit is basically “what if Harry Potter went to Hogwarts but secretly couldn’t do magic and was a total gym bro?” Haven’t read that one yet but it sounds wild!

Then I read the 1st volume of the original Spider-Man. It is so ridiculous. And dated. But I loved it. It was so fun. OG Peter Park (and Spidey) was a mess and kind of a bully?! I’m very disappointed The Living Brain villain hasn’t made it to a movie…yet. A 1960s super-computer on ball-bearing wheels! THE HORROR!

Amazing

After than I jumped to Ultimate Spider-Man from the 2000s. Oh boy. Dated in a way I lived through is a special kind of nostalgia. Yikes… Also I didn’t realize how much Brian Michael Bendis influenced the Sam Raimi movies. That I also still kinda love. Because I was a teen in the 00s…


THE REST

We have now watched all the Spider-Man movies (up to the new one). It’s also been a trip, and fun to compare to the comics. Apparently we just missed out on Garfield’s Spider-Man originally? Possibly because of Spider-Man 3. As well as dismay and confusion on how a superhero series could be rebooted so soon (HA!). But now that I’ve seen them, he might be the best Spider-Man? It was just so fun, and pretty good! Spider-Man Homecoming, which I originally loved, seemed now like just a mini-Iron Man movie, and not nearly as fun in comparison. But it was still okay. And Far From Home was better, which is encouraging. Also Martin Starr (Parker’s teacher) is the BEST.

Spider-Man Far From Home

We’ve also been watching a lot of classic kung fu movies. It’s always a good choice for a Friday night, and apparently Amazon Prime has a solid selection. Executioners from Shaolin is amazing, and formally introduced us to the work of Liu Chia-Liang and Lo Lieh. So good! I think at this point we will watch anything they are involved in.

From The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, 1978

Lastly, I started baking desserts at the start of the new year. And I’ve managed to make a different dessert every weekend, so far! The best was chocolate sugar cookies, but I also bought a donut pan and baked donuts are legit. I’ve always wanted to try baking more, so the pan was motivation. I have a major sweet tooth, but I don’t always want cookies or brownies or something. But there are few foods I love more than donuts. So yay new hobbies!


Have you tried a formal time management method? (Are there others??) Have you picked up a new hobby for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

January 2022 Newsletter

Hello January!

SHOP UPDATE

This is a big one! I’ve closed my Etsy shop!

But…what?! I just re-opened it!

Indeed. But with it back open, I’ve remembered just how involved (and expensive) running and Etsy shop can be…

And I’d rather be making my art!

So what now?!

I am now an artist on INPRNT! If you aren’t familiar, it’s a site for artists to sell art prints. I applied over the holiday and was accepted! I love a lot of the artists that sell on INPRNT already, and have ordered prints there before. It’s definitely quality! They only do prints, which is my main focus so most of my NEW work will be available on INPRNT. Speaking of, this month’s shop update is on INPRNT now! Check out my INPRNT shop here!

For most everything in my Etsy shop, its now been moved over to Society6 and is available as mini prints! I haven’t updated my Society6 shop since I stopped doing surface pattern design work, but I do love Society6’s products (I legit have so many of my own mugs and throw pillows around the house, is that bad?). Plus, while most of my illustration work will go on INPRNT, I do like that with Society6 I can offer new mugs or home goods (or even puzzles now?!), which can be a lot of fun! Check out my Society6 shop here!

I’m really excited for this fresh start to the new year!

ART

I’m so excited to be able to focus on making art again this year. For me, that looks like a lot of courses online (I’m slowly working through about half a dozen right now), working in my sketchbooks (gonna try to draw everyday… mostly), and creating new art!

I recently came up with a list of 12 illustrations that I want to make… Mostly because I thought I’d need a portfolio to apply to INPRNT (I didn’t) and I wanted to challenge myself to make new work in my newer style for the portfolio… Anyway, I still think its a neat idea. I’ve created like art checklists when doing pattern designs. But I’ve never planned out a collection for illustrations… So I’m still gonna try it!

Its going to be a handful each of: landscapes, character driven illustrations (I’m thinking very comic book like and fantasy or scifi inspired), single panel comics with my comic characters, and some cuter kawaii style pieces (dunno what yet! But its gotta be cute!).

I have no idea how long it will take to make that all, but I’m excited to focus on it and get started!

BOOKS

I did it! I have finally read The Eye of the World, the first book in The Wheel of Time. FINALLY. And it was actually pretty good?

I’ve started the next book in the series already, which is promising. But I’m sure I’ll have to take many breaks. I’ve still got The Expanse to work though, among many others…

I also read the first Hellboy omnibus graphic novel on a whim. Knew nothing about it, but I liked the cover art. Oh man, it’s so fun! I didn’t expect a gothic noir beat ’em up. But its perfect. Story is wild, art is unbelievable. So excited to keep reading the series!

NOT BOOKS

If you remember, I started reading The Eye of the World again because I was so hype for The Wheel of Time TV show trailer…

Well…we watched it…

It’s not great?

I might watch season 2 because Moiraine and Lan are awesome. I like the cast. And its a very pretty fantasy show. And we don’t get many fantasy shows… But also, its just not good. I can deal with changes for adaption, but they are so much easier to deal with when they actually make sense. Yikes. But it makes the book seem extra good in comparison! So that’s nice…

Also, being in the South for the holidays this year has been wild. It’s been weird being away from friends and family, to be sure. But also we spent the whole time sitting outside, and going on hikes in the very humid, still very warm weather? I know I’m not supposed to be surprised by it. I didn’t expect a snowy Christmas, but I also didn’t expect shorts weather either. The locals seem to think this is unusual, so I don’t feel bad also thinking it’s very weird… I mean, I’m gonna enjoy it. But I’m also ready for the supposed cold weather that should be arriving any time now!


Hope you have all had a delightful holiday! Happy New Year!!













Annual Review

The year is almost over, so now its time to look back at the work I’ve done in 2021, and look forward to some of the goals and areas of focus for 2022!

(Basically, care to join me as I do my own annual review?!)


Comics

I started making my lil’ comics in 2020, but this year I’ve stayed pretty consistent with it! My most recent comic on Instagram was #27! So not too shabby! I did slow down to sharing new comics every other week, so I’d like to maybe get back to doing it weekly, but also I’m terrified of running out of ideas. Sooo, no promises. But definitely a goal…

I also created my cast of characters for my comics this spring– Sam, Pandy, Ghost and Chuck. I like not having to create new characters each week, and starting to sort of build their personalities as the comics go on. I would love to start doing illustration prints of my characters outside of the comics (so kinda like my single panel comics but focused on a single character). Mostly the issue is finding time with everything else I want to do as well.

Basically though, comics definitely became one of the main focuses for my work this year. Creating characters, and single panel comics, and reading other comics (basically homework!) and taking ecourses on making comics, I’ve definitely been making some strides and hopefully that will mean continued improvement into next year! Yay!


Illustration

So in my mind, this area encompasses everything I work on that isn’t just in my sketchbook, and isn’t a webcomic. My landscapes, abstracts, and other illustrations… basically anything that I’d put in my Etsy shop.

Speaking of, this year I reopened my Etsy shop! I redid basically all of it, the photos, products, packaging, printing…ALL OF IT. It took months and was slowed down by our move across the country earlier this year…but I’m super pleased with how it turned out!

As I’ve mentioned before I’m planning on doing another mini shop update with new prints next month. My goal for next year is to definitely create enough illustrations that I can do quarterly shop updates. They probably will all be mini updates, just a few items each time, realistically. I’m just focusing so much right now on learning new stuff that I’m not making nearly as much finished work as I would normally. But that’s okay! It’s better than nothing, and I’m not going to feel bad about wanting to improve either!

I am hoping though that next year I will be able to slow down the focus on courses and learning new stuff and instead spend that time on putting it to practice and making new stuff!

I really want to focus on character-driven illustration moving forward. To tell stories and have some sort of narrative in my illustrations, and include a bit more like “whimsy” to them. Either like scifi or fantasy elements or humor. I don’t know. It’s definitely pushing my creativity, having so long just like a “draw what I see” approach. But its the kind of work I want to make, so I’ve just got to do it!

I actually don’t even quite know what I want it to look like. I’ve been working a lot of like very cute and kawaii characters most of this year, working in colored pencil in my sketchbooks. But lately I’ve been working in a more realistic style for figure drawing, to practice anatomy and like comic book style inking, so that I could work towards more cartoony stylized characters in the future. So it gets a little overwhelming trying to work in all three styles, and seeing how they work together and what I want my work to look like moving forward. It may just be a combination of all three. I’m not sure. But I also don’t want to rush the learning process, either. So I guess we’ll just see!

I do know that I want to work in ink, digitally, and in watercolor. I love working in ink, always. And I’m starting to get more comfortable working digitally too. I haven’t used watercolor since we moved, so I’m sure I’m a bit rusty. But watercolor is just so fun and I’m sure it’ll look pretty awesome with inky illustration work. I was working on gouache a bit at the start of the year. And I like it, but its just not as much fun. I’d rather focus on ink drawing, with watercolor, than just painting. Its just different. And thats okay. So yeah, definitely want to focus on these three media next year.

I’m so excited!


Sketching

Last but not least, my beloved sketchbooks…
I FINALLY got comfortable with and consistent about working in my sketchbook this year, since I’ve been doing so much focused learning and trying new techniques. I love my sketchbooks!

I did so much in color pencil and I think that might be my favorite way to just like play in my sketchbook. So I definitely want to do that more next year too. I’m trying colored lead for my mechanical pencils too so I can keep my sketches lighter than when I use traditional graphite. And its so much easier than worrying about a pencil sharpener! Yay!

Unfortunately my scribbly colorful pencils sketches aren’t very A E S T H E T I C. So I haven’t had too much to share. But I’m trying to get over it, and share some of my favorite sketches anyway. So look out for that on Instagram, at least.

I did create one sketchbook tour this year with Mosstober. So that was a fun challenge. I’d love to create another pretty sketchbook to share in a tour again for next year. But it’d need to look cohesive, and I’d need to actually finish a sketchbook. So…maybe it will have to wait until October again next year. But we’ll see. I have a dedicated figure drawing (like character design) sketchbook right now that is a mess but might be interesting to share when it’s finished (let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see?).

Also, side note, I recently got a copy of Mike Mignola’s The Quarantine Sketchbook book… Oh man, that is some serious goals for sketching. Like good grief. I’m just going to carry that massive book around everywhere I go next year and maybe I’ll like absorb some drawing wisdom… just wow. (Not an ad, obviously. Just really excited.)


Favorite Artwork of the Year

Okay, last bit for the review. I did this last year, and really liked it. So I’m doing it again! Picking out my favorite work of art from this calendar year. Woohoo!

The Slinky Cat

I mean, it has to be… I’m pretty sure when I made it I was like “this is the best thing I’ve ever done as an artist” and “I’ve peaked as an artist.” I made it super early this year (that was this year?!?) And it is everything I want my artwork to be. Happy, silly, fun, a lil’ weird. Cute. Inky. Colorful…

…Like what am I even doing now?! I need to return to the simple joy that is The Stretchy Cat… BRB gonna go rewrite my goals for next year… Okay just kidding. But still. I still love it. I’m still so proud of it. Best piece of the year for me.


Whew. I think that’s everything…

So let me know what you think?! And feel free to share any of your creative goals for 2022 in the comments!

Happy Holidays!

The Shallow End – December 2021

Hello December!


Art

100 figure drawings in 30 days was ambitious… I think I got a third of the way through, but that included a lot of small scribbly pose ideas that weren’t really gesture drawings or very helpful. I quickly realized this was a quality over quantity issue, needing better structured practice, like hand studies, and expression practice, so that ultimately I can draw complete and detailed characters. I’ve definitely improved, being too embarrassed to share the early work. But its getting better! I think I’m getting better at the technical side of drawing characters. Now I struggle a lot with ideas, creating interesting poses and branching out from drawing everyone in sweats or flannel… But I’m working on it! Still practicing, and so looking forward to feeling comfortable creating interesting characters for my future illustrations!

As always, its hard to find balance and structure in my routine, between comics, illustrations, and sketchbook practice. Making sure I have time for it all. But the good part is that I enjoy all of it and I’ve got the time! I think…


Not Art

I started playing Animal Crossing again in November. (Suddenly it is no longer a mystery why getting my to do list done each week was a lot harder than normal… Oops!) I finally burned out again around Thanksgiving, when I proceeded to play Skyrim nonstop. I played so much, I was grateful to go back to work that Monday after. But honestly, it was so fun to play again after years!


Books

I finally got to new chapters in The Wheel of Time! We started watching the show, and I knew just enough to be very confused. So that gave me all the motivation I needed to read more of Eye of the World finally. I don’t love the show, admittedly. I get why they are making a lot of their creative decisions, but I just don’t agree with them. Mostly the way they handled the beginning (since I know it sooo well) and character motivations. But I can’t even be like “the book is better” because I don’t love it either and certainly haven’t finished reading it. But I do love fantasy, so I’m intrigued enough to stick with both.

I also read Magpie Murders last month. I think after rewatching Knives Out I was like, I need more mysteries in my life. So I tried Anthony Horowitz, having read some Alex Rider books growing up. And it was very like, cinematic, in the way he writes (I believe he writes for TV too). So it was a lot of fun and I’m super excited to read more mysteries now! Yay!


Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

Mosstober 2021 Sketchbook Tour

Finally! A new sketchbook tour!

This sketchbook was for the October daily drawing challenge generally known as “Inktober.” Normally I come up with my own theme for the month, but this year I decided to try the prompt list provided by Mossery for their version of the challenge called “Mosstober.”

Set Up

I thought emojis would be fun as inspiration, and I wanted to work on drawing cute, simple drawings, since that was what I had been focused on so much recently. It’s not intuitive for me to draw that way, but I really like it, and I thought it would be an interesting way to approach the challenge. I also wanted to use a larger sketchbook than I normally gravitate towards — this was a 9″ x 12″ Koh-I-Noor sketchbook with smooth Bristol paper. I sketched in mechanical pencil, for each drawing. Inking was done mostly with the Sakura Graphic 1 ink pen, but I also used the Pentel Arts brush pen in black, and later started using a gray version as well. White was sometimes added in with the Sakura Gelly Roll white pen.

Thoughts

If I had to do this challenge again, especially focusing on simple, cute, almost kawaii-style drawings, I would definitely not stick with blank and white. Color is such a big part of what makes kawaii art so cute, and it felt like an extra challenge to keep it monochromatic. I had to use the white and gray inks, just to keep things readable. In one way, I liked the challenge to approach value very very carefully. But on the other hand, some drawings just look sooo weird, because they don’t have any color.

I also got so tired of drawing what felt at the time like a lot of food themed pieces. I struggled with getting so literal with the prompts, and coming up with new ideas. I think that shows, especially in the later pieces, or on drawings where I missed a weekend prompt and had to catch up two or three in one day. I probably could have planned ahead a little more, but I’m used to just “winging” it for Inktober, and not following actual prompts. I think if I do it next year I might brainstorm general ideas for each day in advance and so on the day of the drawing I can just focus more on the drawing itself.

I also struggled to stick with the kawaii element of the challenge. Eventually I started getting a bit tired, and I know one day I just drew absentmindedly (probably while watching a soccer game), and was like “shoot this isn’t cute at all.” I still like it, but it’s not kawaii! Oops. Not a big deal, and if there was ever an experiment in how do I draw when I’m not thinking about it, I think it’s safe to say I know the results…

All in all, I learned A TON from Mosstober. I’m so glad I did it, even if it was super challenging, pushed my art and creative skills, and didn’t quite turn out the way I hoped. I still had so much solid practice, learned a ton about my current strengths and weaknesses (I learned I still struggle with figures (poses, expressions, etc.) so I’m working on that a bunch now!). I loved getting back to working in ink too! I definitely want to do more of that in the future! And now I have a super awesome dedicated sketchbook to all things Mosstober… let’s take a look!

Sketchbook

Day One

I realized very quickly that without color I was going to need to do something to make it more detailed and not end up with just super simple line art. Shading and textures were a way to add interest while keeping it cute.

Day Two

I like this one. After day one, I started thinking about how I could to use ink to create interest in my composition.

Day Three

Isn’t he fun! I’m so impressed! Haha. I just had fun with this one, and started incorporating the white gel pen to help keep the composition readable.

Day Four

One of my favorites! I love all the little detail in this one! And I have very little practice drawing cute characters, so I’m very proud of her watermelon dress.

Day Five

I don’t love this one. Drawing four legged animals isn’t my strength. But I tried! I like the flowers though, so that’s something.

Day Six

I love this one! He’s so neat! (Although I was so mad when magnifying glass came up later as an actual prompt, I was like, “nooo, I already did that! And it’s awesome!”)

Day Seven

This is when I remembered it was October too, and wanted to draw something with a Halloween focus. Making this detailed composition clear in black and white was a challenge, but I think it turned out well!

Day Eight

It’s me!

Day Nine

Another black and white challenge but I like it a lot! And I’m super excited about their backyard movie night. Robot vs Dinosaur!

Day Ten

I liked working on this one. I just liked the idea of it being a very slow day at the popcorn stand.

Day Eleven

Yikes. I don’t love this one. I focused more on the scooter, and abstracted the kimono to represent Japan (Mt. Fuji in the background). It just seems very messy and I just don’t really like it. I dunno.

Day Twelve

Friggin’ magnifying glass. So here we have to detectives in love. Because why not?

Day Thirteen

I like this one! I wasn’t sure which would be better – solid black boat, or solid black water. I obviously went boat, and I think it worked out okay! Whew!

Day Fourteen

This one makes me laugh every time.

Day Fifteen

Oooh, I hate this one. I just got my ink brush pen at this point and it was much darker than I expected. Also I tried to draw a rabbit differently than I did on day one. Still not great.

Day Sixteen

This would be so fun in color! I really liked drawing all the candy elements for this old witch with her gingerbread mailbox.

Day Seventeen

I love this one. I feel this one.

Day Eighteen

Again, I remembered Halloween. Spooky scary petit fours. Yum!

Day Ninteen

A chicken sandwich felt morbid, but it was all I could think of… until I thought of this guy.

Day Twenty

More food. This time food I didn’t know anything about. So I just used the three circles as inspiration, and…yeah, I don’t love it. It’s fine.

Day Twenty-One

I LOVE THIS ONE. It isn’t very kawaii or cute, but it’s super cool. If I do say so myself.

Day Twenty-Two

Yeah this isn’t kawaii at all. It’s very much how I draw when I’m not thinking about it. It’s…okay. I like the pastry. (Also, I guess that emoji is used for the Eiffel tower since it doesn’t have it’s own emoji yet?)

Day Twenty-Three

Heh.

Day Twenty-Four

I’m clearly starting to give up. I don’t know how to draw dragons. This was the best I could do from imagination…

Day Twenty-Five

I’m definitely running out of ideas. I mean it’s cute…I’ll give it that…

Day Twenty-Six

A koala eating the moon, like a cookie. It looks less cute and more tragic. Like he knows he shouldn’t be eating THE MOON.

Day Twenty-Seven

Egg dog. Yup, I’m losing it…

Day Twenty-Eight

Okay, I tried a little more detail and having fun with the prompt. I kinda like it!

Day Twenty-Nine

Penguin bowling! This one was actually fun, and I enjoyed adding a bit of detail to it. Plus, I like penguins!

Day Thirty

I really like this one too! I think I used black and white really well here. Yay!

Day Thirty-One

The finale! I LOVE THIS ONE. Like, I’m still proud of it. It’s detailed, cute and very kawaii-style. Like, about time! I did it! Yay! (Why couldn’t they all look like this?! Oops!)


So there it is! My Mosstober 2021 Sketchbook Tour! Which one is your favorite? And do you like the kawaii-style (like the ghost or the steampunk man), my original style (like the Eiffel tower), or the pumpkin (which was something else completely!). Personally I really liked working on kawaii drawings, and developing that as an option for illustrations in the future, but the style of the pumpkin might be my personal favorite for exploring in more detail. That inky comic-book look is just soo satisfying! …Let me know what in the comments below!

The Shallow End – November 2021

Hello November!

SHOP UPDATE

In case you missed it, my Etsy shop is open! Check it out here if you haven’t already! So many different kinds of prints are available! Abstracts! Animals! Landscapes! Still life! And more!

“The Fall Hills”

And while it feels far to early to be thinking about the holidays, it really kind of isn’t… unfortunately it seems reasonable to probably anticipate delays in most shipping services this year, so my advice is to plan ahead if possible. Not just for my shop, but all of ’em!

My next shop update won’t be until after the holidays. I only have a few new illustrations right now, so I’m focusing mostly on learning new skills and creating more new work. I’ll definitely keep updating on progress, but right now the goal is early January!


ART

Mosstober is finished! I shared a few of my early favorites on Instagram, but I will be sharing the complete batch of drawings in a sketchbook tour later this month! It was a very interesting challenge — I wanted to focus on kawaii-ish art, which I did. But I also did it exclusively in black and white, which normally the genre is very color focused. I didn’t think about that…which made it extra challenging…and eventually I just kinda lost the plot and well, you’ll see…

My latest webcomic was a seasonal one-panel comic. I loved the poolside Summer comic, so I was really excited to work on one for Fall and Halloween. It didn’t turn out as well as I was hoping, but I’m still overall pleased. I recently picked up a bunch of new brushes and textures from True Grit Texture Supply, and I just HAD to use them, right?! I love the look of classic comics, so trying to bring that into my work was so fun! But I definitely have some practice to do. I’m not used to seeing so much texture in my work, and there was such a learning curve in building tones with CMYK, that I couldn’t handle shading. But it was still a fun experiment and hopefully I’ll get better at it with more practice!

SO. MUCH. TEXTURE.

Speaking of practice — for November, I’ve decided to create a new art challenge for myself. Maybe it’s already a thing, I don’t know? But the goal is draw 100 people in 30 days. After doing Mosstober, I realized the sort of gaps I have in my “visual library” (aka things I know how to draw). I know I’ve mentioned it before but I would still like to be able to draw people. An as it turns out, I still haven’t done the work to learn how to draw people, so I still don’t know how to draw people. Go figure.

I mean, I learn how to draw cute little chibi cartoon people this time last year, so I feel pretty comfortable drawing that now. But it’s not always how I want to approach figure drawing, you know? Like, I’m glad I can do it, but I don’t want it to be the only option. I really want to learn how to draw stylized characters, and have been working on that a bit this last month. But it’s hard to stylize a person when I still don’t quite have the fundamentals down. And I refuse to believe that I need to go all in on realism and anatomy. Instead I’m gonna try to brute force this and finally learn the thing in a way that works for me. And then I can go back to learning how to stylize characters successfully — the thing I actually want to be able to do…

How I currently draw + what I want to learn = uuuuuhhhhh….

Sooo, I’ve got a Domestika course on figure drawing from imagination, and another on stylized character design that I just am too impatient to wait to watch. So I’m hoping the combination and a ton of actual pencil to paper practice this month will work! Wish me luck!


NOT ART

The Halloween movie marathon was a success! We branched out into a lot of different subgenres of horror, and watched a movie nearly every night! Yay!

We also started watching Staged on Hulu. I don’t think I could have watched it any sooner (as it is very much about the pandemic), but I’m so glad we’re watching it now. It is so well done! Absolutely love it!

To enjoy the fall colors at our new house, we took a long road trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway! I learned the East Coast mountains are legit (this is a revelation as someone who grew up much closer to the Rockies). I also learned I am not a photographer. But it was so pretty! The leaves are starting to change now in our backyard too, which is exciting! I’m curious next as to what kind of winter-like season we’ll get in this part of the country (although just more fall is okay too!)

Look at that view! 🤦‍♀️

BOOKS

I’m still reading The Wheel of Time book. In that I keep it on my Kindle and read a chapter every few weeks. That’s the best I can do. I’m determined still…but only kinda.

I did start reading Kings of the Wyld, because I do actually want to read a fantasy story. It’s been on my to-read list for a while, and I started it on an evening I just couldn’t with Eye of the World (Wheel of Time). I’m only a few chapters in, but so far it’s really interesting and I’m actually enjoying it!

I started reading graphic novels again recently too! I finished Paper Girls finally. It’s sooo good, and I think the art and colors may be some of my favorite ever. I started reading them when they came out, but remembered being really confused by Volume 3. This time I read it all together and it wasn’t confusing at all, there’s just a lot that happens in six volumes! But it didn’t feel rushed, and was just so good! Next up is Hellboy that I don’t know anything about but the artwork looks incredible too, though very very different from what I normally enjoy. I’m excited!

(And yes I’m still reading The Expanse series. These books are massive. I swear I have a whole stack of other books I’m waiting to get to, but like, when?! They hinted at a book shortage and I believed them! So I’ve got all kinds of books queued up! I guess I need to get reading!)


Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

The Shallow End – October 2021

SHOP UPDATE

The countdown is done! My Etsy shop is now open! I’ve got all kinds of prints and stickers, new and old, available in my shop! I’ve made little thank you cards to go with each order, and worked on cute packaging for my stickers! I’ve always enjoyed these little extra details, and I’m glad the relaunch gave me the time to work on it for my own shop! I’m so excited! Check it out!

A sticker! A thank you card!
ART

It’s finally October, so it’s finally #mosstober! I’m so excited to get to work in my new giant sketchbook! I will absolutely be doing a sketchbook tour when it’s done…but I’ve gotta get started first!

I’ve also been super obsessed with Domestika courses lately. Fall always makes me want to go back to school (even though I really don’t want to go back to school). These courses are a perfect happy medium. I’m terrible at doing the exercises (aka homework), but I’m really good at watching the lessons throughout the day! I’ve mostly collected courses on character design and illustration techniques, and I’m learning so much neat stuff! I’m hoping it shows in my sketching for Mosstober…

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m definitely working on developing more of a cute comic and cartoon style to my work. I’m having so much fun with it, but it’s definitely been a struggle to like, take the genre seriously, to take my goals seriously. Is it weird to want to draw cute stuff, to draw cartoon characters? It can feel that way, personally. Although I love the genre so much, and never judge other artists for drawing that way. I love their work! So I’m just being hard on myself. Fortunately, I’ve found that watching lessons on drawing and illustration from cartoonists and animators and character designers has been so encouraging. I’m not quite at the level I want to be at, but I think I’m really making progress, putting in the practice, and heading in the direction I want to go with my illustrations. Yay!

Hiking llamas!
NOT ART

It’s HALLOWEEN season! We started watching X-Files again (that later seasons are…not great…I remember why we stopped watching…). We fully switched from scifi movies to scary movies a full week early. Mostly to watch a few on streaming services that go away on October 1st (so dumb… but also I’m really glad we didn’t spend money specifically to see Insidious. Yikes.). I doubt we’ll watch too much else this month, except for soccer, of course. I’m so excited!

BOOKS

Oof. Books. Honestly, reading has been a struggle again lately. I just haven’t been able to focus on reading too much. I still have Cibola Burn, and I’m off the philosophy wagon (the joke being that I’m a “recovering philosophy student”). I picked up a few books on the philosophy of The Good Place (I miss that show!). But sitting down and actually reading them for more than a minute? Eh, not so much. It’s a bummer too, because I actually want to read them (and the small pile of “to-read” books that’s developing). It’s definitely something I need to work on this month. I think the only books I finished in September were comics. Which still totally counts, right?! …Right?!

Oh! I did start reading The Eye of The World again. The first book in The Wheel of Time series. I say “again” because I have started that book like three times before? I don’t think I’ve ever made it past the third chapter (still…) and I even donated my paperback copy in the move. But I saw the trailer for the new show, and it looks amazing. So I’m determined. Mr. Husband has generously shared his copies since he’s read them all. I AM DETERMINED. (Okay, so yeah, now we know the real reason I’m not reading lately…)

Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

October?!?

Hello!

I haven’t done one of these in ages— a mid-month blog post! How exciting to bring it back! Yay!

I mostly just want to talk about how excited I am for October, and all the fun stuff I’m anticipating!

First up, my Etsy relaunch! It has been a loooong time coming, and I am so excited to reopen my shop again. The launch date is set for October 1st, and the great news is that I’m ready! I can’t wait to share it, and I thought I’d need every bit of September to prepare, but nope. It’s all done! Thanks past me for working so hard before the move… Once I got everything unpacked and found my checklist it turns out I really was super close to ready before we suddenly decided to move across the country! I thought about going ahead and opening the shop up early, but I really like the idea of a planned launch date. I think in the past I was pretty random about when and how I updated my shop. But now I really like planning and being more intentional in my approach, including a set launch date. So October 1st it is! I’m so excited!

Next up, Spooky Scary movie marathon! Every year Mr. Husband and I watch as many Halloween/Scary movies as we can. I used to kinda hate scary movies, but now I love it almost as much as he does. We have a spreadsheet of movies, and weekly categories or themes. I’m really excited that we’re doing “Best of” this year to rewatch some of our favorites again. There have been so many movies in the past that were so surprisingly good! So I’m definitely looking forward to it. In fact, we even started our own Scifi September movie marathon. There is a bit of overlap between the genres, so I think this our way to start Spooky Scary without actually starting it a month too soon. (We are super late to the party but finally watched Pacific Rim, and it’s sooo good! And Pitch Black was not great, but way more horror than we expected so that was interesting! Also, Logan’s Run…just…what?)

Last but not least, Inktober! I love a good drawing challenge and the idea of drawing everyday (something I struggle with). Previous years, I’ve created my own themes for drawings rather than work from a list of prompts as is traditional. However, this year I’ve decided I’m going to try to follow #Mosstober created by Mossery, a sketchbook and planner company. I was intrigued by their list of emoji prompts. Yup, emoji! I think starting with imagery instead of words in intriguing, and reminds me a lot less of college art class assignments, like “depict ‘ethereal’ by cutting up really really really expensive color paper and gluing it together like you’re in grade school.” Fun fact: I was terrible at it, and have terrible craftsmanship where X-Acto knives are concerned. I will never become a collage artist… Anyway! All that is to say, I’m super excited to try to follow along on #mosstober. As is my tradition, I bought a dedicated Inktober sketchbook, this time trying out 9×12 bristol paper. (Bonus challenge: working in a large format!) Admittedly its not a Mossery sketchbook, not sure if that is against the rules. But I did order a couple of their mixed media and paint marker sketchbooks separately that I’m super excited to try out, so I think we’re square… Also, I’ve been working on drawing in a new-ish style for me, pushing the cute, cartoony elements in my work, so I’m excited to use Inktober as a way to practice and experiment! Yay! I’m definitely planning on doing a sketchbook tour when it is finished!

Anyway, I can’t wait for October. Also, FALL! I don’t know what to expect where we live now, but some of the trees are starting to change colors, so I don’t think we’re gonna like, skip it. So I guess I’ll be spending the rest of September stockpiling ink pens, watching the trees do their thing, and eating a ridiculous amount of waffles and pumpkin butter…. C’mon October!

The Shallow End – September 2021

SHOP UPDATE

Oh my stars, it’s happening! I’ve finally submitted all the paperwork, setting up the business at the new place! Which means the Countdown to Relaunch is back on! YAY!

The goal right now is for my Etsy shop to reopen October 1st! I’m so excited! I will definitely be announcing when everything goes live!

ART STUFF

I’m still trying to make time for working in my sketchbook, coming up with new illustrations, learning new techniques, and making my comics. It feels like a lot but so far I’m doing okay keeping my time balanced between all the different projects. Admittedly the sketching gets done after work, or over the weekend. But it’s so fun and relaxing, so can’t complain. Plus, I would hate if drawing became just a to-do list item, and not like, you know, my favorite?!

Additionally, I got my studio something resembling organized, so I have plenty of space for work and to get ready on reopening the shop. For a while, the cats had kind of turned the room into their designated nap area, so they aren’t too excited to share now. But they are managing just fine, I think…

One of the cats with a moose stuffed animal on the couch. 😍

I’m hoping I’ll get to do something like Inktober this year (the daily drawing challenge in October). I usually come up with my own theme, but I haven’t decided on one yet. I would love to finish it and turn it into a little book, but that seems like a giant project for maybe another time. But wouldn’t that be neat?! I think it is so cool when other artists do that. Hmmm.

NOT ART STUFF

So in my last newsletter I talked about Love Island. Apparently I didn’t specify which one. Definitely the UK version. I didn’t even think about the other ones! Oops! (Sorry Mom!) Still watching, think there is about a week left? There is about a week delay in streaming to the US, which means I’ve totally read spoilers because I’m weak and can’t handle the drama of this season…

Also, I can’t wait until October for our month long Halloween movie marathon! I mean, I’ve loved every bit of this summer (okay maybe not the new-to-us next-level humidity of the South, but everything else). I was outside like every day enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. But now I’m so looking forward to blankets and sweaters and candles and scary movies. Yay!

BOOKS

As a last hurrah for summer I finally read Beach Read. I’m a sucker for a good rom-com! This one was just okay though. Well written, interesting set-up and story, but I just didn’t love it. Oh well. It happens. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t great. Eh.

Now I’m back into The Expanse series, after that mini-break for something a bit lighter. Cibola Burn! Anyway, I’ve just gotten into it, and so far so good. We’ll see! Part of me is like, maybe this book will be chill and just follow the characters on like a happy little mini adventure, but then I’m like, that’s not really a story is it? So, yeah, it’s gonna be a mess… I can’t wait! Haha.


Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

The Shallow End – August 2021

After realizing last month that I most want to work on comic art, I actually made the adjustments to my work routines to reflect this shift in priorities. I’m doing the work!

I’ve started making new webcomics with my original characters. My goal is a new comic every two weeks. It’s slower than before, but I don’t want to rush it since I don’t have to. Quality over quantity, right?!

I’m still practicing manga drawing a bit. It’s all about exploring comics/cartoons/graphic novels. Learning from the genres and figuring out ways to incorporate the style in my illustrations, beyond strictly webcomics. It’s something I think I naturally gravitate to anyway, but now I’m trying to be more intentional about my studies and practices and how I spend my time. I think I tend to re-evaluate every few months or so, to make sure my work still reflects my goals. This just seems to be one of those times again, but I’m grateful for it.

My latest illustration! The Astronaut Bath!

Hopefully, eventually, I’ll find a way to naturally incorporate physical media in this journey. For right now, it’s been easier, and more satisfying to work digitally. I’d love to be able to watercolor and ink comic illustrations, but I’m not quite there yet! Long term goals are important too! 😉

It would help if I ever got my art studio space set up again, post move. (That’s not supposed to be a long-term goal!) We’re basically all unpacked, but my studio is a mess! Eek! I just don’t know how to organize the space yet. I had it set up one way just to get unpacked, but I’m thinking I’ll need to move everything around now that it’s all in there, so I can actually use the space for things like painting and printing my work. I can’t wait to share like a dedicated studio tour, but for now I have a few pictures of the wall hangings, because I at least love the way that part looks! So much art from some of my favorite artists to keep me super super inspired! Yay!


Otherwise, I’ve started watching a bit more anime. I started reading My Hero Academia, originally as art research and liked it, so I tried the anime. It’s a lot of fun! I think I like the show better, or at least they are so similar, I stopped reading the manga since we were already watching so much of the show. Interestingly, I started reading One Piece too, and I couldn’t get through the first episode! I definitely like the book better right now. Funny how that works.

Also, and this is a big deal — Love Island is back!!! Haha! You may not remember but last year I watched it for the first time and became obsessed! Well, now it’s back and it’s sooo good! I wasn’t sure I’d like this season, since that cast was so good. But nope, I’m hooked again and totally have a favorite couple, and provide daily recaps to Mr. Husband (who does not care at all, btw). It is still totally ridiculous cheesy summer TV but I love it. It’s better than the Bachelor, I promise! XD


So, I finished reading For the Winner, the Greek mythology inspired novel. As it turns out, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would by the end. I still think it was beautifully written, but I realized there wasn’t as much character development as I would have liked. It felt rushed at the end too. Bummer. Still good, but not great. I picked up Daughters of Sparta to read next in the genre. It seems to be another Iliad retelling, alas (I want original stories please!) But I’ll give it a shot (aka it was on sale)!

I was also able to finish Abaddon’s Gate (Book 3 in The Expanse series) recently too. I had packed it during the move, so it had to wait. It’s dense though, I didn’t mind a bit of a break. I loved it though, and can’t wait to start book four! I love that it has such a balance between seems-at-least-plausible interesting science fiction world-building, and compelling human stories. I’m a sucker for a good space opera!


What are you reading and watching this summer?! Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!