Monday, September 26, 2016

Book cover: The House of Lazarus, Part 2: DONE!

House of Lazarus cover
11x17 acrylic ink and gouache on smooth bristol paper

Final 6x9-proportioned file!

Three digital mockups I made to explore figure placement and texture.

6x9-proportioned study on cold-pressed watercolor paper.

Inked with a 3/4" wash brush. I should make more work like this for INKtober!

Black acrylic ink finished off with white acrylic paint.

Drafted with a Palomino Blackwing pencil. Kneaded eraser helps to knock pencil back for inks!

Inking begun with a Hunt 513EF nib - my favorite!

I made a smudge cover out of a scrap of matboard. Brush inking begun on hair.

I can use the margins as I work to clear excess ink from my nibs and brushes.

All done! I inked to the borders to allow for some wiggle room on the final file.

Tiana, thank you again SO MUCH for commissioning me for another book cover! This was an absolute treat to work on, and it helps me feel that my skills are improving, slowly but surely. Plus, who doesn't love zombies? :D

Monday, September 12, 2016

What I've Learned From Rose City Comic Con So Far

Rose City Comic Con 2016 just wrapped up yesterday. What an amazing experience! It was my second time exhibiting my artwork there with my friend Heather. We shared an exhibitor booth this year; last year, we were in Artist Alley. There were some marked differences between these two areas of the con regarding setup and presentation; overall, the spirit of fun pervades!

Our 2015 Artist Alley setup! Tight quarters, but a LOT of fun.
Labor Day living room practice setup!
This year's exhibitor badge: EPIC.
Camille helps Heather set up her table display!

Heather and I both invested in banners this year. They make a HUGE difference in attracting people!

Allyson peeks through our banners; Heather stands before her completed display.

My Oaxacan Barn Owl Dragon is ready to greet attendees!
Heather and I used a postcard display for our 5x7 prints.
One customer, Brittney, bought all four of these ATCs I offered!
Thank you SO much!
I rearranged my display a bit Sunday morning before the show floor opened. 
Little dragon sketch I offered as an original.
Hummingbird bean! (Hummbeanbird?)
Sketchbook commission with a Neverland theme!
I drew a pirate cat.

Caffeinated hummingbird!

 Sketch commission of a family's adorable conure! They saw me drawing the caffeinated hummingbird and asked if their conure could be the exact opposite: calm and drinking tea. I was more than happy to oblige! I took reference photos from their phone before I got started.

Finished caffeinated hummingbird. Bird buzz!
Pirate cat, now with color!
My Kia Rio5 was stuffed to the gills!

Preparation and setting up for a convention is the most stressful part of tabling and exhibiting your work. I read many articles last year about tabling in Artist Alley. One of my favorites: 10 Tips for Success in Artists Alley! By cross-referencing multiple articles - and learning through trial and error - I came up with a personal "con survival kit" (AKA "Don't Forget These Items Or You're SOL"):
  • power bank (mobile charger)
  • paper bags (for customers)
  • tablecloth / drapery
  • Square readers (mag stripe and contactless/chip)
  • cooler: food, coffee, water
  • hand wipes / Airborne
  • signing pens / markers / pencils / inks
  • Post-It Notes (signage)
  • tiny binder clips
  • con sketchbook / current sketchbook
  • business cards and postcards (giveaways)
  • phone and power cord
  • original art (with separate display)
  • cash box / print sales book / wallet
  • extra print slips
  • wire shelf panels and connectors
Heather and I had a huge advantage this year over last year: our friends Camille and Allyson helped us set up and man our booth! Not only did we have more space, but we had amazing people to keep us company. Another bonus: I didn't catch con cooties this year. YES!!

I will admit: I was worried for much of Saturday. Attendees expect to find artists in Artist Alley, but not necessarily at the exhibitor booths. RCCC Artist Alley tables had completely sold out by early February this year, so I'd asked Heather about sharing a booth instead.

Last year, I told myself, "If I happen to break even on the table cost over the course of the weekend, that's awesome." Much to my surprise, I broke even on the first day! This year, I dreaded that I had invested too much in promotional materials and new prints to break even at all. But, as is often the case, my anxiety was unfounded. If I'm not doing this because I want to, why do it at all? It takes time to establish yourself as a professional. I'm going to do my best.

My con / guest sketchbook! I got the idea from another artist and first used it last month during Artist Alley Comics Fest. It's a great way to greet visitors and start conversations! I encourage contributors to leave their website or blog addresses so I can follow them back.

Camille bought me an Amethyst Funko POP figurine. SO CUTE. ;__;

This year's haul: small, but beautiful. I bought Andrew Kafoury's No'madd graphic novel; Benjamin Dewey's new Stranger Things print; and I traded a print of my Oaxacan Barn Owl Dragon for Katie Croonenberghs's wonderful sketchbook collection with a custom drawing on the back page! Behold:


TL;DR: cons are incredibly fun. They take work, and it's best not to set your expectations too high about what you'll earn back. But as long as you connect with your visitors and make new contacts, you can lay down stepping stones for your career goals. That's the most important thing I've learned so far.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Oaxacan Barn Owl Dragon, Part 7 - DONE!

Monday, September 5th: final touches!!

Took a looong break to practice my RCCC booth setup with Heather!

Today's music:

Rotersand, Electric Elephant
Rotersand, Torn Realities
Rotersand, Truth Is Fanatic
Depeche Mode, Ultra

These final three images are from today, Wednesday the 7th! I buffed the colored surfaces with cotton balls to polish them up. Now they're really shiny!

Thank you for following my progress on the Oaxacan Barn Owl Dragon!
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