Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Early New Year's Resolutions

Sigh. Welp, I’ve done it again – I have a very bad habit of biting on more work than I can feasibly chew, which leads to getting stressed out, not enough sleep, making myself sick, and in the long run producing less and inferior work because of it all.  Obviously, this is rather stupid on my part; I seem to get into it every couple years, though the event of getting married last year admittedly has made this time a completely new situation to learn.

At least I’ve got one thing regularly updating, my Cats Talking Words comic:

…Because I have a backlog that I’d built up over the past couple years.  I actually took my update schedule down from Monday-Wednesday-Friday to just Monday-Wednesday, because I don’t want to use up my whole backlog and fall behind on that too (like I need another thing to stress about. Har).

I have come up with a hopeful solution for this issue, to try and get my full-time job, life and freelance work back in balance.  Admittedly a LOT of it depends on my own hard-assing abilities, which are meager at best. My resolution is to, in 2014, not take on any new clients unless the jobs pertain to visual storytelling (comics, illustration or storyboarding); and unless I have met the clients personally.  And I will not take on any work, even paid, out of pity for the customer in question (usually because they need something in a rush, which is most often a recipe for disaster).  I have already made the resolution to not take on any more logo or general design jobs, excluding anything pertaining to music. My reasoning:
  • I have a fairly good list of past clientele for a single artist, and any projects that they come up with for me in 2014 will be more than enough (hopefully they don’t all come up with something at once). 
  • What I WANT to work on is visual storytelling. If I get an offer for illustration, comics, etc. from a new client that piques my interest enough, I MIGHT take it - based on availability.
  • The rule of meeting new clients in person helps me to gauge their commitment to the project (had too many past clients who turned out to be less committed than me).
  • I have made myself miserable working with bad clients on design projects that I don’t give a flying flip about, and would like at least a temporary reprieve. I need to work on things that I can actually show later as an example of my visual storytelling skills.
  • I MUST have time to actually work on one of my own projects, which has sat dormant as a complete script for nearly two years and is driving me mad.
  • The exception of allowing music-related design work is because: I love music. Musicians tend to have more knowledge about visual art/design, and are fun to work with. Design for music-related things often includes use of my drawing abilities. And, a lot of my former clients are musicians.
Obviously, the rub here often comes down to my ability (bad, but getting better) to say no.  I don’t disparage myself for being a nice person, but in this regard I am entirely TOO NICE.  Taking jobs out of “pity”, because I am the sole “artist friend” and the job is paid needs to stop.   My rule used to be “only paid work” to weed out volunteering, which worked for awhile, but even that wasn’t a narrow enough rule.  Even if it’s paid, it isn’t worth the time if the work isn’t a representation of what I want to do in the future, and ruins my evenings and weekends with bad stress in the meanwhile. (Also, the last-minute design-only clients have tended to be the most clueless and difficult to work with).

I need to be MUCH more frugal with allotting my time, as I am exceptionally bad at gauging how long some projects could possibly take.  There is a lot working against me, including (a lot of) defects in myself, but I really REALLY want 2014 to be better than 2013.  I will endeavor to do this, and make my artistic career balance better with my full-time job and home/hippie/husband duties. (ALLITERATION, TA!)

IN CONCLUSION and ALSO: I MUST have time to draw from my own imagination, work on my own projects, and MUST have time to go out and draw from life, or my skill lapses and suffers for want of practice.  I have little to no time for any of these things now, and my freelance work suffers, as well as my mental calm.  And it causes everything else to SUCK.

I am sorry for this ramble, but really… I just needed to get these thoughts down in writing, both to remind myself of my decision, and to remind myself of how miserable I’m getting now, and that in order to keep myself out of this state I need to be much more strict with allowing work to encroach on the little free time I have.  And so, another cycle of work-life-learn begins.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hourly Comics 2013-8-1

I did a self-imposed hourly comics day on August 1, 6 months until real hourly comics day!  I guess it's a practice run. It sounded fun, and it was. :)

So here is my boring life for a day:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

CATS TALKING WORDS has its own website!!!

It’s only a tumblr, but for this project I think that works just fine. You may remember some of my Talking Cats posts on this blog in the past. Now that I’ve completed nearly 100 of them, I really wanted to start posting them in earnest, but didn’t want this blog to become cluttered. The purpose of this blog is to give an overview of all of my artistic goings-on, so I won’t be hosting any ongoing comics here. This is the green room of the Wingéd Elf Girl. ;)

I started the Cats Talking Words tumbler a few weeks ago and update it every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12am. The cat comics are appropriate for all ages (unlike some of the content on this blog, haha) so feel free to direct any inquisitive children or old folks to it. Hopefully they won’t be too confused.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bart Bruinsma Concert Poster!

Oh man, I suck at writing blog posts when I'm stressed... Which is probably why I often don't do it at all. But I NEEEEED to post this one - if you're located in the Netherlands, read closely!!

It sounds like an awesome show, and is next week!!!

This was a REALLY fun project.  I enjoy working with musicians a lot, and have done several album designs, but this is my first concert/tour poster design.  Bart had a lot of cool ideas that I was able to incorporate, and I. Love. How. This. Project. Turned. Out.  I made several other concepts for this poster, these are some favorites (sketched traditionally ink/pencil/watercolor pencil with some digital enhancements/text):

One goal was to make use of the negative space of the paper, to make that space intentional, since Bart would be printing these himself without trimming. I had a lot of other ideas for the poster's palette, too, which were a LOT of fun because Bart wanted it to be somewhere along the lines of a COLOR ASSAULT, which I rather enjoy making... :)

UPDATE 2013-04-16: I got a question from @DannyMonzillo about which parts of the poster are traditional and which are digital, and figuratively smacked myself in the face because I had originally intended to talk a bit about that but forgot in my sleepiness.  In the final design, the drawing of Bart's face and the background illustration of someone getting shot were drawn traditionally with ink, and integrated digitally.  There is supposed to be nothing flat in the design, so I went traditional for these elements to get the texture of a brush in.

There are also several textures (photos/scans) layered in, which I got from my own homemade texture archive and these STELLAR people: lostandtaken and Simply Textures!

Here's a PRO TIP: Bart wanted some secondary imagery in the background of the poster, something you'd notice on a second look. Hence, the illustration of someone getting shot layered in like a texture in the largest dark-blue part of the final design, around Bart's face.  Here's a section of the raw scan:

Looks pretty funky, huh?  You can even see the seam where I had to tape on another piece of paper.  But there's a method to the messy odd-colored madness: I used the select color range tool in Photoshop to pull the black sections and the green sections out of this drawing onto their own separate layers, and then manipulate their color independently. You can use any second color, I just had a brush pen with green ink on hand.  I used this trick a bit in the drawings of Nick and Eli previously. MY SECRET IS OUT! Hope someone's able to put this method to use in their own situation, it's VERY useful for digitally integrating hand-made elements. :)

IN OTHER NEWS.  I'm currently working on illustrating a comic book issue for the indie series "The End" by Shawn Murphy, which is really kicking my butt... HOWEVER, it's coming along nicely and I hope to finish it within the next 3-4 weeks so I have time to prepare for HEROESCON!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday to Nick and Eli!!!

Late, as all of my birthday greetings are recently, and late for Fanart Friday... BUT.

I drew Kevin awhile ago, so I figured I'd better draw the rest of Walk the Moon! These past two weeks, both Nick and Eli have had birthdays, so here are their BIRTHDAY PORTRAITS!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICK AND ELIIII!!!!!

Nick is attempting to be an anthropomorphic fox, and Eli is looking the way he does every darn time I see him:

I got the chance to use some of the textures I've been hoarding the last week!! Does that ever happen to you?  You find a bunch of sweet royalty-free textures up for the taking and end up downloading like 50 of them? No?... (Diana gets the credit for inventing the phrase "texture hoarding", by the by.)

*AHEM*  The texture on Nick's portrait came from this guy, and the texture on Eli's from this guy. SHARING IS CARING!!

Original sketchbook page (used the green ink as a key for color manipulation):

*deep breath*

-From your elf

Thursday, February 7, 2013


The first week I bought Walk the Moon's Tightrope EP, the song "anywayican" got quite well stuck in my head. I got bored during a break at work, and made a quick doodle on a post-it note. Colored it this evening:

Hooray for dancing blue alien chicks! OR, how about this version:

Do we prefer more common colors? ....Eh. No preference here. :)
The original doodle!

Friday, February 1, 2013


I don't have the flu (probably), but I do have other things I need to work on so no official Fanart Friday this week. Instead, here's a perfectly charming germ (drawn for a goofy story; Germ to be printed and handed out)

I hope you enjoy it muchly. Happy Friday!! :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gorgeous, Perfect Ella

I didn't get her face *quite* right, but I think it's still pretty obvious who this is. :)

Brush pen and graphite.

My husband said I'm not allowed to have a crush on her because "that would be weird".  So I supposed it'll have to be a secret crush (add her to my list of dead people I have crushes on). Because seriously... Ella Fitzgerald is just beautiful. She's the original Queen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fanart Friday: Link in the Forest Temple

Because the last Link was less-than-dignified, I decided to do a cool one (EDIT: The aforementioned less-than-dignified Link).  Legend of Zelda is such a fun thing to fall back on when getting back in the swing of things and toying with what to draw.  Does anyone else fall back on fanart when warming up?

At any rate, here's that Link!:

I've been resorting to a lot of greyscale/watercolor washes lately, and decided to go with just stark blacks on this one for a change.  granted, I colored it, so that might've cancelled out whatever my subconscious was trying to do.
And the sketch:

A reminder that you can find me on twitter and instagram!  I'm doing my best to slowly get my work out on a lot of platforms.  Oh internet, you have so many ways about you. The only one I haven't really tackled is tumblr.  Not sure what to think of that one, when I've already got a blog here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Goodbye American Elf

Sigh.  Today's "Fanart Friday" isn't altogether cheerful - more bittersweet.  American Elf has been a part of my comics-reading life for 5 or 6 years now, and a great inspiration.  James Kochalka, if you happen to come around, Here's a message for you:

For fun, here's the sketch of James (also on Instagram):

Fun fact - the funky circle was made by drawing around a funny bowl I got for 50 cents at a thrift shop.  Useful thing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Annnnd 2013 NOW

Many notable things happened in 2012, but there were many things I wanted to get done that I did not.  I hope that I'll be able to finish more things up and begin others in 2013! 


LET'S MAKE 2013 GOOD!!!!