Author: Angela S.

[VIDEO] Studio Hangout OCT 2017 – Kickstart Art Review, Inktober, and My Favorite Author

Check out my latest wrap-up video for October. I fear with every video I share, the more of a dork I reveal myself to be!

Featuring the following things:

– My thoughts on the Kickstart Art seminar with Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and what revelations I had from it.

– An epic level geek out about Kushiel’s Dart which I was nearly hesitant to share online, but it’s on the internet now.  Oh well!

– Pumpkin Spice shenanigans.

– Plus aaaaart!

UNKNOWN NOUVEAU: Alexandre de Riquer

Originally posted at my Patreon blog.

Today’s unsung artist from the Art Nouveau movement is Alexandre de Riquer , another artist from Spain where he was one of the prominent figures of the Modernism movement.   He was born to an aristocratic family and studied in France.  

It was in France and London where he fell in love with the graphic design of the lithographic posters of the Art Nouveau movement, a relatively new form of advertising at the time.

His prolific body of work spans everything from posters to magazines to book covers!  Saying that, I wish I could find a broader collection of his work.  There are so few I could dig up!  I suspect I will have to dig through collections in Barcelona to find more of his beautiful work.

I love the way Riquer’s art shows more of the Japanese influence on Art Nouveau with his simplified lines and relatively flat colors.

See more articles in this series here.

UNKNOWN NOUVEAU: Gaspar Camps

While I’m busy grinding away braincells on Lady of July ‘s many flower buds, I wanted to introduce you to another Art Nouveau artist I had never heard of!  Gaspar Champs hailed from Spain and spent a large part of his career in France.  He was very heavily influenced by Mucha, so much so that he became known as the ‘Catalan Mucha’.

Like my previous feature of Élisabeth Sonrel , I love how Camps brought his own unique flair to Alphonse Mucha’s line style.  At times, Camps’ work feels more abstract with his figures melting into the details of his images.

I also love the sense of light bouncing in his more painterly work.  What a joy it was to discover him!

If you want to see more of these art features, view them all at once here .

UNKNOWN NOUVEAU: Élisabeth Sonrel

While I’m busy working on Lady of July, enjoy a look at this stunning work by female Art Nouveau artist, Élisabeth Sonrel!  While she was active at the same time as other artists of the movement, I had never heard of her until recently. 

She reminds so very much of Mucha with her line work, but has a sense of decorative layout that feels more detailed and layered at times.  Definitely check her out for a lovely array of painterly and graphical work!

If you want to see more of these art features, view them all at once here

PS.

I plan to start doing these little ‘Unknown Nouveau‘ entries, so I have something to share during those slow times when I’m busy working and don’t have much to show yet!  The art keeps me inspired and is something I love sharing with you all. What do you think?  

Also, do you know any other Art Nouveau artists I might not have heard of?  Let me know in comments!

Find Me at JordanCon 2017!

 
If you’re going to JordanCon this weekend, here’s my schedule and where you can find my work!
Hope to see you there!  It’ll be my first convention in awhile and I’m excited to be back in the scene.
 
– Find my Fantasy Art on dice bags and playmats in the Print Shop (in the Art Show area)
– Find my Art Nouveau birthstone series on prints in the Print shop, as well as matted and signed prints in the Art Show.
– Find my birthstone themed masks on display next to the matted prints in the Art Show.
 

My Panels at JordanCon:


FRIDAY, 4-21, 2:30-3:30 pm, Monroe.
 
Painting an Art Nouveau Lady
 

I’ll be showing a video, talking briefly about Art Nouveau, and giving a demo on drawing Art Nouveau style hair!


SUNDAY, 4-23, 1-2 pm, Washington.
 
Selling Your Art Online
 
I’ll be on a panel with multiple artists discussing everything related to selling art online, from Patreon and beyond!

[VLOG] Print Shop Prep!

Here’s a quick peek recorded live of the print shop prep for my next convention! I haven’t done a convention in a couple of years since I took the time to create a new body of work, but getting back into prep has been like riding a bike!

Some advice on buying and saving money:

BAGS & BACKING – You can get backing made out of spare matboard for cheaper than the white boards. The Clearbags branded bags are also cheaper and have a tiny URL for the bag company on the adhesive strip.

PRINTING & INK – I bought my Epson printer at Staples where they let me trade in an older printer for a $50 discount. They’ll also let you trade in used ink cartridges which earn you store credit vouchers. The Staples brand paper is also much cheaper than Epson branded paper and has more weight to it!

The Epson Artisan 1430 I have lets me print up to 13×19 inches, which is a nice size! Anything larger I will have printed at http://www.iprintfromhome.com. Tell them Angela Sasser sent you to earn some referral bucks!

(CORRECTION: They DO have gloss photo paper at Staples, but it never seems to be in stock at mine and I prefer matte or semi-gloss for printing my art, regardless.)

MAT CUTTER – The Logan Compact Mat Cutter can be found in many of the hobby stores in the US like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Joanns, etc. where you’re generally able to use a 40% off coupon on them!

(NOTE: I have a master list of my favorite suppliers with reviews of each online here.)

SUPPLIES:

Epson Artisan 1430

Staples Premium Matte Photo Paper

Avery Full Sheet Labels

Logan Compact Mat Cutter

Paper Cutter

SUPPLIERS:

Bags & Backing

Custom Playmat Printing

Dice Bags

SKETCH DIARY: Lady of June

My journey continues this month with Lady of June!  Lady of November represented a milestone of high quality and attention to detail in this series that was hard to beat!  How could I make the rest of the Ladies as good as November?  That was the difficult challenge I set for myself as I moved on to this month and ventured into the first of the Ladies of summertime!

After the dark whimsy of Lady of November, we’ve returned to the Ladies of Summer!  Admittedly, this Lady has been a challenge thus far.  While November had a lot of amazing imagery to play with, June is more of a subtle time of year.  Its celebration of youthfulness and young brides reminds of May’s themes, with one of the only unique events being the Summer Solstice.  I’ve been struggling to find Lady of June’s unique visual story to make her different enough from the other Ladies, but that’s what research is all about!

MOOD BOARD

One of the most prominent themes I found while researching the Summer Solstice via Pinterest image gathering was the celebration of Litha and the Sun Wheel.  The Solstice celebrates the reigning power of the Sun.  The Sun Wheel was an old tradition where a representation of the sun was set aflame and rolled down a hill to symbolize its shifting phases.  As soon as I saw the Wheel, I knew it’d be the perfect inspiration for the mandala window!

RESEARCH NOTES

Research for the Ladies always begins with the origin of the month’s name.  In this case, June was named for Juno, the goddess of marriage and well-being of women.  She was also wife to Jupiter/Zeus.  I look across different cultures and see what about this time of year strikes a chord with humanity.  June in the northern hemisphere is a high point of Summer, a time of divination, and a powerful phase of feminine power.

Writing notes helps me to search out the imagery and symbolism I want to include in this Lady’s painting.  I think of flowers, plants, and brides.  The symbol of the well as a tool of divination also struck a chord with me, which is why it shows up so much in my thumbnail sketches.


 THUMBNAIL SKETCHES

Many of these thumbnails explore using water in a well or pond as a divination tool.  2 and 4 feel a little close to Lady of March, with 4 feeling a bit more like a representation of Vanity.  3 captures a more traditional bridal theme, while 1, 5, 6, and 7 seem to capture that theme of a bride searching for her love in the reflection for a more unified theme.  In the end, my favorites are 1, 5, and 6, with 5 and 6 having the clearest shapes and classical feel.

Character Posing

Read more

NEW PATREON PERKS: Private Discord Server

Dear Patreon Patrons. Welcome to my secret Patreon Parlor!  The Patreon perks for those pledging at $5 and up now include access to a private Discord server where you can come chat with me about life, art, and more!  (Don’t have Discord yet? It’s a completely free chat and messaging app for your computer and phone that you can download here!)

Here’s a little rundown of what you can do on the server.  Watch the video for a visual look at Discord and/or read ahead to see what it’s all about! Read more

Investing In Myself

After the last post discussing how things have been going for me over the past couple of years, I realize I wanted to talk more about the Ladies of the Months and what this series means for me right now.  I realize that after years of chasing freelance work and trying to break into game/RPG/publishing companies with my portfolio that I made an unprecedented decision…

…I decided to invest in myself.

The Circle of Self-Doubt

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with working for other companies/employers other than yourself.  Goodness knows I’d probably be making more money right now if I did!  However, the race to be hired was becoming tiresome for me, personally.  Every time it seemed people were interested in my portfolio, they wanted me to work for an unrealistic wage OR my work didn’t match their projects. “Thank you for sending in your work.  We will keep you on file” was an automated message I saw too often.

Somewhere along the line after numerous rejections and/or low paying bids, I realized I was running in circles.  What did I really want from these jobs, anyway?  Validation?  A decent wage?  Listening to my friends in the industry (particularly the folks over at One Fantastic Week), I wondered if maybe these jobs weren’t as glamorous as they seemed?  So much of an artist’s creative work is used for products they have no monetary stake in.  

Even saying that, I’m not going to lie. It’d be very nice to have a Magic the Gathering or high profile book cover gig under my belt, but is being hired for jobs like that the only thing that makes me a ‘real professional artist’?  It certainly feels that way sometimes.  This feeling was yet another road block in choosing to work for myself.  I needed a ‘real’ gig to make me a professional and spending time on doing my own stuff was a waste when I should be making work to fit in to get me hired elsewhere.

Even then, my gigs with self-publishers and the companies who did hire me still did not feel like enough to make me ‘a real professional artist’, even if I was.  This notion of validation is one of the worst fallacies of this industry that keeps people with valuable and marketable ideas from investing in themselves because they’re too busy doubting themselves and their own worth to even consider it. 

Inception

Something changed for me in the past couple of years.  With the advent of crowdfunding and Patreon, a little light led me off the beaten path. Investing in my own ideas started to look more feasible.  I started up my own Patreon and have been growing with it slowly, but surely, as I work on the Ladies of the Months series

The Ladies were something I wanted to work on for myself but also a project I judged to be marketable and appealing to others beyond my own scope.  I could make many products from them, including calendars, prints, art books, coloring books, etc.  

One of the best real results I’ve had so far is that in being over halfway done with the series currently, I have a stellar consistent body of work I can show off!  Lately, I’ve started formulating Kickstarter plans for the future, even if my first try at Kickstarter was a failure and a blow to my ego that I almost didn’t recover from.

Survival

I also need to share that I’m lucky I have a supportive partner who helps keep us afloat.  There have been times we have had to suffer and scrounge.  Thankfully, we’re in this together and we accept these consequences together.  He’s been with me when I’ve made these decisions, he’s with me when I mess up, and he’ll be with me with this grand scheme of mine succeeds or fails.  My husband’s faith in me has helped me more than I can express!  If I didn’t have his support, things would be so much harder.  I’d probably be working evenings instead of being able to focus on this venture full-time.

We can’t travel as much as we want. We can’t buy everything we want.  We can’t go out to eat with friends often.  When we’ve had medical emergencies, we cringe at the thought of the increasing debt and have sometimes delayed doctor’s visits.  These are the realities of choosing to make less money while you’re building a business and didn’t have a lot of money to start off with.  Save before you take the leap. It will help you so much!  We actually had savings, but medical emergencies hit us pretty hard.  It can be really scary at times!

The Untaught Freelance Skill

In choosing to invest in myself, I’ve had to say no to some gigs so I could maintain momentum on the Ladies.  That crushing feeling of guilt and self-doubt comes every-single-time I say no!  I could be growing our finances more if I just worked overtime, had no social life, and slept less.  I’m trying not to compromise my mental and physical health just to stave off this guilty feeling. It doesn’t do me or my loved ones any good.

They really should teach the delicate art of refusal to all artists.  It is okay to say no to a gig that you’re unsure about.  You are not an entitled Millennial for doing so.  You are not a loser.  You should be paid fairly.  You should believe in the value of your own projects.  If you truly need money, no one should think less of you if you take a non-art job or do decide to take a crappy gig.  Do what you need to do.  Take care of yourself!  You are the only one you should hold yourself accountable to, not the elitists who will tell you you’re not a real artist/are a sellout/ starving artist etc. if you do this or that.  

I’m going to call this untaught freelance skill Self-Accountability.  You are your own best judge and you know what you need to do to survive and succeed at your goals.  You may take risks, but take them with full awareness and make a decision you can’t blame on anyone else.

What Next?

I’m not sure yet if the light that led me off the path is a Wisp leading me to my doom, but I’m eager to find out!  My worst fear in this life is to die with regret.  The chance of failure is worth the feeling that I at least tried to do the things I have always wanted to do and that maybe, just maybe, I led a remarkable, or at the very least happy, life!

And if the Ladies of the Months fail to be a monetary success?  I will at least still have work that I’m proud of, that’s meaningful to me, and that has a type of longevity in its versatility of subject matter and potential merchandise.  The immense feeling of having completed something so ambitious will last me a long time and gratify me on an emotional level that can’t be bought with money.

Getting My House In Order

Getting the Monster Girls up on Redbubble is a big part of my push this year!

When I first started this blog, my intent was to share my journey as an artist.  Over 2016, however, I noticed most of my posts here have been Sketch Diaries about my creative process.  It’s time to get back to form with a long rambl-y semi-personal post!

How is my artistic journey going these days, anyways?  2016 was an odd year for me.  I didn’t go to any conventions or do any big events due to a limited budget.  Being so disconnected from the art world made me feel pretty bummed about this past year.  However, taking a break from being in the scene was time that I really needed to get my myself in order, business, personal, and art-wise.  I’ve managed to stay hyper-focused on producing art for the Ladies of the Months, which has been one of my central goals and drives of late.

Finishing this series has taken precedence for me for multiple reasons.  I have a bad habit of flitting from one project to the next and following my excitement down a new rabbit hole before actually figuring out how I can market and sell what I’ve created.  This happens so often for me, especially because I have so many multiple art styles vying for my attention, from the friendly colorful stylization of my Monster Girls to the elegant tediousness of my Art Nouveau work to the painterly surreal narrative art I’ve been ultimately trying to evolve my work towards.

Last year, I came to the realization that this is a huge part of my lack of success as an artist.  I’m not a bad artist, by any means, but my huge amount of varied work and lack of cohesive presentation, as well as any consistent large body of work I could market to consumers hinders my success.  I have so many things sitting on my computer that I’ve moved on from without properly utilizing them (ie. the Monster Girls and my Rapunzel comic).  How do I choose which ones have value for me to complete and which ones are better left as a learning experience?  I’m still learning the answer to that question.  As far as I can judge, it’s a matter of being honest about the quality of the end product and how marketable it actually is to an audience.

For the future, I want to change my love of different styles into a strength.  For me, this has meant learning when and how to pick similar things in my art and sort them better into websites and ‘brands’ that appeal to their unique audiences.  I’m at that point in my artistic journey where I’ve stepped back to take stock of my large varied body of work and how I can make what I’ve already created work for me.

For instance, the Ladies of the Months can aid me with approaching the Fine Art market.  My Monster Girls can be the central attraction at anime conventions.  My narrative art can appeal to the crowd open to Imaginative Realism or my fantasy writings.  This seems like such an elementary observation now, but it’s taken me the past 5 years (the time I got my business license) to realize how to funnel and package myself as an artist.  I’m learning to embrace my experimental nature, while also reigning it in and becoming more able to recognize what I can utilize for my business before I move on to that next adrenaline rush of a new project.

All in all, I’m more hopeful this year that in the near future I’ll finally start seeing myself being as successful as I want to be and that I’ll make a clean, clear connection to the audiences who enjoy my art.  The big picture is finally becoming clear, as is my own mental image of myself and where I want to be as an artist.  Slowly, but surely!

PS.

A lot of my slow boiling realizations about my art and how I connect with my audiences have come about thanks to Greg Spalenka’s wonderful Artist As Brand workbook. I very highly recommend it!