Author: Angela S.

Nov 2021 – Thankfulness, Surviving Holiday Rush, & Upcoming Surgery?!

It’s been a busy bout of holidays with Thanksgiving and prepping my little corner of the internet for the holiday shopping rush.  I’m happy to report I’ve survived the rush thus far and that we had a relaxing holiday break playing video games at home with tasty leftovers to fuel the Trials of Mana marathon and watching Shang Chi (such a cool movie!).  

From our lil family to yours, we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving (or a wonderful week, if you don’t celebrate).

This year, we’re so incredibly thankful for the fact my husband, Kevin, is still with us.  He very nearly didn’t make it back in January when he fell ill with COVID and went into the ICU.  It’s hard to believe it’s only been a few months since then!  After this huge trial, life has been very kind to us in a way we never could’ve imagined back in January now that Kev has started a new job and our life together has taken a new trajectory.  We’ll soon be looking for our forever home and settling down after years of being rental nomads.  It’s a dream we’ve nurtured for a long time!

I’m happy to say much of the behind the scenes prep I’ve been doing in the meanwhile to quietly improve my art biz’s presentation, re-designing my websites, and tidying up my product photos seems to have paid off with one of the best holiday shopping seasons I’ve had this year!  I’m slowly, but surely getting to a point where I hope to create a self-sustaining art biz that allows me to be healthy and happy without overworking myself.

IMPORTANT Announcement!  An Upcoming Hiatus?!

While we’ve had plenty of good news, there’s a bit of bad news that has been long in the coming.  After years of pain and dismissive doctors, I’ve finally had an MRI taken of my shoulder and the scans have revealed a suspicion I’ve had for years – that I have a torn labral tendon.  This happened years ago when our very large and lovably clumsy bulldog-mastiff pulled me down the stairs and jerked my arm nearly out of socket (which has to be THE most country injury ever haha!).  My shoulder muscles have been compensating incorrectly ever since.  Better late than never to fix this, right?

I’m currently awaiting the date of my surgery, which will most likely be scheduled for January.  What this means for you, my lovely Patrons, is that this Patreon will be going on hiatus in January 2022 until my shoulder heals and I am fully recovered, which could take months.  Unfortunately, this surgery affects my dominant/drawing arm, so I’m going to be out for the count until I heal and make it through the recovery process.

Life has been a long, hard lesson in adversity for us for the past few years even before COVID and I know we’ll weather the storm as well as possible!  I hope during this recovery time that I’ll get to experiment with dictating some of the story ideas I’ve been sitting on to my computer so I can at least get some writing done, as well as read the many books on my to-read backlog.

Once I’m able to return to full functionality, I plan to re-launch this Patreon with an updated structure that I hope you all will love!  (More on that later once we’re closer to being ready for that.)

Posts You May Have Missed in November

Rewards Added in November

Coming in December

December is going to be the last month of material from me for a long while!  I plan to share the following:

  • ($5+ Tiers) A coloring page of an Elvish Songstress
  • (All Tiers) A Behind the Scenes article about planning the Birthstone Goddesses’ Art Book
  • (Public/Free) An article talking about my favorite movies that make me want to paint

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Whew that was a long update, but it’s been an eventful time!  As ever, feel free to come hang out in my Discord server with me where you can keep up with minute-to-minute updates and WIPs in my special Patrons-only section.

Till next time!  Wishing you all inspiration,
♥ Ang

Artist Asks Questionnaire – Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1, here’s the 2nd part of my Artist Ask questionnaire!  Discussing my preferred mediums, what I’d like to improve on, and more!

You can see the full thread with animated GIFs for maximum impact here.

15. How long does an avg piece take you to complete?  

It depends! My extremely detailed intense ink & watercolor Birthstone Goddesses took about a month a piece, while others might only take 1-2 weeks. I’m an intensely research & detail-oriented person, so I usually take longer.

16. Do you draw more than you did in the past or less?

I’ve actually drawn less, which makes me sad! Once art became my job, there was suddenly this pressure that EVERYthing must be good/monetizeable, which made me too obsessed with perfectionism. I’m trying to have fun again!

I’ve also gotten really lax about doing studies and practice as I rush from one project goal to the next. I need to learn to slow down and get back to my fundamentals again! It’s going to help my quality (and my career) in the long run.

17. Do you think you’re justified giving art advice?

I believe so! I share what I know always with the caveat that I speak from MY individual experience and I am a fallible human. If I don’t know an answer, I’m always keen to learn more, find out, and discuss.

18. What are you currently trying to improve on?  

My fundamentals! I want to be more ambitious with my anatomy, color, perspective, & light. I’ve lined up classes for myself, including Proko’s portrait & anatomy courses. I’m currently reading through Renderwave’s Colorpedia to brush up on my color theory.

19. What is the most difficult thing for you to draw?  

Architecture, cars, guns, basically anything inorganic that doesn’t let me fudge the details!

20. What is the easiest thing for you to draw?  

Long hair! It’s so soothing, flowy, & fun. I can use it to fill up pesky BGs or to lead compositional flow.

21. Do you like to challenge yourself?  

It’s exciting to challenge myself! I enjoy it, even if it’s scary & frustrating at times. IE. Clothing was one of my biggest weaknesses, but I took on my Birthstone Goddesses series in part to improve on that weakness. It’s been a blast!

22. Are you confident that you’re improving steadily?  

I’ve slowed down a bit because I’ve been so focused on my Birthstone Goddesses project, where I made small improvements because of the formulaic nature of them. I’m hopeful changing things up will get me back on course!

23. Do you do more fanart or original art?  

Funny enough, I created more fan art as a young artist, esp for DBZ & FF7. I also sometimes make TTRPG art based on my OCs for Shadowrun, Exalted, & D&D.  Nowadays, I do mainly original work, but it’d be fun to take some fan art breaks!

24. Do you feel jealous or inspired by other artists?  

Both! Most times, I love discovering new art, but sometimes it’s SO good I want to quit because I get overwhelmed by the thought I have a lot of work to do to improve. That’s when it’s time to turn off the internet and re-center!

This is lately compounded by the fact that I’m nearing 40 & feel very behind in my development. I should be further than I am, but life took another path!  I know that’s anxiety-brain speaking. I’m my worst critic & social media gives us such a skewed view of everyone’s reality.

25. Do you like to draw in silence or with music?  

Def with music! I’m a stickler for making playlists to match the mood. I even have character-specific playlists.  But here’s a good general playlist of stuff that gets my muse going & keeps me focused.

26. What programs do you use?  

I mainly paint & arrange comps in Photoshop, with Clip Studio Paint for comic work, though I’ve been painting more often in Procreate as I learn to use it better.  CSP’s panel functions work like a dream & Procreate has some of the best FX brushes!

I have plans to take a course on CSP, as I feel like its 3D models could help speed up my workflow and there are so many quality of life functions meant specifically for artists which it has over Photoshop. I’m looking forward to exploring it more soon!

27. How many layers do your digital pieces have?  

I’ve regularly gone beyond 40+ layers in a single piece because I like to be able to edit each part individually if I change my mind. I always forget to label some too. I do not recommend my bad layer habits!

28. What traditional media do you like most?  

I’m a fan of mixing watercolor & color pencil. Watercolor lets you bring such surreal textures & blends, while the color pencil lets you bring in sharp details with a rich texture & depth of its own.

29. How do you start a big trad piece?  

I usually plan my pieces with rough thumbnailing on toned paper, then refining the rough drawing in Photoshop, then transferring a printout with a lightpad onto paper. Then FINALLY painting can begin!  It’s all rather tedious, but worth it.

30. What inspires you to not just make art, but to be a better artist?  

For me, it’s being able to put the kinds of tales & stories out in the world that I want to see, to expand people’s ability to imagine what’s possible, to bring a voice to the unheard.

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I hope folks have found something useful & inspiring from my Artist Asks journey.  Did I miss a question you all are dying to know the answer to?  Feel free to ask me in the comments!

♥ Ang

Oct 2021 Digest – Calendar Progress, Holiday Prep, & a Chill Halloween

Aah how I love October!  The leaves are changing and the weather is getting chill here in Georgia.  It’s been a busy month now that we’re settled in the new house and I’ve been able to really put my nose to the grindstone for the Birthstone Goddesses.  

We also got to leave candy for the kids in our new neighborhood and that made me happy!  I hope next year, we’ll be safe enough to hand out candy directly. I love dressing up and seeing all the fun costumes!

(I cheated with a phone filter costume this year. )

I’ve also been working hard to pretty up my online presence with the holidays on the horizon (which by now my annual holiday sale should be going strong. More on that soon!).  Patrons got a behind the scenes peek at all the invisible tasks I’ve been doing to improve my presentation.

Posts You May Have Missed in October

Rewards Added in October

Coming in November

I hope to keep the energy up in November as I continue work on the calendar, start storyboarding the art book, and indulging in some fun creative challenges!

  • NaNoWriMo!  I’m taking on the national novel writing challenge this month!  I’ll be sharing snippets of the tabletop inspired novel I’m writing on my project’s social media account, so tune in there if you’re curious about my writing muse!
  • $5+ Reward Coloring Page – I’ll be sharing a coloring page of Archangel Azrael painting this month!
  • Patrons-Only Behind the Scenes Posts – I’ll continue to share development posts about my journey with the calendar and art book.
  • Part 2 of the Artist Asks – I’ll be wrapping up the last few questions!

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That’s all for now!  Thanks for being awesome during all of our constant life adjustments.  At least it’s always exciting around here!

More soon,

♥ Ang

Artist Asks Questionnaire – Part 1

Back in September, this survey was a nice distraction and an informative journey for my Twitter followers. Now, I’ve compiled it here on my blog so it can be easily read all in one place.  Enjoy this list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions!  

Meanwhile, you can read this list with the original gif accompaniment here.

1. Do you prefer digital or traditional?  

Both! I prefer to paint color digitally & line art traditionally. I feel like I have better motor control & work faster with trad tools! It also depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I’ll draw my lines by hand & scan to paint digitally.

2. How long have you been drawing?  

Since I could hold a pencil! I loved writing & illustrating my own horror & unicorn stories as a kid. I distinctly remember when I was around 8 that I wanted to be like Trina Schart Hyman, who illustrated my fave fairy tale books.

NOTE: By horror & unicorn stories, I mean entirely different unrelated stories & not stories about horror unicorns.  I had my Last Unicorn phase 1st followed closely by my Scariest Stories Ever Told phase.  Though now I wonder what actual Unicorn Horror stories might be like!

3. How many classes have you taken?  

I’ve taken college art classes (BA in Studio Art & MA in Arts Admin), but have also kept my learning going with:

And more.  I’m always up for learning & experimenting!

4. Do you have a Devart, site, or blog?  

I’m not as active on DA as I used to be as I spend more time on ArtStation now. I share articles about my process & happenings on my blog.  

Bonus links to where I spend most of my time lately:  

I’m also around a few community Discord servers for Drawn+Drafted, D&D Fantasy Art, Forge of Wonders (an Exalted server where I’m a mod) etc.

5. What’s your fave thing to draw?  

Anything elegant & dark. I love capable &/or mysterious female characters and intricate costumes. Give me mystical moods & scrumptious intriguing narrative details to chew on!  Detail of my Priestess of the Keeper piece which is def my aesthetic.

6. What’s your least fave thing to draw?  

Not a fan of architecture, cars, or machinery! I have trouble wrapping my brain around the intricacy and perspective planes and don’t find them as fun to draw as more organic subjects.

7. How often do you use reference?  

Very often! My brain only has so much room to store all the knowledge of human anatomy. I don’t consider it cheating, but essential to maintaining realism.  I also share my pose ref photos over at my art resources project, The Muses Library, if you need inspiration!

8. Do you draw professionally or just for fun?  

I am a full-time professional working on indie projects, but sometimes I actually miss doing art purely for fun!  It’s a bad habit now to automatically monetize what I’m drawing or needing every.single.thing to be masterfully done.

9. How long do you spend drawing on an average day?  

I split my time between answering emails, writing articles, managing sites, updating shops, managing orders, and ACTUAL art-making, so my ratio is usually 4-6 hours of art. Maybe more if I’m lucky and/or there’s a tight deadline!

10. Are you confident about your art?  

Some days more than others! I try to be realistic about my art skills. Many of my fundamentals still need work, but I’m proud of my sense of narrative details, composition, & posing. Just need to keep on working on color, light, & anatomy!

I like to do inspiration maps & evals about once a year to get a sense of where I’m going with my art, stylistically & emotionally, & to be more aware of what skills I should be working on. Portfolio reviews also help immensely! 

Full art sources here.

11. How many art blogs do you follow?  

I keep up with the industry via FB groups but also: –

Any others I should check out?  Let me know in the comments!

12. Is it ok if people ask you about your process?  

As long as folks don’t mind that it takes me awhile to reply, I’m happy to share what I know!  I also discuss my mixed media watercolor, color pencil, and ink techniques in my howto book, Angelic Visions.

My Patrons also get an in-depth glimpse into my techniques & product development via my Premium Tutorials & Patron-only posts.  Additionally, I share -free- tuts & info via my YouTube channel.  I’m very sporadic about updating, but there’s good stuff there!

Finally, here’s a comprehensive list of my fave tools & materials for watercolor painting!

13. Do you prefer to keep your art personal or work for others?  

I prefer my own projects! It’s fun to occasionally explore other people’s topics, but after starting my career doing freelance work that didn’t really grow my portfolio much, I switched focus to my own projects.

14. Do you ever collaborate with others?  

I’m contributing to The Changeling Artist Collective’s The Woven Path Tarot & have also contributed to their Olde Fae (Old Maid) card game.  I’ve also worked with Sam Hogg on a lovely Special Ed gold foil print of my Lady of Eternity!

(My Rose Fae set for the Olde Fae game)

(My “Temperance” card for the Woven Path Tarot)

(A gold foil print made with Sam Hogg and available exclusively through my Patreon Secret Shop.)

I’ve even designed jewelry in the past, which was a rare, but exciting opportunity! Though the final design hasn’t been released yet, to my knowledge.  I’d love to collaborate on more topics that interest me, including TTRPGs, feminine empowerment, folklore,& dark elegant horror.

15. How long does an avg piece take you to complete?  

It depends! My extremely detailed intense ink & watercolor Birthstone Goddesses took about a month a piece, while others might only take 1-2 weeks. I’m an intensely research & detail-oriented person, so I usually take longer.

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This entry’s getting a bit long, so  I’m going to save the next 15 questions for the part tune.  Stay tuned!

(Part 2 Coming Soon!)

Sep 2021 Digest – Live from My Couch HQ…!

September had a slow start for us.  There was a lot to wrap up at the old house and unpacking at the new house.  Then disaster (or a shelf) struck and I injured a toenail!  That meant a week working from the couch.

Then when I finally got up and around again, I pulled a muscle lifting a heavy box while setting up the studio.  Back I went to my old home, the couch!

I actually started up an Ask the Artist/Ask Me Anything event on Twitter, if anyone wants to give me something to do while I recuperate. I’d appreciate being preoccupied with something fun while I wait for this to correct itself!

I’m currently taking these signs from the universe to take it slow, as much as I’m buzzing to get back to doing all of the Birthstone Goddess projects I spoke of in the latest Project Status update!  I’ve been doing what I can from my plushy HQ and FINALLY getting back to all the amazing lessons I learned from Emily Jeffords’ Making Art Work class (plus finishing the final few lessons I haven’t done yet because our house move took precedence).

That’s meant doing a big overhaul to my shop’s presentation, including editing mockups for my prints, creating better graphics for my coloring packs, etc.  Truth be told, without conventions for the time being, I’ve had to get my online game strong!  I’ve usually relied on in-person events for folks to get to know me and my products, so having the website updated wasn’t AS important.

But now that I’m a rare art cave goblin?  I’m going to have to finally get to all that difficult update business I’ve been avoiding!  I hope to document some of that makeover process for my Patrons in an article for October.  It’s actually been amazing to see how much better I can make my presentation with a little thought and care and I’m hyped to share that process with you all!

October is also the month of spooky things and when Autumn is in full swing here.  My favorite month!  I hope to actually stream some of my favorite spooky games (or perhaps some new ones), if you guys want to catch me on Twitch.  The plan is to start streaming more art there as well, since my face-time with folks at cons has been cut out.  I just need to get down to brass tax and make a schedule.

Otherwise, Kev and I are hunkered down until the worst of things blow over for now.  I hope you all will take care and be safe as well!

Posts You May Have Missed in September

Rewards Added in September

Coming in October

I have plans to share the following articles & Rewards in October.

  • ($5+ Up Reward) – Coloring Page – “Archangel Uriel”
    Featuring line art of this classic painting from my Angelic Visions art book!
  • (Patreon-Exclusive, All Tiers)
    Behind the Scenes: My (Art Business) Makeover – Part 1 – Product Listing Photos

    A peek at all the ‘invisible’ work I’ve been doing in the background to get my online game strong!  Discussing how I’m improving photos of my art products, sharing resources, etc.
  • (Patreon-Exclusive, All Tiers)*
    Behind the Scenes: Designing the Calendar Part 1
    A peek at the production process behind putting together the Birthstone Goddesses wall calendar with links to my resources etc. (* If I run into any delays putting together the calendar templates, I may have to delay this article.  We shall see!)
  • (Early Access) – Ask An Artist Compilation Post
    Compiling all the Ask An Artist and AMA questions from Twitter into one place for easy reference!  If I don’t get enough Likes on Twitter to finish the questionnaire, I’ll be answering the last few questions in the post instead.

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That’s all for now, folks!  I hope to get to some real work in October, if the couch will release me from its thrall!

Till next time,

♥ Ang