My husband and I have been quite the hermits since COVID, so it was a big deal for us to actually leave the house this past Friday and venture forth into downtown Atlanta to the High Museum of Art, my old stomping ground where I attended SCAD-Atlanta for grad school! The area has changed a lot, including the addition of the amazing SCAD Fashion museum and an expanded campus.
Our goal this trip was to visit the Samurai: Armor from the Collection of Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller being hosted by the High. When you first enter the exhibition space, you’re enveloped by the sound of a heartbeat as you survey a wall collaged with famous movie posters and screenshots inspired by samurai epics, including everything from Kill Bill to Kurosawa’s best.
Past this point, many armor sets are displayed in cases that allow you to fully circumvent them, a fact I appreciated as an artist who considers drawing armor a weak point. I especially wanted to study how armor works during this trip, but I left the exhibit with so much more inspiration than that!
My Favorite Pieces
Beyond the more traditional armor, the collection housed many impressive pieces with unique imagery, specifically Buddhist dieties and symbols, seashells, and even ‘human head’ caps. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the collection:
This helm sports the wheel representing the Eightfold Path of Buddhism.
A most impressive display of fully armored group of horses and riders takes up a large stage in the exhibit. I can only imagine how horrifying and awe-inspiring they would be riding atop small ‘dragons’!
This piece caught my eye because of its striking color and unique shape. It’s described as being a cape made for a woman, as well as a fire fighter, the long treated cloth providing protection against flames. Fire was a major danger in Japanese fuedal cities due to the fact a large part of their construction was made of wood. I want to know more about these female fire fighters who protected the city from threats!
All in the Details
One thing this exhibit stressed was that Samurai armor emphasized not only function, but form and aesthetics. Even as the construction of later armor was simplified for quick dressing, the craftsmen always made sure it was beautiful and impressive. I had to feature some of the close-up shots of the details in the metalwork and lacquered leather.
(Notice this armor has butterfly-shaped hinges to match its butterfly mon (sigil), which was the symbol of the clan being represented by this armor.)
(I especially appreciated the naturalistic motifs and stylization here. I can see how Art Nouveau borrowed from Japanese motifs looking at this!)
Yasuke, the Black Samurai
This exhibit also included a fascinating sub-exhibit dedicated to Yasuke, an African samurai who served Nobunaga, (for those who aren’t already familiar) that’s worth a look. The museum hired local artist, Brandon Sadler, to tell the story of Yasuke’s life through four Japanese brush style wall scrolls and they are very inspiring!
History, Worldbuilding, & Inspiration
I hope as an artist that I’ll be able to absorb something of how and why this armor operates in our world for my own worldbuilding and storytelling efforts, as many of my own stories take place in a low tech era of warfare. Some observations I made as I absorbed this exhibit:
- The artistry of making these armor sets represented vigilance, grace, dedication, and skillfulness on behalf of both artisan and wearer, putting an emphasis on discipline and status.
- Visual motifs from the observed world include bamboo leaves, religious iconography, local gods and spirits, sea shells, and even smoking pipes popularized by Europeans who brought tobacco into Japan. I imagine these motifs were chosen based on each warrior’s local symbolism, which usually shows up in the mon (family crest) too.
- Construction elements include metal (specifically iron), silk (layered into strands and used for ties), and lacquered leather. Swords had manta-ray skin for the grips, materials all plentiful in Japan’s island climes.
- Evolution of construction evolved over time based on what the armor needed to defend against. The layers were silk and layered leather or metal at first to defend against swords and arrows and protect horseback riders (needed to be light to be quick and also longer blades to reach opponents), but as time progressed, larger strips were used in chest armor to defend against matchlock weapons. Hinges were also added to make the armor easier to get in and out of. However, none of these pieces lost their attention to detail and pageantry during that evolution.
- The world is interconnected. Some of the armor was inspired by European soldiers featuring paneled construction like European helmets or big noses that mocked Europeans as “demons”. Other sets were made by Korean artisans who brought their own silhouettes and techniques into Japanese armor-making during political exchanges where the armor was brought as gifts during a time of diplomacy between the two countries who have had rough history (IE. Japanese occupiation of Korea).
Full Reference Album
There are too many beautiful things to include in one blog post, so definitely check out the full album on imgur to see the rest of the pics I took and the High’s page on the exhibition, which includes additional information and history about the exhibit’s signature pieces. I photographed with texture, construction, etc in mind for my reference as an artist.
All the photos in the world can’t do this exhibit justice, however. These pieces are a sight to behold with so much detail to take in and I encourage you to go visit them in-person, if you can! This exhibit will be at the High Museum until September 17th.
There were also lots of wonderful Japanese reference books, comics, and souvenirs featured in the gift shop. I left with a couple of small souvenirs for myself, including a magnet, which I always get for any exhibit we attend. A butterfly-themed pin seemed appropriate after marveling at the buttefly-themed armor set I particularly enjoyed! We also purchased the #4 print in the Yasuke set for our personal collection, as he is an inspiring figure for my husband, Kevin.
I hope to explore more exhibits like this as long as we’re in the vicinity of so many wonderful museums! Seeing this beautiful artistry in an amazing collection filled me with such awe I hope to channel into aspects of my own work. I hope you all are inspired as well!
I decided a long time ago that I really wanted to start making more videos to share with you guys. Participating in Art Fight this past July was the perfect excuse to try my hand at videos once again!
It was my first time participating in Art Fight and I’m so pleased to report that other artists there made it such a joyful, nostalgic experience for me. I felt like I was back at college again where my Art Department buddies and I would hang out together and geek out about our characters, drawing them for one another without any of the stress of monetizing our art, only the pure joy of being massive nerds.
Lately, I’ve been very bummed out about seeing my favorite art communities and social media sites I’ve put years into crumbling before my eyes, so participating in Art Fight was a healing salve for my soul that I needed more than I could have guessed.
What is Art Fight?
It’s an art trading event hosted on artfight.net that welcomes artists of all levels to come together and trade art for the month of July. Everyone is split up into two teams who ‘fight’ each other for dominance, with the trades you make earning each user more points. The more polished your art trade “Attack” is, the more points you’ll earn for your team. You can even “Attack” people on your own team (known as “Friendly Fire”).
Each participant shares profiles of their original characters for other artists to draw. I’ve even seen some instances of “Draw A Character” character profiles where people challenge artists to work under inspiration prompts instead of uploading a specific character profile. It’s very freeform. You are also not required to return trades you recieve, if you don’t want. The freedom to control what you draw made this super chill and appealing to me!
Art Fight allows not only 2D art, but 3D, animation, and crafts as well, so it’s a great opportunity to hop in and practice with your favorite medium. I may try my hand at jewelry or maquettes inspired by characters next year!
Let the Battles Begin!
The video above goes through timelapses of each of the entries I drew while I talk about the characters, share Procreate tips, and finally share the art (and animation) I recieved of my own characters. I suggest giving it a watch for the full experience! Otherwise, I’m also sharing the art here in the post so you can quickly view it.
This year, my goal for participating was to try and see if I could work faster, as I’m usually a very slow, meticulous artist, so I kept each entry under 2 hours. I learned a ton about tightening up my workflow by simply limiting myself to rough underdrawing, skipping right to inking, and learning to trust in my instincts and ability to tweak later, rather than obsessively perfecting everything early on. Done is better than perfect, or so I’m trying to teach myself!
During the event, I also experimented with new tools, including the wonderfully bristled, organic texture of the Inka Pen in Procreate. It may just be my favorite new digital pen to draw with! (You can see this brush at work particularly in Cyn and Cultivar of Bloodied Sunset’s portraits).
Evelyn for Viday
What a gorgeous character! This vengeful demon has all the hallmarks of things I love. Horns, halos, tattoos. Check, check, and check!
Pretty Boy for DungeonDelves
How could anyone resist wanting to draw his fabulous parrot-themed hair? Pretty Boy was a great chance for me to play with that silver shining in the shadows effect of his tattoo, which I was quite pleased with.
Rowyn for Lumaris
Lumaris gentle dragon prince was a great challenge for portraying a soft color palette and implying the detail of his neck scales rather than drawing each and every one.
Cyn for ArtoftheNerd
Probably my favorite portrait of the bunch for the dramatic lighting and restricted color palette! Time restrictions led to creativity when the complicated weapon and fingers meant I had to quickly come up with colors before I exceeded the amount of time I set for myself. The simplicity of this one helps the glowing eyes really stand out. That shadow cutting across the eyes is something I’ve always wanted to do, so it was satisfying to bring it into this piece!
Cultivar of Bloodied Sunsets for kessinder
Vampire girls really won this event for me! This gal has such a cutesy-dangerous vibe that I really enjoyed drawing. Yet another great candidate for experimenting with dramatic horror lighting.
Kainda for Toasted_bAguette6
HOW have I never drawn a goblin before this piece? What a fun opportunity this was! Toasted_bAguette6 described Kainda as being a chaos goblin similar to Nimona and seeing as how that movie is now one of my all-time classic favorites, I was stoked to channel that vibe for this piece. How did I do for drawing my first goblin?
Laelri for Creativeidiote
This one was the true test of ‘get it done fast, gurl’! I didn’t start this piece till the morning of the final day of the event and also wanted to find a way to utilize what time I had wisely, so her line work had to carry the piece through no shading with only color flats. The container shape around the portrait helped tie this all together so she didn’t have ‘floating head syndrome’.
Glittering Blade Meets Kalara for ShiftingPath
For the grand finale, I knew I wanted to do this piece for ShiftingPath, who is the ringleader organizing the Exalted Secret Santa every year (another art trading event that I enjoy participating in when I can). I wanted to give back to ShiftingPath for being such trooper for organizing the Exalted artist community, so I was overjoyed to see they were participating in ArtFight this year too!
This one probably took more like 4-5 hours as I tried to structure it more than the others, while also keeping the background more implied with painterly strokes and shapes. I’ve talked more about this one in the video, so definitely go watch that for more about the thumbnailing process and why I chose this particular scene.
(You can skip right to the segment on this piece here).
Glittering Blade (left) belongs to ShiftingPath.
But that’s not all! Check out the lovely entries other artists did for me this year. It’s always a lot of fun to see my brainchildren in different styles and interpretations! Be sure to check out the video for a closer look at each entry and character discussion. You can skip right to each one in the chapter breaks listed in the video’s description over on YouTube.
Character: Kalara Vadras by me
Lumaris – https://www.lumaris.net/
Character: Kalara Vadras by me
DungeonDelves – https://dungeondelves.carrd.co/
Character: The Crucified Dreamer by me
Art by kessinder – https://www.pillowfort.social/cinders
Character: The Crucified Dreamer by me
Art by ArtoftheNerd – https://instagram.com/Art_o_nerd/
Character: Rabanne Aroré by me
Art by Toasted_bAguette6 – https://twitter.com/Toast_baguette
Character: Rabanne Aroré by me
Art by Viday – https://twitter.com/Vidayium
Character: Anko Xelkova by me
Creativeidiote – https://instagram.com/creativeidiote/
I hope you all enjoyed this look at the festival of art trading that was Art Fight! What was your favorite portrait from the set I did? Was it the same favorite as mine? Do you Art Fight too?
Feel free to share your profiles with me in the comments so I can catch you next year! You can find my Art Fight profile here.
Hopefully find you all next year for the event! I plan to make it a part of my yearly rotation from now on because it was so positive for me and I enjoyed the carefree excuse for practice. See you on the (art) battlefield!
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything here, friends! I’ve taken some time to let myself rest, recuperate, and reflect.
As the Birthstone Goddesses draw closer to their finale, I’ve been pondering where I go once this years-long project wraps. This Patreon began 9 years ago as an experiment in a new, exciting format to help support artists, with the Birthstone Goddesses occupying over 6 years of that time.
But now, times are changing for my husband and myself. I’ve been working in overdrive for so many years to provide constant Patreon material, feeling the burnout from my long project, and feeling the crunch of an industry that’s slowly strangling illustrators like me out of the profession with machine-generated art trained on my years of hard work.
I’m so tired mentally from these industry shifts and recent ongoing health issues involving chronic illness have made this feeling even worse. I’m struggling to even create art anymore, especially as I feel myself moving away from art and more into writing and other story-driven endeavors. That’s meant less material to share here as time has gone by as I have been struggling to solidify where it is I want to go next as a creative professional.
What’s Next? Looking to the Future
The Birthstone Goddesses were about creating a passive income for me as an artist with beautiful merch that brings light and tranquility to our everyday lives. It was also something I owned controlled by me and not a publisher or company that didn’t value my work.
By contrast, my future projects are looking to be more narrative in nature, possibly comics, possibly illustrated novels, possibly even animatics, or some combination of all of these things! All I know for sure is that the Illustration industry doesn’t feel safe for me anymore and I want to focus on the passion projects that fulfill me and add more to the world than a ‘product’, especially a product that works for someone else and not for my good as the creator.
These ambitious ideas need time to bake while I work through current health challenges, take new classes to educate myself on multimedia approaches, and settle into a new, focused me!
And so I’m making this Patreon primarily a Tip Jar with Loyalty Merch perks until further notice. I’ll still be offering WIP’s, sneak peeks, etc, but at my own pace so I have the energy to work on my projects without stress.
My archives of digital downloads & private Discord access will still be available for Patrons, plus I’ve added brand new Patreon-exclusive Loyalty Merch rewards for those who choose to support me here!
Loyalty Merch is Already Here!
I wanted to give something extra back to you all for supporting me here aside from digital archive/Discord access, so I’ve added brand new Loyalty Merch Rewards to ALL of my tiers starting at $5 and up! I have been working on several Patreon-exclusive designs for the past few months and I am so pleased to FINALLY be able to share them with you all!
Here’s a little taste of one of my new Patreon-exclusive designs, the Wheel of Eternity featuring the 12 new amulet designs for the Birthstone Goddesses (more merch previews coming in the next update):
Current Patrons don’t need to change a thing. If you’re currently pledging at $5 and up and have chosen a tier with benefits, you’ll start earning time towards Loyalty Merch deliveries starting on June 1st!
Loyalty Merch begins to be mailed out after every 3 months of successive support and every 3 months afterwards up to a year. All you need to do is make sure your mailing address has been entered into Patreon, your country is on Patreon’s allowed shipping list, or opt out if you don’t want to recieve anything in the mail.
Your pledge already includes the cost of shipping, even for international shipping! Patrons outside the US need no longer add any extra funds for shipping to their pledges.
I’ll be sharing a visual preview and FAQ of exactly what Loyalty Merch will be added to each tier in the next update once I get my hands on the physical proofs, so stay tuned for that post! In the meanwhile, check the descriptions of your tier here to get an idea of what merch is coming your way.
The higher you pledge, the fancier your Loyalty rewards will be!
Summary of Patreon Changes
– New digital downloads (wallpapers, premium tutorials, etc.) will only be added as & when I have time to create them, making this Patreon more of a Tip Jar. I’ll post a head’s up when new material is coming to my digital downloads.
– New Loyalty Merch (IE. mini prints, stickers, mugs, and tshirts) have now been added to each tier starting at $5 and up! If you’re currently pledged, you’ll start earning towards Loyalty Merch on June 1st.
See my Tiers list for a peek at what merch you’ll be getting and to update your pledges before June 1st!
– A Loyalty Merch visual preview + Merch FAQ is coming soon!
– I’ll still be sharing WIP’s and sneak peeks here on Patreon, especially during the Birthstone Goddesses’ final phase.
– My future projects will be totally different than the Birthstone Goddesses. Brace yourselves for narrative projects and Fantasy genre geekery!
That’s all for now, folks! This was a lot of info, so if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments or drop me a message. I’m happy to help as this Patreon transitions fully into a new structure.
Thanks to everyone who has stuck it out with me thus far! It’s been an amazing journey and I hope to keep sharing the ride for as long as I can stay creative.
Last week, my husband and I took some time off to enjoy the beach, which was a very big milestone for us as we’ve never taken a vacation together! We’ve always done staycations and convention trips, but never anything like a complete escape thanks to the pile of medical bills that have always thwarted us in the past. This was our way to celebrate Kev’s career change, our new home, and so many little and big victories that have been happening for us over the course of this year and last!
It was a lovely time spent walking in the sea breeze, catching dinner shows, and spoiling ourselves! We went to a Murder Mystery dinner where we had to solve a series of murderers by dessert. We also set sail with a Pirate dinner show with dancing skeletons and aerial acrobatic mermaids in a water-filled stage.
It was an awesome time and after the rough start to 2023 I’ve had, I’m happy for a reset button! Taking time away to actually leave the house reminded me how important it is to do these things before the burnout catches up with us, which it has for me for years now for a multitude of reasons. I’m very happy to be able to just enjoy myself and get outside of my own head for awhile! There’s so much more to life than angsting about my projects, skill level, and existential threats like AI and I really needed this break away from the anxiety of it all that’s quadrupled over the course of the pandemic.
Another highlight of the trip was visiting the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Aquarium and Odditorium buildings, which are the source of the reference photos I’ve collected at the top of this post. Atlanta’s Aquarium still reigns supreme, but there’s something nice to be said about the quieter Ripley’s Aquarium where we could take our time without a huge crowd.
IMAGE CAPTION: My fave souvenirs from the trip – a tiny stone turtle which supports conservation efforts and a mug to fit all the matcha!
IMAGE CAPTION: My husband, Kevin, and I at the Ripley’s Aquarium.
I’m already missing that calming breeze, but I’m also excited to get back in the studio! We finally had our chance to properly rest and now begins the efforts to re-organize my new bigger studio space and also to start fixing up our new home the way that we want instead of living out of boxes as we have for the past 3 years.
Now that I’m back home, that also means I’ll be working to re-launch this Patreon and learning how to use the Merch system, which I think will be fun and easier for you guys to use than my Backerkit Secret Shop for those merch tier rewards. I have some exclusive goodies coming that I finished before vacation that I’m excited to share the big final reveal of!
More soon! Till then, enjoy the pics and feel free to use any of the animal and beach images as you like for your own projects.
Well then, 2023 continues whoopin’ my butt! I spent a few days in the ER with food trapped in my esophagas thanks to a chronic condition that suddenly got worse, which caused me to be down for another week for recovery. The docs are on my case to help me make sure this doesn’t happen again, but I’m beyond frustrated with how much time I’ve had to take off this year because of my fragile meat shell. It’s been a lesson in patience and in recognizing I’m going to have to work at the pace I can work at and nothing more or less.
I’m definitely looking forward to our beach vacation coming up in April! Kev and I haven’t taken a proper vacation outside of a staycation at home since we’ve been together and had always planned a trip for our honeymoon, which we have not taken in the years since we’ve been married. We’re finally taking the time to spoil ourselves rotten after the past few years we’ve had!
The Little Victories
Thankfully at least I did manage to get back in the studio to clear out the mess from the move. I still have little bit to go, but it’s finally looking sane inside! In the meanwhile, I’ve been slowly, but surely learning how to use Clip Studio Paint, which has some fantastic vector inking features I’ve been utilizing for my amulet designs.
I chipped away at the medallion designs to complete the Goddesses of Winter set (December, January, & February). I was supposed to have all of them done by now, but I’m trying to be kinder to myself when health things happen and let things develop as they can!
Here’s a little sneak peek of January’s pink carnation motif:
I realized putting together sketches that I had forgotten to share a couple! Back in November when I was playing with my Flame of the Sultana story for NaNoWriMo, I was inspired to do some concepts for my Fire Genasi’s sister, an Earth Genasi named Badeema. While I began this sheet last year, I’ve been coming back to it every now and again to play with more crystal hairdos for her because it’s just so very fun! I’m sure I’ll wander back to this character to play with more agate-inspired skin striations, too.
She deserves her own dedicated sketchbook post, along with Rabs’ other Genasi sisters, methinks! I’d love to have my own illustrations to use for this story’s Campfire Writing story bible.
Next, we have an idea that came to me while I was pondering a story you all haven’t really ‘met’ yet. Tentatively titled Sacred & Profane, this D&D inspired tale did show up in my NaNoWriMo poll as the ‘story of friendship between a pair of dysfunctional monster hunters with werewolves, vampires, and ghosts, oh my!’
One of these pair of monster hunters is Nils, a Ghostslayer, who often trains by willingly enduring near-death experiences, which opens him up to experiences like the one pictured. The angel has a deeper significance later on, but I’ll leave that for future exploration.
I’m excited to play with the notion of the surface of water breaking up the perspective plane for an extra trippy composition if I end up polishing this image later!
More Character Sketches
My go-to ‘my body betrays me and I must control my stress levels’ happy project has been continuing the party line-up I’ve been working on during my dedicated ‘carefree sketchbook play time’. The goal is to end up like this with a whole spread of clothing/armor looks for the party!
I finished Rabs’ armor base and now Cal, the flirtacious circus Tiefling, is up next! I adore Cal’s carefree attitude and parti-color theme and had a lot of fun exploring his armor base in gesture sketches. For Level 0, I wanted him to seem a little unsure of his skills, but with the potential to improve, while his Armor Base is meant to show off the confidence he gains in his skills since those training days.
Cal’s player and I have already picked the final poses for his Level 0 and Armor Base poses, but feel free to try and guess which ones we picked out of each row!
A little reminder of what Cal looks like:
Well, that’s all for now, friends! I hope to have a more significant update next month as my body hopefully does not implode. But also I have a lot of looming medical tests which may mean more downtime or slow time for me, depending on the outcome. So here I am, just trying to go with the flow without raging too much about that anymore.
Bless you kind souls who still remain pledged here! Your support when I’ve been in Tip Jar mode warms my heart.
Posts You Might’ve Missed in March
As you know, nature plays a big part of inspiration for me, especially for my Birthstone Goddesses. Part of the joy of moving to a new place is seeing what new flowers will emerge in spring! Now that it’s started to get warmer here at our new home, our house and neighborhood have erupted with blooms.
We have Spring Stars, beautiful starlike blooms that range from purple to white. I’ve never noticed these blooming here before! I’m definitely saving them for fantasy landscape inspiration, as I can imagine them twinkling like little stars in a night scene.
We also had daffodils and narcissus all over, though they’ve sadly withered by now. I was so happy to see a line of daffodils pop up lining our driveway on both sides!
Next, we have what I thought were Snowdrops, but are actually a smaller, more delicate flower called Summer Snowflakes. The little green smudges on the petal tips make the designer in me very happy, it’s such an elegant little detail! They’re like little fairy bells.
Finally, as we were wrapping up our walk, we spotted this feathered friend who was powered by bird screams. A red-shouldered hawk, I suspect! We have a lot of hawks and owls in this neighborhood, which points to a healthy ecosystem. I enjoy living in our shaded little patch of forest and am so happy we’ll be staying for the foreseeable future after our past few years of home-hopping.
If any of the images here might make good reference for you, feel free to use them! I’m looking forward to seeing what summer will be like here and taking a trip to Gibbs Gardens for more reference hunting. I hope you all enjoy the beauty of nature as much as I do.
Well, guys, January and February didn’t go exactly like I had planned. I’ve been dealing with an allergic reaction to surgical glue, other nasty incision difficulties, and just trying to catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed from being unable to sleep comfortably after surgery.
This may end up affecting other plans I’ve had this year, like the amulets Kickstarter, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. I at least want to finish the designs to have for stickers and Patreon goodies! I’m finally healing up today after those recovery hiccups, so we’ll see what I can achieve without overwhelming myself.
Speaking of the amulets, I’ve started inking them in Clip Studio Paint! This design for January needs some tweaking because I can’t unsee the Eye of Sauron in the middle, but it’s been exciting learning more about this extremely useful program, as I’ve finally started taking proper classes on the software.
Before anything else can happen with the Birthstone Goddesses project, however, I need to clean up the studio/shipping area, which has been taunting me since I haven’t been able to lift much! It’s been stacked with garage and parents’ basement overflow and I’ve only just now begun the excavation process to sort what’s for donation and what’s for keeping. (Oh no and is it also tax season? Halp!)
More Character Art!
Meanwhile, in my continued mission to manufacture happy brain chemicals during my stressful times, you all have witnessed Rabs’ development over the course of the past couple months. I’ve FINALLY finished her Level 0 form!
Enjoy Teen Rabs in all her irreverent glory! Teen Rabs hasn’t earned her tatts through training yet and sits on a gallon of pent up anger against the world and her messed up family. Hopefully I’ve captured the difference in Teen vs Adult Rabs, with Adult Rabs being much more at peace with herself and her past.
You can watch a timelapse of both of these portraits here.
Have an additional closeup because I spent hours on the faces and I’m proud of them:
Both painted in Procreate. I’m getting more comfortable with this style the more I do! Though I’m a bit grumpy that you can see the skill gap already between Teen Rabs and her Adult form which was rendered first last year.
Next up, I’ll be doing a Level 0 & Armor Base for the party’s flamboyant Tiefling Arcane Archer, Calumny, which I’m very much looking forward to.
(Cal in all his sassy glory! He belongs to my dear friend, Hayley.)
Eventually once all these base forms are done, I’ll be doing an armor/level progression chart for them, which will be great practice for me, as I consider armor, in particular, to be a big weakness after years of drawing mainly flowing dress feminine fashions.
Finally, I started playing Elden Ring when I’ve been couch-bound during recovery. What a strangely beautiful dark fantasy game! I wasn’t sure I would like it, at first. The enemies can be frustrating to beat, but now I’ve found myself thoroughly hooked by its hauntingly beautiful world and intriguing exploration.
Behold my swashbuckling mage, Asha the Starless! Still just a rough sketch, but I expect with all the cool imagery of this game, you may see more fan art from this game pop up here.
Screenshots for reference:
That’s all for this month, friends! In March, I’m hoping to be back in good health (knock on wood) which means I’ll hopefully have more to share next time. I also have some inspiring books, supplies, and photos I want to share.
Till then, don’t forget you can come hang out on my Discord whether you’re a Patron or not! I love getting to know you all there and sharing inspirations and interests. You can use this invite to join the public server, though if you want my Patron perks for Discord, which include a private Patrons-only area where I share my private sketchbook, you’ll need to connect your Discord to Patreon.
Till next time!
Posts You Might Have Missed from February
- (PATRONS-ONLY) Patreon Sneak Peek! Birthstone Goddesses Amulets
I wanted to peek my head out and give you all a sign of life! I’ve been taking it easy this month while healing from surgery and dealing with very heavy doses of pain medication, which means I don’t have a lot of art to share from January. However, I hope you’ll enjoy what fun I was able to have with art!
January was all about stimulating the happy brain chemicals to help with the stress of recovery, which meant, once again, having fun with totally pointless original character art!
The Uncrucified VTT Tokens
I wanted to practice drawing tokens for virtual tabletops and so the cast of The Uncrucified, my Exalted tabletop RPG story, felt like a good starting point! I’ve also created a project logo for The Uncrucified which I incorporated into the token’s decorative border.
(Watch a timelapse here.)
This style might not have enough contrast to really stand out for smaller tokens, but I enjoyed the painting practice, none-the-less!
WIP – Young Rabs
I’ve been poking at this young teen Rabs, my most recent Dungeons & Dragon character, since last year! You all might remember the full body of her present day self done for a D&D party level progression chart (which I’m using as reference on the left).
I wanted every member of the party to have a unique Level 0 example to show what each character looked like when they first got that glint in their eye to become an adventurer. Seeing their younger self makes it even more interesting to see how they’ve changed over time/levels. I wanted to do this to incorporate more storytelling into what is otherwise a very basic straightforward level chart.
Plus, it’s good practice for me at drawing younger ages.
(Explore a mini-gallery of Rabs’ tattoos and design here.)
Rabs was a scrappy, angry teen who used to practice her combat skills in secret in preparation for a coup her mothers and sisters were plotting against her murderous father (more on that from my 2022 NaNoWriMo exploration of her backstory). She’s chilled out a lot since those dark days and is now rather more the cheerful optimist of the party!
With my medications thinning out and body and mind getting back to normal, I hope to ease into a more regular schedule in February. I have big plans this year to launch some exclusive Patreon goodies and a couple of Kickstarters I have been looking forward to for years, now, so I’m excited to FINALLY get started on working towards those goals!
I’m also starting back to my art studies and classes, as I’ve felt my skills have stagnated while I’ve been in Recovery Mode. Working digitally has been wonderful since I can do it comfortably with my shoulder (and now stomach) limitations, but I really want to get my hands dirty with traditional paints again, which means getting my butt back in the studio!
I hope to have more to share soon, with a Patrons-only sneak peek coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled!
It’s the New Year and that fresh beginning is always an exciting time of re-assessment and looking forward! 2022 was a time of adjustment for me while we set up our new home and got used to a whole new flow to our lives. I’ve had a lot of time to think about this Patreon and the Birthstone Goddesses and it’s my hope to both re-launch this Patreon and wrap up this project in 2023!
The Birthstone Goddesses: FINAL PHASE!
So what’s in store for this year? I want to complete the collections I started when I was prototyping various merch at DragonCon back in 2019, an endeavor which was thoroughly waylaid by the pandemic, our own life challenges, and supply chain issues. Folks really enjoyed the more wearable and utilitarian art I shared at the con back in 2019 and I’m all about bringing beautiful things into the everyday!
Prototype Scarves and Totes from my DragonCon 2019 display. It’s time to redesign them with your feedback in mind! I still have a few of these prototypes available in my Secret Shop, as well.
My tentative biz goals for 2023:
- Mandala & Goddess Tote Bags, Apparel, & Journals
- Frame & photograph the complete set of Birthstone Goddess paintings
- Kickstarter Project in Late Spring – Mandala Enamel Amulet Necklaces
- Kickstarter Project in Late Fall – Birthstone Goddesses Wall Calendar
- Designing Gift Sets for each Goddess’ Collection by the holidays!
- Re-launch this Patreon with Exclusive Merch!
- Finish setting up automation with Art of Where & Printful
- More video content & streaming! Without conventions, I need face time with folks again. I miss your faces!
A Big Decision – Birthstone Goddesses Art Book Delay?
One of the biggest decisions I’ve made this year is that I don’t think I have the energy in me to do the Birthstone Goddesses art book I wanted to do. I could either release that book now as a simple collection of my years of work on this project OR I could set this book for a later time where I’m able to create a few of the experimental paintings I had in mind to include, as well as create the luxury experience I feel would make the book special. I’ve opted for the latter.
Waiting till later means I can give myself the space away to not be burnt out by spending the time on the book that I’d like to in order to make it extra special! I’ve been working on this project for so long and I need a break before I come back to the book at a later point in my life.
As for this Patreon?
I’m still aiming to re-launch this space with a bit of restructuring to make it more of a low key Tip Jar with a few extra options for those who’d like to collect some premium exclusive goodies. I’ll still be sharing my experience and archive of material (coloring pages, tutorials, Secret Shop, etc), but I’ll be adding material here at my own pace instead of overwhelming myself. More details on that when the re-launch is actually happening! Right now this Patreon is staying in Tip Jar mode for health reasons.
I have another minor surgery for a hernia repair of an old surgical incision in my belly scheduled for tomorrow (eep!), so that’s definitely delaying my start to the year! Designing the exclusive merch will have to wait till I’m able to sit up comfortably again. 2022 had one last sucker punch to give, it seems!
After that, though, I hope to hit the ground running and give you guys a tour of the new studio space because it’s so amazing aah!
I’ll be back soon with hopefully more substantial updates and new things to share after a little recovery time. Till then! I hope you all are good!