Category: professional tips

[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 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.)


Epson Artisan 1430

Staples Premium Matte Photo Paper

Avery Full Sheet Labels

Logan Compact Mat Cutter

Paper Cutter


Bags & Backing

Custom Playmat Printing

Dice Bags

In Defense of Pretty Pictures

So lately I’ve been seeing a lot of this particular statement:

“You draw pretty pictures all day. How hard can it be?  That’s not a real job.”

Let me tell you that this particular statement on its lonesome is a fast track to getting on an artist’s bad side for many reasons.  The first being it is a product of oversimplification.

Oversimplification – It is like saying that a football player just runs up and down a field.  A basketball player runs up and down a court.  Tennis players are just hitting a ball back and forth.  A writer is just making up pretty words in random order.  By making these statements, you are grossly simplifying the process of creation and action that goes with any of these respective professions.

Sure, the end product may be a pretty picture, but let me tell you, it takes a lot of effort to make a fully realized ‘pretty picture’ with a harmonious color scheme, an interesting composition, and an internal narrative!  An artist’s job is to solidify those random elements into something more than the combination of its parts.  If this were so easy, why aren’t you doing it?  Artists are constantly learning, improving, practicing, contemplating.  If they’re not, they stagnate.  Being a successful artist is an ongoing process, and it takes effort.

To say nothing of how long it takes to photograph, document, organize, categorize, and list our work in online shops.  I do all of this with me, myself, and I.  I am my own web designer, shop manager, photographer, publicist, and cheerleader.  Nobody else.

Secondly, what defines a real job?  Is it making a six figure salary?  Is it sitting in a cubicle pretending to be busy when your boss walks by?  Is it bossing around those beneath you so you can feel important?  To me, a real job does indeed involve making money, but I personally do not want fame, self-importance, or a six figure salary.  I want a salary that’s well enough to afford hot water, the internet, a decent place to live, food, and maybe a fun game or two every once and awhile.  It may not be the best job in the world, but doing it makes me happy and brings me a pittance of a paycheck. For me, that defines my ‘real job’.  I could go be a janitor and probably make more (with benefits) but I would probably be working as hard and less happy.  Every job has its own complications and positive aspects, no matter how easy or hard you think it is.  It’s all in how we balance our own personal expectations.

For now, this balance works for me and that is my prerogative.  We can’t forget, also, that there’s a chance that eventually I will be making six figures if I play my cards right and work hard, but that is not the most important thing in my set of life goals.  Most artists don’t go into art to make gobs of money, that’s for sure!

Now let’s get back to that ‘pretty picture’ statement again.  So yes, I draw angels, elves, and ‘pretty’ things.  Do they have any deep societal meaning?  Well, maybe not on the surface.  They generally aren’t making statements on hot topics and political issues, but is the aim of bringing enjoyment to those who like to look at pretty shiny things (or read fantasy books, or watch fantasy movies, or read fiction in general) really so cheap of a goal? Have we become so caught up in the haste of our society that we can’t stop to let our imaginations wander anymore?  Anything that distracts us from the goal of making money is a ‘waste of our time’?

The next time you feel like making this sort of statement either to an artist’s face or behind their backs, consider this – If being an Artist isn’t a real job, then where does every single bit of advertising, book cover, TV show, blockbuster movie, the music on the radio, and yes even the very Fonts we look at every day come from?  How can the world be surrounded by Art all the time and not appreciate the work that goes behind it?  It’s baffling to me.  Maybe we’re spoiled by the fact we see it every day and know little behind the process and hard work that goes into it?

I shudder to think what the world would be like if that Zombie Apocalypse happens and we are left without the ability to fill our world with these amazing things we take for granted.  It will be a dark world, indeed!

But who knows, maybe we’d have an appreciation for things then?  That would be something…

Back to Formula

As we say goodbye to 2010, I have to be honest and say that this year ended with a fizzle.

Sales were down, conventions were slow, and I hit the biggest burnout of my professional career thus far around mid-year. I lost my urge to draw and escaped to the loving arms of leather crafting (which proved surprisingly lucrative and therapeutic).  I started to think I’d never be able to keep up with competition.  I had so much to learn and a to-do list that never seemed to shrink.  The Muse seemed to have flown the coop permanently.

And that is when I realized something.  I’m the boss here, not the Muse!  I show up for work every day and the Muse generally mosies in after coffee and emails.  The hardest part for me lately is showing up for work, sitting down at the art desk, and at least attempting to get those ideas down on paper, regardless of any intended success or failure.  This, I realize, is the state of being an artist for a living.  Uninspired or not, it is time to work!  You must preserve a state of blind optimism that the inspiration will come and that you are a professional, whether the so-called Muse flies in that that day or not.  Your art, whatever market you target, will equal returns of some sort and a feeling of satisfaction that makes the job worthwhile.

(I imagine the real problem would be if the inspiration or satisfaction in my work never comes. Then it might be time to consider other career paths.)

And so I have decided to take this year back to formula.  I started this business of art with the firm belief that I had something I wanted to share with the world, that what I wanted to share was worth noting.  What I have here is fantastic!  Fabulous!  Phenomenal!  Awe-inspiring, and, yes, maybe even worth paying for!

In this new year, I endeavor to do the following:

  • Keep whittling down the art to-do list, even if it never shrinks.
  • Explore digital media without fear of ‘sucking big time’!
  • Don’t shy away from ambitious projects just because they won’t make money NOW.
  • Start charging what I’m worth for the time put into my masks! Apparently I charge too little…
  • Return to nature!  It always gets me inspired, even if it’s just sitting on our dock meditating for awhile.
  • Go to the museum more.  We have a membership and I barely use it.
  • Read more. My visual and mental vocabulary need expanding!
  • Join my local art society and stop being such an introvert! (Or worrying that my work won’t fit in) 

What do you plan to do in this new year?  Who’s the boss in your studio, you or the Muse?

How many of you thought of Spider-Man when you saw the post title?

A Hobby Away from My Hobby

Well, it seems I can not avoid this little text box any more! I’ve been so holed up away from human contact in order to press ahead on some deadlines that I’ve sorely neglected my little corner of cyberspace.

In truth, I’ve also been taking time out for myself to visit with old friends and break the shackles from the computer and art desk for a few evenings. Sometimes we just need to unplug and get out of the darkness, especially for work-at-homers who don’t get to socialize with others as much. Sitting in the dark on the computer or art desk, while effective for producing a vampire-like pallor, is not conducive to good health in the long run!

It’s become even more apparent to me lately the subtleties of switching from an art hobbyist to a professional work-at-home type. Not only is there the lack of a social workplace, but there is also the fact that if I’m not careful, I’ll work myself into the ground! It’s an easy thing for me to think up things that need to be done and much harder to sit and relax with idle hands. I’ve always been a bit of a work-o-holic and I can guarantee those that think working at home is nothing but laziness and fun will think differently if left to their own devices! If you don’t work, you don’t get paid, you don’t get your next job, and you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself.

In order to keep myself sane these days, I’ve turned to a ‘hobby away from my hobby’. With drawing and painting my main job, I find myself sadly less willing to paint and draw on my own personal projects. My friend, who plays iphone games that pay real money recommended it, and the urge is still there, but the exhaustion can prevent me from really putting my all into personal pieces. I’d rather not work on them at all if I can’t put as much love and attention into them as I do for my professional work!

And that is where my old love of handicrafts has arrived to save the day! I was an avid friendship bracelet maker, a knitter, a pop-up book maker, and a sculptor back before painting and drawing consumed my life. If I could not create 2D things for pleasure, than I can create 3D things to appease the muse! This has led to a flurry of new jewelry experiments and a renewed interest in leathercrafting. I love to experiment and learn new things and it feels so wonderful to have an outlet that gets me away from the computer and using my hands in a more physical manner.

(The morbidly curious can go see some of my latest handicrafts here)

More importantly, I enjoy the change of pace as I have not quite gotten used to the monotony that is sleeping, working, and relaxing all in the single room that is my studio and bedroom!

So if you can’t find me at my art desk or computer these days, look for me in the beading aisles of Joanns and Michaels where I am happily immersed in saving my own sanity!

How about all of you? Work-at-Homers, how do you deal with the monotony of home life? What are your other hobbies that keep you from going insane? Or are you already insane and hoping for a change of pace?

The Evolution of an Artist’s Alley Table

(My display has since leveled up! See the new display.)

After the last couple of conventions, it seems my artist’s alley table is growing and evolving into something grand! I am always seeking ways to improve and welcome any suggestions you might have.

It started out at an Anime Weekend Atlanta of years ago where I just tossed unmatted and unbagged prints on the table and sold them for $5-$10 with a banner hung out front. Then we had the Dragon Con display this year with an elevated banner and slightly more offerings of necklaces and matted prints.

Now, we have the Anime Weekend Atlanta display where we pulled out a few more stops to make our display the best it could be. Here’s a run-down of what we did.

The Elements of an Artist’s Alley Table

1. One Sleep Deprived Artist – Complete with circles under the eyes and friendly smile. Customers like to see the artist at the table so they can talk to you personally and maybe watch you while you’re working on a project. People like to be close to that creative flow and are generally curious about ‘the life’. ($100,000,000 or 100 steak dinners)

2. Professionaly Printed Vinyl Banner – Printed at my local sign shop by my wonderful brother over at Graphic Signs Atlanta. I chose vinyl because it can take abuse and weather the elements. It’s guaranteed to last longer than a paper sign. (FREE, generally $6 per square foot)

3. Backdrop Display – This is actually a piece of photography equipment called a backdrop kit. The poles break down and it comes with a handy carrying case to store it all in. It is relatively lightweight. I generally use this set for my stock photography needs. Bought from eBay. ($85)

4. Jewelry Stand – My dad made this wood stand ages ago and I stole it from my parents’ bedroom. I always wanted to order a 14k gold necklace to keep inside it but never could get the money together. You can buy cute tree style stands from eBay for pretty low prices. Having a stand for necklaces helps draw in the crowd with more visibility for your shinies. (FREE, generally $25 for a nice one, less for a wire one)

5. Small Prints – I like to have these out for folks who don’t have a large budget for buying the larger pieces. At only $5 a pop, they’re a colorful way to help fill up empty space on the table and provide a low end price option.

6. 3 Tiered Magazine Display – Purchased from Instead of magazines, I put in matted prints. People enjoyed rifling through it, but I want to invest in one with deeper compartments with more room for people to flip through. ($30)

7. Greeting Card Rotating Rack – Purchased from I used this to display matted 4×6 prints and unmatted 5x7s which fit snuggly in the slots. It’s amazing how a rack like this can give your work a more professional feel. This is pretty lightweight for transport, if a bit bulky. ($35)

8. Canvas Bin – Purchased at Big Lots. I used this to display more large prints to rifle through for those who wanted something a little more beefy than the 5×7’s. ($15)

9. Cube Grid Walls – Another item that was donated to me. These grid walls were a lifesaver for making my display project upwards more. They stack easily when broken down and give you plenty of space to play with as far as hanging art. I had only 6 cubes, but imagine what you could do with more! (FREE, generally $16 for 6 cube set)

What am I missing?

Display Portfolio – I didn’t have it out in this photo, but I had a portfolio of my best work laying out on the table housed in an Itoya notebook with a custom printed spine. ($8)

All in All…
I feel the weakness of this display setup is that it is slightly bulky, but the ability to project upwards I feel is a necessary one for my tastes. I’ve also been told carrying primarily more expensive items forces people to buy those instead and that a lighter setup is easier to do. My experiences have shown this does not work for my particular set of items and audience, though this lighter setup with more expensive items may work at conventions where customers are more willing to pay for top dollar items. At smaller cons, customers seem to like an option for smaller budgets.

The next big step in my display campaign is to figure out what I need for a large 10 x 10 foot space, the standard floor plot for art fair space. I sense canvas panels, tents, and god knows what else in my future!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to drop ’em here!

DragonCon Diary 09: The Aftermath

Diary Entries Thus Far:
Dragon Con Diary 09: Pre-Con Prep
Dragon Con Diary 09: To Charge or Not to Charge?
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Rush Begins
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Calm Before the Storm
Dragon Con Diary 09: Matting Madness!
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Aftermath
Dragon Con Diary 09: Video & Photo Stream

It seems I have survived my first Dragon Con as a vendor! This convention never ceases to amaze me with its enthusiastic fans, wonderful costumery, and sheer size. Statistics say that over 30,000 people venture to this convention, a number which grows every year! As for being a business venture, I have mixed feelings.

The Good

I can’t describe how heartwarming it was to meet so many people I haven’t seen in so many years! Many old college friends stopped by my table to express how happy they were to see a colleague of theirs succeed, and even bought items to show their support. I also had more fun sitting and chatting at my table with con-goers and other artists than I’ve had in years past rushing to panels, standing in mind-numbingly long lines, and otherwise running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It was so nice to just sit and talk, which I find also helps you sell your work. All in all, I must have given out over 500 of the business cards I purchased in bulk from vistaprints. I even met a couple of artists and professionals who seemed very interested in commissioning work or collaborating on future ventures. I am hoping this bodes well for my future!

The Bad

The strained economy really showed this year at the art show. Barely any pieces went to voice auction and many things did not get bid up as much as they had last year. For instance, the community art canvas where all the artists get together and draw on a huge canvas to be auctioned for charity sold for $400 last year, while this year it went for half that much. By the same token, many folks seemed to be buying at Quick Sale prices just to be sure that their item wasn’t bid up, which can be advantageous for artists.

I personally did not sell exceedingly well in my gallery panel, and yet, I had so many folks buy directly from my artist’s table where they could talk to me and be persuaded to purchase something. Unfortunately, my table items were small and did not equal the amount of profit I would’ve gotten if more expensive original art had sold. This means I’ll either have to raise prices on small stuff, lower prices on originals, come up with higher priced items for the table, OR lower my convention expenses so I can break even more easily.

The Ugly

I operated at a loss this time around thanks to some bad decisions on my part. The cost of food, a hotel room, and parking really ate into profits and I am considering driving in next year (as I am only 30-45 minutes away from the con). After going for 5 years as a non-vendor, I really have no interest in the night life and was far too exhausted after a day of peddling my wares that I really have no interest in staying at the hotel during this convention to party anymore.

I caught one concert that I enjoyed and had much fun chilling with my artist hotel roomies, but all in all, it was exhausting to try and combine vacation time with trying to sell things. With the art show hours ranging from 10am to 8pm, it was murder to stay up late and get up early for 3 days in a row after already pulling all-nighters just to get things prepped in time to stock the table, the gallery panel, AND the print shop. I just don’t have the energy to do it all anymore (oy makes me feel old saying that!).

Things I Learned:

  • GET A CREDIT CARD PROCESSOR! Many people moved on once they learned I only took cash. I suspect my sales would have been very much higher with a processor. I saw folks using their phones to process things. I may have to try that!
  • Bring your own food! It’s never priced reasonably at the hotels. We asked for a fridge, but it was never brought to us and therefore we had to subsist on overpriced sustenance.
  • People like small things that are not just flat art! I had many folks say they are avid collectors with walls too full with art and closets overflowing with art they have no room to hang anything anymore. My best selling item, hands down, were my art tile pendants. I even had requests for post cards as well. Seems to be a trend towards art they can use.
  • People want to talk to the artist. If they can connect with you on a personal level, they are more apt to buy your stuff.
  • Don’t put a business card in each print package. People buying multiple prints end up with multiple cards when it’s much easier (and cheaper) to simply use a mailing label with your info on it for each print instead.
  • Ugly pegboard can be covered with a variety of creative material! I saw people using canvas cloth with velcro so they could easily attach it to the boards. I used silver velvet which isn’t slippery, but still resilient enough to allow me to poke through it without damaging the cloth overmuch. It greatly improved the look of my panel.

    In the end, it was a sobering and enlightening convention. As with every year, I’ve left the art show feeling inspired to really pull out my big guns and do all I can to improve myself and my work.

    Till next time, Dragon Con! I will miss you and your $4 hamburgers:)

    Stay tuned for some picture and video spam from the con. It should all be processed and uploaded by the end of the week!

  • DragonCon Diary 09 – The Rush Begins

    Diary Entries Thus Far:
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Pre-Con Prep
    Dragon Con Diary 09: To Charge or Not to Charge?
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Rush Begins
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Calm Before the Storm
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Matting Madness!
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Aftermath
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Video & Photo Stream

    With a little over a month until Dragon Con, it seems like it will take a miracle to get everything I’d like to do done. Now it seems I’ve been accepted into the Artist Alley of Anime Weekend Atlanta (table 38), which means I’m preparing for this convention at the same time as Dcon, since AWA is a mere week after it.

    The plan? To sell off any extra I might have leftover from dcon at AWA, but also to have enough prepared so that there will BE extra items for the pandering after Dragon Con. San Diego Comic Con has just finished so I’m hoping my artwork will be returned in time to use for the next few cons. I’m also hoping I did well so that any sales will help fund the incoming round of craziness!

    Without further ado, here are the ultra fun lists of my progress thus far!

    Things I’ve completed (Hurray!):

  • Finished my layout for my art show panel at Dragon Con. (Get a sneak peek at my layout here)
  • Applied for and waiting on my EIN (employer tax ID number) so I can be eligible for merchant status and fun things like credit card chargers
  • Ordered print and products for standing inventory and sorted it into an Access database
  • Started keeping better records of receipts and invoices in Quicken
  • Got a shiny beautiful vinyl banner for my table printed by my awesome brother, Roland.

  • Things I’m currently doing:

  • Working on a new batch of cameo and art tile necklaces
  • Sketching the centerpiece painting for my Dragon Con layout (It needs to be done by August 15th for a contest I want to enter, as well!)
  • Developing a hopefully healthy addiction to green tea

  • Things I still need to do!:

  • Work on designs for my three ceramic piggy banks for the charity auction. I’m thinking a Three Muses theme with gold leaf and rhinestones! I love some blingy pigs.
  • Fill two Itoya portfolios with pretties for people to look at
  • Ponder if I’ll need a pvc frame to hang my banner on or if I can use my backdrop set to double as a hangy thingie. Experimentation is in order.
  • Mat about 40 or more things! I’m avoiding this currently because I REALLY hate matting. I also want to play with the mats by dripping some paint on them or doing some custom designs in acrylic. Still pondering what to do!
  • Received my dcon barcodes and now ready to attach lots of sticky things to my stuff bound for Dcon’s artist alley and art show!
  • Design and print bookmark brochures for my freebie items
  • Working on a makeshift homage costume of Dawn just for kicks (because I’m masochist and don’t already have enough to do). Currently searching for a corset and preparing to make a leather mask and wrist rose.
  • Organize an unofficial little luncheon for artists at the con. I’m looking into reserving space at the Brazilian restaurant, Fire on Brazil on Saturday. Will be sending emails about this one as soon as I know more details!

  • And somewhere during all that, I’ve got to keep working on my book, which is coming along nicely! I’ve reached the halfway mark and will soon be able to reveal a little more about what has been secretly keeping me busy for the past few months. I’ve got many more plans for the future AFTER the con, but I’ll save that for another entry.

    Right now, let us drink in the glory and the caffeine of the pre-con rush!

    DragonCon Diary 09 – To Charge or Not to Charge?

    Diary Entries Thus Far:
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Pre-Con Prep
    Dragon Con Diary 09: To Charge or Not to Charge?
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Rush Begins
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Calm Before the Storm
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Matting Madness!
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Aftermath
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Video & Photo Stream

    When last we left our hero, she was buried under a deadly pile of things to do! But with truth and justice (and coffee!), she has managed to whittle down the lists into something like this:

    I’ve managed to do much of the following for Dragon Con this past week:

  • I split up the print inventory between the print shop, art show, and table at the artist’s alley. Phew! Got a butt load of prints to handle this year! About 3 times the amount I’ve ever had at about 27 pieces for the show, 64 for the print shop, and about 50 more for the table itself. Got all the paperwork turned in with a week to spare instead of the night before!
  • I’ve entered said inventory into Microsoft Access and categorized it all. Egads! Organization?? It can be done!
  • I’ve made about 20 new glass tile art pendants and am waiting for some new cabochon settings to arrive so I can play around with a more elegant jewelry design.
  • Planning an Artist’s Alley Table
    I’ve been researching displays of other folks at artist alleys and there’s a few things that I’ve noticed everyone seems to be doing.

  • PVC Display Frame – This seems like a neat way to display your banner and any signs or art you’d like to draw attention to. Displaying the banner across the top of the frame would be much more visible than hanging it from the front where casual browsers will block it. It looks a little ghetto, though. I’m trying to think of ways to spruce it up.
  • Display Portfolios – I still need to sit and prioritize what goes into the portfolio people will be browsing through at the table and make sure there isn’t anything family unfriendly in it. I’m pondering limiting the portfolio to 10-15 of my best pieces, or raising the number to give people a longer journey through the art?
  • Brochures? – I’ve read of other artists who hand out a brochure showing their process, contact info, links, and fun biographical info about them. I’m wondering if this would be worth the extra expense so people have a freebie to take with them?
  • Freebies – Buy 2 prints, get 1 free! Or maybe not. Things are costing me much this year and I am not sure if a sale like that would be smart. Perhaps I can do that on the last day?

    But of course, there will also be free candy with shiny stuff on it to lure people in! Besides that, there are still many things to do! Including the matting of prints and art for display and making sure everything is autographed, bagged, tagged, and ready to go.

    To Charge or Not to Charge?
    But then what happens when people want to pay? I am considering accepting credit cards, but that has opened up a whole other arena of information to explore.

    First off, most of these places charge per transaction and a monthly fee and require you to be a business (which I am not just yet.) Also, there’s extra equipment to carry and so many choices of services that it makes my head spin!

    And let’s not forget how easy it is these days for people to pay with a fake credit card at the expense of the poor sap (me)! It has me considering accepting debit and cash only.

    The Legend Continues…
    Sadly, I won’t be participating in the Dawn Lookalike Contest this year to give my friend some time to really put her all in it, but I am still planning to deck myself out in the 3 tears of the Goddess, tragedy mask, and wrist rose/chain she is so famous for. Now, I just need to sit and make all of that too! (Masochist much?)

    With 52 days left, and counting, it seems there will be never a dull moment around here!

  • DragonCon Diary 09 – Pre-con Prep

    Diary Entries Thus Far:
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Pre-Con Prep
    Dragon Con Diary 09: To Charge or Not to Charge?
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Rush Begins
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Calm Before the Storm
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Matting Madness!
    Dragon Con Diary 09: The Aftermath
    Dragon Con Diary 09: Video & Photo Stream

    In order to give others an idea of what the life of a convention artist is like, I thought I’d keep an ongoing diary of this year’s preparation and main events for Dragon Con. I attend this convention every year when possible and have done so for the past 5 years or so since it’s the largest one local to me. I may be whipping out the video camera to document the chaos as well once my room is a proper mess of convention madness.

    This will be my first year having a table in the Artist Alley and the largest size panel display possible in the gallery. That’s four beautiful 4×4 foot pegboards all for me! Now to figure out how the heck to fill them!

    So without further ado, let the convention season begin!

    Things I’ve done already:

  • Updated inventory files with new prints
  • Updated website with new shop (still need to make it pretty)
  • Uploaded products to the web (including zazzle & deviantart. Considering Redbubble and others as well). Gotta make sure my online presence is thoroughly fluffed and updated for ensuing convention driven traffic.
  • Purchased a 12 pocket rotating countertop rack for display of small matted prints and a tiered magazine display for showing off the larger matted prints (both from
  • Purchased 500 foil accented business cards from
  • Things I need to do:

  • Re-learn Microsoft Access so I can keep better books
  • Create convention budget and profit/loss projection
  • Recreate inventory master list in Access
  • Design and print the vinyl banner for the table
  • Start matting all the prints to fit in all my shiny spinny displays (50+ 4×6’s to mat?)
  • Handcraft about 25 more art tile and cameo necklaces
  • Estimate how many and which paintings I can complete for display at Dragon Con so I can get my control sheets turned in to the staff
  • Buy proper frames for already matted pieces to display
  • Order more print inventory from
  • Tone up for the Dawn Lookalike Contest (Egads I’m going to be a model??)
  • With only 64 days left till dragon con, the next couple of months are going to be interesting!

    Resources – Watercolors


    – Check out my latest offerings at Esty. Lots of new pendants up! Plus a special offer for those on DeviantART.

    – New paintings in my Fantasy & Scifi Gallery

    + Verdant Muse
    + Angel of Purity

    Lately, I’ve been brushing up on my reading to make sure my skills are sharp for my current projects and it struck me that I should put my obsessive-compulsive researching to good use! I have a fortunate (or unfortunate) habit of collecting art books, links, and all manner of things and figured I would share what I have with you all. In turn, I hope you will suggest other good sources so I can add them to my lists!


    Painting Weathered Buildings in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor by Claudia Nice
    Nice’s books on watercolors are some of the best I’ve seen with plenty of suggestions on how to create textures in watercolor by blending media, using rubbing alcohol, sewing threads, and plenty of unexpected things!

    Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice
    More of the same quality as the last book with tons of illustrations and a focus on creating natural forms and textures.

    Dreamscapes: Creating Magical Angel, Faery & Mermaid Worlds In Watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
    This is technically meant for fantasy artists, but I find that the techniques concerning texture and design are applicable to all artists interested in watercolors. Flipping through the full color pages jammed with fantastical creatures always gets me inspired. Pui-Mun’s work also possesses a particular grace that’s often absent in most fantasy-themed art instruction books,which are generally very cartoonish with generic character designs.


    The Handprint Watercolor Guide – An excellent, extensive, and easy to understand guide about everything from brushes to paints and methods.

    The National Watercolor Society – A great place to consider joining. They host open exhibitions, activities, and other such things that are good for career building. – A handy compilation of images, info, and free tutorials.


    Bob Davies’ Tutorials – An awesome beginner’s video tutorial by bob Davies. Be sure to check out the rest of his easy to understand tutorials on watercolors, watercolor pencils, etc. I really enjoyed his voice and laid back sense of humor as well.

    Watercolor Tutorial by Clap-San – A glimpse into doing a more light and airy style with watercolor by DeviantARTist, Clap-san.

    Want more? Keep an eye on the Resources Section of my forum. Suggest your own resources too! What are your personal favorite resources concerning watercolors?