Category: progress report

Sally Forth into the New Year!

After a weekend of new years reverie, I return to this journal with renewed vigor and the usual contemplation this time of change brings about. It started out with a meme on DeviantART:

2009 A Year of Art in Review by =ladydove7 on deviantART

I started off this past year with a lot of uncertainty about where I wanted to go with my art. I knew the kinds of things I wanted to draw, but not how I would be able to get there or where to take my first step. In February, I was just coming off graduation from SCAD and nearly a full year of creative stifling in which I did hardly any creative writing or art. The previous year was not a waste, however, as I learned so much about advertising and the business side of things that I was bursting with ideas for my creative half once I finally got the time to sit down and think things through for myself.

I wanted to go into more narrative works this year, but due to other prospects, ended up venturing into the soothing pastels of angelic territory for an upcoming project. With a year of possibilities ahead of me, I’m full of anticipation to see how current efforts pay off and also to really push Angelic Shades beyond merely a pipe dream and into a successful business venture!

Here’s the short list of my New Years Resolutions:

* Finish the Rapunzel Project

* Start researching for the Archangels Series (and the subsequent Fallen Archangels Series)

* Hit the art fair and convention market HARD! I’m due for more personal appearances

* Make time for exercise before I turn into a giant McNugget

* Read more books, starting with the rest of the Kushiel’s Legacy series

* Start a sketch group (or at least have one night for doodling and research out of the week)

Things I have no intention of changing in the next year (in response to Hayley’s list):

* Drinking green tea and Godiva coffee. This routine has become regular muse bait.

* Chatting with friends online & networking. Some of the most inspiring people in my life live oceans away.

* Being obsessed with the devil in the details, for he is a wily beast I must pursue! My work wouldn’t be the same without him.

* Researching when I should be sleeping (aka. MOAR research!). Let’s face it, I couldn’t stop doing this if I tried.

* Playing video games and watching cartoons. I’ll never grow up! I’m a Toys R Us kid!

*Ignoring the unconstructive naysayers. Creativity & creative businesses cannot survive without constant enthusiasm, positivity, and being willing to face the unknown!

Going Official Celebration! + More Art to Come

There is a saying that every journey begins with a single step. Sometimes we fall, trip, or get distracted from the path by shiny objects. Eventually we reach a point where we can stop and realize there is more of the road behind us than there is ahead. You’re almost there! Almost…

I’m happy to report that after much deliberation on the matter, I have finally registered as a sole proprietor art studio in my county. It was not as scary as I would have thought it to be. I was imagining men in suits with monocles there to tell me I didn’t make enough or that I suddenly owed money because I haven’t been organized with my practices till this point. Instead, I got pleasant clerks who kindly directed me to the proper locations and smiled wide at my mom and I high-fiving when we finally received the little cardstock business license. There wasn’t much fuss, besides filing the wrong paperwork because I didn’t realize we’re technically an unincorporated residence out here in the boonies of Georgia.

If anyone is particularly curious, we are registered as a home-based business, which means that no retail sales are occurring on the premises (as I sell art purely online or via 3rd party venues, at this point). This sort of designation works for artists, authors, seamstresses, etc who provide a service without actually handling retail sales in a structure (meaning we don’t need to worry about safety permits and the like that other businesses would need, or at least this is how things work in my county)

Numbers can be scary, and while this means I will have to pay more attention to things like proper book keeping, I am so relieved to finally be organized, to have all those numbers and slips of papers that mean I have nothing holding me back from moving forward with this venture. The number of things to fear are growing less and less.

Now pass around the margaritas, throw a steak on the barbie, and shout to the Heavens, it’s time to kick some butt and show the world I mean business (literally).

For the next entry, I think I’m going to actually show you guys progress shots of the next paintings I’m working on. I realized that for a blog entitled ‘the Art Blog of Angela Sasser’, I haven’t really posted much artwork!

So prepare thyselves for some visual stimulation, in the meanwhile.

DragonCon Diary 09 – The Calm Before the Storm

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’s been a quiet week on this blog and for that, I apologize. Life has a way of catching up to us and it doesn’t help that I decided to take on the task of entering a contest at the very last minute. I took a quick break from convention prep to try for the OnAngels Magazine art & literature contest, where they have promised to match the prize money for a charity or college department, and I honestly love the school fundraising ideas they have. It was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. If you’re curious to see my entries for it, you can spy me at the bottom of the entrants page.

Now, it’s back to the grind, and back to flailing and trying to get things done for Dragon Con and AWA! All while still keeping up with deadlines and commissions. The lists continue to shrink and evolve and look something like this now:

Things I’ve finished:

  • Applied for the EIN, but now it seems they’re taking a long time to get back to me about what my number is. If I can’t get it sorted out, than I may have to take cash only for a little bit longer.


  • Finished 3 sets of cameo necklaces with matching earrings. They were super fun to make, so expect more, once I find a good wholesale source for supplies. (Sneaky peek of necklaces).


  • Finished the contest entry, which will also be doubling as the centerpiece painting for my Dragon Con display. (Sneaky peek of the painting, a special treat for those who watch this blog)


  • I don’t have time to make the brochures I’d planned, so I made little magnets with a picture and my website on them instead.


  • All my prints are bagged, tagged, and ready for new homes!


The Current Workload

  • Working on more glass tile art pendants. I’ll be gussying them up with Swavroski crystals and other shiny beads.


  • Also gussying up matboard with acrylic paint and sponge texture to make some unique mats for display. I’ll be custom painting some of the mats with acrylic too.


  • Drawing out the design for the Dawn mask I’ll be making out of leather. It will be my first try at a mask and is inspired by the Comedy/Tragedy theme of Linsner’s comic. There might also be chains, roses, and rhinestones involved. I still have the wrist rose to figure out. I’m thinking floral wire and a fake rose. I’ve finally bought the perfect bodice to go with the outfit.


Things that still need doing!

  • 3 ceramic charity pigs still need to be designed.


  • Saving the matting for last, as usual. I’m waiting on a v-grooving tool I ordered so I can do my own decorative matting.


  • What am I forgetting???


Things are wrapping up quite nicely and I’m very hopeful for a successful con! Once the con arrives, I’m hoping to continue blogging as things happen and also might bring the camcorder along to document the chaos.

Right now, it’s only the calm before the storm!

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!

    Late Spring Cleaning & Other News

    With the last days of Spring nearing and the onset of Summer, it’s time for that annual compulsive urge for Spring Cleaning! Out with the old, in with the new! (Or perhaps it’s the fact that it’s getting really hot here in Georgia and I am less compelled to go outside). That means I’ve finally sat down and done some things I’ve been meaning to do. Including, but not limited to the following:

    – Finally made the following prints available as Limited Editions through Angelic Shades:

    – The very same prints are now available in my DeviantART and Zazzle shops as various products. The Zazzle post cards and calendars are even more awesome than DA’s because I can customize the backs and add text. The calendars are also available with various colors for the wire binding and in three different sizes. Here’s just a sampling of what I have available on Zazzle:

    make custom gifts at Zazzle

    – I recently sat and made a Google calendar of what convention art shows I’m hoping to participate in. There’s not much on it now, but I hope to have a full schedule soon once I do a bit MOAR research. If you know of any good shows accepting fantasy themed work, do drop me a line! Right now, I’m aiming for San Diego Comicon, Dragon Con, and Anime Weekend Atlanta for certain.

    – Speaking of Dragon Con, the great convention rush begins bright and early! I’ve never really had a table space that wasn’t sad and amateurish. I’m currently researching ways to make a winning table display that doesn’t look like I’ve propped it up on some cardboard boxes with a home printed banner. Any tips from anyone out there about what makes a successful table? So far I’ve got grid cubes and…well…that’s it.

    Still a long way to go before I’ll be ready for Dragon Con’s Artist Bazaar, but that’s why I’m starting early!

    Has the Spring Cleaning bug hit anyone else these days? I always find it refreshing to get those nagging tasks done so I can get back to the arting.

    Temporary Amnesia

    Quickie Updates

    • I’ve just reserved the name Angelic Shades L.L.C. with my county. Just one step closer to actually registering the business! Just have to do a little MOAR RESEARCH first.
    • How anti-climactic. I’ve just received my Masters degree in Arts Administration in the mail…after being graduated for almost a year now. Margarita time!
    • In another miracle of productivity involving two sleepless nights, I’ve completed my entry for DA’s Bring Your Vision to Life contest. I doubt I have a snowball’s chance in HFIL but it was fun to be able to enter a contest. I normally watch them pass by and long for the free time it takes to enter.

    Now, on to the post…

    After drawing about 10 faces and heads for a tutorial, it occurred to me that I had randomly forgotten how to draw ears. It’s true, I know what an ear looks like. I see them on my head, and the heads of other people, every day…and yet, I just could not draw the ear properly for the life of me, which was not so conducive to getting a tutorial on drawing heads completed.

    This has happened to me before when I’ll look down in complete horror at a sketch and realize that a character’s head is two times too big or he has the hands of a greyback gorilla instead of the masculine handsome hands I was aiming for.

    It’s not that I don’t know what hands look like and that I don’t know how to draw them, I just seemed incapable of drawing that particular feature on that particular day.

    What causes this widespread phenomena amongst artists? Is it a matter of merely being out of practice at minuscule details? Is there some invisible gremlin muse sitting on the ends of our pencils laughing maniacally as he forces our pencil to make the wrong choice of curvature? Perhaps we’ve merely forgotten at that specific moment of time where all of our previous practice and training vanishes thanks to temporary amnesia?

    Or maybe it’s the margaritas? (I swear I wasn’t drinking one when this first started occurring today!)

    The mind boggles and I blame J.J. Abrams just because I can.

    Anyone else suffer from this condition? Share your tales of woe so that we may lament together in our temporary ineptitude!

    The Need to Fly

    Quickie Updates:

  • Just finished writing half of Chapter 1 of the semi-secret book project, now begins the illustrating!
  • Working on entering more shows this year, including Mobicon, Dragoncon, and San Diego Comic Con. Cross your fingers for passing dcon jury! I may have a table this year, if all goes to plan.
  • Dabbling with new tile pendants and jewelry designs (keep an eye on my jewelry sketchbook and Etsy Updates for more)
  • Working on a possible entry for the Good vs Evil contest
  • Trying to repress the project fairy so I can get work done!
  • More ramblings about angels in art…

    This weekend, I had the great pleasure of riding with Windfalcon to visit the birds of prey wildlife center at Georgia Southern University. Besides getting some wonderful reference shots of these graceful creatures, I found myself thinking on the meaning of wings. With angels on my mind lately for several projects I’m working on, I’ve been pondering the reason why so many artists and poets decided to meld these feathery appendages with the human form throughout the ages.

    What is it about the inclusion of wings that has marked these beings as divine? Perhaps the ability to fly , an unprecedented thing for early man, makes them boundless? Perhaps the untouchable beauty of watching a bird in flight inspired these artists to try and recapture that awe within the human figure? If ancient man was so fascinated by the impossible prospect of flight that they reflected this need upon angels, why, then, does modern man still find it so fascinating? We have long been capable of flight thanks to the Wright brothers, and yet, most angels are still drawn with wings.

    What might an angel look like in modern imagery if we try to reflect what we are incapable of achieving in the depiction of their form, just as ancient man did in adding wings? Instead of a fiery sword, would an archangel carry an AK-47? A dragonscale bulletproof bodysuit over a set of Roman plate mail? These days, instead of wings, most angels in modern movies and books seem to wear long black trench coats and sashay dramatically with long, gorgeous locks of hair. Even more, these seemingly pure creatures have become sensual and human in a way that has added an edgy fascination for many.

    Whatever the reason, I can personally see why early man might have chosen to give a human the grace of a bird, just from peeking into that world of birds of prey and watching these lightweight hunters float soundlessly on the air, or fly so fast they barely leave an imprint in my vision. Birds really are wondrous creatures…a pity we mainly ignore them because we’re simply too used to them being around us.

    I suppose we should thank/blame Windfalcon for this post. She bit me with her bird fever. If anyone’s interested, I’ll be posting up some of the reference footage I shot while at the raptor center at my YouTube page sometime soon once I get permission to do so.

    Until next post, enjoy this contemporary take on a classical archangel.

    Serious Business!

    There’s that funny word ‘business’ popping up in this journal again. As many of you know, or may not know, I’ve been working towards getting my studio name, Angelic Shades, off the ground as an independent, one employee, go-to art studio for fantasy illustration for the past couple of years. My dream is to work in illustration while writing and illustrating my own books. I didn’t think about seriously establishing it as a business till I wrote business and marketing plans for Angelic Shades in grad school last year. It occurred to me that perhaps it WASN’T so impossible as everyone made it out to be.

    Even still, I’ve waffled back and forth on what to do and ran away screaming when I’ve come up against the extra taxes, registration fees, and insurance that come along with starting a business. Lately, with the promise of a huge commercial project on the horizon, I realize I need to get serious about incorporating if art is going to be my main means for an income for my own sake, and for the sake of organizing my finances. I’ve been looking at the following forms of business setups and trying to make a decision. I am in no way a lawyer or an accountant. These descriptions are what I’ve garnered from my own readings and attending lectures and are how I understand them:

    Sole Proprietorship – This form of business is the easiest to form. All you need is a business license, employer ID number, and tax ID number.


      * Easy to setup and manage

      * Tax forms are filed as part of your personal taxes


      * There is no separation between your personal income and your business income, meaning your assets are in danger and you have no liability protection if sued for damages, or any other such reason.

    The Limited Liability Corporation – The LLC combines the best of the sole proprietorship and allows for great flexibility in taxation, depending on what form of LLC is chosen.


      * Protection of personal assets from damage claims.

      * Taxes are handled as an attachment on your personal taxes for each managing member (or in this case just you if you are operating it alone)

      * Flexible taxation. LLC can be changed to suit the business’ needs


      * More complicated setup process involving the creation of articles of formation and other declarative documents.

      * Higher fees for registration.

    And let’s not forget the PRO for starting a business or being self-employed in general:

    TAX DEDUCTIONS! This subject is a whole other ball of wax that I’ll go into on a later post.

    Many of the artists I have interviewed chose a Sole Proprietorship as their business format due to its ease, but also, I believe, because they began practice before the establishment of the relatively new form of LLC, which first came about in the late 70’s. I also noticed a few of the artists I’ve spoken to have opted to form Corporations for themselves, due to the heavy amount of product licensing and business dealings they handle. Personally, I am avoiding the Corporation as the thought of double taxation on shares and having to do separate tax forms sounds like a bit of overkill for my small start. In the future, I may tackle the formation of a Corporation, but for now, LLC sounds like the way I want to go!

    It may be more setup, but the protection against losing my personal assets sounds wonderful if, for example, a piece of art should fall on someone’s head at an art show or someone decides to sue me for copyright infringement for whatever reason. These cases are extreme, but they can and do happen.

    So now begins my quest to tackle my fear of paperwork, tax forms, and record-keeping. I hope that in a month from now, I can proudly declare that I am no longer just Angelic Shades, but Angelic Shades incorporated!

    If any of you have already incorporated your small businesses (or are thinking about it), what business formats have you chosen? How has it helped you with furthering your ambitions? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.