Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Convention Announcement: NOCAZfest

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What, another con announcement?  And right on the heels of the last one? 

Next weekend is NOCAZfest, and I'm hopefully in Lulling, Louisiana as you're reading this.  To my knowledge, it's the first indie con held in Louisiana, and I'm hoping we can make this first year great together.  Although they solicited donations earlier in the year, the NOCAZfest organizers are currently hosting a Kickstarter up to help raise money to make this event happen not just this year, but for years to come.

I've talked about this in posts relating to Mechacon and LouisiANIME, but I believe it's really important that New Orleans have a comic scene that is all inclusive.  When I was in undergrad, the only 'scene' I knew about were a handful of superhero artists who'd host Drink-n-Draws sometimes.  While those events can be a great opportunity to meet other artists, they weren't the sort of event I was going to attend alone as a young woman in my early 20's.  

I think NOCAZfest IS the sort of event I would've attended as a young woman in my early 20's.  And I wouldn't've gone alone, I would've dragged along any friend who showed the least bit interest in attending.  I want to see comic making, sharing, and buying opportunities in Louisiana, I want people interested in making comics to have an opportunity to talk to those who actively do so.  I want to do my best to improve my home turf for illustrators and comic artists, to do what I can to make New Orleans a decent city to make comics, a city with plenty of opportunities for comic artists.

That's why, even though the timing is flat out awful for me to fly back to New Orleans (I had Anime Blast last weekend, and Memphis Comic and Fantasy Con next weekend), I'm making it a priority to do so.  And it's why even though I donated $50 at application, I also threw in $25 for the Kickstarter.  I believe in this project, and while I don't expect NOCAZfest to blow me away saleswise, I'm really hoping it can grow into the indie comic convention that New Orleans needs.

If you're interested in attending NOCAZfest, they're out of tables, but I believe admission is free.   You can check out the list of exhibitors here.  I was negligent and only recently sent in an avatar (same one I always use, too, double awful), so it may not be up yet, but I'm on there under Becca Hillburn.

Since I'm flying, I can't bring my ridiculous anime con setup, but I'll have copies of 7" Kara volume 1, the Hana Doki Kiri shoujo anthology, and lots more goodies for you guys to check out.  I'll also offer $5 sketches for as long as my hand feels like sketching.  I also made a fresh batch of sassy buttons and super cute bookmarks.

I'm letting my friend, Kelli Sarre, share my table with me, and we'll be at table B5 and 6.  I'll have my half table banner, and lots of kid friendly stuff, so come say hi!

How You Can Help Support Nattosoup Studio

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While you guys never owe me anything, there are a few ways you can help me out if you enjoy the things I share.

  1. Buy 7" Kara, online and at cons. It takes a lot of work to make a watercolor comic, and I don't sell enough books to buy them in bulk. I pay $9 per book (discluding shipping), and buy in batches of 50, so every $20 sale of a book with a sketch helps out a lot! Not only does it repay my initial investment, but it tells me you care about the comics I make, which really motivates me to put in those long days. While I do intend to eventual release Kara as a webcomic, current book sales allow me to meet you guys at conventions, buy supplies for the comic (paper, brushes, paint), and dedicate time to working on it. If you like what you see, consider supporting! I also sell copies in the Natto-shop, or you can email me about purchasing a book.
  2. Follow up online after the convention, or if you only know me online, come say hi at a con! I often feel like I'm working in a vacuum—my convention and online lives are very separate. I really want to bridge that gap.  
  3. Share your favorite posts with your friends! My audience is small and often quiet, please speak up guys! I know you can't afford to support me, but with a larger audience, a little from everyone can go a long way.
  4. If I gave you advice or a portfolio review at a con, consider contributing to my tip jar or donating on the blog. I spent a lot of money while at SCAD, and am professionally qualified to teach art, so even a little bit shows your appreciation for my help! Such contributions also go towards the production of panels and posts that everyone can enjoy.
  5. Tell your friends/family/teachers about me. I attended 18 cons this year, but only gained maybe 100 Tumblr followers.  Spreading the word and boosting my signal helps my sales and gives me cultural value.  Should I pitch to a publisher, I can point to those stats and prove I have an audience already willing to support my work. I'm also very interested in teaching workshops on comic craft, watercolor, and alcohol based markers at local schools and libraries, and having parents/students request my presence may be more productive than pitching workshops myself.
  6. Request art track panels through the con's suggestion form, and mention me. You requesting that I be invited to present goes so much further than me pitching a panel, as it shows an existing, interested audience that values what I have to offer. When I produce panels, I request compensation (Usually a comped table or badge to offset the cost of lost sales), and when others request my presence, cons take that compensation request more seriously. This would particularly be helpful at cons I attend regularly such as Anime Weekend Atlanta, Mechacon, and Middle Tennessee Anime Convention.
  7. Request that your local library acquire a copy of 7" Kara. This is a great way to help me spread the word and introduce even more readers to her miniature world. You can request libraries carry a book in person or online. My book is available to all libraries through Baker & Taylor, my site, or Amazon.
  8. Consider giving original art for Christmas and birthdays. Commissions are a great personalized present, and I handle everything from pet portraits to family portraits, to illustrations of original characters (RP, DnD, tabletop, or from your personal projects). Joseph always commissions artists to draw Kara for me, and it's so exciting to see how others interpret her. Artists love receiving art, so don't let that stop you from indulging yourself or treating a friend. I have a variety of options available to suit a variety of needs and budgets, from con style sketches to beautifully detailed watercolors that are heirloom quality.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Winsor And Newton Gold Ink Test

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I recently became very interested in using metallic paints in my work.  It's not difficult to find decent silvers, pearlescents, and even iridescent paints, but it can be a challenge to find a good gold paint, and the definition for a good gold paint can be flexible.  I wanted a gold paint that was:

A nice shade that is neither too warm and rosy nor too green. 
Applicable with a brush

When I picked up Winsor and Newton's gold ink, I carefully scanned both the box and bottle for information regarding how waterproof the ink was, but found nothing.  I assumed (na├»vely) that it would be waterproof like India Ink once fully dry, rather than completely non waterproof like it's shelfmates.

In order to get the metallic particles evenly distributed, you need to shake the bottle vigorously for a couple minutes.  The ink has a faint odor, and if you leave it open for awhile, it'll evaporate a bit, thickening up.  This is useful, as initial applications are runny.

Winsor and Newton Gold Ink Test 1

Prior to this photo, I'd recently inked Kara holding an acorn charm, and had recorded it with my camcorder.  I hope to have that video up on my YouTube account soon.

Winsor and Newton Gold Ink Test 2

Winsor and Newton Gold Ink Test 3

It applied fairly cleanly, didn't have much of an odor, and was a decent gold shade.  I was pretty happy with the results, but as soon as I applied my first watercolor wash, the gold started to melt!

Winsor and Newton Gold Ink Test Finished Piece
I decided to roll with the punches and kept painting.  My initial layer of gold ink dispersed, leaving a gold sheen on the paper (not visible in this scan).  I reapplied the gold ink after everything dried.
Would I use Winsor and Newton gold ink again?  Sure, I've already got another project planned, this time with the intention of it melting with the application of water.  I'd also recommend it to other artists. 
I'll probably test out a few other gold inks (like FW's Acrylic gold ink) and share the results here as well when I have time.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Madoka Watercolor Piece

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Not so very long ago, my friend Candace asked if I'd be interested in contributing to her Puella Magi  Madoka Magica doujin.  A doujin, for an American audience, is very similar to a fanzine in that it's a small fan-made book that may include essays, comics, and illustrations.  Since Candace's Madoka doujin will be in color, I went ahead and did a watercolor piece (big surprise right?)
I did do a few things different than the status quo, however.  For one, this is on my favorite paper to paint on, Carson's Arches paper.  It's not good for comic pages, but it's excellent for single illustrations.  I really love the tooth and it's ability to absorb and hold water, which makes utilizing watercolor techniques fun and much easier than the cheaper papers I use for long form projects.  I also decided to go for saturated colors- shadows were created by simply layering more saturated tints on top.  Generally I create shadows three ways- layering of similar tints, layering of contrasting color on top of base, layering of 'shadow tone' (usually indigo and Payne's grey, but may also include a purple) on top of base tint.  For 7" Kara and Gizmo Granny, I utilize all three interchangeably, which makes for more realistic color, but may result in a muddy finished illustration.
It was a lot of fun doing something that feels very 'anime', and working on this project gave me an opportunity to check out Madoka.  If you enjoy this piece, you should check out the finished doujin.  I'll be sharing more information on that as soon as I have it, and I definitely look forward to seeing the finished book.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Convention Announcement: Anime Blast Chattanooga

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Hey guys!  This weekend I'll be at Anime Blast Chattanooga, in Chattanooga, TN.  Heidi Black and myself will be making the drive on Thursday, and will be setup and doing business Friday through Sunday. Thus starts another busy convention month, right after Anime Blast, I'm flying to New Orleans to table at NOCAZfest, and then right back to Nashville and on to Memphis for Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention.

Artist Alley Hours:
Friday: (9-10 AM for artists) 12 PM -7 PM
Saturday: (9AM for artists) 10 AM -8 PM
Sunday: (9AM for artists) 10 AM - 4 PM

A map and table number should be coming soon!

Since GMX was a bit of a bust for me (more on that soon), I'll have some familiar watercolored faces at my table.

Yep, same photo from AWA post.  I actually really like this setup, mesh cubes-wise.

Ready to Buy Mini Watercolors

Bob's Burgers Belcher Family Portrait
Child of Light Aurora and Ignatius

Fez indie game

Shoujo Gekkan Nozaku Kun Sakura

Home Movies tv show

Inu Yasha and Kagome

Luna and Artemis, Pikmin, and Kyubie

Sassy Buttons

Sassy Feminist Buttons
A fresh hot batch with brand new, super glittery flowers.

Paracord Keyfobs and Zipper Pulls

These are a collaboration with my mom and feature my double sided clear acrylic charms printed by InkIt Labs.  They come in two sizes- little zipper pulls and big keyfobs, and the keyfobs also include either a whistle, flashlight, or bottle opener.  We're currently making plans to introduce a lot more options, so keep an eye out.

And of course, lots more, including 7" Kara, Hana Doki Kara, and commissions.  I'll have Sailor Badges available in all 10 scouts, and mini dino prints.

I've instituted a new pricing plan for commissions- chibi and pony styles are $5 on Friday, and due to demand, chibi portraits go up to $10 on Saturday and Sunday.  As always, additional characters are just +$5 per character more.   So if getting a sketch from me on the cheap is a priority, please come by on Friday, don't wait until Sunday afternoon.


Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Non Inktober Sketch Dump- September and October 2014

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While Inktober took up much of my October, I had some sketches done in September that I never posted to the blog.  These were sketched using a Black black color pencil.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Inktober 2014 Retrospective

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This year I was able to participate in Inktober, a month long event where artists try to ink one piece per day.  Some do elaborate ink illustrations, others like me just manage to shoehorn an inked doodle at the end of a long day spent doing other things.  Although I do comics on a regular basis, Inktober was a welcome opportunity to practice rendering in the two colors I find most difficult- black and white.

Many comic artists and commercial illustrators participate in Inktober, utilizing the hashtag (#inktober) on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram to share their progress.  This was a great opportunity to not only gain exposure for your own work, but to see what others are doing.  Since Inktober was a community based activity, there was a strong degree of social accountability, which made completing each day's inked piece rewarding.

While I could not ink a piece every single day, I daresay there are at least 31 total inked pieces.  Some days I inked multiples, especially at AWA and GMX, when sales were slow.  Most of these were inked in my sketchbook with a fude pen, Pentel Pocketbrush, and Signo white gel pen.  For the purposes of this post, I've dropped the non photo blue lead in PhotoShop. I have not included the two Inktober pieces I inked with a traditional brush.   One was unsatisfactory, the other I plan on watercoloring and sharing later.

As the month progresses, you'll notice that most of my pieces were of Kara from my comic.  Part of is that for the time being, I suppose she's my muse, the easy source of inspiration.  Another part is that I'm trying to prepare for Volume 2 in advance, and I'd like to give myself lots of material to choose from.

Before and At Anime Weekend Atlanta

Modern Interpretations of Sailor Scouts








After AWA

This was inspired by a technique utilized by some 70's shoujo artists, and still seems some use today amongst seinen artists rendering large crowds.

 At GMX (Tee shirt designs)

 After GMX

And that's that for this year's Inktober.  I'll probably finish inking some of the sketches I prepared throughout the month, and then resume my usual sketchbook practices.