Monday, September 29, 2014

Mini Review: Shutterfly's Printed Shopping Bags

Not so long ago, I reviewed Shutterfly's printed coffee mugs and waterbottles .  At the time, I'd also ordered some of their shopping bags, but I didn't have time to write about them until recently.  Part of the reason I held off was I wanted shots of the bags in action, and part of it was, I admit, just being busy.

I ordered 6 total bags with two designs, and they arrived neatly folded in a smallish orange Shutterfly cardstock envelope.

 The print quality on these bags is good, with the image printed directly on the bag.  It's not an iron on transfer or a sticker, nor does the print job seem likely to flake off.

The bags themselves are pretty standard shopper bags made out of nylon with reinforced seams.  For the price ($14.99), I thought these bags would be made of a nicer fabric, and when I first opened the package, I was concerned that these bags would rip if they held heavy groceries.

I'm not 100% sure what this Velcro loop is for- it doesn't attach to both sides of the bag, so it's not to hold the bag shut or attach the bag to a bike.  Any suggestions?

My lovely, if grumpy, assistant posing with two heavy-grocery laden shopping bags at Whole Foods (he's grumpy because I tricked him into holding the bags while I got a chai latte).  These bags held the groceries with no problems- no strained seams, no tears, no deformed images.  My fears were for nothing.

My Verdict:

These bags are really nice, but they're expensive.  You may want to wait until Shutterfly has a deal before ordering any.  These make great reusable grocery bags, and are a nice, branded way to carry supplies to conventions.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bee and Puppycat Fanart Watercolor

I don't normally do large fanart pieces unless I know the creator, but I made an exception when painting this Bee and Puppycat tribute piece.  Although there hasn't been much released (so far, just one episode and 3 issues of the comic), I'm a supporter of this project.  I've been a fan of Natasha Allegri's from afar for awhile, and Bee and Puppycat is a refreshingly feminine cartoon short that pays homage to her shoujo inspirations.  Its been exciting to watch the project grow in popularity, and I hope this means good things for artists who share an affinity for all things doe eyed and girly.

The Process

I changed up my process while working on this piece to give my Surface Pro 3 a test drive in knocking out roughs.  I worked from a very rough black color pencil sketch that I turned into bluelines in PhotoShop, and sketched on top of it.

Since I wanted the piece to be in a circular 'frame', I cheated a bit and used the circle selection to make a guide that I could roughly trace.  Once finished, I dropped the color, leaving just the black outline, used the Duotone option to make it into bluelines, and printed it on Canson's Moulin du Roy watercolor paper.

After my stretched paper dried, I applied a yellow wash to tint the page.  Once that dried, I knocked in some light blue shadows to provide a bit of a guide when laying in color.

I really enjoy painting on Canson's nicer watercolor papers (like Arches and Moulin du Roy), but they're a bit too expensive to use for painting comic pages.  It's definitely a treat to work on Moulin du Roy after painting on Montval for the past few weeks.  Expensive papers aren't the end all be all to watercolor papers, once you're familiar with a paper's properties, it can be a pleasure to work on almost any decent paper.  I utilize the full gamut of Canson's watercolor papers, from Biggie (Gizmo Granny) to Montval (7" Kara) to Arches and Moulin du Roy (stand alone illustrations and many commissions) because each type offers something the others don't.

Finished except for complimentary shadows, blue toned shadows, white gouache, and yellow highlights added to the tree. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Con Announcement: Anime Weekend Atlanta

Beautifully rendered announcement illustration by Heidi Black.
Heidi and I are going to Atlanta this weekend, because we've both got tables in Anime Weekend Atlanta's Artist Alley! 

Heidi will be at A10
I will be at A09

We're right by the door, so you almost can't miss us!

Tonight I did a partial demo table (discluding my banner and many of my mini watercolors), so here's what to keep an eye out for:

This year I'll have 2 original prints (one of the little cowgirls and a Kara print) as well as my kindergarten Sailor Scout prints.  I'll have dino 4"X6" mini prints sold as a set with all 5 for $3. 

I made sure to make plenty of my popular Sassy buttons.  This new batch includes even more glitter, and lots more flowers, making them much more fancy than the last batch.

The dino mini prints were a bit of an impulse by when Shutterfly had a crazy sale.  I also have mini prints of the Sailor Scout kids if you ask.

Laminated bookmarks for those of us who still read physical books.

I'm trying out a new setup (sidewalls), so it's going to take a little finagling before I properly utilize my space.


My prints are $10 each, or all three for $25.

If you guys missed SPX and TCAF, I'm your Southern hookup for copies of Hana Doki Kira.  I'll be bringing 5 copies with me to AWA, and they're $25 each, or if you buy a copy of 7" Kara Volume 1, you can have both for $35 total.

New Mini Watercolors for AWA

A few cuties who'll be in the upcoming Smash Bros game, and Tsukimi from Princess Jellyfish. 
I hope I get to see some of you guys at AWA!  Make sure you swing by and say hi at A09!

Monday, September 22, 2014

August and September 2014 Sketch Dump

Once I caught up on finishing Mechacon commissions, I eagerly dove into penciling and painting Chapter 5 of 7" Kara and Gizmo Granny.  This year, I've spent most of my time juggling conventions and con prep, so it's rewarding to be able to get back to doing what I love most.  Of course, even though I'm painting all day, I still have to make time to keep my sketching skills sharp, and that means I have plenty of sketches to share for this month. 

Since most of these sketches were done with minimal consideration before picking up a pencil, they tend to be the subject I'm most interested in and familiar with- Kara.  The end of the month definitely turned into a 'Lilliputian Lookbook', as the seasons change here in Tennessee, I've started thinking about what Kara will wear in upcoming chapters.

A little toddler Kara inspired by the sketches from Disney's Animator Collection of dolls.

Some sketches from

A possible Christmas card illustration.

More sketches from and The Sartorialist.

This year's witchy Kara design.  Maybe I'll have time to paint it again this year.

Playing around with Pitt pens- warm grey and cool grey.

Sketches from Senshi Stock.

More sketches from Senshi Stock.

A possible title illustration for Volume 2.  It pays to start thinking about those things early.

A Magical Girl outfit for Kara based on dandelion fluffs and leaves.

Mouths reffed while reading The Epic Adventures of TJ and Anal.

Faces reffed from Simon's Facial Expressions.

Kara and her mother.

Some outdoor sketches in my little backyard.

Inspired by my friend, ByByStarlight's (C. Ellis) ability to draw reallycute kids, I drew some baby Karas.

Noodling with possible hairstyles and clothing choices for Meldina, Kara's mom.

I put together a lot of interesting outfits for Kara by browsing Pinterest.  Lot of cute kids clothes on there.

A Not 7" Kara character design for a fun thing. 
That's that for this month!  I'll be doing AWA and APE during late September and October, and painting a lot of things in my down time, so expect a couple convention reports!