Friday, October 24, 2014

Finally Here

Just checked my mail box to find a large envelope from the Gearhearts Steam-Punk Glamor Revue Magazine.  *exciting*  I just thought about this magazine a few days ago after completely forgetting about it for months.  You see, they contacted me at the beginning of this year about featuring my artwork "Steampunk Test Flight" (aka Steampunk Fantasia).  On their contract, they actually paid for the use of artwork (Which, unfortunately, is kind of rare.  Publications are always so damn eager to point out to you, 'But it's a great EXPOSURE!'. lol) and promised to send 2 copies of the magazine when they're out.

Well, months went by and I didn't hear anything about the magazine or didn't see anything in the mail, so I thought, "Oh, well, this is typical. I probably neither see any money or the magazine, I bet.".  This is sadly pretty much the attitude an artist develops after being out there for a while.  Lots of promises, lots of failed businesses, and lots of crooks ... that's what we deal with more often than I care to mention.  ^^;  Even the ones that pay the legitimate fee up front to use my images for posters, programs, books and magazines, I have seen maybe 1 in 10 would actually send me the final product they promise to send me.  I don't know what's going on with the rest.  Most likely an early onset senior moments galore.

So imagine my surprise when I saw a check in the mail from them a few months ago.  I didn't know which issue of the magazine the artwork was going to be featured on, so I had no idea when to expect what (or even expect anything at all as these types of things go).  I got the sense they were legit because of the artwork use agreement form I filled out and signed.  I was right.

After a few more weeks of waiting though, I thought, "Oh, looks like they forgot about sending me the magazines.  Whatever.".  You can just imagine how thrilled I was to actually see the physical copies of the magazine come in the mail.


You see the cover of the magazine to the left - an awesome cosplay!!  And there it is!  Just inside the awesome cover is my "Steampunk Test Flight"! :D  It's always strangely fun to see my art on print publications.  I don't know why or exactly what, but there's something special about it. :D  I had a lot of fun with this illustration, so it's also nice that somebody else out there liked it enough to have it on their magazine.  Thank you so much, Gearhearts Steam-Punk Glamor Revue!

I don't know if this is because I was born in Japan to Japanese parents, but I always automatically pick up a book in my left hand.  And in the case of English publications, I end up thumb-flipping pages starting with the back cover, moving towards the front.  On my first thumb-through, I didn't see my image anywhere. XD  I only saw it the second time around when I started from the cover, like I was supposed to. LOL

Oh, and you know what else that made me smile?  On the index, it is actually called "Frontspiece", the space my artwork occupies. ^^;  And they spelled my name correctly. *happy happy*  It really shouldn't be such a big deal, but this is another one of routine disappointments I encounter... incorrect spelling of my name.

The print and the line art digi of "Steampunk Test Flight" are available at my Etsy shop.  This image is also featured in the upcoming new coloring book, "Gardens & Goddesses volume 2".



Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Release - Day of the Dead Marie Antoinette

I  thought I'd write about my doodling process today. :D  I say 'doodling', because that's pretty much the attitude that my personality requires for me to tackle something with enough playfulness.  Otherwise, I get a little too serious, and frankly, when that happens, the results are not that great. ^^;  Besides, we should always take things a little less seriously.  Stress is everywhere these days if we're not careful.  The last thing I'd want is 'art' to become 'not fun'.  I've been close in the past, but thankfully, I was able to catch myself in time to prevent a runaway disaster. LOL

Today, I released a new digi, Day of the Dead Marie.  She's a fun mishmash of Mexican Day of the Dead holiday's Catrina face with the Rococo excess of big hair and ornamentation.  Well, I thought it might be fun to draw something like that that involves a lot of details, and it was... for the most part. ^_^

This is where I start.  The rough sketch, or what I call 'the scribble'.   This can happen on any type of paper. (And I mean 'any' type of paper.  I've done a sprite sketch on the back of a store receipt! LOL)  I do have a sketch pad that I bought at an art supply store, but more often than not, an idea would come and I tend to grab any scrap paper with enough open area for a scribble.  This one ended up on a back side of an Etsy receipt I printed for a customer that didn't quite come out right when the printer was set on 'draft'.

When I get started on a poor quality paper like that (although I use a fairly heavy weight, acid-free printer paper for all business-related printings - not art-related printings, mind you), it makes sense to just scan the sketch and open it in my trusty old Corel Painter for digital inking and cleaning.  If I start on a thicker paper (highly unlikely unless I set out with clear intent to begin with), I'd ink on that paper.


And here's a screen shot of the project in Corel Painter.  I'm not a huge fan of the way the stylus tip glides so smoothly (really, too slick for me) on the drawing surface (Wacom Intuos 3).  I prefer the slight resistance of the bristol vellum (140 lb to 150 lb range) for inking...  But I persevere.  It's a trade off.  The 'erase' and 'undo' are truly the most priceless of the functions available when drawing digitally.  It's not fun to have an accident in ink on paper that you can't do much about...  really.  I'd be honest, sometimes I don't feel up to the challenge. LOL

This one took me two afternoons because of the mind-boggling hair details (Them pearls!) and the floral frame.  Although I've gotten pretty quick about drawing roses after drawing so many over the past few years.  The only two things I looked up reference for were the spider and the cat skull.


And here's the final preview of the PNG version of the digi listing.  Another huge plus of drawing digitally is the ease of removing the background's white.  ^_^  The digi is available at my Etsy shop (in JPG version and PNG version).  The JPG version is also listed at the Aurora Wings web shop.  I'm still undecided on how I am going to organize the PNG listings in the web shop, so I am yet to start offering them there.  ^^;  Honestly, one person making art, processing for listing, keeping up with social media, etc. is entirely TOO MUCH.  Or I'm getting too old for it. LOL XD

The ladies of both the Challenge Blog and Showcase Blog DTs have kindly made beautiful samples using this digi to have a stunning showcase.  You will not be disappointed to check out the blog post here.

Now, I really would love to do a color version of this if I can find time for it.  I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that I'll get to. :D

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Title List of "Midnight Gardens" Coloring Book

I was going to write this post yesterday, but got busy with errands, so here is the list of titles for the dark fantasy coloring book, "Midnight Gardens".

  • Las Calaveras (colored version on the cover)
  • Along Came a Spider (original line art)
  • Dragon Lore
  • Dance of a Thousand Birome (aka Goddess of Biro)
  • Secret Kisses (original line art)
  • A Dark Undercurrent
  • Memento Mori
  • Anima Sola
  • Circe (original line art)
  • Bone Queen
  • Santa Muerte
  • Steampunk Dark Angel
  • Unless
  • Spirited Away
  • Metanoia
  • Thep Kinnaree (original line art)
  • Viridis Incendia
  • One by One
  • The Darker Bride
  • White Lady
This book contains two exclusives (marked by red text) that will not be released in digis because of the full details from edge to edge.  Four images that are currently available in digi format are also featured with full original details in the background in the coloring book.  

Spirited Away ©Mitzi Sato-Wiuff

Metanoia  ©Mitzi Sato-Wiuff
Shown here with original orientation.  Coloring book's line art is rotated 90 degrees to the left to accommodate the portrait orientation of the book.

By now, all the Kickstarter fundraiser supporters should have received their PDFs from Ellen Million Graphics.  (I have also received the entire 16 titles as a supporter of the campaign.  ^_^  I was looking forward to check out the Fairy Tales, Shimmy, Songgryphons, and Steamdreaming myself and ... maybe find some free time to play with some of the images ... especially those by my friend and a fellow artist, Jenny Heidewald.  ;)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

PDF Copies from the Coloring Book Fundraiser

Just received an e-mail from Ellen Million Graphics with links to the PDF copies of the coloring books.  This is actually the first time I get to see the final selections of the titles in my book, "Gardens & Goddesses volume 2".  When I first submit images, I don't usually have any idea if all of the images will make it into the book or not.  Plus, there were a few images submitted later to the batch.  ^^;

Anyhow, here's the list of titles that are included in the G & G 2 book.

  • White Poppy (colored version on the cover)
  • Red Poppies
  • La Fee Verte
  • Christmas Fairy
  • Leanne's Angel
  • Autumn Harmony
  • What Dreams May Come
  • Enchanted Visions
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Marie Nyantoinette
  • Freyja
  • Heartstrings
  • New Beginnings
  • If Only
  • Peace Rose
  • Romanza
  • The Arrival of Spring (full version)
  • Pink Ribbon Mermaid (full version)
  • Steampunk Test Flight
  • Stardancer
The titles in red are coloring book exclusives.  The Arrival of Spring is the full version (with background details) of "Little Elf Kia" in digi.  Pink Ribbon Mermaid in the coloring book has the sea weed details not included in the digi version.

Romanza ©Mitzi Sato-Wiuff

If Only ©Mitzi Sato-Wiuff

The "Brain Celebrations" book has two of my pieces - Anima Sola and The Darker Bride.
The "Apples and Roses" book contains my "Rococo Cinderella" (full version).  I will release the Cinderella-only version in digi format soon.
I'll have the title list of the dark book in tomorrow's post.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Daily Deviation on deviantART

I just logged into deviantART to see what was up.  I have not been posting anything new in a while so I was just making a round to check messages.  When I checked the visit stat and saw a spike of some 900 views on Saturday, I thought something was up.  From my past experience, I gathered it was either a journal feature by someone with millions of followers or a Daily Deviation.  I had to check my comments section to figure out what was what, and it became evident that "Reverie" received the honor of Daily Deviation on Oct. 4, 2014.

I'm a little bit sad that I didn't discover this on Saturday.  Let's see... what was I up to on Saturday?  Frantically working on digi files.  Just like I've been doing most of this year, day after day after day.  To think I missed out on the excitement of the Daily Deviation honor!!  Yep, I'm still sad.  ^^;

"Reverie" in ink, watercolor, & acrylic ©Mitzi Sato-Wiuff 2013
Private collection
This is my 6th piece to receive the honor of Daily Deviation (I keep a special folder of pieces chosen for this honor in my deviantART account under aruarian-dancer.).  I still make a big deal out of it simply because it's an undeniable fact that there are probably billions of artwork on that site.  Unless you have a huge following, and you are prolific, it's hard to be noticed.  I've been lucky that fellow deviants have been noticing my work and recommending them for the honor.  It's always especially nice when the piece that  gets the front page honor happens to be one of your personal favorites.  I've had everything from a doodle done on printer paper to a digital piece with over 20 hours spent to a traditional piece like this one chosen for DD so far.  This one was painted about a year ago.  Sat on my shelf for a while, but then found a happy new home of a collector while listed on Etsy.  ^_^

Looking at this piece makes me want to do some traditional art in subdued colors again.  Like I said, I've been frantically producing digital stamps most of this year, but things have been especially hectic since I lost 3 weeks in August and September to being sick.  ^^;  There's something exquisitely lovely about people liking something that I made for pure enjoyment for myself.  People will always like fan art.  Crafters will like line art for coloring.  That's all very nice, but it just doesn't quite come close to the joy of finding an appreciative audience for a piece one paints for pure enjoyment with pretty much no regards to commercial or popularity concerns.

Getting a Daily Deviation for our original work does magic for our motivation, confidence, and belief in ourselves.  Maybe I'm feeling this particularly keenly since I've been away from regular production of this type of art.  Time to actively seek to balance things out, and get back to spending some serious 'me' time!



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Successful Fundraiser

With only 19 hours left to go in the campaign, I expect this to be my final update on the fundraiser.  This weekend has seen a flurry of supporters adding pledges, which allowed up to get past so many of the stretch goals that included color covers and reprints of old titles.

I am happy to report that my two new titles will have full-color covers, and the latest stretch goal just reached has guaranteed a reprint of the original "Gardens & Goddesses" coloring book (I'm down to 5 copies in my Etsy shop and Ellen Million Graphics has run out of copies during this campaign.).  What does this mean?  Well, all three coloring books will be offered at my Etsy shop this fall.  That's what this means. :D

Cover images courtesy of Ellen Million Graphics

I admit, it was a little frustrating and sometimes downright difficult to watch the progress on Kickstarter.  Especially when I saw there were over 600 shares of the link on Facebook, yet there were only a dozen or so actual backers.  But as I'd seen before, Kickstarter campaigns tend to see flurries of activities in the final days and hours before they come to an end.  I think this is especially true for campaigns that have already reached their goals (which guarantees project going forward and most honest folks will try their hardest to deliver what's been promised as reward to supporters).

I'm completely confident in Ellen's ability to deliver rewards to supporters.  There was never any question.  She had run a successful campaign last year, and she's been in the coloring book business long before that.  I've worked with and ordered multiple batches of my coloring books since 2011, with absolutely no problem.  ^_^

The final weekend is over, and now we can pretty much sit back and celebrate this successful campaign with a glass of wine. :D  Tomorrow morning, we'll be having a celebration event on Facebook where all supporters can gather and watch what final stretch goals may be reached.

I'm looking forward to ordering my first batch of books and making shop listings for these new coloring books.  Never mind I don't have any idea where I'll store these books. LOL

Friday, September 26, 2014

Final Weekend of the Fundraiser

Oh, boy, it's coming down to the last 3 days! Here's a look at the revised cover of "Gardens & Goddesses volume 2", as we have not only unlocked the title a while back, but as of yesterday, the pledge total is high enough that this volume (and the other, dark fantasy coloring book, "Midnight Gardens") is guarantee to go to print with a color cover.  Sweet!!  The revised cover has the background color that closely matches the G & G volume 1 (My colorful "Pansy" is the cover art of that book.).  I was almost holding my breath all day yesterday, anxious for these two titles to achieve color covers.  I'm thrilled to picture all three of my coloring books being listed at my Etsy shop. :D  *happy~~~*

Cover image courtesy of Ellen Million Graphics
I'm excited to report that the campaign total is showing (on the Kickstarter page) at $3,795 with 104 backers.  That figure is for the on-site total.  Ellen is also accepting off-site pledge from people who prefer to avoid transacting with Amazon or people who have credit to spend from Ellen Million Graphics' Sketch Fest and other services.  Counting the most recent update figure from the off-site pledges, we have a total of $3,998.75 and 107 backers for the coloring books. :D  How awesome!

So now, the next stretch goal in sight is the reprinting of "Songgryphons" coloring book.  This title has been out of print for some time.  It has been voted by the supporters of this campaign as the 'popular choice' for reprint.  This will happen when the pledge total reaches $4,000 as possibly our final stretch goal.

7 new coloring books funded, with 4 with color covers, and maybe one reprint of an out-of-print title.  This is everything we had hoped for.  How awesome!!

I'm squeezing in an advert here for my free gift for all subscribers of the new AuroraWings Newsletter (monthly).  The gift digi's download link will be in the first mailings of the newsletter, scheduled to go out on Oct. 2.  If you haven't signed up for it yet (I doubt there are still people who haven't... since I've been mentioning this a lot all of last week.  Hehe.), now is the time! :D  You can just use the sign-up form found in the sidebar of this blog.