Saturday, July 12, 2014

New Releases and a Joint Promo Event with Kit and Clowder

The weekend for which I have actually planned for is finally here!  I've been trying to coordinate new release launches with samples and fun extras in recent months, but I'm still listing things haphazardly whenever new images get finished. LOL

Today, I'm having a joint promo with Alyce and her Kit and Clowder, celebrating the new release of "The Gift" and "Happy Little Mermaid".  They're part of my new mer-kids collection - basically sprites meet mermaid in style. :D

This was the first I drew in the collection.  I like it because it has a story, a conversation going on between the two characters.  Even without mouths, these kids are plenty expressive, which makes it fun. ^_^

This digi is available at my Etsy shop here.  And at the AW digi shop under Mermaids category here.

And for someone who's looking for something a little simpler (maybe a little less intimidating, too - after all, two figures in one image is twice the risk of something going wrong... dreadful, indeed. LOL), I've made a mermaid-only version available as well.

"Happy Little Mermaid" is available at my Etsy shop here.  And at the AW digi shop here.

I'm a little embarrassed to say that I have not managed to get color samples of my own done for these two digi's.  Well, a lot of digi companies/artists out there never make color samples (except for physical samples made by their design staff).  I like the way the listings look when I do have colored samples of my own. Hehe.  I guess I'll be working on them this weekend.  Between 3 more images that require inking and making colored versions, all this seems suddenly so daunting.  XD LOL

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bob & Sheri Shenanigan

I've listened to Bob & Sheri for a long time.  I listen more regularly starting around 6:00 am when Jr.'s school is in session as I drive either all the way to the school (because there's this zero-hour IB music class that starts at the ungodly hour of 6:30 and their official bus doesn't even arrive until 7:00 am.) or to the public library bus stop at 6:30.  During the summer vacation, though, I'd like to let myself sleep in ... just a bit and wake up around 6:30 instead of 5:30 (and constantly suffering from insufficient sleep during school year).  With the garden requiring a lot of watering early in the morning, and along with some regular maintenance (like weeding as they pop up), I don't catch the show until 9 o'clock on a lot of occasions.  So I've been hearing about the RV Crazy Tour of Bob & Sheri, but didn't find out their scheduled stop at my town until Monday, July 7th.  Well, I assumed that since they were stopping at a relatively small town (compared to many cities they are syndicated in, I mean), I thought it was one stop among dozens.  I checked their website and found out they were only stopping at 7 cities on their way to Roswell, NM.

I got so excited and was inspired to do a fan art.  How long has it been since I've done one of these?  Really long time.  I figured I'd drop by at their meet and greet and give it to Sheri (Bob was not on the RV tour because... y'know, he's so particular about everything, he's not the type who can handle a road trip on an RV. LOL). :D

Anyhow, as a long-time listener of the show, I've heard enough about Bob's love of lobsters, Maine, and lighthouses, and Sheri being a Crazy Cat Lady.  So, I did a chibi version of them. ^_^  This was 7"x5" mixed media (ink, watercolor, and colored pencil).  If I had more time, I would have liked to put Todd and Max in there on a larger paper...  But I was working on other stuff and didn't get around to making this until yesterday afternoon. XD

Well, I got to meet Bob and Sheri this morning.  The line wasn't necessarily long when Jr. and I got there (about 9:15), but they were taking time with each and every one of us -- such genuine people!  What you get on the radio is what you get in person with Bob and Sheri.  Lots of people brought gifts (mostly local products - some by business owners themselves - from wine, Enstrom Candy's almond toffee, muffins, to mood lights ... from what I could see).

Sheri gave me a nice long hug as I got to the front of the line (Poor Jr. was so sleepy and tired, she could barely stand. XD).   She's SO NICE!  Bob... um, his hand shake was... a little weak.  XD LOL  Not to say he's not nice or anything.  He's probably just a big germaphobe from what I've come to know about him.  Anyway, I showed them what I brought.  Sheri squealed in joy and showed it to the people in lines and a big cheer went up. :D  I pointed out how Bob's wearing a turtle neck under the lobster suit.  We got a good laugh out of that and she told everyone that they were going to get it framed and hang it in their studio in NC.   Needless to say, I was a happy camper. ^_^

Showing to the crowd.
Sheri laughing about the turtle neck on Bob as he takes a pic.
With Bob & Sheri.  ^_^
I didn't get to greet Max as he was doing live broadcast away from the crowd, but got to talk to Todd while I was getting close to the front of the line.  Nice guy!  Met Sheri's daughter Olivia, and got a sample of Koma Unwind (They've been talking about it so much on the air, and it is the corporate sponsor of the RV Crazy Tour along with a few others.) from Caramia, her younger daughter.  It must be so weird that all the strangers (listeners) know so much about them from the broadcast, but they know nothing about us!  I was impressed how well their kids were handling everything. ^_^

Sheri told me that they've made a bit of a change in their travel plan.  Instead of going all the way to Roswell, NM, they're going to make a stop in Albuquerque and broadcast from there tomorrow (I'm sure the stretch from Great Bend, KS to Grand Junction, CO was just brutal...Check out their tour map and the hard core road-tripping schedule here.).  After that, Bob is off to vacation with his family, and Sheri and kids continue on the rest of their vacation.  Hope they have a nice rest of the trip!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Work in Progress

When an idea randomly pops up in my head, more often than not, I run with it.  This new piece I just started out of the blue is one of these seemingly random ideas.

Since I am a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady, it was just a matter of time that I'd put a Rococo wig on a kitten. And since I had so much fun with my first Marie Antoinette (in the theme of "Let them eat cake"), I went ahead and quickly sketched out my second Marie on a ... scrap piece of paper unfortunately.  Good enough of a sketch to scan, though.  So I'm actually inking this one in my trusty old Corel Painter.  The above is a work-in-progress view.  The most intricate part of this piece is the hair (both on the kitten and Marie) and the arm detail on her dress.  So I'd say I'm 2/3 of the way through my inking phase.

We recently had a stray cat produce a litter of 4 kittens... in our basement storage area.  Well, this anti-social mama cat at least had a good enough sense about her to come to our house, the unofficial Cat Rescue Central!  The kittens will be taken care of, thanks largely to the income generated by sale of digi's. LOL  The Universe has a way of giving everyone what they need.

Getting back on track...  The kitten here was inspired by one of the four kittens I mentioned above. She's a long hair calico with green eyes.  So playful and full of energy.  Irresistible.

The working title I've given this piece is "Marie Nyantoinette".  I love puns!  My daughter thinks I come up with all sorts of dumb ones, but I just can't resist.  My Inner Child is always out to play. ;)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Sprite Release

I've been working toward the 50th sprites in my Sprites Collection that was started in the summer of 2013 when I was into making lots of ACEOs in traditional media.  I've since expanded my approach to include digitally illustrated (still free handing everything in Corel Painter) ones.  This new one marks #48.

This is "Corpse Flower Sprite".  He's the first DARK and CREEPY sprite to join the collection.  One of my Aurora Wings Challenge Blog's design team members, Gloria Palmer-Steiger approached me with the idea when a plant at Michigan State University was blooming.  Since I've never thought of having a creepy or sinister sprite among whimsical babies before myself, I jumped on the idea and sketched him right away. :D  He definitely has a phallic shape (Check out the plant's Latin name: amorphophallus titanum = giant misshapen phallus LOL), and strange to look at.  But this plant has another distinct feature, which is its odor when in full bloom.  It has the smell of rotting flesh, from which it got its common name, Corpse Flower!  Nice! XD

Photo credit: US Botanic Garden
This strange plant's native habitat is the rain forest of Sumatra, where it grows to 10 feet/ 3 meters in height.  The blooms only last up to 48 hours, while many begin to wilt only after 12 hours (Well, considering the stench, it's a good thing it doesn't last...).  I've also learned that it takes anywhere from 7 to 10 years or longer before having its first bloom, and afterwards averaging a bloom once every 7 years.  Although some plants will have back to back blooms annually while others will never bloom again.  Strange, indeed. :D

The new digi is now available at both shop locations in two versions - with flies and stink lines AND without.  1500 x 2100 pixels at 300 dpi JPG (5" x 7"/12.7 x 17.8 cm).

Etsy shop's digital stamps section
AuroraWings Digi Shop

I have more new digi's coming out in the month of July.  This month, there will also be a launch of a new collection that's perfect for summer (well, at least for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere).

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bleeding Heart Sprite

I usually start and finish a piece before starting on another project.  I consider myself a 'finisher' when it comes to projects.  It's not unusual for me to start and complete something without taking a break.  When something is flowing well, I forget to eat meals or take a break until it's done. :D  Lately though, I have so many little projects/plans for each new image that I come up with, it's not always convenient to finish a colored version after a line art is inked and processed as a digital stamp.  Right now, I have one sketch of a sprite, one piece half inked for a new series, one image finished as a digi (but waiting for a release later), and one sprite inked and ready for color (but will have to wait for release next month).  That's a lot of pieces floating about my work space!  

Well, I finished "Bleeding Heart Sprite" today.  It's been so hot, I spent a little too much time downstairs where it's cooler to be truly productive, but it's always a good day when I can post a new image and release a digi version of it at both of my shops. :D

I really like the way this one's design came out.  I'm a big fan of the pouffy pants many of these Sprite babies wear, but I'm particularly fond of her 'braid' that she's fiddling with.  I used to have a bleeding heart plant at my house, but there was a period of time when I neglected some parts of the yarden (yard + garden = yarden).  After a few years, the poor plant never came back.   I've been taking much better care of the yarden this season with a renewed commitment.  Maybe I'll get another one of these lovelies and give it a place in my garden again. ^_^

The digi version of this image is now listed at both of my shops -  Etsy here and AW digi shop here.  It's at the usual size of 1500 x 2100 pixels at 300 dpi JPG.

The next sprite is a request by one of my DT ladies.  It's a truly unique 'flower'.  And it will have a different look from my usual Sprite babies. :D  Hopefully, I'll be productive tomorrow. *fingers crossed*

Working on More Sprites

Gardening always slows down when I cut myself accidentally with a sharp blade. LOL  When that happens, it keeps me reliably inside to work on art.  Luckily, I hold my blade in the right hand (my drawing hand), so I always cut something on my left hand.  The nasty slice with a garden sickle is looking better, although I've nicknamed my left index finger "Frankenfinger" since (... looking a bit cut up and discolored  ^^;  )

Been working on a few sprites while my finger is healing.  I'm working toward the 50th sprite.  Can you believe it?  Although I have a few that's going to be pushed back for a release (probably sometime next month), with the Ellen Million Graphics joint/collaboration coloring books' deadlines extended by two months, I can concentrate on working on some new releases.  I've started working on a new collection as well as continuing to expand the popular Sprite series.  I am even working on a very special sprite that's a little creepy, and definitely unique.  :D

Above is a partial preview of one of the new babies coming soon.  It's a flower that had been requested, but I initially didn't have an idea as to how I'd approach.  Lately, all these flowers that have been on my list for a long time due to my inability to come up with a character design have started to come off the list one by one.  I'm really happy about that.  I'm feeling a wonderful 'flow' when I sit down to doodle.  Lately, the first doodle becomes the basis for inking whenever I set out to design a sprite, and that's awesome.

The new series to be launched in mid-July (hopefully) is also a simpler, whimsical approach like my Sprites.  I'm having a lot of fun with these guys.  But I'm going to keep them under the wrap for a little longer as I work to accumulate a reasonable number of images in the collection for a big launch. :D  I'm usually pretty haphazard when it comes to digi releases - making a listing whenever I get done drawing and processing - but I'm going to do something a little different to make it more fun for the fans and my DT ladies, hopefully. :D   Ahh, projects!  *fun fun*

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bird of Paradise Sprite

I had this one almost done yesterday, but just couldn't get around to finish.  I was doing a lot of driving for my daughter and her BFF for the BFF's birthday shopping spree, etc.  ^_^  Well, I might as well enjoy their company while I can even if it's as a chauffeur because they'll eventually be off to college and I may not be seeing them as much as I would like.

I did another digital coloring of a sprite.  My daughter called my art "quite bipolar".   I never quite looked at it that way, but I have to agree. ^_^  After all, I go from dark goth stuff to fluffy sprites on a regular basis.  The pendulum swings from one extreme to the other.  I do enjoy all sides of me and my art, though.  I am comfortable whether I'm drawing a skull or a baby fairy.  ^_^

Bird of Paradise for a sprite was requested a while ago by a few people.  At one point, the list got to be so long, and I did pump out 30+ sprites last summer, so eventually, things slowed down a bit.  And it's also easy to get stumped with a sprite's character design, depending on the flower.  Some are tailor made for being turned into a sprite, while other flowers, as beautiful as they may be, some aspects of them make it rather difficult to design into a sprite.  Case in point - Queen Ann's Lace.  I still have no idea how I'd go about that one.  Cluster flowers (hydrangea, snapdragon, QAL, etc.) are generally tricky.  Overly vertical plants like delphinium and hollyhock are also a headache.  On the other hand, flowers that seem to have a 'face', like pansy, daisy, sunflower, are much easier to come up with a design.  Flowers with trumpet-shaped blooms are also easy as I can use them as hats on sprites. :D  Calla lily was one of the hardest until I got started.  Sometimes, inspirations do strike at the right moment and everything is easy sailing.  ^_^

Bird of Paradise Sprite's design came to me quickly, once I sat down and imagined the flower.  Unique shape of the bloom called for a bold headdress on the sprite.  ^_^  I really enjoyed giving it bright, tropical colors in warm shades of yellows, oranges, maroons, and purple.  The nature's wonderful sense of balance is apparent once again, in the flower's uniquely angular shape with bold colors.  As a child, I loved all kinds of flowers, and was a very young gardener, spending what little allowance I had on seeds and plants from a nearby nursery.  They still hold the same magical charm, and I never tire of the endless of beauty and wonder they bring to my everyday life - in my garden, in my vase, and in my illustrations.