Friday, September 30, 2011

"Believe in Tomorrow" Line

I've never done any art for the Breast Cancer Awareness month (October) nor a piece that features pink as the main color.  This one will be in shades of pink. It's almost a return visit to my doodle roots with flowers filling the good portion of the paper with fair amount of open space left untouched.  It also feels a little different since I hardly ever use landscape orientation.  I have a strong preference for the portrait orientation for the vertical 'height' -- the feeling of expansion upwards --, but when I want a calm, peaceful feeling in my image, I like to utilize this orientation for the tranquil feeling (although the field of flowers is in utter 'chaos' ^^; ).

This one really felt like a break from doing straight lines and man-made-object curves which I did so much of in "Steampunk Dark Angel" and "Santa Muerte".  It was nice to switch off the analytic part of the brain and just enjoy the 'doodling' of flowers.  It really is like a meditation in tiny motion for me, similar to a nice relaxing Sunday drive.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm still doodling...

This video clip here (courtesy of TED) is a scientific look and a call for reevaluation of the act of doodling (It's certainly not a waste of time ^_^ ).  Years ago, I did colored pencil, pastel and watercolor art that was "serious" (= "fine art").  Although it really didn't thrill me personally, I did well and got fair recognition for the work.  I had a long hiatus while I had a chance to be involved in the world of dance, which was another of my childhood dreams.  It's only after my freak accident and injury that finally made me return to art almost 3 years ago.  When I did though, it was doodling that I was actively doing.  And I can't tell you how therapeutic it was... for my heart and soul.

These doodles quickly evolved.  Very quickly. What started out as a mindless, no-plan, just-fill-in-the-open-space activity for me evolved into more and more intricate, clean, detailed drawings in black and white.  These drawings then started to get hints of color.  From there, a fully colored renditions followed.  All within a matter of months -- 5 months to be precise.  These days, I still call my art "doodles".  It takes the pressure off me and remove any pretense or delusion that what I am doing is all that important.  I really do consider my current work to be 'elaborate doodles' and not 'art'.  I'm fortunate and grateful that I get paid for my 'doodles', although I use that term only when I'm with close friends and family. ^^;

The word 'doodle', to me, implies all the fun of childhood.  The very word and the act of doodling bring me back to the carefree time when we didn't care if the sky wasn't blue in our drawings or if someone had one eye much bigger than the other... etc.  It was all done FOR FUN.  There's something that is purely creative about doodling and that pure creativity can be fleeting.  I know this for a fact (There's nothing like a deadline or an overly specific request to cause a dreaded art block.).  Most of us tend to think too much and analyze things way too much.  For many, all that thinking and analyzing can be paralyzing for their creativity.  My brain seems to relax when I call my art activity 'doodling', and I've been most pleased with my recent body of doodle works.  I can see 'me' in every one of them.  I'm not pretending to be someone else, painting/drawing someone else's subject matter in someone else's style.  When I doodle, it's the 'real me' inside that some call the inner child.  And when I doodle, this inner child is very, very happy. :D  I've been getting lots of positive feedback that other people are enjoying my fantasy 'doodles' these days.  It's really delightful.  I can't ask for anything more.


* Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Joy of Sharing

I've been doing fantasy art for a relatively short time (coming to the 2-year mark in October), and only have had my art licensed on various merchandise for less than a year (aside from my own POD shops, I mean), and I am now starting to see my name getting tagged onto the wonderful projects people are making with my licensed art. I usually see them sporadically at different groups and some direct posting on my wall on facebook.  Today I saw so many delightful things all within hours of one another, so I thought to collect them all here for a showcase.

* Card made using the rubber stamp of my "Pansy" by Birgitta Hyyrylainene-Metsi (shared on facebook).

* Steampunk Trapped Fairy Bottle made with my "Steampunk Dark Angel" digital download by Boni Grabusky (shared on facebook)

* Card made with digital download of "Lily, Lily" by Shirley Covarrubias (shared on facebook)

* Card made with a digi-stamp of "La Sylphide" by Shirley Covarrubias (shared on facebook)

* Tags made from some of my images available through and for a contest at My Tag Art (shared on facebook)


*"October Rose" decoupage canvas project video clip by Cynthia Franco-Guerrero (shared on facebook via YouTube)

It's such a delight every time I come across a project made with one of my images.  I sincerely hope that everyone enjoyed working with the lines or tubes, and thank you all so much for sharing the finished projects!!

Where to shop:
* Digital downloads of line art are available at Scrapbook Stamp Society.
* Rubber stamps are available at Addicted-to-Stamps and Queen Kat Designs.
* Tubes for tagging are available at My Tag Art.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Santa Muerte"


"Santa Muerte" is finished.  Just like the last few pieces, this one took longer than I expected to complete.  While I was inking the sketch, I kept adding more details as more ideas sprang up.  Then during the color phase, once again, more ideas (subtle as they may be) kept coming.  At least, I knew the general direction of where I wanted to go in terms of the color scheme -- often, when the lines are inked, I have no clue what colors I want to use on them for the finished piece.

*A close-up partial view of "Santa Muerte".  The entire piece measures 8.5 x 11 inches.

I wanted to stay away from the predictable and expected look by working on this piece with black as the main color.  I wanted to explore the idea of making something 'dark' with 'slightly disturbing uneasiness' without relying on all the established notions and connotations of the color black.  I've always found white to be tricky to paint.  Nothing is just ever simply 'white'.  There are so many different 'shades' of white and any subtle change in lighting, surface texture, or reflected ambiance (and more) all affect the look of 'white' while we still see it as 'simply white'. ^^;  That said, I generally like the look of white-on-white, whether it's a piece of artwork or an item of clothing.  To me, subtlety like that is elegant and timelessly fashionable.

This was an interesting theme to work on.  I'm generally pleased with the way it turned out. ^^

For the largest view online, you can go to:
my deviantART page (just click on the image to enlarge) or
my Shadowness page (click on the 'zoom' button found below the image)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Santa Muerte" WIP


I think I'm about halfway through with color.  I'm really liking the colors on this one so far.  When this is finished, I 'll have to make sure to add a couple of close-up cropped shots since this one has so much going on that simply cannot be seen at 500 pixel wide size.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Santa Muerte" Line Art


"Santa Muerte" inked.  As much fun as it was to ink, it seemed like it took me forever.  Straight lines (like the handle on the scythe) tend to slow me down and curvy lines (like the blade) also slow me down.  Details like lace and beads are simply tedious, although they do add delightful 'something' similar to shading with stippling technique.  Roses and marigolds everywhere, but I LOVE randomly filling space with flowers.

I've done a 'color test' on the sketch version of this to work out the general idea for the color scheme.  I'd imagine that most people who see the title and the line art will guess that I'd be painting this mostly in black, but my original plan (and that's my current plan, still) is mostly white.  Pale colors for the marigolds and the pheasant feathers, and of course, the scythe will have a metallic tone of some kind.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Santa Muerte - concept sketch


Now that my annual contest for young artists is over with, I'm back to drawing.  Incidentally, the Enchanted Visions Project is also back from the uncertainty of the summer hiatus 'under new management' with a new theme.  The new theme for October 2011 is "Dia de los Muertos" (Day of the Dead).  I was hoping for something a little more 'vague' ... something that has a lot of room for interpretation.  This one... I mean, ... the Day of the Dead is the Mexican holiday with Catrinas and sugar skulls, you know.  Not something I'd consider remotely 'creepy'.  It might be the bright colors that go with all the festivities.  Anyway, this was supposed to be EV's Halloween-y theme.  To be honest, I wasn't ecstatic.  But then again, I'm always... and I mean ALWAYS... kind of meh about the themes for some reason.  At least, we don't have to paint witches.  There's enough of that out there already.

I almost felt like not participating this month because I just was so uninspired by the theme. XD  I had to let it sit and brew a little bit before I even felt like looking a little deeper into the holiday as far as the meanings and the origin and that sort of stuff.  So as usual, I do my research online. (I LOVE Google!!!  It's my second favorite thing after the internet.  I love wiki, too.)  Learned a bit about the history -- how the celebration of the dead that existed before the Christians came to the land by the indigenous people dates back to the Aztec time, honoring the goddess of the underworld, Mictecacihuatl.  From there, of course, research leads to the worship of Santa Muerte.  To me, these two figures that are often morphed together with differing emphasis of Aztec flavor or Caltholic flavor seemed far more fascinating than Catrinas, which are skeletal dolls dressed in fancy clothes and big hats to represent the fact that death comes to all -- the rich and the poor alike.  The caricatured skeleton in bright clothing doesn't exactly strike fear in the mind of the viewers (and I believe that they weren't meant for that, either).

So I'm going with something in between -- personification of Santa Muerte or someone dressed as 'the Lady Death' (with the scythe and the globe) for the Day of the Dead celebration.  I'm hoping that I can put a bit of 'insanity' in the girl's eyes by the time I'm done with the coloring.  As far as the color scheme goes, I'm drawn to 'white' for this one... or pale, subdued colors at most.  Santa Muerte statues are found either clad all in black or mostly white from the photographs I've seen.  Black, of course, is the color we'd expect to see when anything 'dark' or 'scary' is mentioned or intended.  But what if it's possible to paint an image eerily disturbing in mostly white?  I find that very intriguing.

Friday, September 9, 2011

YAC 2011 Results Announcement Is Tomorrow

* My fabulous judges: Immy-is-Thinking, jeffzz111, KateSkirmish, ShiraHitsugaya (aka Derezzed-Batman)

YAC 2011 is almost over.  For the third year, I hosted this contest for young artists on deviantART.com.  I'm really fortunate to have the support of so many level-headed individuals who come to support this event whether through prize donations (from art request, prints, dA subscription to points) or time and effort serving as the juror.  Three of my five (one is me though... lol) judges are returning judges from the previous YAC.  This is something I am very pleased about.  First, they must believe in this contest having some merit, and second, they can tolerate working with me. XD  I think I'm pretty easy to get along with, but that's just my own opinion. lol

I made this certificate based on the award certificate of YAC2011, featuring the work of danika6, who was one of the winners of last year's YAC.  Every year, I make over 30 of these.  We have 3 age categories.  Each has the first, second, third place winners, plus honorable mentions (HMs vary in number per category, based on the total number of entries.).  In addition, each judge selects a Judge's Choice Award for whatever reason he/she feels compelled to give recognition to an artist.  Once the template is designed, all I have to do is retype the title of the award, artwork and the name of the artist for each certificate, so it's really not that bad, but what makes things tricky is the crazy usernames.  Growing up, I had one of the trickier names and things were either mispronounced or misspelled on a regular basis.  Although you get used to it, it is annoying, especially if done repeatedly.  So I try my hardest not to make typos on people's names, titles of the work, and so on, which makes this job rather tedious. ^^;  Good thing I won't have to deal with it again till next September.

After the certificates, I move onto the notes.  These are private message notes to the individual artists who won something.  I know that some kids watch the contest page like hawks, anxiously waiting for results, while others forget about it. (I think the latter is far healthier for your mind and possibly heart, and that'd be my preferred behavior.)  Notes are saved in draft folder until ready to be sent shortly after the announcement.  And there are another set of notes to type.  This time, for the prize donors and sponsors.  Although I have all the prizes listed, some people are bound to get confused, if by the sheer number of things being mentioned. ^^  So I go through the winners' list, compare that to the donors and prize list, and sort everything out and type up notes that would clearly state what they pledged and who the recipients are.  The last part is hoping that everyone lives up to their promises about any given prize.  I'll just have to have my faith in the goodness of my friends. ^_^

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Calendar Shenanigans

*Back cover of my calendar offered through deviantART.com.  I have similar calendars available through my AuroraWings shop at Zazzle, also.

For those of us who self-publish products with our art using POD companies out there, the base price (the price the PODs list as the starting point BEFORE you add your royalty/commission amount or percentage) is a big factor in determining whether it's worth putting our time and effort into designing a product or not.  Smaller items such as buttons, stickers, magnets, etc. are usually good for larger profit margin, while we most likely settle for lower percentages and smaller profit margins on higher priced items such as hard cases for mobile devices.  Although it is true in my experience that if you have a design that a customer cannot live without, high price will not stop them from purchasing the item, most of us are keenly aware of what's perceived to be 'competitive' in a marketplace.

I've made calendars with my ballet watercolor art for nearly a decade (longest with CafePress's fairly basic interface, and for two years using Zazzle's user-friendly interface), and I've always felt that the POD calendar prices are rather high, even though one can see why this would be the case considering the logistics.  That said, making them at CafePress always felt like it was a fair return on time invested when it comes to the royalty generated from the sales of these (especially for shop sales where you can get the commission you specified for the item ... AND deserve).  CafePress's calendar base prices are $14.99 and $16.99 depending on format.  Zazzle's prices are higher, starting at $17.95 and can be as high as $25.95 for larger format, and that's if you stick with the default royalty rate of 10%.

Today, I decided to make a calendar at deviantART.  I've been there for over 2 years and I've just recently started making regular print sales (for the past 6 months or so), so I thought that calendar offered through them featuring only my most popular pieces might be worth the effort.  They just have one standard size (11 x 8.5" landscape orientation, when closed), and their base price is $19.95.  And this is not even counting your industry standard 10% commission/royalty.  I didn't even get to see the base price until I was done with all the work of uploading 14 images (12 monthly images plus front and back covers).  I haven't had the pleasure of comparing the quality of the paper, and most importantly, the print job of dA's along with other PODs, so I can't say for certain if this price is justified.  All I can say is that with that base price, their calendars had better be top quality.  ^^;  Another issue with them is their general lack of discounts and sales.  There are long dry spells between any kind of sales event at deviantART, unlike the other PODs.  Case in point, Zazzle, in the past, has done a whopping 75% off calendar sale well before the year (during the peak holiday shopping season, in fact), and they make 25%-off coupon codes available for those who bother to look for them.  In fact, now through December 31st, 2011, you can use the coupon code 2012ISCOMING at checkout to get 25% off on any of my calendars at Zazzle.

Here's the price comparison of my calendars.
deviantART calendar $22.98
Zazzle calendar (G-rated) version $20.95  *$15.71 with coupon
Zazzle "coloring" (line art) calendar $19.95 *$14.96 with coupon

Sunday, September 4, 2011

TBA at Zazzle: Freyja

A Daily Inspiration feature at Shadowness yesterday, and today, this iPad Case with "Freyja" on received a Today's Best Award at Zazzle.  I had three during the month of August.  And this one makes three pieces in a row with a TBA.
Freyja iPad Case

Freyja iPad Case
by
MiyabiLine

Get this custom speckcase at Zazzle

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Freyja"


VERY different from my usual.  It's late and I'm tired. Been up since 4:30 am and it's 11 pm.  Time for some sleep.

EDIT: Since I was too tired to write up anything about this awesome Norse goddess...  Freyja (Freya) is the goddess of love, beauty, fertility, creation, war, and destruction.  She is obviously beautiful and desirable and all that, but she also is the Queen of the Valkyries.  She possesses the Brisingamen, the golden necklace made by the dwarfs.  She is also said to be able to shape-shift into a falcon, and has a falcon feather cloak.  She drives a chariot/sled pulled by ... this part is the coolest ... two silver cats! (Though they remain nameless...) She also has a boar she flies on when she is not running with her cats (Oddly enough, the boar does have a name.).


Detail view of her "costume" -- I based the armor design around the falcon feather cloak with feather/wing motifs repeating on the helmet, breast plate, and arm guards.  As for her necklace, Brisingamen, I gave chunky amber to compliment the gold.  Amber is said to be Freyja's tears that fell into the sea when she was looking for her husband (It seems he is often gone for some reason...).  Gold is also said to be her tears that fell on rocks.

I have to say, though, that the cat chariot probably was the single most compelling reason I wanted to make this picture.  I submitted this work to EMG-zine (an online publication about fantasy and sci-fi art and artists) just in time last night for October's theme "Scandinavian Mythology".

MyTagArt September Feature


Many of my fantasy images are available as tubes for tagging.  These are smaller-sized images intended for the use on people's signature tags for forums and other places on the web.  They are very affordable and a fun way to add some fun to your digital creations.  All of my images at My Tag Art are on sale (only $1.25 each, image and tube numbers per set vary by design) for the month of September.