Saturday, June 22, 2013

Coloring Book Is Back in Stock!


After selling out back in January, I'm thrilled to be able to announce that I have some copies of my coloring book back in stock! *yay*  I only have a dozen or so copies for now until it is reprinted.  The current stock that I do have is a little different from the previous one.  The cover stock had been downgraded by the printing company (much to my and my editor's dismay).  And that is why I only have a small supply of it.  This current batch I have is a kind of a trial-run.  The publisher of my coloring books has since decided to switch the printing company over the downgrade.  But I'm going ahead and making these books available while my books are getting ready to go to reprint. ^^;

So that was the "bad" news.  The good news is that aside from the cover stock, the book is exactly the same as before, meaning, the inside pages are just fine.  Printed single-sided on a smooth white paper.  You can color with colored pencil (The photo above shows two pages that I colored with Prismacolor colored pencils behind the cover photo of the book.) just fine.  You can do light application of wet media, like markers.  I would still recommend that if you're using wet media, you put a buffer sheet between the pages to prevent bleed-throughs.  Still, it's a very pretty book, packed with my typical line work (read: "loaded with details").  These books were meant for grown-up coloring-book enthusiasts, not kids.

Coloring can be a very soothing and relaxing activity for people who don't mind spending hours on a single project.  I've had e-mails from people who bought this book, saying that these books have provided a nice distraction while going through medical treatments,  or given something pleasant to do while waiting while one's children's extra-curricular activities are in session.   But, like I said before, the images are loaded with fine details, so if you're not the patient type, it will most likely frustrate you. XD

Anyhow, it's available at my Etsy shop right now.  They're going quickly.  Get your copy soon and receive a free poster-print of "Enchanted Visions". :D





Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Enchanted Visions Project's First Ever Themed Auction


We are holding our first ever themed auction event for Enchanted Visions Project at FantasyArtAuctions.com.    This auction has originals drawings and paintings, original sketch, ACEO prints and other prints listed.  All listings are currently active, ending on either 24th or 25th of June, depending on the time of posting.  These originals are being offered for the first time in this event, and collectors have a chance to obtain beautiful original art direct from the artists.

I have an original sketch and a reproduction print offered in this event.  Please stop by and check it out!
Enchanted Visions Project's Anima Sola Themed Auction Event

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Trashion Totoro Tote Plarn Project



I was looking at the grocery bags filled with more grocery bags for recycling in my kitchen (My husband and I have been recyclers for close to 20 years now.), and I had this sudden urge to try a project made with PLARN (= yarn made out of strips of plastic bags).  I did some searches on Etsy to see what other people have done with this concept.  Saw some cute things and got the general idea for about how many bags it will take to make a bag/purse.  Since this was the first time making plarn, I had to look up a tutorial video on YouTube and found a very easy and quick one (There are other videos and methods.  But I did not want watch or try anything that were over-complicated and lengthy.).  And this is exactly how I made my plarn for my project.


You only need to watch the first minute or so to get enough of the idea to get rolling.  Since it's a tedious but mindless process, I'd recommend doing this part of the project while watching your TV or otherwise multi-tasking with something else. ^^;

Now for the project!  I would think that a lot of kids out there would love something like this, but I'd also think that I can't be the only grown-up who'd go squee-ing over this with equal enthusiasm.  Anime fan, Miyazaki fan, Totoro fan, Weeaboos, ... the list goes on and on.  It's a fun project to make and would make a delightful gift.  And best of all, it's a responsible and creative recycling of resources which often find their way into landfill.  By the way, these bags are recycle code number 2 (HDPE), which is a commonly recycled and highly recyclable type of plastic.  Even if you don't recycle, you can return them to the grocery store.  Most places have a bin just for this purpose. :)

I'm assuming that you have a basic knowledge of crochet stitches. (And if not, you can look up any of the stitches used in this pattern by going to YouTube.  There are many excellent video tutorials. ^_^ ) The following uses a standard abbreviation found in most patterns.

CROCHETED TRASHION TOTORO TOTE BAG

*Disclaimer:  Please understand that I am not a "professional" crochet project designer.  I cannot guarantee the accuracy and precision of this pattern.   Some adjusting may (and most likely) be necessary. :)

Supplies You Need:  Plarn in two colors A & B (I used brown and white bags from two different stores, but you can use whatever you have on hand. I estimate about 25 to 30 bags for A and 3 to 4 for B.)  Two 5/8" or 16 mmm diameter buttons (For the eyes, so dark colors work well.) One 7/16" or 12mm button (for nose).  Crochet hooks size US J-10 and US H-8.  Yarn needle.

Gauge: 12 rounds= 4"; 12 stitches = 4"  approx.  (The type of plastic used in grocery bag varies as well as plastic strip-width when making plarn, so this is a rough guide.)  Bag measures 8" x 8" approx.

Bag
Round 1: With color A, and larger hook, ch 12; sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 9 ch, 3 sc in last ch, working in remaining loops on opposite side of ch, sc in next 9 loops, 2 sc in last loop; do not join but work in continuous rounds - 24 sc.
Round 2: 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 9 sc, [2 sc in next sc] 3 times, sc in next 9 sc, [2 sc in next sc] twice - 30 sc.
Round 3: [Sc in next 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6 times - 36 sc.
Round 4: [Sc in next 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6 times - 42 sc.
Rounds 5 through 20: Sc in each sc around.  Fasten off.

Strap
With color A and larger hook, chain to make a strap of desired length + 4 extra inches (for attaching to the inside of the bag on both ends).
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and each ch across; turn
Row 2: Ch 1, sc in each sc across.  Fasten off.

Eye (Make 2)
Round 1: With color B and smaller hook, ch 4, sl st in first ch to make a loop; ch 1; 11 sc in the loop made with the chains - 12 sc.
Round 2: [Sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6 times - 18 sc.  Fasten off.

Tummy
Round 1: With color B and smaller hook, ch 13; sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 10 ch; turn - 12 sc.
Round 2: Ch 1, sc in 11 sc across, 2 sc in last sc; turn - 13 sc.
Round 3: Ch 1, sc in 12 sc across, 2 sc in last sc; turn - 14 sc.
Round 4: Repeat Round 3
Round 5: Repeat Round 4
Round 6: Ch1, sc in 12 sc across, dec (decrease = draw up a loop in next 2 sts, yarn over and draw through all 3 loops on hook); turn - 13 sc.
Round 7: Ch1, sl st in first sc, sc in 9 sc across, dec; turn - 11 sc.
Round 8: Ch1, sl st in first sc, sc in 7sc across, dec; turn - 9 sc.
Round 9: Ch1, sl st in first sc, sc in 5 sc across, dec. - 7 sc.  Fasten off.

With color A and yarn needle, stitch on top row of 3 arcs and a second row of 4 arcs.

Ears (Make 2)
Round 1: With color A and smaller hook, ch 6; sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 4 ch; turn - 5sc.
Round 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 3 sc, 2 sc in last sc; turn - 7 sc.
Round 3: Ch 1, 2 sc in first sc, sc in next 5 sc, 2 sc in last sc; turn - 9 sc.
Round 4: Ch 1, sc in 7 sc, dec; turn - 8 sc.
Round 5: Ch 1, sc in 6 sc, dec; turn - 7 sc.
Round 6: Ch 1, sc in 5 sc, dec; turn - 6 sc.
Round 7: Ch 1, sc in 4 sc, dec; turn - 5 sc.
Round 8: Ch 1, sc in 3 sc, dec; turn - 4 sc.
Round 9: Ch 2, skip first sc, dec over next 3 sc with dc.  Fasten off.

Place the eye circle and tummy pieces on the front of the bag to your desired position.  Stitch on with matching color plarn to secure in place.  Attach 2 larger buttons in eye circles (I used regular sewing thread with matching colors rather than try to locate black bags to make plarn just for stitching on the eyes and nose.).  Attach the small button for nose.

Attach the strap to inside of the bag.  I overlapped about 2 inches and securely stitched with the plarn since these are weight-bearing areas of the project.

Finally attach the ears in place.  Because they are flappy, and may not stand overtime after the wear and tear of everyday use, I secured the 1 1/2" or so of  lower outside edge to the strap as well.

Options:  There is a small white totoro in the movie that does not have the tummy or the nose.  It would be an even simpler variation on this project.   You could easily attach felt "feet", smiling mouth, whiskers, or a single leaf on the head as well.  Arms would be a simple addition, too.  And of course, you can vary the colors of the plastic to come up with any number of variations on Totoro, depending on your access to your local grocery and retail stores' bags.

Hope this gives you an idea for your own recycling project!  Happy crafting~!








Tuesday, June 4, 2013

$50 Shopping Spree at AuroraWings Etsy Shop~!


Here's a big event of summer!  Shop at my Etsy store now through July 27, 2013 to be entered into a drawing for a $50 Shopping Spree! :D  All purchases regardless of the total amount will be entered.  To increase your chance of winning, remember to leave feedback on your purchase.

The lucky winner will get to choose items (excluding originals, custom, and reserved listings) of his/her choice from the shop up to the total amount of $50.  No cash substitution.  Shipping will be covered by the seller.  Customs and other types of fees and taxes, if /when applicable, are the responsibility of the winner.

A lucky winner will be randomly selected on July 28, 2013 and be contacted via e-mail. :)

Here's a coupon code for you for 15% OFF to get things rolling~!  CHRISTMASINJULYDEAL


Monday, June 3, 2013

"Anima Sola" for Enchanted Visions Project

I got  this one done well ahead of the deadline for a change! *w00t*  I'm happy that it was finished.  And as difficult as it was to get myself going at the beginning, I rather like the way this one turned out.  Although I'll admit that it's one of those pieces that I can't seem to stare at it for too long before feeling inexplicably uneasy.  There's something about the eyes when I look at them at full size...  Just disturbing...

Here's a walk-through, or step by step WIP shots that I saved along the way.

 
This is the prepped file before I get ready to color in Corel Painter.  Basically it's a scan of my pencil rough, adjusted for brightness and contrast, then cleaned (removing the dust specks that get picked up by the scanner one speck at a time), then given tint by adjusting the red green blue balance of the file.  I like to start with the light brown "paper".


After I open my prepped file in Corel Painter, I create a layer for the initial 'watercolor wash'.  All this was just splattered on all on a single layer in dark brown and red, just to kind of map out the colors.  On a separate layer, I painted the facial detail of the mascara smears (uhh, whatever those dripping black is...).  The tool used for this stage is 'diffuse water', 'salt', and 'new simple water'.


Adding more colors on another yet another layer.  Poppy details and introducing a bit of yellow to the whole thing to imply the "fire" element of the traditional "Anima Sola" imagery.  I add another layer for highlights at the very top of the layer stack.  All of my highlights were added with the tool "sharp chalk" set somewhat grainy.


Working my way around the central figure by adding more color.  Everything is really loose and rough, all quickly worked.  This style of my illustration is completely different from the "neat and tidy" approach I use in many of my pieces.  I want things to be quite sketchy when I work in this style.


The final stage involved a bit of texture adding to the upper left and lower right.  I find rusty paint or old plaster wall type textures found at CGTextures.com quite useful in my illustrations.   They have both paid and free membership and it is a wonderful resource for illustrators, game developers, etc.


Here's a closeup of her face.  The eyes are quite haunting.  The fact she has a neutral expression, to me, is far more disturbing than if she had a pained expression (That would indicate she is still feeling something at least.), but here she looks beyond all... and maybe not in the good way. ^^;


And here's a closer look at the texture at the lower right.  It's actually a photo of a wall with rust stains.  I love the effect it gives the whole image.


A look at the upper left.  Subtle texture.  Once again, of rusty wall photo being incorporated.  Because rust and peeling walls generally convey the impression of decay and age, I find them useful in my images that deals with dark moods.

Poppies, strangely enough, seem to be a recurring theme in my work without my actively thinking to add them in my images.  I've drawn them in happy fantasy scenes with butterflies and a fairy, and they've appeared now twice in darker themed pieces.  I am sure I will see more poppies in the future.  I love their dramatic color combinations and form as well as their associated meanings across many cultures.