Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sailor Moon vs Cherry Pie Comic

Sailor Moon vs Cherry Pie comic page 1

Sailor Moon vs Cherry Pie comic page 1

Sailor Moon vs Cherry Pie comic page 1

Introducing, Cherry Pie! :) But wait... is this the end of Cherry Pie?

Justin Weber and I came up with these gags together after watching some nostalgic English dubbed episodes from Sailor Moon season R. <3

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Misty Eats a Magikarp

This was my entry for Anime Expo's Manga Lounge comic competition. The challenge was to create a Poke'mon comic of at least three panels.

I must admit- I love the thrill of competing, and winning is fun and encouraging. <3 My entry won "Best Original" comic. They kept my comic in exchange for some nice prizes: two manga of my choice from their manga chest, a reusable Manga Lounge bag in a stylin' bright red, and a plushie of the Anime Expo male mascot, who has a nifty cape and top hat. A staff member also took a photo of me striking a victory pose with my comic in hand (on the only day of AX that I cosplayed) as Sailor Moon. If I ever find that photo... I will smile. :)

My favorite part of the prize was not part of the official prize package. It was made possible by perfect timing. I happened to be there just as the staff decided to give away a few old manga because they were in Spanish and weren't being read. So, I got to pick up a couple issues of Sailor Moon as published by Mixxzine. Now, I can study Naoko Takeuchi's artwork in large format, without the temptation of reading the story, since I don't know Spanish. Perfect!

Here are some details of my process:
When I found out about the contest, I brainstormed my idea before returning the next day to execute it. I knew I'd need some supplies from home and to print out some reference material. I packed supplies like the ones I'd use for a 24-hour-comic-- supplies that are quick, easy, and clean: a flexible fine tip pen, a pen to fill blacks, Pentel pocket brush, and a t-square, for ruling panel borders. Next time I'll also bring a white out pen and a large eraser. As for the idea, I knew I wanted to make a statement in a single page. Magikarp was one of the poke'mon I used to make fun of as a tween, so... t'was only natural.

I encourage anyone attending Anime Expo to go to the Manga Lounge. It's a lovely, quiet retreat from the often overcrowded convention. The contest has a different theme every year, so it will be fun to look forward to, if you are a fellow artist and anime fan. If the thrill of competing or the fun of comic-making isn't motivation enough... first prize is a set of shiny copic sketch markers. Woo!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fanime Artist Alley 2013

My first con of 2013! Fanime Con was held in San Jose, CA from June 24th to the 27th. I drove up from Los Angeles with my friend, Mojgon. The largest anime convention I'd ever attended up until that point was Anime Detour, with an attendance cap of 3,500. Fanime had 21,000+ attendees! I was nervous at the thought of being overwhelmed, but I quickly realized that the Artist Alley was just as manageable as any other. ^_^ As far as sales went, I found it to be just as profitable for me as any other, too. To make $50 at a free convention is awesome. To make $50 at a convention that costs well over $100 to attend... not so awesome. But don't get me wrong! I loved my time at Fanime. Here's why~

By far the most special thing to come out of Fanime was new friendships! My table-mate, Bianca, was fairly new to the alley, same as me. She was selling hand-sewn plush dolls of bunnies and onigiri, hair bows, and watercolor prints. Carli is an artist alley expert, and she had a towering display of beautiful anime posters. Marissa, also an alley veteran, sold stunning, extra-large posters. I'm so thrilled and thankful to have met these lovely ladies, who I now call friends.
Happy to be a cupcake.

Marissa insisted that I try on her cupcake dress, and I happily did so. (My camera was bad to me, so this is my only con photo!)

At first, it was very hard to resist the urge to attend panels and events. At such a large convention, there was a whole lot of interesting stuff going on! My very favorite panels are the ones that are informational-- especially the ones that teach you how to do something new and exciting. So, on day one, I went through the enormous program book, circling tons of interesting events. I circled one called "Artist Alley Survival Guide." Then it hit me. I didn't go there to talk about selling in artist alley.... or to learn how to wire LED lights into a costume (though that sounds terribly fun). I chose to present myself in the Artist Alley and focus on my goals as an artist, not on my hobbies. I'm so used to attending conventions just for fun, that I had to rewire my brain to accept this new reality! Suddenly, I saw the weekend through the eyes of a student. It was one big lesson, and my friends were my teachers.

One of the most important things I learned was to make proper use of my space. Of the 350 tables in the alley, nearly all of them made use of vertical displays made of pvc pipes or grid panels in order to display a dozen or so prints at once. Those that did not, including myself, were at a serious disadvantage! I only had three prints hanging off the front of my table. There was an enormous amount of people drifting by, seeking a good reason to stop and take a closer look. I didn't have much at first glance.

I got to sit beside Mojgon, who has sold in artist alleys for many years. I picked up on a few things, such as:

  • Her best-selling items appeared to be buttons and 11 x 17 poster prints, though she also sold bookmarks, 8.5 x 11 prints, charms, and necklaces. 
  • She had $100 in ones and fives to give out as change, plus lots of quarters. She kept the bills in a cute pouch... which I find worth mentioning, because having a special place designated for holding your art money feels exciting. :) 
  • After an item sold, she took note of it in a quick and simple way. I imitated her, like so:
Keeping track of sales in a tiny notebook.
I had my tiny Rilakkuma notebook with me at all times to take notes on everything. When I took a break to walk the alley, I noted clever table arrangements, artists' contact information, sales techniques and unique merchandise. While at my table, I noted as many behind-the-scenes details as possible. I love note-taking! I have many pages full of tidbits... but what I've already described here constitutes my major findings, I believe. While it's not much, I hope there was something here of value to you. My artist alley adventures will continue in January, with Anime Los Angeles. Gotta get to work! ~<3

Friday, April 19, 2013

"When The Duck Comes By"

This is a scene from a slightly longer story I've written. It may become a comic someday, but for now it's a storyboard-- my very first, and the beginning of my storyboard portfolio! I love all the similarities storyboards share with comics. I really enjoyed the process of revising the story: it's a lot easier to do when it's only panels you have to redesign and not entire pages, as in comics. Now that the beats are all clear, I'm already thinking of page designs...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Comic Class

At the beginning of the year, I thought I was going to be teaching an after school comic art class to middle-schoolers. As it turned out, not enough students enrolled, so it was cancelled. But as I was preparing for the class, I was asking around for advice from all my friends. Jenny raised a good point about the disciplinary aspect of teaching, and it made my imagination fire up- and thus, this comic was born!

The top tier of panels were inked with a Hunt 108 and fine Pitt pen. The bottom tier was inked with a sable brush. The reason for the variation... well, I thought it was only going to be three panels at first, and when I decided to do the second tier I had a big itch to use the brush. That's all! It's interesting seeing how the tones interact with the different line weights.

The last panel was a challenge. After trying to draw a crowded classroom with nothing but classic perspective and elbow grease.... I fell back on google sketchup. What a lifesaver it is! Besides, why not use every tool available? Sketchup will help me learn to see and understand three-dimensional environments. All in good time.

This is the first comic that I toned using Deleter ComicWorks. Oh, how I love it! I find it to be a lot faster than using Photoshop to tone. Panel four went through two other variations before arriving at this tonal state. I'm happy with how the contrast creates a feeling of shock and stress. If I continue doing little strip exercises, I plan to use ComicWorks, to learn more tone techniques!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I Can't Write About That

I'm playing with short little autobiographical strips! This is strip #2!

Tools: Sable brush and Photoshop CS2


I'm playing with short little autobiographical strips! This is the very first! 
Based on a recent morning. ^^

Tools: Quill pen and copic marker

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sailor Iron Mouse


2012 Reflection

Doing this grid was a cool way to put the year into perspective! It all feels like such a long time ago already!

April and May were entirely consumed by costume making. This has been a trend of mine for the past couple of years... I should start posting my costumes on this blog, shouldn't I? They really are very pretty! Lots of hand-painted details, jewelry crafted of metal, clay, and resin-- and sewing, of course! :) This year's costume is very low effort, so there will be plenty of time for drawing! 

I didn't turn up any completed projects in July or August! Oh no! During July, I was a comic teacher's assistant for the summer youth program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I did a lot of sketching and reading comics during that time.

The fall was my most productive season in 2012. Maybe what they say about northern weather affecting productivity really is true. If you're not able to run around outside, you might as well be running around in the fields of your imagination and MAKING stuff! ^^ I also sold artwork at three conventions during the fall. They provide nice, solid deadlines-- versus my flexible, self-imposed ones.

This year, I'm kicking off with a handful of comic strips! Mystery, mystery~! I'll post them soon.