June 27, 2012

Chinese Dragon Hat

So I teased you earlier last week, and again this week with images of my latest project: the Chinese Dragon Hat. I am happy to report that it is finished. I call it that because I was looking at these images for inspiration...

As I mentioned before I had the idea while making the 5 fish hats. I had originally thought that I would like to try a fish hat that looked like a koinobori flag or a red koi fish, but as that would require changing colors in the middle of rows and all manner of confusion, I decided to leave off that idea for now. Instead I thought, why not make the hat go on for a long while and be a scarf at the same time.

So I picked out 7 colors that I liked and had about one skein of: a pumpkin orange, a jake the dog  light orange, brown, khaki, hunter green, pale yellow and a dusty blue. Figured I would be upset with myself if I didn't have a blue in there since I wear so much of it.

It is as tall as I am, so about 5 1/2 feet in lenth.
I followed the fish hat patter for making the mouth. Once I got to the end I just continued the single stitch rows out for longer until I felt the head was long enough. Then to make the head blend with the body and make it just a little bit more of a long dragon head, I added a few shell rows of the same color. Then I started rotating through my colors until I reached a thickness that I felt was right for a scarf. (Following the pattern terms, I stopped decreasing at 10 shells.) I feel that it might be good to say that I had thought of making the colors random, but then decided against it because it would bother my slightly OCD brain. So I had first arranged them in a general ROYGBIV sort of order, but didn't want it to be a rainbow dragon, so instead opted for a sort of compatible light dark light dark arrangement.
You can see ears, horns, eyes and whiskers here.
I added red lips around the face and white teeth in a similar shell pattern. Once I reached a length that would wrap around my neck once, I started decreasing the shells again down to two and then fanned out a tail. I also used a half circle pattern for eyes, the shell pattern for eyebrows, a leaf pattern for ears, a modified version of the fins pattern that came with the fish pattern for horns, and a made up kind of chain for the nose whiskers. The entire project took about a week to make and sew together.

Tail Fan
I expect I will have orders once I start wearing him out in the winter...

UPDATE: Added some nostrils and a neck fin... images in this update post.

June 25, 2012

Crafty Moving

So this week will most likely be light on posts since I am in the process of buying my first home, packing, planning and working. Not much time for crafting or doodling. So stay tuned for updates, but you might just check again next monday. Apologies.

In lieu of a doodle today, I will tease you with a few images of the status of my Chinese dragon hat idea loosely based off the fish hats pattern that I have used in the past.

Ears and Horns

Head with lips and teeth, body in progress.

Here is the thought doodle in case you missed it.

June 22, 2012

Rice Boy Fan Art

Rice Boy by Evan Dahm

Rice Boy is actually a story unto itself, but is also the name of the website. Evan Dahm has created an entire complex world compete with histories, races and fantastic environments. All of his stories take place in this world, called Overside. He is also the second half of the blog, The Exquisite Beast, I mentioned before.

When I started reading this comic, it was with Rice Boy. It follows Rice Boy who is suspected to fulfill of a prophecy. Then I got caught up in the Order of Tales. Order follows the last of a race of storytellers. And now I religiously follow Vattu. I have also devoured everything in the short stories section.

It is hard to classify these comics... I guess the best way to describe them are as "epics".  Most follow a single main character through their experiences, but rapidly bloom into a much larger scale conflict that this one character is caught up in the middle of. There are reoccurring races and characters which help to give every story depth, once you have read them all.

If I had to pick a favorite character, it would be T-O-E (The One Elecronic). He is super cool... carries himself kind of like yoda, dracula, and the lone gunman. I kind of relate him to Roland from the Dark Tower series...

Anyway, I am really enjoying Vattu so far and since it is the latest, I wanted to doodle her. I like Vattu's city a lot and while I started sketching her sneaking off to a sword practice with the War-man, I started giving her a companion. So here again is that Kenku kid from before.

This Kenku is actually a character I created for a DnD campaign that never went anywhere. But I spent a lot of time thinking about a back story and purpose and goals and things like that. So Chrypi is a girl kenku (which is hard to tell, similar to Vattu) and she grows up on the streets of Sharn in Ebberon. That city in the DnD lore, is gigantic and full of tons of races and hierarchy and lords and all kind of stuff. I felt like Sharn is a little like the city that Vattu is in since they are both full of all kinds of races. Chrypi one day finds a Bard mentor who teaches her to sing and make a little money storytelling. I had the idea for her to have a custom scimitar that had a harp built into the curve of the blade, a harpitar. Never sure where she learned to use a scimitar, so maybe some lessons from a friend might be fun.

June 20, 2012

My Little Sailor Moon

This idea has been stewing in my sketchbook for a while, so I thought I would actually give it a go. I like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I also like Sailor Moon. Similar to the Adventure Time/Avatar the Last Airbender mashup I did before I felt this was kind of obvious. I have a feeling that someone has already done this better somewhere, but I had a lot of fun picking colors and merging styles.

Each pony is colored on a separate layer, the line art is one vector image from illustrator that sits on top. I added another layer for a shadow. And the background is from this link, set behind everything with a gaussian blur on it.
Original Sketch...

June 18, 2012

Fish Hats Everywhere!

So a few posts ago I mentioned that I was working on a new crochet project. Little did I know that that one project would balloon so out of control!

I have these good friends who are crafty and just a little bit weird like me, so I thought it might be fun to make them a wedding present, rather than just buy something. They like camping and the outdoors and I thought what more fun than to make them something to wear on those cold nights.

Fish Hats by Knitty
I had seen this pattern a long time ago, but I have forgotten how to knit and love crochet too much to switch back, so although I had the pattern, I never made any.

So I set about looking for a new pattern, but in crochet. I found this Fish Hat pattern by Angels Chest on Etsy and loved it because not only was it colorful and cute, but the shell stitch really got the look of fish scales. I also really loved that the pattern was fully photographed and had the full pattern written out in every size I could think of! Handy for people who hate doing math. It is also written in rounds so that I don't have to sew anything on but the three body fins and eyes. Great for beginners too; uses slip stitch, single crochet, half double crochet and double crochet. I have now made 5 fish hats from this pattern. The hardest part is the front head area and that is the only part of the pattern I do not have memorized now.

This girly hat was made for my sister in laws 7th birthday. Made in bright colors for the girliest of princesses. Used a variegated yarn to bring together the different colors. This hat was made from the 5T to Preteen size. This hat's eyes are black 6mm safety eyes since I had some lying around. They were very hard to get through the layers of yarn so I did not use them again.

I think it was a hit. Everyone was shouting "It's eating her head!"

These two are the ones off to the weird friends I mentioned before. I used girly, but less girly colors, for the wife to be and a very masculine green blue and brown variegated yarn for the husbands. The wife's is adult size small and the husbands is adult size large. I was really happy when my own husband tried it on and it fit him perfectly! Since these are my weird friends, I had to make the fish be dead.

These last two are the unexpected pair... I was working on the wife's hat while getting my hair dyed, which takes a long time, and the stylist saw what I was working on and commissioned two more from me for her grandkids. I couldn't say no. Her grandson is big into Spider-man and she asked his to be in those colors... I took it a bit farther and did the whole body in red, the butt in blue and then added the black lips, crocheted half moon shapes and outlined them in black for eyes and then used a combination of single crochet and slip stitches to attach the web lines across the whole thing. I'm actually really proud of that one. The lines were the hardest part. Both of these are also in the 5T to Preteen size. The girl's one she asked to be in pink, purple and yellow. So I used two different yellows I had and a variegated yarn with similar colors again. Of course for a young girl I thought I couldn't have dead eyes, so she got lashes and black circles.

My husband still wants one of his own, so I will be making at least one more fish hat. After that I have this really cool idea for my own hat. Excuse the horrid picture of the doodle, but you should be able to get the drift. I am very excited and it will loosely be based off this pattern.

June 15, 2012

Nedroid Picture Diary Fan Art

Nedroid Picture Diary by Anthony Clark

Favorites: Mosquitos, Bartholomew, Tacos, Pizza, pretty much all of them...

Follows Reginald and Beartato (rhymes with potato) and their life, adventures and friends. If you looked at my favorites you can tell that it is quite silly. Anthony is a joy to follow on twitter and tumblr because we get to see all the other cool stuff that he works on. His coloring skills are amazing! You cant really tell from these comics but he does some amazing things with light in photoshop. I also love to see all the cool wizards he draws.

Ok here is the doodle:
Fun times... drew in graphite, inked with a black marker, scanned into illustrator, converted to line art, pulled into photoshop, layers of color and panels beneath the lines, saved to jpg. Fact: I had three different comics all thought out... this one is different than the rest.. perhaps I will draw Reginald and Beartato in the Halloween costumes I picked out for them (of a Pizza Slice and Hamburger (respectively)) at some time in the future.

June 13, 2012

Avatars are Awesome

UPDATE 6: Powerpuff Girls are getting remade... of course they had a "powerpuff yourself" site, and naturally, purple is a hair color option but not blue, so I took to Photoshop to edit mine.

UPDATE 5: The Peanuts Movie is coming out soon, so I used their website generator to "Get Peanutized". These things never get old. So much fun.

UPDATE 4: Anime yourself

UPDATE 3: New Adventure Time avatar game: Adventure Time Princess Maker
Guess she isn't too princess-y... 

UPDATE 2: Found my saved Scott Pilgrim avatar from their website for the movie.

UPDATE: Found a bakaneko creator!! Super fun = New avatar
Just thought I would put up a little post today about something super fun for all those mathmatical Adventure Time fans! Follow this link to play with an adventure time flash character creator.
Adventure Time Character Creator by Eladrin Girl
Here is mine:

And in case you are also a MLP:FIM fan like I am, here is a good pony creator!
Pony Creator by General Zoi
And my pony...
Next comic is Nedroid Picture Diaries, but that will be for Friday...

June 12, 2012

Daisy Owl Fan Art

Daisy Owl by Ben Driscoll

This comic is for all intensive purposes... dead. I am sad to say it, though. It remains in my reader because... well... because I am lazy and do not like to get rid of things that I liked. Not to say that it is a finished work, but because it has not updated in two years.

It is a bit nostalgic to go back and read through it again. By the end he really had a nice clean style going and fully defined characters. There were a few pretty dramatic perspective shots that he did too... and nice coloring when it had it.

Follows two kids and their dad, an owl, and his friend a bear. Kind of slice of life I guess.
There is a lot of humor in it; situational and stand up. Deals with work and raising kids and space. You know, normal stuff.

Anyway, here is the doodle. Sketched out in graphite, scanned into Photoshop, converted to line art in illustrator, and then imported into Photoshop again and colored in gray-scale. I had an idea that I wanted to draw a space picnic. I drew the overly smart daughter, Daisy, first and knew I wanted Steve the bear to be eating... The other two, Cooper, the boy, and Mr. Owl fell into place after. Tried to make it a little continuous with the last strip. I had a lot of fun with this... the limited palette was kind of liberating since I sometimes have difficulty mixing and matching colors.

June 8, 2012

Rosscott, Inc Fan Art

Today's comic is Rosscott, Inc. (aka. the System) by Rosscott.

Started reading this one in 2009. I knew it was one I would keep up with forever, when it spoke to my soul in this particular comic: The Crap Sandwich. Since then it has made me laugh on a regular basis.

Rosscott uses the universal imagery that we see on signs everywhere to make this comic apply to everyone. However, some of the subject matter is rather specific to one or another group: e.g. office worker, graphic designer, bike commuter, coffee drinker, etc. It also has some just plain weird and silly humor in characters such as Jimmy the Murderdog. Puns are often found here as well. Comics also often remark on technology, gadgets, social media, and fonts. If you like any of those things, you might give it a try.

Notes on this doodle: Started as a pencil sketch in my note book and then once I had the idea and panels arranged, I drew the characters in Illustrator from scratch. Didn't feel it was right to just use the icons he does. Text font is Helvetica New Medium Expanded. The dog eyes in panel two are actually the lowercase letter "o" from ITC Avant Guarde Gothic. I use that font in several of the logos and brands I work on. Since I work from home, often there are design decisions that I need to make, but I no longer have the luxury of asking another designer for their input. I hope that it is not just me who talks to myself, and my dog, when stuck on a choice... I do miss having coworkers...

June 6, 2012

Webcomics and their effects

As a person who occasionally does doodles of her own, I have a healthy respect for those who can produce work, good work, consistently. I think that is part of the reason I love webcomics. The more of them I collect and follow, the more I realize, why not me?

Add on the ability to follow your favorite webcomic artists on twitter and it is as though I can get a glimpse into their lives. They don't know me, but I sometimes feel like I can identify with them and see how they move past their bad days and keep going. This process of doing fan art helps me try to look harder at what I look at every week. And maybe I can find my own passion and ideas in the process.

"Do what only you can do best..."- Neil Gaiman  
But what can I do best?

So, last weekend at A-kon, I had the opportunity to meet an artist, who's comic I follow, in person. I have to admit that I went a bit fan-girl. Not even sure I remember what all I said to her, but I got a new piece of art, that she signed, got to shake her hand, and look at some finished and unfinished work. Might have taken all of 5 minutes, but I was giddy the rest of the day. Why? She's just a person, like me, doing what she loves to do. She's taken that step that I have not, though. She has put herself out there, with style.

That's a crutch word I use... someone has a "style". That is the big thing I am searching for in my own work; that I envy in others. The ability to have something be recognizable as yours, even if the subject isn't of your own creation.

I don't know what it is like to simply be a reader, to not want to be able to create something like I read. I desperately want to be able to create something unique, that can draw others in and have an effect on their lives. But maybe by studying what others have done and continue to do, by consuming so much good stuff every day, and by trying in my own way to get there... maybe I can become that cool.

June 4, 2012

Husband won't go with you to A-kon? Make Good Art.

Today's title is a reference to Neil Gaiman's recent speech to a group of students graduating from a school of the arts... Haven't heard it? STOP RIGHT NOW AND CLICK THIS LINK! Seriously, if you are an artist in any way, you should hear this.

Now that that is taken care of, A-kon was this weekend. With blue hair, naturally I wanted to dress in a way that might just be recognized by other nerds at the con. First thought was to get streaks added to my blue hair and go as Vinyl Scratch aka DJ P0n-3 (saw 3). But I couldn't seem to find a white shirt that wasn't see-through to paint her cutie mark on. Next thought was Ami Mizuno aka Sailor Mercury (saw 1) But I'm not sure I could manage to pull her off without just getting a sailor scout uniform.

Next thought was summertime Coraline. The idea was to use this fairly recognizable outfit but "summertime" it. I made myself a dragonfly hairclip like she wears.

Got a blue tank top and tried to add white stars like her sweater with fabric paint. Thought I might string the button eyes I have on a string around my neck to add a bit more emphasis on the movie, though I think her looking stone would work equally well. A blue jean skirt and some blue sandals would complete the look. It would be less cosplay and more fashion-inspired-by. At least I feel like I could wear it everyday and no one would be the wiser. HOWEVER, the white stars never came out white and my bleach pen attempts there-after turned out pink. So that was scratched as well.

In the end it was just blue hair, a comfy shirt and skirt, my vibrams, my con bag, and my backup costume: the pipe fox from xxxHolic. Maybe next time I can find some Chobit ears and just pretend to be a persocom.

The Con Bag Before
Items on con bag: Mouse from Spirited Away, Rainbow Dash, BPRD patch, Angel Beats patch, Kodama from Princess Mononoke, Pins: handmade round metal pin that looked kind of like a kodama head, Ravenclaw, Pisces, Kissyface, Innsmouth is for Lovers, Mrs. Auditore, Grand Caymans, Dr. Cat, Japanese Temple, Monorail Cat, True Dungeon 2010, Pirates of the Caribbean medallion. (To be added: Fifth Element patch)

The Con Bag After
New Items Added: Ouran Host Club Patch, Pins: Totoro, Flameo Hotman, We Do the Weird Stuff, fat Rainbow Dash, Sailor Mercury and Symbol, Pabu the Fire ferret, Mr. Toast, Its the Quenchiest, Marceline the Vampire Queen, Appa, Haruhi from Ouran Host Club, Mokona, and Be the Leaf with Tenzin's son Meelo from Legend of Korra