We are hoping to get rid of some stock!
We are hoping to get rid of some stock!
This week’s sketch dump was something I had been planning for a while, and I’m so glad I did it. I chose one artist every day to emulate, whether it was an artist I admired or an artist who was an inspiration to me (or both). In most cases, the sketch ended up looking nothing like what the artist in question would do, but it gave me a fantastic opportunity to study the details of how that artist draws. So, if you’re interested in the details, be sure to read the notes below the sketches.
1.) J. Scott Campbell. If you’re a comic book person, you’ll probably recognize this name. I discovered him quite by accident. A poster of his (for Danger Girl) ended up in a package of printing samples that the organization I was working for had requested from the printer, and I liked the artwork so much that I kept it (later on I read the comics and loved them). He’s known for his overly sexualized drawings of women, and I always feel a bit ashamed for liking his style so much, but his line art is so dynamic, and I love the way he does faces. My sketch looks nothing like his, although the face comes sort of close.
2.) Jasmine Beckett-Griffith. I had the fanboyish pleasure of meeting Jasmine at Faerie Con one year, and she and her husband, Matt are the nicest people in the world. Oh, and she’s a fantastic artist. I’ve always admired her for her distinctive style that sets her apart from so many homogenized styles of fairy art, and I was surprised when I was able to get my sketch to look pretty close to what she does.
3.) Lar deSouza. Lar is the artist for the webcomics Least I Could Do and Looking For Group. He’s also the first person to ever send me fan art for my own webcomic back in my early days. He’s always a very huggable guy. But above all, he’s a great artist, and an amazing caricature artist. My sketch does not do his style any justice, although Katie said that she liked the proportions on this one (so I must have done something right).
4.) Phil Foglio. Back in my youth, I played Magic: The Gathering (this was around the time of 4th edition). I was always enamored with the artwork that bore the name Phil Foglio because of his distinctive cartoony style. Years later, I would find my way to the webcomic Girl Genius, and I was surprised to see that Phil Foglio was the artist. His women are usually, as Katie puts it, “curvacious”, and I wanted to give it a try. I think I did all right, although there’s something about the face that I didn’t get quite right.
5.) Jack Kirby. Again, if you’re into comics, you should know this name. I grew up on comics from the 60s, thanks to a large collection that my uncle had bequeathed to me. My early attempts at drawing were based on those comics, many of which were drawn by Jack Kirby. Much has been said about the man over the years, so I won’t repeat it, and I’ll just say that he’s a legend. But I had to try to get a bit more detailed with this one because he was so detailed in his line art. Once again, the sketch does no justice, but it ended up a pretty good sketch none-the-less.
6.) Jessica Galbreth. Arguably the greatest influence on what I do, if not my artwork, Jessica is someone who I’ve wanted to meet for a long time (but the several occasions I almost did ended up falling through). I thought about skipping her in my line-up because she does watercolor paintings, and I wasn’t sure I could sketch in her style, but I gave it a shot anyway. I’m glad I did; it gave me a change to admire the details of how she portrays the figure, as well as the details that she puts into the paintings (especially the wings).
7.) Glen Keane. I’ve only know the name a short time, but I’ve been aware of him for a long time. Ariel from The Little Mermaid has always been one of my favorite character designs, and recently I noticed the similarities between her and the design for Rapunzel in Tangled. Then I found out they were designed by the same person, and I researched more about him. I don’t think I’d ever incorporate too much of his style into my fairy drawings, but the way he draws is very much how I’ve always wanted Bardsworth to look.
Artists are notoriously self-deprecating. It could be because we genuinely feel we aren’t as good as we should be. It could be a subconscious ploy to fish for compliments (which we need, there’s no denying that). It could be both of those things or something else entirely. Whatever it is, we tend to get down on ourselves in regards to the work we do.
Acting like that is detrimental in a number of ways. The first is the most obvious – it erodes your self-esteem. Maybe you think the “suffering artist” lifestyle is a romantic ideal, but it’s not healthy in any way. Sure, a number of amazing works came from artists who suffered, but a lot of amazing stuff has come from artists who love what they do and are confident about it. Wouldn’t you rather be in the latter group?
Another big way that self-deprecation hurts is by making it seem that you are indeed fishing for compliments. When I see an artist posting beautiful work and they say, “It’s terrible, but here you go,” I have to stop and wonder if they truly believe it’s terrible, or if they just want validation that it’s as good as they privately think it is. If I have to decide between those two choices, it doesn’t speak well of an artist.
Riding on the back of that last point, by saying your work is bad, you may be inadvertently insulting people who like it. The catalyst for this whole post was an artist whom I follow on Tumblr posting several sketches (that were good, by the way) and mentioning in her post that “These suck.” Well, if I think they’re good, and she thinks they suck, I could very well assume that she’d think less of me for liking them. You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to insult people who truly like your artwork, and people who could potentially be inspired by that artwork.
Lastly, if you have people who look up to you because they honestly enjoy your artwork, it can be frustrating for them to hear you deride your art. Say, for example, you’re following an artist online and that artist posts something that is beautiful, and it speaks to you, but you know you’re not at a point where you could do something like that. If that artist also says, “This is really bad, I can’t believe I’m sharing this,” what does that leave an impressionable fan to think? Probably something like, “Oh, jeez, if that’s bad, and what I do isn’t even close to that, what hope is there for my artwork?”
You can be judgmental about your artwork in private, but let others decide for themselves whether or not it’s good. Don’t take away the power and inspiration of what you do by downplaying it before it has a chance to do good in world.
(Side note: When I post my sketch dumps, I will point out sketches that I don’t think turned out as good as they could have, but I don’t think I’ve ever derided any of them. Knowing when something needs extra practice or work is different that flat-out saying, “This sucks.”)
This week I wanted to do a series of sensual poses. However, I was surprised to find that Google Image was rather unhelpful in finding “sensual poses”. So I ended up with a mish-mash of sensual, alluring, and sexy poses.
Some of them ended up being more pin-up poses, but hey, that’s all right. I’m still mostly happy with how they turned out.
When you are a creator of hand-crafted goods, you very frequently become attached to the item that you are going to be selling. Sometimes it’s a love-hate relationship due to materials not working the way they should, or you are having an off day, but still, you finish and think “I made this” and feel a sense of accomplishment.
Then, you go to an event or you list the item in your online store, and it lingers there, and you begin to doubt your abilities. If you’re on Etsy, you may have people favorite it. If you’re at a live show, you may have many people tell you how “nice” something is. But not “nice” enough for them to part with their cash and bring it home. However hard you rationalize the lack of financial gain, there is that part of you that is crushed. People who sell factory-made or mass-produced products don’t often feel this way (unless they’re the designer trying to sell direct). If I buy fairy statues and then re-sell them at festivals, I don’t have to take it to heart when they don’t sell. Sure, my taste or judgement may be called into question, but not my talent and ability to create. I don’t have to take the lack of sales personally.
On the flipside, though, when a sale is made, the joy that an artist feels is so much greater. I personally feel so happy that a creation of mine is going to a good home. And there’s that validation in finding someone who appreciates your work.
I don’t know if there will ever come a time as a creator when I don’t feel a risk in putting my creation out there for public consumption, but I think that risk is worth everything.
I really despise Joann Fabrics. The lighting, the layout (which constantly changes), the quality of much of the fabric, the unhelpful and underknowledged staff, the lack of providing what I need when I need it - all contribute to driving my blood pressure up and leaving me coming out of the store with a headache. To be fair, we have been able to use them for lots of craft supplies and even displays for our shows, and they offer some great coupons, but if you are any more advanced than a hobbyist sewer, you probably share my frustrations.
The problem is, as far as local fabric stores go, the choices are extremely slim. You have several Joann Fabrics, a handful of Walmart with a fabric section (where at least you expect bad customer service and luck of the draw in finding what you need), and a handful of private quilt-oriented stores. There seems to be one quilting-oriented store that also carries fashion fabric, but it is on the ritzy side of town and caters to stay-at-home women with wealthy husbands and the pricing seems too high. And there are a couple of discount stores that I need to check out when I get the chance, but one is definitely more quilting oriented and one is more upholstery oriented. I think in the next couple of weeks, I’ll go exploring and see if I can find an alternative to Joann’s though.
The other problem is that I was SO spoiled living out near the LA fabric and garment district. On a good day, if we timed the drive right, we could make it in twenty minutes. Of course, on a bad traffic day, it could take over an hour! The store I first learned and loved was Michael Levine’s, as my school had a purchase order through them so we bought most of our fabric for shows there. This store was massive! The fashion and quiting fabric (along with notions and yarn and trims and patterns of all kind) was on one side of the street. They carried historic patterns and always had a table of silk on sale for $7 per yard. Across the street was the home furnishing and upholstery fabric (which we occasionally used for our costumes), and upstairs from this was a dirty, small, hot room where you could by fabric by the pound! I have fond memories of digging through cardboard boxes full of fabric for happy finds. Surrounding Michael Levine’s were specialty fabric stores and discount stores that sold fabric at $.99 per yard. As much of the fabric coming into the U.S. ships through the ports of Los Angeles, these seriously are the best prices you can get in the country on fabric. After I started working a lot in Orange County, I also discovered M & L Discount Fabrics. This was another great store, convenient when I was further from Los Angeles. They had a back room full of knit fabrics, and I was able to find this amazing stretch lace to use for these dance costumes.
So I know my expectations are very high, but I need to do better than Joann Fabrics. Otherwise, I may be driven mad. I just need to make tons of money at this so I can afford to go to fabric shows to buy wholesale and to regular fly out to Los Angeles to pick up the remainder of what I need.
This week was one that I’ve had planned for a while, but I held off because it was a bit of a challenge. I wanted to do a series of fairies inspired by different types of alcoholic drinks. I tried not to get too specific (i.e. brand names) and just stuck to general styles. But even so, without the help of color in some cases, things were a bit difficult. It yielded in a few that I’m kind of “meh” on and a few that I really like. I’ll include notes on each one after the images, otherwise things might seem a bit arbitrary.
1.) Wine. I feel that wine is still a classy drink, even though it’s become a much more casual drink than it once was. So I tried to go for a casual, yet classy outfit. And the wings are supposed to emulate grape vines.
2.) Bourbon. I kind of phoned this one in. To me, bourbon is a strong and confident drink, and I tried to portray it through the expression and body language. And I don’t think the outfit needs any mention. If it was in color, the wings would be a nice amber hue.
3.) Vodka. I’m not much of a vodka drinker, but I’ve always noticed that a good vodka is smooth and no-nonsense, with almost a flowy feel to it. It’s also sharp, and I tried to give her sharp features, but I don’t think it came across well.
4.) Scotch. One of my favorite drinks, and subsequently one of my favorite sketches. I like a full-bodied scotch, hence a full-bodied figure. And I tried to make the hair look like smoke, because I do enjoy a good smokey nose and flavor to my scotch.
5.) Absinthe. For most US folks, absinthe has a distinct mystique to it, so I gave the fairy a masquerade mask. It’s also always struck me as an elegant type of drink, hence the gown. And the wings are fashioned after absinthe spoon designs.
6.) Beer. I’m a beer snob, so I had to have fun with this. The first fairy is your typical macrobrew (i.e. Budweiser or Miller) – light, nothing to it, and basically just for partying. The second fairy is a craft beer – more accents to it and a bit more serious. Also gave her a slight snobby look just for kicks.
7.) The Hangover. No description necessary.
I have been sketching away, developing the designs for my first corsets and the line of silk base pieces I want to offer. Nothing is finalized design-wise yet, but the shapes are starting to come together nicely. The hard part will be the execution.
Also as part of my preparation, I joined a Corsetry group at livejournal and asked three questions:
I received NUMEROUS replies, all very helpful and insightful. Almost unanimously, people expressed distaste for plastic boning, mostly because it makes them think of thin boning like Rigilene (the kind that is in bridesmaidprom dresses). They prefer steel boning, and a couple of the corset makers in the group said they like to use a combo of regular and spiral boning. A few said they would consider it if they were buying in person but not online, while a few suggested if I do go this route that I should not call it plastic boning because it suggests the cheap, flimsy boning. That has given me a lot to consider.
I am excited to say that my opportunity for earning money doing dress alterations for a local bridal shop looks very good, so I should hopefully begin developing my patterns (by building corsets for myself, of course!) within the month.