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Patreon Art Update #0

Hello everyone! In order to make my first weekly art update, I needed to pick a day for it – so watch this spot every Saturday for the latest cute critters and assorted ramblings.

gila

It’s almost March! That means we’re about to start our first monthly batch of art and awesomeness! So, if you haven’t already, make sure that you fill out the form posted earlier with your art preferences. And, of course, I’ll be making art! I’m pretty glad that it’s almost spring, and I’m finding lots of inspiration in my yard, learning about all the plants that grow here. The chickens are glad for the extra time with me around out there, so they can beg me for treats the entire time.

jindo

This was a busy week! I’ve got several pieces that are nooooot quite ready to appear, including some fun full-scene commissions. Here’s a set of emotive gila monsters I’m making, along with other pictures I’ve made this February! I want to show you some more, so I better get to work on that, huh?

weird

This brings me to: MY FIRST MONTHLY PROJECT! I will announce it on Leap Day (because that gives me two days to finish deciding!) I’ll also announce the date for the Art Party (you’re invited!) and any other looming matters before March begins. Opal’s video update will take the place of one regular update this month, and I’ll plan a date for that, too. Opal needs to be kept filled in on his schedule, after all!

TigerLemonadeYou can visit my Patreon page here!

Icon and Sticker Set Commissions, Free Red Panda Stickers and Patreon Grand Opening

Tod here! I’ve been very busy and have some awesome things to share with you! First of all, I’ve made a sticker set for the chat program Telegram. Do you love red pandas as much as we do? Then this is for you! https://telegram.me/addstickers/redpandaswatercolor

Don’t have Telegram? These images are free to download to use as userpics or whatever not-for-profit use you’d like to use them for.  Credit me with a link to this website if you’d like. Enjoy!


Like Telegram stickers, user icons or sets of lots of tiny pictures? I’m now offering three options for icon commissions.

090Option 1: 1.5″ x 1.5″ icon with border and optional background color. This is my standard icon style, and works best with a head-and-shoulders shot for humanoid characters, but I can also draw a small creature shown full-body.

weirdOption 2: Sticker-style headshot. Head only, with optional speech balloon, small props, sound effects, etc. White border around the art, and a transparent background.

24

Option 3: Sticker-style critter. A big-headed, small-proportioned animal character, with a white border and transparent background. They can have small props, and I can add costumes for an additional cost.

Cost: Icons are $10 each, or 24 for $100. I request payment upon approval of the sketches.

You’ll get a small 100 x 100 pixel version and a 512 x 512 version of each picture.


Like looking at tiny pictures, but not in the market for some of your own right now? This page contains most of the thousands of icons I’ve done for my 29 Icon Day batches. So many pictures! http://www.thestorydragon.com/iconday


And finally, like looking at my art, and want to support my making more of it in the future? I’ve started a Patreon campaign for The Story Dragon. You can check it out here!

Patreon is a site that lets creative folks receive and reward funding for their ongoing projects. It’s a little like a PBS membership drive and a little like Icon Day. Fans make a monthly pledge, and receive backer rewards, unlock group rewards by reaching funding goals, and get updates from the creator with all the cool stuff they’re making.

You can make a pledge of any amount to my Patreon campaign and receive art updates from me in your email, as well as pick up a fun monthly reward for yourself – art in the mail, for you!

I’ll be making weekly art updates to share what I create, here on this site, and on my Patreon page. We’ve already hit our first two funding goals, which is very exciting! First, each month, one of my weekly updates will be hosted by our dragon puppet, Prince Opal. Second, each month one of my work days will be a pizza party art stream. It’s going to be good times!

I am so exited to make and share art with all of you! Thank you for your continued support and interest in my art. I hope you have a wonderful day 😀

Bumblepost: Awesome Art Podcasts!

Owen here! Today I’d like to tell you about the art podcasts I listen to.

I’m a big fan of podcasts. I can listen to them while working with my hands, which means they are perfect for listening to while making art. Most of them are free as well, and they are very easy to download for on the go (For those of us without unlimited wifi!).

Every so often I look for a bunch of podcasts on similar subjects, and listen to them to find the best ones. A few months ago I started looking for artist podcasts, and now have some recommendations!

  1. Artists Helping Artists

Useful for: Learning skills to make art, and how to gain more skills; networking with other artists; social media/marketing; building & tweaking your website; selling in large and small markets

I can not say enough about this show. It is bursting with helpful information! This podcast has years and years of back episodes, so there is plenty to absorb! AHA’s host Leslie Saeta changes things up frequently with new co-hosts. I think this helps keep the show fresh and interesting.

This show covers how to make art, how to sell art, and how to work in the dynamic and weird art world – from big markets to small. There is something for everyone here.

2. Artists Without Day Jobs

Useful for: Social Media/Marketing tips; inspiration; getting jazzed about making art; feeling empowered!

AWD is hosted by Jo-Ná Williams, an attorney, business advisor, and founder of Artist Empowerment.  This podcast is almost entirely about the business of art, especially empowering ourselves to get what we are worth. Many of AWD’s guests have struggled up from difficult circumstances – so if you have trouble seeing yourself getting anywhere with your art, check out Artists Without Day Jobs!

3. The Savvy Painter

Useful for: Learning social media/marketing skills; learning about painting; building enthusiasm!

Like AHA and AWD, the Savvy Painter provides useful info, and often has guests on that give insight gained from their own experience. In my opinion, there is no such thing as hearing from too many artists!

The Unimistakable Creative

Useful for: Inspiration!

It is way too easy to get derailed by a lack of enthusiasm, getting bogged down by the feeling we can’t move forward – that any effort towards our goals will be a futile waste of energy we don’t have. So in that case, I recommend trying out The Unmistakable Creative! It’ll get you pumped and moving again.

(You will learn other stuff here too, but for me, I listen to it to help me keep going!)

  1. The Abundant Artist

Useful for: Inspiration, enthusiasm, resources

This is another one where you’ll learn a lot, but again I think the real usefulness of this podcast is as inspiration. In my experience, things made by business coaches tend to have a quality of getting people up and moving, doing what they need to reach their goals.

 

Bonus: Small Business, Big Marketing

Useful for: Learning social media/marketing; learning good business practices; learning how to do your business well from the start

Now, this one I recommend listening to with a grain of salt. I dislike some of the companies that advertise with SBBM, and sometimes both the guest and host have things I strongly disagree with. So why am I recommending it?

This is one of the few pieces of media made about marketing that is not complete nonsense. Anyone who is invited on as a guest is someone who has become successful, and they share what they did to get there. There is also some discussion about ethics, and also on the quandary of reaching goals and suddenly not knowing what to do. (Something I find unimaginable, but which happens to lots of people, apparently.)

———————–

Now a small note for anyone anxious about listening to content like this where something is for sale if you can’t or don’t want to buy the product: Just by listening you are helping! And doing things like spreading the word or leaving reviews is also immensely helpful!

In the best of circumstances, content (like podcasts) are made available for free because it helps in some other way. It helps show people the person making the podcast knows what they’re talking about. It helps them and their guests network. It lets them help people new to the business (which is good for everyone!). And often, it provides advertising or improves search engine rankings for whoever makes the podcast.

So no need to worry! Just click, sit back, and enjoy!

Five 3d printed projects I want to make

I have a bit of a thing for 3d printing. Ever since we moved our art-making into a space with several 3d printers (and then some!), I’ve been considering what I could make. Here is a list of some of my plans:

  1. A small custom game controller for the X box.

Someone I know got an x-box, but unfortunately he is finding the available controllers are too big for comfort. So I want to make a smaller controller customized with colors and designs he likes. Should be fun!

2. A light-weight puppet head.

The puppets we make are fairly light – but even a little weight wears on the hands after awhile! So I’d like to experiment with flexible but sturdy materials that weigh almost nothing.

Most likely, though, we’ll be using an Mcor Iris paper carving printer to do that job. It slices into stacks of copy paper (or whatever paper you want to recycle!), applies adhesive, and prints designs on the resulting sculpture. Recycling at it’s most fun!

3. A raspberry pi case

I dream of a wearable, audio only computer with just a keyboard for input. Tablet screens are too fragile for me, a bumbly electronics destroyer. So instead I’d love to have something I can strap to my wrist, plug headphones into, and use on the go by typing into it one handed. I will then attack it with glitter and sparkles!

4. Flat celtic jewelry pieces and ornaments

I’m already working on turning some of my knotwork designs into vector files that can then be used for 3d printing and laser etching. I pretty much just want to plaster knotwork into every conceivable type of object and surface.

5. Shelving that uses thumbtacks

Trying to find shelving that works for apartments which don’t allow screws was always very difficult for me! The stuff I did find was either big (as in full sized bookshelves) or not very sturdy. To solve this problem, I’d like to design something that will only leave thumbtack sized holes, but can hold up a decent amount of weight.

 

If you have a problem you’d like a 3d printed solution for, let me know! I’ve got room for more experiments!

Bumblepost: 7 Ways to Keep Your Resolutions

Owen here! Today I want to chat with you about New Year’s resolutions.

Resolutions are popular to make and popular to break. I’ve had luck keeping mine the past few years, so I’d like to pass on what’s worked for me.

1. Choose one major theme, and have the rest be, “I’ll try fixing this when I can.”

Making a change is hard. Making a lot of different ones is much worse. I find that if I choose a category of things to fix, the things I do to succeed at one thing will help me work on the other resolutions. And by the next year, my new habits will be entrenched, so I don’t have to worry about them when embarking on yet more changes.

So if you want to get more exercise, do more sculpting, keep the house clean, start gardening, go see all the historical sites in your city, give up your favorite drinks, etc – Sit down and decide which is the most important one to do first, or which is the most exciting. Make most of the resolutions about that one thing, and then slack off on the rest.

2. With every goal, write down the motivation behind it.

I find the biggest resolution killer is that specific goals become quickly outdated or were too ambitious to start with. Going from “I’m gonna paint every so often” to “I’m going to paint from 3 PM to 5 PM every single day without fail” requires a big shift – and as you try to meet that goal, you’re likely to discover some long-term problems that need fixing before you can actually accomplish that. You may even discover that the changes you would have to make just won’t be feasible for you.

If you firmly understand the reasoning behind your goal, you can then alter the goal without losing it entirely. For instance, if you just couldn’t get yourself to actually sit down and work every day, you might consider a smaller goal of three times a week. Try that for a bit, and if it doesn’t work, revisit the motivation behind the goal and try something else.

3. Set a check-in schedule

Once you know what you’re trying to do, set aside time regularly to check in with your goals. Write up what’s worked, what hasn’t, and how you feel about your resolutions. Alter your goals as needed.

4. Make a plan

Now that you know what you’re going to try to do, make a plan for each of your goals. Brainstorm what you think you’ll need to do in order to accomplish these goals. Plot out when you want to reach certain milestones by. Keep these on hand for when you check in with your goals.

5. Enjoy your failures.

If you are assessing it honestly, failure is great. It shows you the flaws in your plans, and where mistakes are being made. It is also proof that you’re actually trying.

Collect enough failures, and you’ll figure out what you’re doing.

 

Good luck, and Happy New Year, from Owen and Tod at The Storydragon!

Bumblepost: Clarifying your creative path

Owen here! Today I’d like to talk about giving up your dreams.

Grow up.

Put away childish things.

You can’t make a living doing that.

I bet there is no one living who hasn’t heard these kinds of sentiments, either as missiles meant to shoot down dreams, or as woeful sighs lamenting unpleasant realities. It’s common knowledge that only a few random lucky people get to have fun being creative. Everyone else needs to work jobs they hate so that one day they can save up to do things they enjoy.

While trying to escape these predictions of doom, it’s far too easy to flail around in every possible direction. If signs of progress don’t show up immediately, panic sets in, and we set off in a different direction – thinking we’ve already failed.

I invite you now to sit down comfortably. Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be fine.

I invite you to replace that old nonsense with this idea: Getting older means clarifying what we really want to do.

Think about all the things you have tried before, or have an interest in. Count them up. Chances are, there isn’t enough time in any human lifetime to pursue all of those in a worthwhile way. And for those wanting to make a creative living, it’s even more impractical to grasp every possible avenue; in addition to doing the thing you love, you’ve also got accounting, marketing, and a host of other concerns that eat into your time. Successful creative people limit their focus, and jettison things that will water it down.

I’m not going to get into the specifics of things you’ll need to do in order to get where you want to be. If you are still in the area of thinking no one survives as a creative person, then this is a much more important task right now. I invite you instead to replace that old script with this one:

 

Grow.

Play to your heart’s content.

You can make a living doing that, and other people will help you do it.

Bumblepost: Come see my art at the Black Drop Coffee House, January 2016

Owen here! I’ve got a fun announcement to share!

In January 2016, I get to show my art at the famed walls of Bellingham’s Black Drop Coffee House! This is the employee owned local coffee shop that supports my corner of Bellingham’s art community. Every month they feature a different artist, and my chance is coming up!

If you can make the trip to the Black Drop in January, you’ll see glittering and glowing multimedia pieces made all sorts of materials – wood, clay, acrylic paint, hot glue, found objects, and more. If all goes according to plan, you’ll also be able to see some of my broomsticks up close and in person. Also celtic knotwork, and maybe even some coffee beans!

Bumblepost: Art without a visual imagination

Owen here! Today I’d like to talk to you about how my brain works.

I found out recently that I have aphantasia. I’m including some links about it below, but here is a brief summary: I don’t have a visual imagination. More specifically, I have a teeny tiny visual imagination that can barely do anything. Somehow, I didn’t realize I had this until some recent articles came out describing the phenomenon.

How can this be? You’d think I have noticed, right? Well, my brain is also good at lazy abbreviation. So if someone says, “Imagine a car,” my brain simply says, “We are imagining a car” without doing any of the work to make it manifest. In my particular case, I can imagine bits and pieces of the car one at a time, or I might imagine something that has to do with what the car does. A fast red blur for a corvette, for instance. I’ve also drawn what I was dreaming about directly after waking up, and have ended up with images that could weren’t even advanced enough to belong to an old low-polygon count video game. During the dream, however, I was content with my brain’s explanation that these are people. I didn’t realize what was going on until I learned that aphantasia was a thing. Basically, I knew I was having an experience, but didn’t fully acknowledge it until I was told it was possible.

There are disadvantages to this. I get nothing out of most hypnosis and meditation that requires visualization. I can’t retain what people look like when they are out of sight, even if I see them every day – though I do recognize people when I see them. (That would be called Prosopagnosia, or ‘face blindness.’) Since I am bad at names, this means I don’t put up any pretense about whether I remember someone.

Making Art

I find that aphantasia does not hinder my ability to make art. Learning perspective and proportions was not as difficult as finding useful ways for me to learn them. However, where my skills really shine is working with patterns. When making patterns, I don’t have to know exactly where everything is going to be. (And I don’t recommend that as a way of making Celtic knotwork or any large busy pieces – though if you can do it that way, I salute you!) Instead, I block out areas where I want something to go. Then I choose a place to be the focus, decide where large things will be, and then go about the work of filling in details.

I don’t entirely know why a pattern should be any particular way. I fill in space, and see if it works. At this stage, I don’t entirely know why a particular mix of patterns works. I just know it when I see it. The same goes for the level of detail. Some pictures work best with minimal detail, while others really need every crack to be filled in. I never know when I’m done until I am! It is a very exciting way to work, for sure!

What I can visualize:

Now I’d like to close with a little on the specifics of my imagination. I mentioned that I have very little visual imagination – so yes, I do have some. However, it is so miniscule that it doesn’t help me to do much of anything with my art.

What I can visualize amounts to dots or lines. I can only imagine one color at a time. And I am able to get maximum visualization in the dark. I can imagine the vague outline of an object or it’s features, but not both at the same time. When I do try to have all the details, the features distort. For instance, when I try to picture a face, I can imagine an oval. Then I can imagine an eyebrow. And then I imagine a closeup of a vague outline of an ear – more of a bean shape. If I try very hard to picture the oval with eyes and eyebrows on it, I instead get very large dark eyebrows superimposed on the thin oval. That image is only fleeting, though.

If you look at my current work, you’ll bright glowing lines of color and dots on dark background (Mostly black or dark blue). After finishing my most recent pieces, it has dawned on me that I am attempting to recreate my imagination on canvas. Realizing this has given me a lot more ideas about where and how to travel in my artistic journey.

Aphantasia links:

A test to see if you have aphantasia

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34039054

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34039054

http://www.eugencpopa.ro/wp-content/uploads/Afantazia-.pdf

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34039054

Bumblepost: Yay for that pumpkin themed holiday!

Owen here!

It’s getting colder, and a lot of people are getting ready for various holiday celebrations. The end of the year is creeping in. And that’s when I like to take a moment to celebrate…Halloween!

Again? Of course!

Well, it is a little early to be carving Jack-o-lanterns just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the creepy!

In the spirit of the season, I’m watching the original Frankenstein film, and listening to the audiobook version of Mary Shelley’s classic. Also perusing Halloween art online and making some of my own. (But then, when am I not making Halloween art?)

Here are two of my all-time favorite Halloween designs of Tod’s:

Cat Witch Party Invitation
Cat Witch Party Invitation by ninjahijinx
Find more Cat Invitations at Zazzle
Halloween Spider Stickers
Halloween Spider Stickers by ninjahijinx
Browse Spider Stickers online at Zazzle.com

Art Show at the Black Drop In November

Come down to the Black Drop Coffee House here in Bellingham, from today on through the 30th of November, to see a selection of my art on the walls and windowsills. One last Halloween treat! You can take home one of my painted pumpkins who are sadly still without a home after their big day. Check out the art, and take one of these pumpkins either for free, or stop by Hohl’s Feed and Seed on Railroad Ave. and make a donation to Whatcom Voice of the Animals, the cat rescue where we adopted Herbie and Gremlin.