Hey, friends. Sorry for the radio silence. Things have been kinda tough here. My mental health hasn't been great and I'm kinda just hanging on and doing my best.
A friend of mine, Robi Dean, passed away a couple weeks ago. He was a member of the Phoenix Gaymers and one of the nicest people I'd ever met. We collaborated on some LGBTQ+ signage and flag stuff for Tempe Fancon and Spring Anime Fest. He helped me with the Book of Heroes layout and was a great source of excitement and encouragement for any project I was working on. I didn't know him for very long, but I miss him very much. I was never brave enough to attend the Gaymer functions. I'm not exactly out and proud to all my family and friends. But, here it goes. I'm bisexual. I'm non-binary. I prefer they/them pronouns. I go by TK. Thank you, Robi. <3
Thank you for giving so many of us the courage and the strength to be ourselves.
After Spring Anime Fest, the rest of our conventions were cancelled or postponed and I have had kinda a hard time with that. Selling at conventions is basically my dream job. So, not only have we taken a hit on income, we're in the hole for all the purchased tables that haven't been refunded, all the new display stuff for the year, and a bunch of product I had just had printed. On top of that, my dream job is basically just gone now. It doesn't exist in the same capacity and I don't know if it will ever again. :( Fortunately, my full-time job is able to be done from home and we are still able to make bills. But, that's been difficult as well.
At the beginning of the year, I started struggling with some severe anxiety issues. I've dealt with anxiety most of my life, but around January, it became much too difficult to manage. I'm currently working with a therapist and psychiatrist to get stuff straightened out, and back under control. But dude, that stuff is hard.
I've also been playing absolute shit tons of Animal Crossing. And the past week or so I've started feeling well enough to start drawing up some stickers! I've finished a few of them and will be having them printed soon.
I'd also like to announce that all of the pride stickers are currently 3 for $5. Use code "GAYMER" to get $1 off of your purchase. All proceeds from pride sticker sales will go to the Phoenix Gaymers.
Take care, friends. I love you all and I hope you're doing well.
Stay safe and healthy.
So, the whole reason why it's taken me so long to do any updates, any anything, was because I'd been working on this project for MONTHS. I started back in September! Nearly 400 hours dedicated to these things.
A bit of background: My friends and I have been playing D&D for a decade. We've played LOTS of different characters, changed who DM'ed, we've had people come and go from the group, but it's a hobby that we love and that we dedicate regular time to.
I wanted to commemorate this somehow. So after thinking on it a while, I realized I wanted to do portraits of all the characters we've played over the years. After a few minutes, I realized that there's no way I'd be able to do ALL of them, or I'd be drawing for a decade. So I resolved to do up to 4 per person for my current D&D groups. I wanted them each to have a copy of a book with everyone in it. And, because I'm fucking extra, I wanted to make the books from hand. I wanted to include maps for our biggest campaigns, inside jokes, and art from our giant homebrew setting. I also wanted to include the backgrounds and specs of some of the characters. I realized, with two conventions and life/work between September and Christmas, that I'd need to start THAT DAY. I tried to slyly get info from my friends on all of the the characters, but they knew something was up. SO, I made a GIANT spreadsheet with all of the info I wanted and had them fill it out. I started doing sketches of the characters to turn into digital images, and I began crafting a layout for the stat pages.
This project took me months. I was worried I wouldn't finish it at all. I worked as many hours as I could manage every day on it.
The number I ended up with was 64 pages, including:
1 hand-made map (graciously and beautifully made by one of my BFFs.)
3 mock book-covers
1 mock short romance
11 short stories about our adventures
1 waterfall drawing
7 hand-sewn text blocks
7 hand-made faux leather-bound book covers
7 book charms
Needless to say, I took on way more than I expected. I'm not great at digital art and I'm still a newbie, so the character portraits alone took me close to 4 hours a piece, not including my original sketches. I ran into multiple hiccups, especially with the printing. I couldn't do 2-sided glossy prints at home, and even if I could, they would take outrageously long to print. Also, I had to organize the pages specifically so they'd fit into 4 signatures when folded into a book. That took me multiple mock designs to get right, and more than an hour of confirming before printing to make sure that it was accurate. I had to take it to get professionally printed and that was a huge chunk of the total cost.
Actually binding the books was super fun, and something I may do again in the future. I hand-stitched each text block to attach to each cover. About halfway through making them, I decided to add custom end-pages and design them specifically for each of my friends. Those were also fun to make! Each book had it's own charm, and it's own end pages to differentiate whose was whose. The cover designs... didn't come out great unfortunately. I'm not sure what else I could have done, but the gold foil didn't really care for the faux leather.
I wish I had had more time to experiment, but funds and time ran short.
After everything, I gave them to all of my friends for our Yuletide gift exchange and they loved them!
I'll include a video below :)
Long overdue update! Things were super crazy through the end of last year and I didn't get a chance to post updates on the shows I attended and the projects I completed. I need to be better about setting aside time to chronicle the shows we attend.
Halloween Anime Fest at Collector's Marketplace took place on October 26th in their parking lot. On the way to the show, the canvases migrated in the back of the car and Snowball ended up torn pretty badly. Lesson learned to pack the canvases more safely.
They squared off the covered parking into vendor spots and placed tables and chairs underneath. It was my first outdoor show and I was a little wary of what to expect. We started placing up the grid wall, canvases, and prints. About halfway through, a gust of wind tried to blow the wall away, and knocked down a bunch of canvases. One was damaged beyond repair :( Tokoyami didn't make it. After that, we made the call not to place any canvases on the wall and spread the prints out dramatically to keep from turning it into a sail. We only placed a few of the more popular ones on display. We learned quickly to cover the stickers up with a clear tote lid so they didn't get blown away. But, we were still setting up when the doors opened. Needless to say, the start was rough.
Despite all of that, we immediately sold 3 large prints as soon as the door opened. We stayed so busy! We sold the Genos canvas, and while I was sad to part with him, I was happy he went to a good home. All and all, the show was 10-4, and we ended up doing pretty great!
With as hectic as it was, I completely forgot to snap any pictures, which tbh, the display didn't look that great anyway.
Tuscon Comic-Con was Ah-mazing. My sister-in-law and I booked a room and stayed for the whole show. Setup was a breeze and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful. We ended up second from the end in the very middle row of the show. We were right next to coffee and super close to the food trucks. While there was a bit of fan art at the show, we weren't next to hardly any of it. Our booth was swarmed all weekend. The show seemed to consist of a mostly younger crowd all cosplaying My Hero Characters, ie, my demographic. We ended up selling the Luffy canvas to a father who bought it as a surprise for his son! I honestly don't have a play-by-play because the show went SO smooth. It was our first time using our new PVC display, and it worked really well, even disregarding that the prints were slightly crooked. We sold SO many stickers. Our average sale was under $9. Toga, Todoroki, and Dabi were by far the most popular of the stickers. Of the prints, Aizawa, Bakugo and Todoroki stole the show. We ended up doing nearly 6x booth costs and covered the hotel, food, and booth with more to spare. It was an excellent show for us and I would absolutely do it again! My SIL and I had a blast and we've already started planning the trip for next year. :D
One giant highlight of the show was that I sat next to a comic named The Pale! They were amazing and super nice and you should go read their comic. They're award-winning! :D
Seriously though, the owners were so kind and encouraging, and their art was top-notch.
Check them out at the link below!
Hello, friends! I apologize for the lack of communication. I've been busy waging war in Fodlan. FOR THE EMPIRE! In all seriousness, though, I've had some crazy stuff happen in my life and I've been taking it slow for the time being, but things will come around. Gotta stay positive!
This past weekend was Game On Expo 2019, and my second convention ever! And it was the first time I had stickers! I brought both holographic d20 pride stickers and My Hero Academia chibi stickers. We sold out of two of the pride flags by the second day, and out of Deku by the beginning of the third day! I did NOT properly anticipate how many of each I would need. Will definitely bring more to the next convention in Tuscon. All in all, we had a fantastic time. The first day, Friday, had more of a Gaming vibe than a Comicon vibe, unlike Saturday and Sunday. The venue was excellent and easy to access, and we had a prime spot between the autographs and the bathrooms. I also made lots of new vendor friends! Yay me!
We did as many transactions in 3 days at Game On as we did in all four in Phoenix. I think that was mostly due to the stickers, but I don't have enough info to work off of yet.
My next convention will be Tuscon Comic-Con in November! Can't wait! I'm road-tripping to Tuscon with my sister-in-law and it's gonna be so much fun. :D
Also, CANVASES ARE FINALLY ON THE WEBSITE! GO ME! If you're looking for canvases, please check out the link under "Store" and all of the items with canvases are listed with their prints.
Thank you guys for your support at Game On Expo, and everywhere else. You're all breathtaking.
The final day of Fan Fusion was a blast. I had so much fun! This whole event was a major boost to my self esteem and confidence in my art. So many customers stopped by just to ask my technique or compliment my style. It was amazing!
By far, Bakugou, Asui, and Denki did the best. I sold 22 copies of Bakugou alone! Good thing I like making My Hero Art! :D The 5x7 prints made up nearly 90% of our sales, and close to 70% of our total profit. Multiple people have asked why I didn't have an Aizawa, Stain, Deku, or Todoroki. Here is the simple answer: I should have. Lesson learned! I will definitely bring them to the next show.
Many people complimented or commented on Trevor Belmont, Vol'Jin, and Joker, but we didn't sell many of them (just one or two of each). I ended up taking most of the Rick & Morty prints and paintings off of the display, as I felt like they actually repelled customers. They would turn the card display, and when they reached the side with Meeseeks and Butter Robot, they would walk away. My suspicion was confirmed when customers started staying longer and looking at more prints. We didn't sell a single R&M print (I have 5 different ones) the entirety of the show.
***Side note: I love Rick and Morty, and this made me really sad. I hate that the fan base tends to be so toxic and awful.
We tried displaying the paintings both with prices, and without (after a tip from another artist at the convention.) Having the prices up seemed to fair much better for the canvases, as I believe customers took the lack of prices to mean that they were too expensive. We've all heard "If you have to ask, you can't afford it," right? I put the prices back up halfway through the day, and people started asking about the paintings again. All in all, we sold 4 canvases, making up about 25% of our total profit. Those four canvases nearly covered the booth cost, so selling even a few of them helps greatly.
I had a wonderful time this past weekend! I've never had so much fun working in my life. This has opened up a bunch of new doors for me and I'm super excited to see what's behind them. Thank you to everyone who visited and said hi! And thank you to all the people that supported the booth and made our weekend so successful. You've helped to make a dream of mine come true. I couldn't begin to tell you what this means to me.
Love you and DFTBA,
Saturday! The big day! It was SOOO busy in and around the convention center. It was nearly impossible to get lunch anywhere. We mostly stuck to the booth, knowing that if we left to go upstairs, we wouldn't be able to make it back quickly. Artist Alley was busy, but was mostly crowded with people just looking at artwork. We did really well with the 5x7 print sizes, but we didn't sell any canvases today, and the bigger prints weren't as popular. It was exciting, and customers came and went in spurts, with people buying small prints of their favorite characters. Bakugou, Asui, and Denki stole the show, and we easily doubled what we had sold of them over the previous 2 days.
My sister-in-law's family visited, and showed up to support the booth, which was awesome and heartwarming. And I've had multiple friends and family members show up to congratulate and support me, one group of them even bringing others over to buy pictures and bookmarks.
We had a young girl come up, remove the prints from the stand, and start taking individual pictures of them. I think she took about 5 before I caught her. She ran off before I could ask her to delete them. It made me rethink adding a "No pictures, please" sign. I don't know if that would help, though.
All in all, today was an amazing day, and strengthened my love of doing conventions. It was long and exhausting, but worth it. :)
Thanks again, for all the kindness.
Day Two is now complete and I've been having a blast! I meant to post an update yesterday, but we didn't get home until midnight and then I spent the next two hours reprinting prints we had run out of!
I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about having a booth. Part of me expected to sit there all day, lonely and with no one purchasing anything. Both to my surprise, and to my great delight, we've been fairly busy! After two days, we've made back the booth cost! I can't possibly tell you how much this means to me (though, monetarily, it means just over $400 haha).
The first canvas I sold was Dipper and Mabel. The young boy who's father purchased Dipper and Mabel made my day. The little boy turned the corner to our booth and FROZE when he saw the canvas. His dad tried to convince him that it was only Thursday, and that they had the rest of the convention to purchase things, and that he would be spending all of his money on one thing, but he just wanted that painting. It was so sweet, and it really REALLY meant a lot to me when he said that was the only thing he wanted. He told me he was going to hang it in his room! So, thank you, little dude, for loving my painting. And thank you, little dude's father, for seeing the value in my painting. You guys made my day. <3
Thank you for all the love and support!
Hope to see you at the convention!
Second, in the past two or so weeks, I've completed paintings of: Tokoyami, Kirishima, Luffy, Nami, Saitama, Genos, Ban, Totoro, and Sebastion, with a Yato and Lucina near completion. Typing it out feels great, haha. I've been working really hard to make sure I've got plenty of product to bring to the convention.
Third, I've entered two paintings into a contest at the Found:RE Hotel during Fan Fusion! One is a large blue abstract painting with lots of lines and circles I've lovingly titled "F*ck Retail (Jobs)". And the other is a series of bare trees against a blue and white speckled background. Wish me lots of luck! The winner gets their art projected onto the side of the hotel! :D
Love you! And thank you for all the wonderful support! Only 2 days to go!!
It's been a pretty crazy couple of weeks! I'm a little behind on everything I had wanted to have done for PFF, but I'm catching up quickly.
I was sick all of last week, which put a little bit of a kink in my plans, but this week, I've accomplished a bunch! We're getting the display organized, so we know what's going to go on it when we get there. I learned a lot about load-in from some excellent and amazingly helpful members of the Blue Ribbon Army. I finished a birthday gift for a friend of mine that I'm super excited about. I made and cut what feels like a thousand bookmarks (my printer has been working overtime printing pictures). I've been working on planning my DnD campaign for our session on Saturday (!). And today, I finished 2 more paintings and started 3 more!
All told, I'm hoping to have about 30 original canvases available at the booth along with prints and bookmarks! I've still got a lot of work ahead of me, and with con only being two weeks away (AH!), it's going to be a challenge. But, I'm up for it! Wish me luck!!
I'm going to Phoenix Fan Fusion!
I've wanted to have an artist alley booth at the Phoenix Comic Convention for years. It may not seem like a big deal to some, but every year, funds have been tight, I only made the waiting list, or I didn't have enough art to support a booth. This is the first year that everything fell into place!
We'll be on and endcap near the back of the exhibit hall, booth A1832!
Stop by and see us! Pick up a print or just drop by for a chat!
I'll have original canvases for sale as well this year, which is a first for me!
There will be plenty of My Hero Academia Art (Denki's the best), Castlevania, Gravity Falls, and even some Undertale!
I can't begin to explain how excited I am!
I hope to see you there!