[PERSONAL | RAMBLES] I Do Things Last Minute and I Hope I Don’t Pay for Them

I don’t think I posted this on here yet, but I am attending YourMiniCon in Connecticut in January. I will be participating in Artist Alley at booth A11. I’m pretty excited because it’s my first Artist Alley. I am nervous, but really only because I suck and am doing everything last minute. Well, kind of.

I suppose it’s not really last minute. It’s almost last minute. I’m on the edge. I’m just before the last minute. I’m two minutes. I was smart enough to start planning ahead of time. Doing my research, coming up with image ideas, figuring out what I want to make and sell.

Unfortunately, thanks to a nice mixture of stupid life events that aren’t really important then and now, as well as procrastination, I am trying to play catch up. I am only a bit worried.

The Plan

Earlier Decisions

I knew right away I wanted to sell original artwork. I was thinking about selling fan art as well, but there’s something about drawing straight-up fan art (no fan characters) that just irks the heck out of me and I would just feel weird selling it. For physical materials, I brainstormed what I wanted to do earlier this year and eventually came up with a small collection of items: prints, magnets, charms (keychain and/or cellphone), bookmarks, and stickers. Buttons were also a consideration, but I decided against them only because I couldn’t find a button maker in store and all the ones online were over $100 to literally do ONE size. Blah. One day I will though…maybe…

After talking to some of my friends who have participated in Artist Alley before, inquiring with the convention, and looking into my own feelings, I decided that I will not be doing fan art for this convention. (Just for the record, fan art is fine, but original art is more encouraged.) I plan on making fan art for conventions early next year just to simply have them available, but I won’t focus on it right now. Original characters are the way I’m going this time.

For this convention, I decided to use almost an entirely new set of characters. The only ones who are not are the Death Fairy, a mermaid that’s a redraw of a request to draw a mermaid from a neighbor who was 6 years old at the time (it’s my design and the character arguably was unnamed and unplanned until I redrew her), my anime form(s), and the neutral version of Kelly. I’ll reveal the characters and the details about them in the future. For now though, that’s all you guys need to know.

I decided to draw both their non-chibi and chibi forms. Their chibi forms, I felt, are great for the smaller items (like bookmarks and charms). Their non-chibi forms are greater for prints and equally as great for smaller items.

I’m starting to feel lazy now, so let me just bullet point the remainder of my earlier decisions:

  • I wanted all the stickers and charms, at the very least, to be die-cut; after looking around at websites with those services, I decided a DIY approach was better simply because of the quantities I want (I want 5 or 6 of the same image, not 30), which prompted me to purchase a Sillhouette Cameo
  • I decided my bookmarks are having rounded edges, so I bought a tool for that; I also bought some really nice matte paper for the bookmarks to be printed on to help them be sturdier
  • after looking at website for charms, in addition to not liking the quantities, I also did not like how they looked; after additional research, I decided to make the charms myself; I will be trying Shrinky Dinks and Resin
  • Resin or clay may be used to seal the back of the glass magnets; I have to experiment first
  • I want to have AT LEAST one piece of print artwork for the characters; no print artwork, no chibis come with me

Current Decisions & Steps

The convention is about a month and two days away right now, so I have to get a move on! There’s obviously a lot to do and it won’t get done unless I do it! I’m going to bullet point like I did earlier. I think that will be the cleanest, quickest way to tell you guys about what my current decisions are.

The Current Decisions:

  • the prints are being coloured in my Painted Dreams style, while the chibi artwork will be cel-shaded
  • I’m aiming to have all the chibi images coloured by the end of Friday, December 11th; not only does that make the convention a bit less than a month away, but it gives me time to work on the actual products! You guys, hold me up to that!
  • As I said before, I want to have AT LEAST one picture per character! If they don’t have a print, the chibi versions aren’t coming with me! That being said, I need to get a move on with the prints
  • so far, I have two prints picked out (thanks to three of my friends for giving me their opinions) from the few I’ve drawn for convention artwork; more to come!
  • I am absolutely making resin charms
  • I am also going to make resin the backing to my magnets; I think it will waterproof them
  • All pieces of artwork will be made into bookmarks and magnets
  • Despite my mom’s suggestion, I am not laminating the paper that the magnet pictures are being printed on; I have to cut them out with scissors because my circle punch gets stuck with the laminate…sadface
  • all the artwork that are NOT prints OR bookmarks are going on some 67 lb coverstock I have laying around because I have so much of it and it’s going to get unused otherwise

I think that’s it. Those are my decisions right now. I’ll give you guys some updates if something happens.

Resin Troubles?

Yes, resin troubles with a question mark because the trouble isn’t with the resin, it’s with me. I probably should have tried using resin months ago when I decided on it, but I didn’t. Oops. Now I have pretty much no idea what I’m doing…even with directions.

Luckily, there’s a couple of tutorials to help newbies like me. There’s not too many though, as far as I can tell. (Like, seriously — where are all the tutorials for beginners?!) The most helpful ones so far are this YouTube video and this blog entry. I’m taking their suggestions to heart!

One of the things about the blog entry in particular I like are the suggestions of practicing with resin. Not only that, but doing it in simple steps: just use resin in something. See how it comes out. Then slowly start adding things. Experiment. Figure out what you’re doing right, figure out what you’re doing wrong. I love it! And because I love it so, practice I shall do!

I started to try and practice with resin, but I quickly found I really had no idea what I was doing. The only thing I like about my result so far is the reflective look of it. However, I wanted the resin to roll to the edges of paper (which it has the ability to do, if I’m not mistaken), which I kind of purposely messed up on because I dumped literally the entire mixture on there knowing it’d mess it up. I knew I had no idea what I was doing, even though I had briefly watch tutorials and read a bit of stuff on resin. I also noticed some small bubbles too, which wasn’t suppose to happen.

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So, per suggestion of the blog entry I linked, I’m going to do some practice projects! I went to Michael’s to go get some fake bottle caps and more Popsicle sticks (for stirring) for some practice. They were the best thing I could think of. Especially if it’s just gonna be plain resin and, some time soon, glitter, colour, pictures, and maybe more!

I am aiming to practice resin for two weeks. I have to do at LEAST one a day. If I see improvement sooner, I’ll move forward with the projects. Until then though, PRACTICE IT IS! I’ll let you guys have to do it.

Other Thoughts

My mom was kind enough to give me a spare laminator and some extra laminate pouches to help me with my projects. The idea behind it was that the magnets I make needed a better backing, which the lamination should provide. I personally liked the idea, but I had one concern: how am I going to cut it? I use a paper punch for the actual paper. Will it work on laminate?

Well, I got my answer.

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…it kind of did, but mostly didn’t. I punched one and my paper punch got stuck. I’m lucky it didn’t break!

This means, if I wanted to cut it, I had to do it with scissors. Scissors and I are acquaintances though and we’re only friendly when the thing that is being cut doesn’t have to be perfect.

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I decided to try it on my Silhouette Cameo as well, but the thing glitched out on me, so I gave up on that.

The only way to go is RESIN!!!! Or Shrinky Dink. I’m gonna try a sheet of that next. Hopefully I can cut it out on the Cameo.

Well, I guess that’s it for now. I’ll try and keep you guys updates!