ACW Episode 275 – Like Mother, Like Daughter

[caption width="800" id="attachment_3369" align="alignnone"]Webcomic!! Click on the thumbnail to see the full-sized webcomic.[/caption]Apparently my daughters share my tastes in movies... books... comics... feminism... UPDATE: The response to this particular episode was so strong, I went ahead and set it up as a print on Society 6. You can buy a copy here. I also set it up as a coffee mug, so enjoy!

ACW Episode 274 – Grinding and the Minecraft Life

[caption id="attachment_3363" align="alignnone" width="800"]Webcomic! Click on the pic to see the full-sized version![/caption] The kids and I started playing Minecraft a couple months ago, and life will never be the same. Pixie seems to love the game the most, and she has spent quite a few hours at my desktop building houses and mining for ore and catching chickens, etc. For me, the game has a rather ironic feel. I've been reading articles on productivity and recently came across this one on grinding in games versus grinding in real life. I realize that in real life, grinding translates to the everyday tasks I hate to do - laundry, dishes, making the bed, etc. I can get away with not doing most grinding tasks for long periods of time (for example, I dust the house maybe once a year). And some grinding tasks I've been able to pass on to the kids (I make them clean their own bathrooms, sort their own laundry, etc.). But there are some grinding chores that have to be done daily, and I hate them, because these are the most futile tasks. Cleaning the kitchen is especially miserable for me. I can spend an entire afternoon washing dishes and scrubbing down the counters, only to have all that hard work go "POOF!" the moment another family member enters the room. The kids make a mess every time they grab a snack. And when Hubster cooks, he can turn the kitchen into a disaster area beyond even FEMA's scope to fix. (Okay, yeah, FEMA doesn't have the best reputation for fixing things, but you know what I mean). So I've been trying to find a way to turn these grinding chores into something that either seems more enjoyable, less miserable, or more productive. I haven't succeeded yet, but I will keep trying. In the meantime though, yeah, I live with a bunch of creepers. Really messy creepers. Pray for me.

Night blogging?

I swear to you, I have been trying to get back  into the habit of regular blogging. I get all sorts of ideas for blogging late at night when I'm lying in bed, but then by the morning, these ideas have evaporated, or else I've lost the interest in writing about them. I set aside the morings for working on the webcomic and for other drawing projects, which is partly why I don't have the enthusiasm to blog in the morning. All my brain power has gone into drawing for a couple hours at that point, so the well is kind of dry by then. I can usually refresh myself with exercise, but by the time I'm done with that, it's time to eat lunch and then it's time to pick up the kids and then I have to deal with homework and chores and dinner, etc. I'm brain-dead once again by the time 8PM rolls around, which means I'd rather watch TV and crochet than write. But once I get into bed, my brain once again starts to rev up, like it has now. I always read the news before I sleep (bad habit, I know), and usually after doing that, I've got ideas for a blog post I'd really like to write, and I know exactly what I'd say... Except that it's bedtime, and the lights are already out and Hubster is sound asleep beside me. So right now, I'm experimenting. I have a wireless keyboard set up with my iPad, and I have a reading light clipped to the iPad/keyboard case. It gives me just enough light to see by. Hubster isn't in bed yet - he always stays up later than me - so I've got a few quick minutes to write this post. I don't know if I'll be able to write like this on a regular basis, but it's worth trying. I'm saving this as a draft tonight, and will post it in the morning. Then I'll see if I can start other articles this week. Maybe I'll even be able to post some artwork from the iPad?  [caption width="433" align="alignnone"]Zombie! Test artwork for night time posting[/caption]Yerp! That seems to work!  

ACW Episode 272 – Hello, dolly!

[caption id="attachment_3345" align="alignnone" width="800"]Webcomic! Click the image to see it full-sized.[/caption] When my girls were toddlers, my mother started buying them Barbie dolls. All kinds of Barbie dolls, but mostly princess dolls. At the same time, my mother was also buying the girls a LOT of pink dresses. We had one year where the mailman brought us a new package every week, and it always had a new pink dress and a new princess doll, and the girls just ate it up!!! A few years later, my kids now like Goth fashion, Minecraft (and video games in general), steampunk, cartoons, and comic books. Pixie still wears pink on occasion, but her dolls are more often painted bright green, with splatters of red for that "zombie" effect. It's nice to know I have some influence on my kids :)

ACW Episode 271 – Don’t drink and craft

[caption id="attachment_3341" align="alignnone" width="800"]Webcomic! Click on the image to view it full-sized![/caption] Yes, this actually happened. I was working on a display for a Girl Scout recruiting event and thought it would be fun to make a camping diorama with needlefelted Girl Scouts. And I thought it would be even more fun to enjoy a glass of wine while I did this. Then I discovered a few weeks later that there are actually thimbles I could have used instead of bleeding to death for my art. Ouch.

“Orange You Glad to  See Me?!” One drawing, three apps

I do a lot of artwork on my iPad, so I'm always on the lookout for new drawing and painting apps. I downloaded one last week that I thought looked promising - Tayasui Sketches. It had a lot of the same tools I see in other drawing apps, but there was something about the texture of the sample artwork that made me want to try it out. The basic app is free and allows you to sample the full version for an hour. The full version costs $4.99. Now $4.99 isn't a lot, but I do prefer to try before I buy, so I did the one-hour trial and drew this quick image to test out all the tools: [caption id="attachment_3325" align="alignnone" width="818"]Tayasui Sketches Test drawing done in Tayasui Sketches[/caption] I really liked the paper grain texture on this. Tayasui Sketches is one of the few apps I've seen that includes the option of adjusting the background for paper grain as well as color. However, I did NOT like the way the text tool worked and I didn't care at all for the way the app handles zooming and panning in the image. The tools had a nice texture (I especially loved the rough edge on the orange), but I knew some of the apps I already owned could produce similar results. So I decided to draw the same image again in a couple of other apps I have. I tried Procreate first: [caption id="attachment_3331" align="alignnone" width="800"]Procreate Orange Same drawing recreated in Procreate[/caption]   The biggest difference I noticed was the lack of paper texture. I don't know if there's a simple way to add a paper texture to artwork done in Procreate. I could always scan in a textured image and add it as an overlay layer, but I would prefer to have the option to add texture right there in the app. Also, Procreate doesn't have a text tool, so I had to handwrite the text. On the plus side, I still get a lot of nice textured tools (again, I got that slightly rough edge around the orange) in Procreate and I found it much easier to adjust the brushes to get the effects I wanted. I can also create and save custom color palettes in Procreate, and it's easier to pan and zoom artwork. Plus I can ROTATE the artwork on the fly, something Sketches doesn't do. For the last trial, I decided to do this drawing in SketchClub. [caption id="attachment_3332" align="alignnone" width="800"]SketchClub Orange And finally, done in SketchClub[/caption] SketchClub is one of my favorite drawing and painting apps on the iPad. I have a lot of control over the brushes and other tools, and can download or create new brushes. Procreate  will let me create new brushes, but doesn't have the option to download brushes from a community of users. It also has a text tool, but since SketchClub didn't seem to have access to the same fonts that Sketches does, I decided to handwrite the text again. And like Procreate, I can zoom, pan, and rotate the screen with ease. One of the biggest differences I noticed between SketchClub and the other apps is the lack of an actual water color brush. In Sketches, there is a water color brush tool. In Procreate, there's a setting for the brush tool that gives it a water color look. But I think if I played with some settings in SketchClub, I might be able to achieve a similar effect. Anyway, that's the same drawing done in three different apps. I still haven't decided if I want to buy Sketches or not. The biggest drawback is the way it handles zooming and panning, and the inability to rotate the artwork. That makes a huge difference to me. So what do you think?

The Art Of Doodling

last weekend, our Girl Scout troop worked on the art badge. Some of the girls were worried that they couldn't draw, so I thought we would try doodling instead. I've recently picked up a bunch of books on doodling, Zen Tangles (TM), etc. I love to doodle, and I've been spending a lot of time doodling lately. I also picked up a bunch of blank cards with envelops for a really good price, so I spent an afternoon working with the girls on making greeting cards as part of their art badge activities. And I enjoyed that so much, that I decided to finish my card up and send it to mym mom for her birthday. Here are some pics of the artwork in progress.



ACW Episode 270 – My Sick Valentine

[caption id="attachment_3317" align="alignleft" width="800"]Webcomic! Click on the image to view it full-size![/caption] I have spent FOREVER working on this one simple comic. And yet it isn't so simple. I decided to try a different pen for inking this one, a brush style pen with a rougher edge. It seemed appropriate for an image of Hubster and I feeling a bit "rough around the edges." And once I had the image inked and colored, I decided that a bit of rough shading would look nice too, as well as some touches of texture, etc., etc., etc. The hard part was figuring out how to make a brush style balloon pen for the text box in the back. I must have spent two hours today playing with settings and searching on the internet for information on how to make a custom brush tip and assign it to the balloon tool. But, it's all done now, and I'm very happy with the end result. I think it very accurately depicts how Hubster and I felt on Valentine's Day this year, which is to say absolutely AWFUL.