Working Smarter, Not Harder

I am currently working on my own as a cartoonist.  I have my webcomic Bear Bear, a 30 Day Drawing Challenge, and other steps that I am making to make cartooning sustainable for my daily life.  I am proud of myself that I have come this far. I have debuted Bear Bear Comics, and I have been consistent with my 30 Day Drawing Challenge on Instagram.  As I continue creating, I realized that it is okay to pivot to make the work easier and more fun for myself.

Everyone is limited on time and resources. I was trying to draw Bear Bear daily in the current style with lots of hash marks and complex backgrounds.  I realized it took more time than I anticipated. As a result, I simplified my rendering, and I was able to save time putting the comic together. I was able to save my time for other projects or looking for work too.

I had to be aware of my own limitations, so I could make the necessary changes. I am working on a learning curve because I am creating Bear Bear using Photoshop only. I never have used computer software for my art from start to finish. Although Photoshop is different for me, it’s make more sense for me to use it to make cleaner changes to my work. Another benefit is that Photoshop lets me save money on paper.  The benefit of working in Photoshop does justify the time it takes to work out a comic. I am giving myself space to let the changes in my procedure work for me.

As I am working, I realize I need to make small steps to realize my larger goals for my art.I would love to have an epic, long running, graphic novel series like Inuyasha. I want to make animated TV shows for PBS, animated feature films for Disney, and more. Luckily for me, it’s early in my cartooning career.  All of those dreams are one stroke of the pencil at a time.

I can make the necessary changes now to make myself successful for the future.  I can learn the conditions for my success, and put them in place now. Down the road I want to be able to successfully deliver my work when it  involves a publisher, studio, or collaborators. I can add more details to my pieces or create larger projects as I get more comfortable. For now it’s all about developing good habits while I have enough time, space, and grace.

Edited by: Momma Bear
Note: Read Bear Bear Comics on Tapastic Every Tuesday and Thursday

https://tapastic.com/series/Bear-Bear-Comics

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Stay Warm Series

Here is short series of digital paintings that I created. It had been a while since I painted in photoshop. I made these because although it is cold outside, I wanted to make scenes that made me and others feel warm on the inside.  I made these animals as an experiment in using different kinds of lighting and color. Each animal has a story and they just want to stay warm during the cold weather.

I am so happy to debut these three illustrations. They were a lot of fun to make. They were a great way to flex my art muscle. Let me know what you think. I am open to critiques and praise.  Thanks so much for your support.

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Cozy she-bear warming herself up with a cup of tea and her favorite cookies, scarf, and hat.

 

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Two young lovers with just their love and a fleece blanket to keep them warm and Netflix to keep them entertained.

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What better way to warm up than with a fireplace. This buffalo is lovingly knitting something for his partner who is away.

 

 

Happy New Year!

Hey Happy New Year! I am happy to announce a few new projects that I will be posting soon. My New Year’s resolution is to have multiple completed and professional illustration projects. Those would include comics, digital paintings, and products made with my illustrations.  My style and approach to my art has changed dramatically since I left college. It has changed in the last few months! I am eager to challenge my skills and to share my art with you all.

Below is a short list of projects and when they are set to debut!

Cozy Animals: It’s my first serious venture into digital art in a long time. I am creating a series of five digital drawings that depict different kinds of warm, cozy scenes during winter. These drawings are made to lift the spirits of viewers, especially those in cold overcast areas. This series will be posted from January 3rd until January 13th on my website gallery

Update: It became the Stay Warm Series with three digital paintings.

30 Day Challenges: I will do 30 Day Drawing Challenges only on Instagram every month.  Each month my art will relate to a pop culture reference. For example, the month of January will be 30 Days of Pokemon. I decided to focus on TV shows, movies, and books that have inspired me and entertained me through out my life.

Bear Bear Comics: Bear Bear Comics will be a daily gag comic starting on January 16th. Bear Bear Comics are loosely based on my life. The comics are made to celebrate small victories in life. Bear Bear Comics are set to last all through 2017.

Update: For now Bear Bear Comics are update twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday.

I will announce more projects as the year continues. Please to continue to watch and read my blog for more updates. I am open to constructive criticism and lots of encouragement. I genuinely want your feedback as I am moving forward as a professional cartoonist. Thank you so much for your support thus far.

Edited by: Momma Bear

Three Youtube channels that got me inspired about coloring comics

You can find almost anything on the internet, but finding useful information makes all the browsing worth the time. As I continue on my journey as a comic artist I am finding some great resources along the way. The more I practiced my art the more I realized I needed help building my skills in digital coloring. Luckily, I was able to find three great youtube channels that have tips and tutorials to make my process smoother.

1. Lavender Towne:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD4XIm3ZFhT72WjqhIXMN9w

Lavender Towne is Haley Elizabeth’s comic art channel. She shows you her step-by step process for her art. Haley regularly posts art challenges she has completed, and how she works on her comic Unfamiliar. I appreciate her videos that show her art evolution from when she was 13, and digital art pitfalls to avoid. It’s been a great reminder for me that my own style and skills have evolved immensely since I started drawing. Not only do I find inspiration watching her create, she has a very pleasant speaking voice.

2. Coffe Table Comics: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrubakerMotion

Coffee Table Comics is made by Jason Brubaker. Brubaker was apart of Dreamworks’ visual communications department, so he brings a lot of his experience from a major studio to the masses. His channel has tutorials and interviews that cover all parts of the comics process from concept to color pages. It was here I discovered flatting and using textures to make my comic work have more depth. I like his long format interviews because he goes deeper in the minds of other artists, and I can discover other comic artists too. He makes more difficult aspects of creating comics like “How to get started…” easy to understand and apply to my own art.

3. K. Michael Russell: https://www.youtube.com/user/kmrussell24/featured

K. Michael Russell has been a colorist for major comic publishers like IDW and Topcow. His whole channel is dedicated to coloring comics. He has short videos with tips to use in Photoshop, and longer videos showing the comic coloring process from start to finish. It is through his channel I have learned that color doesn’t matter, but the contrast does. He says that in almost every video, but he is so right. I feel more aware of the contrast and mood of the colors rather than choosing the right pink or blue. I setup my laptop and work along with his videos. It’s like having a teacher in my workspace guiding me each step of the way.

I have spent just about a month of watching these channels and others, I have already seen an improvement in some of the art I have been making. I encourage you to support and check out these artists. They have some great content that may inspire you to make comics.

Edited by: Brother Gator

Changing Focus

This week I have shifted my focus from traditional fine art to comics and cartooning. I realize cartooning and comics is something that has always been with me even before I decided to take my first painting classes at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago when I was 12 years old.  At this stage of my life comics feel more natural for me to make than pieces of fine art.

dsc_0258For me, making fine art pieces feels more spontaneous and doesn’t show up in a way that is easy to replicate.  For example; after the recent elections I painted a map of the United States. It was a painting with a textured background. It  was made to show how battered and disappointed  I felt after the elections were over. I imagined my painting represented how a lot of Americans felt after the election. I was so happy with that painting! I wanted to do another painting just like that one.  I followed the same process prepping my canvas and mixing paint, but the same emotion and energy wasn’t there.  I felt that way about my other fine art pieces too.  The emotion or the feeling for that piece was just for that piece.  I decided I like making something I can come back to and put in different scenarios, and I know I can do that more readily with comics.

Comics give me the chance to tell an evolving story.  I can draw a simple comic with a full range of emotion. I can draw myself happy, sad, doubtful, and the list goes on. The worlds I create can continue indefinitely.  I can draw my characters on the moon or in a cave. I feel more flexibility in the comics medium than I do for traditional fine arts right now.  

Does that mean I am going to put up my brushes? Does that mean that I won’t buy anymore canvases or go to hoity toity  art shows? The answer is no! I still value all my fine art training and painting skills because I still need them to make comics.  It does mean my approach to my artwork and the way I deliver my message will be different.  I look forward to posting more of my comic art as I go into the new year. 

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Edited by Brother Gator

Unusual Inspiration at Midwest Furfest!

On Friday, December 2, 2016 I went to Midwest Fur Fest in Rosemont, IL.  After a long Thanksgiving, it was nice to take my mind off the holidays and try something new.  I wanted a change of pace, and I figured it would help my morale and my art some how.  Furries don’t have the best reputation.  They get pegged as weirdos, perverts, and other unmentionable names.  Some of that is true, but at the heart of the fandom are creativity and enthusiasm that I found rejuvenating.

When I arrived there were people in fursuits that greeted attendees. I tell you on a cold November day in Chicagoland, it warmed my heart to be greeted by a cute dog in a pink bow. Literally, a person dressed as a dog gave me hug! I was hooked. The Hyatt in Rosemont was filled with birds, dogs, cats and other creatures.  These were people living their fantasy as neon griffins or their favorite team’s mascot.  In my opinion, Fursuiters are the living embodiment of character design.  The creators have an idea, and it comes to life right before your eyes.  I can image that is very satisfying to have your idea on paper become tangible to yourself and the world.

The con wasn’t just about the fursuits; it’s a place for visual artists and writers to showcase their talents.  Room after room was filled with comics, stickers, and furry accessories.  The furry community is very grassroots in that the creators are regular people.  They aren’t backed by large corporations, and I had trouble finding a booth or table by a mainstream company.  The art was original from the prints, to the sculptures, and the handmade jewelry. I saw some fan art peppered in from Disney’s Zootopia and Lion Guard; the artists provided a different reinterpretation from the original.  The varied styles from sketch zines of cats to beautifully painted dragons made a fine art junky like me feel very comfortable. Being at Midwest Fur Fest made me remember my first love was a mouse.

I went home feeling more hopeful about my own art work.  It’s not that I don’t have the talent or the know how. I did feel like my art was missing a story to tell. Although the artists use animals for their art, the artists were able to connect to their audiences’ varied human experiences. If the story was about a first kiss to a tiger or a last goodbye to their home in the jungle; the artists made the worlds believable, fun, and memorable.  That’s something I want to do with my art work too.

I will definitely go back next year and go to few more fandom specific conventions.  I was able to draw inspiration from the convention that I think will last all winter.

Links: https://furfest.org

Credits: Edited by Brother Gator

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