MerMay 2019

Next up in my actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series is MerMay 2019.

As I mentioned in my Junicorn post, I decided that since Inktober and March of Robots took me so long to complete, for MerMay I wouldn’t try and do a mermaid every day.  I set myself the goal of at least one a week, aiming for a minimum of 5-10 for the whole month.

I ended up with 9.  Well, 8 and a half.

First up is the cheat you saw in the March of Robots blog post.

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This one is also a cheat I suppose, since it’s only half a mermaid.  It gets two pictures because the bleedthrough on the back just looked so awesome.

The next two are also kind of cheats, in that I didn’t draw them.  They’re from SamBeAwesome‘s Mermaid colouring book.  It’s very good.  You should go get it, either the paperback on Amazon or the ebook on her Gumroad store.

The first one that isn’t a cheat in any way is experimenting with masking fluid for watercolours – there will be a blog post at some point.  Maybe.

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Here’s another one that’s due a blog post.  This one was done with the December Copic Colours of the Month.

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This one was inspired by an instragram post from Mistiqarts where she turned Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas into mermaids.  I had a go with one of my favourite science fiction characters.

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Can you tell who it is?  Let me highlight the clues – the trident is designed to look like a certain tool.  The eyes represent some glasses.  The amputated hand is relevant from one of my favourite episodes.  The tail is in the colours of his favourite coat.  And the hair, at least I think so, is spot on.  Get it yet?  I’ll post the answer at the end of the post.

Then there’s May’s Copic Colours of the Month – also due a blog post.  (I need to create a keyboard shortcut to just paste in “due a blog post”.)

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Finally there’s the half.  No, the half is not the tail, it’s half a completed drawing.  I only managed to get the outline done in May.

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But I did finish it, and here she is.

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So, nine mermaids and a successful (by my terms at least) MerMay.  Maybe next year I won’t wait 3 months to write about it.

Did you guess which science fiction character I mermaidified?  It was the 10th Doctor, as portrayed by David Tennant.  The trident is his sonic screwdriver.  The eyes are the colours of the 3D glasses he wears in Army of Ghosts and Doomsday.  The hand was chopped off in his first episode, The Christmas Invasion, even if it did grow back.  The tail is coloured to look like his brown pinstripe coat, with some attempted pinstripes on the tail fins.  And I really do think I did a good job on his hair.

My nerd is showing again, isn’t it?

 

 

March of (Delayed) Robots

As mentioned in my Junicorn post, I have a backlog of blog posts about specific months that are very overdue.  In the coming weeks I hope to write and post them all.  First up is the monthly art challenges, and the first of those is March of Robots.

March of Robots is where you draw a robot every day for the month of March.  Given that my self-imposed challenge for the year is to draw 100 robots, I kinda had to partake in this.

I started off well.  I did one on the 1st…

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Then missed a couple of days.

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And a couple more.

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This next one was actually started in January.  It took me a while.  But I finished it in March, so it counts.

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This one was a birthday card for my brother in law.

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The date is in American format for this one, because Pi Day.  Hence pie robot.

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And then for some reason I didn’t draw a robot for 2 weeks.  Which might explain why it ended up being a 2 month challenge.

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This one was inspired by the little cases my DM keeps our D&D miniatures in.  Is my nerd showing?

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This one is for a blog post that I haven’t written yet.

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And this one.

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Now, you might notice that the ones from here weren’t drawn in March.  But they still count.  Don’t they?

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This is the one I did after National Unicorn Day.

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This was me learning to use watercolours – another upcoming blog post.

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This one is actually also a piece for MerMay (should be the next blog post).  That is almost definitely cheating, but I don’t care.  It’s a robot mermaid.

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And finally…

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You might have noticed a few familiar faces in there.  I’m doing fan art as well as original robots for my 100 Robots challenge.  Are there any other robots you think I should do?

 

 

Junicorn in July

I am really bad at posting things in a timely manner.  Allow me to present this as evidence, as well as the fact that I have 3 Copic Colours of the Month (December, March and May) posts, and 3 Scrawlr Box (April, May, June) posts to write.

So here I am, writing about Junicorn in July – almost August.

Junicorn is one of those month-long art challenges, like MerMay.  (Goes to link MerMay blog post, realise I haven’t written it yet.)

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The concept is that for every day of June, you draw a unicorn.  There are countless prompt lists floating around the internet, with more being created every year.  After having Inktober and March of Robots (also not blogged yet) run over, I decided that for Junicorn I wouldn’t try and do a unicorn every day.  I set myself the goal of at least one a week, aiming for a minimum of 5-10 for the whole month.  (Note: I actually did this for MerMay, but since I haven’t blogged that yet I’ll mention it here.)

I wasn’t going to follow the prompt list either.  I actually had a long list of ideas, and each time I settled to draw a unicorn I would pick one of those ideas at random.  I referred to that list precisely once.  All the others happened naturally.

I ended up doing just five, but they are all adorable.

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There’s a blog post coming for that one, eventually.

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I have a post planned for this one too.

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And this one.  I have lots of posts planned, I just need to actually write them.

I am now going to go and work out which blog posts I need to write that are stupidly overdue and try to get them all out in the next couple of weeks.  I am a bad blogger.

 

Desert Bus Thank You

Last year I made an epic TARDIS blanket that I donated to Desert Bus to raise money for the Child’s Play charity.

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Recently I received a lovely little bit of post from the Desert Bus team.

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I knew how much I’d raised.  I noted it in this blog post at the end of Desert Bus last year.    But seeing it written in front of me, by the team themselves, gave me a super big thrill of happiness.  I’m so pleased that something I do can make such a big impact on the world, especially on children, and extra especially for such a nerdy use.

The coin is the official Desert Bus Dubloon.

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I have been accepted as a craft-along participant this year, and what I’m making is much much smaller and easier to post.  I’ll show you what I’m making when I’ve finished it.  (Sneaky attempt to bring readers back to blog).

Desert Bus is, as usual, in November but the dates aren’t released yet.

Disillusionment and Diversification

I have depression.  I don’t hide it, I’m not ashamed of it, but I try not to make this blog too much about it.  But it’s hard to talk about this topic without mentioning the depression.  Maybe without the depression it probably wouldn’t even be an issue.  Actually, it almost definitely wouldn’t be.

I struggle a lot with self-worth.  I worry that when I post my art on Twitter people are annoyed by it.  I worry that the reason I don’t have many followers is because I’m just not interesting enough.  I struggle with pessimistic thoughts.  I become convinced that this whole endeavour is completely pointless.  Why do I do it?  Why do I worry so much about the prolonged gaps between blog posts?  Why do I bother trying to sell the things I make?  Is it going to go anywhere?  Will I spend the rest of my life writing blog posts that no one will read and paying fees for Etsy with no profit from it?

I love crafting.  It’s not just a hobby for me.  It keeps my brain distracted enough to ignore the depression.  It’s not 100% foolproof, but without crafting (and now art) I’d have descended into blubbering lunacy many years ago.  But beyond that, I enjoy learning new skills.  I enjoy researching all the methods and tutorials and inspirations that I collect.  I enjoy making a complete mess.  I enjoy finishing a project and that little thrill of “I Made This?!” excitement.  And I enjoy selling the things I make.  If I didn’t sell them, my house would be over run.  But I actively enjoy selling them.

At the moment, 90% of my profits come from attending multiple school fairs a year and selling my products to kids.  School fairs mean going outside, and subjecting myself to a lot of people.  In the summer it means sitting in blazing sunlight for hours at a time.  It means opening myself up to rejection and ridicule.  All things that terrify me.  And in the days running up to each fair I am a mess.  I am anxious and terrified and sick and convinced that I’m not going to be able to do it.  Once I’m there though, when I have the first little kid come up and tell me that my mini aliens are adorable, or get excited to see Pokemon on the badges I make, it’s worth it.  It’s worth it when kids drag their friends over to my stall and say “this is where I got that cute bunny”.  It’s worth it when kids come back year after year to buy another alien for their collection.  It’s worth it when kids come back to the table every ten minutes to have another look.  I don’t make a lot money.  But it’s worth it.

I want that joy to spread online.  I’ve had a few sales online.  Some of them have even been to people who aren’t family or friends.  But again, not a lot.  I want so much to expand Crafted By Colette.  To get more widespread, more well known.  I don’t want to be a millionaire (although I wouldn’t say no), but it would be nice to be able to make a living this way.

And I try.  I have Deviant Art, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Etsy, Patreon… and as they keep popping up I’m sure I’ll set up accounts on other platforms.  I try to post regularly.  I’m getting better at using hashtags.  I try to cross promote – although I always forget to do that.  But I get disillusioned.  Very much so.  Why do I bother?  I have less than 100 followers on each platform.  Lots of those are the same people.  I have one Patron, and that is a friend.  I don’t want to be one of those people who obsesses over their follower count, but I worry that I’m not expanding my viewership, and that I’m going to be festering at these low levels forever.

I wonder what the point is.  Why do I try?  Why do I have so many accounts?  Is there any point?  What’s wrong with just having a Twitter, and my website?  And I guess the answer is that there isn’t anything wrong with that.  It’ll be even harder to build a following, but there’ll be less to deal with.  I’d like one day to have the store on the website – eliminating the need for Etsy.  Especially now with Etsy making really bad decisions for the sellers.  But with no following, no internet trust, there would be even less sales than I get online now.  And so many people only use Instagram, or only use Facebook.  To reach as many people as possible I have to have as many accounts as possible.  How do people cope with this?  I know big companies hire social media teams, but that’s not exactly an option for me.

I’m not entirely sure what the point of this blog post is.  I have these thoughts.  I can either sit and think and over think and worry and then in a moment of depressive panic I can delete all my accounts and disappear from the internet.  Or I can express them to the few followers I have.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m worried.  I’m worried about why I bother, about whether things will ever get better.  (In life as well as in craft/internet).

What should I do to promote myself more?  Are there accounts I don’t have that I should do?  Would narrowing it down actually be better?  Am I doing perfectly fine and need to stop worrying?  What are your thoughts?

Working with Resin

One of the crafts that I have wanted to master – both for personal curiosity and for the store – is casting with resin.  Over the last couple of years I have dabbled a few times with both the type of resin that needs mixing and then leaving to cure, and UV resin.

I have the pictures, but for some reason I don’t appear to have any notes.

My very first attempt worked really well.  I used two part resin – I have no idea of the different types of resin, I really should look into that.  I know I used two part resin because I remember having to make more items than I’d planned because there was just so much resin!

I went with purple and glittery.  Because purple.  And because glitter.

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In that picture I sorted the letters into things that worked and things that didn’t.  In the letters, you can kinda see that the glitter all kinda went down to the bottom of the mold.  It doesn’t look bad, it’s just an observation.

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Even the letters that didn’t work were just where there was excess resin, and I easily clipped those off.

I don’t remember much at all about the other pictures I have, but here’s what I can work out…

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At first glance I assumed I’d made these at the same time as the buttons and letters, because of the purple and the glitter, but some of the hexagons don’t have as much glitter.  I can tell that this was me trying out putting different things in resin.  I tried and failed to fill the little gaps in the birdcage charm with resin.  I think you can see little bits of white glitter.  And you can see where I ran out of resin with the second piece from the left on the middle row (next to the birdcage).

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I’m not sure what was going on here but there are LOTS of errors.  A great big air bubble, resin not spread full to the edges, resin overflowing.  I don’t know what I used to make those little rainbow stars but it was obviously not something colour fast.  But looking back on my experiments is kinda interesting.

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This piece on the left is one of those 3d style molds where you can’t really see all of it.  Apparently I need to be more careful to make sure the resin goes in all the little nooks – especially the ones that create the pendant loops.  I quite like the square.  I wonder where I put that?

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I remember some of these.  A lot of these were me testing what tape to use behind the open bezels.  As you can tell by the massive mess in the bottom right, I tested badly.  That “bag” of purple on the bottom left is actually a block of cured resin – because I think I got frustrated and didn’t know what to do with the left over resin.

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These were more experiments with what to put in resin, but I don’t seem to have pictures of the cured pieces.

I don’t know which pieces it was, but I have tried UV resin.  I got a UV torch, which I found to be highly ineffective.  It’s possible – probable, in fact – that it was user error, but I couldn’t get the pieces to cure properly.

As usual, when I didn’t immediately master a craft, it got pushed aside.  I got frustrated and upset and put it aside to come back to at a later point.  And by “aside” I mean that it all got thrown in my Cupboard of Incomplete Projects.  I have every intention of getting back around to it at one point.

Recently I’ve found my interest in resin renewing itself.  I bought some more UV resin.  I bought some more open bezels.  I bought a proper UV nail lamp.  And I haven’t done anything with them.

But since Makerly’s June box (which I didn’t get, curses!) was Pressed Flower Resin Jewellery, the resin-curiosity has been slowly boiling in my head.  I didn’t have time in June to do anything about it really, because I was selling my wares at three seperate school fairs.

And then SoCraftastic did a YouTube video.

I have spent the days since I saw that video reading resin blogs, and purchasing more charms and more tape and more resin, and searching Pinterest for inspiration, and watching countless YouTube videos for hints and hacks and tips.

The interest in resin is most definitely reignited!  I will shortly be heading back into it, and I promise to take notes this time.  In theory there’ll be a blog post in the next month or so, but I say that a lot, and I have a folder of many many blogs waiting to be written.

If you’re super eager to see what happens, nag me about it.  Either comment here, or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Tiny Drawings

During her Twitch stream a couple of weeks ago the wonderful SamBeAwesome was doing some teeny tiny paintings.  She was preparing to enter a Mini Masterpiece competition on the art supplies website Dick Blick.

I was ineligble to enter that competition, because I don’t live in the US, but I am extremely susceptible to suggestion and so I started doing some tiny drawings of my own.

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To begin with I had no problem at all.  None of my pieces are massive anyway, and I tend to draw small.

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Not to mention that none of my work is very complicated.  Especially the monsters.

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I could have done something more complex, but I was supposed to be working on another project and didn’t want to spend all night on this. (Spoiler: I did spend all night on it.)

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I tried to get as much detail in them as I could.  Like the shading.

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At this point I was beginning to wonder if this was perhaps small enough.  Maybe I could stop here.  1.25 x 1.25cm is pretty damn small.  But it’s not a round number.  I had to do at least one more.

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I really should have stopped using the white gel pen before this point.  The nib is way too big.

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My eyes were starting to hurt, but I had to see how small I could go.

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This is where I lost all definition.  You can only barely tell what it is.  I’d like to think I could do a better job if I wasn’t doing it late at night when I was already tired.  I may have another go at it.  And I may see if I could go even smaller.  Maybe.

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Go check out Sam’s twitter to see what she did.  My favourite is this rainbow planet.