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Inktober and Drawlloween Are Here!!!

inktober drawlloween ink drawing sketching October

If you don’t know them, you’re gonna know them! Starting today, it’s a drawing per day – two if you’re in it for both events. Every day there is a prompt and you draw it. Simple, right? For Inktober it’s an ink drawing and for Drawlloween it’s a drawing in whatever medium you want. 

Of the two prompt lists I prefer Mab Graves’ Drawlloween because it’s more October-related. It’s lots of spooky fun and it’s super interesting to see other artists’ interpretations of even the most familiar monsters. 

drawlloween October 2018 drawing sketching mab graves
Spooooooky Drawlloween prompts from Mab Graves!

On the other hand, I think the Inktober list is more challenging because it’s more abstract. The prompt of the day could spark instant inspiration or leave you absolutely stuck, which is really the point of prompts, isn’t it?

OFFICIAL Inktober 2018 prompts!

Last year I did both for the first time, something I don’t recommend if you’re short on time! I started the month off strong, then ended up a couple of days behind and would play catch up. Then I would do well for a while and end up behind again. I think I did most of the last week on the last day! So I wasn’t super great about getting the drawings done every day, but I was determined to get them all done and I did. 

inktober drawlloween ink drawing sketching October
Some pages are alright. 🙂

That being said, there are definitely some stinkers in there. It’s even more obvious because I dedicated a sketchbook to October. I don’t have to think back to which prompts I had issues with or which ones I relied to much (or not enough) on a reference for. I bet you could pick out which ones I had issues with, too. 🙂

fail inktober drawlloween ink drawing sketching October
Some pages I’m not proud of. AT. ALL. Seriously, this must have been a rough day…

I’m hoping this year is an improvement over last year. I don’t want to be too obvious or cliche and I’m thinking a ban on references might be in order! The sketchbook also needs to include the “junk” drawings and not just the final ideas. All that white space is uuuuuugly! Oh, did I forget to mention that I put all the drawings up on the site? Yep, they’re there – every single one. Give me another day and the “junk” will be up too. 🙂

Inktober and Drawlloween are two more reasons that October is my favorite month! If you follow the hashtags you can check out all the cool drawings that come out this time of year. Come November 1st, I’ll be posting the next section of my October sketchbook – for better or worse!

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

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Roadblocks Don’t Have to be Roadblocks

manga atsushi nakajima anime bungou stray dogs drawing sketching

Life has weird ways of interfering with the things we want to do. Roadblocks happen all the time. Sometimes they seem to be everywhere, sapping energy, joy, and inspiration. Ugh. That’s a bleak start to a blog isn’t it? But it’s kind of how the last week or so has been. Lots of effort (or maybe not nearly enough?) and not much to show for it. This first paragraph is even a stretch. I’m saying I’m sorry now because I know it’s not my best. 

So what can we do when are just – blah?

I can tell you that a couple of days ago I was so tired I just lumped on the couch and binged a few episodes of Attack on Titan, occasionally glancing over at my sketchbook on the drafting table. It was a horrible feeling, like I just couldn’t handle getting up to do even a *little* bit of sketching. I knew physically I was capable, but it didn’t happen. I fell asleep early and woke up feeling… not at all better. Yeah, I know. You totally feel bad for me now. 🙂

manga atsushi nakajima anime bungou stray dogs
Atsushi Nakajima referenced straight from the Bungou Stray Dogs manga!

This next day was different though. As icky blah as I was feeling the following evening (my only time to work on any art during the week), I did a little drawing. It was just a bit of work on a drawing of Atsushi Nakajima (Bungou Stray Dogs) I started the week before, but it was something! And I think that’s the key to these types of roadblocks – or at least part of it. Something is better than nothing. A squiggle, a few lines, a small start – something that could be built on later. Or not. But it’s something!

Atsushi Nakajima Bungou Stray Dogs manga anime drawing sketching
Got a bit more done on Atsushi. One more sitting should do it!

There’s something important to remember, though, and it deals with part two. We all have those days where stuff doesn’t get done for one reason or another. Sometimes being tired is a perfectly ok excuse! Feeling bad about it doesn’t change anything. Guilt doesn’t make roadblocks go away – moving on does. It can start with a small bit of progress on a tough day or by taking a little time to check out mentally. Neither one of those things is wrong!

The blah isn’t totally gone, but taking a day off from work definitely helped. Just thinking about having the better part of a day with the house to myself was super relaxing! The night before I worked on a bunch of jewelry and poured a painting and still had a little time to play some video games with my kid. 

The day off is being spent working on whatever I feel like working on because it’s right now and the first thing I’m doing is finishing this blog post. I plan to finish Atsushi later this morning, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t. Maybe I’ll take a nap or do a little painting. Whatever happens after I hit publish, I’m moving on from those roadblocks. 

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

P.S. If you want to see my stuff as soon as it’s done, check out my Twitter. Thanks! You’re the best!

 

***UPDATE***

September 30: 

I finished it. 🙂

bungou stray dogs Atsushi Nakajima anime manga
Atsushi Nakajima is all done, but this won’t be the last time I draw him!
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I Learned a Lesson…

The case of the fake Body-Kun (FBK) figures has been resolved! Sort of. I ended up having to ship them back at my expense for twice the cost of the original shipping. I didn’t like it, but I’ll get most of my money back. Perhaps I can (begrudgingly) justify it as the cost of a lesson learned… HOWEVER, being the glutton for punishment that I am, I ordered another set of figures! It’s okay this time, really! They are authentic Figma Archetype figures and they are SO much better!

Archetype:He and Archetype:She just chillin out!

There was a deadline for sending back the FBKs, but the Figmas arrived just in time to do a comparison. The poor quality of the FBKs was even more obvious when they were next to the Figmas. It’s all covered in my unboxing video here: 

Even more fun was playing with the figures afterward! The Figmas were less expensive than the FBKs, but they also came with zero accessories and not as many extra hands. That was not a dealbreaker at all since I’d rather have a few pieces that are high quality than a bunch of low quality junk. It does mean that I’ll have to be creative in finding props for the Figmas, so the first place I looked was my kid’s toy box! 

There was a Power Ranger sword and a gun from one of the action figures in the action figure bin. Sadly, both were too big for the figures’ tiny hands. What more than made up for that was the slightly forgotten dinosaur set hiding under the bed! There were rocks, trees, and dinos of all sizes. I grabbed a couple of tanks, a monster truck, and some finger puppets – all in the name of seeing how good these figures really are!

The dino scene came first. The dinos on hand were too small for the figures, but the point was really to see if they would sit on the dinos without any help. They definitely did and I even got them to look half-way passable as a reference. That is, if you like giants on dinosaurs. Or people on tiny dinosaurs. Before taking it all down I put the Archetype:She on a monster truck and sent it at the Archetype:He still on a dinosaur. She didn’t stay on, but it was still fun! She even stayed in the position I put her in. 

RAAAAWWWWRRRR!

After this it was time to put them on tanks! It took several tries to get the tanks to hit each other, but with every attempt the figures stayed perched on top – at least until the collision! I can also confirm that they will stand up on their own and can even handle a little extra something.

They’re wearing finger puppets almost as big as they are!

I swear, I WILL use them for drawing references. I’m also going to hit the dollar store and see if there’s anything floating around there that might make a good prop. If you have an idea or something you want me to try, let me know!

Thanks for reading! Until next time!

UPDATE!!

Things with PayPal and the fake Body Kun dispute did not end well. Not only did Canada Post lose my package, but it couldn’t be located and I didn’t insure it. Doh! Since I couldn’t prove to PayPal that the fake Body Kun company received the item (even I though I showed that it shipped), they ruled that I couldn’t get a refund. So I’m out the cost of the figures, the cost of sending them back, and I don’t even have crappy Body Kun knock offs to keep making fun of.

I tell everyone that ends up in the same boat as me to dispute with PayPal and report the company as a scam. It probably won’t make a difference, but sometimes raising a little hell can be cathartic. If I could go back I would have just kept the figures and turn them into a project to expose a company that amounts to a drop shipper for Chinese knock offs. I’m totally not still bitter about the whole thing…

To make myself feel better I order what I’m pretty sure is an authentic Body Chan. We’ll see what happens. 😀

She should be arriving any day now, but in the meantime enjoy these other figures I found. They’re pretty interesting. 🙂

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I Made a Mistake…

body-kun body-chan figuarts bandai fakes

I like to think I’m pretty careful when it comes to buying stuff online, but I can also get a little impulsive. Because of that, I found myself in a small predicament all because I saw something shiny on Instagram. If you’ve ever taken a drawing class, there’s a good chance you had to sketch one of those nondescript wooden mannekins that sort of, but not really, look like people. It’s tough to get them into any sort of natural position, but for a basic subject to sketch, they’re pretty good. 

drawing reference wood mannekins dog penguin
A happy little family of drawing references!

That being said, I’ve been looking around for quite some time for an alternative – something that is more natural that I can look at in real life. Picture references are fine, but it’s different than sketching from life. Odd little knick-knacks around the house are great for a challenge, but at the end of the day I really like to sketch from the human figure. So when I saw an Instagram ad for Body-Kun figures, it looked like the most perfect solution ever! The site they were (ARE) being sold from is sketchy (the first red flag), but I ignored that for this perfect thing that was the answer to all my sketching reference dreams. The projected delivery time was 3-4 weeks due to high order volume. That was red flag number two. 

drawing reference body-kun body-chan fakes
Seems legit?

I received tracking information about a week after the order was placed, but it didn’t budge after that. During that time, I did the research I should have done before placing the order. I found instances referencing that exact site (and others) where poorly made knock-offs were being sold. 

https://www.trustpilot.com/review/bodykun.com

How to tell if an S. H. Figuarts Body Kun/Body Chan is fake …

Bodykun.com: Has anyone bought a Bodykun from here …

The real product is made by Bandai S.H. Figuarts and they are not for sale just anywhere. There are certain retailers that sell them and they are not available all the time. If you aren’t getting one of those, you most likely are not getting the real product. There’s even a handy post on DeviantArt that shows the differences between the real and the fake figures: https://www.deviantart.com/lauraramirez/journal/Edit-BODY-KUN-REVIEW-Very-disappointed-703049537

Once the order hit the four-week mark, I contacted the company to see what was up. They said the item was backordered and I would have it by the following week. I immediately checked my tracking info again and it was gone. Big, fat, red flag number three. 

I let a few days go by and decided I wanted nothing to do with any of it, so I contacted them again and requested a refund. Of course, they said the order was on the way and therefore couldn’t cancel. So I turned to PayPal, filed a dispute that I didn’t received the order, and the company replied that it was on the way. I replied that I would reject the package, at which point they would have to give me a refund, right? Sure enough, the following Friday when I was out of town, the package showed up. When did the tracking update? After the package showed up. 

So now what? Well, I escalated the claim with PayPal to “item not as described” or whatever they call it. Then, for the sake of documentation, I did an unboxing video! I mean, I HAD to open them at that point to see if they were really as bad as I thought they would be. Spoiler alert: they were. In fact, I’d say they exceeded expectations on that front. The figures are now sitting in a plastic bin awaiting their fate.

body-kun body-chan figuarts bandai fakes
This pretty much captures how I feel about these. I really wanted to like them.

Depending on what PayPal does or doesn’t do, I might get a refund, I might have to send them back, or nothing happens at all. I’ll definitely keep you updated! 

Don’t be like me – don’t buy junk from Instagram ads. 🙂

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Overcoming Fear and Failure [Making a New Journal]

Where did we leave off? Right, we’re all set up and about to thoroughly destroy a perfectly good book! No worries – it’s all in the name of art! Let’s make this journal!

First thing’s first, we need to start ripping out pages. I know, I know. It. Is. Scary. It’s especially scary if you’re the type of person that doesn’t like to write in books or even dog-ear a page when there’s no bookmark handy (*cough cough*). However, if you’re adding paper to your journal, some pages have to come out in order to make room. Otherwise your book won’t close all the way. 

So I sat there looking at the book, counting out the pages over and over again (read: procrastinating because I was scared), trying to decide whether it would be better to cut or tear the pages. Finally I just started to rip – and it was terrible. I was thinking that it would be this nice, smooth rip, and it would have been if I had been smart enough to use a straight edge as a guide, but I rarely plan that well. The first page ripped out was looking pretty bad and there seemed to be too much of it left. I knew I didn’t want to rip too close to the spine because of the risk of losing pages, but it looked awful.  Then I did the worst thing I could have done and started picking at it. 

journal making book recycle pages
Disaster! (not really)

I tried ripping one more page after that and switched to scissors. My cuts were a little rough at first, but once I got into my groove they got better. Every sixth page was gone in a couple of minutes and by the time I got to the last one it was actually kind of cathartic. I want to rip out more! Give me more books! 

journal making book recycle
She turned me into a newt. It got better. Just like my cuts! Does anyone remember when they learned how to use scissors?

After this I turned my attention to the cover. I gave it a light sanding to make sure all the things would stick to it, then painted the front and back with a thin layer of fluid acrylics – black around the outside blended into white in the middle. Dab, dab, dab with a sponge and it was painted in a few minutes.

journal making book recycle
Ready to paint my future journal!

 

journal making cover paint
A little base paint to get that green covered up!

Then I started laying out the decorations. I had neatly cut strips of decorative paper and neatly cut prints of drawings from my sketchbook.  An obscene amount of Modge Podge was used to secure each one and I dabbed paint around the outside of each one to try to blend it into the paint.

journal making cover
I think I should have seen the problem at this point.

 

journal making cover fail
Even more so at this point. Hindsight, right? But that’s what happened when you cling to an idea instead of recognizing that it’s not working…

I had this vision in my head of the images looking like they were emerging from the cover – or something. Let’s just say it didn’t turn out that way AT ALL. It was just the front cover that got to this point, but it was bad enough that it stalled me for a week. I didn’t even pick up all the things – I just left it there. I walked by the book every day, sulking about the terrible outcome. It looked awful. My idea was terrible. I ruined my book for nothing! WHAT HAVE I DONE?? Oh the DRAMA!

journal making cover fail
This is what haunted me for a week (I cleaned up my paint though).

Technically, since I used Modge Podge, I could have wet the cover and peeled everything off. However, exposing the cover to that much moisture would probably have damaged it. Plus the layers of paint were a pretty big wildcard. So when I started over I just went right over the top! My approach was similar to the original idea (it wasn’t bad after all!), but rather than being meticulous in cutting and placing everything, I just ripped it. The edges of the decorative paper and the sketchbook scans were all ripped and I did not use the paint to try to tie it all together.

journal making cover
It’s kind of poetic that my mistake is lurking under there. Not that I had much choice! 🙂

This let everything sort of blend together on its own. I loosely planned where everything would go, but ultimately it happened in the moment. I also included a colored piece on the front and the back, because as much I love me some black and white, it had a depressing look about it. 

journal making cover
Maybe it still looks a little messy, but that’s me. Organization is for the birds! (Do birds organize?)

 

journal making cover
This is the back cover at a dramatic angle. Because dramatic angles are what all the cool kids are doing.

Collaging the back cover was smoother than the front because there wasn’t a snafu to hide, but with both I continued slopping on the Modge Podge (not really the way you’re supposed to do it) to get some neat textures and wrinkles. I added a little doodle on the bottom of the spine and the outside cover was done! 

On to the inside!