Quest for ART! Some New Experiments

How’s everyone doing so far this year? Made some progress on a goal you’ve set?

As for me, I’ve been trying to experiment with new techniques for creating artwork, mostly in the traditional sense. It’s actually been a hot minute since I have created anything digitally. Recently though, I have been feeling spontaneous with my creative processes. I have been finding myself sitting at my work desk, then hit on the head with inspiration to paint, or sketch out an idea. Recently an idea appeared to me a few weeks ago. All that I saw was water, and bright orange goldfish. As soon as I could, I immediately took a piece of illustration board and did a painting:

merfishRGB

Lovingly called “Merfish”, this painting was the result of a spontaneous burst of inspiration. I believe every artist has had moments like this. An idea strikes, and you HAVE to make it a reality no matter what. Sometimes they don’t translate as well as intentioned, but I found that “Merfish” may be one of my favorites pieces I’ve made in a while. I’m a fan of the colors; I used two complementary hues together (blue water, orange fish; red clothes and green hair), and used plenty of mixed media techniques. There’s gouache, colored pencil, white pen, and ink wash jammed into this little piece of illustration board.

Just so you know, “Merfish” is available on my Etsy shop if you would like a print, or even the original piece. To be honest, it may be hard to part with the original piece; I try not to get too attached to my art, but dang, I’m proud of this one.

Along with creating that piece, I have taken to painting with acrylics on scraps of cardboard lately. I noticed some saved cardboard from packaging that had to be painted on. As a result, I made this piece:

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 9.47.15 PM

 

To be honest, it was more of an experiment to see how the paint would look on the cardboard. Seeing as cardboard is a mid-tone color, it’s easy to push darker values back and bring forward highlighted areas. Anyone who has worked with mid-tone paper knows how nice it is to make drawings using black and white charcoal pencils. It reminds me of a piece I made in college that I was really proud of back then:

drawing 18_forblog

 

Figure drawing was one of the classes in college that really helped me improve.

But anyways, watered down acrylic and cardboard might be one of my new favorite combos. Cardboard takes watered down acrylic surprisingly well, something I discovered after the experimental piece I created today:

 

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 9.57.06 PM

I am a huge fan of building the layers of acrylic onto the cardboard; it almost looks like watercolor or gouache. When I used thicker layers, like on the wings, it creates this texture that looks nice against thinly layered acrylic. For this angel girl I painted, I did around 4 layers of paint for her skin and hair, making sure to change the water-to-paint ratio every time. For other places like her eyes and the wings, I thickened the paint. For a little extra flair, her top is the cardboard, which it’s a little hard to see. It was a fun experiment that opened the door to more ideas I have for acrylic and cardboard that I would like to implement in future pieces. Maybe I’ll actually buy some illustration boards to look more professional, but to be honest, I’m really feeling the scrappy, cardboard look. I even had someone come up to me and say I should continue making cardboard pieces.

Fact of the matter is, sometimes it’s good to let the creative spirit come out when it strikes. I don’t know where these spontaneous burst are coming from, but they are allowing me to learn and experiment with different techniques which I would have never thought of before.

Truth is, I could talk about art techniques all day. Art is truly my passion, and illustrating feels like the only thing I’m good at. If you all enjoy reading my rambles about art, let me know, I would like to keep the discussion going about different artistic techniques, and hear advice from other creatives. Artist grow when surrounded by other artists, at least that’s how it seems.

If you all would like to see my artistic journey, I have an Instagram, @allas_art. I try to post as frequently as I can, even if it’s just a little Insta story. If you’re interested in supporting me, I have an Etsy, AllasArtStore, where I sell prints, original pieces, and stickers. I would like to become a full time, self-employed artist someday, and even a little support goes a long way!

Coming up next, I have a few things in the works that I would like to share with you, but it’ll have to wait for a while. So keep up with me on instagram to see what I have cooking up.

Enjoy the warm weather, and have a productive April!

March Muses and Mishaps

March has been quite the month, hasn’t it? As for me, I’ve been working on preparing for two art shows in April, along with a busy work schedule at my day job. Spring break is apparently the time for people to come buy their American Girl Dolls. It feels like there hasn’t been a dull moment in the past few weeks, and of course I have some things that I’ve really been appreciating in March that I thought I’d share with you all.

1. Ikea

Everyone loves Ikea in some sort of fashion, right? There is a relatively newer store in my city that, when we go, we have to put away time to explore before we gather whatever we need for the house. In this particular trip we took a few weeks ago, I was on the lookout for some expansion for my workspace, so I bought 2 desks and 2 drawer units. My boyfriend was so kind as to be cart pusher and ride to said Ikea to pick up my wares, which I had saved my tax refund for.

What I love about Ikea is how easy it is to put their furniture together. I am a very visual person, so if you’ve put Ikea furniture together before, you know that their instructions are ALL pictures with no words anywhere. It may sound like a bad thing, but it makes someone like me, ditzy and kinda slow, seem like a professional furniture put together-er. And thanks to Ikea, my workspace has improved! I now have a small desk attached to my corner desk that houses my printer with convenient drawers to hold illustration boards, as well as a bigger desk in my room to use for my doll customizing hobby (that I should probably start soon). Along with that I got some inexpensive drawer units to put under my corner desk to have a better spot for art supplies, electronics, and my giant collection of pens, pencils, highlighters, and the like.

With my new workspace, this should make me more efficient in making more content for everyone. And it’s all thanks to Ikea’s easy-to-put-together-and-inexpensive furniture.

2. Lush

Despite following lots of skincare brands and influencers on Instagram and Youtube over the years, I’m not the best at taking care of my skin and body. And please ignore the fact that my diet this March has probably subtracted years from my life (that’s another blog post). This winter has been a strong contender in making my skin super dry, itchy and red. Not to mention the sinus allergies. I usually can go without lotion most days since my skin is naturally pretty oily, but not this winter season. But that’s where Lush comes in. Their lotions like Charity Pot and Jade Roller have soothed my itchy, red skin enough to where I don’t go back to my prescribed ointments. What I like most about Jade Roller, my most recent find, is that i can rub it where I want to on my face and body, and it melts right into my thirsty skin. Also, it smells like delicious peppermint.

Another recent find is Gritty Politti. Like Jade Roller, I can rub this on my skin and it does the work for me. Only this time, with Gritty Politti, it has exfoliating properties which take out all that dead skin and dirt. I like to use it once in a while to invigorate my skin, encourage blood circulation and all that jazz.

Maybe one day, when I’m more financially able to, I may switch all my skincare products to Lush, because their natural ingredients and safely made products do wonders for my skin.

3. Apple Store Genius Bar

March has been the month where my 7 year old MacBook and 2 and a half year old iPhone have decided its about time to kick the bucket. First it was my computer. I had fallen asleep to a Youtube video (most likely an ASMR video) and the computer battery had died, like it does. Once I woke up the next day, I had plugged in my computer to reboot it. And just like that, it shut off, and would not turn on. Feeling slightly worried, I took it up to the Apple store near my work to have it checked out. Turns out there was something in the system that could not respond to the battery and had to be manually switched on (not sure what the correct lingo is, the store associate can explain it better). I was thoroughly impressed with the services the Genius Bar at the store provided; first off, they fixed my computer. That’s pretty good. And also the associate was quick, and able to explain the issue. He felt like someone who cared about my concern and genuinely wanted to help me out. For some reason I thought that they would look down on me for having a now out of date laptop, but this wasn’t the case.

My other qualm was my phone. Still an ongoing issue, but the Genius Bar was able to help me out again with my phone, which is currently glitching out on my desk. The associate at Genius was helpful in having me make the decision to update my phone or stick with the old one.

Nevertheless, the Genius Bar is a great resource for Apple-loyal users like myself, and was surprisingly impressed with their service. No wonder Apple is a multi-billion dollar company. 

4. Skyrim

It’s no secret that I love video games. As a Nintendo girl at heart, I do have a love for fantasy RPG’s and story-driven games like Fable and Skyrim. I had an itching to play the aforementioned Elder Scrolls game, and a friend let me borrow it. It’s been like a therapy in the midst of all that’s happening this month. I get to wander the wintry wilderness, fighting dragons and leveling up my character. I’m going for magic using, like I always do. I love how you can stray from the main storyline, and even the side quests to wander off and do as you please. You could join either side of the civil war, become an assassin and join the Dark Brotherhood, become a master mage and hunt for soul gems. Or you could do what I do talk to everyone you meet, completing simple delivery quests for gold. In my game currently, I am trying to become Thane in every town, which is a high honor. I am saving my money to buy property in the town of Solitude, home of the Imperial Army, which I’m a part of, in order to become Thane. I’m having mindless fun, and it’s just what I need during a busy, uncertain time.

What were some of your favorite things about the month of March? Let me know, and be on the lookout for more blog posts! I’m trying to come up with some more ideas for posts, and in a few weeks I should have some more time to sit and write.

See you all in April!

(Sorry for no pictures this time, next time I shall have plenty of them…!)

Life Update-Exciting Things to Come

It’s the third month of 2019, and some things are cooking up to make for an exciting couple of months. I thought I’d write up a quick life update for y’all to know what’s been goin on, and what to expect soon…

Jazz_CH2_Cover

 

1. Soft Peach Updates: Jazz Chapter 2 release soon

Jazz High Kicks, the next chapter of Jazz’s story is set to come out soon, this Thursday in fact! I’ve been working very hard in the background putting the book together, making sure all the finishing touches are there. To make it easier on everyone, I will be making High Kicks available to read for FREE on my website, allasart.me. I thought that this way, people can follow Jazz’s story without committing to buying a physical copy.

Speaking of a physical copy, I am going to be listing a physical copy of Jazz on my Etsy shop, AllasArtStore, very soon. Would anyone be interested in purchasing a physical copy of Jazz? I personally love having a copy of a comic or a book to physically read. Well, besides Etsy, there will be more opportunities to pick it up.

newicon2019

2. Upcoming Art Sale appearances: Art Fair & SPACE

In April, I will be tabling a a couple shows! On the 6th expect me at CCAD’s Spring Art Fair. Along with my comics, I will be selling original and digital prints and stickers. I’ll also be doing live commissions, bundle deals, and sales. More details to come soon on my Instagram, @allas_art. Along with that, on the 27th and 28th, I will be tabling at SPACE, a comics expo! This will be my second SPACE show; I had so much fun last time, so I’m ecstatic they invited me back for another go. Same kind of tabling setup; gonna be selling comics, prints, stickers and live commissions.

Conventions are some of my favorite things to do as an artist, something I have a lot of passion for. I find myself looking up other artists’s booths, watching videos about what to bring, taking notes as I watch. As both a vendor and an attendee, I always leave conventions incredibly inspired to keep doing projects and making artwork.

My goal for this year is to be more engaging to the event goers and other vendors. Networking with other artists is very important it seems, and establishing those connections has the potential to make partners and friends. And of course, collecting another stack of business cards for my collection. I have another goal of finding more and more shows to apply to, both in Cbus and across the country. I have a list of cons that I have applied to, ones to apply to next year, and ones to attend. Ultimate goals would be tabling at a show once a month, or even more.

My boyfriend always gives me ideas on how to make my table more interactive and unique among the sea of artists. Last year, I had a basket of apples for people to take to promote Chapter 1 of Jazz; they were supposed to be peaches (y’know, Soft Peach), but sadly they weren’t in season. It was still a fun experiment; people were either confused as to why I had apples, would ask of they were free, or just took them. It was interesting, as people react to things in their own little unique ways.

SATURN2018

3. Commission Planning

Over the years I have had commissions open for when someone wanted a unique piece from me. As an artist that’s pretty active on social media, it seems like I almost HAVE to have commissions, or a Patreon, or some kind of online shop so I could make money. Every time I have opened commissions, even made cute little flyers with my prices, I get nothing. Not that I am struggling with money, I have a day job to pay bills, but I just want to make art for people. I love seeing people get excited about something I’ve created. I have been working on making a commission page on my website allasart.me for people to see, however, I think I won’t be releasing them until I know people want them. It’s easy to get buried under everyone else trying to make a living off commissions, so my plan is to have them open soon, but maybe not very soon. It’s something that I will play by ear moving forward. That way I will have more time to focus on actually MAKING art 🙂

IMG_5307
My very first face-up using acrylic paints; I haven’t shown this anywhere yet because it was such a spontaneous process.

4. Doll Customizing

My newly found passion is doll customizing. One day I stumbled upon a video of an artist customizing a Monster High doll, and the result was a gorgeous doll that I was mesmerized by. I ended up binge-watching a ton of doll customizing videos from different artists, thinking, “I could do this.” I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to try doll customizing for myself, but, if y’all know, if you have a passion for something, you can’t stop thinking about it, and just HAVE to do it. Or at least that’s me anyway. This was the case with doll customizing, or OOAK (One of a Kind), as its called in the doll community. I will be practicing this craft over the next few weeks, and show my progress online. It will start out as a hobby for now, something to do for fun. We will see where it goes from there.

cropped-allaallaartvcrbig-copy.jpg

My ultimate goal is to become a full time artist; once I get there, there will be MORE projects, even MORE artwork, tabling at MORE shows, being my own boss. Know that some days feel harder than others, but I always spring back and motivate myself to be the best I can be at what the day holds for me. And trust me, sometimes it takes a LOT to spring back, but I have faith on my side. I have my friends and family to lean back on, and somehow they always carry the best advice for life. It’s good to take things day-by-day, and not expect something to happen if you don’t put the work in. That’s what I think at least.

My philosophy in life is to put in good work, be kind, and good things will come to you.

Alla’s February Finds

February! What a month, again, short as usual… 🙂

I thought I’d start a monthly post of my favorite things of the month, anything that I found particularly fun, helpful, or interesting; it can be anything from a new favorite song, to a new art technique I’ve come up with, or food that I like. So for the month of February, here are some of Alla’s February Finds!

1. Homemade Mac n’ Cheese

When I comes to cooking, I am a total noob. I am also a blossoming adult in her early 20’s with not a lot of time to dedicate to cooking from scratch. But when I figured out a solid recipe for homemade mac n cheese, it made me never want to go back to boxed mac again. It all comes down to the cheese sauce, and while I haven’t been able to experience with different kinds of cheeses, as long as I have the base of a good cheese sauce and some elbow noodles cooked “al dente” as they say, I got me a simple and easy dinner. My basic, not-professional-at-all recipe goes as follows:

IMG_1527
This isn’t homemade Mac n Cheese, but the only photo of the stuff that I’ve ever taken apparently.

Melt some unsalted butter in a saucepan, around 2 tablespoons of the stuff

Add the same amount of flour, and whisk it

Add a little milk to this mixture while still stirring. I haven’t found the perfect measurement of milk, but I found that you don’t need a lot.

Stir for a while till the mixture gets nice and warm and then you can add your cheese. I like to use what I have on hand, which tends to be sharp cheddar or Colby jack, but use any cheese you like.

Melt this for a few minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste, and you have yourself a nice, melty cheesy sauce that you can satisfyingly pour onto cooked elbow pasta.It’s super easy to make, and it has warmed me up to cooking, and I plan on experimenting more with cooking meals from scratch.

2. Ariana Grande’s new album “Thank U, Next”

100000x100000-999

If you know me, I have been a fan of Ariana Grande since her days on “Victorious”. From being the cute character Cat to a successful pop star, Ari was able to make some music that sounds more like herself. While I have a sweet spot for her previous album, “Sweetener”, “Thank U, Next” seems to be like “Sweetener”s alter ego. The tracks sound darker and more direct in lyrics and she sings in lower registers with a more talkey-like style. Even name dropping some exes in the song, “Thank U, Next”. It took me a second to warm up to this album, but it turned out to be one of my new favorites.

Some of my faves from the album are “NASA”, “Bad Idea”, and “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored”.

 

If you have a second, check out Ari’s album if you haven’t already!

3. Yoshi’s Crafted World Demo for the Switch

dims

There are a lot of games on my list to buy for my Nintendo Switch, and “Yoshi’s Crafted World” just made the list. My boyfriend and I played the demo a few weeks back, and I fell in love with it. It gives me “Kirby’s Epic Yarn” vibes from it’s quiet, simple gameplay and unique look. The game looks almost real, like they used real objects and put them in the game itself. I can’t wait to see more of this game in the future.

4. Instax Fujifilm Mini 9 camera

Photography is not my best skill, but I have respect and appreciation for all photographers, and the effort they put into capturing the perfect photo. It really does take a lot of skill, and for a newbie photographer like myself who loves to take pictures of their friends and their cats, the Instax Mini 9 camera works for me.

 

IMG_0413
The first picture I took, minutes after I took the camera out of the box.

I’ve been wanting this camera for around 2 years, and my boyfriend surprised me with it this past Christmas. It snaps a photo and the little picture comes out just like old film cameras of the past, and develops just like it too. I am in love with that vintage photo look, and in my pictures I like combining that old look with newer objects, like smartphones, in my photos. it makes for some interesting looking photos.

 

 

I’ve taken it with me to my trip to California, and I took tons of photos there, even in front of Cinderella’s castle at Disneyland.

5. Skillshare

One of my goals of 2019 was to get back into learning. Once out of college I didn’t want to stop learning more about my craft, and I wanted to learn about things like owning a business, building a social media following, among other things. That’s where Skillshare comes in.

531-5313663_skillshare-logo-makers-mark

It’s a platform where you can take tons of different classes about anything you can think of, like cooking, sewing, even how to invest money and learn how to buy stocks. I’ve taken a couple classes, I try to take at least one a week, and I like to listen to them while I take notes and study. I signed up for the yearly membership, but it’s only $15 a month, and they offer a free trial.

A few classes I’ve taken are about launching my creative career, how to effectively use Etsy, Illustration classes, and self-motivation classes. I’ve found them all useful, and some classes have worksheets and documents you can print out and use. I recommend Skillshare for anyone who wants to learn something new, pick up a new hobby, or for self-employed folks who would like to learn more about what it is they do.

That’s all for February’s Finds! March is here soon, along with lovely Springtime, flowers, and Daylight Savings Time. Looking forward to that! I hope you are too.

 

Soft Peach… What is it, Exactly?

Soft Peach… sounds pretty delicious. If you like peaches that is.

What is Soft Peach? Other then a nice sounding summer snack.

Well, let’s back up a little bit. I have a quick story.

You see, I have a love for storytelling. As a kid I was inspired by a lot of the greats: Avatar The Last Airbender, Castle in the Sky, Sailor Moon, to name a few. In my opinion, those series had a knack for wonderful storytelling. A young boy with a great power discovered after 100 years is forced to face the task of ending a century-long war and bring peace back to the world. A boy with an admiration for the legendary sky castle goes on a journey to find this place under the following of the military and with the help of thieving pirates. A young girl who is the reincarnation of the moon princess faces against many galactic enemies after her silver crystal, who fights with the power of friendship.

All these summaries sound epic, right? At least to me they do. And telling an epic story was something I wanted to do since I was young. I would create these characters with powers and personalities and place then in these little worlds with all my favorite things; winged angels, mermaids, witches and elves who wielded bows and arrows and could talk to animals. I created a team of magical girls based on my love of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura who would protect a legendary queen who lost her memories. I wrote over and over again their stories and plotted out what would happen, who would learn something, who would die, who that would fall in love with.

I love imagining. Now that I am in my mid twenties, you would think my passions would fade, but the exact opposite thing came to fruition as my artistic skills improved.

Let me tell you what Soft Peach Comics is.

It is a place where a girl can discover her true powers and learn from her mistakes while growing stronger than her enemies. A place where a journey begins with a tragedy and discovery of an ancient, hidden power that leads someone across the world to encounter people like her. A place with a witch on the inside who falls in love with another on the outside. A place where a new, wonderful paradise can lead to depression and self-discovery. A place where a giant, forest dwelling beast makes friends with a tiny fairy.

softpeachnewicon

My dream is to make Soft Peach Comics a successful comics publishing company with many titles under the name. Comics that experiment with different mediums, formats and formulas, as well as telling all kinds of unique, interesting stories. I want it to possibly expand into animated form with shorts based on the comics it produces. I want it to be a headquarters of lovely, feel-good comics that I write, design and create myself and with my friends.

So, where is Soft Peach now? Well, it’s only getting started. My very first comic, Jazz, is releasing chapter two soon. Remember that sentence a few paragraphs ago about a girl discovering her true powers? Well, that’s what it’s about pretty much.

jazz-cover

It’s magical girl based, with a not-so-hard-to-figure-out twist at the end. Chapter two is set to come out March 14, if I play my cards right and work efficiently. After that, while Jazz takes a break, onto the next story. What’s that next story, you ask? It’s my secret for now, but if you follow along with this blog for a while, you may just find out soon.

If you enjoyed this post about Soft Peach Comics, feel free to stick around Alla’s Art Story for more info about Soft Peach, my life, and other things going on. I’ll be sure to update when the next chapter of Jazz is ready for eyes other than mine and a few choice people to see. If you’re really into this Soft Peach thing, it has it’s own instagram, @soft_peach_comics, where I post works in progress, cover shots, progress videos, and anything else about the comics I’m making. So feel free to follow if you’re interested, and tell a friend too!

I really appreciate you taking the time to read, and see you with a new post very soon!

Something Special: Back to Blogging!

Getting back into the swing of things…

Welcome to my blog, a little place for sharing advice, art, and snippets of my life! I would like to show you all the things I am working on, and planning to work on for the future, and everyday stuff I am interested in.

So who am I, you ask? My name is Allison Richmond-Leeth, or Alla for short. I am an Illustrator, Comics Artist, and Writer in my early 20’s, raised in a little town called Columbus, Ohio. If you had been so nice as to have peaked around at my website allasart.me, you can tell that I love to create anything cute and girly (and apparently love the color pink). Well, my love of creating is slowly forming into my career.

somethingspecial
It me!!

Here’s a little back story: After growing up in northern downtown Columbus, I attended Columbus College of Art and Design. I finished off my schooling with a BFA in Illustration and Creative Writing. Throughout my life, I fantasized around with the idea of creating my own stories in the form of comics and writing. As a kid I would draw my own characters and worlds on printer paper and sift through how to draw books in my free time. My childhood dreams have only expanded, as I am planning my very own publishing company lovingly called Soft Peach Comics. It will be a place where I make and self-publish my own stories.

Day-to-day, I pay the bills working part-time at the American Girl Store, then come home to spend the rest of the day building my arts career. My life has just begun, and success and failure await me in the world.

As I write, create, and play with dolls in my spare time, I hope my readers out there can gain a little something from my creations. Whether it’s advice, a helpful word, or even some inspiration, then I’m happy with it. Consider joining me on my life adventures! I have many ideas clouding my mind, and I would appreciate an ear to listen. Or in this case, eyes to read.

Welcome, and thank you for reading!