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New Etsy Shop

Journal Entry: Mon Jan 27, 2014, 9:35 AM


I just opened a new Etsy shop for our jewelry!  Our Mithros Designs website is still up and works great, I just know that some people prefer to order through large collaborative clearinghouse sites like Etsy, DA, ArtFire, Amazon, Ebay, etc. rather than register and create a password and give their information to a small website that they might only visit once a year.  So we'll keep 'em both open for the next few months, and see what happens.  I do like the stats, search, and google ads features at Etsy -- it might make good sense to keep using it, even though it does mean that everything we make needs to be uploaded to several different sites, and digital inventory management is going to get squirrely.  Eh, we'll figure that out later, when we actually start getting orders...  Roll Eyes   Anyway, here it is, in all its glory:

www.etsy.com/shop/OdysseyCraft…

This has also meant that I've had to step up my photography game (as you've maybe seen in my recent deviations)

Silver Decagram by Kittenpants Septegram on barnwood with found objects by Kittenpants

MAH PHOTOGRAPHY.  LOOK AT IT.  :happybounce: 

I got a D in highschool photography, but sixteen years, a goatload of composition study, a lightbox, a macro lens, astigmatism correcting eyeglasses, and finding the "white balance" button in the GIMP later... and the things I'm taking pictures of actually look... like... GOOD.  :o (Eek)

Right now I have all the "cover photos" in the Etsy shop set to the lightbox-on-white product images, because I think they look professional and give the clearest view of the product.  The Husband thinks the prop photos will get a better response.  So we're keeping things as-is for now, and as soon as the boosted traffic from Geeky Merch calms down, I'm going to change them all to the prop images for a couple of weeks, and we'll track the stats and see what happens.  FOR SCIENCE!


Premium, Darlings

Journal Entry: Thu Dec 12, 2013, 7:25 PM


Custom CSS journal skins?  Why yes please, I think I'll play with that.  How's it look for a first try?





Prints are available, let me know if you want a print of something in my gallery and I'll see if I can upload the file and make that available for you.

Happy holidays!

Holly by Kittenpants


I've dropped my art website and am now offering prints and swag only through DeviantArt-- it is so much simpler and easier this way!

I'm slooowly going through my archives and uploading the high-res files to create prints.  If there's something in the gallery you'd like a print of, but it doesn't have prints available, send me an email either here or through the contact page on Odyssey Craftworks.  I'll let you know if prints are possible for that piece (some sketches, special gifts, and small-scale pieces will not be available) and will get that piece loaded into the DA prints system for you if I can.

I'm also highly amused that DA can do magnets and coffee mugs and mousepads and such.  Yay swag!  (Does anyone still use mousepads?  Is that still a thing?)

I have a few originals for sale, including "Tiger Lily" and "Alessara the Centaur".  Contact me if you're interested.

----

I've opened a new business venture with my husband: Mithros Designs.  We're doing Pagan, alternative, historical, and fantasy jewelry, working mostly in silver, but also some gold and we're developing an affordable pewter line.

And my fragrance oils are available at Underhill Alchemy.
Before 2003 or so, I would semi-frequently be seized with inspiration, and would make a piece of art.  Some of them were really nice pieces.  They steadily improved over the years.

Because this happened periodically, I assumed this meant that "I am a naturally creative person," and the only reason why I wasn't doing this all the time was just because I didn't have enough time to devote to it, or because I wasn't committing to my creative work.

So when I left my job as a programmer, I assumed that if I committed my time to being an artist, I would make at least two to three times as much stuff as I had before.  That it was my soul's purpose to Be An Artist, because it had naturally been bubbling up when I was supposed to be working on other things.  That having the time and freedom and commitment and obligation to Be An Artist was all that was missing from the equation.

So I did it.  I called myself an artist.  I made business cards.  I researched how to do prints and art shows.  I juried into an art show and took some of my pieces.  I sold an original and a few dozen prints.  I made greeting cards.  I made a website (and then another, and another...).

But all desire to make art died.  I made a few pieces, but it was unpleasant and difficult.  I was miserable.

I tried to do custom illustration, thinking that if the stakes were higher, if I were really being held accountable for it, I'd HAVE to do it.  And I absolutely froze up and couldn't do it, letting some customers down and ruining a business partnership and a friendship.

And it kept getting worse.  I became seriously depressed.  I wasn't just uninspired, I was overwhelmingly resistant to doing anything art-related.

I felt like I was a liar every time I told people I was an artist, because an artist MAKES ART, and I wasn't doing that.  I felt guilty and ashamed every time I walked past my studio, or when someone asked what I was working on, or when I thought about how long it had been since I'd worked on a piece.  The depression got worse and worse.

The pieces clicked together, recently.

Many people talk about "fear of failure is the surest destroyer of creativity" and "creativity is play" and so on.  Brené Brown has done brilliant work studying the crippling effects of shame.  Blah blah blah... you can go read all the research and self-help books and so forth.  I'd read a lot of 'em, but hadn't put them all together until a couple of weeks ago.

Before I declared myself to Be An Artist, there was no expectation -- from myself or anyone else -- that I make art.  It was just playing around.  I wasn't doing it for money, or fame, or to pass jury, or to please a client, or to complete a series, or pass a class, or anything.  It was something I did as an outlet, something I played with when I needed a break from real work.  I could noodle around with techniques, abandon ideas if they sucked, change course halfway through a piece; I was completely free.

After I declared myself to Be An Artist, suddenly there was a duty, an obligation, to create. It was no longer play.

Also, crucially, I was no longer allowed to fail.  Everything I worked on was vital to my career, to my portfolio, to my business plan, to my professional identity, to my clients, partners, customers, patrons, and even my family.  Everything had to be marketable.  Everything was being JUDGED even before it was finished.  Everything was serious and important.  Nothing could be abandoned, wasted, or imperfect.  I couldn't afford to fail in the smallest way, but suddenly there were thousands of ways to fail that hadn't been there before I Became An Artist.

I constantly perceived myself to be a liar and a failure and a fraudulent whore.  The more seriously I tried to commit to doing artwork, the more impossible it became!  Surely this was a moral failing, a sign of a weak will, self-sabotage.  I stopped talking to my family and friends.  I stopped going to art shows.  I stopped coming on DA.  Because anything that reminded me of what a Failed Artist I was sent me into a spiral of misery.

Obviously, this could not go on indefinitely.  It's very sad that it went on for nearly a decade.

If I'm ever going to draw or paint again, if it's ever going to be fun again, if I'm ever going to get inspired again, I have to sacrifice all of it.  And there's a damn good chance that I've burned every bridge to the Muse over the last 9 years, that there is no way to get any of this back.  But really, even if I never draw or paint again, I have to lay this burden down and get out of this pit of self-hatred and shame.

So, fuck all of this.

I am not calling myself an Artist anymore.  I'm killing Carey The Artist.  There will no longer be a website, a portfolio, a booth at any show.  There will be no business cards, gallery applications, promotional flyers.  I'll dump some of my files into DA so if people really want prints, they can get them through DA and I won't have to be involved in any way.

I'm going through this process with enough things in my life -- not just art -- that I'm rethinking everything.  I'm even changing my name and appearance, I'm feeling such a need to cut away my past and step into a new life.

Hi.  I'm Alivanna Rose Moore.  You can call me Liv.  I'm not an artist.  I'm just someone who made some art in the past.  You can buy prints here, if you like.  I have some originals I'd be happy to send to good homes, so feel free to send me a note if you're interested in those.


This might sound really depressing, but it's not.  This is actually incredibly liberating, joyous, empowering stuff.
I've been MIA for a few years.  Whoops.

The WordPress site I was gushing about in the last journal didn't work out, so now I'm re-doing it AGAIN, this time in Joomla.  Hopefully I'll be able to shake enough of the bugs out of it to be able to share soon.

Haven't done much art stuff in the last couple of years (adjusting to life as a Nebraska stepmom took a little more time than I'd anticipated...)

But I posted the sculptures I painted for the Cranes on Parade II project.  Yay cranes!  It was kindof a dream to be able to participate in the project.



Current projects:
=D a bit of fanart for a grand conspiracy of the best kind.
:roll: writing That Book I've Been Working On For 8 Years.
:work: product design, legal paperwork, accounting setup, and all that entrepreneurial jazz for launching FOUR new businesses in addition to the art.  Because we're crazy.
:pc: building websites for said businesses and revamping art biz site.
:doh: nursing a problem wisdom tooth that's scheduled for demolition in September.  Fun times.
  • Eating: soft foods and ibuprofen, for the next month
Okay, so I never updated my old website.  It was a flaming pain to update.  I decided I needed a CMS.  I looked at a lot of complicated CMS options, like Drupal and Joomla, which were all WAY overpowered for what I needed.  After all, I just needed a couple of pages, the ability to add art at will, and the ability to do tagging and PayPal buttons.

So I made a WordPress blog, and tweaked the snot out of it.

I'm still adding art, but the rough shape is in place.  And I bought a new domain name to match my married name.  I'm trying to get it all in order before next weekend so I can mention it at Art in the Park.

If you want to see the sooper-sekrit under-construction sneak preview... www.careymooreart.com/

EDITED TO ADD:  Website has all the marketable art added now.  Have to do a wee bit of tag cleanup and proofreading, but hey, it's all out there now.
This year, I've found myself with the luxury of time and stability to be able to take some classes at the university.  I'll be taking a few art classes, and wanted to post my assignments online -- but I didn't want to clutter this account, or overwhelm my scraps folder, to do it.  So, if you're curious, you can head over to kpants-student to see what I've been up to.  I've got one assignment (12 designs) uploaded, and more will go up as I find time and as the semester progresses.

Now, I DESPERATELY need to update my website!

----

Member of:
:iconartisticflair: :iconartistsforcharity: :iconassignments:  :icondapagan: :iconflashmob: :icongimptacular: :iconhungarian: :iconilluminai: :iconkansas-city-club: :iconmythandlegend: :iconpagantribalart: :iconsacredantiquity: :iconstock-salon: :iconstock4figureartists: :iconthe-gimp:  ...and probably a couple of others...
What inspires you?  What really gets your Muse on, what kindles that divine fire, what feeds your passions?

These things always seem to work to get me in the mood for painting:
:bulletblue:  Give up trying and go take a bath.  Nothing like sitting down for a solid hour of relaxation without paper or pencils nearby to suddenly give you an idea or two.  Thank the gods we bought those bathtub kiddie crayons.
:bulletpurple:  Clean the studio.  Nothing like getting everything put away and in its proper places, and sweeping and mopping the floor, to inspire you to get everything out and make a total wreck of it again.
:bulletblue:  Research bizzare alphabets and create your own writing systems.  Find a complex and involved system for encoding concepts that takes 100 times more time to create and learn than it does to actually write, and that nobody will understand anyways.  When the going gets tough, the tough get arcane!
:bulletpurple:  Put on clothes you can't get paint on.  Inspiration is rare, but the imp of the perverse is ubiquitous.
:bulletblue:  Fall in love.  Or at least in lust.  It's hokey, but it's true.
:bulletpurple:  Look at tutorials.  "Making a Work of Art" is hard, but "Noodling Around With a Technique" is fun.  You can always lie later and say that the stuff that came of fiddling around was all part of your Grand Artistic Vision.
:bulletblue:  Lockstock.  Cobweb-stock.  Onnagata-stock.  Enough said.
:bulletpurple:  Any damn thing that feeds your passion.  If it's scuba diving, go scuba diving.  If it's studying ancient languages, do that.  When you're seized by a random, passionate drive like that, feed it -- that passion is part of your muse.  You never know when or how the knowledge and experience of that hobby or obsession will pop up in your art later.

----

Not dead, just busy.  It's gonna be a hell of a year.

----

Member of:
:iconartisticflair: :iconartistsforcharity: :iconassignments:  :icondapagan: :iconflashmob: :icongimptacular: :iconhungarian: :iconilluminai: :iconkansas-city-club: :iconmythandlegend: :iconpagantribalart: :iconsacredantiquity: :iconstock-salon: :iconstock4figureartists: :iconthe-gimp:  ...and probably a couple of others...
It's been a good week for me.

Nine Fires Press sold over $200 worth of my greeting cards at this year's Winter Bazaar.

I've received two more commissions.

I was approached by a gallery manager who looked ready to knock people over to get my card so she could contact me about getting my art into her galleries this year.  It's a pretty solid deal!

A friend emailed me from halfway across the country, interested in buying one of my originals.  Even if she doesn't buy it, it's neat to know someone likes it -- it's not one of my favorite pieces, and I was considering painting over it and starting over.  Yeah, not going to do THAT anymore.  ;)

I've started doing private art tutoring and lessons in my home studio, and it looks like I have three students now.  I've started putting adverts areound local lists, so I may get more students soon.  Yay!

I may have found a grant that will pay me to write the things I was going to write anyways.  :D

I sat down with my girlfriend and we realized that if we collaborate, we have about a dozen (non-fiction!) books we could write, and about 20 workshops and classes we could travel around the country and teach.  Excellent.

Right after we did that, a friend popped up out of the blue and said that she'd booked us to do a workshop in St. Louis this January (she did not know we'd been doing this workshop planning).  So, that's already booked, the convener just has to choose which workshop she wants us to do.

Said friend also wants me to co-teach a year of monthly classes with her in 2007.  We tried to do this last year, but launched without enough planning, and it fell apart.  Now we have the plans and the people, so it's going to happen this year.  :boogie:

Also, my girlfriend and I are travelling to Texas to teach a weekend intensive in May.  This is our first time taking this class on the road, and I know it's excellent material.  We've just about got things ready to publish, and this is like our final test before opening up to national marketing.  Woo-hoo!

So, yeah, that's been my week since Saturday.  Months of nothing, and then WHAM!  Not complaining, just dizzy.  :D

SQUEE!
  • Drinking: black tea with gingerbread spice and cream
While I'm waiting on a couple of other projects to line up, I'm doing some world building and language creation.

These drawings by Llorengil ("Alessara the Centaur" and "Portrait of Zsofiel") are supposed to be sketches from a travelogue/diary of an elvish explorer. I've been wanting to do more of these sketches, and have some back-story to go with them. Also, I want this to be a fantasy world, but not a direct rip-off of Tolkein, so I need to make my own Elvish language.

I wanted the world to have several interesting species of humanoid, so I figured those out, and their social niches in the world. Since the elves are the ones writing the sketchbook, I needed to hack out that language first to make it possible for Llorengil to write snarky notes, scribble down grocery lists in the margins, translate mysterious glyphs, label bizarre plants or machines, remind himself to buy new socks, etc.

So, I gathered up a bunch of reference books and started work.

Ancientscripts.com www.ancientscripts.com/ and the Language Construction Kit www.zompist.com/kit.html have been indispensible in the process.  I'm having all kinds of geeky fun.

If you want more detail, or want to watch the process unfold, feel free to follow along on my LJ, under the linguistics and world building tags: kittenpants.livejournal.com/ta…
  • Drinking: honeybush tea with nutmeg-cinnamon milk
I just finished a painting.  It's lovely, I'm very proud of it, I want to show it to you *right now*...

And yet.  I look at the size of the piece, and the small and tempermental scanner I have...

To get this thing done right, I'll have to scan this piece in no less than 12 parts, and then stitch them together.

Oh, how I hate stitching scans.
It was amazing.

I sold Portrait of Zsofiel, and possibly some Art on Demand prints.  I met eleventy billion cool and wonderful and fascinating people.  I did half the things I said I wanted to do, and still didn't have enough hours in the day.

Next year:  
:bulletblue:  Bring more art.
:bulletpurple:  Dress comfortably during the day, and save the costumes for night.
:bulletblue:  Plan all my panels as thoroughly as we did the "Coloring Lineart" panel -- that one was great.
:bulletpurple:  Attend the parties, damn it.
:bulletblue:  Carry my portfolio with me everywhere.
:bulletpurple:  Have all my art show and print pieces in my portfolio.
:bulletblue:  Try not to go mute fangirl around favorite artists.
:bulletpurple:  The thing, with the semi-healthy, shelf-stable food in the room?  Brilliant.  I saved lots of money and probably ate healthier that way.
:bulletblue:  Get in shape before con -- there are a lot of stairs, especially when I'm too impatient to take the elevator.
I'm leaving for Dragon*Con in four hours.  I still need to pack, clean up my website, print some signs, sew two costumes, test drive some software for review, and run around the yard screaming "DRAGON*CON!  DRAGON*CON!  I GET TO GO TO DRAGON*CON!"

Hee.

Friday, I'll be rolling into Atlanta around 8 am (we hope) so I can check in to the art show.  I'll be meeting up with kayshasiemens so we can rehearse our panel: Digitally Coloring Lineart for Beginners, at 2:30 in the Hanover G ballroom in the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (all the panels I'm doing are in that room).  Right after we finish, Ellen Million's doing  panel on Prints for Artists that I would love to go to.  Then, I'm hoping to run back to my room to decorate a potion bottle for the charity auction contest.  At 9 I'll be at the Artist Reception, and then I heard rumors of a toga party...

Saturday morning, I'll be in the parade, with the pirates.  Arr, matey!  We have trinkets to pass out to the crowd, and FSM tracts too!  At 1 pm, I'll be in the art show, answering questions for the tour.  Then I'm going to browse the exhibit halls, dealer's hall, and stare at all the shiny people in the halls.  At 7, I'll be at the art show awards to see how my potion bottle did in the contest.  The rest of the night will be a rum-filled haze of the pirate party, browncoat party, and the midnight Consortium of Genius concert.

Sunday morning is the Iron Artist event, which is a scream to watch.  Another art show tour at 1, and then I hope I can make it to the Mythbusters panel at 2:30.  at 5:30, I'll be speaking in the Metaphysics and Art panel, and my dear friend agrnmn will be moderating.  Right after that, there's a panel called "Seven Deadly Sins of Illustration" that I'd love to see.  This is our last night at the con, so I'm going to be trying to have as much fun as possible.

Monday, we pack the van, and my family will be checking us out of the hotel while I go give yet another workshop, How I Learned to Stop Pirating Software and Love the GIMP, at 1 pm.  Immediately after the panel, I run to the art show, check-out, and then immediately get in the car for the thirteen-hour drive home.

Tuesday, I sleep.
I whipped this together (like I don't have enough to do with getting ready for Dragon*Con) today, and thought I'd share.  Pretty basic, and I explain every step, so even beginners can follow along.

This is how to do it in the GIMP, but the general workflow would be the same in Photoshop.

How to Clean Up Scanned Lineart
careyoxler.com/tutorials/scan_…

Enjoy!

--

I know someone will ask why I don't submit this as a tutorial in my gallery.  basically, it's because it takes me drastically less time to put a plain-jane webpage together and upload it and all the images to my personal website, than it would take me to make one ginormous image the way DA tutorials are usually done.
We interrupt this journal post to bring a special message from the Militia of Awesomeness.  Regular journal updates will resume soon... or at least as 'regular' as you get around here, anyways.  :roll:

Assistant Coordinator Kittenpants of the Militia of Awesomeness, Tactical Unit, here.  :salute:

So, you think you have what it takes to be awesome?  Do you know what that means here on dA?  Let me break it down for you:

How To Be Awesome

The militia exists to promote awesomeness and confront lameness.  This is a peacekeeping operation, not an offensive operation.  Keep that in mind as you review these rules of engagement:
:bulletblue: Know dA's etiquette policy, and follow it.
:bulletgreen: Know dA's Terms of Service, and follow them.
:bulletblue: Know how to use the forums and help system.
:bulletgreen: Create and submit awesome work worthy of the name deviantART.
:bulletblue: Give awesome comments that are meaningful, useful, and polite.
:bulletgreen: Show your support for deviants who produce excellent work, by commenting on the deviations - silent approval is indistinguishable from apathy.
:bulletblue: Show your support for deviants who write excellent comments and forum posts - silent gratitude is useless.
:bulletgreen: Report violators of dA's policies to the appropriate channels, in a polite and calm manner.
:bulletblue: Show your disapproval of deviants who produce lame art, by civilly critiquing the art - silent disapproval is indistinguishable from support.
:bulletgreen: Show your disapproval of deviants who write lame comments and forum posts - silent disapproval is indistinguishable from agreement.
:bulletblue: Do not instigate, participate in, or glamorize dA drama.
:bulletgreen: Welcome new deviants and help them get oriented on dA, so they too can one day become awesome.
:bulletblue: Volunteer to help make dA as awesome as it can be, whenever you can, in whatever way you can.

Now, my sergeant and the rest of the militia may see things differently, but this is what I think it means to be awesome.

What have YOU done to make dA awesome?

:iconda-milita:

---EDIT---
The Militia of Awesomeness is now defunct.  While I wasn't looking, apparently some political coup happened.  Ah well.  The initial idea was a good one.
I haven't worked in acrylics for a while, and wow is it a change from digital and charcoal.  But this time, it's very different.

Stay-wet palettes, where have you been all my life?!?!  Seriously, why was this wonderous technology never introduced in my high school painting class?  I feel like dancing in the streets.  :boogie:

For those of you who have yet to experience the joy, here's how to make one for cheap:

Get a small tray -- I dumped my pastel pencils out of their nice little rectangular tin, because it was about the size and shape I was looking for, and was out in the open where it couldn't run or hide from my muse-driven rampage.

Get some paper towels - I used two towels, folded in half, and trimmed them to fit neatly inside the tray.  I then gave 'em a quick spray from the sink to get 'em moist.

Get a piece of parchment paper - rumor has it vellum, or any kind of fairly-sturdy semi-poropus paper will work, too.  Cut it to fit the tray and slap it on top of those moist paper towels.

Currently, I'm working in shades of umber for the underpainting layer, so I squirted a glob of umber on one side, and a blob of white on the other, and after working for a bit, my palette is a nice gradient.  I put the lid on the tray when I went to the bathroom and got a glass of water, and the paint is all still wet.

Today, I am a happy Kittenpants.
Or, "How I learned to stop pirating software and love the GIMP"

Okay, I admit I'm a GIMP evangelist - I believe that if more people knew the 'good news' about the GIMP and how well it works, they'd convert to the cause, too.  Every time I hit the forum and see a "What software should I use?" post, I wax poetic about the program's virtues.

:bulletpurple: What is the GIMP?

From the GIMP website:  www.gimp.org/

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.

Simply put, GIMP is the best open-source photomanipulation and digital painting program, period.

:bulletblue: What does "open source" mean?

The practical explanation: It is free.  Not only is it free to download and use, it is constantly being updated, upgraded, and improved, and every upgrade is also free.  AND, there are lots of people who create custom brushes, filters, add-ins, scripts, etc., and offer them free on the web. Oh, and it's easy to create your own if you don't find the perfect one out there for your need.

For more about open-source software and the open-source movement: The GNU Public License for the GIMP  www.opensource.org

:bulletpurple: But isn't Adobe Photoshop the industry standard?

Sure, in that it is the program most often used in the industry.  If you work for a corporation that can afford to buy you a copy of Photoshop, by all means use it.  But if you are a student, a hobbyist, a freelance artist, or a small business, there is no reason to pay the big bucks to Adobe when there is a program that does damn near everything Photoshop can do, for free.

The 'industry standard' isn't really about what software you use -- it's what file format you publish.  GIMP can export to all of the industry standard raster file formats, including Adobe Photoshop's PSD format and the universally accepted TIFF format.  It can export as web-friendly formats such as jpeg, png, and if you have to use it, gif.  It can also export to a bunch of other formats I haven't even tried to mess with.  And, it can open files in multiple formats -- including Adobe Photoshop, Windows bitmaps, encapsulated PostScript, Paint Shop Pro...

GIMP lets you interface with all the industry standards - both import and export - but you only need the GIMP.

:bulletblue: Why not just pirate the software?  Everyone else is doing it, and I don't care if Adobe loses money.

Well, there's several reasons.  One, it's unethical to steal software.  It's also unethical to make money off of images you've created with illegal software.

If ethics don't faze you, how about lawsuits?  www.infoworld.com/article/06/0… isn't as lawsuit-happy as UNISYS was with the LZW algorithm in gif images (and I was working for a web development company at the time that nightmare was happening), but if that fiasco taught me anything, it's that it's just not worth it.  If I can use legal software to create web-standard images and still get sued, then I know that illegal software is just not worth it -- especially if there are legal alternatives that work great!

:bulletpurple: Can I color lineart, do photomanipulations, make avatars, do digital paintings, make animated icons?

Yes, to all of those.  And more.  I've used GIMP to create website graphics, forum avatars, full-scale digital paintings, proposal sketches, photomanipulations, cleaned up old family photos, cleaned up scans of traditional artwork, made greeting cards, animated images, colored other people's lineart, made posters for theatrical productions, flyers for church, lineart for print reproduction, book covers, business cards, and even calligraphy.  GIMP works with my Wacom tablet, and has pressure-sensitivity, tilt, and angle controls.  It works with my scanner and my printer beautifully.

:bulletblue: How do I get it?

Go to the GIMP downloads page: www.gimp.org/downloads/

And follow the directions to get the appropriate version for your OS.  Most people will want the binaries, so go down to "Binaries for various platforms" and click the link for your system (GIMP has compiled binaries for UNIX, Linux, Windows, and MacOS X).  There should be a link to an automated installer.  You will need to install the GTK (runtime environment) first, then the GIMP.  When I've installed it on Windows, it's been very easy.

Once it's installed, you're ready to play!

:bulletpurple: How can I learn how to use it?

The website, www.gimp.org/tutorials/ has enough free, easy-to-follow tutorials to get you up to speed and using GIMP in no time.

You can find more tutorials and information here:
www.nuclecu.unam.mx/~federico/… Everybody loves The GIMP
www.rru.com/~meo/gimp/faq-user… GIMP User FAQ
gug.sunsite.dk/?page=tutorials… [Gimp User Group] Tutorials2
www.gimptalk.com/ GIMPTalk.com - Ultimate gimp tutorials and community forum

If you're interested in cleaning up scanned lineart, I have a tutorial here:  careyoxler.com/tutorials/scan_…
And if you want to get started with coloring lineart or doing comic-style digital pieces, check out this PDF I put together:  careyoxler.com/coloring_linear…

There is also an entire book available for free: gimp-savvy.com/BOOK/index.html Grokking the GIMP leads you through most of the program's functions in-depth, with great examples and a lot of useful tips and tricks. This isn't like a little 20-page booklet, this is like a 400-page monster tome that you can also find in print in all the major computer stores.

I have yet to come across anything that Photoshop can do that the GIMP can't. Some of it has to be done differently, or it's called something different, but so far, everything the "industry standards" can do, so can the GIMP.

I love my GIMP!

There's also two small GIMP communities on DeviantART:
:iconthe-gimp:  :icongimptacular:

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You can read an article from Philip McClure, a professional commercial prepress designer, on why the GIMP is better then Photoshop for most home users: grimthing.com/archives/2007/01…
Dragon*Con art is going slowly.  I'm really getting excited now -- excited without the fear and dread and nausea, I mean.  :D

The digital paintings are taking so long I may only get ONE done in time for the deadline.  Gah!  But, I'm really cranking out these old-school studies, and hoping they'll do well at the show.  Thank the gods the Art On Demand department can include scans of original works.

In a twist of synchronous irony, I've seen/heard/been approached by many people this week asking how they can improve their drawing skills.  I hope to even do a bit of tutoring next year.  So, I'm going to post this here so I don't have to keep writing it...

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*How to improve your drawing skills*

Personal opinion here, take it or leave it.

As far as styles go, start with realism. Once you are really good at realistic drawing, you can learn any style (anime/manga, surreal, etc.) and do well. But, if you start with a particular style, you may develop habits that will make it much harder for you to learn how to draw realistically or in a different style later on.

How to learn to draw realistically? Here's what I recommend:

1. Draw every day, or as often as you can. Practice makes perfect.

2. Draw from real life. If you're right handed, draw your left hand. Draw your bare foot. Draw a few random things on the table in front of you. Drawing from real life helps you to learn to draw what you see, and to translate three-dimensional objects into two-dimensional images.

3. Copy some 'master drawings', like these: www.artrenewal.org/asp/databas… www.artrenewal.org/asp/databas… www.artrenewal.org/asp/databas…. This will help you develop good habits, and learn how the masters saw their subjects and drew things. You can also google search for "master drawings" to find out more.

4. Don't use "how to draw faces/horses/toasters" books - they teach you cheap and easy tricks that *only* work when you are drawing from certain perspectives or in certain conditions. These tricks make it harder to see what's really in front of you, and if you rely on them too much your work will always look generic and empty.

5. Don't give up!!!

Good luck!!!

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Communities!

:iconartisticflair:  :icondusteforbundet:  :iconflashmob:  :iconhungarians:  :iconilluminai:  :iconkansas-city-club:  :iconmythandlegend:  :iconpagantribalart:  :iconsacredantiquity:  :iconstock-salon:  :iconstock4figureartists:  :iconthe-gimp:
FYI to the world - I've been waffling between using Carey Oxler (birth name) or Carey Reynolds (married name) for my artwork for a while.  As it turns out, there's another artist by the name of Carey Reynolds - she works with ceramics and fiber, and lives only one state away-- odds are good that we'd be in some of the same shows eventually.  (You can see her website here: www.careyreynoldsart.com/ )

So, that settles it, I'm going to go back to Carey Oxler, to keep things simple.  After all, there's a lot of Reynolds artists out there, but not a lot of Oxlers.

Must.  Be.  Unique!   :shakefist:
I was just accepted into the 2006 Dragon*Con Art Show.

I'm going to go FREAK OUT now.