Art Nouveau Kickstarter Series!

Help fund this project on Kickstarter before it’s too late!

My Latest Art & Videos

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August Giveaway + Q&A

I usually do a live broadcast, but with company visiting for DragonCon and last minute prep to be had, I don't think I'll have the time!  So I'm trying something a little different this month.

For this month, leave your questions here on this blog entry and I'll get back to them in a blog post on August 27th.  I'll also be announcing my Patreon winners for that month as well!  Here's what's in the prize pot for this month:

An original ACEO drawing featuring my
'mascot', Aurora!

Sometimes an artist needs to have a little fun after drawing so many SRS things!

This is a collectible card drawing which is 2.5x3.5 inches.  It will fit anywhere you could put a baseball card, making it a miniature masterpiece!

OR, if the winner prefers, you can have a 50% off coupon for either of my Etsy shops (for masks or art)!  This is something new I'm trying out as a prize option just in case angry fairies don't fit in with your decor.  As always, in order to be eligible for the giveaway part of this event, you'll need to be a patron of $10 and above over at my Patreon page.

So leave your questions in comments!  They can be about anything and everything, though I specialize in talking about art, video games, and generally geeky things.:)  I will respond to them and reveal this month's Patreon winners on the 27th!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My First Kickstarter - Part 2 - During the Campaign

Well here we are a little past the halfway point for my recent Kickstarter project!  My Kickstarter has had a slow start at only 6 Backers and 13% funding with 10 days left trending towards 45% by the end according to Kicktraq, but I also know from reading about other projects that the last week of a campaign is usually the most crucial with the most pledges taking place.  I haven't given up yet!

While the campaign has been running, I've been trying to find ways to continue to get the word out without hounding my fans.  This has been a really difficult balancing act of creating relevant posts without being repetitive.

Project Updates as a Promotional Tool

Each time I have shared something interesting via the Project Updates section, such as the release of the exclusive Sketch Diary for Backers and Patreon Patrons, I share this info through my promotion channels (social media, art communties, etc.) since it represents a relevant creative update to the project, rather than just another HEY LOOKIT MAH KICKSTARTER AND THROW MONEY AT IT!

Relevancy is the key word here.  If you become too repetitive about your Kickstarter, you're going to sound like an annoying spammy desperate beggar, and that's not a very positive thing to be seen as. Another advantage of utilizing the Updates section of your project is the fact this also makes your project visible in the 'recently updated' section of Kickstarter.

Relevant Creative Updates

Here are some of the project updates I've utilized (or am planning to utilize):

-  A Backers Only Preview.  I timed this to drop a week early for my KS Backers and Patreon Patrons, but I didn't plan ahead and I had to rush the video to get it out on time so that the week early lead-in didn't place the public release of the video after the deadline for my project.  The public release will also coincide with the 15th of the month, which is payday for most people.  I'm hoping that theoretically this means more people will be able to pitch in, thanks to that paycheck!

Promo Tip - an 'ad' is included for my Kickstarter 
at the end of the tutorial.

The 2nd part of January's tutorial video will drop a week after the first, where I hope the fresh attention of the video's posting will draw those last few Backers that I need to meet my goal.  I'm still in the midst of processing the 2nd video, which is taking way longer than expected.  Lesson learned - start video editing early!

-  Extra Rewards.   Not sure if this was a good idea or not, but to keep my project updates fresh, I also released three more ink drawing bundles as rewards later on.  I did this because after seeing the slow start my campaign had, I thought that providing more options would encourage more backers.  I think next time I would include these Rewards from the beginning, instead.

A montage of the extra Rewards I added during the campaign.

-  Rewards Video.  Rather than simply type a wall of text for people to read, I plan to do a video showing a preview of some of the Rewards for this video so future and current Backers will have a tangible representation they can view and also to connect once again with them 'face to face'.  I plan for this video to drop during the 2nd half of the campaign.  I would rather have shared this Rewards video earlier, but the production of the sample rewards took longer than anticipated.  Lesson learned - have a sample product/reward made before you start your campaign!

- Fun Art.  I won't spoil this one, but there's a fun idea I came up with involving the Ladies that I'll be sharing in the Project Updates too.  It's not really an 'important' update, but it is one that I think helps get across my sense of humor and provides ever-more personal connection with the people who have chosen to help with this project.  This fun art update will be coming in the final week.

Admittedly, I only had a general update schedule in mind instead of a very tightly planned out one before I began.  I'm beginning to think I didn't plan enough relevant updates to keep my project on people's radar, or perhaps my Rewards aren't enticing enough?  Perhaps I simply don't have the reach yet to really support doing a Kickstarter project?

I'm eager to look at all the information after this project has finished and discover where I saw tangible results in my promotional efforts, as this could be extremely useful information for me beyond Kickstarter.

So Many Thanks!

Most of all, I am trying to be thorough in thanking each and every person who has helped spread the word about my Kickstarter.  This means replying on Twitter and Facebook and everywhere I've noticed anyone sharing.

I want people to know that I am a real person and the fact that people believe in me enough to share my project really means a lot!

So here's a big THANK YOU to any of my dear readers who have read along with this journey as it has happened and helped me by pitching in or spreading the word.  I am so grateful!

Even if I don't get funded by the end of this blog series, I've already learned so much about how to improve my project's communication, goals, and timetables for the next time.  This is amazing priceless info!

I look forward to seeing how my first Kickstarter journey ends.  Here's to riding the waves to the end!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

VIDEO: Lady of January Tutorial - Part 1 - Creative Process and Design

This video dropped earlier this week for my Patreon Patrons and Kickstarter Backers. Now here it is for the public!  Enjoy and feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

I plan to post the next part with the actual painting process next week.  Again, if you're a KS Backer or a Patreon Patron, you'll see it before everyone else.

My Kickstarter project could still use your help!  If you know anyone who might be interested in my project, please spread the word to them.  It'd be much appreciated!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My First Kickstarter - Part 1 - Concept, Preparation, and Promotion

I'm excited to announce that I launched my first Kickstarter project this week!  Rather than just shamelessly plug it here, I thought I'd talk about my journey through the conception, promotion, and closure of this campaign.

I'm an absolute newbie at this, so I'm bound to learn a lot and hope other artists considering Kickstarter might learn something from my experience too!

Check out my project here!

Why Kickstarter?

I'll be honest, I would never have thought of using Kickstarter for funding paintings, at first.  The site was originally founded to 'kickstart' projects that would not otherwise get off the ground.  I'll still be able to make these paintings.

What finally encouraged me to pursue this series via Kickstarter was the fact that having an extra infusion of income would actually help me be able to worry less about pursuing other freelance work so that I can create these paintings faster while also aiding me in maximizing the potential quality of this series (ie. afford models to have more variety than my own visage, afford updating old supplies, etc.).

Kickstarter also reaches a potential worldwide audience I didn't have access to before.  This project also represents a chance for me to not just maximize the series' potential, but also provide an opportunity to offer very unique limited items to my collectors, which is mutually beneficial to us both.

I also saw other artists using the Kickstarter format to similar effect with their own series of paintings which really motivated me to give it a try at least once.  Echo Chernik used Kickstarter to fund her Winged Women series so that she might be able to have more time off from her packed schedule to invest in this Kickstarter-only personal project.  Sam Flegal also used Kickstarter as a boost for his Norse Mythology series of paintings for similar reasons.

The low risk nature of Kickstarter is also appealing.  If the project is not funded, I'm not stuck with a closet full of prints no one wants gathering dust in my apartment.

In the end, embarking on this project is also a mad scientist experiment for me as an Arts Admin grad.  My main hopes are to educate myself on how I can best use Kickstarter for both myself and my fans, whether I succeed with this first project or not.  All mistakes and triumphs will inform future ventures!

Preparing for the Project

It took a lot of research and reassurance for me to finally launch this project.  I did the following before even considering making it a reality:
  • Researched similar Kickstarter projects to mine.
  • Took the Succeeding on Kickstarter class on Skillshare, which was exceedingly detailed about the process and best practices for Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
  • Had many friends, colleagues, and family review my project via the preview link before launching.
  • Planned a cross-promotion with my Patreon patrons so that I could be sure that they still receive the special treatment they deserve for supporting me directly.  Patrons receive a pack of postcards for free for backing the Kicstarter at any level.

Promoting the Projects

Currently I have done the following to promote my project:

-  Posted on Reddit in /r/artnouveau, /r/crowdfundingprojects, /r/kickstarter, /r/artstore, and /r/art (still researching other relevant subreddits).

-  Contacted Art Nouveau themed tumblr blogs in hopes of utilizing tumblr's amazing organic reach (still awaiting a reply).  Also posted a video post on my own Tumblr (please give it a re-blog, if you like this project!).

-  Contacted several Art Nouveau dedicated Pages on Facebook (still awaiting response).

-  Paid $40 for boosting my Kickstarter's video post on my Facebook Page over the next few days.  My Facebook Page also feeds automatically to my Twitter.

-  Paid $100 for promoted Tweets on Twitter.  Hurray for $100 credit for trying it out for the first time!  I am essentially getting free advertising.  Never used this before. We'll see how it works!

-  Contacted several Art Nouveau themed Groups on DeviantART as well as a couple of Kickstarter themed Groups to ask for promotion.  I've heard back from at least one Group with 2,595 Members and 3,450 Watchers thus far.  This group has featured my Kickstarter deviation on their front page and has agreed to do a journal feature soon.

-  Posted the project's video to YouTube.

-  Posted the project to Prefundia with their free package.

-  Emailed the Art Career Project about featuring my Kickstarter, if they still do that (still awaiting a reply).

-  Posted on my Instagram.

-  EDIT:  Added a promo image on my website's main page and this blog.

-  EDIT:  Added a promo Cover photo to my Facebook Page.

-  EDIT:  Submitted a press release to's free submission area and to TheMarySue, a site dedicated to female geek news where I have seen other female artists get some promotion, if they found the project relevant to their readers (which I hope they do!).

-  EDIT:  Asked friends and family to get on the promo boat, if they can.  Many have already shared via Facebook and Twitter.

I'll share results of which places seemed the most effective for me once the project has ended!

If you can help me spread the word too with a share on your favorite social network, that'd be fabulous as well!

Next up: What on earth do I do while the campaign is running??

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Patreon 6 Month Follow-Up Report

I'm nearing the 6 month mark of my existence on Patreon and wanted to share my thoughts!

For the most part, I still stand behind my positive first impressions of Patreon.  I believe it's an amazing way for artists to connect directly with their audiences in a uniquely intimate way that's only going to gain momentum as time goes on, especially with the infusion of funding that Patreon has recently received from investors.  They're well on their way to making this format bigger and better!

My Art page on Patreon.  See my Artisan page here.

Building Audience Engagement

Hosting on Patreon has only made me grow fonder and closer to the special few who have sought to support me not just with their words, but with their wallets.  This is important as I feel like I am nurturing an important list of clientele who, due to their relationship with me, will also feel more motivated to spread the word about my art, word of mouth still being the most powerful marketing method available beyond any method we could pay for.

Engaging with people on Patreon has also had the wonderful side effect of motivating me to finish work not just for myself, but so I can have something amazing and worthwhile to share with my patrons.  It's a positive form of pressure that really energizes me as an artist.

The funds I do get from Patreon have had real results, such as allowing me to upgrade my old paints and to purchase a yearly membership to Artist Market Online.  Again, I've created engagement because my Patrons are a part of helping me succeed, further building a rapport between us.

Doing the Math

As of this writing, I am making $50 per painting thanks to 4 patrons and they have helped me to meet 2 of my goals.  This generally results in $50 extra a month on top of my current income because I usually only produce one detailed painting a month.

For those who say that this isn't a lot, I still believe my time on Patreon to be worthwhile because I have built my rewards in such a way that I am not doing too much extra work that I wasn't already doing before to share with my fans (more on this in the next section).

Chances are that my current patrons will stay if I can keep my material meaningful and engaging to them, meaning that my Patreon page is more than likely to gain exponentially higher return on investment as time goes by.

EDIT:  I had a question about charging per Creation or per Month, as you are able to choose either method on Patreon.  I have my Patreon set up per creation since that seems to work the best for me.

I am not always sure I'll have time to finish something, so that removes any pressure from me if I don't deliver, as I'd hate people to pitch
in and then get nothing that month either because I wasn't able to produce, or I was working on a project under an NDA that couldn't be shared on Patreon. If I don't produce anything, patrons won't have to worry about spending any money and being disappointed in their investment in me, which could lead to a bad reputation on my part.

However, I can see a monthly pledge working really well for comic creators who have very concrete schedules of production and releases. They'll always know when they're going to have pages out and exactly how many they can expect for a month so that their patrons will never be disappointed or feel like their investment was misplaced.

Patron Rewards

The way I have crafted my rewards by fashioning them as a natural extension of what I am (or planning) to do with my art business has made them much more manageable and proactive for my business.

For instance, I host Q&A sessions each month which are meant for my Patreon patrons, but are open to the public, so I'm not completely excluding a large part of my audience.  I had planned to do this before, but had never gotten around to it.  Patreon provided important motivation for me to get serious about sticking to a video production and broadcast schedule, which is a great move for my art business.

I also provide my Patreon patrons with sketch diaries of my paintings, which I used to do on this very same blog.  However, they are private and only for Patreon patrons now.  To make up for this loss to my blog, I still produce a video compilation of my creative process for the public at large which covers much (but not all) of what I talk about in the sketch diaries so that my regular fanbase won't feel neglected.

My Patreon patrons also get to see these process videos a week ahead of my regular fanbase, which still helps them to feel special.  My patrons also get to interact with me privately on these sketch diaries, which are open to their comments, where they can engage with me directly during my creative process.

Sketch diaries and videos were already part of my business model, but I have monetized them in such a way that is more friendly to my fanbase rather than alienating them.  I advise others to consider doing the same on Patreon.  Find a way to make interesting exclusives and consider doing time-based releases that still help your patrons feel special, while still leaving material for your non-Patreon fanbase.

Web comics on Patreon use this strategy to great effect by providing rewards for patrons such as exclusive stories, week early releases, and other such enticing digital content (ie. My $5+ patrons also get exclusive wallpapers!).


Patreon is a wonderful way to create engagement with your audience and is especially smart for creators who produce regular ongoing digital content, such as podcasts and web comics.  It is less effective for painters and other 2D one-off creators, unless you can find a way to create rewards that do not take you too much time to fulfill or that work in synergy with your current promotion efforts.

Even though it may not be as effective for painters as it is for podcasters, this may change in the future as Patreon becomes more widespread and improves their format, especially their currently limited categories.

Patreon also represents an opportunity for painters to get creative with what they're offering.  Just because it doesn't seem as good for us now as it is for others doesn't mean we can't discover brand new ways to creatively engage our fanbase!

That's what I'm planning to do and why I have no intention of leaving Patreon any time soon.

Reader Questions

  1. Are you on Patreon (or a patron)?  What are you creating there and who are you sponsoring?
  2. How do you handle your rewards?  If you're a 2D artist, what rewards are you offering for your patrons?
  3. What are some particularly groovy rewards you've received on Patreon?

(I'll share my answers in comments!)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Using a Mailing List to Promote Your Art

Reading this great post about mailing lists by Sam Flegal inspired me to share my own two cents about mailing lists and their uses for artists.  Now that I've returned to conventions, I've been sharpening my marketing strategies and trying to figure out more efficient ways to keep in touch with my fanbase as a freelance artist.

While I do hope to work with more studios and publishers in the future, it's useful for me to nurture my independent career by also nurturing my direct relationship with my fans as well.  After all, I have a lot of personal projects that I do for no one else but myself and the fans that offer me opportunities under my control instead of at the whims of another entity.

Benefits of a Mailing List

For one, I've realized that the advantage of a mailing list is that while not everyone is on every social media outlet ever, most everyone has an e-mail.  Even if my newsletter gets put in the Trash, it's still a central method at which I can communicate directly with everyone without relying on the sporadic shotgun method of hitting all of the social networks and hoping someone sees it.

This is especially relevant in an age where our posts are getting lost to social network feeds that now require small businesses to pay to even be seen (ie. the recent neutering of the reach of unpaid posts on Facebook Fan Pages).

What to Use

I personally use Mailchimp, which is free to use up until you hit 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month. After which, I'd be happy to pay, considering the usefulness of this service!

Essential Setup of Your Mailing List

After setting up your mailing list, these are the two essential parts of your list that you need to set up as well.

The Signup Form

The signup form is a form you create that is linked to your specific mailing list.  Mailchimp lets you customize it with a theme that you can match to your website and gives you a short link which you can share by linking directly to customers.  Mailchimp also provides signup form integration with Facebook and Wordpress widgets.

Check out my signup form to see an example of one in action!  You can also see the Wordpress signup Widget in action on my website.

The Autoresponder

An autoresponder is also linked to your unique list and is the automatic e-mail which is sent out after a subscriber signs up for your list.  Mailchimp has a default one, but it's wise to customize this e-mail to your business to make a more personal connection with your fans.  I use my autoresponder to inform my new fans about what kind of updates they can expect from me, provide quick links to my social networks, and pitch my Patreon page in an unobtrusive way.

The autoresponder is also a great way to reward your new fans and make them feel special!  For instance, I offer a link in my autoresponder to a free gift of a coloring book that would usually be a paid item.  Other ideas for shareable promo items could be downloads of your art as wallpapers or a discount code to your shop.

Here's a screenshot of my autoresponder (or you can see it in live action by signing up for my list, if you like!)

Click to enlarge.
EDIT 8-25-2012  I've discovered the use of Segments and Groups within Mailchimp!
Utilizing Groups within your mailing list's subscribers means you can have a Sign Up form with checkboxes detailing what kinds of updates the person would like to receive (aka. the Groups that you can make dictate the kinds of updates) while also cutting down the number of lists you have and redundant signups.

I made a Group and corresponding list Segment in my mailing list for people who might be interested in following my Ladies of the Months series outside of Kickstarter to test this out.

You can see the checkboxes/Groups in action here.

 You'll have to remember to update your Automation/Autoresponder to respond to the individual list segment/Group too!

For the full technical instructions for this process, check out Mailchimp's documentation on the subject.


Promoting Your List

So now that you have a list, don't forget that it exists!  Here are some ideas to gain new subscribers.

- Etsy Shop - Include a link to your singup form in your shop announcement and in your automatic sale letters so your customers can remember to keep up with you.  (The same goes for your social network links!)

- Giveaways at Conventions - Host an exclusive giveaway at conventions to entice people to sign up for your mailing list.  Doing this also encourages people to come back to visit against, which provides an extra opportunity for them to be tempted by your shinies.

- Monthly Giveaways for List Members - I already do exclusive monthly giveaways for my Patreon patrons, but I have seen other artists encourage signups on their mailing lists by offering exclusive giveaways only for those on their mailing lists.  This makes your fans feel extra special!

Maintaining a Newsletter Schedule

One of my biggest mistakes was to overshoot my goal and try to keep a really active newsletter.  Create a schedule for yourself that you know you can maintain!

For instance, I used to do a mailing list every month, but the fact is because I work so slowly, I didn't have a lot to share each month.  In the end, it was easier for me to do a quarterly (once every 3 months) newsletter instead.

It's also smart to keep your newsletter text short and sweet!  Big chunks of text do okay in journal entries, but people have very short attention spans for e-mails.  Keep your text relevant and to the point!

I hope this info helps some of you out there who might be struggling with how to communicate with your fanbase or who were just not sure what to do with a mailing list in the first place.

If you have any tips for mailing lists I didn't mention, please do share in comments.  Good luck, everyone!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

7 Things About Digital Painting from a Traditional Artist's Perspective

My master copy of a traditional painting with digital paint.
It's been a frustrating and gratifying experience for me as a watercolor and color pencil artist to switch to painting digitally.  There are so many glorious things about digital just as there are so many things that can make it really difficult to master.

Here are some of my random observations on the digital painting experience as someone with a background in traditional painting.

1.  Digital is NOT Faster

No, digital is not faster.  Perhaps it is if you aren't trying to replicate the look of traditional paint.  But in my experience, particularly when replicating a painterly look in digital, you're going to spend a lot of time layering and layering just to get rid of the pure plastic colors that digital brushes apply by default.

There are some ways around this mechanical computer generated look, such as scanning in your own textures from traditionally painted swatches and programming them into your brushes.

Corel Painter and Photoshop have brushes you can program to emulate this randomness, but it's not as good as the real thing just yet.  There are still too many patterns that are predictable that the eye recognizes, like computerized paper texture, which contributes to that sameness that so many digital pieces have that I mentioned earlier.

Plus, if you're a control freak like me, you'll spend many an hour trying to paint everything at the same level of detail until you realize that zooming out makes all that work for naught.

2.  Addiction to Layers

It is so tempting when you first start painting digitally to just have everything on multiple layers.  Why wouldn't you?  You can control all the things ever and make everything PERFECT!  Don't fall into the trap!  Merge your layers when you can.  For one, merging layers is easier on your computer if you don't have a lot of processing power to spare and makes your files less humongous.

Another advantage of merging your layers is that you can retain those 'mistakes' that make traditional paintings have that lovely painterly feel to them.  Painting over your mistakes instead of deleting them creates a ghost or haze that makes your edges feel more organic, while merely selecting and deleting leaves a perfect edge.  Our human eyes are very keen to patterns and perfection, which can make an image seem harsh and plastic, a very common occurrence that makes many digital paintings have a certain sameness to them.

A suggestion if you'd like to change your image later is to save your selections as Channels, that way you can still retain the advantages of painting on one layer.

3.  Addiction to Undo Button 

Now that I've had the ability to Undo every tiny mistake, Step Backwards, Step Forewards, and change every little pixel, a weird thing has happened when I sit down with a traditional pencil and drawing pad.  I am downright afraid that I'm going to mess it up!  My ultimate power of control is gone and I've lost my confidence with dealing with traditional media.  If I pick the wrong color, that's it, game over, man. GAME OVER!

It's going to take some re-training to get my confidence back that it's okay to make mistakes.  Digital has made me the ultimate control freak, whereas traditional media is all about letting go of that control and accepting the somewhat randomized results of how the media works, especially with something like watercolor.  For me being the control freak that I am, traditional media helps to balance my propensity for spending too long trying to make everything perfect.

4.  Mark-Making Still Matters

At least if you want to achieve a painterly quality in your digital work.  A lot of folks assume you can just drop a fill into a digital canvas and you're done.  While you can achieve certain kinds of highly stylized effect like this, if you're aiming for a more realistic painterly organic effect, your lines still matter.  Blending takes time and care and usually the same awareness of your marks and how you're using them to define contour as you would have as a traditional painter.  

Also, things that might happen more naturally with traditional media, such as the pooling and blending of colors that form that wonderful randomness in your skyline take dedicated effort to achieve in digital.  In digital, randomness is carefully constructed.  You have to add the randomness to your skin pores to make that surface convincing. It doesn't just happen thanks to the properties of your paper, glazing, and pigments.  Filters and Brushes with custom effects can help.  They get better with every version of Photoshop, but they still have a ways to go.   I haven't used Painter much, but I hear it's getting better at this as well.

5.  Shiny Plastic People

I don't know why, but when I first got into digital, I assumed it'd be easier to paint skin.  There were all these nifty tools and pore brushes and amazing things that seemed to do all the work for me!

Nope.  All I got for about a year of painting people digitally was shiny plastic grey people or shiny plastic pink people.  It took master copies, many failed practice paintings trying different techniques, and brushing up on my color theory to really start bringing life to my skintones.

I still think every time I paint a person digitally that I try a different technique each time.  The more I paint digitally, the more I realize it isn't about how you do it and any one right way, it's about doing whatever it takes to get a good looking end result!

6.  Missing that Good Ol' Tactile Feeling

For as amazing as digital is, I've found I still can't get the same finesse with my lines, especially with inking.  Cintiqs are amazing things made of unicorn dust and the tears of artists, but you still have to rotate the canvas with Rotate View, which takes that many seconds longer than just turning your canvas in real life.  I am personally just faster at working with sketching and inking on paper, which I hope to integrate in my upcoming digital pieces.
Here's just one example of Wylie's
amazing combination of graphite
and digital.

I used to think I shouldn't mix media like that because I wouldn't know how to categorize it online or that the purists would hate me (leftovers from my own snooty traditional art program brainwashing), but now I realize I just don't care as long as I get a cool image in the end that tells the story I want to tell.

See the work of Wylie Beckert as a great example of what you can do when you free your mind to the potential of combining traditional and digital.

7. Layer Masks are Your Friends

Learn them. Love them!  I used to paint everything the hard way and then curse myself when I've made a mistake I can't take back because I've overpainted or deleted my original layer.  Layer masks allow you to retain your original work and visually change it without having to commit to those changes.  I'm probably speaking voodoo moon language right now to those who have no clue what layer masks are.  To you, I say start here.  Learn, my grasshoppers. You will not be sorry!

And yeah sure it may lead to the 'Undo Addiction' I was previously talking about, but that's okay!  As long as you have the useful potential of layer masks available to you, you might as well use it and face your Undo addiction later like I'm doing.  You'll get over it...eventually.

So why do I keep painting digitally if it seems like it drives me crazy?

- I don't have to keep the paintings under my bed. I am seriously out of space for storing them in our apartment (and parents' basement).  No, I don't want to pay for environmentally controlled storage because I am cheap/broke and that type of storage is friggin expensive.

- Being able to change an image indefinitely comes in handy!  When a traditional painting is done, I usually can't change it much. However, if something ever bothers me about a digital piece or a client requests a change, I can most likely go back and fix it after it's done.  This is also a double-edged sword which sometimes makes me feel like my work is never done with any particular digital piece, leading to obsessive necromancing of my older pieces.

Also, if I mess up in the middle of a piece, I don't have to start it from scratch as I would if it were traditionally painted. I can simply alter what segment of the image I need to.

- Solvents are dangerous and I don't want them near me. I would try oil painting if I could, which is really the effect I'm trying to achieve in digital, but there is no ventilation in this apartment. Experimenting with water-based oils and non-ventilation friendly solvents is going to take time I don't want to commit at current (and again that storage issue).

- Because I can play with color schemes in a fun way that lends itself to discovery (IE. love me some Hue slider!)

- Digital images are great for clients who need their images easily scaled to different products and sizes without having to go through the process of having to scan/photograph a large traditionally painted piece.

- On the occasion I want to animate parts of an image, digital is SOOOooo much easier to do this with!

For me, digital is an extremely useful and versatile tool.  While I understand why someone would find a traditional piece to have more sentimental value because an artist was able to touch it and pour their soul into every stroke, I'm the kind of artist who doesn't paint for the process (at least on most occasions).  

I paint for the final image and the story it tells.  

Digital expands my vocabulary for visual storytelling in unexpected ways that I have learned to love and that have made my journey so much more efficient in many ways!

So I ask you, purely digital artists, what are the challenges you face trying to learn traditional media?  It'd be fascinating to hear from the other side of the learning divide!

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