Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy new year!

Wow! It is not just a new year... it's the end of a DECADE! 10 years ago, I was in 8th grade, and we danced around to RAZE at our new year's party. wow!

It has been a good year though. Every year at this time I like to go sentimental and look back at how far I have come in the past 365 days!

On January 1, 2009, I was sitting on my roof in Windermere, Florida, drinking cheap champagne and watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks with my roommates. (Have I told you about how we were less than a mile behind the park and the fireworks would shake our house every night and we could watch them over the trees easily? Yeah. Be jealous.)

Since then I:
-Summoned the motivation and self-discipline necessary to apply to art schools. This was hard for me. I'm glad I did it.
-Visited New York for the first time to visit SVA.
-Only got a little bit lost on the subway the first time I went on it by myself.
-Got accepted to said art schools!
-Got scholarships to art schools that made it possible for me to attend!
-Turned 23. geez!!!
-Killed another hermit crab. Sigh... I just love them to death every time.
-Worked a 17-hour shift. It was awesome.
-Worked 24 out of 32 hours the next week. Also awesome.
-After a lot of agonizing, decided I was going to SVA!
-Worked my last day at Disney. This was very, very difficult... but-
-Bought my ticket to fly back to Florida on January 2nd!
-Packed up two years' worth of junk into a little car. Not fun.
-Decided "what the hell" and went on a date with a boy a week before I left Florida.
-Went out with said boy every night until I left.
-Parted as friends, expecting to move gradually out of each other's lives and meet a hot new art school boy as soon as I started school.
-Drove home to Missouri.
-Flew to New York!
-Moved into my lovely little box of a dorm room.
-Ended up declaring a 'seasonal relationship' with Florida boy. It's working out pretty well so far.
-Saw my first real Broadway show!
-Saw my second real Broadway show!!
-Was pretty nastily betrayed by two good friends.
-Learned a very important lesson: Always, always get it in writing, even if you think you've got it all worked out with someone you can trust.
-Went back to class for the first time since 2006, with a bunch of kids 5 years younger than me.
-Spent like twelve thousand hours slaving away in the animation lab and loving every minute.
-Pulled my first all-nighter at SVA, and the first one ever where I've had to get through a whole class instead of turning in a paper and going straight to bed. Ended up crying over a Disney documentary. Funny story, actually.
-Finished my first semester at SVA with pretty darn good grades, if I do say so myself!
-Flew home on Christmas Eve and finally got to spend it with my dear family!

I think that is a pretty good list! Even the not-so-pleasant things were very important learning experiences. I am not even being sarcastic.

What's the most important lesson YOU learned this year?!

Monday, December 28, 2009

here is the news!!!

Okay! I can't hold it in any longer!!!

I'm opening a new shop on Etsy so I can sell my jewelry again!!!

I left all my supplies at home when I went to school, but I have really, really missed making my jewelry, especially my paper stuff. And I have really missed spending all my money on beads. So I'm back!!!

I wanted to open a separate shop because I always thought having my jewelry mixed in with my art was kind of messy. I named it "The Spaces in Between" because that's the name of my favorite song, and I also thought it was a nifty little reference to the layers of paper in my jewelry.

So on January 11, the day I'll be back in New York, me and my jewelry will be back and better than ever! I'm very excited to open a shop now that I know what I'm doing, and not spend so much time flailing around posting bad photographs of uninteresting items like I did when I opened my Kecky shop! (We all did that, right?)

I can't wait! Stay tuned... I'm hoping to have some sort of contest or giveaway to promote my grand opening!

happy winter!

I hope everyone had a very merry whatever-you-celebrate!!! I had a VERY lovely Christmas. Since I sold my soul to Disney, I've spent most of the past several Christmases working and trying hard to make the day magical for everyone else. Now that I actually get a break, it was so, so nice to come home and have a proper holiday.

I flew home early in the day on Christmas Eve, and despite lots of rain in Branson I landed safely and on time. I just barely had time to drag my suitcases into the house before it was off to church for the Christmas Eve service! I have gone to the same church my entire life, and every Christmas Eve for my entire life, we have brought our bells from home and jingled them along with everyone else while we sing "Joy to the World" as a finale.

Traditions are nice.

We also had the traditional Christmas Eve lasagna dinner with grandparents and cousins, and of course, the most sacred Kemper tradition of all - the Christmas Eve viewing of the Muppet Christmas Carol. I am serious. If we don't watch this movie, it is not Christmas. It just doesn't count.

What's your favorite/most unusual holiday tradition?

And of course, what was your favorite present? I got a LIGHT BOX!!! So I don't have to drag myself uptown to the animation lab every single time I want to draw an inbetween! Hooray!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I finished my last class today! It was my totally worthless literature and writing class, but I couldn't skip it because I had to give a presentation based on the paper that I turned in last week. I threw together some PowerPoint slides in 20 minutes at 2AM last night and did a pretty decent job of BS'ing my way through 10 minutes, if I do say so myself.

It's nice to be done, but now that I don't have to spend 7 hours every day after class working on animating, I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do with all this time.

Well, I've been drawing a lot, and I'll post the results of my efforts as soon as I can. But I've also got something VERY EXCITING in the works - stay tuned for more details!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009


As of this afternoon, I am almost officially done with school for the semester - next week, I have to show up for three classes and BS a presentation based on a paper I already wrote. Whooo!

I spent this afternoon finishing up my final animation project, (I know I said the last one was my final, but that was a final as in the biggest project of the semester, and this is the final as in the last one) at least as much as I had time for.

For this one, it could be anything we wanted, but it had to be 15 seconds long, begin and end with a blank frame, and fall within the "horror" genre. My first instinct with this requirement was to spend the whole time sulking about how I hate horror, because I do, but I decided I would sit down and figure out what I could do within those requirements that I actually WOULD enjoy doing. I established that I don't like horror, but I do love Halloween, and one of the best parts of Halloween is the parade at Disney. And the best part of that parade is the Dead Waltzers in the Haunted Mansion Unit! They are so awesome.

Here is the result:

this is why i love natalie dee



I think Mother Nature must be laughing spitefully at my Treasury theme from last night.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

treasury time!

In other news, I made a new treasury on Etsy!

Click on the image to go to the actual Treasury on Etsy and link from there to each individual item, before it expires!!

If you're not familiar with Etsy's Treasury, you can check out my own enthusiastic explanation or Etsy's official and possibly somewhat more reliable one.

i wonder what this means

Guys. I have to tell you about this dream I had last night.

I realize that dreams are like #4 on the list of Things Not to Tell People About Because They Are Not Interesting to Anyone Besides Yourself. But this was just so ridiculous yet relevant that I just have to tell people about it.

In my dream, it was a month or so before I was supposed to leave for SVA. Then I got this phone call from the school, and this horrible woman told me, "We accepted too many people this year, and you're at the bottom of the list, so you're un-accepted. Too bad."

Then there followed a very extensive, boring and frustrating sequence of me walking around, crying and pleading with this bitch on the phone, while people around me were all loud and I tried to shut them up. Horrifying. Finally I was like, "But my art is so good!" and that bitch LAUGHED at me and said, "Yeah, right. You have a series that's the four seasons with FAIRIES," super meanly. (For some reason that was part of my dream portfolio.)

After I argued with her for what seemed like HOURS, and probably was, I finally, finally woke up and remembered:




The end. It is always nice to wake up from dreams like that, isn't it? My dreams are usually just weird and personally I find them fascinating and I always mean to start keeping a journal for them but I never have. Maybe I will soon. Ha!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

people actually do animation in the real world? wow!

I found out something SUPER exciting today - my animation buddy from way back when at MSU, Brian Moore, recently created the official music video for MuteMath's song "Backfire."

Let me repeat that - the OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO for a MUTEMATH SONG.

How freakin sweet is that?! Brian was working hard to actually finish the animation program at MSU while I was sitting around whining about there not being a traditional animation department and not doing any of my homework. Clearly he learned enough to make a pretty kickass video, so perhaps I shouldn't speak of my first school so harshly!

And can I just state, for the record, that I liked MuteMath first? I liked them before they were MuteMath, when I was in 8th grade and danced around my living room in my sparkly pants and jelly bracelets to Earthsuit whenever "One Time" played on the local Christian radio station. Oh man. Those were the good old days.

Friday, December 11, 2009

what time is it? treasury time!!!

I love Etsy. And out of all the great things to do on Etsy, I love treasuries the most!!!

Here's a really sweet one I just made!

The Treasury can be a bit confusing for the uninitiated, and tends to raise two main questions:
1. What the hell is this thing and how does it work?
2. And why on earth does anyone care?

First, the Treasury is an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery of handpicked items. No I did not just copy and paste that off of Etsy. Crap. Okay, fine, I'll put it in quotes. The Treasury is an "ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery of handpicked items."

Basically, it's a spot where you can assemble a collection of 12 of your favorite items into a pleasing, eye-catching design. Twelve of your favorite items by sellers other than yourself, that is. (Technically, you can include one of your own items these days, but personally, I still find it sooo tacky.) Here's the kicker: the opportunity to make one of these suckers only arises every couple of days or so. With scarcity, the appeal of a thing grows.

That's not enough of a point for you? Let's remember, promotion of others leads to promotion of yourself. You know that block of 12 items on the main page of that's always different? The majority of those are treasuries that regular users created and the admins picked to feature on the front page! Not only does it earn you the gratitude and devotion of those 12 artists for life for promoting them to such dizzying heights, it puts your name on the top of the front page.

I'm kidding. Mostly. While seeing your items or your treasury on the front page IS super exciting, and it DOES often result in a few more sales than usual, the biggest reason I and most of the other treasuryholics out there do it is simply for the sheer joy of finding and sharing amazing artwork. I am not even being sarcastic about this.

Etsy can be a torture for someone like me, whose monthly fashion budget is about fifty cents. Making a treasury can be a way to show your appreciation for a really wonderful item even if you can't afford it. It shows you've got style, too, and that's how I really love to look at it. Each treasury I make is a little miniature work of art, like a very very classy collage.

If you have an Etsy account and have never made a treasury, I highly recommend trying it out. If you don't have an Etsy account, what is wrong with you?!?!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

out of the cocoon of horror forever!

Voting for the 11 Second Club ended last night, and guess WHAT! My entry finished at #13 out of... a whole lot of entries! I think it was around 250? Anyway, enough to make me feel extremely excited and pleased and justified for spending such a ridiculous amount of money in order to learn how to draw obnoxious fat guys harassing well-behaved young ladies at ice cream parlors.

Here's my final version!

Obviously, I didn't get every little detail finished, but I got enough done that I'm pretty happy with it. I am also happy to be done with it!

We're competing again in February... I'd better just start avoiding all social activity now.

Friday, December 04, 2009

let's look at some inspirations!

This year, my drawing class has been all about figuring out what our influences are and finding new ones to be influenced by. Pretty soon I'll probably make a post with all the artists and things I listed in my sketchbook at the beginning of the year, but right now I wanted to share a new one I just discovered!

Yesterday in my History of Animation class we looked at a lot of early stop-motion films. They were all pretty cool, but my favorite was Jiri Trnka, a Czech artist who made really beautiful puppet films. What really got me, though, was the fact that he illustrated children's books before he got into animation, and his illustrations are super amazing!

First off, my VERY FAVORITE:

This is from a book of Andersen fairy tales and aaahhhh this is so exactly how The Little Mermaid should look!!! Dreary and sad but sooo so beautiful, just like the story!


And these are all from the same book:

What I really love are the big smushy globs of paint juxtaposed with all the teeny little details. It looks like perhaps he used some printmaking process for the colors and then inked over that? At any rate, it looks freakin sweet.

And here's a bit of one of his films:

For some reason, all I could find online was from a Spanish-subtitled version, but it's not like it's hard to figure out what's going on. I hope you can sort of see how pretty and magical the characters and sets are despite the crappiness of the video!!!

Eternal gratitude goes to this blog for scanning and posting the illustrations!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

looking good!

Of course I had to spend far more time than was reasonable working on the layout of this thing before I could show it to anyone. Right now it looks like a giant distracting bright smushed-together overflowing hot mess of all my favorite design elements and colors, soooo... it looks just about right for my style, I think.

marker scribbles

I've posted a couple of new things on DeviantArt, both fairly simple doodles done with markers and ink. I can't really call these things "Sharpie doodles" anymore, since my collection has grown to include all kinds of ink-utilizing implements, but the spirit of freedom and experimentation I learned from my first set of Sharpies remains. (heartwarming!)


Since You Behaved So Nicely Today, You May Have a Piece of Cake:

(DA stifles my self-expression by limiting the length of my best titles.)

Prints of both are available in my Etsy shop.

For those interested, my marker collection is composed of the following:
.About 80% Sharpies - at one time or another I have owned every single color there has ever been, although I've lost a few over the years. My current goal is to build up my collection to have the fine AND ultrafine versions in every color! I love them. I LOVE them.
.A full set of Microns - YEAH! I finally invested in these this year and it has been worth it. I use them for fixing up all the finicky bits.
.Chartpak and Prismacolor markers - I only have a few of each of these, in really light colors that the Sharpies can't quite attain. I know everybody is all crazy for Prismas, and I do love them a lot, but I have really fallen head-over-heels for the Chartpaks. They lend this really sweet watercolor-wash effect, and their solvent base makes Sharpies bleed, which annoyed me for about 5 seconds until I saw how cool and blendy it looked.

I'd never really used markers until I got my set of Sharpies, so I am still learning how to use the fancy-pants pricey ones to their best effect. It has been a pretty satisfying process. I've been wanting for a while to use more traditional media, at least to get down the essence of a drawing. I love my tablet more than anything, but it can be a little like reading on a Kindle instead of a book - somehow, just not quite the same. Technology is super great, but sometimes nothing beats curling up in a comfy chair on a chilly day with your favorite scuffed-up old paperback, you know?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

at last!

November is over and we are done with the 11 Second Club. I'll be posting my final(ish) version in a few days when all the voting and stuff is over.

No sooner had we uploaded our videos to the website - actually it was even before we did all that - our teacher gave us our new assignment. It's a lot longer than the last one, with half the time for us to do it in. I'm pretty sure there is some sort of life lesson in there somewhere that we're supposed to learn.

I'll elaborate on the assignment and what we're doing for it later, but for now, I'd like you to meet the characters I designed for it.

Aren't they just the cutest couple you ever saw??