Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cosplay WIP -- Princess Serenity 2

A couple of weeks ago, I posted that I was going to be making a Princess Serenity cosplay based off of the Pullip doll design. I've actually started this project beyond just collecting images and whatnot. I spent an afternoon attempting to learn how to make fabric/ribbon roses, since there are 4 of these in the dress (minimum--I may adjust based on sizing so that it looks right, like 3 per arm instead of just 2) and one in the hair. Here is my first attempt:

It looked better before gluing it together, but for a first attempt I'm pleased. I am going to try a couple of different patterns, and then I'll select one that I like.

This weekend I will also be getting my ex-sister-in-law's wedding dress to cut up for fabric for this costume. FYI, she was given an opportunity to come get the dress, but it's been more than a year now, and my parents want it out of their house; I volunteered to take it off their hands. Who am I to turn down free fabric, especially nice fabric. Once I get my hands on that, I will have plenty of fabric and I'll be able to make a lot of progress on the costume. I may stop though beyond basic pattern designs because since it is for a toddler and I'm not planning on having her wear it for a couple of months. I'd hate for a growth spurt to throw a kink in those plans. We'll see.

I have a lot of cosplay ideas for Sophie: Sailor Jupiter, Rapunzel, and Daphne... among others. Those are just at the top. If I ever get around to making the Asuna/Kirito cosplays for my husband and I, Sophie will definitely be cosplaying Yui. I also have odd plans to make a Hughes/Alicia cosplay for my husband and Sophie honestly seems obligatory, plus I have an awesome idea for it, so yeah... but more on that later. Maybe I'll do a post some time on all my cosplay dreams. There are many.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fantasy Life

Since I finished Bravely Default, I have picked up Fantasy Life. This was a game my oldest son (Ty) had gotten a while ago. My husband had been playing it, but I confiscated it from him. I'll give it back eventually.

Fantasy Life is a fairly standard RPG game. There are times where it almost seems like it's parodying the genre. As far as game play goes, it is pretty easy, at least so far. I'll admit I'm not very far in the game--following my standard style, I'm moving through it at a snail's pace. It almost feels like a game designed for younger children, except for the vocabulary. It periodically throws in words that are probably not in most adults' repertoire.

My favorite part about the game is the different classes or lives as they are called in this game. I especially like the crafting jobs. There are 12 different jobs to choose from: four combat related (Paladin, Mercenary, Hunter, and Wizard), three gathering professions (Woodcutter, Miner, and Angler), and five crafting jobs (Cook, Carpenter, Blacksmith, Tailor, and Alchemist). My favorite within those is the Tailor (no surprise there). I like that you are encouraged to play several different jobs, and I especially like that you can craft from outside your profession as long as you've started it at some point. So, if my character is currently a Blacksmith, I can go to the tailoring area and craft fabric. This is very convenient as several of the recipes require items from other crafts. I could go buy those craft items, but I'd prefer to make them myself. If I had to change jobs every time I wanted to access a particular craft, it would get very cumbersome.

I would have to say my least favorite part of the game is the main story line, which, so far, seems pretty weak. Again though, I am not very far into it, so maybe it'll improve. I also dislike the Butterfly that is the driving force behind the story, which may also tie into why I dislike the story. I guess I have a thing against small annoying sidekick-like characters (Navi from Legend of Zelda being the most well known character of this type). Incidentally, although Bravely Default has one of these characters as well, [spoiler]I at least got to kill her in the end![/spoiler]

The overall design of Fantasy Life is very cutesy, which I like. So far, I'm enjoying it. I'll pass judgment on the game as a whole once I finish it... assuming I finish it, which could be next month, next year, or never. =P I'm fairly notorious about picking up games and never quite finishing them.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Zodiac Designs on Society 6

Some time ago, I posted my Panda design from the Poor Man's Zodiac on Society 6. Ostensibly I did this because I wanted a mug with the panda on it. I also posted my Biohobbit poster there because I have yet to find a decent way to ship my larger prints. From what I can tell, Society 6 offers good print quality and they manage shipping, so it seems win-win to me, since dealing with shipping is one of my least favorite parts of managing an online store. Recently, we went ahead and uploaded the rest of our zodiac designs--from both the Chinese Zodiac and Poor Man's Zodiac sets. We originally intended to post them as prints, mugs, throw pillows, and tote bags. Since the throw pillows and tote bags share the design file with rugs, duvet covers, and shower curtains, you can also get them in that form as well. I admit, it is somewhat tempting to get the Narwhal as a shower curtain. All of the designs, except for the prints, include the haiku. We have some thoughts of releasing the designs for phone case and/or computer decal, but neither my husband nor I have had a chance to properly format the designs for either of those things.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Anniversary Aftermath

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my upcoming anniversary. Our plan was to do something to celebrate every day of our anniversary week, or at least Monday through Friday.

I thought I'd share a little about how that week actually went.

We ended up starting Sunday instead of Monday. We went out to eat at IHOP. Although this isn't my husband's favorite place, it is one of mine. I love getting breakfast for dinner. This is one of my all time favorite things. This time I got some amazing french toast with bananas and caramelized brown sugar with butter pecan syrup, and of course bacon because you can't have breakfast for dinner without bacon. Just saying.

Monday. Although we ended up doing Monday night's date Sunday night, we still did a little something Monday evening. Monday we went grocery shopping at Costco. Super romantic right? No. Not really. We did leave the kids at home though, and after getting February's groceries, we went to Krispy Kreme for some dessert.

Tuesday. We spent Tuesday evening watching Sword Art Online 2. I am thoroughly enjoying that series, but more on that later. I love that we can get Crunchy Roll on the big TV in our living room.

Wednesday. Wednesday we went to bed early because I was sick. I curled up with my husband and he read to me from the Lord of the Rings while I dozed. This is one of the most awesome things my husband does, and has done since our first few months married. Whenever I get sick, he reads to me. When he's not available, I watch A&E's Pride and Prejudice.

Thursday. I was still not feeling good and spent the day while he was at work watching Pride and Prejudice. Big surprise there right? We still followed through with our plan to play games, although we didn't make it through as many because I crashed early. We did play Ticket to Ride (Europe and Africa maps), Dominion, and Castles of Burgundy. We barely made it through a fraction of our games. Spending the last half of the week ill was frustrating.

Friday. We went up on the Parkway in Asheville to our favorite overlook. We talked about how things had changed, both in Asheville and ourselves. A lot has happened in the last 15 years. It wasn't quite as fun as we'd hoped, mostly because I was still sick. It was Sunday-Monday after this before I finally started feeling better. That really sucked.

Overall, I think this was a great idea. I think it would have been better of course if I'd felt better, but there's not much I can do about that. This is something we might do again some time. I don't know if it'll become a yearly thing though. This week has been kicking my butt, since I took a lot of last week off as far as keeping up with some of my work went.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Art WIP -- The Angler

I have high hopes that this is going to be a good year at Gothic Panda Studios. I am changing up how I do things, at least a little. One big change is going to be that I am not going to be doing 100% digital art, or at least not 100% digitally inked and colored. I have always preferred good old pencil and paper for designing and sketching my art. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned that way. I also prefer writing with pencil and paper, as opposed to typing, and I prefer books... real books... you know the print books with paper and stuff because I love the way paper smells. I also think there is something about a blank sheet of paper that gives me goosebumps. It's exciting. Sometimes it's terrifying or overwhelming. There's so much potential in it.

But I'm rambling there. =P What was the point I was trying to get at? Some of my art is going to be 100% traditional. I am experimenting some with different mediums and different styles. Now, my style isn't going to change enormously; I see this process as honing my style and making it better and more me. Personally, I'm really excited.

Design Sketch
So, anyways. This is supposed to be a WIP post, so here are a couple of sketches for a new set and a new original design.

This is my Angler Mermaid. She is based off of the Angler fish, and is going to be one of the first in a series of mermaids inspired by different marine creatures (mostly fish). My goal with this is to stretch my creativity and see what I can come up with. I would love for this one to be one of my 100% traditional designs, but I'm still deciding whether I can get the effect I want with the resources I have. I guess we'll just see how things work out. =D

I really want to have dead Marlin/Dory on her claws/nails. Would that be too dark?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cosplay WIP Post -- Princess Serenity

So this isn't so much of an actual "work in progress" post as a "what's coming" in my cosplay plans. A few months ago, I was scrolling through my Facebook when a friend shared this image and it actually showed up on my Dashboard (because we all know how stupid Facebook is about making it so you don't see most people's posts ever).

My 2 year old, Sophie, was with me. When I got to this image, she pointed to it and said, "That's Sophie." I asked her if she would like that dress, and she said, "Yes. I want that dress." So, I will be making this cosplay for her, because, although I am good at saying "No" to my kids when it comes to a lot of things, I could not turn down this request. Why? Because, one, cosplay. Really, that's all the reason I really need, right?

Also, I have been a long time fan of Sailor Moon. How could I turn down the opportunity to share my love for the series with my daughter? Ok, so she could honestly care less about Sailor Moon at this point in her life, and she really just likes the dress because she has an obsession with princess dresses. But... I'm not going to think too much on that. Also, a toddler Princess Serenity would be adorable. On top of that, my cousin has agreed to dress her son as Tuxedo Mask--he's about a year younger than Sophie, but it's close enough. =P

This will definitely be happening for Animazement this year.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Bravely Default

Last summer, I started playing Bravely Default. I was stuck on bed rest for 3 weeks solid, so I needed something to occupy me during that time. I made it a little over half way through the game before I was allowed off bed rest. Yes, I am a slow player. I like to take my time and explore things as I go. I finally finished it last month. Being a slow player combined with having a busy life means it takes me forever to finish games.

I have to say, this game was amazing. It was a well done game in classic JRPG style. It probably doesn't hurt that JRPG's are my favorite genre of video game. I loved the characters. I loved the character design. I loved the costumes. I enjoyed the story. I loved the mechanics. I admit I was skeptical at first. I like RPGs, but I usually have a harder time getting into the ones that involve job changing, and Bravely Default's game strategies center around effective use of different jobs you collect. I was pleasantly surprised, however. Unlike most games I've played in this vein, you don't just pick one job per character. Each character gets a primary job. Then they can pick secondary powers and passive effects from other job classes. This encourages you to level up most of the jobs and explore different combinations. One of my favorites was Ninja and Samurai skill combinations. Another involved using Red Mage passive skills with the Templar. Those are hardly the only effective skill sets; there is an immense range of customizability built into this system.

I also liked how much of this game was a throwback to the earlier Final Fantasy games that I love so dearly. Since Bravely Default and Final Fantasy both belong to Square Enix, they could get away with overlap of themes and terminology. Did I mention I liked the costume and character design? That was a big thing for me too. I found the job list somewhere online before I started playing the game. It was pretty much a given that I would play it when I had added 2-3 designs to my want-to-cosplay list before I even had half a clue what the game was about. My favorites include: Conjurer, Vampire, Pirate, Red Mage, Spirtmaster, and Salve-Maker. I also really like Agnes's starting costume. Yes, I am a sucker for this kind of thing.

So, I've spent most of this post raving about the game. Were there any negatives? Yes. For one, I was not particularly thrilled with the ending. It was mediocre. I wanted a little more closure, and I wasn't entirely happy with what they did with some (well mostly one) of the characters. I didn't care much for the Groundhog Day narrative style that began around Chapter 5, but it did improve. Having finished the game, it is I think one of the best done of that type of story. I won't say much more on that because spoilers (not that most of you haven't already played through it and finished it ages ago--also I know that involved a double negative, and I don't care. =P). Leveling up the different jobs did get a little tedious at times.

Overall, though, there aren't that many negatives, and the positives far outweighed those negatives. If you like JRPG style games and have not played Bravely Default yet, then you need to play this game. Seriously. Go do it now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Spoonflower MLP Prints

A couple of years ago, I discovered Spoonflower. It was love at first sight. Spoonflower is a website where you can have your own fabric designs printed. I have used the site for a variety of projects. Most of them are fabrics I’ve designed specifically for the project I have in mind and are unavailable for public viewing. I have branched out from these personal projects, however, and have created a set of six designs available for purchase featuring the mane six ponies from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I have fat quarters of each of the designs that I am just itching to make something with. I have been very pleased with the quality of Spoonflower’s fabrics so far, and their turn-around time has been excellent. They say to give 2-3 weeks. I usually get my fabric in less than a week—that includes processing the order, printing my fabric, and shipping it to me, so that’s one week from when I place the order until it arrives in my mailbox.

This year, I am going to reward myself at some point with a couple of yards of both Rarity and Fluttershy (my two favorite ponies).  I plan on making pajama pants out of the fabric because what could be more awesome than Fluttershy pajama bottoms? Ok, maybe this just appeals to me because I love pajamas; in fact, if I don’t have any appointments or meetings on a given day, then it would not be unusual for me to spend my entire day in jammies. Seriously, who wouldn’t? They’re super comfy. I also imagine they’d be great convention wear… it could count as professional attire at my table right? It is featuring my art.

Here’s a preview of the MLP fabrics. Click to view the fabric in my Spoonflower shop.

 Applejack Fabric    Twilight Sparkle Fabric

 Fluttershy Fabric    Pinkie Pie Fabric

 Rainbow Dash Fabric    Rarity Fabric