Bored Barista in 2020

Heyyy I didn’t forget to do this! Yay! As for what to say, that’s the hard part. Before I began writing this, I took a glance at my blogs starting with the end of 2018 and then all of 2019, but after that, I still really had to reflect more on the year as a whole.

Book Covers

For starters, I do kind of find it funny that I’m ending another year with a new book cover for author Tyler R. Lee, this year being for his novel Load Custom Character. In the last blog I wrote, it was up for preorder, so now it’s available now for paperback and e-book on Amazon. We’re both extremely excited about how the cover turned out! It had been a while since I’d worked on a cover, and I was happy for a new project like this.

Early to Mid 2019 – One Last Artist Alley

Outside of the cover, there is not much I’ve done in December. It was a busy month for plenty of non-art reasons, as it usually is for people. As a result, I began to convince myself that this somehow wasn’t a productive year for me. So I looked through all of my art in 2019, and had a much better understanding of my year, at least as Bored Barista.

I forgot some of my earliest drawings of 2019 were even from this year. There was an early effort to draw more backgrounds, and to try to start including more texture to certain pieces. A few months in, however, there was more of a focus on getting new buttons ready for what was my final artist alley event. I’ve already talked about being done with artist alley in my last year-end reflection post, and how MechaCon would be my final event. Still, I was excited about it, and worked hard on new buttons for the event. Given all that I mentioned in that blog post, however, despite being technically successful, there’s no doubt at all now that I’m done with artist alley.

Mid to Late 2019 – Just Trying to Improve…my Art AND my Happiness

After that, I’ve noticed I sort of stuck to simple sketches, mostly ones where I focused more on improving poses, faces, coloring, etc. Part of me feels like I didn’t draw as much as I “could have” during the last few months, but really it’s because part of me is trying to just pay more attention to what I draw, and sometimes. Sometimes all I’ll manage to finish is a drawing of someone from the neck up, having put more of my energy into improving details of the face, the lighting/shading, the expression, etc.

I have been thinking a lot about how I have many techniques I want to improve upon. There is a chance, however, that I won’t always want to share what I’m working on. Sometimes, I’m proud of a simple sketch and do want to share it. Spending less time on social media, however, has really helped chase away the feeling that I HAVE to share something. As though not sharing will make people forget me or make them worry. I have been a lot happier spending less time on social media. There was a point where I was so in my head, feeling like I needed to support everything I can, only to let discouraging thoughts wear me down if others didn’t supposedly give me that same level of support. No one owes me anything, and I certainly don’t want to let likes determine my worth. That being said, I still give my support on social media when I can, but for my own health and happiness, I don’t want to check it as frequently anymore.

What’s Next?

A few things. As I’ve said, I’ve been thinking a lot about wanting to improve my technique, which will either result in me having less to share because I’m practicing or because I’m taking my time. There’s much I want to work on for fun, so I hope to have some new and improved art to share in 2020! We’ll see!

I am still working on some commissions that I’m excited about, though I have taken a break because of the holidays, and will get back to them soon. One of them is complete but I can’t show it yet till the other is done, so…SOON. Soon.

Lastly, I HAVE considered trying to add another item or two to my Etsy, but I’ll make an update on that if it happens.

As for all of you going into 2020, I know some people like to joke about how cliche it is to talk about starting the new year fresh, going to the gym, improving yourself, etc., but I say whatever! I wish you all the best of luck in achieving your goals. If it helps, take the time to reflect on your 2019. In what ways did you grow and improve, and in what ways did you not? Figuring these things out has helped me focus a little more on what goals I want to achieve in 2020. Sometimes it’s not easy to see how far you’ve come until you look back at where you started.

So, have a Happy New Year, and best of luck with all you hope to achieve!

Bored Barista Commissions – New Book Cover!

So, I have been working on a multi-part commission, and with the biggest, and most important piece having been completed and revealed recently, I thought I’d talk a little bit about it here today!

I’m so excited to show the newest book cover I’ve done for author Tyler R. Lee’s newest novel: Load Custom Character.

What was supposed to be an escape from a harsh reality turns into a worse hell than he could imagine. Peter and his friends must face death in order to survive their virtual prison.

“Load Custom Character” by Tyler R. Lee – Book Cover

This cover provided me with opportunities to use some of my strengths when it comes to designing, along with stepping a little out of my comfort zone and trying new things. It is not often I do anything with a video game/VR feel, whereas I’m often designing something fantasy-related. Blending them slightly, but still keeping an intentional contrast between the two on the cover, in order to reflect the feel of the story itself, was a fun challenge.

You can check out the full summary, as well as preorder Load Custom Character for e-book now HERE on Amazon. Both the e-book and paperback editions will be available Dec. 16! You can also show your support by following Tyler R. Lee on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram. And stay tuned for more LCC goodies in the near future as well!

In the meantime, between preparing for the holidays and still playing a game of catch-up with some projects, commissions are CLOSED, but I will post when they are open again, likely on social media sooner than here  because I forget on here sometimes (oops.)

That’s it for now! As I said, expect other posts in the near future for LCC, and I’m hoping to do another end of the year reflection post as I did last year. We’ll see!

Bored Barista Black Friday Sale!

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In case you missed it on social media, all items in my Etsy shop are currently up to 15% off! U.S. shipping is still free on nearly every item as well, and the discount is NOT limited to one item. Neato! Sale ends December 6th.

A Spooky Bored Barista Update (Mostly About Self Care)

First of all, shame on me for failing to mention my Halloween Sale on Etsy any sooner. All items are 15% off, and US shipping is still free for nearly every item. Sale ends 10/31! Spooky!

But that’s not the only spooky update. I’ve made some changes to my website. Minor changes that are not important, like updating my gallery with my recent-ish work. I don’t really know why, but I wanted to see if my “About Me” section needed any updating, too.

I reread my paragraph about one of the reasons I picked the name “Bored Barista,” and my first thought was…  I have to change this.

It’s dumb, because I don’t really expect anyone to go to that page. Outside of me linking to blog posts, I don’t expect there to be much exploration on this website, which I try to keep simple anyway with just my art, some info about me, and how to contact me.

Still, I didn’t like what I read. It’s been changed now, but here’s what this paragraph used to say:

As for why I call myself “Bored Barista”, there are a few reasons, but I’ll save us all some time with a short version. Whenever I’m bored, I can only take so much sitting around and doing nothing before I feel as if I need to be doing something creatively productive, whether it’s writing or drawing or sewing, or even working on perfecting cups of coffee. I was also, unsurprisingly, a barista when I started thinking about focusing more on art again, so I did just that and became Bored Barista.

A “need” to be productive. Here’s the thing…

I know I’m not about to be the first or the last person you hear preach about self care. Not only that, I know it’s something I need to work on as well. Still, even though I am reading into my own paragraph too much, and others might not take it this way, I didn’t like having this message on here anymore. The truth is, I had a lot more free time when I was a barista and first started this website. A lot of that need for creative productivity came from me genuinely just having more time on my hands.

Then I think about how I am now, two years later. I’m so happy to be working in graphic design, and when I first started working full time in that field, I really did have the time to still comfortably work from home on commissions, while making the time to write, and to draw for fun. As the responsibilities started piling on, it would get to the point where, at the end of a long day, of having to be creative and fast (alongside a lot of other tasks I do at my job,) the last thing I often wanted to do when I’m home is even THINK about opening an editing program or drawing.

And for a long time, that thought still persisted that I “need” to be productive and creative now that I’m home. I “need” to be working on something. It’s only been recently that I’ve had to force myself to just take days where I do nothing, and it’s really helped.

Still, while the paragraph of one of my reasons for being “Bored Barista” had a somewhat different meaning for a “need” to be productive back then, I’m still glad I looked at it. I’m still on a journey to better self care and really needed a moment to reflect on that. Things have changed since 2017. I don’t have that same amount of time that I used to, and I don’t want to burn myself out trying to always make that time. I’ve been trying to take more time to relax. I’m spending less time on social media, which has made me feel as if I need to be drawing so that I have a reason to show my art to strangers, only to take it personally when they don’t acknowledge it. I’ve been reminding myself that not drawing every day doesn’t mean I’ve really slipped or that I’m not productive.

That message you might see pop up on your facebook/twitter/whatever feed of you’re not a bad person for “not being productive”/needing rest may be extremely common, but still very true.

I hope, if any of you feel the same way, that you take the steps needed toward better self care as well. I’m glad that, in general, people are at least acknowledging the importance of it, because I’m tired of anyone glorifying a lack of sleep because they had to push themselves harder than necessary to get something done. It’s not worth being “busy” if it robs you of your energy, motivation, and creativity.

Thanks for taking the time to read this grumpy little “barista’s” message and self reflection, and remember to take care of yourselves. ❤

 

Bored Barista at MechaCon 2319 – Artist Alley

Well, I wouldn’t be very consistent if I didn’t act like I was going to blog more regularly, only to actually blog once every few months! Another convention has come and gone, one that’s a little more important to me than the rest. MechaCon, specifically MechaCon 2.0, was my first ever anime convention back in 2006, giving me and my friends a taste of what this sort of thing was like. It was MechaCon 3.0 that gave us some of our fondest memories. Though there were plenty of years at MechaCon that I missed since then, having only recently returned to it, I usually find myself looking forward to it. Whether it ends up being all that fun or not isn’t what I’ll really get into, but just that I usually find myself at least a little optimistic about it whenever it’s approaching.

Something I had never done before with this con, however, is artist alley. Though still a little inexperienced with it, having had an artist table at only a few cons, I once again found myself looking forward to MechaCon, especially with this new experience. Before I knew it, MechaCon had arrived and it was time to get to the hotel with my new art and set up my table.

I got discouraged at first when I set up, seeing how dark my section was, along with the giant pillar blocking my table so that most who first entered couldn’t see it. I can be bitter all I want about that, but the truth is I still did well overall in artist alley. Besides, I had to remember that the people browsing have a lot of sights to take in at once. There were a ton of other artists in this room, and not everyone is going to notice your table. It can’t be helped, and no amount of not so casually tapping your pencil against your display in hopes that potential customers will look your way is gonna fix that, MISS BARISTA.

I have to remember I’m guilty of doing the same, of just glancing at tables and if nothing catches my eye, I keep walking. I’ve had that impulse to buy something, only for it to wear off before I make the actual purchase. I’ve taken cards and awkwardly walked away after making small talk with the artist, knowing I’m likely not gonna return to that table to buy anything. So, I get it, and I’m not mad that others do the same. How can I be?

Anyway, in spite of how I felt about my table location, I did fine. People complimented my art, made purchases, took cards, etc. It went well. Before this con, I told myself that I was considering not doing artist alley anymore, but it would sort of depend on how I felt about MechaCon.

Truthfully, despite doing well enough, I don’t want to do artist alley anymore.

It’s really not for me. I think it’s a great way to get your art out there, and if it’s something you want to try, I wouldn’t dare talk you out of it, especially if you find a decent con to start with, and can get a table that’s not a ridiculous price. It’s something worth trying for sure. Plus, you get the chance to meet other great artists, become friends with them, and help support one another.

The short and easy answer is just that it’s boring and I’d rather not feel like I’m confined to my table, especially if none of my friends are available at the moment to help or watch it for me. (They were great though when they could and did help, honestly, and I appreciate it.) It can be miserable having to stay sitting at a table for many hours all weekend, and I just don’t think I want to do it anymore. Really though, if I’m going to go to a con, I’d rather just spend that time with my friends. Even so, I don’t see myself attending a bunch of other cons at the moment. With artist alley in particular, I’m happy with how it’s gone overall, but I think I’m done with it.

So, what now?

Well, I’ll be updating my Etsy soon with my recent set of buttons from My Hero Academia, so anyone who may have seen them on my social media will be able to purchase them soon if they didn’t at MechaCon. There are also some other commissions I will be starting on soon, for some stuff I’m pretty excited about.

Speaking of commissions, I’ve recently updated my commission info, which you can check out below. If you’re interested in any commissions from me, you’re more than welcome to message me via this website, or reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Thanks to those for the support you’ve given me in artist alley, and making it a worthwhile experience. I won’t ever forget it!

 

 

Bored Barista Instagram Giveaway!

Wow. I haven’t written something on here in a while. Well, now’s as good a time as any to announce that I recently reached 500 followers over on my Instagram page! To celebrate, I’m doing a giveaway with prizes that include prints, commissions, and buttons!

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If you’re interested in seeing how to enter, look for my giveaway post on my Instagram page and simply follow the 3 rules listed in that post. Giveaway ends May 24! Here’s a look at the prints and buttons you could win, along with commission examples from the winners of my Facebook giveaway last year!

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So, what else have I been up to besides rarely updating this page? Well, everything’s been a bit of a whirlwind the past 2 months, starting with me getting ready for CyphaCon 2019. Last year, I attended as an artist, and it was my first time doing a 3-day event. Though it went really well, it was also really draining. This year, I decided I wouldn’t do artist alley, and actually experience the con this year.

Of course, that con was a month ago, so what am I doing now? Well, still drawing. Not as frequently, but still drawing, and finishing up new buttons as well! Obviously, I post those more to my social media, and only certain drawings here, Instagram being where most of my stuff goes, though it usually makes its way onto my Facebook and Twitter as well. While I’ll still be working on cosplay stuff here and there, I’m hoping to make drawing a much bigger focus for a while.

As a side note, commissions are still open! However, I might be a bit slow with things for the rest of the month while I’m still getting into the swing of things again. If you’re looking for a character drawing though, I’d enter the giveaway first to see if you win one for free! Can’t hurt, right?

That’s about it, so I’ll wrap it up before my coffee gets cold. Good luck to those who enter the giveaway, and I look forward to sharing more art with you all. Enjoy your weekend!

 

Bored Barista Commissions Pt. 5

I need to get better at updating more frequently, but I’ve actually been caught up on commissions for the past…2ish weeks, and though I hadn’t closed commissions, it was nice to take it easy for a while after some satisfying hard work on my last few projects.

“The Heretic’s Dead Man’ by Caitlin E. Jones – Book Cover

Anywho, my last project involves a new novella, The Heretic’s Dead Man, from author Caitlin E. Jones! She’s got a new addition to her Faire Curiosities series: a prequel taking place well over two hundred years before Chimehour, but not without some familiar characters! Follow Helen McCafferty as her training in magic is interrupted by superstitious, fearful townsfolk, leading her on a dark and dangerous adventure in Ireland.

It’s been fun to try something a little different with each project like this that I take on, (even if I am always sort of a sucker for working on something gothic and purple!) It was also interesting to read something that still felt like part of the Faire Curiosities series, yet in many other ways still stood on its own. Looking forward to seeing what’s next for this series!

Be sure to check out The Heretic’s Dead Manavailable in both e-book and paperback edition on Amazon!

 

Bored Barista Commissions Pt. 4

Yep this little Bored Barista has another blog post out before the new year, despite the Bored Barista in 2019 post which made for a fitting final post of 2018. BUT…I wanted to take this time to announce that I’ve recently finished a brand new 2nd edition cover of An Unlikely Company (The NetherGate Trilogy: Book 1) by my amazing friend and writer Tyler R Lee. You can find it here for e-book and paperback on Amazon!

“An Unlikely Company” by Tyler R Lee – Book Cover

I can still hardly believe this one is done. I can remember the days of drawing each character with care, bringing each of them to life one step at a time. I’d read this book earlier in the year and fell in love with the characters, and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to create this cover, and deliver a visual representation the author and I are both happy with! This cover made for an interesting challenge in many ways, one where I even felt like I had to step out of my comfort zone a little. Since I really enjoyed this story, however, and love these characters, I can’t say the pressure of making sure I really draw these characters well ever discouraged me. Though that’s also because of how encouraging Tyler R Lee has been through the entire process of this new cover, so I have to thank him for that! This was a blast to make and, like I said, I can still hardly believe it’s done and available for everyone to see now!

I’m happy to be ending this year with an accomplished feeling, and can’t wait to start on some of the projects I have planned for 2019! Happy new year, everyone!

Bored Barista in 2019

Yeeeeah a post about the upcoming new year! But first, a few words on my recent artist event. Last weekend, I sold art at my little Bored Barista table over at Holiday Matsuri, and I had a lot of time to think…a loooot of time.

It had been a few months since I did a weekend-long event like this. I’d forgotten how draining it can be, both during the slow hours of the day, and even the busy hours of sales and conversation. I honestly admire the people who do this frequently. It’s a lot of time at a table, either waiting for sales or making friendly conversation with those who stop by. That being said, I don’t think this is for me.

I have one more event in 2019. I’ll be at MechaCon in artist alley from July 26 – 28. MechaCon was my first ever anime convention back in 2006. I’ve always attended as a congoer though, never as an artist. Seems fitting to make my first anime convention the last one where I sell art.

Don’t get me wrong. I will still design prints, still make buttons, and still do commissions and whatever other goodies cross my mind. Selling at cons, be they one day events or an entire weekend, isn’t for me. I’m a lot happier with making custom art for people, rather than constantly making prints of something that I hope will sell. Like I said, I’ll still make a few here and there, but those will be for Etsy.

That being said, I appreciate friends and strangers alike who have stopped by my table at events like this, be it to buy something, take a card, or even just compliment my art. Every little bit matters to me, and I can’t give enough thanks for that.

So, what’s next for Bored Barista? Well, more commissions, actually. Stay tuned for some new book covers, one I’ve just completed, and one I’ll be starting on soon! In addition to staying fairly open for commission work, I will be taking this time to improve in areas I feel I am weak when it comes to art. I think I could have challenged myself a little more this year, but that’s not to say I’m not happy with what I’ve accomplished. Being Bored Barista has really helped me to draw so frequently, and work hard to get better each time. 2018 is a great reflection of that for me.

Looking forward to what I hope will be a productive and successful 2019, and I wish the same for all of you! Have a wonderful holiday, and a happy new year!