Saturday, February 7, 2015

Gearing up for ALL-CON in Dallas!!

Holy crap you guys! My 2015 convention schedule is starting up even earlier than usual: next month (March 12-15) I will be in Dallas, Texas for All-Con! This marks my first convention outside of the east coast as well as my first time visiting the state of Texas! How exciting! Thanks to my pal Taffeta Darling for hosting me during this show. I'm pumped to meet all my new friends and fans- and how lucky you guys are that are attending- you've got the first pick of all my new merch, including new prints, jewelry and accessories! I'm still trying to figure out what to wear as well, considering this is a new state and a new convention- most of the folks attending haven't been keen to my antics, so what's old is new again! I'm thinking definitely my Wonder Woman and The Baroness outfits are coming out to play (especially with my awesome new foundation garments) and I seriously can't wait to take a break from this craptastic North East weather.

Here's some of the 5x7" print sets I'll have, $5 each!

6"x11" Sailor Mermaid print sets!
Even MORE bracelets!
NEW 8.5x11" prints- Pee-Wee, Heathers and The Marbles!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Early 2015 Art Dump (2014's Leftovers)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It's 2015- welcome to the future!!

With such a crazy busy convention schedule this past year- I found myself starting a lot of art but not necessarily finishing things. Or doing inks and colors on vellum for art shows but then never going back and finishing the digital versions of my pieces, which is where I usually fully realize the scope of my piece and can make it available as a print, magnets or other merch. With the quiet time right after the holidays I usually find myself arriving home from travels itching to have some quiet days to really get into some art before my day job and my clients have a chance to assign me projects.  So here's a bunch of art I started in 2014 but didn't really get a chance to properly ink and color until now in January 2015.


Francesca & Yetch from Mad Monster Party
Connie & Raymond Marble from Pink Flamingos
Veronica Sawyer from Heathers
Kitty Pryde
Illyana Rasputin

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fall and Holidays, 2014

Me on my 34th birthday! I drank whiskey, got the meat sweats and went to bed at a reasonable time!
 Haha, WHOOPS. Looks like time got away from me and I haven't updated my blog in a while. Fortunately you guys didn't miss too much excitement- my last show of the year was NYCC and after that I kinda crashed for a month after some supreme burnout, so there hasn't been much new artwork, either. There were a few birthdays, Halloween and of course the holidays to enjoy, and strangely enough I found myself just busy enough to just go ahead and live life for a little bit. I know, WEIRD.

Halloween! Actually going out this year, I just grabbed stuff out of my closet to be a waitress. My wardrobe has actually become ridiculous enough to have several costume options right at my fingertips. I'm kinda proud of this fact.

"Smoking or non?"
I got a NEW TATTOO!! A super-cool, super-badass old school scorpion on my left, inner forearm by Hunter Spanks, one of my favorite tattoo artists. I got it because I'm a Scorpio and I need more tattoos of animals and stuff to balance out all these pinups, haha. So this is number 18! You can check Hunter out at Have Fun Be Lucky in Baltimore, Md. I love it! The colors are crazy and it's so super bold.

My NYC BFF Christy's twin sister Megan (who I used to work at Hot Topic with back in the dizzay) had a surprise baby shower! It was gothy and Edgar Allen Poe-themed! It was great to see a bunch of my Maryland pals all at once!

Obligatory bathroom selfie, of course!

My two bibs I made at the bib-making station! Dracula and Wolfman themed!

Such the little over-achiever. I'm was determined to make those fabric paints my bitch.
For my birthday present to myself, I *finally* ordered the What Katie Did Morticia underbust corset I had been eyeing for the better part of the year. And OMG it's AMAAAAAZING. I seriously can't wait to wear this at conventions with my costumes. Who needs dieting? (I kid, I started doing yoga after Thanksgiving...)

OOTD from when I went out for a friend's birthday in Dec
I had it SUPER tight laced, but then had to loosen it as I wasn't able to sit forward enough to do my makeup properly.
 REAL QUICK CORSET TALK: I don't screw with overbusts. They can't contain me, haha. I almost always prefer underbusts because then I can just wear my normal bras, plus they push everything up adding to how crazy the waist-hip-bust ratio looks. If you get a shorter one that doesn't come down far on your hips I've noticed that the more you sit in it, the more it gets pushed up under your boobs and you can't get it back down again unless you take it off and re-lace it. Which can lead to an uncomfortable skewering feeling as the boning goes up into your underboob, which happened at NYCC in my Marilyn outfit by the end of the day. The What Katie Did one I wore however has much lower hips (called 'gored hips'...) which seem to keep it in place better and actually helps with containing the stomach bulge that I've noticed in other corsets where the lower gut protrudes out because it's been squeezed out with no here to go. This Morticia corset is amazing, I read a lot of reviews (all great) and could tell when I got it that it was of a higher craftsmanship than most of my other corsets. It's HEAVY. They're def an investment. I justified that it would take all the dresses and outfits I already have and make them look better- you can wear this on top of or underneath clothing easily. I wear the Spanx hi-cut underwear underneath it if I'm wearing it under clothes. I read that it's better for you and the corset to have something between it and your skin while wearing. Keeps it cleaner, causes less irritation and friction. And if I'm not wearing pantyhose I'll put some Spanx bike short things on over top to help with chub rub, and it smooths out the seams of the corset if you're wearing it under clothes. I'm actually not as crazy as some of the people who's blogs I've read about corsets. I'm still amazed my burlesque friends can dance around in them. I can barely make it up steps without getting gaspy. And going to the bathroom in one is a skill that takes a year or two to master.

With the holidays queued up, Phil and I started work on our second annual holiday card that we send to friends, family and clients! We started this tradition last year after receiving cards from other cartoonist that were drawing their own cards as well. It's a good little end-of-the-year reminder that we exist to people, even if we only see some folks a few times a year at shows and the like. This years was way more of a seamless collaboration than last year's, with my drawing the pencils for the 20's cartoon Phil and I, and Phil drawing in everything else, including the sled, Loki and the colors. This year we sent out almost 100 cards! 

Phil and I at a Christmas party

Why are bathrooms always so nicely lit? A question for the ages!
 And then we packed our bags for Christmas family time in both Baltimore for my family and Perryville, Missouri for Phil's family!

Hanging with my nephew Fionn, showing off our Pumphrey good looks!

Sampling the Smoking Swine menu at The Smokehouse in Baltimore- burnt end brisket, elote corn, duck fat green beans, hush puppies, catfish in the back.
After a long day of traveling, Phil and I made it to Perryville in one piece.
Awesome X-Mas present from my in-laws- RAINBOW KNIVES OMG!
Balsman kids-and-spouses dinner!
Ladies of House Balsman
My niece actually took an interest in my process of making Shrink plastic magnets. I'm not a kid person, but this was pretty fun.

New Years! Back home, drinking tea and watching Deadwood. Aaaaahhhhh.... ^___^

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Aftermath: NYCC 2014

OMG, New York Comic Con... My last show of the season and most definitely my busiest, craziest and 'chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out'-iest. This 4-day behemoth of nerd and pop culture (Oct 9-12) was the site of our lovely 10x10 shared booth #2875 on the Exhibitor floor, that I shared with partners-in-crime Little Asian Sweatshop and Maria Danalakis.

Got my Natalie Dormer smirk on!
I came in to start setting up Tuesday by bringing our tables and chairs, because on the Exhibitor floor you are only buying space. You can rent tables and chairs from the convention center, but you will be charged an arm and a leg for them. I just went ahead and bought some fold away tables at Home Depot. Still cheaper. Wednesday all three of us came in and brought our merch and started setting up our booth. We have also started realizing the amazingness of TARPS! We can set up all our stuff and just leave it on the table if it's covered! Before, we used to take everything and put it under the table, then every morning of the show put it back where it was. It was a huge pain. Not anymore, tarps are where it's at!

Each different color was a price group. Dark blue where we were was the 'cheap seats', but still was almost 2 grand for just a 10x10 space.
Tuesday's load-in, all by myself! 2 tables, 2 chairs!
Wednesday's setup! Home for the next 4 days!
 Thursday was crazy. I don't know if it was that Johnny-Come-Lately ticket holders could only get that day because they're not used to the INSANITY that NYCC has become or what. (Seriously people, start paying attention.) But Thursday was literally like a Saturday at any other show, but spread over about 4 football fields and consistently busy. We were NOT expecting that, especially with what little we knew about traffic on the main floor. Most of my experience on the main floor of NYCC has been in passing (save for 2010 when I shared a booth), passing and weaving and trying to get from point A to point B in one piece. But behind the safety of 'Fort Booth' we at least could stand in our own personal bubbles and take in the crazy crowd flows and people watch. And of course, network and make money! The crowds were so crazy on Thursday that almost half of mine and Fenny's giveaway promo postcards were GONE. And we got A THOUSAND of them, each! Fenny and I were thinking we'd have to run to Staples in Midtown and run off some Xeroxes before they close. Which would have suuuuucked. And then this is how smart and awesome my husband is: while at home, he found a local print shop that can make us actual postcards and then suggested Fenny and I get 1 card with both our graphics on either side. See, we had both been giving out individual cards. At the same events, where we're usually standing right next to each other. If we have one card for the both of us- twice as many cards to go around. Duhhhhh, me. Which is good, because with rush fees we had to shell out like $430 for them. A mistake we won't make again. Plus now- double exposure for our brands!
Our view from the booth of the far left wall of the main exhibit hall
Since all 3 of us girls love to dress up for shows but wanted to wear different stuff but still match in some weird way, we decided each of our days would have a theme. Thursday was TRAVEL! I was a Stewardess, Fenny was a Star Trek OS ensign and Maria was a sailor! So by air, by space and by sea!

We are now beginning our descent into NYCC. Please return your trays to their upright position
I think the addition of my beehive wig really adds to it.

With the crowds as crazy as they were, there were also no announcements being made for the exhibitor floor closing at 7pm. Actually as far as I could tell there weren't any announcements at all on the exhibitor floor. So at 7, the floors were still full of attendees and potential customers. I mean it's not like all of the people on the floor are just going to "poof", go away right as the clock strikes 7. So they *finally* got con staff to go down each aisle and herd the attendees down towards the exits around 7:30. Which sucked because we were trying to get down to the Rawr! Burlesque show in Dumbo, Brooklyn at 8 and totally missed it. Boo. Oh well, we got burritos.

Aw! Maria's sisters came by to wish us luck!

Then came FRIDAY!! We were already BEAT just from Thursday. We took a car service from my apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the Javits Center all the way over on the Hudson in Manhattan. Traffic was crazy. Today's dress-up theme was FORMAL FRIDAY. Fenny and I bagged our outfits to put on at the show, because they were redonk and we were going to again attempt to go out after the show.
Still kicking! Let's do this!!

I was Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe, much like I was at Dr. Sketchy's Factory Party way back when. I went without my glasses, so most people I know were indistinguishable blobs until they came within 6 feet of me. Fenny wore her wedding dress with Chun-Li hair buns and Maria was proper dainty lady. It was busy Friday but almost not as crazy as Thursday, which was weird. It was still busy enough though. Marilyn was a bit much to wear for vending a show as intense as NYCC, it's really a drinking and partying costume. In a well-lit bar. The restrictive dress, lashes, gloves and blue fur stole are fine for 3-4 hours, but a 9 hour workday and you wanna rip everything off and go screaming naked down the aisles. As the day progressed you could see my wig slide further back on my head, haha.

Formal Friday Booth Selfie!!
More Marilyn.
Our booth, looking slightly more disheveled.
After the show on Friday we went and saw the opening of Daughters of the Atom, an X-Men tribute art show at One-Shot Gallery, which is in St. Marks Comics in the East Village. I had done a Ladytron piece for this gallery over the summer for an Image Comics tribute show.

I did two pieces this go around- Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik and her best friend Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat. You can see more about my pieces (including purchasing information) and the rest of the pieces in the show at the online gallery!

Kitty and her dragon Lockheed.
Me at the opening, I'm so tired.

We were already pretty over everything by the time Saturday rolled around. Commuting to the show was awful. The trains were all screwed up by my house so we had to take a car and it was raining like crazy. Getting in was a cattle call. I had a mild freakout. It was a rough start.

"A Joe in a Pit of SNAKES!"
Our theme today was 'Retro G.I.Joe and Cobra'! Fenny and I reprised our roles as Office Baroness and Cobra HR Manager and were joined by tablemate Maria as G.I. Jane and special guest star cosplay buddie Val as "Shirley from the Crimson Guard division".

Me and the Boss.
I was a grumpy Baroness- my hair curled up in the rain.
Maria was adorably earnest as G.I.Jane.
As far as Saturday went, it was pretty busy. By lunchtime we had all made back our table costs, so yay! Most of it was a blur. I know Fenny and I went home and stuffed delivery nachos in our faces over the stove. We were also in bed by 10:00- because we're all about that rock and roll lifestyle, amirite??

Gone without a trace.
Sunday's theme was "We're SO TIRED!" Nothing fancy, just us and our normal clothes. 

Casual Sunday!
All three of us did awesome this year! It took me about a week to recover and a day of bed rest just to catch up on sleep! I just want to say thank you to everyone who came by our table over the weekend. My body may have been chewed up and spit out, but my heart is over the moon seeing all your lovely faces. Let's do it all again next year, because it's going to take me that long to forget how bad my calves hurt at the end of the show.

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