FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Inspiration

I wish I knew. Sometimes it’s as easy as trying to combine two thing that haven’t been combined before–lemons and antelope, say, or pangolins and stars. Sometimes it just comes to me out of the blue, and an idea drops fully formed into my brain, and I have to go paint it or write it Right This Minute, or else.

Writing

A lot.
Well, if you count 100+ page comic collections as a book, then over twenty. If you don’t, then still over twenty, but slightly less than before.
I get that a lot. I was born in Japan, my favorite book is “The Hero And The Crown” by Robin Mckinley, I wanted to become a writer because I ran out of books about talking animals to read, my biggest influence is nature, and my advice for young writers/artists is to just start, because you can’t get better unless you practice. Please refer to this, because I can no longer do homework e-mails due to sheer volume.
Sadly, for legal reasons, I can’t use fan ideas. That means that if you tell me the idea, you guarantee I will never, ever be able to use it, so please, please, don’t tell me! Lawyers make these rules! I’m very sorry.
Nope! I am flattered you want my opinion, but I really truly do not give book critiques. It is not in my skillset. All I will say is “That seems nice!” because I don’t critique. Ever. Under any circumstances.

Purchasing Art

You can buy Limited Edition prints through the Artwork section of the website. For all other prints, Topatoco will be handling them, and links will be available when they’re for sale.
Absolutely! All you have to do is send me an e-mail with which prints you want, and we can set something up. I take check or money order (as long as it’s in USD) and I’m even open to barter and trade, so break out the cowrie shells!
As often as possible! Mostly at conventions these days, though, because I no longer make enough to sell online.
Yes, but not through the main site–contact Ursula to set that up if there’s a piece you remember that is no longer available on either site.

Commissions and Permissions

No. I am no longer giving permission for my art to be tubed at this time. (Too much spam! Too many e-mails! Can’t handle the load! Trying to come up with a licensing solution…)
If you include a link/copyright notice thingy, then yes.
I am not currently taking commissions at this time. I am buried in work, alas!

Technique

It’s neat. It’s a hard board like masonite, coated with a thin white layer of a gesso-like clay. It makes a really neat surface to paint on. It’s sold by Ampersand. These days I use their clayboard and gessoboard a great deal.
Ah, glorious mixed media. Mostly what that means is that I used watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, acrylic ink, and fluid acrylics in a glorious mishmash. I highly recommend PITT pens from Faber & Castell and FW Daler inks, as well as Prismacolor pencils.
Anything I feel like! I never met a medium I didn’t want to at least try. The majority of my artwork these days is either mixed media or done digitally. I like to work on clayboard, gessoboard, and plain old illustration board.
You’ll have to be more specific. Seriously, I’m delighted to give the benefit of my dubious experience, but too often I get “Do you have any advice?” which is sorta unanswerable. Clean your brush a lot? Palette knives are really handy? Wacom tablets are the best? People’s ears are bigger and lower than you think? Ask me a specific question, and I’ll go on forever, but please be specific.
Buy a wacom graphire tablet packaged with Painter Classic. For a hundred bucks, you get a sturdy tablet, and a program that’ll at least get your feet wet. Later, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a version of Painter with layers, but that’s my advice to start.
I like Painter7, a Wacom Intuos 2 4 x 5 tablet, and occasionally Photoshop for layout and printing.

Education and Promotion

Nope! I took several art classes in college, but it’s really not necessary to go to art school–anything you can learn in the classroom, you can learn on your own. The nice thing about art classes is that you run through all the techniques and whatnot much faster than you would on your own, and get exposed to a great many new media, so they’re very useful–but at the end of the day, practicing on your own is still the way you get better.
Well, it can’t hurt.
DeviantArt is the current top. These things go in cycles, though–a site gets huge, everybody jumps on it, then it gets TOO huge, lumbers to oblivion, and everybody jumps ship to something more easily navigated. WARNING: May contain some content not suitable for children under 13.
Word of mouth, usually–I’m really bad about keeping track of cons, so I generally don’t hear about it until another artist I know goes “Are you doing ____con?” and I go “Where’s that?” People also occasionally ask me to come as a guest, which makes it easier.
“You can’t be afraid to make bad art,” as I think a painting prof of mine once said…or possibly my friend Harpold…cripes, it’s been too long.
Anything involving doing free art for “the exposure.” Do free art because you like the idea, because you want to help the cause, because you have nothing better to do, but don’t delude yourself.

Products and Suppliers

The teas were supplied by Empire Teas. They make all kinds of great teas. They won’t have the fancy labels, though.