2016 Goals and Art on Etsy!

Hello, friends!

It really has been quite a while, hasn’t it? I didn’t intend to go MIA for so long, but 2016 has proved to be a weird year so far. From dealing with life in the office, some car stuff, family drama, and creating some new art, it has been really challenging. And trying to make time to see friends and even hang out with the boy has been hard (the boy and I live together but out schedules are complete opposite).

Even with a lot going on, I really think this year will be a game changer when it comes to art. I have many ideas floating through my head, and I’ve taken whatever free time I have to fill up my sketchbook with these (even if they are silly).

One of the things you’ll see more of from me is more inked or watercolour pieces. You might remember I introduced little watercolours at 2015’s MISTI-CON. I had some pretty good interest in those and also made some for comic cons. I’ll probably introducing more of these in batches, but you can now find the small watercolours from different fandoms in my Etsy shop! I only make a limited batch or two when I can, so if you want one, now’s the time to get one! Once a piece is gone, it’s GONE!
watercolour example setI also have some bigger inked pieces I made when I was trying to do Inktober 2015 (note: DON’T do Inktober right before moving and selling at cons!). Working with Sumi ink again was nice, so I thought I’d continue inking more pieces so I can make a sketchbook when I’m done. I love the path it’s taking, as the theme is inspired by the wizarding world and supernatural. I also think I’m weird and I like strange creatures.

basiliskinked blastendedskrewtdrawingIf all goes well, my goal is to have this “Book of Magical and Weird Things” done in this summer so I can debut them Granite State Comicon in September. I’d love to have 31 inked pieces for this…so I still have some ways to go. I’ll keep you updated on how things are coming along. Some of my originals are up on Etsy if you’d like something one-of-a-kind! I’ll be putting another small batch once I get a few more inked pieces done over the next week!

Ideas for new prints are in the works (and secret for now…shh!). But I am having some fun dabbling in some original ideas for new stickers (and maybe zine/comic). All I can say is that the stickers are fortune/divination related. And the potential zine/comic involve dim sum foods (which I haven’t had in AGES!). Sketches below:
dimsumdrawings fortunesketches

And that’s where I’ll leave off for now. I can definitely tell you I’ll have new prints for the summer…and possibly some new name tag stickers. Of course, things could change, so I’m taking it one day at a time.

I’ll also be posting up my long overdue SuperWhoLock gift guide (for any occasion) because…why not?

Until next time, cheers!

Holiday Gift Guide: Harry Potter

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And I’m back with another holiday gift guide- this time for Harry Potter fans! I have been a long-time fan of Harry Potter and the wizarding world, so I have a huge appreciation for any magical decor and designs. I also love how small business owners and artists have gotten creative to show some love for this series too.

Here are my top 7 favorite gifts you can give to any Potterhead this holiday season!

1. HPA Mugs! The Harry Potter Alliance is always doing great things when it comes to supporting Harry Potter, activism and making the world a better place. By buying merch from their shop, all the funds go straight back into the non-profit to help cool projects like building libraries or running campaigns for literacy, human rights and much more. You can’t go wrong with a When in Doubt, Go to the Library mug. Or what about the Books Turn Wizards in Muggles mug? You can put anything in these, from tea to coffee to juice (and alcohol).

When In Doubt mug by the Harry Potter Alliance

When In Doubt mug by the Harry Potter Alliance

Books Turn Muggles Into Wizards Mug by the Harry Potter Alliance

Books Turn Muggles Into Wizards Mug by the Harry Potter Alliance

 

2. Butterbeer Soap! The House of Wormwood makes wonderful soaps, like this Butterbeer soap. It smells like Butterbeer but it’s not too strong. It lathers up nicely and doesn’t leave the residue like most soaps do, so you’ll feel nice and clean. My boyfriend actually approves of this soap, and that is saying a lot coming from him (since he usually doesn’t care about skin products). Make sure to check out the House of Wormwood’s other Harry Potter-related soaps too (she has some pretty fun references!).

Butterbeer soap by the House of Wormwood

Butterbeer soap by the House of Wormwood

 

3. Potion Necklaces (or ornaments)! Miniature potions in any shape or form are really cool. There are so many options and interpretations for the many potions that exist in the wizarding world. TayPop does an excellent job of recreating our favourite potions with these Harry Potter potion necklaces. You can choose from 19 different potions as well as  necklace chains or cords. This is great customizable gift for any Harry Potter fan (or maybe for yourself).

Harry Potter Potion Necklaces by Taypop

Harry Potter Potion Necklaces by Taypop

If you’re not keen on wearing your potion, you can always consider potions ornaments to bring out some geeky decor for the holidays (and these aren’t just for Christmas trees either).

Harry Potter Potions Ornaments by TayPop

Harry Potter Potions Ornaments by TayPop

 

4. Hogwarts House Banners! Dariti Designs has so much love for Hogwarts. She shows house pride with these Hogwarts banners, which add a great touch for home decor. Since I’ve retaken the Pottermore quiz a while back and the Sorting Hat declared I have a wee bit more Slytherin than Gryffindor in me, I’ve been very fond of this medium sized Slytherin banner.

Banners come in 3 different sizes (mini, small and medium) AND they come in different variations (with the house letter or the house animal and with/without a crest. While she’s booked for custom orders this holiday season, she does have some ready-to-ship banners looking for new homes!

Slytherin House Banner by Dariti Designs

Slytherin House Banners by Dariti Designs

 

5. Wands (premade or custom)!  OrchardWorks has a great selection of wands if you’re looking for one for a family member or friend. They offer simple designs as well as some more complex ones. They have a lot of woods to choose from, and they do have some Harry Potter replica-inspired design. I love how their Luna Lovegood wand turned out!

Luna Lovegood Inspired Magic Wand by OrchardWorks

Luna Lovegood Inspired Magic Wand by OrchardWorks

Most wands are made-to-order, so I would message the owners to see what their turnaround time is (since they might be slammed with requests). I’ve ordered a custom Pottermore wand during the summer convention season and was able to get my wand created and shipped to me within a week. They’re very responsive and can work with you to make whatever you would like and to get it to you on time. Just give them as much detail as possible so they can expedite your request! And unlike the resin wands, having a wood wand is more lightweight and natural-feeling.

Pottermore or Intermediate Custom Wand by OrchardWorks

Pottermore or Intermediate Custom Wand by OrchardWorks

 

6. Sorcerer Socks and Sleeves! These Sorcerer Socks by Sock Dreams are fun enough to show off your house pride! They come in all the house colors and are made of nylon and lycra. Each pair are approximately knee-high, about 16 inches from heel to top and fit women’s shoe sizes 6-9.

Sorcerer Socks by Sock Dreams

Sorcerer Socks by Sock Dreams

If you’re not crazy about the socks, the Sorcerer Sleeves are a great alternative to consider. Great to wear on a cold day or just for fun. They’re open at the hands so you can still do what you need to do (like spellwork or chores around the Burrow).

Sorcerer Sleeves by Sock Dreams

Sorcerer Sleeves by Sock Dreams

 

7. Magical Notebooks and Planners! You can never have enough notebooks if you want to write stories, jot down ideas or make checklists for yourself. Celestefrittata Bottega Online has some stylish notebooks for on-the-go. You can choose from a notebook option with blank pages, or a planner option with daily or weekly pages. Planner pages are all set for the 2016, so this option is perfect for those who want to get better at being organized. Covers are based on Hogwarts topics. I particularly love this Transfiguration notebook or planner…the cover suits the subject very well. Hermione would approve.

Transfiguration Notebook or Planner by Celestefrittata Bottega Online

Transfiguration Notebook or Planner by Celestefrittata Bottega Online

As an extra 8th gift idea for a Potterhead, I am also offering my own Harry Potter Holiday Gift Bundle in my Etsy shop! This limited time bundle includes a print, tea samples, buttons, name tag stickers and a postcard. They can easily serve as a great stocking stuffers because of the small size of these items. I will be offering this bundle for the rest of the month, so there’s plenty of time to snag one!

Harry Potter Fandom Holiday Gift Bundle by Black Out Art

Harry Potter Fandom Holiday Gift Bundle by Black Out Art

And that’s a wrap! My next holiday gift guide will cover SuperWhoLock (Supernatural, Doctor Who and Sherlock). Stay tuned for more!

Holiday Gift Guide: Multi-Fandom

It’s always a challenge every year to find holiday gifts for friends and family. Trends are always changing and there are so many great things to choose from. If you want to find something that stands out, consider buying from a small business, local artist or creator.

A lot of these folks (artists and myself included) put a lot of hard work and love into what they do to ensure they can make people happy. Small businesses also offer a lot of unique items you can’t just buy from the mall, making these gifts one-of-a kind and extra special.

I’ve always been wanting to make a series like this for a long time, so I’m introducing my own curated geeky (and basic) holiday gift guides! I’ll be posting a new one (almost) every day for this week, and that should give you plenty of ideas for shopping. 🙂 Here’s my first gift guide…

holsguidefandom

Today is focused on all things fandom. Whether you love Supernatural, Harry Potter or Avengers, there are plenty of gifts that can satisfy anyone’s nerdy heart. Here are my top 7 favorite gifts that come in various options for multiple fandoms (whatever is your cuppa!):

1. SHIRTS! You can never have enough shirts, whether they be tees, sweatshirts (and tanks too). If you like fandom references, The Colorful Geek has a lot of shirts to choose from for men, women and kids. I’m especially fond of this 221B tee (but she also has shirts for Potterheads, Whovians and others!).

221B T-shirt by The Colorful Geek

221B T-shirt by The Colorful Geek

If you’re going for something more subtle and love typography, consider awesome sweatshirts by Jordandene. These are super cozy and comfortable to wear, and I’ve gotten away wearing these to work (but maybe that’s because I work for a font company). You can geek out without overdoing it.

I Know My Value sweatshirt by Jordandene

I Know My Value sweatshirt by Jordandene

 

2. FANDOM TEAS! Adagio fandom blends is AWESOME if you’re looking for unique loose leaf teas. You can get these in different sizes, which is great for those who love tea or folks who are new to it. Samplers are great ways to try different flavours and are easy to wrap up as gifts. You can also buy tins individually (each hold about 0.5 oz. of tea). Or you can get 3 oz. bags or 5 oz. tins.

Cara McGee‘s Sherlock teas and Aun-Juli Riddle‘s Tales of Tea Leaves (Lord of the Rings) teas are pretty much awesome. My personal favorite out of my own tea blend collection: Freakin’ Apple Pie. It’s for anytime and anywhere.

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Sherlock Tea Sampler by Cara McGee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aunjulisherlockteas

Tales and Tea Leaves (LotR) Tea Sampler by Aun-Juli Riddle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kmoyapplepietea

Freakin’ Apple Pie tea by Kristina Moy on Adagio Teas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. GEEKY CANDLES! Candles are great for book lovers, or if you want to make a room smell good. I love Frostbeard candles since their scents are wonderful but not too smelly or overpowering. They also release limited scents every month. This Christmas in the Great Hall makes we want to go to Hogwarts for the hols. Tarts are also available for those who have a tart warmer.

Christmas in the Great Hall Candle by Frostbeard

Christmas in the Great Hall Candle by Frostbeard

 

4. MAKEUP FOR NERDS! Shiro Cosmetics is my new favorite place to get makeup because not only is it all handmade, but there are a lot of products based on fandoms like Game of Thrones, Pokemon and more.  There are sooo many shades of eyeshadows, as well as fun lip glosses, lip tints and face powders. I usually don’t get too crazy with eyeshadows, but I love the Hobbit collection. For lips, the Mizaki Lip Balm Tints are absolutely awesome for people who don’t like to wear lipstick. The colors are gorgeous!

Hobbit Eyeshadow Collection by Shiro Cosmetics

Hobbit Eyeshadow Collection by Shiro Cosmetics

Mizaki Lip Balm Tints by Shiro Cosmetics

Mizaki Lip Balm Tints by Shiro Cosmetics

 

5. FANDOM BUTTONS (also keychains and jewelry)!  Because I love quotes and typography, Pepper’s Pins is a great place to get stocking stuffers for your fellow nerds. You can get individual buttons, sets, and even ask for keychains, magnetic charm bracelets and necklaces. I love this Sherlock button set. And this Avengers interchangeable charm bracelet is pretty cool. You can change your bracelet with a new charm everyday!

Sherlock Button Set by Pepper's Pins

Sherlock Button Set by Pepper’s Pins

 

Avengers Interchangeable Charm Bracelet by Pepper's Pins

Avengers Interchangeable Charm Bracelet by Pepper’s Pins

 

6. CHARACTER PILLOWS! Heart Felt Design makes the cutest character pillows from all different fandoms! Each one is made-to-order out of fleece and are wicked great gifts for anyone! She also takes custom orders too. I have to admit, I’d love to have these Supernatural pillows in my living room.

Supernatural Character Fleece Pillows by Heart Felt Design

Supernatural Character Fleece Pillows by Heart Felt Design

 

7. GEEKY HAND TOWELS! You can’t go wrong with a fandomy hand towel for your bathroom or kitchen. Whether you like Adventure Time, Star Trek, or video games, Seams Geeky has it all. Designs are made-to-order one at a time. I really love this Kirby towel…I swear this is something he would do if he flattened himself.

Kirby Hand Towel by Seams Geeky

Kirby Hand Towel by Seams Geeky

That wraps up this gift guide for now. The next edition is going to cover gifts for the ultimate Harry Potter fan! Stay tuned for more!

A Brief Glimpse into 2015 Fall Conventions

Hello, friends! It has been a very busy summer/fall with some HUGE changes (new job, new car and moving into a new apartment in a very short time). I’ve also been playing with new ways to display my table at conventions and also queuing up all a lot of fun subjects to draw so I can keep making new art. And of course, trying to figure out time to make new teas and run the Etsy shop.

The 2015 Con season has finally wrapped up for me and all my events turned out all right, so that’s good news! It is always a challenge to trying to change things up every year since so many things can factor how well an event does.

I’ll be honest…I didn’t do as great as I hoped because higher table prices and sub-par traffic coming in and out of the artist alley. But I do consider breaking even and making even a little profit a great goal, which I met for MISTI-Con, Granite State Comic Con and Rhode Island Comic Con.

While I’ve covered MISTI in my last post, I can say Granite State is always exciting to go to because it almost feels like coming home. It’s the very first convention I started selling my stuff at, and it’s gotten me a lot of awareness and helped me make new friends. I debuted some mini watercolours to see how these would do, and it helped out a lot. It changes things up and it was a new way to add something fun to the table.

My table at Granite State!

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With Rhode Island Comic Con, it was definitely a packed event. It’s always an interesting one, though I wasn’t terribly happy with the way things were set up. Having one exit for all the artists on my side to come and go for food and bathrooms was very challenging. And splitting the artist alley and vendors really killed the usual Sunday sales I normally get. It was a sad, but I still had a lot of fun hanging out with new and old friends. And my sassy birds and stupid fish were a big hit here. It was nice to get some original art recognized!

My fun RICC table and a sassy picture of me, taken by Jon Decker Photography.
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I’m already looking into 2016 to see which cons I’d like to sell at. I’m always up for trying new events out too. So if you’d like to see Black Out art at a convention near you, let me know in the comments!

Otherwise, I hope to see some of you at Northeast Comicon next week, which I’ll be going to for fun (as a TF2 Blu Sniper or pirate- I haven’t decided yet).