Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indie Comic Treasures; Review of Footprints #2

I've heard some people complaining recently that comic books have become too mainstream, and that they're considered "cool" now. I'm confused as to how this is something to complain about. More people reading comics means there's more money for creators, artists and publishers. It means that there are not only more from the big two (Marvel and DC), but from the indie creators as well. How is this a bad thing? Please, explain.

Anyway, with that off my chest, I finally got to read my personal favorite indie comic's second installment. For those who haven't been following Joey Esposito and Jonathan Moore's Kickstarter project, Footprints, I'm happy to announce that it was fully funded and even got picked up by publishing company, 215 Ink. You would be hard pressed to find a better example of two hard working guys living the comic book dream.

If you didn't catch my review of Footprints #1, you can find that here. When we last left Mr. Foot, his brother, Yeti had been mysteriously murdered, and he had assembled his crack team of cryptids to get to the bottom of it.

Book 2 is more of a back story book than an action book. In it, Bigfoot talks more about his brother, and why they had become estranged. It may not surprise you to learn that a woman is at the heart of that issue. The dangerously beautiful Motheresa (yes, a moth woman, with wings and antennae) comes to the Foot Bros. (that's the name of their P.I. biz) with an urgent problem, much larger in scale than anything the brothers had previously taken on. Yeti is instantly enthralled by Motheresa and is eager to help her. Foot, however, stays wary of the siren and her plea.

Some people might stop here and say something about how the "dame in distress" routine is played out, predictable and cliche. They may even venture to accuse Esposito of not being creative enough in his story. Well, they would be dead wrong. The entire point of Footprints is that it's a classic crime noir tale. While Esposito and Moore have turned the genre on its head, they haven't done that by means of the story line itself. Joey and Jon have upset the noir style by inserting cryptid creatures in as the main (and supporting) characters. The familiar style of story telling gives readers a foothold in the book. Having a familiar element in an otherwise unfamiliar world makes this book something anyone would enjoy, not just those into Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

Let me put it this way; there are a group of people who live in my town that go out every year, searching for Bigfoot. They have Bigfoot calls, traps and all that jazz. It's not my thing. Footprints, however, is completely my thing.

As with Footprints one, Jonathan Moore has completely outdone himself as far as the artwork is concerned. The style is stark, inky and mysterious. There's something to be said about an artists who can replicate a style of drawing nearly forgotten and yet still retain his own individuality. Even in black and white, there is emotion, movement, and when there's a puddle of blood on the ground, it is most definitely blood, and not another mysterious substance. Personally, I'm amazed by artists who can communicate whatever they wish to without the use of color, just skill alone.

While we see all the characters from book one (along with some new ones) I feel like Megalodon is the one who really shines. His part in the book is a small one, but definitely the most present; and not just because he's a giant shark who wears a mask.

Nessy's information gathering technique is to sleep with her targets. As Don's girlfriend, you can imagine how well he takes this. Unlike Nessy, Don is confined to the water, which is a constant source of frustration for him, as he's often left to guard the headquarters. The rest of the crew assume that he's alright with this, because, well, he can't really follow them on land.

We see being treated like a glorified guard dog wearing on Don in book one, but it comes to a head in book two as, at the end, he's left to guard the headquarters once more. As Foot and Nessy rush off after a disturbing phone call, Don's monster nature gets the better of him. We're left to imagine what kind of horrors come next, as Don breaks through the glass that separates him from his colleagues, looses the mask, and grins a terrible grin. I thought it quite exhilarating to see the animal nature come out of the terrible creature.

That's what the cryptid crew of Footprints is doing, after all. Fighting the nature of the beasts they are. Trying to fit in with humans who are so much more fragile than they are. I look forward to seeing which proves more lethal in the coming story; the nature of the beast, or the nature of man. In the case of Motheresa, who seems to be the villain to watch, she possesses physically and mentally the nature of both man and beast. Which of the two makes her a villain? I am eager to find out.

Those who backed the Kickstarter project, you'll be getting at the least digital versions of Footprints #1-4. For those who are just hearing about this marvelous series, go right now to your local comic book store and tell them you'd like them to order Footprints from 215 Ink. As with most indie and creator owned comic books, the writers and artists depend very heavily on their fans to get word out. You can also find more information on 215 Ink's website. If you're heading to Long Beach Comic Con, or Comikaze Expo the writer, Joey Esposito will be at 215 Ink's booth, selling and signing copies of Footprints. Stop by and tell him hello!

As always, thanks for reading.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Wonderful Discovery; Becky & Frank's Tigerbuttah

My husband, Dennis, has been following the t-shirt production of a certain web comic on for years now. That comic is Tiny Kitten Teeth by a pair of brilliant young folks who go by Becky and Frank. Imagine my delight as I was aimlessly wondering the floor of San Diego Comic Con 2011 to spy the Tiny Kitten Teeth banner in the web comic section.

I went over to inspect the wares of this adorable little gem when suddenly I spied a small, cheerful display of the single most soul-warmingly adorable book I had ever seen. The happy little cover proclaimed that it was a "Tigerbuttah" golden book style storybook. I was completely paralyzed by cuteness.

The Tigerbuttah golden book was actually a Kickstarter project that Frank and Becky did. I am so incredibly glad it got funded. I immediately bought a copy for Fiona. Becky even put Fiona's name in the inside cover and drew a kitten for her. SOOOO CUUUUUTTTEEEEE. As soon as Fiona got home from grandma's house yesterday, I gave her the book. It's been less than 24 hours since I gave my daughter Tigerbuttah and she's already insisted I read it to her six times. Every time she sees it, she has to have it read to her. She calls it "Tigerbwahbwah" which is so cute I could die.

The story of Tigerbuttah is actually really terrific. Tigerbuttah looses his ability to imagine and pretend, then goes on a great adventure in a big, yellow balloon and meets all kinds of adorable new friends who help him to get his imagination back.

Tigerbuttah's art is exquisite. The colors are vivid, the scenes are detailed, and every last character is adorable. The style really does hearken back to the days of my youth when I would read The Pokey Little Puppy over and over. There is so much energy and life in Tigerbuttah and his little friends that every page is a delight to behold.

Honestly, I can't say enough good things about Tigerbuttah. If you have a young 'un, this is certainly a must have in your library. The message is timeless and appropriate for any age. If you use your imagination, you can go on fantastic adventures every day. On top of that, did I mention it's so cute you could die? I'm pretty sure I did, but it warrants another mention. CUTE.

You can pick up a copy at Tiny Kitten Teeth's Topatoco page. Just click here. Oh, and while you're there I also recommend you pick up their Pabst Blue Kitten tshirt. There is so much adorable going on in Tiny Kitten Teeth's little corner of the Internet that you just can't settle for only one thing in your basket. :)

In closing, let me reiterate that if you are looking for an amazing story with fantastic illustrations that's one of a kind and wonderful, you need to pick up Tigerbuttah. Get a few copies, actually. Keep one, get one for a friend, take one to your local elementary school library so you can share the precious joy that Tigerbuttah brings to readers of all ages.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Most Frequently" at San Diego Comic Con 2011

I know it's been a while everyone, and I apologize. Honestly, my inspiration fell flat, and my time became much more of an issue. This summer has been hectic and awesome and I just got back this morning at 2am from San Diego where I worked at the San Diego Comic Con. It was so fun, and I got to make a lot of my twitter friends, so that's always awesome.

This installment of my blog will feature phrases, costumes, and stuff in general I saw the most at SDCC this year. Those of you who attended with me can probably relate to this post, so comment away. :)

So where to begin...

Matt Smith Cosplay
It seems like, as I worked the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth, there was at any given moment someone dressed up as the 11th doctor. Boys, girls, grown adults, the floor was filled with bobbing fezes. Fezzes? yes, fezzes. I even got to meet one young man who was actually British, brunette and adorable who did the Matt Smith. It was awesome. Though, I did hear two little twelve year old girls in way-too-short mini skirts puzzled as to why people were wearing fezzes, which made me giggle. I guess there's all kinds of nerdery out there, but it seemed a pretty absurd question at the time.

Avengers Assemble
Ok, I like Captain America. He's awesome. Also, there was a ton of great Cap cosplay at Con. My issue is this; with the practically endless list of terrific Cap quotes to choose from, the only one I heard any of the cosplayers exclaim was "Avengers, assemble!" Really? I honestly thought that I would hear at least one "You think this A on my head stands for France?!"

Every morning, as soon as the pre-recorded announcer lady warned us that the exhibit hall was "now open to the public", the crowds would waddled in amid the choruses of "NO RUNNING IN THE HALL!" For the first five minutes the floor was open there wasn't one "attendee" who didn't look like a duck that had been hit by a car. Gotta be first in line for the free stuff, you know. I guess...

Con Hoes
As they bottle necked the traffic in front of our booth, Betsy mumbles something about con hoes, to which Dave replies, "They're like regular pants, but smaller."

Arkham Asylum Demo
It was awful. Scripted, with a girl who was absolutely not chosen at random and wasn't actually playing. I heard it about five times a day, and the announcer was so loud and yelly and obnoxious that he actually was loosing his voice by Saturday. Awful. And loud, and it gets really annoying. Did I mention that? Because I don't feel bad about mentioning it again. It was that bad. Thanks, DC.

Man Hating Catwoman Girl
I only had the pleasure of hearing her assault Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder and a panel full of other DC big wigs once, but that was enough. I guess she did it again, if I read the tweets correctly. Anyway, short story, this girl dressed as Catwoman got in like for Q and A at the New 52 panel and was like, "Are you committed to hiring more female artists and writers?!" Then continued to insist that DC has no women and that it's a boys club because she's been to all the panels and they're all men. Whatever Catwhineygirl! People are people. Can we please get over if they're men or women? They're talented, and that's enough.

Angry Birds Guy
I only saw one guy dressed as Angry Birds, but he was always in front of the booth. Always. He wore a beak and had angry bird plushies on his shoulders, and he'd built his entire sling shot out of PVC. It was pretty impressive, but also the lamest cosplay I've seen to date. Really? Angry Birds is a cosplay now? That's really reaching.

I had never actually heard it used earnestly in conversation until my first night a Comic Con. It was pretty freaking hilarious. "There are two stories, n00b!" he said to his buddy, pointing to the stairs, at the top of which the panel rooms sit. There was no sarcasm when he used it. He honestly just calls people n00bs when not sitting in front of a computer screen. To me, that is weird and funny.

Lantern T-Shirts
I appreciated the shirts. There were a TON of them. So this wasn't funny, or annoying or stupid. There were just a lot of lantern shirts there. Go figure, right? But still cool.

Lost Children
Sunday is kid's day at San Diego Comic Con. This is a terrible idea. If you've ever been, you know how incredibly difficult it is for an adult to keep their bearings on the con floor. Think of how hard it is for kids to find their way around. Taking small children to Comic Con is just an irresponsible idea. It's one thing if they're strapped in strollers or in packs on your back, but kids who have independent mobility are a liability. I lost count of how many times I heard lost children announcements on Sunday. They may make adorable cosplayers, but seven year olds get waaaaay too hyper at the sight of a giant Lego Batman to keep track of.

TV Nerds
Fillion. (No really, I love Nathan, but hoards of screaming fans behind a removable wall are super irritating.)

Loud Mouth Panel Attendees
There's one in every crowd. I got the pleasure of sitting directly in front of one of them this past weekend. Not fun. They're the one who yells out storyline corrections while the panel members are trying to speak. They're also the people who ask two to three questions in Q & A. It's like they get some kind of gratification for knowing more about the comic books than the people creating them. I think of this as a conditional truth because you can memorize issue numbers and names all you want and it still doesn't mean that you get what's been put into every single book you've read. Anyway...these people are way too common at Cons, and they're always an unwelcome part of every panel you attend.

That's right. Comic books are super hip now. I saw a guy walking around with one of those retro phone receivers that plugs into your cell phone in his back pocket. THIS DEFEATS THE POINT OF HAVING A CELL PHONE. I wasn't aware that comic books are the hipster thing now, and I'm sad to think that I'm a part of a fan community that's ok with punctuation mark bands. Oh well. I'm still a nerd, but I will never, ever carry around a full sizes phone in my pocket so that people who watch me taking calls on it can marvel at how completely ironic I am.

Movie Posters That Don't Matter
I'm ok with getting handed free stuff most of the time, but someone tried to give me a Zookeeper poster while I was wandering aimlessly around the floor one morning. Zookeeper, with Paul Blart Mall Cop. You know the festering turd I speak of. I asked this sweet kid handing them out "What am I going to do with a Zookeeper poster?" His fellow booth slaves immediately answered with "burn it" and "use it as a napkin." I respectfully handed the poster back and moved on saying "Give it to someone who wants it." I am constantly amazed at what people will take home with them just because it's free. I ended up with some free stuff because Conan the Barbarian is AWESOME and I love checking out all the 'unknown' creator booths. I sure as hell am not going to take home a fucking Zookeeper poster. Ugh. If I had to choose between lugging home a Zookeeper poster, and receiving a paper cut, I would take the paper cut. At least that would heal over quickly and the memory would fade with it. A Zookeeper poster would linger and eventually become a threat to the environment as it rots in my backyard making the chickadees sick.

Cosplay Poses
These cute little kids sit at home in front of their mirror and their television simultaneously and practice exactly what pose they will strike when the un costume clad people walking around ask them to stop and pose for a picture. I find this kind of sad. I know it's part of the whole cosplay thing, but it's super hardcore. Feel free to chalk it up to my inability to feel that strongly about anything in life except my adorable kid. I just don't get the appeal. It's like Halloween on steroids and meth at the same time. You pretty much have to be abusing drugs to think that you're getting life experiences out of practicing a pose for six months that you will use for one day. Let me clarify that if you're under the age of 21 then it's totally fine. Kids love that shit. If you're of legal drinking age, there are better things to do with your nights.

Adventure Time Hats
They were everywhere. Was Cartoon Network giving these away or something? Finn hats were like a virus. every time I finished my pitch, I would look up and there would be five more than when I started. I love Adventure Time. It's a fantastic show and I begrudge no one for wanting to wear these hats. But seriously, someone had to be just giving them away because no merchant would have brought that much stock of one single hat design.

People Asking Me Where the DC Booth Was
I think I mentioned early that the CBLDF was stationed directly across from the DC booth. Not only that, but DC wasn't exactly hard to see from anywhere on the con floor. It was surrounded by banners of iconic DC characters that reached from the floor to the ceiling. Yet at least once a day I had someone come up to me asking "Could you tell me where the DC booth is?" The first time this happened I must have given the guy a 'are you pulling my chain look' because after a short silence he said, "Is it right behind me or something?" My only guess is that the people asking me this question have no idea which characters belong to DC and which to Marvel. Then again, they might have just been tired or ditzy. I guess I'll never know.

Comic Con was a great experience. I loved volunteering for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and I got to meet a lot of amazing people. I hope you enjoyed my little list of things that I found frequent at the con. Hopefully soon I'll be putting up some more Con and comic related posts. Until then, goodnight at good luck.

By the way, make sure you're buying Future Foundation. Insider information from @dreamyeyed tells me that Medusa will be appearing in an upcoming book. FUN!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Dear Cal Thomas

Dear Cal Thomas,

Let me, first and foremost, get this off my chest; you're a mean person. You're uninformed, and you've made a mockery of the journalism profession. 

Alright, that's done. Let's get on with what really matters.

I'm writing in regards to your article, Who Has Hijacked Superman and Turned Him into a U.N. Loving, Anti-American. First of  all, whew. What a mouthful! Couldn't think of something more clever, could you? But, I digress. What I'm more concerned about is the subject matter of the article.

In this Fox News blurb, you discuss Superman defecting his citizenship in the book published by Action Comics, The Incident. Problem is, you failed to do your research. You didn't actually read the book you're tearing apart. You just read ONE panel, and said, "I'm so mad, I'm going to write about this." BIG mistake, Mister.

The line you quote is this one: “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy.” which is the reason Superman gives for renouncing his citizenship. You didn't bother to see who was misconstruing Superman's actions. Superman isn't talking about the US government here, he's talking about the Iranian government.

When Superman supported some non-violent protests in Tehran, the Iranian government took this as an act of war committed by the US government. So, by renouncing his American citizenship, Superman is actually PROTECTING America. He's taking the anger of the Iranian government on his own shoulders, and away from the American people. How is this Anti-American? If you had bothered to do any research, or even just to read more than some google image you found on a conservative smear blog, you would know this already.

Let me make a side note here. You state in your article: "Construed? Would comic book readers have heard of such a word?" Yes, yes we have. We can use Wikipedia, too. (Not a legitimate source for news, BTW. Might want to brush up on your AP Style Handbook.) But we really didn't need to. Construed isn't such a big word. Maybe it is for you, but we're perfectly capable of understanding what it means. Hey, we wouldn't be reading if we weren't. We'd be watching TV, like you, since that seems to be your only experience with Superman.

Oh, and while you're Wiki-ing away, why don't you Wiki the writer of the book in question, David S. Goyer, since you didn't even bother to find out who wrote the book before you started bashing on it. Seriously? Who does that?! Better not watch the new movie, he's writing that too. As far as I can tell, he's not on Obama's payroll.

Honestly, after that little gem in your article, it more or less becomes a bunch of blathering I would expect from a mild case of dementia. You might want to go in and get that checked. Listing off superheroes like some cracked out crazy person who has no idea what they're talking about. Since when did these superheroes not fight for the US? Since when do we have a shortage of comic book big-wigs who stand for the American way? Never! By the way, Captain Marvel has been anything but dormant. He's even made appearances in HUGELY popular Frank Miller Batman story arcs. Again, do your research.

Besides the sheer amount of "replacement heroes" as you call them, Superman is not abandoning the USA. DC has assured us that Clark Kent will continue to be the small town boy come big city reporter he's always been. He's not moving out of the country, Superman is still going to fight to protect America. He just doesn't want his actions associated with the US government for fear that it will bring a world of hurt to our country.

Also, it's no new thing that Superman is helping other countries. He stands for the fundamentals that built our country including freedom for all. Superman has always helped those in need no matter what country they live in. Just because the old TV show didn't have the budget to film in exotic locales doesn't mean that Superman's entire scope of reality has been limited to the USA.

Furthermore, the right agenda does not own superheroes. They are fictional characters, and Superman happens to be the intellectual property of DC Comics. Sorry to bust your bubble. Oh, and Captain Planet was a kid's cartoon, not a comic book. Get your references straight.

I guess my biggest beef with you is this; you didn't bother to do your damn research. You went and spewed your self-righteous excuse for journalism all over Fox News without picking up a damn book first to make sure your spewage would actually be credible. If I had written that article in college, I'm pretty sure I would have failed the class immediately. Leave comic book journalism to those who know what the hell they're talking about. The people out there who spend their days tirelessly reading everything they can get their hands on in order to bring genuine, fact-filled information to the public. Don't just get upset about things and fly off the handle before you know the context behind them.

You're making a mockery of journalist everywhere, and especially those who write about comic books. You're also assuming that comic book readers are dumb. That's taking it too far. We are intelligent people who are capable of holding our own in any situation. We're not a bunch of dumb basement-dwellers who can't tell a sandwich from our ass cracks. You would probably be very embarrassed to learn how many people in your own line of work you've just insulted by assuming that comic book readers are idiots.

misconstruing the storyline. For now, that's all I have to say.

P.S. This blog is me getting the rage I feel for the article off my chest. What I will be doing along with this is composing a much more respectful letter to Cal Thomas and the Fox News network to let them know that this affront to comic book journalism hasn't gone unnoticed. If you want an example of how something like this should be phrased, read Joey Esposito's blog on the subject. This is my place to rant, and I did so. Now I'm off to email Cal and Fox News in an eloquent and polite manner. I suggest you all do the same. 
Call Fox News at: 1-866-369-4762

We can make a difference if we try. As Joey so poignantly tweeted, "Supes belongs to the World."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Bigfoot, Murder and Mayhem; a Review of Footprints #1

For those not in the know, my buddy over at, Mr. Joey Esposito, has written a comic. And it's amazing. Between Esposito and artist, Jonathan Moore, we're given a true Noir tale that rivals the best of the industry's 'who-done-it' epics. And I've only read the first book.

The basic premise of Footprints is this; Bigfoot's brother Yeti is murdered, and he leaves behind clues as to who and why. We find that "Mr. Foot", as he is sometimes called, is a detective of sorts and he's eager to get the old gang back together to sort things out.

Bigfoot's team consists of The Jersey Devil, El Chupacabra, The Loch Ness Monster, and Megalodon. The story also hints at a Moth Woman being involved, but that character has yet to make a physical appearance. While a detective and information gathering team consisting entirely of crypto zoological characters is exciting enough, the characterization of each one is simply astounding.

This is no Harry and the Hendersons Bigfoot. Esposito's Foot is highly intelligent and has a nice dusting of brooding recluse to boot. The story hints of a falling out the team had which may have a lot to do with Bigfoot's solitary attitude. He's not the "plays well with others" type of fellah. He's a strong character, and an interesting choice for playing the leader. Definitely more of a Wolverine than a Captain America. As a huge fan of Wolverine and the X Men, I appreciate this choice greatly.

The second character we're introduced to is the Jersey Devil. Devil is the Falstaff of the Cryptids. He's loud, he's a drunk, and he's an idiot most of the time. Oh, did I mention he has a Jersey accent? Yes, it's the most amazing thing ever. It's rare that I actually laugh out loud when reading, but Footprints' Jersey Devil got a giggle out of me.

Normally I would lump the fool character in with people I don't like; like Toad and Antman (barring Antman's "reinvention" in Earth's Mightiest Heroes). This isn't the case with the Devil character. In true Noir fashion, Footprints is a dark story. Devil provides some comedy relief but not the stupid kind that makes you face palm constantly. So if you're like me and you easily dislike characters who provide idiocy, don't be discouraged. The Jersey Devil is written exactly as all comedy relief should be; borderline offensive and always getting its ass kicked.

The Loch Ness Monster is the female character in the group. They call her Nessy, and she can change her size at will. I thought that was a clever invention of the author as this allows her to intermingle with her cast members outside the water. Nessy is a strong, independent female character. She's in a relationship with Megalodon, but you get the sense that he's much more committed to it than she is.

She uses her feminine wiles to gather information, and keeps Devil in his place. She's the outspoken character who questions the methods of their fearless leader when her partners are either too scared, or too close to Bigfoot to say what needs to be said. She's the foil to the Jersey Devil's almost puppy-like devotion to Mr.Foot.

Megalodon is a gigantic shark.(Which is just awesome without having to add any depth of character.) However, this gigantic shark is the most eloquent member of the cryptid team. He's what I like to call "dimwittedly intelligent." As mentioned before he's head-over-heels for the spitfire, Nessy and he's quite soft spoken for such a huge character. He adds a certain amount of innocence to the team, despite his hunger for flesh. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing 'Don' bite someone in half. (Which could be you, if you pledge $250 to their Kickstarter campaign.)

The last, and weirdest, of Foot's team is the Chupacabra. He's the muscle of the gang. If someone needs threatened, the grunting lizzard-pig demon thing is happy to do the job. Some might say he is an unnecisary part of the team, but really, I think he's a terrific addition. Each player in Bigfoot's team has a specific role. Chupacabra is Foot's "little friend" so to speak. He's compact so he can go anywhere, and he can do a lot of damage. It's not like he could lug a tank full of Megalodon into the middle of nowhere to scare the piss out of a potential source; and while the Jersey Devil can talk big, you get the feeling that he's not quite capable of really intimidating someone, let alone causing a lot of damage.

Like I mentioned before, this story is amazing in its originality. I love comic books, but so many times we get the same-old super hero rehash garbage. Hell, even the "edgy" stuff is getting predictable. There's something to be said for an author who is willing to dive into risky subject matter head-first and come out with something wonderful. After reading the first book, I'm dying to read the rest.

Esposito gives you enough that you're not completely confused. I don't know about you guys, but the X Men Noir series did that to me. I was left trying to tie up loose ends that sometimes went nowhere anyway. Footprints is nothing like that. At the same time, you're left guessing about what's going to happen. From the look of it, I can imagine there's a lot of surprises in store for the rest of the story.

Let's take a moment to talk about the art, shall we? It's beautiful. Artist Jonathan Moore did his homework. The artwork is something you haven't seen in any comic book you're picking up on a weekly basis. I can only imagine how long it took to draw each and every panel, as they're each a work of art. The character design is completely original.That's saying something when you're drawing pictures of Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster who have been done over and over.

The book is done in black and white and Moore's style includes a lot of stark contrast, like the films of old. My favorite detail is that you can see Moore's brush strokes. He drew the comic in a paint-like style that gives it extra character and beauty. Stunning.

I can't praise the book enough. (No, I'm not being paid to say that, it's just that good.) Probably the most astounding part of it, is that it has been a "ground up" project from the get-go. They've published issue one of their own power, and they have a campaign going to finance the rest of the book. Now that's gumption. You have to admire a couple a nerds who have the energy and the confidence in what they've created to strike out on their own and get their work to the masses.

Hold the phone, guys, you can be part of this amazing project! That's right, Joey and Jonathan still need help backing their Kickstarter (click to view the Kickstarter page) campaign. You can read issue #1 in its entirety before backing, if you so choose. Every dollar helps, guys. Also, tweet it and post it on your facebook. Why the hell not? After reading number one, I assure you you're going to want to read the rest. PLUS! You get super cool rewards for pledging your help! Don't miss out! There's only a little over a month left to get this book the exposure and publishing it so rightly deserves.

Before I wrap this up, I'd just like to say thanks to Joey and Jonathan. Not only have they really created something cool and original, but they also remain humble and accessible to the people who help them out. You won't be "just a backer" with these guys. They actually take the time to see who has backed them and show their gratitude in whatever way they can. In a time when so many people just get steam rolled by the industry, I think it's really important for us to keep the "little guys" alive, especially if they have the dedication to their story that Joey and Jonathan have shown.

Really, go to the Kickstarter, read issue one of Footprints, and do what you can to help. Any feedback about it after you read it is welcome in the comments section, even if you didn't like it. (I doubt that would happen, but everyone is different.) As always, thanks for reading. You guys are the best.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Inflated Egos Episode 1

The long wait is now over! Episode 1 of the podcast my friend Gary and I decided to make is here! Keep in mind that this is our first episode, so there's no fan mail, and it's not as fun as it hopefully will become. :) In fact, this is something we're doing for fun, because we want to. Not because we are getting paid or because we think people will actually love it (though hopefully some of you will). This is simply for pure enjoyment. Without further ado, I give you; Inflated Egos! (If you can count how many times I say 'absolutely' in it, you win.)

Here's the Governator trailer if you were wanting to know...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Seller Interview with Shadows in the Nyte (plus giveaway!)

 Hello and welcome back. I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend celebrating however you chose to celebrate. I had fun trying to get my 22 month old to hunt for Easter eggs. The concept is still a little foreign to her. Oh well.

Today we are going to hear from Dani, the Etsy shop owner of Shadows in the Nyte. I stumbled across her stuff and fell in love immediately, so I had to ask for an interview. Not only did she oblige, but she is also providing a giveaway for all of you lovely readers. Read on to find out how to get one of these.

Name : Danielle "Dani"
Home City: Stowe, Pa currently living in Richmond, Va
Age: 27
Favorite Color: Varies. I usually go for purple, but I change up to dark greens and blues, and sometimes black
Favorite Drink (Alcoholic or non.): Alcoholic: Loaded Peach Tea from Buffalo Wild Wings and anything with Rum; Non-alcoholic: Orange juice and Kool Aid

So how when did you start crocheting? Was there a specific event or moment that made you really want to learn?

I used to watch my grandmother crochet when I was younger. She used to make a lot of baby blankets, baby clothes and afghans and I thought it was really cool that you could make something like that from a ball of yarn. I can't remember the exact age but I know it was under age 10. I asked her one day to show me how and she taught me one winter and part of a summer. I then started to go crazy with it and made my own dolls and clothes for them. I also made a LOT of potholders since I was taught the single stitch in the square pattern. Like most kids, I lost interest in crocheting and didn't pick it back up again for a few years. When my husband was working a job that had him outside the majority of the day, I decided to make him a scarf to keep him warm and decided to pick up crocheting again.

When you began crocheting, did you already plan to make video game inspired hats and plush toys, or did that come later?
After I made my husband's scarf, I decided to try and make a hat. Once I made a hat, I tried to decorate the hat. The same time I was doing this, my husband and I were playing through Final Fantasy XII and I love the moogle character design they used for that game. So I decided to make a Moogle hat. I didn't go with the FFXII character model but the original white moogle from the earlier titles. I only had a picture I found online to go by, but I eventually figured it out. My husband actually told me about Etsy from an article he read about lostmitten-a perler bead artist. Her stuff was awesome and I miss having her on Etsy. But I used her as my muse and started working on other hat patterns by looking at sprite pictures and figuring out a simple way to recreate the character in yarn. It was a landslide after that. ^_^

How long did it take you to make your Professor Layton Hat?
Originally it took me about 5 hours to make the Professor Layton hat, but I now that I have a working pattern, I have it down to 3 hours. To figure out how to make the hat, I looked at a few normal top hats on a Google image search to figure out the general design and how tall to make the hat. I also used the picture of Professor Layton from GiantBomb to reference the colors I would need to use to make the hat. Since I had already made a few hats that had a similar pattern style to a top hat, it just took a little trial and error to get the general design down.

Do you use patterns mostly, or do you make up your own patterns?
I make up my own and write them down as  I work on them. I found that something that doesn't work for one design can possibly work for another, so I make sure to document everything I do. I already made the mistake of not writing down my steps and taking a day to remember what I did. Never again!

What is your favorite gaming system?
Oh actually have a few depending on the game I'm playing. My favorite one growing up and one I usually go back to the most is my Sega Genesis. I played the hell out of Streets of Rage 2 and 3 and still use that as a fall back when I've had a rough day or just feel nostalgic. I also liked my PS2 since I was able to play a lot of the RPGs and action RPGs I enjoy like the Final Fantasy series, Deveil May Cry, Kingdom Hearts, and Suikoden. I also liked the fighting games that came out on it, especially Tekken. I also discovered Dynasty Warriors in college on the PS2 and fell in love since it's my favorite time period in Chinese history and a pretty stress relieving game.  For the current systems, I like the 360 for the same reasons I like the PS2. The game selection is great and I  get the most enjoyment from playing that system over the PS3 or the Wii.

What is your all-time favorite video game?
It's a tie between Streets of Rage 3, Suikoden 3 and Persona 4.

How long have you been playing video games, and what was it that made you start playing?
I started playing video games when I was 6. My grandfather bought me a NES for Christmas and we played it everyday, For a 6 year old I was pretty good at the games we had at the time (1942, Mario/Duck Hunt combo, Adventure Island, Hogan's Alley). He died that following Christmas and I stopped playing soon after that. Around the early 1990s I started playing again and picked up with the Sega Genesis. I played Mortal Kombat, Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3, Jurassic Park, Ballz, Beyond Oasis, and Sega Channel when it was available from our cable company. I haven't stopped playing since then.

Is there one video game character you really relate to? Why is that?
Chris from Suikoden 3. She grew up in a sort of isolated world where she was told certain things were a certain way and people were a certain way and you had to behave a certain way in order to go through life. But when she had to go into hiding and actually saw the world for what it was, she realized a lot of the things she was told were not true at all. I found that out once I moved out of the house and finally started to think for myself without my family's involvement. It was mind blowing.

What is your favorite snack and drink combo for gaming?
Either Ridges Lays and Coke or Doritos and Mountain Dew.

Is there a certain meal that makes you feel all warm and snuggly?
French Toast for breakfast and Fried Potatoes and Onions with Sweet Italian Sausage with ketchup for dinner. Those are the two foods I am the most nostaligic about when I eat them since I loved to have them as a kid.

How much trial and error goes into each one of your pieces?
It varies with each piece I work on. Mega Man took a few different versions before I found one that I thought worked and looked the best. The Yoshi scarf took only 1 try while I had a really bad romance movie playing in the background on Netflix for background noise. Professor Layton tooks 2 tries and the the Castle Crasher hats took about 4 tries. It depends on how detailed I want the work to be and how close I'm trying to get the piece to look like the character or item I'm referencing.

If you had an unlimited budget for supplies, what would you make and why?
I would make bento boxes filled with food completely made from yarn. I would also make giant afghans showing different levels from video games. Why? Because I could. ^_^

Is there a celebrity or someone you've never met before who you'd like to see wearing one of your hats? Why?
Chuck Jones, Mel Blanc and Tom Kenny. Having the lead director of the Looney Tunes, the voice actor for the majority of the Looney Tunes and the voice of Spongebob wearing something I made would make my squeal then die in happiness. 

What is your favorite kind of music to listen to when you're crocheting? Is there a certain song or band that you find helps your creative process?
I listen to just about everything except for country, so I just stream something random from my computer to the tv in the living room. Lately I've been listening to the Scott Pilgrim The Game Soundtrack and video game music by Entertainment System, The OneUps, Select Start, Year 200X, the Megas and Smash Brothers. Or I turn on the music on the 360 to and let it pick from my favorites of punk/rock/metal/popular/R&B/J-Pop/J-Rock music.

How do you decide your listing prices?
Materials times the amount of time it takes for me to make the item.

What drew you to Etsy specifically?
The Kotaku article that talked about lostmitten's perler bead work. She was the reason I found out about Etsy and decided to open the store.

Do you have any advice for people who are new to Etsy? What is the thing that's helped you the most?
Avoid the forums-too much drama happens there that you just don't want to be a part of. If you can find someone that does something similar to what you are doing or want to do, convo them as ask them for advice. I've done that a few times with other artists on Etsy and have received many positive responses to my questions. I also joined an Etsy team of artists that all make geek/nerd related work. I have to say the Etsy team has helped me the most, since I can go to them and ask questions related to my store that they would know the answer to since they probably came across the same problem at some point. It's also good for networking and meeting up with people at different conventions in the area so you can put a name and face to the avatar and tag name you see on the site.

Do you have anything else to say? You can say anything you want to. :)
Some times some crimes 
Go slippin' through the cracks 
But these two gumshoes 
Are pickin' up the slack 

There's no case too big, no case too small 
When you need help just call 

Ch-ch-ch-Chip 'n Dale 
Rescue Rangers 
Ch-ch-ch-Chip 'n Dale 
When there's danger 

Oh no, it never fails 
They'll take the clues 
And find the wheres and whys and whos 

Ch-ch-ch-Chip 'n Dale

Rescue Rangers 
Ch-ch-ch-Chip 'n Dale 
When there's danger

Ch-ch-ch-Chip 'n Dale!

Game on brothers and sisters! Game on!

Alright, class, let's everyone say a big 'thank you' to miss Dani for sharing with us today. Seriously, you guy should check her stuff out.

Without further ado, giveaway, ho!

For this week's prize the lovely Dani will be giving one lucky winner a blue slime plush doll from the Dragon Quest series.

ISN'T HE ADORABLE?! And you could WIN him! So, in order to get this little guy, I'd like you to delve into your creative process a little bit. In the comments section, post a short little blurb about how Dragon Quest slimes ruined your sweet 16 party. This is completely imaginary, so the more outrageous, the better. The contest will go until Monday May 1st at midnight. Have at thee!

As always, thanks so much for reading. You guys are the best!

Friday, April 22, 2011


Upon realizing that this is a holiday weekend, I'm extending the contest deadlines for Caliandra's interview until midnight, Wednesday April 27th. Duh. Anyways, remember:
>Visit her shop
>Pick out one item
>Write one sentence that you think could convince anyone to buy that item.
>Tweet it. Or, if you don't do the twitter, just post it here in the comments with a link to the item in question. Don't forget to like her facebook page!

Have at thee!
(view the earrings you could win in the interview.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Seller Inteview and GIVEAWAY with Caliandra!

 Good afternoon, fellow nerdsters and makers of wonderful stuffs. I hope the day finds you in good spirits. Along with posting the first seller interview of this week, I'm pleased to announce that Gary and I will be giving this podcast thing a crack this evening. I will tweet during the show, if any of you have questions you want to hear me answer about:
>My Little Ponies (the new one)
>Stupid looking Pokemon
>Uncharted 2
>Nerd guys and their bad clothing choices
Send your tweets to @saz_bby and I'll try to get to everyone who tweets in.

Now, without further ado, we'll get to the interview with the Delightful Cali who's better know as The Bead Muse on Etsy. Enjoy.

Name: Cali Hurtado
Home City: Houston
State: Texas
Favorite Color: Greens and Blues
Favorite Drink (alcoholic or non): Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, Coconut rum (that covers both!)

So, my dear Cali, what is it that got you into beads in the first place? Are beads something you loved as a child, or is this more of an adult fascination?
I’ve been collecting beads since I was a kid. I started collecting broken jewelry while at school, mostly plastic beads, but as I got older I would rescue jewelry people would throw away, primarily beaded jewelry that broke. I still have some of them, too! They’re probably vintage now! People thought I was weird, but I couldn’t stand the idea of throwing away something that could be restrung or reinvented. I would scramble to the break site, and sweep up the beads with my hands before the janitor got there. I even chased really pretty beads down the hall.

You also feature some amazing chainmaille pieces in your shop as well. What got you into creating chainmaille jewelry?
When we were living in some crummy apartments, one of our neighbors befriended us. His friends happened to be some of my friends (from Texas Renaissance Festival), and they were learning Chainmaille. They kept saying how difficult the weaves were, and my husband picked up the stuff, tried it, and loved it. The guys there couldn’t believe how quickly he learned it. At first, I was going to let him make the chainmaille, but then I started getting these ideas, and eventually I wound up making some stunning pieces from it. It caught on, and now I’m thinking of ways to combine Beads and Chainmaille , or “beadmaille,” as it’s now called. My latest was a custom order featured on my Deviantart page.

What inspired you to create such colorful chainmaille?
I love color. Simply put, I was a budding artist in school, and without support from family, I wound up dropping my hopes of going to art school. My love for color came out in beadwork (which I haven’t worked with in a while. Chainmaille is addictive!) I wanted to learn a lot of things, and because I am ADD (or something like that) I get interested in things easily. I’m very curious. I see things, and I try to re-create them. The latest necklaces remind me of pennants, and I kind of see them as pennants that show a view of what you like. Hence my longing for custom orders. The more creative the person gets, the more I have fun!

What are some of your favorite colors to use in chainmaille? What kind of contrast do you think looks best and brings out the intricacy of your design?
So far I haven’t found a favorite. The best color combination I found to be my preference is green and white, but turquoise and black is really stunning too. We picked a new color out, though, and it is the Magenta. That color looks STUNNING next to black.

What in particular drew you to create a shop on Etsy?

That’s a hard call. I needed a venue that I could maintain for very little, and do so from home. We have a 10 month baby girl named Evelyn, and 3 crazy parrots. Due to babysitting costs, and the lack of a spare car, I couldn’t afford to get a job (even though we need the money bad!) So, my wonderful husband told me that he wanted to make a jewelry business!

What "side" are you on in the Regretsy debate and why?

There’s a debate? I never knew! Personally, I love Regretsy. I think it’s hilarious, and points out the stupidity of some people. These folks that they find with the same mass produced Vinyl Decals, and the horrible designs, and the “vintage” items that aren’t vintage.. they crack me up. I find them intolerable, and it frustrates me. I found one, once, that sold mass produced jewelry from the dollar stores we shop at. It disgusted me.
I cannot believe how many of these folks have “vintage” old junk for sale! And people believe them! I have to admit, I think Etsy needs some improvements, and Regretsy is a wonderful way to showcase the hilarious points that need to be made. Plus, it does bring people to Etsy, if only to look at hilarious items!

What gave you the idea to create beaded spiders?
I am a fan of just about all wildlife. Spiders have always captured my curiosity, and I saw a spider tutorial somewhere. I had to give it a try with some of my bigger beads, and I found that they were so much fun to make!

What would you say is your best selling, or at least your most looked-at piece or style of jewelry?
So far, I think it is the dragon-back bracelets. We have not made a huge amount of sales, so I can’t say what the best seller would be. Though I have two friends who are return customers for the chainmaille pennant necklaces now, so I guess those are best sellers!

How long, on average, does it take you to create something like your Gold, Captive Purple Bracelet?
That bracelet requires about 45 minutes of undivided time.

How about your beaded spiders?
If you count the time I spend choosing the abdomen and head of a spider, and designing it before I put it together… about 2 hours.

If you could see your jewelry on one person who's no longer alive, who would that be and why?
I think my great grandmother Eleanor would have worn my beaded work. She was such a beautiful, talented lady, and I never got the chance to know her well. I think she would have supported me in my jewelry endeavors. :)

Do you enjoy any fantasy and/or science fiction? If so, who's your favorite character and why?
Oh.. any? How about all? Hahaha. I used to read non-stop when I was younger. My favorite character as of now is probably Temeraire, from His Majesty’s Dragon (Naomi Novik). But I’m a huge fan of Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, and Andre Norton, so it’s a hard choice!

What has been the biggest contributor to your creativity?
I think, in a sense, my creativity stems from a sort of revenge. My mother was sort of a refrigerator mom, and discouraged me from doing what I loved (i.e., juggling, drawing, writing stories and poetry, jewelry) and so I find myself creating something that people consider beautiful, and thinking “Hah! Take that Mom! They like it!” -insert laughter here-

How hard is it for you to come up with original ideas that haven't been done before?
Very. I started looking around at other chainmaille and thinking “dangit! Someone else did that! Argh!” Of course, then I try tweaking my design to make something else. And in this day and age, it’s very difficult to avoid copying someone else by mistake! But the Dragonback is an awesome weave, and it gives me so many different design options, color-wise, that I don’t feel like I’m invading anyone’s space.

If you could give only one piece of advice to someone just starting out on Etsy, what would that be?
This is big….Practice your photography!! I still have crummy photos from my old camera! Haha. And remember to advertise with free avenues. Facebook, Twitter (if you can handle it), Myspace..
A good avenue is They contacted me and I made a few ads. It’s pretty neat.

I guess as a mother, artist, and jeweler, my biggest wish is to be noticed. Not famous tabloids noticed, hahaha, but just being able to say, “Look, Cameron Diaz purchased a funky dog collar made by ME!!!” hahaha. I’d like to say that my business is covering what my husband’s job is not, but right now, it is a slow, tedious start!

We have a Twitter (Thebeadmusetx)
A facebook (
A myspace (
And a Deviantart ( )
I'm not always online, so one day I may inundate the internet with my stuff, and the next day.... nada.

Thanks so much, Cali! Oh, and don't go yet, readers. You know that giveaway I mentioned in the title of this blog? Well here's the rules for my very first giveaway:

*If you haven't done so already, follow Cali on Twitter and like her facebook page. (Don't forget to post a comment saying that you've done so on this blog.
*Next, go to her Etsy page and pick out your very favorite piece she sells.
*Once you've picked something out, tweet it with a little blurb about why someone should buy it. You need to mention both me (@saz_bby) and Cali (@TheBeadMuseTx) in order to qualify. If the url for the item is too long, run it through to shorten it. The three cleverest reasons as to why someone should buy Cali's item will win THIS!
Plus, you get to CHOOSE the colors you want it in! I'll keep this contest up until 11:00 pm on Friday, or until we get 30 entries. So spread the news, tell your friends, and come up with something really good. I will announce the winners via this blog on Saturday.

As always, thanks so much for reading, and with your powers combined, mayhaps miss Cali will have a bestseller sometime soon.


Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm Back!

Hello, all of you out there. I am writing this by way of an apology. Last week was a little hectic for me, so I didn't get a seller interview up. The good thing about that, is you'll get two this week, right? As far as Seller interviews go, keep your eyes peeled for contests on my Twitter account. When I don't have someone slated already, I'll have contests to choose a winner. :)

Anywho, exciting things have been happening. Well, having to take my siblings to school every morning isn't exciting, but I did start writing for Botchweed Gaming News last week, which is why I didn't get anything done here. Again, sorry about that. I'll make it up to you. I have four articles up on as of now, with more all the time. Here are the direct links:
Top 5 We-Give-Upamon in Pokemon Black and White
Gamestop Liquidating GBA Titles
Wii 2; the HD Debate
Portal 2 Brings Steam to PS3

Please read them, and share them with your friends. I get paid by views. ;)

And more exciting stuff is yet to come! Wednesday my friend Gary and I are recording the first episode of our podcast! Yes, that's right, not only can you read me, but now you can sit around and listen to me. We're calling it Inflated Egos because, well, we think people actually want to sit there and listen to us talk about geek culture. It will be available (or at least a link will be) on this blog when it's ready. I know, your salivating in anticipation.

So don't worry, I'm not dead, I just had a hectic week. If it makes you feel any better, I have a calcified lump on my left wrist because I've been typing so much. Fun fun! So stay tuned for more awesome! Peace out, homies.


Monday, April 11, 2011

So I Promised...

You got me to 85 followers over the weekend on Twitter, so here are the choices you will have for the 100th follower freebie! (Tell your friends, then muscle in on number 100 if you haven't followed already.)

Follower 100 will receive a 5 by 7 (postcard size) Print of one of the awful paintings I'm going to post on this blog signed by me. They will also receive a matted and signed copy of one of my poems that I will also list below. The poem selections are all from my book Electronically Yours which will be available in my Etsy shop soon. The book is going to be $10.00 each. $5.00 of each sale will be donated to the April's Army charity fund. Anyway...

So here's the thing. I used to be good at painting. In high school. I really applied myself back then. Now I don't care enough to apply myself. Hence, the crap you see below. The pics are taken from my iphone because I can't find the double a batteries I bought last week and I need to get this blog up today. So in actual reality, they're not as blurry.

You could get the "Market Fresh Bunny" painting. It will be on the background I painted when you get it:

This one I like to call "Spring Swing" my daughter has been watching a lot of Tweety Bird lately. I painted this for her room and she calls it a "baby duck".

This one is called "Bubbles the Octopus" I wanted to paint a purple sue me.

This one I threw in for the hell of it. It's a collage I made out of magazine clippings and tin foil. Hey! You could call it "upcycled!" (It was an art project for a college class.)

And this one is a pencil drawing of Fidget and his owner, Ami. Little characters I draw that I made up. This one will be cleaned up, and the line art will be put in digitally by the time you get it. The text says "Fidget is a well loved bunny."

AND on to the poetry...Read them, pick the one you like best.

electronically yours

letters finger-struck
in cramped, rectangular spaces
send crumbled over air
to him
then her
then them.
replies equally
cyber-spaced quickly
up to ten recipients
at once
read on glowing phones
the one shared sentiment.
and at times i wonder
tapping the caffeine lines in my veins
tugging heavy, clutter-laden bags
caught around my ankles-
when did the time come
when we no longer had the time
to write out
i love you?


like water
in the waist-deep pool
as the kids go
‘round in circles
Dying for lack of air
The girl breaks loose
Brown sugar hair
torn in fingers aching with the pressure
of a thousand phone numbers
and a thousand smokey voices
siphoning through the receiver
And I feel them
And she drips with the water
and tears
the sweat
So we both sink in
and spin to the center

Denial at 9:00 pm

Sugary words
ramble from you like
falling from the snap-hungry jowls of a hyena
laughing at nothing
My long-boned fingers
viced in yours
The sensation makes me cringe.
I wish
you’d stop talking
and just drink me in
Like the boys teetering on bar stools
lost in PBR.
I stare at the rim of my glass
gulping again a pine-flavored concoction
as you keep speaking
and drain another beer.
I check my watch.
It’s much too early
to make escape.

Alrighty then. So there are your choices. Keep following! (We're at 91, only 9 to go!)

Thank you guys for actually giving a shit about what I do. It's weird, but I like it!


Fu*#ing Twitter

I'm having a contest today on twitter. The person with the weirdest response to my tweet about winning an interview gets, well, an interview. Remember, you have to put @saz_bby in it, or I won't see it. :)

Ready? Set? GO!

Oh, and here's something for you to enjoy from my dear friend Joey Esposito.'s comic editor:


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Seller Interview with Folded Frippery

Good day to you, my kind readers. I hope today finds you in good spirits, and ready to read a new interview. Today we're going across the pond for our interview with Folded Frippery. A wonderful lady from jolly ol' England who makes the most amazing things with fabric and paper. My wonderful husband even made her banner and avatar for her. :) Fun times!

So, the moment you've been waiting for...Folded Frippery!

I'm Talia and I live in Crawley, West Sussex in the east of England. I am a tea addict, a lover of autumn (fall to you Americans), and I love anything brightly coloured!

How long have you been with Etsy, and what made you decide to open a shop in the first place?
I opened FoldedFrippery last September, but prior to that I had a shop selling sock creatures. At the time I opened my first shop at Etsy it was the only big online craft sales place that I knew of, and I thought it was worth giving it a try. When I was thinking about opening FF I decided to stick with Etsy as I was familiar with it and liked how simple it was to list items!

How long have you been folding Origami? Was it a childhood pass time, or did you pick it up in your adult years?

I loved origami as a kid, but all I could ever make was origami fortune tellers. It's only in the last few years that I've really got into origami making. I was bought an origami fold-a-day calendar for christmas a few years ago and since then I've been totally hooked!

What drew you specifically to Origami flowers?

I love flowers! I am appallingly bad at growing anything in the garden though, so making them in paper is a fun way for me to have flowers to brighten up the day!

Do you sell your products outside of Etsy, and which do you prefer? Online, or in person?

I have sold mostly to family offline, although I'm going to look into doing fairs this year. I love the instant response you get from selling in the real world though!

You use wonderful colors in your work. How do you decide which colors and patterns to buy when you're getting supplies?

Any fabric that's bright or fun or just speaks to me somehow normally inspires me to start working! It depends on what sort of mood I'm in too - I have some more muted fabrics to use if  the mood takes...although that's rare!

How many of your sales are from overseas?

The majority of my sales seems to be from overseas! I've had sales from all over recently. Being a member of April's Army is really helping my exposure all over the world!

How do you keep your prices down on your overseas shipping?
Haha, believe it or not I've never really thought about keeping them down. I shop all my overseas parcels by airmail, and because the items I sell are fairly small, thankfully the shipping isn't too expensive!

Is it difficult to fold fabric into Origami shapes? Do you have a system for keeping the fabric from unfolding before you've finished a project?

An iron is really helpful when folding fabric origami! Pressing creases is key. Pins are also helpful, as is having great amounts of fabric glue to hand!

How good did you have to be at folding before you could start using materials other than paper?
I had to be 100% comfortable with the folds in paper before I could start folding in fabric. Even now when I think about folding new designs in fabric I practice several times in paper to make sure I know where to fold. And when it all goes wrong it's back to the iron and then starting the folds again!

Is crafting for you more cathartic, or is it like a job for you?

I craft for fun, and to relax. There are days when it feels like work, and I enjoy it less then, but there are crafts I do just for me, like knitting and embroidery, and when origami making is starting to annoy I just move on to something else until the urge to fold comes back!

Do you make time on a daily basis for crafting items, or do you just create when the desire strikes?
I normally fold at least one paper item a day, normally when I'm at my day job. Fabric origami takes slightly more planning and time as I need to cut fabric, and seal the edges to prevent fraying before I can fold it. But I always have paper scraps in my bag to fold if the mood strikes, which is frequent!

If you had an unlimited budget for supplies, what would you make and why?

I'd like a laser cutter to cut perfect squares of fabric! No matter how hard I try, and make templates, I can never manage to cut perfect squares! I also have an idea to make my flower balls from really large squares of paper, but finding paper big enough is a bit of a challenge!

How does it make you feel when you see people, or receive pictures of people wearing your accessories?

I love seeing people wearing things I've made! It makes them seem so much more real than they look when I'm making them, or when I'm storing them!

How important to you is feedback from people who buy your items, even if it's negative? (not that you would ever get negative feedback.)

Feedback is always important! I'd much rather have negative feedback than wasting time making products no one will want. Sometimes being creative takes over and I need someone else to put things into perspective. And feedback from happy customers makes everything worthwhile.

If you could see one of your pieces on any human in the world, who would it be and why? 

Oooh, that's tough! The business person in me thinks that I should choose someone famous, for the exposure, but I think in honesty it would be someone like my sister - she's my biggest critic (in the nicest possible way)!

How long, in general, does it take you to make one of your flowers? How about a bouquet? 

A fabric brooch flower probably takes 30-40 minutes from start to finish, if I include cutting fabric and sealing the edges. Paper ones take less time, although making 12 of them for a flower ball takes probably 3-4 hours. Because I normally make them while at my day job it's hard to give an accurate idea as I have to stop and start making them!

If someone just starting out on Etsy asked you for just a single piece of advice, what would that be?

Persevere! Sales don't come overnight. And join teams! They'll help you with any query you have, and if you find a good one you can make great friends along the way!

What is your favorite way to market your shop online? Forums, Twitter, Facebook, something else?
I love Twitter, but I'm not very good at using it to market - I mostly tweet about my real life! I try to use Facebook, and I blog when I remember, but mostly I interact with people through Etsy teams.

What is your favorite thing to eat when you're being creative?

I eat fruit a lot. But mostly I drink tea. Lots of tea, in every flavour imaginable!

Is there anything at all you'd like to say before wrapping up this interview? Really, just anything you want. 
The interviews you've done so far have been really great - I can't wait to see more! Oh, and if you're interested in my rarely updated blog you can find it at!

Thank you so much, Talia my dear, for the wonderful interview. I really do appreciate all you wonderful sellers who have granted me interviews. If you are interested in being a featured seller, email me at or message me over Etsy. I expect you all to head straight over to Folded Frippery now and start a buyin'. ;)

Thanks again for reading, you guys are awesome.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Team in Town

Hello readers!

For those of you who are a member of the Southern Oregon/ Northern California crafting community, some of us got together and decided to start a little Etsy community where we can share ideas and be supportive of one another.

Stop by the team on Etsy, and our facebook group. Join up, shop, promote, talk.!/home.php?sk=group_105107856240085&ap=1

There's nothing better than being a member of an active community, so let's get this going!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seller Interview with Tangled Metal

Hello all my wonderful readers! I can't believe I'm actually starting a following. This is awesome. You guys are awesome.

Before we get started with this week's seller interview, I would like to send out a HUGE thank you to everyone who's checked out the For Jason shop on Etsy. She has gotten a great response so far. Let's not stop there! Keep buying, and my fellow members of April's Army, let's get creative! :) It really has inspired me a lot knowing that my work will be going to help someone who needs it. I can't wait to see where the future funds will be given.

Now, onto the main event! Today we're going to meet Eric, the man behind Tangled Metal on Etsy. You AA members have probably seen him around in forums as well. I hope you all enjoy. Without further ado...

Name: Eric Young
Home State: From Texas but live in Arkansas now
Home City: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Favorite Color: Black, green, red, brown
Favorite Drink: Beer:Guinness, Wine:Merlot, Liquor:Thors Hammer Vodka, Breakfast:Strong Coffee, During the day:Water

So, Eric, you're a dude. If there's something that's sadly lacking on Etsy, it's dude artists. So what made you decide to start creating jewelry and things in the first place?

My father is a silver and gold smith, my grandfather was a gunsmith, I come from a long line of blacksmiths and metal workers. Metalwork is in my blood. My family has always been in craft shows, art shows and owned galleries and shops since I was very young. I started making chainmail around 1986. My father wanted me to learn silver and gold smithing but I did not have the patience at the time. So, what do I learn, a craft that requires a huge amount of patience. Go figure.

What, specifically, drew you to creating chainmail? Were you into European history? Tabletop gaming? Something else entirely?

Yes,yes and yes. I read the complete works of Shakespeare when I was 9 years old. Maybe that is what messed me up. Just kidding. Shakespeare got me into European history. Then I branched out to Science Fiction and Fantasy novels. A lot of chainmail in there for sure. Sure, there was some tabletop gaming influences. I was young when D&D was getting its start, but I remember my dad was interested in the dice because they were multi sided. This was all before the internet of course. There were no training manuals, no books written on it or anything. I looked at pictures in books at the library and tried to learn by sight.

How long did it take you to perfect your skills enough to create the intricate pieces you're selling today?

I started over 25 years ago and I am always trying to do a better job. I started out cutting up coat hangers, much to my mother's dismay. I now use commercial flush cut rings and create rings myself with a jeweler's saw. I started doing production pieces early on. I was slow. It would take several hours to make a pair of earrings. Slow and steady wins the race it would seem.

How long does it take you, on average, to make a beautiful piece like your Very Purple Glass Bead Chainmail Handflower Slave Bracelet?

My very first 30 bead handflower took about 4 hours. Now, as a production piece, it takes me about 30 to 45 minutes from start to finish. I had to become very fast at making chainmail when I was a booth owner at the Kansas City Renaissance Fair. Seven weeks of fair, 250,000 visitors, a lot of stock. When I was in the height of making full time, I could make a complete long sleeve shirt in under 12 hours.

You have a lot of really original chainmail pieces. Where do you come up with the idea to make a chainmail leather cuff bracelet or a chainmail cat-o-nine-tails?

Copy is the greatest form of flattery. When I was on the road at Renaissance Fairs, I would create a new item and within 3 months it was being recreated everywhere. So, I had to stay on top of new items, constantly creating new and unusual pieces to be different. There have always been the standard items that many other chainmailers do, and there is a reason for that. When you have a shop you need to have things that people recognize to draw them in. Then you wow them with something they have never seen.

You also make some really lovely Steampunk jewelry and accessories. If anyone has read Regretsy, or just searched for Steampunk on Etsy they'll find that not many people really know what qualifies as Steampunk. How does this, for lack of a better term, ignorance of the genre effect your sales and the interest in your shop?
I think that a lot of things are mis-labled Steampunk, but you have to understand, Steampunk is a newish fad. Want to know what steampunk is? Imagine Jules Verne meets Tim Burton and throw in a little H.R. Giger. It is a mixture of Gothic, Science Fiction and Victorian. Steampunk isn't one thing, it is a blending of many. Gears, cogs, sea creatures, corsets and top hats. People who look for actual Steampunk items find people who make them. Sure, there are plenty of things out there that make it hard to find but eventually, people will move to another fad like handmade owls or octopi.

If you could define Steampunk in your own words, what would those words be?

See above. The definition changes in my mind on a daily basis.

As far as chianmail goes, I can't help but note your prices are very low. Knowing that you could charge a lot more for your art, is there a reason in particular your prices are what they are?
Really? My prices are low? Interesting. I thought they were high, but as some of my friends say, I live in a bubble from 1989 to 1998. My prices back then were even lower. I guess because I am so fast at making chainmail that I just pay myself a decent wage. Perhaps it is time for me to give myself a raise. That is the one bad thing about working for myself, my boss is a slave driver and doesn't pay me too well.

What, in your opinion, is the sexiest thing about a woman sporting a chainmail accessory? (Or man, for that matter. I don't want to discriminate.)
I think wearing something that brings out natural beauty is the sexiest thing. Like green beads on a necklace bringing out green in the eyes. I think that wearing chainmail jewelry makes you feel sexy and that brings it out. Just for the record, I wouldn't want to discriminate either, but I prefer women. :)

Do you play video games? If so, what would your favorite game of all time be?

I used to play video games. I started way back on my Commodore 64. I was always quite fond of the Ultima Series. I also played Ultima Online for over 11 years. I finally quit last year. Not to play another game, but because it became boring. Now, I don't play any video games at all. i do not even own any Console Gaming Systems, but I would love to have a working Nintendo and some old games.

Do you play any tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons? If so, which of your characters was/is the most fun to play?

Here again, in my younger years I played. I grew up in a pretty small town and there were not that many nerds so I never really played that much. I always played a warrior when I did play. There is just something about a Paladin that was fun.

How did you get involved with Etsy?

I went into retirement from chainmail around 2002 when I broke my thumb. I could not hold pliers. It took a long time before I could use my hand and it still hurts if I work for more than a few hours at a time. I really didn't want to start doing shows again and deal with that stress. I needed the extra money. My girlfriend, owner of Curious Crow Design and Curious Crow Vintage suggested that I put up a few pieces. Low overhead and high visibility always look good to an artist, so here I am.

Is there a certain aspect of Etsy that you really like? What is it, and why do you like it so?

I like a lot about Etsy. Having a shop open 24 hours a day, having a built in online community. Low fees. Rating system with feedback. These are things that are very difficult to achieve with your own website.

If you could give one piece of your art to a celebrity, who would it be, and why?

First of all, Celebrities have the money to pay for it. Second, there are several celebrities who wear my work. And third, I would much rather give a piece to charity. All that said, I made a dress a few years back that would have looked very nice on Cher.

What is your favorite way to advertise your Etsy shop? Forums? Twitter? Facebook? Why is it your favorite?

My shop isn't even a month old yet. I am still trying to figure out the best way to advertise. My personal Twitter account has almost 9000 followers. I started my Tangled Metal Twitter a few weeks ago and it is around 400 followers. I seem to get most of my traffic when I post new listings to twitter. My Facebook Fan Page has just over 30 "Likes" so, there is a little bit of trafic from there. I am going to be doing a monthly art show and will be giving out business cards, so hopefully that will also increase traffic.

Who has been the biggest influence on your art and creativity?

My family has always been a huge influence on me. Today, my girlfriend, is by far the biggest influence on me. She's a very talented artist and encourages me to create.

If someone new to Etsy asked you for one piece of advise, what would you tell them?

Read everything you can before you list your first item. Learn about Etsy specific SEO and take great pictures. I am VERY lucky that my girlfriend is a photographer too. She has a great camera and a great eye. The one thing that will keep you from sales is a bad picture.

Do you have anything else at all to say to the nice people reading? Anything your heart desires. :)

Compliments are great, but remember that the greatest form of compliment is to purchase something from someone's shop. I have a day job outside of Etsy, but there are many aspiring artists out there that Etsy is their only form of income. If you have money, share it by buying something from someone. It builds people's confidence to make a sale. It may also pay their bills. This is not a shameless self plug, like I said, I am not relying on Etsy to feed my family.
Here are links to my different web presences:
Etsy Shop:
Website: (Still working on it)

Thank you all for reading. Tune in next week for another wonderful member of the AA team, Folded Frippery!