Here’s How To Support My Creative Projects Online

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I made a ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ Page. You may ask, what is ‘Buy Me A Coffee‘?

It is a support payment platform where artists and creatives can be funded for their creative endevours. The term Buy Me A Coffee refeers to the fact that you can support your favourite creatives for as little as the cost of a coffee.

CLICK to see the page

About a week ago I actually released a Patreon account, which I think is the most popular payment site for creatives. However, I don’t really like their model. Patreon is a subscription based website, meaning that you get direct debited every month, and on the other end, the creative feels obliged to create new types of services on a monthly basis. While that business model works for some people, I don’t think it works very well for me.

I’ve been a freelance artist since I was 14 years old, and have been creating commissions, merchandise and original content for years. For the time being, I am working on creating online art tutorial videos on youtube, illustrations, and have several large scale projects in the background. (More about them below).

Honestly, I’ve thought about this since 2014 and am actually very anxious about putting myself forward. I have receved many comments from people saying that they liked by work, but receving verbal apprasial is still different to financial support. I have made many campaigns in the past, and never released them to the public, because I was embarrised that nobody would sign up. Though I have the same anxieties, I’ve decided to be brave and put myself out anyway instead of hiding myself away like I used to be.

The large scale art projects have been going on for years, yet it is very difficult to get government art funding within Australia. Therefore, I’m open to crowd based funding to assist with the production of these projects.

There are two projects I have been working on.

  • 1) NOVEL – I have been writing the sequel to my first novel The Wish Bringer, called The Life and Death of the Great Wizard Phoenix. My first novel was an amazing achievement, especially since I published it at 21 years old. However, the publishing company I worked with was a really bad one. For this next novel, I really want to do a better job at finding legitimate support from the professional litterary world including editors, and alternate ways to publish and reach the right auidence. (The link above allows you to read snippets of the new book).
  • 2) ANIMATED FILM – I’ve been working on an independent animated film since 2017 about my experience walking The Camino de Santiago. The pre-production is completely finished (scripting, storyboarding, designing, budget, time management, etc…), and it was in the application process for being funded by Screen Australia for the last 3 years. It had been approved and gone though many approval rounds, but was let go because of lack of arts funding especially due to COVID-19. The intention was to use the funds to hire staff to assist with the production of the film. One of my greatist ambitions of this time is to finish this film! It has a lot of passion, and without tooting my own horn, I believe that it has the potential to be an award winning film.

While I am extremely confident in my art making skills and experience, I’m still learning how to be better at being a business person. Managing different social media presences, advertisting, reaching the right people who support my work, all while trying to make an honnest living is quite a challenge, and definitly skills that were not included in art school. Though, I am growing and learning every day, there is still much for me to learn as a professional artist.

My intention in the future is to create more information pages about the above projects, so that you can understand in more dept about what I’m doing, and ways you can support and be a part of the process.

Anyway, for time being, if you enjoy seeing my artwork and creative endevours, I would appreciate it greatly if you could donate, even if it’s the cost of a coffee. I am forever creating more and more things, because it is my true self and passion, and it gives me so much joy to be able to share my creative tallents with all of you! By having financial support, I can step closer to creating art full time with focus, as opposed to diverting my attention to other types of jobs for monetary support.

Converting an Old TV into a Crystal Display Case

This article is acompanied by a video:

A few years ago, I found an old TV at my Granny’s house. I tried to turn it on, but the technology was so out dated that there wasn’t even a power socket to connect. It seemed a shame to throw out. I really liked the look of it and wanted to give it a new life. The desplay screen on the inside was like a giant lightbulb, and there were no imput holes to plug in a computer. I’m not a trained electronics person to mess with that stuff, so my next thought was to install a small tablet on the inside and keep the TV box shell for cosmetic purposes.

However, there were complications with the screen I bought, and I wasn’t able to use it in the end. After thinking for a while, I realised that I had a lot of crystals in storage from when I used them as decorations at the book launch for my novel “The Wish Bringer”. I realised that I could use the TV shell as a display case to store the crystals. First I removed the electrical components, cleaned all the parts and spray painted the case red (to match my other red decore). Using recycled cardboard, I made a small ramp to place inside and covered it with fabric, that way the crystals at the back can be seen, and placed some battery powered fairy lights inside to complete the look. The batteries run out very quickly, so maybe in the future it would be wise to change them out for outlet ones, but other than that, I’m very please with this project. It’s been a few years already since I made this cusomisation. However, everytime I look at it, it gives me joy and pride for making such a one of a kind piece. It’s also a good example of repurposing something that would’ve been thrown away and making something inspiring out of it.

3 Ways to Use Models as Reference Animation & Comics

Drawing backgrounds and different angles are often challenges for artist, which include animators, storyboarders, comic artists and mangaka to name a few. I’ve come up with 3 easy ways to help and take your art to the next level. Using Dolls and Toys, Making Paper background Models, and Using Digital 3d software and games

This article is accompanied by a video tutorial:

Using Dolls and Toys

When wanting to draw characters from different angles, it’s useful to use posable dolls as reference. In the example below, I wanted to draw a cut where a knight was charging towards another knight on his horse. I also wanted the ‘camera’ to pan around the character as he ran to make the shot more dynamic. Drawing the charging scene itself is a challenge, because horses are difficult to draw for most people. However, drawing a camera pan really adds another layer of complexity to the design.

I got a posable Harry Potter doll and sat him upon a horse statue with a pencil in his hand, placed them on top of a Lazy Suzan turn table and took videos from different angles and positions. I then used a dragon shaped piggy bank over to the side as scale reference.

This is solution is extremely easy and cheap to re-create. I didn’t need reference for details, so it didn’t matter to me what kind of toy I used as long as I could move the limbs to the position I liked. Artists are known for using the wooden mannequins as pose reference. However, some toys have a lot more articulation and have the added benefits of coming with face, hair and clothes, which gives you more points of reference.

After that, I can import the footage to my computer and watch it in slow motion to study the poses. Depending on your artistic style, you can copy the poses in your own style, or draw directly over the videos and rotoscope it.

Making Paper background Models

When I was a little kid, I remember making paper doll houses with my cousin Stephie. The process was extremely easy, all you had to do was fold paper to make boxes and trays. This became the inspiration for the next process.

Drawing backgrounds to scale is a real skill. I’ve read plenty of books and know the formular of how to draw perspective, but let’s face it, drawing accurate perspective is BORING. Haha, (soz background artists :p). Here is another very easy way to create reference that you can use multiple times for backgrounds and settings.

In this example, I wanted to draw the inside cloister of a cathedral. The architecture is very repetitive in that there are arches, symmetrical windows and columns. While it is possible to copy photos and have a still background image, what if you want to walk down the halls or see the corridors from different perspectives? The answer is having a 3D model where you can go around it from all angles!

To do this, I went into photoshop and made an A4 canvas (the size of my printer paper), and on the long plane, I drew the basic shapes of the corridor. I drew an arch with symmetrical windows and columns and copy and pasted them next to each other. Using the ruler tool, I made rectangle and square shapes as guides. That way I could print out the shapes, cut along the dotted line and glue the parts together. I made several of these rectangular cuboids and placed them in the position I wanted. I placed the models on top of my cutting mat, which had a grid on it. Using the grid can be useful too because it shows the lines moving towards the Vanishing Point, which can be an extra point of reference. After that I used a Go-Pro type camera with a warped fish-eye lens to go down the corridors. (You can just as easily use your phone or webcam to do the same thing.)

In the same method above, you can export the footage to your computer and use the shots for reference by copying the footage or rotoscoping it.

BONUS TIP: If you want to draw a scene in different times of the day, or with special lighting, you can position desk lamps around your models and study the way light and shadow hits them.

Using Digital 3d software and games

This method is a bit more difficult, because it depends on having extra skills and computer software. If you know how to do it, you can create 3D models on a digital animation software and use that as reference. I personally, I can’t use 3D software, because I get motion sickness. Instead, I use the Sims 4 to help create scenarios. In the Sims you can create houses and buildings and have your Sim character perform actions like dancing or eating. You can either take screenshots or using a screen capture software, record what’s happening. This can be useful for everyday life scenarios. However, if you want something more complex, like a plane taking off, you wouldn’t be able to do that seeing as there are restrictions within the game. Though, if you are making a fantasy type story, you could always use a fantasy style 3D game as reference too.

WARNING: I’ve noticed that a lot of Webtoon/ webcomic artists have been using Google Sketch Up in their comics. However, instead of using it as reference, they have been tracing over the shape in such a precise way that the backgrounds end up looking very boring. I would suggest that you use these methods as guidelines, but to

Painting a TAMBORINE – Tutorial

Last year, I was facinated in painting unconventional items, such as instruments. In December I custom painted this adorable tamborine inspired by Stevie Nicks. The video below goes through a very detailed process, which includes: masking and priming the surface, transfering the design using carbon transfer technique, painting the design using acrylic paint and paint markers, fixing mistakes and damaged areas, and sealing the paint.

For those that are familiar with my Youtube Channel, I normally post videos showing digital art. In comparison, painting real objects needs a lot more time and space to not only prepare the materials, but also to prepare the space and lighting to record. Because of these extra factors, I created and used a special camera rig to use with recording traditional art and physical objects. I make blog post earlier on how I designed and made it, if you’re interesed in making one.

Please CLICK on the video below to see the full tutorial on how I painted this tamborine.

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLbxTceRn6TZ0IC4fKqOnQ
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child/
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child/

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MUSIC:

Jessica McLeod-Yu

Background Art For A VTUBER – Speed Draw!

I’ve been using Adobe Character Animator CC to create a virtual vtuber avatar of myself to record myself speaking for some of my most recent videos. I think it’s great and really fun to use. For me, I get really nervous recording myself directly in front of a camera, (and it’s even worse having to edit the footage). Therefore, I think it’s amazing to have the opportunity to use my art to create a character of myself, which eliminates some of the stress, and lets me focus on the more important stuff – sharing my art making process and techniques with you guys. This speed drawing video is about how I designed the background art, based off my real desk. I hope you enjoy it!

Please CLICK on the video below to see the drawing process on how I created this background, which includes spoken commentary.

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/c/RocketChild
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child/
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child/

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MUSIC:
“March 3 Song” – Jessica McLeod-Yu

Book Binding Vlog

I have always loved creating my own booklets and used to make photocopy style comics and magazines. Though, an actual hard cover book was always too complex for me to figure out at the time. Towards the end of 2020, my curiosity was sparked again and I wanted to give it a go.

The Vlog below talks about the process of creating my first hard cover book, from dying the paper, sewing the spine and making a paper press, as well as the challenges I faced along the way. Book binding is a whole discipline in itself and difficult to execuite well. However, I thought this was an endearing project and it gives me so much joy using the final book as a journal to write and sketch in. Each page is individually dyed and has it’s own texture and colour. (And it also smells delicious!) I intend to try out more book binding styles in the future, but for the time being, I’m very happy with how this one turned out.

CLICK on the video below to see the full Vlog!

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com​
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLb…​
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111c…​
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111ch…​

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Cheap & Easy DIY Camera Rig

This last year I became more serious about publishing more videos on my youtube channel. For the time being I’m more comfortable publishing speed drawing videos of my digital art. That is because it is easier for me to do screen capture recordings on my computer. In contrast, making progress videos of real life art projects have been a challange, such as changing light (day light and indoor lights), getting phone calls when I’m using my phone as a camera, the table shaking when I move and more.

To solve these problems, I decided to design a camera mount that would allow consistent recording for traditional art. The frame is made of PVC pipes that are strong, light weight, and can be taken appart for easy storage. The top part has X and Y sliders that allow for easy repositioning of the camera, and the open frame structure allows room to add fabric to be used as a potential photo box.

While it can be used to film progress videos, I feel as though it also has the potential to be used for animation as well. By attaching a webcam, and having Dragonframe installed on a computer, this frame can be used for stop motion animation as well. So if you’re the type of person who likes more organic, textured artwork this can be an easy solution to a faster work flow for digitise your traditional artwork.

In the video below I talk more indept on how I came up with the idea, and I show how objects look when they are positioned within the rig.

CLICK below to see the full video on How To Make a Cheap & Easy DIY Camera Rig

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com​
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/c/RocketChild
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child​
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child

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Summer Vibes by Mike Leite https://soundcloud.com/mikeleite​
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/3flRW7C​
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/Bohw8ikZaSI​
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How To Make a Portable RECORDING BOOTH – Studio VLOG

I’ve been recording my own music and dialogue for years to go with my animations and videos. However, it’s always such a hastle getting all my equipment out and prepared, especially if I have to travel. This last year I decided to come up with a solution and build a PORTABLE MUSIC STUDIO inside of a briefcase. It’s a cheap, lightweight and professional way to record dialogue, music and sounds on the go, especially if I have to visit clients or friends. I’ve already tried it (as demonstrated in the video), and it works really well and takes away the hustle of setting up random bits of equipment.

It’s still a bit difficult to focus on performing, and recording documentary footage, which is why the guitar video bits don’t sync up. However, I have discovered the wonders of Adobe Character Animator and making my own character avatar, which has allowed me to playfully express myself, without having to be directly. I think it’s pretty cool.

(For those who wonder what I sound like singing… now you know.)

CLICK below to see the full video on How To Make a Portable RECORDING BOOTH – Studio VLOG.

If you ever make your own recording project inspired by this, please link it down in the comments.

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com​
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/c/RocketChild
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child​
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child

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MUSIC:
“December 1, 2020” – Jessica McLeod-Yu

NYE2020 Message: VLOG

Instead of sitting around being depressed, I figured that I’d put my energy to good use and farewell the year with something nice and meaningful.
00:00 – Introduction
00:25 – My thoughts and refllection on the year
05:18 – “Happy New Year” COVER SONG on my cat piano
10:10 – Surprise!!

Hello everyone, I hope you can take the time to watch this whole video.
I recorded a cover of “Happy New Year” by ABBA with my customised Meowsic Cat Piano. On other years, I found this song so contrary and sad to the usually celebratory energy, but today I found it fitting. The video is not in synch with the music, because I’m not skilled enough to record visuals and sound at the same time lol. One day I’ll get better with both. (Also, the keyboard is a toy, so I can’t play multiple keys at the same time like a proper piano, so I had to improvise.)
Have a happy new year, and hope you stay well and strong!
Love you all!

CLICK on the video below to see the full message…

ART & VIDEO:
Website: http://www.jess-mcl.com​
Youtube: @Rocket Child
https://www.youtube.com/c/RocketChild
Instagram: @rocket1111child
https://www.instagram.com/rocket1111child​
Facebook: @rocket1111child
https://www.facebook.com/rocket1111child

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MUSIC: COVER by my – “Happy New Year” – ABBA

Cat Solo – “Can’t stop the music” – The Village Peopl

A New Animated Music Video

For the last few months I’ve been working on a music video for a folk musician called SONiA disappear fear, and I am happy to be able to share it now.

I first met Terry, SONiA’s wife and manager, serendipitously last year at Sydney airport when I went to pick up my boyfriend, Edu, who came to visit me for Christmas. We chatted a bit in the arrival lounge about flights and arrival times, and learnt that she and SONiA were in Sydney to perform for some music festivals. I said that I was an animator and we exchanged details. A month or so later, I met up with SONiA and Terry again and we agreed to make some music videos together.

The first one being a trailer for SONiA’s new retrospective album, Love Out Loud, celebrating 30 years of her career.  From our conversations and listening to her musics, I learnt that SONiA was the first openly gay folk pop musician, in both her music and her lifestyle, (as opposed to artists who came out later on in their careers).  She has been a great advocate for LGBT+ rights and fair treatment of marginalised people. SONiA’s lyrics and songs are quite illustrative and are often drawn from her life experiences of being Jewish and owning and embracing her identity of being gay despite living in a society that doesn’t always approve.

Despite her demure appearance, I could tell that SONiA was a real bad ass, and I was incredibly impressed to meet someone who was so sincere and brave to not only live out her truth, but also be positive and kind enough to share those experiences in order to inspire others and create positive change in the world.

It was a lot of fun creating this album trailer. SONiA was supportive of my art style, and very generous about giving me free rein to experiment and design creative cuts, which was aided a lot by her colourful and illustrative lyrics.  While it was important for it to look good cohesively, I also had to navigate a delicate balance of highlighting each song’s message, while keeping the snippets short and fluid. Over all, I’m proud and pretty happy with the overall video.

Please check out the animation & making of videos below =)