Art redraw 2001 -> 2022

I decided to redraw an old artwork.

I made this art to craft a new weapon in the PaperDemon Art RPG.

This is the original art I made in 2001. Back then my art had a lot more Akira Toriyama influence. You can see the basic concept I had for weapons in the game exited from a long time ago. The background in this art was generated by Kais Power Tools if I remember right. I wasn’t very good at making backgrounds back then.

Jerle weapon / 2001

And this is the redrawn version with a background I drew and painted myself. Jerle’s clothing was redesigned a couple years ago to look a little more interesting by having tails and an asymmetrical design. Usually I don’t draw his hair this long though.

Jerle weapon / 2022

I rarely do redraws. I’m really happy with how this turned out and may do another one.

As for life updates, I had a baby in February! I should probably make a post about that. I’m also struggling with postpartum depression. Need to make a post about that, too.

Some day I’ll make a good habit of posting to here more consistently.

Back to livestreaming and youtube

I’ve just published a new video where I cover 10 steps pro artists use in their art process to create professional art.

10 steps pro artists use to create amazing art

This is a condensed version of a Livestream I hosted a few weeks back.

After nearly a year of no streaming or videos I decided to come back to livestreaming.

I originally stopped for a few reasons. I found the process of creating YouTube videos quite time consuming to make them at the quality I really wanted them to be.

Livestreaming was a bit of a mixed bag. When I did “chill streams” where I just hung out and did art, I felt it didn’t really provide value to the PaperDemon community so I ended up not promoting the streams, this getting very poor engagement. I also found it was not so great for my anxiety because I was needing to be social, rather than having planned content to talk about.

When I did educational Livestream I felt more comfortable because I planned the content ahead of time and was confident that the content was valuable educational art content. But doing these streams regularly was also time consuming due to the planning involved.

Interestingly I found that even though I hadn’t posted to YouTube for a long time, we were still getting new signups to paperdemon and the discord from these videos compared to our other social media marketing efforts.

I think this is because the content is more valuable and more evergreen. On twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, posts typically only get seen for a day or two, then are forgotten about. But content on YouTube is continually searched and discovered even years later.

Because of this I decided to come back to livestreaming and YouTube videos in an effort to market PaperDemon.

But to be more realistic I’m only planning on one Livestream per month with quality educational material and demos along with an occasional extra video here and there. This is a pace that feels reasonable to me.

I’m also experimenting with YouTube shorts to share shorter advice stuff.

I may have to take another break when the baby comes but we’ll see. I may be itching to do videos. Livestreaming might be hard to coordinate around feeding and nap time.

I decided to stream on YouTube going forward instead of twitch because I’ve heard so much from the experts in this space that twitch has poor “discoverability” compared to YouTube. Plus it makes things so much easier. If people subscribe to my stream, they’re also subbed to my videos and vice versa.

My next stream will be this Saturday 11am pst and I’ll be talking about composition, a topic requested by a member of the PaperDemon community.

Too sensitive

Today, I got really upset over the way a couple of people spoke to me in a business and programming related discord text chat. They were being critical of choices I had said I made. It was something trivial but still upset me.

And it upset me so much I was on and off crying the whole day, unable to get control of my emotions.

I decided to stick up for myself and state in the chat that the things that were said made me feel stupid and unwelcome. And I asked that people try to be a little kinder. My hope in advocating for myself would be that I might be able to sway this particular chat vibe to being more supportive and hopefully make it more welcoming for others.

And not surprisingly someone basically said I was being too sensitive and the fact I took it the way I did was my problem.

My rejection sensitive disphoria was already triggered before that comment but to not be seen and be shamed for being hurt, felt like being kicked while I was down. It brought back memories of being bullied as a child, crying, then being bullied some more for being a cry baby.

Thankfully someone jumped into the chat and said they could see how what was said could cause me to feel attacked. I felt seen. And it diffused the conversation.

But the damage was still done and my emotions continued to take me on a rollercoaster, a passenger watching it unfold. Knowing that my reaction was not rational didn’t help me.

I lost precious hours of what was supposed to be a productive day working on my business.

I tried many tricks to try and snap myself out of it. I went for walks. I tried to work. I tried eating. I used the usual CBT strategies to put the situation in perspective. I talked to myself the way a wise friend would. “You are sensitive because you had a traumatic childhood. And this person doesn’t know or understand that context.” ” You are hurting and that’s ok. Don’t fight it and let it out. This too shall pass.” “They didn’t mean to be hurtful. They’re trying to be constructive.”

The final thing that seemed to work was curl up on my bed in the fetal position and meditate for 45 minutes.

I wish I didn’t have RSD. The tough thing about it is not only does it cause me to overreact, but then I feel bad for overreacting. I understand that having it is just a result of ADHD and childhood trauma. But when I get upset over something someone says to me, and advocate for myself to say, hey that could have been said nicer, I’m inevitably going to be told or treated like I’m being too sensitive.

A good friend of mine often spoke critically of me and my business choices even after I would tell him in the moment how hurtful it was. Yet he continued to do it. And told me I was too sensitive and have poor self esteem and had no reason to feel so badly about myself. I made the tough decision to cut that person out of my life because it was clear they weren’t willing to meet me part way or be considerate of my feelings.

I have accomplished much in my life. I have had my art viewed by millions of people on the internet’s most popular web page, the Google homepage. I’ve successfully lead a team of engineers having a great tech career. And now I run a business where I get to make a difference helping neurodivergent teens and adults find belonging and confidence.

And those things help build my confidence and give me purpose and meaning in my life. But they don’t erase the childhood trauma.

I’d love to be able to say to myself, this discord conversation is trivial and doesn’t matter, so this pain shouldn’t be here. But all the same the pain is there. Like a reopening of an old wound. And I bear the pain once more for the whole day. Completely knowing the pain I feel is irrational. But not having much ability to stop it.

I understand that I must accept that this is part of who I am. And that there’s little I can do to change it. But I also have hope that some day I won’t be so sensitive and not be bothered by the words of others.

Update Nov 2, 2021:

After some reflection, I now suspect the reason I reacted as strongly as I did may have been caused by good ol’ pregnancy hormones. I am sensitive but to have reacted this strongly for this long still feels out of character for me.

On the bright side, having a poor experience in that server motivated me to find something better. I ended up finding two really great business discord servers with really nice and knowledgeable business people and am loving it so far.

One door closes, another one opens.

Discord icon

My passion for PaperDemon comes from the pain I felt as a child, not really fitting in, feeling stupid, and having poor self esteem. With the discord server we can really provide support for those that are struggling and help members to see themselves more positively. The community is so wonderfully supportive and I want to grow it further.

We’re getting a lot of new sign ups on the PaperDemon website but a small percentage of them are in the discord server.

So to solve this I want to promote paperdemons discord server more prominently on the homepage. Since the icon will sit alongside all of our other major game icons, I wanted it to match the PaperDemon art rpg look and feel (fantasy and steampunk) so I created this icon. I thought it turned out pretty good.

I’m pregnant!

My life is about to change.

I’m currently 25 weeks pregnant. Baby is due at end of January. I’m very excited to become a mama!

My husband, Mike, hasn’t quite wrapped his head around it yet. But I know once he holds his little boy he’ll go into full on dad mode.

Yes we’re having a boy!

What was finding out like?

Finding out I was pregnant was a shock. We started trying in January but given my age and my anxiety, I was pessimistic and expected it to take a long while before I’d get pregnant. A few months later, my period was a week late so I took a pregnancy test. I was fully expecting that the test would be negative and I’d just get my period late, which happens quite a bit for me.

But there was a big fat “pregnant” reading on the digital display staring right back in my face. I screamed! Mike ran into the bathroom to see if I was ok and see what was wrong. I jumped for joy and showed him the positive test!

His reaction? “Oh boy!” like in a nervous sort of way. He wants to become a dad but at the same time, change is really hard for him and he especially has a hard time visualizing what change is like. Once change is thrust upon him, he adapts.

What has the pregnancy been like so far?

First trimester I was super tired all the time. I had like 2 weeks straight where I couldn’t work. I was lucky to make it out of bed and to the couch. I was quite surprised by this and didn’t realize first trimester was so tiring. I don’t know how other pregnant moms can work in that first trimester and how they keep it a secret from their co-workers and manager. Thankfully I am my own boss so I didn’t have to tell anyone I didn’t want to.

I did have morning sickness but it wasn’t bad enough to cause me to vomit, thankfully. But I definitely was nauseous a lot and ended up losing 5 pounds.

Thankfully my energy returned in the second trimester and I’ve been able to get a lot of work done preparing for baby. We’ve got the nursery painted and starting putting together the nursery furniture (Mike did most of the work).

Tiredness is starting to return again. I have a day here and there where I just take long naps and get almost nothing done. Sometimes when this happens I freak out and have a meltdown. I think this is happening because I know I only have so many weeks left to get work done on the business. I have a lot of goals I’m trying to tackle before I take my leave.

Heartburn has also started becoming a daily thing.

I ended up going off of my anxiety medication early in the pregnancy because the meds have a negative impact on the baby that I didn’t want to risk. I had a couple weeks of anxiety after going off of it but somehow recovered. I’m very thankful that my anxiety hasn’t been that bad. I know a lot of expectant moms have anxiety over the baby and whether it’s ok and developing well. But all my tests have gone well, no sign of issues. Baby is healthy! Yay!

My mood was kind of all over the place in first trimester but has leveled off in second. I still have my meltdowns but they aren’t frequent.

I suspect the reason I’m feeling so good is because my lovely kitty, Diamond, keeps me company and brings me a lot of happiness. And because I’m just really excited to be a mother. Especially when I feel my little guy kick or move around, I just smile and feel so happy.

My most recent symptom has been hunger. I eat two breakfasts now and have to snack a lot. I get really strong urges to eat big meals and I get cravings for random things. Usually carb heavy stuff. Earlier in the pregnancy I was craving cheeseburgers.

I feel a little weird being older and just starting my family now. There’s lots of people my age with kids in their teens. I got a late start. But hopefully our choice to delay having children will allow us to provide better for our children and for ourselves financially.

Balancing work?

I plan to take 3 months off from PaperDemon while caring for baby but I wont be able to take a complete break. I’ll likely still need to do checkins with my team to make sure things are still moving, as well as handling financial matters like processing orders and paying bills and payroll.

But I will take a complete break from website development. This makes sense because if I deploy new code while having limited availability, I might trigger instability on the site that wont get fixed for a long while. So it’s safer to just have a code freeze by December and have it last until I get back to full time.

After three months of baby leave, the plan is to get child care. But that plan may have to change if the pandemic is still ongoing. It also just might be hard to leave my little guy with a stranger at that young of an age so we’ll see. I may be able to get some help from family.

It’s going to be hard because I really want to keep working. I love working on my business. But I also really want to focus on baby. We’ll see how it goes!

Character Development challenge

On PaperDemon we just introduced biweekly challenges as part of the PaperDemon Art RPG where a new prompt is introduced every two weeks that encourages players to explore their OC’s personalities and preferences.

But anyway here’s the art I created to signify these challenges.

Since these challenges centered around character development, Shyftlock suggested a “journal” be used for the graphic. But after doing some research I decided to go with something more like a locked diary to give it a little more of a steampunk feel.

Yay sparkles.

Junket Tank

I created a new item for the PaperDemon Art RPG called a Junket Tank. The visual is based on a vacuum tube like one that might be used inside a tube tv.

In the PaperDemon universe, portals to other worlds are tube television sets. Some portals are unstable, only able to be visited during specified times of 2 months.

I had the idea to add an item that would let players visit these closed portals and one of our members, Duskfire suggested it be a part from a TV set.

The “SHM 218” is a reference to ShrunkenHeadMan club, the San Jose State University Animation/Illustration club that I was very active in while studying there and have still contributed to after graduating. I’m not as active these days but try to make it to the yearly SHM Con event at least.

Crafting

Soon we’ll be introducing a new crafting challenge to the PaperDemon Art RPG. And so I needed to create some new item art.

I have a lot of fun creating the item art for the PaperDemon Art RPG. Part of it is because it’s a lot easier than character art, I can get fairly creative with it, and I can usually finish an item in 1-2 days.

Cloth
Thread

The spindle for the thread was inspired by ancient thread spindles.

The only thing I wish I had done differently with the art is that the lines for the cloth are too thick compared to the other item art. I might have to go back and fix that later.

Anyway, you can craft Cloth and Thread together to make this Cloth armor.

Cloth Armor

I’ve got a lot more item arts I need to post.

Currency

I did some art for two currencies for the PaperDemon Art RPG.

We’re using Gold as the main in-game currency. Gold drops for participating in most of the events. I was inspired by Celtic knots for the design as well as Japanese coins, some of which have a hole in the middle. Celtic designs are an influence in other PaperDemon Art RPG assets as well.

I actually had three different concepts that I was trying to choose between.

Three different concept sketches for gold currency

I went for option A because I thought it felt more Elvan. I also thought this worked better as a singular coin instead of three coins because of the level of detail in it.

I may still use option C for another currency later. I liked the little notches.

And here’s the final.

Final art for Gold

And soon we’re going to introduce a new premium currency called “Trokens.” I wanted the currency to have a non-circular shape just to be a little more interesting. There was a conspiracy involving me and Triforces in the past so I thought it would be funny to make the currency triangular shaped. When I told my husband I was trying to come up with a name for the currency, he suggested “Trokens” because it’s a combo of tokens and triangle and we both busted out laughing. So I rolled with it.

Here are two early concept sketches. One had a gem in the middle and another had a hole in the middle, again kind of like the Japanese Yen coins. I ended up going with the gem in the center as this felt more “premium”. Also I like shiny things and gems are shiny. I was thinking of the base as being like a pearlescent material.

Trokens Concept sketches

And here’s the final art. Once again I turned up the rainbows and sparkles to level 11.

Trokens final art

I’m pleased with the art and can’t wait to announce these for sale. Hoping to officially launch the store in the next week or two. However I’m still building out the list of items that will be available for purchase with this currency. So I’m unsure how interested people will be in buying at this point.

I was recently interviewed about Art RPGs and ADHD

If you’ve known me long enough, you probably know I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder). My ADHD has made my life a challenge in many ways, and one of which is motivation.

This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about gamifying art and supporting the Art RPG community. I see Art RPGs as a fun way to help motivate neurodivergent artists to get past their perfectionism and motivational challenges and get creating again by bribing them with virtual gold, XP, and more.

Recently, I was invited to be interviewed on the ADHD Artist Podcast to talk all about Art RPGs and how they can benefit the ADHD artist community.

I had a lot of fun chatting with the host, Sarah Guise. We talked about Google doodles, disclosing your disability at school and in the workplace, PaperDemon, and Art RPGs. Actually there’s a TON more that I feel like we could have talked about. I hope I get the chance to come on again because ADHD is one of those topics that I have passionate opinions on.

ADHD Artist Podcast Episode 12

Listen to the interview

And if you’re an artist with ADHD, check out the other episodes available on their podcast, too!