Reflecting on 2020

This has undoubtedly been an extremely tough year for many. While I did have my fair share of struggles, I am fortunate enough to have many things to be grateful for.

Let’s start with the challenges…

The challenging things

  • The stress and unknown of Covid19, obviously. Hard not to start there. The fears and strain of responsibility to protect those around me from getting the virus.
  • The physical aspects of my Anxiety got much worse. I had a period of weeks where my body was on high alert and couldn’t snap out of it and ended up in the emergency room with a panic attack. I tried new medication but it has come with downsides. I sleep nearly 12 hours every day as a result of it.
  • The anxiety was too bad for me to even go to the store and I had to rely on my husband to do the grocery shopping. I suspect many people with anxiety felt this way, too, due to the nature of the pandemic.
  • I’ve fallen out of my meditation practice.
  • I isolated too much and didn’t spend enough time seeing friends (in a safe way of course).
  • I dropped the ball on Dragon Mall Quest. There were many reasons for this. Mostly it had become too time consuming and I had to scale back my schedule. But even my scaled back schedule of one episode a month I haven’t stuck to. I also have some fears and mental resistance with it that I need to overcome. I’ll try to restart my efforts on this in 2021.
  • My business got audited by the IRS.
  • Crap tons of bug reports on PaperDemon.com. For whatever reason these stress me out. Perhaps because I know I don’t have enough time to fix all of them and I feel like I’m letting my users down.
  • I gained back all the weight I had lost from dieting in 2018. At the start of the pandemic I reached for comfort food, especially frozen pizzas and it left a mark on my waistline. I attempted to restart my diet in the summer but without success.
  • I barely livestreamed this year. In part because it fell low in the priority list and also due to anxiety.

The things I’m grateful for

  • This was a fantastic year for PaperDemon. We made great progress in terms of community activity, product direction, development, and growth.
  • Dracostryx joining PaperDemon. This was a HUGE validating moment for PaperDemon and demonstrates we are on the right path and serving user needs. They’ve provided a lot of input to help us with product direction.
  • Meeting Shyftlock at ShrunkenHeadMan Con and having her join the PaperDemon staff. Learning from her about the Art RPG world was a huge benefit and helped inspire our product direction for PaperDemon.
  • I felt really productive this year with PaperDemon which was a big improvement over 2019. I was crippled by anxiety after some serious shit went down. But I found my groove in 2020.
  • I created lots of personal art. This was probably one of my most prolific years for my personal art since early college.
  • In addition to being prolific, I narrowed in on a personal art style. I might discuss this more in a future video.
  • Despite some initial financial fears triggered by the pandemic, we ended up being just fine financially. Mike’s job remained stable thank goodness.
  • I had support from a peer organized anxiety support group
  • No one in my family suffered seriously from Covid19. While a few got sick, no one ended up in the hospital. The spouse of one of my friends had a serious case and he landed in the hospital but he recovered, thankfully.
  • My sister-in-law gave birth to her first child. What a blessing!

I’m looking forward to 2021. While 2020 was a terrible year, perhaps the worst year ever for many, I wouldn’t say that was the case for me. It helped that I already had a year head start on working from home.

Happy 2021

I had some free time over the holiday break and decided to finally update my ancient personal website. This new site is built with WordPress using Bedrock which I’ve used on another project. I like it. I wanted to go with something quick and easy to setup where I can easily dump images and content in case I want to share behind the scenes of my art projects.

I’m going to try and figure out if there’s a way to import my old blog posts here at some point. But for now, you can still view my old blog posts on my PaperDemon account.

Welcome, newcomers. Nice to meet you!

Now that we’ve got a lot of new people at PaperDemon, I thought it might be helpful to tell you more about who this person is behind the scenes.

 

Hi, I’m BogusRed and I’m the founder and owner of PaperDemon.com. My real name is Susie Sahim and I live in San Jose, California with my husband, Mike Mitchell. I have a BFA in Animation and Illustration from San Jose State University.

 

I’m one of those weird nerds who’s an artist, a web designer, and a web developer. I have been fortunate enough to have worked professionally in all three capacities, gaining a wide range of skills.

 

While I was in college, I started the site, initially under the domain BogusRed.net, as a place to showcase the artwork of my friends and to gain experience with MySQL and PHP. It started as a somewhat static website, but over the years it grew into a community and user generated content website. By 2005, the site had taken on the name “PaperDemon” and moved to the PaperDemon.com domain.

 

Soon after starting PaperDemon, I fell in love with it. I love building things and talking to people who use the things I create. It’s a ton of fun to meet new people and provide a safe place where others can find fulfillment to pursue their passions.

 

In around 2006, I got hired as an intern at Google and ended up working there for nearly 13 years. I did everything from icons, to doodles, to illustrations, to designing websites, to coding, to being the tech lead for a front end engineering team!

 

During my time at Google, development on PaperDemon was sporadic for a variety of reasons but I always kept coming back to it.

 

In 2017, I started to refine the future vision of PaperDemon as a place where people could find acceptance, support and motivation to create more through gamification. As a person with ADHD, I knew how effective immediate rewards are to help motivate positive behavior. And those who struggle the most with motivation, were likely the ones to struggle most with needing acceptance and support. My belief is that mental health and motivation are closely related.

 

In 2019, I decided it was finally time for me to pursue my dream to work on PaperDemon full time, and say goodbye to Google. It was a challenging adjustment but I feel I’m fully adapted to the work-at-home lifestyle now. There’s still a lot of scary and unkown aspects of running your own business but it gets better each day.

 

This blog post has gotten long enough and I’ve never been the best at writing so maybe it’s just best to end it there?

 

It’s lovely to meet all of you new folks and I can’t wait to see what you create.

 

Much love,

~BogusRed

♥♥♥

 

 

A new adventure

Holy crap! Has it really been eight years since I posted a blog post?! As they say, better late than never.

 

This is a year of some big changes so I figure there’s no better time than now to give you all an update.

 

So much has happened since 2011. Too much to put in one blog post. So maybe I’ll just start with what’s still the same.

 

  • I’m still happily married to my husband Mike. No kids yet. But we’re hoping to start our family within the next couple years.
  • I still struggle with ADHD. But, I continue to invest time and energy to understanding and managing it. I have made huge strides especially in the last few years.
  • I still work for Google, though not for much longer. (I’m going to keep you in suspense!)
  • I still run the creative community, PaperDemon.com.

 

And that’s what leads me to make this updated blog post. This year I’ll be embarking on a journey; A journey to fulfill a dream of mine that I’ve had for over a decade.

 

PaperDemon.com has always been a passion project for me. I’ve been telling myself for years how awesome it would be to work on PaperDemon and PaperDemonMedia full-time. I get so much joy from building something for creative’s and helping them share their work with the world. As well as creating stupid funny videos. Every time a colleague of mine would leave Google to say they’re leaving to work on their own business, I would stare at them wide-eyed with so much joy and happiness for them as well as envy. I would say, “I wish I could do that!”

 

Many people have dreams, but few actually attempt to see them through or give them a real chance. About two years ago I started to get serious about it. I realized that if I wanted to make my PaperDemon dream happen, I had to actually work on it and dedicate myself to it.

 

I doubted myself a lot (I still do). I wasn’t sure if I had the discipline to do it. Up until two years ago, I could never stick to something consistently. I have a long history of unfinished projects telling me that I can’t stick to anything or finish anything (this blog being one of them).

 

Oddly enough one of the thoughts that motivated me to try anyway is that when I have an ADHD child (there’s a 50% chance) I want them to feel like they can take risks. I want them to go through the world believing that they can fulfill their dreams, in spite of their disability. If I gave up on my own dreams, what message would that send to my children?

 

The time has finally come for me to take the plunge and commit myself fully to seeing my dreams through. My last day at Google will be April 1. I’ll then take a few weeks break to recover. (The last year has been incredibly hard. More details coming.) And then it’ll be time to roll up my sleeves and see it all through.

 

I’ll be honest with you, I’m pretty scared. I’m going to need a lot of support in the coming years. It may be a while before I’m profitable. I will continue to have lots of self-doubt. I very much appreciate any positive encouraging words you can send my way. Your words are more powerful than you could possibly know.

 

I don’t just do this for myself, I do it for my family, and I do it for my community. Here’s to you, me, and our dreams.

 

Special thank you to my husband Mike for his love and support.

 

Hand made Zelda Hylian Shield

A new hand made Hylian shield for my Twilight Princess Link costume.

When I first made my Link costume 4 years ago, I thought that making a shield by myself would be impossible, so I ordered a replica online (pictured on the left below). 

However, as good as this shield looks, it has some problems. It weighs over 8 pounds and it gets tiring to carry around all day. The handle is made with really cheap materials and kept breaking. If it breaks during a day at a convention, I don’t have a drill around to redrill the holes to repair it. The shape is also inaccurate to the Twilight Princess shield design. In addition, every other part of my costume I made myself and when people ask, "Wow your costume is great. Did you make all of that yourself?" I proudly say "Yes I did!" and then they say "Wow the shield is the BEST PART." and then I have to embarrassingly reply with that’s the one thing I DIDN’T make.

Since I’ve been so successful with making craft foam props for my Zelda wedding, it didn’t seem impossible anymore to make my own shield. This shield (pictured right below) is made totally from craft foam, hot glue gun glue, and acrylic paints. It weighs almost nothing, looks more accurate, and I can finally say "I made my whole costume myself." It still needs a few minor details and refinement on the paint. But it was good enough to show off on Halloween day.

DSCN1391.JPG
From Link Costume, the making of

 

 

Here’s an inprogress shot of what it looked lilke before the paint:

DSCN1376.JPG
From Link Costume, the making of

 

Master Sword sleeps.

Just as the Master Sword in Zelda laid sleeping in the forest, I’ve been sleeping on the blog posts.

I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been waiting for the professional photos to be ready. Just saw them yesterday and I’ll be getting the high res files soon and making more blog posts.

In the meantime, here’s a quick taste. I love this shot because it reminds me so much of Zelda and some of the official art that has been created. Amazing. And I didn’t even instruct them to do it either.

 

wedding-ceremony-sword.jpg

Photo by JLPhotografia

 

Wedding – Heart Piece in chest

It seemed fitting for our sweet heart table to have the Zelda Piece-of-heart as a centerpiece. To dress it up more, I created a foliage arrangement inside a treasure chest with rupees and jewels.

 

zelda heart piece in chest

 

The chest is a ready made chest found at a craft store. The foliage is made from preserved moss, plastic jewels, fake ferns and ivy, moss rocks, mini pine cone filler. The heart piece is made from plastic custom cut at Tap Plastics and craft foam for the red heart, painted with liquitex acrylic paints and glitter glue. The rupees are paper craft.

My new husband will always have a piece of my heart ^.^

Mike cheers at sweetheart table

 

Wedding – Spirit Flute Centerpiece

This centerpiece is the Spirit Flute from Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. Link looks so adorable playing it.

Believe it or not, it’s made from Playtex gentle glide tampon holders. No I’m not joking. I got the idea from TamponCrafts.com.

Other materials include craft foam for the front plate, beads, cross stitch floss, and liquitex paint.

zelda wedding pan flute centerpiece

 

Wedding – Banners and more Favors

So I learned that there’s a technique called bunting where you take triangles of fabric and sew them inbetween a thin strip of fabric to create banners. I thought this would be suitable for the wedding because its a quick and easy way to add color to various areas of the venue and it also has a medieval look to it.

I also painted a water pattern and a few triforces to make it more Zelda-ish.

I created three signs; table assignments, bathroom, and spirits (for the bar!). Pictured below are a couple of the signs as well as the favors as they were displayed on the favors table.

The favors doubled as table assignments and contained the guest’s name and a picture of the centerpiece of their table, so they would know visually what table they were to go to.

zelda wedding favors table flags bunting

 

Wedding – Lens of Truth Centerpiece

Making its debut in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Lens of Truth aids Link in seeing invisible objects, enemies, and hidden passageways. 

Something about the Lens of Truth’s design has seemed creepy to me. But I chose to include it as a wedding centerpiece because it’s so unique and wasn’t too hard to create.

This was made using a plastic circle from Tap Plastics, craft foam, creative paperclay (thanks for the tip Jennifer Hom!), glitter glue, and acrylic paints. 

The fabric I found to use for the Lens of Truth’s pillow is especially neat because it changes from purple to red depending on the lighting and angle you view it at. A perfect match for the red and purple design of the Lens of Truth.

zelda wedding lens of truth centerpiece