Sunday, July 28, 2019

Redrawing my Middle School OC

After Rocky passed away, I took down his cage and moved in some furniture from my childhood bedroom. I found a drawer containing some cherished art from when I was in middle school!

Yikes! These were one of my first experiments with alcohol markers (specifically, Prismacolor Markers). And as you can see, Baby Amanda hit a few road bumps. I wasn't using appropriate paper. I didn't use appropriate liners. Just overall, I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I made three attempts and was pretty dissatisfied with all of them at the time. I just couldn't get the markers to do what I wanted.

But now, many years have passed and I know exactly what I was doing wrong: Everything. I used a water-based liner so that it wouldn't bleed with the alcohol-based markers. I used cardstock that could handle the job. I didn't want to change the design this time around (maybe in the future I will), so I just kind of did a quick mash-up of the three reference images and here's the result:

 If you'd like to watch me work on this, be sure to check out Redraw with Me: Middle School OC Edition:
I'm going to be upfront. My hand was in the way for most of the video. Oops? I'll be more careful next time.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Pookie Pixels' Loom Beading Tutorial

Years ago, I spent a ton of time creating a detailed Loom Beading tutorial. And I can't for the life of me remember WHY I did this, but while organizing files on my PC I FOUND IT! And I've uploaded it to Gumroad where you can read it by downloading for free. Here's a link!
Miyuki Delica Seed Beads
Loom Beading Process Pic
It's a Nyan Cat beaded bracelet!

The finished Nyan Cat bracelet in action.
 Maybe viewing the tutorial will give you some insight into why I stopped selling beaded bracelets. They're a lot of work!

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A Love Story

An idea I'd been tossing around for a while that I finally realized as a mini-comic. Enjoy A Love Story!

I've got a few printed copies, too, and I love how they came out. If you're interested in one, let me know!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Garbage Baby: A Fan Awakens

I recently announced my impending Star Wars fan zine...and the day has come where it's officially released! Introducing Garbage Baby: A Fan Awakens
 If you'd told me a year and a half ago that I'd be releasing a Star Wars fan zine in 2019, I would have LAUGHED. At that point in my life I'd seen exactly one (1) Star Wars movie. Oh, how things have changed.
 Garbage Baby: A Fan Awakens is saddle stitch bound with EDGY RED staples, because of course it is.
Now here's what you really came for: more previews.

Available now! Buy a physical copy on Etsy (or from me in person - I'll be at Camden Comic Con in a few weeks) or download the PDF on Gumroad.

New Facebook Page

So after literally WEEKS of attempting to rename and merge my two Facebook pages (Pookie Pixels and Handmade Cards by Amanda), I've officially given up. I did everything Facebook wanted, including posting about the "rebranding*" on my official website. And despite everything, every appeal was denied. As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't worth the headache anymore.

So I've launched a NEW page, where I'll be representing my creative endeavors from here on out. I'll be updating my site to reflect the new link shortly. The lack-of-merging on Facebook's end means I lose all my previous Followers and Likes. Which sucks. So I'd appreciate any Likes you send my way!

*Is it really a "rebrand" if Pook Nero is my artist handle literally everywhere else outside of Facebook?

I don't have any art to contribute today, so here's a picture of my mothering the hell out of some baby alligators.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Rebranding Announcement (and BONUS Star Wars mini-comic)

Enjoy these Star Wars mini-comics from my upcoming zine, Garbage Baby: A Fan Awakens as tax for the unfortunately necessary but boring rant/explanation below! Look forward to a post about Garbage Baby soon! The announcement following doesn't concern this site, but my Facebook page, a hold over from previous branding.

I've been trying to "consolidate my brand" as an artist over the past few months. I've been all over the place over the years, with Etsy shops and Facebook pages under both Pookie Pixels and Handmade Cards by Amanda. But the problem with that was that I was only posting a piece of myself at each place...just one aspect of what I do. It left me spread thin between various sites and blogs.

I launched this site under my artist name, Pook Nero, so that I could post ANYTHING here. Cards, jewelry, comics, fan art, writing. Any creative project by me, Pook Nero, the artist.  For more about why I chose Pook Nero as my artist name, you can check out my newly updated About Me page.

Today, most of my branding is in line: My Deviant Art, Etsy, tumblr, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram all have the same name (pooknero). The final holdout is Facebook.

I currently have Pages under both Pookie Pixels and Handmade Cards by Amanda. I plan to merge them and get my Page renamed to Pook Nero if possible. This way, all of my branding, everywhere, will be in line. My goal is to post all of my art in one place, to make it easier for fans to actually find my work. My initial name change request on Facebook was too dissimilar to be approved. I filed an appeal, but  have been prompted to provide an official press release about the name change. I hadn't released anything because the name had already been changed everywhere else, or had only ever been Pook Nero elsewhere, so it didn't make sense to announce anything. But regardless, here I am announcing that I'm FINALLY attempting to get my brand together!

Thanks for reading, if you did, and I hope you enjoyed this preview of Garbage Baby.

Monday, March 4, 2019


Rachel Bard (a.k.a. the Queen of Mini-Comics) and I have joined forces to release a story together! BEHOLD GRAGGULAX!
It's a mini-comic composed of TWO parallel stories with TWO adorable covers. I did the writing, and Rachel did the heavy lifting (character design, art, book layout, literally everything else). 

It's a tale about perspective and faith and cute aliens and the (maybe) existence of GRAGGULAX, an omnipotent space being. It's just super fantastic and I'm so happy with it. I am sad to report, however, that there were no Snorpvivors. R.I.P. Snorps.

If you'd like to pick up a copy, they're currently for sale at Challengers in Chicago. I also stock copies and will be selling them at Camden Comic Con 2019 (currently my only scheduled event this year--don't miss it!).

If you're not local to Chicago or NJ, I'm sure they'll likely be available soon on Rachel's Etsy. While you're there, check out her other amazing works! She's like, so freakin' amazing. Good job being awesome, Rachel. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Why I stopped selling beaded bracelets.

In 2012, I began making and selling loom beaded bracelets under the Etsy shop name Pookie Pixels. I got into the hobby because I liked pixel art and was looking for a way I could replicate it in the real world. With perfect consistently sized Delica seed beads and the grid of a loom, it was just what I was looking for to get that pixel look.
Was my first project suitable for a beginner? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I, being a big Doctor Who fan at at time, decided to make my first ever beading project a massive bracelet consisting of over 1,400 beads. I wanted to die. But the bracelet came out awesome! Surely other people would want these, right?

I made more designs. I made a lot of fanart. I'm still really proud of these. They were beautiful. I branded myself as Pookie Pixels and tabled at Otakon back in 2012. But right away I noticed a problem.

And that problem was that virtually all of the people who liked them couldn't afford to pay what they're worth. The materials are relatively cheap. But to get the art right, you need a LOT of colors on hand, and that cost adds up quickly. Most of my patterns required 10+ bead colors. All of my designs required two different types of thread. I needed needles and needle threaders and findings and strong glue to hold the knots. And when you factor in how much time it takes to make one of these...
Every single one of these beads has to be threaded individually onto a needle. And then pressed into place and stitched back over. And when that was done, you had to weave the needle back in to knot off the thread ends as subtly as possible. Multiple times, so that it wouldn't unravel.
And once you're done with the beading portion, you still have to attach a clasp somehow. Every warp thread had to be pulled through a seed bead and bead tip with a needle threading tool. Then I knotted off twice (for each clam shell bead tip) and glued for security before trimming and clamping. And only then can you begin to attach the clasps. And most of my designs needed at least two clasps.

The time required to make a bracelet was....let's just say tremendous is not a generous enough choice of words. I did sell quite a few, but the effort it took to market and create them while also working a full time job was just not sustainable for me.

 Let's break it down.
Very conservatively, I might have spent $7-$10 on materials per bracelet.
If I can only sell that bracelet for $25-$35 tops, and each bracelet can take maybe 4 hours of labor to complete...I wasn't even making minimum wage.

I slowly but surely began to lose interest. My product was selling at a loss. I get it--people don't have the money laying around to drop $50 on a bracelet, no matter how pretty it is. I'm also not the kind of person who would ever spend $50 on a bracelet.

I've kept all my supplies. It's a fun hobby, but I think my days selling these bracelets are over. I even recently rebranded my Etsy shop from PookiePixels to PookNero.

To all you beaders out there, working hard with sore, calloused have my love and upmost respect!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Christmas in...February?

As I was cleaning out my desk, I stumbled upon my digital camera. And WHOOPS I just remembered what was on it: pictures of my 2018 Xmas cards that I never posted online. Uh....better late than never?

This was probably my favorite of the designs. It features washi tape, shimmer spray, and the snowflake dies I impulse bought and was DAMNED sure going to use this year at every available opportunity. Here's some detail shots.

I really liked how the shimmer popped against the gray background.
Next I did a set of snowflake cards accented with green or red.

The embossing was inspired by my desire to not have to actually glue down any intricate die-cut snowflakes. I avoided it in the first cards by using the negative space from the dies...clever, right? Work smarter, not harder, am I right? And here's some details on this set...

I arbitrarily used embossed or debossed patterns for the cards, depending on what I thought looked best. Each card was soaked in a tremendous amount of shimmer spray. It reminded me of Jim Henson's Labyrinth. I loved it!

There was one more card that I forgot to get pics of before I gave it away....whoops? I'm like literally the worst content creator ever, I swear. BUT I found a pic I was able to swipe from Facebook chat. Ignore my messy desk in the background. It's still messy, and I'm not sorry about it. It's...part of the creative process.

Well, hope you still have enough Christmas spirit left to appreciate this incredibly late holiday post!