Wow. Been such a long time since I updated the blog. Its for a very good reason. Over the course of nearly two years, I've been hard at work on the sequel to "Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth". Writing a book while working on a full-time job is certainly a tough task. I'm glad I endured the many tireless days and nights, adjustments here and there and the many illustrations that will accompany the story. This story as with all of my stories is a truly 100% individual effort. No publishers, no agents, no promotional budget and certainly no advance. Of course, its now up to the reader to discover the world of Merry Chrissy.
Updates on the 1st Merry Chrissy book
In an effort to keep the storyline in check with the sequel and forthcoming Merry Chrissy 3, some editing was done to the the first title originally released in 2014. Most changes with the story were cosmetic and minor, nothing too jarring. The bigger changes made were primarily with presentation. Namely with the quality of the illustrations in the digital eBook versions. Illustrations now have descriptions for accessibility. The eBooks were revamped from the ground up. If you have purchased "Merry Chrissy and the Naughty or Nice Truth" online before, the the FREE update will be available to download now. Of course, if you haven't purchased the first book yet, I HIGHLY recommend doing so. The sequel "Merry Chrissy and the After Christmas Awakenings" starts where the first one ends. Reading the first book is absolutely crucial to fully understand Chrissy's second adventure.
Merry Chrissy 2 #RevealWeek
I'm introducing 4 new characters that will be featured in the newest Merry Chrissy adventure. Starting on Monday, December 5 and ending on Thursday December 8, a brand new character will be "unwrapped" for the world to see. On Friday December 9, the release or "unwrapping date" for "Merry Chrissy and the After Christmas Awakenings" will FINALLY be revealed. (Hint: It will be released in December, but sooner than you think depending on the type of device you have).
The taste of defeat feels so bitter. The last 24 hours felt like a ton of bricks falling on me. You felt it and so did I. A lot of people are upset, angry, afraid and uncertain about what is going to happen in the next 4 years. While I don't know what the future will bring, It doesn’t have to be that way. Make this time YOUR time. Be the renegade. Be the agent of change. Be the revolutionary. Let the world know that your victories, your triumphs and your accomplishments matter. Don’t be on the sidelines. Don’t cry. Don’t complain. Don’t like. Don’t retweet. Don’t Upvote or downvote. Put down the phone. Put down the controller. Put down the remote. Stand up. Rise up. Jump up and down. Raise hell. Grab your mic. Grab your laptop. Grab your paper and pencil. Suit up. Dress up. Lace up.
Inspire those without hope. Encourage those under pain. Empower our youth. Embolden the disadvantaged. No matter what and how you create, the world needs your stories.
Get going. You have work to do.
Drawing and writing have been a hobby of mine for quite some time. Some doodles and ramblings may have gone nowhere, but some have escaped (or rather unleashed) from my head in the past few years. One such doodle was Maddie Mckenzsie, a goofy looking 5-year old girl that came out of such a doodle back in late 2010. 5 years later, I made her the star in two picture books I released myself…with more on the way in the future, time willing. You could say Maddie is pretty much the poster child of my drawing renaissance that I started a few year ago. I’m always drawing her when not working on my other projects. Plus, when I’m showing off my books at events, I have an excuse to have her silly and goofy smiling face to display for all the world to see.
This is where Budsies comes to play; a company that’s able to create a huggable plush out of your very own drawing. The service is targeted to young kids who send in their own drawings, but anyone regardless of age or drawing ability can have one done. 6-7 weeks later in the mail (Creation times can vary. It can be as little a 3 weeks or as much as 7 weeks during the holiday season.), a plush resembling the likeness of your own drawing is created after a lot of hard work and magic. Budsies can create a plush out of your own drawing, your own pet and even yourself! The company has been featured on shows such as TODAY and Shark Tank. (the founder walked away from his offers, by the way.) The plush toys are designed and manufactured in the U.S.A. in South Florida.
I ordered a plush of my very own Maddie in the largest size possible. Budsies offers two sizes, 16 inches and 30 inches. Budsies start at $89 in 16 inches and “Selfises” start at $79. “Petsies” at the time of this writing are not yet available to the general public, but you can sign up for an “early access” raffle that costs $149. Looking at their social media, most kids or adults leave them with a single drawing to work with. I gave them a bit more detail with a character sheet. Front, back, side and 3/4 profiles and pantone colors. The whole 9 yards. Because the process is not automated, it took me approximately 7 weeks to get my plush created. They need to look at your design to make sure it works in a 3-D plush environment. They offered me feedback on the design when necessary. I requested them to make her sit, but they told me they would need to redesign the plush in a sitting form without floppy legs. I opted for the stand option because I wanted the plush to match my vision as much as possible.
I initially had my plush shipped in January. Unfortunately, the design of the plush did not meet my standards. Fortunately, I was able to get a remake of the plush. Unfortunately, they do charge for this, but the cost of the re-do is $59.99 for 30-inch plush and $39.99 for 16-inch.
So, how did Maddie turn out?
Compared to the first design, her face is a lot more closer to her likeness. I wasn’t expecting a 1:1 replica, so if you’re very picky about that, you may want to look into a private commission with a skilled plush maker. Perhaps they may have emphasized her tummy a…bit too much, but I can live with it. I’m still able to have her sit despite the fact that the plush is designed in a standing pose. If you have kids and are looking to create a human-like plush, this may not be a such a big deal.
I have worked on a private commission before and the back and forth of communication went very well. Budsies on the other hand, may need to be a bit more personalized with their updates. Apart from the standard updates they sent me by e-mail and the responses to my specific requests from the re-do, it wouldn’t hurt to get an update with a picture or two to see how my plush is coming along. Perhaps I’m asking too much for the price that I’m paying for. The cost of Budsies is in most cases far cheaper than getting a customized plush commission from say DeviantArt, but once again don’t expect a 100% perfectly crafted plush made to your exact specifications. Its an interpretation. I’m not knocking them off or anything, but please be prepared if you (or your child) are very picky about what your plush should look like. That said, the very existence of Budsies in this time and age is just an incredible experience for kids. I wish I had the ability to make a plush out of my drawings when I was a kid. What a time to be alive.
Now that you read my review, maybe you (or your child) want to take a shot at creating your own Budsie. You can save 10% towards the purchase of a new Budsie plush right now!
Disclaimer: I purchased the following item on my own. I was not offered a sample from the company for promotional purposes. There is a referral link where I receive a small portion of any purchased item.
UPDATE: Alex Furmansky, founder of Budsies personally e-mailed me about my review. He says Advanced Budsies are coming!
For many years, people have asked the question. "Is the iPad good enough for real work?" Some people have given such qualms *cough* Cory Doctorow *cough*, stating it's a "consumption only device". Some people have resorted to buying so-called tablet hybrids with so-so hardware to do their artwork on it. I'm not afraid to be biased here, but what I really want is a tablet made by Apple and only by Apple. I was tempted for years with Wacom's Cintiq (which I eventually bought the Cintiq 13HD) and was a click away from buying a Cintiq Companion; It was horrible experiences from others scared me away. I really would like to own a drawing tablet that doesn't have the reliability of an Xbox 360.
The Dark Days of Drawing on iPad.
For several years, I've been drawing a lot more as a grown up. I'm not the one to say I've been drawing since I was in diapers. I took a nearly 20 year break. My hidden talent laid dormant thanks to school work and a lack of self confidence. Once I was able to squeeze some free time to dedicate to learning to draw, I started out with some original characters of mine to warm up my creative juices a bit in 2010 and eventually started drawing some fanart every now and then. I soon moved on major book projects, self publishing 2 picture books and a full length novel I wrote and illustrated (and two more are on the way). My art needs have significantly changed over the years, going from a simple pencil and paper sketchbook, branching off to digital art with a Wacom Intuous in Photoshop on my Mac. Ever since the original iPad was released in April of 2010, I yearned to do digital art wherever and wherever I dare chose to. Because the iPad at the time didn't support things such as palm rejection or tilt sensitivity, that experience was pretty…rough to put it lightly. I bought a cheap stylus a few months after the iPad came out and the experience of drawing with what was really a skinny felt tip felt unnatural and was very difficult to get used to. Also the early apps designed for drawing made me yearn for Photoshop in the worst way possible.
In 2011, Australian-based developer Savage Interactive released a program called Procreate exclusively for the iPad. For the first time, I saw true potential in drawing digitally on the iPad. Compared to a "real" art program, I couldn't do much such as create a ton of layers unless I took a lot of shortcuts and the resolution size for the most part was limited to the resolution on the iPad itself. For the 6 bucks I paid for it, I could say it was worth every penny. As Procreate released version after version, it got better and better, even adding features that put Photoshop to shame (I'm in absolute LOVE with Color Drop!). The interface is natively designed for iPad and only iPad. When I was away from home, Procreate would be my go to app for digital drawing.
Some of my older iPad art before the Apple Pencil came into my life. Featuring Maddie.