Come enjoy my world of Fantasy and Steampunk creations.

Mystic Reflections' Creations

Mystic Reflections' Creations

Caralyn's Events and Appearances

  • Aug. 30th - Sep. 3rd - DragonCon: Atlanta GA
  • Feb. 23rd-24th 2018 - ConNooga, Chattanooga TN
  • Nov. 17th-19th 2017 - Atlanta Steampunk Exposition: Atlanta GA
  • Nov. 11th - 12th 2017 - Christmas at Lithia Springs High school, Lithia Springs GA
  • Oct. 7th 2017 - RevFest: Rev Coffee Smyrna GA

My Blogs

Let's see what I have been up to. :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

First Time Wood Burning Experience

My husband and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this past weekend. We like to stick to the "traditional" wedding anniversary gifts and this year was wood. So off to Michael's Art Stores to pick up a little wooden box, they aren't expensive and they come in several different styles. The one I got was specifically chosen to hold my husband's Bicycle playing cards collection. Originally I was planning to just draw all over the box with a Sharpie but as I walked past the wood burning tools, I was intrigued to give it a try. They didn't have too many tools to choose from so I purchased the least expensive one, I'm sure there are much better quality burning tools but as a first time user, I wanted to make sure I would enjoy it before spending alot. So now that I had my tool and my canvas, it was time to go home and see if I was going to create art or burn the house down :D
After carefully reading the user directions and making sure I was following the safety tips, such as wearing gloves, I was ready to test out my new toy. I started with a small box I purchased just for the testing of my burning tool. 
Holding the tool takes a bit to get used to, you hold it much like you would a pencil, however you are gripping it higher on it's base so it feels slightly awkward, at least it did to me. Touching the tip to the small particle board box and the wood melted away easily leaving a nice black dot. Dragging the tool along I was able to draw, not as smoothly as you would a pencil but without too much difficulty. Before I knew it, my little testing box was covered in my scorched doodles. Now to move on to the gift box.
I was not happy with the little latch that came with the box so I first replaced that with another I was able to purchase in the wood section.
Then I sketched out the picture I would be burning; there is no eraser for the burning tool so I wanted to make sure I knew where my lines would be. 
Burning this box was slightly more difficult than the smaller box, I am not sure, but I think it was due to more knots in the board. But I was still able to fill my little particle board canvas with lots of art work with a small amount of effort. 
Make sure to always wear gloves when working with your wood burning tool, I was thankful I had gloves on when about half way through my work I smelt leather burning and realize I had rested my ring finger on the hot metal of the tool, had I not been wearing my protection that would have been a painful lesson that no one wants to learn.
After my box was covered in my burned designs I stained it. I am sure that the particle board was mostly to blame but the stain washed some of the burned lines off and I had to reburn them. If I had used oak wood or some other type of wood it may not have erased my lines but it was not that difficult to touch up my piece.

My gift was done and my husband loved it and promptly stored his card collection inside.
I loved wood burning and am definitely going to use my new tool again soon :)

Hope you all enjoyed reading about my first wood burning experience that since I didn't set my home on fire I plan to be doing again :D

Monday, October 5, 2015

Illustrating a Children's Book

  Twenty-four pages, front and back cover, three sketched rough drafts, over a Thousand hours, lots of hair pulled out and several "do-overs", these are just some of the ingredients that go into illustrating a Children's Book...and I thought illustrating my husband's book covers was a challenge, Whew.
How did this all start, you may ask? Well you have to met the authors first, in my case this encounter took place at Sci-Fi Summer Con 2014, where I met Jay and Katie Barber, a fun husband and wife author duo.
They have written several fantasy novels together despite having two kids and a few cats at home.  Their six year old daughter, Maya, wanted to hop on the author band wagon. She had been creating adventures for a unicorn character named Mend. Trying to encourage her daughter's passion, Katie helped Maya compile the stories together. All they needed now was an illustrator and I was delighted to take on the task. But I had never done a children's book before, needless to say, I had alot to learn.
Designing the characters was the most fun, getting to be creative with Maya's ideas and imagination.
After receiving the sketch approvals from the authors, I began the coloring process. I scanned each of the pages into Photoshop, where I do most of my coloring. Here's a link to show a bit of my Coloring process. 
I have just recently started using "layers" in Photoshop, this was a life saver. Editing text and changing colors or character positions happens plenty while working on a picture book, and making edits after the coloring has already started can be difficult, but layering my images made it much easier. Coloring always takes the most time, but all the detail that is put into each pixelated brush stroke is worth it, once you see the finished piece.
FINALLY I was done and able to get the coloring approved...only a few edits to be made after that :)
Adding the text comes next. Katie and Maya typed up the story so I was able to copy and paste most of the text, with some adjusting of the background and the margins, the book was coming together. Final edits and image tweaks have been made all this week and the proofs for our book have been ordered from the printers.
It has been a long, challenging process, where I have learned so much. I don't want to toot my own horn but I may have patted myself on the back for a job well done. :) And I'm super excited to see what started with the imagination of one little girl, end up on children's book selves all over. :)
"The Adventures of mend" should be available October 15th. You can pre-order it here. :D

Thanks for reading!