General / 25 September 2021

Oops, got a bit behind again.
I thought August was busy, September is insane! All good problems to have.

Not only did I beat my order amount for the last 30 days, I also broke the most amount of orders I've received in one week. I'm incredibly grateful for all the support. Now I have to do everything I can to keep that momentum up!

I'm making great progress with the children's book, I'd say roughly 50% done. I'm glad bi-weekly submissions were agreed on or it would be super hard to keep up with everything else. Hal Con is just a little less than a month away and thanks to all my Etsy orders, I have to restock for the second time. Again, good problems.

I met with a local business, Nearby Planet VR, with the hopes of selling some of my products in their storefront. The meeting went better than I could have ever hoped, and they agreed to sell the majority of my pillowcases, all of my stickers, and most of my prints. I've been working my ass off to get all the extra stock ready for October 1st. I thought this year Hal-Con would be more relaxed and I'd just sell what I had leftover from two years ago, but it looks like I'll be working until basically the night before. Selling out of stock on a somewhat regular basis is something I've always dreamed of.

Also exciting, I received my first order from Nunavut! I have officially sold at least once to every province except NWT and Yukon, which just blows my mind.

And the cherry on top, I decided to buy a 3D printer. My Anycubic Mega S arrived on Thursday and I've been having a blast figuring out what works, what doesn't, best practices with support, and how much I should cut my models up. I've received so many Etsy cancellations from people thinking my Sailor Moon wands were real props, that it just felt like the most logical step forward with my store. The top of my Moon Wand is printing as I type this, and the plan is to make silicone molds of all the wands and make resin props to sell at the VR store as well as Hal-Con. Pictures to come when I'm successful.

I have an absolutely fully packed schedule for the next week and beyond and am greatly looking forward to a 4 day weekend, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.


General / 07 September 2021

A few days late as usual, but I have found that writing these blogs bi weekly as well as committing to update my planner regularly, has really helped with untangling my anxiety when a lot of work comes in at once.

I actually had a complete week off. No commissions came in, no book work, and only a handful of Etsy orders. I took advantage of that time by creating a shop website through Etsy's Pattern and personally managed my products to be shown for sale through Facebook and Instagram. That took 3-4 hours due to the fact that for some reason Facebook has a built in manager for Shopify but not Etsy. It's also something I will have to update every time I add a new listing, but it is worth the effort as traffic has increased since then.

I'm glad I had that time off, because things ramped up very quickly soon after. I received a large memorial commission of a mother and her daughter with beautiful lakeside scenery behind them. Thankfully it's not due until the end of September, leaving me with lots of time to complete. I also received a birthday commission of a puppy that's not due til the beginning of October. I finally got around to adding my traditional portraits to my ArtStation website and portfolio, and feel kind of silly that I never noticed that there had ALWAYS been a "Traditional Paint" section when uploading new art.

Soon after that I received an acceptance email from Hal-Con. Hal-Con is the biggest Sci-Fi/Anime/Fantasy convention in Atlantic Canada. This is my 3rd year getting in, (not counting last year as it was cancelled due to Covid) and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity as vendor spots had been reduced and most people I know were put on a waitlist. The timing was also perfect as I had just upgraded my Cricut Air Explore 2, to a Cricut Maker, which should help speed prep along. Although it isn't until the end of October, I spent the majority of my weekend preparing and doing inventory out of sheer excitement to do a con again!

On top of all that, the children's book is back on! I am so happy and relieved to start working on this project again. It is a lot to juggle for the next 2 months, but I'll never stop being grateful for these opportunities!


General / 25 August 2021

Although the last two weeks were far busier than I ever expected them to be, it seems like the momentum has definitely died down.

The good news is: "Work of Shields: Art and Animation" is finally official. Documents were signed August 19, just in time to send some professional invoices out.

In the last two weeks, I completed all inner Sailor Scout transformation rods which can be found on my portfolio and are also available as prints. I also completed the half sleeve tattoo commission. Once the tattoo is officially completed, I'll be sharing the design because although the request wont make sense to a stranger, I'm pretty happy with the line work.

Like I mentioned in the last post, the office theme was "Royalty" which inspired my painting, "Crown Of Love." It felt really good to do some original art and not fan art for a change, so I'm hoping that while things are quiet I can get more of that completed. Unfortunately it also seems like the momentum for the office challenges is dead and no one is interested in submitting anything. Which sucks, it was a great push for inspiration, but what can you do. Crown of Love is also available as a print in my Etsy store.

I received a good handful of Etsy orders, as well as an impromptu dog portrait commission that needed a quick turnaround. I did end up seeing some traditional pieces on Art Station so it's one of my goals this week to upload my gouache portraits to my portfolio. That along with setting up Patterns on Etsy, and updating all my current listings.

The first three pages of the children's book were officially finished and approved, but unfortunately the rest of the book has been put on hold while the company deals with other contact issues. Super disappointing, but hopefully things will resume soon.


General / 11 August 2021

Well, so much for posting weekly. The art challenge at work has been extended to two weeks per theme, so I'll try to align my blogs with those. The last theme was Fire and I decided to kill two birds with one stone by creating Sailor Mar's Transformation wands. I had already planned on making one for each scout as new prints on my Etsy shop, so this got the majority of the work out of the way. Those prints should be available by the end of this week.

A lot has happened since my last blog. I actually had a week vacation, and that week ended up being one of the busiest I've ever had.

While visiting PEI, I was contacted about doing book illustrations for a fairly well known company in the maritimes. I can't say much about it as I signed an NDA, but after a couple of meetings and style samples, I'm finally all set up to start the real work. This is a great freelance opportunity and I'm very grateful to the people who suggested my name to them.

Apart from that I had several more dog portrait commissions. It's really great to be finding my traditional painting style and I really hope it doesn't slow down! Still trying to make the decision on whether or not to post the paintings on ArtStation. I did make a post on Etsy.

My online vendor shop for HalCon went live, and I decided last minute that I would also apply for the in-person HalCon in October. The tables are fairly cheap this year, and it would be a great opportunity to get rid of some stock and start fresh for 2022. As for Covid, I'm fairly reassured that the second things get bad, our province will get shut down. We seem to be taking stronger precautions than most, and the fact that I'll be behind a table and away from main traffic seems fine. Just need to add some sanitizer and a "don't touch unless buying" sign haha. I should find out if I got accepted in a few weeks.

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I was trying to register my business Work Of Shields. The first attempt came back and said my name wasn't descriptive enough, so I tried again with Work of Jessica Shields. Again, it was rejected for the same reasons. I can't see myself changing the name much more than that so unfortunately it doesn't look like it is happening. I contacted support to get a clearer reasoning, as I know many companies that are just the person's name, so we will see what they say. Alas, no registered company before I turned 30 (last Sunday) which was a goal of mine.

So yes, my vacation was very busy. I got 1.5 days to actually relax, but its a great problem to have. This week I have a horse commission, a half sleeve tattoo commission, and possibly a person portrait. That's on top of the book illustrations. I also got to choose the new work theme and I chose "Royalty." I've had an idea for years now, and I hope this is the push I need to actually execute it. 


General / 25 July 2021

Things have been going really well and keeping me super busy so I thought I would give this a try. I'll probably update every Sunday to try and get my thoughts in order before a new week begins.

We started a new art challenge at my work. Someone chooses a theme and anyone interested has one week to create something related to the theme. It doesn't have to be 3D, it can be a poem, a short story, a painting, drawing etc. But I'll be using this as motivation to create 3D assets more regularly.

This week's theme was ocean, and I immediately had several ideas. Shells, but that seemed too simple...a boat in a bottle, although very interesting, there just wasn't enough time for that. In the end I decided to go with an underwater chest being hugged by the tentacles of some sea monster. I included a bottle with a map in it with the idea of the monster being so greedy that not only is it keeping the treasure, but also the only way to find it. I also wanted to give this a more stylized, cartoony feel as most of my stuff is realistic. I spent about 5 hours on it and had it completed by Wednesday. It was modelled in Maya, textured with Substance Painter and rendered with Marmoset Toolbag. Tomorrow I get to share it with everyone else at work.

Recently during a work meeting, someone mentioned the idea of registering a business while you're still young. It's been an off and on thought of mine for years and since I'm turning 30 in exactly 2 weeks, why the hell not? So on Thursday I filled out the first part of registering Work Of Shields, which is a Canada-wide name search to make sure it doesn't already exist. I should find out sometime this week and then I can move on to fully register it. I do a lot of freelance as well as commissions, have a decent Etsy store, do well at conventions, and taking this step makes everything feel more legit.

Speaking of commissions and my Etsy store, thanks to the Father's Day gift I painted recently, I've received so many commissions that I've been spending every evening and my entire weekends painting for the last two weeks. I painted gouache portraits of my nephews, and when I posted them on social media, I immediately received a double portrait commission, as well as 2 dog portraits. Since then I have another person portrait as well as 2 more dog portraits. My hand may fall off from all this painting, but it's a wonderful problem to have and I'm very grateful. I added a custom listing to my Etsy store and have considered posting my traditional stuff on ArtStation, but there doesn't seem to be anything that's not digital here, so we will see.

My "Moon Wand - After The Battle" print has officially become my most favoured listing on Etsy and I decided to post it here as an option to purchase as well. It's definitely inspiring me to do more 3D Art-Prints in the very near future. Thankfully I have some vacation time coming up with absolutely nothing planned. The Hal-Con digital vendor floor will be opening soon and I'm excited for more traffic and hopefully more sales. 

Other than that, I've also started writing again. A few years ago I had been writing a book and was 80% finished until my laptop crashed HARD and deleted everything, including my back ups. Since then it was really hard to try again, but lately I've felt more creative than ever and it gives me hope that the world is getting back to normal.