Long Time No Post!

One of the recent images I created to help raise funds for the animal sanctuary. It was used for downloadable art, coloring pages, coffee mugs, and a T-shirt!

It’s been quite a few years since I last updated my blog (well, I kept things updated in the background, but never posted or shared anything).

Sadly, I haven’t been sewing in a very long time. I’m not finished with sewing or costuming, but honestly I have very little work space or reason to create things like this right now.

So much has just been “the same,” and other things are quite new! But I don’t want to babble too long here, so I thought I’d at least do a quick “here’s what I’ve been up to!” entry:

  • I’m still recording voice work/narration here and there for podcasts like my husband’s show “Not About Lumberjacks,”
  • My husband and I enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being out in nature,
  • I got a lap harp at the end of 2017 and have been teaching myself how to play it (and recently got a bodhran drum as well),
  • Although the fan art I’d been working on has been gathering dust, I’m back to drawing again creating merchandise with two other artists for sale to help raise funds for our favorite animal sanctuary!

So yes! I’ve been doing art for a great cause! We are unaffiliated fan artists who just happen to have a passion for helping animals. Currently we focus on the Goats of Anarchy sanctuary. You can see the sort of things we’ve been creating for sale here at Maybel Arts!

So that’s the sort of topics you might see from me if I post! Sorry I’ve been so quiet! (Oh wow, and please be patient while I get used to the new-for-me format for posting here… eek!)

Me playing my first harp – a Harpsicle Fullsicle, named Carc (after the raven from Middle-Earth).
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Halloween Special Audio Story

As you might remember, my husband does podcasts and also writes. He has a short story fiction podcast, and occasionally he will have me read lines or parts.

This month, he did a Halloween Special story, and yes, I helped out with some voices. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a lot of fun — I’m really enjoying this sort of thing too!

You can listen to the episode here:

Strange Audio

Best Wishes!



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New Drawing of Bombur Cooking

I had a little bit of an interruption (and finished a quick pencil drawing) while working on this one, but I finished yet another drawing. And this time… a new dwarf I haven’t drawn before!

From the dA site:

My husband had a business trip out-of-state for almost a week about a month ago or so. I thought I would draw a new image to help pass the time quickly. The morning he left (Tuesday), I sat down and sketched this in blue pencil directly to Bristol (not my usual small sketching/enlarge/transfer-cleanup). By the next day (Wednesday), I was already starting to ink it.

I still had issues with my eyesight going out quickly on me, so it’s not like I was working for several hours (sadly — I would have finished it within a few days, I think). Some of the blue pencil sketch lines were very loose and vague due to the way I drew this piece, so inking slowed down as I got to those sections. I also had a bit of a brainfart that Thursday (my last day that week to work on it, as I would be away all of Friday and spending time with my husband over the weekend when he got home). For some reason, I couldn’t focus and made stupid mistakes or was sloppy. It was almost like I’d never inked before. Thank goodness for being able to clean up the mess for the most part.

The following week… momentum had been lost. I didn’t want to work on art at all that Monday, and I struggled Tuesday to sketch in some backgrounds. Between allergies driving my eyes nuts again, and the weather getting cooler (and calling me to enjoy it)… well, it took longer than it really should have taken. I finally pushed myself to sit down and finish inking the cooking supplies in the background, and all the landscape in final burst.

I wanted to draw Bombur, because recently I’d been watching the actor’s (Stephen Hunter) video blog and even asking him questions on Twitter about voice acting. He’s such a nice guy, I thought he should be my next drawing. I’m just sorry it took me so long to finish it, much less start it.

Drawn directly onto Bristol using blue pencil, and inked with Black Magic Ink using a Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush. Also a few details in size 005 art pen and black pencil. Acrylic white paint for covering up mistakes.

View image here.

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Voice Over Tips Link

Hey there, folks! I know I haven’t been very active — with the sewing/costuming community, I’ve definitely been away for too long (I’m still hoping to get back to it when I can)… but even with art I have been getting slower and slower. Sorry about that.

I thought I’d post about something I’ve only mentioned a handful of times, and post a link. You probably know that my husband is both a writer and a podcaster. And sometimes he combines both together! He somehow managed to drag me into recording some lines for him, and it went fromย  simple reusable intro lines to narrating stories. I’ve even had others mention my voice over work before, and recently loaned my voice for a few lines in an upcoming audio drama with another podcasting/audiocasting friend of ours.

You also probably know how much I enjoyed The Hobbit movies. Some of the actors involved in it are such sweeties — and one of them, Stephen Hunter (Bombur the dwarf) — has a video blog series called “Actors Talk About Themselves” on YouTube.

My husband and I probably watch YouTube more often than regular TV, and Stephen’s vlog has been added to our regular watching. We may not be actors, but there are times when comments and tips can actually help inspire others with something entirely different. It’s been enjoyable to watch.

I recently asked Stephen if he would be adding voice over/voice work tips to his vlog… and he gave some quick tips (that part starts at the 7:50 mark)!

I do hope he covers voice work more. I know, seeing what my husband and others in the podcasting community do, that good sound and being heard is vital. You never know where it could lead either.

It’s wonderful when folks can share tips and info with others. Please check out his other videos too — there are also some fun interviews with other actors (and more to come).

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Quick one day drawing project

Easier to just quote the dA page info:

I’m actually in the process of finishing another inked drawing. Let me rephrase that — I’m currently enjoying the fact that Autumn has treated me to a little bit of a break from the unbearable heat and wanting to go outside and play, with an inked drawing close to being finished sitting on the drawing table.

So despite the fact I was not going to let myself start another project before I finished that one, I gave myself a goal. One day. Morning to afternoon, start to finish, moving on and not fretting about mistakes (plenty of things I wish I could fix oh yes, but movin’ on…. *laughs*). I did this Wednesday, with the plan to post it the following day for Thorin Thursday on various social media. And yes, my eyes gave out as usual, so I wasn’t even sure if I was drawing where I needed to or balancing things out (and I was also running around doing chores like laundry while working on it). At least I finished something quickly, as planned.

Still, I prefer taking my time, giving my eyes (and shaky hands) a break, and being able to go back and fix or change things I don’t like.


View image here.

Hopefully I will finish the nearly-finished ink drawing soon. *laughs* ๐Ÿ™‚

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New Thorin Drawing

This one took me a while… I’ll only say that I am so ready for summer to be over (I’m not a fan of it anyway). The rest of the info is on the dA page:

“Yeah yeah, what can I say? It’s another drawing of “just Thorin.” Well, I like drawing Thorin (hubby is certainly thrilled as Thorin is also his all-time fave character too). Also, I’ve mainly been testing some things out as well as finding easy projects to work on to practice and build up confidence again (I know what Thorin looks like, but I’d have to hunt down tons of character/costume refs for an entire Company to “get to know them” better for drawing).

I was rolling along pretty well with this one once I started working on it, only fighting my usual quickly fatigued eyes that I’ve had problems with since at least my teenaged years… and then symptoms got worse. I didn’t talk about it too openly, but it was bad enough that I got a referral to an eye doctor to make sure there wasn’t something really bad going on. Turns out, another problem I have frequently — allergies (grrrrr) — hit me SO hard, I could barely see out of or move my left eye. Finally got a medication and some tips to fight the allergy trouble, and things started getting back to normal very quickly, so I was finally able to finish this drawing. Between the heat of summer with an a/c that wasn’t working well for a while, and the eye thing, I took a lot longer than I intended to finish it. It sucked wanting desperately to work on it, but knowing better than to go near it (with good reason).

Although it’s just of Thorin, I like to imagine this is where they were almost to the Misty Mountains, and he stopped to watch and wait for his Company to catch up to him (and scan the horizon to make sure they weren’t being followed).

This one was originally sketched a while back and I can barely remember much about it. The original sketch is just over 4 inches tall, and apparently I was in a crappy mood when I scrawled it (those sketch lines look SO angry heheh — you can see the original sketch here). I scanned the sketch, enlarged it, and lightly transferred to 11×14 Bristol, and finished up the details in blue pencil before inking. I took a while with Thorin himself since the bulk of the a/c and eyesight issues happened while working on him, but the background only took a day’s work (the scan didn’t pick up all the subtle ink washing and light black pencil shading. I wanted Thorin to be the main focus).

Done in Black Magic ink with Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush, some archival art pens for touch-ups and straight lines, black pencil for light thin-lined details and a little light texture, and acrylic white paint for touch-ups. Also did a bit of inkwashes.”

View image here.

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Another inked drawing finished

It only seems like a quicker turnaround, but truth is it’s been waiting to be inked since last summer. Oops! Better late than never, right? I am trying to clear out some of the things that have piled up on my drawing table though.

From the dA info page:

I’ve been spending a lot of time messing around with ink, but not really getting much done. Time to simplify. And time to finish things that have been sitting around WAY too long.

This was originally started (the blue pencil part of it, not the inks) in early June 2015. For whatever reason, I couldn’t bring myself to ink it (despite really wanting to). So new brush in hand, I decided enough was enough. I really need to stop putting things off — I end up forgetting (or am just doing things differently now) what I was planning to do a year or more later when I finally get around to these.

The original blue pencil was done on 11×14 Strathmore drawing paper. I wanted to preserve the blue pencils, so I scanned, darkened the lines, turned it into B&W, and printed it out to transfer to 11×14 Bristol for inking. I used Black Magic ink with a Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush, a little bit of detail work on Thorin and a few tiny pebbles with a Micron 005 pen, a bit of touch-ups in white acrylic paint and white pencil, and a little texture-work in black pencil.

As far as the scene… I play Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO), and I have one dwarf and two elves (also a hobbit) so far. You’d think I’d be sick of seeing Thorin’s Hall/Ered Luin… well, no. My character house is there. I love that area and feel at home there. Many times, when I’d be questing (and coming across little things that were about Thorin or the Battle of the Five Armies) I would stop and just think about the story before The Hobbit. As I said on the original sketch’s page:

“I’ve been obsessed with the story-not-told in Ered Luin (most likely also because I play LOTRO and love going back there with my characters). I like to imagine Thorin would go away on trips for trade and supplies on his own, so he could think and be alone. Perhaps here, he is thinking of happy days gone by, family lost, Erebor in its glory — the mighty kingdom of Durin’s Folk. And while picking up supplies, I am sure he is also searching for information: where is his father? Any detail. Any hint. Any rumor…. always searching and wondering.”

And of course, wondering when the time would be to return to Erebor.

(I hope the scan doesn’t lose some detail. I was pressed for some time, and wanted to darken the solid black areas to get rid of the streaking that happens with scanning and hope it didn’t do anything weird to the details.)

View image here.

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Breaking in a new inking brush

I have a new drawing! It was supposed to be a quick one, but sometimes these things just don’t know when to stop. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s the info from the dA page:

I know I seem to be focusing on Thorin as well as head/shoulder portraits, but I’ve been currently going through a few things:

– I am older, and while I’ve been drawing most of my life, there was a long break. I guess you could say I’m trying to find my old habits again, as well as any new voice or styles that might be wanting out. ;)
– Chronic pain and eyes that aren’t reliable makes for lack of confidence and shorter amounts of working time. So bigger views allow for that practice.
– Thorin’s a favorite and more familiar subject, so he’s helpful to use.

I recently was on a road trip with my husband (it was a writing conference), and while he attended things throughout the day, I relaxed in the hotel room and sketched in my sketchbook.

This was one of the sketches. It was very small, one side of his face ran into the binding area (making it non-existent for the most part), and it was in blue pencil. Also, it was very stylized and simple. But we liked him… so I decided to enlarge him, add a little more detail and finish the view for inking.

Unfortunately, that first thing I mentioned above got to me. I kept playing and changing and obsessing… as well as making stupid mistakes or flat-out not realizing I couldn’t even see what I was doing (sometimes it’s not a good idea to “just do it” — what’s the point of working if you can’t even see what you’re doing, eh?). I finally stopped myself from constantly fixing things (or making those changes that I just never seemed satisfied with), and finished him. This was really supposed to be a way to get myself drawing/inking, as well as breaking in a new brush I had not used yet. Well, at least the brush works nicely compared to the old one that was worn out!

Stylized, small, unfinished blue pencil in a sketchbook, enlarged and transferred (in blue pencil) to 11×14 Bristol. Inked with Black Magic ink, using a Winsor & Newton series 7 #2 brush. Also using a few tiny archival ink art pens, a little white pencil, and acrylic white paint for fixes as well as a little fur texture.

As far as what point in the story this is from, I had made a simple non-costume-specific cranky Thorin face. My husband, a friend, and myself voted on which costume to draw… and while working on him, I realized it made me think of the point after talking to Bilbo about the acorn, when Dwalin came to tell him about the Laketown survivors and he snapped back from his brief moment of kindness. It wasn’t intended, but works for me.

The finished inked drawing here.

I’m still around… just trying to work on a bigger variety of things or figure out how I want to do them. Still a huge fan of Thorin, obviously… I’m just being careful not to get burned out on drawing again like I did in the past.

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Story Narration

I may have mentioned before, and there are also links on my sidebar, but my husband is a writer and a podcaster.

He recently started a fiction podcast for his short stories, and he wrote a story for me… and asked me to read it! Oh yeah, and I also did different voices too!

A little info about the story —

Sarah Nelson is an unemployed writer trying to find her next gig while dealing with her overbearing mother. Her world changes the day she answers an ad as a writerโ€™s assistant for a famous author.

With time to focus on her own writing and learn even more about the industry from her new mentor, everything seems perfect until the day Sarah gets more than she bargained for in the form of an African Grey parrot named Horus.

You can find a link to the story itself here:


And there is also a behind-the-cut explanation episode, where he interviewed me:

Behind-the-cut: Horus

It was a lot of fun, and I can certainly see myself doing more narration and voice-work in the future too.

Please check those podcasts out, or any of Christopher’s other podcasts and stories out as well. Thanks so much!

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First finished 2016 project

I actually finished it January 31, but waited until February 1 to put it online. And waited a little longer before finally posting it on my blog.

This was the painting that took up the end of my 2015, so a lot of it was already finished. It still took another month before I finally fully completed it! Here is the text from the dA entry:

It’s been WAY too long since I last painted in acrylics (late 80’s – very early 90’s when I “regularly” used them), and in all honesty I didn’t know what I was doing. I switched over to watercolor/gouache, some coloring with markers, did some digital coloring over scanned inks… and then focused on b&w/ink as my main form of art, before taking a way-too-long break from art completely (the past few years, I’ve started adding a bit of regular pencil back into the mix). I’ve been craving painting again, so I thought it was time!

This started off as a little 3.5″x3.5″ blue pencil scrawling that was difficult to see and very vague. It went through a long process of changes until I was happy enough with it to start painting. I was very tempted to use watercolor/gouache, but they were all dried out and all my “nice” brushes were for inking — I had more supplies for acrylic, and needed to get back into practice for some upcoming acrylic paintings too.

I am not a photorealistic artist — I’m more stylized, with many years of comic books as my main focus (that’s actually how I met my husband, he is a writer). Also I am such a lover of inked art (brush), so I did use black to mix in with some colors, like the dark shadows/sections of his hair, to bring my style of drawing a little more comfortably into painting mode. This whole piece was simply practice, but also a fun experiment to see how I might like to push my way of drawing in new directions.

Acrylic paint on 11×14 canvas, and scanned with color and contrast adjustments — the scanner changed some of the tones, like the skin which is a little darker/redder than the actual painting, but taking a photo also doesn’t show the painting in its “true” form either. I also had to do a lot of scans, trying to figure out what worked best for my dark living room wall, yet also looked good enough on a digital scan without driving me mad.

I’m honestly not sure how long this took. The drawing was a drawn-out off and on thing, and when I wasn’t sick or had other things to do, I tried to push myself to work on it as much as I could every day. I also used natural light only, so I could not paint during cloudy days sadly. I just didn’t think to keep track of painting time closely enough. “Too long” would be my response, since I experimented, changed things if I didn’t like the effect, and obsessed a little too much (slowing progress even while working often on it).

Some links related to the drawing/painting and the process….
The line art used to transfer to canvas
Blog Entry about the line drawing
Blog Entry about the quick/sloppy color test
Blog Entry about the canvas transfer

The finished painting here.

Now I need to find a frame so we can hang it on the wall with some of the inked drawings, and I hope to eventually paint Thorin’s father Thrain in a matching style to include in the little group.

I have other paintings planned as well, but right now I’m enjoying NOT working on art. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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