A lot going on Part 2

Now, this post is kind of my thoughts that have come up since I began this hobby about 10 months ago.
I have just been one of those people who didn't have a creative bone in their body. I can't decorate anything and make it beautiful. I have always been jealous of other people's work, like scrapbooking or designing a room in their home. So when I discovered this through the internet, I was excited. It looked simply enough to do and seemed like a fun hobby.
I was really hoping it would stick. I tend to start things and hate how they turn out so I give up. I picked up my first bucket of beads and I was hooked. I found there was so much I could do with it and I really enjoyed sitting at my table making creations for my apartment.
Even now, I display them all around my home for other people to see. I love getting compliments. It just makes me feel special and proud of the work I do. Every time someone comes into my home and enters my living room, it's just endless questions of how do I do it, wanting to see all the materials. I love showing off my work, I really do.
Over the weekend, my mom was here and she was amazed at some of my work. She has her own pieces that I made for her and she just loved them. My dad has his spider pig hanging in his computer room at the new house, his only piece of art hanging. The tail of the pig broke off and it's hanging in the dining room while the pig is on another floor.

Now here is the difference between my first piece and my most proud pieces.

Now the boot with Mario in the corner was the first one I ever did.

Now Bowser and Oogie Boogie continue to be my favourite pieces and the largest I have done.

There is such a huge difference to me, that I can't believe how much my art has changed in the past 10 months.

A lot going on Part 1

This post is going to be a fairly lengthy one for a number of reasons.
First off, I want to show you all the art I have been doing since last week when my bead order finally arrived.

It's been a good few days of beading.
I love the pumpkin that I did, it looks like it's sitting in a window and will make a great Halloween decoration.

That witch was a royal pain to make. It took me a long time to do the colours just right. There was a lot of editing to do, which is my least favourite part of the whole process. Now, my last bead order I got some Nabbi beads, which are a different company of beads. They offer other colours that Perler just doesn't. I was excited to use them and give my pieces some new looks. Nabbi beads don't melt as well so it became a delicate process of making sure other parts weren't melting too much and make the piece very uneven. Overall she turned out amazing and can't wait to hang her up for Halloween.


Interview with ShampooTeacher

It's been a very busy work and it hasn't allowed me to be home as much as I would have liked. This is another interview that I had planned to put up a few days ago. I feel so bad that I didn't get it up.
Now without further ado, here is a great interview with ShampooTeacher.

When and why did you start doing Bead Sprites?
I started making bead sprites in October of 2008. I used to have a boring midnight job at a hotel so I just sat on the computer browsing images of things that I like. I'm not a huge gamer, but I spend a lot of my free time playing games. While searching Mario in Google, I saw LostMitten's 3-D question block and wanted one so bad. I figured it wouldn't be too hard to make it myself, so I made an order on eBay and got started.
What has been your favourite project to do?
My favourite project is my Super Mario 3 screenshot. I didn't even know how big it would end up being, I just loved that game and wanted to make something from it. It taught me to plan how big something is before starting and make sure there's some way to finish it.

What has been the most challenging thing about beading that you have found so far?
The hardest part is when you try and make something that's more difficult than your basic 8-bit sprite. When you try something like a photograph, you have to scale it down and make your best guess at which colour matches best which is really hard. It's definitely better to use software that does it for you. haha

Do you have any favourite coloured beads that you like to use?
Nabbi/Photopearls are my favourite because they have awesome colours that fill gaps in Perler and Hama to make shading look so good. I just wish my supplier carried them all. Photopearls Light Grey is probably the best one because it blends so well between Grey and White where before I had to use a light blue.

Do you focus strictly on bead art or are you involved in making things from other mediums?
I mostly make bead art, but I try and keep things interesting. I've done some cross-stitching on shirts and plan to do at least one stitched screenshot to mount on the wall. I do a fair amount of painting, but get frustrated mixing colours. I plan on doing some pixel art with beer caps soon as well.

When people come to your house, is your creations posted around? If so, what are people's opinions of them?
Of course my fridge is covered in magnets and I have a small room dedicated to my crafts with them all over the walls. Everyone loves my work when they visit. People find it interesting because bead art is not a well-known medium and no one I've met has seen that kind of art before.
Do you prefer to make old school video game images, anime/cartoon or do you make images from other sources?
I like making old school images for sure. They're a lot easier and they look so clean and sharp. I do enjoy the challenge of a large project every now and then, though.

For the Mario scene, is it all beads or are there some parts done with other mediums?
The background is a painted piece of "hardboard". It's not as heavy as wood, but a lot stronger than cardboard. But everything else is made of beads.
Is this the biggest you have ever done?
Yes, it's the biggest overall piece and the largest continuous ironed piece. The floor tiles with the trees is 4 feet wide.

Would you attempt to make one even bigger?
My wife would kill me. haha The struggle is when you go that large, it's hard to put it on the wall without spending a fortune. I got lucky to find that piece of hardboard at a hardware store big enough and made a makeshift frame on the back to hold it on the wall. If someone saw that one and commissioned me to do it, I would do another one or a different screenshot. It's kind of fun to work on something that huge.

You do a fairly good amount of large pieces, do you still do smaller pieces or focus on large projects?
I love spending an entire day making 20 or 30 fridge magnets. I'll usually make small ones for a few weeks and when the right large pixel art catches my eye, I'll get motivated and make it.

Just some of his fridge magnets.

Your Yoshi, Mario and Bowser pieces don't look like the game ones, where do you get the images?
I got the images from AbyssWolf's "Get Ready to Brawl" project on DeviantArt.

Now, is is done with both beads and painting? Do you like making the mixed medium pieces, or would you prefer to stick to just one?
Sometimes painting a background is easier than doing beads because it can take less time and you don't have to worry about them melting funny or the overall piece warping. If it's for a customer, it's up to them, though. I'll mix whatever mediums I can if it looks good.

What is your favourite part about mixed medium art?
My favourite part is that it gives pieces different layers and catches peoples' eyes.

This was another great interview. Thank you to ShampooTeacher. 
I have really loved doing these interviews. Next week, I will hopefully be back to beading my own art. Lots of projects on the way.


Interview with SerenaAzureth

Today is my second interview that I have conducted. Thank you very much Serena for agreeing to do an interview.
Serena is known around our little company as one of the top people to do flat ironing with her projects(which you will see later). It really gives it a much different look and I wanted to interview this great artist!

When and why did you start doing Bead Sprites?
I started Bead Spriting about 2 years ago this past May. May is the season for Anime Conventions here in the Midwest, and when I attended ACen (Anime Central) in 2008, there was a booth there selling bead sprites. I went nuts and bought every single Chrono Trigger bead sprite they had. I thought they were the neatest arts and crafts thing I had ever seen. I asked them if they could make other characters and they gave me their website. I showed a bunch of friends the sprites I had boughten, and by the next week, we compiled a list of sprites I was going to commission them. I was about to do so when I decided to do a search google search for "Bead Sprites," and that's when I saw Doctor Octoroc's stuff. I couldn't believe my eyes! I was amazed by all the different things that he had made that I decided to go out then and there and buy my first mix bucket of Perler beads from Michaels and try to make all the sprites my friends and I were going to have summited to that website and had someone else make. I desperately wanted to practice Bead Spriting and just hoped some day I could make stuff as cool as Docs. ^.^  

What has been your favourite project to do?
My favorite Project has got to be my ongoing piece " EggShell Wars ." I found the original pixel art (done by pixeljoint.com's Orkimides) 2 weeks after I bought my first mix bucket of Perler Beads and promised myself I would someday make that beast, frame it, and hang it on my wall. I regret though after 2 years I have yet to finish it. It's about 45% done and sitting in a corner under a coffee table waiting for my attention. LOL. Someday, someday...

What has been the most challenging thing about beading that you have found so far?
The most challenging thing for me is to keep a bead sprite (especially a large bead sprite) from warping while I am trying to flat-iron it. It can be a hassle with how slow I have to take my flat-ironing process to keep everything nice, even, and flat because if I mess up, the whole thing is ruined and I have to scrap it and start all over again. This happened a lot to me when I was first trying to perfect my flat-ironing technique, and only once on a big project this past year. :mad: So frustrating. 

Do you have any favourite coloured beads that you like to use?
I LOOOOOVVVVEEEE getting my hands on any color fuseable bead from any brand so I can try and have the widest color-palette range. It can be so frustrating when you run across a sprite you want to make and one of the colors used in it does not match up with any of the beads available.
I think in general I like using Perler Periwinkle and Perler Blueberry Creme a lot in my sprites as they can be used as a blue tone, a substitute for a purple tone, or a substitute for a grey tone. A bead that can fill in 3 gaps in a color palette is mighty nice in my book. ^.^

Do you focus strictly on bead art or are you involved in making things from other mediums?
Bead Spriting is my Hobby, my day job is actually as an Animator so I'm quite versed in many different artistic mediums. I find it nice to sketch, digitally paint, and animate all day long and then come back home to a giant pile of beads waiting for me to make them into something. :D

When people come to your house, is your creations posted around? If so, what are people's opinions of them?
I thumb-tack every bead sprite I finish up on my home-office's walls to try and keep them out of my way until they are either sold or given away. My favorites I usually have framed or mounted and put up all over my home. My friends laugh at how often I switch around all the sprites since they truly are ever changing. Almost everyone who has seen my stuff up in my home always wonder where I get such interesting art. It's fun to explain to them how I make it all myself. 

Do you prefer to make old school video game images, anime/cartoon or do you make images from other sources?
That's kind of a hard question. It honestly depends on what mood I'm in. I have so many folders on my computer filled with pixel art I usually just open up one of them and browse around until I see something that screams "Make me now!".

What made you decide to do all flat ironing on your bead sprites?
When I first started ironing, all my bead sprites were inconsistent; some of the holes would close, some would stay open, and I couldn't stand how that looked. I decided I liked the look of the sprites that had more "fully-closed holes" and tried to make all my sprites like that. Eventually that became my thing, especially as I made bigger and bigger sprites and it became harder and harder to fully iron them. Also they are extremely durable when flat-ironed and I could chuck any of my sprites against a wall (and I have) and never worry about bending or breaking them. 

Since beginning flat ironing, has your technique improved any? Have you found any easy tricks that you can share?
My technique has improved greatly from the beginning. I can flat-iron my bead sprites down enough that they look like a solid sheet of plastic so all the definition and bumps of beads are completely gone. I've had quite a few e-mails recently of people asking "where do I get my square beads from since all they can find are round ones." I assure everyone they are the same beads, it's just the way I iron. :) I'm also glad I don't warp or melt my pegboards anymore. It was a pain in the butt for me to realize I threw out a whole bag full of boards just because my technique wasn't refined enough yet.

I wrote up a tutorial a while ago which can be found here about how to do my flat-ironing technique and I still hold true to that. It really is all about practice, patience, and learning the best settings and positioning of your iron since every one of them is different.

I think the one thing I would add is from time to time, if a hole in my bead sprite just WILL NOT close, you can flip over the bead sprite, take the tip of the iron (without the paper in-between the iron and the bead) and push it against the back of the bead that won't close up so some of the plastic starts melting up out of the hole. Then let it set for a moment, flip the sprite back over, and melt the nub of melted bead that came out of the hole down so it is flat and matches perfectly with the other beads. 
You have recently been posting a lot of ATC cards that you do on Swap Bot. Where has your inspiration come for when you are making them?
A lot of them I have had to make up on my own, and by that I mean the pixel art was drawn up by me as well. An ATC is just so small (2.5in X 3.5in) that it is hard to work off of any sprites already made since they just don't fit right in card form. Sometimes I still find original pixel art done by artists that look wonderful on an ATC, but I truly find it fun to just doodle with the beads and see what I can come up with. Part of the challenge.
What was the hardest piece for you to flat iron?
That would definitely be the Sonic the Hedgehog GameGear Logo I made as a commission.
At the time, it was the biggest piece I had attempted to flat-iron and I tried to melt it waaaaayyyyy to fast and the whole thing warped and distorted. The plastic itself even bubbled in some areas. There was no way I could give that to someone who had paid me to make something wonderful for them, so I had to chuck my 6+ hours of work and start over from scratch. The second one turned out fine since I slowed down and took my time with the ironing. It honestly just happens sometimes though. The ironing is the hardest part of bead spriting and if you get it wrong, your whole project can be ruined. 
You use Hama midi beads and minis, which do you perfer to use?
I love the the final product that mini beads give you when you use them since sprites show up much clearer when the beads are smaller, but the color palette is extreme limited and most sprites just could not be done without using all the colors you can get from multiple companies with the Midi sized beads. Overall the answer would have to be the Midi sized beads unless more companies other then Hama decided to make mini sized beads. ^.^
What is the largest piece you have ever done?
That would have to be EggShell Wars . Even in its unfinished state it is around 4 ft. long and will be over 8ft. when done. That bead sprite is a monster. @.@
How do you make the edges around all your pieces flat?
When I'm done beading my sprite, I put a row of clear beads around the edge of the sprite, outlining it. I then flat-iron my piece and when that is all said and done I take a pair of really sharp scissors and trim off the clear beads around the edges. That layer of clear beads keeps all the edges of the bead sprite square so only the clear part distorts a bit which doesn't matter since it will be cut off anyway. In theory you could use an exacto knife to cut off the clear beads as well, I just find the plastic too tough to get through safely with the exacto knife and end up cutting myself. Really sharp scissors works better for me.

Serena gave a really great interview and I hope everyone else enjoys it as much as I did. Please be sure to check out the links she provided, as they are great images she's done and a tutorial that I have even used once or twice.
Thanks again Serena!


Interview with Red Mage

Over the next week, I will be posting a few interviews that I have conducted with other bead artists.

Today's artist is Rob Hawks aka Red Mage.
He has done a challenge of 100 days of sprites where he created at least one bead sprite a day.
I hope you really enjoy my interview with him. I am very thankfully that he agreed to partake in my interview.

                    When and why did you start doing Bead Sprites?

I started doing beadsprites around the summer of ’09 because I loooove video games and had wanted to do them since I saw that they were even an option. Also Doctor Octoroc is a huge inspiration~

                       What has been your favourite project to do?

Oh man I did this giant Kuwabara sprite from a Yu Yu Hakusho game, I loved doing it because I really love Yu Yu Hakusho and several of my moral values were set up by Kazuma Kuwabara so it was a great thing to do a giant bead tribute to him!

             What has been the most challenging thing about beading that you have found so far?

Well waiting for the beads to show up is by the most annoying thing when it comes to beading ;_;

 Do you have any favourite coloured beads that you like to use?

Dark Blue, Periwinkle Blue, Light Blue, Pastel Blue. It’s the palette I use for the blue Pokemon sprites I do for my set of them :3 You can see those at beadregion.blogspot.com!

            Do you focus strictly on bead art or are you involved in making things from other mediums?

Oh man I do all sorts of art! I paint and just find reasons to do pixel art all the time, I once did a sprite on a chalk board at a restaurant :3

When people come to your house, is your creations posted around? If so, what are people's opinions of them?

My creations are all over the walls of my house, when people go into my bathroom they totally are like “oh snap” at the wall of Pokemon. My room is pretty much covered in beads and people know immediately what I do!

Do you prefer to make old school video game images, anime/cartoon or do you make images from other sources? 
I have no preference, I just like to bead <3

                       Why did you start doing Sprites a day?

I started doing Sprite A Day the moment I joined the Pixelgasm forum. I saw it as a challenge and I am definitely one who likes to set himself apart so I saw this as an opportunity to tell them forum what kind of bead spriter I am.

What has been the biggest challenge in regards to the 100 Sprites a day that you did?

 Running out of beads. I ran out of black a lot during the challenge, so I had to do a bunch of experimental things regarding colors and types of beads I used. Also: Digging through damned assorted buckets of beads.

You are currently embarking on another Sprite-A-Day, do you plan to try and excess the 100 sprites you made your first go?

I absolutely plan to pass 100 days with Sprite A Day+ HOPEFULLY THIS WORKS OUT.

What are the biggest number of sprites you made in one day?

I think it was around 12 sprites? The first 5 days of my initial Sprite A Day challenge I did 10 a day. So I think that was a pretty cool thing, I already had 50 sprites done by the end of the first five days!

                   Any tips for people, wanting to make sprites every day?

Just have a passion for it! I really enjoy posting a sprite a day, though it is stressful sometimes the fact that I have put myself in a position where I NEED to every day. Whenever I finished Sprite A Day the first time, I felt such relief not having to bead once I finished, of course, I still continued doing a sprite a day after I had retired from the challenge at day 100, but I didn’t post them as a part of the challenge. 100 is such a good number <3 So just have fun. JUST HAVE FUN.

Thank you Rob for the great interview. Now be sure to check out his website Sprite-A-Day for more of his daily work.
Thank you guys for checking it out!


Jealous of Art

As I await my own beads, I have really been looking at other people's art for ideas and just being jealous of their talent.

As you can see it was made by Serena. She made this with mini beads, and her art work was simply amazing.

This was made my Brainader from PixelGasm. This piece simply amazes me. That something like this can be done with Hama beads(similiar to Perler Beads). I love the frame it's in too. Makes it seem like he has a famous piece of art work in his home.

This was done by Ashleyl0413 from Pixelgasm. I seen the movie a few weeks ago and simply loved it. Since then, the video game came out and many artists became doing Scott Pilgrim work. This has to be my favourite out of everything I have seen.

This was done by BloodyStar, a new member to PizelGasm. I love this one because it's looks so fluffy and cute :)

This piece was done by Kenobius from PixelGasm. It's so cool to see a more life like Piranha Plant.

These are just some of the pieces that I have come across over the past few weeks that make me super jealous. Can't wait to get back to beading.


Time for your opinion!!

I am constantly looking for ideas of things to make. I have a few projects on the go(all for other people), but sadly I have no new ideas for myself.
So my question is, what should I bead?

If I like everyone's ideas, there will be a whole post devoted for my readers ideas.

So please comment!!


My lack of projects

As I have said in previous posts, I am currently working on a gift for my sister's birthday. A Mario scene which is proving to be a royal pain in the butt. I love her but it's insane the amount of pieces I will probably do.
I am out of black beads, waiting for the beads to arrive(hoping next week) so I can continue beading.
On the plus side, I did make some Mario pieces for someone and they are ordering more. That makes me excited. I like the idea of getting paid for work I love to do.

My camera is dead or I would have more photos. They turned out great so far. Hopefully this projects won't be the end of me. Tab, you better know that I love you :)