Animal Crossing: Achieving 5 Stars Easily

I’ve neglected my blog for a few months since Animal Crossings release and I am not about to apologise for it. I haven’t had much to blog about anyway since I have been spending so much time playing the game.

You might be thinking “why would you blog about animal crossing?” Or maybe “why discuss 5 stars when so many people already have videos?” and my answers are: 1. I want to, and more importantly, 2. Everyone seems to be saying something different. Recently there have been players data mining to see what exactly you need for a 5 star review. But yesterday I found out something contradicting and after posting about it on a forum I had helped so many other people get 5 stars in a few minutes!

What do you get out of a 5 star island?
When you first get a 5 star review Isabelle will give you the DIY for a golden watering can, with this DIY you will need a watering can (flimsy watering can and iron nugget to craft) and a golden nugget. Players have argued that the golden watering can is the only golden tool worth crafting as it lasts longer and you need the golden tool in order to grow golden roses.
Another popular item you get out of a 5 star island is the Jacob’s Ladder flower. Both are obtained by accomplish a 5 star review in New Leaf as well (the predecessor to New Horizons from the 3DS).

Over the past few weeks people have been making their islands 5 star rated by having:

  • 60 pieces of furniture (bought or DIY) placed on the island
  • 200 pieces of fencing
  • Lots of flowers
  • Upgraded stores
  • ZERO weeds
  • ZERO dropped items
  • Plenty of trees

One of the most important things to do when working towards a 5 star rating is to talk to Isabelle plenty, as she will inform you of changes to make such as too many placed items close to each other she calls “cluttered”, or the most common one is too many dropped items on the floors.

What is a dropped item?
Now a huge concern has been people complained that they cleaned up all their dropped items, these include DIY and spare furniture that people will place in a small area for visitors to take for free or to leave something in return. Dropped items such as materials, DIY’s, or anything you can drop instead of place can be put onto a surface instead. I like to use a stall to drop my free items as when these are dropped onto something they do not count as a dropped floor item!
I found out that the most common dropped items are simply shells on your beach, rocks by your boulders, and branches from your trees. Pick these up everyday to ensure your 5 star review stays and you island can begin to grow Jacobs Ladders.

I still have a few dropped items around my town such as fossils I drop in some of the wooded areas to emulate bird skulls that you would naturally find in forests, since I have very little they don’t affect my rating.
After sharing the surprise of just picking up the shells and such and sharing my findings to a forum I am in many other players replied saying it instantly worked for them too!

A lot of players like myself use weeds as a prop in our games, I have close to 300 weeds across my island as these add definition to an otherwise flat landscape. I also use weeds on hills or blocked off areas under trees so that branches can not fall out of them as it is a pain to have to get up or through to them everyday to clean up, this also helps block any fossils from spawning in hard to reach places and limits those irritating mole crickets!
So that rule of no weeds isn’t true! Weed to your hearts desire!

How many flowers is enough?
This is a hard one for me… I’ve seen islands that don’t seem to have all that many flowers having 5 stars but the trick to this is placing your flowers where you don’t see them. Some people will build cliffs that have nothing but flowers on just to meet Isabelle’s standards.
On the other hand I have seen islands OVERRUN with flowers that still haven’t reached that 5 star mark. It’s all about meeting all the standards and not just one.
As you can see I have plenty of flowers that are scattered around my island, most of them are placed alone and I try to have at least one space between them and also place them diagonally instead of side by side as I think this looks much better. I also have a few flower gardens such as the tulips surrounding a heart pond, a tulip breeding ground that Nana looks after on her hill top house, and I have an allotment where I breed mums, hyacinths, and most recently roses.

Again this is a hard one to answer as I have seen varied results. I’m unsure exactly the amount of fences I have (these are counted per piece you put down) but I would say it is around the 200 mark. I have a single fence type that I use across the whole town which is the country fence as it suits the style I am going for. I also have 20 stone fence pieces, 10 tall fence pieces, 10 brick fence pieces, and 20 of the original fencing that Nook gives you.
Using fences is very fun and creative, you don’t have to use them in the way you might be thinking (a square). I have used fences around my island between trees or cliff sides to act as a barrier between areas or a safety rail. Not like the characters will walk over the cliff but for a sense of realism and aesthetics. I use them sparingly in most areas just to add definition to an area or to break up some of the empty spaces.

Furniture is an easy one to keep up with, but if you don’t want too much on your island you could knock a few cliffs down on the back of your island to hide the furniture behind so it cant be seen, or hide it behind houses.
Outside of all of my villagers houses I have at least one item that I feel suits them well. Billy is the only villager with 1 item outside (a lantern) because he seems like a simple man, instead I put a gym area close to his house where he can work out. I love a good muscle beach.

The main reason I wanted to share this information is that I was so irritated I would need to clean up all of my weeds to achieve a 5 star rating that I was embarrassingly overjoyed when I didn’t! I hope this little post has helped and inspired you to work on your island more.

Patterns Used:
Wallflower Dress: MA-8266-1063-1911 / MO-YLXV-6M96-Q3S2
Soot Sprite: MA-1897-9840-4261 / MO-NG7D-JN8B-FT1P
Wooden Planks (left, middle, right, broken): MA-6352-6078-6250
Moss (1,2,3): MA-1498-9867-4838
Loos Stone Paths: MA-9331-7527-6993
Fairy Circles: MA-6352-6078-6250
Mushroom: MA-4471-1720-0257 / MO-XSW3-3VJB-KC0S

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#CottageCore #ACNH | Twitter & Instagram

Thanks for reading!

Please leave a comment below, did you find this post interesting or helpful? Do you have any criticisms? Should I open a twitter for my town and sharing inspirations/paths? Would you like my next blog post to be animal crossing related? My island has lore to it 😖🐇
Please be respectful and constructive in the comments!

Social Illustration: Helpless Aesthetic

During January I set myself a short project of a series of illustrations relating to each other, they are inspired by a concept design I did in late 2016 in relation to a Triptych titled ‘Lost in My Own Mind’. The original concept was in relation to my own life experiences at the time being anxious with university and moving out of my family home.
I’m the type of person that covers their inner demons with jokes and aesthetics as to distract from the pain I go through in my own head.

2016 sketch book concepts

At the time of designing these initial sketches I was coming to grips with my drawing style, what I like to draw and show in my art. The kind of 80’s space aesthetic, sailor moon inspired, sparkles and cute girls. With the actual concepts I was using this inspiration for the accents and atmosphere but the meaning behind the designs were obviously heavy and hard to see for some.

2016 Triptych

I redesigned the situation the body parts were in to better show a narrative, as well as taking away the obvious signs of self harm as to make the final design more commercial. The narrative shown is a girl overdosing, followed by the feet which symbolise the fact she is trying to end her life but shows the transition from her overdose to her reaching out for help in the final design. The middle piece alone suggests someone drowning in their feelings as they attempt to end their life by hanging, but along with the next piece is supposed to suggest the person jumping from a stool to reach the surface of their emotions and finally reach out for help.

Recently I decided to go back to the original concept art and remake the designs with a new take on the narrative. The designs themselves reflect a very tumblr aesthetic to me and remind me a lot of the damaging content from the “sad” side of tumblr that makes an effort to romanticise and normalise poor mental health, generally depression and suicidal thoughts. This is something I was influenced by from the age of 14, the self harm and depressive visuals and text that were displayed in a photographic way made the idea of depression seem attractive to myself and many others. Making you want to feel that way or continue feeling that way as it made you more interesting and deep. Obviously now that I’m older I’m well aware this is extremely toxic and not the best thing, I still appreciate depressive photography and that dark grungy aesthetic to a blog but I don’t take it so literally anymore.
With the first range of illustrations I was trying to use that literal display of emotions and sugar coat it with pastel colours and sparkles to distract from the heavy narrative as a commentary on that tumblr aesthetic. The concepts were used as part of a project for University so I had to really tone down the obvious message and try to commercialise the whole thing, this was my first experience with a type of editorial idea. I know these aren’t necessarily editorial designs however as I was working on them I wanted to imagine them alongside a body of text in a magazine or website that would talk about feelings of helplessness and depression.

Scrapped concept 2020

As I look back on these designs I originally wanted to work with that gritty, unfiltered trauma like the original concepts but again just sugar coat it with slime instead of blood and such. When I started working on it again as I did before it really took me back to who I used to be, how I used to feel. It was hard to work on them but I wanted to push through and as I did I realised I wouldn’t be the only one triggered. I might affect people the same way Tumblr did to me and I might upset people through these images which isn’t my intention. I wanted the images to feel uncomfortable to see but not in a painful way but in more of an inversion way as if you’re seeing someone’s diary. Curly, cute handwriting in a pink journal covered in glitter, explaining the difficulties of day to day life and the harsh way they view themselves and the world around them.

(Don’t) Look @me 2020

The previous version was hard hitting like I say, so I remade it in a much more subliminal fashion. Firstly, that can was supposed to say Pink Gin Soda but I forgot to write that… The idea of the can of gin is another commentary on how casual addictions are now, how self destruction is so easy to do openly and comfortably. One can on gin doesn’t make you an alcoholic, of course, but the idea of one can that adds to many becomes a symbol of the problem I’m trying to show. (This doesn’t make much sense, I’m struggling to justify the what I’m trying to show here. I hope you can break down what I’m saying and just understand 🤷🏻‍♀️)
As for the subjects arms being the only thing visible, this is something I do when I take selfies and I see other people do. My reason for covering my chest and face with my arm and having my other arm awkwardly hand to cover my stomach is simple. I think I look nice, I want to capture a happy moment, but I still hate my body. You can like how you look in one moment, with your hair or outfit a certain way, but overall still hate yourself. Something people in my life struggle to understand. I appreciate that I look nice when I just try a bit, curl my hair, bother to do my make up, wear a nice dress and suck in my gut a bit. However when I go home and I breathe out and resume my regular posture I see the real me. She’s not as confident as the other me, she’s not as together, she’s not as happy. Because she doesn’t exist. She is an alternate version of myself that I bring out to make others think I’m okay. I take pictures of her, I put on her face and wear her smile.
Seems a bit over the top explanation for a drawing of magical floating hands in space? I’ll get into that later.

Do you fit? 2020

I’m jumping ahead a bit because I worked on 2 new ideas to add to the original 3 concepts. Those 3 concepts are the hardest hitting so I think it would best suit the flow of this blog post to talk about them last. The first of course was one of the hardest as it was the most triggering, but I wanted to get it out of the way because it was the worst for me to work on and was the only one I changed the design of entirely. The others just evolved a bit to suit my style.

This design is the 4th I worked on, it again is a personal experience. That is my old mirror, with necklaces and beauty products I still have. Constant reminders of the torment I put myself through. That mirror was something I used instead of a scale because I read in a book once (I heart New York by Lindsey Kelk) something along the lines of “a woman’s worth should not be determined by the number on a scale”. So I used other means of weighing myself, because even though I took away that want to weigh myself I still had to figure out how to measure my self worth. A bra I fit in when I was 14 didn’t fit me when I was 16 (obviously) so I concluded I was fat. My favourite pair of shorts were too tight, fat. We grow as we age, we change shape entirely, our bodies grow and shrink within a month thanks to the magic of periods. I never struggled with an eating disorder, I never over exercised to be skinny. I just hated myself and put up with it.
This mirror was something I used for more than 3 years to measure if I was attractive or not. I had it on my desk and would stand at a certain distance away, if my stomach fit into the frame I was in the green, if it hit the sides I was amber and if I didn’t fit I was red. I was depressed. When I was depressed I either over ate or under ate, not to the extent of an eating disorder and not intentionally. I had toast with butter and honey on and coffee, that was a meal. That was what I ate about 4 times a day. I only ate because I am diabetic and if I don’t eat something my levels will drop and I would panic eat a packet of biscuits. None of this was to lose weight but because how I looked in that mirror added to the way I felt already and would sometimes push me over the edge.

A main aspect of this design is the body within the frame. It’s distorted. When I was 15 I had a realisation that I didn’t look… right. I used to spend hours looking at myself in the mirror, I would hold my wardrobe doors together as they had mirrors on and trap myself in an infinite collection of my face. I would see myself from every angle and just get lost. I knew I was being weird as I did it and I wouldn’t let anyone catch me doing it. When I was alone I would stare myself down, make faces sometimes, move my face, make sure my reflection wasn’t trying to trick me and move at a different time to myself. When I was 15 I realised that I did that because I didn’t look right. Since then I have always known I am in the wrong body. A few years ago I was told about body dysmorphia and I’m not sure if it is the best way to describe how I feel but it’s the best I have.
I don’t think I am ugly, I like my hair, I have good bone structure, I appreciate my appearance, I just don’t… know? Is that how I look to everyone else, am I seeing someone different? When I think my flesh suit looks nice, does anyone else agree. Do they agree to make me feel better?

A lasting reminder\broken hearted 2020

As you can tell, these illustrations bring up a lot of emotion. I have vented a lot into these cute illustrations, these aesthetic dreams of pain and miserly. I don’t think it’s healthy to talk about all of this publicly but I can’t stop. The flood gates have opened and I don’t know where to shut them, I don’t know what I need to remove without removing it all.
I’m a ball of sadness covered by a thick layer of empathy and understanding. I want to help others because it’s the only way I can feel like I am helping myself.

This illustration is another personal experience. I once cried into a pillow with my makeup on in a fit of exhaustion. There wasn’t anything I was actually crying about other than the pain of existence. That pillow still has the stain from my mascara and the opaque, grey tears that surrounded my black lashes. A cute doily pillow that has a constant reminder of depression whenever it falls over.

Head in the clouds 2020

The main point to all these illustrations is the dissociation that comes with depression (for me at least). Her head is in the clouds, something used to explain me a lot when I was growing up. I’m never fully here, in the moment. I’m always thinking about something, or nothing, but not entirely involved in reality. I drift off often, at work it’s very hard to appear present. I work in retail for my day job and I find myself waking up mid task, somewhat knowing what I am or was doing but having to pretend I’m all there while I think for a moment.
You know when you’re reading a book, you’ve gone through a page or two and you suddenly realise you took nothing in, you can’t remember what you just read for an entire page or more. That.
Sure the girl is also crying but who isn’t? She’s depressed, that’s the main theme in these illustrations. You hate yourself and you’re depressed, you’re overthinking and depressed, under eating and depressed. It’s an issue I throw into all my art work because it defines my life. Depression is something I hide and ignore everyday but when I think about myself its the first word that comes to mind. It’s a word I wouldn’t even say until about 2 years ago and it was a big word for me to say. A big label for me to put on myself. Anxiety came first, that one is easier because most people experience anxiety at some point in their life, it’s relatable. Depression is more than that, it’s not a feeling that comes and goes in a few hours. It’s something that affects your body and mind. Drags you down and bleeds you dry.

Giving up 2020

Is she dipping her toes in the ocean to relax a bit, feel the breeze and forget her troubles? Or dangling them into the water for the last time and the air leaves her lungs and her head hangs in shame and the life she’s taken from the world?

This one means the most to me. From the original concept this design depicts hanging feet, symbolising suicide, but being depicted as something more relaxing and less heavy. Someone can look at this piece and just see some feet dipped into the sea, cute accessories and a sense of peace. The peace is something different.

The reason to having these 2 meanings to the design is that the person is uncertain, they don’t know if they need a break or to die. I can’t say much else about this illustration other than that, it’s straight forward and the symbolism is obvious.

If you struggle with anything I have spoken about in this blog post I urge you to seek help with your feelings. Even if you have a mansion and friends and can feel okay that doesn’t mean your pain is not valid. Anyone can experience depression or anxiety and more. Your life does not need to be in shambles for you to feel this way. No one can tell you how you feel and your experiences are your own.

Samaritans: 116 123 (24 hour)
SHOUT sms: 85258

For more places to find help please google for call lines in your area. I promise there is someone to talk to for you if you want the help.

Something Changed

First of all, sorry for my absence. I never expected to be away from my blog for so long, my last update being October… Right now I am writing this from my new iPad Pro, as you might know I used to use a Surface Pro 4 which tragically passed in September following a years battle with battery damage. I recently had her in for a repair but when getting it back the battery was working but the repair centre had messed with the buttons causing them to do various things they should not, as well as some screen damage to where the screen flickers lines across it and will have shadowed apps open (almost like screen burn but it isn’t burnt).

I would have loved to have my surface back up and running a few months ago but after corrupting a file I had been working on for 5 days, losing all my work, I couldn’t trust her again. My original plan was to get a new Surface Pro 6 however with the price I couldn’t justify it. Over the past couple months I have been using my dads 2nd generation iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil I bought so I could work on some art while I find a replacement and strangely I started to like the product. Looking into it people don’t seem to say you need an upgrade from gen 2 to 3 but would suggest a gen 3 if you’re getting one from scratch.

Summer Inside – Digital – 2019

Now I haven’t been a huge apple fan at any point in my life. I preferred apple phones to android around the 4 and 5 models but I never loved the interface or the design of the phones, then after ditching my 5 for a Samsung S6 I was hooked on Samsung. The only apple products I’ve appreciated was their Mac’s and MacBook’s. During the reign of my Surface Pro I had been planning to start saving to build a PC for gaming and larger design work, but since playing with an iPad I will be getting a MacBook first so I have my portable devices and then will later start to build my big at home desktop. There is a lot I need to work out before I can get a larger at home PC so having smaller devices that can handle the work I do is important in the mean time. I’m glad I waited so long to move over to Apple for my design work as I’ve always been told they’re perfect for artists and I never questioned that but at this point in time there are much better products for me to utilise such as this new 3rd generation iPad. I originally ordered the 11” version but after seeing it in person I knew right away it was just far too small for me. I didn’t expect the difference to be so big and I instantly took it back to the supplier and got the 12” instead. The best thing is I got both of them from the place I work so when I ordered online I couldn’t apply my discount, however when I returned it and got the 12” in store I could get my discount applied meaning I came out with an iPad and a folio type cover with £100 left over! Talk about a bargain. While I was there I let my dad use my discount to get himself the new iPhone 11 Pro in the midnight green colour for just £765, that’s in brand new condition, in box with original accessories. If you’re considering the midnight green on this phone for yourself but unsure of it I would definitely recommend, I absolutely love the colour!
In a single day I went from convincing my dad to upgrade to the new Samsung s10 to taking him to get an iPhone 11 and honestly he seems happier to have his devices talking to each other again. Although he was loving Samsung the 3 years he was with them, he’s always been an Apple fanatic and definitely enjoys their products. His main reason for moving back however is he has had his car in for maintenance about 5 times this year because there is a fault with the Bluetooth that he needs as he drives around a lot while managing building sites. Turns out his Land Rover doesn’t like to use products outside of Apple so he’s felt his only option is to revert back.

Silver’s Room Concept Design – Digital – 2019

This has turned into a bit of a diary for me today but I felt like filling you in with exactly what has been happening. I actually have a day job now, where I have been working a lot more hours than I originally wanted to. I plan on getting at least 1 day off through the week in the new year so I can schedule doctors appointments more accurately and have a definite day a week in which I can get creative, update my blog, and get my portfolio looking better. Right now I am focusing on environmental designs to show how I can work a room together, showing personality and hobbies through props and composition. With these designs I will be making more than 1 version of some to show different times of day, mood and atmosphere, and showing the room being used, things being moved around, etc. With these environmental designs I will have the character(s) that interact with the space almost unnoticeable or out of frame, in one design I have planned the character will be asleep in bed but you won’t see them directly, only through the reflection of a mirror that shows a very small part of the bed. My most recent environmental design I didn’t want the character involved to be so front and centre, had my surface not died on me I had planned to have 2 more versions of the design, one with her asleep in a face down position with her room more of a mess, and not her with steam coming into the room from the left and clothes littering the floor and bed suggesting she is getting ready for a night out while in the shower (or maybe coming home from one).
As for the future of these designs I’d also like to work on some slightly animated ones, curtains flowing, cats tail wagging, coffee steaming, etc. Simple things that change a static image to a living environment. I look forward to experimenting and working on new things on my iPad and keeping you up to date on what’s good and bad with it as a replacement for a computer based tablet like my Surface Pro.

Thanks for keeping up with me and I will do better to keep up with you moving forward!

Memoji selfie from iPad

Personal Analysis: Summer Inside (+ Horror Story)

Back at it again with the personal analysis. I’d like to apologise for the months delay on my last post (which is posted on the correct day but was actually uploaded this month) I had left it half finished in my drafts and completely forgot about it with some current happenings. For a brief catch up I have moved into a new studio in Newcastle with some peers as we run a studio together “Loose Tooth Studios” where we host exhibitions and are working on some workshops to start in the new year as part of the life long learning program our building offers. I will talk more about this studio in a later post when we are more settle in the studio and I can provide a better tour of a tidier room, for now we have a facebook ad instagram you can keep up to date on any events we host or we also have a wordpress we will start to regularly in the new year also. Right now we are just finding our feet and getting ourselves comfortable… For now let’s get into the analysis

Kirsten Rothbart – Fancy was My Name – Digital – 2017

Lately I’ve been itching to work more on detailed environmental illustrations, ever since finding Kirsten Rothbarts artwork in 2017. I eased myself into detailed environments with my collection of valentine illustrations from February which I was very proud of at the time as I took myself out of my comfort zone for the first time in a while and turned them over in just 2 weeks. As I move forward in my illustration however these are now old and I believe my skills have definitely developed since then (as I would hope). Rothbarts unique style is something I find appealing as her own style, the obscure face shapes, enlarged lips, exaggerated eyebrows, and use of monotone colour palettes was something I wished I could do when I found her and began to create a few artist studies. When working on your own unique style it can be intimidating to find someone who has already found their artistic voice, but you wouldn’t mimic someones accent because you like it better than your own, would you? It’s important to guide your inspiration into your own unique accent and this is what I have been doing. Rothbarts heavy detail and colour choice inspired me not to mimic but to create something as equally unique back in February as I wanted to make environmentally driven illustrations. In the end the illustrations came out more character driven, similar to Rothbart I used the environment and the props to show more about the characters interests and personality however the environment wasn’t ever detailed enough. I think the closest I got to my original goal was with the “Treat Yourself” illustration with the detailed environment, but my favourite design was “Re-charging” that showed a couples embrace in bed at night. The colour choice in this piece was calming and the emotion on their faces showed their comfort for each other, along with the message I wanted to show came off well and was the best received piece of all. From these illustrations I knew moving forward what I preferred out of my own art work and what I wanted to work on more in the future.

Kelsey Smith – Creative Space – Digital – 2018

Recently I have been seeing a lot more in my social media feed from Kelsey Smith (@amidst.silence) which has been more of an inspiration for me of recent and was the main inspiration for the illustration I will be discussing in this post. Smith’s illustrations are always captivating and draw you into a scene with the use of colour and composition (as any good illustration would). Her environmental pieces are always chocked full of detail, showing an up close and personal look into the characters life from pictures on the wall, pets on their lap, to the clothes on their back and expressions on their face. Sometimes you can see the characters face but almost always they are looking away or fully turned around so you can’t see their expression, even then there is always an emotion in the air. It is interesting the amount of detail and depth Smith can get into her pieces with bold black outlines and primarily cell shading. Similar to Rothbart, Smith always has a high level of detail and depth to her illustrations but in an entirely different style and method. Seeing her beautiful scenery has been on my mind for a few months before this illustration and is what ultimately drove me to work on something for myself in a detailed fashion. Unlike Rothbart I didn’t want the character displayed to be the focus of the piece, instead like Smith the character would be a part of the scene and add life to the environment along with the use of props, etc. Smith already shares a style characteristic with me as instead of using a monochromatic colour palette similar to Rothbart she instead uses a range of colours closer to their real life form and the mood is set by using colour hues that mimic a time of day that will commonly be displayed through an uncovered window so you have a further understanding of the time of day or environment outside of the immediate view, displaying this character lives within a universe, something we don’t always consider when looking at art.

Summer Inside – Digital – 2019

At the time of starting this piece the UK was 2 days in to a horrendous heat wave, during which I was sat in a room with the same bed, desks, and windows as in this illustration after my partners house mate had moved out. I needed somewhere comfortable and breezy to draw on my tablet and with no bedding on the mattress I could starfish my sweaty body across the cold, uncovered bed to cool off. Also carrying a plant mister filled with cold water to cool myself down wherever I was at the time helped my ginger ass during this dreadful time of sun (hissss).
When I started sketching this design I was loving every minute of it, I was adding so much detail I usually tried to avoid with framing. I got the bed in and all the curves of the covers, the curtains bellowing in the wind, plants which I hardly draw because they’re too intricate. Animals in general I suck at, but from behind just never ever look right, I was hitting milestones throughout this piece. I know fine well that in a years time I will look back and be so many steps ahead I will laugh at how proud I was when working on this, but right now this is the best illustration I believe I have ever done. There could be so much more, some shelves filled with DVD’s (she doesn’t seem like the book type to me), a 3DS on her bed? Or a PS Vita? More objects to flesh out her character. In illustrations like this I love to throw a lot of personality into it because I’m not just drawing a bedroom with a girl in it, I’m creating a lifestyle, a personality for this character, her interests, her sexuality, etc. If you know much about gay pride and the varying flags you might have notices her top uses the colours of the lesbian pride flag. If you look at the frames on the wall you will see a variation my life motto “You can’t change the past, but you can decide your future”. Just like Rothbart and Smith I want to fill environmental illustrations like this with so many items you might never be able to find them all, you can’t piece her entire life together without every piece and just like real people we meet everyday you might never have the full picture of someone’s life or lifestyle. We keep things hidden, even this girl. You can’t see everything under her bed, even I don’t know what’s under there.

BadWitches – Untitled – Digital – 2019

All hell struck during day 4 of working on this, after 3 days I wasn’t even half way done and hadn’t laid all the flat colours yet. This was due to my surface breaking down as it has a battery issue and wouldn’t tell me the battery level but would shut off between 20-30% (judging from the levels after turning back on). On day 4 I worked for abut 2-3 hours laying the flats and was finally close to moving onto the next stage, I decided to leave my tablet on charge for 4 hours to give it enough time to charge up and when I went back to work on it it had turned off again. I was frustrated but not too panicked because it’s been happening so much that I save after every single asset, however upon plugging in and turning on I found that the file was corrupt. I had lost 3 days of work. After all the pain of the battery shutting off and continuously loosing work to come and find I had lost all of it was devastating. There was no way to recover the file, it was somehow too damaged to restore. Thankfully I had a backup of the line-art and was able to use my partners fathers computer to work on the piece again, HOWEVER a few days into working on the flat colours again his computer got a virus and had to be reset after a week of looking for an alternative.
Now this illustration was intended to be a big illustration for myself, pushing my boundaries, creating a detailed environment to grow my own skills and to build my portfolio. Most importantly it was going to represent me in my studios opening exhibition since re-branding, I would be exhibiting along some of my favourite artists as well as a local artist I have looked up to for about 5 years (BadWitches). I had to tell the team I wouldn’t be able to exhibit this time and I was so upset about it because I was so proud of what I had done.
The week before our opening night the computer I was allowed to use had been reset and was ready to use so from the Sunday to the Wednesday leading up to our exhibition I was working in the studio most days, promoting the even, collecting and setting up art work, then on my nights coming home and working relentlessly to get this done. Working all the time I could handle to get this illustration finished in time. I got finished on the Wednesday night, needing to have everything ready the next day as we opened on Friday. I woke up the Thursday morning and made some last minute lighting adjustments and fine details as I had a dream the night before I made them and it looked better, and it did! I was finally ready to print just in time.

Flat Colours
With values
Last minute lighting additions

Something I struggle with in my art is a consistent style which I struggle to keep up with as I change my style regularly as I develop my skills or just get sick of a drawing style, however something I keep up in my illustrations is colouring choice; I like to use times of day to inspire my colour palettes, commonly twilight and dusk as I love pink and orange tones and being able to use them together. My logo uses purple, pink, orange, and yellow, as these are colours I use in the majority of my work, along with a star above the name as I also include stars. My use of stars and sparkles I originally started including as I find them cute and fitting to my aesthetic but as I use them in environmental pieces I place them strategically around the space but mainly in direct lighting as they resemble dust that would naturally float around the room. When I use them in character design pieces they are just too add a personal touch and mainly come from my love of magical girls when I was growing up, such as Tokyo Mew Mew and Sugar Sugar Rune.
Something else that I do in most of my illustrations is colouring the line-art, if I am in a rush or am working on something less detailed I will usually change the line-art to a brown colour, since my style is quite soft in colour and shading I find black to be too bold a colour. If you analyse my art you will find that I only use a solid black colour in rare occasions and also avoid solid whites as these tones in their purest state can be distracting to the eye when they’re surrounded with such soft colours. This stems from a fine art background as I was told from a young age in art to avoid black as it can muddy a colour, so when shading I will use alternative colours such as dark blue, dark purple, or dark red to shade both digitally and traditionally as it is a softer touch and a more realistic colour choice. The reason I like to recolour my line-art in detailed illustrations is so that the lines become more blurred and although I am using a semi-realistic or sometimes straight cartoonist style there is less of a barrier around the design. Again this technique softens the design as bold line-art keeps the details from popping out. When there is a black line around a softly shaded illustration such as this your eyes will naturally follow the bold colour instead of the details it holds within it, looking at the box instead of what is inside.

Commission Example – Digital – 2019

Here is an example I made for possible commissions that shows what I am explaining. Shading obviously takes a bit longer, as does changing the line-art to match so these are 2 separate prices. I prefer working in the left style as I find it a lot nicer on the eyes, the soft shading and gradients makes the illustration look more detailed of course but with the line-art change you can appreciate the softness more so than in the right side which has a bolder colour throughout and doesn’t change based on where it is. The fact the colour is the same throughout make the hair look less textured and makes the facial features stand out more than they should. Looking at the 3 stages shown above this you can see the same rules apply, something I notice in the Summer Inside illustration is that the facial features when lined in black stand out way too much. Her eyes and eyebrows draw your eyes to them and from the nose to the chin her face looks very flat. When you detail with shading and recoloured lines it definitely helps soften the face and create a better image. Most illustrations have a line of sight, where the artist tries to draw your attention to one thing, however with this illustration I tried to avoid that entirely. In most people your eyes are naturally drawn to faces, if you happen to find yourself jotting between looking at people in public or see faces in places there aren’t any it might be because your brain is wired to recognise a face structure and draws your eyes to it. So in this piece I can imagine most people will look directly at the woman centred, and since she is a large character in the illustration that is natural. However my intention for this illustration is to have many different props that people will be drawn to, a snake, a cat, her plants, the shoes under the bed, the teddy bear behind her, all things that are interesting and easy to see. Things you might have to look for are her keys, her box of extra cans of pop under the bed, the T.V peaking in from just beyond the cameras sight.

What to do next time

This illustration was just the start of my personal challenge to build my portfolio with more detailed environmental concepts, I expect to be working on so many more pieces like this one where I can explore more detailed environments and lighting, really pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into some challenging material. Designs like these take longer, take more sweat and effort, take more creativity and story/world building, but in the end its designs like this that I’m way more proud of and excited to show off.
If I could add more to this design I would fill even more space with props and Easter eggs like I mentioned earlier. I want to work on designs like this with a hand full of variations. A version of this room at night, some props moved around or packed away while the character sleeps soundly in bed in a blue and purple toned room. Anther version with the bed sheets left open and some of her pyjamas scattered on the floor as the early morning light creeps into the room suggesting she just left for work/school or has gone in the shower. With that shower concept I could show some light and mist creeping in from the left side of the environment suggesting she has an en-suite door beside her bed where she is having a shower.

I hope to work on so many more detailed designs such as this when I manage to get a new tablet! Look forward to seeing more in the new year.


Badwitches (2019). Untitled. [image] Available at: [Accessed 12 Sep. 2019].

Rothbart, K. (2017). Fancy was My Name. [image] Available at: [Accessed 11 Sep. 2019].

Smith, K. (2018). Creative Space. [image] Available at: [Accessed 11 Sep. 2019].