Industrious Illustrating #62 – Coming to an End

I almost can’t believe that the school year is almost over already — I feel like the spring of 2023 happened only a couple of months ago! Currently I’m trying to finish a bevy of final assignments on time this week before they’re due, which includes both UX-related coursework and client work. I wonder how it’d feel to balance a full-time job workload on top of making my own artwork for both personal and business purposes… (Also, this is why the column is a couple of days late this week)

What I was definitely able to make time for this past week, however, was driving down to Toledo to see the total solar eclipse. I don’t regret this one bit, as I’ll remember forever throwing off my eclipse glasses when I saw the sliver of sun disappear and seeing a giant void of darkness with a glowing rim of white light looming in the dark sky above me. No wonder why so much mythology and artwork has been inspired by the sight of a total eclipse!

I didn’t get any really good eclipse photos because my phone camera is older and I didn’t think of borrowing a nicer camera from LSA or Stamps’s equipment offices, so this is the best one I have

I also did Con Ja Nai last weekend and made a fairly decent amount of money — several times more than what I’ve historically made at CJN before my art business really started taking off this year. I think the addition of mecha keychains has boosted my con revenue from average to quite good, as they satisfy an under-served niche for small mecha merch. It goes to show that sometimes you don’t know what’ll work best for you and your business until you experiment and eventually hit it off with your customer base.

My setup from last weekend — I definitely feel like I need to simplify this down though, as it’s a huge headache to set up just for a single day of selling even with two people working on it

Also, filing taxes by yourself as a self-employed small business owner is a huge headache — I’m likely going to reach out to a small business CPA (accountant) for next year’s tax season since my taxes are going to only get more complicated now that I do out-of-state events. The difficulty of keeping track of sales, income, and estimated taxes is something that I don’t think enough people warn you about before you try to run an art business.

Anyway, I think there’ll only be one or two more Industrious Illustrating columns this school year before I go on summer break and focus my energy on other things. I’m not sure yet whether or not I’ll bring back this column next school year, as my art business has now taken off a lot this year and my coursework is also becoming increasingly demanding closer to graduation. However, I’m tempted to keep this running until the end of undergrad because it’d be a really nice log of my growth and development as an illustrator and product designer over the course of several years.
If you’d like to see this column come back next year, I’d love to hear from you ^^ And either way, I hope you’ll enjoy the nice weather outside in the upcoming weeks!

4/11/24

All the things I’ve accumulated 

Sitting listless and unnumbered 

A red towel soaked from suds fleeing from the sink

You have to use your nails to get clean

Wash cloths aren’t enough 

Some people don’t use them 

I can’t stop to talk to you 

Clean clean splash nothing is clean 

“Miss 1 pink pill in week 1 of your pack take the first as soon as you remember 

The second at your regular time”

Industrious Illustrating #61 – Sakuracon 2024

Hello, and welcome back to another week of Industrious Illustrating! It’s been a few days since Sakuracon 2024 and I still feel really exhausted O(-( You can see my table setup below:

Overall Sakuracon was an expensive convention to attend, especially since I flew my usual helper to Seattle with me and paid for his expenses in addition to my own. However, I actually broke my previous earnings record (which I just made last month at Katsucon) and made a significant profit, so I’m very happy with the results! I had an amazing time meeting so many wonderful people at Sakuracon, ate so much good food, and I hope I can come back to the Pacific Northwest for more conventions either later this year or next year!

I ended up using Monday to visit the Seattle Aquarium and the International District/Chinatown before hopping on a late-night flight back to Michigan, as the prices for Easter weekend flights were more expensive than spending an extra night and day in Seattle. I picked up some limited-time collaboration merch from Animal Crossing and Honkai Impact 3rd while I was there, and I also took a bunch of reference pictures of marine life that will inspire future original pieces.

If any of you guys are interested, I’ll be selling leftovers from Sakuracon at Con Ja Nai, which is UMich’s very own annual one-day anime convention that happens in the Modern Languages Building from 12-7pm (Artist Alley closes at 6pm) on April 6th. Come say hi! 🙂

In other news, I’ve also been accepted into Anime Park (subsidized Canton IKEA trip!) on May 4th and I got off of the waitlist for Motor City Comic Con Spring (May 17-19), which I am still considering whether or not I want to accept since it overlaps with Anime Central and I’m still lowkey hoping that I can get off of the waitlist for Anime Central or grab a no-show table on the actual convention weekend. Either way, I’m looking forward to a summer of making new art, doing events, and (if it’s in the cards for me) summer classes/an internship!

~Sappy Daze~ Day 7

This poem has been posted outside Avalon Cafe & Bakery for PoetTreeTown2024

Longitude

To see past the horizon,
your poker face 
blocking the farthest secrets, 
is what I wish upon a star. 

No matter the angle, 
your one-sidedness makes me 
curious about your constellation 
of 88 thoughts. 

Are you a Scorpio?

I examine telescopically, but 
the milky way, the nebulas in 
your eyes draw me
over the moon, 
and the slightest glance away 
carries seasonal depression.

So before this unknowing atmosphere suffocates me, 
although my heart beating ultraviolet already is, 
I’m confessing out of the blue.

- Sappy

MediaScape Musings # 15 : A Visit to Remember: The Stamps MFA Exhibition

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to immerse myself in the vibrant world of emerging art at the Stamps MFA Exhibition. Today, I’m excited to share my experience with you and encourage everyone to visit this remarkable showcase of talent and creativity.

The exhibition is a dynamic fusion of various art forms, ranging from interactive installations to traditional paintings, thought-provoking video art, and intricate sculptures. Each piece, unique in its expression, offers a glimpse into the future of contemporary art through the eyes of talented MFA candidates.

One of the most captivating aspects of the exhibition is the interactive pieces. Engaging with these works, I felt a direct connection to the artists’ intentions, blurring the lines between observer and participant. It’s a rare treat to not only view art but to become part of its narrative and execution.

The paintings, each telling its own story, showcased an array of techniques and styles that highlighted the diversity of the artists’ backgrounds and perspectives. From abstract compositions that play with color and form to detailed portraits that capture the essence of human emotion, the variety was both refreshing and inspiring.

Video art and sculptures were also prominently featured, offering a multidimensional exploration of themes ranging from personal identity to societal commentary. The video installations, with their moving images and sound, created immersive environments that provoked thought and evoked emotion. Meanwhile, the sculptures, ranging from the delicately crafted to the boldly abstract, demonstrated the physicality of art in space, inviting viewers to engage with them from multiple angles.

This exhibition is not just a display of art; it’s a celebration of innovation, creativity, and the endless possibilities within the art world. Running until April 13th, there’s still time to experience this eclectic mix of art forms.

I wholeheartedly recommend visiting the Stamps MFA Exhibition. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply looking for an inspiring outing, this exhibition promises a rich tapestry of experiences that will leave you contemplating long after you leave. So, mark your calendars, and don’t miss the chance to support these talented artists and immerse yourself in their world.

See you there!

The Indian Artist, Final Year: I’m Publishing a Book!!

Good Evening Everyone! I hope that you are all doing well! I am very excited to share today’s blog post with you all. This is a project that is very close to my heart and something that I have been working on for almost a year now!

As some of you may know, I am pursuing a career in medicine with the goal of becoming a surgeon. For a long time, I have been searching for ways to integrate my love and passion for art with my commitment to medicine. In December 2022, I had the good fortune of being hired as a Medical Illustrator. In May 2023, I was asked to be the Creative Design Director for a UCLA-based non-profit organization called Pages for Pediatrics and help establish its first chapter at the University of Michigan.

Pages for Pediatrics aims to write and illustrate children’s storybooks working to normalize patient adversity, advocate for disability representation, and combat stigma towards pediatric conditions in the broader community. To help alleviate patient anxiety, we center children’s storybooks around characters that pediatric patients can relate to as a means of instilling hope, comfort, and solidarity. In order to ensure that every patient has unhindered access to our therapeutic stories, we raise funds to cover the production and distribution of our books so we can donate copies to pediatric patients at C.S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital and others nationwide. This is a dream opportunity for me and something that I am so priveleged to be a part of.

I am very excited to announce that our first book, Leela’s Braids, is set to be published in mid-April!! I helped to write this book centered on Alopecia areata and fully illustrated it myself! This has been an incredible project for me and one that I am very proud to share with you all.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Leela’s Braids and supporting Pages for Pediatrics, please feel free to fill out the following order form by March 31st: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdZo0A0l_c0ry2wKDTSYjxJUDb7q4jkYyayQv0qN1beCYPdng/viewform

This would make for a wonderful gift for any little ones and family that you may have. I truly appreciate all of you who have continued to read my posts over the past four years. With my time at U of M coming close to an end, I am so priveleged to leave this project behind.

I look forward to sharing more of the book with you all in the coming weeks leading up to its release. Until then, please feel free to reach out to me or comment if you have any questions, concerns, or thoughts! If you would like to see my work, please feel free to check out my website and follow me on Instagram.

Sincerely,

Riya

Instagram: @riya_aggarwal.art

Website: https://theindianartist.weebly.com/