Mid-May update

It’s mid-May and well past time we start making new products!

With the end of classes now behind us, the move still upcoming, Eric and I have been kept pretty busy, but we’re starting to fit in more time to work on projects and our stories. Most importantly, the more time we have to work on our art and stories, the more well have to get out soon!

Eric has started experimenting with a wood burning kit. He’s been turning his beautiful bird illustrations into burnings and figuring out what works best. We’ll maybe have a few of those up on the shop this summer. The burning effect really makes his illustrations pop.

Additionally, Eric’s gotten further into writing it his comic, Harlow. The comic follows the adventures of a man stranded on a distant planet and his interactions with others stuck there as he searches for justice, a new life, and a way home. The story is really starting to take shape, and we hope Eric can find time to start illustrating it soon.

My classes have finished, giving me more time to work on art projects and my own stories. Currently, I’m working on a painting for my uncle and then I’ll be right back to the shop. I have plans to also expand into works on wood, though maybe not the same as Eric has started. I’m designing ideas for birdhouses and plant boxes among other things.

As for my own stories, I’ve been working hard to shape out an idea for my story nicknamed RCIA, following the adventures of an arguably unlucky group of young people who are drawn into the supernatural happenings in their town. Faced with a mysterious death, town secrets, aliens, government cover-ups, too much caffeine, and one very harrassed night manager at the Dive, this young group will certainly have more than enough adventure to share by the end of their Summer.

All in all, we’re poised to start working double time as the weather gets better and the days get longer. We’re excited for the season and hope you’ll enjoy the new work we have to get out in the shop.

– Kecheri

Late-April Update

One month into the second quarter of the year, and admittedly, we haven’t had much to show for it business-wise, but! with the Spring season in full throws and Summer fast approaching, we will be getting our butts in gear.

So far this year, I have been working to settle into the routines of my day job and finishing up my semester at the community college and an online course. My day job at the spice shop has been going really well. I have good hours to fit my schedule and my boss an I get along pretty well, which is particularly good since the shop is only him and me. I’ve oriented myself to running the shop on my own now, and I’ve found that I enjoy the work. Only working three days a week on a consistent schedule also helps.

As for class, I’m finishing up my ASL II course pending an in-class interview to test working fluency and one more Deaf-event. The Deaf history course is also coming to an end with one more quiz and a final project which I’ll be focusing on CODAs. Both classes have gone really well and I’m confident about finishing up this semester. I am wavering a little on my decision to stick it out for the certificate in ASL though, since my motivation for learning has not been to become an interpreter or go into education. I’ll have all summer to think it over before registering for Fall classes, so I’ll have time to decide if I want to continue for the certificate or shift my educational focus to other things.

On that note, I’ve started getting back on track with my original plan coming out of college to pursue an M.A. in psychological counseling, particularly because I’ve found a couple programs to receive an M.A. completely online which would work much better for me to schedule around. Currently, I’m trying to get back into the comfort of studying psychology by taking a Coursera class called Schizophrenia and Its Treatment, taught by a professor from Wesleyan. So far its gone well and I’m excited to get a certificate of completion from the course when I finish. Its a small step towards counseling, but it gets me back into the rhythm of working with psychology again. I should be able to finish up the class within the next two weeks, so that’s also going well.

Eric is also settling into a new role at his work where he’s been given a new full time position title coordinating rentals and filling in where he’s needed through the transition. His week schedule will be changing and it will end up looking much more like my current schedule without two proper days off in a row. Regardless, things seem to be working out well there, despite some hesitations. Also, the children’s book he illustrated is officially going to be released sometime in May, after the long, drawn out publishing process. Eric is also getting further on track with his comic Harlow, hopefully ready to begin illustrating panels soon. We’re very excited to see it come together.

Most importantly! Eric and I will be moving in mid-June to our own apartment! The move will be taking up a lot of our focus and energy for a while. We need to pack, coordinate the move, do paperwork, get proper insurance, and all that fun new apartment jazz. We’re very excited and itching to go though, so it should all be fun and go relatively quickly.

So that’s our current situation pre-Summer.

Once Summer arrives, I’ll be out of class, we will have moved, and hopefully we’ll have some more free time to devote to the shop and our artwork. I’ll have Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday open on my schedule once classes end, so I’ll be spending much more time writing and working for the Etsy page. I think late-Spring and early-Summer is a good time to jump back into regular artwork production and a good time for local outreach. In town here, we have a number of art festivals that start up in the Summer, and while many of them are primarily geared to run on the weekends, which will be largely impossible with our work schedules, there are some at other times we could definitely sign up for. We still also want to do outreach with local businesses and possibly even sales through the art gallery where Eric works.

All in all, Summer should be fun and new changes will be coming to the shop and definitely to our lives. I hope to have some new shop news for the next update, which preferably will not take so long for me to make. I haven’t been very good at keeping with regular updates, but as we move into the new season and things start lightening up, I will definitely be committing more time to the shop and the blog.

Right now, we still have a number prints available of traditional art, Eric’s fantasy linocuts, my line design pieces, and cards up on the shop. More will be coming soon!

Thanks for sticking with us.

– Kecheri

February update

Yikes, it’s been a fun month and a half of 2018 so far, and I’ve really fallen behind on blog updates. So let’s see if I can get it all down now.

Eric has started full-time at the art gallery. There’s some adjusting time to be sure, but he’s handling it well and fitting in some art work time around the schedule. Energy levels are hard to maintain with forty hours of physical work, but he’s managing it well!

He’s written more of Harlow! I read what he has up of the comic the first night after we started hanging out last January, and I’m very excited to read more! He spends a good amount of time fleshing out his story and once he has the panels drawn I’m sure we’ll have it up somewhere for everyone to enjoy. Eric’s pretty secretive about the plot, but I suspect it will be interesting.

As for me, I got a new part-time job at the end of January. I now work twenty hours as a store manager for a spice and tea shop selling dry ingredients. So far it seems like a good match for me job wise — laid back, quiet, with some exciting days thrown in.

On top of that, my classes for this semester have started. I’m excited to get more signing experience this semester. My class is fairly small and more of a conversation class than a lecture. The history course online is also going well though I can tell I’ll need to be on top of myself and be sure to do my reading and classwork even when I don’t go in. It’s my first official online course, so we’ll see how it goes.

I’ve started sketching some concept ideas for a comic I hope to work on periodically in addition to my stories. (I commonly take on too many projects and responsibilities. It’ll shake our.) It’s a concept Eric and I came up with over Indian food at one of our favorite take out places. It’s called Wealth and Hellness and follows Zeke in his quest for employment at the encouragement of his best (and only) friend Krithi. When he finally lands the job, he starts to notice some odd things about the business and specifically his new boss.

Shop wise, we haven’t gotten all that much done this month. I have one ink piece framed and pending photography and listing. I’ll be selling the original piece so keep an eye out for it on the shop and others like it soon!

I also continue on the quest to find and purchase myself a proper scanner. Ive picked out the CanoScan LiDE120 flatbed image scanner. It should give me pretty high resolution scans, and fits within my budget of Christmas money gifted *specifically* so I could buy a scanner. Now I really just need to make time to go and look at it in person and then actually make the purchase.

All in all, it’s been a somewhat busy month, but we’re still working hard for the shop too! We’ll have new artwork up soon.

– Kecheri

Happy New Year!

Hello, 2018! New year, new adventures.

We hope that everyone had a good start to the new year. We started this year with a trip to the local coffee shop and a discussion about new projects, plans, and where we’re headed this year. All in all, we’re pretty excited to see what new opportunities will come our way, and already we have many projects planned out.

For my part, I’m starting a regimen of physical and online courses to bring me closer to completing my certification in American Sign Language and to become better adjusted to business financing, marketing, and management. I’ve broken out a fairly rigorous week schedule to be sure that I can actually finish different projects that I start across a range of interests. I will be working on the daily to work on (and preferably finish) parts of my art and writing projects everyday with some solid deadlines. Already, this plan of mine has gotten me in the zone with my writing and has inspired major progress on some art I’ve been meaning to finish up.

On that note, I’m happy to announce that we are a whole lot closer to coming out with our web comic in the new year. We still have not decided on a set date we’re hoping to have it published by, but we have the opening written and major parts of the story worked out. Eric has been working on some beautiful designs for our characters that really captures a rugged realistic feel to the fantasy tale. In the meantime, I’m finishing the writing for the first installment and practicing dragon anatomy to the best of my ability. We will update here when we are closer to a release date.

Another story we have been working out is a fantasy novel focused on political upheaval, morality, loyalty, and of course, adventure. This story follows the tale of three characters hoping to stop a global war between kingdoms. Jonah– a hated child of a small village who brings cursed bad luck to all those around him; Sycamore Fox– the trusted guide of many species, motivated by self interest as the last remaining one of his kind in the Orllewin Woods; and Deva Echel– the ambitious axe-wielding younger sister of her people’s most skilled ambassador. I am excited to get a first draft of this story finished maybe by April. The ultimate goal is to offer this story for sale through Amazon, but details pending until I have more written.

In addition to the story work I’ve been working on, both Eric and I have been crunching on our artwork. Eric is finishing inking and carving up a beautiful 8×10 linoleum print. As for me, I’m finishing inking my first! ever! linoleum piece, a line design focused around a raccoon skull. Soon I’ll be ready to ask Eric for a proper instruction/demonstration on how I’m supposed to carve it. It’s exciting to start the new year with a new art medium! Eric is also sketching out some new ideas for nature prints and illustrations. He is getting really good at drawing trees. I’m also personally looking forward to the completion of his crow piece.

This year, Eric and I plan to take Rocket Robin Prints into the “real world” as well! We plan to set up for local venues, art fairs, and craft shows in the greater Frederick area. The shows we’re looking at mostly start up in the Spring through the Fall. We’ll be posting more information as we become more sure of our plans. We would also like to run some special events, possibly art demonstrations, or even some discounted offers this year. We will post more details on those as well when we have more information to share.

I feel this year is going to be an exciting one!

– Kecheri

Mid-December Update!

The update this week is a little overdue, but we have gotten new products on the shop this week, including the cardinal painting and illustration card I designed, and the chickadee painting Eric made this week!

We’ve been pretty busy this week too, despite my claiming otherwise in the last post. We have a ton of plans we want to get out on the site here, around our town, and into motion! Namely, this week we got ourselves up on Facebook thanks to Eric’s hard work. Hopefully we’ll have more information to put up soon, such as craft event dates, publishing information, and project updates. We’re excited to have this additional option to reach out!

I’ve been not only working hard on production for my other shop, I’ve been fleshing out some fiction ideas that have been floating around in my head. It’s hard to make myself sit down for long enough to get any of it actually written out while I’m working on production for my other shop and managing things here, but it’s coming along nicely. One of these ideas is the adventure story we will hopefully be working into an ongoing illustrated series. We’ve been hashing out some character designs and overall plot points, and now I really just need to sit down and start writing it properly. But! I’ve got a start, and the rest should flow pretty easily from there. We plan to have the first installment of this story ready to post sometime early in the new year!

Eric’s been working on sketching out and painting some new art pieces and bird illustrations while balancing more hours at his day job. I’m really excited to see how they turn out. We have three of his bird pieces up on the shop now, even available as cards for the time being. I believe the new piece will be featuring the chipping sparrow. I’m plenty excited. Maybe one of these days I can convince him to make an illustration with my favorite birds, the North American crow.

We’ve also been touching up on our coding knowledge in order to make the site flow better. There is a lot we forgot or didn’t learn in the first place, but so far it’s been pretty easy to pick up and fiddle around with and we’re adjusting a piece at a time. Deciding on how we want the site to be set up and to run will be the hardest part of a coding overhaul, but we already have a site model in mind, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get there. We’re also getting more serious about securing our own physical space to work on our artwork and conduct our business.

This next week I’ll be heading out to see family, but I’ll be bringing things to work on while we all sit around and visit. We’re looking forward to branching out into craft shows in 2018 and have positive feelings of where we’re headed!

– Kecheri

First Order and Less Hectic Days!

We filled our first order this week!

After some minor hiccups in the printing process, we’ve worked out our system, successfully printed, and got the order out to our customer! So, while we had to take down a few listings such as a few cards in light of some problems we’ve caught, we’re very excited to have new cards up already to replace them! This is very exciting for us, and we hope that this marks the start of a trend.

To celebrate, we’ve been heavily working on more artwork to have things ready and up on the shop soon. I’ve been launching back into painting and playing around with a sort of collage idea, while Eric has been sketching new pieces and finishing up some digital work.

We also attended our first meeting as a real business. The local newspaper holds hour-long talks about different business topics, so we signed up to attend the talk yesterday. We learned so much moving forward that will hopefully help us organize our shop, social media, and public outreach to make our shop more user-friendly and more easy to navigate. We’re hopeful moving forward that we can make our site clear and easy to use.

And so! As always, we plan to have new fine art blank cards, paintings, and possibly more up on the shop for this week’s Friday Update. So drop on by and check out what we have new this week!

-Kecheri

Start of December

We have had a BUSY last week of November! Eric is working a heavy week at his jobs, double shifts, learning new things he’s responsible for there, and trying to work out his schedule. I’m getting tied up with the end of the semester projects and papers, health care signups, and rushing to finish things for my toys and trinkets shop. We have been scrambling to get things up on the shop to start off the season. (Not to mention restocking paper, realizing that ANOTHER fish filter broke on my tank, a budding cold, and of course family time!) We hope things will begin to mellow out again soon, though I think we may be on a trajectory to more hectic times.

We wanted to offer art print cards for the holiday season. We’ve converted most of the prints available in the shop to blank card formats. We’re offering them in packs of 6. For the moment, due to Eric’s packed schedule this week, most of the files are still pending upload. We do have up card prints of some miniature skyscape paintings I painted earlier in the Fall. We broke them into three groups: Blue Moon, Cool, and Warm cards. We’ll have the other cards up likely tonight when Eric gets off his day job. I’m particularly excited to see the Cedar Waxwings on a card.

We’re hoping to get out some new artwork before the holidays as well. I’m going to sell the original miniature paintings once I get them matted, and have even been looking into new forms of art to sell, including line illustration inkings on blocks of wood. Eric also set me up for my first ever linocut that I want to finish soon so he can show me how to print it properly. I’m pretty excited to work on it with him. Eric has some new illustrations he’s working on when he gets a minute of downtime too, including his personal Christmas card for this year!

We’re also working hard on writing and illustrating a web comic we plan to publish through Tapastic. Currently, we have not set up a specific goal date to have it ready to start posting. Our quirky characters are starting to take form though both in their personalities and in their designs. If you are a fan of fantasy stories full of daring quests, deceits, adventure, and dragons, you’ll love our spin off of the traditional Knight in Shining Armor tale. I’ve already started writing the script and fleshing out our ideas for the characters, and I can’t wait to get the opportunity to sit down with Eric and start piecing together the narrative with the illustrations. And of course, we’ll likely be leaking some glimpses at our characters as we get closer to publishing. Stay tuned!

Eric and I are also starting to do some serious research into the various art shows locally. We’re thinking that a local booth with our art and my crafty things will be what we need to start boosting local sales and making our shop name known. We’ve talked about pitching our work to local coffee shops (which we spend too much time in anyway), holding booths at the big local art festivals, and maybe even ultimately aiming to have our work up in the local gallery where Eric works. With the new year approaching, we’re going to try and meet the deadlines for registering for shows in the Spring and early Summer. I’m excited to give it a shot. The art culture in this town is pretty strong, and I think we’ll see some success if we can tap into it. We still need some supplies and little necessities before we’re ready to set up a table at a show, but I’m sure we can get there and we definitely won’t be going in completely blind as to expectations since both of us have family who participate in shows. I’ve got a positive outlook on the prospects.

It has been a hectic end to November, and now as December starts is certainly not the time to slack off! We’ll keep on trucking and try to get more work done for the shop and get our prints out there and around town too. I’m looking forward to it and I’m excited about a lot looking moving forward!

-Kecheri

Black Friday Touchups

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and today is another Friday shop update! We hope everyone here in the States had a good Thanksgiving and passed it well with their families. Both Eric and I spent the holiday with our families, but we haven’t been slacking on our production! We’ve been brainstorming, sketching, and problem solving our way through second helpings of pumpkin pie.

We’ve changed some of our options on prints available through our shop, RocketRobinPrints on Etsy. Our printing paper has been a bit of a discussion topic between us. Ultimately, we compromised to offer prints on both types of paper. So now, every print available on the shop will be offered on card stock paper as well as matte, fade-resistant, presentation paper. The new addition of the presentation paper will ensure that our products will be protected from some effects of aging. However, if you aren’t someone who is concerned by the effects of time or who has otherwise mastered temporal stasis we still offer our art on the original card stock option.

In addition to the new options on the prints already available through our shop, we have also added a new print today! Imagination One is another beautiful pencil sketch done by Eric. It can be found here on the shop. It depicts a small nature scene, complete with trees, birds, and broken stone wheels — the whole nine yards! Eric was inspired by our trip to Southern Vermont in August to make this drawing. While it is not an exact replica of anything we saw there, it still supports the realism present in much of Eric’s work.

We also used the holiday break to begin the planning for a web comic series we hope to publish in the near future. We started on character development and even worked out a basic plot line to grow from. If you are a fan of dragons, fantasy, humor, dramatics, and tales of deceit and adventure, our spin off of the traditional Knight in Shining Armor story will be a perfect fit for you. I personally am very excited to try my hand at drawing dragons consistently. As can be seen from my own work, I mostly excel at bone drawings, skulls, silhouettes, and fish, though I have been known to draw Eric’s leopard geckos fairly well. Attempting to draw a dragon in varying levels of detail will be a challenge, but I think it will be fun! The story is already starting to take shape, and of course, we will likely be leaking sneak peaks as we approach a date to begin publishing the pages. Stay tuned for more!

We have a few more pieces to finish up and ready for posting by next Friday, so as always, the week looks to be a busy one full of sketching, editing, and writing. We’ll post our progress through the weekend and as the week continues!

– Kecheri

First Post

“Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.” – Gordon B. Hinckley.

At this time last year, I had recently lost my position as a studio photographer, and after a brief trip out West, I had to face the issue and decide if I needed to get another part time job. I decided to fully throw myself into my second job as a custom framer at a corporate arts and crafts store, even though I was already dreading the holiday season and knew my time there would be limited. I developed health problems that I convinced myself to power through and managed to last over a year in that position before I needed to sit down and face facts.

I have always seen myself as someone who would eventually work for themselves. The idea of being my own boss and handling business myself without answering to a superior or getting stuck in a role with no chance to move up in a company has always been a more attractive option to me, even though I understand that self-employment requires a lot of work and dedication and commitment. I’ve always had a feeling that I can make it work out for myself, despite some failed previous attempts and the current need for a proper job. And now? A year out from my decision to commit myself to a retail position without room for growth, I’m happy to look at life now and see how far I’ve come already.

I met Eric in the arts and crafts position. He shared his plans and some of this art work with me. I was amazed by the beauty and detail he brings forward on the page. He inspired me to put my energy back into creative works I had abandoned for years. I started drawing again, falling easily back into the patterns and shapes of my work. I always believed Eric would eventually find success with his art, and so his encouragements for my own meant everything to me. I rediscovered the joy I get from making art just for the sake of art. I started working on my stories again – old stories I’d left unfinished, fanfictions only half-started, and my own stories I’d locked away in my head.

Now, almost a year out, I feel that life has taken the correct trajectory. We’ve had our Etsy shop – RocketRobinPrints – up and running for two months now. In that time, I’ve started new projects, written over 50, 000 creative words, and drawn more than I have in years. I even rediscovered my love for The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross, which I watched almost every day when I was a kid. We are quickly building our inventory, starting new projects and artwork every week. We are doing research and starting our outreach to reserve tables at different art shows in our area, connect with other artists, put our art up in the gallery where Eric works, and to publish our stories officially through Amazon and other routes.

It’s a lot of hard work, and I foresee only more hard work as we move forward. I doubt Eric and I are starting down an easy path. After all, art is never an easy career. We put in a little work every day. We’re always thinking of new ideas and planning out how to make things work out well. Neither of us is afraid of hard work, and I think in the end it will pay off. I think we’re much closer to doing what we love. We hope to bring joy with our work and with our stories, and that I think is worth any of the work it will take to get us there.

I studied philosophy and psychology in college. There is a lot of discourse in these fields about the premium manner for people to carry out their lives. The topics range from want-gratification to morality to conceptualization of our Reality. There are many differing opinions than span cultures and centuries, classes and genders, but the goal appears consistent: for people to strive to live the best life available to them. Through unique human abilities and capacities, each person strives to make the best of their situational constraints and better their life in whatever way they can. Following this line of thought, it’s my belief that art – in all its forms – leads us closer to the best life possible, and so there is worth in putting time into creating as well as receiving artwork. Illustrations, sketches, paintings, written stories, and more all illuminate and reflect the beauty of life. I think it is important to remember life’s beauty through art, especially in hard and chaotic times. I think it’s easy to lose sight of the good and lose sight of ourselves, but art or a story helps to ground us again.

We have our goals clear moving forward and we hope that what we create will resonate with other people. Creating is what we love to do, be it with words or pencil or paints. We try to inch closer to reaching our goals every day, and although we don’t know how long it will take to actualize our dreams, we will certainly reach them someday.

We’re starting down a path we don’t quite know yet, and we hope we can engage and bring you along with us as we head into the future.

– Kecheri