Sunday, December 25, 2011

Not-Sketchblog 15: True Christmas

"No man is a failure who has friends."
This quote from It's A Wonderful Life has become my life.
It has embodied my beliefs and my goals,
and I want to pass along something valuable to you on this day of celebration.
It is something I learned from suddenly realizing a connection between this quote and a very famous historic event.

The historic even to which I refer has a book based off of it,
and is called the Christmas Truce.
The Christmas Truce took place in the midst of the First World War,
when soldiers fought without understanding and without hope.
On Christmas Eve, on the Western Front in Belgium,
German and British (and some French) soldiers,
absolute enemies,
laid down their arms,
came together,
and celebrated the holiday.
They even played soccer together.

It is a shining example of the hope that humanity still has for peace.
It proves that even the most bitter of enemies can find common ground and live together in harmony.

This is what the holiday is truly about.
It is about the potential success of humanity.

Christians celebrate the holiday because of the birth of Jesus,
the savior and symbol of hope for mankind.
Jesus preached a very important message,
and that message can be boiled down to one word:

If you are to celebrate this holiday,
please remember it in this way.

There is love still in humanity's heart.
There is still hope for us.
We must learn to lay down our hatred,
lay aside apathy, anger, jealousy, selfishness,
and all forms of such things,
and come together as one race to reach for a new goal:
peace and harmony.

We fight senseless wars,
bicker in pointless arguments,
and throw away priceless friendships
because of fleeting, poisonous feelings.

We need to realize that it has to stop before we cannot turn back.
There is still hope.

As for myself,
I have decided I will not stop fighting.
I have faced my fears and battled with them for the past three years,
and I may not have completely overcome them,
but I am near to victory.
And so I will not stop fighting.
I will fight paranoia, fear, loneliness, and all my feelings of betrayal,
to have faith in those I love,
and those who do not love me.

I will hold onto the lingering flicker of hope,
and work to build it into a raging fire.

I vow here and now to lay aside myself,
as others have before me,
in order to save humanity from itself.

And now I ask that you join me.
Join me and lay down your weapons of

and take up the arms of Love.

Help me save humanity.

There is still hope.

Love and peace to you this holiday season,
Emily J Sampson

p.s. To those that felt they had no choice but to burn bridges,
this is my formal plea for a Christmas truce.
But please, let us not let this last only one day,
but let it live on through eternity.
Let us rebuild those bridges to form a stable and solid future for mankind.
For our children, and our children's children.
Hear my plea.

There is still hope.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sketchblog Edition 121: Responsibilime

I've been home for a few days now,
and have been trying desperately hard to not sink into that comfortable position of lackadaisical laziness that often comes from returning to one's place of childhood growth.
Fortunately, just before leaving Savannah,
I purchased a Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal and a Koi travel watercolor set,
complete with water brush, something I had been intending to acquire for a long time now.

So, without further ado,
I give you:
Watercolor sketches.

A self-portrait!

A rare breed of bird of prey, the magnificent Dapper Falcon.

Well that's all for now.
I've been sketching some in my other sketchbook,
and I'll upload those at some point when I finish a few things.

In other news,
my dad had surgery on his rotary cuff today.
Fortunately there was just a small tear and they didn't have to touch the rotary cuff at all,
so the recovery period is going to be much smoother and less painful than anticipated.
Thanks to all my friends and loved ones for your prayers and well-wishes during this time. :)

Thanks for reading!
Love you all,
and goodnight!

Emily J Sampson

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sketchblog Edition 120: Saying Farewell

I've said a lot of goodbyes this year....
Some very significant ones.
And in the past week alone I had to say goodbye to my last two best friends in Savannah.

I'm hoping to strengthen my relationships with the people still here,
and build up more best friends,
and the people I've said goodbye to I still consider my best friends,
but it's still really hard for me.

I'm fighting all my paranoia and all my fear in order to call them best friends,
and that's saying a lot.

Today I leave for home.
I'm riding the train for two days from Savannah to Chicago,
and will finally see my family again for the first time since April.
I'm looking forward to it greatly,
and hoping I can see some old friends while I'm up North,
though a lot of them are gone too.

Anyway, my train leaves soon, so I'll make this update quick.

Here we have more of Geoffrey and Tomamono being friends.
Speaking of friends, Michael came back last week and enjoyed The Sentient Bean with Bridget and I. :3

We went to see Levi Weaver at the Sentient Bean the other night.
Quite the delight indeed.

A mini-Levi Weaver and some birdy woman thing.

Just something I felt like sketching to let off some steam.
Trying to accurately portray my emotions with words never seems to work too well,
so I have to turn to art to help me.

More logo stuff for my friend Daniel.
I've worked more on developing the top logo since it stands better without text.

These sketches are just me fooling around with composition and storyboarding.
This story will probably never be made.

That's all!
Don't fret if you don't hear from me in the next couple weeks.

"I'm going missing for a while,
I've got nothing left to lose."

Love you all, and Merry Christmas!
Emily J Sampson

p.s. Know that I will always love you... each and every one of you... no matter what.
And I will always fight... I will fight myself, the world, and beyond, in order to be your friend.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sketchblog Edition 119: Nativiteeny, Part Deux

I finished the Nativiteeny commission!
Here it is, painted and all!
(Again, I apologize for the crappy picture...
My camera is still broken and I haven't gotten the chance to order a new screen for it.
I'm hoping to just get a new camera after Christmas.
As much as I love my L19, it's run its course, and it's time to retire it in favor of a newer model methinks.)

Baby Jesus is all like, "I'M BORN!"

I also just got permission from another commissioner,
my good friend Daniel Yost,
to post the conceptual stuff for his new business's logo design!

More to come this week!

Oh yes,
Please don't steal.
I'll be upset, my commissioners will be upset,
and most of all,
Baby Jesus will be upset.
You don't want to make Baby Jesus upset.

That's all for this very short update!
Love you all and have a good day!

Emily J Sampson

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sketchblog Edition 118: Nativiteeny

So since the hours at work are a little...
sparse, to say the least,
I've been taking on commissions for the Winter,
trying to pay for the cost of rent, tuition for next quarter,
travel to home for the holidays (and back again),
and, of course, presents for my family for Christmas.
However, since I have no hours at work over the past couple weeks,
I've been able to really hack away at the mountain of commissions I've gotten!

First, I finished a commission for a loyal commissioner, Mike P.,
who delighted me earlier this Fall when he told me that
A) he wanted me to do an Avatar-related piece (including three different Avatars),
B) I could name my price on it,
and C) I could take however long I needed on it since I was swamped with other work (including thesis and my job).

It was an incredibly fun piece to work on,
and I'm proud to say I finally was able to finish it last week,
so here's a peek in case you didn't see it on my deviantART or elsewhere:

I also received a delightful commission from a close friend of mine, John Einselen,
which marks my very first "Ornamont" commission (click the link for more information).
He wanted a nativity scene in my own style,
which I was more than happy to jump on.

I immediately sketched out a rough idea of what I wanted to do...

After getting his enthusiastic approval on the design,
I went right to work forming the Ornamonts out of SculpeyIII clay,
which I'm really starting to love.

Protective booties on the thin parts?  Check!  Ready for baking!

After making sure everything was as it should be,
I popped them in the oven (275 degrees for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness),
then waited.
After they baked, I turned the oven off and let them cool inside for a while
(so they didn't crack from cooling too quickly),
then examined them to make sure they were all baked thoroughly and not damaged in any way.

The bean-shaped dumpling in the middle is Baby Jesus, in case you were wondering. 
And yes, that sheep is eating Joseph's robe.
So far, so good!
I only made a couple changes to the design,
the biggest of which being that they will not be hanging ornaments as originally planned.
Instead, after discussing it with John, they're going to be a set of freestanding figures,
which can be altered at any later time to become ornaments if so desired.
They look a whole lot nicer this way anyway
(the idea of stabbing a hook into the Virgin Mary's head didn't really appeal to me too much).

All that's left now is to paint them, let them dry, and ship them off!
They're loads of fun and I actually can't wait to get the chance to do more of them!

If you, too, are interested in a commission of any sort (illustration, design, sketch, portrait, hat, or Ornamont),
you know what to do!
Check out my commission lists here and here and/or email me at!

Thanks everyone, for your continued support as I go through this difficult time.
It means quite a bit to me to have such loyal fans and friends I can call my own.

Love you all,
and goodnight!

Emily J Sampson

p.s. Have a bonus sketch of the two main characters from my original story RavenCrest!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sketchblog Edition 117: When The Darkness Weakens You...

...That's when the light shines brightest.
Well, life has been crazy.
I'll spare you the details, but I will say this:
Over the past couple years I've had a lot of problems.
I've had a lot of breakdowns and mess-ups,
and I can't say I reacted to them well.

It took me a while, but recently I reached a very eye-opening realization.
When it seems as if the world is against you,
and nothing good is happening,
you can either curl up in a ball and cry and give up,
or you can turn away from your problems and try to force them to disappear,
you can lift your head up and look forward,
and see that life is still happening.
It's happening all around you.
I got so worn down from so many terrible things happening in my life that I very nearly gave up hope,
but then I had a revelation that it's your own responsibility for how you feel.
I know that sounds a little bit cold,
but hear me out.
The world isn't against you.
Bad things happen, that's just the way it is.
The universe isn't purposely putting terrible things in your way.
It's just life happening around you, and though it can be terrible, it can also be wonderful.
What you have to do is decide how you're going to react to it.
Are you going to get upset and emotional and act rashly
(which you'll definitely regret later)?
Or are you going to let it roll off your back, suck it up,
and have faith in the good that is constantly happening around you,
have faith in the people that love you and are there for you,
have faith that your friends will not abandon you,
and even if they do, it's their own problem to work out?

For a long time I chose the former,
but now I've decided it's time to change my own future,
to change my present,
and start being positive in everything I do.

It's time for me to admit:
I have had abandonment issues my entire life.
I won't get into the details,
but something that happened a long time ago messed me up,
and made me paranoid.

I was a lonely kid and felt like if I didn't prove myself to people,
they'd all leave me.
I started putting a lot of stock in friendships,
and it became one of my strong points.
But now whenever a friend turns their back on me,
it very nearly kills me (and I wish that were an exaggeration).
However, now I've chosen to embrace those issues for what good they've done for me,
and cast aside whatever bad they've done in my life.
I've decided I won't let my fears restrict me or slow me down.
If someone abandons me,
that's just something they'll have to deal with.
I'll fight for them as long as they'll allow me to,
but if they want to let go of an extremely loyal and honest friend so easily,
let it be.
I won't let my heart be broken by anyone anymore.
I won't let my life be tied down by a friend-turned-enemy.

And if you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel the need to abandon a friendship,
just ask yourself this question:
Who am I deciding to be here?
Will this help me grow?
Will this help me solve whatever problems I have in my life and become a better person?
Will this help my relationships in the future?

I know I haven't been the best person in the world.
I'm not perfect, and that's okay.
I'm human, just like everyone else.
And that gives me the power to understand other people better.
That in turn allows me to grow, and improve whatever pitfalls I have.
I'll get better because I'll keep moving.
I'm done with stagnancy,
and allowing all the bad things that have happened to stop me in my tracks.
No more of that.

I am free of fear,
and therefore free to grow.
But I am not without compassion.
I'll still love and cry and hurt.
Because, you see...
that is what makes life-
and the people we interact with-
worth it all.

And now that you've had an earful,
have some sketches!

I'm gearing up to draw more TAoCKF pages,
so you'll definitely be seeing much more of Emma and Chester here! :D

 Here are some concept sketches for a new story I've got in the works.
It's called "Harbinger" and it delves into a lot of mythology of birds.
(Honestly, what else did you expect from me?)

Work has been slow lately,
but it's definitely provided me with some good sketches.
Here we see my coworker's dog Panda as a human.
Below that is a mini-comic about the absolute slowest day we've had.

I'm trying to revive an old story of mine as well.
It will probably be drastically different than what it used to be.

The below comic is sort of kind of based off a possibly real conversation between me and my friend Matt.
 (DISCLAIMER: I really do know what abhorrent means.
Matt is not abhorrent.)

I've been plant-sitting for my friend Drew,
and decided it would be cute to draw his plant Geoffrey with my plant Tomamono.
They make a cute pair.

And finally, I'm not alone in an empty house anymore!
One of my lovely roommates, Bridget, came back at last!
I was quite excited and rolled around on her bed/futon for a while,
before finally retreating to my room and giving her space.
Welcome back, Bridget!

That's all, everyone!
Hope you enjoyed it!
I probably won't be doing a lot of updates until January,
since I'm going to be going home for Christmas soon.
And yes, I know I didn't do the requests from last month yet,
but there were only three, so I thought it'd be nicer to upload them when I have a bunch of other requests as well.
I promise they'll happen. :')

Love you all,
and goodnight!

Emily J Sampson

p.s. In case I miss it,
Happy Christmas! :)