Anonymous asked:

your work has kind of stagnated over the years :\ i dont think the studies are helping anymore

algenpfleger answered:

this is another one that i’ve been getting a lot (again mostly on tumblr) and i’ll try to answer it as honestly as possible. there’s a few things many people might not know that lie behind the “wall” of making it professionally.

1 batting average. i don’t know if this affects just me, but i imagine it’s somewhat widespread. working commercially is very different from producing personal pieces in one key aspect - you’re expected to deliver, and when a piece is going nowhere, you can’t just quit. the sketch is approved, you’re being paid and you have to finish the painting even if you don’t want to, aren’t feeling it, are sick or have other commitments. this leads to results that can be disappointing. you don’t see these because i don’t upload failed pieces. the main thing i’ve been working on in the past year has been to develop a workflow that allows me to deliver as reliably as possible. i’m happy to say that my dud rate has gone down strongly, actually since i’ve starting working on magic again i don’t think i’ve done a painting that i won’t be able to put in my portfolio. two years ago, my failure rate was embarassingly high.

2 speed. this is another thing that’s not visible to you, but economically it’s extremely important. i can finish (including planning and drawing) a complex painting in three to four days now no matter what. it used to vary wildly. again when you’re working commercially, reliability is key.

3 brushwork and edges. this might not be as flashy as the supersharp edges and the lighting that used to dominate my work, but i’ve spent a lot of time on this. i can’t say whether it’s actually improved my work or not, but it’s definitely gotten it closer to my personal taste.

4 life. i know how this sounds from the guy who used to be all about drawing all day, every day, but i’ve started doing other things. first of all at some point your health will politely ask you to start working out, taking away about 8 hours of your week. you’ll start eating better, cooking more fresh stuff, costing you maybe another 5 hours. i also play both handball and volleyball, both adding up to maybe 15 hours a week. then comes a point where you’ll want to have friends, read books, travel and explore other hobbies (i make a little bit of electro/house and play piano). and last but not least, and i apologize to the social justice control board of tumblr for this, but you’ll also want to talk to girls, who’ll be very much in favor of this, especially if you’re a well-shaped little seal like me. all these things are very much necessary because you’re a social creature and because you need to avoid career killing burnouts or health issues.

5 personal growth. maybe i’m more flawed here than others, but doing nothing but art for years and never interacting with people except online friends will leave you with a lot to catch up on in terms of social skills. this takes effort, nerve and time. i still believe that blasting through the 10,000 hours to go pro in three to four years is the best way to do it, as it allows you to be relatively young when reaching your main goal in life, but you’ll find yourself with a number of things to clean up in your character. ignore this at your own peril.

overall, all this accounts for a reduction of the time i spend on art from maybe 80 hours a week in 2011 to about 25-40 hours a week now, with much of the remainder being spent on the first three points i mentioned above. all of this is not to make excuses, but to give you an insight into why my (and maybe other professionals’) improvement rate slowed down visibly after a certain point in my career.


How to make (decent) feathers with craft foam!



Hello fellow cosplayers/crafters! 

So today, I was asked how I made my feathers for my Griselda (Odin Sphere) wings using craft foam and… well… I was on mobile and Tumblr ate it.

So I’ll make one with pictures! It won’t be that great but oh well…. It’s only a small tuto…

What you need:

  • Craft foam
  • Scupting tool/exacto knife/cutter (something to make creases)
  • Scissors or a cutter (to cut)
  • Hot glue/hot glue gun
  • Acrylic paint or spray paint (whichever you prefer)
  • (optional) White primer
  • (optional) Glitters


STEP 1: Cut the feathers.

Be creative. Make ovals ones, banana shaped, whatever you want them to look like! I drew templates on paper and traced over them because I wanted them to have a specific form. Cut them with scissors or a cutter. I used scissors to have that sort of angle and irregular borders.

STEP 2: Make patterns.

You want it to look legit, right? Well, you got to put effort and patience in it! To guide my blade hand so it doesn’t look like a mess, I crease a line in the middle to know where the center of my feather is. Follow the shape, don’t make a straight line or it won’t look natural! 

Next, make diagonal lines toward the line you just made. You can make both sides symetrical or you can be irregular like me. Be creative!

STEP 3: Add details!

Now that you made them look like this, they look like leaves, right? Don’t worry! We’ll fix that with an exacto knife! Cut little triangles on your feather just like when you split the little hair on a real feather! It’ll look better and more feather-ish.

STEP 4: Hot glue details!

It looks ready to go, right? Wrong! See that white line on this real feather?

imageWell, you want THAT. So use hot glue on that line you made that you thought useless! Be very patient because you can easily mess up! Hot glue tends to love making air bubbles or huge SURPRISE LUMPS! So be slow, go back and forth and if you mess up, rip the glue off and start again.Try to loosen up the trigger at the end to have a smaller line.

ALSO, be mindful that hot glue leaves small dingly hot glue strings if you don’t clean it off well! it can drag your feathers together and mutate them or even flip over on your desk and that’s just the worst thing you’ll ever experience.

Be careful not to burn yourself like me!!!image

STEP 4: OPTIONAL Prime the feathers!

This step is optional but recommended if you don’t use spray paint to color them. Why? Because the hot glue doesn’t like acrylic paint and it’ll still be visible even if you put multiple layers. So prime your feathers with whatever white primer you like IN A WELL VENTILLATED AREA. Let it dry. (Mine took 20 minutes to dry but just follow what the instructions tells you depending on your brand.) You can do both sides or add an other coat, but I didn’t because I’m lazy.

STEP 5: Painting the feathers!

Here comes the fun part! Use some acrylic paint or spray paint to color them! Obviously, you know how to use a can of spray paint, so I won’t bother explaining this. You want to do it with acrylic? GREAT! So get your paint ready and start mixing the colors you want! (I recommend priming your feathers first because of the hot glue problem and you’ll need 2 layers of paint if you didn’t prime them)

Apply a first coat of your base color on your feather. Move your brush on the same direction as the lines you did so you don’t see random vertical lines, plus, more realistic!

When it’s fully dry, you can add highlights! I usually add a lighter shade of the base color all along the feather line thinggy and spread to the outside of the feather but not all the way! Then I add a darker shade on the upper edges of the feathers because you know… it’s nice.


If you don’t want to add glitters, you’re done! Congrats to you!

STEP 6: Add glitters!

You want to feel like a princess? Or you just like sparkling things…? Then let’s add glitters!! I got mine really cheap at Walmart. (Martha Stewart crafts. Be mindful that these makes your feathers just a LITTLE bit darker)

What I like to do is start from the feather line and spread it towards the outside and add a few on the borders. Put a few on the feather line to have that extra spark! And like painting, go the same direction as the diagonal lines to avoid the lines.

Sparkles got in the creases? AWESOME. It’ll be extra sparkly!


Now assemble it however you like with hot glue. It made nice wings like these or a pretty headdress that I never posted!image

*Be aware that the feathers will easily bend because it’s still craft foam after all! 

**You can do the same process on the back of the feather if you’d like.

***The thickness of the craft foam depends from sheet to sheet! I got some who were thinner than others. I got mine at my local art supply store OmerDeserres and they were very irregular (8.5x11 sheets) compared to the ones I got at Walmart. (I think they’re 5x8?? but it comes in packs of 50!!! )



*evilness intensifies*

- embroidery arrived! - which is absolutly wonderful! Lan did an amazing job on this littlew commission!

- also a big thank you to gabrieldevue for helping me out with the graphics for it <3 <3 <3

- after some tests with different glues and iron on inlays I redid the shoulder parts and know I’m quite satisfied with the outcome. It isn’t the most clever solutions and not the  smothest way tot do it but.. may, it look good and it’s just a cosplay. ;)

- most time consumng parts are done, now it’s just putting everything together - YAY! :D