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Meraki book GIVEAWAY #1

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I am proud to announce the first release of a Meraki book!
Best of all - THIS IS A FREE GIVEAWAY!   CLICK HERE to participate on Instagram!

This particular book is pretty much my favorite poetry collection, and I'm going to be sad to see it go.  I painted this cover in an Impressionistic style because Impressionism is the "poetry" of the fine art world.  By definition, it seeks to capture a feeling or experience rather than achieve an accurate depiction.  I couldn't find a better description of poetry if I tried!  Without further ado, here it is!
Book:  Half Hours with the Best Poets Author:  Frank J. Finamore Cover Painting:  Anna Castro ($50 value!)


For more info and pictures, CLICK HERE.

Sincerely, -Anna Castro
For more info on "Half Hours with the Best Poets" -  https://www.amazon.com/Half-Hours-Poets-Frank-Finamore/dp/0517204312



Concepting a Character

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I absolutely love character creation.  I especially love when I get a really interesting character, and it produces all these images in my mind of how they might look like.  (Thank you D&D for all the character inspiration you have given me throughout the years!) I almost always start with an idea and a pen and paper sketch.  I tend to brainstorm faster this way.  This is why I always carry a sketchbook around..I mean literally always.  I just glanced at my google photos for 5 seconds and pulled up mostly pictures of sketches...

Moving on. Here is the starting idea for Keevah, a fallen Aasimar.  She is a human who awakened to her Aasimar blood at a young age.  Shortly afterwards however, she was touched by a great evil and it turned her radiance to darkness.  To fight against this, she became became a paladin, sworn to protect rather than destroy.  Her personal goal is to find a way to cure the sickness she bears and turn the darkness back to radiance.  To protect others from bei…

New Illustration Process

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One of the many things I love about art, is that I am constantly exploring.  Even when you nail down a particular skill or principle in art, every application happens in a new way.  I have a great love of children's books and illustration.  One day, I hope to be able to illustrate in my own unique style - which is what this blog post is about.  I started working on developing my own illustration style that combined my love of traditional medium and digital software.  I've done a couple pieces like this, but I will focus on my two latest ones: a historical piece, and a fantasy one.

1st Step: Having an Idea Especially when working with clients, it is CRUCIAL to be able to roughly present them an idea, regardless of whether they are sticklers or not.  Not to mention that with art there are no numerical answers.  So, I have found that roughs serve 2 purposes:
a - Helps the customer have correct expectations. b - Helps me discern what the customer wants.
When these two are happening…

Family is so much better than table flipping.

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Rage Quit - To stop playing a game out of an anger towards an event that transpired within the game.

So today my morning was awful - all I wanted to do was rage quit by table flipping my actual computer desk.  I spent all morning trying to find an online selling solution that worked for me.  You'd think that would be easy...since all I am selling are simple, homemade cards with cute sayings on them.  BUT NOOOO....the morning is gone and I have accomplished NOTHING!  Well, that's not true.  I managed to wear several keys down to stubs on my keyboard and speak to many nice, but unhelpful customer service people.  All this time, other important art got neglected.  I will admit that all I was thinking was MY TIME IS WORTH SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS!   So there I was, in this viscous cycle of having too many options - all of them needing more information from me than I had to give...so then I'd have to go research the research.... GAH.  I have accomplished nothing!
My mom came home…

Duh, fox girls make the best trackers!

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The fad for paranormal fiction is kind-of overwhelming, and quite honestly, has produced some of the poorest writing ever, which saddens me.  That being said, I totally get why people like the modern-day "werewolf/shifter" concept.  I think it's because shifters are portrayed as mostly human, but with a side of themselves that is dangerous, frightening, or needs restraining.  "The beast within", so to speak.  Doesn't take a psychologist to know that people can relate to that.  The bible says it like this:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" - Jer. 17:9 ESV

On a lighter note, I like shifters because wolves are awesome - I remember pretending to be one on multiple occasions as a kid and thinking it would be awesome to have a perfect sense of smell, or be able to see in the dark.  If it wasn't so terrible for wolves to be brought up in captivity, I would want to own one.  :)

Here are couple of s…

Photobucket WHY!!!?

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Apparently, Photobucket changed their account setups/permissions, and my current tier doesn't have 3rd part hosting (but it used to).  Doesn't seem like a biggie..but pretty much ALL of my blog posts from over 2 years ago are linked that way...sooooo....most of my images are gone *cries



Which means I either have to upgrade further, or re-upload all my images that are gone....I'm not crazy about either option.
So, here are some oldies of Lara & Mel that were taken off:






Anna, super quilled today

Moving on

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Hello web,
I know my last post was crazy depressing...but hey, life happens.  Life also keeps going, and although the passing of time can be a brutal reality, it is also a healing one.  Thank you Lord for creating time and its seasons - also, thank you for the continual comfort found in Ecclesiastes:

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..."  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Something refreshing that came my way this year was making digital projections for theater.  I've helped with physical theater sets before, but not with projections.  I worked with Quo Vadis in the Dallas area for their spring theatrical performance of "Mary Poppins".
I was crunched for time, and so made use of much photo-sourcing and Photoshop painting and tricks.  :)  Here are some of the different compositions:








My talented sister Kat was part of the cast, and my other talented sister Elsa …