Itsy Mouse Book Released

My latest illustrated children’s book has been released! Both the print version and ebook are now available on Amazon!

Below is a preview of the book from YouTube:

From the book description:

Itsy Mouse is about a chocolate chip cookie chomping mouse who loves pink slippers! Itsy Mouse is a tidy little mouse, but will people welcome him? This first book in the Fur and Feather Tales series is a mouse adventure book for children.

Itsy Mouse is an adorable little field mouse who loves to eat! With a cozy little home in an old barn, he has the perfect life for a country mouse. This mouse book for children gives readers an illustrated view of Itsy’s home, a place filled with little things. His cute tiny home doesn’t stop him from thinking about a nearby farmhouse with a well-stocked kitchen.

With all the goodies inside, how can he resist? Itsy is risking it all for a late-night quest for food and luxury in a pink fuzzy slipper. This delightful animal adventure book is also a picture book written and illustrated by Patricia Arnold. The Fur and Feather Tales series is based on the adventures of animals living in the author’s yard.

The charming and humorous story and illustrations in this book will make you smile! This delightful book is a great choice for storytime. Parents, grandparents, teachers, educators, and caregivers looking for mouse books for kids will find the world of Itsy Mouse an unexpectedly fun place to visit.

Winter Art and Writing

I’ve started new projects while trying to complete what I’ve been working on for over a year. My upcoming fantasy fiction novel, Draekkon’s Fire is still in the editing phases. The cover design is still ongoing. This book is looking more and more like an epic fantasy, but I’m nearing the goals I’ve set for myself.

With over 100,000 words, this is my longest novel. I’ve considered dividing it into more than one volume, but I want it to be a stand alone book.  Creating the story as a Vella through Amazon KDP is a consideration. Before deciding on this option, the cover is in need of finishing. This is easier said than done. I’m not using stock photography, making the cover design quite a task. The cover design began as an illustration I made that evolved into digital art. It features four of the main characters from the story.

36 minute night sky painting from a new tutorial on YouTube. Scroll down to see the video on the page.

In the meantime, I have midway through a new illustrated children’s book or series inspired by the animals that live in my own yard. It’s been years since I released a children’s book, so I felt this was the perfect time. I’ve been working on the illustrations myself, with an introduction to the book posted on YouTube as a short. With a cute little squirrel pressing his nose to my window pane, how can I not write a story?

With all this going on, I’m also working on an animation project to be revealed later! I’ve continued releasing art tutorials on my YouTube channel and on Tiktok.
I’ve been working in watercolor. I find it to be an amazing medium that’s very portable and perfect for children’s books. I often use it as the first layer in my work, adding mediums such as color pencils, pastel and even alcohol marker. In the tutorial below, I’ve demonstrated a 36 minute painting I made of the night sky – all compressed into to ten minutes of video.

 

Self-Portrait from a Selfie Videos

As I continue my portrait series, my goal for the project is to create art inspired by the people I know. The first portrait I created was in pastel pencil and watercolor. A New Day is a portrait of Lisa at a Lake Huron beach. The second portrait, Bill’s World is a watercolor and pastel of my father fishing one of his favorite spots near Lake City, Michigan.

For this new portrait, I decided to go with a selfie that I took of myself. I tried to make it as simple as possible, focusing on my features including all my wrinkles, sloppy clothing and free of makeup. When I began the project, I was inspired by Andrew Wyeth and his realistic style. The subject of his paintings are people in settings that surrounded him.

Like myself, Andrew Wyeth came from a family of artists. With the addition working in the realistic style, that is probably where the comparison ends. It’s not my intent to attempt the precision he used in his art, but to simply choose subjects I know in settings I see every day in the spirit of his work.

Here is a snapshot of my current progress. There are many things left to fix and finishing, notably the right eye, more shading on the shirt and the blank spaces (the list goes on). I will post an update with the completed work in the future. I’ve been using Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground to fix my happy mistakes, and it’s been a helpful product. One of the reasons I moved to canvas was to have the freedom to rework the surface easier when compared to paper. The watercolor ground and random gel pens have been a gamechanger for my portrait series.

Work in progress, Patti’s Selfie.

I intended on making this a color pencil piece, but after seeing how long it was taking to lay down color, I have opted to fill in large areas with alcohol markers and apply color pencil on top.

The softness of the color pencil was perfect for hair and in the places I want the solid areas to shine. Fabric textures and highlights have been ideal for the color pencils thus far. I have yet to add any watercolor pencils, watercolor paint or pastel to this artwork, but as I like to mix things up, I can’t rule it out!

I’ve posted 5 videos on my YouTube channel showing the beginning process of the work. I began creating videos of my work as a way to demonstrate how I create art. Part 1 is below, and each video covers the entire process. In the future, I probably will just go with the highlights. If you have any questions about my work, have an idea for my next art work, feel free to comment or send my a message.

 

 

Art Explosion Grayling

Voting at Art Explosion in Grayling, MI continues until Sunday. I’m excited to be a part of this. For me, it’s about sharing my with work with everyone and enjoying the work of my fellow artists.

My entry is number 095 and my watercolor and pastel painting, A New Day can be seen at the AuSable Valley Corner Building. Information about voting and the event can be found at https://artexplosion.org.

A New Day by Patti Arnold

Making an NFT

When it came to creating an NFT (non-fungible tokens), I wasn’t sure how or if I would make the plunge. Even with a tech background, I found the process of creating an NFT intimidating. The hype around NFTs in the art world is tremendous, and my art newsfeed is filled daily with stories of artists of all ages finding success in the blockchain. The potential of new marketplaces made think it was time to mint an NFT of my own. After my first attempt didn’t work, I decided I had a lot to learn about the process.

After a few months of procrastination, I finally added my contributions to the expanding pool of NFTs just to see what happens. I’m happy to report that it went better the second time around with Mintable.

For those unfamiliar with NFTs, here’s a very basic description from Wikipedia:

NFTA non-fungible token is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files.

Here are some other terms you’ll run into when creating an NFT:

Gas – Gas refers to the computational efforts required to execute specific operations on the Ethereum network. A fee, paid in ether (ETH, +1.39%), is required to successfully conduct a transaction on Ethereum (coindesk.com)

Mint – Minting is the process of validating information, creating a new block, and recording that information into the blockchain.  (phemex.com)

I have a collection of illustrations I’ve made that seemed to be a good fit for my experiment: a series of black and white illustrations featuring dogs I drew and scanned at high resolution.

My first attempt to create an NFT on Rarible didn’t go as planned. I followed instructions to set up a Metamask wallet in my browser, added Ethereum (for the fees I expected to pay to complete the process) and connected it. Things were going good until I went to mint the NFT. I ran into higher gas fees than anticipated, on top of the one-time $13 transaction fee I had to pay. Once I paid the transaction fee, I didn’t have enough Ethereum for the gas fees due to fluctuating market values. Since it was an experiment, I decided to reject the transaction and postpone making an NFT on Rarible until I could plan things better.

Even though I wasn’t able to mint my NFT on Rarible, it wasn’t a total failure. I had learned something about NFTs. When it came to calculating the costs, I admit I found the process too complex and too expensive.

When I learned about gasless transactions on Mintable, I decided to give minting an NFT another try. Using gasless transactions, I was able to create NFTs in a manner that was surprisingly easy. The Metamask app (or another cryptocurrency wallet) is required to sign within the browser for the creation of the NFT, but no fees are required. It was helpful that I had I created my Metamask cryptocurrency wallet during my first NFT creation attempt on Rarible.

I started the process by selecting Mint an Item on the Mintable main page. For the first NFTs I made, I selected Advanced. Then I chose Gasless, selected Art in the form, filled in a title, subtitle and description and uploaded images. I selected Advanced instead of Easy (because I didn’t know at the time that Easy mode was also gasless). For the fourth NFT I made, I chose Easy mode, and was relieved to learn that it was also the gasless transaction I was looking for.

I decided on a smaller image for the preview and included locked content for the buyer that includes a high resolution scan of the illustration. I avoided the transfer copyright button for obvious reasons, because it seems to represent the creator transferring their copyright with the sale of the NFT.

You can see my results and artwork for sale here. I decided to offer my Dogs of the World pen and ink illustrations for sale, and these pups seemed like the perfect fit. I could make many of these!

In terms of price, I usually don’t know what to charge for my work in the real world, so that was a challenge. When it came to estimating the value of my NFTs, I hadn’t a clue. After browsing the marketplace for similar stuff, I eventually decided to choose a price of about $200 USD in Ethereum (at the time of this writing about .061). Mintable’s built in currency converter was helpful. I just switched on the option to figure out the conversion from USD to Ethereum.

Do I still have a lot to learn? Absolutely, but the technology behind it is exciting. I think it’s amazing that I now have art that exists in the blockchain. The first mistake I made was a typo in one of my titles. Initial information I found stated I couldn’t change the Token ID, contract address, name, title, image or additional metadata on NFTs, so I was worried I would have to live with the mistake. However, I was able to edit titles and descriptions on my NFTs for sale. By visiting my Profile (under My Account in the upper right hand corner), I was able to click on Listing (in the left side navigation) and fix the misspelling. I was unable to edit the price or add additional locked content from the edit page.

In terms of cost and ease of use, Mintable’s gasless transactions have won me over when it comes to creating NFTs. As an artist, I don’t have a large amount of funds for something that may not be viable. I’m interested in creating a Mintable store to put my NFTs in, but at today’s gas fee of $1k, that may have to wait! It’s unclear the benefits of taking such a step beyond potentially more views. As it stands, I have a profile with my NFTs for sale on Mintable. Without a store setup, my NFTs are in the Mintable Gasless store.

One feature I liked was that after each NFT was created, I was able to create a widget by clicking a button in the congratulations pop-up that appears after successful minting. The link appears in the lower right hand corner). It was easy to get the snippet of code to place a widget on my website with my NFTs for sale (scroll down to see my new widget).

If any of my fellow artists have thoughts on NFTs, whether you’ve made one or not, I would enjoy hearing from you!

Art Explosion Grayling Michigan

I just received some amazing news! My mixed media portrait of my daughter Lisa, A New Day has been accepted in the 3rd Annual Great Northern Art Explosion in Grayling, Michigan. A New Day will be one of the artworks on display at AuSable Artisan Village.

I finished this portrait over a week ago after a trip to Lake Huron. Lisa looking at the horizon inspired me to preserve the moment in art. I used watercolor, color pencil and pastels. I hope to create additional portraits with landscape settings. If you get a chance, come see my work, view it online and don’t forget to vote! For more information, visit artexplosion.org.

A New Day Mixed Media Artwork by Patti Arnold

Draekkon’s Fire

A new fantasy fiction book is nearing publication. Draekkon’s Fire is almost complete! Weighing in at about 100,000 words, this book is an epic tale of dragons, kingdoms at war and plenty of compelling characters!

The cover art for this book has taken almost as long as the novel to create, and I am in the role of author and cover artist once again. The cover artwork based on the main characters: Aeve Draekkon, Storm Crossley, the sorceress Datura and of course, the dragons. In this tale, dragons make a comeback after years without their existence.

The book is filled with intrepid characters from the five kingdoms of Cyntarzia: Draekkon, Silverhawk, Eastmane, Burnleaf and Aquatreya and the hidden realms of Blackstone, the mysterious Gray Ghostlands and Woodhame.

Now being edited, it won’t be long before readers can travel the seas with Storm Crossley or raise dragons with Aeve Draekkon. There will be more to come on the release of this book, including a cover reveal.

Illustrations for the New Year

I’ve been working on new illustrations for various design challenges such as those on Minted. Feel free to visit my profile there to see what I’ve been working on! I have my work on a variety of websites such as Vida, Society6, Displate, Cardgnome and more. Here is a complete list of where my art is being sold on my website.

What has always surprised me about my work when compared to other artists is that I do not stay in a subject or medium for too long. I wish my projects were streamlined, themed and organized, but they are not! As anyone can see by my blog (and my middle school sketchbook), my work is varied. I understand the need to organize these different types of work, so that will remain my New Years Resolution for 2020 and probably 2021, 2022 and beyond!

These recent marker illustrations I will probably use for product designs or perhaps a design challenge.