Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Hello everyone!

I successfully changed my blog's address last night to http://www.georgiadunnstudio.com. The IT guys over at Host Monster told me it was impossible over the phone--but they didn't count on me being awesome!

Whatever IT, I'll just do it myself!

I can't even begin to explain how I did it. Changing the domains was complicated and way over my head. Redirecting the site involved IP addresses, Cnames, and A files. I'm pretty sure I could do it again, but I have no idea how I did it in the first place. I've worked similar magic for this blog before, and Swan Eaters and the Quote Book. I'm not good with computers; I've never taken a tech class; I need help clearing my cookies. Technologically, I'm kind of an idiot. Yet somehow if I need to dismantle or redirect multiple domains, I can eventually hit all the right keys to make what I need happen.

And so, here we are at www.georgiadunnstudio.com! Please update any bookmarks or links that you've saved. If you're not following my blog, I'd love it if you would!

My next big change will be to how the blog and the shop look. This is going to take a little more planning, and a bit of painting. I confess I'm putting off changing the FB until later this week. I have 381 followers there, and so Facebook demands I either bring that number under 200 before I can change the name, or create an entirely new FB page for my art.

I'm not sure which to do, but I'm leaning toward a new page and hoping folks will be kind enough to follow me there. It feels a lot easier than playing the FB Hokey-Pokey and saying, "HEY, UNLIKE MY PAGE--WAIT, NOW LIKE MY PAGE AGAIN. PS I'M THE WORST." I may plan a give away, too. I haven't done too many of those, but I feel like I'll owe my followers a couple of give aways for staying loyal and wandering through the Internet desert with me as I change names and sites. Maybe we'll pull in some new folks as we wander. I hope so! I'd love to be able to offer cheap ads to blossoming artists here someday, (rather than open the blog up to ads for those sexy orc wizard games--WHAT ARE THOSE?) and it's not fair until I have enough people tuning in to make an ad worth it for someone.

That's down the road though! For now, please follow, and see what happens with me. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Changing my shop name!

I decided to change my Etsy shop name to Georgia Dunn Studio!

WAIT! Calm down, let me explain.

I joined Etsy as a buyer, and registered my username as my typical email/twitter/aim login Pseudooctopus. It's a nonsense word I made up when I was 18, a noun meaning an imposter octopus. I love octopi, I love silliness, it's a great username. As a shop name, not so much. However, it was my username on Etsy, and so I was stuck. A few months ago they finally gave folks the option of changing their shop name once if they wished.

And oh, how I wished.

Right from the beginning when blogs interviewed me or shared my work, they referred to me the person as Pseudooctopus. Not my shop, which would have been fine, but me. Like I was called Pseudooctopus.

Angry pig did not approve.

I learned to request they throw my name in there. I want people to remember my name, and associate it with my drawings. I want to, you know, get hired and make money. I never wanted to be known as Pseudooctopus. I'm not a raver, I'm not a DJ, I'm not one of those kids from the 90s' movie "Hackers". "It's the shop's name, not mine," I'd try to explain. I received emails and inquiries dictated "Dear Pseudo,..." (I never received a "Miss Octopus", that might have been warmly welcomed).

Do you know what I see when I try to picture someone named Pseudooctopus?

That's right, whoever this is.

It's just not a professional name. Cool club kid with nightmare glow stick fingers? Yes. A gamer handle, sure. An instant messenger name, of course (yup, Pseudooctopus on AOL--PARTYING LIKE IT'S 1999). A superhero? Uh, AWESOME. A serial killer? Weirdly still works. A children's illustrator? No!

A time traveler? Absolutely. 

It's a lovely word, but difficult to pronounce for folks who have never come across the prefix "pseudo" before. (It's pronounced Sue-doe Octopus). Even intelligent, marvelous people who read it all the time can get it flubbed when actually speaking it. I once dated a gentleman two years before he said my email aloud and casually told the room it was "Pah-said-doe Octopus". Another friend referred to it as "Papa Octopus." Ryan jokingly says it "Soda Octopus."

It's even harder to spell. I blame no one. It's not a real word. It's a whole lot of vowels. Heck, you don't even say the 'P'. Some popular variations included:


I can't even read it straight anymore.

So I found myself with a business hinging on an impossible to pronounce or spell word. Not to mention locked into octopus imagery when it came to branding. (Again, I love octopi, but I like to switch it up now and again too). And that was my crisis. More and more I did not want to include my shop name anywhere. I would read branding articles with a longing heart, desperate to design my own needless stickers and self indulgent mailing labels. (Not kidding. You folks are going to get so many adorable coupons and tiny animal portrait freebies in your print packages when I am free to brand it up. I HOPE YOU BITCHES LIKE REAL CUTE STICKERS; I AM GOING TO MAKE IT RAIN REAL CUTE STICKERS).

Today I put feelers out on the social networks. I stated my dilemma on Twitter and Facebook, and asked for honest feedback. I received a lot of thumbs up from customers, friends, and friend/customers on the name change. A few folks resisted. One particularly saddened friend who I won't name here (it was Destry) texted me that he felt like the pseudooctopus was going away. But that's not the case, and I comforted that anonymous friend (Destry) in a text message saying, "but it was never meant to be my name. I always thought of the pseudooctopus as a mythical creature or imaginary friend. It's still around, it's not gone." And it's still out there folks, guarding my email and Twitter accounts. You can tweet to it anytime!

Now I begin the arduous task of switching my shop, Facebook page, and (yes) blog over to the new name. I am trying my best to just change the domain name on the blog with a redirect link--but I am not certain exactly how it will work. I shall keep you posted, but should you find this site suddenly amiss, check www.georgiadunnstudio.com. That will be the new site. It's probably blank right now. 

Unless you're reading this in the future.

What do you think? Good decision to grow my work, reputation, and branding in the long run, or terrible disaster that will ultimately lead to my downfall? YOU MAY CHOOSE NOTHING IN BETWEEN!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The cost of staying healthy.

Tonight we received the explanation of benefits for my surgery to have benign tumors removed in June. $12,566.55 is what it would have cost us, but thanks to health insurance we only have to pay $150.00.

For that price, I could have driven my tumor off the lot.

I feel incredibly blessed, and overwhelmingly thankful that Ryan was promoted this past October. A year ago today, we did not have health insurance. I thank God these tumors developed after we gained insurance and not during the two years when we lived without. I am grateful I only had to be in pain for 3-4 months, we don't have to be $12,500 in debt, and that they were benign. 

I share this because we came seriously close to some major financial turmoil just because I've got an organ that loves to grow tumors. That seems unfair to me (as far as I'm concerned, the pain cost enough). When you hear people arguing about health insurance in the coming election, remember how close I came to being $12.5k in the hole (seven months close. It's scary). Use me as an example of someone you know who was really lucky. I don't mind, I would like you to, it gives a purpose to the whole ordeal.

I don't like that I get tumors, I hate it. But it seems to be my lot in life, so what more can I do than rejoice when they're benign and get them cut out before they start elbowing my innards out of the way? 
I prayed often and hard that if the tumors were to grow back, please let it be once we had insurance. God seemed to hold them off for just about that long, and I thank the Big Guy heartily.

Before I used to get sick, I had a real hard headed way of seeing things like this. I probably would have been the first to tell you that the poor can get their own insurance, that capitalism was a great way to regulate the health system, that I was proud to have been raised Republican. (Oh yes, yes I was). I was a real asshole because I had never been sick or mortally frightened. There are people who have empathy for the sick and poor from birth, and they are amazing, incredible kind-hearted folk. I had to learn it along the way. I admit that now as a 
penance for the arrogant 19 year old I once was--but I am grateful. I'm a better person for the few bad things that have befallen me. They gave me perspective.

My husband and I are college educated, we work hard, we pay our bills, and yet we were seven months shy of beginning our marriage owing 12k to hospitals? (On top of the almost $60k in college loans we owe). I love our country, and the patriot in me says "Not in America. We can do better than that--We're America."

We never should have let medical care become big business. Death has a monopoly on healthcare, because people will do anything to avoid dying, including taking on hundreds of thousands in debt. Capitalism is great for goods and some services, but when the poor are afraid to get a check up because they can't afford the bill something is gravely wrong. Heart transplants and medications shouldn't be auctioned off to the highest bidders. They should be available to those who have the greatest need, regardless of their wallet. Anything else is evil.

The medical corporations and insurance companies have people believing that it's okay to leave the poor without access to healthcare because they're poor, but what a sociopathic kind of justification. It feels like some kind of 1984 doublethink. It's just following the piper playing the tune of the almighty dollar. Forget the golden calf, it's cutting out the calf altogether and just worshiping the gold. It's wrong. Christian conservatives seem to beat this drum the loudest, but that's not what Jesus would do. Jesus wasn't only healing the wealthy lepers. He threw the merchants out of the temple. He'd be throwing the insurance lobbyists out of congress. He'd be throwing the politicians who have failed the meek out of office. He'd be the most bad ass man of the people we've ever seen.

Anyway, that's everything that swelled up in my heart when I read my explanation of benefits. Gratitude that I have benefits. Fear for those who don't. Regret that I once felt differently. And a need to share my thoughts with you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Princess Peach and Toad

Today I painted Princess Peach and Toad.

Peach and Toad


A detail of Peach

Toad is such a happy little weirdo.

Princess Peach and Zelda were favorites of mine growing up. Sure, they weren't exactly knocking it out of the park when it came to being strong independent women, (STOP HANGING OUT WITH KING KOOPA, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HE'S JUST GOING TO KIDNAP YOU AGAIN!) but I liked them just the same. And as the years went on, game developers made them a little cooler and gave them more to do.

This print is special, because I had to tweak it a little. I'll show you what I mean:

Pencil Sketch

Inked Sketch

For some reason, my brain shut off and I forgot how I had drawn the fire flowers in my Mario and Yoshi painting. When I got that painting out as a reference for the background I saw my mistake, found the new flowers to be all pointy and stupid, and immediately hated them. Of course I had already inked them--that's a crucial part of the creative process: regret. I knew I had to fix them because 1. I want these paintings to look good together and work as a series. 2. They were all pointy and stupid.

This is where it comes in handy to know a little Photoshop.

On a separate piece of paper, I drew and painted new flowers.

I finished the painting, ignoring the flowers
to preserve my sanity.

And then added the corrected flowers later. TA-DA!

Photoshop is a valuable tool. It's not only needed to crop, size, or correct the colors in scans (scans often wash out tones), but it's helpful when problems such as this arise. In the old days I would have burned this sketch and laid face down on the couch for a few hours. Now, I can just take a deep breath, scream silently into my hand, shake it off, and pick the ol' pencil right back up.

High five, Photoshop!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Swap Meet Treasures and (Sorta) New Hair!

This morning we got up bright and early (6am) and met up with our pals Matt and Stephen to check out a local swap meet. Sure, that's kinda early for a Saturday morning. However, if you want to score cool stuff at a Swap Meet or a Flea Market you've got to get there first!

Cool stuff like Tiny Chewbacca!

Ryan and Matt waiting for coffee as the vendors continue
to set up the Silent Hill swap meet.


We fueled up on caffeine and began to make our way up and down rows of tables with everything from Victorian coffee grinders with cast iron cranks to complete video collections of the original Star Trek series. Photo albums, fishing poles, boxes of tools, jars of buttons. It was grand!

Matt found not one, but two of the greatest belt buckles ever made.
Not kidding.

I got this 1954 Girl Scouts mess kit and handbook for $5!

They're in beautiful, once loved condition!

The mess kit has the initials "M.A." painted on it, and the handbook has the name "Mary Ann" written neatly on the inside cover. The little girl who owned them previously took wonderful care of them, there's not a speck of rust or a torn page! She carefully filled out her badges, camping adventures, and the quizzes inside the handbook along with the names of women who helped her along the way.

It's adorable to see which quiz questions she left blank. "Do you ever get jealous of other people?" and "Are you able to control your temper?" I like to imagine a sweet little kid unable to lie, but equally unable to admit the truth inside those tiny check boxes. How she probably tapped her pencil and promised herself to do better, resolving to return to them later. She did respect people of all faiths and nationalities (checked "yes"), she did not make fun of people for being different (checked "no"), and she believed there was good in all people and all nations (checked "yes"). What a sweetheart. The book is full of forward thinking, with inspiring stories about successful women making advances in medicine, science and literature. It's a little dated here and there--


--However, mostly it's delightful. It's bringing back fond memories of my own scout days.

And Ryan had some great finds of his own!
I have no idea what the heck this is, but doesn't it look cool?

All of Ryan's finds. Today was brought to us by the letter "Gameboy."

We bought a bear of organic sage honey because it tasted amazing.

Mess kits, Gameboys, belt buckles, and honey aside, Stephen found the best deal of the day.

A Petosa accordion, for $50!

To get an idea of what a steal this was, type in "Petosa Accordion" into Ebay. Stephen's already a talented player, he treated the seller and us to a few bars to test it out. It sounded great!

It's in beautiful condition.

All and all, a great day!

I've got some new hair photos to share with you. The time came to touch it up this week. It had faded into a light pastel pink, and I liked it, but I was ready for some more color. This time I dyed it myself, and I left a lighter streak in the front ala Rogue from X-Men.

New hair! Can you believe it was all as light as the front?

Rogue streak.

I diluted the dye with some conditioner, for a lighter pink color.

The photo doesn't quite capture it, but it was way lighter than the bottle.


I'm pretty excited with the results. I was easier than I thought it would be, and as it fades I look forward to trying out some new shades!