08 March 2023

2023 February Roundup

I'm sitting in my garden floor studio, dressed for my lunchtime workout, with the space heater going because I finally got cold. It's surprisingly bright outside, so I have my curtains closed, even though I'd like to look out and see if it starts to snow. Last night's weather forecast predicted snow by this evening ☃️ I hope that prediction comes true!

February went really well for Studio Mikarts. Progress in all areas, no major hiccups, just smooth sailing~ I have lots of cool updates to share and news about upcoming plans, so let's begin!

Patreon Rewards

February was the first time I've printed Patreon rewards in-house. I used the same type of paper that I already use for full-size prints, Red River Paper's Aurora Art Natural, and the same archival printer, my Epson Expression Photo. The reward pictured here is my Winter Gryphon illustration. As you can see, printing went well, so I'll continue printing all rewards in-house for the foreseeable future. Sign up to get monthly Patreon rewards from Studio Mikarts here! You can choose from a single postcard, a pack of three postcards, a full-size print, or a print and three postcards 😄


My Spring Gryphon was featured as a Daily Deviation!

I have some exciting news to share about deviantART! After nearly 20 years using the site, I finally made something that earned a Daily Deviation! 🎊😄🎉✨ For anyone who doesn't know what a Daily Deviation (DD for short) is, it's the prominent featuring of a user's submission by a deviantART official. I've always wanted to be chosen, but I never caught anyone's eye until now. Is it a coincidence that the selected piece was made during my first year after graduating from art school? Maybe, maybe not!

Gryphia Progress

I've continued working through my previous notes to prepare for planning chapter eight and beyond. It's taking a surprising amount of time; I have a lot of notes! But I think it's time well-spent, since I've rediscovered old ideas that fit wonderfully, and remembered previous elements that I don't want to forget to address before the story ends. Progress slowed as the month wore on, because I began using my writing time to prepare for my trip to Japan (in less than a week!) but small steps still move one forward, so that's all that matters 😊

Art Livestreaming

I had an excellent month of livestreaming, as usual! I've continued my January schedule, with Inktober52 on Monday, Wednesday Lucky Dips, and Chibi Fridays. I created so much work on stream in February it was hard to decide which piece to feature here, so I just chose the final piece I made. It's a sparrow + shiba inu gryphon, in response to the Inktober52 prompt: pup 🐶 Click here to check out my livestreaming schedule and, while you're there, don't forget follow me to get notifications whenever I go live! 

Charity Fundraising

My featured charity in February was The Rat Retreat, an Idaho-based organization that provides good homes to rats and educates the public about these sweet, intelligent, misunderstood beings. My monthly donation is always decided by the number of unique viewers on Twitch; I donate $0.10 USD per viewer, with a minimum of $10 and a max of $100. Nine viewers in February equals a $10 donation!

Since I'll be on vacation (sailing around Japan!) for four weeks starting mid-March, my next featured charity shall use both March and April's streaming stats. Since March is Women's History Month in my country, I chose RedRover as my next featured charity, because one of the things they do is help people who are escaping abusive homes bring their pets with them. Women are disproportionately victims of domestic abuse and too few shelters accept pets, who are often victims themselves, so I hope my donation at the end of April will help both women and their beloved pets!

Mika's Monthly...

Here are my recommendations in a variety of categories for things that made my February healthy, fun, and awesome! As always, I am not being compensated in any way, I just legitimately love these things and hope you'll give them a try, too 😄

...Workout 💃 After recovering from a triceps injury I sustained at the beginning of the year (like, literally on January 1st 😅) in February I was finally able to resume playing Zumba: Burn it Up! on my Nintendo Switch! This game is super fun, I love the music selection, and there's not a huge emphasis on getting the dance moves exactly right. The game part just seems to care whether you're moving to the beat, so it's really easy to get into the game even if you have no dance experience! I decided to add dancing to my workout routine after watching a documentary that suggested exercise that also engages your brain in learning is overall more effective. Whether that's true or not, dancing is fun, so Zumba is remaining a staple in my routine!

...Vegan Victuals 💝 For Valentine's Day, my husband got me a box of No Whey! Truffles 😍 This brand is awesome because not only are their chocolates absolutely scrumptious, they're vegan! I am happy any time there's an excuse to eat their tasty treats!

...Book 📕 The one book I finished in February was Andy Serkis' audiobook reading of The Fellowship of the Ring, but even if I had finished some of the other books I'm currently reading, this still would have been my top recommendation for the month. As I state in my StoryGraph review, Andy Serkis doesn't just read the book, he gives a performance!

...Show 📺 I started rewatching one of my favorite anime of all time last month: Natsume Yuujinchou. It's generally a monster-of-the-week style show featuring a boy in high school who can see youkai (a kind of Japanese spirits/monsters). His ability causes him all kinds of trouble, worst of all social isolation and difficulty finding a place to safely be, both socially and physically. It's usually a bittersweet show (almost every episode makes me cry, no matter how many times I watch it!) but it also has some very dark and creepy moments, plus a healthy dose of cuteness and humor. Although the show doesn't directly address these topics, it nevertheless makes me think deeply about relationships, mental health, and how difficult it is for everyone to navigate the world, whatever their circumstances.

...Game 🎮 A Little to the Left is a game I instantly wanted ever since I saw it in a Nintendo Direct last year. Happily, one of my friends gave me a Nintendo gift card for Christmas, so of course I bought this gem immediately! It's a super chill and cozy puzzle and organization game. Many puzzles have multiple correct solutions and there's a Daily Tidy challenge, so even though the main game (which has a surprisingly touching ending!) doesn't take long to get through, the replay value is still rather high 😊 I've been playing every day to unlock all the Daily Tidy badges!

...Music 🎧 I discovered something amazing in February: several of my favorite video games have soundtracks and other albums available on Spotify! This inspired me to create a new playlist called Mika's Instrumental Game Favorites 🎻 and I've been listening to it virtually every day since. It's got a lot of calm, peaceful tracks from Okami and Ace Attorney but also some more peppy, rocking tracks from Sonic Adventure. Either way it makes for nice background music for all kinds of activities throughout the day (I've been listening especially at shower time!).

So that's it for February's roundup! In the week since I started writing, it's snowed multiple times and it looks like it's trying to come down again as I type 😄🌨️ There are only a few days left before I depart for Japan 🎌 Half of March will be taken up by this adventure, and I intend to make lots of plein air drawings and paintings while I'm there! I think that will make next month's roundup quite different and interesting. Please look forward to it! Until then, may you be safe, happy, and well ❤️

Chappie and Aoife enjoying the snow~!