Claire Likes To Doodle*

If there is one thing I love about being a blogger it’s being able to help out my friends and loved ones when it comes down to promoting something they’re doing, especially a business.

My friend Claire has been a chibi artist for as long as I can remember but she’s also been a great friend to met since the MySpace days which is over 10 years now. How crazy is that? Time does fly when you’re having fun, eh?

As the years have gone on Claire has taken her chibi work from a hobbie to a job and I couldn’t be more proud of her to be perfectly honest with you! She’s worked her arse off to ensure that she can look back and think, “Look what I did!” and fair play to her for it.

At the start of 2019 Claire was lovely enough to approach me to ask if I would be happy to receive a chibi portrait of myself from her in return for a review on her store Claire Likes To Doodle, as well as her amazing artwork.

After months of working with Claire the time has finally come to write the review and share with you guys what an amazing little artist my friend is and why I love her work so much! 🙂

When it came down to Claire and about Claire Likes To Doodle, I decided to conduct a mini interview with Claire about what she does, why, as well as what she hopes for the future! I feel the answers to my questions explain everything better than I ever could.

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So Claire first things first, when did you start drawing?

Pretty much as soon as I could hold a pencil! I was a prolific little doodler even from the start, I was always drawing little comics and creating characters and worlds. I actually got into a lot of trouble in secondary school for drawing during lessons in my homework diary… if only my year 9 Geography teacher could see me now.

What made you decide to open your own store?

I did a drawing of a particular wrestling tag team that was very popular on social media, and someone said “Hey if that was available as a print I’d buy it!” So I opened a shop. I’m still tinkering with what to sell on that sort of scale – I tend to do more commissions and things on the fly than anything else.

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What’s your favourite things to draw?

I like drawing things that make people go, “What the fuck, really Claire??” followed by a laugh. Recently I’ve found that I absolutely LOVE drawing my daughter – she’s just turned a year old and is getting so funny!

Was there a new style you said you would begin to start drawing in 2019?

I’m really well known for chibi work, but I really want to start working with more realistic illustrative styles. I also want to do some more darker pieces to pull myself out of my comfort zone and explore what else I can do. It’s healthy to venture out of what you know.

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What are your hopes for Claire Likes To Doodle in the future?

Honestly, I hope to create the kind of art that people take one look at and go, “Hey, that’s from Claire isn’t it?” I’d also love to really make what I do my full time job. I get to stay at home with my little girl, have the flexibility to take care of myself when I’m not well, and still do something that makes me feel fulfilled.

As I mentioned before, Claire kindly gifted me the chibi artwork she drew for me for reviewing purposes and this review are all words of my own.. Apart from the Q&A, obviously. 😛

Usually Claire would have a chat via emails to determine how you want your chibi character to look, send photos of yourself, etc but this wasn’t the case with myself. She just knew what to draw for me and due to that she did an amazing job! You know you’re working with a good artist when they can just analyse you and work with something great.

For my chibi Claire was such a star and included my Black Milk Clothing leggings and she went out there mixing together colours such as greens, blues and purples to get the iridescent look. She also made sure my chibi was wearing my varisity jacket (because I’m ALWAYS wearing one whether it be my Persona 5 one or one of my Eeveelutions ones from Ohayou! Clothing). She also included my digital SLR camera as well as a cute Eevee on my shoulder. The piece is adorable and I plan to keep it in the office near the gaming PC so I can look at it whilst I play games and such.

So you’re probably wondering by now how you can go about getting your own commission piece done by Claire? Well if you look above there is a price list for all sizes, as well as styles you can have for your commission.

The piece that Claire drew for me is A5 in size and is watercolour – hence making it worth £30 (continue reading for a special discount code).

From someone who has had at least a dozen commissions drawn over the past 6 years, this is an amazing price for so many reasons. Claire doesn’t rush her pieces and always makes sure to create each piece uniquely, with loads of customisation too. She also uses gorgeous watercolours and from what I’ve seen on her Instagram, her colour selection is constantly improving and getting funky! I saw holographic recently and this made me very happy. 😛

Claire is currently open for commissions and can be contacted through either her Facebook page or Instagram. I’ll link her store and all of her social media down below:

Store

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Twitch

Patreon

When it comes down to commissions you can also find Claire over on her Twitch channel Thursday and Sunday from 6pmish GMT where she streams herself as she draws art and occasionally plays games too! Whilst writing this post I’m currently watching her do some commissions for two beautiful blogger ladies I know and let’s just say, they are amazing! 😀

I’m so happy to say that I could help Claire work with some bloggers for Claire Likes To Doodle with the two beauts I mentioned being Estelle from Estellosaurus and Sarah from Raiin Monkey. Honestly make sure to keep your eyes peeled on their blogs and social media for the commissions Claire has done for them, they’re breathtaking!

If you’re a local to Birmingham like myself and Claire then you may be interested to know that on August 3rd 2019 a convention called Not Another Comic-Con will be around for people to attend. BUT that isn’t all! Claire will also be there and she’ll be doing chibi commissions there and then for people, so if you like both the look and sound of her work then make sure to check out Not Another Comic-Con, which I’ve linked.

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Alongside everything Claire already does, she’s also recently stepped up her nerdy art game and has started altering Magic: the Gathering cards – a process which involves painting on the cards and replacing the original art with something of her own.

These look amazing and she actually came third place in a competition recently from altering MTG cards, which I’ve added above. Not going to lie, I loved Claire’s design the most… 😉

Overall I really love my new commission by Claire Likes To Doodle and although in the past Claire has drawn various pieces for me, this is my favourite. I didn’t need to ask her what to draw, how I wanted the piece to be, colour scheme, etc. She just did it all from just knowing me as a person, what I like, how I dress, etc and it’s just so personal. Far more personal than any of the commissions I own.

I really do love this piece being in my office by mine and Dane’s gaming PC. I’ve ended up leaving the clear wrap on the piece so that it never gets damaged whilst it sits next to the PC. 🙂

So I mentioned earlier how you can snag yourself a discount through myself to use towards a commission from Claire! The code is “COFFEE10” and is exclusively for my readers. The code will last indefinitely! Don’t worry if you ever want to use the code but can’t find it through the blog quickly, as of now the code will be on the side of my blog indefinitely too – so you can always find it there.

I’m just so happy to have finally worked with Claire Likes To Doodle to not only show you guys her amazing work, but also to talk about how proud I am of my friend. :’)

Do you think you’ll get a commission piece done by Claire? If so what would you choose, how would you have your piece drawn? Make sure to let me know in the comments, I would love to hear what you guys think!

Until next time, take care all and I hope you had a fabulous weekend.

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MCM Comic Con – Birmingham

On Saturday me and Dane went to the Birmingham Comic Con and it was one of my favourite ones to date! Maybe not over Hyper Japan for obvious reasons… 😛

It was pretty much a last minute decision to go after umming and ahhing for a couple of weeks and due to this we weren’t able to grab priority tickets like we did back at the 2014 Comic Con. This being said it turned out well as we booked our parking in advance so we didn’t have to pay after etc etc. We got there an hour early and had to wait what felt like 10 minutes to be let into the convention. Then we had 6 hours of browsing around the stalls, doing some shopping, admiring all the amazing cosplayers and have a good time.

Before I go onto what amazing cosplayers I met and had pictures with throughout the day I want to show off what I wore as I loved it so damn much and got loads of compliments on it!

A few weeks prior to Comic Con I did my weekly eBay search of Black Milk Clothing bargains and came across this Adventure Time dress. These came out YEARS ago and are now museum pieces, meaning they aren’t coming back unless Black Milk decide to release a limited amount. I wanted this dress back when it first came out but due to money and such I didn’t get it. What probably would have cost near to $100 AUS dollars I go for £35. What a bargain! Of course the pattern as you can see is Lumpy Space Princess who I adore!

It’s a skater dress so it flares out a little which I find to be the best style for my figure. The material is lovely and think meaning if it needs to stretch a little the pattern on it won’t get ruined. I teamed it up with a long white t-shirt as I knew it would be too cold outside to wear it without anything underneath. All about the layering in the winter time! I also teamed it with black tights (which I wish had been thicker!), my triumph Dr Martens boots, my new red coat from M&S and a navy choker.

So when we were ready to go we set off to Comic Con!

This was one of my favourite comic cons I’ve attended to date for one reason, all the amazing pictures I managed to get with cosplayers! I’ll be talking about who I saw in the order I saw them!

The first cosplay we spotted was this amazing Totoro from Studio Ghibli My Neighbour Totoro, which is one of mine and Dane’s favourite movies. I never usually have pictures with anyone at conventions as I often feel too shy or they walk off and I never get chance to have a picture at all. However I shoved my way in the best I could and got my picture.

The next cosplayer we saw was another Studio Ghibli related one, which is from my favourite movie, Spirited Away. This person was dressed as No Face and was definitely one of the best cosplayers I saw all day! I’ve never really seen anyone dress as No Face before so I was so excited to see him. Again like Totoro I waited for my turn to have a picture and got it. By this point I was like a little kid, I was so happy!

This next cosplayer felt kind of official due to where you had to stand to have a picture and although there wasn’t an official queue, it did feel like you were queuing to have your picture with him. Of course it’s Deadpool and oh my God he was a legend! Of course it would have been better if it was Ryan Reynolds, but hey it was a guy dressed as Deadpool, a proper costume too not a shitty morphe suit! No offense to anyone who wears/wore a Deadpool morphe suit… 😛

When I went over to him I didn’t expect him to talk, but he did! He say hello, asked if I was okay and even complimented me on my dress and said, “Purple really suits you!” WHAT A BEAUTIFUL HUMAN BEING!

Ahem… Anyway! He got me to put my hand in a backwards C shape to form a heart and thus our picture was taken. I loved how chatty he was and how into the role of Deadpool he was. It was amazing and I hope everyone got the chance to get a picture with him who loves Deadpool just as much as I do. OH and he even has his little unicorn. 😛

This cosplayer was one of the hardest to get a picture with and I’m so glad I did to be honest, even though I did feel like a pain in the arse. I was tired, as was Dane and I couldn’t be arsed to push and shove to get a picture BUT by not doing this a lot of people were being rude and barging their way through. One girl in particular was very rude and as I went over to have my picture she barged past me. I ended up calling her something very nasty (begins with a C…) and walked off. Later on however I saw the Totoro again and this time with the cosplayers family who were dressed as Satsuki and Mei and not only did a somewhat get a picture of them all together, but I finally got my picture with Totoro.

After taking some photographs of me by the big MCM Comic Con sign we were just about ready to go home when we saw the last cosplayers we had pictures with and by far the best ones we had pictures with. Dane had wanted to get a picture with a Stormtrooper (or two) all day and we never got the chance to. So we saw them having pictures with some other people and went over to have ours done too. Dane had his picture taken first which he loves, but then it was my turn and it got funny very fast!

They had proper Stormtrooper armour on that also had voice changers inside so they sounded like the ones from the movies. They told me to get down on my knees as I was being arrested and proper went for it! The officer in black wasn’t there beforehand but when he saw how I was having my picture taken he got into the picture without me knowing… Until I saw the picture anyway! I loved the two pictures that me and Dane got with the Stormtroopers and a part of me wants to pop them in a frame at some point so we can remember what an amazing day we had.

Haul wise we bought each other a couple of Christmas presents, as well as some pictures for the house, but in Dane and Natalee tradition we always get at least one picture drawn of us, which is this one. We both love it so much and it’ll go in a frame and put in the house somewhere.

After a long day we came home cooked some dinner and relaxed. We had a lovely time at Comic Con and it was definitely better than the first one we attended together in 2014. My only negative about it this year was how many fake Nendoroid’s were flying around. One stall in particular annoyed me as it just sold nothing but fake items. You could tell they were fake too… I wanted to say something to some guys buying them but I couldn’t, I didn’t want to worry I would be kicked out for being rude or offensive.

Other than that it was amazing and I can’t wait to either attend Comic Con again or even Hyper Japan next year!

Did you go to an MCM Comic Con event this year? If so let me know which one and which cosplayers you saw and loved! You may have even attended Birmingham like I did! If so what did you do there? Make sure to leave all your comments down below!

Until next time, take care all and I hope you had a lovely weekend.

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Birmingham Anime and Gaming Con (Haul Inc.)

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On Sunday me and Dane went to the anime and gaming con which was held in Birmingham. The con ran on both the Saturday and the Sunday and although we wanted to attend both days, Sunday stood out to us the most. We’re so glad we only went for the one day though. We had a lot of house stuff to do Saturday and if we had attended both days nothing would have been done. Oh the joys of being an adult and homeowner eh? 😛

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The con itself was amazing and everything we imagined it would be like and more, so I thought I would write about it today for you all, as well as share what we bought at the con as well. Sadly I didn’t get any pictures of the con as we were too busy enjoying ourselves. I’m awful at getting pictures at places like this. 😦

As old readers will know me and Dane have been to a couple of conventions now including Birmingham comic con and Hyper Japan and this one was very different to those two. For a start the con as tiny in comparison to both of those, but that wasn’t a bad thing! We liked that it was small as it meant we got chance to really look at what everyone was cosplaying as and even get the chance to talk to people if we wanted to. It also meant that we could look around everywhere without having to queue, there not being enough room to walk around and even the worry of forgetting about looking at anything.

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We also never bothered dressing up for the con as we’re boring farts and never really bother with anything like that. We could have worn our South Park outfits but meh. I wore my Iron Fist dress with Dane’s plaid jacket, tights and some brothel creepers. I loved my outfit and whilst I was a little self conscious in it, I felt comfortable for the majority of the time. I of course had to wear my Sailor Moon Luna bag that Dane bought me last year at Hyper Japan. I forgot how much I love that bag!

When I mentioned to people at work that I was going to the con I got a lot of questions such as, “Ooo will there be Japanese food there?” and to be honest I wish there was. Sadly there wasn’t any food stalls there but there was food offered by the place it was held at which was good! It was lovely weather on Sunday and it would have been lovely to have an ice cream van outside of the con… But I know that isn’t the organisers fault, problem, etc.

At the event itself there was always something going on which was great. There was the main hall where there were dealers and artists, a stage and a video gaming room. A corridor away there was the activities room and bar where you could go for something to eat and drink, watch anime, chillout, have your photograph taken in your cosplay outfit, play some games (TCGing, board games and RPG) and talks and workshops. Later in the evenings in this room they held karaoke and parties which we wished we had gone to.

We attended a couple of the workshops which were really interesting! The one Dane was most excited for was about the yakuza in Japan and although Dane knows quite a bit about it, I don’t and it was very interesting for me to listen to. The guy who got up to talk about it was great too and went into a lot of detail. The workshop I was excited for was about plushie making, which sadly got cancelled due to the host of it being poorly. There is always next time!

The stalls that were around selling things were good, although a lot of them were selling fake merchandise. As readers will know me and Dane collect Nendoroid figures so we know a fake when we see one! It was sad that we spotted three fakes and then saw that they had all sold. Very sad times.

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Speaking of which lets get onto what we bought at the convention! We bought quite a few things most of them being mine to be honest. 😛

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We picked up two Nendoroid figures from a seller who was selling legit merchandise. She was reasonable with her prices too! I bought Isabelle from Animal Crossing and Dane picked up One Punch Man. They’renow living in our Dane also bought me a cute little Umaru secret figure box too! I got one of Umaru lying down on her tummy which is so cute.

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As well as fakery there were also some legit and lovely sellers at the event. Some who were selling their own work which is what we bought most of at the event. One guy was selling prints to people… A bit too heavily and forceful for us two. He was trying to get us to buy 10 prints for £40. Would have been a good deal if we wanted that many prints! We ended up buying one, this water Pokemon print for our bathroom.

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As well as that we got two artists to draw for us, one of which isn’t actually finished yet. The first picture we got drawn was this chibi picture of me and Dane which is from one of our favourite pictures that we took not long after we got together. The artist is also going to draw and colour a digital image of us too, which we’re excited about! Another artist draw a picture of Dane from when he was in his band days. He would dress up in funny costumes whist on stage. This picture is from a costume he wore in Sheffield which of course is of him in a banana. It’s perfect and he loves it!

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These are probably my favourite buys from the day, which are these two adorable Eeveelution t-shirts by Ohayou! who I’ve been a fan of for a while through Etsy. She does more designs than this which I really want to get. The two I picked up are one of a Sylveon print that says “dragon slayer” (if you don’t get it look it up) and one of an Umbreon looking sad… I couldn’t not take that t-shirt design home! The only thing I don’t like about these is the plastic feel of the print but it’s nothing serious. I’ll be wearing these all the time with some jeans, shorts and skirts. I plan to buy more of their goods in the future, or at least ask for them for Christmas. 😛

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Alongside those goodies I picked up some little bits and pieces that were dotted around. I picked up some dog and red panda stickers, three Totoro pens, a Romantic Bear peel off lipstick (which I love! I have more of these on the way so I’ll be reviewing them all then), a pack of Eeveelution stickers, an ice verion of Ninetales sticker, a Lady Rainicorn sticker, a picture of Haiku in dragon form, and various badges.

As well as my opinion on the convention I wanted to get Dane to talk about his views.

Well, we had a really good time and were amazed at the incredible cosplay on show, but i think that was the biggest gripe for me. Too much emphasis on the cosplay aspect, not enough for those not so into cosplay to do. The talks were not very well organised and I felt sorry for a lot of the speakers as they had to alter their presentations due to technical errors and last minute changes and fillers. We didn’t watch any anime which is a disappointment as I was expecting a great chill-out atmosphere to watch anime and socialise. What we got was a tiny screen and a couple rows of chairs. To make people want to watch anything at an event you have to make it an improvement to what people may have at home. Personally, I can watch any of the anime shown on a much bigger TV, on a nice comfortable sofa with amazing sound. There was no incentive for us to take part.

I completely understand it is the very first one held in Birmingham so things may not always go to plan and there may not be enough funding to create the best convention ever. For the price we paid it was completely worth it and I can only expect to see it grow. I would like to see it in a bigger space with more artists and shops, more emphasis on gaming and the talks/panels, interesting food options and a more inviting experience for viewing anime.

Overall we loved our day at the convention and it reminded us how much we love going to events like this. It’s made us realise how much we really want to go to Birmingham Comic Con in November so we’ll be booking to go to that very soon!

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5 Unique Items Tag

I’m starting this tag off, because I can’t find anything else like it on the internet and it is something I would LOVE to do. This is the unique items tag… Well not so much unique, but not something everyone will have in their room/home. You name five unique items in your room/home that not many people would have. They can be anything from a signed album by your favourite band, a limited edition frame, something from a different part of the world that not many Brits would own. You get the picture.

I love having unique and different things that I know not many would have and since being with my boyfriend, my collection of uniqueness has grown!

I really enjoyed walking around my room and picking things up to talk about. I do hope you enjoy this tag!

  • Nendoroid Penguindrum Princess of the Crystal.

This was one of my birthday presents this year from my boyfriend and one of the best I received. I’ve wanted a Nendoroid for years and this is my first one! These aren’t exactly in every home in the UK, considering they’re pretty nerdy and look like children’s toys. Yes, they are toys but if you ask me they’re for adults. These are made and sold in Japan and whilst they state on the boxes that they aren’t meant to be sold outside of Japan, they are all the time. I watched Penguindrum when me and my boyfriend first started talking so I have fond memories of the anime due to this. But onto the doll. I love this doll so much, she’s just so pretty! With her red hair and pink eyes she’s just adorable and she even comes with the three penguins that the three main characters have. So cute! This doll is pretty rare for quite a few reasons. One being that the anime isn’t actually that popular in the UK, but alongside that this doll was made and sold in 2012, three years ago! Plus this isn’t opened and to be honest I don’t intend to open it. I don’t care, I want her to stay special and rare.

  • Sooty clock.

This is probably one of the oldest things I own and I’ve owned it since I was 3 or 4. I remember the day my mom ordered it for me from the official Sooty magazine and she asked me which colour I would like. I still own it over 20 years later and I love it. It’s still in working order and the image of Sooty always makes me smile and reminds me of my childhood. I’ll definitely take this clock with me when I move out, I just love it too much to leave it behind. I doubt many 25 year old’s have Sooty clock’s in their rooms eh? 😉

  • Skribble This artwork.

This is a chibi version of me that was drawn by Skribble This. She was at Comic Con in Birmingham in November and me and my boyfriend loved her artwork that much we wanted some artwork done by her. I love the picture of me so much and it always makes me smile. It’s just so cute and definitely makes me look better than I actually am. She really did draw me how I wanted her to as well. I know in the future I want a massive piece of artwork drawn by her, but that won’t be until I move out.

  • Pokemon Valentine’s Day tin.

I love Pokemon, as regular readers will know so it was super cute when my boyfriend bought me this tin for Valentine’s Day this year. It came with loads of little chocolate cornflake bites inside and damn they were yummy! The tin itself is covered in male and female Pokemon and the cutest couple on the tin are definitely the Pikachu’s. They just make me happy when I look at the tin itself. I don’t know what I’ll be using it for, maybe some Yankee Candle wax tarts, or even something else. Either way it’s just so cute and would look lovely on a shelf. This came straight from the Pokemon Center in Japan (well my boyfriend bought it from a seller in the UK, but you know what I mean). So it has a little bit more of a special place in my bedroom than some of my pieces.

  • Totoro plushie.

I thought I would save the best for last and that’s my Totoro plushie. My boyfriend bought me this for Christmas, as he knows how much I love the anime film and also how much I wanted one of these plushies. Way before we even met I’ve always wanted one so when I opened this and it was THIS big I was over the moon. It’s a really hard plushie and you can give him a good squish when you really need one. I like to cuddle him whilst I read or play games as he’s just really comfortable. We have looked over whether or not this is official and we do have a feeling it is, but either way I still love it all the same. I would love the little white and blue Totoro’s to add alongside this one. Hopefully in the future!

So those are my 5 unique items. So who do I tag? EVERYONE! Give this tag a go, it’ll definitely make you think.

Do you own any of these items, or at least ones similar? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, take care all and I hope all my readers are well.

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