How did you come up with this idea?

The short answer to this oft asked question is, “I’m a mom, and a boss where I work, so I’m often a ‘bad guy’.”

The Long Answer

It all started with a bad day at work – a confrontation with an employee had me questioning my “bad guy” image. Was I really bad? My husband is the poster child for “nice guy” who never has these problems. In this particular instance, an employee (who was known for being a bully) was rude and I had only stood up for myself. How does that qualify as villainy?

My favorite people in the world are my family. They are a common theme in my art and I like to try on different styles that I think compliment their personalities. It was in the spirit of this exploration that created the perfect storm that spawned the idea of the Bitty Baddies.

I’d watched Tim Burton’s movie “Big Eyes”, a biopic on Margaret Keane’s life as an artist, that made me fall in love with her beautiful style. My son Judah has big beautiful “Disney” eyes that he inherited from his father that inspired me to paint a portrait of him using her style. Altogether, with the birth of a new baby, it took me about 2 years to finish. It was nearing completion when the aforementioned “bad day” at work happened.

“Judah Big Eyes”

Villains weren’t always bad. How did they become bad? What about their life twisted them? Are they really bad or is some villainy a matter of perspective?

I think good art makes people think, makes people question reality and personal truths.

Margaret Keane’s big-eyed waifs convey a sense of innocence and vulnerability that when paired with real and imagined villainous personas makes for a striking contrast.

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The creative process includes research of the character’s back story. The tv-shows, movies, documentaries and/or books that tell the story are the background noise I hear as I re-create them as a Bitty Baddies. It’s fun to revisit old horror movies that I haven’t watched since I was a kid.

Taking the Bitty Baddies to conventions where I can nerd out with others like me is a nice social outlet for the introverted geek that I am.

In short, the Bitty Baddies are my personal art therapy and passion project. Selling prints, postcards and pins featuring them is an enjoyable way to support my “art habit”.

A Love Letter to Apple

Dear Apple,

I love my iPad Pro as a mom on the go.

Before I had kids I painted with acrylic on gigantic canvases.

I made a mess while I made art.

After kids there was no time or space to make art.

Then I found you my dearest iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

No need for brushes, paint or canvas.

You don’t take up a lot of space. You are portable and mess free.

Thank you and I love you.

Jody Parmann

Can I buy the book?

“Can I buy the book?” So often I hear this at comic book conventions as people flip through the pages of my contact book. It has all the Bitty Baddies I’ve done to date. Even the ones that I don’t have for sale. Psst… they are all available on REDBUBBLE.

“No, sorry it’s the only one I have.” I reply

“It would make a great coffee table book.” They say.

To them I say, “I think so too.”

Here’s my question… How much would you pay for a Bitty Baddies coffee table book?

The Perfection of Rejection

Yesterday I was feeling pretty down. Not one, but TWO conventions rejected the Bitty Baddies. Pursuing artistic endeavors takes a lot of grit. The very nature of art-making invites criticism and rejection. I have moments of self-doubt – questioning whether I’m spending my time and talents wisely.

My whole life I’ve got a lot of raised eyebrows and “I don’t get it?”, but I’ve also gotten a lot of encouragement from my parents, teachers and friends.

Just the same, rejection hurts.

Yesterday worked out perfectly though. The first rejection opened up October. In 2018, I displayed and sold Halloween themed Bitty Baddies at the Raven and it went over like gangbusters. (Part of doing conventions is logistics. Do I have enough stuff? Do I need to order more? Where is my work and do I need to pull it for a show? Soooo glamorous, I know 😉

The second rejection spurred me to look for another convention to replace it. I applied to Michigan Comic Con (my very first) and they accepted me! As a bonus, some artist pals, (Jason Westlake & Jaime Corker) will be there, so it’s sure to be a hoot!

Like Homer said, “Everything is wrapped up in a neat little package!” —- Ooooh, Bart Simpson would make an interesting Bitty Baddy.

Collectible Cards for Convention Goers

bb-cards2.pngCollectible Cards that you can play with! In the interest of value and simplicity I’ll no longer print business cards. Instead, I’ll do collectible cards that can used to play a simple game of war. Their value will be based on the villain’s “badness” to be determined by me.

At public appearances (like conventions) I’ll have starter sets available for purchase in the grab bag of goodies (or would it be baddies?) with specialty items like stickers and pins that I don’t sell individually.

ALSO, at each convention, I’ll have a new card folks can come by and pick up for FREE. They will double as my business card for that event. So conventions goers come see me! Say hi and nerd out with me.

Is it Magic or is it Alien?

I once asked a fellow artist pal why he didn’t create his own superheroes and villains. Why do fan art? Why not create something all his own?

As if it’s that easy! Thinking is easy… doing is hard.

piechartI know from my personal experience that my drive to “make” far exceeds my imagination. Meaning that in the my pie chart of creative skills, “artist” makes up only a small percentage.

Recently, I read the word “darkling” somewhere on the internet, and it made alarm bells go off in my brain. It has since developed into a really neat character with a lovely little story.

Where does inspiration come from? Is it really a thing? Can it be sought out? Do some people get more than others?

The other night I watched a TedEd called “Questions no one has the answers to” with my son Judah. At one point the narrator, Chris Anderson, ponders the question. “Why haven’t we seen evidence of alien life?” and he talks about the possibility that advanced intelligent life may be microscopic in nature.

“Maybe the very ideas in our heads are a form of alien life.”

Sometimes that’s how inspiration feels. Alien and other-worldly, but hey I’m game, I’ll take that magic carpet ride and see where it goes.

So, in 2019, you can expect more Bitty Baddies at Michigan conventions, and the development of my own character that will fit right in with them. And if all goes well maybe by the end of the year I’ll be selling a children’s book featuring her.

Stay tuned!

Dear Hater,

You know who you are. If you go out of your way to read this. You are sad and I feel sorry for you. Life is not meant to be lived angry and resentful. I don’t hate you. I don’t think of you until I’m confronted by your venom. For the sake of peace and prosperity I hope you can let it go and use your time and energy for more positive things – move on. It not worth it.

Your fellow flawed human,

Jody Parmann

My Strategy for Getting Shit Done

I’ve been asked repeatedly recently how I manage to do it all, art, Raven, children, etc.

Like everybody I always feel like I could accomplish more. Today I took a nap with my toddler. For 2 hours I accomplished zilch… or did I? For me a nap with my toddler is not wasted time. I get to comfort her to sleep and I’m there for the moment when she wakes up and smiles at me.

So I try to keep things like that in perspective.

One of my secret weapons is my husband. He’s an artist, so he gets it. He makes dinner so that is a domestic duty that doesn’t eat up my time. And he’s an amazing cook for the record.

Another is multi-tasking. I can spend quality time with Judah while feeding my creative demon. I do cooperative art with him! Have you seen

My iPad and Apple Pencil are a major factor – I don’t have to buy art supplies. I don’t have to clean my always messy workspace to start a piece. It’s portable and not messy. A perfect tool for a busy mama.

At the Raven my role is to make it look good. So while some projects are time consuming others are not. The general running of the business is handled by, my husband, Sadaat and our managers. They are the amazing ones that make sure the food and service is on point. That’s all them.

But here’s the bit that people giggle about…

As a child of the 80s I was basically raised the TV and so I think my life in terms of episodes (days or weeks) and seasons (months or years) and try to accomplish things like a television series. Each episode is a small manageable project I can accomplish in a short time period. This helps me feel like I’m moving forward. I also have larger projects I’m plugging away at that I’m working to complete as my “season finale”.

It’s weird, I’m warped by TV, but it works for me.

As I see it…

Confession… my love for reading began with historical romance novels. I shamefully devoured them in my teens.

That’s not a typo – I meant “shamefully”. I’d rip the covers off if I dared take them to school.

The covers were terrible and did no justice to the heroines I read about. Women who were quirky, fearless an had the balls to save themselves. Yes, they’re was a love story with a pretty dude, but that wasn’t the main draw for me.

It was their settings in history. My favorite stories were the ones that intertwined with real historical figures and events. I’d research real history to figure out what was fact and what was fiction. I learned more history from romance novels than I ever did in history class.

Beyond the heroines and history I loved to redraw the covers as I thought they should be. I would create images that were just suggestive enough to make would-be readers curious. They’d hint at the story instead of graphically illustrate coitus. This inclination is what lead me to graphic design as a profession.

The inclination to create images as I see them remains. Recently my husband and I took our kids to see “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and it was great except Disney Pixar left me wanting a scene that never came. Without giving too much away I wanted to see Vanellope evolve and grow up a bit for her role in Slaughter Race. It just made sense! So reaching back to my roots I created the moment “as I see it.”

Bitty Baddy Jason Vorhees

I have especially loved doing Bitty Baddy Jason. I grew up on Friday the 13th movies and my favorite part was always the glimpses of humanity. Particularly in the Friday the 13th: Part II where the token survivor girl donned his mother’s sweater. The head tilt would always make me wonder if there was a chance at redemption.

Doing Jason presented the challenge how to make a Bitty Baddy without eyes? Jason is mostly recognizable from his hockey mask and machete. So, I went back to the first Friday the 13th movie where we see Jason as a child drowning. It’s never established whether this scene was a dream or reality, but I used the face as a reference. In particular I used the a sculpture by Casey Love for reference.

To be recognizable as Jason though, I’d need to feature his mask. Always inspired by the prolific Margaret Keane I used her 1963 painting “Happy Mask, Unhappy Boy” for the the composition.

To date, he’s my favorite!