Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 - A Year In Review

2018...  What a year.  For me, this year was a combination of bad and good.  As the year comes to an end, I thought I'd do a quick summary of what happened this year, and some of the great moments that have happened.
  • I remember when my channel reached 500 subscribers.  Today my channel is at 4,450 subscribers.  I'm absolutely amazed at how much my channel has grown this year and appreciate all the support I've received.
  • In April, ABBA announced they returned to the studio.  Next year ABBA fans are hopefully going to have the best year ever with ABBA's new songs and getting a chance to see ABBA virtually on tour!!
  • I got two new ABBA records this year, Super Trouper and The Visitors.  I'm only 3 albums short of having all 8 of their studio albums on various formats, and I hope next year I'll be able to complete my ABBA album collection.  That would be incredible!
  • While I haven't made a new ABBA doll costume for my dolls in ages, I did more ABBA drawings than I've done in a while. I think that's an accomplishment. 

Overall, I didn't do much on my blog this year, but I'm happy with what I have done and I can't wait to see what else will come next year.

Happy new year everyone, and I hope 2019 will be bring even more incredible things. :)
- Becky/ABBAFan456

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Happy 72nd birthday, Benny!

Today is Benny Andersson's birthday!  This musical genius turns 72!  Happy birthday Benny! :D  This drawing was slightly complicated to do with all the extra details in the background and tree and leaves and stuff, but it was well worth it since I'm honestly so proud of the way it came out.  If you're interested, you can watch the speedpaint video I uploaded to YouTube. :)


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Drawing Comparison

As a growing artist, one of the things I like to do is look back on some of my old drawings (despite a lot of them being quite cringe worthy...) and see how much I've come along and improved.  When doing just that just a moment ago, I noticed I drew this particular drawing of Frida I believe in 2013.  For some reason, I've always felt that I shouldn't redraw photos that I've already drawn - drawing pictures from the same photo shoot, that's fine, but I never like redrawing photos, so I was surprised that I ended up drawing the same photo of Frida for her birthday last month.  I decided to take this opportunity, however, to compare both drawings that were done 5 years apart.  And I must say, I am impressed.  Even though I did the second one digitally, so I have a lot more control on color variety and stuffs so you can't really compare it to a drawing that is (badly) colored in with CraZart color pencils, but I think it definitely shows how I've learned to blend and actually take my time in trying to get a drawing to look good. 
Back in 2013, I would simply draw lines in random directions in order to try and block in the color to the best of my ability.  That was a bad idea in my opinion because, while in real life it doesn't look terrible, when you scan it in, you can really see everything that is wrong with that method.  When doing digital drawings, blocking in the colors is so much easier, but drawing in the direction of the contours of the face is still useful.  With physical drawings there's also no layering - while yes, you can layer more and more color on top of the paper, you don't have the option of going back and changing the under layers.  Basically what I'm trying to say is, I don't really blame myself for doing so badly on the 2013 drawing, haha, because it's not as easy as digital drawing, but also I could have done better.  :P  Nevertheless, it's super cool seeing how much I've learned and improved over these past 5 years. Like, I know now that it's better to not use solid black on the eyelashes, and that instead you use a more natural dark brown or blue to keep it more realistic. :)

Anyways, I'm proud of how much I've accomplished, and I like seeing how much I've grown.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Happy 7th birthday, Benny Anderdoll!

Today Benny Anderdoll turns 7.  The years sure have flow by!  And in just two months, Agnetha and Frida doll will be turning 8! :O  So close to 10 years, amiright??? 

Happy birthday Benny doll. :'D

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Happy 41st birthday, Peter!

Today Agnetha and Bjorn's son, Peter, turns 41.  Happy birthday! :D
Agnetha and Peter in 1987

A recent photo of Bjorn and Peter :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

4000 subscribers!

What a surprise it was to wake up and find out that I have reached 4000 subscribers on my Youtube channel!  Thank you all so so so so much for all the support on my youtube.  It means so much to me that people enjoy my work and have gotten my channel to 4k!


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Happy 73rd birthday, Frida!!

Today our favorite redhead turns 73!!  Happy birthday dear Frida! I did this quick portrait in honor of Frida's birthday, and if you're interested, you can check out the speedpaint video I did as well.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Cute Agnetha and Frida gif

While looking through some videos I had saved on my computer, I found this cute clip of ABBA performing Does Your Mother Know live in Copenhagen during the 1979 tour and in it, Agnetha and Frida are dancing together and I just had to share it as they looked super adorable. :)
GIF made by me. If you're going to use it, please give credit!!!  (At least with the watermark there I'll be able to know when  someone uses it, assuming no one tries to remove it lol.)


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Happy 7th birthday, Bjorn Uldollus!

I still can't believe it's been 7 years since I completed my Bjorn doll during a blackout in 2011...  Wow!  Happy 7th birthday, Bjorn Uldollus. :)  Here's to many more lol.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2019

So it was recently announced that ABBA's two new songs, as well as the TV special that the ABBA Avatars would be debuting on that had been planned for Winter of this year, have been postponed, possibly all the way to Spring 2019.  This could be because the ABBAtar project isn't coming out exactly the way they had originally planned.  From what I've seen, many fans are quite disappointed by the delay (as well as the whole ABBA avatar project in general and maybe they're even hoping for it to be scrapped, lol.)

To be honest, I'm not really concerned.  Why?  Because Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Frida are perfectionists.  During the 70s and 80s, they all worked hard with every album release to make sure that the songs they were releasing sounded perfect or at least as close to the original vision as possible.  As we know, Bjorn and Benny spent a long time mixing Summer Night City because they couldn't get the right sound they were looking for, but when they got a mix that they liked, the song was released and that's the version that we all know and love today.  I'm assuming a similar thing happened with Just Like That that a lot of fans have been dying to hear in good studio quality someday, but it never turned out right which is why it has not been released.  Same with all the songs that were sampled in the Undeleted medley. 

Based on this, I think the reason why both songs I Still Have Faith In You and Don't Shut Me Down, as well as the ABBAtar project are being delayed is because they haven't gotten them right yet.  But I still have faith (hehe) that eventually ABBA will get the songs to sound just right and release them in the Spring, and even if it's delayed until the Summer, or next Winter (which I certainly hope it won't, lol), by the time they get released, the finished products will be the same familiar ABBA sound.   Same thing for the ABBAtars.  ABBA have a vision for what they want the avatars to look like, and I think it's awesome, but to get it exactly right and to make it as accurate as possible takes time. 

The only thing I am a little worried about is that if these projects aren't coming out right that they'll become another Just Like That situation, that fans want but ABBA are like "Nah, we're not releasing them ever".  I don't think that'll happen, but you'll never know.  :P

To stay on the positive side, Spring 2019 will be here in no time and we'll be hearing Agnetha and Frida harmonizing and Bjorn and Benny's incredible song writing talents once more, and then shortly after that virtual ABBA will be performing on stage and young fans like me will be able to actually go to an ABBA concert for the first time! :D  (That's why I think Virtual ABBA is a good thing, btw, so that younger ABBA fans get to experience what it feels like to attend an ABBA concert without needing tribute bands, etc.)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

ABBA Color Pencil Drawings

Back in February of this year, I had decided that I wanted to test out my new Prismacolor Premiere color pencils that I had gotten in November by drawing some nice portraits of all four ABBA members.  I had a particular photosession in mind and immediately got to work on drawing the first picture which was of Agnetha.  Unfortunately, I was having lots of difficulties, one issue being my color pencils were breaking and splitting lengthwise for some reason (I found out that it was because of my sharpener, btw) and another being the drawing just wasn't turning out right.  I ended up abandoning the drawing for a few months and picked it up again in July.  I ended up making decent progress and ended up finishing the drawing in just a couple of days.  With my new sharpener and a new set of color pencils (because I had worn out the white color pencil that I use for blending - my dad so kindly surprised me and bought a whole new set!!!), I was able to work on the remaining three portraits and just today I finished the last one and scanned them all on. :D

And here they are finally, the four portraits that I've been trying to work on for the past few months:



 Of all the drawings, I think I like the way Frida came out the best, but they're all really good and I'm really proud of myself.  Hopefully the next time I start a project like this it won't take as long to finish, lol. 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

3000 subscribers!

What a surprise going to my YouTube channel and seeing that I've reached 3000 subscribers! :O  Thank you all so much, I really appreciate how much my channel has grown and seeing how much everyone enjoys my videos.  Thank you so so so much! :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Is Mamma Mia! changing the meaning of ABBA?

You all knew another Mamma Mia! rant post was bound to happen soon, didn't you. ;)

 If you all noticed, I haven't actually said anything on the new Mamma Mia! movie since the day the trailer was announced a year ago. The reason being that I've been trying to ignore it's existence and pretend it doesn't exist.  :)  When the "When I Kissed The Teacher" video came out, I was really upset on the lyric changes (like I always am, lol) and decided I was just not going to post about it or complain about it because there's no point.  Now that the move has been released for a bit now and the soundtrack is available, I thought now I would be able to post about it.

With the release of the movie, I have been seeing Mamma Mia! everywhere.  I've been hearing ads for it on the radio (where they pronounce ABBA wrong, hehehe), I've been seeing people talk about it all over my tumblr and instagram feeds, and it's honestly making me annoyed.  I'm not annoyed at everyone enjoying the movie, people can enjoy it - no complaints there.  I'm annoyed at the fact that people are going to hear ABBA's songs and the first thing that'll come to mind is Mamma Mia!.  I know that sentence seems a little harsh, and no I don't mean that when they hear the songs that were featured in the movie, they think of the scene from the movie and whatever.  (Apologies if I'm rambling, I am trying to get a point across without knowing the right words to use, lol.)   I don't like that ABBA has basically become synonymous with Mamma Mia!.

I saw this post on tumblr a few weeks ago? (can't remember exactly when - I've been on and off tumblr lately, mostly off) and it made me really confused.
"ABBA goes so hard in so many different ways like they really have a song for every situation.. breaking up? getting married? defeating the french? Finding out you have not one but three possible fathers??? Really they covered everything"
I'm not trying to shame the original poster in any way at all BTW, I'm just using this as an example.

ABBA fans should know that ABBA's songs really aren't associated with the Mamma Mia! story line at all, it's just that the songs are being sang by these random Mamma Mia! characters (I can't believe they live in a world where ABBA doesn't exist... Those poor humans, lol) and some of the songs have their lyrics changed to fit the plot better.  I hate that they have to change the lyrics.  Why not try to find a song with more fitting lyrics or B&B can write new music??  Anyways, I digress.

When the tracklist for the soundtrack was announced, I will admit, I was a little hopeful that some of my favorite ABBA songs, the "unpopular" ones, would start getting recognized.  Songs like "I've Been Waiting For You" and "Kisses Of Fire", those songs have always been among my top favorites with "Tropical Loveland" being my all time favorite song, and though people are hearing of them now, I realize, yes, people are "hearing" the songs, but most of them now have new meanings and scenarios and lyrics, they aren't really hearing the masterpieces that the songs originally were.  People won't hear Agnetha and Frida's incredible harmonies or Bjorn and Benny's incredible songwriting.

This brings me onto another thing I wanted to mention.  When I think of ABBA, the first thing that comes to mind is the amazing harmonies of Agnetha and Frida's voices, the unique, magical sound that the two voices combined as well as alone make, as well Bjorn and Benny's backup vocals that add that additional touch to the songs.  I also think of the instruments, Benny's iconic synthesizer that is heard in so many of their songs, the melodies, and incredible songwriting talents that Bjorn and Benny have to tell such incredible stories with their songs.  When you hear the Mamma Mia! versions, you're not getting any of that.  Yeah, on some songs you're getting the original lyrics, but you don't get harmonies, that magical voices, the iconic instruments.  When I've listened to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack, I've always found the backup vocals to sound atrocious, they don't even sound like they're trying.  (This is just my opinion, btw.)  As I've mentioned in previous posts, these are all actors, not singers.  Yes some of them can sing, I know that Lily James can, I watched the live action Cinderella movie and she does have a lovely voice, and Amanda Seyfried can sing too, (Cher is a singer but honestly I don't like her voice and I think her album of ABBA covers that she's doing sounds horrible, but that's for another time, lol) but most of the other people in the movie can't sing. They can act, sure, but they can't sing.

Also when watching some of the interview clips of the Mamma Mia! actors that they've done when promoting the movie, I noticed that they say a lot something along the lines of (this is not a direct quote - this is written from memory) "yeah I'm a big fan of Mamma Mia... I'm a big ABBA fan." and  while there can be fans of Mamma Mia! and ABBA at the same time (a lot of fans have become ABBA fans because of Mamma Mia! - that's not how I found ABBA BTW lol), but I just wanted to point out that being a fan of Mamma Mia! and a fan of ABBA are two separate things, not the same, since Mamma Mia! and ABBA are different things.

Basically to sum it all up, I'm not liking that ABBA and Mamma Mia! are getting merged together nowadays.  They're different - ABBA is band from the 70s and 80s, two Swedish couples who were together and broke up, while Mamma Mia! is a musical about a girl who doesn't know who her father is because her mom was messing around (probably not the right word, I just want to keep my blog clean :3 ) and they like to break out into song.  Two different things.  :)

Anyways, that was a long post and my fingers hurt from all that typing, so I'll just end this here.  Before I go, I do want to share these two videos I made that were requested by an awesome follower, ManhattanMan.  :)





Thursday, July 26, 2018

I have been waiting for these visitors...

I don't know if I've talked about it much, but in recent years, a lot of ABBA's later albums are starting to become my favorites. I always have trouble choosing a favorite album since honestly I love them all, but among my top favorites would be Voulez-Vous and The Visitors.  I got Voulez-Vous for $1 a a year ago at a convention and that was pretty cool.  But two years ago, in 2016, I had been at yet another convention where I saw the Visitors for sale for $5 which is awesome, but because I didn't have any cash on hand I didn't buy it.  (Stupid me, haha.)
From my instagram when I saw the Visitors for $5.
Just this Monday actually, I had a random idea to go look for records on Ebay and I happened to come across The Visitors again, this time for $7. Compared to the other 2 records that I've managed to find for $2 and less, this is more expensive, but $7 for a record is a great price so I grabbed it. :)  And today it arrived in the mail. :D

Honestly I was a bit scared about ordering records from online since I've heard horror stories of how records can break in transit, but this one arrived in great condition and it arrived really quickly too!!  Definitely a great first experience for buying records online. :)

And now here is my current collection of LPs.  I'm absolutely delighted to have them in order, from The Album to the Visitors.  this means I currently have 4/8 studio albums.  Now I just need to get the first half.... xD



One of the things I was a bit concerned about was that my copy of The Visitors has this printed on the front...  :S  thankfully I've been reassured that there's nothing wrong with my owning this record, haha.


 
I have yet to play this on the record player, but I really look forward to hearing it on the record player.  I'm definitely quite happy with how easy it was to buy this album through ebay, so I definitely plan on trying to complete my ABBA record collection and getting the first 4 albums on record now... wish me luck. :'D

Friday, July 06, 2018

July 6th, 1971

Today in 1971, Agnetha and Bjorn were married. :)


Friday, June 29, 2018

ABBA wearing the same clothes years later

Weird title but I've had this idea for a blog post for a while now only I never got around to actually working on it. xD  One thing that I've noticed about ABBA is that they ted to wear a lot of their clothes more than once.  I mean, everyone does, right?  But I think a lot of celebrities tend to not re-wear the same clothes, especially clothes that they got years before, and so this kinda shows how normal and down the earth ABBA are. :)

ABBA in 1974, shortly after winning the Eurovision Song Contest.  Note Agnetha's dress.

A still from the Money, Money, Money music video from 1976.  Agnetha's wearing the same dress 2 years later.
A promotion picture from 1974. 

Frida wears the same shirt in 1975.
Agnetha also tends to wear that same vest and shirt several times throughout 1974 and 75.  Sometimes even paired with the same flowered jeans. :)
Agnetha's wearing this jumpsuit in 1976 during the advertisements for National.

Agnetha's wearing the same jumpsuit a year later while pregnant from Peter in 1977.

Another picture from 1977 in color.
Agnetha and Frida wearing Melbourne football club shirts in 1977.

Agnetha wears the same top during a performance of Chiquitita in 1979, 2 years later.
Agnetha and Frida both had matching dresses in 1976, but Agnetha seemed to wear hers a lot throughout 1976.

But the dress makes an appearance again in 1977.  Also notice Frida's dress.
It's the same dress from this photoshoot later that year.
Agnetha wears these very pretty boots with her Arrival flightsuit in 1976.

She wears the same boots at a photoshoot at Drottningholm Castle in 1977.

She also wears the same shirt in 1978.

Agnetha wears the pretty striped dress during a photoshoot in 1977.

Agnetha wears the same dress at the premiere of  ABBA the Movie in late 1977.

Frida wears the same outfit from the premiere in the Take a Chance on Me music video in 1978.
She even reuses the same boots while on tour in Japan, 1980.
Agnetha also has a matching shirt to Frida's in red which she is seen wearing in Japan in 1978.

She also wears the shirt while on tour in 1979.
ABBA in 1976.  Note Bjorn's simple, striped shirt.
Bjorn wears the same shirt while filming additional scenes for ABBA the Movie a year later.

He wears the same shirt again here in early 1978.

And here while in the US, same year.  I should also mention that he wears this shirt a lot throughout the year, even on the cover of the Summer Night City single.
Agnetha wears this very large silver top during a photoshoot in 1977.

Here she's wearing the same top as a dress at an event in 1978.
ABBA in 1978.  Agnetha's wearing this really pretty white jumpsuit.

She wears the same jumpsuit again 3 years later for a photoshoot in 1981.
I have more pictures which I can include but I think this post is getting to be a bit long so I'll end it here.  I hope you enjoyed this rather random post and please et me know if you want me to do a part two at some point. :)