Thursday, February 26, 2009

Super Fun Pocket Coloring Book #1, get your creative juices flowing!

So I had one of those 'I have an idea and now must put it into action within 24 hours or I might explode' sort of days yesterday.

This happens to me more than I'd like to admit.

I had trouble sleeping on Tuesday night I was so excited about my idea.

And now, Thursday morning, the idea is a reality.

I made a fast, silly, wild little coloring book. Actually I made two but the second one isn't totally done yet.

The first one is finished, and ready to download and print from your home computer.

You need to go to my flickr stream to find all six images, and then print them back to back. If this is far from the day I posted this, go to my flickr stream and then find my group 'coloring book pages'. They should all be there.

My idea was to make something that was part silly and fun, part useful, and part inspiration. I haven't colored in coloring books for years and years but I used to have a lot of really intricate ones that were so beautiful I had trouble coloring in them.

I love the idea of an easy to print, tote about, doodle thing. Something not precious, that you will be wishing you could 'do over' a page. Something you can trash and still love. And honestly, something that is fun for all ages.

So it's free, and fun, and I would love if you print one and color it in and share your interpretations with me! I have started a group on flickr just so we can all see what we felt like coloring in for each page. I might do some collage in mine as well!


Here are the directions from my flickr images:

If you would like a free coloring book, find all six pages of this book on my photostream. They are double-sided, so when they're printed you should have three 8.5 inches by 11 inches sheets of paper. Page Six matches Page five and so on.

Then fold them in half horizontally, cut them out, and stack them in order.

They are numbered with roman numerals, so just make sure you have a cover, and pages I, III, V, VII and IX in order.

Fold vertically and using fancy staple powers, staple twice along the spine.


Post your finished pictures to the group coloring book pages that I admin for so we can all see your fabulous great work!

I hope you all join me and make coloring a new adult thing to do!


PS: For those of you who don't wish to print them for yourselves, I'll be offering a fairly cheap pre-printed alternative on my etsy site. I figure they're free to print, but if it's a hassle, or too much of a pain, I still want you to be able to participate!

I'm making mine a little bit harder to color by restricting myself to a set of 10 crayola magic markers and a red pen. It definitely makes coloring less 'precious'.

Let's play together!

PPS: Feel free to spread the love and the word! They're free!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Various Geekery

(horrifying picture of me from high school with long hair, still wearing flannels)

I realized last night that I no longer have anyone to 'geek out' with.

Which was a new term to me actually. I didn't know that 'geeking out' was a type of verb.

I learn new things every day.

But I miss having someone to talk to about dorky things. I don't really have roleplaying / video game playing / dungeon and dragons type people in my life anymore.

In high school, those were basically the only people I knew. There were also a few science nerds, and a few english nerds, but most of us ran in the geeky crowd of 'gamers'.

I feel very out of touch with that world now.

And having someone to talk to about various geekery, if only for a little while, was definitely a bit of nostalgia and a bit of 'is that still who I am?'

I'm not sure, being so distanced from that part of myself, if I'm still interested in getting back into that world.

It's a fun place, usually peopled with incredibly odd-ball creative types.

It's also usually an incredibly immersive world, where most people spend all of their free time 'gaming' in some form or another. And I know that even though gaming is a type of creative endeavour, I wasn't drawing much or crafting much when I was a full on gamer.

I do like talking about it though, and reminiscing. But I doubt that I have the time or the energy to 'game' in any capacity anymore. Maybe a one off sometimes, but I think that's about it.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about...well I don't really know how to explain it to you.

I guess a modern example you might understand is the online community of people who play 'World of Warcraft'.

But in high school, we would sit (usually in someone's parents basement) in a rough circle, and eat snacks, and pretend we were all people in a fantasy world, or a gothic world, or a space opera type world. Playing things like Dungeons and Dragons. Here's the link to the wiki on that, but if you've never played a roleplaying game, I think it might just sound like jibberish to you.

I think anyone with experience playing 'tabletop' roleplaying games (as opposed to LARPing which I don't want to talk about, or video games) will tell you a different story about why they like it or want to do it.

For me I liked it because it had all the aspects of reading a really good book. But you were doing it with your friends. And you could control your own main character. The only games I liked were when there was clearly an over arcing plot, and not just a 'dungeon' or 'dragon' to defeat to gain 'experience points'.

Experience points always irritated me. I just wanted to know how the story was going to turn out.

I think in the end, after looking back at roleplaying, I would have probably been happier just telling stories to each other/with each other. Though admittedly the format of a 'game' was helpful. Ideally it kept the story interesting by adding chance over someone's ultimatum. Rolling dice was the equivalent of having a hand of fate or omniscient author type ruling over the storyline.

When you were really little, and played games like cops and robbers, and 'shot' each other with sticks as guns, there was very little recourse when someone said, "I shot you! You're dead!" You could say, "No! You missed!" or you could fall down dead, but it was really up to you. There was no one level of chance. It was really about your own mood.

The 'game' of dungeons and dragons meant that if someone claimed to have killed you, you at least got a roll of the dice to help you out. Maybe you would be dead, maybe you wouldn't be. But instead of you just arguing about it loudly, you just agreed to submit to the roll of dice. Or maybe a flip of the coin. Heads I'm dead, tails you missed. Etc.

I think it's pretty human to want to tell stories. And to share creative worlds.

And in the end I think that's why I miss roleplaying. Watching movies or tv is a very passive form of participating in the act of storytelling. And even reading a good book or seeing quality theatre is going along for someone else's ride. Someone else's idea of a good story.

When roleplaying in a group, you're all telling a collective story. And telling it in your own way, right now.

It's a sort of creative high that I miss.

And I know that in many ways I'm glorifying a time of my life that wasn't all that great, and certainly wasn't any sort of ultimate art form.

But I miss making up people and creatures and not just showing them to people, or embracing them from other peoples minds.

I miss actually interacting with them. I miss making them live and breathe and bringing them out of a dark subconscious into the world.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More things I've been making

I'm on a creating spree!

Here are some friends I just made last night.

Meet Mizrahi


And Sylvie!

If you click their name it will take you to their page.

I'm in love. They're so small and cute.



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Perkins and actual brain thoughts

So I realize that I've been mostly posting boring accounts of things I'm making. I will share some more things I've been making, and then chat a bit about other, more interesting things.

This is Perkins. He is a stone gnome. He is available on my etsy site. He is one of a new litter of creatures. The rest can be seen on my flickr set.

That TV is a mini one I made for a new video that so far I have neglected for about a year. Maybe I will still make it one day...

Yesterday I ended up making five new creatures. It was hard to make a litter of new babes without letting them become soulless and boring. It really takes a lot of energy giving them personalities and feelings. They need to have something breathed into them, and it's hard to quantify what that is.

I try very hard to give each one a little bit of 'something'. Platts Stevens is my favorite from yesterday. He was sort of supposed to be a sock Platypus, but he ended up being something else...somehow.

It's nice making creatures, but I'm still looking for something a bit more lucrative. I think there's probably a market for my little guys, but I don't really think I can pursue that full time.

I read a new book yesterday. It's called Thirsty. It's by M.T. Anderson. It's a young teen vampire sort of book, but I found it pretty engaging. It's not really normal to find a book for teens that actually has adult style morals and life questions. Usually they wrap up with a little bow.

This book left me wondering about good and evil, and about fate, and what we are meant to do or be. If you like fiction that could be adult or youth, I recommend it.

(Tangent Rant: Oh, I was introduced to a new fun thing by the owner of The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY. It's called the Indie Store Finder. If you click on that link, it will help you find the nearest independent store! I think it's mostly interesting for indie book stores, but they have all sorts of indie stores in their database. Support something other than chains. What a concept. So if you like the idea of young teen vampire fiction, try using the indie store finder to get yourself a copy.)

Thirsty gave me weird dreams. I don't remember any of them now though. I hate when I forget my dreams. I feel like they're important, and that I need to remember them to understand my life fully.

I used to keep a dream journal. And every now and again I still write them down. I got lazy I think.

I've been stumbling across a lot of my old art lately, as I attempt to get a grip on what my work is becoming and what I'm becoming. I'm finally starting to feel old. It happens in little pieces. I had the revelation yesterday, maybe the day before, that I am most assuredly no longer 'cool' to teenagers.

Now I was never 'cool'. That would never be a word to accurately describe me. But for a time, maybe five or so years, I was, by virtue of being in college or just out of college, 'cool' to young teenagers. I had tasted the freedom and liberty of 'adulthood', but wasn't yet tainted by adult culture. It was a great feeling. Realizing that I was now suddenly in a highly coveted position.

It's not like there was really any way to exploit this feeling. It just was. Sometimes I'd be on the bus, or the subway, and realize that I was in this exalted place to teenagers around me. I was trusted as a fellow young person, but also revered as a sort of avatar for everything they were itching to be.

And that's pretty much over. I've been told that there is a ten year gap. Within ten years, you're cool. So I guess to a sixteen year old or older, I might still be in that magic place. Hopefully to my sister I am. But to those little fourteen and thirteen year old girls I see at work, I'm a wash up. An adult. Above them in ways they would never aspire to. Wearing last years, or five years ago's fashion. Or a fashion that is inspired by something so ancient that it's just awful.


It's not a new feeling. As I said, 'cool' was just a fad for me. Something I happened on. A treat I got without paying for it, that disappeared just as mysteriously as it arrived.

Getting something for free doesn't mean I can't miss it though.

All the more reason to embrace adulthood, and migrate fully out of the 'in between' place. If it ever existed.

I've been told, multiple times, that I need to get 'adult' jewelry, and wear 'adult' clothes. I've started wearing 'adult clothes' more and more. Just to get some respect I suppose. Wearing the clothes I like wearing doesn't give me much clout in 'adult' conversations. And sadly, I now, more than ever, need to live in the adult world.

It's an important transition. I suppose there are rituals in our culture for that transition. Leaving high school, leaving college, etc. But living and working in theatre, especially when I'm freelance, has meant that I have been able to prolong the inevitable. Everyone in theatre is a bit childlike. A bit loose and free with rules and restrictions. So wearing ripped, painted clothes is totally acceptable. And walking into a theatre when there is a load in, or a 'call' of any sort, in fully 'adult' clothes, means you're a designer, a director, or really just don't belong.

You're expected to be a little 'out there' in theatre. Maybe that's why I'm having a hard time fitting myself into normal 'adult culture'. I definitely fit the bill for responsible, hard working, good little employee. I'm a Virgo and like everything to be perfect when I'm at work. But I also really value my freedom to express myself. To be a little funny and odd.

It's probably why when I've worked retail, I've worked in small businesses. They are usually more accepting of otherness. They run a small business for chrissakes. That's probably one of the hardest things you can do these days. So if they find a competent employee who likes to wear hats with ears, well, whatever, they can wear hats with ears if they get the job done!


Sorry for the long rant. I'll go now. Off to integrate into adult society. Slowly but surely.



Saturday, February 14, 2009

Interview and Hearts!

Thanks so much to Carina over at Carina's Craft blog for having me over for a Valentines day interview!

Interview is here.

Carina is pretty cool. Lately she's been posting a lot of nifty animal themed faves. And she posts little tutorials on how to make fun things. I highly recommend adding her blog to your 'followed' list.

Happy Valentines day everyone! The Bunny Yeti say hi! They are full of love!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bunny Yeti attack

The Bunny Yeti have attacked!

I did a doodle, and had so much fun altering it in photoshop that I decided to give birth to a new line of softie sock creatures.

The Bunny Yeti!

Here's the first doodle that inspired them.

And here is a shot of one of the Bunny Yeti. This one is my favorite so far.

Available at my etsy shop. One through four so far.

Some of them have horns, some don't. They are going to be all shapes and colors I think. They're part Yeti, but that doesn't mean they can't have migrated out of the Himalayas and made waste to the world with their rampant breeding and mischief!

They are naughty yeti. I love them. See that one riding a giant Grackle?

This will give Cryptozoologists a lot to talk about in the coming years. :P

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Even more photoshop fun

I spent the morning playing with images.

I came up with this to reflect part of my dream.

And this just made me happy.

When Petes and I were in France, we saw a bunch of 'Double level' Carousels. I have never seen one in the states. And I have yet to ride on one. This is an altered negative. The negative looked crummy so I played with it. Photoshop is my friend!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Photoshop Gallery and Herne

So I made this wacky photoshop gallery for myself.

I had a crazy dream about a world I want to at least do a few images of, but I decided I really really wanted to use photoshop to do it in. I've been dying to do a piece that lets me do some homage to Nick Bantock and Dave McKean and I think this is finally it.

Thing is, I knew already I wanted to use a lot of filters. And people usually use filters poorly. I know I do.

I figure it's because they don't understand them.

So of course, I decided to make my own filter gallery! I will keep it handy when I'm doodling in photoshop and want something amazingly filtered.

Click on it to go to a larger, more useful version.

Ta da!

It took longer than I thought it would. Now I need to go to sleep.

For those of you who have been following though, here's a shot of Herne going green. I think he's going to get a dose of greenman, and have some leaves and flowers growing from his strange antlers.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Interior of the shell

Shell house madness continues!

Yesterday I got a lot done in the house. Puttering. Things I had to do on the computer. And a lot of shell house fun! Wow, you can really see the shine I added to the inside walls in this photo.

I totally floored the other half of the house, adding pencils and playing cards as floor boards. Then I added the doorway sans door, a stoop, and a few windows on the new side of the house.

I think I decided how I'm going to attach the door. I have to decide how to paint it now though. I don't mind that it's a different color and texture because it's not part of the 'original shell'. It's clearly an addition. But I'm not sure if it should be painted to 'match' or stand out. It will definitely have moss growing over that top awning thing.

The pieces don't line up perfectly, but I think that's ok. I thought yesterday about adding a sort of stylized zipper so you can zip and unzip the house. But on further reflection this morning that seems like a silly idea. I'm just going to leave it as is on that seam.

For at least two of the floors I decided to use some of the redundant and therefore unneeded security envelopes that I had been saving for Sweetie Pie Press. I made a checkboard from three types of envelopes and some catalog scraps I had lying around.

I used the three most 'organic' looking patterns. Most of them are really rigid and geometric. (At least the ones I have access to).

It's fun using an idea from another artist in a new way!

I will now leave you with a sketch of the chimney. Not sure if this is the style I will go with but I like this picture. Part Gaudi, part Larchmont beach. :D

There are a few more pictures from this whole adventure on my flickr set.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ramblings and word verification

So I've been working on the shell house, reading a lot of children's books, and drinking a lot of tea these days.

My new interest is those words on bloggers comment word verification. I've started collecting the ones I see when I post to someone else's blog. Here's what I have so far.


I think that maybe they deserve some art. Is each one a creature? Or a verb? What would it mean to chortimp when someone told a joke? Is that like snorting and chortling and choking? Or would it be more of a chirping snort?

And if Motesic was a creature, would it have fur? I'm thinking maybe it would have feathers.

I'm not sure if I'll follow this up with anything, but I really love these little playful non word words. Most word verification software seems to have numbers and letters, and to be honest I never really noticed the things I had to type before.

Somehow the other day they struck me as highly entertaining, so I'm keeping a sticky open on my desktop to log them.

Maybe we should write Haiku's with one word verification word in each line.

in winters spary light
a motesic was watching
chortimp the season

Or something like that.

I'm not sure what that meant actually. Maybe that's part of the fun.

I encourage others to find something more fun to do with them! And to log your own!


PS: New info! I did some watercolors based on some of the words and they're up in my etsy shop right now!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shell house interior begins!

I have begun the interior of the shell house. I spent 8 full hours on secret project yesterday and still had a moment or two to help Pippi get a home.

I painted the outside and the inside. Here's a closeup of the outside.

On the inside all I did was add a layer of shiny silvery to make it more shell like inside. No picture of that.
So then I added floors! Only on one side so far. Playing cards are working out well for flooring. Though I will paper over them I think on the top side. I'm using a mix of Ticoderoga pencils and artsy fartsy pencils for joists. Right now I'm just hot gluing them in place but it has been suggested that I add some sort of epoxy to make them stronger.

Here's the first window going in!

And here's Pippi inside loving that window!

That window was once the outside of a zippo lighter case. I saved it when we bought a bunch of zippos for a show when I was doing props. I always knew my little hoardings would be useful!

The 'glass' is the flat part from a plastic 'dozen of eggs' carton. I might make it more stainglass like by using Gel later. Not sure. I have a bunch of gels leftover from my intense lighting design days.

These playing cards were also a salvage from somewhere. They weren't a complete deck but I saved them from the trash!

I might post pictures from secret project one of these days. Not yet though.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shell house

Are you all sick of the shell house yet? I know Adam must be. I talk about it all the time.

Here is another picture of the house, new paint job. The inside has all new paint, and the outside has some shading added.

I've done more research on how shells this shape actually form, and have some ideas on how to do a few more paint treatments to get it to look right. Soon I will have time for that but secret project is taking up a lot of time this week.

Isn't Pippi just the cutest sitting in there?!

I think that the floorboards/rafters will be made of pencils. I haven't decided what the actual flooring will be. Cardboard would be easiest, but it doesn't fit in with my whole concept involving the bobs making the interior themselves. What would make good flooring over pencil joists that could be found on the ground?

I might just do a sort of paper mache thing again, as though they've scrounged scraps of paper and used them to make the floor. Or pull a 'Borrowers' moment and find blotting paper. Not that blotting paper would be easy to find in a garden....

I think I've mentioned this, but my base concept for this house is that it is a found item. The bobs found an abandoned, empty shell, and decided to repurpose it for their home. Which means the shell should be natural and real ish looking, and the rest of the interior should be found items a la 'The Borrowers'. So I'm thinking that pencils would be easy to find and use, and various scraps of plastic and so forth would be easy to find to make windows... Some of the other stuff is hard to decide about. I think I'm going to have an Irori as the main hearth. An idea stolen from Mushishi. I mean, they're not really Japanese, these little bobs, but irori's are so nifty!

Watch the opening bit to a Mushishi episode. I'm not kidding when I say it's one of my favorite series ever. If you love tea, a bit of the supernatural, and ambiguous moral stories, this is a peaceful series for you. Animated. Ally Kerr is a great singer too, and his song is what is playing for the opening.