Category Archives: Try Your Hand

Doodle Week Challenge: Doodle Away Your Bad Dreams!

I don’t usually post the Doodle Weeks; and, like too many of you, I am a sad participating in them as well. (Shame on all of us!) But, as coincidence (or my weird psyche) would have it, I had a bad dream last night — so bad I had to blog about it at my nearly dead dream blog. And the rule at that blog, such as it is, is that I’m to sketch or doodle a little part of the dream or otherwise illustrate the post. (Perhaps this is where my self-direct art therapy comes into play; why this art moves me so and maybe even why I was prompted forced to have such a strong dream, one strong enough to force me to post and therefore doodle.) So anyway, I had to draw a basset hound.

Amazing facts about the doggie doodles: One, they are done in pen! Amazing feat for anxious me. Two, the first one, posted at the dream blog, is the one I like best.

Perhaps these were so easy today because I needed this art therapy so badly; it was easy to bark away the bad spell. Or, perhaps they were easy because I used to doodle dogs all the time. Some sort of muscle-memory thing. As a kid (what we’d call a “tween” today), I used to doodle dogs like this:

In any case, I do seem to have shaken the worst of the after affects of the nightmare.

In fact, I feel rather light and — dare I say it! — joyful.

So, kiddos, I challenge you to doodle your bad dreams away.  Doodle something little that cheers you up.  It could be a dog, something you once doodled as a kid, or whatever pops into your head.

When you doodle, be sure to share it with us as part of Doodle Week.  (Come back here and leave a comment, a link to where we can find it!)  You can share your doodle, share your thoughts on the doodle exercise — both!  I look forward to seeing and hearing how the doodle drawing works for you!

How To Make Silhouettes

I remember when I was little and my parents, aunts and uncles took each of us children to get our silhouettes done as gifts for the grandparents. My parents even had a second set of my sister and I done for our home. It certainly is a quaint and charming way to preserve our childhood appearance.

If you’d like to preserve those memories — in a sweeter and more stylish way than those annual photos taken at school — here’s instructions for making your own silhouettes from SEI Art Studio.

Inspiration For Making Your Own Frames

I like this post at Elemental Cheapness in which Sabrina Mantle shares her creative ideas for reusing items to frame art. Creativity doesn’t end with the artwork — display can be creative too!

Most, if not all, of Sabrina’s examples come from cheap discounted, discontinued and As Is items from Ikea. That means what she shows may not be pieces you can actually snap-up yourself, but there’s plenty of inspiration for keeping your eyes open to possibilities… Discount isles, thrift stores, garage sales… Your own basement! You know I love thrifty ideas!

The most practical idea, shown below, is the simple use of glass, strung and hung with ribbon.

I also got a bunch of 7×9 pieces of glass with holes in corner (which I threaded ribbon thru) at Ikea’s As Is department for 50 cents each, just finished mounting photos on those for upcoming show I am doing, they look great!

I really like the idea — both in terms of aesthetics and the re-usability. Just slide the photographs and images out, and put new ones in, so it would be a great idea for art shows. (Acrylic options might be more suitable for ease in carrying about and careless shoppers.)

Fear Of The Blank Paper

Staring down the pristine, stark-white surface of a blank page can be soooo intimidating… This phenomenon occurs with writers too. So what can you do when you’ve got your supplies all set, but that blank white page just stares back at you, taunting you, teasing you, bullying you…

Well, if you’re like Steve Thompson, maybe you carve your Crayolas into Star Wars characters.

If pencils are your tools, Dalton Ghetti‘s carved graphite works may be more inspiring to you.

If words are (supposed to be) your weapons of choice in the creative fight against the blank page, how about carving those pencil tips into letters? (Also by Dalton Ghetti.)

Take that, blank paper! We’re still getting our art on!

Alien Reporter Advice On Creating Comics

I’m no comic expert, but ever since I saw both Ghost World and American Splendor (pretty much back to back), I’ve wanted to create a comic. I bought a basic black sketchbook to draft my ideas… And that’s about it. The crisp white pages were too intimidating. But when I came across this post at Bungy Notes , I had a fabulous Ah-ha! moment:

I am about twelve strips into a weekly comic I publish over at Black Magpie Theory called, “Klexmur, Alien Reporter.”  It’s been a life-long fantasy of mine to create and publish a regular comicstrip.  If you’ve paid attention here, you know I have more than a passing interest in comics.  I also approach my work from a performance studies background, which holds (at least in some versions) that the best way to understand something is by doing it.

It’s that last line there, the “I also approach my work from a performance studies background, which holds (at least in some versions) that the best way to understand something is by doing it,” that’s the kicker.

I may just have to view the process as performance art — if only for an audience of one.

The Art Of Making Stuff, Making The Pain Going Away, And Making Child Artists

In case you’ve missed my flurry of posts, and so have missed meeting the lovely artisan-crafter behind I Sew Cute and As Luck Would Have It, consider these comments by June on the importance of art your inspiring introduction:

Making stuff is so rewarding on many levels. It really is my therapy, taking my mind of physical pains I have due to two autoimmune diseases, allowing me to get lost in the creative process.

I was a lucky kid to have the folks in my life who made it possible for me to learn and grow as a maker of things and hope I can maybe be that someone for somebody else, encouraging them and giving them the confidence to try…

My sister in law is now a cross stitcher because I gave her a kit one year. And well, you’ve seen my kids.

“Babygirl” (her nickname given her by her brother) was just now begging me to give her the stuff to make bracelets — and they draw every day.

My boy came home from school the other day and told me that someone said he wasn’t an artist. I had to ask him if he thought they were right about that or not. We talked about how everyone can be an artist — if they want to be.

He’s happy about drawing again now.

Recycle Pop Cans into Tin Art

I started reading about using pop cans to make pretty tin boxes at Mag Ruffman’s Tool Girl site. I wonder if someone has used this technique to make a tin ceiling. That would be pretty thrifty, crafty and pretty smart recycling too.

I wanted to see other ideas for working with beer and pop/ soda cans. Some were pretty basic, just using them as a can to store things in. Decorating them with things like scraps of fabric, wallpaper, and so on. Squishing them up, adding stuffed animal parts and making them look like road kill, that seemed a little drastic in some way. I was looking for more interesting and unique ideas. Things people really can use and want to have.

I found some links to ideas for re-purposing tin cans in a post on Squidoo. eHow had a post about using recycled soda cans too. Of course, Flickr was where I found the art made with tin cans of all sorts: Altered Tin Can Altered Art in a Tin JimShoresArt has Can-do Fan Tab ulous Aluminum and Tin Can Art

Helen Harle has a book showing how to create jewelry with upcycling pop cans. Create Colorful Aluminum Jewelry: Upcycle cans into vibrant necklaces, rings, earrings, pins, & bracelets.

Creatively Organize Your Workspace

At Design Sponge, Haylie Waring shares her creative solution for storing, organizing and displaying sewing notions:

Due to the lack of space in my studio, I am constantly forgetting what notions I have packed away in my organizer containers that I keep hidden in a storage closet, or up on my highest shelf. When you don’t know what is in those containers, it is hard to know where to begin, and I am often tempted to just go out and buy more supplies. This DIY project is the solution to that problem, and it seconds as art work on my work-space walls.

…Also, I like to tag each board with a number that will match up with the storage container where you keep your coordinating back-stock, so things are easily located.

Included in the step-by-step project instructions are two of her original 8×10 design templates. And while she’s used buttons & ribbons, there are lots of other options for beads, fabric swatches, lace, etc. Scrapbooking fans could adopt this for use with papers, stamped image, etc. too. The sky’s the limit!

No Excuses!

So, how does the average or budding zine scribbler get through one of these fests in one piece? How do you guarantee that a vibrant day out with your creative peers doesn’t descend into an adrenaline-soaked nightmare of knotted pulp? Well, here’s some advice that I’ve found quite useful – hopefully it might help you too.

In How To Survive A Zine Fest, Martin offers some pretty good advice for any nervous newbie who enters a creative (and perhaps collaborative) community.

Check it out for tips on what to bring, why you should buy a thing or two, and how to navigate the types of tables and attendees at the event.

Hopefully it makes you feel better about jumping in at anything from one of those scrapbooking weekends to a new art class.

Image credits: Photo by Rob Block / Houston Independent Media, at Zine Fest Houston, May 16, 2009, via The Rag Blog.

Doodle Week, March 6 – 7th: Cityscapes

This week it’s cityscapes. You can do some extra work, a little research and draw your own cityscape. Or make one up. Kind of nice to think of a unique way to present it. I drew this one on a big blue marble, representing the planet. Not quite to scale. 🙂

Want to know what Doodle Week is about? Read all about it.

Doodle Week, February 27 – 28th – Toadstools

Welcome to Doodle Week. You have a week to try the doodle challenge. This week it’s a toadstool, a fairy mushroom. Highly suggest you draw them and do not ever snack on them. Add a fairy, a gnome or just some every garden insects to your toadstool. Colour them, the traditional look is red with white spots. Just remember, bad things tend to happen to those who nibble on toadstools and just because those fairies are all magical and sparkly does not mean they are sweet, little angels.

From Wikipedia: The term “toadstool” was often, but not exclusively, applied to poisonous mushrooms or to those that have the classic umbrella-like cap-and-stem form.

Doodle Week, February 20 – 21st

This week it’s gargoyles. I’m about to catch the bus so I can attend a neighbourhood strategy session about saving some of the old buildings in my town. Will see how it goes. I love the old places and would like to see some of them refurbished if they can be saved from demolition. Anyway, that is why the doodle for this week is gargoyles.

You can find a simple gargoyle to draw, just search online for inspiration. No drawing has to be complicated, unless you want to be that way.

Happy drawing!

If you need to read about Doodle Week go back to the post all about it.

Snowy Day Crafting Idea

Instead of making snowflakes the classic way via folding & cutting a piece of paper, how about quilling some snowflakes? All Things Paper has a pattern for making this quilled snowflake:

They say no two snowflakes are alike, so spending the day quilling away snowflakes means endless output. But if you run out of snowflake ideas (or white paper), how about making a mandala?

Images by Deb Mackes.

Doodle Week, February 13 – 14th

This time around the doodle theme is cats. I like cats, their independence, mysteriousness and that feeling that you never quite know which of you is the pet, the cat or yourself.

If you need to read about Doodle Week go back to the post all about it.

If you are in Canada and have the long weekend, take this as a time to extend your doodling till Monday, which is Family Day, here. Get everyone to doodle and post them all. If you live in a rural town or city (as I do) there will be no bus service on a holiday so you will have all that time to doodle. How about doodling the adventures of Mad Manx, the really cool (but tail-less) cat?

Happy Drawing!

Doodle Week, February 6 – 7th

Share your doodles. Post your link here in the comments. If you need inspiration look for birdhouses online. There were a lot of them. Some very ellaborate. Mine is kind of simple but I like how this one turned out.

Read about Doodle Week, the rules, regulations and standardizations (whatever that turns out to be). Mainly, just doodle something birdhouse related and join in.

Celebrating & Collecting The Art Of Bookmarks

Bookmarks are a great way to try on art. And I’m not just saying that because I’m one of the presenters at the first Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention, either.

Bookmarks come in so many styles and are made of so many materials, you can enjoy and experiment with form & function ideas and concepts in your own mind without feeling the pain you would at some gallery reception. But even if such interior dialogs aren’t of any interest to you, bookmarks are a great way to inexpensively try types of art.

Simple bookmarks with reproductions of the masters and/or famous artists are cheaper (and take up less space) than posters — so it’s a grand way to make inexpensive mistakes. Maybe you find yourself drawn to the vivid oranges in a mod artwork, but after a week of seeing it, you find yourself feeling it reminds you more of a fast food restaurant. If so, you can just stick it in a drawer, doodle on it, or give the darn thing away. Or, you could start collecting them. *wink*

For those with modest or even tiny art budgets, collecting bookmarks may not only be the way to get your hands on copies of works by famous artists, but original artwork as well. And they aren’t only the little paper-slip or folded varieties either.

Made of metal, fabric, plastic, cord, wood, scrimshaw, and more, there are many craftsmen, indie and unknown artists making bookmarks.

Maybe you’ll even be inspired to make some.

If so, Jen Funk Weber, owner of needlework design company Funk & Weber Designs and founder of Needle and ThREAD: Stitching for Literacy program, is hosting the The Making of an Embroidered Bookmark and the Stitching for Literacy Program session at the conference.

The first annual Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention, an online event celebrating all things “bookmark,” will be held on February 20th and 21st, 2010. Registration is just$10 for all the sessions, forums, and trade show & gallery goodies.

To entice you to consider attending the event, and collecting bookmarks, I’ve enlisted the help of our very own Laura Brown, founder of Doodle Week. We’re offering five Bookmark Collectors Virtual Conference Commemorative Collector Bookmarks for the first five folks (from the US or Canada) who mention “The Ungulate” in their registration for the event.

Only 12 of these commemorative bookmarks will be made (five to be given away here, five my antiques and vintage collectibles site, one for the artist, and, ever the collector, one for myself), so it’s truly a limited edition. A great addition to — or way to start — your bookmark collection.

I hope you’ll consider participating in the conference; if so, I’ll “see” you there! If not, at least consider the possibilities of art bookmarks.

Image Credits:

One of six The Wedding Of The Mouse bookmarks by Japanese illustrator Gustav Klim, via Mirage’s Bookmark Exhibition.

Metal bookmark by CL Designs.

Wooden bookmarks by TRwoodworks.

I’m Going To Need More Books doodle commemorating the bookmark convention by Laura Brown.

Doodle Week, January 16 – 17

This week the inspiration to doodle comes from the tiny world in a teacup pincushions from Mimi K. She has the pattern for sale if you would like to make one. Your doodle can be your start at creating your own little world.

Before you start to draw think about what kind of world you want to create. A rural or urban landscape, maybe a city skyline? What season will it be? What kind of pattern will be on your teacup? I went with flowery for mine but it could have gone with a winter snowflake pattern to suit the snow and snowman on my little world.

Try one, it’s fun to create your own tiny world in a teacup.