What a year of making has led to so far

I am, like most people, totally busy during the week.  I love my day job but it takes a certain amount of energy to do it, so by the time I get home my brain is next to mush.

There are other projects besides things that involve Photoshop that I want to get to, but during the week it is nearly an impossibility.  So Photoshop has been my go to.  And the interesting thing about that is that it has me thinking about Photoshop in a different way.  I’ve always loved it, but making something everyday has opened me up to experimenting more with it and not necessarily worried about the end result.  In a word, it has been FUN.

This first photo is one for day 12, the next one is day 13.

rose clouds texture2015web

clouds textures 2015webEssentially the same background but with different textures.  Really enjoying the freedom to try new things!

A Year of Making, days 2 – 7


A Year of Making days 2 - 7 2015 webInterestingly, my first week of A Year of Making has found me getting back into Photoshop again.  I am loving this, as you have to do something everyday, so you can’t spend a lot of time agonizing over everything.  Not everything has to be perfect.

The top left picture is a combination of my love of Photoshop and my love of people who craft these amazing sculptures/designer toys. The two little squirrels are by Cassandra Jerman and the pointy ear gentleman behind them is a Beastlie by Leslie Levings.  They both do beautiful work.

On to week two!

Leslie Levings:  beastlies.com

Cassandra Jerman:  cassandrajerman.com


A Year of Making

I went to a conference that was for makers and crafters – Craftcation.  I learned a lot and the one class that I got the most out of was the one that I had no expectations of at all.

To make a long story short, what brought me to Craftcation was first knowing that I needed to do something with my creative side that would help propel me forward in art and creating but also maybe teach me about the business side of it too.  As much as I love my day job, ever since I was small the thing that sustains me is creativity and imagination and what you could bring to the world with those two things.  I remember, one day long ago, looking out a window before I had to go to work and knowing I was going down a path that while seemed like a good fit on the outside, wasn’t where my heart and soul longed to go.

Now here I am, several years later, following the path that I want to go down.  It’s funny how things work out – in your twenties, you think you have all the time in the world, but as you get into your fifties (argh – I’m in my fifties? Really?) you realize that time relentlessly moves forward and you can’t stop it.  Not a new revelation, I know, but a series of events happened that brought me to the edge of the proverbial cliff and I realized if I didn’t do something about it now, I probably never would.

Craftcation is a place for people who make and craft can come together, meet each other and learn not only about creating things but also how the business side works as well.  A friend of mine wanted to go and somehow we figured out a plan to make it work.   I carefully perused the class list before it came out and signed up for a mix of classes – some creative ones and some that were more business oriented.

There was one session block where I wasn’t particularly excited about any of the classes by the description as I wasn’t sure they pertained to something I was interested in.  So I signed up for a class called Mighty Ugly.  In brief, it was a class that focused on the creative process and not the end product – the goal of the class was to make something ugly.  I was piqued by the idea of this and signed up for the class.

Go figure.  The class you think the least about when you sign up for it is the one that impresses it’s message on you the most.  I LOVED this class.

The instructor, Kim Piper Werker was fantastic and walked her talk.  I was inspired not only by her but by the other people in the class.  I’ll go more into detail on another blog post about what happened at Craftcation and also in the Mighty Ugly class, but suffice it to say I was inspired enough to do another project that Kim Werker advocates and has tools for  - A Year of Making.

She walks you through the process and shares her experience with it.  She has an ebook that helps guide you through the process.  I love her take on this as it isn’t about agonizing about what you’re going to make, it is about making something – bake some cookies, draw a doodle, sew on a button, it’s all good.  She also helps you discover what is important to you.

I also am reading and doing the exercises out of her book,  Make It Mighty Ugly.  I’ve wrote enough for this blog post, but I’ll let you know how it is going.  She asks questions that I found I really had to think about to answer.

I’m tired of being in that zone of “what if?”  I’m always second guessing myself and not doing what I want to do because…well, a lot of reasons, but a lot of them have to do with failure.

So I am boldly going forward, doing A Year of Making and trying to get to the heart of what I want to do creatively.

If you’re a creative person, someone who makes things, you should check Kim Werker out.  I think you will find it worth your while.

Kim Werker:  kimwerker.com

And Craftcation?  TOTALLY worth it.  If you have a chance to go, you should. Craftcation was started by two amazing women, Delilah Snell and Nicole Stevenson, who have a blog called Dear Handmade Life.  It’s a great blog and the information for Craftcation is there.

Dear Handmade Life:  dearhandmadelife.com

I am starting A Year of Making today, April 5, 2015.  I love, love, love Photoshop but often times don’t let myself just play around in it…so this is what I made for today:




One thousand adorable characters

Danil Krivoruchko, also known as Myshli, wanted to see how creative he could get using a certain set of parameters.  Below is his explanation:

One Thousand Ksoids by Myshli


If you go to the site, you can randomly select different ksoids – they’re all wonderful and seem to have a personality all their own.

One Thousand Ksoids by Myshli


One Thousand Ksoids by Myshli


Danil Krivoruchko:  ksoid.myshli.com

Details, details

Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins has an amazing way of making his imagination come to life in a way that when you see it, makes you believe that it might be something you could actually see in real life.  You could look at one of his paintings for a long time just taking in the details he puts into it.  It’s like falling into Alice’s rabbit hole and landing in some fantastic place.

His work is also the inspiration for a short film, “I’m Scared” that will hopefully be out soon – I’m guessing it will be great!

Good Knight by Greg “Craola” Simkins


Join Me by Greg “Craola” Simkins


Greg “Craola” Simkins:  imscared.com

Dolls that tell a story

Cindee Moyer is an artist who makes dolls.  Her dolls are soulful, detailed and if the story behind them isn’t readily apparent, you can imagine what it might be from the personalities that she imbues them with.

Princess and the Pea by Cindee Moyer


La Vie en Rose by Cindee Moyer


Cindee Moyer:  cmoyer.com



More great digital art

When I first looked at Sonya Fu’s work, I immediately thought that this was painted or drawn on paper.  I was surprised when I found out that this was digital.  Her use of color, light and shading is beautiful and mesmerizing.


Dream a Little Dream by Sonya Fu


Inner Child by Sonya Fu


Sonya Fu:  sonyafu.com

Love his use of color

I love color and when an artist knows how to use color, it really is a feast for the eye.  Daniel Merriam has a good eye for color combinations and his paintings are intricate and detailed in design and how he puts colors together.

A World Apart by Daniel Merriam


The Man in the Moon by Daniel Merriam


Daniel Merriam:  danielmerriam.com



Sometimes you just need something that will make you smile

Gary Ham is an artist with a playful esthetic.

The toys that he has created just put a smile on my face and some days you need it!

Here is Wooper Looper, who also has his own poem:

It’s been said that I look like a lizard,
I’ve even been called a newt!
I’m neither or either, I’m my very own creature,
I’m a Wooper Looper! Woop Woop!

I have toes and I swim, I regenerate limbs,
I think the gills on my head are quite foxy,
Sadly, some people like to eat me, 
They fry me and pair with Sake.

I’ve traveled by air, by sea, and by land,
I’ll be yours, your new little chum,
This outcome you’ll see, as happy as can be,
Brought to you by Chauskoskis and Ham.


Wooper Looper, designed by Gary Ham and sculpted by Chauskoskis


Wooper Looper, designed by Gary Ham and sculpted by Chauskoskis


Wooper Looper, designed by Gary Ham and sculpted by Chauskoskis


Gary Ham:  Superham Designs LLC


Toys as art

The significant other thinks I’m slightly crazy.  I collect toys.

There is a growing movement of people who make incredible “toys” for adults.  Designer toys are just like any other artwork in that there may be only one, or maybe a few produced and they are usually expensive.  What is more available to those with more modest means are what they call urban toys and while these can also be limited runs, they are generally affordable.  They are often made of vinyl, so the term urban vinyl also comes up.

Coarse is a good example of the designer toy movement.  Coarse is two men, Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk, who do these incredibly soulful pieces.  Some of their art makes it into production, but even when it does, the number of pieces are usually limited and sell out relatively quickly.

The photos below are from a recent exhibition of their work at Rotofugi Gallery:

Bloodline by Coarse, from the Prisoners Beside Me exhibition at Rotofugi Gallery


Buried Passion by Coarse, from the Prisoners Beside Me exhibition at Rotofugi Gallaery


Here is an example of one of their pieces that made it into a limited production run:

Outburst Loop by Coarse

The Coarse Omen Owls (as they are called) are extremely popular and collected by many.

There are many other great artists out there that are translating their work into toys, I think it is awesome to see their work in three dimensions and will definitely post more about them.

Coarse:  coarselife.com