Category Archives: Art Habit

30 in June

few months ago I came up with this plan, I called it 31 in May. It was a
good plan to get me producing art on a daily basis and then requiring
me to list it on etsy. When the plan hatched from my brain I assumed
that my last few weeks of DayJob would be uneventful, sadly I was wrong.
So 31 in May becomes 30 in June. I’ll need to come up with a new
drawing for it, but there you have the idea in a nutshell.

reasoning for it is that I’ve gotten out of my daily art journaling
habit. I journal but not daily and I miss it and let’s face it, I need
it. So the plan is that I work in my small coil bound Stillman and Birn
Beta journal everyday for the month of June. When the page is finished
to hold myself accountable I load that page to etsy. Each page will be a
real journal page. Sometimes with writing, but not always. I’ll work
this coil bound journal just like I’d work any other journal, keeping
process to the front of my mind. Each page will get a blog post and
possibly a video. (The video portion will be harder due to video editing
constraints. Editing a video a day is way harder than it sounds.)
Anyway, that’s the idea, thirty 5×7 inch pieces in June, all loaded up
to etsy and my blog.


It’s a Process

been sick, in more ways than one. I’ve had a sinus infection. It’s
knocked me on my ass. I’ve also been dealing with disappointment. Abject
utter disappointment. Disappointment so deep it hurts. I let myself
wallow in it and be consumed with the feeling. The feeling making my
sinus infection seem a hundred times worse than perhaps it was. Or maybe
it was just that bad* that it could make me feel so helpless.

cause of the disappointment is not important other than to me. I’ve
spent the last few days in a fever induced haze of misery, scribbling in
my art journal and watching TV on my laptop and sleeping.
scrawling and scribbling in my art journal don’t reveal much to me. It
chronicles my self-centered misery, my sadness and my sneezes.**
one page, a meditative page I did in a sort of mandala style. It’s also
self centered, in that there is an image of me in the middle of the
page. Radiating out from the center of the image (at the sinuses
interestingly enough) are layers of circles filled with various
patterns, alternating colors, lines, rays, circles, sheep, and gears.
All of this done on a hot colored background in cool colors.
I had not planned the imagery it matches the evolution of my thoughts
over the last few days, from useless rage and helplessness to being able
to think clearly on the problem at hand and coming up with a plan that
may work. It’s not done yet, but I like where it’s going

Continue reading


I keep writing about the JF365 Challenge over on AJ ning. I keep writing about it because it's a pretty awesome exercise in keeping an art journal and it's not an easy series of prompts. The techniques are different enough that I'm getting a good artistic workout. I highly recomend the book.

Here are a few teasers:

Brief Hiatus

I took an unplanned and brief hiatus from blogging. I've been doing a lot of stuff just not here on the blog.

Jane and I started the JF365 Challenge over on AJ Ning, go check it out. We're working our way through the Journal Fodder 365 book in a group. It's a tough book on journaling but I'm forcing myself to work with the ideas and styles suggested in it. It's interesting to work in a sort of new to me way. I'm adding a lot more random to my pages than I usually do. Which is fun. I'm also writing a lot more. The monthly questions are great for introspective pondering. Good stuff.

As a result of working differently I've bought a few supplies I hadn't used before, so I'll be doing a few reviews soon. Yay!

I'm wokring on translating some of the experience of working the JF365 into posts here and in the next issue of Put it on Paper.



Plastic Laminate with the Provocrap Cricut

picked up a few laminated signs from old sales at the DayJob. Of
course, I grabbed them out of the trash, well, sort of, they were on top
and clean. These are 1ml thick hot lamination material over card stock.
They are thick.

cricut did REALLY REALLY well with them, cut the plastic like it was
butter. I was surprised. The only issue I ran into is that I need the
deepcut housing. Even on 6 and the highest pressure setting I could not
cut all the way through the bottom layer of plastic even though I cut it
on a blade setting of 6, high pressure 4 times. It did score the bottom
layer enough that I was able to sort of pop it out.

it’s off to Amazon I go to buy a deep cut housing. Though I’m tempted
to see if I can just sand off the bottom of my current housing…

going to see if I can snag a bunch of these old signs, I know some of
them are much larger, 14×17! That might be cool to play around with… They also have some in lighter weight plastic… Probably the stuff they call 5mil (actually 1/2 ml thick) would be easily cut on the crapcut.

I’ve got too many ideas and not enough time.

Tomorrow I'll show you what i'm doing with these super simple stencils.

Back to the Past and the usual corporate shenanigans

dropped this little nugget of garbage on us earlier this week. The ToS
were insane. So people left in droves, quite literally overnight
Instagram lost thousands of users. Then in the afternoon they released
this nugget of double speak and whatnot

me translate that for you, Instagram and Facebook Legalese to real
English, “Dude we thought you wouldn’t notice that we’re taking your
pics and we’re going to turn a profit. How could YOU not know we were
planning on making money on this?
Nothing in life is free forever.
Basically we thought we’d send out an update give you some good new
filters plus the ToS and you wouldn’t notice. We didn’t plan for Flickr
to release their app this week.”

been expecting something like this since the day they were purchased by
Facebook. These ToS are not so different from the ToS on facebook. The
big difference- not being able to opt out.

reality is that things like Instagram need to turn a profit to stay
viable. How do they stay viable- think facebook’s ad system. How many
ads do you see on the sidebar of your facebook feed featuring your
friends? I see plenty of them. I opted out of them.

of right now, I can’t opt out of Instagram’s ToS, unless I delete all
my pics and leave. Which is kinda crazy. I don’t plan on deleting
everything yet, I’ll wait until the new ToS come out to see if I still
want to leave them entirely. frankly I’m already using the new updated
flickr app and I’m content with that, it’s a service I’ve used for
years, trust and will continue to use.

You can find me on flickr.


More Cutting Stuff

Occasionally I'll get an idea, an idea that seems so good, I can't help but to follow it down whatever rabbit hole it takes me, and that is what I did X3 this weekend.

Rabbit Hole #1

Bookmarks. I saw these super cool book marks on someone's web page somewhere. Small, about 3 inches by 1.5 inches with a flap to grip the page- genius! I designed a quick piece in Make the Cut, slapped some of my painted bristol on the Crapcut and yeehaw, bookmarks! The came out neato.(I'll write about how well the crapcut did and didn't do in another post.)

Rabbit Hole #2

Secret Santa Gift Exploding Box. A few years ago I found a template online for a box with an attached lid that sort of screwed down on top of the box. I cna't find the one I made years ago. So I searched and searched and searched. I found a template for "wedding boxes" in the Make the Cut archive. It was pretty in accurate. I made 5 copies with tweaks to the file before I made 1 that worked properly. Also it doesn't help that the provocrap crapcut can't make accurate cuts. I ended up making a 3.25×3.25×4 inch box with lid attached. Ilike exploding box better than wedding box. After I made the 4 mock ups I made 2 in colored paper.

Flickr_2012_12_15_08_37_36_MODE_1_1_SYDNEY_2No,, I'm not going to tell you what's actually IN the box, not that my workplace secret santa reads my blog, but I'll tell you it's local and cute.

Rabbit Hole #3

X's and O's. Or my handmade Christmas Paper. If you've been following me for any period of time you know I make my own Christmas paper. Usually I scrounge up packing paper and what not, butthis year has been pretty thin on the packing paper front. So, I bought a cheap pad of newsprint for about $5. I then started to design a variety of stencils. X's, O's, some cool squares and what i'm calling black eye'd peas. I don't have pics of all of them since I spent 2 days designing them and not cutting them.I certainly didn't have time to use them making paper, go figure. This weekend Christiw and I will clean off the kitchen table, get out the paint and sharpies and attack some newsprint to make our own wrapping paper. (I have to say I've also convinced a bunch of my friends to do this with their kids, or so they claim.)


Recycled Stickers

As a compulsive hoarder and trash picker I have many of my coworkers trained to bring me goodies- things they know I'll use in a creative recycled way. I had a coworker who used to send my way out of date and unused marketing stickers. I have rolls and rolls of them. I often use them to secure packages in lue of tape. I mean, after all, tape is expensive. They work well for that purpose.

Those stickers are all paper, meant to be torn and not last a long time. She also gave me 60 small 2×2 inch vinyl stickers, which are meant to last and last. I've been randomly sticking them all over the place- planners etc, as is. Randomly I thought to myself, "Supposedly the provocrap crapcut can cut vinyl with ease, I wonder if I can control it well enough to cut one of my shapes out of these little stickers?"

Lo and behold, hell's yeah, I figured it out, and I have 30 of these little sheep.

And then and untold amount of these. I'm telling you, making this work has made me unbelieveably happy.

So far I've only stuck these to my sketchbooks and my coworker's computer…

This led me to think, what could I do with those round paper stickers? Since I'm on a sheep kick lately, I cut some sheep out of them…

Not my most inspired thoguth. BUT! Now I'm thinking what IF I painted those round stickers? I know the crapcut will cut through paint as long as it's dry and a thin coat… So maybe I can paint and spray some stickers and get totally custom sheep. (heh< comment if you get the irony of that statement.) This may or maynot be a plot for me to go to Michael's and use my coupon to buy some liquatex spaypaint…

(Also if you haven't snagged the new flickr app for your phone, DO IT NOW, better than instagram!)

A Little More on Flack

This article is a beautiful one about self censorship. I think that at some point we all lose our way toward our personal voice/vision for our own art. Call it authenticity or whatever, but we have to fight to get back to it. Fight for our unique and personal vision to come through.

In the past all you had to fight was yourself, the expectations of critics and your own inner critic. Now we have the machine of the "art" industry pumping out tools and toys for us to use, straight off the shelf.

For me part of the joy of art was learning to make do with what I had and adapting other tools toward my needs.A little gumption and an idea was all I needed to stoke the creative fire already buring inside.


Cutting Stencils

I've gotten a million questions about how I'm cutting my stencils. First I start with an idea then I decide how I'm going to make that work- do I draw it and then shoot a pic or do I create the image in Make the Cut? It all depends on how I want the resulting stencil to look. If I'm going for a wonky slightly off or not perfect look I generally sketch the idea out in a thick ink pen. Like these:

If I want something that is smooth and mechanical looking I'll create the image completely in the computer from either the idea or an photo. Like this:

IMG_20121209_001823Then I've got what I call my focal stencils that I create with a combination of hand work and computer editing. These take a lot of time to create.
The easy answer to how I'm cutting my stencils is that I'm using the pixel trace setting in Make the Cut to create a stencil or diecut and then using my cricut to cut.

Please be aware that I'm using a hacked version of Make the Cut. If you purchase a new version of Make the Cut you will not be able to use it with your cricut. Please see this post for why it will no longer work. Though it could be said that Provocrap is a controlling manipulative spouse and that would tell you all you need to know.