Category Archives: Inspiration

Learning from Rough Drafts

I regret not having posted for the last two weeks, so I will leave you with this delightful site:

Living Lines Library

I particularly like looking at the production art. Sometimes the end product, while spectacular, is a bit too slick to really get a good feel for the work that went into it’s creation. And sometimes the rough lines are more lively.

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Filed under Colors and Images, Inspiration, Links

White Space (Using It): Clover by Clamp

(Clamp) CloverI wanted to point out Clover because reading  this manga was a revelation.  It’s about a girl with psychic (or magic) abilities. She is the most powerful of the “clovers” so she’s locked up in what looks like an arboretum without outside contact. An ex-soldier is assigned to her. It turns out that the girl knew his deceased girlfriend. And that summary does not do it justice at all.  I’m told it wasn’t finished, which makes sense. It lacks a wrap up at the end.

The art style is an antidote to the idea that there has to  be an explosion on every page. Each page in Clover has a few panels, and/ or perhaps a couple balloons of dialog and/ or one of the motifs (clover, baroque wings etc.) and not much else. Given the isolation of the main character, the layout seems fitting.

Sometimes the space is black or toned, or has a pattern, but the concept is the same. It’s like background music in a movie or TV show. It provides an emotional backdrop. The blank space can also give the eye a space to rest and let the impact of the words/ images sink in. Clover01

This is a not an unusual amount of white space on a page:

Going with this less-is-more, I have tried to absorb this aesthetic. Lots of action and detail doesn’t’ have to be crammed into each page (though sometimes individual panels are quite detailed).

 

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Filed under Books, Colors and Images, Inspiration

Strawberries, Rhubarb and… Cheese?

RhubarbStrawberry QuicheI had a recipe from Mollie Katzen’s The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, (p129) called “A Quiche Formula”.  I did a lot of summarizing when I copied it down. Essentially:

You need:

1 unbaked pie shell
cheese (1/4 -1/3 lb) cubed or grated (Swiss types, or cheddar or something semi-soft)
filling such as sauteed vegetables, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, or fresh herbs (or steamed veggies etc.)
3 eggs
1 C milk
sprinkling of paprika

Spread the cheese over bottom of the crust. Place the filling evenly over the cheese. Beat eggs and milk and pour this over the filling. Dust with paprika. Bake 35-40 minutes.

SUPER simple and very versatile. From that model I made up a rhubarb and strawberry custard pie.

There were  couple things I did to the recipe that might changed the outcome, but I’m pretty confident in Mollie Katzen’s quiche, so I used her methods and times.

I baked mine with a water bath (it’s a long story and probably unnecessary). It’s common to do this for custard things, but usually the quiche seems to come out fine without doing that so I skipped it in my instructions. Also I pre-cooked the filling. Again it might not be necessary, but I did not want to chance the filling coming up uncooked. Cook or no- cook, take your pick. My creation came out a bit runny, but not inedible.

I used “Arthur’s Italian Cuisine” Parmesan which is a strangely mild cheese I had on hand, but most Parmesan cheese might be too strong. Find something milky and only slightly sour tasting ( I originally thought I might use cream cheese or mascarpone as a crust sealer. It might work…).

This is on the tart side. I didn’t add any sweetener besides strawberries. You might want it sweeter, if so, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the filling mix when you cook it or to the custard as you beat it.

If you make any of the changes I mentioned above let me know what you did! (And if anything is unclear or I left anything out, let me know that too).

Rhubarb and Strawberry Custard Pie

1 unbaked 9″ pie shell
Grated Mild Parmesan cheese (enough to cover bottom of pie crust)
a dusting of cinnamon

Filling
1 1/2 C chopped strawberries and rhubarb (about 1 1/2 stalks)
1 TBS butter (scant)

Custard
1 C milk
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375′ F. Keep crust in freezer until ready to use. Warm rhubarb and strawberries with butter, until butter is melted and fruit is wet.

Beat eggs and milk and add vanilla.

Pull crust out of freezer or fridge. Line the bottom of the crust with the grated cheese. Spread filling over cheese and pour custard over that. Dust with cinnamon.

Place the whole thing in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes.

FYI, I’m not a professional baker, and I’ve never even taken a baking class. I make no guarantees beyond my own meager experience (and I even wonder about that sometimes). Apparently I have some strange tastes, so I guess what I’m saying, bake at your own risk.

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Filed under Inspiration, Instructions, Projects - Food

Stumptown Round-up

Lennon SketchI spent the weekend at the Stumptown Comics Fest. Both days! I went last year and I had so much fun talking to comics creators and touching the comics they created. I’m a huge fan of comics in paper-space. I like the tactile qualities of screen printed covers, and glossy or laser printed pages. I also attended a bunch of panels and workshops to learn more about comics.

Some of the awesome comics I bought:

There were so many more I wish I could have bought. It’s like having a yearly kick in the pants to do my comics.

The image is mine. I the post just needed a picture. Guess who!

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Cat Drawing (Domesticlife Drawings)

 I made this drawing of Chester, who belongs to Megan of The War in My Brain Blog because she asked for drawings:

Sketch of Chester Cat

Done in ballpoint pen and pro-white.

Actually, I draw a lot of cats. Or a lot of drawings of one rather fat cat. I find as drawing and/or still life subjects cats have several advantages. They are plentiful (at least in my house). Unlike dogs, they don’t care that you are looking at them. Dogs will come up to you when they realize they have your attention, completely ruining the tableaux. Cats… don’t care. They consider the attention their due. Cats are also bendy and make  interesting shapes without being asked.  Aside from their graphic quality (especially with tuxedo cats, like mine), they are dramatic yet strangely relaxed. Ever see a cat stuff itself into a box and happily fall asleep, while you wonder if the angle of the head in relation to the body is really all that comfortable, but realize it must be or the cat would not be quite so relaxed? Yeah. There is a reason they are the mascot of he internet.

These are all of my fat cat, Theodore:

Theo2 (Bug) crop

This and the following done in Prismacolor brush tip marker and Pro White.

Theo3 crop  Theo1 crop

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Filed under Colors and Images, Follow-Up, Inspiration, Links, Projects-Pictures; Paintings; Drawings

Clownfish Earrings (or, Toys on Wire)

Amongst my stable of crafty things to make are pendants and earrings out of toys. For Christmas, I made a My Little Pony pendant for my roommate’s daughter. (I like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but she is actually in their demographic). What I made for her was from an Applejack figurine but it was similar in execution to this one:

MLP Pendant

You can use basically any small plastic toy, as long as you can poke a hole in it. Be careful that it isn’t too heavy, or it will pull on the wire or your ears.

I found the clownfish  toys at the toy store for about $0.50. The My Little Pony was in one of those foil packets which you can’t see what you are getting and cost more like $3 (They’ve moved on to glitter versions of the ponies, and I’m not sure how to prevent those from shedding glitter everywhere).

Here is more of a break-down.

  Clownfish Earrings

Clown Fish EarringsYou need:

  • 2 soft rubber clownfish toys
  • 2 lengths 24 gauge wire or slightly thicker (maybe 4.5 – 5 inches each, and that sounds generous, but you want more to work with rather than less)
  • 4 blue seed beads  (mine are in three different shades)
  • 2 jump rings (I wrapped mine around a wooden chopstick — apparently it was not round…)
  • 2 ear wire thingies

To keep the lower bead from falling off, make a little spiral in the end of the wire. Load a bead onto the wire.

With a thick needle, poke a hole through the fish where the wire should go. Carefully thread a length of wire with a bead on it through the hole in the fish. <—- this part can be quite frustrating, especially if the wire you are using is soft, as mine was. Be patient, and don’t try to force it.

Once the fish are threaded on their wires, load the other bead on top of the fish. Make a wrapped loop above the bead and trim the excess wire.

Attach the ear wire with the jump ring. Ta-da! Fish ears!

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Filed under Inspiration, Instructions, Materials and Tools, Projects-Beads

My Quantum Wardrobe

It doesn’t actually exist unless I’m thinking about/imagining it.1910s coat Pattern

I was going to post earlier in the week but I got a bit distracted. Okay, really distracted. I found Pinterest. I didn’t join Pinterest, but I found that people would post their favorite patterns, and projects. It’s search results, curated and reviewed by humans, with pictures.

I found that there are a lot of free clothing patterns out there to be downloaded from the internet. I now have a new set of clothes, including underwear. Theoretically.

Some of my favorites:

3Hours Past The Edge of the World: Blank Canvas Tee (with “hacks”)

Modern Sewing Pattern’s ‘Satin Bra.‘They also have a boatload of dress patterns (among others), though not all have downloadable .pdfs.

Sew Zo… What do you know?’ s underwear and camisole patterns.

A vintage dress from Neu4bauer, in German and English.

Instructions for drafting and sewing a coat , another  bra and a corset I found on Instructables

Found a ‘Scoodie‘ pattern (scarf+hood…) on Just Tutorials.

I will now admit I joined Burda Style to get my hands on the Kasia Skirt.

I joined Your Style Rocks to get my hands on a hoodie bolero thingy (called ‘Our Own Pretty Ways‘). I regret nothing.

If I do attempt most, or all of these patterns I will have to learn how to draft, which won’t be a bad thing. Either I’ll have a new wardrobe soon or continue to use up my computer’s hard drive.

The image above is from a old pattern, circa 1910. I’d love to make it, but I have to figure out what the markings mean…

EDIT: How could I forget this? Think Liz has a sizable list of free patterns!

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Filed under Inspiration, Instructions, Links, New Ideas, Projects - Sewing, To Do List