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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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Making Christmas Presents: What I Learned

So this year, for lack of money, I decided to make my Christmas presents. Other years, I’ve thought of doing it, but I’ve had enough money to buy most of them. This year I have more art supplies than money so I went handcrafted!

Well, not entirely. But for those who are considering it for next year: Here is what I learned:

  1. Don’t learn a new craft. If you are serious about making nice gifts, don’t use this time to learn something new. There is no time to learn it properly, then get and the item won’t turn out very well.
  2. Make a list of your recipients. That way, you will make gifts that the recipients will like and you won’t make too many or too few.
  3. Time is the real expense. What you won’t spend in money, you will spend in time. I started making the presents at the beginning of December, after NaNoWrimo wrapped, but the few hours I had after work and the weekends wasn’t enough. Now I promised myself that this year I will have Christmas in July. Right.
  4. People like small handcrafted things better than large bought things. Making a small gift shows a lot more thought and care than buying it, so the things you make don’t have to be elaborate or large.
  5. Shipping will cost. Don’t forget, buying the presents is not the only expense. If you live away from most of your family like I do, you will have to send most of your presents through the mail or UPS or FedEx or whatever. Luckily you can decide the item’s weight and size.
  6. Don’t forget to do your homework. As always, just because you know how to make something, doesn’t mean you have it all planned out. Sketch out your project, even if it’s on the back of an envelope. It will save you time and money and your sanity later.

I’m sure there are a lot more that I haven’t thought of.

On a completely other note, I’m pretty sure that tweeting book reviews is not going to work. I’ve also hatched a plan to started another blog strictly about books.

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Filed under Books, Follow-Up, Holiday, Instructions

Write, and Then Keep Going

This list was inspired by a thread in the NaNoWriMo forums. I thought about it after I’d read it, and realized that I used to have that problem, but since I’d decided to take the 50,000 word challenge,  the problem had mostly disappeared in November and was greatly reduced the rest of the year.

Here is how I get over that “hump”– where the first flush of success has worn off, but the story is nowhere near it’s halfway point:

  • Be interested in your story — don’t write something that you feel you ‘should’, or characters that you think are cool even though you despise writing about them. It’s very hard to mull over the details of a story when it feels like schoolwork.
  • Don’t get distracted and start something else — I get good ideas all the time. I write down what I know of the idea, and go back to my original project, that way I don’t have a lot of false starts lying around. Instead, I have a lot of notes and finished draft.
  • Make sure you have an ending in mind — This ending may change as your story develops, but it’s good to have in mind a goal, so that you have a place to write to.
  • Be flexible, let the story suggest itself — If the characters are shoehorned into doing something that they wouldn’t and the reader knows they wouldn’t, the reader feels betrayed. Let the characters speak; you may not be writing the story you think you are writing.
  • Do it all during Nano — this one isn’t necessarily only for Nanoers. It means find the situation in which you work best (under pressure, in the bath, in complete silence). Try to get yourself into that situation as often as possible, and do as much writing as you can when you can.
  • Keep notes — nothing gets done all at once. If you try to write the details the first time around, you might miss the bigger picture. Rather than going back and fussing, keep notes about your ideas. This sort of dovetails with the first point — keep notes so that you know what ending fits with the current incarnation of the characters.
  • Don’t worry — Some people want to get every sentence perfect before moving on. Maybe this works for them, but it slows down momentum, and then boredom sets in, and then the story is in danger of being abandoned altogether. Some people also worry that what they are doing has been done before — well it probably has. Shakespeare didn’t write much that was original, he just did it better.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration or motivation — this is big. To those who wait, inspiration or motivation will never come. Write even when you don’t feel like it, or when all you have talk about is the color of the rug.
  • Let others motivate you — Tell your trusted friends what you are doing: sometimes the best motivator is a friend asking about your latest project. That way you can say ‘oh, I finished that months ago’ and wait for their impressed exclamations.

I wrote these with fiction in mind but it can be applied, with a little tweaking perhaps, to many projects.

And yes, I’m still working on labeling and optimizing those pictures I took in Portland.

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Book Lists

Awhile ago I started keeping a list of books that I’ve read that I could recommend to other people.  Dustin asked for it, so I will post it here as well.

GRN=Graphic novel
FIC= Fiction
BIO= Biography/biographical incidents
SER=Representing a Series

(That I have Read)

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) FIC

Great Gatsby, The (F. Scott Fitzgerald) FIC

Secret Garden, The (Francis Hodgson Burnett) FIC

Odyssey, The (Homer) FIC

Blankets (Craig Thompson) GRN

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll) FIC

Martian Chronicles, The (Ray Bradbury) FIC

Wrinkle in Time, A (Madeline L’Engle) FIC

Persuasion (Jane Austen) FIC

Black Like Me ( John Howard Griffin) BIO.

Watchmen ( <Alan Moore>) GRN

Flatland (Edwin A. Abbott) FIC

Worth Reading
Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) SER

Hello Darlin’ (Larry Haggard) BIO

Secret Identity (Kurt Busiek,) GRN

Scarlet Pimpernel, The (Baroness Orczy) FIC

Girl of the Limberlost, A (Gene Stratton-Porter) FIC

Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) FIC

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Filed under Books, Inspiration, To Do List


I was in Long’s today, for something else and I walked out with a new notebook. It isn’t high quality, and it only cost me three bucks, but it has each page divided in half: half for graph paper and half lined. It’s going to be my beading project book.

I found I needed one of these things about three minutes before, when I found a folder on the same aisle that came with a pad divided into “description,” “drawing”, and “actions for completion” on each page. I wanted the pad but decided that I had no need for the elaborate leather-like folder. Sadly, I couldn’t find the pad just alone. This composition-type notebook is the next best thing, Somewhere to draw my idea, and another place to list colors, materials, stitches, etc.

Let’s see, along with this “Beading Project Notebook” I have a notebook for:

  • General drawings, magazine clippings and ideas
  • Beading images and colors notebook
  • quick pen doodles (where I use obscene amounts of whiteout)
  • objective subjects (still life and landscapes), and developed ideas
  • Another general subject notebook used for printmaking class

I probably have too many, but I’ve found that If I have an idea or inspiration, I need to record it. Each of these notebooks has a quality level that applies to the subject it contains. For example, the objective subjects etc. notebook is a Moleskine notebook with thick creamy pages and a stiff cover. The quick pen doodles is really cheap, and the general subject notebooks are decent artist’s notebooks.  The feel of the paper helps me articulate the idea — whether it’s just exercises, or something more developed.

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Filed under Colors and Images, Inspiration, Life, Materials and Tools, New Ideas, To Do List


I organize. Actually I have a job which entails organizing. Since I organize things at least 7 hours out of five days of the week, I’ve developed a taste for it. Creativity certainly comes easier if you are organized. I’m not talking about the act of getting ideas –sometimes you need to throw the cards on that table and look for random patterns.  I mean in figuring out how to implement the ideas.  Get the idea then write it down, and when the idea has been fleshed out a bit all the materials to make it can be found without losing momentum.

I know I should keep myself better organized. I would get a lot more done. I do keep files on my computer religiously organized and my beads, which would be as someone once put it ‘bead soup’ if i didn’t. I was just organizing my beads and a beading materials last night, which inspired the subject of this post.

To keep myself and the myriad assortment of  brain waves that I get regularly, I keep lists. Lists upon lists.

Things I keep lists for:

  • To Do List
  • Stories I’m working on
  • Books I’d like to read.
  • Goals for the next month (or so)
  • Characters
  • Scenes (Not necessarily related to the characters above)
  • Colors in a picture I like
  • Colors that I like
  • Possible subjects for a themed necklace
  • Names (First and Last)
  • Websites
  • Possible posts for this blog
  • Songs that I want in the movie version of my story (dream big, right?).
  • Character attributes
  • Settings (again, not necessarily related any other story I’m working on)
  • Pen colors I’d like to buy
  • Things I need to do at work
  • How I’ve arranged all the files at work
  • Titles
  • Quotes
  • Bibliographies/sources (even for my own projects)
  • Ideas for ice cream flavors

Used to be I could remember a selection of things. I either got fat and lazy or old, probably both, but I started needing to write things down.  As long as I have compartments for things, be it pads of paper, beads, books, ideas, or colors, I can find them again. If I don’t have a place to put it, it becomes part of the ether, and is lost. Or lost and then found at some inconvenient time, like in the shower or after I’ve bought a new one.

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Filed under Inspiration, Life, New Ideas, To Do List