Friday, January 9, 2015

Not So Funny

I've been sick in bed this week, and I don't regularly follow the news anyway - so I only learned about the Charlie Hebdo massacre on Thursday from my son. I searched online to try and understand what had happened. As an artist and an aspiring cartoonist - I took it a bit more personally than the usual horrors I see on the internet.

It's hard to put into words what is going through my head. I'm thinking of how these horrible terrorist attacks seem to backfire as the targeted groups get support and pull together to become even stronger. I'm thinking of how political cartoonists have always filled the role of the court fool. Even when others were being beheaded by the king, it was their job to always tell it as they saw it. It's the cartoonists' job to point out absurdities and inconsistencies so that we can see ourselves in a different light.

Humor - the ability to laugh at ourselves - is what makes life livable. With all the crazy things I have gone through in my own life, there have always ever been two choices:

You Laugh
or
You Cry

I choose to laugh. And just about anything can have a funny side to it. Maybe ironic-funny, but still something to make you think differently.

A long time ago (I was 12) - I woke up from an operation that had not gone as planned, to find I had lost so much blood (much of it down my throat -), that there was a transfusion in my foot, and I vomited blood for ages before I could even ask what had happened. So - lying there in the hospital, with tubes sticking out of everywhere, my face cut apart and swollen, surrounded by bowls of barfed blood... have I set the scene? ... A nurse walks in carrying a huge phlebotomy tray full of tubes and needles. 

She says, "I'm going to need some blood."

I can't talk, but I hand her one of the barf bowls.

And then my mom and I start howling with laughter.
(Very, very painful laughter.)
Talk about sick humor!
Ah - - it's still funny to me now!

And someday, I will find a way to turn my experiences in the hospital, into a comic book. I've never wanted to be a political cartoonist, but I do want to chronicle life, and the Charlie Hebdo incident has only served to reinforce my desire to go to cartoon school.

Bored Panda had a fabulous post with cartoons drawn by 28 cartoonists to pay tribute to the victims. They are all fabulous images, but #18. "I am Charlie", made me cry.


This is the most un-political of the cartoons. We are all Charlie - especially THIS Charlie.

So what is my own personal, ironic humor that comes from this awfulness? In the past few months, since I started telling people about my plans to apply and attend the Center for Cartoon Studies, I have had a number of puzzled responses. "Why would you do that?" "What will you DO with that degree?" and the implied judgement that cartooning is frivolous and unnecessary.

But now... we see that cartoonists are among the most powerful and threatening forces on the planet! I expect to see the next generation rushing to go to art school rather than signing up for the armed forces, or medical school. Parents saying, with pride, "My son, the cartoonist!" And those who want to make a difference, but are too old or irregular to join the military anyway, you can do what I'm doing and go directly to cartoon school.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December Journal Pages

Yeah! And Oh Wow! I did it - a whole year of journal pages!! Whoohoo! Maybe you know this from your own experiences, but keeping with a program for a whole year is really hard.

So here are my last four pages from Journal52. I made 52 new pieces of art this year. Wow. If you are up for a challenge, I highly recommend this group and the 2015 challenge is just starting up.
And it's free. What's not to love?

Week 48 - Let's Build a Snowman!

Journal52 has been full of cool coincidences this year! The weekend before this assignment, I went for my interview and portfolio review at the Center for Cartoon Studies where I am applying for my Masters in Applied Cartooning. The application, which I had JUST started, requires a comic book as part of the portfolio submission, And this comic book must include myself, a robot, a piece of fruit, and... a snowman!! So I did my J52 homework with this in mind and this is my final panel for the mini comic. That's me, standing in the doorway.

It's drawn with a Sharpie pen, and shaded with a gray Tombow marker.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 49 - Doodle

Doodle... I tried to do this "quickly". I always take too long when I draw, so I think of a doodle as a quick drawing. And not planned...much. This is actually the tangle "Fret" - which would make a good video, if I get some time.

Drawn with Sharpie pen and colored with a gray Tombow marker.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 50 - Sparkle and Shine

Metallics and fluorescents don't scan... and they are hard to capture in a photo too. The first image shows the photo with nice hot fluorescent colors. I thought you might like to see the contrast - the second image is the good quality scan. The metallics have the right colors, but the oranges and pinks are all gone. Interesting, eh? Oh well, it was fun and sparkly to make. Good enough.

I sketched it with a white Prismacolor pencil, and drew the letters with Gelly Roll Moonlights and Metallics gel pens - on black card stock.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew
© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 51 - Sing a Song!

I confess, I did this piece a while ago, but it's not "cheating" since this is exactly what I WOULD have done this week - but I applied to cartooning school instead. I used this in my admission portfolio too. Another example of Journal52 themes paralleling my real life!
Drawn with Sharpie pen and colored with Inktense pencils. The Purple-People Eater song is by Sheb Wooley (genius).

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 52 - Circle

Wow - a journal entry - with an actual journal entry! At the beginning of a new year, I go back thru my calendar and my journals to see what my intentions were for the year. This time I was a little shocked to see how my "word" of the year had warped. I also watched one of my favorite movies last night ("Begin Again") and realized that phrase (and the story) feel very appropriate for this coming year. So my CIRCLE is the year beginning again, and my life circling around, and my calendar/agenda book... around and around... Drawn/written with Papermate ballpoint pen in my Moleskine agenda notebook.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

So that is done.

For 2015, I hope to keep up with a different Journal group that uses Zentangles.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

November Journal Pages

Feels like we jumped right from Halloween to Christmas - but when I think hard about it - there was a lot that happened in November. Makes my head spin thinking about it all. December is moving just as fast. I'm getting those weird fantasies again about a week spent just "puttering". At home. Maybe with someone leaving meals for me on the doorstep...

For now, here are my Journal52 pages for the month of November:

Week 44 - Skyline
Uni Pin Pen, Tombow markers, waterbrush

I strayed a little above the "skyline" but had fun making a sunset in the background with the markers and blending with the waterbrush.

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Week 45 - Thinking of You
Pilot brush pen, pencil, watercolor, solid tempera paint crayon.

I find that song lyrics help me to focus my ideas for these prompts. This song, "Try" by Colbie Caillat, has been haunting me lately. It makes me so sad. I have met so many people - mostly women, but a few men too - who are trying so hard... but still aren't happy. And this time of year especially, I find myself wondering, "Why am I doing this? ... this isn't ME."

That's not really lipstick on the mirror - it's a very cool hybrid product. It's kind of like the Gelatos, smoodgey and silky, blendable, but it dries like paint. 
 
© Sandy Steen Bartholomew


Week 46 - Napkin
Sharpie Pen, dinner napkin, fingerprints

It was just before Thanksgiving and not a single interesting napkin in the house! Time to remind myself that I am OCD, not a perfectionist... it only needed to be "finished" not "perfect"! This quote gave me another reason not to feel bad that I don't host Norman Rockwell worthy Thanksgiving parties.
 
© Sandy Steen Bartholomew


Week 47 - Wise Words 
Sharpie pen, Staedtler Fineliner Pens

I think this has been my year for playing with lettering and quotes! I work with words and pictures all the time, but separately. I love the idea of playing with them combined... illustrated letters and letters that form the illustrations.

This page uses the Staedtler pens I mentioned in the recent coloring book post. [If you are interested, I added some more art to that post with these pens - scroll down near the bottom to see it.]

© Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cartoon School... Step One

I suppose this might be step "Two" if I count Cartoon Camp this past summer as my first step. 

Today I am up in White River Junction, VT for Portfolio Day at the Center for Cartoon Studies. I haven't shown an actual portfolio in twenty years! I was so incredibly nervous that I almost let the winter storm that woke me up, serve as a sign from The Universe... "Go back to bed! You are too old to go back to school!"

"No!" I shouted! 
Well, maybe I whispered it. 

I'm glad I showed up. Sometimes a storm is just a storm. I chose to take the next event as the real sign from the Universe. My interview with Jason, a teacher at the school, went something like this:

Him: "wait- did you say you went to RISD? When did you graduate?"

Me: "1992, I think."

Him: "I was '91! Illustration?"

Me: "yes! Wow! So you had classes with Judy-Sue and ...?"

That's a pretty good start for an interview! 

With everything I learned about the school, the teachers, the community, financial aid and applications... I no longer have any excuses to put off making my decision. It comes down to - if I do my best with the application materials - I will make the cut. But I have to do it soon since it is rolling admissions and only a very small group is selected. 

Then I can start thinking about how to pay for it! If you are interested in an adorable cottage on a lake in New Hampshire - please buy mine so I can go to cartoon school! And you will notice me selling off more things from my studio too. 

I can do this. I want to do this. I KNOW I can do this. I will find a way to make this work. 


Oh  - and we had dinner at Tuckerbox Cafe tonight - Turkish food, as the name suggests ;-). This place is across the street from MY school. Yet another reason I want to come here. Yummy. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Doodlers Anonymous Coloring Book!

I get so excited about the strangest things, but being in the new Doodlers Anonymous Coloring Book really tops my charts!


"Volume 4 of the Doodlers Anonymous coloring book features the doodles and drawings of 60 artists from around the globe - some fresh novices, others seasoned veterans, all of whom share a love for the hand-drawn.

The artwork is playful, beautiful and inspiring - not something off the shelf. So treat yourself, your family, and your faves to a little bit of happy!"

 This crazy animated gif features a few of the images from the new book. If you stare really hard at it, you can catch a glimpse of my art! It's a mandala-ish sort of thing made up of plant pods... no, really, it's cool!! Even Lilah likes it. And it will be very fun to color.


If you pre-order it now, CLICK HERE, you can save $3 off the regular price. The three previous coloring books are also really nice.

If you are thinking of giving this as a Christmas gift, I suggest including a set of Staedtler fine tip coloring pens. I have just recently gotten addicted to these and was freaked to discover that there is not only a gorgeous set of 20, but also two additional sets with pastels and forest colors. The images in these coloring books have very fine details, so I think these pens - with the books - would be Doodle Nirvana!

Here are some Amazon links for the pens:



And, yes, you can create tangles in color with these pens too!

UPDATE 12/13/14:

I wanted to show you a page I colored in one of the older Doodlers Anonymous coloring Books.

Line art by Amaia Arrazola

I used the Fineliner pens and the colors look bright and beautiful. Because they are finepoint, I color in with crosshatching.


In areas where I went over many times, some of the color bled through to the back of the page. Not as bad as with regular tipped markers though.


I didn't care about the image on the back (a motorcycle), but you could always photocopy the page if you are worried about that.

marker bleed thru on back of page
As far as longevity - I really don't know. Markers aren't designed to last for a long time. Graphic designers used them for speed of color application and the art was scanned for reproduction. If your coloring book masterpieces mean a lot to you, I suggest scanning or taking a photo. But the whole point is to enjoy the process while working - and I enjoy using these colored pens. :-)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tangles of Kells - Now in the Physical World!

I wanted to tell you about my new BOOK! I added a new cover and some new art to the e-book and had it printed on very nice paper and - voila!! - The Tangles of Kells is now available as a BOOK!

I sold pre-release copies to the ladies at Bette Abdu's CZT Retreat a few weeks ago and then I gave copies to my attendees at this past weekend's, ART SWARM. (Yes, I know, I need to do a blog post about the Swarm - it was fabulous!)

While I was procrastin-... ahem... trying to get it listed on my Etsy shop - I saw that it was already having an impact on a fellow SWARMer. Jacque was posting it's effects on her family on Facebook and I asked if I could re-post here:


And here is proof that her boys enjoyed the book...

It got them drawing!


And it got Jacque drawing too!
Stunning white on black...


...and more tradtional black on white..


I think these may be Jacque's first tangles? (Welcome to the rabbit hole!)

I love ebooks and the chance they give to try out a subject without a huge investment. It also makes it really easy to get my books into International tanglers' hands! If you love ebooks, The Tangles of Kells is still available as a downloadable PDF, HERE.

The (NEW!!) printed version is available as a Limited Edition book - signed, with three special postcards, and two Bijou tiles in a pocket inside the front cover. (Get it HERE).


And the regular version of the (NEW!!) Tangles of Kells is available HERE.


Lastly, if you are a CZT, or a teacher, or another person who needs large quantities of Zentangle related books, you can get quantities of ten or more Kells books at wholesale, HERE.


I am very excited to have piles and piles of the new books!! There is something so satisfying about seeing your work in print. But now I need to get these books into YOUR hands. I hope that you will enjoy it and be inspired to make beautiful work of your own. And please share what you are working on on my Facebook Page!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's That Bauble Tree Time of Year

I received the following email this weekend:

Dear Ms Bartholomew,
I have to thank you again. I recently had the pleasure of purchasing your book "The Bauble Tree" in your Etsy shop. I have since written a short blog post about it at http://www.stxradley.blogspot.com  The book was so quick and easy to print out and I love it so much. My 6 year old loved it as much as I for she quickly absconded with it and sat down to draw. You inspired her yet again with the Lilah beans and the tree. I was lucky to get a look at the book after I put it together. Haha. But thank you again for all your efforts and your books that you produce. I know you are a very busy lady and I admire both your work and your simple instructions. These books have been tools for myself as well as our craft program at camp. I look forward to seeing what is next.
Sincerely,
Chelsea Radley
Stx


I was so blown away by the blog post... and then a second post, that I begged for permission to re-post it here. I edited a little, so if you would like to see the complete posts, just click the titles for either and they will get you there.
Posted: 07 Nov 2014 09:06 AM PST
Hello and welcome to another sporatic installment. I recently purchased the printable book "The Bauble Tree" from Sandy Steen Bartholomew's Etsy shop. It was an instant download so I was able to print right away. 

Following her suggested directions I created a book out of the printout and even added a cardstock cover. 


I folded the pages in half ...

    

 and glued the back edges together. 

Look at my little munchkin. No sooner did I print and glue than the book was stolen from me! Yes, stolen I say! Because as soon as she got her hands on it she proceeded to draw "bauble" to her heart's content. 
    

Copying the ideas in the book, Cali sat down and immediately drew her own tree and accompanying tangles. 
    

She was very intent on her work. And who isn't? Honestly it was a joy to watch her stretch her creative muscles. I fancy that Ms. Bartholomew's daughter and mine would get along quite well when it comes to tangling.
    

Cali even cut it out and asked for a string to hang it up like an ornament. Seeing as it is not yet Christmas, I headed outside for this shot on our neighboring pine tree. I think her tangled ornament came out quite well! Now if only I could get the chance to play with the book myself. *sigh*
    








Posted: 08 Nov 2014 03:32 PM PST
Ah, yes. So I finally got hold of the book "The Bauble Tree" and was able to try my hand at this tangle. What resulted was a lot of fun experimentation.


My first attempt was this little card. I colored on with metallic colored pencil. But I thought to myself, can I do more? 

Yes! I did! And I absolute love this little card! 


So how could I make this even better? Well, color it in of course. Thankfully, my color printer did a fantastic job so I just had to cut and fold my papers. I now have over 40 of these little cards to send out this Christmas. I don't think I have ever had Christmas cards ready this fast! 



And my daughter even sat down to tangle and color yet again. What do you think of her version? 


For the third installment in this series, in which Chelsea creates all of her Christmas cards, in November - and under the influence of the Lilah Beans...
click this link to read all those details...

More Ebooks and Tangle Cards

And here are some quick previews of the adorable cards which are available on Chelsea's Etsy shop.


If you would like to get your own copy of The Bauble Tree ebook, come on over to my Bumblebat Etsy shop. This is the perfect time of year for Baubles!

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