Thursday, August 27, 2015

Happy 101th!

"One-oh-one-th"? or "One hundred and first?"

Ah, well. Here is something that doesn't have anything to do with Kickstarter - not that I am obsessed or anything. Although, Friday IS the final day for the Glyphs & Glitches campaign...

Every year, on my grandmother's birthday (Aug. 26th), we have a party for her. In the graveyard. This year we did it a little early because both the kids would be away this week.

Gramma Magda was an amazing lady who once rescued her mother-in-law from a concentration camp. Show of hands... how many of us would do that? Exactly.

She was also an artist and had a really warp-y sense of humor. I like to think she is smiling down at me from heaven and nodding over my decision to go to Cartoon School! If she were still alive, she'd probably enroll right along with me. Although... there's an interesting idea for a comic... hmmm... zombie or ghost cartoon student? Everyday life is just so full of "material"!

And she loved bears and chocolate. That's why we put a bear on the gravestone and we always place our food offerings right under his nose. I am sure there is a bear in the surrounding woods (perhaps with my grandmother's own spirit) who anxiously awaits the arrival of August 26th every year!


Alex placed the huge, super fudge-y looking piece of chocolate cake - from the Foothills in Warner - under the bear's nose.


I embellished it with a little flower from the Foothill's porch.


Lilah thought it would be a good idea to "check" and make sure the cake was chocolate-y enough.


We all agreed that would be a good idea. And everyone knows that chocolate cake eaten off the ground has no calories.


Although it does get under one's finger nails.


Good thing it started out as a huge piece. There was still plenty left for the bear.


We've been holding our celebrations for 5 years now and I was kind of amazed at how much my kids have changed. Here's my favorite photo of Lilah at the first celebration...


I think she is still very stylish, at age almost-9, but you can't help but love the self-confidence at age 4! Not everyone can carry off a pink tutu and red glitter shoes. At a graveyard party.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Last Days

There are only a few days left for my Kickstarter campaign to fund my Glyphs & Glitches project. If you have been thinking about it - or maybe had no idea I was even doing this... I strongly encourage you to go check it out and make a decision. ASAP.

Even at the lowest pledge level ($25), you will get access to the blog that will follow me through Cartoon School. You will learn all kinds of cool, artsy things right along with me. After the Kickstarter is over, I will offer access to the blog through my Etsy shop, but it will be more than $25. (So it's a good deal too!)

The way Kickstarter works is - the project must meet the funding goal by this FRIDAY! or I don't get any of the money that has been pledged. Which also means that no one gets their rewards. Agh! And I have already started making up the cool little boxes of Goodies!!
BTW - their are only 9 more of those available! 



If you haven't had a chance to look at the project, but are curious what kinds of cool things you might get... I will list them all here for your convenience!

You: "What's in it for me?"

Me:  You get the experience of going to Cartoon School without the stress, sleepless nights, spilled ink, and lack of talent!

You: "Cool. But what do I get?"


$10 - THANKS Everyone at this level and higher gets their name on the list of Project Backers on the blog. I'm also happy to add a simple link to your website from your name in the list.

$25 - FRIENDS! Everyone at this level and higher will get the "Glyphs and Glitches" blog sent directly to their email inbox.

$50 - DIGITAL FRIENDS get all three of my Inspiration Sketchbook pdfs to download. The three ebooks are "The Tangles of Kells," "The Tangles of Santa Fe," and "The Bauble Tree." (Everyone at this level and higher will get the three digital downloads!)


$100 - FRIENDS with GOODIES will get a little box stuffed with Stuff! Including: Signed copies of "The Tangles of Kells" and "The Tangles of Santa Fe" books, a pack of AlphaTangled cards, tattoos, stickers, pins, rubber stamps... and anything else that might fit. (I've had a lot of different businesses, so lots to choose from!) I've limited the goody boxes to 30 so I can make them really great! I expect to have these mailed out in September or October, depending on how many there are. (Only a few left!)

$150 - STUDIOMATES will join me for a monthly blog "Open Studio". You can submit your questions, art problems, thoughts... throughout the month, and I'll do my best to answer as many as I can on the blog. I am hoping for 9 blog Open Studios (school year is Sep.-May).

$200 - STUDIOMATES... with GOODIES will join me for a monthly blog "Open Studio" AND I'll send you a little box stuffed with Stuff! This box of stuff may have some additional special Goodies... oh, say, maybe an original, vintage AlphaTangle book, or a print, or...?

$250 - STUDIOMATE V.I.P.s can take part in the Open Studio each month. V.I.P.s will also get 1 hour of my undivided attention - through FaceTime or through emails. I'll be your creativity coach, Zentangle guru, or encouraging elementary art teacher. Whatever you are struggling with - from publishing questions to how to shade your piece of art to brainstorming your craft room layout. I'll spill my thoughts, sketch, or even shoot a video if you need the visual help. Need an open mind to share a "crazy" ("cool, unusual...") idea? I'll listen. [Note: this is one hour total, not one hour every month. However, you could break it up into shorter sessions- like having "Sandy-on-call." ] You have until the end of April 2016 to use your hour. And yes, it is perfectly ok to ask a question "for a friend."

$250 - CARTOON YOU - I'll create a cartoon avatar of you! Use it for social media or on your calling cards (any non-commercial use). You can decide if you want a full figure or just head and shoulders. Send me at least 4 clear photos and let the fun begin! The final image will be sent to you as a jpeg, so no postage is necessary.

$250 - SHAMELESS PLUG - I'll put an ad/link for you, your business, or your product on the blog. Creativity is welcome! The ad will stay on the blog until May 2016.

The Shameless Pug

$650 - The SHAMELESS PUG really likes you! I'll put an ad/link for you AND I'll review your product (book, website, whatever you like) on the blog AND I'll include it (the product) or you, in a comic strip, and post it on the blog. [Note: for reviews, I'll need a sample of the item. I'd particularly love to "review" a new iMac, a large format scanner, and a fuel efficient car!] You have until March 2016 to claim your Pug.

$3,000 - BACKSTAGE PASS - At this level, you are a very good friend, close family... or a stalker. Either way, you can't stay at my apartment! But, I will put you up at The Hotel Coolidge (good example of a Shameless Plug!), for a night. I'll take you out for lunch - BBQ? Turkish? Food co-op? And then I'll show you behind the scenes at the Cartoon School! You'll get to see the studios and such rarities as the kind-of-creepy-but super-cool cartoon graffiti bathroom! That's not for kids though. Some of those drawings bring new meaning to "bathroom humor"! ...And other exciting sites. I'll also give you a Cartoon School tote bag or some other memento of the lovely day. And, depending on the day you visit - you may get to attend other intriguing events, like a film night or a visiting artist lecture. And yes, you can bring a friend, spouse, or kid. Or two. But not two spouses. That's just wrong. You have until May 2016 to use your reward. This level also has Studiomate status so you can take part in the blog Open Studios.

$4,000 - The COLLECTOR - You just KNOW that someday my art will be famous, right? Especially with all the skills I will learn at Cartoon School! You can start your collection while my art is still affordable. ;-) You will get an original, fabulous, framed piece of my Zentangle art! This piece uses black, brown and sepia inks as well as white chalk - on handmade lokta paper. It is professionally framed. Big and impressive! Just the way art should be. It might even match your sofa.


The Baron is not included. He is a character from my rubber stamp line, and volunteered to help show scale.

Here is a close up of the piece:

So those are the amazing rewards you can get for backing my Glyphs & Glitches project! I added a few of these as requests - so if you have an idea for a reward that you want to see - and are willing to back... let me know real quick as there are only a few days left!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Behind the Scenes - The Glyphs & Glitches Banner

I have discovered two drawbacks (pardon the pun) to having my art supplies neatly organized in mugs on my drafting table.
1. They are much more appealing than my daughter's disorganized materials.
2. They are easily removed from my drafting table...


Although I have to admit that I also work on the floor... the bed... the couch. Which is why my supplies are so portable.

So what have I been doing on my actual drafting table?
I thought I would show you how I created the header for my Glyphs & Glitches blog. This is also the same design I used for the project image on Kickstarter, with a slight shift to my cartoon character.

If you have been curious about the Kickstarter Project and wondering what the blog will be like, this post will give you a good example.

The Process:

This was the original blog header:


It's a pencil drawing I had done of canopic jars - to go along with the Egyptian "glyph" part. And if you have canopic jars in your life, you definitely have a "glitch" or two. (Canopic jars were used to store the organs when a person was mummified).

I updated it to be more relevant to cartooning and added my avatar "thinking"...



But my art directors didn't think anyone would "get" it. My sister (art director #2) suggested I start over and have me thinking about my kids and cat, since that is what I write about... with cartoon accents. Fine.

I started with a pencil sketch of the kids sitting on the sofa with Minou sprawled on the back.


The Lilah Beans found their way in and, as usual, started interacting with the other characters. One is pulling Alex's ear, one is sleeping on the cat's paw, another is petting Lilah... and I tossed a Bumblebat in too, just hanging around.


I inked over the pencil sketch with brown ink for the kids and dark gray for everything else.




I added the tangle, Printemps, in the background in light gray ink because I tend to put it anywhere I need to fill space. Swirls appeal to my chaotic mind...


I added more brown to the kids with crosshatching, then darkened the shadowy areas with black pen.


 I really liked this 3 color drawing. This is where I also get stuck. Keep it simple? Or push it with color? Agh. Once again, the art directors decided "color!" And I thought - yes, that could work... just as I liked the contrast between the slightly realistic drawing and the cartoon drawing, I thought I could use the monotone cartoon against the colored reality.

I didn't really think that hard about it, I was getting desperate to get to work on the rest of the Kickstarter project!

So I scanned the art into Photoshop (actually I use Photoshop Elements, but I intend to learn all about the "real" program in school).


 I created a new layer to do all the color work. When I hid the line layer, it looked a little creepy! Notice the Lilah Bean's pink cheeks just floating in space?


But all together, I thought it worked...


I added my cartoon character thinking about it all, and the type, and then resized it to fit the width of the blog header. This is an actual screen shot from the blog:



The project image on Kickstarter has to be in a square format, so I rearranged the bubble, me, and the text:


For now, the material on the Glyphs & Glitches blog is reposted from this blog. This post will also be put on there. If... WHEN... the Kickstarter is funded, posts about cartoon school and step by steps like this one, will only be available on the G&G blog. You will still be able to get access to it, but the price will be higher. 

There will also be more detail, and school will have started and the posts will get crazy exciting!

All that to say - please, please, please! back my Kickstarter project as soon as possible. There are only 13 days left to fund it.

To all of you who have already backed it, thank you so much! Now, get your friends to do it too! ;-)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Lego and comics...

The kids helped me bring a mini-van load of boxes and important stuff - like my drafting table and a bunch of pancake pillows... to my new apartment near the cartoon school. Then they gave me their opinions on what furniture I should have moved - or not.

Lilah and I are still struggling over just which Legos we should bring... we have agreed that we should stick to a series - like Main Street, or Fairies. I think we will bring the Harry Potter sets since they were destroyed by a cat and need an excuse to be rebuilt. And there is a little desk that was left behind in the apartment that is just screaming for paint - and faux finish - to look like old stones...


Hogwarts will be resurrected on this desk!
And, as if we needed some kind of sign that this was the the right apartment, town, and school for me to be attending... look what we saw in the school's front window!!!


My new school... built out of Legos!!! Now I'm wondering if I should bring my whole Main Street set up... but then I might be tempted to "acquire" this building for the collection. Hmmm.... 
Here are two closer-up pics (I know you want to see!)


And the FLAG! How cool is that?


Back to the apartment... of course, I made a sketch of the floor plan and I have another of all the possible furniture that could go in there.


It has beautiful woodwork, except on the apartment doors to the hall. 



They had to be backed with fireproofing or something and are really ugly. I got permission to turn them into chalkboards! (I always create large chalkboards in my habitats).


I'm hoping that, if I tell you all this, I will HAVE to follow through and paint stuff, just to prove to you that I did it. 

My Kickstarter Blog Project is intended to work that way too. Accountability. I need accountability!

Then, back home... I felt inspired to pack up comic books to bring to school. We actually have a required reading list and I was searching around the house for my TinTin comics. Couldn't find them!? So I cracked open the 7 comic book boxes I had found in my mom's attic. Oh! Pandora had NOTHING on me!


Yes, I found the TinTins. And X-Men, New Mutants, She-Hulk, a gazillion Batman...



...some original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics (from back when they were considered to be an underground parody comic!)


... Books of Magic, Sandman, Vampire Lestat... Lilah fell in love with the "What's Michael?" cat comics...

I think I have gotten a little distracted!
And the movers come on Wednesday. Eeek!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

My Kickstarter Project is Live!

I have spent a large part of this summer working on a Kickstarter Project and I am excited to say that my project, Glyphs & Glitches, has been approved and is now live on the website. And I am even more excited that I have my first backer!

If you are not familiar with Kickstarter, it is one of the larger, more well-known crowd-sourced funding sites. It's really fascinating to surf the site and see all the different ideas for projects. The creator sets a goal and a time limit. If you can raise the money in that time period, you can use it towards your project. If you fall short of the goal, you get nothing. Risky but exciting.

My project is a private blog that will follow my adventures through cartoon school.
Take a look at it HERE or click on the image below.


I have only 20 days to raise the funds as I intend to get the blog rolling before school starts in the beginning of September. I'll do some more posts with more details about the project, but I wanted to get the info out there as soon as I could.

Whether or not you decide to back my project, I would very much appreciate you sharing the link and the project with your friends and family!
Here is a short link to use: http://kck.st/1W7vTUi

If you have been following this Beez In The Belfry blog for a while, you know that I am going to grad school this fall - to the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont - to get my Masters in Applied Cartooning. It is a really tough program, but I am incredibly excited and also a little terrified! This summer, I have been closing down my BeeHive studio and selling off everything I can to raise money for the tuition and room and board.

While in school, I will be limiting my Etsy shop sales and Zentangle teaching. I do hope to be writing more and "teaching" through the Glyphs & Glitches blog. There are chances for you, through the Kickstarter reward levels, to get access to me and ask me questions. The cartoon program covers everything from writing, figure drawing, and Photoshop skills - to silkscreening, history of sequential art, and marketing. I'll tell you about the interesting things that I learn and also show you how what I'm learning might apply to the things that you are interested in. For example... I know that we will be learning about lettering, dip pens, and using non-photo blue pencils. I'm guessing you might like to know how they can be applied to your love of art journaling or Zentangle? Yes - me too!

The Glyphs & Glitches blog will be like an online Open Studio. I really hope that you will join me for this first year at cartoon school! I know that it will be difficult, but your support and encouragement keeps me moving forward and, as you already know, I love sharing my discoveries with you too!

Oh - and more incentive to go and look at the Project on Kickstarter - I posted my entire application comic at the end of the project description!

[I'll do another post soon to show you how I came up with the Project image and blog header.]

Tangle Library APP Gets a Kells Update!

I get a lot of emails... but the funniest, most unexpected one I received this week started like this:

"Sorry for the delay, I was in rural Poland and didn't have internet."

And then, the good part:

"I've just released the app, it should be live in the next 12-24 hours."

Yeah! 
And, by the way, that message was from Ian, the developer of my Tangle Library App. When I sent him all the art, he was in France... I wonder where he was when he got internet back? He is on quite an adventure around the world. I am so glad that he is a geek and travels not only with his laptop, but the code for the APP!

This is actually a new In-app-purchase for the Tangle Library. I created a collection of 40 tangles and step-outs based on designs from my Inspiration Sketchbook - The Tangles of Kells.


You can get the Tangle Library APP on iTunes, HERE.
If you don't do i-anything (iPhone, iPod, iPad), you can get the books HERE.

If you already have the main APP, here is a video of how to get the new pack of tangles:


The video was done when there were only 2 choices, but it works the same. This is what the screen looks like with all the choices:


If you aren't seeing all the choices, be sure to "Update" the Tangle Library first and then try clicking the "Restore Previous Purchases".

Here are two more screenshots to get you excited!




There are some simpler tangles and some more challenging patterns too.

If you are having any trouble with the APP, have questions, or want to share what you have been using the APP for, be sure to visit the Tangle Library Facebook Page.

I really hope you like this new set of tangles! It was one of my big projects for the summer. The other big project is a Kickstarter campaign which should be live later today. I'll do another post soon and let you know all about that.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What I Did (am doing) on my Summer Vacation

I have recently become aware of a really bad habit that I have. I post the "daily" stuff to Facebook - rather than my blog! Shocking, I know. Summertime seems to start so late, and end so early. It is just flying by and if I don't take time to "blog" it, it will be .... gone.

My son, Alex, is off at Music Camp for a few weeks. This year he is a teacher! We are so proud. I was actually happy that he couldn't get a local job (since he would only have been working for a few weeks) - he was able to work on projects and spend time with his little sister. Lilah (little sister) has been doing a cool online Java programming class that uses Minecraft. She loves it, but it helps to have her brother working with her. They are both more than a little addicted to Minecraft!


So much so that, even when she doesn't have access to a computer or iPad, she is still designing. Good thing they have Etch-a-Sketches at the Foothills restaurant!

A few weeks back, Lilah and I decided it was time to FINALLY clean out the shed and turn it into the secret clubhouse it was always meant to be. I wish I had taken "Before" photos - but imagine, if you will...

We opened the shed door and millions of little bugs (Lilah called them cockroaches, but I'm sure they were not!) went scurrying into corners and under the floor. Thick cobwebs covered the old tricycle, lawnmower, pieces of broken trellis, tent, umbrella, kite... yuck! What was I thinking?! Close the door!!!

No. We dragged everything out onto the lawn, then Alex dragged it all to the corner of the street where we put a "FREE" sign on the ground. Amazingly - every bit of junk was gone within two days! (Thanks everyone!) I even watched a neighbor, who'd been walking his dog, help a guy load an old door on top of his little car and strap it down with bungees. Heartwarming.



We broomed and shop-vac-ed the ceiling and corners and floor (yuck yuck YUCK!) Then the fun began. We raided the garage for carpet pieces, unpainted furniture from my remaining stash (I KNEW there was a reason I'd been holding onto them), and Lilah took apart the broken kite and hung the streamers from the ceiling with tape.


 It was festive, if not elegant.


We uncovered a few ancient mosaic stepping stones from Alex's 5th birthday (Pompeii theme. Yes, he was/is an unusual kid). 


And we found some rubber stepping stones too. They made a nice front stoop. And some faded metal garden art flowers. Pretty cozy, don't you think?


Lilah took a basket filled with her Babies, some trail mix, musical instruments, crayons and notebook, and my iPad - and spent the rest of the day playing out there.


Speaking of the Babies, on another day, Amaret told Lilah it was a good day for a birthday party.

[A side note: Amaret is a MyTwinn doll so she was designed to look just like my kid. When Lilah was younger, she looked creepily similar to the doll - same hair and eye color, and Lilah had bangs too. Since Lilah's real name is "Lilah Amaret," we named her little sister "Amaret".]

Amaret has lots of cool doll clothes, but she prefers to wear Lilah's caste-offs. The biggest difference between them, other than the bangs, is Amaret LIKES to brush and braid her hair. Lilah? Not so much.


So - Amaret decided there would be a huge tea party... in my studio. And all the Babies and stuffies, including the Mythicals, would be bused (by basket) up to the party spot. The Babies took turns performing parts in "Thumbelina."


And then they required snacks. Like cheese cut into mouse and squirrel shapes...


And chocolate milk.

The party ended when Lilah got angry at the Babies for not drinking their milk... and then accusing ME of drinking some when she left the room. I mean, REALLY!?

It was a good party though and everyone slept well that night.

Speaking of bed... I wonder what Lilah would say if she knew that Minou, the cat, takes over her bed when she is away? 


Minou has become great friends with Scruffy Kitty! I don't think she cares that SK is just a hand puppet.


Let's throw in something completely random, but rather pretty. This is a bee? Wasp? Big scary, flying thing that was in our kitchen! Just before I opened the screen to let it out, I noticed the cool markings on its back - they reminded me of my Bumblebat logo's face.


And lastly, I have been obsessed with clearing out houses and trying to sell some of them and the stuff in them and finding things I will need to furnish my apartment at school....


If you are looking for an amazing - HUGE - house at a ridiculously low price - to live in, turn into a restaurant or apartments, or an art center... you have been looking for my mother's house. It's right on Main Street in Warner (an adorable New England town) and next door to my BeeHive Studio - which is also for rent.

And if you have been looking for an adorable vacation cottage in New Hampshire so you can run away from home and focus on your art or your novel.... you need our cottage on Blaisdell Lake!

And did I mention I'm hoping to rent out my BeeHive studio space?
We're still holding lots of sales to clear it out. This week the sales are on Thursday and Friday from Noon till 7pm and Sunday from 11-5pm. And listing stuff on my Etsy store too.

PHEW! Inhale...exhale...

And staying up crazy late working on an idea for a Kickstarter Project. I have done so much research, even taken a class on Skillshare, and I think I have a really great idea... but I'm not sure if Kickstarter is the best way for me to raise the money I need.

I think if I were making a product, or printing an actual book, it could work well. But with the risk of not making the funding goal, the 5% Amazon takes in fees, the 3% for credit card processing... and then the rather large cost of shipping folks their rewards (at exactly the time I will be starting school). Plus, with Kickstarter, the focus is on the rewards and the intro movie - rather than on the actual idea. I think I would rather put 95% of my effort into making the IDEA the best possible, rather than making a cool campaign.

I need to do some really intense thinking, I guess, and FAST! If any of you have experience with crowd-sourced funding, I'd appreciate hearing your wisdom. If you like to support cool ideas, what do you look for? What compels you to back a project? Would you rather just click a Paypal button? Do you like to get "stuff"?

Put your opinions in the comments section below!

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