Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tattoo You

Maybe I wasn't really paying attention, or perhaps it is my newer appreciation for patterns (due to Zentangle)... but I have been noticing tattoos on more and more older women. I mean "older" as in "not teenagers." I always associated tattoos with tough, motorcycle guys and teenagers. You turn sixteen, get a tattoo and some body piercings... But, with the older women, is it more of a battle scar? Or is it like making notches on a prison wall to record the time passing?

The most amazing tattoo I have seen was on a dad in the Child Impact class one is forced to take when divorcing.  His entire arm was drawn and shaded with ink to look like it was mechanical. A robot arm of metal and wire. He might have been a poor excuse for a husband, but "wow" what a tattoo!

The womens tattoos I have seen are more predictable, bows and flowers. Pretty. But what justifies the pain of sticking needles into your skin?  I do have a fascination with the Mehndi henna tattoos that women wear in India. I would love to learn how to create those. But they are not permanent, just an intricate stain. I could imagine having permanent tattoos of some of those designs if they were henna colored - not the usual blue. I think my aversion to the classic blue tattoos comes from my own medical experiences. I have three blue-dot tattoos from radiation I had as a kid. I looked like I was jabbed three times, in the face, with a ball-point pen. And I can remember, very clearly, how much it hurt to have the dye injected under my skin! I used to tell my friends that they were micro-tattoos and the designs could only be seen with a microscope. I guess I was a little bit "cool" too because I was the only twelve year old around with tattoos. Most of us were still begging for pierced ears!

Now that I am ... "older" and contemplating the mid-life crisis thing... a real tattoo seems so tame. I do consider having my blue dots turned into something more exciting, like an eye of Horus or a zendala. But I can't get past the needle-thing. So I stew in my cowardice and lack of self-confidence because I am now too old to rebel properly.

But, all is not lost! I may lack the courage to deface my... ah... face. But I realized that I have been tattooing my surroundings for years! Yes, bathroom floors, furniture, cows.... And since a divorce seems to scream for a new tattoo, I tackled my Living Room wall, just before the eye surgery. I covered (almost) the entire wall with chalkboard paint and then drew Zentangles around the edges. I will probably use this project in the next Zentangle book (!!!?) but I had to show it to you now. It still needs some shading and stuff, but my daughter (who is my biggest fan) was flattered and thrilled that I used her own tangle - "Lilah Beans" (the little people) on the right side of the mural. And she promptly grabbed the chalk and added her own creatures.
It's a bird. Yes, of course, you already knew that.

A tiny turtle!
So, I think for now I will stick with vandalising my stuff. But I will push myself to get some of those great water-slide temp-tattoos made.... hmmm...

Snow, Snow Go Away

I would call that "encroaching"!
Hi-bear-nating...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Should She Take Ken Back?"

Is she serious!?

I get to see some really... "out there" advertising since I read Licensing and Toy Retailer magazines for my store. But I almost peed my pants laughing when I saw this one in "Toys and Family Entertainment" magazine. It ran for many, many pages and even had a place you could text in your vote for what poor Barbie should do. In case you aren't up on the soap opera, Barbie and Ken started dating in 1961. I owned the 1978 Superstar Barbie in glam pink poly and the Looking-Good Ken with stick-on mustaches. We melted him. My sister had the Malibu Ken - we broke off his head. Ken was Barbie's top fashion accessory until 2004, when she left him. He's had seven years to stew, to come to his senses, and realize that he may have a tiny "TM" after his name, but "Barbie" has always been the real thing. Now he wants her back!

"Should Barbie Take Ken Back?"

Listen up girlfriend!! You are tall, blonde, super sexy and you have even been a rocket scientist. An astronaut, a teacher, a vet, Wonder Woman, Cleopatra, for goodness sake... you are so much MORE than just a fashion model. You're a role model. You are what every little girl dreams of being when she grows up (despite the fact that our mothers are ashamed they let us play with such an unrealistic, unhealthy role model).

ANYWAY, you are powerful and can (and have been) anything you want to be. Not to mention, you are WAY over... ahem... 20 years old. And look at him... Ken is half the age of that guy you dated in the 70's and 80's. (Click on the picture and take a closer look!) Ken is barely 16 years old! Barbie, you deserve a real man. Just say "no"!

The Sketchbook Project

I have been meaning to post about the Sketchbook Project for a few weeks now. I actually completed my assignment and sent it in on time! Wowza. This is the description from the website: "The goal of the Project is to get blank sketchbooks into the artists' hands and then completed sketchbooks into the world for viewers to enjoy." There are thousands of sketchbooks in this exhibit and it will be traveling around the country. Right now it is in Brooklyn, NY and next it will be in my neck of the woods (Portland, ME) from March 30-April 2, 2011.

The sketchbooks have themes, my book was "I'm sorry I forgot you..." and I worked on it from last fall until this Jan. so... if you didn't know I got divorced last fall... well, you can certainly tell which pages were done when things got really bad! I put a PDF and an e-book version of my sketchbook on my website. So if you are curious, go ahead and download it. Please don't use it for anything or resell it or creepy stuff like that. But I'd love to know what you think of it. I'm new to this "online book" idea and am terrified of the potential! (terrified, because it will mean I NEVER leave my computer!)

By the way, the page just above may look a teeny bit familiar. The tangles are in my "Yoga for Your Brain" book (I did a LOT more this fall than just get divorced, give me a break!) If you haven't seen it, yet, the tangle is called "Flores DeCasa" as a play on words. I was born in Guam, in an Navy apartment called "Casa de Flores" (House of Flowers). This pattern is a "Flower of Houses". Get it? Sure. It is an example of a tangle I completely messed up during de-construction, but it became a whole lot more interesting in the end! And last note about the sketchbook - all the rubber stamps used in it are my designs (the fairy godmother is my son Alex's). The Rogue Muse is my second favorite page. And I scanned it before writing the title on the "Fossils and Flourishes" page. Oops.

 I am supposed to be setting up an online store for my real-life store, Wingdoodle and the options are overwhelming. I am testing out an online service called e-junkie. If anyone has any experience with e-Junkie (good or bad) I'd appreciate hearing about it.

While researching examples of sites that use e-junkie, I stumbled across two really amazing websites. The first, Flying Pig, is a company we used to carry at Wingdoodle. They make animated paper models - you know, you turn the crank and the mummy dances. I had forgotten about them and was tickled to see all the fun new designs.

The second site, Mochimochi Land, actually made me squeal out loud! They have patterns for amigurumi type knitted creatures that defy description... ok, I'll try.... how about a happy, footed bathtub, with piles of smiling bubbles spilling out? Or one called "Mossy Ground"? It's a piece of brown ground with little bits of happy moss and mushrooms. Oh - just go look, I'm not doing them justice. I don't knit, but it would be fun to get the patterns and create the creatures with needle-felting.... oh, no, another project!

PS - "eeeeee" (another squeal) There are "Mochimochi" books!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Different Kind of Love

Recently divorced and looking a bit Igor-ish, I thought I'd sit this Valentine's Day out. Bah-humbug and all that. But as the day progressed, I actually forgot all about the "real" holiday. I had my own kind of holiday today!

It started with reading the following email while crunching my Golden Grahams at 11:30am. (Yes, I finally got to sleep!! Oh, heaven.)

Hey Sandy,

The books are here!  We posted them to the site and I talked about them a bit in yesterday’s newsletter, though I did tell everyone that they were sight-unseen for me at that point.  Having taken a few minutes to look through yours, I wanted to let you know what a wonderful (really, really wonderful) job you did with it.  You’ve managed to take the mystery out of so many of the “art” elements that make Zentangles so special.  Shading?  Covered and explained.  The ways to use a pencil?  Yup, got it.  Seeing tangles everywhere.  Yup.  How to take what you see and create a tangle.  Yup!

I think you get the point… I love this book.  Even more than Totally Tangled, which I really liked. 

This Sunday, and the next couple, I plan to spend more time talking about the three books, now that I’ve actually seen them.  Yoga For Your Brain will be the first because I find it so outstanding and want to be sure that if my customers can only afford one, they choose YFYB (time for an acronym!)

Thanks, so very much, for creating this book.  I think it fills a gap for those people who are not confident about trying something that looks so complicated, but of course is not.  Or for those who look at some of the more incredible examples of Zentangle and think “I could never do that, I’m not an artist”.  Baloney I say.  Everyone can, it’s just that they so often don’t realize it.  The book will take care of that crisis of confidence that I hear from so many people.  Which is the crux of what I plan to say in this Sunday’s newsletter.  :+)

Thanks again,
Barb
"Everything for the cloth doll, mixed media & textile artist"

I was glowing by the time I finished reading. I am looking forward to seeing her reviews in the Joggles Newsletters. If you have never visited her website, be sure to take a look at Joggles.com. Barbara has a great selection of art, fabric, doll and Zentangle supplies AND some very cool online classes.

I was still glowing, when I started thinking "Oh, maybe MY boxes of books will come today too!?" And even as I was thinking that, I saw the UPS truck drive up, then my friends Martha and Julia, then my mom! I was suddenly really glad that I had showered, dressed, and brushed my hair! The UPS guy had piled a gazillion boxes onto his cart and was heading for my door. Of course, I realized, there is no way I can get those boxes to the other studio to pack and ship since I am still not able to lift anything... not even my cat (although she does weigh as much as my four year old!) But Martha and Julia offered to take the books downtown and the UPS guy loaded them all into their car, but then I realized, (I am still kinda-slow), "Hey, I want to SEE the new books!" So they brought one box in for me. I gave them each a book. And not just because they were delivering the boxes - they HAD brought me chocolate after all.

After everybody had left, I sat down and read the entire book. It's pretty good! It is so strange to work on the book in pieces... pieces of paper all over my desks and floors and kids. Then scanning and layout and moving stuff around and writing stuff and on and on without every really seeing it in book form. So "Wow!" It is pretty darn exciting!

Yoga for Your Brain a Zentangle WorkoutI think I packed and shipped about 25 books today and at least as many will be shipped tomorrow (plus wholesale orders)! Very cool. Then I checked on Amazon to see if the books were shipping there, and they are. But I also saw that this book is already #4 in Papercrafts. Very cool. And then Linda Farmer at tanglepatterns.com emailed that she had posted her own review of the book! Super cool.


So by the time I got to go out for dinner... I had much better things to celebrate! I remembered my love of books and why I had wanted to be an illustrator. There is something so satisfying about holding your own book in your hands... And opening a box filled with them... it's as exciting and lovely as a bunch of fresh, dark chocolates... aahh....

And, yes, I DID have champagne with dinner!

PS - You can get the books on my Etsy site too. I have them listed for CZTs as well. Since the books are no longer pre-order the special coupon code will no longer work. Other bad news is that I am almost completely out of AlphaTangle books! Yes, I am reprinting but it will take a few weeks since they are hand assembled. But that is kind of good news too since it means that you all are buying my books! And THANK YOU for buying them. I have had a number of people suggest that I not promote Amazon since thay are a giant. And I have to agree, especially since they "lost" about 40 books I sent to them. Grumble grumble. But, on the other hand, they do make it easy for people to get the books. I would very much like to support local bookstores and other shops that sell my books. So if you sell them in a brick and mortar shop, or you would like your local shop to sell my books, please email me and let me know. Many small shops can't meet the minimum order requirements for wholesale from publishers, but I am happy to send smaller quantities directly to them. So spread the love and get your shops tangled.

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