Category Archives: ICAD & Art Journal Every Day

Doodling

I haven’t made my index card for the day yet. I actually spent for-EV-er working in my art journal and decided to take a break from art making for a little while.

I found a new book to work in which is a little larger than my other book. Primarily wider. It’s an old reading text book with some pretty vivid art in it already.

cover

I decided to make a more doodle-y type of layout today. My full spread picture was pretty bad so I decided not to post it. Instead, here is a page 1- page 2 thing.

AJED Jun 25 11 pg 1

AJED Jun 25 11 pg 2

I collaged a few elements for texture and then painted over the top with a couple of different shades of green watercolors. I did all the journaling with a nib pen and ink. I kind of liked the way the lines are so inconsistently thin and thick.

The flowery thing on the top of page 2 was supposed to be a gel transfer, but I got impatient and didn’t let the gel dry completely. I ended up tracing over the pattern with gel pens which changed the look I anticipated I’d end up with completely. It’s all good though.

AJED Jun 24 11

Here’s yesterday’s layout.

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Courtney Cole’s blog tour

For those of you who read Courtney Cole’s debut novel Every Last Kiss, you’ll be excited to know that the sequel went live early. Fated is now available for purchase. Unlike me, she’s actually pretty good at self promotion and she has a plan to celebrate this event.

Starting on Monday, Court is going to answer interviews at a different blog every day. You can get the details here, but I’ll go ahead and sum up the blog line up:

There will be a chance to win a pretty cool prize pack:

  • An autographed copy of Meant To Be by Tiffany King, along with bookmarks and some miscellaneous signed Tiffany King swag.
  • An autographed copy of The Understorey by Fisher Amelie and a bookmark.
  • Autographed copies of Every Last Kiss and Fated by Courtney, with bookmarks. 
  • An e-copy of Blood Like Poison: Destined for a Vampire by M. Leighton
  • An e-copy of I Wish by Wren Emerson
  • An e-copy of Curiosities, Inc. by Patti Larsen
  • An e-copy of Violet Midnight by Allie Burke
  • An e-copy of Princess, by Courtney
  • And I’m going to throw in a set of 4 collaged postcards for funsies.

I’ll post reminders so you know where we’re at on the tour. It should be fun and the chance to win some of the hottest indie YA paranormal is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick any day.

Speaking of Courtney, I’ve been trying to convince her to give collage a try. Buy a couple of tubes of cheap acrylic craft paint (around $.50-$1), a pair of scissors, and some glue and you’re literally ready to start. Well, except for the best part, of course.

I’ve been saving magazines, books, and other found papers for years. I have an awesome used bookstore in town that sells all kinds of amazing books. It’ll probably be the only thing I miss when I move. I can find foreign language books, sheet music, and some of the most fantastic illustrated books.

To say I have a collage stash is probably understating quite a bit. So naturally I packed Court a nice fat package full of a bunch of different kinds of fun papers.

collage papers 5

collage papers 1

collage papers 2

collage papers 3

Because I have so many cool papers in my stash, I thought I would make them available to anyone who’d like one. You can buy a package of assorted found papers here. It’s a great way to get started without a amassing a huge collection the way I have.

ICAD:

icad jun 22 11

Not a lot to say about this one. I just grabbed some scraps and created a quick and dirty collage.

icad jun 23 11

Someone’s been reading John Locke’s book… Ok, it’s me. I get the impression that he’s a salesman first and an author as an afterthought. I’m not so sure how well his methods would work for me.

icad jun 24 11

What a crooked scan. Ah well, that’s how it turns out sometimes, I have no idea why. The house is made from some painted papers I have laying around. The roof looks awfully washed out, but it’s actually got some subtle texture and some green going on. The journaling is from a song lyric. I’m not digging the background at all. But again, oh well. My ICADS are usually put together in about 15 minutes or less. No time for perfection.

Art Journal Every Day:

AJED Jun 22 11

Someone made a comment to me on a blog that I felt was critical at best and quite possibly a personal attack (they didn’t bother to use any kind of a “real” name. They just called themselves something like “Wren, you’re totally wrong”. Heavy paraphrasing on my part, but still it was close).

Anyway, I found the dog and really wanted to use it because, c’mon, adorable! And I realized it was perfect as a focal image for my frustration about trying not to be a total dick online even when that’s exactly what I feel like acting like. So I gave my saintly, tongue biting pug a set of angelic (sort of) wings because let’s be real, that shit is hard to do. Get down with your bad self, Dog!

AJED Jun 23 11

Ah, my page about my terrible habit of putting life off until some arbitrary goals are met. Everything is going to be better for me… someday. It’s just a little reminder to myself that time is slipping by lightning fast and I’m missing out on a lot of great opportunities by waiting for some distant future that will probably never happen.

I have a page for today, but my pictures ended up unacceptably blurry. Since you’ve seen the quality of the pictures I take, you KNOW it’s gotta be bad. I’ll post it tomorrow or with the next big batch of photos I put up.

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At the lake

I love being near the water. I prefer the ocean, but I’ll take a lake or a pool. There’s just something about the tranquility of being surrounded by water that soothes me. I used to pretend that I was a mermaid when I was little.  I sometimes still think there’s something a little weird about a girl who grew up in a landlocked state like Kansas and still developed such a strong affinity for water.

I thought I’d share the photos I posted on Instagram for those of you who don’t hang on my every Twitter post, LOL.

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Our day started out with some drama when we got stuck in the sand. The lake doesn’t have any paved (or even dirt) roads leading down to the water so it’s up to you to pick your way through the sand and hope like hell you don’t choose wrong. We did. It cost over $100 to have someone pull us out. Ouch.

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Water was splashed in, sand angels were created, and beer cans were buried (?). I spent most of my time taking pictures, reading, and finger pecking emails because I can’t seem to live a life without being plugged into technology.

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My favorite part of the day was towards the end when I decided to bury the littlest minion. He was a really good sport. In fact, he helped dig out the initial hole. Granted I didn’t tell him what I had planned for him afterwards… >.>

ICAD:

icad jun 19 11

I tried playing with watercolor crayons, but the effect wasn’t exactly what I hoped for. I was pleased at how crisp the stamp turned out for a change though, so there’s that, right?

icad jun 20 11

When I made the banner for this blog, I tacked everything on with masking tape and then pulled it all off when I was done to use in other projects. So the background for this card and the one I made today were cut from that page. I actually cut 5 index sized cards from it.

The stamp I used here looks wonky because I don’t usually bother to mount them on blocks when I use them. I just ran my brayer over it and it kind of elongated. Oh well, It kind of matches my overall mentality on perfection. I’m not a fan.

icad jun 21 11

More about the lake. I know, it’s a horse that’s been beat to death. I’m done after this, I swear.

Art Journal Every Day:

Processed with Cameramatic app.

Not the most promising background, I know. I let my decidedly non-artistic minion help with it. Well, actually he picked pretty much every element from colors to designs and did most of it himself.

AJED Jun 20 11

I didn’t have a ton of time before we left for the lake so all I got done was stamping the title, gluing down the index cards, and cutting and gluing the dancing guy down. I attempted to give him a shadow using the negative space from where I cut him out, but it turned out a little funky.

AJED Jun 21 11

I used the page to write about songs that I have on my phone. I just hit the next button and journaled what popped up until I ran out of lines. I decided the pink gel pen I used to outline the title before wasn’t as obvious as I would have liked so I used my silver Sharpie instead. I finished with a sequin flower and a button embellished with hand drawn petals.

In the end the background worked better for me than I expected it to. It actually looks pretty good in person with various colors of paint peeking through each other. I’m not sure I’ll leave it up to one of the minions too often, but it was an interesting experiment.

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A scrapbook page? Stop the madness!

I’ve been in an artsy mood lately. I made my index card and finished a journal spread and still wanted to do more art so I decided to use one of the thousands of photos I’ve taken with my iPhone in the past few months and make a scrapbook page.

I started scrapbooking back in the late 90s. I was a poster child for pictures cut into odd shapes and sticker vomit across the page. I wish I was exaggerating, but sadly, I’m not. I remember being nearly orgasmic when I moved to California and realized that there was a specialty scrapbook store in town that sold aisle after aisle of stickers and the tackiest patterned paper you can imagine. Oh my gosh, and did I buy it? You betcha!

Somewhere along the line I started to get more involved with mixed media collage and made around 5 scrapbook pages of that style before I finally just gave them up entirely for art journals. I’m not sure why I’d rather work in my journal than make scrapbook pages since I do pretty much the same routine on both. I think it’s mostly just a lack of desire to get my photos print ready. It’s a lot easier to just find a picture from my journal fodder that goes ok with my theme.

I’m not saying I want to commit to a page a day or something, but it’d be nice if I managed to make more than one.

Swim June 11

I’m pretty excited about my book. I finally got my issues straight with Barnes & Noble a couple of days ago. I was excited to realize today that I’ve sold a couple of copies there. I’m not expecting an enormous amount of sales from that direction, everyone agrees B&N sales are only a fraction of what they get on Amazon, but still. I was pretty happy about it.

If you’re a Nook user who’d like to read my book, you can find it here. I don’t expect anyone who reads it to do anything more than enjoy the story, but if you decide you’d like to leave a review, I’d be really grateful for that.

I took my price up to $2.99 on the 16th, expecting my sales to dry up completely, but they’ve stayed consistent (about 4 a day). The thing is, I get to keep around $2 for every purchase vs. the $.35 I get per book on a $.99 book. So I’ve already earned more in 2 days than I made the entire week last week. Hopefully, I’ll see that reflected when it tallies my sales for this week. I’m going to be really curious how the royalties match up with everything that’s come before.

And my ICAD:

icad jun 18 11

Paint on book page background. The paper on the right was a book page that I’d tested a stencil on. I cut it from transparency with my Silhouette machine, along with a few others. It involved cleaning a lot of tiny bits of plastic off the sticky sheets, but it was worth it.

My art journal:

AJED Jun 18 11 

It evolved from this half finished page:

AJED Jun 16 11

I tried a gel transfer with an image that was on a thick sheet of paper, almost like cardstock. It didn’t work very well so I attempted to peel the gel off the page. It came off, but it ripped into the page. Oddly, it didn’t rip an actual hole, just pulled off the top layer of the page.

I rolled with it and decided to patch it up with some book page scraps sitting around my desk. My plan was to paint over it, but I actually liked the way the scraps looked. the thing was that I used another one of those pages with black patterns on it like on my ICAD. I wouldn’t be able to write on top of that and have it show up so I used my wide masking tape and laid down a couple of strips to cover it enough to write on top of it, but it’s still somewhat transparent.

Then I ended up adding the sheet music that I wrote over with a paint brush and ink because I made another mistake. For some reason I was totally zoned out while I was writing and I spelled “living” as “livinging”. Ok, no problem. I grabbed a scrap and glued it down and journaled right across the top of it.

Other than my mistakes, it’s a pretty simple page and it came together pretty fast (or would have…).

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How I art journal

I’ve been telling Courtney a bit about how I create art (sometimes I feel silly calling my work art, but what else is it?). I maintain that it’s super easy to do and completely satisfying. She still had questions so I made a page today and took pictures of the process to build a little tutorial. After we move and I hopefully can rearrange my work space into an area that’s more than 2 square feet, I’ll try making a video, but for now this is what we’re working with.

Step 1- Masking tape:

AJED Jun 17 11 1

I’m using a scavenged book about the United States Navy. It’s a smallish book, I would have preferred something a little wider, but it’s what I had lurking under my bed that didn’t have a glued binding so there we go. If you want to find dozens of amazing trick and tips for using a book like this, just try Googling “altered books”. I’ll wait.

Anyway, I put masking tape along the center seam to try to prevent paint and glue from seeping in between the pages and to help hold the pages together. Sometimes they like to pull out as the book gets more full of thick, lumpy pages.

Step 2- Gesso:

AJED Jun 17 11 2

This is a good time to recommend that you buy a heat gun if you don’t already have one. I use the crap out of mine (as you can see). I spread a thin layer of gesso on my pages to mute words a little and to help keep the paint from bleeding through. I’m trying a squeeze bottle this time around due to my tendency to use dirty brushes in my tubs and cause funky mold to grow in them. Gross. I’m not a fan though.

From this point forward, I have a sheet of paper tucked under the pages on the right side so I don’t get stuff on the layouts I’ve already done. Also, of all the things to get brand snobby about, gesso isn’t the one. I’ve tried all kinds and none seem better than others. I just buy whatever is cheapest at whatever store I’m at.

Step 3- Gluing paper for sturdiness:

AJED Jun 17 11 3

I do this step about 50/50. I just grab whatever paper is near at hand and rip it into smaller pieces and glue them down randomly. I like it because it makes the pages thicker and because it adds interesting dimension and texture to the overall layout. This step is what prompted my 8 y/o minion to refer to my layouts as “secret pictures” when he was younger because I’d let him write notes or draw pictures and then glue them down as well as using receipts or scraps of junk mail. Everything I put down in this stage will be covered with paint in a minute and nobody will ever know what’s under there but me.

It’s stupid and superstitious, but I like to include things that are meaningful. If I were making a page about my love I might write a note about how much I appreciate him or snag the packaging from a piece of clothing he bought. Something that represents him and how I feel about him. I can’t help but to believe that when you put thoughts out there, they have a better chance of coming true. This page is boring though. Just book pages.

Step 4- Subtle texture:

AJED Jun 17 11 4

Sometimes I’ll take a stencil and add a thickish coat of gesso to leave a raised texture. This time I used sequin waste (you might have better luck finding some if you Google “punchinella”) which leaves a cool dotted pattern. I love circles and I get a lot of use out of mine. I have various sized dots ranging from really big to tiny.

Step 5- Paints and border:

AJED Jun 17 11 5

I smeared some turquoise, red, and yellow ochre on the page in layers. I generally use my fingers to spread it in organic shapes without brush strokes. I let each layer of paint dry (mostly with some help from my heat gun) and use a damp cloth to lift the color in some spots.

I enjoy adding borders around my page. I kept this one pretty tame, but if you really want exciting borders use magazine ads. You can get some really bold colors and patterns. I don’t worry about things matching or lining up very well. I just cut strips and glue everything down in a way that pleases my eye.

Step 6- Focal images and tying it together:

AJED Jun 17 11 6

I put down a couple of images that represented the theme of my page. Sometimes picking out an image is what prompts me to journal about a particular topic, sometimes I have a topic in mind and add pictures that go with that. You could also use photos you’ve taken.

I’ve got TONS of collage fodder saved up from years of scavenging. I mean seriously, I’m the girl who took time out of my trip to Las Vegas to hit up thrift stores so that I could flip through their magazine stashes.

I used a watercolor crayon to laydown some color along the inner edges of the border. It’s subtle, but it helps to bring some cohesion to the whole thing. You could also use charcoal for shading. I just happen to prefer more color.

I used some hand carved stamps to further add repetitive elements. You can’t see the bottom right corner very well, but it’s got the same corner stamp.

Step 7- Journaling and finishing touches:

AJED Jun 17 11 7

I decided to be a little silly with my lettering. I’ve seen some great examples of that kind of journaling looking amazing. Mine? Well, not so much. Oh well, it was fun. I used some gems and sequins to add a little shiny. I like shiny.

Anyway, as you can see I don’t look for perfection at all. I don’t mind wrinkles in my pages (which is handy since I use a crap ton of Mod Podge and liquid adhesives cause wrinkles faster than anything) or misaligned lettering or what have you. I like my pages to buckle and warp and the edges to be stained with 20 different paint colors from other spreads. But it might not be your taste. That’s cool though. There are a million different ways to keep an art journal. This is just what works for me.

And as for my index card for today:

icad jun 17 11

This one was kind of interesting. I tried a gel medium transfer with patterned paper onto my index card. Unfortunately, it was with my dried up gel (I bought more yesterday so I look forward to better transfers from here on) which I applied with my fingers and a lot of water. The stripes didn’t stick particularly well.

I did the transfer after I glued down a book page and gave it a watered down coat of turquoise acrylic paint. Then just for fun, I used a smaller sized piece of sequin waste and green ink to add a layer of dots.

The little minion is obsessed with those letter stamps. He loves pulling them out and sorting them. It turns out that I’m missing the “n” stamp. I substituted a rub on instead. Again, I’m not particularly bothered about stuff like that, but if I didn’t like it, I could have painted over the title or used a different method of lettering on a different piece of paper and glued it on top.

I’m looking forward to trying this technique again now that I have fresh gel medium. They didn’t carry Golden brand though so I’m trying out Liquitex. I hope it works just as well.

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Trying a new experiment

I decided to try a pricing experiment this month. As I mentioned yesterday, my total income for all of the last week was only $7. While I’m grateful for every copy I sell, the profit I see on a $.99 is only $.35. I doubt very much I’ll ever be able to be able to make a living at that pace. Those same 20 sales would have netted me $40 at the $2.99 price point. Still not ready to retire on it, but it’d at least fill my gas tank.

So for the next month or until the sequel of I Wish… comes out, I’m pricing at the higher point and seeing what it does to sales. I’d hate to take a hit on sales, but the higher profit might make it worthwhile. As always, I’ll report my numbers openly at the end.

One more bit of book related news. I logged onto my page today and was delighted to see this:

june 16 amazon ranking

I’m not sure when this happened, but today is the first time I’ve ever seen it on my page. I’ll admit, I get thrilled by the little things so you can imagine how excited I got about it. So there’s another reason to read I Wish… if you haven’t so far. It’s the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.

Now for my artsy stuff of the day.

icad jun 16 11

This background might look a little familiar. I made about 5 cards at the same time using the same paints. I’d say that’s my biggest time saving tip. Work on 4 or 5 cards every time you have your paints out.

AJED Jun 16 11

This is the background I was working on for Art Journal Every Day. I’m not sure where I’m going with it, but that yellow is pretty bright. I might tone it down with another layer of color. At the very least a more muted shade of yellow.

I don’t think I’ll be finishing this page just yet though. I told Courtney that I’d attempt to take some step by step photos of how I work in my journal for her. Of course, the helpfulness of such a gesture is questionable given the quality of my photos, but it seems like an interesting challenge so I’ll give it a shot.

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Filed under I wish, ICAD & Art Journal Every Day, indie publishing

1 month into my journey

Before I start, I just wanted to announce that I’ve finally got my account info straight with Barnes and Noble (something about using my old address as my “tax address”) so I’m happy to be able to offer I Wish… for all my Nook using friends! Hopefully, I get over my terminal laziness and am able to offer it in paperback soon.

I’m going to do my numbers pretty early in the day. I might still make some sales, but if I do it won’t be very many so this post wouldn’t change significantly even if I waited.

Today marks the end of my 1st month as an indie author. As you might recall, I got off to a massive start the first week. According to my weekly sales tally, I sold 53 books. Ooh, I know! We’ll do a screen grab so I don’t have to write them all out. I’ll let my numbers speak for themselves. Although, I’m not a huge fan of what they have to say.

June 15 6 weeks sales

I think I kept that sized large enough to read if you click on it. But in case you don’t want to go to the trouble the break down is:

Week 1 = 53 sales, $18.55
Week 2 = 26 sales, $9.10
Week 3 = 34 sales, $11.90
Week 4 = 20 sales, $7.00

So according to these numbers I’ve sold 133 books in the US for a total of $46.55. I also sold a handful in the UK and 1 in the German store. My grand total sold so far including the ones I’ve sold that aren’t in the 6 week tally yet is 164 books. That’s around 5.5 books a day.

Obviously most of those books were in the beginning. June had a couple of days where sales picked up a little bit, but since then I’ve been selling around 2 or 3 a day. Not exactly what I thought would happen when I had that amazing first week. I really thought that I’d go up from there. But I can say that I’ve never had a day where I’ve sold less than 2 copies.

You might wonder what sort of promotion I’ve been doing to get the word out there. The answer would be not much of anything. I did suck it up and submit my book for review to a couple of teen reviewers, but if they opt to review my book I probably won’t see a return on that for a couple of months at least. I done a couple of interviews and, of course, I gave away around 100 copies of my book.

I think I’ll start seeing the fruit of my labor when I have the sequel to my book available. Almost everybody who’s reviewed the book has had nothing but positive things to say about it. I have a single 3 star review between Amazon and Goodreads and that’s out of a total of 32 ratings. I feel really good about repeat customers. I suspect that I can count on a good percentage of my readers to buy the second book. And with I Wish… finally being available via B&N I think I’ll get a boost there too.

So that’s where I am with all that. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.

Now for my ICAD and art journal.

icad jun 15 11

I am so sorry about the terrible scan. The scanner wants to cut it off for me for some reason, but it doesn’t bother to try to align it with the edges and the flower is really thick so it made the center super blurry, but I figured, it’s not a terribly complex card so I’d just work with what I have.

I did an experiment with some tone on tone texture. I painted the background with a cool metallic teal paint and then covered it with watered down white paint which I wiped off. It muted the color a bit though so that when I attempted to stencil the dots with the teal they showed up really good. Or they would have if I hadn’t spread the paint too thick. The end result was actually really neat and I like the way it turned out.The dots, where you’d normally expect the paint to be thicker are more shallow than the stuff around them, where the paint pooled under my stencil.

My biggest annoyance in working on these projects is that I don’t have a really smooth writing white pen. I end up with all kinds of thin, spidery lines instead of good smooth lines. Right now I’m just using a white Gelly Roll pen. I might have to pony up to get a good one though.

AJED Jun 15 11

I needed to write a guest post for someone today and I kept hitting a block when I’d attempt to write it. It just wasn’t coming to me so I decided that I’d use the same approach that I do for writing my fiction and make a mind map.

Of course I could have just done it on blank paper like a normal person, but where’s the fun in that? I actually used the time I spent painting and gluing to think of ideas. In the end, I didn’t use a single idea I came up with, but on the plus side, I can use these ideas for future guest posts or maybe even for posts here.

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