Friday, February 26, 2016

Art Fart Friday: Strides art journal spread

For this week's Art Fart, I bring you my latest art journal spread. Since January, I've very slowly been working on an art journal spread for my One LittleWord of 2016, but now it's finally 99.99% finished and I LOVE IT! Like seriously, this has taken months to finish from pencil sketches, to inking, to coloring. It was one of the few things I could work on while also on bed rest but there was still only so much I could do at a time.

Very poor cell phone pic of original sketch

Pencil circles

Inked circles
 I used a bunch of new products I've never used before like watercolor pencils (not a fan), Derwent Inktense pencils (<3 <3 <3) and Glossy Accents (more <3s) and worked it in my idea dump journal. Perhaps another of my favorite things is how the two pages speak to each other but are different at the same time. It actually took me a long time to brainstorm the second page because, as you can see in the original sketch, I had no idea beyond an envelope for the journaling cards.

Full Strides Spread

Left Detail

Right Detail

Envelope Detail
I learned to make this envelope by watching a YouTube video that I unfortunately cannot find again. It's actually double-sided and the original poster used it for a greeting cards on one side and gift cards on the other and tied it up with a ribbon. She also used a full size 12x12 scrapbook sheet and I used . . . a smaller piece of paper in some mysterious measurements that I can't remember. This was literally my first one and I had to take it apart several times, after I'd already glued it, and now it's sort of wonky. C'est la vie.

Journaling cards (sans journaling)
I'll tell you what, these journaling cards were a pain in my ass. Originally, I covered the first side with my quotes and some journaling and colored it with marker but I hated that. Then I tried to fix it with water and a paper-towel and made it worse. Finally, I grabbed my Yes! Paste, slathered that over the horrific original cards, and then carefully cut around the original shape. Then I loved them! But . . . they don't fit in the envelope anymore.

Back of journaling cards

Another part of this whole journal card mishap is that I'd already decorated the back, including a bunch of impossible to remove stickers, and I really couldn't do much to change them. I'm actually happy with most of them except the blue one, which definitely wrecks the flow.

 As you can see, the only the final 00.01% to finish is rewriting my quotes and finishing the journaling. And also probably trimming them just a tad to fit better in the envelope.

And that's it for Art Fart Friday! Hope you enjoyed it <3

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why Not Fiction? Also, some Horrorphiles

I think I may have mentioned my recent health issues and how that's effected my work AND how excited I was for February and how I was starting to get my energy back. But in my last two posts ( 1 & 2 ), it may have seemed like my energy has only been focused in one direction - art. However, you may be surprised to find out that I am still writing, I've just had to pause The Horrorphiles for awhile. I've been concentrating on Zombie Zorority over on for one.

If you've never hear of, it's a new website/platform that combines 19th century novel serializing with modern day Netflix. For $5 a month, you can subscribe to up to 10 books at a time. There are books of all sorts from genre fiction, like Zombie Zorority, to non-fiction memoirs and personal essays. I love the idea of this platform because I've always wanted to write a serialized novel. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to experiment with even more forms, like combining traditional narration with first person diaries, as well as mixing digital media with physical media.

What's that? How will I mix physical and digital media? Ever since I was a teenager, I've wanted  to combine all sorts of media into my fiction. I wanted to have a hyperlinked text (this was back before that was barely a thing), and printed books that looked like they were worn handwritten text, and, of course, a CD soundtrack. Now, with the already experimental format of Zombie Zorority, I have a lot of freedom to play around anyway I want. I've mentioned my Spotify playlists before, Zombie Zorority definitely has one. Zoey is forced by her government issued psychologist to keep a diary, one I can't wait to make in my mixed media/altered book playtimes. And speaking of the government interference in Zoey's life, you should see the big fat file they have on her, or the Paranormal Agency's safety posters that warn against the very attack that changed Zoey's life forever. Anyway, the list can go on and on but I'll stop there. Each of these items I plan on making, combining with the digital components on Channillo and having all sorts of bonus material and giveaways right here on this blog. So, get ahead of the game and start reading Zombie Zorority today!

Ok, enough of sales pitch, have you missed The Horrorphiles? I sure have. I think the break from it was good because I was very bogged down in those hospital scenes and getting very tired of trying to work my way out. But now, I'm just happy to start writing Ronny again, who's very different from Zoey in Zombie Zorority. So let's get it on - The Horrorphiles, Part 28!

NaNoWriMo 2015
The Horrorphiles, Part 28
By: Stephanie Thompson; Words: 998

Nothing Becky said would change what Ronny felt: who she was before was not who she was now. 

6 months later

Veronica Granger stood outside the door of her Aunt Wanda’s townhouse nervous, for some reason, to open the door. Becky offered to be here, to take a day off work, help her carry the bags, drive her home from the rehab center but Ronny wanted to be alone. She needed to be alone to go home.
Home, the word didn’t feel right or sound right.  The home she remembered, the one she wanted to go back to, didn’t actually exist and this place she could barely remember. Only bits of pieces of afternoons eating big bowls of cereal, or popcorn, or cheese poufs and watching horror movie after horror movie, scraping the barrel in quality and entertainment. Boring, repetitive, depressing. Why should she want to come back to that? The cruel joke, amongst many she’d been the butt of the last six months, was that she had to come back here to get back to the home she really wanted.

Ronny finally turned the key in the lock and pushed open the turquoise door. She limped into the small foyer with a crutch under one arm and a heavy duffle on the other. Becky had collected her mail and stacked it on the small table by the door. A decent layer of dust collected around the stack of junk mail and bills that had already been paid online. Cobwebs between the legs of the table swayed softly from the fresh air that accompanied her entrance. She dropped the the duffle on the floor and hung her jacket on the dusty hook on the other side of the door. There was even dust piled on the hall runner in front of her.
She hadn’t thought about the place needing a cleaning. Becky never mentioned the state of the place, then again, maybe it always looked like that way. Ronny wasn’t the best housekeeper, leaving old magazines and catalogues piled on coffee tables and end tables, on more than one occasion she’d bought new clothes just to avoid doing laundry, or left food in tubberware so long the garbage bin was the only option for them. But she’d clean it up eventually, dusted, vacuumed, recycled the catalogues. But now what was suppose to be her home looked like an abandoned space, empty and unloved. Dust floated down in the beams of light peeking behind the curtains. It got in the furrows of her fingerprints and tickled under her collar. She sneezed once in the dining room, twice in the living room. She didn’t even open the fridge to see what molded take-out horrors were left in there.

Upstairs her bed was left unmade, the sheets and blankets were bunched up like she’d just gotten out of bed. The taps in the bathroom shuttered and spurted when she tested the water. Ronny sighed. She honestly didn’t know where to start, how to start even. All she’d done was walk around the house and felt already that she could use a shower. There was no clean spot to sit and think even.
She opened the final door upstairs, the door to Aunt Wanda’s room. The cobwebs and dust weren’t absent from here either but everything else was neat. The bed was made. Her reading glasses and the last book she was reading were sitting still on the nightstand. Alias Grace. That’s what she was reading when she died. Ronny did not need to walk across the room to know that. Everything has been the same for (however many years). (Okay so I think this next part is going to sound weird and hokey but I’m just going to write it anyway). 
Ronny walked to the bed and pressed her hand on the handmade quilt folded at the foot of the bed. Dust built up here too. She hadn’t even known dust could build on fabric until a few month after Aunt Wanda’s death. Since then she’d cleaned this room more than any other part of the house.  The vanity table was even worse. Her gobs and gobs of beaded necklaeces and bracelets were coated in a dust and adorned with tiny dust bunnies. Even the mirror was obscured by yet more dust.

Finally, in frustrastion, the absolute height of annoyance with the the ever present dust, Ronny wiped her hand across the mirror, sent up a flume of dust particles leading her to cough moments later. When everything settled around her, she could see herself in the mirror and she looked coated in the dust. Grey, pale, and drawn.

She remembered back to Greyson Manor, to the time and place that didn’t exist, and how she’d looked then. Empowered at first, tired and beaten up after one night but she still had . . .moxie. (This is awful and dumb but at least it’s something). She’d looked like Aunt Wanda then. But Aunt never looked the way Ronny did now. Not even on the night she’d died.
Aunt Wanda had climbed the stairs, maybe slower than she usually did, definitely slower than she use to, then she got into bed, read a few pages of Alias Grace, then turned off the light, closed her eyes and never woke up again. Right here in this room. And even cold and dead in the morning Aunt Wand looked better than Ronny, the whole place looked better than Ronny. Her Aunt Wanda would not want this for her, for her home, for her things.

This is where she would start. She’d kept this room too long as a shrine, maybe even stayed too long at the rehab center to avoid coming home. But she wasn’t avoiding it any longer. She was going to be the life living cahone grabbing Ronny she dreamed up at Greyson Manor. She would prove those clattering naked skeletons wrong. She had to start somewhere and that somewhere was here.

Thanks for Reading!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Art Fart Friday: February Mission Inspiration Art Journal Spread

Hi again, folks! I know my posts are leaning more art heavy lately but there's a reason for that, which I'll talk about next week, maybe.

Anyway, today I want to share with ya'll my art journal spread for Mike Deakin's February's Mission Inspiration prompts. Watch his YouTube video to get the general idea of the project and prompts. Click here to see what I did for January's MI prompts.

For the last journal spread, I was inspired by the tissue paper I used and the bird magazine cut-outs I had. The entire image came pretty quickly and completely into my head. This time I struggled a bit more. I really didn't have a complete idea just same vague thoughts that never rally formed a complete picture until I was actually done.
On to the art!

Apply 2 colors with your fingers
I actually started with black gesso but I don't have any good pictures of that. It's my first time using black gesso and I like it a lot better. It makes a smoother surface, it's easier to apply, and dries quicker.

The two colors I used were white and a sort of cool grey I mixed myself using cadmium red medium, Thalo blue, white, and matte medium. I saw this color made when I was actually researching how to mix my own hot pink in this video from Will Kemp Art School. I liked the feeling of the paint on my fingers but I didn't actually like painting with them. The stripes came out thicker than I wanted and didn't blend well as much as I expected but I did like the evocation of old-school prison uniforms.

Add torn magazine fragments

Mike didn't tear his mag ads, so I didn't think it was bending the rules too much not tear mine either.

Add thin layer of gesso
I thinned my gesso with matte medium and spread it across the paint and little bit around the edges of the fish ad.

Add texture paste through a stencil
I used black lava gel through a stencil. Again, it was my first time using this product and it was shinier than I expected. Also more difficult to get through a stencil than I imagined.

Black lava texture - detail

A real life comb
A lot of people in the Mission Inspiration group, in comments or videos, kept mentioning how they didn't have a comb to use, which I thought was kind of funny, so I took a pic of my real life comb. Yes, I'm lol-ing even now.

Make marks with a brush or comb

comb mark - details

Adhere book text shapes - left side

Adhere book text shapes - right side
I may have gone overboard with these tiny book text squares. I just kept adding and adding and adding until I was done. Then I added some more.

Use two rubber stamps with text - right detail

Use two rubber stamps with text - Left detail
Between the wonkiness of the pages and the journal overall, and the black lava texture gel, I really couldn't get a great impression with my stamps but they are there, adding interest.

Add doodles with colored pen - detail right side

Add doodles with colored pen - detail left side

Add doodles with colored pen
You may be wondering where the color is but . . . I don't really have very good colored pens. I have a few gel pens that don't work well on the best surfaces, much less a slick one covered in matte medium, plus I decided I really wanted to keep my page black and white. And since black is still a color. . . I doodled with black. Whatever, these aren't rules, just prompts, and at this point I was falling head over heels in love with my page.

Add quote or phrase like a ransom note
As you can see, I totally cut out magazine letters and even spelled out my phrase. However, like I said before, I really wanted to keep my page black and white and also I thought my phrase was pretty melodramatic and lame. Then I remembered I had these Tim Holtz label stickers that would still look pretty ransom style, so I started to use those. And while I was trying to figure out why the hell the damn sticker letters refused to stick to anything I had a genius idea!

Fish puns!
Yeah, I'm LoL-ing about this too.

Create a border with washi tape

Washi - detail left side w/ added doodling

Washi detail - right side w/ added doodling

Phrase detail with added doodling

Final spread still unnamed

So that's it! February's Mission Inspiration and I love it! Like seriously love it! I can't decide on a title though. I keep oscillating between "Fishy Puns" or "Save Our Soles". Any opinions?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Art Fart Friday but on a Monday

Hello folks and welcome to an Art Fart Friday post even though it's Monday. I wanted to be done with this piece and have it posted on Friday but I wasn't and didn't.  Let's just call it a Presidents' Day present. Or a late non-romantical Valentine's day gift. Either way, anyway, on to the art!

Let's start with the art junk journal I made.
Inside a signiture

Inside the front "cover"
The spine
This journal is hand made from a couple of old canvas papers, a couple of old sketches on drawing paper, and one sheet of heavy water color paper. Plus, I added a few handfuls of newsprint paper from a community college course catalogue. Because the pages are made from old, abandoned artwork, every spread or piece I do in this journal is, in a essence, also an Ooops, I Arted post as well.

The inside covers, ie Mona Lisa, are made from some art prints I received from some kind of mail order art print advertisement. I honestly think it was some kind of Columbia House deal but with art reproductions. I think I got four prints as part of the "introductory invitation", including this Mona Lisa repro, Monet's Water Lilies and the Japanese Bridge, and two works I've never heard of. I've been trying to think of a way to reuse them for years. I am glad I can finally use them here. I can't wait to alter the Mona Lisa, I've never like this painting nor do I understand the supposed attraction.

Finally, the spine is a simple western multiple signature binding for four holes as instructed in Creating Handmade Books by Alisa Golden (this specific book is no longer in print but I've linked to another book by the same author that is a collection of her previous books, including this one but if you're interested in making handmade books I highly recommend the original). I've made a few handmade books before, always using this book as a guide, but this is the first multiple signature book I've made. I originally wanted a chain stitch binding but chickened out in the end.

Moving on, I made this art junk journal because I want a good-sized art journal, without perforated pages, to use for Mike Deakin's Mission: Inspiration projects. I saw his video for the January Mission: Inspiration and I just knew I had to join in, even though usually I'm not much of joiner. I absolutely love the spread he makes in this video, it makes me laugh and lifts my spirits every single time I watch it. If you're interested in joingin in the Mission Inspirations, check out his MI Facebook group.

All right, enough talky-talk. Here are the pictures showing my project, Birds in Space, through each of the 10 steps. I'm sorry for any unclear pictures and the yellowish coloring. The lighting in my work space is super yellowed and my cell phone doesn't always take the greatest pics. In the future, I will try to remember my actual camera or do more touch-up work. . . or something.

Tissue Paper

Thin Coat of Gesso

2 Rubber Stamps

Torn Book Text

Collage Elements

Add 3 Colors

White Paint Marks

Add Quote, Add Doodles

Add Splatters
I think I could have added a few more details, and then more details, and then even more off into infinity, so I decided just to stop instead. I was inspired by the original tissue paper I used even though very little of it is visible in the final product. I think I could have used more collage elements or larger ones but I fell in love with the mouth, originally belonging to Lady Gaga I believe, and the birds with the cherries, especially as the reds matched. Plus, as soon as I saw the birds I knew I wanted to put them outer space and tie it to dreams somehow. I'm most proud of the planets even though the shapes were drawn from a stencil, I hand-coloured them with my new Derwent Inktense pencils and I just loved how they turned out.

My own Personal Planetarium

As you may have noticed, I didn't bother really going step-by-step for each little detail I did because I didn't want to bore anyone, but if you want to know what products I used or any certain techniques, feel free to ask in a comment below. :)

Anyway, this is for January's Mission: Inspiration, late as it is, and I'm already started on February's spread, so I hopefully won't fall anymore behind. For in-progress pics as soon as it happens, be sure to follow me on Instagram. Also, please stop by Mike's channel and check out his work, very fun and always inspirational!

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Year 2016, One Word: Strides

In my last post, I wrote about the past a little or at least the past few months. Now, I'd like to talk about the future. Usually a post like this should go up in January right? Something like January 3rd, right around New Year's, right? Well, let me tell you something. . .

January's fucking suck.

It's taken me some thirty odd years to figure it out but seriously: January's fucking suck. It's always the lowest part of the year for me but it's suppose to have all the promise of the new year, not feel like the shittiest month of the last year. But inevitably, I spend most of every January, in bed, depressed as hell, wishing that everything just didn't suck so much.

February's are fucking awesome.

When February comes, a huge weight is lifted. It finally feels like a new year, like everything is possible. I make plans upon plans upon plans. To me, February is the real start of the year, when I pounce on tasks and goals with vigor.

2016 has been no different. January sucked but it's over, February is just beginning and the future is bright. So, let's talk about the future.

Strides. Great strides. Huge motherfucking STRIDES.

Strides is my One Little Word for 2016. I've never chosen a word to work on for an entire year before but I heard it mentioned in one of the many YouTube videos I watched during one of my many days of bedrest in January and the concept really struck a chord with me. I looked over my list of goals I wanted to accomplish this year and the theme was evident. There were even times when I could tell I was avoiding using the word "strides" because I already used it several times in my goals list. Obviously, strides was the word for me.

But what does my word strides mean for you and the rest of the world? For one thing, much more output. More blogs, more photos, more stories, more novels, more art. More of everything anyone (or possibly no one) would ever want from me. In fact, it's already started.

You may have noticed across the top of this blog, just under the header, are a few links to some other pages. If you've ever clicked on them before, they just led to placeholders with promises for future content. Well, that content has finally arrived. Go ahead, click on any of them, see all the stuff.

What else you ask? There's also this interview I did for the Chilling Tales podcast, S1E5 "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished", featuring 3 scary stories, including the audio production of my story "Creeper".

Do you want even more? How about another novel? My serial novel Zombie Zorority comes out February 16th on

If that's still not enough, check out my Etsy store. There are only a couple of things in there now but my inventory will be growing very soon.

There you go. Strides. It has already begun and it will continue throughout 2016. Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, February 5, 2016

What Happens to Art Deferred?

You might remember this Art Fart Friday post from some time ago. I never actually got around to completing this layout. Partly because a couple of other projects got in the way, mostly because I've had a run of poor health.

I don't mean I've had one long illness but like 10 little ones. It would almost be easier to have something like tuberculoses or cancer, more people would understand that, those take more out of you over a long period of time. But that's not what I have. What I have is an endless series of small to moderate things and the only cure is bedrest and drinking fluids. Apparently bedrest and fluids cures everything from blood-loss to bronchitis. The medical world should stop researching, they apparently already have their miracle cure. I cannot handle another doctor or nurse telling me to take it easy and drink plenty of water. I'm only staying the same or getting worse, as the case may be.

Anyway, over time I keep having to do less and less just to say at the same level of health and energy. It's like that story of the three little pigs, except it's just one pig (me) and I'm the one who builds her house of straw. The Big Bad Wolf comes and blows my house down but I can't run away all I can do is rebuild. So I do. I build another house with straw again. Not because I'm stupid but because it's all I have. But some of the pieces have scattered and I can't build exactly the same, just the best I can. And then the Big Bad Wolf comes again, blows down my house again, and I have to start over again with even less pieces. It's a pretty exhausting process.

So what I am I left with? A bunch of projects I started way back when, get put on the back burner, older projects get pushed back on even further, and the ones due soon take precedent. And yet, I can't work on anything when all my work tables are cluttered with layouts and materials still waiting to be used on old stuff. Hard decisions have to be made.

I chose to scarp that layout for several reasons. First, I didn't feel that strongly about the statement I was trying to make anymore. Secondly, even if I still wanted to make that particular spread, I didn't feel like it fit that particular journal. It's suppose to be my idea journal, not an art journal per se. Since this spread wasn't covering old work or sparking new ideas or goals,  it had to go. Finally, I couldn't really remember how I wanted to assemble all the pieces anymore.

Out with the old in with the new.

There are more and more projects I'm disassembling. It's sad to see something I once had dreams about finishing being completely abandoned but, at the same time, these supplies are refreshing my craft horde and offering inspiration for something new and better that I can use in new projects.

My house may keep getting blown down or may be missing pieces but I keep rebuilding, keep pushing forward until the Big Bad Wolf finally goes away.