Adult Coloring: A Worthwhile Trend

When adult coloring books showed up in stores, I snubbed them. I liked the idea but immediately thought this was someone’s way to help adults relive their childhood. It was just another commercial tactic to make adults feel younger. I felt if adults wanted to color, they could just buy a kid’s coloring book.

This past Christmas I was shopping and found an adult coloring book with “happy” designs for $12. The holiday season is not my favorite time of the year, so I decided to buy it. If I was going to hop on the coloring trend train, happy was the way to go.

I’m glad I did. After Christmas, I colored my first page. I was hooked. It was a heart made of butterflies. Those who know me will laugh because I’m not a heart-with-butterflies-kind-of-girl, but I really enjoyed it. Coloring the picture pulled me out of my head, where my to-do list runs on overdrive. The activity relaxed me and made me feel better overall.

Adult Coloring Butterflies

I did a little research and learned that art has been used in adult therapy for years. A couple of studies say therapists use art to do the following:

  • Build self-esteem
  • Relieve stress; reduce anxiety
  • Improve motor skills; work both sides of the brain
  • Help the mind focus/problem solve
  • Deal with/work through emotions

Whether adult coloring does all this is debated, but in my experience, it’s true. After a long day, I pop in a movie, sit on the couch, and color. I control every aspect of the piece, which is sometimes needed after a day of feeling out of control. I listen to the movie and create something I’m proud of while benefiting from the science behind it.

I knit for the same reasons, and coloring gives me another healthy stress outlet. I can’t always work – and don’t try to – but I am a busy-body. My body will not let me just lay there on the couch most nights. I have trouble sitting still and always feel a need to do something. I have lots of nervous energy, and art in any format has been a good outlet.

It also occurred to me that as a writer/proofreader, the last thing I want to do is read or write. Coloring is much easier on my eyes after a 10-hour day on the computer. Hard copies and good lighting are gentle, and there’s no glare. Coloring is somewhat mindless, while reading requires comprehension.

Trying this new trend also taught me that trends aren’t necessarily bad. I don’t pay much attention to them, but this one does have its benefits and I hope it stays for a while. People would feel better if they found healthy ways to deal with stress and slow down.

Here are a few of my pages just for fun. If you color, feel free to share those with us!

Adult Coloring Designs

Adult Coloring Happy

Adult Coloring Cool

Painted Ornaments: A Soultion and Gift

Happy New Year! We’re excited to kick off our fourth year with this site and want to thank all of you for reading! Before we dig into to 2016, I wanted to share a project from this season.

In November, my RevPub partner was having trouble finding ornaments for his tree. You see, traditional ornaments weren’t going to cut it. He wanted a set of something cool. Think unique, a little geeky, and not ridiculously priced.

So, being the problem solver I am, I decided to paint a set of ornaments for him. I made a list of about 20 of his favorite things and decided what my ability would let me do! I narrowed them down to 10 and ended up with 8. The ornaments are a variety of ceramic, wood, and plastic. I used acrylic paints and mixed a lot of colors. Here are the results:

The Psych Pineapple

Psych Pineapple ornament
One of our favorite shows. Psych’s pineapple is an iconic image to all fans, and I added some quick snowflakes that look like its holiday marketing. This was the one I wanted to keep lol.

Cthulhu

Cthulhu ornament
H.P. Lovecraft’s monster Cthulhu from The Call of Cthulhu. James is a big Lovecraft fan, and I was terrified to do this one. There are about 1,000 images of this creature, so I went simple.

Warhammer Ork

Warhammer Ork ornament
Warhammer 40K Ork glyph. James loves his orks dirty, so that’s what I tried for the ork ornament.

James’ Cat Raz

Raz cat ornament
I do not claim to know how to draw portraits, so I used a little shading. This was one of the more difficult ones. Again, I can’t draw, but I was happy with it. You can tell it’s a cat lol.

The X-men Boss

X-men ornament
From the X-men arcade game. X-men, welcome to die! James and I actually played this game, and it’s one of my favorite Angry Video Game Nerd play-throughs. Seeing this always makes him laugh!

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters ornament
Who you gonna call? One of his favorite movies and the iconic image. I had a lot of people love this one! This was one of the last ones I did because it was going so well, I was afraid to finish it.

Hadouken!

Hadouken ornament
Is this a hadouken?! were the best words I’ve ever heard. From Street Fighter and one of his favorite things to say while playing the game. This was such a pain. The design changed five times, and I almost scrapped it. Overall, I was happy with the final, and he knew what it was. That is all that matters.

Line from Scrooged

Scrooged ornament
Bill Murray says this to his board members after watching the terrible promo. This movie is usually our Christmas movie tradition, and this one line says it all.

This project was a ton of fun and challenged my painting skills to the max. It also led to a few other ideas and possibly future gifts. I had never painted in this detail and want to thank Google images for helping me through it. Here’s to trying new things in 2016: Don’t be afraid; it usually works out!

Game Room Update: The Fortress of Arrogance

When I moved in to my new place last year one of the things I was most excited about was setting up my new game room.  With a home-made 6×4 table and a wolrd of board games and 40k to play, I couldn’t wait to put up decor and set up my hobby room.  I never thought of naming it until I shared with my RevPub partner my WIP of Commissar Yarrick’s legendary Tank, The Fortress of Arrogance.

I learned of this mighty armored vehicle from Chains of Golgotha and immediately loved the name.  I knew when I started my guard army (built almost ENTIRELY from rage quitters and scrap and a couple of boxed sets admittedly) a version of Yarrick’s pulpit would have to be included.  Here’s my version:

Fortress of Arrogance Pulpit WIPWhen I shared this she commented that it would be a good name for my game space, and I started work on a sign that night that mimicked the “official” markings on the tank as it appears in the Apocalypse expansion.  Here’s what I’ll print for my door:

Fortress Of Arrogance
Built from some Skull line art, and some simple Illustrator work it captures enough of the original and still makes a good readable sign for the door!

As for the Fortress itself it’s progressed a bit.  I was able to get my fantasy armies out of boxes with the addition of the two new inexpensive glass curios, and even added some shelves for the Blood Angels/Flesh Tearers that used to be crammed into the bottom shelf of my IG curio (a couple of chaos engines too big for my storage boxes are up there too.)

20150609_201605

20150609_201612

20150609_201621

20150609_201629

20150609_201639

20150609_201644

20150609_201652

As I get things painted (which I’m working on now, my Vostroyan command squad is up first) I’ll share them.  As can easily be seen I have a lot to paint, but I like to build and play, so painting always seems to take a back seat!

A Celebration of Color

It was a long, cold winter here in the South. We had an ice storm, snow, sleet, and I managed to survive being snowed in for a total of two weeks – one of which was my birthday week. I hate cold weather. I hate everything about it, and even though it’s necessary for the life cycle, I despise winter.

Winter 2015, Nashville
This was my view for most of February. As pretty as it was, the brown got old lol.

When spring came around this year, I was desperate for color, and I realized how important color is to our mood, energy level, and overall well-being. A simple addition can brighten up a room and make you feel better. So here’s a quick celebration of color, which also inspired me to paint (sneak peek)!

blue pillows
I started improving my mood by redecorating a little. Throw pillow covers and pillows, new rugs, and new placements. These immediately brightened things up!

Next came the flowers! Inside and out. I keep fresh flowers on my table at all times, but these were recent bouquets, and they were perfect because they always give me something pretty to look at!

mixed flowers

yellow roses

spring time flowers
Last weekend I planted these beauties. Now that the grass is getting greener, they’re the perfect outside addition.

And last, the work in progress…This started as a green and black canvas I painted out of boredom. I was so inspired by color and my flowers, I decided to paint one of my favorites: the iris. I will post about the finished product once its complete, but there will be two paintings. I don’t claim to be an artist, but it goes to show that color can bring out the artist in anyone!

white iris paintingFeel free to share your springtime happiness in the comments section, and Happy Warmer Weather and Happy Easter to all those who celebrate this time of year!

The Ugee Drawing Screen

In my last post I discussed how the effective writing and delivery of Jim Sterling inspires others in their creativity.  This week is a case in point.

I have had a hard time moving from my beloved paper artwork in this digital age.  I’ve tried drawing, scanning the pencils, then vectoring the pencil art.  It didn’t work well.  I’ve also tried having the artwork inked, then scanning it and vectoring from there.  That tended to work better, but still required about 4-6 steps before I could get it in a format to be edited digitally. I’ve tried two versions of Wacom style tablets where a tablet you hold controls a cursor on the screen.  That had marginal success, but I had a lot of trouble making the connection between the pen touching a black surface to a cursor making precise actions on screen.  It went ok but I’m not good enough at it to produce even close to what I do on paper. The next step was an Android tablet with software that simulates graphic design.  It sounded good because it would allow me to draw right on the screen.  The downside was the only styluses I could find were about the size of an eraser.  Trying to do precise markings was out of the question and even trying to tell where they stylus was touching the screen wasn’t always easy to determine.

During a book signing for Matthew Inman aka The Oatmeal he mentioned he uses a Wacom Cintiq and that sounded perfect.  It essentially allows you to draw right on the screen with a pencil-sized stylus you’re your choice of graphic software.

Unfortunately since I haven’t won any lotteries recently I couldn’t get one of those…so I began browsing off brands.
After much consideration I landed on the Ugee drawing screen and it has solved my digitization woes. The first piece of art I produced was my Jim F’N Sterling Son from my last post.
image

I drew into Manga Studio as I preferred the look and feel of its interface as opposed to Illustrator’s.  It just felt more like a real pencil and could be adjusted with sliders to be lighter or darker, as though I was picking a different kind of lead.

After doing the “pencils” in Manga Studio I imported the pencil art into Illustrator, created a layer, and “inked” using Illustrator’s calligraphy tool.  Probably not the best but it worked for my first effort. I was pretty impressed with what could be done relatively quickly, from pencil to colored art took only a couple hours.
image

The Ugee has my approval, its drivers loaded perfectly, it has a large drawing surface, and has an excellent stand.  The only “complaint” is that it can wash out a bit at the wrong angle, but that’s not a big problem when working on a project, just when using it as a regular screen.

As a side note, I’m hoping Jim recovers quickly.  Here’s hoping he’s back on his feet and giving them hell as soon as possible.  We need him in the trenches!

My original Jim Sterling post

Artist Spotlight: Brad Trombley

artist banner

Hobbies are a great way to relax, escape from the world, and show your creative ability. They can be lots of fun and a special way to show someone you care when you make them a one-of-a-kind gift. This month, we’re featuring an artist who includes art as a hobby. Not only that, but he also has an ecommerce business, which could be considered a hobby as well — a hobby that pays! We want to thank him for his time, and feel free to share some art love in the comments below!

RevPub: What are the things you make/create?

So far, I enjoy making paintings using wood. I love being able to cut the wood in any shape and then painting the details on it. I’ve also done Perler Beads, but these are less works of art and more of following patterns.

woodbatmanbeadsonic

RevPub: What do you enjoy about having art as a hobby, and do you ever sell your stuff?

I love having art as a hobby because it takes my full concentration. If I’m thinking about something else or stressing about something, my complete focus is on my works of art. I’ve never sold the stuff I’ve made for me, but I have sold stuff requested by other people.

RevPub: How do you get the ideas for your art?

Usually I get my ideas for wood by seeing a really cool picture and thinking, “Oh hey, this would look really cool in different layers of wood.”

RevPub: What’s your favorite thing you’ve built/created/painted and why?

My favorite thing I’ve created would either be a Playstation door knocker that I have hanging outside my room or my Majora’s Mask painting.

RevPub: What do you sell in your ecommerce business?

I mainly sell books, but I’m starting to learn more about VHS, DVDs, and CDs.

RevPub: Would you recommend others sell things on eBay/Amazon?

If you don’t plan on doing it as a main job, I would recommend selling on eBay for most people. It’s easier to learn, there aren’t nearly as much fees as Amazon, and the auction system for eBay is amazing if you don’t know how much you should charge people for something.

RevPub: What’s the coolest thing you’ve sold?

I don’t really have a coolest thing I sold. Most of the books are the same. I did find a book on How to Train Your Miniature Donkey that sold for about $40, which was pretty great.

woodtigerwoodplaystation
woodzelda
(Photos courtesy of Brad Trombley)