six free pages to color!

EPSON MFP imageIn the spirit of giving, here are some print-size images for you guys to download and color! These are imperfect scans of six pages from the Horrors; I figured a lot of folks have bought the book and many more would probably love to just color in a few pages.  Click any image to find a full-sized version for printing.

(although you’re missing out on 22 other creatures, and the text that goes with them all!You can get the full book here if you’d like the complete experience.) Enjoy, and feel free to share!

art and craft day with the roseburg kids.

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Today we had arts and crafts day here in Roseburg. I made these three sets of weights! Jimmy made a split sheet of flash, and Zack made a painting, and Annee made a pair of earrings with beads. Here’s some photos of everyone crafting and drawing.

I grew up the oldest of a bunch of kids. Until my brother was born, I was the only kid in a house full of people, uncles and aunts and grandparents and cousins. I love when there are a bunch of other people around making art, crafting, doing things. The energy of a group really makes it easier for me to work somehow. Even just someone in the other room writing, feeds my energy and my ambition to see things through.

Today was great.

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How to prepare specimens safely.

How to get the bones from animal remains you find that still have a bit of meat on them, and which are not dried out:

 Wear disposable gloves. Wild animals carry loads of diseases which you can in fact succumb to, such as rabies, flu, and even leprosy (YES, leprosy).

This is the low-investment method. You can also bury or macerate the remains to get the bones; but maggot cleaning will be less involved. You could get a beetle box, but maggot cleaning is less upkeep.

  • DO NOT BOIL OR SIMMER BONES. Cooked bones can and will ROT! Boiling breaks the fibers that hold bone together, making them brittle, and thinning them. Let nature do the work for you! (and keep the stink outside!)
  • Put them on a piece of window screen that is twice their size, and wrap them up in it. Fold over the edges to close it like a pocket, leaving a one inch opening on one end for flies and other insects to get in.
  • Hang the corpse-pocket up outside. You want it up out of reach of cats and dogs, but low enough that you can reach it. I hang remains from a tree limb near my house. You can also wrap the corpse this way and then bury it a foot deep or less. Either way, insects will do the cleaning for you. This will not work in winter though.
  • Wait a few weeks, less if it is hot/humid. check on your developments. at some point the bones will be fully exposed, and all meat will have been picked away by insects.
  • soak the bones in HOT water and blue Dawn dish detergent. Change out the water/detergent mix every day. It can cool off overnight, just use hot water to refill it each day. Use about two cups of Dawn per gallon of water. Do this until the bones are not yellowish with fat anymore.
  • Scrub the bones in cold water with more dish soap. Then soak again in HOT water, mixed 1:1 with regular old store-type peroxide. YOU DON’T NEED BLEACH; BLEACH WILL MAKE THE BONE CRUMBLY AND WEAK, AND SOFTEN IT. Peroxide and hot water will disinfect just as well, when used in conjunction with the soap soak. refill/continue soaking until the bone is as white as you’d like. I find that it usually takes three water changes to get the ivory-cream tone I prefer.
  • Dry the bones thoroughly, NOT IN THE SUN. Then spray, with a coat of matte UV protectant. Sun exposure, like bleach, degrades and weakens bone.
  • The best way to hang a skull is to string it on thick, soft twine through the orbital bones, then hang that on a hook on a mountboard. I like to attach the jaw as well, and pose and articulate bones- I’ll go over that stuff in a later post.

TEAL DEER: 

DON’T FUCKING BOIL OR BLEACH BONES! IT DESTROYS THEM!

How to disinfect feathers (legal ones- domestic and game birds)

Find out if they’re legal to own!

Wear disposable gloves.

Be especially cautious with feathers, because bird flu is an actual thing. So is west nile virus, salmonella, and more…

  • Figure out if it is a land or water bird. Water birds have oil in their feathers, land birds do not.
  • Figure out if the feather is legal to own or not. You can check the list here to find out.
  • Spray with alcohol (land bird) or tea tree oil, almond oil, or oil-based castile soap (water bird) and let dry.
  • Soak a paper towel with full-strength hand sanitizer, and wipe feather gently, in the direction of growth. Soak the feather well.
  • Tie a string to the base of the shaft and hang the feather, shaft up, overnight to dry out.
  • Using hot water, wipe the feather down again. Let dry. Use almond oil (water bird) or a damp cloth (land bird) to smooth the feather to shape it again. Again, let it dry completely.
  • Smooth out with your fingers to re-shape the feather and re-attach each strand of it.
  • To dye land-bird feathers, use translucent, lightfast inks (FW, or diluted liquid acrylics) and wipe ink onto feather surfaces in the pattern you want, or better yet, spray it on lightly. let it stand until the ink has dried, then wipe gently with a damp rag, using your fingers to smooth the surface and attach the strands.
  • To dye water bird feathers, use an oil paint, diluted with almond or walnut oil. Make sure to re-shape the feather several times during the drying period, or the strands will clump together.

TEAL DEER? MOST FEATHERS ARE ILLEGAL, DON’T BE A DUMBASS.

(you can find my work in these materials here or here)

originally written on: Aug 1, 2012
updated today

hand-painting prints


Sometimes I feel like just making prints of a painting isn’t enough.

I feel like- man when I buy stuff, I buy prints because I like the artist but can’t afford a bigger piece- but I always feel like it’s not as good as an original. So I end up kind of going halfway sometimes, and painting over a print of my own work.

I’ll do the painting first.

I did this in watercolor and colored pencil on plain tinted paper,then painted over the prints with blood and white highlights.

If you plan to try this, make sure your original art has decent contrast and a solid area or three where detail or added color would add, rather than detract, from it.

further instructions after the break:

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Three ways to end a creative block, right this very instant.

noncomplianceFirst of all, sit down. Clear a place on the couch and sit your ass down. Creative blocks are evil. I mean evil, wicked, bad things that get all of us at some point. I hate when it happens, and the worst is when you get into that feedback loop- you know, worrying about it and trying to start working on stuff, but it won’t come, so then you worry some more, then try and you still can’t do anything, and so you worry…that worry and fear is the root of it, sometimes, and it can turn into a neverending battle.

Other times a block isn’t really a block- it’s that you have fed your head so much that it is still processing. You’ve taken in a lot of inspiring work or ideas lately from other artists, and now your brain needs some down time in the dark to ferment it all into delicious beer. (or bread. whatever.) Either way, you can end it. You actually can end it, but it’s going to suck, just like breaking down a real wall sucks and is heavy work. It’s not easy but it’s pretty much dead simple. (more…)

four essential aftercare tips for fresh tattoos.

398191_10151137265617712_1686171381_nTattoos, just like a fur or a pair of old favorite boots, require some care to stand the test of time.

Tattoos done before about 1990 have little hope of staying clear and unsullied by sun and weather and wear. The inks used before that time had many pigment ingredients which could react to sun exposure, and to the wearer’s own body fluids. These days, most tattoo inks used by professional artists are inert and hypo-allergenic, and at the very least should not react to the skin itself. They can still be faded and worn if not cared for properly. (Some people might still be allergic to certain inks, but it’s very rare.)

A tattoo is ink that is permanently set just under the translucent top layer of skin. This top layer is like an elastic window that you look through to see the ink. If the top layer is damaged or thickened or darkened, it becomes a dirty window. Age, sun exposure, and scars can all obscure a gorgeous tattoo and turn it into indecipherable mud. Also, the darker your skin, the more “tint” that window has.

  • First and most destructive on the list of tattoo-destroyers is the sun. Just as a photograph left in the sun will fade over time, the pigments in a tattoo will fade. The pigmentation of skin is a poor defense, and putting sunblock on your tattoo will keep it looking fresh over the years. If you tan, try using a high SPF lip balm, and apply it just to the tattooed area. If you use a stick lip balm you can use it like a crayon and color in just the tattoo, letting the skin right up to it tan. This makes the tattoo look even newer next to the tanned area. If you will be out in the sun use a high SPF sunblock, even if your tattoo was done last year. The pigments can be faded even after the tattoo is long healed. Don’t start with sunblock until the tattoo is at least two weeks old.
  • Second, wrinkles will obscure your tattoo, and may even distort it. Over the years, the cells in skin shift a bit and change relative position. As any dermatologist will tell you, avoiding sun exposure and staying hydrated keep wrinkles away. This will help your tattoo, also. Once the tattoo is applied it becomes part of your largest organ- your skin. What is good for your skin is good for your tattoo, too, so drink enough water. Moisturizing the tattooed area helps. Even years after the procedure, the area that was tattooed remembers the abrasion, and can get dehydrated more quickly than the rest of your skin. So be sure to continue moisturizing occasionally, even after the tattoo heals.
  • Third, accidents happen. Scars that destroy tattoos are almost never intentional. The good news is that most scars can be tattooed over. Unless the scar is raised more than 1/4 inch from the surface, or is heavily textured, there are many tattoo artists that are willing to repair or retouch scars. If you’re planning on repairing a tattoo that’s been scarred over, try to allow at least six months for the scar tissue to “settle”. Use some light vitamin E oil or Emu oil on it from time to time and massage against the grain of the scar. This can sometimes help reduce the texture of the scar, and makes the tissue softer and easier to tattoo over.
  • Last but not least, if your artist offers a free touch-up, take advantage of it within a few months. The best time to get tattooed is in the winter, when your new art won’t get exposed to the sun. But no matter when you get worked on, wait until after the summer sun has done its damage before you go back to get a touch-up. This way, the artist gets the satisfaction of a second look at your work, and you get to repair any damage the vacation did to your new ink.

When your artist gives you care instructions, follow them to the letter. Every artist uses different techniques to apply a

all healed up!

all healed up!

tattoo, and usually they know which healing procedure will work best in conjunction with it. Artists use such a variety of needle, ink, and bandaging material- as well as the variatons in YOUR body’s healing ability- that it’s impossible to give out one universal set of aftercare directions.

Don’t listen to your friends, other artists, or people you meet out and about. If you don’t trust the artist to know best, you should buy your tattoo from someone you DO trust. Pick an artist who you trust, and listen to them. They know how to help you heal your new work.

It’s OUR job to put the tattoo in just the right layer of your skin, just right. It’s YOUR job to do the other half- to heal your tattoo properly. Keep your tattoos clean while healing, and wash your hands before touching a fresh tattoo. Don’t wear tight things that will rub against or irritate your tattoo. Don’t swim or surf for the first few weeks. And most of all, let your tattoo get air.

A well-healed tattoo will make you happy for decades. Taking a few weeks to care for it properly is COMPLETELY worth it.

(written by me, originally published here)

holiday cards of all kinds.

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except in my house it’s solstice. hawkins has a huge box of ancient holiday cards, spanning from birthdays to halloween and every other holiday you can think of.

I’ve raided this pile to make my own holiday cards. most of the ones he has are pretty sappy, glurgey pictures of kittens laying on puppies and babies, twinkly reindeer and hearty santas with smiling children.

I can’t resist. I used a white matte paint marker, a calligraphy brush and ink, and a gel pen with glittery black ink to rework the cards, every last one of them.

I have never sent out cards before, it’s a new thing this year. I’m not sure why this year of all years but there you have it.

If you click through to read more, after the card pictures, there’s a pile of all the new stuff that I’ve been posting since last round of new-things-for-sale! I think anything you all order before the tenth is definitely going to get to you all on time, and I have a feeling that gifts you order up until the fifteenth have a good chance of making it as well. After that…well shit man, you need to buy presents early if you’re a present-buying person.

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new things after the jump.

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Obligatory gift guide post.

bird in the handYes, I made a gift guide. There’s a few hundred things there by now! I know SO many creative and amazing people- and every year I buy from them instead of going to big box stores. Why? Well, partly because I enjoy owning things made by hand, by people on their own time. And partly because I hated every factory job I ever had. If you’ve ever worked in a factory you know- you may do the job itself well or with some pride, but you do NOT put love into each and every piece of your piece rate. Especially since you get paid peanuts, made to work holidays away from your family, and -unless you have a GREAT union- every single thing you make is like a nail in your coffin, hurting your back, blistering your fingers. Also, handmade goods, the money you spend on them goes right back into YOUR economy, not to some CEO’s offshore hoarding pile of money. The money you spend on handmade gets spent, right back into the world.

For those reasons, and MANY more, I buy from people who make things by hand themselves, from people who create art (then sell it or get it printed and sell the prints) and from people who curate vintage things on their own. These people do these things because they love them. And all too often these people are broke at the holidays, while everyone rushes to trample and kill each other to buy mass-produced garbage they’ll forget about in a month.

You can’t buy every single thing like this, of course- but there are a hell of a lot of things you CAN. And so, you SHOULD. You will feel good, the receiver of the gift you got will love it, and unlike factory goods- it will not be set aside and forgotten when the day is over.

Go check out the handmade and small business gift guide I made.

Gel medium to transfer drawings and sketches, DIY

So I got a huge tub of soft gel medium, and immediately decided I wanted to put some of the drawings I’ve been doing (mostly figure studies) onto some cedar planks I had. I searched for a how-to, and could only find people discussing photocopies, printed photos.

Nobody seemed to be interested in putting their own drawings onto other surfaces- or if they were, they were willing to photocopy them first.

I wasn’t interested in that- I wanted to draw the piece on paper myself, in reverse, and then transfer it right to the wood.

I read up about the way gel medium works. If you’re using something that soaks into the paper, it won’t transfer. You need to be using something that sits on the surface of the paper, like prismas on tracing paper, or like inks on copy paper, or dry paints.

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new vaper stuff.

So my post about what to buy needs an update, because some of those things are out of stock or other things have popped up.

To get started vaping, you need:

  • a battery, preferably two, one for backup
  • a charger
  • a tank or topper to hold the liquid
  • a dripping atomizer for tasting liquids before filling the tank, these usually come with a mouthpiece called a driptip.
  • the liquid/juice

Yes, you DO need two batteries. The  dripping atomizer is the only thing on that list that isn’t an absolute necessity.

CAM02781Batteries: I think it’s easiest to start with ego-style batteries. They fit almost everything and they’re not too huge or crazy to look at. They’re a bit wider than a camel wide in the hand, and you can get tiny short ones too if you really are dead set on something very small.

I’d suggest getting a variable voltage one as your main battery, and a mini as your backup. This gives you one that’ll last a long time and which you can make more or less powerful, and also one tiny one for stealthy use. As always, I am writing for Poor people. I’m giong to try to give you a shopping list all from one place, that doesn’t cost too much and ships fast. Here’s the twist, and here’s the mini battery. If you poke around that site a bit you will notice that you can get these in any color, pretty much.

They also have chargers. If you have read about batteries exploding and stuff like that, it’s because people are using the wrong battery with the wrong charger. Or using batteries that are off-brand…it’s just like a cell phone battery, really, or a laptop battery. Those explode all the time too, when people put them on the wrong charger or something. So use the right charger, the right kind of battery (the ones I’m talking about) and don’t leave it sitting underneath a pile of laundry all night. Basically if you wouldn’t do it with your cell phone, don’t do it with these.

Now, the easiest tank I’ve used is this one. But if you choose citrus-flavored liquid or cinnamon, it’ll crack the plastic. So you can get this one if that’s what you plan to try. They cost a little more because they’re glass. I’d suggest getting one of each, so you have two complete set-ups to use. You’ll unscrew the base of these, disassembling it into two pieces, and then pour juice into the tank part. The base has a little head, a heating element, that can wear down over time- you simply replace that part eventually. (Those run about a buck) And both of these use the same part for that, this one.

Then, for tasting, here’s the cheapest atomizer.  You just take off the mouth piece, and put a few drops into the tube, then puff.

CAM02716[1]Now we’re done with the shopping list for that place. For juice, a cheap place to start is this store. They have tons of different flavors, and you can order tiny bottles for about 2.50. That way you can taste a variety of things, and figure out what kind of stuff you like. Tobacco flavors are all right, but you’ll want to try juices that have a LOT of flavor – and you will probably find that stuff that is less like tobacco and more like other stuff you enjoy eating, satisfies you more.

If you smoke more than a pack a day, try starting with 24mg content. If you smoke a bit less than that, try 18, or 12mg. A good thing to do, is to get a bottle at 24mg and also a bottle of the same flavor at 0mg- that way you can mix them together until the juice satisfies you without overdoing it.

The liquid contains nicotine- so if you spill it on yourself it can make you feel mighty sick. If you spill any, wash it off or clean it up as soon as you can. I’ve had one major spill, and it gave me the shits and the pukes really badly for an hour or so. So be aware of where you keep and how you use the liquids.

Side note, I didn’t get paid anything to write this, feel free to search around for the same stuff from other stores too! If you don’t mind a very long wait, fasttech.com has some of this stuff very cheap- but it can take a few weeks to get to you. There are tons of juice vendors too. The things I listed here are things I’ve bought myself, from the exact same place I linked to- they didn’t pay me or anything, and I don’t get anything out of sending you there.  If you find someplace cheaper or better, let me know! If you don’t want to even read this whole post or can’t be bothered clicking on stuff, you can get a serviceable kit here, although it only has one battery- it’s priced decently for what it is. Or this one, if it’s in stock. That one has two batteries, and tanks that won’t crack- so it’s an even better price.

You will probably end up finding better juices, bigger or crazier strong batteries, monster tanks and atomizers you can rebuild and stuff. But to start with you really need to start simple, easy, so you can understand how it works by putting your hands on it. After that things make a lot more sense. If you are a building/tinkering type of person, you can go ahead and build your own ecig pretty easily, all you’d need then would be a tank or atomizer. Plenty of people use cartomizers (like the “filter” thing on the blu and other disposable ones) which you can get in blank, to fill with your own liquids.

You can paint these, plastidip them. You can get a pipe stem and carve it to fit them. There’s a lot of weird shit you can do, the information is out there- usually the sites selling this stuff don’t give much information on it, but you can look here or here for more discussion and building ideas.

A lot of people buuy “mods”, too. “Mod” used to mean “modified”, like the person built it themselves- but now there are tons of people selling them in mass-produced versions. I don’t know much about those, mostly because I’m not only new to this, but also Poor, and those are really just Nice Things for Rich People that do the same damn thing the Poor version does.

 

 

 

(oh yeah…if this helped you, buy me a cup of coffee! unless you’re too Poor, in which case I understand completely.)

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