Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fiskateers and Beasties Video Chat

Thursday evening I did a video chat for Fiskateers. There were interesting questions and some great prizes that I gave away. If you missed it you can watch it here. Stay tune for more Beasties giveaways.

Don't forget about Halloween! There will be a Beasties BookCourt event tomorrow in Brooklyn.

163 Court St
Cobble Hill
Brooklyn, NY

11 am-12:30 pm
There will be free Beastie craft kits for for all ages and a book signing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nintendo Art Academy

Recently, I was asked to try the new software called Art Academy for the Nintendo DS family of systems. As an artist I always carry around a small sketchbook with me at all times. I was excited to see the similar and portable size the Nintendo DSi XL was to my own sketchbook and mini-watercolor set. The fact that Art Academy combined drawing and painting into the portable Nintendo DSi XL solved my problems of lugging around all my supplies. I travel everyday by subway and train so the Nintendo DSi XL is perfect and portable for anyone to take with them on the go. For example, this past weekend a kid sitting next to me on the subway asked me about what I was using on my Nintendo DSi XL to draw so I showed him Art Academy before I got off at my next stop.

There are two sections to Art Academy which are the lessons and the free paint mode. I was eager to start drawing and painting and jumped right into the free paint mode immediately. The stylus acts as both your pencil and brush. There are different types of pencils, two erasers, and an upright position and sideways pencil position. I was pleased to see my favorite pencil HB was there to use! The effects were similar a real pencil. After drawing I could switch to the free paint mode and pick from a variety of paintbrush sizes and mix the paints on a palette. This was great because I could achieve many different effects such as a more flat look, impressionistic, watercolor, pastel look, and more.

Another feature included is the camera tool. The Nintendo DSi XL has two screens so you can take a photo and use it as a reference while you create your art. I find this helpful because If I start a drawing or painting and don’t always have time to finish it so I can have the photo there for later reference. For example I took some photographs the other day of antique Mexican masks that were in a restaurant that inspired me. I took my photos and worked on my drawing later using Art Academy.

I was impressed with how easy it was to understand the software and be able to figure out the free paint mode on my own. Art Academy makes drawing and painting more accessible to someone who has none or little experience. Or someone who has an art background can easily draw and paint the same as before. The art lessons provide valuable insight and tips for creating art if you have never taken formal art classes.

Nintendo hosted an event at the Whitney Museum of American Art last week so people could try out Art Academy early. I chatted with many non-artists as well as experienced artists who were trying out Art Academy for the first time. There was intense concentration in the Gallery that evening while people focused on creating their very own artwork on the Nintendo DSi XL. I left feeling excited that Art Academy had gotten more people interested in drawing and painting and find their creative side.

Stay tuned for more about Art Academy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Etsy Night Craft Lab

This past week I hosted Monday Craft night at the Etsy labs in Dumbo (Brooklyn, NY). In the spirit of Halloween I chose the zombie project from my craft book, Beasties: How to Make 22 Mischievous Monsters That Go Bump in the Night.

Etsy Craft night is made open to the public and provides all the sewing materials and sewing supplies for free. Julie and Laura from Etsy were kind enough to assist. I brought along instructions and pattern sheets. One lucky winner in the virtual labs received a free copy of the Beasties book for answering my Zombie trivia question. The zombie project is a simple and can be done with basic hand sewing. However, Etsy provides sewing machines if you prefer to do some machine sewing.

I was excited to meet and talk with so many enthusiastic crafters who weren’t afraid to dive right in and make their own personalized zombies. There were some crazy colored zombies! Some had more blood and gore, while others were missing appendages. I really enjoy the friendly crafting environment at Etsy and chatting with people to see what kind of crafts they like to make. Thanks also to fellow crafter, David who made a exquisite Halloween sign for Monday night.

Check out the article in the NYU newspaper, Washington Square News from the Monday night Etsy Craft Labs.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Beasties Reviews

Check out Etsy How-Tuesday and learn how to make a zombie. Patterns and instructions included.

There have been some more great Beasties Reviews. Check them out!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yarn Bar and Conflux Festival

I stopped by La Casita with my friend Laura, puppet builder and knitter extraordinaire to do some chatting and crafting. This yarn bar in Carroll Gardens offers a variety of yarn to purchase as well as knitting classes to take. You can snack and sip a latte or glass of wine while you knit.

This weekend was NYU's 7th annual Conflux festival which features artists and technology events in New York City. Another fellow puppet builder Matthew Brennan did a music performance using cassette tape loops and a mixing board on the sidewalk. He even played his handmade guitar (made from a gas stove and guitar strings) that utilized his found sound recordings. The unique guitar was played with tape recordings, hitting strings, and blowing air into a tube to create an interesting effect that was picked up by a microphone. Matt's extended the idea of "found" sounds and musical collage with instruments created from found objects. I especially liked the use of continuous tape loops that played sounds, music, and spoken diary entries by unknown people. Listening to music on a cassette tape is a thing of the past but I was excited to receive one of Matt's tapes entitled, Decrepit Jaw, which I can pop into my Sony Boom Box.

Beasties Guest Posts

I recently spoke with Jennifer Forker about Beasties for the Associated Press

I've been doing some guest blog posts that you can read as well enter for some free giveaways.

Mommy's Memorandum

Wise Craft

Here is another write up about Beasties
Design Bottled