Archive for the creativity Category

[#art] A Change of Carrier

Posted in art, art as a career, art supplies, creative process, creativity, liff on June 14, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
I’ve decided to join the messenger-bag generation.

It’s cool. I’m usually a few years late to just about any party, anyway.

If you don’t know if I’m hangin’ around or not, you can usually tell that I’m here if you see my backpack. It’s a habit I picked up never-you-mind how many years ago and I’ve probably kept too long, but in an unfriendly world that don’t love you back no matter how hard you love it, you have to have your security blanket.

We all do, I think. I fancy I’m just a bit more honest about it than some. Then, I care less and less what anyone thinks about what I do as I move through this part of my life; I’ll do what I can to cope.

My backpack has been part of my identity for a long time. It holds a lot of things that are important to me that I want to keep near; the sketchbook I’m not drawing in; the book on creativity I’m not reading or using, the art supplies I’m apparently hoarding up against the apocalypse. But backpacks encourage a sort-of hermit crabbish-ness, in which I carry my notional studio on my back. As long as my right shoulder isn’t killing me (how I’ve avoided tendonitis all these years, I can’t tell you) I figure I can carry anything. Or everything.

Whether or not I can kickstart my own engine, a touch of parsimony is called for, I think. Will it improve my creativity at all if I don’t figure I have everything I need and inspiration will spontaneously combust from inside the recesses of the thing?

I don’t know.  Anything’s worth trying once.

I also have a taijtu (see illo) patch that will simply look stunning on the flap.

And so it goes.


[art] Guest Post: The Comic Creative, With Christina Cabral

Posted in art, artists, Christina Cabral, comic artists, creative process, creativity, guest posts on January 14, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

And now, after a long,long time my little blog tries to grow up … with a guest post! I am in a sort of a mixture of renaissance/reconfiguration and I’m aiming to push this into more of a resource. This means more than just sharing my art-healing but also trying to bring more than just my fun personality every entry.

This is the first guest post of my blog and, since I’ve been exploring creativity I thought I’d ask one of my more inspiring Facebook acquaintances for some insight. I adore work-in-progress and the creative process … I’ve always imagined it was like being able to watch a nuclear reaction in real-time on the atomic level … watching small things coming together to become something more than the sum of its

Copyright Christina Cabral. More awesome
at her website.

original parts.

L.A artist Christina Cabral‘s work crackles with inventiveness, flair, fearlessness and take-on-the-world attitude. Since she’s allowed me the privilege of a front-row seat to her creativity, I’ve watched her go from merely great to excellent, zooming in a superlative direction. I find her art challenging, delightful, daring and antic. It brims with a sort of confidence that’s hard to contain. She’s going to be something big sometime soon.

So, naturally, I wondered about how she met her creative challenge. She graciously agreed to speak a few words about it, and I’m grateful for the privilege of sharing. So, the following words, which may be read … and read through to the bottom for links that will take you into this artist’s world.

And now, Christina …

Because I went to school for animation I tend to start a comic like I would a short; I make a list of things that need to get done. This is just how I get to work,I’m just a crazy list maker.
  •  Idea
  •  Story
  •  Characters
  •  Supporting characters
  •  Concepts for world and character building
  •  Storyboard full story arch/or short story
  •  Block out pages
  •  Edit
  •  Finalize pencils on pages
  •  Ink Pages
  •  Edit 
  •  Tone and/or Color pages
  •  Edit
  •  Dialog and FX
  •  Edit
Clearly editing is pretty important to the process. Ideally sticking to the list is best but it doesn’t always happen. In the end as long as the final result is the comic you want to see then you did it,you made a thing! 
Story and Characters
It’s cool to have elaborate backgrounds for every character you have but it’s not as great to make that the first 5 chapters of your comic. For Gardenia* I just made quick 3 pose turnarounds for each character and wrote some simple stats on the side of them like; name, height, age. Since it was in black and white I didn’t color them. If it was in color I’d have worked that out in concept doodles and made a small square color key on the side of the turnarounds for future pages. 
When it comes to story I’ve learned from struggling on my first comic that scripts are important. Outline first then script will make storyboarding the pages much easier. Storyboarding/thumbnailing is also super useful because you can figure out the blocking right away. If you can coloring the thumbnails that helps too. The more prep you do the less time editing you need. 
Inking and Coloring
For Gardenia* I inked it by hand and added the tone with photoshop. Whatever you work in fastest is going to be the best bet. For me inking by hand is much faster because I feel the Wacom pen lags for the way I like my lineart. As for the coloring I like to use photoshop because it’s faster to block color out and still be able to change it on a dime.
Dialog and FX
Decorative fonts are neat but think about how you read a comic. If the text is too fancy it’s hard to read and takes longer to get the story across. It’s ok to have it on background items or characters clothes but not so much fun to read as dialog. I like to use Helvetica but any sans-serif works brilliantly. FX are just as tricky especially if the font is not contrast enough on what the FX are against. Quick fix for that is to add a stroke to the font in white or black (or contrasting color) so it will read but not distract too much. 
Layout and Printing
Layout can be done easily enough using InDesign. If you don’t know how to use it there are tutorials online that I used as well. Make a booklet tutorial ( Ah printing … the final frontier of your finished comic. You can use your local printer if you have connections,use a service like KaBlam ( or Createspace or do like my friend and I did; print it at home/Staples using a long arm stapler to connect it. I don’t suggest the latter unless you have lots of patients and less than 10 pieces of paper for your book. The industrial cutters at Kinkos/Staples/printing places can only cut through so many pieces of paper. In the long run doing it at a printer or using a service is going to be way more cost effective because of test prints. Like always the first pancake is always ugly,no matter what. 

I hope these tips helped anyone starting to make comics. Work smarter, not harder. 

… Thanks, Christina!

A notabene… The comic Gardenia mentioned above is from her zine Kitten Squad: Resurrection, a romantic and spooky tale which I’ve been privileged to see. The zine is on my desk and ready for a review, and that’s coming soon. Really moving stuff.
To get on board the Kittie express, you can follow her at Facebook; her Kittie Cakes Designs page there is If you want a look at some more of her art and design, Kittie Cakes Design’s home on the web is, where you can see her other art, bloggy stuff, all sorts of goodness.

[creativity] Need Creativity Practice On The "Fly"? Try Blobbing.

Posted in creativity, how to draw on January 13, 2014 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Stumbled on at FRCH’s Creative Fuel blog, we find one thing we might do when we’re stuck or just need to take our brain out for a spin or don’t know what to create but want to create something.

Here, the Blob isn’t something to beware, it’s something to encourage.

Photo by Ben Wiliams from his article at
Go there to see the rest of the very excellent work.

That’s the whole thing right there. Delightfully simple, probably has been out there all along in front of you, and Ben Williams just crystallized it for you right here.

This is an experience I’ve had in my own life. The maps I sometimes create I draw out of interesting natural or manufactured shapes I stumble on. A big city I created once sprang from the way a concrete walkway branched; it became two one-way streets merging to create a boulevard. Another map, a make-believe island nation, sprang from the pattern of crack-like markings in a linoleum floor.

It’s not hard to imagine drawing shapes solely from nature. A leaf can become an island in a river. One of my favorites come from the land of pareidolia; the North Portland ‘peninsula’, an inland peninsula surrounded by water on three sides (south and west, the Willamette River, and the Columbia on the north) bears an uncanny resemblance to a human thumb, as seen from the palm side of the hand.

Look at it sometime; you’ll see. Of course, you won’t be able to unsee it, but you run this risk when looking at the world that way.

So, blob if ya gotta; imagine patterns in the sky as things to base silly, but intensely creative drawings on.

Read all of Ben’s excellent blog entry, including links to cloudy goodness and even more goofy birds, here at

[art] A Henna Artist’s Positive Ramble on Getting Unstuck and Creativity

Posted in art, creativity, Inspiration on December 26, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

Peep this, cats and kittens:

This positive, happy woman rambles on for about ten minutes and ten seconds (eleven, actually, but ten minutes and eleven seconds just doesn’t fall as trippingly off the tongue) about being stuck as a henna artist and how to become unstuck as a henna artist. But, there’s always a level of arting around that works universally, beyond, above, and below the obvious level of expression and art media.

This video has very good suggestions and ruminations about inspiration, looking, and being for not only henna artistes but any artist who feels ‘stuck’. It’s ramblin’, but in the good way, most definitely.

She is, fortunately enough for me, someone I happen upon betimes in the workaday world. She’s typically a very happy, dry-humored sort and if she brings that brio to her henna work, it’s gotta be good.

She also has a blog ( , a YouTube channel (, and a Face-to-the-Book page (, which may be read and viewed and enjoyed.

[art] What This Brony Can Teach You About Creativity and Community …

Posted in art how-to, community, creativity on December 10, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
Yes, I said brony. 

Don’t laugh, sit down and listen to Dr Wolf. He has a view about creativity and acquiring new hobbies that’s worth listening to.

He starts out by telling you that it only takes about 20 hours to familiarize yourself with a new hobby to the point that you can start creating. This isn’t much a surprise, at least not to any one of us (in which I count myself and many people I know, and I’m fortunate enough to know people who aren’t satisfied just knowing what they know and doing only what they do) who’s tried.

What really speaks to me is what Dr Wolf seems to have to say about learning the community around any given hobby, studying the connections, and then stepping into that playground to play. His ideas are universal, really; take out ‘Brony community’ and replace with ‘drawing student community’ or ‘video-making community’ and the reasoning is just as sound.

And if you do believe Friendship Is Magic, then there’s lotsa cyooot pastel ponies to look at.

H/T Scott Sanford hither.

[liff] Roberta Phillip is Out Of The Race

Posted in creativity, design, logo design on April 17, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2396.The competition for the Multnomah County District 2 seat is pretty tough; Roberta Phillip, as of yesterday afternoon, has included herself out.

I mention this because I designed part of the look of her campaign – the campaign logo and, at the time of her withdrawal from the race, was entering into a revision cycle (set something on high speed) for her tri-fold campaign brochure.

Looking at the content I must say I think we’re missing out. She has a group of firm, good, people-first values and her history suggests she would have done her level best to carry them out into her leadership style. It’s to be hoped that she decides, at some later time not too far down the road, to try again.

Thanks to T.A. Barnhart, local liberal lion for giving me the opportunity to design the look of the campaign. I was proud of the logo that I produced, and it looked rather good on the top of her website.

It would have been nifty to see this on a lawn sign, yes? And, I never did get a chance to meet the lady, that would have been cool too.

For what it’s worth, I’m available for similar work. I greatly enjoyed this, and would love the chance to do it again for some other political candidate.

The complete tale of the work I did here can be found at my Behance portfolio:

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[art] Comic Character Development

Posted in art, comic art, creativity on March 28, 2010 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis

After sharing that last with me and the rest of his Twitter stream, @raydred shared a little character development sketch that he was a little scoff-y about but which I found quite nifty indeed. Here:

This is good for the same reason Tony Millionaire’s work is good. Raydred is, in a Millionaire-esque way, in charge of his medium, and it shows in every line he draws. This, though sketch-y, shows a confidence and command that seems to come out of the drawing at me, and makes me want to look.

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