July Newsletter

 
 

Hi there,

Welcome to my July Imaginarium!

If you’re not quite sure how to create an invoice for your art, look no further, I’ve got a template and some tips to help you. Also in this edition are my trusty DIY’s and amazing internet finds.

Without further ado, let’s get creative!

If you’re posting your art online, you’ll probably wonder if anyone can steal your images and sell them behind your back. Online theft happens much too often to unsuspecting artists, the legal costs can be exorbitant, and the process excruciatingly long. The best way to avoid online theft, it not to post anything, which kind of defeats the object. You could paste watermarks all over your image, but criminals can find ways to remove them. The other option is to post smaller images, to make it nearly impossible for them to enlarge it. The best way to do that is to add your art into a mock-up such as on a wall, surrounded by furniture.

There are a few Apps out there when it comes to showcasing your art on virtual walls. Some are free, while others have a monthly subscription. It works very well to see how your art will look in someone’s living room, or in a frame. But all of them are modern-looking and I haven’t found one with a Victorian flair. So I made my own template.

If you’re a Photoshop user, this template will be so much fun to work with. It’s fully customizable and you can move objects around to suit your ideal Victorian setting. You don’t have to install a new font, I’ve kept it simple with dear old Calibri. The wall, frames, floor and chair are all smart objects and you can scale them, change their colour or adjust their shapes if you want to.

If you don’t have Photoshop, I’ve made a Microsoft Word version as well. It’s a bit more limited, but you can still use it fairly well. The only snag is saving the image. You’ll have to either export it as a PDF file or print a screenshot onto an editing app on your computer / laptop. I’ve also included additional walls and chairs in various colours for you to replace the existing ones. This is the first time I’ve made a wall art template this format, so please let me know how it turned out.

Get Your Template Here

If you’re already selling your art, you’ll probably have an existing Invoicing structure. Whether it be an invoicing program, template or a mere note in a journal. This is such a small piece of admin often overlooked. Admittedly, I scrambled to get an invoice ready when I made my first sale. It was a crude invoice modelled from a sundry slip I saw in my admin job long ago. I’ve since fine-tuned the layout and the result is a simple design with all the relevant information. It might not auto-calculate the amounts, but it works brilliantly for simplistic invoicing.

Sending an invoice to your collector/buyer is not only to keep a record for your sales, it is also to add authenticity to the purchase. Your buyer would most likely want to submit the document for insurance or tax purposes.

You don’t need a complicated layout, as long as you have all the important information on it, you should be fine:

• Order number (if applicable)
• The name and contact details of the buyer
• The name of the artist or an identifying image such as a logo
• The title of the artwork
• Information about the artwork such as date, materials, dimensions
• The price of the artwork
• Additional costs such as delivery or import taxes
• Payment method and whether the payment has been made
• Terms and conditions (if applicable) which could include use and care, special instructions, cancellation policies, delivery and custom duty information
• The artist’s contact details

Usually, I send the invoice after the sale is made, unless the collector wishes to have it before hand, as a pro-forma. Most of them don’t want an invoice, but I keep one filed just in case. If you ae in need of an invoice, or want to update your existing one, you can download my template:

Invoice Template

 

When it comes to recycling, I’m always on the look-out for interesting ways to reuse old packaging. Sometimes it doesn’t work out quite as well, and all my recycling dreams go to bust. I don’t use a lot of plastic products, and I normally find ways to recycle them wherever possible. One thing I have in abundance is cardboard. With most of my homeware packed away in boxes, I have no shortage of cardboard. Once a year I get fed-up with all the clutter and the purge commences in a week-long cleaning spree. But before I send everything to the recyclers, I have a few cereal boxes that are practically begging me to use then in a DIY project.

The most obvious way to reuse a box is for storage, but how could I make it interesting? I fell down the Pinterest rabbit hole and found an interesting triangular pencil case that seemed pretty straightforward to make. My paintbrush holder is quite old, and small, so this box will be the perfect size to store my brushes in.

All you’ll need is a standard cereal box to or similar cardboard, a punch, scissors, a rope or piece of string thin enough to fit through the punch holes, a pencil and ruler. You could adorn your triangle box with wrapping paper, or spray paint or you could add decorative elements to it to make it look less recycled, and a bit more expensive.

Get The Instructions Here

 

Another little recycling DIY that I found very handy is a mini dustpan to catch eraser dust. My desk and its surrounds are constantly strewn with eraser dust. Instead of dragging out the big cleaning machines, or battling the broom, I turned to art supply stores for a nifty solution. Yes you get eraser shaving collectors and table brushes, but buying that seemed so unnecessary and I thought about how could make one from a plastic bottle instead.

All you’ll need for this DIY is a box cutter or sharp knife (please be careful not to cut yourself) and a standard plastic milk bottle. You’ll have to disinfect the bottle beforehand. Once you’ve got everything, you can use the instructions to make a mini dustpan. For the broom part, you can use an old toothbrush.

Get The Instructions Here

 

Thank you for reading and please share with your art-minded friends and loved ones. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:

https://tinyletter.com/LisaNightshade

In next month’s edition, I’m covering my favourite colour: black. From clothes, to gardening, and even to ink.

Until next month, have a super-awesome July!

Lisa

 

June Newsletter

 
 

Hi there,

Can you believe we’re almost halfway through 2020? I hope the year has presented fantastic opportunities and adventures for you thus far. On my side, it has been busy like crazy. It’s lovely to be productive and have new projects coming into fruition, but I’m worried that I won’t get through all my tasks. I need to practice my woosah:

https://tenor.com/view/chill-destress-woosah-calm-down-relax-gif-5102209

Woosah (wü-sah): A single word exclaimed while exhaling and summoning your inner calm.

In this month’s edition, I’ll share the template I use for planning my social media posts, some art challenges I find inspiring and as always a budget-friendly DIY project.

Before I dive right into it, I’ve mentioned in last month’s newsletter that I’ve been planning an exhibition, and this month I’m launching it. It will run from Winter Solstice to Spring Equinox (Central African Time). What sets this exhibition apart from gallery-run shows, is that it will be online and therefore accessible around the world. I’m also working with a web designer/videographer to streamline the visual experience. This is my first, self-curated and solo exhibition, which is terrifying and exhilarating simultaneously. (Insert a few Woosah’s here) There will be a countdown to the opening, and it will be viewable here:

https://gallery.lisanightshadeart.com/

Find your invitation here.

I’ll also keep you posted on Facebook and Instagram.

Speaking of posting…

If things have been a tad stagnant when it comes to social media posting, don’t worry, I’ve got some ideas to get the muses singing. It all starts with a little planning.

Following the example of many successful artists, I decided to up my game when it comes to social media posts. Planning my month allows me to see the bigger picture: what I want to achieve with my posts. In the perfect world, it’ll be able to attract potential art collectors, but I don’t want my social media accounts to be filled with hard-selling pitches. I want visitors to enjoy a visual stroll through my art. Each post shares a tiny glimpse into my mind. Admittedly I spend way too much time in designing my posts, but it brings me so much joy. Trial and error is the best way to figure out what to post when to post and which hashtags to use. The Instagram algorithm loves it when you post consistently and when you post at least daily to your Stories.
Using the perfect Tags are also helpful, and allow people who follow those Tags to see your posts. I’m yet to learn the ideal combination of Hashtags. Here are two useful articles, if you need further insight:

https://mention.com/en/blog/instagram-marketing-tips-for-business/

https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-hacks/

The most important thing to keep in mind is that social media is supposed to be enjoyable. Share your journey as a human being with your followers and friends and don’t get bogged down by the business side of it too much. Once something becomes a chore to do then it’s not worth it. There’s also a dark side to social media: envy. Some people stalk you because they’re envious or because they have ill intentions. If you find yourself in a situation where someone is spamming you with inappropriate content or hateful messages, Block and Unfollow them. Enough horrors are going on in the world, and you don’t need a troll to rain on your online parade.

One of my guilty pleasures is sipping on some tea, with my cat on my lap as I scroll through Instagram. No matter how bad I feel, seeing my Insta-friends’ beautiful artworks and posts always improve my mood. Thank you for filling my feed with your posts.

It’s all good and well, but if you have no idea what to post, it’ll just discourage you. I’m constantly wracking my brain for fresh post ideas, and I’ve come up with a reusable list. I hope it gives you a little extra inspiration:

  1. New Month, New Project: Welcome in the new month with a new project you’ve started, a work in progress
  2. My Desk: A photo or video of what you currently have on your desk. It could be an artwork or your favourite tools
  3. Details: A close-up of your artwork, showing smaller details
  4. Studio / Corner Tour: Showcase the space you make art in, whether it be an atelier or just a designated corner
  5. Inspiring Playlist: The music you’re listening to at the moment
  6. Unboxing: A new artwork or some art supplies you got. Even something you think your followers would love to see
  7. Throwback: Old art vs current art to show your evolution as an artist
  8. All done: A finished piece against a wall or in a space that gives an idea of the scale. Or you can superimpose it onto the ready-made scene: https://iartview.com/ or https://www.ohmyprints.com/index/455/de/WallApp
  9. Quote: An inspiring quote or lyric
  10. A day in the Life: Share little things that inspire you or show how you prepare for a new project
  11. Share the Love: If you see art or artists that you love, share their posts. I got into it thanks to my art friend Lisa Oakes who started the Follower Friday idea.
  12. Ask Me Anything: Post a question or poll
  13. Sale: Do you have artworks up for sale? Let your followers know and encourage them to message you for more info
  14. Behind the Scenes: Especially in Stories, share what you get up to at home, what you eat, movies you watch, books you read etc.
  15. Selfie Sort Of: Have a selfie with your artwork or have someone take a photo of you next to your artwork
  16. Time-lapse: While you’re working on your artwork, capture a time-lapse video
  17. Random Art: A little sketch or doodle that you did randomly
  18. Adopted: A piece you’re given away or sold
  19. Promo Time: Any sales or promotions you’re running or that someone else is running
  20. Giveaways: This is not for everyone, but if you’re able to host a competition with one of your artworks as the prize
  21. DTIY: Draw this in your style. Do this for your art as well
  22. Choose: Let your followers choose a concept or colour for your new artwork if you can’t decide
  23. Blog: Write a blog or mini-blog that you can post sporadically
  24. Collage: A compilation of your recent favourite artworks. It gives a recap on what you’ve been working on. Think #artvsartist #meettheartist
  25. What’s Happening Today: A tribute to the launch of your favourite TV show/film/artist birthday or event such as #earthday #halloween #cinnabunday
  26. Sketchbook Tour: A video or succession of photos of your sketchbook
  27. Travel: You don’t have to go abroad, your favourite coffee shop or local art gallery will do just fine
  28. Tutorial: Have you mastered a specific technique? Show your followers how you did it. It could be as simple as sharing a tutorial on how to fold a paper crane
  29. A Few of My Favourite Things: Art supplies you cannot live without
  30. Familiar: Your pet (or friend) who’s always by your side as you create art
  31. Sneak Peek: A forth-coming attraction of something you’re working on

 

To help you organize your post ideas, here’s a copy of the grid I use:

https://www.lisanightshadeart.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Post-Planner-Grid.pdf

You can customize it to suit each month and a few extra. The squares are big enough for you to write in or to draw something small.

When the muses are quiet

After completing a project, there is a barren period where my brain is artistically rebooting. It’s a time of mourning the old but making space for the new. I used to get the same feeling after a stage production: post-performance blues. During this time, I look to art challenges for some inspiration. Two of them caught my eye: #drawthisinyourstyle and #toonme. Not only would I love to partake in these challenges, but I’d also love to see my art drawn in someone else’s style.

If you want to partake in the #DTIYS challenge with one of my artworks, you can draw this eye in your style:

https://www.lisanightshadeart.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/dtiys.jpg

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram and use  #daretomakeart for me to see your creation and also to share it. I’d love to know how you interpret my drawing!

For graphite-lovers, there is an invaluable tool: the Tortillon or paper stump. Getting the right amount of blending without damaging your paper is crucial. Way back when typewriters existed another strange invention made its appearance: the typewriter ink eraser. I remember a fellow art student gifting me his because he didn’t believe in blending.

They were blue pencils with hard brushes on the back, but instead of a lead, there was a rock-hard eraser centre. Pretty much like today’s pencil erasers, just really damaging on paper. Those puppies were made for erasing ink. Mine was so old that they never erased anything, but somewhat smudged, and blended graphite quite decently. The hunt for a blending device was on, and years later, I discovered paper stumps. I don’t like the store-bought variety much because they don’t last, and attempting to sharpen them has disastrous results. Tissue paper and cue tips don’t work well in blending fine detail, so I cracked my knuckles and hit the keyboard in search of a DIY solution. I found various YouTube videos that show how to make your own, and after a couple of tries, I figured it out, and I’m still using those blenders without worrying about sharpening them. The trick is to use regular 80gsm paper scraps, instead of a thinner and softer variety. You can get the instructions here on my blog:

https://www.lisanightshadeart.com/diy-blending-tool/nggallery/thumbnails

The more I draw, the more I want to add finer detail, and that means I need a thinner blender. Of course, art supply stores don’t sell super-thin paper stumps, so I decided to make my own. The same basic principles apply, but you will need a thinner needle or skewer and a fair bit of patience to get a finely rolled tip.

You’ll need an everyday piece of paper at roughly 210mm long, a pencil and ruler, a pair of scissors, some tape or a glue stick, a needle that’s at least 50mm long and thick enough to roll the paper around it without bending it.

  1. Measure the top of the paper 20mm wide and the bottom 60mm wide, to create a tapered shape
  2. After cutting it out, grab your needle and start rolling the 60mm side of the paper around it as tightly as possible. The tighter you get it, the finer the tip will be. You will need a few tries to get it right, but once it starts going, the rolling will go very quickly.
  3. Make sure to pull the needle out slightly as you roll, to make sure you can remove it easily afterwards. Don’t worry too much about the other side, as long as one side has a fine point
  4. Tape or glue it down to avoid everything from unrolling.

Here’s a quick video tutorial to make it a bit easier:

https://youtu.be/KshNLS2gxhI

One of my favourite pastimes is reading, although I don’t have lots of time to read lately, and my pile of still-to-read books is growing. But all is not lost, I find stolen moments to read a few pages. If I can’t find time to read, then surely I can listen, can’t I? Recently I discovered the joy of audiobooks, and I’ve been burning through audiobooks like crazy. When I find myself doing menial tasks such as laundry or cleaning, audiobooks make it so much more enjoyable. Even my doodles are more detailed. It does feel like I’m cheating on my beloved books, but I digress.

My choice of audio is Audible, but I’ve also scoured the net for classic books, that are free to listen to. Here are some of my finds:

http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks

http://www.loyalbooks.com/Top_100

https://www.digitalbook.io/

https://archive.org/details/audio_bookspoetry

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX1L0MDB1OhZy?

Thank you for reading and please share with your art-minded friends and loved ones. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:

https://tinyletter.com/LisaNightshade

Next month I’ll look into invoicing, keeping your artwork from being stolen online and some creatively-helpful DIY’s.

Until then, have a wonderfully creative June!

Lisa

 

May Newsletter

 

Hi there,

Welcome to the glorious month of May!

There is an eerie stillness descending around the area where I’m staying, and the realization that winter is here has dawned on all South Africans. Most are slipping into a seasonal depression, filled with grumbling and griping. Then, of course, there’s me: joyfully pulling out my woollen garments, and relishing the cold evening air with a cup of tea.  (Here is the perfect ASMR tea party: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72woNh5VXHk&t=807 ) The drop in temperature is a reprieve from migraine attacks, and my energy seems boundless. 

 
 
 

Because I’m planning my exhibition, from start to finish, I’ve been scouring the net for all the elements I need. One factor that felt mountainous to conquer was putting together a decent-looking press kit. Once you have all the text and photos ready, it is quite simple. The hardest part is making the images fit the document layout. Press kits are not for events only, and many high-profile artists have it available in case someone wants to interview them. I’ve also had to submit one when I wanted a gallery to showcase my art, with great success too. For me, it is a cheaper option compared to printing x-amount of copies of my art in a brochure format. Plus, it’s more eco-friendly. So, if you wondered what goes into a press kit, and if the prospect of putting one together seems daunting, don’t worry, I’ll simplify it for you.

Firstly you need high-quality photos of your artwork, and by staging them with props, you can create dynamic images that also tell an appealing story. For great examples, have a look at @aneamies_welt and @sergiogomezart. Where Sergio posts photos of himself working in his studio and his art hanging on walls, Anne surrounds her art with crystals, her tools and various sprigs of flowers and leaves. Another great example is @auniakahn, who takes photos from unusual angles. Then comes the text. It would be best if you had a compelling biography and an artist statement. A biography is generally written in the third person and highlights your best achievements as well as tell the audience what type of art you make. Here are some helpful websites to get you writing a kick-ass biography:

https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog/how-to-write-an-appealing-artist-biography

https://blog.society6.com/write-the-perfect-artist-bio-with-these-five-simple-tips/

https://www.lightspacetime.art/how-to-write-an-effective-artist-biography/

https://canvas.conceptionarts.com/how-to-write-artist-bio/

An artist statement is slightly different because it’s a short paragraph that should describe you or your work. It’s usually between 150 to 200 words. My statement sums up my style, suits my personality, and I chose to write it in a first-person perspective:

My art represents a bewitching decomposition of nature, with macabre themes on the fringe of an absurd daydream. Inspiration finds me at the bottom of a teacup; floating on the colourful stream of a musical note, or dust particles exploding from a fallen leaf. My technique is a trapeze between realism and surrealism. You can find me, living and creating in the heart of South Africa.

If you need a little guidance on where to start, here are some links:

https://thecreativeindependent.com/guides/how-to-write-an-artist-statement/

https://www.gyst-ink.com/artist-statement-guidelines

https://www.format.com/magazine/resources/art/how-to-write-artist-statement

You will also need to caption your art where applicable: Title of the piece, medium(s), and dimensions. It makes it easier for the gallerist or interviewer to write about your artwork. If you had previous exhibits and interviews, list them as well. If you don’t have pages and pages of exhibitions, that’s fine too, list what you did in school or college as well. If you don’t have any shows under the belt, write an additional piece about the process of each artwork you’ve listed, along with some work-in-progress or in-studio photos.

It’s a good idea to add your resume, and here you can list all your achievements if you don’t have too much work experience. Mine has a summary of my work experience, even the admin jobs because I feel that I’m using and applying all that knowledge in my art career.

Finally, you will need to add your contact details and if possible, a good photograph of yourself in your studio or a portrait. Because social media is such a massive part of my art career, I’ve added a few Instagram pics in my media kit.

While I’m no expert in press kit creation, I do feel confident that mine is a decent template to use. To make things easier on you and give you a leg-up, here is a blank template you can use to create the press kit of your dreams:

 

Download your Press Kit template here

 

All the black boxes are placeholders for your photos, and you can change the fonts if you don’t like the ones I’ve used. Both are free fonts you can download here:

https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Kaushan+Script

https://www.freebestfonts.com/calibri-font

 
 

My template is designed to catch the eye at the right place and has all the relevant information, but not in an essay layout. Sure, it’s risky to present a more creative-looking resume, but that would also depend on who the recipient is. I definitely won’t be sending mine to a corporate stiff-upper-lip company.   Do you have a resume layout that works well for you? You can also download my template and adjust it to suit your needs. I’ve made A4 and US letter sizes, and added a cover letter along with the other assets I used.  

 

Download your resume template(s) here.

 
 

People often ask me how I take photos of my art for social media and what apps I use. I’d love to say I use only the best photography equipment, but the truth is, I use my smartphone the most. Occasionally I’ll use a DSLR camera if I want high-quality images, but that is an exception. When it comes to preparing my photos for social media, I use my laptop and apps that have a monthly licence fee: Adobe Photoshop and Envato Elements. But I also use the free version of Photoshop Express on my phone, as well as PhotoDirector. You can download them in the app store. Both are available for Android and ios.

https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-express.html

https://www.cyberlink.com/downloads/trials/photodirector-photo-editing-software/download_en_US.html

Another trick is to take your photos in natural light, which reduces editing and increases the quality. I don’t use studio lights; I set up next to a window or outside. I also play around with the angle, and I love adding a few props such as leaves, my paintbrushes or sometimes my hand holding a pencil. Sometimes the original photo doesn’t look that good, and that is where a bit of fine-tuning is needed.

Although I’m a huge fan of Photoshop, it is quite pricey and has a considerable learning curve. Luckily, there are alternatives. If you want to try out some photo editing, here are some fantastic free apps for your laptop or pc:

https://www.photopea.com/

https://bit.ly/37ZzhdW

https://bit.ly/2PKhS2P

https://www.canva.com/

https://www.gimp.org/

 
 

Natural remedies are imbued with magical powers because they’ve been handed down through generations. I still use many natural remedies for minor ailments, especially when I feel a bit of a sore throat coming on. My favourite is a decoction of cinnamon, cloves and honey. It’s wonderfully soothing and always perks me up. Substituting natural remedies for actual medication is never a good idea, and I suggest you consult your doctor or chemist before trying this recipe. If you use a similar recipe, let me know, I’d love to try it.

 

Download my Winter Warmer Tea Recipe.

 
 

Especially for my friends in the northern hemisphere, I have a little DIY to keep you fresh during the hot summer months: A cardboard paddle fan. It’s super easy to make, and I’ve added a few macabre touches to round it off.

You will need:

  • Plain printer paper 
  • Glue of your choice
  • Thick, sturdy cardboard of about 22cm x 21cm
  • Popsicle stick for reinforcement
  • Exacto knife or scissors

Simply print out your paddle fan on a standard piece of paper, cut it out and glue it to your cardboard. Once the glue has dried, cut out your paddle and glue the popsicle stick to the back. You are ready to give the royal wave to onlookers as you casually fan yourself.

 
 
 
 

Thank you once again for reading and please share with your art-minded friends and family. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:

https://tinyletter.com/LisaNightshade

In next month’s edition, I’ll share some re-useable ideas for social media posts, a DIY I simply can’t live without and so much more.

 
 

See you in June!

 Lisa

If you missed out on previous editions, you can still read it and download the resources here.

 

April Newsletter

 

Welcome to my April edition.

In this month’s imaginarium I’m looking into the practice of art card trading, a simple upcycled DIY tutorial, and what I learned about resumes.  

Amidst all the chaos with Covid-19, and lock-down times, there is still some hope: if we work together by curbing the spread of the disease and lending emotional support to those who are struggling will unite the world. I hope we emerge from this with more compassion and tolerance for each other.  

I’m reminded of the cycles of life when I see the leaves fluttering to the ground. It’s time to take stock and gather my thoughts for the tasks in the coming months. There’s a lingering feeling of ‘’closure’’ and things coming to an end, which is excellent for tying up projects. I’ve recently completed a year-long project, that’s leading to an entirely new, albeit daunting, project. I’m planning my first solo exhibition. It’s easy once you break it down to more digestible chunks, but the amount of work that goes into it is quite ulcer-inducing. It’s new territory or me, and I’m learning a lot as I go.  

How would you tackle an art exhibition?

 
 

Speaking of daunting things, another one is polishing one’s resume for a prospective job. After college, I had no idea how to write a professional resume or Curriculum Vitae. Trial and error helped me get it just right. No one wants a boring text-only document with the same old information presented in the same old way anymore. It is imperative to stand out from the crowd and impress the person reading your resume.  

A resume in its essence is a summary of your achievements and work experience. A good rule of thumb is to start with your name and contact details. Although I favour a 2-pager, most companies prefer 1 page resumes. Summaries about your application are generally on the page as well, but I prefer to keep it in a separate in a cover letter. The rest of the information is your education, skills, recent employment history, awards and achievements, and even your community involvement. It is preferred to keep the design clean and simple, but a little creativity can also be an asset. So what makes a CV or a Curriculum Vitae different from a resume? CV’s consist of a few more pages, listing your entire employment history and pedigree. It’s usually accompanied by copies of your certificates, diplomas and references from previous employers and educators.

 
 

My template is designed to catch the eye at the right place and has all the relevant information, but not in an essay layout. Sure, it’s risky to present a more creative-looking resume, but that would also depend on who the recipient is. I definitely won’t be sending mine to a corporate stiff-upper-lip company.  

Do you have a resume layout that works well for you? You can also download my template and adjust it to suit your needs. I’ve made A4 and US letter sizes, and added a cover letter along with the other assets I used.  

 

Download your resume template(s) here.

 
 

Something that I recently stumbled upon is the practice of trading art cards. These miniature artworks are traded or swapped and bring artists together, thus creating a global art community. Trades can be done at events or even online. Every medium is welcome as long as it adheres to the standard size of 2.5″ x 3.5″ (6,35cm x 8.89cm). They should be able to fit into a standard trading card sleeve. ATCs originated from the Swiss artist, Vanci Stirnemann back in the mid-’90s. 

Vanci created 1200 art cards for an exhibition which culminated in him trading his cards with other artists. It was so popular that the idea spread like wildfire. Some artists opt to sell their cards, which is then called Art Card Editions and Originals (ACEOs).  

The benefits of trading art cards include getting your name as an artist out into the world, and this could also open doors for opportunities such as collaborations, group exhibitions and even getting collectors to notice your art. These cards also make thoughtful gifts, and because they’re so small, their carbon footprint is low as well. There are many online groups dedicated to the trading of art cards, and you can join any one of them or start your own. Have a look at these groups if you want to join in or be inspired:   

https://www.atcsforall.com/   

https://www.artisticartifacts.com/atcexchange.html   

https://www.meetup.com/topics/artisttradingcards/   

https://groups.io/g/ATCs  

I’d love to start a digital swap group with you, and if you’re keen as well, you can download my trio of art cards here:  

 

Download my Art Trading Card set here.

 
 

When it comes to the simplicity of using technology, we quickly take for granted that there was a time before computers, devices and typewriters. Not to give away my age here, but I remember the first computers, and how exciting it was to type on one of them. I tried out every character on the keyboard, and when I made a mistake, I could press backspace. Now typewriters, on the other hand, are a whole different beast. For a while, my high school offered typing and music as subjects, and because I didn’t have an instrument and typewriters were provided in class, I chose the typing. These were electric typewriters, and not what I had in mind at all. It was a horrible subject, and I suspect the teacher was Dolores Umbridge in disguise, with her grey, bland funeral attire and stern face. Whenever she looked at you, her round spectacles glinted evilly, and you could even hear her lips crack as she pursed them tightly. Even ‘til today I defiantly refuse to apply the principles she taught in typing class. I make a point to look at my keyboard, and I only use my right thumb, both middle fingers, and right index when I type. Vive la resistance! I also have a habit of typing too fast for the computer to keep up, I’ve managed to crash a Mac, various laptops and a pc on a few occasions.  

And to think that there was a time when all typing was done by hand. My handwriting is just as fast as my typing and usually indiscernible. When I write thank-you notes, however, I pull off my Sunday-best: All block letters in a straight line. I cannot write cursive convincingly, and I wish I could blame it on being left-handed, but I’ve seen other lefties write cursive, and they put me to shame. I’ve seen handwriting that is so superb; you want to frame it behind glass and marvel at its beauty. Often I wonder what a graphologist would say about my writing.  

Graphology, or handwriting analysis, dates back to the 17th century, but the word was only coined in the 18th century by Jean Michon. This method was used to identify the writer’s personality, especially in understanding the minds of criminals. Handwriting is analysed by looking at every element: the pressure of the pen/pencil on the page, the slant of the strokes, the straightness and curvature of the baseline, letter size, as well as the spacing between letters and words. All of this can allegedly determine the writer’s mood, and by comparing the sample to another document, it is easy to spot a forgery. This is good to know if you suspect someone forged your signature! If you want to analyse your handwriting, here’s a handy chart (ahem, pardon the pun) and a quick reference guide:  

https://www.handwriting-graphology.com/handwriting-analysis-chart/  

https://www.high-tech-old-school.com/upload/handwriting%20quickreferenceguidegc.pdf

 

 

 

 

Boxes seem to multiply whenever I turn my back, and despite my best efforts, they keep cropping up. So I get quite excited whenever I find a DIY to do something with them other than storage. Here is a couple of useful DIYs for those delivery boxes that lurk around the house:  

A stand for your smartphone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg5RlPpZvxA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFnLHOCWO3o 

 

A shoebox projector:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tx4vPeL9y2g  

 

VR headset:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHkOnsvpHiA

https://arvr.google.com/cardboard/

https://youtu.be/xzrLIXUimBw  

 

Games:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gl_WcGYNSl0  

 

Vintage book storage box:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfdN5w2fppI

 
 

Thank you for reading and please share with your art-minded friends and family. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:  

https://tinyletter.com/LisaNightshade  

In next month’s edition, I’ll share which desktop and mobile apps I use to get my images Insta-ready. I have another cute DIY and a template that got me noticed by a gallery.

 
 

To celebrate Ostara, here’s a yummy lemony sweet recipe for you to try out:  

 

Sweet Lemony Bread Recipe.

 

  Until next month, #daretomakeart and have an inspiring April, and stay safe.    Lisa   If you missed out on previous editions, you can still read it and download the resources here.

 

March Newsletter

 

Hi there,

Welcome to the March edition of my imaginarium.

Although the heat is still relentless, there is a shift in the air and a slight whisper in the leaves that say: Autumn is coming. In the northern hemisphere, the hope of spring and warmer weather is around the corner. These in-between seasons always remind me of a doorframe. There is such a thin barrier separating one season from the next, and it is easy to stand one side and see the other side.

In this month’s edition, I’m sharing my thoughts on navigating through life when we find ourselves on the threshold of change: Which way to go when indecision is gnawing. I’m looking at ways to incorporate the Pantone colour of the year 2020 into our everyday lives, as well as certificates of authenticity. Well, let’s jump right into it.

 

 

Every year the Pantone Colour Institute releases the colour that they predict will resonate with that particular year. This year the Pantone colour is Classic Blue 19-4052. I’ve always been a fan of blue. It’s such a soothing colour and reminds me of the ocean and our expansive evening sky. If I could sample the colour blue, it will taste like a piercing peppermint icicle. What makes blue such an appealing colour?

Blue has been a highly sought after hue by artists and monarchs alike. Some of the most prominent paintings in history has traces of ultramarine in them: Gérard David’s Virgin and Child with Female Saints, and Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. Ultramarine’s less expensive cousin, Cobalt blue, was famous in the use of porcelain ceramics and jewellery. Artists such as J. M. W. Turner, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Vincent Van Gogh used it in their works. Then came cerulean blue, followed by indigo. Blue used to be cultivated from lapis lazuli, which wasn’t easy to come by, and the Indigofera Tinctoria plant was discovered, creating the perfect Indigo pigment. It made is much less expensive to use indigo for textiles and paints. Navy blue, or marine blue as it was known, was essential in the uniforms of the British Royal Navy. Prussian blue, came about accidentally when a German dye-maker Johann Jacob Diesbach while working on a new red colour. Due to a chemical reaction with animal blood, this vibrant blue was born. Yves Klein experimented with blue to create a matte version of ultramarine. He even registered International Klein Blue (IKB) as a trademark. More recently a new shade of blue was discovered: YInMn. In 2009 Mas Subramanian and Andrew E. Smith found this unique shade of blue, made up from yttrium, indium and manganese. It is used commercially since 2016, which makes it a very young colour.

But blue is more than a colour, and I associated with relaxation, peace and loyalty. It corresponds to the throat and third eye chakras, making it a tone for clear communication and vision. We all can do with a bit of peace and relaxation during these stressful times.

Find out more about this fascinating colour of the year here:

https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2020

https://theblog.adobe.com/pantone-color-of-the-year-2020/

 
 

How can you incorporate Classic blue in your everyday life? You could use it in the kitchen. Blueberries, red cabbage, and butterfly blue pea flowers make interesting accompaniments in salads. Wearing blue jeans will also bring more blue into your daily routine. Blue reminds us to do the simple things that bring us joy, such as looking up at the sky and breathing and dipping our toes into the ocean. We need to play more and worry less.

Therefore I’ve conjured The Mighty Kraken articulate paper toy in the colour of the year. You can cut him out and find creative ways to stick his tentacles onto him. I’ve printed mine smaller and threaded elastic through either side of his body to fasten his limbs. For a paper critter, he is quite posable, and I can take him everywhere to add a little surrealism and whimsy to my day. Think of him as a paper version of Elf on a Shelf. He can go on adventures and conquer new worlds with you. He is a reminder that it’s okay to have some frivolous fun.

 

Get your little Kraken here.

 
 

Creative block is a nightmare artists try to avoid at all costs. But what happens when it hits you hard and you have no idea where to go? Even mundane tasks such as cleaning, deciding what to eat and what binge-worthy show to stream online can become difficult. It is a feeling of being stuck in a tin room surrounded by hundreds of doors. Which ones are locked, where should you go, and what should you draw? Seeing other artists churning out masterpieces one after the other doesn’t exactly help your sense of well-being at this stage.

When I’m creatively directionless, I turn to my crystal pendulum. I ask it simple yes and no questions in the hopes of dislodging a seed of an idea. It is similar to a compass. , that can guide you the right answers if you know how to use it. I needed more insight and felt like I haven’t been utilizing my pendulum to its full extent. That gave me the idea to design a pocket-sized chart with some more easy questions I could ask. Just to be sure, I also added an Ouija board-inspired card. Now I can gain more in-depth insight and find my inner supply of creativity.

If you haven’t used a pendulum before, or need some more insight, Ashlee Morgan breaks it down entirely:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VoB5sr8gns&feature=youtu.be

You could also make a pendulum instead of buying one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcV0O3jsZ3I&feature=youtu.be

You can find some gorgeous ones on Etsy, as well:

https://etsy.me/39ykpnV

https://etsy.me/2uJBwEF

 

Download your Pendulum chart here

 
 

Using instruments to guide us, is something earthlings have done since the beginning of time. Ants use the sun as their compass, and pigeons use the Earth’s magnetic field to find their direction. Compasses ranged from crude bowls filled with water to the well-known magnetic instruments we use today. It is believed that they were first used during the Viking age.

In the Icelandic grimoire, Galdrabok, the symbol of Vegvisir is imbued with magic and used to ensure the traveller does not get lost. The sigil is typically inscribed in blood on the forehead, but in modern times we opt for less conspicuous methods, like a tattoo on the arm. If you look closely, you will see it is similar to a compass with its directional markings. I like to draw Vegvisir symbols behind doors and drapes as symbolic protection.

If you’re like me and fascinated by ancient cultures, you can read the transcription of the Huld manuscript here:

https://bit.ly/3bEk9FO

 

 

“Carry these staves with you, and you won’t get lost in storms or bad weather, even though in unfamiliar surrounds.” – Geir Vigfússon

 

Get your Vegvisir here

 
 

When I started as a full-time artist, I researched everything I thought made an artist legitimate. I spent months documenting and cataloguing my art. After completing each piece, I sat down and looked at it from a different perspective and described my thought-process behind each piece. All I needed was certificates to authenticate my work. Obtaining such documents sounds much more official and intimidating than it is. You don’t have to obtain a certificate forged by Certificate Daemons in the nether realms. You can make it yourself. The most important thing is information.

There are hundreds of templates online, some are free, and others are quite pricy. I looked at so many certificates and designed so many different versions that I could probably start my certificate emporium. Some COA’s are small strips of paper stuck to the back of an artwork containing a signature, date and embossed stamp. Others are elaborate sheets with gold foil and an entire history of the artwork. Starting, I didn’t have gold foil or a seal, I had a printer and a golden pen. That just had to do. By adding unique elements makes it harder for thieves to forge your certificate.

Why is it essential to authenticate your art? Certificates of authenticity are a way for collectors to ensure the artworks they purchased are original and not knock-offs. It also gives information about the artworks such as: who is the artist, when was it created, what mediums you used and any other information that could identify the artwork.  

Here are the elements that typically go into a COA:

  • Artist Name
  • Title of Work
  • Year of Completion
  • Dimensions
  • For originals: mediums, for prints: editions as well as mediums
  • Photo of Artwork (optional)
  • Statement of Authenticity: A short sentence stating that the artist created the artwork
  • Signature
  • Date
  • Use and care for the artwork (optional)

If you don’t know where to start in making your COA, you can download a copy of mine. It is in a Microsoft Word document, and you can alter it to suit your needs. Of course, you can use it as is.

 

Download your Certificate of Authenticity here

 
 

Thank you for reading and feel free to share with your art-minded friends and family. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:

https://tinyletter.com/LisaNightshade

In next month’s edition, I’ll discuss artist resumes, the importance of trading art cards in a digital age and a bit of DIY as well.

 
 

 Until next month, #daretomakeart and have a beautiful March!

 Lisa

 

February Newsletter

 

Hi there,

Welcome to my Leap Month newsletter.

In this month’s edition, you’ll find a creative business card template, some time-saving DIY’s, and amazing arty things I’ve seen on the web. If there’s anything you’d like me to look into in future editions, let me know, I’m open to suggestions.

Let me, ahem, leap right into it (#sorrynotsorry)

 

 

Leap year always seems to overflow with superstitions, magic, and odd customs. Some countries believe that February 29th is bad luck. I think it is a day filled with potential, and it’s up to each individual to do with it as they please. Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to attract a little good luck, or to add some positive vibes to your day, so let’s dive into some esoteric insight.

This year’s Leap Day falls on a Saturday, during a waxing moon, which is quite positive, in my opinion. Saturdays have long been associated with the supernatural because people born on a Saturday can supposedly see spirits. My grandmother firmly believed it was bad luck to clip one’s fingernails or to do laundry on a Saturday. Saturdays are my cleaning days, and I firmly believe it is a day to banish dirt and negativity. It is also a day to focus on creating prosperity or harmony in your living space. Do you have any family superstitions around the days of the week?

The waxing moon is perfect for drawing positivity, prosperity, and happiness into your life. The easiest way to harvest these possibilities is by being focused and dead-set on achieving your goals. I find it helps to sit in a quiet space, focusing on what I want the day to attract and by visualising the outcome. Having a few corresponding crystals lying around couldn’t hurt. Plain old clear Quartz scattered about your space works perfectly fine, but I prefer the black stones like Obsidian, Onyx, or Jet simply because I adore them.

Want to know more about the magic of La Luna, this page is quite informative:

https://otherworldlyoracle.com/lunar-magick-beginners/

If you’re like me and not very good at meditating, this 10-minute guided meditation is perfect for focusing on your ideas and dreams:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoEi_irq5F4

Each crystal/stone has its list of properties and if you’re interested in finding out which one is perfect for any occasion, here is a fantastic website that breaks it all down:

https://beadage.net/gemstones/

Essentially, it is best to pick out your crystals by hand instead of ordering them online. It helps you connect with their energy. But if you’re in an area where it’s challenging to find esoteric shops, Etsy has just about every kind you could dream of, and most of them ship to anywhere in the world:

https://etsy.me/39zdwUj

https://etsy.me/2tmOnf4

https://etsy.me/2QKbvfd

https://etsy.me/2SV3N4C

 

 

The best way to keep your vibes positive is by making something. It gives a sense of accomplishment, which is excellent for keeping yourself motivated or taking a break from daily stresses. We all have a few things lying around that needs some organisation, and mine is cables. Those annoying things get tangled and mixed up so badly that it can take me forever to sort them out. Especially if they’re attached to earbuds. I needed to do something about it once and for all. To go and spend money on a gizmo that keeps them clipped in place or to design some elaborate holder seems a bit counter-intuitive. Out of pure frustration, and with only a piece of scrap cardboard at my disposal, I spent less than a minute creating solution that works perfectly:

  1. Cut a piece of cardboard (about the thickness of a cereal box) to 9 x 5 cm (3.5 x 2 inches)
  2. Punch three holes in it: 2 opposite each other and one at the bottom
  3. Make three incisions to slot your earbuds and cable into

 

 

Now that I’m on the subject of DIY, I thought of making a pencil extender for a little pencil I just can’t throw away. Pencil extenders aren’t too expensive to buy, but if your budget or time is tight, and you want to save the environment, rather make one yourself instead of buying a plastic one. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. A piece of scrap paper roughly 10 x 10 cm (the size of a post-it)
  2. Your short pencil and a longer buddy of the same thickness
  3. Glue or sticky tape

Roll your piece of paper around the longer pencil roll it into a tube around your pencil. Just make sure enough of your pencil sticks out. Glue the edges or tape with sticky tape. Replace the long pencil with the short one. It should fit snugly to avoid it falling out.

There are better ways of doing it, but if you’re in a hurry, this method works just fine.

 

 

Business Cards

 

 

Business cards are a handheld advertisement for you or your brand. In China, a business card exchange is usually handled with the greatest respect. The way this exchange is conducted, may seem almost ritualistic to onlookers, because every detail matters: the way you present yourself, the way you carry and transport your business card, the design, the correct way facing up and even how you hand it over to the recipient. It boggles my mind that designers often neglect something so important. I’ve seen my fair share of poorly designed business cards, and I visibly cringe at their sight. But if someone hands me an immaculately designed card, I feel so much more respect for them.

Something that fascinates me is how unique and clever some designs can be. I’ve seen cheese grater business cards, tool kit business cards, holographic ones, dreamy watercolour palettes, and even easels. I wanted to design my version of an easel business card, that didn’t infringe on other designs. It took me a couple of tries and a few mishaps to get the proportions right, but the result is 100%. It’s a simplistic design that leaves space for you to create something that resonates with your vision and style. You’ll see it’s slightly bigger than your standard business card because when it’s assembled, it fits perfectly in the palm of your hand.

So, here is the template as well as instructions I’ve put together especially for you. It’s easy to print, cut out and assemble, but if you need some pointers, let me know. I can’t wait to see how you make this business card your own. Let me know via email or social media.

 

Download your easel business card template here.

 

Travel with art, but travel lightly

 

 

Inspiration strikes at the most unusual times, and during those times, we rarely have something with us to capture it. For me, neglecting to write down my ideas is a sure-fire way to forget them. Taking screenshots or photos on my phone feels like cheating, and I hardly ever look at it again. My phone doesn’t always translate the idea the way I envisioned it, and this is where a tiny sketch will do just fine.

I’ve been looking at art travel sets with this purpose in mind, but they are relatively pricy. I like a good DIY challenge, so, I dug through all the makeup I’ve hoarded over the years, and emptied a few containers. I fully Frankensteined some brushes by fusing paintbrushes with makeup brushes. They had to be small enough to fit into an old metal tin. I shortened some cheap pencils and chopped down my eraser. I still had some space in the tin, so I glued watercolours to my empty eyeshadow pans and stuck them to the lid. Perfect. I cut a few squares of paper and voila. Now I’m ready to pop my mini travel set into a bag and set out to find inspiration.

Making your own travel kit is easier on the wallet, but there’s nothing wrong with drooling over these spectacular sets:

https://mymodernmet.com/traveling-artist-gifts/

Do you have a trusty kit for travelling? I’d love to hear what your go-to art set is.

 

 

With so many art challenges to choose from, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. It’s disappointing when you start a challenge only to give it up because you don’t have time or your creative muses decided to go on holiday. Challengers seem to come up with these ideas only seem to cater to the full-time artist or art student. For instance, the wildly popular Ink-related challenge in October took up an entire month. They’ve since made it more sustainable by releasing prompts throughout the year. It’s a great idea because not everyone can work in a studio all day long without a care in the world. The reality is that most of us have jobs or side hustles that take up most of our time. Every moment we have to create becomes crucial, and every bit of practice helps us as well. That is where mini-challenges come in. They’re doable in short amounts of time and can wake those sleepy muses to fire your creativity. If making art becomes a slog, and no longer brings you joy, something has to change. Burning out during or after an enormous challenge is a sure-fire way to give up art altogether. Too many brilliant artists are lost to the rat race because of this, which is tragic.

This reminds me of the poem by Dylan Thomas:

 

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

 

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

 

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

And you, my father, there on that sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

This poem has nothing to do with art, in a literal sense, but art is essential in the human experience. Giving up one’s passion is like giving in to old age and succumbing to death. Instead of fading into the night, we should find ways of making art sustainably.

I’ve rounded up some ideas for art challenges befitting this leap month. They can be used throughout the year, and at any pace, you feel comfortable. I’ve chosen them because they can be helpful in fine-tuning your skills. The great thing is that it’s universal, you can use them in illustrating, painting, sculpting, photography, writing, even interpretive dance. The sky is the limit.

1. Textures:

Practice on a small scale and copy different textures as carefully as possible, pay attention to the materials you’ve used to create the texture as well as the colour combinations. What emotions do these textures evoke? What do they remind you of? What would they taste, feel, or smell like?

 

 

2. 1 minute:

Give yourself 1 minute to draw an outline or snap a series of photos. Sculpting and painting might not be ideal for this challenge, but you can take the minute to brainstorm a new piece and jot down the idea. This exercise is not meant to be perfect, so don’t judge the result too harshly. Let it feel like meditation, empty your thoughts and breathe through it.

 

 

3. Colour Apps:

Sometimes we need a little break from making art, and a fun way of doing that and centring your mind is by colouring. There are so many apps you can use on your phone or tablet, and they can be relaxing. These are my top 3 favourite apps:

 

February is also the month of love, so if you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a bit of Gothic drama, I have just the recipe for you: Black Vodka.

 

 

Download your recipe here

 

 

That concludes my February Newsletter. Thank you for reading and feel free to share with your art-minded friends and family. They can also subscribe to my newsletter here:

https://tinyletter.com/LisaNightshade

 

 

In next month’s edition, you’ll find a little Kraken, some ways to navigate through life in magical ways, and an in-depth look into certificates of authenticity.

 Until next month, have a fabulous February!

 Lisa