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