Ghibli-Inspired Gouache @ Greenhouse Coffee + Plants

Paint your favorite characters and scenes from Hayao Miyazaki’s classic animated films

Sink into a warm drink, surrounded by gorgeous plants, and dip your brush into luscious gouache as you settle in to paint some of your favorite characters and scenes from Studio Ghibli’s classic films like Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, How’s Moving Castle, and Kiki’s Delivery Service.

In this workshop, beginner and experienced painters will have all they need to create small masterpieces celebrating some of the most iconic images from Miyazaki’s films. Learn the basics of layering and painting with gouache, enjoy delicious plant-based tea and coffee drinks and take your project home along with extra paints for more cozy painting nights to come.

One night workshop
Friday, March 17
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Register at Greenhouse Coffee+ Plants (coming soon)

Polymer Clay Jewelry @ The Arts Center

Create beautiful statement pieces or subtle accents in this clay jewelry class

Practice techniques in making faux quartz and decorated slab pieces for earrings, pendants and rings. In this class, students will learn basics in hand building and shaping; we’ll bake our pieces in-studio so that at the end, you’ll have jewelry ready to wear or give as a gift!

Perfect for pairs and groups looking to spend a romantic night of crafting with tea and treats available at The Arts Center.

One night workshop
Tuesday, February 14
5:30 – 7:30 pm
$40 per student
Register at The Arts Center

Bespoke Bookbinding @ Maxtivity

Create a unique sketchbook or journal to take on travels or give as a gift

Using artist-grade materials and equipment, bookbinders will explore one bookbinding method in each of the 4-part series workshops, and leave with a new book each time. Learn decorative stitches, how to convert an old hardcover into a journal, how to add small touches of personality and flair to any bookbinding project, plus learn the history of bookbinding techniques.

Students will receive live instruction, printed handouts and access to video tutorials to keep practicing at home.

Series of 4 separate classes:
February 9, February 16, March 7, March 14
5:30 – 7:30 pm
$39 per class + $10-$12 materials fees
Register MAXtivity Creative Space

Adventure Game Characters @ Maxtivity Creative Space

Class for young artists on character design and illustration

In this 4 week class, students will create their own characters for a class role-playing adventure game!

Design and draw characters using illustration techniques and tools, create a backstory including strengths, weaknesses, motivations and conflicts. Then, launch your character into an adventure RPG to collect tools, develop experiences and interact with other characters!

This class is perfect for students interested in storytelling, role-playing games, comics, fantasy and adventure. Students will leave with a sketchbook of character details, polymer clay figurines of their character, tools, and sidekicks, plus stickers of illustrations and images.

Hosted at MAXtivity Arts & Crafts Creative Space, this class is a series of 4 sessions.

Thursdays, February 23 – March 16
Register at MAXtivity
Registration: $79 per student

Making Goals 2023

It’s the beginning of a new year and I am thinking about setting intentions for growth for myself and my business in 2023. This is my 3rd year of being totally independent professionally and I’m reflecting on what’s been hard about being a freelance artist and ways I can work through those challenges. The biggest challenge for me feels pretty obvious and also common for folks beginning freelance work: managing projects and achieving goals while staying self-sufficient.

There are countless resources online in other blogs and of course entire businesses dedicated to this exact challenge, and while for now I’m continuing to experiment with how I manage my projects and goals, I want to document and share what I do here to possibly help others and to mainly keep track of how things change over this year.

In another post, I’ll share a little bit more about why managing projects is so hard as a freelance artist. As I reflect on how I’ve worked through the past few years, 5 issues keep coming up:

  1. I don’t have an external influence, like from a boss, to guide me on decision-making that is linked to income
  2. I get distracted by too many project ideas and possibilities
  3. I lose interest in projects as they and I change
  4. I’m unclear on how to balance between personal and professional goals
  5. My projects often feel like they are on super short turn around and deadlines

I’ve tried several ways to manage my projects and high-flying ambitions. I’ve tried: coaches, accountability groups, partnerships, online task organizers, brute discipline, journals, mindmaps, bribes, reward charts, pomodoro timers, and public declarations of personal intentions.

Some of these things have worked, some of the time. What’s really stuck with me in the past 3 years has been two pretty reliable strategies: checking in with an accountability partner regularly, and handwritten journals. For this year, I’m going to expand these two practices to more intricately guide my project management.

The Plan: Reflection-based journaling, so many sticky notes, and checking in

In 2023, I’m using a self-designed system of handwritten journals, a ton of sticky notes and checking in with my accountability partner, as well as adding a public aspect of sharing my project progress here on my blog and on my Patreon.

I’m focusing on both personal and professional goals together, with creative projects like revamping my lesson plans for Monster Makers and a folklore coloring book I’m working on next to getting good sleep and exercising. As a self-driven professional, separating my personal wellness from my professional achievements feels like cutting myself in half when I’m much stronger as a whole person. I need personal health including physical and emotional well-being in order to accomplish my project goals, and getting to work on my projects is part of my personal well-being.

I’m using two journals: one for minutiae project notes, to do lists, short-term goals and schedules; and a separate journal for reflection and overall goal-tracking. For the project journal, I’m using a bullet journal I picked up at Michaels that has printed indexes for keeping track of pages. The reflection journal is CPG Grey’s Theme System, which so far (as of January 24) has helped me stay motivated to meet goals daily.

My goals include:

  • 5 Pillars of Well-Being: sleep, food, exercise, mindfulness and relationships
  • Main Projects: art, shows, classes, client work
  • Side Quests: things that are allied to my projects but not central to them like updating my website, setting up an online shop, a newsletter

I’m organizing these goals based on timelines for completing them: seasonal v. monthly v. weekly to do lists. The sticky notes are essential here: in my project journal I have pages for daily schedules and to-do lists, and I am also keeping weekly and monthly to-do lists on sticky notes that I can move from page to page so I don’t lose track of longer-term project deadlines.

So far, just about 3 weeks into the new year, and this system is working fairly well. I’m figuring out ways to quantify the metrics of my list making and goals checking off.

The most impactful practice so far has been the daily reflection. Each night before bed, I spend a little bit of time looking over both my journals and reflecting not only on what got done and what I need to do the next day, but also how I’ve felt and what I’ve been thinking about during the day. Reflecting like this has helped me stay more connected to the things I’m driven to do because of the value I see in them (like creative projects celebrating Filipino folklore), versus the things I feel compelled to for reasons that are less aligned with my goals (like to make other people happy or make myself feel more valuable to a group).

My predictions for this experiment in project management are that the reflection practice will prove the most influential on whether I feel accomplished in my goals, and that metrics based on completed checklists will align with that personal sense. I am wondering if my progress on prioritizing rest will have an impact on my completion of project goals as well. 

This year, I’m planning a lot of adventures, which means lots of physical training and planning. And at the same time, I’m wanting to see my classes and teaching artistry continue to develop and my own artistic reach grow. 

I have A LOT more to share on this, but I’ll leave this here for now with these goals in mind and a sense of experiment and adventure!


Winter Business Goals (January – March):

  • Website updates:
    • Newsletter pop ups?
    • Class updates
    • Page layouts
    • Shop
  • Patreon
    • New posts
    • Update tiers
  • Winter Newsletter
  • Blog (this!)/ Vlog
    • Artist business, learning (this!!)
    • Project posts

January Art Projects:

  • Folklore coloring book pages
  • PNW coloring book pages
  • Ghibli Gouache
  • Pink painting for Splendorporium
  • Painted planters
  • New stickers

Side-Quests

  • Update Portfolios & profiles online
  • Learning – design on Figma?

Autumn Art Fest Craft Fair in Newport, OR

This fall I’m going back to the Autumn Art Fest Craft Fair in Newport!

Last year, this was my first market ever and I had SO MUCH fun, I’m coming back again! I’ll have handmade jewelry, new stickers, art prints, and new handmade books, plus a new table design and set up. I’m so excited to share what I’ve been working on and see some old friends!

Come see me there on November 12 at the Newport Recreation Center!

Insects, Plants & Fungi Illustration Sessions @ Maxtivity

Get inspired by the serene, the slimy and the sublime in Nature Illustration

Nature inspires in all its glorious shapes, sizes, colors and surprises. We’ll take inspiration from plants, fungi and insects in this nature illustration series using ink, colored pencil and gouache.

Hosted at MAXtivity Arts & Crafts Creative Space, this series is 3 separate classes.

Saturdays, October 29, November 5, November 19
Register at MAXtivity
Registration: $69 per class

Character Illustration @ Maxtivity

What kind of character will you create?

In this 4-week class, we’ll make characters of all shapes, sizes, dispositions and motivations. Perfect for stories, comics and game characters, this class will include backstories, figure drawing tips, and artist drawing practice for kids 9-14.

Hosted at MAXtivity Arts & Crafts Creative Space, this class will span 4 weeks and include challenges, portfolio building, stickers, and some acting!

Wednesdays, October 12 – November 2
Register at MAXtivity
Registration: $79

Multi-Dimensional Zine Workshop @ The Common Canary

Make Zines with me at The Common Canary!

Zines are dear to me for their versatility: they can be anything from revoluntionary treatises, costumed cat coloring books, to memoirs. And, they can bend the rules of reality and physics!

In this hands-on workshop, we’ll make some flexy-zines that fold and unfold in surprising ways. From there, we’ll work on narratives and how we can transform our perspectives and thinking through one-page comics and zines!

Hosted by me and my dear friend and fellow local artist and arts educator Christina Tran, this workshop is designed for adults, teens and families with kids ages 9 and up.

All materials and instruction provided!

Accessibility note: The event will be hosted in a workshop space located in the garage of a residential address. There will be access to a bathroom. COVID vaccines and masking are appreciated. Extra masks and hand sanitizer will be available! Please refrain from coming to the event if you are feeling sick, and we ask that you communicate with us afterward if you become symptomatic or discover you were in line of exposure.

Saturday, October 22, 2022
Register on eventbrite
Registration: FREE!
Recommended donation: $5

Stab Binding

The stab binding is an elegant and simple binding method that you can use with single sheets or signatures. This 4-hole bind is quick and binds all sheets and the covers together at the same time.

Materials – Stab binding

  • 2 sheets decorative scrapbook paper, cut to exactly the size of the pages
  • Sheets of paper for pages – can be folded into signatures or loose leaf
  • Embroidery thread
  • Beeswax (recommended)
  • Awl or push drill (example uses a 2mm push drill)
  • Tapestry needle or curved bookbinder’s needle (recommended)

Prep – Stab binding

Prep is simple for this one; cut your sheets for pages and your covers to the exact size of the closed book that you want. You can use folded signatures for pages, if desired, just make sure that when folded, the signatures are exactly the same size as the cover. A paper jig will also be helpful for punching binding holes.

Example Prep

For a Book that is 6″ tall by 5″ wide when closed:

  • 2 sheets decorative paper for covers, 6″ x 5″
    • For a double cover book: 2 sheets decorative paper, 6″ x 10″, folded in half
  • 20 – 40 sheets paper for pages, 6″ x 5″
    • To use signatures, 10 – 20 sheets paper, 6″ x 10″, folded in half, 4 sheets stacked together
    • Can use as many sheets as desired for book, books that are more than 3/4 thick tend to be more difficult to bind
  • Paper jig with binding holes punched 1″ in from the spine side, 4 holes along the height of the spine

Binding Steps

Arrange the pages and covers as you want the book to be when finished (covers with correct side out, pages within).

Align the jig along the spine side of the book and stab through all layers of covers and pages along the binding hole marks on the jig. For thicker books, it will be helpful to split the book in half and stab binding holes on each half separately. Make sure the jig is appropriately aligned on both halves and flush with the spine edge of the book.

Select, trim and wax thread for binding. For this book, bound the book twice and used 6 times the spine height for the length of thread. Thread a binding needle, leaving a short tail. Alternately, you can double the thread. Make sure your binding holes are wide enough for the thread and needle to pass through three times each hole. Widen the holes with the awl, if needed. We’ll make three stitches at each binding hole, one passing between each hole and the other next to it or the edge of the book, and one up from the binding hole around the spine.

Open the book to a middle page. Pass the needle and thread through one of the middle holes from the inside of the book to the outside front cover. Leave a tail that is long enough to tie off on (in this example, about 3 inches.

Close the book on the tail. Use a binder clip to clip all the pages and covers together on the opposite side of the spine.

Now the fun starts 🙂

Pull the thread up over the spine on the outside front of the book toward the outside back cover. Insert the needle into the same binding hole, this time from the back cover, through to the front cover. You’ll have a loop going up around the spine at this binding hole.

Pull the thread to the next binding hole, closest to the edge of the book. Pass through the hole from the front cover all the way through to the back cover. Now there is a straight line of thread from one hole to the next on the front cover.

From the back cover, bring the thread over the spine and pass the needle through the same binding hole from the front cover through to the back cover.

From the back, bring the thread around the bottom edge of the book, back into the same binding hole, from the front to the back. This will make a straight line of thread from the last binding hole to the bottom edge of the book.

At the back of the book, bring the thread to the next hole (the first binding hole we bound). Pass the needle through this whole from back to front, connecting these two binding holes on the back of the book.

Next, pass the needle through the next binding hole (this other middle hole) from front to back. From the back, bring the thread and needle over the spine back to the front.

Insert the needle into the same binding hole, from front to back, creating the loop around the spine at this binding hole.

At the back of the book, pass the needle through the next binding hole, this one closest to the edge of the book. At this last hole, at the front of the book, wrap the thread around the edge of the book.

At the back of the book, pass the needle through the same binding hole from the back to the front. The needle will come out the front of the book. From the front of the book, pull the thread up over the spine from this binding hole to the back of the book.

At the back of the book, pass the needle through the same binding hole from the back to the front, completing the loop around the spine at this hole.

At the front of the book, pass the needle through the next binding hole, completing the connection between all the binding holes on the front of the book.

Remove the binder clip, and open the book at the page where the tail of the thread is. Clip the book again to keep these pages separate.

Pass the needle into the binding hole you started with, but instead of passing the needle all the way to the front, pass it into the book where the starting tail is. Tie off the working thread with the tail thread, tightening the knot into the middle of the book.

Clip off the ends of the thread and tuck them into the binding of the book.

Done! This is the 4- hole stab bind!