Just for Fun

February Creativity: Day Fourteen, Get Feedback!!


“There is only one way to avoid criticism:
do nothing,
say nothing,
and be nothing.”


Word Aristotle! It seems we always take criticism to heart, myself SUPER included. Personal flaw..I’m working on it 🙂
But if we just change our views on the definition of criticism, what we view as insulting can transform into something complimentary or encouraging: feedback…This is the path to improvement. This can be said for our personal lives as well as our careers.

In art school getting my work “critiqued” aka criticized/”feebacked” was really rough. I have always been a person easily offended…too soft I guess. So it was a really good process for me. Remember from Day Twelve I said that part of why I have a hard time of being open is because of fear? Well it is usually fear of people not liking my work, which to me is the same as people not liking ME.
Silly, irrational maybe, yeah I know.
But unfortunatley it is in my DNA and I have been this way since my mom popped me out several decades ago. Like I said, personal flaw…or is it?

I am learning to take criticism of my work as a way to better it. Especially when it comes to doing custom work for clients. They pay for it. They get it how THEY want it. However, I am not perfect and sometimes is still hurts when someone doesn’t like my work >ouch< And I can still become disheartened and stop painting for a while >ouch< But I eventually warm up again and keep plugging along, haha. Progress, NOT perfection PEOPLE!

HENCE why we should ALL get consistent feedback on our work by peers we TRUST! It gets us used to the constructive criticism so we are not thrown off course when someone suggests an improvement. We should all have a few peeps to get opinions from as we work. They can give you advice when you are stuck on a design problem. They can give you praise when feeling down. ANd the good ones give you a slap when you are going in a REALLY wrong direction.

So I say, keep working when you’re feeling down. Get as much feedback as possible.
Share your gifts with the world and you will be rewarded!

Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Don’t Give Up!!
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Thirteen, Surround Yourself With Creative People!!


This is what I CRAVE. What I have MISSED since college late night studio project cram sessions.
Ohhh the coffee…Ohhhh the deadlines….and Ohhhhhhhh the laughs and CREATIVITY we had back then!

Even though I live in a city of almost 20 million people, I am having THE hardest time trying to break my way into any artist community. I know they are out there…but they elude me. I know my way to the top of the creativity list is surrounding myself in the light of other artists and their inspiration. I also know it can’t be impossible in Istanbul, but it is no easy road. So until then I will have to rely on social media and Skype to reach the peeps I have in far away lands…and new peeps too 🙂

If any of ye fellow readers out there know of any great artists groups, collaborations in Istanbul send me a message and let me know!
Or better yet….are you creative? Wanna “digitally hangout?” Send me an email if you are interested in collaborating 🙂 New is fun yo!



Stay Tuned, TOMORROW: “Get Feedback”
FOr the entire Creative List go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Twelve….Be Open!


Easy said…not so easily done. I like to think of myself as an open person…I do after all live in a foreign country with a culture and religion completely different than my own. In order to function I must be “open”…to doing things backwards (…er…in a different way :), to embracing a different living style and language, open to change (I just usually try to roll with it) and open to…..?

But inside of us all, no matter where we come from, there is an innate sense that tells us different is wrong, or should be challenged, no?
It could be culture, it could be art. I have taken MANY art and art history courses over the years. I mean come on….when you first saw artwork by Kandinsky, Klee, Miro or any other “modern” artist who draws like my three year old cousin…..did you honestly feel OPEN to it? If you saw it on the street instead of in the Louvre, would you call it art? I can be honest and say no, no I wasn’t open to it my first viewing. I thought it was stupid. I am still not a fan but I have come to appreciate their artistic and historical influence even though the style isn’t my “cup of tea.”

I believe that might be the key, maybe openess is acceptance, for what it is. For whatever it is.


All I am saying is that being open to new things is HARD, it takes PRACTICE. Maybe you all don’t agree with me…maybe it’s because some of you have a completely liberated mind free of bias and cultural influence. I doubt it. But if you are more open, ok then, power to you! I, however have to warm up to things. I had to warm up to living abroad, warm up to living in a city with almost 20 million people who don’t speak my language or even have the same body language, and I also have to warm up to leaving my comfort zone. But I do it, it happens…but not as often as I’d like.

I found this article online written Unlock 10 Ways to be More Open and I generally agree with what the author, Dani, has said. For me, One (Learn New things), Five (ignore your Fear)  and Ten (Take your Time) are the ones most important to me and that I could work on. But I am generally a very outgoing, trusting, and accepting person. Of course everyone can work on being more open in general. I connect with people more or less fine; What I would like to learn is how to be more open with my art…my creativity. Where is the list for that?

But I’m not wholly convinced if there is a “How-To” be more open, and I’m not sure it would even be the same for everyone. Each individual has different things that hold them back from being open. My main hinder is fear. Yes, the F-word. It’s silly but true. Not necessarily fear of the new, but fear of failing and fear of bad decisions. Which again is silly since we all learn and grow from failing and bad decisions.

En fin, I will continue on the path I am on….trying to keep my eyes and creative “feelers” on the alert so that if a great opportunity to be OPEN in my life, or in my art, I will see it for what it is and and challenge it. I think it’s the best any of us can do, is it not?

What do you think folks? Do you have any exercises or suggestions on how to be more “open.” I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Surround Yourself with Creative People
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Eleven….Listen to New Music!

While coloring in my “Otherworldly” project today I have been listening to a few music suggestions made by a few friends.


I listened to Owl City, whom I had heard two songs previously (“Fireflies” and “Good Time”)…He is cool, UBER happy and gives a warm and fuzzy feeling (kind of like drinking coffee, haha!) but good.

I also listened to Russian Red, whom I REALLY liked. A little bit of Indie music in the morning, sung by a Madrileña…which makes me think of my wonderful husband so her music was great for me on many levels.


I personally like to listen to instrumental music when I am painting/working on art. My ultimate favorite for when I need to get in the mood to be creative is Rodrigo & Gabriela. SO GOOD! Check em out 🙂

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENBX_v1Po1Y&w=560&h=315]


Happy Listening!

To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Ten….Know Your Roots!

Roots…Well, being that I am American my roots are quite blended…as most of ours are. I am a Austrian/French-Canadian/British/Comanche American Indian…whoot! I suppose that if anyone does any in-depth research into their roots they can find really amazing stuff! And the amazing is usually inspiring. I have found quite a bit of great info in my roots but havn’t quite yet used them in a project or in my art. But I should! Check out my good stats!:

For example, one of my direct ancestors is Cynthia Ann Parker  who was an American colonist who was captured and kidnapped at the age of 9 by a Comanche raid and raised in their tribe to eventually wed their chief and give birth to Quanah Parker, the last free Comanche chief.

I also have documentation going all the way back to the Mayflower and John Billington, who was the first person to be tried an hanged in the Plymouth colony.

220px-Chief_Quanah_Parker_of_the_Kwahadi_Comanche 220px-Cynthia MayflowerHarbor

Our roots may not always be pretty….but they are part of who we are.
And we can use it as inspiration.

Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Listen to New Music

To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Nine….Drink Coffee/Tea!

REAAAAALLY??………… I don’t think I’m on the same page on this one.

I think drinking tea and coffee make you LOOK LIKE you are creative….Sometimes the things on this list seems super cliché and not actually creative inducing. But what the hey, here we go!

I have never been a coffee/tea/caffeine drinker up until the last year while living here in Turkey. I don’t know if all of you readers know…but in Turkey they are ALWAYS drinking tea. After eating, tea. Waiting at the bank, tea. Bardering with the vendors, tea. Its cultural… and amazing. It is so crazy how something so simple can open doors and help you meet people or just relax. I know that may seem that caffeine and relax shouldn’t be in the same sentence, but for me it is. Yes the caffeine helps perk you up and get you working away…hence the creativity aspect?; But for me, coffee and tea make me all warm and fuzzy inside and it’s almost as if it feels like Christmas! ha!

Below I am getting my “creative juices” flowing while sporting my mocha in a gift from one of my girlie girls…Miss Candace.
I think of her every time I use it….and every time I get my Creative ON 🙂 And yes…that IS a light saber spoon that came in a cereal box…it adds another level of AWESOME to my creativity. I guess.


Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Know Your Roots!
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Eight….Sing in the Shower!

Singing in the shower? Really?

Im not sure but there MUST be SOME kind of stastistic on the percentage of people who sing in the shower right? hmm…. let’s check….
47% of Americans pee in the shower……nope, that’s not it…
Four out of five people who bathe regularly sing, or at least hum, while doing so… THAT’S IT! Well, Im not sure how accurate those pollsters are but I assume that the statistic is something like that. But why do we do that? Being alone and unafraid, unashamed? Well, I pure love it…but normally I am zombied-out during my showers. I am not anything NEAR a morning person….

My husband is a HORRIBLE singer (sorry honey 🙂 But he sings in the shower sometimes…sings or hums while washing the dishes and hums a tine just while getting ready in the morning. I’m not wholly convinced that this will boost creativity but I do think that it can lighten your mood, stres level which I guess in turn can help you to be more creative.


Below is ME gettin’ CREATIVE!! lol.


FYI….I don’t know if any of you followers picked it up…but this sketch would be in my Handy dandy notebook….you know what I mean 🙂

Stay tuned…LATER TODAY: Drink Coffe/Tea!
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Seven….Take Breaks!

Please excuse the post delays. The last two days I was on a business trip and unable to post, so I am catching up on the last 2 days’ posts.
But I suppose it works out great since Day 7 was supposed to be about taking breaks…..and in a way I did! WHile living here in Istanbul I am a freelance flight attendant on a private executive jet plane, the one my husband flys…We are a pretty sweet team if you ask me! We flew a few clients around and I got to visit a few places (airports really hah) in Turkey where I havn’t been AND I got to go to Tel Aviv, which I thought I would never be able to go to with all the turmoil there…..So it was a REALLY nice break away from my studio here in Istanbul 🙂 Below you have a glimpse of my two day break 🙂

That would be my hubby and I in the top image. A 6am take off time over Istanbul’s clouds allowed me to see the sunrise in the bottom left image. Out return home to Istanbul with a nice shot coming in over The Bosphorus in the bottom right image 🙂 What fun!


However….I am NOTORIOUS for not taking breaks while working on art or design projects. But I am finding that if I set a timer on my phone for ever hour or hour and a half then it reminds me to stop and take a break. Now, I do it for every hour but my break could just be getting up and going to the bathroom….or going to the kitchen for a glass of water…etc. For me, t has helped my lower back pain and eye strain from being on the computer or sitting at my drawing desk for too many hours at a time. Try it! See if it can help you!

Whether taking breaks helps you stay creative….well, I don’t know. But I suppose for the creative mind to work…it also needs to rest. No one can be creative if you are burnt out, am I right? Take Breaks!

Stay tuned…LATER TODAY: Sing In the Shower!
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day SIX….Quit Beating Yourself Up!


I am just as guilty as anyone else out there when it comes to “beating yourself up” over mistakes…
….not doing it right…
….making bad decisions…
….not beig perfect (ha!)….
….But my biggie is not taking advantage of my time.

When I was in grammar school, HS, JR college and college I was the A++ student. You know, the over-achiever that you copied from, that was me. I had to…and still do, have to do everything well or not at all! (Thanks for the life motto Dad!)

Now that I live abroad, don’t have a full time contract job, and am working freelance I have LOOOOOOTS of time to waste. haha! And I waste it well 🙁 I REALLY kick myself in the pants for wasting time when I could be pumping out cool artwork, preparing a new portfolio for when we move back stateside next year (fingers crossed), or finally finding my niche! But what do I do instead? AHem..the list:

> go to bed and sleep in REALLY late ( so half my day is already gone when Im starting it!)
> Fart around WAY too much on facebook and other social media (aka time wasting) sites
> ummm….the rest of the time well, I really have NO IDEA where the time goes! arrrghghh! Hence why I beat myself up.

I know I can be more productive, but how?? Well I guess I can start with not beating myself up for not completing all the things on my many lists, remember Day One: Make Lists?? yeahhhh…. I read this really sweet article about How to Stop beating yourself up by Creating a Plan. Its simple and to the point. This is basically what the author, K.Stone, says I should do:

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up

If you try this I guarantee that you will notice a significant reduction in stress and increase in productivity!

1. Examine your thinking. On what goals do you constantly run into walls and then run a pattern of beating yourself up?

2. Find Solutions for those roadblocks. This is how you break the pattern of beating yourself up. The solution may be to come up with a better process or routine to help you succeed. Spend a little time fail-proofing your plan. Another solution may be to analyze your goals and ensure that they are realistic. If you plan out 100% of your day with no transition or buffer time built in, you’re going to fall short on something every day. It’s inevitable. So make sure that your goals are realistic. Otherwise you’ll keep feeling defeated.

3. Turn Off the Negative Voice. Every time you hear that internal voice putting yourself down, recognize it, and then say “No!” to it. Then go back to step two and find a solution instead.

4. When All Else Fails. Get some rest and start anew tomorrow. Sometimes our body is simply too tired to muster up the energy to be positive and create solutions. Give yourself a break and start over tomorrow.



Starting tomorrow I will begin examining my thinking…and find my roadblocks. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Take Breaks!

To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Five….Be Otherworldly!

What does Otherworldly mean?
Yes, I needed clarity so I went to: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/otherworldly

oth·er·world·ly  (/ˌəT͟Hərˈwərldlē/)


1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of another world, especially a mystical or transcendental world: “The effect was dreamy, otherworldy”(Gioia Diliberto).
2. Devoted to the world of the mind; concerned with intellectual or imaginative things.
3. Concerned with an afterlife, especially when inattentive to the present.

I also went to: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/otherworldly Funny thing here is at the end of the definition explanation there is a comment box. Seems like I am not the only one to be posting about the 33 Ways to Stay Creative! Many people are doing the same thing….weird!

I am going to run with definition TWO, part TWO for my purposes: “Concerned with intellectual or imaginative things.”
I am a big fan of the fantasy realm, and apparently, most things otherworldly…as long as they are not scary. Ever since watching the midnight showing of “The Ring” my senior year of High School….well, let’s just say I’m not a fan. But I do like otherworldly things and/or beings that spread the love 🙂

Today I am developing an illustration idea that I have had in the back of my mind for a while, and since VDay is approaching it seems most appropriate. I am a huge fan of mermaids…I suppose most girls my age are since I think Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” was in its peak when I was a snot-gobbler….But I must give most of my my mermaid-love credit to My Auntie Stefie. I love her. 🙂 ANyhoo….

Below you have a few progress sketches. There wasn’t enough time today to finish it. But I plan to do it in watercolor and maybe some digital coloring. I will post the finished illustration this week 🙂 Hope you like it!



Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Quit Beating Yourself up!
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Four….Get Away From the Computer!

Ok….So, this one was a toughie!! But as you can see I am posting this a day later, since I wasn’t supposed to be on the computer yesterday. So that’s 1-1, right?

Yesterday I left the house and ran some errands….Paid the internet bill, recharged the credit on my phone.
I spent a few hours with some friends of mine…….Had lunch, chatted over some hot chocolate.
That’s 2/2, right?
I came home in the evening…..Mr. Man (aka Husband) was studying on the computer, phew! So what did I do? Without blinking I pulled out my phone and farted around on the internet! Such a dummie!! LE SIGHHHHHHH…..
I suppose 2/3 isn’t so bad right? WRONG!

Hello, My name is Amber and I am a computer/FB/internet addict…..and it is sucking my creativity dry! I will have to repeat this step again!


Stay tuned…LATER TODAY: Be Otherworldly!
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Three….Try Free Writing!

So…what is free writing? Yeah, I didn’t know either…so I looked it up with super trustworthy Wikipedia! haha!

Basically Free Writing is: “A prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. It is used mainly by prose writers and writing teachers. Some writers use the technique to collect initial thoughts and ideas on a topic, often as a preliminary to formal writing.”

And I guess there are rules too!

  • Give yourself a time limit. Write for one or ten or twenty minutes, and then stop.
  • Keep your hand moving until the time is up. Do not pause to stare into space or to read what you’ve written. Write quickly but not in a hurry.
  • Pay no attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, neatness, or style. Nobody else needs to read what you produce here. The correctness and quality of what you write do not matter; the act of writing does.
  • If you get off the topic or run out of ideas, keep writing anyway. If necessary, write nonsense or whatever comes into your head, or simply scribble: anything to keep the hand moving.
  • If you feel bored or uncomfortable as you’re writing, ask yourself what’s bothering you and write about that.
  • When the time is up, look over what you’ve written, and mark passages that contain ideas or phrases that might be worth keeping or elaborating on in a subsequent free-writing session.

Now we know! So today I decided to free write for 5 minutes….being that I am a newbie I didn’t want to over do it 🙂 It was fun…Not as hard as I was expecting. I may consider entering this into my monthly routine, it can be quite insightful 🙂

My favorite lines include:

“I just want to kick myself in the pants sometimes…”

“I need accountability”

“Does it mean taking chances??”


Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Get Away from the Computer!
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day Two….Carry a Notebook Everywhere

For some reason I have never been that artist that carries a notebook everywhere, you know, the ones that have the really expensive moleskins and are drawing in every minute of their spare time. In the metro, in the line at the bank, you know who I am talking about, maybe you are one of them! Secretly I envy them (you)… I always see them and think, gee…hmm…shouldn’t I be drawing too? I’m not sketching, does that make me  a bad artist? Then I see their sketches and am always blown away by how cool they are. I even have a book featuring artists and JUST their sketchbooks, their lives, how and what they put in their sketchbook. I always look at it to get inspired but then just feel bad about myself since I don’t have a cool sketchbook too….So I guess there must be some method to the madness. I mean, we all had to keep a sketchbook in art school right? Sorry Mr. Hood, sorry Marti Fast! I was always the student that crammed my sketches in a few days before the sketchbook review. YES, I was THAT art student…

But why is that? Why don’t I draw for fun anymore? Why havn’t I ever been gungHO about keeping a sketcbook? Is it the typical cliché that once your passion becomes your career it loses the passion, and therefore your interest? Maybe that’s it…or maybe I just never experienced the “Cool Kids’ Sketchbook Club” so I don’t know what I’m missing? hmmm…that could be it too.

Well, whatever it is this month I am going to make an honest attempt and be part of the “Cool Kids’ Sketchbook Club” and carry around my handy dandy ( non expensive) (not a moleskin) (but it has a pocket in the back) teeny-weeny-purse/pocket-sized-notebook. We shall see how this goes yeah?? Wish me luck!


Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Try Free Writing!
To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity: Day One….Make Lists

Now….and since forever….I have been a big list maker, with checkboxes and everything. Grocery list? check. Things to do today? check. Goals for my life and my career? check. Lots and lots of lists; I like to pretend that I do everything on the list but unfortunately that rarely happens haha! But it makes me aware of what should be done….and what COULD be done!

(I blurred out some of my list items (gotta keep some things a secret!! haha)


Stay tuned…TOMORROW: Carry a Notebook Everywhere!

To see the full list go HERE.

February Creativity Goal: 33 Ways to Stay Creative

Like the below list says there are 33 ways to stay creative. For the month of February, as a challenge, I will go down the list each day doing what the list says to do to try and keep my creative juices flowing!! I will be posting my progress along with my thoughts.


Todays new project

Like i mentioned before, tis the season for baby-making, another animal baby painting is in the works… Stay tuned for the finished product.


“Everyday is a GOOD day when you Paint” ~Bob Ross

This is an amazing video that PBS digital studios put together of one of my idols. Great painter, Great man.

Stop Motion Thing of the Day – The Daily What

Very cool video! AMAZING stop motion!

Stop Motion Thing of the Day – The Daily What

Blast from the Past

So while I was perusing through old files in my computer I ran across this Image Ready movie I made in Junior College, maybe 2003? It was the first time I had put drawings into Photoshop, and the first time I had done ANY KIND of motion graphics….I have to warn you, it is pretty crude, however I find it just as entertaining now as I did when I created it. (The best part is when the knight is running, well, hopping rather.) enjoy.

HERO SAVES THE DAY by Amber Rose Francis
hero saves the dayfinal

Kern Type, the kerning game

I got 91/100…How about you?

Kern Type, the kerning game.