Looking for a black doctor for my kids

“Looking for a black doctor for my kids.” Cultural competence in healthcare refers to the ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver services that meet the social, cultural and linguistic needs of patients. Latest illustration for NPR affiliate, Philadelphia’s WHYY. Thanks as usual to @paigepfleger and congrats on your future endeavors. Full story available in link in my bio.

••
•••
••••
•••••
#culturalcompetence #blackdoctors #healthcarebias #illustration #freelanceillustrator #whyy

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has been a fountain of inspiration for me lately. “The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” .
.
.
.
.
#portraitdrawing #digitalpaint #neilgaiman #literaturequotes #authorportrait #drawing #painting #freelanceillustrator #illustration #illustratedportrait #inspiringquotes #2018goals #iftheydontpayyourbillspaythembitchesnomind

Titus Andromedon

Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon. .
.
.
.
.
#titusandromedon #unbreakablekimmyschmidt #netflixandchill #netflixshow #illustration #portraitdrawing #portraitpainting #digitalpaint #drawing #dailydrawing #digitaldrawing #freelanceartist #freelanceillustrator #artistsoninstagram #1page1day #1p1d #sketchaday2018 #painting #artistforhire #portraitartist #lgbtmemes #lgbtally

Shunya Mudra

Shunya, or Shoonya Mudra. Helps bring you openness and spaciousness. Both of which are particularly beneficial when meditating. Also thought to help with motion sickness and vertigo. So far it hasn’t worked for me but maybe it will for you! •
••
•••
••••
•••••
#mudra #meditation #meditatedaily #meditate #buddhism #yogafun #tantra #shunyamudra #kundalini #kundaliniyoga #illustration #handart #ribbon #doodler #freelanceartist #enlightenment #spiritualart #artwitch #witchesofinstagram #witchcraft #pagan #buddhist #sketchaday2018 #sketchbook #sketch #buddha

Pran Mudra

Another mudra for you: Pran Mudra. This is one of my favorites. The word “Pran” means life.  Pran Mudra increases vitality while reducing fatigue, it improves our assertiveness, self confidence, courage and ability to see things through. When combined with slow, conscious deep breaths, Pran Mudra is calming and can help overcome anxiety.

••
•••
••••
•••••
#mudra #meditation #pranmudra #meditatedaily #meditate #buddhism #yogafun #tantra #kundalini #kundaliniyoga #illustration #handart #ribbon #doodler #freelanceartist #enlightenment #spiritualart #artwitch #witchesofinstagram #witchcraft #pagan #buddhist #sketchaday #sketchaday2018 #sketchbook #sketch #buddha

Gyan Mudra

Gyan Mudra, stimulates the root chakra and eases tension and depression. Helps with peace, calm and spiritual progress. Maybe the most common mudra – Buddha, Christ and Mahavir are all depected doing it. •
••
•••
••••
•••••
#mudra #meditation #meditatedaily #meditate #buddhism #yogafun #tantra #gyanmudra #kundalini #kundaliniyoga #illustration #handart #ribbon #doodler #freelanceartist #enlightenment #spiritualart #artwitch #witchesofinstagram #witchcraft #pagan #buddhist #sketchaday2018 #sketchbook #sketch #buddha

Gun control in America

Prayers and condolences do nothing, but there is something we can do. Most people who own guns obey the law. We need these folks to come forward and start demanding common sense gun control laws that keep them out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
#gunpolicy #gunpolicyreform #policychangeforamerica #guncontrol #gunowners #gunowner #gunownersofamerica

Neil Gaiman

If you ever need creative motivation or encouragement, watch Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech for the University of the Arts 2012 graduates. •
••
•••
••••
•••••
#1page1day #sketchaday #sketchbook #sketchaday2018 #neilgaiman #lettering #handlettering #illustration #freelanceartist #freelanceillustrator #artistforhire

Toni Morrison

The impossibly beautiful Toni Morrison. “Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn – by practice and careful contemplations – the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it.“





#painting #tonimorrison #literaturequotes #literature #illustration #illustrator #bookworm #blacklivesmatter #blackhistorymonth

////

I asked folks to tell me lies they tell themselves – either to get through the day, protect themselves, or whatever other reasons we have to need them. My grandpa sent me this one. His wife died a few years ago and he’s been living alone for the first time in decades. I personally think it’s ok to be alone but maybe I’m lying to myself about that, too. •




#illustration #doodler #digitalpaint #procreate #lietome #lieswebelieve #lieswetellourselves #lies #lying #lettering #loneliness #solitude #handlettering #grizzlybear #bear

////

I don’t actually own a coat. It’s a blanket I tie around myself with a shoelace.





#illustration #illustrator #freelanceillustrator #freelance #freelancerlife #digitalnomad #digitalpaint #thedogneedswalkin #nobathing #badhygiene #ismell #toomuchpizza #sketchbook #sketchaday #sketchaday2018 #1p1d #1page1day #drawing #painting #doodler

////

One of my favorite authors, Zadie Smith. From her book On Beauty: “Right. I look fine. Except I don’t,’ said Zora, tugging sadly at her man’s nightshirt. This was why Kiki had dreaded having girls: she knew she wouldn’t be able to protect them from self-disgust. To that end she had tried banning television in the early years, and never had a lipstick or a woman’s magazine crossed the threshold of the Belsey home to Kiki’s knowledge, but these and other precautionary measures had made no difference. It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies– it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. There was no way to control it.”





#zadiesmith #contemporaryliterature #literaturequotes #onbeauty #whiteteeth #portraitdrawing #authorportrait #portraiture #illustrator #illustration #illo #sketchaday #sketchaday2018 #sketchbook

My lie.

I didn’t realize how often I told myself this little seemingly white lie… but it’s not really a white lie and its unfortunately led me to be someone other than myself at times. The first step is being aware of it, right? If you haven’t been following me, I asked folks to tell me the lies they tell themselves and others. This one is my own, but I want to hear your’s too. Lie to me. •

Supplies, tools and materials I adore.

I think a lot of people with art practices probably go through periods where they love a technique or tool for a long time and then later abandon it altogether a few months later––or maybe that’s just me. My practice has always been very intuitive and experimental. In and out of my art, I feel most alive when I’m learning and trying new things.

Unfortunately for me, this has led to a large body of work but little cohesion within it. I personally don’t feel that this is a problem, but for getting editorial and commissioned work it can be. Most clients and buyers want to know what they’re getting when they hire you. If your work is all over the place stylistically, this is hard to do. In 2017, I sought to nail down a specific signature style to my art and illustration. After a summer of deliberate experimentation with tools and techniques, a style within my work began to coalesce.

I still involve as much experimenting in my process as possible, but I try to keep my signature style in mind whenever I do this. Here’s the tools I have recently settled on.

All of the images below link to where you can purchase them on Amazon.

  1. Alcohol Ink Markers

    This is probably old news to a lot of you, but alcohol ink markers are amazing. It’s as if pure, vibrant, unadulterated color is pouring out on my paper. I tested the waters at first to see if I liked them with a cheap brand on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised. They were great. I liked them so much that I ordered them for the children’s art program I ran. Our patrons loved them, and a couple of professional comic book artists who taught our workshops also sung their praises.These are the same ones we used:
    Supplies, Materials and Tools I Adore - Ella Trujillo
    I recommend purchasing the cheap set and figuring out which colors you like the best. From there, find matching duplicates of a higher-end brand like Copic. Copic markers are hands down the best I’ve tried, but they are $5-7 each or more. Fortunately, they are refillable. Because of this I’ve heard they are cheaper in the long run than other high-end brands like Prismacolor.I’m slowly replacing all of my cheaper ones with Copics as the Artify markers run out. Most art supply stores will allow you to test markers before you purchase them. The Artify color numbers do not match up with Copics, so I’d recommend bringing in swatches of the colors you’d like to replace and testing Copics that look close alongside them. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Dick Blick or similar large art supply store, there is a ton of selection. Michael’s and A.C. Moore might have some, but I’m not sure how keen they will be on you testing them.

    You can also purchase Copics online, but it is hard to know what color you’re getting without testing it. You could also just purchase a large set if you have the funds.
  2. Tracing Paper

    I run through this stuff like it’s nothing. I used to buy the pads of it but found a lot of discrepancies in the paper quality. Of course tracing paper isn’t going to be high-quality, but I’ve found the rolls of it have a lot less dimples and creases. I once had to throw out a whole pad because of how bad the creases on it were. I’ve been buying it in rolls since.I’m going to let you in on a secret of how I get the vibrant, watercolor-like washes in my work. It’s not watercolor. It’s alcohol ink markers on tracing paper. The transparent quality of the paper also makes it less absorbent. Most paper would absorb the ink, but with tracing paper, the ink sits on top and creates watercolor-like effects. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. I discovered this by chance and it’s influenced all of my work since. I’ll also be expecting royalties for this.
  3. iPad and Stylus

    I’m a new convert to this world but I have to say, it’s AMAZING. Technology has come so far so fast. There is something to be said for working on paper with physical materials; it will always be the food for my soul. That said, working commercially and for tight deadlines, the iPad is perfect. Most people who work with one have an Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro.

    Well, I’m still using my old iPad Air and a cheap stylus I got off Amazon.

    Musemee Notier Prime – The Precision Disc Stylus

    Even with these “inferior” options, I’m genuinely impressed by the quality of the pieces I’ve been making.

    I spend a lot of time painting, scanning and then editing my work for clients. Using the iPad has literally cut that time into a third. It’s also tripled the amount of doodling and sketching I do in a day. It’s easier, more convenient and requires no consumable materials. If you’re on the road frequently like I am, it allows you to still make art even if you don’t have the space.

    My favorite apps so far are Adobe Sketch and Adobe Draw. I’m going to give Procreate a try very soon, too!

  4. Journals and Sketchbook
    My journal system deserves a post of its own. I’ve adapted a system of Bullet Journaling for my own needs. I’m going to write an entire post about how I do this very soon, but it’s very similar to the one I’ve linked.If you’re not familiar, a Bullet Journal is essentially a DIY planner that you layout and design based on your needs. There’s a ton of information about different layouts and structures you can make online. Some people get very creative with it, but mine is very minimal. If you’re interested, the best course in trying it is trial and error. The layout I used when I started is much different than the one I use now. I really enjoy creating the most efficient layouts as possible that incorporate all of my tasks and goals.Since using this system, I feel like my brain is finally somewhat clear (side note: I have ADHD so I may struggle with this more than you might).I carry my bright red Moleskine everywhere I go. It’s small enough to fit in my purse but large enough to write comfortably in. I’m very fond of Moleskine’s brand of orange-ish red, but of course, these are available in lots of colors. If you don’t carry a purse, there’s a smaller size as well––and larger sizes!
    I use it every morning and make thorough lists of tasks and goals the beginning of every month, week and day, and subsequent series of reflections. It helps me dump all the crud that’s floating around in my brain onto paper. Then I reorganize it all based on priority––or decide if it really even matters to begin with. The process helps keep me accountable in my work and personal life. 
    I use my Moleskine for plans and structuring, and a separate, larger journal for something author Julia Cameron calls Morning Pages. Julia Cameron wrote The Artist’s Way which is essentially a practical guide to becoming more creative. It’s very structured and acts as a workshop; you’re meant to follow it for many weeks. Most of the book wasn’t particularly useful for me because many of the exercises were things I already do in my life as an artist. It’s more geared towards encouraging non-artists to be vulnerable, try things and fail. Artists and creatives are pretty used to that sort of thing. That said, Morning Pages were something I took and ran with. It hasn’t been long but so far I’ve written them every morning for the past 35 days.

    Here’s how to do them:

    Write 3 pages every morning about whatever is on your mind. Don’t read and review it. In fact, you won’t read it ever again if you can help it. That ensures that when you write, it is purely an exercise of meditation. There is no future-you or reader judging the writing. If you were to read it, it would probably read like the ramblings of a crazy person. Similar to my Bullet Journal, it acts as a brain dump. It helps me sort through difficult emotions. I have already grown and learned so much about myself and my art. I can’t recommend trying it enough.

    For me to be able to commit to a daily routine like Morning Pages, I must love the tools I use. This is just something I know about myself; I’m particular about textures, colors and how it feels to hold something. I write with Pilot Precise V7 Rolling Ball pens and use a Fabriano notebook.

    And then I carry a third book on me: My sketchbook. I struggled for a long time to find a sketchbook with pages that didn’t bleed through when I used wet materials. I tried a RENDR sketchbook and I haven’t gone back. The pages do not bleed at all. If you’re working with alcohol ink, that is very important. Plus, I really appreciate the minimal, black styling of the cover and that it’s hardbound.

  5. Water Crayons

    These are so cool. I first discovered them when I was backpacking through Europe and loved the convenience of them. You can draw with them and then use any moisture and it creates a watercolor effect. You can play with it to still keep some rough crayon texture in your work, too. I’ve only ever tried Caran D’Ache ones––I haven’t felt the need to venture. They’re buttery, vibrant and respond to moisture immediately.
  6. Waterbrushes

    These are great for convenience as well, and I usually use these partnered with the water crayons. Instead of having to have a separate cup with water, the water is stored in the handle of the brush. If you’re painting on the go, it is a relief to not have to think about carrying a cup and water with you. And it’s much less messy with less potential to spill. I’ve seen these at art supply stores and Michaels for about 6 times what I paid for them on Amazon. Maybe the ones they carry in store are a higher quality, but so far I haven’t had any issues with mine and I’ve been using them for months.
  7. Holbein Gouache

    Lisa Congdon recommended this brand on her blog so I thought I’d try them out. They are incredible! Very matte and extremely vibrant. I tried them while I was in art school, but wasn’t impressed by the colors. I believe I just got the standard set of primary colors. If you don’t plan on using colors beyond that, you’ll be fine. But if you want some bright colors, it is impossible to mix them. I grabbed a bright lime green and nearly neon pink and was converted to the world of gouache. 
  8. Signo Uniball White Ink Pen

    It’s a truly opaque white pen that you can use to write and doodle on darker colors. It is the most opaque white ink pen I have found so far.
  9. Gelly Roll Pens

    Gelly Roll makes a great white pen as well in case you can’t find the Uniball one. All of their light colors are very opaque. You’ll find this to be essential if you’re drawing with pens on top of dark colors––opaque reins supreme.
  10. The last tool I use frequently; Google Image Search. What would any of us do without it? I guess there was once something called a reference book?

Megan’s lie.

@megskeefc’s lie. There’s a TON of animals who aren’t burdened by societal expectations of their gender identity, animals who can reproduce asexually and animals who can change their gender midway through life if they wish to. Clownfish are one of the latter. If you haven’t been following, I asked folks to tell me the lies they tell themselves and others and I would incorporate them into my daily drawings. Lie to me!

Beaky

When we were kids, my brother found and injured magpie on my family’s farm in Southern Colorado and nursed it back to health. From them on, it followed him everywhere. We headed back to Denver at the end of the summer, but would still visit for long weekends and Beaky would be waiting for us. Eventually we stopped seeing him, but whenever I see magpies I think of him.

Saying no.

Maybe it seems negative, but 2018 is shaping up to be the year I feel comfortable saying, “no.” No, I don’t have time for that in my life. No, that doesn’t matter to me. No, I disagree or that is bad for me personally or for all of us. No! Politics aside, personally I have a habit of people pleasing and overcommitting myself. I make plans with zeal and later realize I’m not capable of giving whatever it was that I committed to. If I’ve done this to you, I’m sorry. Sometimes I don’t always think things through. In the future, I hope to have some foresight and say, “no” to the things I can’t do, or the things I can’t change.

Andre’s lie

@andredomeni’s lie. This one was also relevant to me, too. I don’t remember anything despite really, really wanting to. Now I neurotically put everything in a physical planner and my phone.. and then forget to look at them. Here’s to trying! If you haven’t been following, I asked folks to tell me the lies they tell themselves and others and I would incorporate them into my daily drawings. Lie to me!





#lietome #lying #lies #lieswetellourselves #lieswebelieve #dailydrawing #sketchaday #adobesketch #adobesketchapp #fear #illustrate #illustration #illustratorsofinstagram #artjournal #sketchbook #artistsforhire #freelanceartist

Supplies, Materials and Tools I Adore

I think a lot of people with art practices probably go through periods where there love a technique and tool for a long time and then later abandon it all together a few months later. Or maybe that’s just me. My practice has also been very intuitive and experimental. In and out of my art, I feel most alive when I’m learning and trying new things.

Unfortunately for me, this has led to a large body of work but little cohesion within it. Personally, that is not a downside for me. Professionally it is. Most clients and buyers want to know what they’re getting when they hire you. If your work is all over the place stylistically, this is hard to do. In 2017, I sought to nail down a specific signature style to my art and illustration, and part of that was nailing down a process, after much deliberate experimentation.

I still involve as much experimenting in my process as possible, but I try to keep my signature style in mind whenever I do this. Here’s the tools I have recently settled on.

All of the images below link to where you can purchase them on Amazon.

  1. Alcohol Ink Markers
    This is probably old news to a lot of you, but these things are amazing. It is like pure, vibrant, unadulterated color in these things. I tested the waters at first to see if I liked them with a cheap brand on Amazon. They were surprisingly great! And they are significantly better than other cheap-o brands I tried later. After I tried them, I went on to order them for every library the art program in Philadelphia I worked for was located. Our patrons loved them, and a couple of professional comic book artists who taught workshops also sung their praises.These are the same ones we used:
    Supplies, Materials and Tools I Adore - Ella Trujillo
    I recommend following my lead; purchase the cheap set and figure out which colors you like the best. From there, find matching duplicates of a higher end brand like Copic. Copic markers are hands down the best – but they are $5-7 each. Fortunately, they arerefillable. Because of this I’ve heard they are cheaper in the long run than other high end brands like Prismacolor. I’m slowly replacing all of my cheaper ones with Copics as the Artify markers run out. Most art supply stores will allow you to test markers before you purchase them. The Artify color numbers do not match up with Copics, so I’d recommend bringing in swatches of the colors you’d like to replace and testing Copics that look close alongside them. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Dick Blick or similar large art supply store, there is a ton of selection. Michael’s and A.C. Moore might be able to get you buy, but not very well.

    You can also purchase Copics online, but it is hard to know what color you’re getting without testing it. You could also just purchase a large set though, if you have the funds.
  2. Tracing Paper
    I run through this stuff like nothing. I used to buy the pads of it, but found a lot of discrepancies in the paper quality. Of course tracing paper isn’t going to be high quality, but I’ve found the rolls of it have a lot less dimples and creases in it.
    Also, I’m going to let you in on a secret of how I get the vibrant, watercolor-like washes in my work. It’s not watercolor. It’s alcohol ink markers on tracing paper. The transparent quality of the paper also makes it less absorbent. Most paper would absorb the ink, but with tracing paper, the ink sits on top and creates watercolor-like effects. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. I discovered this by chance and it’s influenced all of my work since then.
  3. iPad and Stylus
    I’m a new convert to this world but I have to say, it is AMAZING. Technology has come so far and so fast. There is something to be said for working on paper with physical materials; it will also be the food of my soul. That said, working commercially and for tight deadlines the iPad is great for digital painting and drawing. Most people who work with one have an Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro.

    Well, I’m still using my old iPad Air and a cheap stylus I got off Amazon.

    Musemee Notier Prime – The Precision Disc Stylus

    Even with these, “inferior” options I am genuinely impressed by the quality of the pieces I’ve been making.
    I spent a lot of time scanning and then editing my pieces for editorial clients; I’ve literally cut that time into a third. It has also tripled the amount of doodling and sketching I do in a day. It’s easier, it’s more convenient, it requires no consumable materials.

  4. Journals and Sketchbook
    My journal system deserves a post of it’s own. I’ve adapted a system of Bullet Journal for my own needs. I’m going to write an entire post about how I do this very soon, but it is very similar to the one I’ve linked.
    If you’re not familiar, a Bullet Journal is essentially a DIY planner that you layout and design based on your needs. There’s a ton of information about different layouts and structures you can make online. The best course if you’re interested in trying it and is trial and error. The layout I used when I started is much different than the one I use now.
    Since using this system, I feel like my brain is finally somewhat clear (sidenote: I have ADHD so I may struggle with this more than you might).
    I carry my bright red Moleskine everywhere I go. It’s small enough to fit in my purse but large enough to write comfortably in. I’m very fond of Moleskine’s brand of orange-ish red, but of course these are available in lots of colors. If you don’t carry a purse, there’s a smaller size as well. And larger sizes!
    I use it every morning. I make a thorough list of tasks and goals the beginning of every month, week and day, and a subsequent series of reflections. It helps me hold myself accountable. It helps me dump all the crud that’s floating around in my brain onto a paper and reorganize it all based on priority and if it really even matters to begin with. 
    I use my Moleskine for plans and structuring, and I use a separate, larger journal for something author Julia Cameron calls Morning Pages. Julia Cameron wrote The Artist’s Way which is essentially a practical guide to becoming more creative. It’s very structured and acts as a class. She stresses the importance of keeping Morning Pages. Most of the book wasn’t particularly useful for me; most of the exercises were things I already do in my life as an artist. I think it’s more geared towards non-artists allowing themselves to be vulnerable, try things and fail. I think most artists and creatives are pretty used to that sort of thing. That said, Morning Pages were something I took from it and ran with. It’s only been about a month since I’ve started, but so far I’ve written them every morning for the past 35 days.All there is to it is you write 3 pages every morning of whatever is on your brain. You don’t read and review it; in fact, you don’t read it every again if you can help it. That ensures that when you write, it is purely an exercise of meditation. There is no future-you and other reader judging the writing. If you were to read it, it would probably be near jibberish or the ramblings of a crazy person.Similar to my Bullet Journal, it acts as a brain dump. It helps me sort through difficult emotions. I have already grown and learned so much about myself and my art. I can’t recommend trying it enough. For me to be able to commit to a daily routine, I must love the tools I use. I write with Pilot Precise V7 Rolling Ball pens and use a Fabriano notebook.
    And then I carry a third book on me: my sketchbook. I struggled for a long time to find a sketchbook with pages that didn’t bleed. I tried a RENDR sketchbook and I haven’t gone back. The pages DO. NOT. BLEED. at all. If you’re working with alcohol ink, that is very important. Plus, I really appreciate the minimal styling of the cover and that it’s hardbound.
  5. Water Crayons
    These are so cool. I first discovered them when I was backpacking through Europe and loved the convenience of them. You can draw with them and then use any moisture and it creates a watercolor effect. You can play with it to still keep some rough crayon texture in your work, too. I’ve only ever tried Caran D’Ache ones — I haven’t felt the need to venture. They’re buttery, vibrant and respond to moisture immediately.
  6. Waterbrushes
    These are great for convenience as well, and I usually use these partnered with the water crayons and colored pencils. Instead of having to have a separate cup with water, the water is stored in the handle of the brush. If you’re painting on the go, it is a relief to not have to think about carrying a cup and water with you. And it’s much less messy with less potential to spill. I’ve seen these at art supply stores and Michaels for about 6 x’s what I paid for them on Amazon. Maybe the ones they carry in store are a higher quality, but so far I haven’t had any issues with mine and I’ve been using them for months.
  7. Holbein Gouache
    Lisa Congdon recommended this brand on her blog so I thought I’d try them out. They are amazing. Very matter and very vibrant. I tried them while I was in art school, but wasn’t impressed by the colors. I believe I just got the set of primary colors. If you don’t plan on using colors beyond that, you’ll be fine. But if you want some bright colors, it is impossible to mix. I grabbed a bright lime green and nearly neon pink and was converted to the world of gouache. 
  8. Signo Uniball White Ink Pen
    It’s a truly opaque white pen that you can use to write and doodle on darker colors. It is the most opaque white ink pen I have found so far.
  9. Gelly Roll Pens
    Gelly Roll makes a great white pen as well, if you can’t find the Uniball one. All of their light colors are very opaque. You’ll find this to be essential if you’re drawing with pens on top of dark colors – opaque reins supreme.
  10. The last tool I use frequently; Google Image Search. What would any of us do without it? I guess there was once something called a reference book?

Become like water

“Where some people have a self, most people have a void, because they are too busy in wasting their vital creative energy to project themselves as this or that, dedicating their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like rather than actualizing their potentiality as a human being.” – Bruce Lee

Lie to Me

What is a lie you regularly tell yourself or someone else? I’ve posted about this idea before.. lately I’ve been incorporating the lies I tell myself and others into my daily drawings and sketches. I’d like to do a zine about them, with your input. Tell me a habitual lie of yours, and I’ll incorporate it into an illustration and post it.

Feeling nostalgic.

I used to be in a band with my partner. I played drums. I wasn’t very good, but it was pretty fun. We toured the country and made a lot of friends. Sometimes I miss it, but then I remember how you have to practice regularly and that’s not so appealing. Also, Minibar in KC literally smelt like poop when we played. I’m sorry but it’s true.

But it ain’t like that

I painted this when we first moved to Philadelphia in early 2016. In 2015, we moved there to pursue art, music and a different way of life. We met some amazing people and made some very deep and intimate connections. I’m grateful for the time there, but grateful to also let go of things that weren’t doing good for me anymore. Philly has a lot to offer and I’m excited to see how all our friends there grow this year.

Lifetime

Lifetime, Straight White Teeth’s (my partner’s band) latest release ft. Paige Pfleger @paigepfleger – Single released in 2017, and well-loved by blogs, playlists and Spotify algortihms. It’s been getting some playtime over at @kcrw, which is really exciting to see! I’m extremely proud of my partner for continuing to work on and release compelling music despite many personal hardships. Have a listen at straightwhiteteethmusic.com or on Spotify

Tyke’s Ghost

I was commissioned to create this piece of Tyke, a circus elephant that was brutally killed in 1994 after killing her abusive trainer. She was shot nearly 100 times until she died from her wounds. The photos of the incident are graphic and extremely heartbreaking. I’m going to create prints of this illustration to sell, with a portion of proceeds going to animal rights organizations. At least we can celebrate one thing about 2017 – the closing of Barnum and Bailey and the international trend of banning wild animal use in circuses.

Noname Gypsy

Noname was my #1 artist in 2017 according to Spotify. She was a frequent participant of YouMedia Labs in Chicago’s library, a program funded by the same grant that funded the program I worked for in North Philadelphia in 2016 and 2017. It was a privilege to work with so many creative, talented kids.

I think I listened to Noname so much because her music reminded me that there are positive take-aways from these initiatives, even if it’s just creating a place for folks to openly and safely express themselves. It was hard to see the positives sometimes when we worked so hard for so little, with beyond incompetent leadership. Noname’s music helped me wade through the trenches.

I’m grateful for the experience of working there, but also grateful to have moved on.

In Noname’s words: “In terms of me like figuring out what it is that I wanted to do in life and who I kind of felt home around was in YouMedia,” she says of the teen-centered learning and creative space at Harold Washington Library. Her interest in writing led her to the after-school program, and from there, she workshopped poems and found like-minded young people and, later, open mics. She continues, “I spent a lot of my teenage years kind of just moving around the city freely and discovering new creative spaces.”

Offering to Saint Expedite

This is an offering to Saint Expedite to thank him for helping me get more clients last year. I’m going to print them as stickers. PM me if you want one! The tiny font says: Saint Expedite is the patron of those who hope for rapid solutions to problems and who wish to avoid or put an end to delays. Just call out to saint expedite to get his attention and ask for what you need. Be sure to offer something in return for his efforts. He likes pound cake and publicity.

Thriving Artist

In 2017, I decided to really give it a go at being a freelance illustrator. I’m continuing this goal in 2018. I recently picked up Lisa Congdon‘s book Art, Inc. and it has seriously made me rethink many conceptions I had about a career making art.

Art, Inc
Art, Inc

Coming from a fine art background (I have a BFA in painting) is ideologically pretty different than if I had pursued an illustration education – but the reality is that I have bills to pay, I want to continue my nomadic lifestyle, and I’m pretty good at drawing. I’m thrilled to get paid to draw everyday, and I still work on many (too many) of my own personal projects. Here’s to continuing the work in 2018.

Net Neutrality Matters

This is the likely future if we lose regulations that protect net neutrality. On December 14th, the FCC is voting to get rid of regulations that protect consumers. Call your senators, the FCC (specifically the chairman, a former Verizon (but clearly still very much acting in their interests) lawyer Ajit Pai) and let them know this will not be tolerated. Or expect to begin paying a premium to access most of your usually internet uses – especially to politically organize. 5calls.org is a great resource for finding your legislators’ phone numbers and a call script. The FCC’s number is 212-408-1000.

St. Croix Animal Shelter needs your help!

I’m doing these holiday pet portraits to raise money for an animal shelter in St Croix, an island in the Caribbean decimated by Hurricane Maria. They make great gifts! For $75, your purchase gets you a single half-page portrait, 5″x6″. I’ll paint and draw it by hand with ink and watercolor. The price includes shipping and postage. I’m happy to do more than one animal in the image, too! If you’d like a larger size, just let me know and the price will go up in proportion to the size. These make awesome gifts! Turn around time is a week. 50% of the proceeds goes to the shelter — I have 5 prints left for sale with 100% of proceeds going to aid organizations. Get in touch with me if you’re interested.

In an Oregon Forest

Sleeping In The Forest
I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

– Mary Oliver

////

Samhain is here, cold is the earth,
as we celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth.
Tonight we speak to those through the veil,
the lines between worlds are thin and frail.

Ghosts and spirits in the night,
magical beings rising in flight,
owls hooting up in a moonlit tree,
I don’t fear you and you don’t fear me.

As the sun goes down, far to the west,
my ancestors watch over me as I rest.
They keep me safe and without fear,
on the night of Samhain, the Witches’ New Year. #illustration #animation #handdrawn #samhain #pagan #witch #occult #esoteric #witchesnewyear #halloween #drawing #painting #harvest #magick

////

I just found a video of The Hamster Dance website circa 1997. I liked it so much when I was a kid, I had my stepdad help me create an homage – the Lava Lamp dance. It never took off like the Hamster Dance.. I decided to sketch an homage to my homage 20 years later. #veryhighendwebdesign #illustrate #illustration #illustrator #lavalamps #lavalamps #doodle #sketch #sketchbook #sketchaday #doodlesofinstagram #drawing #ink #pen #hamsterdance #webdesign

////

Created this illustration for a story at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, about the psychological impact of music in horror movies. Lots of fun, and very excited to work with WHYY, NPR, @paigepfleger and Max Green! #illustration #watercolor #ink #horror #bach #johannsebastianbach #psycho #digitalpainting #whyy #npr #drawing #painting

////

I loved adapting one of my favorite recent sketches into an illustration for @vinylpost_co – an amazing subscription from @birpfm that mails you a postcard every month you can play on a turntable as if it is a record! This image was created for Tao of Con’s single Yr Memory. #illustration #drawing #painting #watercolor #ink #vinylpost #birpfm #taoofcon #draw #paint #magick #dreams #memory #deer

////

#inktober day 3: underwater. Some of America’s most protected corals have been blighted by bleaching, with scientists warning that US reefs are on course to largely disappear within just a few decades because of global warming. I’m selling prints of this illustration and donating the proceeds to coral reef conservation efforts. The link to purchase is in my profile. #illustration #art #drawing #sketchaday #drawing #sketchbook #sketch #doodle #inktober2017 #ink #artist #artistsoninstagram #illustrator #drawsomething #artjournal #instaart #alcoholink #conservation #globalwarming #fundraiser # coral #coralreefs

////

#inktober day 3: #poison ….
#illustration #art #drawing #sketchaday #drawing #sketchbook #sketch #doodle #inktober2017 #ink #artist #artistsoninstagram #illustrator #drawsomething #artjournal #instaart #alcoholink #trumpsamerica #thegop #republicans #republicanparty

////

#inktober day 2: #divided. It’s actually inktober day 3 today, but I didn’t have enough service to post this yesterday. Passing through so many rural communities lately, I’ve found the culture difference shocking at times. Especially down here in the south. This was drawn in rural Louisiana, inspired by the many god-related billboards I’ve driven past. No idea what it originally said.. “you die god?” ?

////

My first #inktober is a lie… the theme today is #swift. I #drew this #mosquito several weeks ago when we were chased out of three different camp sites by the ruthless mozs in rural #drawing Unfortunately, I’ve spent the day packing and cleaning as we’re leaving New Orleans tomorrow. What an amazing summer – highlighted by an endless supply of mosquitos. When do they start dying?

////

I’m selling prints of this illustration of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico and donating 100% of the proceeds to efforts to rebuild in areas devastated by the natural disaster. They are $30 on my Etsy – there is a link in my profile where you can purchase and find more info on the organizations your money will be going to.

Justice too long delayed is justice denied.

We should all be proud of these guys speaking up for what they believe is right. Peacefully protesting is fundamentally American, to its core.

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” -MLK, Letter from a Birmingham Jail. #takeaknee

////

We drove past this scene in rural Louisiana and I fell in love. All these little white birds were staring lovingly at this beautiful cow. Was it a holy cow? Patrick said they were probably looking for flies to eat… I researched a bit later and that turns out to be the case. Cattle egrets hang around cows to eat the flies that land on them. So maybe they’re not staring out of adoration… but it’s more fun to think that they are ✨???✨ #magic #sketchaday #sketchbook #illustrator #illustration #watercolor #ink #holycow #cattleegret #egret #louisiana #scenesfromtheroad

////

In New Orleans dreaming of magic. I haven’t posted in awhile — I’ve taken on a big but very rewarding animation project for my friend @joeyhowell’s documentary. Trying to fit in doodles when I can. #neworleans #illustration #ink #watercolor #sketchbook #sketch #doodle #doodlesofinstagram #sketchaday #magic

////

Abstract composer, social worker, political activist and cat lover Joel Nauman had a stroke in October 2016 that paralyzed half his body. His speech was sacrificed as well; even months afterwards, Joel’s brain couldn’t differentiate between past, present and future tenses. “We will go to the store,” became, “we go the store.” His partner Wendy took care of him while he recovered. They were told it was important to practice gratitude and that Joel should write down five things he was grateful for everyday. Everyday he wrote the same thing, “Wendy, Wendy, Wendy, Wendy, Wendy.” She asked him at one point, “what will you do if you’re in the afterlife before me?” His response was, “I wait.” Joel was my uncle and passed away a few weeks ago. In his own words, “a quiet and gentle man, Joel tried to do the best he could throughout his life.”

////

God is a billboard outside of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
.
.
.
.
. #sketchaday #painteveryday #art #artist #painting #illustration #drawing #draw #sketch #sketchbook #artoftheday #artistsoninstagram #watercolors #ellatrujillo #illustration #watercolor #ink #penandink #paint #doitfortheprocess #sketchaday2017 #adrawingaday #dailydrawing #sketchdaily #illustrator

////

One year ago – Fishtown, Philadelphia. I miss the best of Philly – what a weird place it was. Last summer people had to be told not to rent dumpsters to use as swimming pools. The mayor’s office actually had to release a statement. I never got a chance to dumpster swim!
.
.
.
.
.
#philadelphia #dumpsterlife #fishtown #artist #painting #illustration #drawing #draw #sketch #sketchbook #artoftheday #artistsoninstagram #watercolors #ellatrujillo #illustration #watercolor #ink #penandink #paint #doitfortheprocess #adrawingaday #dailydrawing #sketchdaily #illustrator

////

Made my dude pose in this sunflower field we found. Doodles to come soon, you betcha! .
.
.
.
.
#sunflowers #wisconsin #artinspiration #doitfortheprocess #drawinginspiration #nomads #digitalnomad #wanderlust #alternativeliving #selfbuild #travelgoals #vangogh #summervibes #nobaddays #gratitude

////

I didn’t know how I’d do in a small town in rural Wisconsin but the solitude, humility and tranquility have won me over. It has felt like a true retreat and I feel my center returning to me. I’ll miss it here when we leave. #artdaily2017 #sketchaday #painteveryday #art #artist #painting #illustration #drawing #draw #sketch #sketchbook #artoftheday #instaart #instaartist #wip #artistsoninstagram #sketchbook #watercolors #illustration #yayeveryday2017 #watercolor #ink #penandink #paint #adrawingaday #dailydrawing #sketchdaily #illustrator

////

Tyke’s Ghost | Tyke was a circus elephant that was brutally killed in 1994 after killing her abusive trainer. She was shot nearly 100 times until she died from her wounds. RIP Tyke. #illustration #tyketheelephant #animalcrueltyawareness #rip #watercolor #ink

////

You are young.  So you know everything.  You leap
into the boat and begin rowing.  But listen to me.
Without fanfare, without embarrassment, without
any doubt, I talk directly to your soul.  Listen to me.
Lift the oars from the water, let your arms rest, and
your heart, and heart’s little intelligence, and listen to
me.  There is life without love.  It is not worth a bent
penny, or a scuffed shoe.  It is not worth the body of a
dead dog nine days unburied.  When you hear, a mile
away and still out of sight, the churn of the water
as it begins to swirl and roil, fretting around the
sharp rocks – when you hear that unmistakable
pounding – when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement, the long falls
plunging and steaming – then row, row for your life
toward it. ~ Mary Oliver ~ #poem #maryoliver #illustration #sketchbook #portrait #painting #watercolor #ink #sketch #doodle

////

Always & Forever @alyssaedwards_1 #sketch #ink #illustration #ihatehashtagging #dragrace #drawing #fanart #rupaulsdragrace #alyssaedwards #alyssassecret #tonguepop #watercolor #painting #portrait

////

Nina Bo’Nina Banana Fofana Osama Bin Laden Shoulda Been Blac Chyna Somebody Has To Be The Messy One Didn’t Rent It From Netflix Did You Steal My Clown White Can I Just Wallow In My Depression Brown #handlettering #illustration #fanart #dragfanart #dragrace #rupaulsdragrace #art #artist #artwork #sketch #sketchbook

////

I’m Jasmine Masters and I have something to say! #jush #thatpart #jasminemasters #rupaulsdragrace #dragfanart #illustration #fanart #drawing #painting #ink #digitalart #lettering #handlettering #art #artist #toomanyhashtags

something a little different ::: The Menominee of Northern Wisconsin tell of a great mountain that floats in the western sky on which dwell the thunderbirds. They control the rain and hail and delight in fighting and deeds of greatness. They are the enemies of the great horned snakes – the Misikinubik – and have prevented these from overrunning the earth and devouring mankind. They are messengers of the Great Sun himself.
#illustration #drawing #sketchbook #sketch #watercolor #copicmarkers #copic #ink #painting #art #artist #artistsoninstagram #ihatehashtagging

at great pond

AT GREAT POND | MARY OLIVER
the sun, rising,
scrapes his orange breast
on the thick pines,
and down tumble
a few orange feathers into
the dark water.
On the far shore
a white bird is standing
like a white candle —
or a man, in the distance,
in the clasp of some meditation — while all around me the lilies
are breaking open again
from the black cave
of the night.
Later, I will consider
what I have seen —
what it could signify —
what words of adoration I might
make of it, and to do this
I will go indoors to my desk —
I will sit in my chair —
I will look back
into the lost morning
in which I am moving, now,
like a swimmer,
so smoothly,
so peacefully,
I am almost the lily —
almost the bird vanishing over the water
on its sleeves of night. (at Stevens Point, Wisconsin)

morning poem

Every morning
the world
is created.

Under the orange
sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches —
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead —
if it’s all you can do
to keep on trudging —

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted —

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
lavishly,
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

Morning Poem by Mary Oliver (at Lake Joanis)

Maker Jawn’s Other Role: Providing Emotional Safe Haven For Youth

Originally written for Maker Jawn‘s blog. “Maker Jawn aims to provide a unique space for community members in North Philadelphia Free Libraries, where self-directed experimental and experiential learning is promoted through a focus on creativity, critical thinking and skill-building.”

Maker Jawn is a predominantly youth-serving maker space that operates in libraries in North Philadelphia.

I live here. I’ve made great friends here and I appreciate my neighbors. That said, North Philly has some very real problems. More than 900 people died of opioid-related overdoses in 2016 alone. Philadelphia has an overall poverty rate of 26 percent: the highest recorded among the nation’s 10 most populous cities.  In North Philly, that rate jumps to 57 percent.

Every other month there is an addict passed out at a table or in the bathroom at our library from an overdose. In December, one of our participants was taken out of school because he threw up from literally starving. Our makers regularly deal with trauma at home, at school, in the park and on the street.

But as much as my ability allows; our little maker space in the back room at the library is as trauma-free as I can provide. Providing this and the many other resources that we do is a constant struggle personally, and I am always trying to learn the best way to communicate with youth, the best way to teach youth, and the best way to simply be a friend.

Last week, I printed out a handful of questions to aid in storytelling for movie making and comic writing. One of the questions was, “who has been the kindest to you in your life?” One of our teens in the space told me, “well, definitely you all here.” The week before, he had revealed to us that he had suffered from depression since he was much younger and that this was the only place he felt safe to talk about it.

Is it possible this 17-year-old had truly never experienced kindness until becoming a part of our maker space? Yes, it is. The deep poverty of North Philadelphia and subsequent problems that comes from it make this not only possible, but probable.

As a mere part-time educator at a library there is not a lot I can do besides continuing to provide the emotional support and kindness. I will continue providing this service among the many others that Maker Jawn does.

How do you quantify emotional liberty?

Developing Programming for Adult Library Patrons

Originally written for Maker Jawn‘s blog. “Maker Jawn aims to provide a unique space for community members in North Philadelphia Free Libraries, where self-directed experimental and experiential learning is promoted through a focus on creativity, critical thinking and skill-building.”

In a low-income, high-poverty setting, it is a struggle to get adults to come to the library and participate in programming. As far as I can tell, this is a true situation across the nation. Parents in high poverty settings often don’t participate in school functions. A Pew research study also suggested that residents in low socioeconomic status are not aware of the resources that many libraries now offer in the 21st century.

The survey notes that while 62 percent of libraries offer online career and job-related resources, 38 percent of adults don’t know whether their library offers them. Likewise, 35 percent of libraries offer high school equivalency classes, and nearly half of adults don’t know whether their libraries offer them. The numbers are similar for programs on starting a new business, online programs that certify people who’ve mastered a new skill, and ebook borrowing.

Since the start of 2017, I’ve been attempting to develop adult-targeted programming at Kensington Library. This came out of being asked to start scheduling Saturday programming from our program’s coordinator and knowing attendance was painfully low on these days. In an attempt to make the most of the new requirement, I saw an opportunity in reaching out to adults who may not otherwise come on a weekday due to the high volume of younger children on those days and availability in adults’ schedules.

I discussed the idea with Kensington Library’s librarians to get an idea of what they saw their library patrons being interested in. From there, I consulted our mission and created a series of workshops based on their feedback that fit within our program’s goals.

So far, I have tried a repeating Computer Basics Workshop and a Sewing Workshop. We’ve listed them on the calendar and left flyers around the library. All of the workshops we’ve attempted have had zero participants.

I have been trying to consult our original grant documents, as well as articles from other institutions trying to reach adults and families in high poverty settings. Overwhelmingly, my anecdotal experience combined with what I’ve been able to gather from research suggests that attempting to engage low socioeconomic communities on weekends is not effective.

Weekday programming can be geared towards families, as we already have many families that participate in programming after school. It may be a better use of a makerspace’s resources to create programming around the schedules of library patrons as opposed to trying to impose that schedule upon them.

Quantifying Success

Originally written for Maker Jawn‘s blog. “Maker Jawn aims to provide a unique space for community members in North Philadelphia Free Libraries, where self-directed experimental and experiential learning is promoted through a focus on creativity, critical thinking and skill-building.”

Maker Jawn is an unstructured, participant-directed, drop-in program.

I am the mentor at Kensington Neighborhood Library.

Here’s an average day:

I come in at least 30 minutes before programming with a basic idea of an activity I think our makers will enjoy. They typically come to the library as part of their daily routine, once they’re let out of school at 3:00PM. At the front of the library, they complete their homework with another program that specializes in homework help and literacy.

Then they come bounding into the back room. I’m there, engaging with one of the activities I’ve set up. I often set up a few. I’m hoping that they’ll see how awesome/amazing/exciting the activity is and want to participate as well.

But it doesn’t always happen that. It actually doesn’t even happen that way most of the time. More often, they will take the materials I’ve set out and do something I never could’ve imagined or prepared for; for better or worse.

And while this can be frustrating when I’m really excited about a project I’d like them to work on and complete, one of the fundamental points of our program is self-directed learning.

Sometimes this works in unforeseeable, awesome ways. Last week I set out some rubber bands in order to make popsicle-stick catapults. One of the makers used them to make a rubber band-powered propeller on a mini-car.

However, the self-directed nature of our program doesn’t always result in one, solid and completed material product. Sometimes the thing gained is much more abstract and hard to articulate.

Almost on a daily basis, one of the makers uses a tool to cut apart or saw something into pieces. Usually this is cardboard or paper, and usually they use one of our electric, handheld saws for cardboard. This is still learning. This is tactile, and therapeutic. This teaches them the boundaries and usability of the saw and the material. Even if it doesn’t result in a completed project; it is important.

Things don’t always serve an objectively obvious, quantifiable purpose but they are still valuable and necessary. Things don’t need to be of concrete use in order to have value.

Can Non-makers Lead Maker Spaces and Education?

Originally written for Maker Jawn‘s blog. “Maker Jawn aims to provide a unique space for community members in North Philadelphia Free Libraries, where self-directed experimental and experiential learning is promoted through a focus on creativity, critical thinking and skill-building.”

First, we should discuss what a, “Maker” is in the first place. All of us have the potential to be Makers. Adam Savage worded it perfectly, saying, “Humans do two things that make us unique from all other animals; we use tools and we tell stories. And when you make something, you’re doing both at once.”

However, in our recent globalized, hyper-consumer culture less and less people have been taught the skills that enable them to make things. We’re able to buy everything we need – why should we make it ourselves? Making was once a core component of the American middle class. Home Economics was a required class in high school. Times have changed though and being able to make things is a unique skill. But being a Maker is more than technical skill, it is also a mindset.

Dale Dougherty, founder of MAKE Magazine and Maker Media has discussed this thoroughly. “Today, making lives on the margins of society, but it is thriving nonetheless. Makers are likely to see themselves as outsiders, like some artists and writers, who do not follow the traditional paths. They create their own paths, which is what innovative and creative people do.

Makers are those of us seeking an alternative to being regarded as consumers, rejecting the idea that you are defined by what you buy. Instead, Makers have a sense of what they can do and what they can learn to do. Like artists, they are motivated by internal goals, not extrinsic rewards. They are inspired by the work of others. Most importantly, they do not wait until the future to create and make. They feel an urgency to do something now— or lose the opportunity to do it at all.”

By no means is being a Maker reserved to an elite few. All of us are naturally born as makers. Quite simply, we need to encourage more people to explore, create, discover.

We are moving into what has been worded as the latter-stages of the program. We don’t know what the future of the program looks like, but we’re trying to ensure our mission carries on. To, “provide a unique space for community members in North Philadelphia Free Libraries, where self-directed experimental and experiential learning is promoted through a focus on creativity, critical thinking and skill-building.”

One possible direction of our program is providing physical resources in the form of portable kits (I.E., tools, computers, materials, even curriculum) and having other library staff conduct  Maker Jawn-esque activities in different library branches through out the city.

Over the summer, Maker Jawn collaborated with another educational program at the library. Maker Jawn’s mentors, including myself, wrote a number of different lesson plans and activities that a group of college-bound high school students conducted and led groups of school-age kids through at other branches. The high school students had mentors of their own that would help them conduct the activities.

Once a week, at least one MJ mentor met with the other programs’ mentors at a group meeting and training session for an hour to go over the requirements of the activity and answer questions.

I created a basic e-textile activity. (See the lesson plan here.) It was a hand-embroidered patch of your given zodiac sign’s constellation, with one of the stars as a light-up LED. When I wrote the activity, I included lots of diagrams and pictures as well as resources for information on a basic electric circuit to power the LED. I had assumed most people would not have had experience with circuitry.

But I left out any information on how to sew by hand. This was an oversight on my part, as it hadn’t occurred to me that most people don’t know how to sew.

I had thoroughly prepared for the meeting with diagrams and videos to go over circuits and how to embed the LED in the fabric, but I had nothing prepared to go over hand sewing. I managed to find a video that showed the process, but I’m fairly certain the e-textile activity was most likely skipped.

This highlighted a big question for me; If the future direction of the program is to provide the physical resources and activities to be conducted by other library staff; will they be able to do it? Of course any of the other programs’ mentors could’ve been shown how to sew. They could be shown how to do anything; with enough time and leadership. But giving them the tools, supplies, lesson plan and an hour of our time was not enough for them to be able to do it on their own with their own makers.

One of the foundational ideas of the maker movement is that anyone can be taught to be a maker. But it takes time and leadership. Physical resources and thoroughly planned out activities simply aren’t enough. As my time at Maker Jawn progresses, everyday I see evidence that one of the biggest resources of our program is our mentors.