The Big One: Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Mandala

After making a few smaller 6” x 6” sticker mandalas over the holidays last year, the Mrs. Grossman’s Paper Company sent me about 8 pounds of stickers and a commission for a big piece to put in their factory store in Petaluma. Last week I finally completed the sucker (which is two feet across!), but it still needs some finishing touches. I’m missing a couple of stickers in the bottom quadrant that need to be filled in, and then I need to erase the guidelines and varnish everything so it’s protected from dust, moisture and UV. At that point I’ll reshoot it and stick in the portfolio section for good.

In the meantime I’m working on several really exciting plush projects that will be on display at ComicCon at the end of the month. Preview photos next week!

Thing-A-Day 3: Drawn and Quartered

Tonight I got back from working in Palo Alto at around 9:30.  I’ve been working or driving non-stop since 7am and I am BEAT.  I only had enough energy to make this piece:

It’s my original tank sketch, cut up into its individual components and arranged in a new formation.  I glued about half the pieces down where they landed when I shook them out of their envelope (so. very. tired.). It looked vaguely like a pirate ship, so I steered the rest of the collage in that general direction. It’s very mechanical looking and a little creepy, like it could live on the Island of Misfit Toys.

So today’s instruction is: Cut up an old drawing and create a collage by rearranging the pieces.

Your own past work is your inspiration today, and this project requires no tutorials.

Thing-A-Day: Ramping it Up

I have already written a couple of posts about making one thing every day, but I think it’s time to ramp things up a bit. As I begin this learning experience, you readers will be my proctors. OR optionally, you will be my classmates.

Starting today I will make something NEW every day for one year. If you wish to join me on this adventure, I will be posting the instruction for the day on this blog and on my “lvenell” twitter account. I will post a photo of my completed project along with the instruction, and links to other people’s finished projects when I can find them.  Since I’m sort of a night owl, this project will also hopefully force me to learn to take better photos at night.

I will still post indie business news and tips, but now this blog will also have tutorials and/or inspiration on it every single day. Your inspiration for today comes from Brock Davis’ “Make Something Cool Every Day” project (via Ally Trigg’s blog). I will likely pull from his web site more than once for a future daily instruction.

Today’s instruction comes from this tutorial from The Creative Place (via How About Orange): Create a radial 3-D paper shape like these paper lanterns from A Creative Place:

Here are my successes (I experimented a lot with shape):

And here are some of my failures (one of them is actually pretty rad):

Tip: Use paper that is as thin and as smooth as possible.  I used construction paper for these, which was a terrible idea.  The paper did not like to turn, tore easily, and was almost too thick to put the brads through.

Things I Wish I Made: 3-D Papercuts

It’s been another frustrating photography week.  I made a 3-D papercut of sorts and I’ve been trying to photograph it under even light, but to no avail.  One side of the paper ends up being much darker than the other, or there’s a halo of brightness within four dark corners — it’s bad.  This afternoon A. will help me photograph it outdoors.  It’s been pretty windy lately, so we’ll see if he can hold a reflector steady….

Anyway, since I can’t show you what I made, I wanted to share a few (well-photographed) 3-D papercuts other folks have made.  I’m seriously jealous of the talent and patience of some of these artists:

Peter Callesen

I first saw his work in the book Illustration Play by Victionary.  I love the way many of his pieces are both two- and three-dimensional.  This one is called “Alive but Dead.”


Helen Musselwhite

I like the way Helen is equally adept at both monochromatic and vibrantly colored scenes.  She does great layering.

Michael Veliquette

His work reminds me of a fun house or an evil clown — unending menace in neon colors.


She’s not strictly a paper artist, but I thought her tutorial for these paper butterflies was great.  I flinched at her suggestion to embellish this project with text or glitter, though.  Please don’t gild the lily!