Where creativity grows

Category: Creativity (Page 1 of 5)

International Foodie Potluck

When we returned from Spain I was craving new food experiences and conversation with new people who shared my love of food, new recipes and travel. I have belonged to a local Facebook foodie group for a few years. So when I conjured up the idea of an international potluck, I asked them first if they would be interested. The idea was that everyone would bring a dish to pass that was representative of their heritage. 

The response to our invitation was small, but after all we were total strangers inviting other total strangers to our home. I’m not sure that I would have accepted the invite from someone else. I invited a couple of other friends and voila we had a group of seven people ready to share in some foodie funness.

We ended up with Italy, Germany, Poland and Mexico represented by our guests. One of our guests traveled all the way from Indiana and brought pierogi from a local favorite in her area called Dan’s Pierogies.  They were amazing! My husband especially liked the plum variety and I loved the sweet cheese one.  One guest made pasta carbonara, which was SO good. Then another guest made traditional enchiladas with red sauce and also a poblano cream sauce that she served with tortillas. YUMMO! 

My friend Gudrun introduced me to Obdatzda when I lived with her in Munich and I immediately fell in love with it. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it is easy to throw together. My husband doesn’t like raw onions, so I usually leave them on the side and people can add them as they like. I have made it both with camembert and brie and both are yummy. I serve it with Snyder’s Dipping Sticks, but you could serve it with any pretzel or bread.

My first choice for my entree was currywurst and German potato salad, but one of my guests was vegetarian. So I scoured the new German cookbooks I recently purchased for a good vegetarian option. I found a recipe for a mushroom goulash with dumplings and decided to try it. This was my first time ever trying to make bread dumplings (or any dumplings for that matter). I mixed up the bread and seasonings, rolled the dumplings and boiled them only to discover they were VERY moist and soggy. We decided to throw them in the oven to see if we could dry them out a bit and for the most part it worked. The mushroom goulash was very thin, so we added a bit of cornstarch to thicken it up. That was fairly tasty– much better the next day! I don’t know that I would make that particular recipe again, but I did see this recipe that sounds similar that I will add to my list to try.

My German potato salad recipe is a long time crowd favorite and can easily be adapted to be vegetarian, by skipping the bacon and using vegetable broth. I just make two batches of the “sauce” one with bacon and one without. Then I divide the potatoes up and make one for my vegetarian friends and one for everyone else. It works out nicely.  I can’t remember where I found that recipe on line, but if you would like it, send me a message and I’ll send it to you.

I decided to try a new currywurst recipe this time around and my husband agreed that it was much better than my original recipe. Currywurst is traditional German street food. It is grilled sausage (usually a bratwurst) and then a curried ketchup sprinkled with curry powder. My original recipe was a quickie version that I use when making it for my students. This recipe is more authentic and has a more robust flavor. I also grilled the sausages instead of just cooking them in the sauce in a crockpot. 

For dessert, I shared something I have been doing for my students for years– Spaghetti Eis. This link will show you the basic idea, but I make some adjustments to the recipe. I use frozen strawberries with sugar that have been thawed for the sauce. I shave white chocolate with a microplaner for the parmesan cheese. Then I add whoppers for meatballs and Pirouette wafers for breadsticks. If you want to be fancy, you could use chocolate ice cream instead and say it is whole wheat pasta. Kids LOVE this recipe, but I was tickled by how much the adult crowd got a kick out of it as well. 

real edible ice cream, no artificial ingredients used!

The evening was in general a success. We would like for it to be a wider variety of new people, so that no one feels left out of the conversation. We definitely had more food than we could possibly have consumed. We tossed around the idea of just doing appetizers next time. Or perhaps appetizers and desserts. But we gave it a try and we had a nice time and we’ll do it again– just a bit different. Isn’t that the case for everything? You try something and then make adjustments and do it again? 

What recipe would you bring to an international foodie potluck?

Vampires and such…

Yesterday I had coffee with a terrific friend at a new-to-me cafe called Kava Diem. Jen and I met during a Dick Pond Saturday morning run almost five years ago. We are affectionately called the Wonder Twins. We have the same name. We run at the same pace. We are goal driven doers. We love helping people. We have big hearts. We are both writers. We are just about the same age and you can’t deny that we have the same stinking name. The universe threw us together at a time when I didn’t even know how badly I was craving a friend like Jen. From that day on we would have deep meaningful conversations about everything under the sun. The miles we shared together are some of my most cherished memories. As has been the case with many people, COVID interrupted our lives and our ability to run together. It has not stopped us from getting together for coffee and more of those deep conversations. 

We were catching up on life and the universe when she said something that stopped me in my tracks. She said people are either givers or takers and the extreme takers are energy vampires. She went on to say that she gravitates towards givers, but every once in a while she gets tangled with an energy vampire that sucks her soul dry. I almost fell out of my chair. In the split second after she had shared this idea, my brain had done a quick assessment of everyone in my life. It was perfectly clear who the givers were. I craved spending time with them and felt refreshed and renewed, invigorated and inspired by them. It was equally clear who the takers were— the people with whom it was SO hard to be in a relationship. They expected the world from you and gave nothing in return. Time spent with them frequently ended in an argument, judgment or a migraine. Alarms and bells and whistles and sirens went off in my head after her description of the energy vampire. 

At first my brain went straight for all the “Karens” in my life— the people who are so toxic that you can’t understand why you ever want to spend time with them, but at the same time you are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. But once my brain was able to reconcile that yes I do have some toxic relationships, it really hit me that the true energy vampire in my life is social media. Ugh! I hate wasting my time scrolling long after I have caught up on the lives of my friends and family scattered all over the world. I hate how divisive and full of hate my timeline is. I hate that we live in a world of highlight reels and not reality. Yet, day after day I am drawn to it. 

Looks like it is time for a detox…also a pillar of the creative mindset. Time for me to decide NOT to spend time with the toxic people in my world and time to step back from the social media cesspool. 

Are there energy vampires in your life? 

Spanish doors

I wanted to immerse myself in every chance I could to explore creativity on our once in a lifetime trip to Spain. On our first walk through the quaint town of Bot, I immediately noticed the beautiful doors and windows. I made a mental note to take advantage of some free time to explore the area with my camera. The opportunity came one morning when I woke up early to go for a run on the via Verde near our hotel. Tom was still sleeping and we didn’t have plans until the afternoon. 

I grabbed my gear and headed out to explore. I roamed the city streets listening only to the sounds of the town coming to life— roosters from a local farm crowing in the distance, vans and trucks making their morning deliveries and the occasional Buen dia  as someone strolled past me. I could truly get used to this way of life! 

The variety of doors was staggering. Every single door was different. Most of them were wood, but they were in no way cookie cutter. Some were arched. Some were wider. Many were very colorful. A lot had ornate metal details or unique handles/knockers. Each entrance had its own unique personality. 

I know it is easy to say that something is better because you are in a far-away location. Coming from suburban Chicago where everything looks exactly the same, the variety was truly refreshing. 

This was an excellent exercise to find the beauty in the everyday. 

When in Spain…

One of the tenants of a creative mindset is learning new things. What better time to do this than while on vacation in Spain? For as many times as we have stayed in an Airbnb, we had never tried out an Airbnb experience. I think that in my heart I knew that Barcelona was not going to hold the magic charm for us that it did for many others. So I started poking around for ideas of things that we could do— experience. My eye caught on a paella cooking class. It had amazing reviews and it was ridiculously cheap given what we had paid for cooking classes here in the States. I clicked “book it” and told Tom we would end our trip with a paella class in this guy’s backyard. Cool. 

There was something more that stoked the creative fires in both of us than just learning something new. Our host, Miguel, made us feel incredibly welcome in his beautiful home. The ambience was magnificent. We immediately noticed all the little extra details that made the space special. The garden was stunning— a true sanctuary from the world. Inside, he went above and beyond to set the scene. The music, appetizers and sangria made learning and conversation easy and lighthearted. Before we even started cooking, we were relaxed and felt like we were visiting an old friend instead of a total stranger. 

Everything about the experience tickled our creative juices. Music played in the house and garden. Miguel was a fellow creative. He was a police officer by day and shared his love of cooking with strangers from around the world on his days off. He has found a way to be creative, meet new people and make a bit of extra money. Almost all of the ingredients in the paella were items we had never cooked with. We prepared four different types of seafood and vegetables as well as a sauce for the paella. Left to our own devices we probably would not have cooked with all these different types of seafood, but we LOVED trying them all. We were forced to try something new and unexpected. We were absolutely in a new and stimulating environment that made us want to learn more and try more. And of course while we were engaged in all this fun and stimulating learning we were not attached to our phones and social media. 

I don’t know that we would have gotten all of this creative jolt from just any class. This was something special and we knew we were very lucky to be there experiencing it. If you find yourself in Castelldefels, Spain (or you want to get out of Barcelona), I highly recommend you check out Miguel’s class. You won’t regret it.

Magical Paella with Miguel in Castelldefels

A musical journey

One of the pillars of the creative mindset is music. The guests at Matt and Cassandra’s wedding represented nine different countries. In an effort to have everyone represented during the reception, they asked guests to share 3-4 songs from their homeland. We heard music from India, Sweden, Ukraine, Mexico and of course Spain. Hearing all of these new and unique-to- me tunes made me realize that my favorite Pandora stations were so perfectly dialed in that I not only knew every single song that came up, but I also loved them. While there is nothing wrong with the Arctic Monkeys or that many artists that match the algorithm of their music, I was in the market for something new. I put an all-call out to my Facebook page to see what people could toss my way. I also said that I would give extra points for international music. 

The feedback I got was awesome. First and foremost, I heard back from people I did not expect to hear from. That meant that we had a connection I did not know about— music. Second- while I got a lot of suggestions, I did not like a lot of it. It just was not the kinda music that would make my creative juices flow and make me want to get up and dance— or more importantly to go and create! 

A colleague recommended a few songs by a Chinese artist. Another said she loved cleaning to a Phish playlist on Spotify. Another suggested a station called Rockfluence. I was amused when a local Elginite suggested a German artist named Antifuchs. I wasn’t sure if he knew that I was a German teacher, but as it turns out he did. Glad he was able to confirm that this was not school nor institution friendly music. Didn’t matter, I enjoyed the sound of her music tremendously. Then my neighbor down the block surprised me with some epic suggestions of New Orleans style calypso music that was crazy fun. Too many Zooz Radio and Trombone Shorty were two of my favorites. I didn’t realize that what I was actually looking for was something that would make our house have a café feel to it. When a long time friend suggested the Pink Martini station on Pandora, I knew that I had struck gold. The station definitely has a Sunday Brunch Café station feel to it, but it has a solid international twist to it that has me smiling, dancing and daydreaming all at the same time. I turned it on this morning when I got up and it has been playing for eight straight hours without a single thumbs down on a song. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

Do you have a song or a playlist that gets your creative juices flowing? Please share! I am always on the hunt for new music.

A staycation

As I mentioned in the first post in this series, not everyone can just pick up and spend eleven days in Spain. However, one of our most memorable days in Spain was when Matt and Cassandra shared their favorite places and experiences with us. It gave me the chance to look at our hometown with different glasses. What would I put on such a list if I had to share our hometown with guests? 

Coffee and a pastry at Arabica Cafe. Although Diane and Chef Brian are currently trying to sell the cafe so that they can start chapter two of their retirement plan, it is still one of my all time favorite spots. I did almost all of my interviews for my book The Many Faces of Elgin there. The coffee is good and the pastries are amazing (or go later in the day for lunch- wowza). 

Check out the dam at Kimball Street. It is one of my all-time favorite spots in Elgin. If it’s freezing cold out, you might spot an eagle. If it’s summer, you’ll probably see a line of people fishing. Either way, it’s a very peaceful and beautiful spot to see the Fox River. Stroll down a bit and check out Walton Island.

At Kimball Street Dam
Eagles over Kimball Street Dam

Enjoy a bike ride, run or walk on the Fox River Trail. You can park at the Gail Borden Library in downtown and head north toward Algonquin or head south toward Aurora. 

Enjoy a martini at The Martini Room. Each month the lounge hosts the art of a local artist. Although they do not sell food, their cocktails are outstanding.

Martini Room

Get a bag of popcorn at Mama Lee’s to snack on while checking out the shops around downtown. Meraki Market features the work of local artisans. Elgin Knit Works is a beautiful yarn shop. Steep ‘n Clay is a tea and pottery shop. There are a variety of antique shops scattered around downtown as well.

Check out the public art throughout town. Elgin has amazing murals and sculptures. Most of it is accessible on foot from downtown. 

Get a German pretzel roll at Herb’s Bakery. These are the real deal and they sell out very fast. Call ahead and order a half-dozen…or go crazy and order a dozen. You won’t regret it. 

Have an iconic meal at Al’s Cafe (lunch or dinner- you won’t be disappointed). 

Elgin has a large hispanic population and as a result some excellent options for authentic food. One of our favorites is Taqueria Chapala on the far east side. 

Elgin Symphony Orchestra at the Hemmens Center. We are crazy lucky to have three amazing orchestras in Illinois. If you want to skip the major hassle of traveling downtown to see the CSO, you won’t be disappointed with free parking, ample dining options within walking distance and world class talent at the ESO. 

Discover the amazing architecture throughout Elgin. Whether it is a walking tour of the famous painted ladies and other historical homes or the various churches and temples, Elgin has it all. 

Painted Lady

Bluff City Cemetery is a stunningly beautiful historic cemetery on the far east side of town. Wander the grounds and then go for a hike in Bluff Spring Fen, which is accessed at the far end of the cemetery. 

What would be on your Staycation Itinerary if I were to visit your area? 

The Invitation of a Lifetime

We knew as soon as we received the invitation to Matthew and Cassandra’s wedding we would do everything possible to attend. After all, how often do you receive an invitation to an intimate wedding in the rolling hills of Spain? Once we negotiated all the chaos of traveling internationally near the tail end of a global pandemic, we were ready to get our fiesta on.

Everything about this wedding fits the challenges I set forth in my post about a creative mindset

Listen to music. Nine different countries were represented at the wedding. The bride and groom asked everyone from outside the US to share a few songs for the DJ to play during the reception. It was so unique to hear songs from India, Sweden and Ukraine. I never would have heard these songs otherwise and I’ll always smile when I think back on the reception and dancing to them.

Keep an idea journal. The food at the reception was out of this world and it had me making notes to try and find recipes to try back at home. From the camembert bites in blueberry sauce to the vegetarian paella and quinoa salad, my creative juices were flowing! 

Talk to other creatives. This was a very small wedding- only 38 guests. When we talked to the bride and groom about the guest list they admitted that they were drawn to the same types of people— people with a sense of adventure and creativity. After all, most of the guests were traveling thousands of miles to attend the festivities. 

Embrace failure. The bride and groom were extremely thoughtful in how they arranged guests at each table. There was a mixture of people who spoke only Spanish, only English and both English & Spanish at each table. Pedro, a local farmer at our table, tried to engage the Spanish learners at our table with children’s riddles using farm animals. The three non-Spanish speakers at our table stared at him with zero comprehension of what he was trying to communicate. The bilingual guest translated, we laughed and postulated an answer. Time after time our language and creativity failed us. We laughed it off and kept trying. 

Be a lifelong learner. I knew as soon as we decided to make the trip that I was going to do everything to learn at least basic Spanish. I spent countless hours and gave up daily lunch periods to practice on Duolingo. There was no way that I would be fluent in time for the trip, but I did get a healthy dose of creative use of my limited language skills. 

Expose yourself to new environments. The entire wedding fit this challenge. When most people travel to Spain they go to the big cities— Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia, etc. The ceremony was held in the middle of the Spanish countryside in Arnes on a stunningly beautiful vineyard that no one has ever heard of. It was an all vegetarian/vegan menu that tantalized our taste buds with each bite. We knew the bride and groom and none of the other guests- which forced us to meet and interact with new people. 

Have new experiences. The wedding festivities continued well into the night. We danced and laughed and celebrated the beautiful couple like it was the last thing we would ever do. The joy carried into the next day when a couple from India shared the Holi festival of color with the wedding guests. We piled into cars and headed into the mountains with huge packets of colored powder. After a short hike down to the river, the color madness started. Everyone grabbed packets of powder and smeared them all over anyone within arms reach. Joy and laughter was radiating from every single person. Before we knew it everyone had jumped into the river and the colors were just a memory. 

I know that traveling to exotic destinations is not an everyday (or in our case even an every year) occurrence. We did embrace every chance we could to make the most of this special opportunity and to recharge our creative batteries as much as we could.

Travel- steroids for creativity

We recently returned from the trip of a lifetime to Spain. We spent eleven magical days enjoying the Spanish countryside and soaking up every last drop of life spice. It seems hypocritical to talk about feeling inspired after taking a dream vacation, because who wouldn’t? It makes me think of the time I had the chance to ask world-famous photographer Art Wolfe to tell me his favorite place to photograph. He responded with Myanmar. Only someone who is able to travel internationally regularly would give such a response. Because it will be a long time before we are able to take such a trip again, I did reflect on the aspects of our trip that inspired a creative mindset so that we can try to recreate those types of experiences here at home. Over the next few weeks, I will post a series of blogs about our experiences in Spain. Here is a sneak peak…

Our food experiences were by far the most amazing. For years we have been asking for recommendations in restaurants. Check out my post Why I’ll never order off a menu again. We continued to do so while in Spain. We tried so many foods that we never would have ordered on our own—duck, partridge, clams, mussels, cuttlefish, octopus, prawns and much more. I now know that my day is always better if it starts with a café con leche. As soon as we got home, I decided to host an international potluck. Everyone is bringing a dish from their heritage to pass. Foodie potluck

New experiences are obviously easier when you are in a new place where everything is new. Our adventures started with the invitation of a lifetime— one we could not turn down. Some of our explorations were simple (Spanish doors) while others were much more elaborate. One of our most memorable days was when our friends took a day to share their “favorites” with us. What would be on my favorites list if someone were visiting us? We did something similar when my bestie and her husband were in town for the day from Connecticut. Could I ask others to suggest an itinerary for a day in their area? Staycations

Music makes my heart skip a beat. Matt and Cassandra asked their guests from 9 different countries to share 3-4 songs for the DJ to play during the reception. I don’t have any of the names of the songs that were played, but I remember how much I smiled when I heard music from Ukraine, India, Mexico and even Sweden. My Pandora stations are so perfectly curated that they play only songs that I know and love. This, of course, is a double edged sword. I need to explore some new music avenues. Music

Learn something new. We ended our trip with an Airbnb Experience to learn how to make paella, which combined our love of food, culture and learning. Paella. While we cannot take a cooking class every week, I do have a stack of recipes from a great book I checked out from our library called The Kitchen Without Borders.  It features stories and recipes from immigrant and refugee chefs from around the world. Our Foodie Map is eagerly awaiting more pins. 

The best thing about vacations is how they make you appreciate home. This trip was no different. While we would love to figure out a way to have our “olive farm” right now, we have ways to inject joy and creativity into our lives every single day. 

Why I’ll never read another menu again

It has been a rough week here in the oodle universe. My summer break is rapidly drawing to a close and while I have had a full summer, I am far from feeling ready to start my 18th year of teaching. Yesterday I did what I do most Saturdays—rolled out of bed and met my running tribe. We ran just shy of six miles and I was feeling reenergized and excited to be alive. I got home and asked Tom if he wanted to go out to breakfast— to try a place called SYRUP in St. Charles. Two of the most powerful aspects of the creative mindset are: 1) expose yourself to new environments and 2) have new experiences. I was hoping that a breakfast outing would kickstart a mini creative adventure— I was not wrong! 

We arrived at SYRUP smack in the middle of the breakfast rush. Every table was full and there was a long line of hungry diners stretching out into the parking lot. The staff was bustling from table to table. The food smelled and looked delicious! After a short wait we were seated— a gigantic menu placed in front of each of us, but neither of us looked at it.

Our server, Amber, greeted us with an offer of coffee and juice. While waiting for our drinks, Tom asked me if we wanted to do our standard of ordering one sweet and one savory dish and sharing our meals— of course!  When Amber returned, we popped two questions that we ask every time we dine out: 1) What is the most frequently ordered item on the menu? 2) What do you think is a hidden gem that is not ordered enough? The first question yielded five or six relatively normal responses (it’s a HUGE menu). The second question is really the money question— where the unique and amazing culinary experiences are hidden. She suggested two items: 

Without even knowing it, Amber had suggested a sweet and a savory and two items that we NEVER would have picked out on our own. We love eating, but never would have looked at the items listed as “healthy.” Without even blinking, we ordered one of each item and grinned— excited to see what this adventure brought.

When the food arrived, I told Amber I might just hug her. The Home Sweet Home was exactly what we were looking for— a uniquely flavorful AND savory delight that introduced us to a new breakfast experience. I cannot overstate how delicious this entree was. We both had to stop ourselves from just shoveling it in our mouths. The Lemon Berry crepes were equally as heavenly— the perfect compliment to the savory Home Sweet Home. We both made mental notes about how we could recreate both of these items again at home. 

We have been asking these questions for a few years now— ever since Tom read about it in The Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss. If you are in a high-end restaurant, you could ask the server to ask the second question to the chef. Those two simple questions have completely changed our dining out experience— so much so that we have pretty much sworn off looking at menus. Sure sometimes we get a server who simply suggests the most expensive item on the menu, but in most cases they are tickled to be asked their actual opinion. Amber was grinning ear to ear as she was telling us about her two favorite items. She even went back and asked her manager the same questions— who was intrigued by the questions! We had an amazing new breakfast experience and we brightened what might have otherwise been a super busy and stressful morning rush at work. We have tried this out in restaurants throughout our travels and we have NEVER been disappointed. We tried Tri Tip in Wyoming (didn’t even know what tri tip was), lamb at an Afghani restaurant in Montreal (Tom NEVER eats lamb) and so many more! 

Give it a try! You’ll likely discover something you might not have otherwise had. Who knows where that creative exploration will lead.

Until next time, oodle on!

Jen

Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival 2021

When I signed up for Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival I was immediately blown away by the amount of content that is offered completely for free. There were two sessions every day for fourteen days. The sessions ranged from 25-60 minutes and they were incredibly inspirational. I knew that I would not be able to participate in all of the sessions, but the ones I did do were amazing and have left their mark on my creative practice. I am so excited to incorporate what I have learned into future projects. I have already purchased my first set of watercolors. I have used what I learned in the one-liner class to create whimsical birthday cards for our nephews and I have so many ideas for the creativity boot camp I hope to host one day!

Check out Karen Abend’s site here. She is the mastermind behind this amazing workshop. 

Here is a list of the artists who were a part of the workshops. Check them out for sure!

Links to all the sessions will be available for free until 4/18/21.

  • Alexandra Gabor
  • Amy Maricle
  • Carla Sonheim
  • Danny Gregory
  • David Drazil
  • Deborah Putnoi
  • Esté Macleod
  • Helen Hallows
  • Helen Wells
  • Jeanne Oliver
  • Jessica Swift
  • John Muir Laws
  • Karen Stamper
  • Kiala Givehand
  • Koosje Koene
  • Mati Mcdonough
  • Neesha Merani
  • Noopur Thakur
  • Robyn McClendon
  • Sarah Matthews
  • Sarah Simon
  • Shari Blaukopf
  • Shelley Klammer
  • Susan Chiang
  • Tamara Laporte
  • Tina Mundelsee
  • Traci Bautista
  • Trupti Karjinni
  • Karen Abend

My favorite sessions were:

  • A Vessel of Voices: Handmade Journals for Capturing Creative Conversations with Kiala Givehand I have been interested in bookbinding for a while and I was so excited to create my own sketchbook. I didn’t use it much for the Revival because it seemed too small, but I did use it to take notes and I will use it to doodle in.
  • You’re A Hoot! with Tamara Laporte. We sketched out an owl and then painted it with watercolors and added fun doodles to it. My first attempt was an abysmal failure. The drawing was fine, but using kindergarten watercolors was challenging. I have since gone out and purchased a nice starter set of Winston and Newton watercolors, so I will be trying that one out again.
  • Quick Character Design with Alexandra Gabor was awesome. We took five seconds to draw a random set of connected lines, colored them in and then turned them into little characters. This was so much fun! She also teaches a class on the app Procreate where she digitizes her doodles and then creates a whole scene. It looks amazing and something that would be the perfect compliment to my Oodle Doodles.
  • Meditative Paint: Holes with Amy Marcle was incredibly therapeutic. We literally drew circles with watercolors for twenty minutes or so. While we were painting she talked us through how to be mindful of what we were doing— how the brush felt against the paper, how we were breathing and so much more. Immediately after doing this session, I was so relaxed and took the most amazing and revitalizing nap. I will definitely incorporate this exercise into my regular practice.
  • Creating Interesting Clothing for Characters with Noopur Thakur was challenging. I definitely struggled with the practice because I was using my Tombow markers instead of the painting colored pencils she recommended. It was an interesting exercise though to think about creating fabrics for the clothes on my characters. Will play around with this more in the future.
  • The final session was One-liner Drawings with Carla Sonheim where we were given a prompt and had to draw whatever she said without lifting our pens from the paper. This was an awesome exercise and so freeing! I drew a cat, elephant, flowers and a toilet. After we did the one-liners we chose one of them to redraw and refine. I was very excited to try out my cat. I created two versions— one that was a watercolor (I love my simple little W&N set) and then one that was a collage (I finally found something to do with a whole mess of old photograph prints I had!) She has some extensive classes on her site that I am definitely interested in. 

I really cannot say enough wonderful things about this workshop. The amount of content is mind boggling. The fact that it is free is just insanely generous. The community that participates in this event is incredible. Everyday there was a ton of activity on the Facebook group where people shared ideas, their work and answered the unending questions by newbs like myself. I cannot wait to sign up again next year!

#sketchbookrevival2021

#karenabend

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