Monday, December 30, 2013

Ask "Stretch" - December

2013 is coming to a fast close and what a year it has been. How strange that it seems to go be SO FAST and getting faster every year. I hope everyone has had a healthy and prosperous year. It's now time for the final "Ask 'Stretch'" of 2013! A question has come up that I get asked about all of the time. If you're a service provider, creative or otherwise, you'll probably be able to relate. Let's get to it:


1. How am I supposed to figure out how much to charge for any freelance gig? I have a prospective client that's asking and I don't know what to say. How much should I charge?


Answer: Ah, the age-old question of how much to charge for services. There are a few variables to consider for your quote:

Know what your "threshold of pain' is:
This one is critical. Every artist/service provider must know what they need to make to cover all expenses. In order to figure all this out, make a list of needs:

Monthly rent/mortgage
Food
Utilities- water, power, gas and so on.
Internet
Phone/cell phone
Transportation- insurance (if applicable), fuel, repairs
Medical- insurance (if applicable), prescriptions, doctor visits and such
Spouse/kids/pets- (if applicable)

Work with round numbers to come up with an estimate of what all of the needed expenses total up to for a month. This becomes the monthly amount needed for your earnings and also becomes the "threshold of pain". If you earn below this figure, then you will have some bills going unpaid and needs unfulfilled.

If you're considering a salary job, then multiply this threshold of pain by 12 to get how much you would be asking for an annual salary.

If you are considering an hourly wage and you want to be a full-time designer, then take the monthly threshold of pain and divide it by typical full-time number of hours, 40. This number will give you the hourly wage you need to cover expenses. Ex: if you need to bring home $3,000 a week and are working 40 hours a week, then your rate needs to be $75 per hour. These numbers are a bit high but insert whatever values needed for your individual situation. Anything less than what you work out for your unique threshold of pain hourly/salary is unacceptable.

Know your work habits to get labor and time cost:
When you have the figure that you require for your situation, then now it comes down to being really honest with yourself with your work habits. Will you need 4 hours or 6 to do a colored character concept? Time yourself or at least take notice of the time passing when you're on any one particular job or project you're on. Knowing how long it takes you to do things helps when figuring out your quote. This gives you the "labor/time" for your quote and be sure to factor in a bit of time/budget for a few revisions. Having enough work will help you get to at least break even with your monthly threshold of pain.

These are 2 concepts are key if one is going to freelance at all, part-time or full-time. You will be able to confidently say how much and how long for any particular job a client asks about. Also, keep in mind, that one should never be afraid of this one client walking away. If your services are indeed that good, there will be a niche for you and you will be able to support yourself : )

As always, feel free to take any of what I've said or leave it all. Got a question about being creative or about the industry itself? Shoot me a message by using the "contact me" form on the right of the page. Happy new year everyone and see you all in 2014! Tune in next time for the first "Ask 'Stretch'" of the new year : )

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Arctic night


Whenever I think of winter, I think of snowy drifts, clear nights and dancing aurora borealis. I've never seen aurora in real life myself, only in pictures. One day I'll see them! In this picture, we're somewhere either way up north or down south. Either direction works. We have some seals hanging out on the ice flows as the aurora curtains float in the night sky.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Elf reject


There's always one i every group that's a bit unusual.....I wonder what he's thinking about?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dominic the donkey


Anyone ever heard of this song? It's really about a holiday donkey called Dominic. I heard it on the radio only once this holiday season and it really cracked me up to hear the donkey sounds in the song. Since it was entertaining, I felt the urge to sketch my version of Dominic.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"Up on the housetop...."


Merry Christmas Eve everybody! Christmas day is just hours away. The little girl in this sketch peers out curiously into the night hoping to catch sight of Santa and his reindeer. They could be much closer than she thinks : )

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Bazooka Rabbit" drawn 2 ways



On Facebook, there's a great group called "daily spit paint" where several random concepts are shared each day. The group members take one or more of the suggested concepts and paint something representing it in Adobe Photoshop in only 30 minutes. No photo textures are allowed to be used. One day, a concept was suggested called "bazooka rabbit". Regrettably, I didn't get a chance to paint anything but I did sketch a couple of things.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Daydream


Ever been hard at work at your desk just to look out your window and see how inviting outside looks? Happens to me a lot. Nature is my playground and I love being outside or camping in the great outdoors. It's a running gag between some of us artists that we say "Outside? What is this 'outside'?" because the long hours often have us stay inside at our work stations from sun up to sun down. This guy is in a similar state of mind of realizing there is an outside. Hopefully he'll grab his coffee and take a stroll. We all could use a stroll : )

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm gonna lead the world!


The world will be inherited by the next generation, right? This little guy is all set to lead his people......or is he? Maybe when he grows into his headdress and tunic : )

Monday, December 16, 2013

Shooting star over the jungle


The year's rapidly coming to a close. The holidays are in full swing and so are cases of cold and flu! Luckily, I've just had a sore throat so far. Today, I'm feeling great and ready to get back to creating at full throttle : ) In this scene, a young boy of the jungle has climbed a tree to look at the night sky. I wonder if he's familiar with wishing upon a shooting star?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Brand new store on Etsy.com!



I'm so excited to announce that I have opened a new store on etsy.com! This new store is called "Treasures by Kris" and it currently features seasonal crafts I have made for the autumn season and the holidays fast approaching. New items will be coming soon and I will be creating some designs for digital download as well. Many of the treasures here are literally one-of-a-kind; order now before they're gone!

Drop by today and see what's happening: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TreasuresbyKris#

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

"Candy path's" Sugarplum Fairy


After I made the "Candy Path" background, I wondered about who would live there? Maybe a sugarplum fairy? Then I picked up my pen again and this is what resulted : )

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holiday wreath


I’ve been trying my hand at making crafts to sell on the side. This one was made for a local church in my community. Their church colors happen to be violet and white. It was surprisingly simple in concept and easy to assemble too. Anything personal has been blurred out out of respect for the recipient. Pretty good for my first wreath, eh? : )

Monday, December 2, 2013

Apple girl in full color; Whoo!


After many hours of work, my "Apple Girl" painting is complete! I'm excited to deliver this to my client. The painting took about 8 or 9 hours and acrylic paints were used. The canvas measures 5"x 7". As always, any personal information has been blurred out of respect for my client.

If anyone out there would like to commission me to paint something for them, acrylic or digital, please send me a message: kjrob85@hotmail.com!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Candy path" free form sketch


Having more fun with free form sketch and a black ballpoint pen. This scene is out in candy country with fruit flavor flowers, fruit candy path, chocolate signs, frosting trees, caramel mountains and a gingerbread house. Basic training for background design often involves a ruler, a perspective grid and essentially mechanical drawing with a creative twist. This scene was made based on tuition and flowing through shapes in my mind. The whole sketch took about 5 or 6 minutes.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tree nymph free form sketch


Normally, I'm quite a structure nut when it comes to my designs. I use circles, squircles and other shapes to build my designs from the inside out. This sketch has absolutely zero structure in it and was designed based on pure intuition/experience. The technique is called "free form sketch" and I learned it from my mentor, Charles Zembillas, from The Animation Academy. Charles is the original designer for well-known game characters such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the dragon and Jack and Daxter to name a few. Free form sketch is drawing from the gut in a permanent medium, such as pen or marker. It really helps to build confidence and it's a lot of fun too once you get into it. I strongly suggest anyone out there give it a try! See the design in your mind and draw with confidence : ) By the way, if anyone's curious about The Animation Academy, please follow this link to learn great skills from great artists: http://www.theanimationacademy.com/

To see work from Charles himself, follow this link to his blog: http://zembillas.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ask "Stretch"- November

Happy harvest everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and for those that don't celebrate it, I hope you had a great day all the same! It's always great to see family, share in delicious food and have fun times together. The year is winding up fast and soon 2014 will be here......wow. I swear that time keeps going by faster the older I get. Let's move on to this month's Ask "Stretch".


1. I really want to be a painter but don't really know where to begin.....Where do I start?

Answer: Good question! Contrary to popular belief, traditional fine artists can make a living in this economy. I'm defining "fine artists" as those that paint, use markers, pens, pastels or any other form of art medium that isn't digital. A good starting point is to get your fundamental skills in order. Take some classes or learn from youtube how to use various forms of mediums from painting to drawing and other forms of artistic media. The knowledge and skills from one medium often blend into other mediums. For example, learning to paint and becoming familiar with color palettes really helps in digital painting. Learn perspective drawing and get really proficient in life drawing. Draw/design something EVERYDAY; practice makes perfect.

The next thing to consider is to learn all about marketing yourself. Having a website or a blog is a great way to share your work. Make social media work for you with Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Deviantart and so on. Having an account on a few of these sites helps spread the word about you and your work. Get onto a professional site for networking such as LinkedIn.com.  Connect with other artists and those that enjoy the arts. Making connections means everything in today's world! Also, making connections helps attract fans that will enjoy what you do for a long time to come. They'll keep coming back to your work and tell others to check out what you do. Word of mouth often leads to sales!

Think about selling your work through e-commerce sites such as Etsy.com or through a Paypal storefront or maybe E-Bay. Keep your prices "real." In other words, charge what it really cost to make that piece of art with consideration to materials cost and labor/time. To this day, it remains important that if you wish to be making a living as a traditional artist that you have showings of your work in art shows and museums. Look around and see where you can display your work and attend shows to promote yourself and check out your competition. Have cards made to hand out or flyers. Consider making an "ashcan" book of some of your best current works. An ashcan is a small book at least 10 pages long that you should sell for about $10 or so. (the idea for the ashcan is self-promotion rather than making a profit) The more eyes that see your work, the better.

Being an artist has never been an easy existence.  There will be times of no steady paycheck or eating on the cheap. This is something that you must accept in order to have any fun on this journey. If you do good work, fans will come and they will support you!


And that wraps up this months Ask "Stretch". Got a question about being an artist, the industry or the creative process in general? Send me a note in that convenient field on the right side of the page that says "contact or hire me". Until next time everyone! Have a great day : )


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Apple girl painting; step 2


Step 2 for this commission is to insert the head design I made for the family member that my client wants to feature. Enter the ever-useful post-it note! These notes are so handy for small fixes and I use them all of the time for storyboards primarily but they're also great for character designs too. The rest of the sketch has been cleaned up too and is ready for transfer to a canvas that will be painted for step 3.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Apple girl painting; step 1


This is a rough sketch using a recent girl character that was carrying a bucket of apples. My client wanted to place her in a scene and replace the head with a member of her family's head. After I insert the person's head, then I'll transfer the image onto a canvas and paint it. This is simply step one of the process: sketch the scene.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Random sketch


Half of the time, I don't have any particular concept in mind. All I know is "I want to draw something."Sketches like this one are random and good to do for warm-up or letting the mind work out any sort of issue. Drawing helps me think and provides a new update for my portfolio/blog. This sketch doesn't really have a name as I don't really know what or who this character is.

Monday, November 18, 2013

This year's holiday card for my family


Every year, my mom likes to send out cards to friends and family wishing them a wonderful holiday season. This is my second year designing our family card. We're a happy snow family!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Warning! Spoiled princess!


This is another birthday commission I painted for a client's family member. The recipient happens to have a yorkshire terrier that she dotes on and spoils rotten. It seemed only right to paint this very loved pet in a princess outfit : ) As always, any personal information has been blurred out in respect for the client's privacy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Apple girl

I love the fall season : ) Being an artist is great too as I'm never bored so long as I have something to draw with and something to draw on. While waiting for my car's timing belt to be changed, I sat and drew this little girl with a bushel of apples.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Am I in trouble?

A kitten playing with yarn; one of the epitomes of unbridled cuteness. This little guy got in the yarn and made a bit of a mess.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another birthday commission : )


More requests have been pouring in to create one-of-a-kind birthday/occasion paintings. This one is a gift of the recipient's mastiff. The dog's name is Sara and she's a one of many dogs spoiled rotten by her owner, complete with a necklace, tiara and tennis bracelets from Tiffany, a well known jeweler. As always, the message and any names mentioned are distorted for privacy reasons.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ask "Stretch" - October bonus

Hello, everybody and welcome to a special bonus edition of "Ask Stretch"! Today, I'm going to look at and answer some more questions that have been sent in by you, the audience.


1. Hey, Stretch, I want to be an artist but recently feel unmotivated to draw! I sit down to a blank piece of paper and nothing comes to me. Eventually, I get frustrated and then nothing gets drawn. What can I do to stay motivated?

Answer: Good question! What motives us all to do something differs from person to person. Was it something really delicious that we ate? Perhaps a new movie or piece of media that differs from the norm? Maybe it was an event or discussion with friends or family?

I find that continually having new experiences or at least mixing up the order one does daily activities is great for keeping those creative juices flowing. Learning new things is also very helpful. (this includes topics already explored and topics that still need exploring) Taking a story that is commonly known, such as "The Three Little Pigs", and redesigning the characters/scenes is always fun. What's critical here is to never get complacent or too comfortable inside your own box. Surrounding yourself with peers also helps stimulate the mind with healthy competition. Setting goals can be helpful if you're a goal-oriented person. If you happen to be someone that avoids daily routine like the plague, then just draw something, anything, at some point in the day. If a new sketch each day is overkill, then have something new by the end of the week. The creative process has to flow in a way that suits "you". Otherwise, it just gets stressful as opposed to being fun. Also, consider drawing in new styles that you haven't attempted before. "Variety is the spice of life!"

By the way, if you're stressed about being productive, taking a few days to rest and/or recharge is healthy and will help you return to the creative frame of mind.


2. I'm hearing that the only way to draw is by using digital programs like Adobe Photoshop and a tablet....is drawing on paper dead?


Answer: I wouldn't go so far as to call drawing on paper "dead" per se. Digital software is great, don't get me wrong, and so is drawing on a tablet. Studios in general are mostly or completely digital these days. Most artist cubicles have a computer fully armed with digital drawing/painting software and a large tablet to go with it. However, there are still many artists that draw on both paper and the tablet. Often times, the rough design will be on paper and then clean line and color are done on the computer. (I work this way too) There's a certain something that can only be felt drawing on paper. Plus, a paper sketch book is much more portable than a computer in most cases. Maybe one day we will carry high tech small tablets to draw with but until then, the paper sketch book remains king. Also, keep in mind that digital creative software is a tool as much as traditional drawing utensils. A tool is only as good as its user at the end of the day. Plus, drawing on paper is much more cost-effective as opposed to several hundred to thousands of dollars that's required for a digital set-up : )


That does it for this bonus episode of "Ask Stretch". Got a question about the creative process or the  creative industry itself? Please send me a message and I will do my best to answer your questions. Take everyone and see you all next month!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ask "Stretch" - Ocotober

Hello everybody! In light of resolving computer issues and the lack of new posts, I thought now would be a good time to do this month's "Ask Stretch". Hope everyone is well as we get deeper into flu season over here in the western hemisphere. Hm, wonder if the eastern hemisphere has a flu season?....Anyhow, let's have a look at a question sent in from you, the audience:


1. Hi Stretch! I was wondering why do you draw in blue and red? Do all character artists do that?

Answer: Most character designers will draw in blue specifically as it is tradition dating back several decades. Typically, it's a blue col-erase pencil that is used. These are blue colored pencils with an eraser on the end. The blue is a nice, erasable, easy-to-see color and for quite some time, scanners and xerox copies had a hard time picking it up. It's only recently that scanners can see and pick up the blue. The knowledge back then that the blue would either be little seen or not seen at all gave animators/illustrators the freedom to draw loosely. These loose drawings resulted in better posing for characters specifically. When poses and designs were approved, then a more permanent tool could be used such as regular pencil lead, paint or micron pens to name a few.

In my case, as a concept artist, I use blue colored mechanical pencil lead to design out the first rough pass of  the structure of any one concept. Afterwards I go over my lines with a more permanent medium or scan it into my computer and do color rendering in digital software. The red is also colored mechanical pencil lead and I like to use it for the character costumes or props in a background layout for example. The differing colors allow my mind to stay more organized when I'm designing. Sometimes I'll be working on a design and there are so many layers of detail that it comes out as looking like a rainbow rough!

As technology improves, artists find more and more ways to design using different processes. Some artists prefer the old blue pencil and others sketch out with pen or markers. Most schools will teach their student through traditional methods first but some have converted completely into a digital curriculum. Instead of starting on paper with pencil, they straight into Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paint or into 3D software such as Autodesk Maya. This has lead some into thinking that 2D animation/design is dead but I can say that all designs begin on paper first as the 3D world is built off a strong foundation of 2D skills. I firmly believe that if one wishes to be an artist in the animation field, 2D or 3D, one must get the 2D design skills under their belt first.


This wraps up October's edition of "Ask Stretch". Got a question about the creative process, the industry or just being an artist in general? Shoot me a message! Keep an eye out for a bonus "Ask Stretch" later this month. Until then, take care everyone!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Female mechanoid


Trying something new is important to keep oneself from getting too comfortable designing one thing or genre. I love the "Mega Man", aka "Rockman", video game series so I thought I'd make a character to fit into that universe. Pardon the somewhat less quality of the scan as my computer decided to die the other day so I'm roughing it on a different machine until a replacement can be found/built.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Another special birthday commission

Another client loved the idea of painting something unique for a person that’s just impossible to buy for. How can one get any more original and out of the box than to commission an artist? The birthday message and all names have been blurred for privacy concerns.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ask "Stretch"! - September

Happy September everybody! Here in the western hemisphere we are just getting started into autumn, even though it still feels like summer. It's time for another session of "Ask Stretch"! Let's have a look at some questions that you, the audience, have sent in:

1. What is your process for drawing out a 5 point character design turnaround? Do you start out with the front view, then back view, then three quarter view, etc…?



Answer: For those whom may be wondering; a 5 point character design turnaround is a critical piece in designing for animation. You could call it a map showing the animation team on any given production how your character looks from all angles so they can animate properly. The "5 Point" is talking about the different poses one sees the character in: front, 3/4 front, profile, 3/4 back and back. I always start my turnarounds at the front position which shows a lot of detail and has little to no perspective to worry about. It's a good planning pose to start from. When I have a finished front pose, then I move on to designing the 3/4 front, profile, 3/4 back and back. The character, when you're done, should be proportionately correct from all angles and the details read seamlessly from pose to pose. If anything is off, the animation will look wrong and time will be lost while fixing the problem. It is crucial to use a ruler to draw horizontal reference lines, be precise and take your time. 


2. I notice sometimes you start out the character design process with the head design first. If so, how do you approach designing the character body or does the body just fall into place? 


Answer:  Actually, it's rare for me to begin a character concept any way else other than starting with the head. Sometimes I can see the whole character in my mind clearly and other times I need to work the character out piece by piece and try different approaches before I find "the one". When it comes to the body, I like to begin with the torso; defining the shape of the ribcage and the pelvis. After that, I'll design the arms, legs, tails and whatever else is left. The body design often needs some tweaks and experimentation in order to find the most appealing look. I'll try different shapes and shift masses around. Sometimes the body does fall right into place and other times it takes a few attempts before the final concept is found. There have been cases of a concept going through over 20 design attempts before the right one finally comes.


And that's all for this edition of "Ask Stretch". Got a question about the creative process, the industry or just being an artist in general? Shoot me a message! Until then, see you all next month : ) 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Song of Undine

Trying a new color approach with a more painterly look. She's my version of an Undine, or water spirit from Greek mythology, that's hanging out singing away in the ocean.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Alien female head design


Aliens are tons of fun to design since they can look like anything. There isn't any real "this is how it is" baggage. The imagination gets severely limited when we accept that things can only look or function a certain way. Progress can't be made without wonder and experiment. All of our inventions, great and small, come from this line of thinking: "What if....?"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Savior of the seed


Sometime in the distant future, our food will be so advanced that we won't grow food from seeds anymore. Instead the trend is all about "holo-food" that comes complete with texture and scents of different foods. It pleases the tongue and the mind enough to bypass the stomach feeling full. The humans of this time are always eating claiming they can't get enough.....because....well, they aren't. They're just "filling up" on holo-food and drink rather than the real stuff. Water is a taboo word almost lost to the times. Everyday, the humans get a daily shot of vitamins and minerals crafted in labs. Underneath the humans' feet, the mouse population scurries about looking for real food in the form of seeds that could be raised to produce food. Maybe that's what our young girl mouse is doing in this picture. Perhaps, one day, the fate of humanity will actually ride on her and her kind's shoulders to save humanity from its own food technology....

"Giving"


I'm a firm believer in art bringing smiles and inspiration for a better tomorrow. I found this post by accident on Facebook and felt that I must share it. Enjoy and share : )

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Fireball made in less than 30 seconds



Animating in general is a labor of love and that labor increases in the 3D realm. (depending on whom you talk to that is.) This was made in Autodesk Maya using the 3D FX brush and several fire "brushes" found in what's called the "Visor". The visor is a keeper of 3D brushes that Maya comes with and has brushes for lightning, fire, clouds, trees and flowers to name a few. There's A LOT more than those contained in the visor. I used 3 different flame brushes and then looped their animation of 50 frames per cycle. It's actually a lot simpler than it sounds and yields interesting results!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sabre, the wolf


Wolves are my favorite animal and I've drawn "Sabre" before but I like to revisit old favorite designs and design them once more with new skills/experience I've picked up. It's lots of fun and I'll keep doing it until the design reaches maturity, so-to-speak.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Connect with me!


Enjoy what goes on here at Howling-Wolf-Art? Here are a few links to stay in the know:

 Connect with me on LinkedIn:
  www.linkedin.com/pub/kristen-robertson/19/6a9/302/


Follow me on Facebook:
 https://www.facebook.com/howlingwolfartdesign?ref=hl


Follow me on Tumblr:
http://www.tumblr.com/blog/howling-wolf-art


Follow me on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/howlingwolf_art


Watch me on Deviantart:

My Mobian self - Cherry


I came to the realization that I've never drawn in the style that Sega uses for the Sonic games. Sat down and drew my own little OC to fit in that universe. Of course, I don't own the rights to Sonic, his games or other characters. I just drew in a hybrid of my style and the one used on Sonic.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Special birthday gift that was commissioned


One of my current clients was on the hunt for truly unique gifts to give her family and friends. She contracted me to create this piece for an upcoming friend's birthday. For privacy's sake, the name and message on this "birthday card" have been blurred out. If you or someone you know would enjoy an acrylic painting that they can't get anywhere else, contact me for a quote : )

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Secret of Mana series - Popoie



The last of the main characters and third party member of the team. Popoie is a 13 year old sprite with a somewhat mischievous attitude standing as tall as maybe up to Randi's waist. Randi encounters him in one of the early villages the player comes across. He joins your quest to find his homeland and his memory.While Primm gets the support magic, Popoie becomes master of all offensive magic spells. (Again, I don't own anything to do with Secret of Mana,  just drew the characters for fun)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Secret of Mana series - Primm or Purim


Primm, or Purim, is another of the main characters in the game Secret of Mana. She's a feisty, stubborn fighter that's determined to save her love, Dyluck, from the bad guys. She's the eldest member of the group and gets to handle all support magic spells learned in the game.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Secret of Mana series - Randi




Randi is one of the main characters from a game I played as a kid called "Secret of Mana". This game came out in the early 90s and was an RPG that was tons of fun to play. While sitting on jury duty, I sketched him out using my own style. Brings back great memories : ) (Of course, I don't own the copyright to the concept of Randi or any characters from Secret of Mana. I just drew it)

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ask "Stretch"! August

Every once in awhile, it feels good to take a break from drawing and developing. For a change of pace at the end of each month starting today, I'll address some of the questions that come my way from those that watch my blog. For privacy concerns, people that ask these questions will remain anonymous. My hope is to connect better with my audience, have fun and help others understand what goes on here on my blog and in my creative process in general. I hope everyone will enjoy!

Question: Hey, Stretch........why are you calling yourself "Stretch"?

Answer: "Stretch" is an endearing nickname that I've heard now and again over the course of my life as I've always been on the tall side. When I was 12, I was already 5 foot 4 in. and by the end of high school I reached 6 feet and that's the height I have stayed at. Recently, I was waiting to get my haircut at a local salon and an elder gentleman came through the door. He said "hello" to everyone and to me, he said, "Hey, Stretch." I couldn't help but smile and giggle as it had been a long time since somebody said that to me. In fact, it made me smile so much, I thought I would take the name and use it for myself and now it's being used here for answering questions. There's even a plan for a web comic using my "Stretch" persona and now I just need to find time for it.

If any of you out there in the audience have a tasteful, appropriate question you would like to ask about the creative process, feel free leave a comment to this post and I'll answer based on the order they are received. Also, please let me know if any of you like this idea or would rather just keep watching the art work get posted : )