Gobolinks and Blottentots

You may recognize these inkblots from my last post. The image on the left looked to me like two teddy bears playing with a ball from the moment I made it. The image on the right, however, originally looked like an angelic figure or winged creature (turned 180°), but when I looked at it again, I saw a canyon carved by water flow. Because the original inkblots were made with glitter-glue, the blue watercolor flowed like water and did not soak into the paper, so it even acted like mountain lakes flowing into a river in a canyon. It was very fun to make.

More Fun With Klecksography

Gobolinks and Blottentots

At the turn of the 19th to 20th century,  people expanded on Justin Kerner’s ideas of Klecksography, the art of using inkblots in illustration and created works of their own. Ruth McEnery Stuart turned the creations of inkblots and verse into a game called Gobolinks and John Prosper called the inkblot creatures he created and described in verse, Blottentots. Both of these books of inkblots and verse are now available online through Project Gutenberg.

Project Gutenberg ebooks:

gobolinks coverGobolinks or Shadow Pictures For Young and Old by Ruth The Blottentots coverMcEnery Stuart and Albert Bigelow Paine 1896

Blottentots and How To Make Them by John Prosper Carmel 1907

Inkblots As Story Inspiration

I had a lot of fun creating a bunch of inkblots the other day. One of the great things about inkblots is they are a super-cheap, if not free (you can make them with things you already have in your house) art form and you can make them very quickly.

I did a little experimenting and found porous paper, like regular typing or printing paper works better than thicker paper. So any scrap paper you have lying about is the perfect canvas, and any drippable liquid will do. I used a cheap, hard-disc watercolor set with a lot of water. If you don’t have watercolors, you could use acrylics, or left over house paint. If you don’t have any paint, use mustard and ketchup. Use coffee or tea. Try mud. Why not? Make sure to protect your work area. I rolled out a bunch of butcher paper.

As I made more and more inkblots, my scrap paper got smaller and smaller. I found joy in the black and white blots that were about 2″ X 2″.  Many of them looked as if they could combine to become more detailed creatures, so I got out a metal board and some magnets and had some fun.

metal board and magnets play area

Looking at all these unique beauties made me ponder the stories they could tell. For those of you who have read Jumpstart Your Novel by Mark Teppo, what about using inkblots to inspire or illustrate your nine boxes?

Nine Box Plot

Or how about using your inkblots to access your subconscious ideas about your hero’s journey? Perhaps in a similar way to, or along with Mapping the Hero’s Journey With Tarot.  The hero's journey in inkblots

You could also use inkblots to inspire setting and character:

spring garden

A spring garden

mantiss gnome


A garden gnome spinning on a spike

Character development: Use your inkblots with your characters like Rorschach tests to explore their psyches.

Group dynamic/ character interaction: Have your characters play a game of Gobolinks.

Since I am having so much fun with inkblots, I hope to find ways that they will help me enjoy my editing and revision process as well. I’ll let you know as soon as I do.

Further Reading

Inkblot: Drip, Splat, and Squish Your Way to Creativity by Margaret Peot

The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing by Damion Searls

The Inkblot Pack: Includes the 10 Classic Inkblots for you to interpret & a beautifully designed journal with thought provoking quotes

And Just For Fun

Rorschach mask

As a photographer and a costumer, I imagine many possibilities for The Original Moving Rorschach Inkblot Mask, so I bought one. I should have it in about 10 days and will definitely write a review.

 

Happy Reading and Writing!

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October Pairings (#OctPairs): Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles and Spooky Movies.

Little shop of horrors.jpg

I was writing my morning pages at the end of September (hard to believe that wasn’t even a week ago) and started thinking about things that go together with Halloween movies and books. I remembered an October when I manufactured artifact puzzles. I would put on scary movies while I separated the puzzle pieces and boxed them up.

I no longer work with the day to day of the business, but I still love the puzzles and recently designed the pieces for The Scream by Edvard Munch. So for my first October Pairing, I want to talk about which movies I think go well with my artifact puzzle designs. If you are a puzzle lover, like me, or are having a gathering for The Holiday,  you should have enough time to order a puzzle for Halloween.

starry nightArtifact Puzzles – Van Gogh Starry Night

Everyone knows this image. It’s a poster in a dorm room. So I tried to give it a twist. I swirled and whirled all of the signs of the zodiac into this puzzle then added the symbols, too.

If puzzling with the kids, I would pair this with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and once the kids have fallen asleep I would put on Zodiac and Suspect Zero.

garden of deathArtifact Puzzles – Garden of Death

I love this image. This puzzle was one of my early designs. It includes a multi-piece monster plant and a Jack-o-Lantern. It’s a perfect pairing with Little Shop Of Horrors.

My mom gave me a great Halloween noises CD that came with a DVD of the 1960’s version of Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and I was happily surprised by a young Jack Nicholson (as pictured in the lead image).

 

creature ladder

Artifact Puzzles – Justin Hillgrove Creature Ladder

This image makes me smile. It’s fun. It’s whimsical. And monsters. I designed some of my pieces to represent these monsters, then their neighbors became their own monsters, and so on . . . The puzzle is a monsterfest!

This is a shorter puzzle, so the first time, during family fun-time, I would pair it with the monster squad

then after the kidlets have gone to bed, how about going full Cryptid with laughably horrible films like: Loch Ness Terror and Abominable

Or a Bigfoot comedy like Strange Wilderness

Artifact Puzzles – Waterhouse Lady of Shalott

Waterhouse_Lady_of_Shalott_edge_1024x1024

The Lady of Shalott is a ballad by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Like his other early poems – “Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere”, and “Galahad” – the poem recasts Arthurian subject matter loosely based on medieval sources.

I find this image haunting. So while working this puzzle, after the kids have gone to bed, I recommend:
An American Haunting and my mate’s personal favorite The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Edvard_Munch_-_The_Scream_-_Google_Art_Project_1024x1024
And of course, The Scream – you can sign up to get an email when it’s in stock!

It’s not available yet, but I worked hard on it because I love it!

At first the movie pairing is obvious:
Scream
Scream 2
Scream 3
Scream 4

But then you’ll notice the symbolism and want to watch TrollHunter.

#OctPairs

There you have it. My first offering of October Pairings. I hope you find the same joy in movies and puzzles as I do. When I started making these puzzles, I was surprised how they became the center of every family gathering. They bring people together, and they’re fun to do alone.

What fun things do you think pair up well? Let me know at #OctPairs on Twitter. Or here in the comments.

 

Finding the Nearsighted Narwhal

A pod of narwhalsIt’s easy as a self published author to focus all of your promotion and marketing on the web. However, I recently experienced the joy of seeing my books on the shelves of a local bookstore and it feels great!

It all started with a facebook invitation to a Saturday night showing of local films. It looked like fun, so I looked up the location. It turned out that the films were being shown at a small bookstore called the Nearsighted Narwhal.

The store not only had a wonderful name, but the website said it took self published books on commission. It sounded like a great opportunity to get my children’s books into the hands of readers, so I took a look at their commissions contract.

logo for the Nearsighted Narwhal bookstore

2610A 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98406 253.301.4098 Sunday 10 – 6, Monday Closed, Tuesday 10-10 Wednesday-Saturday 10 – 7

As an artist and crafter, I have put items in stores on commission before–usually the store takes at least 60% of the sale price leaving the artist with 40% or less. The Nearsighted Narwhal only takes 30% of the sale price. So, I printed off the contract, signed a couple of my books and eagerly awaited the event.

I arrived a half hour early to conduct business before the show. I had expected the entire store to be crowded with books, with the amount of people self publishing these days, but there were three double sided free-standing racks at the front of the store, nicely organized with great visibility. There were some crafts in the middle of the store and the back of the store was filled with self published ‘zines.

I walked to the desk and introduced myself to the proprietors who put price tags on my books and walked them straight to the children’s book section at the very front of the store. It was wonderful.

The local films that were shown were entertaining and of high quality. I’m so glad I decided to look into this local event and that I found this great supporter of local authors.

Have you looked into places that might carry your books on commission? I’m thinking of looking into children’s clothing stores that take clothing on commission. They may also be interested in books.