Interview with Jessica Maclean from Geeky and Cheeky

Today I am featuring an interview with the awesome and geeky Jessica Maclean from “Geeky and Cheeky”.  I would like to thank her for her patience and for taking the time to do the interview with me.

First, tell everyone what you create. Harry Potter Doll

I make felt dolls and puppets, most of them are inspired by things in the geek genre. TV shows, movies, video games, etc…

Was felt your first choice of artistic expression or have you dabbled in other arts?

I have actually done many different types of art. I have dabbled with wood and other fabrics. In the end felt and fleece have really been a great fit for me.

You could make anything in the world. Why dolls and specifically why dolls from series like harry potter and firefly?

I am a huge fan girl myself in the end. I make them because I love them. Firefly, Harry Potter, The Avengers. They occupy a very real spot in my brain and it’s nice to be able to have a way to pay homage to the characters I love.

If you could recommend one episode of one show (or a scene in a movie, video on youtube, etc.) to everyone as a “gateway to geekiness”, what would it be?Serenity Cast Dolls

This is such a great but difficult question to answer. I think Firefly is a great show to break people in with. It has some many great moments both humorous and serious and the characters are so well developed and unique. The episode called Shindig is a good one for people new to geekdom. It is lighthearted and fun.

What’s your favorite book ever and what about it draws you in?

Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn. It has a very detailed and evolved world and the characters feel extremely real. It also has an interesting new system of magic that I found fascinating.

What would you say to other artists with similar interests who are trying to find their place in the world?Princess Daisy

Follow your passion. Eventually you will find what works for you.

Finally, where can we find you and your art?
You can find us on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/geekyandcheeky
Our website and blog at www.geekyandcheeky.com
And on Facebook at www.facebook.com/geekyandcheeky like us to get all the latest news on new items and contests!

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Christmas ornament and new photos!

Hi there!

Aquaretto D20 Wire Wrapped PendantI just wanted to share with you some new(ish) photos in the portfolios I recently(ish) put together for submitting my work to artists alleys and vendor rooms at conventions. First we have the General Dice Jewelry, next is the licensed dice jewelry, licensed figuerine pendants and other game piece jewelry (super mario jewelry, one piece jewelry, pandemic jewelry, etc.) and last we have the “other” category including some of my boho/hippie jewelry pieces that I think would appeal to a geeky crowd.

Spirit d20 Christmas ornamentNext, I wanted to show you my christmas tree and the new christmas ornament for it.  My Christmas tree has a D20 on it, does yours?  If it doesn’t, it should.

 

 

And last but not least, here’s a couple of brand new pendants which I hope to have in my shop soon!

McCavity Zwarovski Crystal and d6 pendant

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Child’s Play Fundraiser for hospitals starts TODAY!

Today is the day! 20% of All sates at http://hippybeads.etsy.com and http://luckandluster.etsy.com will now be donated to Child’s Play and go toward helping children in hospitals all over the world!  In addition, if you use the code childsplay2012 in my etsy shops, you will get 25% off!  I even have some new pieces to put up to kick the sale off… if only I can find my camera 😉

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What I’m into this week – setting a cake on fire.

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http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/2558867-Ghost-Cake-with-Flaming-Eyes

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What I’m into this week: Using Gears I don’t have.

“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”
–Charles M. Schulz

This week was an odd week because I found myself alone for several days as the male matrimonial unit went to Indianapolis for Gencon.  As much as I am totally an introvert and like to be left to my own devices quite often, I hate to be left completely alone.  So, within about 5 minutes of getting home from work on the first day, my brain sought out new distractions. Steam is typically great for finding low cost, well made, video games that you often can’t find anywhere else because it has largely become “the place to go” for indy developers.  So, I logged on and started poking around to see what I could find that would interest me.  After a minute my brain said “I want something puzzle-y”.  What I should have done is taken this as a sign of emotional distress from hubby being gone and immediately lie down in bed. I am horrible at puzzle games and the usual result of me trying to play one is getting about 3-5 puzzles in and then cursing for a few hours, giving up and then repeating that pattern for a few days until I give up for good.

Instead of saying, “there must be something wrong with my brain; this is the most horrible idea ever”, I downloaded Cogs. Cogs is a 3d slide puzzle with a steampunk-ish vibe where you slide the tiles around to place gears and steam pipes in the appropriate places to make nifty machines work.  The game looks really good for something so simple, the sound effects really go toward giving it that “Steampunk inventor” feel, and the music is simply beautiful.  To my surprise, I did not get 5 puzzles or even 10 or 15 puzzles in and have to throw down the gauntlet but at the same time, I would not call cogs an easy game.  The puzzles get progressively harder, but the game is really good about introducing elements to you a little at a time. So, for example, by the time you get to a balloon puzzle with 2 different colors of steam and 4 heights of gears on a 3d pyramid shape, you have already seen steam/pipe puzzles, balloon steam puzzles, balloon steam puzzles with different colors of steam, gear puzzles with gears of different heights, puzzles with gears and steam, 3d puzzles and puzzles of different shapes.

The other great thing about cogs that keeps it playable for me is the unlocking system.  In cogs, you do have to unlock higher level puzzles, but instead of only being able to unlock by solving the puzzle immediately previous, the game goes by a “stars” system, which is basically a point system.  The game gives you a certain number of stars/points for every puzzle you finish based on how hard the puzzle is, how fast you finished it and how few moves you took.  The more stars you have, the more puzzles you unlock. Typically, after the first few puzzles, you have enough stars that you always have a few puzzles ahead unlocked.  This means that if you really get stuck, you can skip one.  Also, if you really really get stuck, you can go back on previous levels and try to beat your score for more stars.  There is even a challenge mode where you do the same puzzles you have already beaten but concentrate on either finishing them in 30 seconds or finishing them in 10 moves, which also gives you stars.

This game is extremely well designed, lots of fun and really cool looking. I keep finding myself coming back to it and enjoying every second despite the increasing amount of time spent yelling “I can see the solution why won’t it slide into place?!” at my computer screen.

Cogs is an extremely enjoyable experience and I would recommend it to anyone with even a fleeting interest in logic or puzzle games.  I have a feeling I will be into this one for many weeks to come… but maybe one week soon I can take some time out to be into telling you about the awesome costume I made for play on con!

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Interview with Campbell of BethandBell

Today I bring you and interview from Campbell of Bethandbell.  Campbell is a talented artist who creates all kinds of paintings and illustrations, including a series based on old video games.  Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Campbell!

First, how did you get started with art and how has your skill developed over time?BethandBell Bomberman

Like all children, I started making things as soon as I could. My parents were really encouraging, which helps a lot, and then in school I became the “guy who was good at drawing”. Which is just one of those niches kids get placed in to by their peers. It can be a good thing for the individual, but it’s usually pretty crippling for everyone else.

My first real clear interest in art was through comics, so my early work was heavily influenced by that. I just wanted to be a comic artist drawing all the time. Then, after high school went went on to study fine art at university. There wasn’t really an illustration course that was available in my town, so I went with the nearest thing.

I fell in to painting during university and my style diverged a lot. I was still doing figurative work with a strong narrative, but I was experimenting with materials a lot more.

Now I’ve taken all of that and fed it back in to the comics I’m making. The 8 Bit Dreams series is kind of a bad example of what I generally do because it’s so stripped back. It’s just black ink pen and simple watercolours. Very conservative and basic. They had to be though because I knew I was going to be doing hundreds of these drawings and didn’t want to kill myself in the process.

You could create pictures of anything, how did you arrive at the subject matter of old NESBethandBell Arkanoid games and the like?

I was a huge fan of the original Nintendo Entertainment System when I was growing up. It was a world of stories and sounds and adventures that was just intoxicating. The project came about as a silly thing I tweeted, and one of my friends said “you should do it”. So I thought about it for a week, and I couldn’t get the idea out of my head, “could I do it?”. So I did a few test drawings, to nail down a style. Then I did it for about a fortnight before telling anyone, to see if it would be feasible.

A lot of my previous works had sort of skirted around and gently referenced video games. I use a lot of axonometric perspective in my illustrations, which I’ve pulled from some of my favorite games. I think this was the first time I’d ever directly addressed video games as a collective force.

Since you do create art based around awesome games like Mario Brothers and Bomberman, I suspect you might have some geeky or nerdy tendencies. What are they?

Yea, I used to be a lot geekier when I was younger. I used to play Warhammer 40,000 and Magic the Gathering and collect super hero comics, read Choose Your Own Adventure books and play Pokemon. Basically, anything nerdy, I was in to it.

I don’t really do many of those activities any more, I have to be a bit more conservative with my time.

When I’m not illustrating, I work at the state museum, which is a real treat.

What is your favorite video game of all time and why?BethandBell Top Gun

Oh geez, favorite game of all time? That’s really hard to nail down because so many different games represent different things to me. I would probably have to say Super Mario Brothers 3 is probably my “ultimate” game. It ties together a bunch of important things, the mechanics are perfect, the aesthetics are beautiful, classic music and sound effects which are all grounded with a crystal memory of the summer I got the game. That time in my life is so clearly linked to that game.

That’s what this series was about for me in part. The way these games connect with memory. The way childhoods are annotated with sounds and pixels from these imagined worlds.

Did you ever consider creating art based around more “serious” subject matter?Campbell Whyte Mt Triforce

I have done more “serious” projects. My paintings tend to be a little more sombre, especially my last exhibition “New Perth”, which was all about civil disobedience and revolution. 8 Bit Dreams was a real shift away from that type of work for me.

What would you say to other similarly minded people who are trying to get started with art and creating?

Give yourself permission to be crap at what you want to be good at. You have to be crap before you can be good, that’s just the way it is. There is no such thing as “natural” talent in the arts. In sport, you can be born taller or stronger than someone else. That doesn’t happen in the arts. We all start at 0 and have to work our way up from that.

Finally, Where can we find you and your art?

You can find my work at www.campbellwhyte.com
I’m on twitter @campbellwhyte
And my etsy store is www.etsy.com/shop/bethandbell

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Interview with Rebecca of Evergreen Burrow

Today I am featuring an interview with Rebecca of Evergreen Burrow, A fellow geeky artist who I had the pleasure of meeting at Kami-Con this year.

First tell everyone what you create.Evergreen No power in the verse Necklace (front)
I am a purveyor of geeky recycled art and jewelry- essentially things that make me happy.

The question that always comes to mind with such a unique idea is “how did the artist arrive at this?” If you would, tell us a little bit about how you started creating and the process that led to the items you create now.
I’ve always been ‘crafty’- My mother loves to tell the story of how I created “Babushka Barbie” out of some old fabric scraps and a cast-off Barbie doll. My most recent art inspirations have come from recycled things- bottlecaps, broken glass…you know. Anything that’s rusty or dangerous in some way and needs a home. My studio is like the “Home for the Broken-Arted”. There’s something almost magical about finding objects and turning them into something useful again. Making ugly or broken things into geeky wonderfulness is just really satisfying.

What are your favorite things to create with?Evergreen Supernatural Bracelet
Oh man, that’s a hard question. Chances are, if it exists, I’ve tried to turn it into something. My current obsession, however, is this magical substance called Diamond Glaze. It domes and glues and turns everything into glitter and rainbows and unicorns.*

A lot of your inspiration seems to come from things that many would consider “geeky” or “nerdy” such as steampunk and Dr who. What are you favorite nerdy hobbies/interests?
I am a hard-core nerd and damn proud of it! My favorite things to nerd out over are generally cancelled television shows or underground fandoms (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, JOSS WHEDON). I love love love the whole ‘steampunk’ concept because there’s such a wonderful DIVERSITY of approaches and there’s plenty of room for everyone to grow and put their stuff out there.

If you could recommend one “geeky” thing to those who don’t consider themselves geeky, what would it be?
Oh honey- I am the gateway to geekdom. I would start with something quick and short- like Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, or perhaps an episode of Fullmetal Alchemist.

If you could recommend one thing to other geeky artists out there, what would it be?Evergreen Burrow "Bertie" Cameo
Trust yourself. Actually, this goes out to all artists, geeky or not: TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. I, for one, struggle with this whole CAPITOL A ARTIST concept, because it doesn’t seem to fit what I do, and there’s a lot of self-doubt that goes along with claiming agency as an artist.
Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it. You, too, are a CAPITOL A ARTIST. I promise.

And, Finally, Where can we find you and your art?
My art can be found at various anime conventions in the Southeast as well as here on the web at etsy.com/shop/theevergreenburrow and under the evergreen burrow on Facebook!

*unicorns not included.

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