I met Fred Rodriguez (Aesthetic Supply Co.) at Creative South and we had a conversation that I will never forget.Read More
Apologies for the delayed newsletter. We were experiencing a few technical difficulties with the the website. Everything is resolved and functioning properly now after a few days, and late nights, of troubleshooting. Phew! This newsletter is what should've gone out last Thursday. You will still be receiving this Thursday's email right on schedule.
Thank you for your kindness and patience.
... onto more important things.
The Cuttink-y Tools
A question I am asked often is “what type of tools do you use?” So I figured it is time I wrote about the tools that are part of my arsenal.
Pocket sized sketchbook
One of my first products created were Cuttink mini-books. I use them all the time and am alway carrying them in my pocket. It is great item to have on me at all times. Especially when it is sized perfectly to fit in my pocket. They are perfect to jot down ideas or do a quick sketch whenever inspiration or ideas hit me. This allows me to not forget awesome ideas that come to me at times where I cannot sit down and create.
Now, any pocket sized sketchbook or notebook will work, I just happen to love the Cuttink ones a lot ;).
You can read more about the mini-books here.
I find myself usuing watercolor paper for mostly all of the paper cutting pieces and ink drawing work I do. I normally purchase the different size pads depending on the size of the work I am creating at that time. I enjoy the thickness and rigidity of the paper as it holds up well even after it has been cut. It holds the ink well too and has an amazing texture to it. The thickness of the paper also allows for light to cast a shadow onto the wall behind it without allowing light to go through the acutal paper itself.
The Clutch Lead holder contains 5.6mm lead. It is definitely much thicker than a traditional pencil but I enjoy the bold weight for the free hand sketching part of my process. The aluminum body and tapered shape of it make it comfortable to hold. It even has an integrated sharpener in the cap.
Other than the lead holder (see above) that I use, I find myself using a 0.5 BIC Mechanical pencil, No.2 lead.
It should come as no surprise to any of you that I solely use Micron pens for all of my inking work. I love them and treasure them. I own a set from 005(.20mm) to 08(.50mm) tips. However I find myself using the 005, 01 and 02 the most. I own these microns in black (mainly), blue, green, red and brown.
Occasionaly I find myself having to fill in a larger area with black ink. If this is the case I use a fine tip Sharpie marker.
The Knife itself: To cut the paper I use a rubber grip X-acto knife. I choose the rubber coated knife over the metal one as it feels better in my hand. I find that the metal ones last a lot longer than the rubber coated ones. So it is definitely a personal preference.
The Blades: For the longest time I was using the ‘normal’ X-acto blades for all of my cuts, the ones that everyone recognizes. I noticed that these blades were not the best for cutting more intricate curved lines. So after a little bit of research I came across the #12 small and curved blades that I use now for pieces that have a lot of curves. I switch between the blades depending on the cuts that I need to make. This also allows me to prolong the life of the blade by not forcing it to bend and turn in a way that it is not designed to.
NOTE: Change blades when they become dull. If you don’t it will only hurt you and your work. You will use more force and strength to cut the paper than necessary.
I have three Alvin and Co. self healing cutting mats.
1] A 24x36 inch mat which is permanently on my workspace desk. 2] The second is a 12x18 inch mat and will occasionally travel with me if I’m working on a medium size piece away from my studio.
3] The last one is a 8.5x11 inch mat which travels with me most of the time.
I occasionally find myself using color, a very recent step as I am not very sure of my color choices. But when I do I use a set of Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils as it works best with the watercolor paper that I draw on.
If you have any other questions that you would like me to answer, click on the ‘reply’ button.
I am sorry for leaving you guys newsletter-less for the past couple weeks without any notice. I'm not happy that I allowed myself to do that and am working towards not allowing that to ever happen again. That said, let us get back on track.
What's happened during the last couple weeks?
It has been a busy couple of weeks here at Cuttink and on the personal side too. Many things have happened and there are a few exciting things that are in the works.
On May 9th and 10th Cuttink was at the largest craft fair, Art Star Craft Bazaar, we've been at. Both days were awesome, filled with old friends, new friends, new connections and a lot more sales than I had anticipated.
Any new products?
I released a new t-shirt. The 'Weather Through the Storm' tee. Each t-shirt is made with love and care. Waterbased ink -- so soft to the touch and no "thick ink" feel -- printed on Royal Heather Blue American Apparel tees. Each shirt has a hand sewn tag at the bottom and is packaged in a beautiful white box.
The image on the t-shirt is very important to me as it reminds me that I need to always keep looking forward no matter how tough the 'now' is. The turbulent waves represent whatever hardships that you or I may be facing at this time. The moon, as all of you may know, is something that I consider to be beautiful and peaceful. Having the turbulent time set to a back drop of the moon serves as a reminder for me to 'ride the waves' and 'go with the flow'. No matter how tough what I'm facing currently is, if I can weather through the turbulent waves, I will come out stronger and tougher.
Check out the images below to see a few pictures of the t-shirt.
Below: The 'Weather Through the Storm' tee
Thank you guys, once again, for being fantastic people and staying interested in what I write to you.
Is there are any questions about ink drawing, paper cutting, t-shirt printing, packaging or design in general that you would like answered? please send me an email by hitting the 'reply' button. I'd love to know what you guys would like to hear about.
I have said this before and will say it again, I am very blessed to be surrounded by talented, passionate, knowledgable and good people. This has been monumentally helpful for me and I hope that you have this in your lives too.
A few friends and I meet weekly to keep each other on track with our creative pursuits. I remember a few months before I decided to make this a regular action in my life thinking to myself that I did not need another person's help. I can keep myself on track and achieve all the goals I made for myself.
The problem with this was I never spent time checking in with myself about where I was going, was I hitting all of the goal I set or even did the direction and the steps I was taking make sense. I would keep moving deadlines simply because I did not complete tasks in time. I would round about steps simply because I did not see the effective option. Don't get me wrong. I was making forward progress, but just not at a pace I would have liked. So the current plan and trajectory was awfully ineffective and started to become frustrating
Having these meetings have helped me to stay focused. We have created a safe space at each meeting to catch up, talk about whether we've hit our goals, future direction, what we are creating, etc. Having these meetings with consistent regularity has made it possible for all of us to plug away at the work ahead of us and also see new directions or processes we may not have seen.
I urge you to check in with yourself and with other people consistently. I really do feel this is a very important way in which we can all grow no matter what we are trying to do. Whether it is growing in your faith, creativity or business, we all need to be surrounded by people who are willing to be part of that journey with you and keep you focused.
I would love to hear back from you about the processes that you have in place to keep you focused? Also, if you have any questions that you'd like me to tackle in my future posts, simply hit the 'reply' button. I love hearing from you.
Did you know that I have pocket sized sketchbooks, notebooks and checklists?
Recap of the Chapterhouse Cafe and Gallery opening
Last time I checked in with you, I was getting new work ready for a show at Chapterhouse Cafe and Gallery in South Philadelphia. The opening was a wonderful experience. Many of you showed up and were amazingly supportive. Thank you! The show will remain up on the walls at the cafe for another two and a half months. If you find yourself by the cafe, stop by and check it out.
When it came to pricing the pieces for the show, for the first time I decided to price the pieces for value instead of pricing them to sell. It was a difficult process. In the past I had always priced my work on the lower end so that they would sell. But the drawback to this scenario is that I never felt fulfilled or happy with letting go of the piece that had just sold. I feel much better with the pricing of the pieces for this show. I realize that I want the people looking at it to value the piece as much as I do. I do myself an injustice by not communicating that value too.
Coming up soon
On Saturday the 25th of April I will be at Go West Craft Fest in West Philadelphia with many other talented crafters from the area. If you have some time and are looking for something to do this weekend, then I hope you will consider coming to this.
Also on May 9th and 10th (mother's day weekend) I will be at the Art Star Craft Bazzar on Penn's Landing, once again, with many other talented crafters and artists seeing our wares. By this event I will have new t-shirts and some new products ready to launch. Keep your eyes peeled for more information about this.
While I was working on creating pieces for the show opening I re-realized that creating something on a consistent basis is so energy giving. It has put me in such a better mood and also given me momentum. The difficulty comes in maintaining this momentum that I have now.
How am I going to use the momentum I have now? I am working on creating some new products and talking with the people who will be able to make these ideas and concepts come to life. I am excited to see them come to fruition and go through the process of it all.