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Barb Skoog: Clouds on Water

A Journey into the world of Marbling

Barb Skoog is one of 75 printmakers profiled in the current issue. When I was going through the many, many submissions (250!) to curate the content for this printmaking-themed issue, I was delighted to see a paper marbling submission. Barb generously donated a delicious stack of hand-marbled papers for subscriber copies (for those subscribed prior to the end of March).

It was tempting to keep this beautiful stack all to myself, but I know there are dozens of subscribers out there who now have the joy of holding her papers in person.

Barb is a Los Angeles-based artist specializing in the Turkish form of marbling called Ebru. She writes, "This centuries-old art form involves floating paint on thickened water, making patterns and designs using special tools, and then placing paper, fabric, wood, or other materials on top of the water where the image is immediately and permanently transferred. In addition to having my work featured in art and lifestyle magazines, juried shows, and galleries, my marbled pieces have been used in bookbinding, in mixed media, as fashion accessories (purses, scarves), as home décor, and more."

If you'd like to learn this technique, Barb has a freshly-launched eCourse. The video below offers a happy teaser on what you'll learn in the course. It looks like so much fun!

Barb has a special offer for UPPERCASE readers. Using the promo code UPLOVE, you can get $80 off the regular price ($259) and take the course for just $179 if you sign up by May 31. Class officially begins on June 8 (6 weeks guided instruction) but students have access to all info for six months.

Thank you to Barb Skoog for her support of UPPERCASE through a Calling Card. If you'd like to purchase a Calling Card ad for the next issue and for the blog sidebar, please visit this page for more details. 

#uppercaselove for @kriszquilala

Love this slow motion video that @ kriszquilala posted on Instagram. How cool.

@uppercasemag #uppercaselove #🎵 #belllabratories #slomo

A video posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀. ⠀⠀ krisz quilala ➳ (@kriszquilala) on

In Tags

Win a set of lettering and illustration pens from Sakura

Regular readers of UPPERCASE magazine will observe that there are very few ads in each print issue. Sometimes two pages plus the Calling Cards and Peeps, sometimes fewer than that! Truth is, as a one-woman operation, I don't have a lot of time to sell ads. But sometimes, advertisers seek out the magazine and it becomes a natural fit. Like when Sakura of America, makers of the Pigma pen, reached out to advertise in UPPERCASE. You'll see their print ad in the fall illustration-themed issue of UPPERCASE. In the meantime, we're collaborating on a giveaway!

I've been using Pigma Micron pens since college. They're really are part of any designer and illustrator's tool kit.

Sakura has recently introduced a new line of Pigma Professional Brush Pens to the line. These pens use the same rich, black, archival ink, but with expressive brush nibs in fine, medium and bold tips. They're perfect for illustration and lettering projects. I had some fun experimenting with the boldest nib, below.

Master penman Jake Weidmann, whom we featured in the calligraphy and lettering issue 23, tries out a finer version below. Wow, his talent is awesome!

To win one of five Sakura Pigma Pen prize packs, please leave a comment about why you love inky black pens over on this Instagram photo. Make sure you follow @uppercasemag and @sakuraofamerica. This promotion is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, District of Columbia and Canada (except Quebec). You must be over the age of 13. Contest is open until May 18. The winners will be selected at random from the Instagram comments. Good luck!

#uppercaselove

It is wonderful to see the new issue being enjoyed and admired by readers around the world! Please tag your Instagrams @uppercasemag so that I can see them and include the hashtag #uppercaselove so that they show up on this page.

If you want to share what you're working on or just something about yourself, use the hashtag #uppercasereader.

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Inspiration: the good, the bad and the pretty.

I’ve spent the better part of a decade searching for inspiration. 

At its heart, everything I make and do with UPPERCASE is curated and designed to inspire me—and by extension, you, my reader. By sharing the stories of talented creatives in a wide variety of disciplines, each magazine issue or book is full of inspiring people, places and things.

But the word “inspiration” is so-often employed these days, that I hesitate to use it. “Inspiration" is diluted. When it comes to creativity, what is truly inspiring? 

the good

When something you see or experience triggers a switch to “yes!” in your creative heart, that’s the best kind of inspiration. The kind that motivates you, that fires you up, that kicks you into action. It creates a desire to do something, to harness that inspired feeling and see where it leads you. It’s joyful, pure, instinctual. It has no judgments, no preconceptions, no deadlines: it simply is. yes!

the bad

One can be inspired by another artist and while it’s ok to admire, it is never ok to copy. Imitation is not flattering for the one doing the imitating. The phrase “taking inspiration” describes this darker side. If you find yourself relying too much on other people’s work when making your own, stop. If you’re judging your work against someone else’s work, stop. Step back and look at it objectively. Make a list of all the things that you love about that person’s work and all the traits that you aspire to achieve in your own work. Going forward, use that list as your guide and your motivation. 

the pretty

I think we’re overloaded by so much generic “inspiration” that we’re becoming desensitized. We pin on Pinterest, like on Instagram… but this infinite scroll of images—however gorgeous they may be—is training us for snap judgments and short attention spans. It’s a millisecond of inspiration that burns out nearly as soon as it began and you find yourself scrolling for another hit. Sometimes a good dose of pretty is just what you need, but the next time you find yourself in a hangover of pinning and liking, revisit your selections. Was any of it inspiring in a lasting way? 

With the twenty-fifth issue making its way into the world now, my hope is that I’ve done my job well and that UPPERCASE falls into the best category of inspiration.

May you come away from reading the magazine feeling joy and optimism, with a flicker of a new idea whispering, "yes!"

 

This message was originally published yesterday in my weekly newsletter. If you'd like to receive free weekly content like this, plus a look at behind-the-scenes of making a magazine, free downloads and news of how you can participate within the magazine, please sign up here. Thanks!

-Janine