5 Simple Drawing Tools for Quick Cartoon Sketches

5 Simple Drawing Tools for Quick Cartoon Sketches | The Zen of Making

Over the past couple of weeks, my Tiny Cranky Haley series has gotten a rather surprising amount of attention and encouragement from fellow crafters on social media. This has been, to say the least, completely unexpected. When I drew the first sketch of crotchety cartoon me, it was meant to inject a moment of levity into a long day, but I wasn’t prepared for other people to connect with her so strongly, and I certainly didn’t think I’d start taking daily drawing breaks just to continue the adventure. But, turns out, I really like drawing Tiny Cranky Haley. And, do you know what else? Insecurities aside, it doesn’t even matter that I’m not very good at drawing—it’s actually better that way. Because, in addition to ending up with a new cartoon to share with you guys, every time I pull out a fresh notecard, I’m also giving myself the opportunity to learn something new, the practice I need to improve a skill that I’ve always wanted to have, and the experience required to build confidence in my own ability to wield a pen. (Everybody wins!) Bottom line: Creating a silly sketch each day is a damn delightful bright spot in my busy afternoons, and I really think that you should give it a try too!

5 Simple Drawing Tools for Quick Cartoon Sketches | The Zen of Making

Need a trip to the art store before you get started? Think again. Here are the five supplies that I’ve been using to make Tiny Cranky Haley happen—you probably already have most of them in your own creative space!

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Sunday Snapshot: Tiny Cranky Haley, Week 2

Sunday Snapshot: Tiny Cranky Haley, Week 2 | The Zen of Making

This week, Tiny Cranky Haley was, well, cranky. (And tragically lacking the bad paranormal reality television necessary for long hours of stitching.)

Fringe problems.

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Tutorial Update: Plus Size Fit Guide for the Perfect Summer Skirt!

Tutorial Update: Plus Size Fit Guide for the Perfect Summer Skirt! | The Zen of Making

I’ve added a fancy new plus size fit guide to my Perfect Summer Skirt (with Pockets) tutorial! (Huge thanks to Amy at Knitty for her helpful feedback!)

The updated fit guide includes the following fixes:

  • Removing extra fabric fullness that can make the skirt look puffy/make the gathers around the waist look and feel too bulky in plus sizes or when using thicker fabrics
  • Adjusting a too-big waistband for a snugger fit and better fabric gathering around the waist

Tutorial Update: Plus Size Fit Guide for the Perfect Summer Skirt! | The Zen of Making

Ready to start sewing? You can find the suggested changes to the pattern and waistband construction in the blue box in step 1 of my Perfect Summer Skirt (with Pockets) tutorial.

That’s all for now, my crafty pals! Go forth and sew some skirts!

Review: Foldio Portable Mini Photo Studio

Review: Foldio Portable Mini Photo Studio | The Zen of Making

As a professional craft blogger, good photographs are one of the most important elements of my job. And, while I didn’t begin blogging with the intention of becoming a better photographer, it’s definitely a skill I’ve honed out of both necessity and the desire to share. Because, as it turns out, whether I’m capturing finished projects or creating step-by-step tutorials, images that are clear, sharp, and well-lit are every bit as important as my written instructions and descriptions—especially now that Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter image posts are the new go-to places for DIY inspiration.

Now, here’s where the utterly magical Foldio portable mini photo studio from orangemonkie enters the scene.

You know that moment when you see a gadget on the internet that’s so brilliant that you exclaim in joyful bursts of expletives while frantically scrambling for your credit card? Yeah, the Foldio was one of those. I mean, a fully-functional light box with built-in LED lighting that requires only a few seconds of setup time AND can fold up small enough to fit in my shoulder bag? My, but the world is filled with miraculous things! (Also miraculous: No longer needing to constantly wrestle with my giant light box and three unwieldy lights.)

So, presented with with this glorious object, I did the only logical thing. I threw down my $50 and waited [im]patiently for the UPS guy to arrive.

Here’s what I thought:

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