Category Archives: iPad Stuff

An iPad Art Journal Retreat! What?


I am very excited about this because I always get excited about doing things that have never been done before, and anything cutting edge and DIFFERENT n the art world.

The best way to describe this is the way I describe it on the info page . . .


A one-of-a-kind art journaling retreat in beautiful, Santa Fe!

Supply List:  iPad and Stylus . . .That’s all, folks!

Believe it or not, you can create an ENTIRE art journal, travel journal, or any other kind of journal COMPLETELY on your iPad.

Your itinerary, your sketches, your paintings (in any media you prefer – from colored pencils to watercolor) your photos, your collages, your handwritten notes, and anything you want to type in a choice of fonts. Take quick guerrilla photos of your surroundings, meals, and adventures on the spot, and stick them on a page immediately with your added notes. No glue, no supplies to carry. You can journal anywhere . . .

Have you ever picked up your art journal and taken a picture with it? And the picture is right there on the page to resize, rotate, and place.? That’s just one magic trick you can do with iPad journaling.

“But I just love having real life journals.” you might say.

This is NOT an either/or situation. You can save this journal as a PDF to print and bind into a real life journal at any time. You can print individual pages just the right size to stick into other journals. You can even make your journal into a slideshow or video to share.

This is magical stuff indeed. And the best thing is that this way of journaling is so easy that you get it all done and don’t leave out a thing!

And you can shuffle the page order around at any time you want.

What’s not to love?

We will spend a wonderfully relaxing five days immersing ourselves in the creative magic and beauty that is Santa Fe, and recording it all in the journals we create right inside our iPads.

We have a great classroom, with just the perfect lighting for working with our iPads, and a huge flat screen TV for sharing our pages.

You DO NOT need to have drawing skills when you get here, but you WILL bring some home with you! I just can’t help teaching people that they can draw, and drawing on the iPad is easy!

We will have our iPad art lessons in the morning, when we are bright-eyed and bushy tailed, then go off on our Santa Fe adventures and come back to the classroom to create and fine tune our pages.

Workshop hours are from 10am – 5pm, but you will be out and about for much of that time, so you will see plenty of Santa Fe.

This Retreat is limited to 10 students because of our classroom size. If you think this sounds like fun, all the other details are here:

iPad Art Journal Retreat in Santa Fe

New Book – iPad Photo Arts

iPad-Photo-Arts-CoverOh my. You never know where you are going with something.

Two weeks ago, I began the process of updating one of the workbooks I wrote in 2012 for the Ipad Studio Workshop. One app had disappeared and another had some changes and I was just going to update the workbook as a part of my plan to release the individual workbooks from the Studio on their own.

This workbook was about photography – about how to edit and play with photos on the iPad.

The more I got into it, the more it became obvious how much has changed in the course of two years – not just with these couple of apps, but with photography as an art medium.

EVERYBODY is a photographer these days.

OK, one guy in Des Moines isn’t.

But everybody else is wielding camera phones and digi-cams, and photos are flying through the air – Flickr-ing, Instagramming, Facebooking, Pinning, filling email (and I do mean FILLING email.)

Photos abound. Photographic knowledge does not abound.

I remember about fourteen years ago when I was trying to teach Photoshop and Elements online to artists. It was like pulling teeth to get them to accept this new way of working with images.

I was ahead of the times, but the times caught up.

These days, hardly anyone fears Photoshop anymore.

But these days, hardly anyone needs Photoshop anymore either

They are carrying iPads around with them – which contain everything they need to do anything and everything with photographs.

And it’s all so much easier.

But most people are still just poking at things without a clue how to do something on purpose with all these magic buttons we’ve got.

And so I thought somebody should maybe write a simple handbook about how to do everything with photos on the iPad.

And so I did.

But I didn’t call it “How to Do Everything with Photos on the iPad”.

I called it “iPad Photo Arts”. Classier.

This workbook has it all – how to shoot photos with the iPad, and/or import photos shot with something else. How to edit and fix and manipulate and distress. How to retouch and resize and make photo collages that are tastefully designed.

Even how to ORGANIZE all those photos you have on your iPad.

I am fond of all the books I write for you, but I must say I am especially proud of this one.

Somehow, working on this for two weeks, I managed to get everything you need to know into a 70 page ebook (PDF).

And it’s all explained simply in my step-by-step style – so there will be no inner child left behind.

Not only will you learn HOW to do everything with photos, you will learn WHY you are doing it, so you will know WHAT to do to get any desired result with your photos and images.

This wonderfully empowering workbook is $15 even though it is half again as long as the other iPad Workbooks. Any student registered in the iPad Studio Workshop can claim a $5 discount in the Shopping Cart.

Whether you are a photo hobbyist, a photo artist, a scrap booker, collage artist, or that guy from Des Moines, if you have an iPad, and any photos around, you NEED this book.

And you can get it here:

iPad Photo Arts


My Shopping Cart is temporarily refusing to download the new book automatically. I will email you a direct link to the book as soon as I see your order come in. There is no need to email me about the problem – we are working on it.


iTangle Is Finally Here!!

itanglecoverMy gosh . . . it’s finally finished. The first and only instruction book for tangling and doodling on your iPad.

I am not a tangler nor a teacher of tangling. But I do know my way around the iPad pretty well (you’d think I should – after writing over 700 pages of iPad art instruction since 2012!).

Because I invited my friend, Sandy Bartholomew, to teach at my retreat last year, about half the attendees were tanglers of one type or another. We even had several CZTs in attendance.

And ALL of them were carrying iPads. And NONE of them were practicing their tangle art ON the iPad.

The iPad is a GREAT tool for making art of all kinds, but as easy as it is to use, the art apps are not only confusing, they don’t come with instructions either!

So, my job . . . figure out which of the hundreds of drawing apps worked best and most simply for this art form, most closely mimicked the real life experience of pen, pencil, and paper, and which also included all the basic operating features of iPad art apps, so students could move on to more complicated apps and understand them better, if so desired. (Wow! Was that sentence long enough for ya?)

I did all that figuring, and then wrote a manual which teaches you how to use the app to tangle, doodle, or do line drawing using step-by-step instructions WITH pictures. Easy as can be. Even my cat can do it – she thinks she can anyway.

Learn to make the right size Tiles and string them, and use them if you practice traditional Zentangle (TM).

Learn to draw tangles with the tangle instructions right there on the page with you – but then make the instructions disappear and leave your beautiful design all alone -ready to enjoy and share on the iPad, or print, or resize, or . . . anything you want because you now have a *digital* tangle design with no need for scanning.

I want to make it clear that this is NOT a book of tangle designs. Folks like Sandy Bartholomew do a much better job of that than I. In fact, Sandy’s three ebooks are great companions to the iTangle Book because you can keep them right there in iBooks and pick any design from them to work with. All right there within the iPad!

Click the SHOP button on Sandy’s blog to access those wonderful books. (The Santa Fe one is my favorite, of course.)

If you are not so traditional in your tangling practice, the iTangle book teaches you how to erase and correct from a bug’s eye perspective (yes, you can erase iPad “ink”), and even how to do some blended SHADING like Sandy uses to make her tangles look 3D.

And, if you are not into tangling at all, this book is still for you, because, of all the iPad art books I’ve written, this is the one that most simply introduces you to line drawing on the iPad. So if you draw rubber stamps designs, or just doodle for fun and creative exercise, this the perfect way for you to learn to do that on your iPad.

I am redesigning my website to present these books better, but I know you don’t want to wait for that, so here is the link to the Shopping Cart where you can buy iTangle right now.

There is even a BUNDLE there for saving $10 on a three book combo, and you can learn to print from the iPad too.

I don’t have connections with any tangling groups, etc.,so if you do, please share this post with them so we can get the word out to all those tanglers walking around with empty iPads!


Let There Be Light . . . and Other Stuff

brushpaintingBrushes . . .

Sketch Journal Two has begun and the first thing we are doing is learning to draw and paint brushes – a favorite subject of mine always. I love drawing art supplies.

This sample is a work in progress in which I am attempting to paint with watercolor on canvas. It’s not easy – I have tested all kinds of additives and am not thrilled with anything. Also, the piece will need to be varnished or sealed somehow when finished. I don’t like the watercolor canvas at all – or painting on absorbent ground. My goal is to get the same look I get on Arches cold press, which this does have so far. Wish me luck.


For your enthusiastic support for putting my work and my gallery online.

Since somebody mentioned the glass night lights, and I have some on hand, I started with them. The gallery website does not exist yet, so I will be using my “jessica” site for awhile. I haven’t done much with that one and I should.

Here’s a reminder of what my night lights look like . . .

bluebirdbranch goldenstars

The design is done by a method called kiln carving. You create and cut your design from a special, thick paper made of ceramic, and then let the glass slump over it when fusing. The design gets “carved” into the back of the glass. The result is very pretty.

And here’s the page with all of my current lights.:

Coming VERY Soon   . . .

A brand new iPad Art Book, called “iTangle”.

All about how to tangle, doodle, and draw on your iPad. It also happens to be the best simple introduction to the basics of how art apps function on the iPad.

Yes, I have been busy – now where are those elves?!



Can you have fun Resizing Photos?


As all of you know, I have been teaching computer graphics online for a LONG time. And I am pretty good at explaining stuff that seems complicated.

But there is one thing that remains unteachable for the most part, no matter how hard I try.

That thing is resizing photos. I have taught myself blue in the face and still, most folks just glaze right over when the subject comes up – or God forbid, the need arises.

I was reminded of this again the other day when a nice customer at the gallery offered to send me some pictures of a rusted raven he bought from us – now nicely ensconced in his garden. He said he would just send them all since he hadn’t really edited them yet.

OMG. I got almost a gigabyte worth of email with HUGE photos that took forever to download, and when they did, I had to scroll to see them – on my 24″ display!

Sound familiar?

So the irony is that we now have more photos than at any time in history, and yet we don’t use them or print them much because we can’t figure out resizing.

I also teach art journaling, as you know, and when we had the Santa Fe Retreat last September, I knew that people were going to want to take pictures of Santa Fe – AND they were going to want to put them in their journals. AND they all had iPads.

So I wrote a book about it – and gave it to them – and they loved it – and NOBODY had a problem about their photos being the right size to fit on their journal pages – regardless of what space they had to occupy. And nobody wasted any photo paper because we could print a bunch of photos of varied sizes on one page.

And nobody had to even think about pixels or resolution or anything else like that. They just arranged their photos to fit their pages layouts. And it was fun and intuitive and creative and artistic. All of that – really.

So, I updated the book and added some helpful templates – for cards and things as well as journal pages, and I have published it just in time for the busiest PHOTO season of the year.

And some of you might get iPads for Christmas if you haven’t got one already.

But for sure all of you are going to greatly increase the number of photos you don’t know what to do with during this holiday season, so you NEED this book.

You don’t need any background or to have taken the iPad Studio Workshop. This book stands alone.

If, however, you don’t know squat about photos and images on the iPad – like where they are kept and how to move them around and stuff like that, you might also want my iPad Studio Workbook 1 – which covers all that stuff. Therefore, I am offering a bundle of the two which will save you $5. It’s in the Shopping Cart.

SO, here is the link to this revolutionary Workbook. You will never have to worry about pixels again!

Printing Photos from Your iPad

What else is new . . .

Tis the season to be SO busy. I’ve been making art glass, buying a new car (had to), and planning the big gallery move.

I have things to share but it will have to be next time because the timer just ding-a-linged to tell me my famous baked potatoes are done and there are people around here who cannot wait!

Here’s that recipe in the Wisdom Woman Archives . . .


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Garden Art Journal . . . New Stuff


Another good art starter when you can’t think of what to journal about is a chronicle of new things.

It seems like every year, I add some permanent things to the garden: tools, pots, sculptures, feeders, etc.

When you bring them home all shiny, it’s a good time to have them star on a garden journal page.

Plus, they hold still and let you sketch them, unlike many other things in the garden.

This page was done with pan watercolors in my Stillman & Birn Beta journal.

I didn’t do any transferring – just sketched with 3H pencil and painted over.

These pots really are a find.

They are beautiful and look just like ceramic.

You all know I don’t like plastic much, but I needed to get those Hibiscus into large pots and I have to be able to move them – to rescue them from hail.

These are still managable even when full of wet dirt. And they look natural.



Corona is my favorite brand of garden tool and I am excited every time I get a new one. The one in the journal is a mini lopper.

And, of course this trip to Lowes also yielded some Morning Glory Seeds. I have some full grown already that I started from nursery plants, and I am about to start another crop from seed. I got some incubators I will be telling you about, so they will get enough overhead light and still not get eaten by bunnies.

Another GREAT Thing from Lowes . . .


Oh do I love this app!

First of all, the print magazine you can pick up in the store is really good, but the interactive version on the iPad is TOO wonderful.

Great animated graphics – like watching little gardens grow right before your eyes, and every project has step-by-steps and supply lists to click on. It is ultra-entertaining – and free!

And maybe my favorite thing – Pin It! buttons with every article, so you can keep and share the projects for future “doing”.

Yay for Lowes! This is marketing at its best.

Here’s the link

Creative Ideas


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Things not what they seem . . .


Sometimes, things are not what they seem, and on my recent road trip, I ran into a couple of good examples of this that I wanted to record in my trip journal. By the time I got done with the page, I had used some interesting techniques that I thought would be worth sharing with you.

The first thing was a tree. We saw it while getting gas before we ever left Santa Fe. . .


If this tree looks a little strange to you, there is a good reason. It is not a tree at all. It is a cell tower dressed up like a tree. Not bad, but a real tree would look like this . . .


However, you gotta hand it to them – the pretend tree certainly looks better than a big pole with lots of metal boxes on it.

The second strange thing came up when we were just about to Albuquerque, and I saw this . . .


That doesn’t look so unusual for the Southwest, right? Just a lone pueblo building on a barren plain.

However, that really was the Sandia Casino and Resort, which looks more like this . . .


It’s vast and huge, and not at all isolated. It’s all a matter of where you are looking from. Driving southbound on I-25, for a brief moment, you get the simplified version.

So, I wanted to put these two subjects in my journal, and usually, I would sketch and paint them.

But I was feeling very lazy, and I didn’t want to draw everything to scale etc.

So, first I turned to my iPad where I had imported the photos (actually shot with my iPhone from the car).

There is an iPad app called Artist’s Sketch that does a very good job of turning photos into sketches. There are lots of iPad apps that do this, and you can do it with filters in Photoshop and Elements as well, but I like this app the best,


So I turned the two photos into sketches that looked like this . . .


I then flipped them and printed them onto Sheer Heaven . . .


Once they were transferred into my Stilman & Birn Beta journal, all I had left to do was paint . . .


So, the message here is that if you are too lazy to draw something like I was, or if you aren’t all that happy with your drawing skills, but like to add color, this is a perfect way to get anything from a photo into your art journal – as an illustration.

Try this – it’s fun!

Art from the Oven – Blast from the Past


I have a billion old art magazines taking up WAY too much space in my life. Maybe you do too and you will recognize this scenario:

Go through a magazine, see two or three items of interest, turn down the page corners, put the magazine away. Wait years before you pick it up again, look at the marked pages, realize that you forgot about that interesting thing entirely, consider tossing the magazine away, don’t throw it away because now you remember there is something of interest in there. Put the magazine back on the stack.

Sound familiar? Soon the Hoarder Police are knocking on your studio door.

Then, maybe, you go through a few of those magazines, tear out the interesting articles, and recycle or gift what’s left. Stack those articles in a drawer, or maybe even file them – and they are never seen again. But, they’re taking less space at least. Remember what was in that interesting article? Not.

I love my iPad for so many reasons, but here is another way it has changed my life.

Now, I take a photo of that interesting article with my iPad, paste it into a journal called “Snippits” that I keep on my iPad, add a couple keywords so I can find it later, and recycle the paper magazine.

My Snippits Journal becomes one big magazine that has only the things I found noteworthy in a hundred paper magazine.

Space saved – priceless.

And the photos the iPad shoots of the magazine page are amazing – just as good as a scan!

So, the tip about using the oven to melt embossing powder at the beginning of this post is from my Snippits Journal. See how clear and easy to read?

I also started emptying drawers full of clippings and torn out pictures. I just lay them on the desk and snap a photo with the iPad.

And you know how torn out articles have those rough edges and get all crinkled up?

Once I have them on my iPad, those rough edges don’t mean a thing, and they don’t get any more wrinkles either! I bet you recognize the author of this article . . . she is coming to visit for a week!! Tonight!! I am so excited!

And . . . you can zoom in on the photo to read it better.

Now, that first tip about using the oven to melt embossing powder brings me to a question I have.

Have you found melted embossing powder to stand the test of time? I’m talking about the regular stuff, not the Ultra.

I make a lot of cards for the gallery and could do some interesting effects with EP, but I hesitate. Some embossed things from years ago have gone dull and have to be reheated to shine again.

Reheating won’t be an option for a card that gets sold.

Embossing powder came from the process called thermography (poor man’s engraving), with which they would make the business cards with the raised printing years ago. I still have some of those business cards and they are fine, but many pieces I made with the stampers embossing powders, especially the clear, have not fared so well. What has your experience been?

Thank you for your enthusiastic response to my new book.

I hope you are all out there with your pencils looking a flower in the face!!

Here is the link again if you haven’t seen it:

Draw Simple Flowers