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Scribble Artist Interview with Doris Sampson!

Scribble Town (ST): Here with us on the Scribble Blog is Doris Sampson!  Doris is an artist full of energy, stories, creativity, and much much more as you will soon find out.  Doris, where are you and what are you up to these days?

See how I found shoes in this drawing?  Added eyes to create a shy guy asking for a dance.

See how I found shoes in this drawing? Added eyes to create a shy guy asking for a dance.

Doris Sampson (DS): I live in Duluth, Minnesota . . . U.S.A.  This city is located at the western-most tip of Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes.  It’s awesome!  Like living on the shore of an ocean, from our shore we cannot see land on the eastern horizon.  Weather events can rile up some terrible storms, occasionally over even modern decades taking a freighter to the bottom of any one of the Great Lakes.  The Big Lake is also our natural air conditioner.  Because the temperature of the lake is always much cooler than the air, when we get a wind off the lake, Duluth can be significantly cooler as we’re situated in the valley of a big hill alongside the shore.  Over the hill, much warmer!  I like it this way because I’m no fan of hot weather!

DS: My career as an Artist spans 48 years, and I started Photography shortly after that, too.  I’ve put tons of time and money into taking pictures, and since starting digital in 2002, in total over all my years, have tens and tens of thousands of pictures.  Therefore, big chunks of time have gone into organizing those photos and since digital can fix OLD photos, in recent years lots of time has gone into restoring many, many photos from family albums covering  my Finnish-American family heritage and history.  I eventually will produce books about my personal memoir and probable historic photo books.  I’ve also been a writer, starting with journaling at the end of 1977.  I absolutely love writing, and my computer storage now contains working manuscripts for at least a dozen book concepts, with other ideas piling up behind those.  But I need to update my computer equipment soon so I can better format manuscripts, and art/photos into them, too, to prepare them for electronic self-publishing.  I love that option we have now!

The shape looked like a golf club, though wildly abstract!

The shape looked like a golf club, though wildly abstract!

ST: When did you start drawing and painting?

DS: As a child I was already a natural artist.  I believe it was genetic as I’m 100% Finnish lineage–and the Finns are genetically extremely artistic.  I loved doing art as a child, all the way through school to graduation.  Because my family was farmer-laborer, I didn’t go to college for higher education–but was smart enough to have done that if there had been money.  Instead, I never sat back on the learning process as a young adult–in any subject.  But rather quickly did return to art . . . painting . . . about 5 years after graduation.  I had two pre-school daughters by then, and began painting on the kitchen table–of course, needing to clean up scrupulously after each session!  Especially because I’d started with oil paints–eventually switching to acrylics to avoid the fumes and possible other contact-toxins from handling oil paints.  Especially Flake White, which has lead.

ST: Was there somebody that encouraged you?

DS: Yes, there was someone who inspired me as an artist starting from a very young age.  Actually, my mother had painted as a teenager with a friend whose name was Marion.  So it was seeing as a child craft pieces my mother had made so many years before by gluing fall leaves on the then-78rpm records.   And then painting the leaves yellows, oranges, reds.  There were three paintings my mother had done that still exist to today.  So those were always on display in my grandparents’ farmhouse in Northern Minnesota.  My father had also been artistic, and had begun art school when they lived in Detroit–I was born in a suburb, Ferndale, at that time.  But he was drafted into World War II and had to quit art school.  Only one drawing my dad did, of the violin maker, Stradevarius, existed then, and to date.  It’s framed and hanging on a wall in my sister’s apartment here in Duluth.  Neither of my parents  were able to follow art as adults.  My mom was a homemaker and my dad a laborer.  Thank God he returned home from the war with just some back problems from a glider crash.  He was in the Battle of the Bulge in the 101st Airborne Division–a terrible event during WWII.

Here is a scribble drawing that reveals a woman by how I filled in spaces with black ink.

Here is a scribble drawing that reveals a woman by how I filled in spaces with black ink.

Marion, as Mom’s girlhood friend since kindergarten (or maybe it was first grade then–did they have kindergarten so very long ago?) . . . was still her friend as I was growing up, and we’d visit her home in that rural area near my grandparents’ farm on occasion.  Marion had taken up painting during her adult  years, but did extremely few in total that I know of.  One was a stunning portrait of a sister who had passed away, painted ethereally in blues, like the sky, her imagery as of angels.  Riveting to me!  Then, I believe this was after I was an adult with a toddler, as I recall one specific visit with my mom to Marion’s, with my daughter; she showed us another painting more recently done . . . a Moose in a Northern Minnesota swamp, edged with the typical swamp spruce and tamarac forest–a beautiful fall scene that I can see in my mind’s eye still.  Marion was so special to me and I just soaked up her artist-ness into my soul!

This mushroom shape becomes one with some embellishment; not the different pen strokes creating varieties of texture.

This mushroom shape becomes one with some embellishment; not the different pen strokes creating varieties of texture.

My family was always supportive of my love of art and Nature as a child.  I would do Paint-by-Number sets, and, again, I loved art in school.  I would save my artworks and when several aunts and uncles came visiting from Detroit and Florida to Minnesota in the summers, I’d bring out those drawings and paintings to put on an ‘exhibit’ . . . and they’d give me a dollar!  Guess what . . . I still have my best, saved artwork from the first dated to when I was 11 years old, through the 7th, 8th and 9th grades of junior high school!  They can be seen on my website: !  For so long I’ve wanted to be an inspiration to children, and here is my first opportunity!

ST: I bet you have been an inspiration to children even when you didn’t mean to be one.  I’m impressed with you range of techniques! You even have collage and modeling pasted paintings.  How did you discover and use this technique?

DS: I don’t remember right now what started the collage/modeling paste paintings.  Since I’ve kept good records throughout my art career, it’s probably written down somewhere for me to find when I can start digging.  But they were fun to do, using materials to build a foundation for a painting; then gessoing that ground (a primer layer); finally painting everything.  Then, give it a wash of diluted burnt umber (brown) acrylic paint mixed in a lot of water and quickly wipe it off again with a soft rag–before it could dry.  Then only a little bit of pigment would remain on the surface of the painting to provide a slight antiquey appearance to it.

ST: How do you handle moments when you get a zoom of inspiration?

DS: Since I do Art, Photography AND Writing, inspiration is more or less a constant on-going thing of which I can never keep up; as much as I would like to.  So Art ideas get noted on paper, some started; Photos are a never ending job in my computer now; and my external hard drive is exploding with accumulated Writing projects, or notes and notes and more notes for those underway, and new project ideas.  What I work on from day to day has no schedule–except to plow into whatever project/s are staring me in the face . . . NOW.

Color can be dropped into a drawing as desired on a computer, for me this was done in Photoshop4.

Color can be dropped into a drawing as desired on a computer, for me this was done in Photoshop4.

ST: What other forms of art do you practice?  What are some tools you like to use to create?

DS: Art, Photgraphy and Writing take up all my work time creativeness.  However, I am a ballroom dancer, and good at it.  Genetic I’m sure as both my parents loved to dance and were great dancers in their early years.  Raising a family, I only saw them dance about three times that I can remember.  I sure wish I could see a movie of the years I was never a conscious part of!  Dance  is a wonderful, beautiful and happy form of Art!

ST: How do you find you models for your pen and ink drawings? There must be hundreds of beautiful portraits!

Here I wanted to make a heart shape with abstractions--a very fast swish, swish, swish with the hand kind of drawing.

Here I wanted to make a heart shape with abstractions–a very fast swish, swish, swish with the hand kind of drawing.

DS: A couple of the people and pet pen and ink drawings you see are ones I did because I wanted to do them for myself.  The rest are commissions from folks who saw my first portrait promotions starting around 2002.  What you see in my website are what I’ve done.  There might be another couple or so not shown, but I can’t remember at this writing.

ST: I’m sure there must be many, but what is one of your favorite songs?

DS: It’s probably better to ask what are my favorite genres of music.  I love Finnish music that depicts my era of growing up–accordian and fiddle bands.  There are two in particular I have tapes or CD’s of; Minnesota bands, “Third Generation” and “The Finn Hall Band”.  Next, whenever I have an opportunity to work in my office AND listen to music at the same time, I’ll put on internet radio with . . . and I’m already keyed in to Classic Country-Bluegrass Gospel songs by historic Nashville voices from yesteryear to current singers who still have the same classic sound.  On Sunday mornings, we have a local radio station, WKLK, that also plays those old gospel songs.  I absolutely love them, and they are my inner Church every time I listen to them; filling me with the Spirit of God!

I also enjoy classical music on occasion; and my everyday favorite genre is the current “Music of Your Life” station that is streamed via many radio stations across America.  Those songs truly depict the best pop songs I’ve heard over my 70 years of lifetime!  So it would be more correct to speak of favorites in each genre–but that would be too big a project to do!

ST: Your art career has taken you on such a journey!

DS: I started my Scribble Drawings, which I now call my “Human Emotional & Thematic Caricatures . . . or Just Pure Art Form”, when I was taking drawing classes at a local university in 1985.

Do you see how you can add human emotion to a drawing than can be transformed into a man by adding teeth, an eye and a hat!?

Do you see how you can add human emotion to a drawing than can be transformed into a man by adding teeth, an eye and a hat!?

University art classes were already far into the “modern” thing . . . be loose, let your mind wander, and finally . . . just scribble and see what happens.  Well, I absolutely LOVED what I did with scribbles, learning immediately that the most important thing to remember is . . . WHEN TO QUIT!  My personal take on it was to use quality pen and ink, and then take a good look at the scribbles to see if or what there was anything recognizable in the shapes.  If so, then I’d start filling in space with my black ink to bring out that ‘something’ . . . or ‘someone’, if it had an abstract human element to it.  Other times the shapes and forms depicted only abstract shapes and forms!  So then I filled spaces in while keeping COMPOSITION in mind; to create Pure Art Form.

I did a large number of them around 1985, and it was the year 2000 when I took it up again.  I was working on a book of poems about the subject of “Love” as a “mystery”.  I wanted to illustrate the book and it occurred to me those 1985 drawings could be termed mysterious.  When I checked them out, I discovered that many of my poems actually matched what some of the drawings seemed to be displaying.  So I included them into my manuscript, and started doing the scribble drawings again here and there until now.  I have about 250 of them now!  These can be seen on my website also:  Find this gallery under ART OF DORIS SAMPSON.

ST: Doris, thank you so much for sharing with us! You have shown us how to look at life, lines, and color in a different way with your creative scribbles!  If you have any tips for parents and adults for how to create with children please let us know.

This drawing shape clearly resembled a pumpkin, so I gave it color and an abstracty kind of face!

This drawing shape clearly resembled a pumpkin, so I gave it color and an abstracty kind of face!

DS: As for tips for parents, EVERY CHILD IS AN ARTIST!  Provide the materials for them, and they will draw and/or paint.  Display the Artworks.  Choose the best from every year’s work and place these into an archival album–learn HOW to preserve art and photos archivally, don’t just glue or tape them in.  There are album stores all over the country now.  There is one online source I’ve been able to get oversize albums from in which to store my Scribble Drawings.  It used to be called Century Plastics . . . don’t know if that’s a current name or not.  These albums were acid-free, as I recall, with 12×18 pages of sturdy paper.  A perfect ground for archiving your children’s artworks.  The best of the best artwork/s–mat and frame them!  I have some from my daughters.  Once, when her dad and I went to a conference night, there were pastel painting pictures hanging all around the room–one by each child in that class.  My eyes flew to one in particular that clearly shouted, “This child IS an Artist inside already!”  It was so good compositionally, and with colors, lines, shapes and forms!  Well . . . it was my daughter’s . . . a chip off the old block, going all the way back to both of her grandparents’ generation, too!

This daughter is now an assistant professor in the Art Department of a University in the State of Missouri!  My other daughter is a Certified Public Accountant; and far on her way, too, of becoming a Nutritionist . . . already, via the internet, she is teaching people how to live and eat NATURALLY.  That was something else our family did–we gardened organically, I canned and froze vegetables and fruits; and by golly, both grew up to follow in those footsteps.  The Artist of my two daughters, and her husband, own an organic farm and apple orchard in Missouri!

ST: You are right, Doris, every child is an artist.  Thank you 🙂

Try these two Scribble Inspirations from Doris Sampson:
‘Yellow roses for my birthday’ and ‘Collage painting art project’

Ultimately I elaborated on the original (displayed above) by adding red and blue for a patriotic statement, "I Love America!"  This is a wonderful example of how and why I plan to produce a line of products, such as greeting cards, from my drawings!

Ultimately I elaborated on the original (displayed above) by adding red and blue for a patriotic statement, “I Love America!” This is a wonderful example of how and why I plan to produce a line of products, such as greeting cards, from my drawings!

All photos: Copyright Doris Sampson 2013.  Permission for free educational use for children granted.  All Artist Reproduction-Distribution Rights Reserved. Contact Information:“.  Feedback to Artist is welcome!”


Scribble Artist Interview with Chelsea Waite!

Scribble Town (ST):  Every year, Youth Art Month (YAM) has a flag competition for each state.  Students from each grade level (elementary, middle, high school) creates a flag design for YAM in their state.  The design can use the National theme: Art Shapes the World, or you can create your own theme.  A winner will be chosen from the three levels and the winning flags will be represented on the posters and postcards promoting the YAM show at the Capitol in March.  The winning student artist will receive an actual 3’x5’ flag of their winning design.  On the Scribble Blog with us is the winning high school student from Minnesota, Chelsea Waite!

Chelsea Waite's winning NM YAM flag!

Chelsea Waite’s winning NM YAM flag!

Chelsea, what was your first thought when you heard of the YAM project?

Chelsea Waite (CW): When I first heard of the contest, I was excited because I have never been involved in a art contest this big before.

ST: Already you sound like a person who is up for challenges and like to take a chance! How did your idea develop?  What story or idea are you trying to convey with your flag?

CW: I wanted to focus on the idea of diversity. I think diversity is important to New Mexico because of the many different cultures we have here. My first idea of how to represent diversity is in using the Zia symbol. I found that I could manipulate the ends of the symbol to go off into different direction, but then come together in the middle to make one complete symbol. This is how I think the people of New Mexico are, we come from lots of different cultures but live together as one.

ST: Multiculturalism in New Mexico is just one of the things that makes it a special place. 🙂 How did you decide what medium to use?

CW: I decided that I would use Sharpie and color pencils because it is easy to make small thin lines with these mediums.

ST: How do you feel about your final outcome?

CW: I was happy with my final outcome, but I never thought it would win.

ST: And that’s exactly what happened! What do you like most about your YAM flag?

CW: My favorite element in my flag are the yucca flowers. I didn’t choose the yucca flower because it is our state flower, I chose it because it is not very pretty. Compared to the millions of flowers in the world, the yucca flower is ugly but if you look close enough there is beauty there. I think this represents New Mexico because of that very same reason. This state is often overlooked but if people take the time to look close enough they will be able to see beauty.

ST: That’s such an honest approach to depicting your surrounding.  There is beauty everywhere if we just tune our eyes in the right way.  You are so wise and thoughtful!  How did the idea come into your head?

CW: I came up with the idea the moment I heard about the contest. The idea popped into my head very easily and with not much effort.

ST: And just like that we now have a beautiful YAM flag for New Mexico! Thank you Chelsea for your creativity and taking the time to share with the Scribblers!

Scribble Artist Interview with Joel Garten!

Scribble Town (ST): With us is Joel Garten, an artist, composer, writer, and entrepreneur.  Joel says, “I have so many different things that I do, and the thing that unites them all is a sense of flow and creative energy.  I use that sense of flow and intuition in everything I create, and try to have a sense of flow in my path through life.”  Yes, you do Joel and it is seen in your colorful, vibrant, and musical paintings.

Joel, where are you and what are you up to these days?

Portrait of Joel Garten
Portrait of Joel Garten

Joel Garten (JG): I am working on a series of large scale paintings. These paintings are 4 feet by 8 feet, really long scrolls of paper that I paint with many different type of media.  I also compose music on the piano regularly.

"Untitled" 48×60 inches, oil pastel and oil stick on paper by Joel Garten
“Untitled” 48×60 inches, oil pastel and oil stick on paper by Joel Garten

ST: When did music enter your life and was there somebody that encouraged you to compose?  I wonder what came first- music or painting?  I say this because I can see the music in your paintings!

JG: The music certainly came first in my life.  It came very early, I started playing piano when I was eight or nine, and I began composing music very soon thereafter.  It is something I took to very naturally, and I have been composing for more than 20 years.  Interestingly, I have a lot of difficulty reading music – almost like music notation dyslexia – which meant that I devoted most of my musical output to improvising music.  This means I write the music as I play, it is all one artistic creation of the moment.  My music is very personal, and an expression of my sense of intuition and rhythym.  My music has also always been influenced and inspired by visual art, such artists as Jackson Pollock, Giorgio Morandi, and Richard Diebenkorn.  It is meditative, soulful, dissonant, and repetitive; but repetitive in a good way – the way that repetition can unearth deeper truths in the music as it unfolds.

Here is an improvisation from a recent concert I did in Toronto: joel-garten-live-in-concert

"Untitled" 22x30 inches, mixed media on paper by Joel Garten

"Untitled" 22x30 inches, mixed media on paper by Joel Garten

ST: And with painting- how do you feel the two artistic elements support each other?

JG: Creating visual art myself is something that happened only recently, and has really increased in intensity in the past few months.  I was inspired to create art by seeing works by Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Just like Basquiat, my work has a lot of bright, joyful colors, but also works at deeper level, what the Abstract Expressionist called “the sublime”.  Abstract expressionism is an influence on my art, as is the work of Cy Twombley.  Yes, there is a lot of music in my artwork, and a lot of people say they can really see music in my paintings.  It is because there is a lot of energy, vibration, and that sense of flow that I talked about earlier in the paintings.  The artworks have rhythm.

ST: When did you start composing, playing the piano and painting?  You play improvisational music- do you ever paint in that manner?

JG: The artwork is definitely improvisational.  I start with no preconceived plan or sketch, I simply start in, and follow my intuition.  I let the painting tell me what to do.  And recently I have been starting to use acrylic paints to do essentially finger painting – except using my whole hand, and sometimes my whole arm.  I also use both hands to paint, sometimes at the same time, just like using my right and left hand to play piano.

Joel Garten in creative motion
Joel Garten in creative motion

ST: What have you been listening to when you paint?  What kind of music do you like?

JG: I have a number of different things on when I paint, sometimes it is Stevie Wonder, sometimes it is jazz by Keith Jarrett (a big influence in my music) or Bobo Stenson.  I like classical music, jazz and Motown, as well as new music.

ST: Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create?  If there’s a process you go through to spark the creativity, please let us know.

JG: I usually get most inspired at night.  I don’t really need daylight to paint, I like to paint under incandescent lighting. I put on some music, take some supplies and start painting.

"Untitled" 22×30 inches, oil pastel and oil stick on paper by Joel Garten

"Untitled" 22×30 inches, oil pastel and oil stick on paper by Joel Garten

ST: What are some other forms of art you practice? Do you ever mix other mediums with your oil pastels?

JG: Well, I have a plan to do a number of other types of art.  The next thing I would like to do is use my artwork to create fashion.  Yes, I use oil pastels, oil stick (oil paint in stick form), and acrylic paint.

ST: I can’t wait to wear a piece of your art!  Do you ever play with other musicians?  Please let us know of your next show.

JG: I improvise music on my own, it is a very personal, and maybe even spiritual experience.  I do have interactions with other musician though.  When I was younger I was invited by the rock musician Bryan Adams to play a concert at his studio in Vancouver.  I am also doing a series of artist profiles of musicians, which is being published on the Huffington Post.  Right now I am focusing on doing small scale studio sessions-concerts of my music, and I want to turn those into a CD.

"Untitled" 22x30 inches, mixed media on paper by Joel Garten

"Untitled" 22x30 inches, mixed media on paper by Joel Garten

ST: You are up to all sort of creative happenings. Definitely keep Scribble Town posted on all your adventures! Just hearing about how energetic, active, and open you are is encouraging in itself.

JG: A lot of children are natural artists, and famous painters like Basquiat and Jean Dubuffet were inspired by children’s paintings.  It is hard for people to hold onto to their child-like talents as the get older, and marry those instincts with experience.

ST: Thank you Joel for all your insight and inspiration!  Joel has also given parents and teachers tips on how to talk about art with young artists.  To read more about that please go to the Scribble Shop Inspirations page:

Check out Joel Garten’s website!

"Untitled" 22x30 inches, mixed media on paper by Joel Garten

"Untitled" 22x30 inches, mixed media on paper by Joel Garten

Scribble Artist Interview with Pedro Mena!

Scribble Town (ST): Pedro Mena, a person of multiple trades and interests, is here with us in Scribble Town!  Pedro is an artist, teacher and a first time dad. He likes NY Pizza, Spanish Soccer, and the History of Rock and Roll!  Pedro, where are you and what are you up to these days?

Squeegees of Spain by Pedro Mena

Squeegees of Spain by Pedro Mena

Pedro Mena (PM): San Francisco Bay Area. Off on Paternity Leave! Returning to teaching visual art shortly. Donated a piece for the upcoming annual HAPS (Haight Ashbury Psychological Services) Art Auction Benefit.

ST: Congratulations on your new baby! Having a new family member will put a special spin on things 🙂 How has your art practice changed over time and does being an art teacher (and for the future- being a father) have an effect on your own art practice?  Please let us know what ages and where you teach.

PM: It has become more specific in addressing necessity. Yes! It has allowed for more patience and flexibility – and a new outlook on seeking and bridging ideas. Middle School, Burke’s, SF.

A peek into Pedro Mena's classroom

A peek into Pedro Mena's classroom

ST: From the looks of your classroom you definitely encourage all kinds of artistic practice- from visual to musical!  What do you hope to communicate with your art and with your teaching?  Are there any other artistic mediums you work with to help push your idea along?

PM: Excitement and Engagement. Anything and everything! Music, technology, storytelling…

ST: How old were you when you first started making art and who encouraged you to create?

PM: I remember the first time getting recognized for my drawing – it was in 1st grade. A classmate asked for a drawing of Spider-Man after seeing mine. I won 3rd place in a community coloring contest later that year. I bought a toy robot of Twiki from the Buck Rogers series with the $10 toy store gift certificate prize. My family encouraged me. I was surrounded with the paintings, drawings, and prints of my grandfather growing up. He encouraged me as well. 

ST: Who are some of your favorite artists and/or authors?

PM: My grandfather, Bolivar Mena Franco, El Greco, Andrea del Castagno, Velasquez, Max Ernst, Rothko, Forrest Bess, Philip Guston,Jack Kirby, Wes Wilson, ’80s Ashley Bickerton, Jonathan Lasker, Steve Dibenedetto (college professor), Lady Pink, Nate 1…too many to name! They’ve all brought static works to life. As for writers, Peter Guralnick can sure bring a biography to life.

Pedro Mena's Rock Benefit Merchandise

Pedro Mena's Rock Benefit Merchandise

ST: I can see how your favorite artists have inspired you.  Your students are very lucky to have such an enthusiastic and caring teacher.  Thank you for sharing with Scribble Town and keep us posted on your upcoming auction and other benefit programs!

To read more about Pedro Meno’s tips on how to make Sticker Art please go to: 

Scribble Artist Interview with Sari Toivola!

Sari Toivola (Sari): Hi! I’m Sari Toivola a Graphic Designer and Illustrator from Vantaa, Finland. I love drawing, designing, comics, history, horses and cats.  🙂  I’m working as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator and my business name is Sari ja kuva. I am also a qualificated special needs assistant and have worked with kids, so I’m really excited when I get a chance to create something for them!

Katteja by Sari Toivola

Katteja by Sari Toivola

Scribble Town (ST): Thank you Sari for being with us at Scribble Town!  I like your business name ‘Sari ja kuva’ because when I did a translation of it from Finnish to English it means ‘Sari and picture’.  I started playing around with your words and found that if you put them all together (take away the i) sarjakuva means cartoon!  How clever of you to come up with that name!  It makes perfect sense why a girl named Sari from Finland should be an illustrator and comic lover.

With that said please tell us more about yourself.  What are you up to these days?

Sari: At the moment, I’m doing different kind of works for small companies, associations and private persons. Drawing and designing isn’t only work for me, it’s also a hobby and a lifestyle.

"Wonderland by Sari Toivola"

Wonderland by Sari Toivola

ST: What do you like most about illustrating?

Sari: Drawing is creative and the most natural way for me to express myself. By drawing you can mix reality and fantasy, only sky (and your own imagination) is the limit. It’s also rewarding to draw for some specific purpose where illustration is supposed to be a part of the big picture and support, for example, a text. I’m always trying to create something a bit new and bring the subject a new point of view. I also want to express feelings through my pictures, hoping they will touch the viewers as well.

"Hundra Hundarna by Sari Toivola"
Hundra Hundarna “One hundred dogs” by Sari Toivola

ST: What is your favorite place to create?

Sari: Most of the time I work at home but some days it’s also nice to go to a nice coffee house and work there. It totally depends on my mood… If I’m tired I’d rather stay at home but sometimes it’s good and healthy to go outside and then I usually pick a nice place with some background noise which helps me concentrate. 🙂

ST: What art techniques or tools do you like to use?

Sari: Mostly I draw digitally on the computer using a mouse and a few programs, but I also use pencils and markers for sketching. I usually start a new work by drawing and sketching by hand. Then I scan my sketches and finish the work with a computer by drawing the lines and coloring.

"Miimikot by Sari Toivola"
Miimikot by Sari Toivola

ST: Where do you get your inspiration from?

Sari: I get my inspiration from every day life, people, animals, and nature. I’m also very into European history of arts and culture. This is one of the things that inspires me most.

"Hamlet by Sari Toivola"
Hamlet by Sari Toivola. Ollako vai eikö olla? To Be or Not to Be?

ST: Do you have a craft, piece of art, or art technique you can share with our Scribblers for them to make at home? Any tips would be great!

Sari: I have been working with an intreresting technique lately called “Taikataikina,” which translates to “Magic Dough.” Everyone can make it, you just need some wheat flour, salt, water and cooking oil. You can handle it like play dough or clay and it can be harden in a regular oven.

Instructions on how to make Taikataikina aka Magic Dough:

"Taikisnaamio or Magic Dough by Sari Toivola"

Taikisnaamio or Magic Dough by Sari Toivola

3 dl wheat flour

1½ dl salt
1½ dl water
(dl= deciliter)

1 spoon of oil

If you like you can also add a hint of food colouring to the dough for more color. 🙂

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add water and oil. Fold the dough until it’s smooth and then start creating.

If you don’t use all the dough at once, keep the rest of the dough in fridge so you can use it later.

Finished artworks can be harden by heating them in an oven about an hour in 125 celsius degrees. Hardened works can be painted and varnished by using water colours, acrylics or permanent markers.

Sari Toivola's Taikisnaamio or Magic Dough going in the oven

Sari Toivola's Taikisnaamio or Magic Dough going in the oven

This dough is very easy to make and simple to work with. It’s 100% non-toxic, so it’s also suitable for small children. And it is cheap and can be hardened at home without any complicated or expensive equipment. 🙂

Here are a couple of photos of fresh Magic Dough Masks waiting to get cleaned up and colored. 🙂

ST: What a great idea, Sari! Perhaps the Scribblers out there could make their own Magic Dough and send in pictures of their creations. We can post your Magic Dough sculptures on the Scribble Blog. I’m definitely ready to get my hands all floured up and turn 2D into 3D!

Felipe, Christian, M, & Pierre painted by Sari Toivola

Here's what Felipe, Christian, M, & Pierre look like with color! Painted by Sari Toivola

After the Magic Dough creations bake in the oven you can paint them.  To the left are Felipe, Christian, M, and Pierre with rosy lips and faces full of color.

For more info about Sari and her artwork please have a look at  I’m sure she’d love hear from you!  In Finnish you can say “moi” or “hei” for hello. Hay is not just for horses in this part of the world 🙂

Thanks Sari for all the inspiration you have given us!

Scribblers, don’t forget to send in jpegs of your Magic Dough creations to Can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with!

Kissalumiukko "A Snowman Cat" by Sari Toivola

Kissalumiukko "A Snowman Cat" by Sari Toivola

Kameleonttilinnut ja neljä vuodenaikaa "Cameleon birds and the four seasons" by Sari Toivola

Kameleonttilinnut ja neljä vuodenaikaa "Cameleon birds and the four seasons" by Sari Toivola

My Life and Ego by Sari Toivola

My Life and Ego by Sari Toivola

Snow Cups

Well, this month is off to an unseasonably warm start. That’s making it all the tougher to really believe that it’s already December! But don’t be fooled—winter is here. Let’s just enjoy the mild days of December while we can because chilly air and snow can’t be far away.


Speaking of snow, how cute are these snowman cups? Becca of Blue Cricket Design created these adorable little guys with Styrofoam cups, some pink and black paint, and a little orange stiff felt.


With a small, round sponge and pink paint, dab some rosy cheeks onto your cup. Next, dip the back of a paintbrush in black paint and create the coal eyes and mouth. Finally, cut a triangle of orange stiff felt and hot glue it to the cup as the carrot nose! That’s all it takes! If you’re making a whole bunch, you can set up an assembly line and do each step in bulk one at a time.


Cute, cost-effective, and useful! These little guys are just perfect for milk and cookies or hot chocolate. They also make adorable carriers for classroom snacks or clever goodie bags (just stick lids on them)! And even in the nice weather, these snowmen won’t melt. Have fun!


Styrofoam Snowman Cups

Photo via Blue Cricket Design


Posted by Andi Thea, on December 4th, 2012 at 4:03 am. No Comments

Category: adults,Arts & Crafts,classroom,holiday,kids Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

For Your Entertainmint

What are your feelings on candy canes? Come wintertime, they’re just all over the place. While they make lovely seasonal decorations, they often lead a lonely existence. Sure, every so often, someone will eat one, but that’s it. As a stand-alone snack, they’re fine, but imagine how yummy they’d be with some tasty partners in crime!


These adorable sled snacks from Gluesticks and Planning with Kids make a perfect treat for the kids… whether it’s for a party or just hanging at home. All you need are mini candy canes, some chocolate frosting, mini Milky Way bars, and Teddy Grahams.


Cut your Milky Way in half and use the chocolate frosting to adhere it to two candy canes for the sled. Then stick a Teddy Graham in between the chocolate bar halves for the driver. That’s all it takes!


Mmm… chocolate and peppermint that’s as tasty as it is adorable. Now, there’s a winning combination. On your marks. Get set. GO!


photo via Gluesticks

Scribble a Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Scribblers!

What a beautiful day for a parade and for sharing time with friends and family.

I thought that you would enjoy these fun and easy activities to keep your little Scribblers busy while you are preparing for the festivities.

Scribble your own Thanksgiving placemat with our downloadable coloring page.  Click on the image to download and print.

Scribble a Thanksgiving placemat
Scribble a Thanksgiving Placemat

Your kids will enjoy making this turkey headband.  It’s easy too. You’ll need some colorful construction paper, scissors and glue.  Cut, glue and assemble and enjoy!

Make your Own Turkey Headband
Make your Own Turkey Headband

Here’s a coloring page that’s sure to delight, get those crayons and markers out and get scribbly!!

Turkey Coloring Page
Turkey Coloring Page

Wishing you a happy day and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Gobble, Gobble!!!

Warm Regards,


Chief Scribbler

Postcards Come in All Shapes & Sizes! Enter Yours!

Hi Scribblers,

It’s been quite the week here in NYC.  Hurricane Sandy came in with such tremendous force, I don’t think anyone was prepared for the damage and devastation she left in her path. Our building was evacuated and our lobby filled up with water and could have passed for an Olympic sized swimming pool.   We still are without power or heat. Transportation has been difficult and we haven’t been able to get to the office, so I’ve been scribbling up a storm this week.

I thought I would share this opportunity with you.  The Fowler Arts Collective is putting out a call for art for their upcoming December exhibition. They are asking artists, writers, and designers to send postcard sized works in any medium.  I was inspired to create “Stormy Rays”.  I’m going to color it and send it to them.

Stormy Rays - Ink on Paper

Stormy Rays by Andi Thea

Your postcards can be priced at $20, $30, $40, or $50. The artist will gets 50% if the work sells… (woohoo!)  This is a great activity for you to do with your little ones. You can send as many postcards as you want. The more the merrier!

Please have a look at their website for full details of how you can submit your art.

So get your pencils, markers, paints etc. out and start scribbling.

We would love to see your creations.  Please share them with us and if you know of any events that our readers may be interested in, please share them with us too.

Happy Scribbling!!

All my best,




Stamp of Approval!

Happy Friday, lovely Scribblers. Any good plans for the weekend? Better yet, any fun crafts or drawings made this week while inside during the bad weather? Well here’s a fun and easy tip for more indoor creative time!

We all already know how I feel about pencils…and here’s another great use for the wooden wonders in arts and crafts!

Take some pencils with unused erasers and an ink pad to make your own stamps! These pink rubber stubs make perfect polka dots every time, but you can also get creative with it. With some different color ink, you can make a variety of pictures and patterns. You can create cute dots, an abstract design, or an ambitious pointillist picture!

Photo: Oh! Crafts

Have a scribble-icious weekend and a blast with your new pencil stamps! If you give this a try, be sure to share your creations with us!

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Posted by Andi Thea, on November 2nd, 2012 at 7:16 pm. No Comments

Category: Arts & Crafts,classroom,kids Labels: , , , , , ,