Tuesday, January 15, 2019

I Miss Polyvore

One of my early Polyvore creations . . .

No two ways about it: ever since Polyvore.com disappeared from the Internet a few months ago, life just hasn't been the same. Some days I miss the site so much I could cry. Why'd it have to go?  Polyvore was fun. Polyvore was creative. Polyvore was inspiring. And now it's been sold off to a company that isn't, well, into what Polyvore was all about it. Instead of being a collage/fashion/art/community-building site, it's turned into a not-very-interesting shopping outlet.
For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about (sorry!) Polyvore.com was a do-it-yourself, drag-and-drop Internet playground for making online collages. Membership was free, and members had access to thousands of photo images, background colors, text fonts, and tons of digital ephemera to make some of the most amazing digital artwork I have ever seen. For me it was a huge opportunity to learn and practice alongside those same artists. 

I owe a lot to Polyvore. I was a member for a full 10 years and especially enjoyed the way the site was organized into groups of people with similar interests, e.g., Writers; We Love Dresses; Travel; Antique Furniture; Book Club; Shoes Rule!; Cats; Bracelets; Working Moms . . . and so on. Joining a group was optional, but being part of one provided certain advantages such as being able to participate in various contests, e.g., "Make a set that includes at least one cat," or, "Create the perfect steam punk outfit." Contests were a great motivation to do your best and most original work and winning was a blast, even if the "prize" was simply recognition and applause from the group. 

More than anything else, however, Polyvore for me a way to:
  • Design writing prompts.
  • Create blog post headings (like the one at the top of this post).
  • Help with my website design.
  • Illustrate my WIPs (especially in the wardrobe department).
  • Experiment with color combinations for drawing and painting.
  • Stay in touch with pen pals from across the world. My own little circle included creative and friendly women from Saudi Arabia, Germany, New Zealand, and Brazil. Because we only communicated via Polyvore email, and most user IDs were simply first- or nicknames, I have no way to reach any of them ever again.
One of the worst things to happen to the vast majority of Polyvore fans when the site went down was they lost all of their online creations. Fortunately, I kept every single one of my own, putting them into a separate file on my computer each time I made one. Something must have told me that doing this would come in handy one day, and it certainly did. I think if I had lost my sets along with everyone else, I'd be even more devastated than I already am. Truly my heart goes out to every member who lost hours and hours, if not years, of beautiful work.

Polyvore.com definitely enriched my life. Now that it's gone, it's up to me to motivate myself and to continue making collages the old-fashioned way, on paper and in art journals. Not quite so easy to do during a quick lunch break or just before going to bed, and don't even get me started on cleaning up the aftermath of glue sticks and paper scraps, but it's all I've got left. Maybe not such a bad thing in the end, but boy, do I miss those happy days of instant gratification! See you next time.

Tip of the Day: Without Polyvore, I'm relying a lot on Pinterest.com. It's not nearly as fun nor as interactive as Polyvore was, but it's a good resource for illustrating my characters' homes, closets, and vacation destinations. I can still bring my WIPs to life visually, just in a different way.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019, A Year to Explore

Image © Sierpniowka / Dreamstime.com

Happy New Year! Happy Creativity! 

One of the things I always like to do at the start of each new year is find a word that will set my intentions and guide my creative path for the next twelve months. This year the word I needed came into my mind precisely at the stroke of midnight:


Isn't it a great word? I love the idea of letting go of my old thoughts on what I imagined (or insisted) 2019 "should be." That doesn't mean I'm abandoning any of my works-in-progress, or giving up on my dreams, etc., but I want to take a new approach to how I work with these things. 

To start off with some good road maps and travel guides, I treated myself to two new art books (yes, I went to the mall after Christmas . . . ): Draw It: Tools, Techniques, Methods; A Workbook Manual for Sketching and Drawing, and Drawing 365: Tips and Techniques to Build Your Confidence and Skills. Both of volumes are divided into bite-sized segments of advice and encouragement that I can use every day, all year round. Already I've been inspired to try exercises such as combining brush pens with oil pastels, or using a Sharpie pen to make a complicated drawing from one continuous line, methods I never tried before.

As a companion exercise, I made myself a set of affirmation cards. Nothing fancy, just some plain index cards decorated with metallic gel pens and a sticker or two, but the messages I wrote out for myself are strong, each one a powerful  invitation to take the road less traveled.

Starting this week I want to explore new groups, new classes, new themes, new places to write and draw, new techniques, new mediums, and new story ideas. I want to travel with an open heart, an open mind, and an open sketchbook. (Yay, more art supplies!) Now if only the snow would melt . . .

Tip of the Day: There's nothing wrong with goals and plans--I've used them to my advantage my entire life. But once in awhile it feels good to either a) pack them away until another time, or b) consider whether they still serve you, and if they're really what you want to do. Sometimes the journey toward a goal can fulfill us in ways actually reaching the goal never could. With that in mind, I invite you to take the time to explore what it is you want to do with 2019 before you make any concrete decisions. Let me know what you discover!