Arts & crafts, and my sad, embarrassing history with Photoshop.

I do strange things for fun.

In the last few days, when I haven’t been grading or planning for work, I’ve been playing with Photoshop, creating Beware the Hawk tee shirts for my Zazzle store, and then posting the link to my middle-of-the-night artwork to my Facebook page. 

Beware the Hawk

and texting myself, pretending to be one of my characters.

Bad graphic design is how I cheat on writing. I’ve been playing around with Photoshop ever since I got my hands on a copy in college. I still remember trying to figure out layers on random low-res photos of mournful-looking fairies I’d downloaded from the internet.* I may or may not have Photoshopped my own face into that ethereal crowd. Can’t recall whether I did or not.  Unfortunately, my college computer suffered a horrible death and we can ever know for sure. At any rate there is no evidence.

Making tee shirts gives me something creative to do when I’m mired in not-very-creative work. Also, fiddling around with Photoshop doesn’t suck the soul out of me like writing occasionally does. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing. My life feels complete when I’m writing well and often. But I can get very, very involved in it. It can be draining. And sometimes I need to do something else creative for a while; something that doesn’t matter to me so much. Something that I’m not really committed to. Like tee shirts with photos of my couch on them.

I should clarify something, though. I’m not actually trying to sell you folks anything. My posting tee shirt designs is less about trying to make money and more about showing off.

I am basically still a preschooler. These tee shirt designs are my macaroni arts and crafts projects, and I am holding them out as I smile gap-toothedly up at you, intoning the word “seeeeeeeeee?” And when I tire of that, I will bound off to play in the dirt.

It’s the new Play-Doh sculpture.

And that sort of attention-seeking is what the internet is all about.

Also, you never know; someone might want to buy a tee shirt with a photo of my couch on it. If so, who am I to withhold such an item?

*I went through a very unfortunate pixie-and-fairy phase in college, closely followed by a much more unfortunate vampires-and-goth phase. Luckily the two phases flew by in an eight-month blur of candles, heavy eyeliner and bad wardrobe choices.

Time to make the tee-shirts.

Confession time: I promised some new tee shirt designs for my store months ago and then life got busy and I did nothing.

So I’d like to get a better selection of stuff posted. Not that anyone ever goes to the store, but still, I like to have options for the three people a month who visit. I have several ideas for shirts based on older blog posts, but I’ve had no time to put in the Photoshop effort.

Since I don’t have much time this semester, I thought I’d just list my ideas and let people weigh in. Then I’ll put together one shirt based on the responses. Not that I expect folks to actually purchase my shirts, but the shirts themselves make handy prizes for my various contests. Here are the ideas:

1) “It’s not easy being pink.” This is a Beware the Hawk-related design that I’ve been working on. As it turns out, my previous shirt (with the book cover on it) cannot be sold by me.

2) “No one expects the Immaculate Conception.” I was raised Catholic. Last year I wrote that when I was a kid, I lived in fear that I’d go up to my room one night and find The Angel of the Lord waiting for me. S/he would say “Ann O’Connell, the second coming is nigh, and I have some news for you,” and I would say “Oh, please pick someone else. I don’t want to have to explain this to my parents.” Then I’d be sent to Hell for saying no to God, but really, eternal damnation might have been preferable to the conversation I would have ended up having with my mother if I said yes. These are the things I worried about as a kid. Speaking of worry…

3) “Phonephobics Anonymous: Don’t call us, we won’t call you.” This one is not my idea. This one is the idea of Kate Hutchinson, who shares my fear of talking on the phone.

4) “I’ve got a fever and the only prescription…. is menopause.” A baby fever tee shirt.

5) “I’m in touch with my inner monkey.” Because I am. My inner monkey controls me.

6.) “Anger is like food to me.” This one isn’t really associated with any blog post… yet.

That’s it. Have any preferences? Tell me!