How TheRaggedEdge Draws Inspiration from Mixed Media

While we’re all for creating art for Hubs, we also advocate creating Hubs for art! TheRaggedEdge does this quite well, guiding readers through some beautiful mixed media projects in her craft-oriented Hub. Read on for some ideas on working your existing art into your HubPages portfolio!

Though you have an interest in many things, one of those interests is mixed media art, and your art crops up in many of your art-centric Hubs. Do you ever use it as added imagery in Hubs on other subjects?

I haven’t much yet, but if I can, I will. I have recently written one on Fabric Scrap Projects and have included some mixed media images in it. Your question has inspired me to go through my Hubs to see if any of them would benefit from some artwork.

For how long have you been creating art?

Since I could hold a crayon! I did lots of art in school, completed a few courses, and have played with watercolor and watercolor pencil all my adult life, but was almost always disappointed with the results. When I discovered art journals and mixed media, I realised you can make art without having to be talented at drawing or painting. Nowadays, I don’t feel right unless I have created something almost daily, even if it’s simply spending a few minutes sploshing paint on paper to make backgrounds for future projects. I’d say that I do some kind of art or craft project five days out of seven.

Do you know of any other writers who bolster their work with images of three dimensional art? Do you think that it makes a difference in making the articles more engaging or authentic?

There are several on HP. One I like is Laura Thykeston – her hubs are inspirational. Yes, it makes a huge difference if the writer uses their own work. It shows them to be authoritative, if you like. Many people who write about making art use other people’s images, which, to me, isn’t quite the same. How can you write about it authentically if you haven’t actually done it?

Does creating art- even art that you’re not Hubbing about- ever help you think through problems or give you ideas for new Hubs?

Absolutely. I am most relaxed when creating my mixed media ‘doodle paintings’, or when mindlessly painting fur on a cat rock – all kinds of ideas waft through my consciousness. I have to write them down right there and then though, or they disappear – like soap bubbles.

In which cases do you think it is a good idea to incorporate images or scans of mixed media work into one’s Hubs? What tips would you offer to those who are interested in doing so?

I think if the piece of art is remotely relevant to the Hub content, then go ahead, include it! Readers love images and they are the perfect way to illustrate, enliven and break up any hub. Even ‘slices’ of rough sketches and doodles can be used as borders between blocks of text. If they are your own work, then it’s another way of adding to your online brand.

First tip is: go make some mixed media art! Anyone can have a lot of fun with collage, glue, paint and pens. You could surprise yourself.

Secondly, and probably most importantly, if you want to include original images, be it art, craft or anything else, take photos or scans of every single thing you make. You never know when an image that you took months or years earlier will be perfect for a future Hub. That goes for all creativity, whether it be knitting, cooking or house painting. Always have a camera to hand.

[Thanks, TheRaggedEdge!]

Should you like to follow through on TheRaggedEdge’s tips and experiment with some mixed media art, check out some of her mixed media Hubs:

Illustration Tips from Shadesbreath

Shadesbreath is one of HubPages’ long-time artists; he has been incorporating original sketches into his Hubs for years. As he has quite a lot of experience with creating custom graphics for his work- as well as making the tough decision of when they should be used and when it is better to use other images- we asked for him to share some of his wisdom with the community at large. Lucky for all of us, he obligingly agreed. I hope that his helpful tips inspire you to have a go at creating sketches for some Hubs of your own!

How long have you been sketching? Have you always had a habit of occasionally including sketches in your work?

I’ve been sketching since I was a kid, even considered majoring in art for a while. As for putting sketches into my Hubs, that crept in more gradually. I started out trying to be serious—and I used graphics resources like everyone else—but then I realized I am far too immature for serious articles, and there are no Flikr or Wikimedia Commons sites with stuff goofy enough or sarcastic enough to help me.

How did you develop your signature style?

It’s sort of a combination of laziness and the careful black and white shading that I can do reasonably well if I take the time. My Vlad the Inhaler Hub was the first one I illustrated, and I think I spent about twenty-five hours drawing the pictures for it. While I thought they came out well, especially the bat on the roof, I knew after that hub I was going to have to tone illustrations wayyyy down. I don’t have twenty-five hours to illustrate on top of the time spent writing a hub, so I started going for faster sketches. That quick use of light and shadow eventually turned into the style you see on a lot of my stuff now.

What makes you decide to create an original illustration for a Hub?

Mainly it’s when I can’t find perfect graphical fits for my work anywhere else. I’m kind of a control freak when it comes to my writing, and I figure if I’m going to choose my words carefully, I should choose my images carefully too. Plus, obviously, I don’t have to deal with copyright issues if I make my own stuff.

What media do you use to create your illustrations? What process do you follow when scanning them in and preparing them for final presentation in a Hub?

For the goofy quick sketches, I draw on the backs of manuscript pages since I always have tons of those lying around. Then I scan them on a little scanner my wife got cheap at an office supply store, I think for under a hundred bucks. Up until the last six months or so, I used to do any modifications to the drawings in the simple MS Paint program that comes with windows, but now I’m trying to do everything in Photoshop—even though it is a thousand-million times more complicated and totally drives me to drink.

What would you say are the biggest benefits of using illustrations over photos?

Precision and “voice.” For me, I can sketch something that has the same attitude, the same mood and rhetorical flavor, as the prose in the Hub. And of course I can sketch something that is precisely what has occurred in the text which, when you are going for absurd (think of the whale lifting thing in my Hub about joining the gym for example, or the one where my wife is a mutant from the forbidden zone… where am I going to find that kind of stuff?). I suppose I could doctor photos for that sort of thing (and sometimes I do), but sketching gets me straight to what I want it to be.

What advice would you give to those who might be hesitant to consider creating handmade art to put in their online articles?

If you love making art, go for it. Don’t worry about what people might think. Just do it. You never know what will work until you try. Look at Mark Ewbie’s stuff. The guy draws stick figures for Pete’s sake. And yet, somehow, he manages to make them brilliant. If stick figures can work, and the silliness I put up can work, anything can work. Draw, paint, write from your heart, make is as good as you can, and that will resonate with people.


[For more illustrative inspiration, check out Shadesbreath’s Hubs!]

HubPages Success Story: lakeerieartists funds a Cleveland Artists Gallery with HubPages Earnings

lakeerieartists on HubPages

lakeerieartists on HubPages

Every now and then we come across a Hubber who puts HubPages earnings toward something truly inspiring. lakeerieartists is certainly one of those awesome individuals – she is currently using her HubPages revenue to support local artists through her Lake Erie Artists Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio. How cool is that?! Learn more about this wonderful Hubber in the interview below:

HubPages is not the only online article site for which you write. What keeps you with us?

Part of what keeps me on Hubpages is the supportive community that I found here. I came to this site completely unfamiliar with Hubpages, and had to learn the nuances and the culture. I found several people who were very helpful, and that list keeps growing as I get to know more people.

But I do have to admit that the main reason I stay is that I have found the platform at Hubpages and the simplicity of the layout very easy to use to earn affiliate income. Because Hubpages is a simpler site and more direct because of that, I had to learn the lessons of how to work with the platform more specifically to earn. And the lessons that I have learned on Hubpages translate well to any other site I write on including Squidoo and my own blogs and sites. I didn’t really understand keyword research or search engine optimization clearly until I started to really work with Hubpages. I have found that certain types of articles work better on Hubpages, while others work better on other sites, and have adapted my writing as such.

Has HubPages changed the way you write or generally utilize the internet?

Absolutely. I am so much better and honing in on a topic and focusing on a very small niche to write about, and I have found that doing so works so much better for me in finding the right targeted traffic. My articles on Hubpages are nowhere near the top traffic articles that I hear about from other Hubbers, yet I am steadily earning more and more income from all three of the main Hubpages affiliates–Ebay, Adsense, and Amazon. I tend to trade off which vendor I am focusing my writing on so that one of them doesn’t become my sole income stream. I am always trying to build solid, steady income streams to support my online business.

I do have a very small blog that follows my success on Hubpages. It is aimed at Squidoo lensmasters but I do post my monthly earnings to encourage others to try Hubpages as a platform, because I believe very strongly at diversifying your income sources.

How do you use your AdSense earnings?

Adsense, and all of the earnings I make from all of my sites online go to support my brick and mortar gallery Lake Erie Artists Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio. I have not yet quite made my goal of completely being able to pay my monthly rent and expenses for the gallery each month, although I am very close. Once I get there, I am planning to work to make enough to replace my husband’s salary, just in case.

Galleries, like most retail businesses, were hit hard by the economic changes in the last couple of years. My gallery supports primarily local Cleveland artists, and I am working hard to steady the income flow into the gallery in order to keep it going through uncertain economic times. While I have seen some positive changes in the economy here locally, we are far from recovered, and I want to do my part to keep the economy here in Cleveland going.

What advice would you give to new hubbers?

For new hubbers, my best advice is that you need to commit steady time to Hubpages in order to earn an income. And you most likely will have to work countless unpaid hours at the beginning while you are learning how to make it work. Most successful online affiliate marketers/writers that I know take 1 to 3 years to make the kind of money that they really want to earn. While earning money through a platform like Hubpages is not a scam, it is also not something that you can do overnight. There is a time factor that has to be taken into consideration even for the most experienced online writer for your Hubs to mature and be found. However, if you are willing to put in the time at the beginning, you will reap exponential rewards. The efforts that I have put in since I started online as a complete online newbie in June 2008, are paying off now quite nicely. And every month I earn more.

I think that Hubpages as a platform is a great place for new online marketers to get started. The community will support any honest effort to learn, and the staff at Hubpages is extremely responsive to any questions, problems, or issues. I also love getting to know Hubbers from all over the world, and seeing things from more than a local point of view. I am always interested at how much I am like people from across the globe, and also how much I am different from them. And frankly, I think that Hubpages is a lot of fun. So to anyone who is just starting out, I say that you should just go for it! And welcome to the community.

[thanks, lakeerieartists!!]