Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This month has been a whirlwind of busy! We’ve been prepping for Printsource (50 designs and/or patterns due 12/1!), we also had designs to work on for some licensees, add ordering supplies, and starting in on holiday show prep. Whew! I am SO glad we decided not to do any bigger shows this November. I think I’d be dead if we had done our normal show schedule with our new licensing workload. I’ll do a “the haps” post soon to fill you in more.

Today I want to share what I’m thankful for with you.

1) Work
No matter how busy I am, I am so thankful to do work I love. Admittedly some days I’m so tired I want to quit, but that’s just a passing phase when I’m heavily overloaded. I love drawing, painting, making, and blogging. I also love sleep. ;)

2) Family & Friends
I could not be where I am without a strong supportive network. When your work is so demanding and can be a bit of a roller coaster having friends and family that say they believe in you, and keep your chin up when you’re low, congratulate you when you’re on a roll, and have fun time with you so you can decompress, is just the best! Monthly meet ups at Sierra’s with a group of girls all working for themselves is really helpful (and fun, too!).

3) Being Grateful
This one may seem weird, but I know a lot of people out there that seem to take for granted the good in their life. I’m glad I have a grateful spirit. It keeps me grounded, and I think when you show gratitude, you attract more things to be grateful for.

4) Josh
He totally deserves his own number. I’m always amazed at how well we work together, but then I see it’s because we respect each other, and always say thank you. Working and living together could be strenuous, and we both need our alone time, so we make sure to give each other space when we can. We’re really good at teaming up to get stuff done, and when one is sick or behind schedule, we pick up their slack. Go team Robo Roku!

5) SXSW, Cherrywood Art Fair, Make Art That Sells (MATS), Tara Reed, and Cultivate Art Collective
This is a group thanks, because these organizations and people helped get Robo Roku on the licensing path. If it weren’t for me volunteering for SXSW I would have never met someone that would eventually be in charge of merchandise for SXSW, who would then see our work at Cherrywood Art Fair, and offer us our first licensing deal. From there I signed up for MATS and learned about the licensing world, and then joined Cultivate Art Collective (started by a member of MATS) which would get us to Surtex & Printsource. Tara Reed has been a fabulous mentor, and with her suggestion of going to Licensing Expo we have secured agents and licensing deals.

6) Music
I love nothing more than seeing my favorite bands play live. Music is on almost all the time, I even play music when I shower! Music fills my soul. It has always been how I get through my days (you can ask my parents and brother about that). My parents patience with me always playing music is quite spectacular.

Of course I’m thankful for more than this list, but these are the big ones. This list is what my life is about. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be sure to eat some stuffing for me!



makeup monday: two-face transformation

One of the coolest part about having a geeky circle of friends is collaborating with them and bringing clever ideas to life. This Halloween, when my friend Brian Salisbury decided he wanted to dress up as Two-Face, I was immediately excited and enthusiastically accepted the challenge.

We started by sticking a nice, straight strip of tape down the center of Brian’s face. He shaved off all the facial hair on the left side prior to my arrival. I then used scar putty from a costume store to begin creating freeform texture and “burns” directly on the skin. I liberally applied liquid latex all over that half of the face with a brush, right on top of the scar putty. This helped not only seal the scars in place, but also created more texture and some really great subtle transitions between the real skin and putty skin.


Brian’s favorite incarnation of Harvey Dent is the Batman: The Animated Series version, so I knew right away I wanted to integrate a blue tint to make him look a bit more cartoony, as opposed to a thoroughly realistic burned face effect. (Thankfully, I had some leftover blue metallic FX makeup from the previous weekend’s Mystique makeover!)


Once all the latex was dry, I used a combination of reds, browns, and black to paint the “skin”, accentuating areas prone to highlights and shadows. Once I was satisfied with the dimension, I gently sponged on the metallic blue, after which I accented the eyes with black liner and did final touch-ups. The tape was removed, and a crisp edge remained.


Brian stitched together two coat halves, one tweed and one black, for his costume. I used white cream makeup to frost his hair for a more natural salt-and-pepper effect rather than a solid coat of hair spray paint. (I actually DID intend to use hair spray paint, but accidentally purchased white silly string instead, so we improvised. It looks much better the way it is than it would’ve if that had gone as planned. Happy accident!)

Here we are together at a Halloween party later that night:


I’m super proud of how this turned out, and I can’t wait to do more elaborate makeup work. The human face is quickly becoming one of my most preferred canvases.

P.S. Check out Brian’s blog and podcast, you guys! OneOfUs.Net is a community for nerds of all kinds, and is run by some truly talented dudes. Geeks of the world, unite!


geeking out: seriously cool costume makeup tutorial videos

Still in need of a last-minute Halloween costume? Fear not! With a little makeup, some brushes and sponges, and some expert guidance in the form of YouTube vids, you can totally create an amazing costume of your own. (And no one will ever know you pulled it off at the last second unless you tell them!)

Here are a few of my favorite FX makeup tutorials. Enjoy!

The Joker:

Harley Quinn:

Bride of Frankenstein:
(This one features one of my absolute fave models and artists, Micheline Pitt, being made up by monster-making legend Rick Baker.)

Zombie look by Linda Hallberg:
(She’s one of the coolest Instagram MUAs, in my opinion.)

Really creepy, really awesome half skull effect:

I hope some of these inspire you to get creative this Halloween! Please tag me on Twitter or Instagram if you try one and take photos: @jenheartsart

Happy haunting!



biz chat: craft show booth set-up tips


Looking back at this booth, I’m a little embarrassed. I’ve grown so much since this. That said, I did win 2nd place in the best booth contest at this show. I’m using the pronoun “I” instead of “we”, because booth set up is something I heavily obsess over, and is one of the facets of Robo Roku that I take complete charge over. I love trying to create a happy environment. I was fortunate enough to have had merchandise training in one of my former retail management jobs. The company I worked for sent managers on a week long retreat that mostly focused on the Psychology of merchandising. I don’t always use what I’ve learned, because “happy environment” is top priority for me. This post is going to be a little bit more “do as I say, not as I do”, sharing my past retail merchandise training and experience as a former producer for a local craft show with you to help you up your show booth game.

Memorable Experience
Use your booth as a way to create a memorable shopping experience. Infuse your branding into all the elements. From floor, to walls, to “ceiling” have every aspect of your booth show your colors and style.

We try to bring the outdoors in and remind people of a fun day laying in the grass looking at clouds. We use AstroTurf for the floor and walls, and batting to create “clouds” in the air. We use white curtains on as many sides of the booth as possible to brighten up the booth, and increase the airy feel.

We also always pay for electricity. Lighting is worth whatever they charge you, it helps your booth stand out from your neighbors, and highlights your goods. It can also act as a beacon, drawing people in.

Table Coverings
If you have beautiful tables that you’re not hiding anything under, then you can skip the tablecloth. If you bought a standard folding table at Target (or wherever), then you need to cover it up, and class up the booth. Choose a tablecloth that matches your branding, ideally one that is water resistant. Having custom fitted tablecloths are even better. If you’re like me and change up your set up too much to justify paying for custom fitted tablecloths, have safety pins handy to tie back the sides of the tablecloth for a more polished look.

Height in your booth is very important. Having staircase type set-ups gives your customer’s eyes places to continue going, which keeps them in your booth longer, and maximizes your display area. I prefer to have a 3ft tall table, because it helps most people not feel strain bending over to look at your goods. Only having this height can cause issues for people not able to see that high up, so make sure you have multiple levels for all situations.

Make sure there’s room for your customers to move around. Try not to create a dead end or bad corner where they can get stuck. In the photo above I have the tees on a rack near the entrance so people can flip through from the aisle. If you can make a space that’s shoppable from both sides, you gain more space in your booth.

Have a big banner with your name (maybe even your url) so people can know who you are, and can read from the aisle. Pricing signs (if your items are not individually priced); social media contact signage, so they can jump on their phones and follow you right away; payment options, so they don’t have to worry whether or not they can buy something from you. The payment signage is so important. Even with a sign from Square in our booth sometimes people miss it, assume we’re cash only and almost walk out of the booth.

At the very least you want to give out your business card to as many visitors as you can. Have these in more than one place. We always keep some near the front of the booth (opposite of where our checkout is), and some at the checkout. If possible, have freebie stickers, buttons, or postcards to help them remember you. While this is not necessarily a takeaway, make sure your shopping bags have your name on them, this is free show advertising for you. I chose a particular size and color for our shopping bags, and that bag alone (without our branding on it) is recognizable locally. At many shows I’ve had people tell me “I’ve seen so many people with your shopping bags”, it may not be true that so many people have shopped our booth, it’s that we’ve solidified our branding so much, that the bags stand out.

Seasonal Decor
If it’s the holiday season, try adding some garland, twinkle lights, pine cones, snowflakes, etc to your booth to up the holiday shopping spirit.

Keep in mind, even with my past retail experience, my first booth was a sad card table with no table covering. Just packaged jewelry and badges laying on the table. Not much height or interest at all. You can see some past booth set-ups here, and see the growth over the years. We all start somewhere, and even if your last booth was super awesome, I guarantee there’s always room for improvement. Every year I look at my booths from the year before and think “yuck!”, even though I know when I was setting up each booth I was super proud of the time and energy I put into it. I think evolving every year is one thing I really like about booth set-ups. I look forward to finding ways to make the booth better than before. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave them in the comments below. Some people have emailed me asking questions from the last biz chat post, and you’re welcome to do that, too. I just want to share with you what I’ve learned to help make your first time out a little less scary.



makeup monday: mystique

This weekend I transformed a model into a magnificent movie mutant, Mystique. There have been many versions of the character throughout X-Men comic book history, but my friend and client chose movie Mystique, which meant lots of body paint and fun texture application. (Both the Rebecca Romijn and the Jennifer Lawrence incarnations of Mystique posess very similar skin, hair, and scales. My model, Mackenzie, is 5’11″, so she more closely evoked Rebecca than JLaw.)


Prep Work:
First, I sought the advice of an amazing cosplayer I follow online, BelleChere, and she just happened to have recently shared her body paint product recommendations. Taking her advice to heart, I ordered Wolfe FX Hydrocolor Makeup in two different deep blues, one matte and one metallic. We picked up some red spray hair color at a party store to brighten up Mack’s hair just a bit, as it was already a great red hue.

I then used navy blue and bronze Sculpey clay to create individual scale and ridge shapes based directly on the face patterns of movie Mystique. I hoped to keep them pliable for versatile application, but ended up opting for fired pieces. They don’t stick well at all unbaked, as it turns out.


For the rest of the body scales, which could be much larger and needed to cover more surface area, I cut free form shapes out of textured felt. All pieces — both Sculpey and felt — were affixed using liquid latex. LOTSA liquid latex, y’all.


I scheduled this, my first full-body FX makeup job, for the entire day in case we couldn’t get it done in the 5 hours anticipated. Good call! It took about 7 hours total with latex adhesive dry time. We started with clean skin (only pasties and tiny underwear otherwise, same as the movie actresses’ costumes) and immediately began applying blue creme makeup to areas that wouldn’t get texture, while affixing the first several scales to Mackenzie’s face.

Little by little, I rendered every visible bit of the subject a brilliant blue, with scales up her sides, arm, and chest. Her hair got slicked back with pomade and hair spray before being brightened with the red spray.


Shimmery dark blue Sephora eyeshadow was used to fill in around the eyes, in which Mack wore yellow contacts she purchased for the costume. I accentuated her eyes with black kohl liner in the waterline and full black lashes on top.

I finished off the entire look by dabbing on the metallic hydrochrome makeup over all textured areas, fading into the smooth matte areas.


We found some perfect Nine West sandals online, in precisely the right blue, so the feet would be protected but creating the illusion of being barefoot.


How’d I do, guys? I’m thrilled with how she looked, especially considering this was my first time attempting such an elaborate look. Can’t wait to show you all the other Halloween makeup looks I’m helping create this year!



link love: october 24 2014

Welcome to our first “Link Love” post. I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile because I tend to share awesome finds with my Twitter friends, but not everyone is on Twitter, and sometimes tweets get missed. I’m going to try and post a “Link Love” post once a week.
Yellow Hair
First I wanted to share some hair tips. Hair color, styles, and care has been on my mind a lot lately. In August, before my birthday, I got my bangs trimmed by someone that had never done my hair (my normal stylist was on maternity leave). I showed the guy a head-on pic of me with how my bangs normally look. I told him how I like it, and he started cutting. Then he said, “I think we should layer your bangs, it will be so great!”. Before I could ask questions, or say no, SNIP! SNIP! Too late! I’ve never had my bangs layered, the rest of my hair, yes; often, in fact, but my bangs?!? No. I was horrified when I saw the finished results. I looked like Joan Jett, which is not a bad look, just not a good look for me. It’s now almost November, and my bangs are still trying to recover from what he did. When I went back to get them cleaned up, another stylist did my hair, and I had to explain what happened, and let her know I knew there was only so much she could do to clean them up. She was so sweet, you could tell she felt bad that she couldn’t wave a magic wand and heal my bangs. I recently went back for another trim, and we chatted about how close my bangs are getting to normal, and started discussing color. As you may know, I love to color the bottom two inches of my hair fun colors. I was going to do it before my birthday, but after the bangs mess, I didn’t want to spend money on color, when I wouldn’t be happy with all my hair. The stylist complimented me on my hair, and asked how I kept it so healthy. I get asked this a lot, and I thought I should share “my secrets”…

1. I don’t wash my hair everyday. I wash it every other day, and once a month I don’t wash it for 3 days. It takes careful planning to make sure that third day is a day I can stay home and hide my greasy hair.
2. I get trims often. I’m at the hair salon every three months for hair maintenance, and every three to four weeks for a bang trim. It’s so important to keep your hair split-end free.
3. I wash and condition my hair with warm water, and do a cool water rinse out. This helps my hair shine.
4. I try not to blow dry my hair. I gently towel dry and then try to air dry. If I have to blow dry my hair, I hold the blow dryer so it is facing down my hair shaft. If I’m blow drying and in a hurry, I use this brush to help soak up some of the water from my hair.
5. I try not to stress my hair too much with ponytail holders or with braids. That said, I do love to style my hair for fun occasions. Check out this milkmaid braid tutorial from Roxy.

Enough about hair, let’s talk jewelry — jewelry and dogs! Have you followed the hashtag on Instagram of #dogsinjewelry yet? So far it’s mostly Sierra posting pics of Faye in Manic Trout, but there are others adding pics, too. If you have a dog that would totally rock some jewelry, you should add a pic!

Do you need some uplifting encouragement (presented in amazing art, mind you)? Then you should follow Adrienne’s blog. This recent print is my current fave of hers. I like to say “Resilient is my middle name”.

Are you trying to save money, and don’t know how? Words of Williams offers such great advice, and I really liked this recent post, on categories in your budget where you can cut costs. As I’ve mentioned before, I used to eat out a lot, until a fro-yo date with Sierra chatting about grocery bills led to the realization that I could save $400 a month by eating at home more. $400 a month! You better believe I changed my lifestyle real quick for that amount.

I loved this tour of my friend Kristen’s candle making studio. She moved from Austin to California a few years ago, and this town certainly misses her. Her candle making biz has skyrocketed and can be found all over the place. I’m particularly fond of the candle scent Laundry Day.

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