Featured Maker: Annie Howe

Annie Howe
Annie Howe Papercuts
Baltimore, MD
Business founded: 2010

Annie Howe has always loved playing with paper. She worked in community arts for many years, creating and contributing to the Baltimore art community with large-scale puppetry and shadow puppets. “As my love for storytelling grew through this large medium, I found my focus as an artist shifting from large 3D objects to that of the smaller more intimate medium of paper,” Howe says, adding, “I spent years and years using a simple knife and blades to cut out elaborate shadow puppets with an organization called Nana Projects. One Christmas I decided I could try cutting paper as gifts for family and friends. The papercuts were a hit and I slowly started making more.” Here she tells us how she transitioned from a part-time paper obsession to full-time gig.

What was the process of starting your business?

Encouraged by friends I started seeking out places to sell my work from local restaurants, to shops and craft shows. As I began showing my work, people took an interest and asked me to do commissions and special projects. I was still working full-time so it was a challenge to really grow and get things done in the beginning. It would take me forever to get projects complete. Then the organization I was working for closed, and I had to decide if I was going to apply for another full-time job or pursue papercutting.

The holiday season was approaching and I decided to try and make it through doing craft shows, retail, and custom work. By making more time for my work I was able to grow my business into a full time job! Read the rest of the interview here.

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5 Sharpie Art Exercises from Timothy Goodman

Sharpie art has a unique appeal and an ever-growing field of contributors. It tends to feel improvised and disruptive in the most pleasant way. If you’ve only ever used your sharpies for labeling CD-R’s and (accidentally) making notes on a whiteboard, we’re happy to tell you that there’s so much more to explore.

Timothy Goodman is a highly accomplished Sharpie artist whose new book, Sharpie Art Workshop (Rockport Publishers), offers lots of valuable ideas and techniques for anyone who has a Sharpie and a blank surface to draw on. In addition to his own work, he featured 22 artists from around the world who are making their marks with Sharpies and more. Below are five of his favorite sharpie art exercises from the book to help get you started on your Sharpie drawing kick. Read the rest of the article here.

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Amy Nicole Schwartz: Making Great Work & Building Community

I was first introduced to Amy Nicole Schwartz and her work in a shotgun approach, along with a couple thousand designers attending the AIGA Conference in New Orleans in October. She was one of seven contestants in Command X, AIGA’s own reality game show that plays out during the conference. The contestants are given design assignments each day to complete and then present the next day. They are judged by an esteemed panel onstage, but the audience ultimately gets the final vote, eliminating contestants each round. Schwartz’s quick wit, great design solutions, and seemingly boundless energy helped her survive, and ultimately, snag the coveted title. I was impressed by the way she composed herself throughout the competition, and even moreso when I learned that she is creative director at Cards Against Humanity (CAH), one of my all-time favorite games. Read rest here.

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5 Ways to Pay It Forward this Holiday Season

In the spirit of holiday giving, we asked several creatives to tell us how they give back to causes they are passionate about. Whether it’s donating money, time, or belongings, every little bit matters to those who are in need. We hope their stories inspire you to pay it forward this holiday season and all year long.

Create Art for a Cause

Salli S. Swindell has taken part in an annual event for the past 15 years called the Christmas Stocking Competition, which is held at The Grey Colt in Hudson, Ohio. The event rallies artists, crafters, and DIY’ers to create a handmade stocking using any medium or materials. The stockings are revealed at a preview party in the shop, and then on display in the window the following week. “People buy raffle tickets to win a stocking and the proceeds are all donated to a local cause,” Swindell says.

About 60 stockings are submitted each year garnering an average of $6,000. “The preview party is such a fun and festive event. It’s amazing how creative people get with their stocking entries. Over the years I’ve seen carved wooden stockings, garlands made of clay stockings, every kind of fabric and stitching, and even an evening gown in the shape of a stocking! Many of us here in town start thinking about our concept in the summer. It’s a super cool event that connects the community in a creative way and helps a local cause.”

Read the full article here.

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James Victore: Conquer Cliches and Create Posters That Say Something

We see posters everywhere, but truly remarkable ones are rare. Here, James Victore shares advice on how to bend clichés to create memorable poster designs that matter. 

Design legend James Victore does not mince words. “People think graphic design is a visual art and it’s not; it’s an idea-based business and the visuals are just the teaspoon of sugar that we use to get these ideas across,” says Victore, who recently taught a CreativeLive course titled Bold & Fearless Poster Design.

“My own work isn’t pretty,” says the acclaimed and influential designer, author and activist.  “People don’t buy my work because it matches their furniture.” Read the full article here.

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Poster design by James Victore.

Five Drawing Books For People Who Don’t (Necessarily) Draw

It’s that time of year when it starts to get dark at 4:00 p.m., and the thought of starting a new project is more likely to incite a yawn than enthusiasm. Sometimes we just need a kick in the pants—or in this case, a good book or two to get those creative juices flowing. Step away from your monitor, pick up a pencil or pen, and have some fun with these drawing books from Quarto Books. Read the story here.

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An exercise from Salli S. Swindell’s new book, Change Your Life One Doodle at a Time.