Tag Archives: website

Online Artsy Fun: Sketch ‘n Paint!

Feeling artsy, but don’t have a sketchpad or image creation program handy? Check out Sketch ‘n Paint! over at OneMotion.com–it’s what Microsoft Paint wishes it could be.

You have a palette of already-chosen colors down at the bottom, and you can further customize your color by hitting the HSL and RGB tabs to play with color sliders. Mix white and black into your color to your heart’s content, choose how saturated you want the color to be–it’s ALL there!

Right beside the color selection panel, you’ve got settings for your brush. Play with brush size, pressure, diffusion, and other settings by clicking and dragging over the individual words–the more red that covers the word, the stronger that setting is. (For instance, a Size meter fully colored with red means a REALLY big brush)

fileundoetc Along the right side of the browser window, you’ll see various file settings; the top ones are for creating, opening, and saving files, plus undo and redo buttons.

Farther down, you can open and close the Paint module (the color and brush panels), modify the lines on screen, erase lines, and pull a color back into your brush with the eyedropper.

And, way down at the bottom, you can zoom in on your image, move things around on it, and even put masking on or take it off. (Like I said, this is what MS Paint wishes it could be!)

This completely freehand tool is easiest to use with a physical mouse rather than a touchpad, but it’s great fun regardless. Visit and start playing around…you might just find yourself randomly making a masterpiece!

Link: Sketch ‘n Paint!

Make Your Own Comics with ToonDoo!

If you’re like me, you’re a bit of a frustrated artist–you have great ideas for art and cartoons, but everything you try to draw looks like a kindergartner did it while hyped up on sugar.

For frustrated or accomplished artists and cartoonists alike, there’s ToonDoo, able to help even the most inept of us make cartoons like the following:


How to Use ToonDoo

You need to sign up for an account before you can use ToonDoo–sign up for a Personal Public account (they have large Private accounts for schools to use as well). Once you do that, you can click “CREATE” at the top right of the page, and it will take you to the ToonDoo Creator. Choose the comic strip layout you’d like, and you can begin! (I chose the traditional three-panel strip, but they have dozens to choose from!)

(Click for full-size pic in new window)

Lots of windows and toolbars await you! The ToonDoo button at top left allows you to open and save comics; the rest of the buttons on the top bar give you shapes, scenes, figures, props, text and more to work with.

At the bottom, you have lots of adjusting tools to make objects smaller or larger, rotate and flip them, make them different colors–even give characters different emotions!

Hover over each of the buttons on the top toolbar to see all your options, then click on the one you want.

Add a background–you can choose Indoor, Outdoor, even Fantasy spaces!

When you add props, you can shrink or enlarge them as needed–just select them with your mouse and then click the “Shrink” or “Enlarge” buttons on the bottom toolbar.

Or you can flip them horizontally if you need them in a different position. Select the prop you want to flip, then click the “Flip” button!

You can even turn props to be at a different angle–check out how the desk is turned from the previous picture. Select the prop you want to turn, and then click the Prop button (looks like a six-sided die) several times to see all the different ways the object can be presented.

You can also add text and characters in the same way, using the top toolbar to select what types you want, and using the bottom toolbar to fine-tune the positioning and presentation. (Sorry I didn’t get a screenshot of the “adding characters” process–I got kinda carried away making my comic :D)

Once you’re done with your comic, make sure to click the ToonDoo button at the top left of the screen and select “Save;” this will let you put in your comic’s title and tags. Then click Publish! (Important: Wait until you get a confirmation message that “your comic has been published” before navigating away from the creator page.)

Give this a shot if you’ve got a spare 15 minutes–see what you can come up with!

The “Virtual Museum:” GoogleArtProject.com

Ever wanted to visit all the world’s museums and art collections just to view all those amazing artworks? Well, you’ll definitely want to check out one of Google’s newest projects: GoogleArtProject.com.

When you land on the website, a random artwork will be displayed as the background–you can mouse over this image to see more detailed information, and click through to see more pictures by the artist, more artwork from the collection, etc. (Click and drag on the image to see a small portion of the artwork in more detail!)

Down toward the bottom of the page, you can see a ticker full of recently-added collections going by–this is a great way to stay updated!

If a collection intrigues you, you can click its title and go straight to its specific page, seeing all the images housed together within easy viewing reach.

Or, if you’d like to see the full list of available collections to view, you can browse by the “Collections” tab at the top left.

Browsing the “Artists” tab (second tab from the left) brings up an alphabetical click-through list, so you can go right to the artist you’re searching for. (This would be great for art history research!)

And most certainly, if you just want to take in some gorgeous, thought-provoking art, you can browse by “Artworks” and see a randomized assortment of beauty.

You can also browse user galleries, and you can sign in to Google and make your own gallery, too.. (There are not a whole lot of user galleries quite yet, but you can change that 😉 ) All in all, this is a great Internet tool for discovering, appreciating, and studying art–well worth a visit (or 100!)

OneWord.com: Sixty Seconds of Writing a Day

If you want a little writing challenge, or if you just feel like stretching your creativity muscle a little, then I have a suggestion: head over to OneWord.com.

What’s It All About?

OneWord.com is a unique sort of writing website. When you land on the page, it gives you some simple instructions:

“You’ll see one word at the top of the following screen. You have sixty seconds to write about it. Click ‘go’ and the page will load with the cursor in place. Don’t think. Just write.”

That’s the whole concept of oneword.com. You’re given a word and you just WRITE. Whatever comes to mind, however stupid it might sound to you, however many spelling or grammar mistakes you might make, however trite it might feel, you just WRITE for 1 minute about it.

60 Seconds is Not as Short as You Might Think

The time limit isn’t stressful, even for a person like me who hates being timed. In fact, I find that it forces me to toss aside me self-censorship filter and any other inhibitions that keep me from writing as freely as I wish to.

Depending on how much your Muse runs away with you, you can end up writing almost a paragraph in 60 seconds, or you may only have a few words to say. That’s the great thing about oneword.com; you don’t have to write a certain number of words. Just add your thoughts, write about whatever the “word of the day” makes you think of. It’s completely free-form, and freeing.

Once You’re Done, Submit Your Work!

The website times you, and at the end of 60 seconds, it offers you the option to post your writing with your name/nickname, email address, and website address. (Your email address stays private.)

You don’t have to submit your writing if you don’t want to; some days I just do the prompt without submitting, just as a little exercise. But if you do click “submit,” you’ll have an opportunity to read what others have posted about the “word of the day,” and that’s another treat in and of itself. We’ve got some great hidden writers out there, if this website is any indication!

A Real-Life Example

A few days ago, while I was preparing this post, the “word of the day” prompt was “living.” This is what I typed in as a response:

Living. Existing. Breathing. Moving forward, or at least pretending to. These days I don’t feel like I’m doing much of real living–-am I doing anything worthwhile? Heck, I’m not even making a living, but I’m still here. Maybe that means something, after all. Maybe it’s not completely useless.

Despite my mood of the day, my response had a slightly happier turn than I was expecting. And this 60-second drabble turned out a lot more poetic than has been usual for me these days. I got to tap into a writing vein I don’t get a lot of time to be in, these days, and it was fun! (Isn’t that what creative writing is supposed to be, anyway?)


Give your Muse a little boost with oneword.com’s bite-sized writing prompts. I promise you, it’ll be painless, and it might just get you out of a writing rut!

Blog Content, Ahoy!

Each week on this very blog, I’ve been challenging myself each week to write good content for my blog posts, so that people will want to read more of my writing.

But what does “good blog content” mean? How do you write an article that people actually want to read? Here’s what I think makes a great article:

It’s Well-Informed and Well-Researched

Good blog content is the result of study AND experience with the subject matter. When you include not only your own thoughts, but reference the thoughts of others, you have a much more interesting article, no matter how long it is. (In fact, a concise, well-thought-out article is MUCH better than a long-winded one!)

It’s Thoughtful and Respectful

A good article is balanced, not biased. It shows that you’ve taken time to explore your subject matter from many angles, and you’re not disparaging any one opinion just because you personally don’t like it. (This is especially key in religious or political posts, but any article benefits from a respectful tone.)

It’s Personally Connected

Articles without some sort of emotional/personal investment in the subject matter also lack one other thing: READERS. We all write more compellingly when we care about a topic, and that kind of attitude toward a topic will draw people in to read what you have to say.

It’s Got Pictures

Photos, graphs, charts, or any other visual aids you can put in to accent your content is key. But I’m not advising you to fill your article full of pointless clipart–choose images that help explain your points, or mean something in the context of your article, especially if the article is long. This also helps visually break up your writing so your article doesn’t suffer from “Wall of Text” syndrome.

There Are Subheadings and Headings

Headings and subheadings, like the ones in this article, help break up long paragraphs just like visual aids do. Also, if you write your headings with summary words (like I’ve done in this article), readers can also scan your post for its content much more quickly.

You’ve Put Links In

Since we blog authors are writing for the Internet, linking to others’ opinions has never been easier. When you provide links, it’s clear that you’ve “done your homework” about this topic, and you can give readers a list of good sites to go if they want to know more. (Just make sure that your link text isn’t just “click here,” and you’re good!)


Blog content is part writing and part designing–you have to write content that IS interesting, but you need to make it LOOK interesting, too. These 6 tips will help you shape your own content so that readers will want to read and talk about what you’ve said…which is a blogger’s dream!