#WeCreate: Non-traditional Media and Sam’s DA


Hey all! Last time we met about art I showed you some of my drawings (mostly from high school). I don’t art as much anymore. If I spent as much time on it as I should, I could still probably be pretty decent at it, but I’ve devoted more of my time to other hobbies. Mostly writing. I’ll leave the art to the more talented artists.


There is an exception to this self-imposed rule. When holidays roll around, I get really into the associated craft projects. I wanted to share these with you, as well as show off some of my Whiteboard art and a few of the sketches I wasn’t able to show you before that are hosted on my Deviant Art (DA) account.

Easter Eggs

My sister and I color eggs every year. When life is chaos, it’s good to have something you can always fall back upon. Hanging on, desperately, to my childhood is one of those things. No matter what happens, we color eggs every year. Usually I like to do something related to what I’m obsessing about at the given time. I enjoy making adorable round version of cool things, like this Jigglypuff and Pokeball from Pokemon. šŸ™‚

How I do it is generally with a sharpie and crayons, then dip into the dye.


OK, my friends/family get mad at me every year when I do pumpkins. I know there are FAR better pumpkin artists out there, like this guy, but I do get pretty into it.

How do I do it? You know those pin-to-your-pumpkin designs you can buy in the books? I make my own. I just make them incredibly complicated and base them on a photo/picture I find on the internet. I transpose the picture or photo into a 2-3 tier color scheme that would result in a pumpkin design that doesn’t make the pieces fall out–because remember…the pumpkin is all only one piece. You can’t make a target, for example, because all of the inner rings would fall out.

I wish I could show you the sketched out design of one, but sadly I throw the sketch away when I’m done because it’s usually soaked with pumpkin juice.

You can have approximately 3 tiers of color in a pumpkin design: black, bright, and glow. You get black by leaving pumpkin there, bright by cutting the pumpkin completely out, and glow by peeling off only the skin. The other handy thing about using glow is that it’s still ATTACHED pumpkin, so you can use it in your how-to-not-get-the-pumpkin-to-fall-apart strategy.

Bowser, from Super Mario:

Ancient Red Dragon from the Facebook App Castle Age:

The cover of the expansion for the game Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction

Another Pokemon pumpkin, this one featuring Zorua, Fennekin, and Vulpix, the basic evolution foxes of Pokemon:

^This one actually shows off the Black, Bright, and Glow techniques I was talking about before quite well.

A pumpkin to commemorate the conclusion of “Naruto,” Naruto in Six-Tails mode:

And lastly, this one didn’t go so well. I chose a poor design but I REALLY wanted to do it. TSM’s Dyrus retired last year as a professional League of Legends player, so I made this Team Solo Mid pumpkin:

Notice how the round shape made it incredibly difficult for it retain its structure. I actually had to brace it with thread just to take the picture.

These designs take anywhere from 1-4 hours a piece. No, I’m not kidding. I can usually only handle doing one each year because they’re so time-consuming and exhausting.


When I was in college, my final semester I decided to take an art class. I was already accepted into graduate school and figured I’d have a little fun. I thought art would be easy and I thought Introduction to Metalsmithing sounded pretty cool.

As it turns out, art classes are really fucking hard and take a lot of time, so shout out to the artists out there that already knew this and are laughing their asses off at me right now. The class was great, actually. I learned how to solder and do other stuff that I have since pretty much forgotten. It’s an expensive hobby to keep up, so for the most part I’m just happy to have had the experience and now appreciate how difficult and time-consuming art can really be. Someone in an advanced class had made an entire suit of scale armor with detail on every single scale. I used to have a picture of it, but alas. It was SO AWESOME.

I have a few things from that class, but most notably is this:

The assignment was to take a 6×6 sheet of copper and form something we could wear that ‘lost the square.’ We had to bend, pull, twist, reshape a square piece of copper into anything you could wear, with the added caveat that you couldn’t add anything to it and you couldn’t cut anything off.

At the time, I was also heavy into my cell biology research, and I was studying diaphanous-related formins. Formins help structure and shape the cytoskeleton, and when you ‘overexpress,’ meaning you dump so much of this into a cell that you see an extreme version of the thing, the formin I was working on, this is generally what happens. All of those twisty, dangerous copper appendages are called ‘filopodia,’ and are basically cell feet. Like this:

The base part is more or less what a normal cell looks like, shown here (Ā©2016 Exploratorium | The museum of science, art and human perception at the Pier 15/17, San Francisco, CA 94111):


This is a new one for me. It began when a coworker asked me to draw something in the blank space of her board.

Dratini, Dragonair, Dragonite from Pokemon:



Of course, you’ve all seen my hat.This is also a new skill.


I don’t make the crockery, but I do paint it. A lot of cities have a local paint-your-own pottery gallery. It can be very expensive, but it’s really fun and makes for great gifts!

Food Art

I like bentos. ^_^ So I decided to try to make a few of them, kind of sort of imagining sending them with my kids for school lunches. šŸ˜€

So that’s about it. šŸ˜€ Just wanted to point out that art is not as simple as a pencil on paper or amazing work on photoshop. All it really takes is a little bit of whimsy, some patience, and a medium by which to work wonders.

You can see the rest of my art on my Deviant Art page, which is also linked on the blog’s home page over at the right. I do recommend having a look, as some of my best sketches ever are there.

However, I did want to draw your attention to one of the drawings that’s still on there. In my previous art post I talked about a ‘dergoth,’ which was an armored beastie I came up with. I previously said that I’d drawn a better rendition later that I couldn’t find, and it’s there on my Deviant Art. Also, here:

S.K. Balk lives in the frozen wasteland of Northern Michigan. She is the author of the dystopian medical sci-fi THE BLOOD OF NERYS.


About oneofthedragons

Samantha K. Balk and F. R. Donaldson met on An Archive of Our Own, one of the many fanfiction sites online, when Sam asked Frankie to illustrate the fanfiction that would one day lead to Sam's first novel. They've been friends ever since! This blog was created as a way to share the oftentimes difficult journey any new author experiences on the uncomfortable quest of an introvert for attention to his or her most personal work. It is meant to remind you that authors don't just appear fully fledged like a George R. R. Martin, that all of us start out unsure and feeling inadequate. Feel free to ask us anything. Sam: sammykaye9@gmail.com Frankie: reluctant.fraggle@gmail.com

Posted on June 18, 2016, in #WeCreate and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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