Category Archives: #WeCreate

#WeCreate: SLIP Subway Dance

Sam av

I’ve told you all before that I have a real weakness for performance art. I have no talent at all for it, so it strikes me in emotional centers that are pretty well starved for beauty. So for this week, I just wanted to share this little gem. I was reminded of it recently and dug it back up to show a friend, and I was blown away all over again by just how gorgeous this is.


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 (also available in printand short fantasy A SHINY FOR TRICK (forever free for your entertainment!).

Check out the #WeCreate category on Saturdays for a little art appreciation from Frankie and Sam!


Happy New Year!

Hope 2017 is a great year for you all! 😀

Doodled on my new art package XD


#WeCreate: “Truly Customs” #MyLittlePony Customs!

Sam av

Frankie has been talking about My Little Pony a lot, and she keeps posting all of these pictures about how she restores damaged and bedraggled ponies. Honestly, I’ve had toys like that that have gotten worn out and sad, and her work has truly impressed me. Because of that, I keep showing off her pictures. To my friends, my sister, my coworkers…like, “Look at that! Isn’t it amazing?!”

Recently I showed this to my coworker, and she showed it to her daughter. Her daughter is an artist, too. I remember my coworker telling me she does custom toys, but it wasn’t until last night when my coworker recommended I show her work to Frankie that I really went, “Oh.”

Because Alysha has a page called Truly Customs, and she has been making one-of-a-kind custom toys, especially for My Little Pony, since 2009. She shines them up, much like Frankie does, but also transforms them into unique ponies that especially make great gifts!

This was her first one, done in 2009:

And I love this one, Ulana Sea-Jewel (2016). I especially love the detail and colors in her hair, and the detail in the paint is beautiful!

Fans of Harry Potter will love Hufflepuff (2011). Look at how perfect that Hufflepuff crest is! I love the bow, and her sweet face is definitely appropriate for the house.

This is Athena and Nike (2012). I think the choices for the ponies used are perfect, and I love the armor!

Here’s a custom made in 2009 for one of Alysha’s family members, a fan of Coca-Cola collectibles:

Peace (2012). I just love how her hair is styled, and all of the adorable charms on her head.

This next one, Snowdrift (2012), even has a handmade coat!

This is her most recent, a commission done for a little girl. Inessa (2016):

She also does this for other toys, including Pokemon and Littlest Pet Shop!

Truly Customs accepts commission work and enjoys new projects, so if you’re looking for a great gift idea for the holidays and you know a nut like Frankie who needs even more ponies, check out Alysha’s Facebook page.

You can contact her 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 (also available in print).

Check out the #WeCreate category every Saturday for a little art appreciation from Frankie and Sam!

#WeCreate My Little Pony Picture

Frankie Av

Just a quick doodle I drew while taking a break from writing. I asked a My Little Pony group I’m part of who they would like me to draw, and they chose Gingerbread and Minty. This is the result 🙂


F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate Festive Katie!

Frankie Av

For the first time since I drew Robogirl, I decided to take a short break from writing and draw a new picture. I’d been a little poorly and was feeling sorry for myself, so drew this to cheer myself up!


You might recognise the character in the picture if you have read my first book; The Scientist’s Daughter. Katie, the yellow-eyed doll from the story, has always tugged at my imagination. She’s become somewhat of a muse, prompting me to draw her quite frequently when I doodle. This year she wanted to be drawn in a festive setting, and I can’t ever say no to her little self. I actually have a full sized, hand-made version of her which I made a couple of years ago. Maybe I’ll buy her a little Santa costume and sit her under the tree this year 😉 If I do, I’ll post a photo 😀

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate NaNoWriMo Update and Ponies Galore!

Frankie Av

Hello everyone!

I completed my fifty-thousand word goal for NaNoWriMo a few days ago. I’m continuing to write as Emergence isn’t quite finished yet, but I am very happy with my progress.


The injury to my hand appeared to get better with the heat and splinting. I felt it was in a good way so I took off my splint day before yesterday and managed to worsen the healing injury. As a result, typing is slower than usual! I’m finding even the most tiny of things difficult as the hand is such a complex joint, and you forget how much you use your hands–even your non-dominant one! But, I’m getting there!


I’ve received most of the My Little Ponies for my collection which I ordered this past week and a half. Very pleased with all of them, and even included a few G2 and Equestria type, even though they are not my favourites. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I hate Equestria and think G2 ponies are ugly, but they came in a couple of bundles so I have them as part of a more fuller collection. (Though, I am getting to like the G2 a little XD) I’ve lost count of how many I have in my collection. It was over 700 last year, but I sold some so I need to do a recount of all the ponies. I bought the little houses and castles and nursery for display purposes. I have been collecting these for years and don’t have a single pony on display!


As for drawing, I haven’t even attempted to draw a thing for a few weeks. I did buy a My Little Pony adult colouring in book, purely as a part of the collection you understand….and I coloured some of that in while I was unable to type! Colouring in is almost as relaxing as sticking stickers into my sticker albums XD


My attempt at colouring in! I think I need better pens XD

That’s it for now! I hope you are all well and enjoying the weekend! I’m away to write for a while 😀 Bye for now!

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE


#WeCreate Robogirl

Frankie Av

I finished this illustration last night and uploaded it during a period of low self esteem, therefore my imagination completely failed me when it came to giving it a name. There is more to the story of this digital illustration and perhaps I will go back one day and update her backstory. As it stands, she is merely Robogirl, tied to her own insecurities and perceptions, an echo of her creator.


Created on Wacom Cintiq and Artrage.

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi  MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate: Starry Night on Dark Water

Sam av

I saw this going around on Facebook the other day. It was so incredible, I just had to share it.

This guy fills a dish up with ‘dark water.’ Then, he drops paints onto the surface and creates the most amazing works of art…

I think his name is Garip Ay. He appears to be from Turkey.

Stunning, isn’t it?

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 (also available in print).

Check out the #WeCreate category every Saturday for a little art appreciation from Frankie and Sam!

#WeCreate My Wacom Cintiq!

Frankie Av

This week, I managed to get hold of something I’ve wanted for a very long time.

I’ve been using a Motion LE1700  tablet PC as a drawing slate, and have loved the art I’ve been able to produce on it. But the screen began to dull, getting progressively darker as the years went on. It got to the point that deciding colours was difficult as they came out much darker than intended. So I decided it was time to replace my poor old Motion tablet, and just keep it for sketching when I’m out and about.
I looked around the internet for a replacement, always gravitating back towards the top of the line Wacom Cintiq drawing slates. Highly expensive, I could never justify such a cost for the amount of hobbyist art I produce. Perhaps if I was a professional I might consider the cost, but then, it really didn’t have to be expensive, nor exactly brand new for that matter.


Therefore I started looking for a second hand Wacom Cintiq, an older model which would suffice my needs. I did a lot of research and looked at recommendations from around the globe and came to the conclusion that the 2007 Cintiq 12wx would be the perfect tablet for me. It has the same size screen as the one I currently use. It is an older model highly praised as a continuing ball player in the display/pen graphics tablet field. Wacom continue to support the tablet with drivers and such, with drivers for Windows 7, 8 and 10.


When I looked on Amazon, this particular tablet costs a fortune. It is still very much sought after and of course, sellers with this knowledge charge inordinate amounts of money for such a prized item. There were also some sites selling the slate brand new, for £1000… So I looked to Ebay, and found a few for sale. As I get too trigger happy when bidding on things, I left the bidding to my husband. He is a skilled bidder!
We were outbid on the first one by £60, but there were three more to bid on. One in particular caught my eye, finishing the following day with two pens. I contacted the seller, asked about the condition of the screen. The seller was good enough to send me a very clear photo of the screen and it appeared to be pristine. As I was working when the auction ended, I asked my husband to bid on it and let me know what happened. I received a text during my break; my husband managed to win the Cintiq, for less than half the price I expected!!

image host

My new Wacom Cintiq was delivered the day before yesterday. I followed its delivery on the courier map, literally bouncing in my seat the closer it came. I ran a running commentary with my friends on the Line app–I’m sure they were fed up with my excited squeals that morning! Then I began to doubt the transaction. What if I got it so cheap because there was something wrong? What if the photo I was sent had been cleaned up? What if I had squandered my money on a useless tablet which wouldn’t boot up when I finally got it?! These are the things you have to consider when buying from auction sites, and I always keep them at the back of my mind. But this was an expensive piece of kit, and one I had been wanting for years. If it didn’t work or wasn’t what I expected, I would be out of pocket and heartbroken.

I needn’t have worried.


The Wacom Cintiq came fully protected in its original box and with all items required to run it. The two pens were included, both of which are worth £160 alone. After being in the courier van and warehouse for a night, the Cintiq was cold and had a sheen of damp from the cold temperatures, so I was forced to leave it alone until it heated up and dried off. My OCD made me clean every single part of it before leaving it to heat up for a couple of hours. It was a long couple of hours. I tried to write and failed, managing little more than 500 words. I kept thinking about the Cintiq and what I would draw!


Finally I was able to set it up. It didn’t take too long, perhaps fifteen minutes by the time I set everything out and found the ports and sockets I needed. When I booted it up, I sat there, staring at this nice, bright and clear screen. It draws perfectly, with levels of brush sensitivity I’ve been unable to enjoy on the Motion due to the nature of its digitizer. The Cintiq is everything I expected, and everything I thought it should be. Intuitive, clear, bright, sharp and easy to use. I sat for an hour or two, just sketching and doodling and finally decided to make a proper first picture. This is it:


It is worth having at look at the second hand market for things you want as, sometimes, you manage to snatch the deal of the century. 😉

F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE

#WeCreate: Art Prize, the Jewel of Grand Rapids Michigan

Sam av

I can’t believe I haven’t thought to blog on this one yet. I’m ashamed of myself.

The concept of Art Prize is simple, brilliant, and beautiful. For a limited time, a 3-square-mile section of Grand Rapids, Michigan becomes one giant open-air art competition with a top prize of $200,000. Participation is free, attendance is free. It’s a massive celebration of imaginative freedom. Artists participate by applying to one of the venues and registering their entry. The public participates by walking around the city to view the works and vote on the ones they think are the best in each category–two-dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based, and installation.

Art Prize began in 2009. This is probably why I have not been able to go yet. I graduated from Grand Valley State University (very near Grand Rapids) in 2010. I hadn’t even heard of it by the time I graduated. My sister, on the other hand, attends whenever she can.

The 2016 Art Prize even runs from September 21 through October 9, 2016 (which honestly makes this blog post perfectly-timed completely by accident).

I’m having a hard time embedding the images for the top five finalists in each category for you to see, but I definitely think that this is worth clicking on:


The event generates a lot of hype. More than 400,000 people visit every year, boosting the local economy and adding to the ‘destination’ profile of Grand Rapids, which already boasts an incredible selection for craft beers and food.

It brings me joy to share with you something of my home state. In a lot of ways, I think Michigan has become a hole of depression; the economy has been sluggish, Flint is poisoned, the government is shitty, Detroit has the stigma of being a city of murder, our roads are some of the worst in the country…

It can sometimes be hard to remember the positive aspects of my home state. It’s a hard balance to strike. Bonfires on the beaches of Lake Michigan, the status of becoming a food and alcohol destination, and events like Art Prize are good reminders that I still don’t want to live anywhere else.

(Except maybe Pittsburgh.)

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 (also available in print).

Check out the #WeCreate category every Saturday for a little art appreciation from Frankie and Sam!