Break from Tutorial – Poetry & Publishing Detour

Decided to take a break from working on the Inkscape tutorial as I’ve been fighting a deliciously annoying migraine these last few days.

Been a while since I posted any poetry here, so I’ll post a few recent ones at the bottom.

I’m not really sure how much of my work I should be posting online though (I post most of mine on DeviantArt) – I’ve heard conflicting opinions on how much you should display publicly if you plan to publish anything in the future. Anyone have any experience with this?

I’ve been engrossing myself if learning about the self-publishing process after reading a blog written several months ago by James Altucher called “Why Every Entrepreneur Should Self-Publish a Book”.

Altucher’s blog got me started on researching options, % royalties depending on which sites you choose to self-publish through, and other publishing guides. Some of which I found interesting are posted below:

(lol – yes, I really did read all of these – best to get a lot of different sources of info/opinions/experiences before you ‘go for the gold’ i.m.o) 

Although I am neither a trained author or poet, artist, or entrepreneur, I started to think, “hey, this is something I can do that will allow me to personally fulfill a goal, gain legitimacy as a published author, learn more about the kindle device and publishing, amazon/creatspace, smashwords, etc.

As a bonus, since funds are limited for us at this time, if I ever could make a dollar at publishing a poetry book, then it was at least worth the attempt and the experience gained from it. Naturally, as my husband is quite the gabber when it comes to talking, blogging, and being active on bulletin boards and forums, I suggested that he might want to save his posts and tech rants and publish a small book himself.

I think another side bonus to self-publishing is content generation, which may help drive site traffic to our company site, blogs, fb, google play site, etc. Any way that we can drive SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) might just help us get the word out about what we do and what we sell (hopefully not coming across as just another spammer though – ick!).

*Android Developer KreCi did this by publishing a small how-to guide for Android developers on Amazon, on top of blogging about his process, monthly and annual income reports, and thoughts on using ad revenue generating tools such as Leadbolt.

*Fantastic information that really helped us with planning and making some decisions about our next steps. If you are a smartphone app developer just getting started, I would recommend reading his blog and reading about other people’s experiences and reports.


I haven’t quite got so far as to actually put a book together – just assembling an old-and-new collection of poems to see if I have got enough relevant material to work with that I think might be ‘self-publishing material’.  It will likely be some time before I muster up the courage to go for it, but for now, I’m intrigued enough to TRY.

Plus, it’s kind of a nice break from working directly on our business, and helps keep me sane! ❤

When that time comes, I’ll do my best to document what decisions I make, why, and the resulting outcomes (income reports, if any – lol!),  and let you other self-publishing hopefuls (perhaps as timid as I?) decide what path you want to choose.

Thanks and good luck to you too!


Morning Morner

Traci’s Current

Fort Omaha NB

How to Cartoonify a Picture Using Inkscape: For People Who Know Nothing About Inkscape: GETTING STARTED




What is Inkscape?

In a nutshell, Inkscape is a FREE, open source software program that you download from the internet that allows you to create using something called vector art. I really don’t know much more than that, and really only care that it is free to users who accept the terms of service.

For people who would like to read more about it before, during, or after trying it out, I found this link helpful:


What are ‘vector’ graphics?

Wikipedia gives this answer:

Since I don’t understand what most of it means, here’s a more simplified answer:

 ‘Vector’ refers to a technique, not really a type of art in itself.

The best way I can explain it based on my own experience is to compare it to something else.  In my mind:

MS Paint is to Inkscape (vector art), as traditional painting is to tangrams


If you have ever used a painting program such as MS Paint, Mario Paint, or ever saw or played new games like Draw Something, the concept is similar to painting with real brushes that you dip into paint and use STROKE techniques to make a masterpiece on paper or canvas. Or, like drawing with a pencil and using a combo of erasing and re-drawing until you are happy with what you have created.

Inkscape is a vector-based art program that allows you to create, arrange, and color SHAPES, much like when arranging TANGRAMS into the shapes of houses, cats, people, or other objects (tangrams are the series of paper, wood, or plastic polygons, that teachers usually gave to kids to have them learn how to arrange and recognize basic shapes – not sure if this is US only or not). Instead of having to erase part of an object to ‘fix it’, you can manipulate the shape, angles, curves, etc, of the object, and rearrange the objects as many times as you like until you are happy with the final piece.   *If anyone has a better or more accurate analogy I would love to hear it! 🙂

Object manipulation, rather than drawing/painting, is how we are going to turn a picture into a cartoon.


Why use Inkscape?

I found Inkscape easier to learn than other free programs I have tried (i.e. GIMP, GraphicsGale, etc). Not sure if it just appeals to how my brain functions or if I like how it looks, but heck, I’ll take it! 🙂

One thing I found that I love is the ability to re-size objects and images while maintaining the quality of the object/image. What I mean is – no matter how much I zoom in or out, or re-size an image, the integrity of the picture is maintained, and I can then save the image in multiple size dimensions (inkscape saves it as .svg). I can also export an image as a .jpeg or .png for other uses. This has been especially helpful when designing logos for tshirts and making the bubbles, marbles, and backgrounds I made for our android app Bubble Zing.



Image re-sized in MS Paint appears blurry and grainy.

(image from:

*There is a very technical explanation for this that I believe has to do with pixels, aliasing, and file type, but I am not confident that I understand enough or can explain it in plain terms here (google ftw?).

Vector image re-sized in Inkscape:


(images made by me with Inkscape)

How do I get Inkscape on my computer?


On the upper left side of the screen, click ‘download‘.

To know which Inkscape package to download you need to know if you are running Windows, Mac OSX, or some other operating system.


  • If you see any of these images on your monitor’s screen, you are running Windows.
    •    ,     ,  
  • Apple computer users are running Mac OS X (unless you who installed a different operating system on your Apple, or other computer – if not, ignore this statement).
  • Linux, Unix, etc – I’m sorry, I don’t know enough about these to be helpful here.


Once you have determined the operating system you are running, click on the appropriate installer and begin the download. Windows users, click ‘installer‘; Mac users click ‘.dmg‘.

Follow the instructions on the installer. I have found it helpful to close other programs before installing the program, and restarting your computer when finished, but that is a personal preference.


What Inkscape looks like when you first open it up!


My first thought when I saw this: “Holy craptostada! That’s a lot of buttons!”

As I played around more with Inkscape vector graphics, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t really need to worry about using them all. But yeah – how much I thought I would have to learn just to be able to draw a circle was overwhelming, but it isn’t so bad when you get used to it.

I hope you find this to be easier to use than it looks as well! 🙂


I’ll end this part here and post the actual tutorial in the next blog (I know! All this pre-tutorial talk getting in the way lol).

Coming up:

How to Cartoonify a Picture using Inkscape for people who know nothing about Inkscape: TUTORIAL!

How to Cartoonify a Picture Using Inkscape – For People Who Know Nothing About Inkscape: BACKSTORY




First Time for Everything!

Ok, so this is my first real how-to blog.

Though it happens to be on a subject I know little about, circumstances have forced me to teach myself how to use a program called Inkscape.

In my own quest to learn, I have searched, read, and watched dozens of tutorials like many people out there – found some good ones, great ones, and not-so-good ones too.

I did not go to school for art, nor did I have much interest in being an artist by trade, but I believe that a bit of courage to ‘try’ and teach yourself something is all you need to produce something that you can be happy with, whether it is useful to you or not.

It took me a very long time to get to this point because I never used to believe that trying was enough – that you had to have that special sauce, the talent, the power, the money, the schooling, the triforce, the permission, and all those other things I used to tell myself to keep me from just ‘trying’ anything.

If you want to do anything in life, you have to and CAN start somewhere right?


Why am I writing a tutorial?

My husband and I decided to follow our dreams of creating and publishing computer games and smartphone apps.

The idea was that he would be the techie programmer dude that would be responsible for game design and the overall development process. My role, as I was trained, was to be the jack-of-all-trades admin guru – I would keep us organized, find people, money, and opportunities, and market our company and products to the masses. Two very complex and difficult roles for each of us to fill (although I think programming is probably much more mentally taxing), and you guessed it – a heck of a lot of time and money required to get there.

For years we have been searching for artists to either join our team or to make graphics, sprites, backgrounds, and animations, that we would purchase the rights to for each product.

As I learned more about the process, I came to realize we had a huge dilemma:

If we wanted high quality graphics, it was going to cost as much as $50K per project (average quote given by art studios we contacted based on specs for ONE game app) – money that we simply do not have access to at this time.

If we were going to get art from “starving artists/college kids” with no experience, we could get the work on the cheap or for free, but we could not expect them to understand what we need, deliver it, or be responsive IN GENERAL. In this case, many of the young college students that were excited about becoming graphic designers, 2d spriters, animators, etc, had not thought to develop a portfolio of their work (even if they were only assignments). When asked to do something, they almost never delivered, and sadly, some just didn’t feel confident about what they do, and some (sorry to say it) are just flat out too lazy to do things on their own. That is not to say that they weren’t nice or capable people – I think it just reveals who is ready to put their skills to work and who is not.

*To those of you that did and do deliver – you rock! I respect that kind of will and perseverance with a dash of ‘balls’ to develop your own craft without waiting for a degree or for someone else to say that you are good enough. We all know that talent alone does not guarantee success.


What does this have to do with Inkscape and turning a picture into a cartoon?

The list of resources needed to fill our art needs is growing. Hence, I wanted to see if I can teach myself ANYTHING about art that can help us reduce our resource requirement as an indie game studio. Even if the only thing I can do it make text, color pictures, or make sexy circles – these details add to the production value of a product.

Being able to fill these holes ourselves saves us $$$ and, well – makes me feel just that much more darn-tootin’ about what I can contribute to the process!

[my first art attempts used in Bubble Zing]


Back to the point:

Personally, I have had some difficulty with tutorials that are labeled for beginners because sometimes the tutorial writer sometimes doesn’t think about the minute details, doesn’t explain how they transitioned from one step to the other, or forgets about removing the language ‘barrier’ between technically trained artists and ‘the rest of us’, so to speak. For these reasons, I have found video tutorials to be the most helpful in my own learning process. However, you should choose the methods that work best for you – as each person can learn to do well regardless of how one learns.

Some of my favorite tutorial videos are by tutor4u on YouTube because the narrator is thorough, speaks clearly, and has a nice pace set throughout the videos – this made it easy to listen, pause the video if needed, repeat steps in case I did it wrong, etc. He is using an older Inkscape version I believe, but it looks the same to me I still find them to be very useful.

The tutorial I will post in the next few days is an attempt to show in as basic, simple, and thorough as possible, how to use Inkscape to turn a picture into a cartoon.

This is for the person with very limited, to zero knowledge of artistic tools, software, and/or terminology (like myself). Whether you want to do this for fun or for some project of your own, the point is you can learn how to do this without a background in art or fancy art programs.


You can haz TRIFORCE?



Yes, indeed!



Next blog:

How to Cartoonify a Picture using Inkscape: for people who know nothing about Inkscape: GETTING STARTED