Hello lovely humans
It’s been a little while. I hope you’re all doing excellently.
I’ve had a few weeks off from the majority of my classes and from doing anything on the blog. But I’ve been busier than ever.
One of the biggest projects I’ve been working on is something I am very excited about and hope that you will be too – I am launching a Zine. It’s called Dancing Star. The plan is to have a new issue once every two months. The first issue is launching on 30th April.
Ever since I started my journey with yoga, with spirituality, my brain has struggled with the ‘why’. ‘Why does everyone talk so much about astrology?’ ‘What’s with the obsession with incense?’ ‘Why is everything so beige and neutral and drenched in essential oils?’
The more I divested myself of the cult thought I had been most beguiled by when I first, as a highly dysfunctional thirty-something, stumbled in to a Kundalini Yoga class, the more I began to question if I could comfortably exist is the realms of yoga and spirituality at all.
But I decided to stick it out. And it was with huge joy that, as I began to create artwork and write words, on my website, on Instagram, that reflected my own thoughts and experiences on yoga and on life, that others seemed to get something from what I was sharing.
Fast forward a little… I wanted a project that could combine my love of creating things and sharing my thoughts on my ongoing experiences with my own mind, with giving a platform to others who have interesting stories, ideas and insight to share.
You can expect content including:
– articles that, broadly speaking, focus on brains and how incredible they are.
And, perhaps best of all, FREE STICKERS! The price is going to be £7 and I hope it’s going to be something that others really enjoy and gain insight from.
I will be revealing more in the days running up to the launch. I have a new Instagram account @dancingstarzine where I will be posting lots of snippets, art and info on what is to come. So go give that a follow if you fancy.
If you don’t know what a zine is – (pronounced zeen) – its a self-published, or at least independently published, booklet. I’ve been a fan of Zines for a long time – often created by cutting and gluing text and images together onto a master file for photocopying, these days it’s more common to produce the master by typing and formatting pages digitally, they are folded and stapled. Ultimately they are a fun and liberating form of publishing and something that I am thrilled to be doing.
I so look forward to launching soon. 30th April.
The Art of Changing Your Mind: Classes For Anxiety Recovery
Beginning on Tuesday 1st June I am running 5, 90 minutes, Kundalini Global classes for Anxiety Recovery.
These classes will explore tools for moving through anxiety and will explore the concept of neural plasticity – looking at practises we can walk toward taking on daily to ‘retrain’ the brain – creating new neural pathways that will allow for a new experience of the self.
In the short term, too, we will look at tools that you can use to quickly change how you feel in any given moment.
I am also currently working on a special edition of Dancing Star zine, specifically to go hand in hand with this series of classes. This zine will be posted out to all who sign up – – I expect to be sending it out in the final two weeks of May.
If you would like to sign up, or find out more, you can go here now:
The Apps I Use For Digital Collage and Animation:
Many people contact me every week to ask me about how I create the posts on my Instagram feed and the artwork for this website. It’s flattering, of course. But I find it quite difficult to answer. In part this is because I genuinely do not believe that the answer, in terms of the apps and programmes I use, will be satisfactory because I never use exactly the same process. But as I am asked so often, I thought I would share some of the apps I use most regularly for making collage and animation very simple.
I always start with writing a post and then reflect on how I would like to present what I have to say. And from there I figure out a way of making it come to life. My number one tip is to build up an archive of images you love – that you have taken, that you have the rights for – so that you aren’t reliant on the built in elements that these apps tend to come with. This tends to help make your creations more unique.
If I am not using Photoshop, and if the post does not include digital drawing, when I am making an animation (and it’s also great for collage generally) the app I will turn too more often than any other is this one:
To use Bazaart to its full potential you must pay a subscription. It is around £5 per month. Otherwise you do not have access to all features and your creations will have a ‘Bazaart’ watermark on them.
Bazaart takes a little getting used to, but it does include a lot of pre-packaged templates. If you’re familiar with and enjoy the incredibly popular Canva, then you will likely get on well with Bazaart too.
My favourite things about Bazaart are:
The ‘Stop Motion’ feature. This is how I have created many of the gifs of me moving that come in to my Instagram designs. It does require you to take the individual pictures to use, and can be time consuming, but the process is quite intuitive once you have played with it a little.
The ‘Magic’ feature. Literally click one button and you can cut out the dominant ‘object’ in a photograph. Usually, for me, this will be myself. Or a tiger. But I used it all the time. It’s really reliable and easy to refine the cutout if the ‘Magic’ feature doesn’t quite get it spot on.
Bazaart also has useful features like ‘stickers’ that you can use in your creations. A vast library of shapes that you can fill in with any colour or photo of your choice and is generally a great offer for anyone who has no training in using things like Photoshop, Indesign etc. to create all kinds of content.
It’s easy to export your creations as photos. Or, if you use the Stop Motion feature, as gifs or as video files.
It would take me weeks to write a full outline of how I have used Bazaart but here is an example of something I made using Bazaart alone:
This is probably, now, my most used application. I love it.
I have a reasonable amount of experience with video editing software. Videoleap makes it much easier than other programmes I have used. It does have limitations, but for the purposes of creating what I create without having to use anything other than my iPad, I am finding Videoleap to be absolutely AMAZING.
Again, this is a subscription offering. Videoleap costs the same as Bazaart – around £5 per month.
Videoleap makes having ‘layers’ to your video projects super simple.
It has lots of build in effects that will likely be popular with many – e.g. a Kaleido effect that turns pretty much any video in to a beautiful moving kaleidoscope of wonder.
I also like the ability to search for royalty free stock video to purchase from within the app. This makes life a lot easier. Although be warned – you can be tripped up by adding these videos liberally, without too much thought, and go to export your video to see you’ve spent £50 on stock footage (you do not get charged until you export though, which is great, as you can play with stock footage for free within the app, unlike what usually happens where you must choose stock video for a project and pay for it before you are able to import to video editing software.
Often I will create a background, with transparent areas, in something like Bazaart, or Photoshop, and then layer with video in Videoleap. I also often use gifs created in Bazaart on Videoleap – importing them as a new layer.
(Not simple any of this, is it?) This was made on Videoleap alone, although elements were obviously imported from photos I have taken etc.
Let me start this one by saying that if you’re really interested in creating art on an iPad or similar, you really can’t go wrong with Procreate. Procreate is incredible. No doubt. But I do not include it in this list as I am working from the apps I use most often in the posts I am asked about. And I am often using apps that make things super simple. So whilst I talk about FlippaClip here, because it does a certain job very well, I really would recommend Procreate above all else.
FlippaClip is a pretty basic app but one that I find simple and a joy to use. It is exactly like creating a flip book, only digital. I have a lot of fun with this app and use it to draw my daily ‘anxiety beast’.
Top tip: you can combine an animation make in Flippaclip with VideoLeap by creating an animation on a green background – so it acts like a green screen, and then you can easily add your animation, cut out, in video leap using whatever methods you have come to love there.
FlippaClip allow you to create frame-by-frame animation. If you are new to such things they have some good video tutorials that introduce you to the tools offered and walks you through how to use the app.
The home screen includes two starter projects that serve as models and can be used to learn and practice the ins and outs of frame-by-frame animation.
You can use audio, music, and import images to the frames. It’s a fun app to work with. Lots to play with. My extremely artistic and clever teenage daughter laughs when I choose to use this over ProCreate (it depends what you need to do!) but I really do love simple!
I could probably list another 6 or 7 at least. I do use a lot of different apps, and it really depends on what I am making. But these 3, particularly Bazaart and Videoleap, are offerings that:
- Make it simple for those of us with no real training in art and graphic design to accomplish the creation of ambitious projects
- Are cheap and work well. Offer good value.
- Are, by some way, those I turn to most often.
I do hope this is in some way helpful to those of you who ask me the question about the ‘how’ – particularly on Instagram. The answer really isn’t simple, and it is not at all that I try to keep it ‘secret’ – my belief is that the apps are not really the important part. The imagination is.
I will be writing more of a ‘life update’ post over the weekend.
As always do comment, email me or share this if you enjoyed. I always love to hear from you.
Sending you all loads of love