Friday, August 30

Farewell Red

Farewell Red Self Portrait

This is a very personal piece.
Makeup for This Look

The counterpart to this work here.

Thursday, August 29

Look of the Month :: Summer 2013 :: August

It is time. Time to say goodbye to the red. It's interesting how color is so very meaningful, and it can shape a person's personalty. That's why one's appearance can influence how others perceive them, and even has the ability to change how we act, think, and feel.

Red is a powerful color; it moves people. So for this digital face chart I'm keeping it monochromatic, and in tune with the themes of my last portrait with long red hair. It's the makeup I wear in that picture

The current look is:
A U G U S T  2 0 1 3


Color inspiration:
Fire engine red, mahogany, nude, black, and silver

Current motivation for the look:
 Farewell Red


Previous Looks this Year:

J A N U A R Y  2 0 1 3

F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 3

M A R C H  2 0 1 3

A P R I L  2 0 1 3

M A Y  2 0 1 3

J U N E  2 0 1 3

J U L Y  2 0 1 3

Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Wednesday, August 28

Video Claudia with Long Red Hair

Hurray for videos!

These stills are from the animated Claudias for my YouTube channel. Painted in Photoshop with a Wacom. I'm changing my hair, so I thought that it would be fitting to show these off before I alter them.

Tuesday, August 27

How to Stimulate Creativity

Ah! Creativity, you either have it or you don't. Not true. Just like any skill, there are ways to tap into creativity and master it via practice. All one needs to know is how to change their work flow.

Speaking of "flow", that's what I like to call what happens when the mind is at work in that creative zone. I first learned about it from an art teacher that I admired, and they would talk about getting in the "flow" all the time. Well what's this magical mindset that they spoke of? How can we benefit from it? Of course it's easy to tell people how to be creativity, but learning how to actually do it can potentially be a challenge. The more one does anything, the more it will come. It is truly a skill that can be obtained over time, and we always find the time for the things that are most dear to us.


Here are my creativity tips:

- Keep a notepad of thoughts and ideas. Creativity can happen anytime, anywhere, and it's vitally important to capture these precious thoughts when they enter your mind. I personally keep a digital notepad file of all my creative thoughts when I start a project or even ideas for future projects. Any random thought that I have goes into the notepad file. Also, if I'm away from the computer or on the go, I use my iPod/iPad to write down things that I can later transfer over to my main notepad files. Feel free to keep a paper journal as well if that's your preference. Just record those thoughts in some way! 

- Breakdown an overwhelming project into small tasks. This has saved me too many times and now I just do it right from the get go. So many of my large projects wouldn't have been completed if I didn't have a rough plan or clear understanding of how to break them down into smaller tasks that I could focus on within a day or even a few hours at a time. That way little victories happen often and it motivates one to keep going. It keeps the mind focused on a single issue, and not everything at once.

- Just start. It's really as simple as it sounds. We'll find a million reasons to procrastinate, and ultimately this is because we fear the outcome. We're afraid that whatever we produce is never going to be good enough, and it happens to everyone. The idea is better kept in one's mind, because there it can stay perfect and beautiful. This is something that I personally have struggled with, and as soon as I realized that I'm being fearful, it helps me to recognize it and get over it confidently. If laziness is the issue, then whatever you're working on might not be right for you because it's not compelling enough. Think back to childhood when you were free to do whatever you loved without being forced. Perhaps finding a way to do that again will be most satisfying. 

- Set due dates to get small tasks done. An example of this can be creating an outline, writing a crappy first draft, or making edits for later. Or even with art, brainstorm ideas and mock up a quick thumbnail sketch of it. Getting something tangible into the world, no matter what the quality, is so important. I keep a calender of due dates for my tasks, that way I can stay on schedule and focus on one thing at a time.

- Find a quiet place to work undisturbed. This may be challenging for some in office cubicles, but if you have the luxury of finding a quiet place where you can work, go there and close the door. This works great for groups as well, and lets everyone focus on the task at hand. Closing the door works like magic because then one can be truly alone with their thoughts or work, and then it will just all flow. I notice that my productivity is extremely high when I do this in my home office, in comparison to being forced to work in a cube at a studio. So that's why I freelance these days, or work at a company that gives me my own office.

- Set aside a good few hours to work. It takes awhile to get into the zone. Depending on the task, it can take about a half an hour to really get going. So schedule at least two hours to work at a time, because getting into this state will allow for one's natural creativity to come forth. Also, the more time that's given to a particular problem, the better the solutions gets. It's not about being talented, it's about dedicating more quality time than others to stick with the problem for longer, and thus resolving it in a more original manner.

- Work during the same time each day. This is important, because it helps one to get into an open state of mind. Just like any habit, the brain will get use to it and start to preform accordingly. If one works at the same time each day, then the body and brain are prepared. It's easier to get into the flow faster. For example, I write my blog posts every morning when I wake up. I get some water, and I write until the article is done, sometimes breaking for breakfast depending on the length of the writing. This leaves my afternoons open for large projects, that I chip away at bit by bit until I release them into the world. Having this time scheduled has helped me out immensely so then it's easy to distinguish between work time and normal life. 

- Turn off the cell phone, and no internet while working. No, the world will not explode. It's impossible to work with distractions, and I have spent too many days wasting good time because I was procrastinating. One phone call, text, or email turns into hours of messing around. So pull the plug! Loved ones will understand, and you can always get back to them after creativity/work time is wrapped up. After awhile the mind will calm and it's easy to get into the zone, because life as we know it can resume after work time is done.

- Play, relax, and be prepared to make mistakes. One cannot learn without making mistakes, and it will happen naturally so it's best to welcome it. This has stopped me from being creative because I didn't want to fail and waste time on mistakes. That, in and of itself, is a huge mistake because I wasn't growing or learning without practice. Get into a childlike state of mind and go to town! One needs to have those experiences, and learn what not to do, so that the creative mind can ponder on something else instead of fixating on a potential solution that was never worked through. I'm reminded of the famous example of Edison's 1,000 attempts at the light bulb. He had to experiment to learn from the mistakes. The same is true with any creative process. Get the elementary ideas out first, so that they can evolve or that better ones can manifest.

- Get quality rest. Not only is this optimal for a well-functioning body, but it's also ideal because the mind needs time to step away from the task at hand. Now, I'm not talking about laziness and procrastination, I'm talking about a good night's sleep and cool down time in the evening. I've found that if I work until bedtime, I can't get my problems off the brain and I jeopardize my relaxation. In contrast, if I put my work up a few hours before bed, I'm well rested and ready to start work the next day with enthusiasm and excitement. What's also great about rest is that some of the best ideas can pop into one's mind when they least expect it. I often have amazing thoughts when I'm in the shower, dreaming, preparing food, or out on a walk. Just jot it down, save it for the next work session, and continue to enjoy your free time.

I wish you the best with all of your creative endeavors. I'm a big believer that we all have a special purpose or calling, and sometimes it's scary to pursue that. Well, just put one foot in front of the other and the finish line will get closer with each passing day. Live with passion my friends, 
because the world needs whatever unique gift you have to offer.

Cheers and here's to creativity!
~Claudia

Tuesday, August 20

Healing a Loved One from Cancer

Cancer is a serious word. So, I can just imagine what it feels like when someone you love tells you that they have cancer. Like many out there, cancer has claimed the health and lives of many. I've always believed that it was a disease of excess: Poor diet, stagnation, lack of rest, hoarding, stress, fear, drugs of all sorts, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. Again, it's a disease of excess that's so prevalent in the modern world. We're so unhappy and busy that we numb ourselves with whatever we like best. In turn, we exchange our well being and longevity for that quick fix. Cancer is defined as unregulated cell growth, and it seems logical to believe that it's caused by unregulated behavior. They always seemed to be linked in some way.

So when I learned that my little sister Carin has cancer, I just didn't know how to respond. I've been numb for days and it seems so surreal.

I help people. That's what I do, or at least that's what I try to do, and now it's time to help someone so dear and beloved. After gaining composure, I've logically realized what must be done. Perhaps all my studies and growth over the years will come into play now at this moment with her.

Carin has begun to clean up her life in all aspects. She's an inspiration to me, because she's taking the bull by the horns and is going all out. I know that this is a hard life lesson, but she will get through this and become a better person because of it. I laugh with her and tell her that it's time to come out of her cocoon and fly. Get ready for Carin Version 2.0! Alongside conventional treatments, she has begun educating herself about holistic methods. I remember seeing The Beautiful Truth when it came out, and knew that it would inspire her.

Watch the documentary here:

It was my first exposure to healing on this level, and it changed my life because I started implementing these things as well. A healthy diet, cutting back on chemicals, movement, play time, stress management, quality sleep, creativity, passion, and lots of love can heal almost anything it seems. It did for me. So with Carin, we've implemented some of this wisdom. She's doing amazingly, because most people aren't willing to give up their vices. It's challenging for sure, but she's rocking it and I'm so happy.

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates

Also, she's working less now and cutting back with one of her jobs. The unfortunate thing about the world we live in is that if we don't work we can't maintain our stuff. So, she still has to work as well and is going to earn just enough for food and bills.

She also did away with all of her cosmetics, hair dye, toxic cleaners, and cut back on plastics (especially any food packaging). For most, this is tough. I'm not even this clean, because I still have chemical makeup and nail polish. Going through this with her really makes me think about my addictions, and she is a shining example of someone who is choosing health and life over convenience and vanity.  

Lastly, Carin was on birth control. When she got the implant in her arm a year ago, she only told me after she completed the procedure, and I was unable to talk her out of it. It has caused her so much trouble since then, and she's glad to have it taken out. This is a whole other topic, but I'm ecstatic that she's having it removed.

Going through this makes me realize, once again, how important all of our life choices are. Most think that they're giving up so much when they can't have the little things that they "love". Those things are addictions, and cloud one's judgement. Living without these addictions is pure joy, and it's indescribable. However, I do understand that everyone is free to make their own choices, and some prefer the junk foods, TV, cigarettes, alcohol, and the resulting pain; life can feel unbearable without them. The mind is powerful, and whatever reality that we believe to be true most definitely manifests.

~Claudia

Monday, August 19

Life and Humanity

I've been pondering a lot recently; thinking about everything it seems. Both the good and the bad, but at the end of the day I'm always optimistic.

Recently, a good friend of mine went to spend time with the Native American people up in South Dakota. I was excited because of this wonderful experience and awaited their tales about such an amazing opportunity. It's quite special, and an honor to go. I have great respect for different cultures and idealistically I thought that the stories brought back would be full of great importance, beauty, and growth. They were, but not quite what I had originally invasion. The tribes of the past are a shadow of their former glory; most of us know this because of history lessons. Still, I was not prepared for what I learned from my friend, a psychology major, who went there to help and work with the people.

Here is a TED talk about the reservation:


I was told about all of these things and more. My heart sank, because I have so much love and respect for these people. Despite all of this, my dear friend had an unforgettable positive experience as well. They got to participate in an ancient celebration, learned about true generosity, and made many new friends.

I'm also reminded of this article that I so desperately needed today. It made me remember once more that the world is wonderful and beautiful. Humanity has grown so much, and as the author puts it, "We're living in the glorious golden age of civilization and that life is improving for the species at a dizzying rate not even hippies could have hoped for in their smelliest dreams."

This is worth the read:

There's always going to be something wrong with the world, and there's always going to be something right. It matters how we deal with it, learn from it, and make better choices from it. Life may be confusing at times, but it’s still invaluable.

We make choices that affect everyone and everything. Do good and it will pay off. Little things are the most important too because they cause ripples. I'm always so touched when someone writes to tell me that they've made a positive change in some way. It happens all of the time, and there are too many lovely examples to count! It brings a smile to my face just thinking about all of you out there, and how you've changed the world in some way. After all, an ocean is just a multitude of drops.

I'm reminded of my last visit to the farmer's market. I was in line waiting to pay for my produce and the lady in front of me stated that she didn't want her beet greens. I kindly asked her if I could have them because they're really good for juicing. Not only did she give me the greens, she paid for another bunch of beets and gave them to me as a gift because she wanted to support the local farms more. I was completely is awe, and it almost brought me to tears because I was so happy. If it wasn't for the cantaloupe in my right hand, and the honeydew in my left, I would have gave her the biggest hug ever! After I paid for my fruit, I ran off to catch up with her, but alas, she disappeared into the crowd and I wasn't able to give her that big hug.

We can always do something for someone else; it doesn't matter how big or small because it will make a difference in someone's life. It doesn't even have to be monetary either, because many say that they don't have anything to give. Sometimes a smile, listening, or a kind gesture is all someone else needs. If we can all respect and love each other equally, then perhaps one day we'll have less stories like the ones concerning the Native American people in the history books of the future.

~Claudia

Thursday, August 15

The Ball of Cthulhu Official Game Trailer


This little guy is for The Ball of Cthulhu indie game! It’s my first collaboration with Alvin on our own personal game project, and he did an amazing job bringing this to life. My task was to design and animate Cthulhu,
and it was so much fun coming up with a new look for such an iconic character.

Support the game on the app store for iPhone, iPod & iPad, because Cthulhu and I love you!


The Ball of Cthulhu Official Game Trailer

For more information, please read the YouTube info box. 


Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

Wednesday, August 14

Fruit & Veggie Benefits Printout

Recently, I was given an awesome chart that lists the benefits of a variety of different fruits and vegetables. My printout is three pages long, so I wanted to redo it and consolidate all of the information so it fits on one sheet.

Here's the redesigned Claudia version:

 Take it with you on the go as a good reminder, or pin it up on the refrigerator!

Cheers and happy living.
~Claudia

Tuesday, August 13

Ask Claudia: Dreaming and Playing Pretend

"Ask Claudia" is a series that helps me help you. That way I can address frequently asked questions in a creative and interactive way, which may also be useful to others that have similar inquiries in the future.


Ask Claudia: Dreaming and Playing Pretend

For more information, please read the YouTube info box.



Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

---

Want to be featured? Please feel free to leave me your questions on YouTube.

♡ Claudia

Monday, August 12

My Erickson Ranch Adventure

Over the weekend I spontaneously traveled up north to Fairfield California and had the pleasure of exploring a bit around Erickson Ranch. It's so beautiful up there, and I cherished the short time I had to visit. I got to met Ray, the owner, and we chatted about all sorts of wonderful things. I also got a tour of some of the land and was in awe by what I got to see. It was amazing, and I felt at home there running around with the dogs, talking about butterflies, eating grapes from the vine, and collecting peppers.

These beauties are a seasonal treat for sure!

Also, Ray was so kind and he gave me a bunch of loquat leaves from a huge tree that he had growing on the ranch. I've never seen one so big before, and now I have a ton of leaves that are going to last me forever.

So if you're in the Northern California area, stop by the Erickson Ranch to support these lovely people. They're open June through November, and it would make for the perfect afternoon outing.

Check out their website:

Harvest info makes learning about fruits and veggies easy:

Also, they have amazing recipes too:


I would love to go back!
♡ Claudia

Thursday, August 8

ABC Tag

An awesome tag from Carlos.


Questions:

A - Age: Ageless

B - Bed size: Queen-sized canopy

C - Card game you love to play: Solitary

D - Dog's name: I don't have any pets

E - Ethnicity: English and French

F - Favorite color(s): Green and white

G - Gold or silver: Matters the color palette

H - Hot or cold: Definitely hot

I - Instruments you played: Ocarina (but I'm not sure what I do is defined as "playing")

J - Jobs you've had: Concept artist, illustrator, art director, editor

K - Kids: No kids

L - Lied to people: Yes, of course, we all have out of fear and immaturity. These days I'm all about the honesty though.

M - Mother's name: Alice, "Ever see an alice with a blossom like that? Come to think of it, did you ever see an alice?"

N - Nicknames: Silly Rabbit

O - Overnight hospital stay other than your birth: No

P - Pet peeves: Mean people

Q - Quote: "Life gets boring when you stop learning and living." - Claudia.

R - Right or left handed: Right

S - Scared of something: Failure

T - Time you wake: 6:30am

U - Underwear: Handcrafted, level 99

V - Vegetable you love: Cucumbers

W - Workout style: The world is my playground

X - X-Rays you've had: Arm, clavicle, leg, spine, teeth

Y - Yesterday's best moment: Having great conversations

Z - Zoo favorite: Animal Kingdom in Orlando

Now you get to do it. Tag! Tag! Tag!
~Claudia

Wednesday, August 7

How to Make a Custom-Sized Paper Box

 
 I needed it to fit inside my jewelry box so that I could organize small pieces.

Making an origami box is simple, and they're absolutely brilliant for storing small treasures. The problem with most paper box tutorials is that they're normally for a single size. This isn't a problem unless one's particular about the dimensions. I personally needed a small, eco-friendly container for my jewelry, and I didn't want to spend any money, so I decided to come up with my own design for a custom box. I'm glad I did too, because these little boxes are so appealing. They can be made out of all sorts of fun paper, anything from decorative craft paper to junk mail. So let's get started, shall we!


~~Materials Needed~~
Piece of paper cut to the custom dimensions
Scissors
Ruler
Pencil or something to make marks

Start by estimating your measurements, and cut the paper to size. My box specifically
needed to be 2 5/8" L x 1 5/8" W x 1" H. So my paper needed to be 6 5/8" x 5 5/8"
(find this number by multiplying the height by 4 and adding it to both the length and width).

Lightly mark the measurements on the paper. The center square/rectangle
is the base, and the sides are double the final height for the box.

Fold inward along all the marks, and erase any lines that were drawn.

Carefully fold only the corners together until the seam reaches the bottom edge.

Fold up the sides and position the corners along the length of the box.

Lastly, tuck the top half of the sides down into the inside of the box.


There you are! We have a charming paper box that can be used for a variety of different needs. They're perfect for drawers, dressers, closets, and in my case, custom compartments for my jewelry box. Lastly, if you plan on making a big box (perhaps something larger than a foot), consider using thicker materials like card stock, poster board, or Bristol board.

Cheers and happy box making!
~Claudia

Thursday, August 1

Going Silver: A Guide to Rocking Natural Locks

"Nothing is as beautiful as confidence." - Katie Couric

I've always admired white-haired heroines because they look so beautiful and ethereal. Movies and video games have made grey and platinum hair so sexy. Characters like Fran, Daenerys, Lady Amalthea, and Storm are some of my personal favorites. So now it's time for me to join the club and rock silver locks!

I've been dyeing my hair since I was very young, and lately I've been reflecting as to why. Ask any person that dyes their hair "Why?", and one might get a variety of different reasons. Sadly, it all boils down to not loving oneself for who we are naturally. I'm very much guilty of this as well. Early on in life we might hear or absorb information about hair color and take it to heart without realizing. Some colors are better looking than others, vivid colors are cooler, this color is youthful, this color is trendy, and so forth. Then that sticks, and we have a new standard of beauty. We think that people will love us more for it, and that we'll love ourselves more as well. That's not the case though. Most of the time, hair dye is a mask, and most of us are just afraid of being our natural selves. We're afraid of being unattractive, judged, put down, or unloved. So instead, we'll spend hundreds of dollars, waste countless hours, pollute the environment, and expose ourselves to some of the worst chemicals on the market just to feel accepted.

It all started for me back in high school. Everyone was the same. We all wore cookie-cutter American fashion, had fake tans, and bleached hair. If you were cool, this was you. So I traded my over-sized t-shirts for trendy surf wear, started going to a tanning salon, and had my hair highlighted. This was the beginning of it all, and it was awful. Most teens go through a similar period, either that, or they totally rebel. If kids weren't going blonde, they most certainly were dyeing their hair black and other neon colors. Hair dye is a form of expression, that I get, but at what cost? This all matters of course. Everyone is different. Self is expression is beautiful and so important, but chemicals are not the best option. As long as one loves what they do, and who they are, that's all that matters in the end. Be who you want to be, not what you think others want from you. If one does that then all is well. Again, all of this comes down to love. Someone will notice me, think I'm cool, or beautiful. Perhaps I'll even think I'm cool or beautiful.

So the years past, and slowly I started to establish my own signature fashion sense. I even grew to love my alabaster skin and stopped tanning for good. The hair dye however, was an addiction I wasn't ready to give up. I've dyed my hair practically every color within a somewhat natural range, all because someone said, "Oh that color's the best; it looks great on you." Typically it would be the men in my life, and it made me feel better but deep down I was losing my identity. It felt fake.

Then there's the time, money, and chemicals. I don't even want to think about it. It's ideal to dye hair once or twice a month depending on the color, and it sure adds up fast. It would take at least two hours or more each time, and cost anywhere from $5-$350 per session depending if I did it myself or went in to see a hair stylist. Not only that, but most dyes test on animals, are terrible for the environment, and have harsh chemicals that cause brain damage, cancer, allergies, repository issues, skin problems, infertility, etc. You name it, and it's a problem. I remember when I dyed my hair for the first time after my long water fast. My body was so clean, efficient, glowing, and I was on cloud nine... until I dyed my hair again. I was poisoning myself once more, and I keeled over on the floor struggling to get through it. I could feel the harsh chemicals entering my bloodstream and coursing through my veins. It was frightening, I really "felt" it for the first time, and that's what made me wake up. What was I doing to my body that I thought I loved so much? Did I have a healthy respect for myself? The answer was no, not if I could continue doing this.

That was it. I decided right then and there that I was going to stop dyeing my hair. I had a secret though. My hair wasn't all brown anymore, it was partially silver. I had been prematurely greying since high school because I had chosen to let stress into my life, and this was exacerbated even more so because of the poor lifestyle choices throughout my journey. My new hair color didn't concern me though. I love silver hair! It's eye catching, whimsical, chic, artsy, and very high fashion. It's all about confidence, the right mindset, and surrounding yourself with people that love the real you. So let's take it to the next level, shall we.
 
Five steps to getting back beautiful natural hair:
 
Step 1. Choose a date and make it special. This not only will make the experience meaningful, but it will prepare the mind and body for a drastic change. I chose my birthday in September, because that's special to me and I'm so excited about it.

Step 2. Dye hair as close to your natural color as possible. I'm personally skipping this step, because I'm going cold turkey, but switching over to a hair dye that's closest to your natural color will help. Consider using natural products like henna instead of chemical dye.

Step 3. Cut it off. The more dyed hair that's cut off the quicker it will be to grow back naturally. I'm going for a super short pixie cut and it's going to be so cute. I've never had one before, and I'm ecstatic. Then after that, it's easy to grow it back long and fabulous again if desired. 

Step 4. Wear colors that flatter your new hair color. Depending on your natural color, you might need to adjust your makeup and wardrobe a bit. Have fun experimenting with bright hues, but one can't go wrong with monochromatic looks like black, white, and grey.

Step 5. Love yourself unconditional. Let your light shine and own it. It's who you are, and others will admire and respect you for that. It's time to create a new trend, and that's being true to oneself.

We all make a difference culturally, it's quite classy to be natural, and only you know 
what's best for you. If you need any advice, just let me know, I'm here to help.
♡ Claudia

Jojoba Oil Benefits - 10 Amazing Ways To Use It | CLAUDIASUTTON.blogspot: Health and Lifestyle