Month: February 2012


Ebook Review:Write, Publish & Sell Your Crafty Ebook | Elysian Studios


Are you interested in self-publishing? Do you have a unique crafty topic you’d love to share with others and earn some extra income?

I have the great pleasure of reviewing a new Ebook, “Write, Publish, & Sell Your Crafty Ebook” by Diane Gilleland.  This Ebook is a very helpful and thorough guide to get you started in the production of your own digital book.

In case you aren’t familiar with Diane, she is the brilliant creator of CraftyPod, where she hosts an inspiring blog and podcast, and offers informational classes and Ebooks to educate modern crafters on the endless possibilities of our contemporary digital age. I have participated in several of Diane’s courses, including the “Write, Publish & Sell Your Crafty Ebook Online Class.”  Diane consistently delivers detailed information in a well-organized and easy to understand fashion.  I was thrilled to learn she had authored an Ebook on the topic of self-publishing Ebooks!


Who is this book for and what does it offer?

This book is perfect for someone who already has some writing and technical skills and is interested in writing an art or craft related book.  You don’t need to know what your Ebook will be about, though it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a general idea.  Diane does a fabulous job of explaining what an Ebook is, in all of its potential forms.  You don’t need to know all of this before you read her book. However, you do need to know how to write instructional text, and have a basic knowledge of photography and how to create digital documents.  Diane explains the best tools to use to create your Ebook, from software to online hosting resources.  It is also helpful if you already have a bit of an established online presence, but Diane explains all of your marketing options very well.

“Write, Publish & Sell Your Crafty Ebook” astutely outlines all of the steps needed to create your Ebook. Diane guides the reader through evaluating the idea, creating the digital files of the book, calculating costs, hosting, selling and marketing the Ebook.  Throughout the book are helpful links, resources and printable worksheets.


How can you use this book to reach your self-publishing goals?

First, this Ebook reads beautifully on your computer or iPad.  It has full-color photographs and graphs that emphasize the lessons in each particular chapter. From the table of contents, you can simply click on the section of the book you want to read and jump directly to it.  The book includes many hyperlinks to the resources cited, which is extremely helpful during your writing process.

The entire book is formatted in such a way that it is easily printable for offline reading, or you can simply print the particular pages you need, such as the worksheets.  You can also transfer the Ebook between devices, since it is in PDF format.  I have it on my computer, but I also moved it to my Kindle for portable reading.  Though the print is smaller because Kindle doesn’t have better controls for reading PDF’s, I still found it helpful to have access to this book while I was on the go!

Overall, I think this is a highly valuable book to have, and is very reasonable in price (only $29.95).  It offers tremendous guidance and resources for self-publishing your own Ebook.  It is written in a very friendly and informative voice, which is typical for Diane.  “Write, Publish, & Sell Your Own Crafty Ebook” is wonderful on its own, or to complement Diane’s online class. Click here to buy your very own copy!

Are you a fan of Ebooks? Do you have dreams of writing and publishing your own?  I know I do! Did you find this review helpful? I’d love to hear from you!


Exploration in Blue- Two New Paintings | Elysian Studios

Exploration in Blue- Two New Paintings

Categories: Apilco Series, Erin Fickert-Rowland, painting, still life

I have been working on a series of oil paintings that feature my beloved collection of Apilco Porcelain. I fell in love with it when I worked at Williams-Sonoma , and stared longingly at the beautiful, expansive snowy white display in the store.  I picked up pieces here and there, and later inherited some Pillivuyt from my grandmother.  I have a small curio cabinet filled with my collection, and I steal from it now and again when I need models for my paintings!

I have never understood how you paint a white object (and I have a degree in painting).  How does an artist impart color to a painting that features objects that are white?  One day I will paint the snow of Colorado that I love so much, but I told myself, “Let’s start small.”  So, I have set out to create a series of twelve paintings that feature these unique pieces of dinnerware.  You can see “Apilco No. 2” where I experimented with Pointillism, and “Apilco No. 3” and “No. 4” where I shared the process of layering involved in creating a painting.

I decided my next challenge was to paint two monochromatic pieces in blue, but focusing on the emotion of the color.  How can I make one piece sad, and forlorn, and one piece happy, and cheerful- all with the same color? I’ve shared my blue inspirations with you before, and here’s a couple more (a bit more dear to my heart):

“Apilco No. 6”

“Apilco No. 6” oil on canvas panel, by Erin Fickert-Rowland, 2012

My wonderful little model looks like a paper sailboat hat, doesn’t it?  It’s actually a porcelain salt dish on a draped cream cloth.  In “Apilco No. 6”, I have used only Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Yellow Ochre, Black and White.  I’ve enlarged the subject matter, elevated the horizon, and focused on the lonely surface this little boat floats on. It’s such a simple composition, but I am pleased with how it turned out.  It doesn’t really invoke emotions of woe and despair, though- I think it suggests more isolation and serenity.

For the second piece to be cheery, I knew I needed to change it up a bit:

“Apilco No. 7”

“Apilco No. 7” oil on canvas panel, by Erin Fickert-Rowland, 2012

My kids love Goldfish…, so I snagged an abandoned bag that had not been eaten during school snack and decided it would be perfect to springboard off the end of my boat! I bent the rule a bit by adding the complimentary orange here, but I used the same Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red to mix in with my Ultramarine Blue for a harmonious palette. I also added Gray and White.  

For this composition, I lowered the horizon, and made the subject smaller, therefore giving our little fishy friend more room to leap into the great beyond. One of the things that I just love about painting is that you really aren’t in control of it all (well, if you are, then that’s just not fun for me).  Do you notice the shadow that developed on the “water”? That makes it look like the fish is falling into the water, but what about the light source that developed at the top left of the image? It kind of makes him look like he’s being “called home”.  Is he going up or down?! 

That’s where this becomes art! You can start to create a narrative based on the imagery provided.  I really want to work on this aspect of my painting.  I am in the process of developing a new series that focuses on this. Right now it’s just outlines of subject matter and ideas, a few loose sketches, and  the assembling of my cast of characters.

First, I need to finish this series, and that will involve more experimenting with what happens to white when it rolls up into a color-addict’s painting….

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