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Sculpting Materials of Beginner

Sculpting can be a rewarding and therapeutic form of art making. Working with hands directly with medium is a unique experience. Unfortunately, many sculpting materials are expensive or not conducive for use by beginners. In this post, we’ll take a look at some sculpting materials that are easy to find, inexpensive, and most importantly – appropriate for beginners (and young artists).

Before we look at sculpting materials, let’s briefly discuss sculpting processes. There are basically two “umbrellas” sculpting processes fall under. These two “umbrellas” are additive processes and subtractive processes. Additive sculpting processes involve adding materials to “build up” the sculpture, where subtractive processes rely on the removal of the material to “reveal” the sculpture. Additive techniques include modeling and assemblage. Materials typically used for additive processes include clay, wax, and plasticine. An example of a subtractive processes is carving. Typical materials used for subtractive processes include wood, plaster, and marble.

Obviously, some of these materials may not practical for beginners. So, let’s take a look at a few that are.

Materials for Additive Sculpture Processes

Model Magic – Model Magic is made by Crayola. It is a non-toxic and inexpensive sculpting material that air dries. It can be painted with water-based paints when it is dry. It’s fairly sticky stuff and will adhere to an armature pretty well. Art snobs may turn their nose up at Model Magic, but it’s an interesting sculpting medium that’s perfect for beginners that want to have an experience with modeling without the mess or the expense.

Plasticine Clay – Plasticine clay is colored, oil-based clay. It’s what most of use think of when we think of modeling clay. Because it is oil-based, it will not dry out. Most plasticine clay is labeled as non-toxic, but I wouldn’t recommend using it with smaller children. It’s also pricey. If you are considering a larger sculpture, then plasticine clay may “break the bank”. But for smaller sculptures, maquettes, or just playing around, plasticine may be the way to go.

Polymer Clay – Polymer clay is actually PVC. Liquid is added to make it pliable enough to be formed and shaped. Pigment is added to the clay to give it its color and it comes in a wide variety of them. The more you work the polymer clay, the easier it is to work with. Small or weak hands may have some problems manipulating this modeling material when they first start working with it. Polymer clay can be baked in the oven to fix it into shape. This makes it a popular material for making small pieces of jewelry. Polymer clay, however is the most expensive modeling material on this list. You are pretty much limited to small sculptures with this material.

Air Dry Clay – There are a few companies that make air dry “clay”. Each of these products vary greatly in quality and price. For children, your best bet may be with Crayola Air Dry Clay. It’s very inexpensive, non-toxic, and can be painted when its dry. For more developed artists, AMACO Marblex Self-Hardening clay may be the way to go. It’s relatively inexpensive and can result in professional results.

Home Made Play Dough – My mom made me homemade play dough all the time growing up and I loved it. It was warm and mushy and she would make it any color that I wanted. It’s incredibly easy to make, non-toxic and fun. But this medium is pretty much for kids and open-minded adults. Don’t expect professional results from homemade play dough.

Materials for Subtractive Sculpture

Soap Sculpture – Soap is a great material for carving. It’s safe and well-very clean. Dull blades can be used and still create good details. Soap is also inexpensive and perfect for a class project. The best part is that the cheaper soaps are better suited for sculpture!

Plaster of Paris – Plaster of Paris is easy to find at most art stores. It’s inexpensive and easy to mix. Pour it into empty paper milk cartons. Peel away the paper after it sets, and you’re ready to create a sculpture. Use a rasp and sand paper to remove the plaster to reveal your sculpture.

Balsa Wood – Balsa wood is soft and pliable. It’s extremely easy to carve. It makes a suitable wood for beginning carvers. Balsa wood can be picked up at most art stores, but larger pieces might have to be special ordered. Balsa wood is not very expensive, but it’s not cheap either. Carving with Balsa wood might not be suitable for younger artists, since sharp knives are recommended for carving.

5 Easy Photoshop Tips for Beginners

In this article I will walk you through some basic Photoshop retouching skills. These 5 easy Photoshop tips for beginners will be a great start to learning to proces your photographs.

1. Learning Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning keyboard shortcuts will help you to speed up your processing workflow. There are few key shortcuts for different tools in the tool bar. A few of the most widely used shortcuts are:

Photoshop keyboard shortcuts

  • V = move tool
  • F – toggles through display screen modes
  • Space bar = temporary hand key
  • B – paintbrush tool
  • D – sets the foreground/background colorss to default
  • X – swaps between background and foreground color
  • E – eraser tool
  • S – stamp or cloning tool
  • W – quick selection tool
  • Ctrl+j – duplicates the selected layer

There are just few of the most regularly used Photoshop shortcuts. When you start using the program more, your knowledge of shortcuts will gradually increase. Once you are aware of the most used shortcuts retouching pace will be faster than ever.

2. Color Enhancing – Saturation versus Vibrance

Photoshop tips vibrance

Color is another domain you can try while enhancing your photographs. Generally when you are beginning in photography, enhancing the color of every image looks good, as if the colors are speaking out of the photographs. It will be lot more helpful if you can understand the difference between how saturation and vibrance works. Go to Image menu and choose Adjustment under the menu

As shown in the image to the right, select the Vibrance option. You will get two options under the menu – Vibrance and Saturation. Vibrance increases the saturation of less saturated colors. This option avoids yellow and orange skin tones. Basically vibrance works best for portraits.

Photoshop tips saturation color adjustments

On the other hand, saturation increases the intensity of all the colors in your image equally. This may not be a good option for portraits or peoples photos. What I can recommend is this: slowly start with vibrance for the color enhancement and use saturation later if you want to pump up the color more.

If you compare the two photos below, you will understand how vibrance is only responsible for increasing the intensity of less saturated colors, where as saturation increases the intensity of all colors equally.

Photoshop vibrance adjustment

Photoshop saturtation adjustment

3. Adding a Vignette

Photoshop vignette

Vignetting is basically a technique to darken the edges of your frame so that the eyes move to the subject more easily. This procedure works best when you have a subject in the center. Our eyes tend to move towards the brighter part of the image and recede on the darker side. This technique will result in dark space around the subject.

There are lots of manual ways you can add vignetting in your photos but I will talk about how to easily add vignetting in your images via Photoshop. Go to Filters Menu at the top and select “Lens Correction”, then choose the Custom Tab on the right. The third section down is for adding a vignette. Slide the Amount to the left to darken, and Midpoint to adjust the size of the circle.
Photoshop tips vibrance Photoshop tips vignetting

4. Adding Sharpness and Details

Photoshop filter lens correction vignette

Adding sharpness is another technique for beginners in Photoshop. This will make your image look more detailed. I would suggest detailing most of your images with appropriate values. But make sure you sharpen, or detail your images with a small value if you are going to upload images on Facebook because it compresses the images and adds some detail to make it took a bit sharper. So when an already sharpened image is uploaded in Facebook, there is a change of it looking too edgy.

 Photoshop high pass filterLike any other technique, there are many ways you can add details in Photoshop. I will show you a very simple technique. Once you understand how this works you can experiment with some of the other techniques.
  • Step 1. Duplicate the selected layer with a keyboard shortcut Ctrl+J (PC) or Command+J oP MAC
  • Step 2. Open the High Pass filter: Filter > Other > High Pass on the top layer
  • Step 3. Apply an appropriate value (just to see the edges in the image) and click Okay
  • Step 4. Change the blending mode of the top layer to Overlay
  • Step 5. Adjust the opacity of that layer to your taste


5. Photoshop Filter Gallery

Photoshop tips filters

Filters are basically automated effects that you apply to your images with a few clicks. Filters can help you to achieve certain special effects or looks. There are various filters in Photoshop, which you can pick individually, each filter results in different effect when applied to different images. You an also apply more than one and stack them. Though I don’t use filters much, it’s good to explore if you are just starting out in Photoshop. Later, when you are more familiar with advanced tools and techniques you can try to create the similar effect from manual options and controls.

To apply a filter select the layer and go to Filter > Filter Gallery. Before you apply any filter in the gallery make sure to change your image to 8 bit. You can do that by going to Image > Mode > 8 bits/channel

Photoshop filter gallery

I hope these 5 basic Photoshop tips will help you to retouch and enhance your photos. If you have others suitable for beginners please share in the comments below.

How to Start a Drama School

“To be or not to be” may be the question, but when it comes to starting a drama school of your own, it's not the only question you will need to answer. The process of starting a school or non-profit theater company is different in each state. However, there are some basic beginning steps you can follow to get set up for success. The process can be rewarding, especially if your community doesn't have much access to arts programming in the public schools or a nearby university.

Starting a drama school can be tricky.


  1. Decide upon an overview for your school's curriculum and write a mission statement. Before you can open your doors to potential students, you must decide exactly what your school is going to teach and what students will gain by attending your school. Traditional university theater programs teach acting, movement for the stage, voice and diction, theater history, and technical arts. Starting with that base framework, you will need to write a course progression that details what skills a student will learn in each segment. For example: In an acting progression, you might see that in Acting 1, a student will learn basic stage presence and work on simple monologues; then, in Acting 2, the student builds on those skills by working on scene study with an acting partner and exploring techniques found in Stanislavsky's “An Actor Prepares.”

    While developing your curriculum, you should think ahead to special or advanced classes you may want to include from time to time, such as improvisation, circus arts, acting for the camera or musical theater.

    Once you've written a complete course outline, you should then write your mission statement to clearly reflect what students will learn if they attend your school and why they should learn those things.

  2. Research accreditation and hire teachers. In most states, if you are planning to teach students under the age of majority, you will need either accreditation or special certification by the state government. In many states, teachers also need to be fingerprinted and tested for communicable diseases and drugs before being allowed to work. At the very least, you must ensure that potential teachers have proper training and experience to teach the classes in your curriculum. For example, you don't want someone who has never heard of the Alexander Technique to teach an advanced movement course.
  3. Name and incorporate your business. You may want to obtain legal advice while doing this, as the regulations for incorporating a small business vary from state to state. You could also visit a legal website (such as Legal Zoom or others), which will walk you through the steps of incorporating your business. The most important thing to establish is whether the business is a non-profit or for-profit. The processes of obtaining business licenses are very different depending upon this designation. If you want to have a non-profit school, you'll need to file for 501(c)(3) status and provide the IRS with documentation of your funding streams.

    At this time you'll also want to open a bank account and credit in your school's name.

  4. Name an advisory board. Before opening your school's doors, you need to pick a select panel of theatrical experts and community members to help guide the school's objectives. The advisory board can be very important for the overall governance of the business, and it is essential to have in place when applying for funding and grants.
  5. Write a budget. You'll need to include teacher salaries, rent for your school space, renovation costs and operating costs. Detail how much revenue you expect to raise from students and how much is coming from other sources such as investors, grants or gifts.
  6. Find and rent a space for your school. Large warehouse and old storefront spaces work wonderfully to house theater schools. With a little manpower and DIY effort, you can transform one of these unused spaces into a nice studio space. Remember to install the following important things in your school space: dance flooring, mirrors and perhaps a small, raised stage.
  7. Advertise your school and recruit students. You can't have a school without students! Once you've completed the above steps, you should be on firm-enough ground to start taking on students and creating class schedules.

How to Design 3D Models With Paper

Making 3D models out of paper is a complex and time consuming craft. It is sometimes used by draftsmen and even architecture students to create a preliminary building design, but it can also be used for many other types of designs. Boats, planes, animals and even dinosaur skeletons have been made in paper crafts. Keep in mind that you will need to use a thick card-stock paper and a sharp craft knife, like an Exacto knife, to cut out tiny parts

Depending on your design, you may be able to use one of these to cut the paper.


  1. Decide on what you want to make. A building has slightly different requirements than a dinosaur skeleton.
  2. Use a photograph to analyze what you want to make from every side and angle if possible.
  3. Draw a scale image of every visible (exterior) part on graphing paper—for a house, draw the outer walls, roof and chimney; for a dinosaur, draw each tiny bone. Make sure your measurements are accurate and consistent so that each piece will fit together.
  4. Cut out the shapes of every section you have drawn. Don’t forget to cut out something to mount them on if necessary. For example, your dinosaur will need an appropriately sized spine to hold each rib and vertebra.
  5. Lay out your pieces all together and in order so that you can see what goes where. Build from the inside out—for a house, start with the inside of the house, move to the roof, and then finish with the exterior walls; for a dinosaur, start with the internal bone structure and build onto it while moving out so that you end with the extremities and the head.
  6. Use a quick drying glue that will still allow enough time for correcting any possible mistakes. Modeling glue is ideal.

3D Animation / Graphic Design Job Description

Graphic design and 3-D animation blend art with technology to communicate informative, entertaining and inspiring ideas. Graphic design focuses on creating visual concepts for brochure, advertisement and magazine layouts, while 3-D animation focuses on creating three-dimensional virtual objects for use in digital products. These professions are ideal for individuals with strong artistic abilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for graphic designers was $44,150 as of May 2012. The median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators was $61,370 as May 2012.

Many graphic designers and 3-D animators work for advertising agencies.

Doing the Work

  • Superior creative skills play a key role in the effectiveness of 3-D animators and graphic designers. They must create visual concepts and ideas than can engage and appeal to consumers of their products. These professionals also require strong computer skills and a deep knowledge of design and animation software to formulate ideas and prepare their products. In addition, they need time-management skills to plan their time well and beat tight deadlines. Because graphic designers and 3-D animators may work in teams — especially when working on large projects — they need good communication skills to confer effectively with project staff and clients.

Animating Objects

  • The main responsibility of 3-D animators is to create virtual objects that can move and rotate like real-life objects in movies, music videos and computer games. In the production of an animated movie, for example, 3-D animators may capture an actor’s movements to create computer generated images, which they can manipulate to make animated scenes. These animators can also manipulate light, texture and color to create 3-D drawings and illustrations for product labels and presentations.

Developing Designers

  • Graphic designers are responsible for the overall look of a website, ad, magazine or brochure. They might create the images to appear on the front cover of a magazine and select the size, font, color and length of headlines, heading and texts. They might also present statistical data in the form of visual graphs, images and tables. In advertising, graphic designers create designs for company logos and product illustrations.

Getting There

  • Employers of graphic designers and 3-D animators prefer candidates with bachelor’s degrees. Aspiring graphic designers can earn bachelor’s degrees in graphic, computer or multimedia design, while 3-D animators can secure bachelor’s degrees in 3-D animation or closely-related fields. Individuals with degrees in other disciplines, such as education, can pursue certificate programs in graphic design or animation to enter these professions. A master’s degree in fine arts, combined with vast work experience and a strong portfolio, can help 3D animators and graphic designers secure large and high profile projects and break into multimedia management positions.

How to Paint a 3D Children’s Wall Mural

Painting a 3D children's wall mural
Learning how to paint a 3D children’s wall mural sounds like a big challenge. In fact, adding three-dimensional elements to your children’s wall mural might be as easy as raiding your sewing closet or placing an order online. Several companies specialize in 3D wall elements; if you’re creative, you can come up with your own 3D elements for your child’s wall mural. Allow whatever paint you use to dry completely before you apply any 3D elements to your wall to ensure the elements adhere properly without damaging the paint.


  1. Design your child’s wall mural. You can draw your own design, or make photocopies from your favorite book.
  2. Turn that design into a transparency that you place on an overhead projector.
  3. Use the overhead projector to trace the mural onto the wall. You can sometimes borrow an overhead projector from your local library.
  4. Paint your child’s wall mural according to the colors and designs you select for your design.
  5. Determine which items you can make three-dimensional. Large-scale items in the mural, like a sky, don’t always make the best 3D objects because of their size. However, smaller items like trees, vehicles, fish and flowers work well.
  6. Shop for 3D elements you can add to the space. Some companies, such as rondo, sell soft, thick foam with a self-adhesive backing that you can peel and stick to your wall for a 3D effect.
  7. Cut your own 3D elements if desired. Using any type of wood, draw the design of your 3D item onto the piece of wood and cut it out with a jigsaw. If you need help drawing the item onto the wood, use your overhead projector and a transparency of your drawing. Paint the wood according to your design.
  8. Think about other opportunities to add 3D elements to a children’s wall mural. If you have an underwater mural, consider using felt as the water and adding Velcro fish to the felt. You can use crepe paper to make trees and vines in a jungle room. You can even use green fringe on your wall to look like grass.
  9. Secure your 3D elements to the wall. Use wood screws to secure wooden 3D elements; use staples for paper, fringe and Velcro. If your 3D item comes with a self-adhesive backing or tools to install the item to the wall, read the manufacturer’s recommended installation instructions.

Facts About American Musical Theatre

American musical theater refers to live theatrical productions in which the characters sing and speak as they tell a story. Most American theater is written for Broadway, a network of 40 professional theaters in New York City. Thus, American musical theater pieces are commonly called Broadway musicals. Once it has been performed on Broadway, the show is always referred to as a Broadway musical even if it is being performed by a touring company, regional theater, community group or school.
American musical theater is a unique art form.


  • A musical has three parts which are the book, music and lyrics. The book refers to the words that the characters say, while lyrics are words that the characters sing. The book and lyrics together are called the libretto. The lyrics and the music together are called the score. Usually, these parts are written by different people. For example, the music for Oklahoma was written by Richard Rogers and the book and lyrics were written by Oscar Hammerstein II.


  • Early American musical theater had a strong European influence. In addition to European operettas, American musical theater has roots in vaudeville and burlesque. After the turn of the 20th century, George M. Cohan wrote the first true American musicals. According to the website Theatre History, “Not only were the settings and characters of Cohan’s musicals thoroughly American, but his dialogue, lyrics and melody were colloquial and native. The spirit of brashness, cocksureness, energy and chauvinism that pervaded the Cohan musicals were unmistakably American.”


  • All American musical theater was comedy until Hammerstein and Kern wrote a musical play, Show Boat, which had much more serious themes. Today, artists write both musical comedies and musical plays. Recent examples of musical comedies are Avenue Q and Spamalot while examples of more serious musical plays are Next to Normal and Spring Awakening.


  • Broadway musicals serve many purposes. Musicals are an artistic expression of the composer, lyricist, set designer, costumer, director, choreographer and actors. They offer unique forms of communication that entertain audiences. Some musicals challenge political or cultural assumptions. Certain musicals serve as a record of various time periods in American history. Musicals that are available for schools to perform can be used as educational tools.


  • The most famous and popular American musicals are performed on Broadway for years. For example, Cats opened on October 7, 1982 and closed on September 10, 2000. As of 2010, Playbill reported that the longest running shows in American musical theater history include The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, Rent, The Lion King, Miss Saigon and 42nd Street.

How to Do Fimo Nail Art

Fimo nail art — a special, 3D way of creating special nail designs — is handcrafted from Fimo polymer clay. The technique comes from Charlene “Cat” Therien, a polymer clay designer who creates the products in a cookie dough-like roll formation that is then cut into ultra-thin, identical designs. The designs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, including hibiscus flowers, roses and hearts. You don’t have to visit a salon to get these artistic designs; you can apply them at home.

Talk to your manicurist about getting Fimo nail art next time you visit the salon.


  1. Purchase your Fimo nail designs online; there are several websites that sell this type of nail art. Some require you to slice the designs yourself, while others are pre-sliced for your convenience. The four-inch cane-slicing blade can be purchased from most craft retailers.
  2. Slice your Fimo designs with the cane-slicing blade, if you purchased the designs in roll form. Slice the roll as thin as possible, so the design does not extrude too far off your nail’s surface.
  3. Apply a layer of base coat nail polish to each of your fingernails. Make sure the coat is thin, so it won’t clump up.
  4. Affix the Fimo nail design to your fingernail carefully, pressing the design into the still-wet layer of nail polish. You might need to use tweezers for accuracy, as the Fimo nail designs are incredibly small.
  5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 on the rest of your fingernails. Allow the designs to dry to the nail for about 60 seconds.
  6. Apply a thin layer of top coat over each of your fingernails to seal in the designs.

Pros & Cons of Promoting Creativity in the Classroom

There are many different views on promoting creativity in the classroom. Teachers view creativity as an ingredient for success for certain classes, but not others. Students love to be creative because they can create their own boundaries on projects, and make choices on how to complete assignments but “out-of-the-box” thinking is sometimes discouraged because it may infringe on the rules and the rights of other students.

Some school subjects are more conducive to creativity than others.

Pros of Creativity in the Classroom

  • Some argue that children need to learn how to be more creative so they can deal with the ever changing world when they become adults. They will need to rely on their thinking skills, wits, and intuition to keep pace with technology updates and problem-solving skills required for jobs and promotions. Creative mindsets are becoming more and more in demand. Creative employees are sometimes able to see options and solutions where others can’t, often saving companies large sums of money and creating jobs.

    Creativity builds a child’s self-esteem. It gives them a sense of satisfaction when they can come up with innovative ideas and can make their own choices. Promoting creativity assists children in learning how to solve problems and do projects in different ways. Instead of being told to do an assignment in a certain way, teachers can build on creativity by allowing students to choose their own methods of completing a homework task.

Cons of Creativity in the Classroom

  • Some subjects, such as science and math, are not very conducive to creativity. There are ways to be creative with projects and ways of figuring problems, but the scope of creativity is limited. Therefore, promoting creativity tends to work best in classes such as art, writing, and music.

    All children are creative, but some are much more so than others. By promoting creativity in the classroom, some of the students will have the upper hand while the others will be at a loss as to what to do, and feel left out or overwhelmed by the projects or assignments and the lack of structure and guidelines.

Teachers and Creativity

  • Creativity can be difficult to promote because there is so much emphasis on group involvement, structure, rules, and boundaries. All children are creative to some capacity, and it is up to the teachers to draw out the creativity in a productive and optimistic manner.


  • Creativity does have its drawbacks in some classroom situations, but for the most part it is essential to the total development and future success of the student. It is fast becoming a survival skill in today’s world, as the creative person is more adaptable and can come up with solutions to problems more quickly and easily.

What Is Digital Media Art?

Artistic expression has evolved through the ages of human civilization based on the tools we have at hand. Ten thousand years ago our ancestors painted on cave walls with natural pigments. Early Mediterranean peoples in Crete painted frescoes on the walls of their palaces. The development of art has progressed throughout the course of human history. The advent of computers and software art programs has simply created yet another set of canvases and tools through which artists can express themselves

This is an example of fractal art

Digital Media

  • According for the Centre for Digital Media in Canada, “media experiences made possible by the advent of primarily computer-mediated digital technologies” belong to category of media experiences known as Digital Media. In other words, Digital Media includes any picture, music file, video game or website produced using computerized or digital technology.

Digital Art

  • Works of Art which are created using computerized or digital technologies also belong to the Digital Media family. This Digital Media Art, or Digital Art as it is commonly called, presents itself everywhere in our society. The clip art used in printed fliers, the emergence of digital photography and the development of photopainting all serve as examples of Digital Art.

Digital Photography

  • According to the digital artist behind WithDigitalEyes, digital art falls into three formats: Digital photography, digital painting and fractals. Digital Photography involves the use of photographs, whether digital or from film, and computerized technology. “The artist uses image editing and special effects software to perform darkroom type manipulations.” Photopainting represents another form of Digital Photography, one that involves using painting software that allows the artist to infuse the picture with additional artistic expression.

Digital Painting

  • Works of art created completely within the bounds of computerized digital technology and image editing or painting software represent works of Digital Painting, the second main format of Digital Art. Images produced wholly within the computer environment may present as either two-dimensional or three-dimensional pictures, depending on the artist’s intent. According to SurrealPixelStudo, this form of art includes “hand-illustrated artwork which has been created by drawing brushstrokes with a pressure sensitive pen onto an electronic canvas, called a tablet.”


  • The third main form of digital art involves the use of mathematical algorithms to create fractal images involving repeating patterns of geometric shapes. According to Fractalus, a FractalArt FAQ website, Fractal art “seeks to reflect and emphasize the eternal expressions of order and chaos that permeates Nature’s structures and behaviors as well as the intricacies of humanity through the use of self-similar patterns and shapes.”

How to Use a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion

Religion plays a major role in the modern world, from the holy wars of Islamic jihadists to issues about diversity in the workplace. The study of religion is also a study of cultures, which can add considerably to a student’s knowledge and prepare her for a variety of careers outside the typical path of the ministry.

A religious social worker reads to a senior man.

What You’ll Learn

  • Before you consider how a degree in religion might be useful in a career, take stock of the skills and knowledge such a degree offers. A religious study major learns critical thinking skills by comparing and contrasting different religions and the cultures to which they belong, according to “The Princeton Review.” Religious studies will help improve your cultural literacy, according to the Why Study Religion website developed by the American Academy of Religion. You’ll learn how to analyze perplexing ethical questions and be trained in data gathering and direct observational skills. Finally, you will learn to value others’ perspectives and develop empathy.

Many Career Options

  • Religion majors have entered diverse careers, such as business, counseling, social work, education, journalism, law and medicine. They can be found in the hospitality and service industries, government positions, the Foreign Service, marketing, management, museums and the arts. Louisiana State University reports its students have gone on for graduate study at law school, nursing school and seminaries, and have earned degrees in biblical studies and social work. Other possible careers include community organizer, church administrator and high school teacher.

Start or Finish

  • Whether your bachelor’s degree is the last step in your education or the beginning of a longer journey depends on your ultimate goal. If your goal is social work, a bachelor’s degree in religion might be acceptable to some employers. Many teaching positions require only a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, if you want to pursue a doctorate of divinity, you’ll need to go on for a master’s degree and then enter a doctoral program. If your goal is medicine, your bachelor’s degree will allow you to enter medical school as long as you also complete prerequisites such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and English, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other Considerations

  • Education is only part of the picture for many careers. In addition to your bachelor’s degree, you might need other credentials or training to enter some professions, according to the BLS. Some states require social workers to be licensed. Teachers must typically complete a teaching internship to gain experience and must be certified or credentialed by the state in which they work. Physicians need a license and most choose to become board-certified, while lawyers must pass the bar examinations. Contact the governing board or professional association in your state to determine what you might need for the career you choose.

What Types of Arts & Crafts Did the Aztec Tribes Produce?

The Aztecs ruled the Valley of Mexico from their main city, Tenochtitlan, during the 15th and 16th centuries. When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century, they found a well-planned city with ordered streets and large buildings resembling pyramids and an advanced culture with its own writing system, mathematical system and an elaborate religion. Most of the arts and crafts created by the Aztecs had religious significance.

Aztec arts often had religious significance.

Aztec Religion

  • The Aztecs worshiped an intricate system of gods and the three most important were Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, Tezcatlipoca, the main god, and Quetzalcoatl, the god of civilization. Most Aztecs believed that the gods must be appeased and would not provide for mankind if mankind did not make sacrifices. Human sacrifice was practiced on a massive scale and also paid tribute to the gods through plays, food offerings and sporting events. The Aztecs believed that every day of the year had one good and one bad god overseeing it. Through a series of complex calculations, using calendars, humans could predict what would occur and how to appease the gods for the best outcome.

Pottery and Sculpture

  • The Aztecs used pottery for both practical and religious purposes. The pottery was often adorned with images of the gods and featured hand-painted images. Aztec temples contain elaborate sculptures made in bas-relief that depicted the gods or the images of those selected for human sacrifice. Aztec artisans also created small sculptures of people and animals made from crystals, particularly quartz and also used jade and obsidian. The Aztec calendar was an important part of the civilization’s religious beliefs and they kept both a solar and ritual calendar. The calendars were carved in stone, and circular bands were used to carve and depict the days of the year.

Painting and Writing

  • Aztecs created pictographs, which were small paintings that recorded events in the lives and history of the tribe. The tribe maintained scribes who used natural materials such as vegetable oils to make the drawings. Pictographs were also used in the Aztec mathematical system, with paintings of different objects representing specific numbers.

Ritual Arts

  • The Aztecs used masks that depicted important citizens in the community and gods, as well as headdresses in their rituals. Aztec craftsman decorated the headdresses with bird feathers and also used feathers to adorn the clothing of the nobility. Aztec warriors tattooed themselves with designs that represented the achievements of a particular warrior.

How to Make Graffiti Stencil

Making a graffiti stencil is a great way to quickly deploy bold, graphic images. Like other graffiti techniques, graffiti stencils are generally used with spray paint. It’s relatively easy to get started with graffiti stencils regardless of your level of artistic skill. Besides spraying walls, you can use your stencils to create custom clothing, patches, posters and mixed media art.

How to Make Graffiti Stencil

Start with a generously sized piece of lightweight cardboard. This project is a great way to reuse old record covers or cereal boxes, for example.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Draw the general outline of the image you would like to stencil on the blank side of the cardboard. Alternatively, glue a photocopied or printed image you would like to stencil onto the cardboard instead.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Use pencil lines to break the image up into individual pieces that can be cut out without destroying the image. For example, if you want to stencil the letter “o”, you can’t just cut around the outer circle, or you’ll lose the inner circle. You need to break your “o” (or whatever the shape is) into two or more smaller pieces that can be removed individually, leaving thin strips in between to hold the rest of the image in place.

Adrián González de la Peña/Demand Media

Place the cardboard on the heavier cardboard or cutting mat to protect your work surface, then use the craft knife to carefully cut out and remove the pieces you drew and create your graffiti stencil.

Jobs That Fit a Philosophy & Religion Degree

Your degree in philosophy and religion provides excellent preparation for many careers. You have explored the basic principles of existence and gained valuable insight into matters of social justice and human rights. You have well-honed communication and critical thinking skills, a combination that will open doors to both traditional and not-so traditional careers.

You can explore other options.


  • With an advanced degree in philosophy and religion, you can teach in a college or university. If you have chosen the field of education, you can enjoy working with students and keeping up with the latest developments. In addition to preparing and implementing lesson plans, you will evaluate the students, serve on committees and write articles and books. You may also be asked to design “distance learning” courses over the Internet. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there will be an increase in employment of post-secondary teachers during the decade ending 2018.

University and College Support Positions

  • It makes sense to explore opportunities in a familiar field where you have experienced success. Entry-level opportunities exist in many areas, including admissions, housing, athletics, student life and alumni affairs. You can apply your expertise to helping students survive and thrive in a new environment. Each year, colleges and universities hire alumni to fill many of these positions. The field is a very dynamic one with frequent moves and promotions, especially among admissions and alumni affairs officers. Admission officers recruit potential students, create promotional materials, review applications and interview students. Alumni affairs officers write publications, coordinate social events and conduct tours.


  • Many entry-level positions exist for generalists who can handle all aspects of philanthropy, including planning special events, writing grants and proposals, recruiting volunteers and soliciting funds.These jobs are more altruistic than profit related and may appeal to philosophy and religion graduates.You could raise funds for a particular charity, oversee a scholarship fund or sponsor a youth group. Arts organizations also have fundraising professionals on staff. Museums, symphonies, ballets and operas rely heavily on grant funds, corporate donations and general solicitation campaigns to fund their activities. Volunteer with a nonprofit organization and determine whether or not philanthropy is a good option.


  • You can understand and analyze complicated texts, develop a well-structured argument and express ideas in a clear and persuasive manner. As a recent graduate, you have worked with state-of-the-art software applications and have developed programming skills. Most entry-level jobs in the computer field do not require specialized knowledge; they simply require a comfort level with the present technology and a willingness to keep up-to-date. You can also parlay these skills into technical writing jobs. Use your well-developed research and writing skills to create proposals, manuals, articles and instruction sheets. You qualify for many government jobs, especially those associated with developing programs and writing reports. In the political arena, you can help plan campaigns and write speeches for the candidate of your choice.

When Your Subject Envelops You

While there are endless subjects for drawing, there’s something that’s truly fascinating about botanical art in particular. Looking out my window, I can see the world bursting into life as I watched the hillside trees across the valley every day. In winter the trees were a dull brown, in which I could see the branches and even the curves of the ground, exposing tree trunks standing and fallen. A month ago, I noticed a change: color was beginning to flirt from the treetops as buds began to form. And now, the valley is a blanket of green, and if I didn’t know any better, I would think that I could lay my head on the soft pillow of foliage, oblivious to the reality of the branches and bark.

How to draw botanical art, Drawing by Wendy Hollender |

On a more micro level, the flowers in my landscaping have pushed through the hard layer of dirt, forcing their will to meet the sun. Every day the plants grow a little bigger, a little prettier, a little more colorful.

It’s enough to make you want to draw them, before they begin the inevitable downward spiral that Fall will bring.

If you plan it well, you could create botanical art en plein air in just about any medium, but colored pencil is a convenient way to capture the beauty of flowers and plants, because the only other things you need are paper and a pencil sharpener. If you want to do one better, take with you the Wendy Hollender Botanical Art kit, which includes Hollender’s Botanical Drawing in Color: A Basic Guide to Mastering Realistic Form and Naturalistic Color and an issue of The Artist’s Magazine that includes even more lessons from this expert. Scroll down for a special flower drawing demonstration by the artist.

I hope that you have flowers and plants to enjoy in your daily life, perhaps at home, at work, or along your commute. But maybe you prefer to go out of your way to find subjects for your own botanical drawings. In Ohio, for example, there are several places that I can name off the top of my head that would make excellent drawing destinations. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Columbus Botanical Garden, and the Cleveland Botanical Garden are just a few examples. But tell me–where’s your favorite place to draw plant life? Comment on our blog or on the ArtistsNetwork Facebook page, and we’ll choose a random winner to win some free art supplies as a way of saying thank you for joining the conversation. (Must be a U.S. resident to win; winner will be chosen

5 Watercolor Paintings That Will Melt Your Heart

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Art is important because it makes us feel. So when I came across the watercolor paintings I knew I had to share them here. Perhaps we’ll all hear a collective “aw,” as everyone opens this e-mail . . . that’s what I said, at least, when I saw these and the many paintings representing the latest in the Splash: Best of Watercolor series. Scroll down and see which one pulls at your heart the most, and read the descriptions by each artist to further understand their inspiration and/or process.

6 Watercolor Paintings That Will Melt Your Heart, at | Meerkat Radar by David Rankin

Meerkat Radar (transparent watercolor on 140-lb. rough Arches, 22×15) by David Rankin
Meerkats are delightful creatures. A ubiquitous feature of theirs is this distinctive posture where they stand around scanning the sky–ever watchful for their deadly nemeses–hawks. I have wildlife artist buddies who paint every strand of hair or fur. But I wanted my meerkats to feel furry–without painting one hair! This illusion of fur was achieved by starting at the top and working downward using very careful blends of beaded washes and pigment into wet brushwork, resulting in smooth fur–with no hairs! The sharp outer edges of their bodies then help define them. This is the magnificence of watercolor!

6 Watercolor Paintings That Will Melt Your Heart, at | Distant Relatives by Kyle Mort

Distant Relatives (watercolor on hot-pressed archival watercolor board, 18×24) by Kyle Mort
I try to incorporate wit and humor into my paintings. I wanted to present these two bears together in the same space. They are, after all, both bears. The texture of the grizzly was built up by applying layers and layers of drybrush, each strand of fur done one at a time. These guys were meant to meet face-to-face.

6 Watercolor Paintings That Will Melt Your Heart, at | Rainy Day by Michael W. Bermel

Rainy Day (watercolor on 300-lb. cold-pressed Arches, 20×28) by Michael W. Bermel
Rainy Day was painted in the comfort of the warm, dry office of our home, a stark contrast to that magical day my camera captured our children splashing through puddles on the driveway. These photos and my quick crayon sketches supplied the foundation for my painting. Trying to capture the varied textures of nature and synthetic fabrics, I thrashed water over the paper’s surface with an oversized, water-saturated brush. I turned the paper at different angles to blow air at the pooling water, disturbing the semi-dried Winsor & Newton pigment to infuse the piece with movement.

6 Watercolor Paintings That Will Melt Your Heart, at | Caring by Wen-Cong Wang

Caring (transparent watercolor on 300-lb cold-pressed Arches, 15×22) by Wen-Cong Wang
Monkeys share a similar family structure as most other primates; the close, loving bond between mother and child is common. I found this wonderful family in a forest reserve and was touched by their affection. This painting was developed in the studio from a sketch and photos taken the same day. I paid special attention to the subject/environment relationship. The initial underpainting of wet-into-wet was a foundation for the tones and colors. For the soft fur, several layers of color were applied for depth and dimension. I gradually developed my piece as a whole while adding values and details. I used a smaller pointed brush to suggest some of the finer details around the monkeys as final touches.

6 Watercolor Paintings That Will Melt Your Heart, at | Nike by Lei Chi

Nike (watercolor with gouache accents on 140-lb cold-pressed Fabriano Artistico, 12×8.5) by Lei Chi
Nike is a shy greyhound we adopted after his career on the race-track. I developed his portrait from a photo taken on his favorite walk. The well-studied drawing is crucial to the painting’s success. Through drawing I became more acquainted with his character and discovered relationships between compositional elements. Layers of transparent washes were used to achieve the desired contrast of light and dark. Splattering paint by rubbing a toothbrush created the texture on the sidewalk. I used white gouache or mixtures of gouache and watercolor for the fur and highlights.

I wish that I could share all of the amazing work that’s found but I hope that this gives you an idea of the high caliber of work within. Published for both art-lovers and practicing artists, you’ll get a glimpse at the painting process from each of the watercolorists featured, all centering around one theme: texture. And so it seems fitting that I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the artists in Splash 16, Cheryle Chapline: “Texture to a painting is like salt to food–each enhances one’s experience of the flavor of the subject.

How to Make a Picture Graffiti-Like in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most common ways graphic artists and photographers edit and enhance their imagery. The software enables everything from changing a color photo to black and white or adding spot color into grayscale images. If you’re looking to add a bit of street flavor into your pictures, Photoshop can help you create graffiti with just a few clicks and tweaks.


  1. Open a photo in Photoshop by going to File > Open and click the Browse button to find your picture on your computer.
  2. Click the Filter menu at the top toolbar, select Stylize, then select Glowing Edges. A Glowing Edges box appears.
  3. Slide the Edge Width slider bar all the way to the left.
  4. Slide the Edge Brightness slider bar all the way to the right.
  5. Slide the Smoothness bar to your preference; the further left you go, the more precise and thin your lines will be. If you slide the bar to the right, you get thicker lines but lose detail. Click the OK button when ready. Your picture now reflects the changes and has a bright, neon graffiti look to it.
  6. Save your image by going to File > Save As and renaming it so you keep your original photo for further use.

The History of Musical Theatre Dance

Modern dance used in musicals has its roots in the beginnings of theatre itself. The use of dance is often to help tell a story, to heighten emotion or to achieve aesthetic value. Musical theatre dance is as varied as the individuals performing it, but has been appreciated by audiences for centuries.

Dance is used to heighten aesthetics in theatre.

Ancient Roots

  • The ancient Grecian satyr play was a comedic performance enhanced by music, dance and sometimes masks, while in ancient India, the Natya Shastra was an important text that taught performers how the use of words and gestures (bhavas) evoked specific emotions (rasas) in the audience.
    The use of the bhavas is crucial to ancient Indian theatre.
    The use of the bhavas is crucial to ancient Indian theatre.

Medieval and Renaissance Theatre

  • In Medieval Japan, Noh was a leading artistic performance style blending the use of readings, music, costumes and dance to portray simple beauty. One important element was the jo-ha-kyu dance, which was a courtly dance incorporated into the rest of the play.

    Medieval European theatre was often limited to Passion Plays about Jesus Christ or morality plays, but the Renaissance era saw a reemergence of stylized performances of masques, which were spectacle events combining music, dance and speeches.

    Graceful beauty of an Asian performer.
    Graceful beauty of an Asian performer.

Ballad Opera in the Pre-America Colonies

  • Ballad operas were a form of British performance displaying political commentary through the use of music and dance. The first musical theatre performance that was held in the American Colonies was the ballad opera “Flora” in 1735.

Early America

  • Minstrel shows featured individuals “blacking” their faces and doing parodies of African Americans. While these pieces are controversial, they are also considered a foundation for modern American musical dance. Actors would perform various forms of hardshoe dancing, creating dance steps still seen in musicals today.

    Another key performance was “The Black Crook,” coming about as the result of Broadway theatre manager Thomas Wheatly employing a Parisian ballet troupe whose intended performance space caught fire. He added the dancers to an already-existing melodrama and the result greatly pleased audiences.

Twentieth Century American Musical Dance

  • The Ziegfeld Follies, produced from 1907 to 1931, were tributes to the American girl, and the dance directors of the Follies required a good deal of discipline from their actors/dancers. These directors included Julian Mitchell, Ned Wayburn and Albertina Rasch. The Follies can be credited with redefining theatrical dance with the beginnings of ordering dancers by height, requiring precise movements and using dance notations.

    “Show Boat” (1927) is considered to be the first successful integration of plot line, characterization, music, spectacle and dance. In 1936, choreographer George Balanchine used extended ballet pieces to help develop the plot line in “On Your Toes.” This tradition of musical theatre dance continued through shows such as “Oklahoma!” and “Guys and Dolls.”

Musical Dance Continues

  • Musicals intended to display dance sequences were created in the later 1900s in shows like “Cabaret,” “A Chorus Line” and “Cats.” Some of the more well-known choreographers of the later 20th century include Bob Fosse, who encouraged sensuality in movement; Jerome Robbins, who believed that dance could tell a story; and Gary Chapman, whose choreography extended beyond dance into regular stage movements.

Game Design Colleges in Japan

The video game industry kicked off in Japan in the 1970s, and the country is home to major companies such as Sega, Namco and Nintendo. Therefore, Japan is an ideal place to study for people interested in pursuing a career in the game design industry. Various Japanese colleges offer game courses, including some of the largest schools in the country. Some colleges offer special courses for international students, while others emphasize small class sizes.

Close-up of teenage boys playing video games.

Japan Electronics College

  • Japan Electronics College in Tokyo was the first Japanese college to offer courses in gaming and CG technology. The school offers two game courses. The two-year game production class concentrates on game programming including graphic design and music. The three-year advanced game programming course offers additional computer graphic and sound engineering classes. As a project, students are required to create their own video game. According to Japan Electronics College, students have been scouted by leading Japanese game companies such as SEGA and Capcom.

HAL College of Technology & Design

  • HAL College of Technology & Design with campuses in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya is the largest specialized training college in the country. It is an institution specializing in technology and design fields including video game design. The school offers classes covering all aspects of game production such as computer graphics, design and planning. It also has close ties to major companies, including Microsoft and Nintendo, which allows students to be in contact with possible future employers. HAL College offers two- and four-year programs as well as weekend and night courses.

Nihon Kogakuin College — Creators College

  • Creators College is a branch of Nihon Kogakuin College and is located at two campuses in Kamata and Hachioji. The school’s game creator department specializes in all aspects of video game production including designing, programming, planning and marketing. In the two-year program, students are also taught business skills so that they know how to market themselves to secure a job in the game or IT industry after they graduate. Special courses in Japanese and English are held in the summer to acquaint international students with the school and its culture. Additionally, the rate of foreign student employment after graduation is high.

Arts College Yokohama

  • Arts College Yokohama offers a three-year video game course. The game creator course is divided into four subjects — game programmer, game character, game planner and game sound. This ensures that students are knowledgeable in various aspects of the video game industry, opening them up to more job options. The program is small, with only 40 students enrolled at a time and aims to provide a focused and tight-knit environment.

Choosing an Art Gallery Website

If you’re an artist, you know that spreading the word about your work runs a close second in importance to all the effort you put into your art to begin with. Even if creating fulfills you, there’s nothing like sharing the fruits of your efforts with others who may come to love it, and to get compensated for your labor of love.
Luckily, the age of the Internet has introduced a number of opportunities to put your work out there. While there are large e-commerce sites such as Etsy, there are also a growing number of sophisticated online galleries that attract fine art lovers, makers and collectors.

Here’s a selection of some of the online fine art gallery options currently out there for sharing and selling your artwork:

  • This site allows for the purchase and sale of art around the world. It targets both photographers and visual artists, as well as galleries that want to sell pieces online. Images can be sold in the form of originals, prints, greeting cards, and even smartphone cases, with added marketing opportunities. The site is royalty-free. You set your price. Standard accounts are free, but premium accounts are $30 per year, which offers a range of additional features and tools. If someone purchases one of your prints and has it matted and framed using the service, you get a 5% commission.
  • This site allows for the sale of artwork, splitting the sales 50/50 with the artist. Regardless of whether or not the artist is invited to exhibit, there is a $5 application fee. To sell through this website, artists must hand over exclusive selling rights to UGallery. The cost to the artist appears to be 50 percent of the sales and the $5 application fee.
  • This site provides links to a range of sites where the artist’s work can be shown, in addition to public and private forums to obtain answers to questions as well as advice. The cost for participation in this site starts at $6.50 per month, but a permanent account can be purchased for $499.
  • These galleries are free and artists are offered an unlimited number of image uploads per gallery. Galleries can be marked private by the artist, or marked public for viewing by anyone. Buyers can purchase the expertly printed piece and can choose to have it shipped to them with or without a custom frame. The artist sets the per-image fee for the artwork, and the artist received 100% of that fee with each sale. The site also provides additional opportunities for exposure with its monthly Featured Artist Contest and social sharing now available through each artist gallery which is optimized for Google search. Each uploaded image for the featured artist contest is manually viewed and approved by an American Frame team member. Features are being constantly added to improve the artist’s experience.

Choosing the right gallery can make a big difference in an artist’s ability to obtain the exposure that is needed to sell the pieces, and to receive the most fair price, possible for his or her artwork. This is a choice that must be carefully made, and many different factors – from storage to fees and royalties – must be considered along the way.

Laura Jajko is President of Marketing at, the nation’s leading online source for custom frames, mat board, archival digital printing services and picture framing supplies. For inspiring picture framing and design ideas, visit her blog, A Good Frame of Mind; and join her on Twitter @laurajajko and .