A very photogenic cactus

I’m making another foray into art photography.  Sometimes I find an interesting subject so I decide to go all out with it – make a classic photo frame, add my digital signature, etc.  This particular cactus was very patient to work with and I liked the blue stucco backdrop it had.  There’s something rather satisfying about looking at a mature, somewhat battered barrel cactus in full fruit on a sunny day.  This one lives across the street from where I live.  Click on the image for a sharper view.


Site Redesign, and a new painting!


This painting was done in watercolor, with some of the details picked out in various kinds of colored pencil.  I wasn’t completely successful in capturing the image, but at least I think I caught the light to the extent that I wanted to.

This is also the first new blog entry in the new, improved Rohvannynshaw.com.  I had to get away from my old host, but this turned out to be a good thing.  My new host has great speed, easier access to everything, better email, and most importantly, costs roughly 20% of what my old host charged me.  A better deal for me, and also for you!

Low-Cost Marketing Methods

You’ve written a book.  You’ve made art and are ready to sell it.  You produced a CD and want people to listen to it.  Now you want people to actually see your product!

You search for marketing.  It’s seems that it’s either expensive, ineffective, or both.  What to do?

Luckily, with some effort and creativity, there are plenty of things you can do to market your work!

Here are some ideas.

It doesn’t cost much to have bookmarks made.  Distribute them at bookstores and libraries.

If you wrote a book, buy a few copies and donate it to your library.  With a bookplate in it featuring your website or blog, that is!

Next time you see a deal where an online print shop is ordering 100 free print for a dollar, or whatever, take them up on it.  Make a little ad for your book/music/art/whatever.  Then leave them in unexpected places.  Bulletin boards, art shops, bookstores, you name it.

Whenever you leave printed matter around, try to put it in places where people are going to be bored.  Doctor’s offices, vet clinics, upscale hair salons, whatever.  Go where people have money, and always get permission.  Make any fliers pretty and eye catching.

Post on forums – topical posts about things others are interested.  Have real conversations.  Include a link to your website in your signature.  If people like you, they will check you out.

Go old school and make paper fliers for physical bulletin boards.

Know your audience.  Do your marketing where they are going to be.  Try to sell to your potential customers, not other authors/musicians/web designers/artists.

Remember: you don’t need fancy software to do any of this.  GIMP is free, so is LibreOffice, and they both work great!


Here, by the way, is an example of one of the fliers I made and printed out using one of those “100 prints for a dollar” promotions.


My First Job as an Illustrator

After I went away to college and no longer lived near my parents, we still had a desire for closeness, particularly around the holidays. We started a tradition where my mother would write a story and email it to me, I would create illustrations for it then send the finished pages back over to them, then my father would help bind and ship the story. They would go out to all the friends and relatives as their Christmas present.

I’ll admit, my illustrations were pretty bad at times.  Sometimes I really didn’t put the care into them that I needed to.  As I look back on each thin, hand-bound volume, I can see a lot of progress and I think that’s valuable.  Besides, there were other advantages too.  The extended family, who are devoted non readers, would start calling each other and discussing the story. And I got a little much needed holiday cash.  We all three had the feeling of continuing a holiday tradition that drew us together.

Now, for this year, my dad was the one who wrote the story. I had the idea to publish the last twelve or so stories into one big volume. I also would re-illustrate the stories that needed it. So “Yuletide Lights” was born. It’s fifteen stories, each one born of personal experience, and filled with the central themes of the holiday season. They stories are in general heartwarming and filled with generosity but in some truly touching ways. Each story is a slice of life, a pair of magic glasses with which you can peep into another life, another way. The story I wrote is about a lost cat in Japan, but even it happens around the Holidays. The little girl in the book my dad wrote might as well have been me, and I remember versions of many of events in these and other stories. Many times I’ve been moved to tears, working on this project.

I had fun preparing, editing and illustrating these stories, as much fun as I hope you have in reading them.

If you’d like to see this volume, it’s available both in paperback and Kindle.

Since I already posted a picture of the cover, two posts back, I’ll share some of the interior illustrations instead!








Trash Burner Stove



This little drawing is for the latest Holiday Story my family is putting out.  We do this each year and are thinking, at some point, of doing an anthology.  The stove is called a Trash Burner, and is a small wood stove that people use to heat small spaces or burn things they don’t want.  I had that as my sole source of heat for about four years.

(Author’s note:  Since the site redesign, we have indeed completed the anthology.  It’s available on Amazon under the title “Yultide Lights: Holes in the Christmas Stocking.”)

October Moon


I took this last night, and did only a tiny bit of postpro to clean things up.  I’m still very happy with the fact that my humble little Nikon Coolpix 830 can take pictures like this!  I used no tripod, instead bracing in the V formed by two angled fence boards, and relied on nothing but that and my somewhat shaky trigger finger.  I must say, I am truly pleased – probably more pleased than I would be if I had a top end DSLR and a tripod.

I have submitted this photo to Pixabay so other artists can use it if needed, however I retain the signed, bordered version of it for myself.

The Great Old Woman



I so enjoyed looking at this great, old tree.  This picture was taken on a photo walk, where I took my camera with me on my normal morning route.  The shapes in the trunk are amazing, and the way the light might fall under different conditions is fascinating to me.

What story might this tree tell?  My partner just saw a group of people outlined in the bark… what do you see?

Time for a little graphic design



I really enjoy it when a publishing house offers me a free sample to try their product.  I use it as a chance to practice my graphic design skills, improve them, and usually outwit their silly interface.  This time I was offered a 20 page photo book, hardcover, for only the price of shipping.  These things are great and they make awesome mini portfolios.  By the way, if you want one, contact me, usually I can find a free affiliate offer for new customers.  Those are great too!

This time I put black and white pieces in alongside color pieces.  They were a mix of acrylic, watercolor, chalk, and pen and ink.  I tried to have one black and white and one color image on each two page spread, so things looked balanced.  I also delighted in deleting all their gimmicky bits and bobs and photo embellishments.

When designing, keep it simple!  The world will thank you.  Doubt me?  Think of Geocities and Angelfire sites from the 90s.  Oh, the flickering animated GIFs… the mixed, multicolored, mismatched fonts… make it stop…