September 8, 2014

Party Animals

Hey bros and ladybros, I'm off on some adventures again! I'm headed up to Alaska for a bit to soak up lots of magical inspiration from the North. Thrilled for the chance of some actual cool weather, so, suck it, unreasonable summer! I will be planning some new projects and dialing in some holiday show plans whilst wearing many sweaters and scarves. Can't bring eleventy billion markers with me, but I'll have at least a handful, so expect One Minute Portraits to appear at some point. Rhubarb and wild blueberries will be consumed! And what's cooler than being cool? Hangin out on a motherscratchin glacier, that's what! 

So how is my dedication to moose blazers made from blue tarps relevant to your life, you may ask? I'll be leaving my shop open while I'm gone, so you can keep shopping for some sweet back to school pieces of flair or pie artwork to inspire your seasonal baking plans! I'll plan to resume shipping orders on 9/26, and all orders placed while I'm gone will receive bonus goodies inspired by my trip. Your patience will be rewarded by 20% off orders of $20 or more during this time if you use coupon code ALASKA! And as those luscious winter clouds roll in, don't forget to start planning your own holiday radness - if you're thinking of giving someone a custom portrait this year, now would be a great time to reserve your spot! Thank you, friends!

September 3, 2014

Betty Turbo's Awesome Autumn Guide for Grown-Ass Grownups

Dylan McDermott has been quoted as saying "Never wear plaid," but we all know that's shit, because he wore the hell out of some plaid in this movie. It's FALL! It is totally time to wear plaid, AND totally a reasonable time to start watching Home For The Holidays every day until Thanksgiving or so. No, Holly Hunter, you crazy! Let him in your bedroom!

September has rolled in!  We suddenly rejoice, "FALL IS HERE!" as if we can instantly unpack all our sweaters and eat spiced things where yesterday we couldn't.  Nostalgic back-to-school feelings descend upon us even if it has been years and years since we were going back to school of any kind.  I drink coffee on my porch and watch little kids walking to the bus stop and college students stumbling down the road to campus, and feel a little pissed that all I get are anxiety dreams about still being in high school.  If you want to get on board with that excitement which arbitrarily rushes in on Labor Day, let's make a plan for how to tap into it even when we're old and bitter!

Such scholar. Very graduated.

Step One: Fuck Your Pumpkin Spice Latte!
 My utter disdain for this unreasonably lauded seasonal beverage is borne of the fact that I've never actually had one, because I'm allergic to cinnamon and therefore most pre-made "spice" concoctions are off limits to me.  But seriously, y'all?  That stuff is nasty!  It's a super-processed, unhealthy swirl of garbage, preying on your sugar and caffeine addictions, compelling you to BUY BUY BUY!  Save yourself some money and add a few years to your life by mastering your home spiced coffee skills!  Did you know you can mix some spices in with the ground beans in your coffee-brewing apparatus of choice and then your whole kitchen will smell lovely too?  If you're really down with the pumpkin part, you can cook a little pumpkin puree on the stove with your milk product & spices and get frothy!  No squished bug coloring or freaky artificial sweeteners required!

I know you want that spice melange.

While we're talking about spices, now would be a great time to get rolling on some spicy baked goods.  I'm a strong advocate for participating in physical rituals to help tap into the magic of the past, so why don't you summon all the bakers of autumns past by making some delicious pies and cakes?  Hey, it's less than three months till Thanksgiving, have you planned your menu yet?  Warm yourself a nice cup of cider on the stove and bust out some molasses cookies!  Have a chilly fall picnic in your sweaters and scarves and nibble some black pepper spice cakes and drink cocoa out of a thermos!  

From my Kitchen Calaveras series

Step Two: Setting the scene.  Now that we've got the important snacks squared away, let's reach out to Younger You and cultivate some of those back-to-school sensations with some environmental suggestions.  What music did you listen to in high school or college when you felt awesome?  Crank that shit up!  What are your favorite TV shows set in school?  I always feel a fall hankering to rewatch my favorite Buffy episodes, which strike a special chord since I was the same age as the Scoobies when that show aired.  Plus it's chock full of cheesy ghoulish things for the upcoming Halloween season!  My So-Called Life, Veronica Mars, and Felicity also bring back the FEELINGS in their own way for me.

Straight chillin with my friend Spike...

Step Three: Supplies!  If you are an art or stationery nerd like me (chances are pretty good, I think, since you're reading my blog), then you know the joy of a fresh box of pencils or a deliciously crisp new notebook.  Here's my pal Taco Tornado after collecting his first box of school supplies a few years ago. 

Want to get that feeling back but feel a little beyond animal print scissors and fuzzy koala pens?  I have great news: Rad and Hungry is a company that is a cross between cool, lo-fi supplies shopping, and awesome mail from your coolest, most well-traveled international penpal.  You can sign up for a subscription and have a new kit of stationery items and writing implements from a different country each month!  This is not paid advertisement, I just think they're REALLY AWESOME!  Check out this beautiful score from the France kit

With your kits you also get stories of their journeys to sources these items in each country, and they are always beautifully wrapped brown paper packages tied up with strings, which are a joy to open and unbox!

Step Four: Fall Fashions.  You don't need to get spiffed up for the first day of school anymore, but what will you do to reinvigorate your wardrobe?  Why not pull out your current stash and use your Responsible Grown Up skills to mend, improve, applique, and upcycle things you already have?  Get your friends together and have a Pocket Party where you add pockets to every dress that came without them, and then write some formal angry letters to your favorite dressmakers telling them what idiots they are for ever making a dress without pockets in the first place!  Need some snugglier styles for the chilly weather?  Perhaps it's time to acquire a unique handknit accessory from a crafty artisan like the amazing Yokoo!  Here's a chain scarf I picked up a couple years ago that makes me feel like a total boss.

Step Five: For Future You.  Growing up is weird, dudes.  Time just goes by so fast!  How did we become these different creatures?  Do Future You a solid and take time, even if it's only minutes a day, to record pieces of your life in some way.  You don't have a school picture each year to chronicle your growth, but what if you took a daily/weekly/monthly self-portrait?  Perhaps you could draw yourself on the first day of every month!  Keep a journal but don't bore yourself by feeling obligated to make it into some thrilling memoir - just choose small, manageable tasks.  How did you feel today in five words or less?  Or choose one theme word to sum up every day!  Would you like to chronicle what you wear?  What you eat each day?  You'll be amazed how just by choosing some specific parameters and making a mark each day, what a wonderful collection it turns into after weeks or months.  Create new traditions for yourself that you can return to every year at this time!  

Wheeee, fall!!  See, it's going to be great. And let's not forget the best thing about fall: WINTER IS COMING.  Do you have favorite fall rituals?  Anyone want to race to see who can get their Thanksgiving menu planned first?  What shows and movies put you in a bodacious fall mood?  Pour yourself some cider, put on some plaid, and tell me all about it.  

September 1, 2014

One Hundred and Forty One Minute Portraits!

What a week!!  Wow, guys, this was so fun!  140 drawings felt like a zillion million sometimes but I think it was a successful adventure overall!  I can't even pick which day was my favorite because each day had its own terribly awesome favorites and they sure are fun all piled together into collections!  Here are the results!

Day One: Selfies With Pets  got the most submissions of any day. I fell in love with every single dog (sorry, cat people!) and want to snuggle with ALL of them.  In a big pile.  It was very easy for my critical voice (the one that is not allowed during One Minute Portraits!) to click on and notice how difficult it was to make tiny marker doodles remotely resemble cat and dog fur, but I just had to roll with it and let the drawing happen.  Most turned out pretty fun!  We also got this image reposted by the Not A Bully campaign, so many more dog lovers got to enjoy as well!

Day Two: Show Your Tongue was when everyone realized I really wanted to draw awkward faces and not perfectly refined, flattering selfies.  Folks were a little more shy, but we still got some great portraits, and it was fun to see which "poses" naturally occurred to people when their tongue talents were requested.

Day Three: Do You Like My Hat? got really silly really quickly!  Babies, doggies, pirates, bears, three hats at once!  Such stunning noggin models you make.

Day Four: Lip Sync Champion was an effort to get some really soulful singing faces, and y'all did not disappoint!  I wish I had a caption indicating which song everyone was singing!  This day's faces were the some of the most distorted expressions & odd angles to draw.  Good job beltin it out into those wine bottles, hair brushes, and broccoli, guys!

Day Five: Mysterious Detective was me poking you with a stick to do something a little more playful and unusual, a theme that involved more imagination than just a straightforward drawing.  Lots of the themes I considered choosing were actually things for me to superimpose in the drawing, (like when I did Shark Week!) but I ultimately decided to start with content supplied by the reference photos.  The final day was a slight departure as I played with backgrounds more to enhance the mystery...

The mystery of the One Minute Portrait has been quite thoroughly investigated, but I think there's always room to collect more evidence!  I look forward to continuing these adventures and seeing what other magic happens.

If you would like to purchase any of the drawings I did from your photos, you can use the One Minute Portrait listing in my Etsy shop to pick up the originals, or if you'd just like a digital image, I'll email you a scan if you PayPal me five bucks! (agnesbartonsabo at  Please remember to credit Betty Turbo if you repost your portraits anywhere!

I really appreciate the participation from so many people, old friends and new fans alike.  If you ever wonder if your face is interesting, I tell you now that it is!  I totally enjoyed inspecting your expressions and dimples and cowlicks and gleaning little snippets of your story from your photos.  I regularly request photos on Instagram, so if you didn't get in on the fun this time, please stay tuned for more One Minute Portrait action!  You can always request a custom portrait through my shop of course!  And if you want me to look at your face for longer than a minute, I do that too!

One final bit of business to take care of... I have a $25 credit to my shop to give away! I had fifteen devoted participants who sent photos for all five themes.  I have put their names on pieces of paper and I will now draw one from my straw hat, whilst sticking out my tongue and singing some Hall & Oates to my dog, who is leaning on my desk with the curious look of a detective trying to solve The Mystery of the Random Winner... (Get it?  See what I did there??) And Detective Roxy says the winner is... Janneal!  Here are the portraits I drew of her.  She seems like a pretty rad lady!

Oh gosh, now I want to organize all the drawings in families like this!  *Disappears for hours.*  Janneal, please email me to claim your prize!  (agnesbartonsabo at  Thank you everyone!!!  Phew, I'm going to take my hands for a spa treatment and then shop for refill ink for my Copic markers.  Start thinking about what themes you want to see One Minute Portraits of next and leave your suggestions here!