Archive for the ‘Personal News, Opinions, Thoughts and Discoveries’ Category

I am now registered with the Mass Board of Library Commissioner’s Performers List! Some of you may know that I teach “How to Draw Manga” Workshops at Libraries and Community centers across the state of Massachusetts. I started teaching these workshops back in 2003 (yikes) and began by cold-calling libraries across the state. Well, my little lecture’s popularity ballooned to the point where I no longer needed to do any advertising to get the word out. Librarians shared my contact info amongst themselves and business has been pretty steady ever since.

Regardless, I feel like its about time that I ought to do a little bit of advertising, if only to let some of the libraries I haven’t been to in a while know that I’m still running this workshop! Maybe I can also reach some new community centers outside of my typically library circuit as well in the process. So per the suggestion of a wonderfully helpful Librarian from Dover I have registered with the Library Commissioner to be on a list of Massachusetts library “performers.”

But I’m also writing this blog post! So that you, curious reader with connections to libraries or after-school programs which are looking for ways to entertain children, might be inspired to make a connection for me here. Anime and Manga is a fantastically popular style of Japanese cartooning and story telling which came to the US in the 1980’s and was made popular by 90’s television shows like Pokemon. The style has grown in popularity so much that there are literally hundreds of titles which employ this style of drawing. Because the style has been so prevalent for over 20 years, many of today’s children grew up with it all around them, and are very interested in learning how to tell their own stories through manga.

If you have a child who would like to learn how to draw Anime and Manga, or if you run an after school program, or if you are a librarian and you are interested in hosting a “How to Draw Manga Workshop” for your kids, I encourage you to visit this link to find out more about my workshop, and to send me an email with any other questions!

Libraries of the World, here I come!

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I can’t believe its almost Christmas!! Where did this month go? Where are all the months going!? I blame the lack of blog updates on my job and blossoming social life. It’s been a great year, but I certainly don’t have as much free-time to craft as I used to. Fortunately the winter holidays come with mandatory crafting; it isn’t Christmas without the trimmings, trappings, wrappings, and arrangements. I have not been known to decorate half-way. That is not to say that I go overboard, but the projects that I do take on, I do just-so.

Last week while I was wrapping gifts, I got the urge (prompted by a Michael’s sale’s flyer) to fashion a few with extra creativity. Handmade cards? Yes. That sounds like fun too.


Here are some of my more photogenic gift exteriors. May they provide you with all the inspiration you need to finish your shopping, and make your gifts look great! Everything you see here I bought from Michael’s craft store. Some of it I had hanging around from last year, and some of it I bought fresh. The cards came with pre-cut scalloped edges, and I added the 3D scrapbook stickers and ribbon. Honestly, deciding what to write inside the card was much more difficult than assembling them—anyone can make cards like these. All it takes is some ribbon, stickers, and good paper glue.


The gift boxes were also pretty easy to put together. The most complicated element was the bow, made more difficult because of its small-size. One tip I will toss out there is that pretty ribbon doesn’t go very far. I went through two yards of ribbon on these gifts alone, and they are not big boxes! Decorative ribbon doesn’t come in very long lengths, so I say go for the clearance ribbon and get more than you think you need. Happy wrapping~!

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Did you know that I have a Facebook page? Maybe you assumed so; but maybe you also assumed that I post the same content to my Facebook page as I do my blog. Well that simply isn’t true! I post lots of updates to my Facebook page and Twitter feed that never make it to my blog. They’re mostly small updates like statuses, progress pictures, and new Etsy listings, but you also get to see more of my personal photos, what inspires me, and a lot more of my sense of humor.

If this sort of thing interests you–if you want to see what’s happening between the blog posts–then please ‘like’ me on Facebook at, Facebook.com/Shaunart.net, and follow me on Twitter @ShaunaLeva

Right now on Facebook, I’m posting progress pictures of a painting I’m working on. See my process from beginning to end unfolding on the Facebook wall.

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Backyard Music Series – Bruce Marshall Group
Thursday, June 27 – 6 PM to 8 PM
FREE Admission

This Thursday I am scheduled to set up a vendor table at the Tsongus Center in Lowell, MA for their summer Backyard Music Series. Several Thursday nights this summer the Tsongus center will be hosting a different local headlining band, and admission is free!

This week is the “Bruce Marshall Group.” In addition to the music, local artisans and craftspeople will be selling their wares and artwork out in the evening air. There will also be food and drink available for purchase including a featured beer or wine selection.

The show starts at 6pm and ends at 8pm. For more information on this and other upcoming music events, you can check out http://www.tsongascenter.com/

I will be exhibiting my typical leather crafts, including masks, bracelets, jewelry, and costumewear as well as prints of artwork available for sale. I also plan to do more temporary henna tatoos! Temporary tattoos are lots of fun and great for summer.

I have never been to this event before so I hope that it all goes smoothly! With admission being free, I really hope to see you there. 😀

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Why hello there, blog. Long-time-no-see!

I have been meaning to post here for a while; I have certainly been slacking somewhat when it comes to keeping up the blog. That’s because the past two months have been full of changes for me. All good changes, but changes that have a way of filling up my schedule and shifting my priorities.

Some great changes have been personal, and some have been career oriented. I’m going to stick to the career stuff here and spare you all the details that have no effect on my art, my website, or any of my products.

I’ll start with the big news first. I have a new job! Sort of. I am still working as a freelance illustrator, but I have accepted a more steady in-house position as a medical illustrator. Working regular hours, and earning regular pay. This is me taking a huge exhale. -sigh- Just imagine me putting my feet up here and letting all my worries flow out of me. That’s how I feel right now and it could partly be the weather.

Honestly, I like freelance work. I like the diversity of the work and meeting new challenges. However the struggle with freelance is constantly looking for new work. Constantly seeking new clients and constantly fighting the competition for jobs. Those of you who are unemployed and seeking employment know exactly the feeling I am talking about. That constant search and anxiety over finding work. Freelance is like that even when I have work, because that project will soon come to an end and I’m looking for work while working at the same time. It’s interesting, certainly, but it can be stressful and hard to plan for the future. Hopefully it will be a long time before I have to look for more work, but I will let you know when I am.

The second bit of news I have to report is that I have renewed the lease on my Studio on Western Ave in Lowell. This means I will be in Lowell for at least another year, making masks and art, and having regular open houses. You can find details about my studio and its Open Houses on my website here.

Having a studio space in which to work and to store my materials is key in allowing me to sell my work at fairs and conventions across New England. My next fair will be the Pirate Rendezvous! A free one-day event for charity up in Maine. Come be a pirate for the day while you shop and enjoy family-friendly entertainment. More information on this fair can be found at their website: http://piraterendezvous.com/ It looks like a real blast and I cannot wait! I will have another blog post specifically on the rendezvous shortly.

I don’t want to make this post too long and wordy, so to bring this journal-entry of sorts to a close, I will say that just under a year out of college and my routine and workflow is really starting to take a comfortable shape. I have several jobs that I still have to juggle, and am feeling busier than ever, but my schedule has at last become regular and orderly. I thrive on structure, and having a more defined separation of work and play actually motivates me more to keep up with hobbies like painting for fun and sewing without the pressure of making a buck off of them. I feel busy but not at all stressed, because even though I have fewer hours to myself, there is less question as to how I will spend those hours.

So, in short, I have a job in my field which takes up a lot of my time, but I will continue to make art for fun, craft leather wares, make costumes, and of course blog whenever I get the chance!

Thank you as always for reading!

(P.S, I am still accepting commissions and taking custom orders for my leather wares, but I will inform you of any longer turn-around times based on the intricacy of your indevidual project.)

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This Saturday, April 6th, I will be opening my Studio to the Public for another Open House.

Come check out the Western Avenue Studios, a complex of buildings filled with over 100 working artists. Work ranges from textiles, to printmaking, to metallurgy, and prices can range from cheap trinkets and gifts to rather large investments. Studio is located at 122 Western Ave, Lowell, MA.

My studio is located on the fifth floor at number #527 (with the green door). I will be selling original watercolors, affordable prints, as well as leather costume wear and accessories. All the sort of stuff you see on this blog and on my website, I try to have for sale at my open houses. Open House starts at 12pm and ends at 5pm. I hope to see you there!

Please visit my studio page for directions and more information.

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Easter has never been a huge affair in my house, but I love Holidays of any shape or size. Therefore this year I decided to get a little festive with my table settings and make bunnies out of dinner napkins!


I got the idea while ironing a table-cloth for the up-coming brunch, and turned to the internet for help. I found a super easy tutorial on the Better Homes and Gardens Youtube page, and within minutes, my mom and I were folding bunnies. All you need is a cloth napkin and some ribbon or string. The video can be found here.


The tutorial even adds a little cotton tail, but I decided to skip this step and save myself from picking up a zillion loose cotton balls after dinner.


I got so carried away that I think I made 16 bunnies for only 9 guests. Above are the eight “big” bunnies. We were short one large napkin. But we had other white, slightly smaller napkins, and I couldn’t just make one small bunny for the leftover plate. I had to make 8.


Here is my bunny troupe at their table-settings, with a basket of eggs in the center.


I also dyed eggs this Easter, attempting to make designs with stickers and crayon wax. As you can see, some designs worked well, while others not so much. Cute colors nonetheless.



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I would like to thank everyone at Milestones, Inc for inviting me to host two How to Draw Manga workshops today.

Milestones is a therapeutic school for children with any disorder that interferes with their ability to learn in a traditional school setting including autism, anxiety disorders, non verbal learning disabilities and more. Milestones places children in an environment specifically designed to meet their individual needs, with lots of room to express themselves, and extra staff and support to help them focus and grow. I was invited to participate in their Arts Enrichment Day by teaching two drawing courses: one offered at the middle school level, and one at the high school level.

During my workshops, I had lots of staff support to help keep the kids focused. This was extremely helpful because I typically have to stop the whole class to deal with inattentiveness or outbursts (which can happen anywhere I teach) myself. Having a support team meant that I could keep the lecture going and not risk losing the attention of the other students. I am quick to praise the teacher support team watching over us in the back of the classroom, but they were not needed nearly a often as one would think. The children were very focused and engaged in their drawings, and our open conversations stayed mostly structured and on topic.

The Milestones building was a pretty cool environment to be in. The school is located in an office park, so from the outside you wouldn’t think that the place would be very welcoming to children. But the section of the building used for the school itself was painted bright colors and filled with spacious classrooms. Overall it was much nicer than most schools that I have been to.
Again, I would like to thank the students and the staff for having me, and I would love to return in the future!

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For the entire month of February some of my recent work will be hanging at the Burlington Public Library. My work can be found on the first floor to the left of the reception desk, and next to the children’s play area on two separate walls. You may stop by the Library, which is located at 22 Sears St  Burlington, MA 01803, during any of its Fall/Winter Library Hours, listed below, and view the work in the open.

Fall/Winter Library Hours
 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.


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Last Thursday night I was invited to teach a How to Draw Manga Workshop at the Groton Public Library. The local news stopped by to film some of the class, as well as interview me and some of the students after the workshop. I am very pleased with how the segment came out and I think its a good sample of what I do and why I offer these workshops.


If you would like to book me for a how-to-draw manga workshop, you can find more information at my website here: http://shaunart.net/pages/Workshops

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