Contact Me

Please email me at:
to schedule a free assessment, questions and comments on my blog posts!

Also contact me here for online sessions:

Friday, March 9, 2018

Homemade Twin Peaks Game Cubes!

    During my down time I've been making my own storytelling dice. First, I draw them with my pencil and then ink them with my Faber-Castell ink markers. Fans of the new Twin Peaks can recognize Cooper, Evil Cooper 
(Mr. C), Major Brigg's floating head :) Jack Rabbit's Palace and some arm-wrestlin'. Looking forward to using these in my Untold game. My next season of Twin Peaks, starts early.

Cooper looks more like 70 the way I drew him...

Here's almost all of em'. The fourth one is Dougie with his case more to go!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Online Commercial

Soon I'll be posting a new commercial spot with three quick tips. One on drawing, one on math and one on English punctuation. All rolled into one.
I might do quick videos like this in the future come to think of it. Maybe call it quick-tips.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Choosing Your Best Page

Lately, at my Writer's Group we all had a chance to submit the best page we wrote from last year. Trying to do this can be difficult since it's like trying to pick your favorite kid out of the bunch. You can put a lot of work into each chapter so choosing your best work out of multiple pages isn't easy.
I was finaly able to settle on one that was a character piece. Will, the boss in my novella chews out Chris while in the work van. It sums up Will's flaws in a simple back and forth scene as well as Chris's oversight.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Untold: the Game That Keeps Giving

Recently, I've had the chance to play the make-a-story game Untold. Amazing game here's why: you can either create a character or use a well known character, say James Bond, then you make a setting, where the story takes place. In Bond's case, it could be Spectre's Headquarters or something. You roll Rory's Story Cubes to interpret what's going on in the setting and you can ask questions by pulling a card for an answer to that question. It'll be green for yes or red for no. So you mostly ask yes or no answers each round.
    As more game board cards are flipped over, more story dice are put on the board to help or hinder your antagonist all the way to the last board card which is the finale of the story episode. Dice previously put on the dice board can be moved over for later stages in the game.
Even if your character looses end the end, it might make for a more interesting story. Just like reviewers are saying, this game is about story and not whether you 'win' or 'lose'.
    I had a great first game playing as my superhero bear hero Rage. He stumbled upon a farmer in Ireland who had his daughter kidnapped by an ancient sheep beast. He went on the hunt and found that the daughter fell in love with the strange beast. After some fighting and a failed rescue attempt all Rage could do was make a deal with the monster to never come back to the village. I'm sure the daighter's father took the news real well!
    This could be use as a great educational game, since the players must grasp or learn the concepts of character and setting and it encompasses the basics of storytelling.

The board game with it's pieces. Two dice fit in the cut outs...

Comes with the original set of storycubes...

The cards you pick to see if you succeeded after you ask your question...

I made my own Twin Peaks: The Return story cubes from a bag of small wooden dice...

Saturday, January 27, 2018

RIP Ursula Le Guin

RIP Ursula Le Guin

What can I say about an author that revitalized my love of fantasy?
The Earthsea Trilogy especially, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Farthest Shore
were among my favorite fantasy books.

I first read A Wizard of Earthsea in my Fantasy class
during sophomore year of high school. It was one
of the very few bright spots in high school. After transferring to a
new school the class and the book offered a great escape.
It absolutely took me away and made me feel like I was
in another land, hundreds or thousands of years in the past.
The idea of a school of Wizardry was still pretty unique
and felt a bit more adult then Harry Potter's world.
The idea of having a true-name, that words had power, especially
when it came to naming things was something that resonated with me.

Spoilers about A Wizard of Earthsea and The Farthest Shore here:
Facing our own inner shadow side was something that was unique at the time,
the fact that Ged ran from his shadow for so long before turning
to face it was very suspenseful. The final showdown was indeed 'epic'
It's something we all most do in a greater or lesser degree at some
point, though I didn't realize it then.

The Farthest Shore has another epic confrontation with the
villain that ends in a brilliant philosophical conclusion that
no other writer would do or maybe could do.

End of spoilers

Those books made mythology of Ged feel so ancient
and biblical. The metaphor or lesson that you get
from them was well executed and I really loved returning
to Sparrowhawk and his world. I also respected that she wrote male characters and could
identify with them on some level.

She felt like a bit of a crossover between Tolkien, C.S.Lewis
and Bradbury. Not a bad mix of authors to be like.
Yet with all their influences she had her own unique voice
and way of telling a story.

Lathe of Heaven was such a great idea for a story
and she successfully pulled it off. The idea of the dream world
changing reality was something that was completely new and out
of left field. Watched the TV adaptions too and more or less
enjoyed them.

I'm grateful she lived on into her late 80's and kept
producing good work. Like Bradbury, I feel like she was a force of good
in this life and heavily influential to our culture. Although late 80's is
a long life with her I feel it still wasn't quite long enough and
am sad to never meet her. She will be missed. RIP Ursula.

Do yourselves a favor and read a Wizard of Earthsea or re-read it.
I absolutely loved it as a fantasy lover and book lover.

BBC article on Ursula

Amazon Link:
A Wizard of Earthsea:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Art Break: Fun Marking Greeting Cards

Taking a break from my YouTube series on the comma, I had a chance to practice a free class on painting greeting cards with watercolor. Usually, I wouldn't use flowers as my particular style of greeting card, however the techniques are quite solid. 
I used a paper towel to leave water drops on blank greeting cards that will act as paint spreader. The red paint spreads throughout the water drop, this is a new technique learned. After allowing the water to dry, again this is watercolor and it teaches you to be patient, I painted little red spirals for the core of the rose. I then used glitter on it to make it look...y'know, glittery like you see on cards like these. I then continued to paint-draw the petals.
The rest is broken up in the steps below. Along with red paint, I used mod podge for the first time, which is like a thick putty mixed in with red and water on the rose care spiral to help the glitter hold in place. It was fun and meditative! Heck, maybe I'll start making my own cards for now on!

Wet paper towels and paint on the wet spots...
Using really wet red paint, use single strokes for flower backgrounds.
Use a less disolved bolder red for the pedal outlines and the rose core spirals. Drop red glitter onto the spirals and wait for the water to dry before flicking of excess glitter.
Wet the brush or push down on the red drops to let the color run inwards and lighten. 
You can also apply gold and sliver glitter to the background on top of red drops of paint...didn't have time to do that here unfortunately.
I varied up the number of roses per card. More could be done here, but not bad for making your own greeting cards.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Punctation Instructional Video - The Serial Comma

So, here's my first video for Griffin Tutoring the YouTube Channel. It's an instructional vid about serial commas. It's  shot in mostly close-ups.

I plan on making these vids a bit more personal eventually, but for now I'm keeping them short and sweet.

This is the first in a few videos dealing with the comma. I'll do a few more videos on the punctuation and then I might move onto teaching basic drawing or basic elementary math problems. Eventually, I might even have some ukelele lessons I'll teach. The point is, I'll be producing more and more free videos
to give back to the YouTube Community and of course, promote my online tutoring business and packaged courses.

Here's the link to me first vid.
Please subscribe!