Good News! “Blocks and Dots”

“Blocks and Dots” – Available on ©️Robin King (click through image to see more)

Here’s the news:

A few weeks ago I figured out how to draw tileable patterns by hand on the Sketchbook app. Yay! The images were too small for Redbubble’s products so I moved the files to Photoshop Elements and created new designs by using the pattern files as building blocks for larger ones.

“Blocks and Dots” was the first. I like it on all of the Redbubble products (including kids’ clothes) but my special favorite is the comforter, above.


“Blocks and Dots” is available in my Shop on Redbubble. 

“Blocks and Dots” (©️Robin King)


“Trapped” Acrylic painting w/torn paper ©️Robin King (click through image to see more)

What happens when the bright colors of your life

are trapped and hidden from view?


“Trapped” (an acrylic painting with torn paper) is available as prints in my Shop on Redbubble.

“Trapped” Click through image to see more. (©️Robin King)

“Pieces of Paper & Dryer Lint”

“Pieces of Paper and Dryer Lint” (handmade paper ©️Robin King)

Several years ago I thought it would be fun to make my own paper. I searched for instructions, found more than I’d ever have time to read, and decided to just jump in – wing it. The results may illustrate that choice but I like them anyway.

People suggested buying special pulp paper to make paper pulp. What? No. Never. I collected old advertising circulars and tore them into pieces instead.

The next steps would be to soak the paper, then compress it to get the water out. Numerous websites offered paper-making whatsits for sale. They were usually made of pressing parts and screens, with water collection containers attached. Buy those? No. Never. So, I found an old barbecue grill screen – the kind that has small holes because it’s made for a portable grill – and part of an old book shelf instead.

I filled a large bowl with water and dumped the paper in, to let sit for a day. But then I thought of how fluffy and tiny dryer lint is when it collects on the dryer filter screen. Hmmm…would it work well with the pieces of paper? There was one way to find out: I added a giant clump of dryer lint (including the usual oddities, like hair and cat fur) to the water and mixed it with the paper.

The next day, I drained off the excess water and removed the gloppy paper. Then I put the screen on top of the bowl, plopped a handful of wet paper pieces and dryer lint on top of the screen, placed the piece of shelving on top of the pile of paper, and pressed the water out. I had to repeat this step several times but eventually I was able to gently remove a sheet of soggy paper from the screen. The paper was bumpy, holey, and a bit hairy. Perfect.

I let it dry, scanned it, and uploaded the image to my Shop on Redbubble for printing on several products.

Handmade paper! It’s one of my favorite pieces: colorful, messy, and fun to explore.

“Pieces of Paper & Dryer Lint” (handmade paper ©️Robin King – click thru image to see more)

The Case of the Stubborn Scanner – and Other News

Detail from larger piece – acrylic paint & torn paper (©️Robin King)

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Redbubble and my plan to adjust to likely/possible changes on that site. One of the things I mentioned was focusing on brightly-colored mixed media pieces. Because of other time commitments I decided to start off with small images, 5×7 inches. But that size would be too small for most of Redbubble’s products so I knew I’d need to enlarge them. I assumed that my old flatbed scanner (a CanoScan 8800F attached to an air-gapped 27″ Mac from 2010) would do the job. It might not enlarge enough to suit throw blankets and shower curtains but it could certainly produce dimensions to fit most of the other prints and products – if it worked.

Unfortunately, the scanner wouldn’t clear itself of the last slide scan I did a few months ago. All the recommended troubleshooting tips failed. I whooshed around the internet trying to find out what to do. I read forums and specs and online manuals from more than a decade ago. Nearly a week later, desperate, I tried the “shotgun” technique for troubleshooting stubborn peripherals: I unplugged/disconnected everything then reinstalled it. Then I methodically clicked every button on every setting and checked results each time. Two days later, the scanner cleared out the “stuck” preview image. YAY! But it didn’t scan properly so I continued clicking and un-clicking, testing along the way. Nope. I still had to convince Photoshop Elements that it was communicating with the same scanner it had been for the past 13 years. That took a nearly a day. Finally, this afternoon, I was able to scan again.

A photo detail – not the scan – from the test painting is above. It’s an acrylic painting with torn paper, on canvas board. Seeing the texture without pixellation is critical so the scans need to be good ones. Early next week I should have a new image to upload to Redbubble but I’ll post about it here, first.

Other news:

(1) A few days ago I reopened my old @robinkingfaces WordPress site. Trying to “promote” is always a challenge. Consistency and cohesiveness in messaging matter. But my version of art is always bifurcated: brightly-colored abstracts/patterns AND not-so-happy (and frequently creepy) faces, created solely to scratch an emotional itch. Add to that my love of experimenting and the message becomes incoherent. This @artbyrobinking site will remain my home for everything art-related, even a colorful face or two. But I’ve discovered that most of my faces need a little corner all their own – a refuge where they can be angry/sad/weird/grouchy without confusing people who are looking for vibrant abstracts/patterns.

(2) I’m on Instagram again. This is probably my 10th attempt to fit in. I’m trying to ignore the “noise,” the DM’s asking me to sell NFTs for a “reasonable curation fee,” and the slithering feed of things I didn’t ask to see (and soon wish I hadn’t). For the first time I’m actively following Redbubble’s two accounts, which has led to a pile of new followers. That’s not a bad thing, so far. But it all takes time and time’s not endless, right? Anyway, I’m @artbyrobinking & @robinkingfaces there too. If you’re there and I haven’t found you yet, I hope you’ll stop by (or leave your username in a comment below). I’d love to see someone I know!! There’s always time for friends.


(Note: According to RB, dates are not final and may be subject to change)

Redbubble’s 16th birthday is approaching and, to celebrate that, they’re having a site-wide sale.

They’ve changed a lot over those sixteen years, in mostly good – sometimes excellent! – ways. But, like other teenagers, their recent decisions can baffle and disappoint observers.

However: I’ve been there since the beginning and plan to stick with them, making adjustments as I’m able.

One adjustment was a big one. I decided to “re-brand” my Shop (and me). How? New avatar, new header, and a clear-out of posted work that doesn’t fit with Redbubble’s new customer base or their new business plans. I’ve made changes in this WordPress site, too.

While I have no plans to attempt making fan art or more age-skewed pieces, I am going to focus on digital and traditional collage work, the bright colors/textures I love, and custom-made paper fonts.

If you have a Redbubble Shop and don’t usually read their financial reports you may want to take a look at this one because the topics discussed represent substantive changes:

Click to access 1HFY23-Results-Conference-Call-Transcript.pdf

If you don’t want to click on that link, here’s the page it came from:

Oh! One last thing for now. Here’s part of my new Shop look:

(Click thru image to Shop)


“Blep” – Work in Process – ©️Robin King

Wait! If you don’t know what a “blep” is, go here for the definition because otherwise some of this post won’t make sense:

The in-process image above is the paper collage I’m working on today. It began life in November (2022). I had other pieces to do at the time so I decided to temporarily shelve it, unfinished. This is what it looked like when I put it away:

Cut/Torn paper face, work in process (©️Robin King)

You may recognize the digital collage I created using the photo above as the base image:

Digital collage ©️Robin King

Now it’s February, and for the past two weeks I’ve been struggling with “creative direction” (what I love doing versus what I can do that is likely to sell). Today I decided to stop struggling and just enjoy playing with paper again.

So…I found that unfinished paper collage and went back to work. And, five minutes in, I suddenly noticed the BLEP! The previously blah face had something to say, a reason for its existence!


A little process information:

When I do paper collages I usually rip the pieces but occasionally make clean cuts for definition. Most often, my plan is to fully cover the ground with colors and textures that gradually form a structure. But “Blep” had a basic structure (a face) already because when I started it last year – before it was “Blep” – I wanted a face immediately. So this experience is slightly different. I’ll use both strategies in the future.

The paper that I tear/cut comes from old advertising circulars, discarded wrapping paper, brochures, and pieces of mulberry paper from “Scrap Packs” sold by “Blick Materials.” I use liquid glue and glue sticks for the adhesive. Usually, the ground is a piece of discarded cardboard but sometimes a canvas board or a stretched canvas. “Blep” is on sheet of cardboard I saved from a box of canned cat food.

Here’s a detail from “Blep:”

Detail from “Blep” – Work in Process ©️Robin King

It’s easy to see the mulberry paper fibers in the photo above. My choice of adhesive is partially dictated by what I want those mulberry paper fibers to do. Liquid glue allows me to move and place the fibers where I want them. Sometimes, if I twist the fibers they untwist in the glue and make shapes on their own. That’s exciting! Glue sticks require some planning because once the glued fibers land on the ground they resist movement. I enjoy using both methods.


So there it is, the story behind “Blep.” It has a long way to go before it’s finished. When it’s done I’ll scan it, probably do a little editing to the image file, then upload it to my Shop on Redbubble.

Here’s another cut/torn paper piece that’s already there:

“Bats at Sunset” ©️Robin King

It’s called “Bats at Sunset” and is available on the full range of Redbubble products.


“Tropical Nights”

Click for larger image and more information
“Tropical Nights” Abstract pattern (©️Robin King)

Ocean waves glow in soft moonlight, warm breezes dance through the palms.


“Tropical Nights” was inspired by memories of Barbados. You can find this abstract image on the full range products (including prints) in my Shop on Redbubble.

“Cracked Colors”

“Cracked Colors” – Click through to see larger image (©️Robin King)

“Cracked Colors” is a digital painting that I originally planned to restrict to a blue-purple-pink palette, but it soon burst out of those constraints and went wild with all the colors of the rainbow. Sometimes art has a mind of its own – and I LOVE BRIGHT COLORS!


You can find “Cracked Colors” in my Shop on Redbubble on an array of products, including bags, home decor, accessories, cards, and prints.

©️Robin King