Friday, 17 December 2021

Cost effective storage solution #1: Oil pastels and Gelatos

 One thing I love about my journey as an artist is experimenting with new materials. Good quality art materials are expensive, so I usually start with a small set and then expand if I like the medium. This means that keeping the materials in their original packaging becomes a pain.

Every time I am in the mood to play with the medium, I have to take them out, “unbox” them, sort the colours, and only then will they be ready to play with. Trust me by this time, I am either bored, frustrated, or found something else to draw or paint with instead.

I am also of the opinion that I would rather spend my money on the materials, and not the means to store them to make it more easily accessible.

So finding a supplier (actually the manufacturer) of these wooden boxes made my life much easier.

I didn't buy all the boxes at the same time, so I can safely say that their quality is consistent and that is good thing of you need to expand your storage space.

Wooden box with Faber-Castell Gelatos
Wooden box with Faber-Castell Gelatos
As you can see my Faber-Castell Gelatos found a prefect home outside their original packaging. I have two of these boxes for my Gelatos. Since each box is sub-divided into four sections, it works well for storing the colours. You can comfortably fit 12 Gelato sticks in each section (3 layers of 4).

I sort my colours into 8 groups: 1) blue, 2) green, 3) yellow, 4) orange, 5) red and pink, 6) purple, 7) brown, and 8) the neutrals (white, grey, black), so two boxes do the job.

Wooden box with oil pastels
Wooden box with oil pastels from 3 brands

Since the oil pastels are a bit shorter than the Gelatos, they fit the box's sections the other way.

A few months after I bought the boxes for the Gelatos, I started an oil pastel project and the struggle happened all over again. This time it was worse because I have many more oil pastel sticks that I had to sort in separate containers before I could work on the painting.

The Gelato boxes were close at hand, and I decided to see if they could also be used for the oil pastels.

To my happy surprise the oil pastels fit perfectly too, so I ordered some more.

I have oil pastels from 3 different brands: Faber-Castell, Mungyo, and Mont Marte. They are all the same length although differ slightly in width.

I used the same colour grouping mentioned above, and could fit 24 oil pastel sticks in each section. (3 layers of 8 sticks)

If you need more space, the dividers inside the boxes can be removed to make halves in either direction.

The boxes are made from MDF, so if you are concerned about water exposure, I suggest that you varnish them inside and out before stocking your materials. They can also be decorated if you prefer a more colourful look to a plain wooden box.

The boxes are available from or directly from the manufacturer's website, - I don't know if they ship internationally, but I suggest you contact them to ask. Right now they are closed for the festive season so no orders will ship until next year.

Keep an eye out for more useful product reviews and suggestions from this supplier in future blog posts.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Book Release Day! 🖤 SARAH KILLIAN: THE MARCHING TIDES by Mark Sheldon 🖤


Book 3 in a trilogy of dark humor novels, this hilarious series follows the bloody journey of Sarah Killian, a strong female…serial killer for hire.

Hi there! Sarah Killian, your friendly neighbourhood serial killer, back again for more bloody, violent fun.

For my final mission, I (begrudgingly) team up with my good for nothing, S.O.B. assassin ex, Jason. Why would I do such a crazy thing? Well, aside from the obvious answer that I am crazy, we are fleeing from the mysterious organization known only as the Marching Tides—a collective hell-bent on bringing down the Trusted Hierarchy of Everyday Murderers (T.H.E.M.) and exposing their shady dealings to the world at large.

As Jason and I try—often unsuccessfully—to stay one step ahead of the Marching Tides and their nefarious associates, we draw ever closer to the shocking truth of who the mastermind behind the Marching Tides really is.

Something tells me I’ll regret learning the answers at the end of my journey.


Excerpt from Chapter 1

My name is Sarah, and I work for a super-secret organization called the Trusted Hierarchy of Everyday Murderers (T.H.E.M.) that employs Professional Serial Killers (P.S.K.’s), and assassins. I hate, hate, hate assassins – so I find it particularly appropriate that their title starts with two asses.

T.H.E.M. is contracted by various entities—a few wealthy private citizens and corporations who can afford us, but most of our work comes from the government. Completely off the books, of course.

Assassins’ work is pretty boring and straightforward, so I won’t waste my time on them. The P.S.K.’s is where T.H.E.M. gets innovative. As a P.S.K., when on a project I get sent to a location, usually for several months—if not years—at a time, where I integrate myself into the community under a pseudonymous ‘Dupe’ personality. My Dupe personality is the everyday person who just goes to work and lives their life and is my cover for being in the area of the murders.

Meanwhile, I also have to create the persona of the killer—the ‘Herring.’ The Herring for each project has to have a unique M.O. and set of characteristics that distinguish itself from other projects I may have worked on, to avoid anyone being able to connect the dots from one project to another. I also have to make sure no one connects the dots between my Dupe personality and my Herring personality.

Fortunately, seeing as I mentioned the government is one of our biggest contractors, we have a certain amount of immunity from the F.B.I., but there are enough Private Dicks in the world that it’s not a bad idea to take the extra precaution.

As you can imagine, the fact that many serial killers suffer from multiple personality disorders lends itself well to developing these dual personas when on a project.


Mark Sheldon is the author of The Noricin Chronicles and the Sarah Killian: The Joy of Killing series. He lives in Southern California with his wife Betsy.

Follow Mark on FACEBOOK and AMAZON

The CreativeLife in review - planning, time management, and the creative life

  Hey there, creative friend! It's been a week or more since my last post but mostly because I have been taking time to do other things....