What do you...? Reader's Questions Answered


There are many questions that I am asked on a regular basis about my art, tools, tech and an host of other things and I thought it would be beneficial to share them in an article so everyone can benefit.  I've broken them down into categories and hope you find them helpful.  


Q: What sewing machine do you use?

A: I did not invest too much money into my sewing machine. I got it at a store called Tuesday Morning. It does have buttons so I can change the stitch type if I want, which is nice, but it's not a complicated machine. I do not recommend a "craft" sewing machine because they don't handle sewing on paper and thicker mixed media projects very well.

My machine is no longer available, but I believe you could find a good one for between $100-$200. JoAnn Fabrics often has sales, if you have one in your area. 

Q: Do you use the same sewing machine and needles for your art as you do for fabric?

 A: Yes, I use the same machine.  I use an all purpose or universal needle. For real...I don't use a special need. I use the same one for paper and fabric. I don't sew anything fancy so I don't use a dedicated needle for the fabric. Replace it once every six months or so depending on how much you sew on paper as it dulls faster.

If you would like to see my machine, check it out here!

Q: Do you clean your stencils?

A: No, I don't usually clean my stencils. If I use something like modeling paste or there is a lot of acrylic paint left on the stencils, I will wipe them down with baby wipes.

Q: What is your favorite adhesive? 

A: I have a couple of favorites. My most used adhesive is the UHU Glue stick. It works best for me and in the humid climate in which I live.  Your climate can affect your glue choice so just experiment. I also like PVA and Gel Medium. 

There are many questions that I am asked on a regular basis about my art, tools, tech and an host of other things and I thought it would be beneficial to share them in an article so everyone can benefit. #robenmarie #robenmariesmith #techsavvyartist



Q: What website do you use?  What about Wordpress?

A: I use Squarespace and it is amazing! I have designed several sites for friends and non-profits.  It is truly amazing and so easy to use. They have a 14 free trial so you can test it out.  I have used Squarespace for many years and through four different versions. It really is an amazing platform. 

Q: Why are my fluorescent colors not scanning?

A: You are not alone with the scanning of fluorescent colors not looking quite right. Your scanner and the types of bulbs it uses are a factor. Let's get a little techie here: With a scanner that uses CIS (Contact Image Sensor), the light used to illuminate whatever is being scanned comes from a combination of Red, Green, and Blue LED lights, where a scanner that uses a CCD (Charge-coupled Device) setup usually uses a fluorescent light.

Perhaps the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) LED setup just doesn't allow the fluorescent colors to reflect like they do under other light sources. You can fiddle with the saturation and contrast a little after scanning to try and pop that color a little more. My scanner uses LED so I have to tweak my colors when I edit. 


Q: How many hours a day do you spend working on your business? 

A: This is a great question and I don't track my time, so it is hard to estimate. I generally work Monday-Saturday, but sometimes I do a little on Sunday. I do not get up early so my work day starts around 10AM or 11AM. Each week varies depending on what projects I have in the pipeline.   

Having recently closed both of my online stores, my schedule looks a bit different now.  Here is roughly how I spend my work time:

1. Emails and questions = about 2 hours a week
2. Social Media: scheduling, curating, answering questions, commenting on other work and my FB group = about 4 hours a week
3. Creating tutorials, courses, challenges, other projects, etc. = about 4 hours a week
4. Filming, editing, downloads, etc. (not for a class) = about 3 hours a week
5. Technical work (website, etc.) = about 2-3 hours a week
6. Project coordination and all related to a class depends on the class. When I am in the beginning stages, this is very time consuming and during a launch I put many hours into it per day.
7. Writing, planning blog posts, taking photos, preparing graphics, etc. = about 5 hours a week
8. Bookkeeping, which I detest, averages to about 1 hour a week.
9. Planning ahead for other projects and product development = about 2-3 hours a week
10. Client work = about 2-3 hours a week depending projects

I do take time off during the week to schedule appointments, hit the gym, church, read and fun activities with friends and family.


Q: How do you know when you're art is finished?

A: That is a good question and one that changes for me with each piece. I tend to be a slow creator. It is kind of hard to explain, but the more I create, the more obvious it becomes. There is something in me that just "sees" that it is finished. Now, there are times when I have to set things aside and come back to them. When I revisit them with fresh eyes, it is usually more obvious. I often have more than one project going at once so I can bounce back and forth when the inspiration strikes.