September 8, 2014

Party Animals

Hey bros and ladybros, I'm off on some adventures again! I'm headed up to Alaska for a bit to soak up lots of magical inspiration from the North. Thrilled for the chance of some actual cool weather, so, suck it, unreasonable summer! I will be planning some new projects and dialing in some holiday show plans whilst wearing many sweaters and scarves. Can't bring eleventy billion markers with me, but I'll have at least a handful, so expect One Minute Portraits to appear at some point. Rhubarb and wild blueberries will be consumed! And what's cooler than being cool? Hangin out on a motherscratchin glacier, that's what! 

So how is my dedication to moose blazers made from blue tarps relevant to your life, you may ask? I'll be leaving my shop open while I'm gone, so you can keep shopping for some sweet back to school pieces of flair or pie artwork to inspire your seasonal baking plans! I'll plan to resume shipping orders on 9/26, and all orders placed while I'm gone will receive bonus goodies inspired by my trip. Your patience will be rewarded by 20% off orders of $20 or more during this time if you use coupon code ALASKA! And as those luscious winter clouds roll in, don't forget to start planning your own holiday radness - if you're thinking of giving someone a custom portrait this year, now would be a great time to reserve your spot! Thank you, friends!

September 3, 2014

Betty Turbo's Awesome Autumn Guide for Grown-Ass Grownups

Dylan McDermott has been quoted as saying "Never wear plaid," but we all know that's shit, because he wore the hell out of some plaid in this movie. It's FALL! It is totally time to wear plaid, AND totally a reasonable time to start watching Home For The Holidays every day until Thanksgiving or so. No, Holly Hunter, you crazy! Let him in your bedroom!

September has rolled in!  We suddenly rejoice, "FALL IS HERE!" as if we can instantly unpack all our sweaters and eat spiced things where yesterday we couldn't.  Nostalgic back-to-school feelings descend upon us even if it has been years and years since we were going back to school of any kind.  I drink coffee on my porch and watch little kids walking to the bus stop and college students stumbling down the road to campus, and feel a little pissed that all I get are anxiety dreams about still being in high school.  If you want to get on board with that excitement which arbitrarily rushes in on Labor Day, let's make a plan for how to tap into it even when we're old and bitter!

Such scholar. Very graduated.

Step One: Fuck Your Pumpkin Spice Latte!
 My utter disdain for this unreasonably lauded seasonal beverage is borne of the fact that I've never actually had one, because I'm allergic to cinnamon and therefore most pre-made "spice" concoctions are off limits to me.  But seriously, y'all?  That stuff is nasty!  It's a super-processed, unhealthy swirl of garbage, preying on your sugar and caffeine addictions, compelling you to BUY BUY BUY!  Save yourself some money and add a few years to your life by mastering your home spiced coffee skills!  Did you know you can mix some spices in with the ground beans in your coffee-brewing apparatus of choice and then your whole kitchen will smell lovely too?  If you're really down with the pumpkin part, you can cook a little pumpkin puree on the stove with your milk product & spices and get frothy!  No squished bug coloring or freaky artificial sweeteners required!

I know you want that spice melange.

While we're talking about spices, now would be a great time to get rolling on some spicy baked goods.  I'm a strong advocate for participating in physical rituals to help tap into the magic of the past, so why don't you summon all the bakers of autumns past by making some delicious pies and cakes?  Hey, it's less than three months till Thanksgiving, have you planned your menu yet?  Warm yourself a nice cup of cider on the stove and bust out some molasses cookies!  Have a chilly fall picnic in your sweaters and scarves and nibble some black pepper spice cakes and drink cocoa out of a thermos!  

From my Kitchen Calaveras series

Step Two: Setting the scene.  Now that we've got the important snacks squared away, let's reach out to Younger You and cultivate some of those back-to-school sensations with some environmental suggestions.  What music did you listen to in high school or college when you felt awesome?  Crank that shit up!  What are your favorite TV shows set in school?  I always feel a fall hankering to rewatch my favorite Buffy episodes, which strike a special chord since I was the same age as the Scoobies when that show aired.  Plus it's chock full of cheesy ghoulish things for the upcoming Halloween season!  My So-Called Life, Veronica Mars, and Felicity also bring back the FEELINGS in their own way for me.

Straight chillin with my friend Spike...

Step Three: Supplies!  If you are an art or stationery nerd like me (chances are pretty good, I think, since you're reading my blog), then you know the joy of a fresh box of pencils or a deliciously crisp new notebook.  Here's my pal Taco Tornado after collecting his first box of school supplies a few years ago. 

Want to get that feeling back but feel a little beyond animal print scissors and fuzzy koala pens?  I have great news: Rad and Hungry is a company that is a cross between cool, lo-fi supplies shopping, and awesome mail from your coolest, most well-traveled international penpal.  You can sign up for a subscription and have a new kit of stationery items and writing implements from a different country each month!  This is not paid advertisement, I just think they're REALLY AWESOME!  Check out this beautiful score from the France kit

With your kits you also get stories of their journeys to sources these items in each country, and they are always beautifully wrapped brown paper packages tied up with strings, which are a joy to open and unbox!

Step Four: Fall Fashions.  You don't need to get spiffed up for the first day of school anymore, but what will you do to reinvigorate your wardrobe?  Why not pull out your current stash and use your Responsible Grown Up skills to mend, improve, applique, and upcycle things you already have?  Get your friends together and have a Pocket Party where you add pockets to every dress that came without them, and then write some formal angry letters to your favorite dressmakers telling them what idiots they are for ever making a dress without pockets in the first place!  Need some snugglier styles for the chilly weather?  Perhaps it's time to acquire a unique handknit accessory from a crafty artisan like the amazing Yokoo!  Here's a chain scarf I picked up a couple years ago that makes me feel like a total boss.

Step Five: For Future You.  Growing up is weird, dudes.  Time just goes by so fast!  How did we become these different creatures?  Do Future You a solid and take time, even if it's only minutes a day, to record pieces of your life in some way.  You don't have a school picture each year to chronicle your growth, but what if you took a daily/weekly/monthly self-portrait?  Perhaps you could draw yourself on the first day of every month!  Keep a journal but don't bore yourself by feeling obligated to make it into some thrilling memoir - just choose small, manageable tasks.  How did you feel today in five words or less?  Or choose one theme word to sum up every day!  Would you like to chronicle what you wear?  What you eat each day?  You'll be amazed how just by choosing some specific parameters and making a mark each day, what a wonderful collection it turns into after weeks or months.  Create new traditions for yourself that you can return to every year at this time!  

Wheeee, fall!!  See, it's going to be great. And let's not forget the best thing about fall: WINTER IS COMING.  Do you have favorite fall rituals?  Anyone want to race to see who can get their Thanksgiving menu planned first?  What shows and movies put you in a bodacious fall mood?  Pour yourself some cider, put on some plaid, and tell me all about it.  

September 1, 2014

One Hundred and Forty One Minute Portraits!

What a week!!  Wow, guys, this was so fun!  140 drawings felt like a zillion million sometimes but I think it was a successful adventure overall!  I can't even pick which day was my favorite because each day had its own terribly awesome favorites and they sure are fun all piled together into collections!  Here are the results!

Day One: Selfies With Pets  got the most submissions of any day. I fell in love with every single dog (sorry, cat people!) and want to snuggle with ALL of them.  In a big pile.  It was very easy for my critical voice (the one that is not allowed during One Minute Portraits!) to click on and notice how difficult it was to make tiny marker doodles remotely resemble cat and dog fur, but I just had to roll with it and let the drawing happen.  Most turned out pretty fun!  We also got this image reposted by the Not A Bully campaign, so many more dog lovers got to enjoy as well!

Day Two: Show Your Tongue was when everyone realized I really wanted to draw awkward faces and not perfectly refined, flattering selfies.  Folks were a little more shy, but we still got some great portraits, and it was fun to see which "poses" naturally occurred to people when their tongue talents were requested.

Day Three: Do You Like My Hat? got really silly really quickly!  Babies, doggies, pirates, bears, three hats at once!  Such stunning noggin models you make.

Day Four: Lip Sync Champion was an effort to get some really soulful singing faces, and y'all did not disappoint!  I wish I had a caption indicating which song everyone was singing!  This day's faces were the some of the most distorted expressions & odd angles to draw.  Good job beltin it out into those wine bottles, hair brushes, and broccoli, guys!

Day Five: Mysterious Detective was me poking you with a stick to do something a little more playful and unusual, a theme that involved more imagination than just a straightforward drawing.  Lots of the themes I considered choosing were actually things for me to superimpose in the drawing, (like when I did Shark Week!) but I ultimately decided to start with content supplied by the reference photos.  The final day was a slight departure as I played with backgrounds more to enhance the mystery...

The mystery of the One Minute Portrait has been quite thoroughly investigated, but I think there's always room to collect more evidence!  I look forward to continuing these adventures and seeing what other magic happens.

If you would like to purchase any of the drawings I did from your photos, you can use the One Minute Portrait listing in my Etsy shop to pick up the originals, or if you'd just like a digital image, I'll email you a scan if you PayPal me five bucks! (agnesbartonsabo at  Please remember to credit Betty Turbo if you repost your portraits anywhere!

I really appreciate the participation from so many people, old friends and new fans alike.  If you ever wonder if your face is interesting, I tell you now that it is!  I totally enjoyed inspecting your expressions and dimples and cowlicks and gleaning little snippets of your story from your photos.  I regularly request photos on Instagram, so if you didn't get in on the fun this time, please stay tuned for more One Minute Portrait action!  You can always request a custom portrait through my shop of course!  And if you want me to look at your face for longer than a minute, I do that too!

One final bit of business to take care of... I have a $25 credit to my shop to give away! I had fifteen devoted participants who sent photos for all five themes.  I have put their names on pieces of paper and I will now draw one from my straw hat, whilst sticking out my tongue and singing some Hall & Oates to my dog, who is leaning on my desk with the curious look of a detective trying to solve The Mystery of the Random Winner... (Get it?  See what I did there??) And Detective Roxy says the winner is... Janneal!  Here are the portraits I drew of her.  She seems like a pretty rad lady!

Oh gosh, now I want to organize all the drawings in families like this!  *Disappears for hours.*  Janneal, please email me to claim your prize!  (agnesbartonsabo at  Thank you everyone!!!  Phew, I'm going to take my hands for a spa treatment and then shop for refill ink for my Copic markers.  Start thinking about what themes you want to see One Minute Portraits of next and leave your suggestions here!  

August 24, 2014

Instagram Bonanza! One Minute Portrait Extravaganza!

Ready to get on board with this One Minute Portrait party?  I've got an Instagram challenge for you!  I'm gonna draw One Minute Portraits every day this week and I've got a new theme for your source pictures each day.  Starting Monday 8/25, make sure you're following me, and post a photo for the daily theme!  Don't forget to tag your posts @bettyturbo and #drawmebettyturbo! Everyone who posts for all five days will be entered to win a $25 credit for my Etsy shop!

The Nitty Gritty Details:

1. This is an Instagram only event, photos must be submitted through Instagram and tagged @bettyturbo and #drawmebettyturbo to participate.
2. Themes are open to interpretation!  I just want fun pictures!  For example, if you don't have a pet, you are welcome to include stuffed animals, pet rocks, whatever, I don't care! ENTERTAIN ME.
3. I will draw several One Minute Portraits each day. Submission of photos is not a guarantee that they will be drawn.  I prefer close up head & shoulders images and may choose the funniest and weirdest ones first.  If you simply must have your picture drawn, you are welcome to place a custom order for one anytime through my Etsy shop!
4. Finished drawings will be for sale after I post them if you are interested. Please use the listing in my Etsy shop to purchase and indicate your Instagram username and the drawing(s) theme when you check out.
5. No, friends, I am not tired of seeing pictures of you. Please feel free to participate!
6. If you can't post for each theme on its intended day, I'll still enter you in the drawing if you get all five done by Friday! Please label which theme they're for if you're not posting on the intended day.
7. Randomly selected winner will be announced Monday, 9/1. Credit will be awarded as a coupon code good towards the pre-shipping total on any order from my shop.
8. If you repost my drawings online anywhere, please credit where they came from!

Please comment below if you have any additional questions!  It has been tremendously fun drawing all your lovely and gross faces so far, I hope we can do lots more!

August 7, 2014

One Minute Magic

BRRRRRRING!!! BRRRINGGGGG!! DOOT! DOOT! DOOT!  That's the sound of the alarm that goes off when I say "Ohhh I'm not good at that" as an excuse and pops in saying

and reminds me to take the opportunity to adjust my perspective on the situation.  So, this alarm was going off, because I received an email from my pal Hen at Rad and Hungry, asking if I would ever consider offering "quick portraits" of a loose and spontaneous nature, as a fun experiment to work in a different manner and attract different customers.  I had lots of responses about how I NEVER do anything quick and am incapable of doing anything other than obsessing over portraits for hours or days on end.  But then this alarm went off.  And I heard another little noise.  It was coming from these giant boxes of luxurious sketch markers on my desk!  They were crying because all they were doing was sitting there looking gorgeous.  Like many artists, I hoard lots of lovely supplies and feel immense pressure at the thought of USING them, especially if they're something new I haven't worked with.  What if I accidentally made something UN-awesome?! 

Well, clearly you can see that this alarm was necessary.  I decided it was time to put on my Grown Up Professional Artist Pants and try something new.  I have piles of paper scraps on my desk, so I cut them to the size of photos you might get from a photobooth and took to the interwebs! I asked my followers on Instagram to send me their selfies and I gave myself about a minute to draw each picture IN INK with no revisions and then I colored them with my bodacious markers.  This was the first batch:

Let me tell you, as someone who definitely identifies as a perfectionist, it is nerve-wracking not to be able to erase anything!  It was LABORIOUSLY DIFFICULT for me to let the drawing "happen" and not obsess over making it look like an actual likeness of the inspiration photo.  However, this was TERRIBLY fun.  Everyone seemed to get a kick out of them too. 

For additional practice I went to this flickr group I joined FOREVER ago and hadn't yet participated in.  I inflicted my one minute exercises on some pleasant strangers and accidentally made a few remarkably accurate portraits, and a few, um, something else.

It sure is satisfying to line them all up together in a little collection!  With that in mind, I returned to the world of Instagram with a request for pictures of people eating, which are A) usually really awkward photos, and B) difficult expressions to draw!  The results had me laughing so hard I had to go lie down.  I drew ten lovely ladies and one little boy. And a baby drinking a beer.

I picked some celebrity victims too, while I waited for more people to send me pictures.

I still can't stop laughing!  I consider this a triumph so far.  I still adore drawing (and seeing!) realistic portraits but this is something ELSE, a certain kind of magic that happens with certain rules and limited choices.  By popular request, I will now be offering these services on demand in my Etsy shop starting at $10.  I will also continue to post lots on Instagram, so follow along to get in on the fun!

July 23, 2014

Betty Turbo's Tips for Stayin Cool!

It's hot out there. Don't bother telling me how much you like it, or how I should feel grateful I don't have East Coast humidity, these comments do nothing to lower my body temperature or level of boob sweat.  I'm an Alaska-grown girl, born in the winter with snowflakes in my veins!  This is my idea of a good day:

I think my brother and I are imitating a rare species of snow cactus.

Today we are having some delicious, delicious rain here in Oregon. But in case that pesky sun comes back, LIKE A BULLY, SMACKING THE COMIC BOOK OUT OF YOUR HAND AND LAUGHING, here is some advice on STAYING COOL:

1. Watch movies and TV set in cold places.  We are enjoying rewatching Twin Peaks in the cool cave of our basement here, but it would also be a good time to revisit Game of Thrones and imagine you HAVE TO snuggle up to keep warm. Not like reality where the most snuggling you can muster is to touch bare toes briefly, saying "Yes, I'm here, someday we will make out again. Not today."

Your new meditation mantra is "WINTER IS COMING."

2.  Fill your home (and office!) with pictures of frozen things!  I have a collection of ice cream art I turn to when I want to chill.  Here are two awesome 3-D ice cream paintings by Tripper Dungan

Ice cream, you scream, we all scream for icy cold frozen desserts!

And don't forget, your friend Betty Turbo currently has seventeen items for sale featuring ice cream!  Art, pillows, and cards for spreading coolness through correspondence!

Be Cool Now.

3.  Keep your underwear in the icebox. I heard somewhere that Marilyn Monroe used to do this.  The story may be apocryphal but I think it's a hilarious suggestion and I tell everyone about it.  Try it!  Right before you go to bed in the disgusting heat.

4.  Make your own ice cream!  July is National Ice Cream Month, but you shouldn't need a special holiday to motivate you.  It's a really easy process to get the hang of!  My favorite ice cream cookbook is The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, if you were wondering, and I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker.  Get churnin!  So far this month I have made honey almond (not pictured), banana pudding with chocolate cookie crumbles, lemon with chocolate chunks and candied orange peel, and fresh mint with salted chocolate almonds!  

It's a recurring motif in my life.

5.  Use outdated slang & trite idioms that include words like cool, cold, and ice whenever possible.  Sing "Cold Hearted Snake" by Paula Abdul, "Cold as Ice" by Foreigner, and definitely follow that with "Ice, Ice Baby." Sing the snow song from White Christmas and pantomime washing your hair with snow.

Snow, snow SNOWWWWW!

Gosh, you guys, it has been persistently cool the entire time I focused on writing this!  See!  The power of positive thinking!  Holy smokes it's down to 62 degrees!  Okay, keep chanting the cold songs, and let me know if you make up any cold-summoning dance moves and I will send you a gift.  No, I will start a club for people who think Summer is Disgusting and we will have special badges.  I will invent a flavor of ice cream and name it after you.  Maybe all of the above.  STAY COOL!

July 18, 2014

Mix Tape Memories

I revealed some tape-related memories while writing the description for these Cassette Barrettes... now I can't stop thinking about them!!  Tell me your memories of tapes!  Mix tapes or albums you had on tape! Comment below with your cassette confessions and receive analog absolution!  The magnanimous forces of magnetic tape will bestow one felt cassette (also available as a pin if you don't rock hair clips) upon a randomly selected winner next Friday, 8/25.