Author Archive

Sketchnotes: Resto Shaman Healing vs Warlocks / WoW PvP Arena

My sketchnotes on Craze’s Skill-Capped video:

sketchnotes resto shaman healing vs warlocks wow pvp arena

Original video here.

Disc Priest PvP Illustrated Notes #3

Disc Priest Arena Sketchnotes #3

Disc Priest PvP Illustrated Notes #2

Disc Priest Arena Notes 2 disc priest pvp

Disc Priest PvP Illustrated Notes

Disc Priest Arena 2v2 Visual Note

Tips for noobs!

Be The Change

As we get older, we often find ourselves become more jaded and more cynical. After a few bumps, scratches and wounds, the walls go up. But the beauty of children is their overwhelming desire to simply love.

My son Tristan, who prays for sick children in the hospital, admonishes me when I pass by a homeless person on the street and don’t give him/her money, and doesn’t let me raise my voice is an example of this unfettered love and optimism. He instituted the use of a “charity” envelope at home to raise money for charity. He said “If anyone yells in this house, you have to pay $1. And all the money will go to charity.”

I have always encouraged Tristan to give back. He doesn’t get new toys unless he donates the old ones to a child in need. I have always tried to instill in him to be grateful for all that he has, and to know that he is blessed because there are many children out there who don’t have anything.

But the funny thing is, Tristan has always wanted to give back whether I encouraged him to or not. Tristan is 8 now and he is just as full of love now as he ever was. I hope that as he grows older, he will take the lessons he learned at a young age so it becomes a way of life for him and not just something he thinks about once in a while when he sees a tragedy on TV or passes a homeless person on the street.

Tristan has truly inspired me to become a better person through his selflessness and love for others. One of my favorite quotes is from Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in this world.” And Tristan does that, every day.

Here is my sketch of this quote:

"Be the change you want to see in this world." -Gandhi

Category: Sketch Notes  2 Comments

Doodling And My Ability To Draw Stick Figures Got Me Featured In A Book!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably haven’t heard me shut up about sketchnotes. Essentially they are a method of note-taking in which you draw images or diagrams rather than just write pure text. Sketchnotes are perfect for visual thinkers and have really become popular over the past few years.

I got into sketchnotes just this past year. It was a way for me to retain the information I watched on video game tutorials. It was also a creative way for me to share my notes with my arena partners in a way that wouldn’t bore them to death. I’ve never been much of an artist (think stick figures) and had never considered my sketchnotes to be art. Little did I know that I had some hidden talent! I received such positive feedback about my sketchnotes that it fueled me to continue to do more. In addition to the video game tutorials I started with, I began summarizing chapters of books and motivational talks.

Soon after, I was asked to do infographics and other hand-drawn designs. Who’d of thought I’d ever get paid to draw stick figures? Being an entrepreneur, naturally I turned this into a business and called it In A Nutshell Studio. So far it’s been keeping me busy! And I have some even more exciting news!

If you’ve heard of sketchnotes before you may be familiar with Mike Rohde. He is one particular Sketchnoter that I often look to for inspiration. He’s considered a pioneer and even coined the term “Sketchnotes.” Mike is the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller, REWORK by 37signals, The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau and The Little Book of Talent by New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle.

I was aware that Mike Rohde was in the process of creating a complete guide to sketchnotes titled The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide To Visual Note Taking back in September. Naturally I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I randomly decided to send him a tweet to see how it was going. I didn’t think much of it and certainly wasn’t expecting a response.

Within seconds Mike had personally messaged me with outstanding news! He actually wanted to use one of my pieces in his upcoming book! I was beyond excited. I was completely elated and in disbelief. I mean, the Father of Sketchnotes actually recognized my work and wants to do what?!

Now fast-forward to today. My copy of the book finally arrived! *does happy dance* My husband and I are featured in Chapter 5, (below, right side), where Mike talks about the Modular styles. I can’t even begin to express what an honor it is to be among talented sketchnoters!

This fully illustrated handbook guides a newbie through the entire sketchnoting process so that they can do sketchnotes themselves. Mike stresses that, like me, you don’t have to be a great artist to do sketchnotes. The points are supplemented with fun illustrations and then summarized in a Recap section at the end of each chapter. The book also features pieces from other sketchnoters, so you can see different styles and methods.

You can learn more about the book and buy it here. Mike Rohde has been generous enough to offer 35% off anything (print, PDF, DVD). Use this code: SKETCHNOTE It’s good through the end of the year (12/31).

Alternatively, you can purchase the book on Amazon here.

There’s a video edition too!

I wanted to thank my readers and clients for being my personal cheerleaders. I had never in my wildest dreams imagined that I’d ever put my ability to weed through information and capture the most important points to good use!

Blogiversary Giveaway

My blog turned one in October! At the time, I didn’t think it was a big deal but this blog was such a big part of my life this year. And such a therapeutic outlet for me. For my belated blogiversary and as a way of thanking my readers, I wanted to celebrate with a few giveaways.

Brews Up Words On A Bottle T-Shirt I designed
One-page illustration about you, designed by me.
World of Warcraft Cinder Kitten Pet
$10 J!NX Gift Certificate

Giveaway #1:

Brews Up Tshirt I designed ($24.99 value)


One-page illustration about you, designed by me. ($150 value)

Catherine Coach


World of Warcraft Cinder Kitten Pet ($10 value, North American accounts only)


$10 J!NX Gift Certificate

Here are the contest rules:

  1. Contest starts now.
  2. To enter, leave a comment and let me know somewhere in your comment which gift you’d prefer.
  3. You must be a Twitter follower or Facebook liker, (either my In A Nutshell Facebook page or Heal Over Time Facebook page).
  4. For ONE additional entry, tweet about this contest, (with link back to this page), or share this page on Facebook.
  5. Winner will be chosen by random selection and announced on Friday, December 28, 2012 via Twitter, so make sure you’re following me @itslilpeanut.
  6. An alternate winner will be selected if the original winner doesn’t respond within 3 days.

* * *

Looking back on the past year…

Top Five Most Popular Posts:

6 Ways World of Warcraft Is Better Than Real Life

How Social Anxiety Affects My Game

Balancing WoW And Real Life: Understanding The Psychology Of Addiction


Is WoW Your Escape?

Top 3 Most Popular Sketchnotes:

Twitter Comic: Duckface

Illustration: My Sketchnotes of Your Brain on Video Games

Sketch Notes: Disc Priest Multitasking in Arena

Top 3 Most Popular Guest Posts:

WoW Couples: Overcoming Obstacles

WoW Couples: Artemis of Alextrasza

Winning Contest Entry: Zerena Hoofs

* * *
Thank you for your support over the year! I’m ever so grateful for the friends I’ve made through this blog!
* * *

Category: Contests  13 Comments

Illustration: My Sketchnotes on Shadow Priest Talents & Glyphs

My sketchnotes on a Skill Capped video by Craze: Shadow Priest Talents & Glyphs.

My sketchnotes on Skill Capped: Shadow Priest Talents & Glyphs

The original Skill Capped video can be found here. You’d have to be a member of Skill Capped to view it.

Illustration: My Sketchnotes of Your Brain On Video Games

My sketchnotes on Daphne Bavelier’s TED Talk: Your Brain On Video Games.

Your Brain On Video Games

The original TED Talk Video:

Illustration: Support Your Local Brewery

So I just finished my latest hand drawn typography piece… another Tshirt for Brews Up. Brews Up aims to promote craft beer and local breweries. What better way to promote local breweries than to squeeze all San Diego breweries and pubs, (members of the San Diego Brewers Guild), into the letters “SD”?

Support your local brewery.

I would have loved to spread the names out into the word “San Diego” but there weren’t enough breweries. The letter S alone took me over 10 hours to complete. The D, well, I worked on it over a span of a few days so I’m not sure in total how long it took me.

If you’re an SD local (hell, even if you aren’t), you can help promote local breweries and purchase the shirt here.

Twitter Comic: Duckface

I sketched out a Twitter conversation between @MadynnMads, @essentiallyjay, (even @happycho chiming in too), and myself. Here’s some of the conversation done comic-style. Enjoy!

Click to enlarge

If you want to see the entire conversation, visit my feed from August 22, 2012.

Illustration: Horde Insignia

Horde insignia. Feel free to use!

Balancing Gaming and Real Life: The Balance Wheel

I’ve been struggling with balancing WoW/Gaming and home life ever since I started playing in 2006.

I made the decision to write about that balance four months ago. And from that decision came my first “Balance Wheel.” I divided a pie chart into six segments that I felt best represented the different facets of my life: Kids, Games, Blog, Health, Spiritual, and Dan. For every piece I shaded in an estimate of how happy I was with the amount of time I was spending in each area.

Back then, I couldn’t tell you how to balance gaming and RL because I hadn’t figured that out for myself. According to my doodle, I spent little time attending to my WoW characters or my health and spent a lot of time on my blog and the kids.

Last month, I have a different balance wheel. My priorities changed. I lumped the kids and D into Family. I lumped gaming and blog together and added hobbies and business. Hobbies these days include gardening, doodling, or whatever I consider a crucial part of the “quiet time” I make for myself.

I’ve found that each piece of my wheel contributes not only to the balance of the whole, but also directly affects every other piece. For example, part of my investment in Family is the need to provide a secure future for my kids. I’ve done this in the past by starting new business ventures, and recently I’ve partnered with D at the Knowledge Distillery, further blending Family and Business.

I asked ZerenaHoofs how she balances WoW and RL. From what I could tell she seemed to have her shit in order. She was able to WoW, but still be a really good mommy!

* * *

Lil: Some people are obviously engrossed in the game and that’s all they do. Meanwhile they feel tremendous guilt about not being around for their family but don’t know how to break their WoW addiction. I’m sensing from your story that there is that balance between WoW and your family life and I wanted to ask if you had any advice for others out there that may be struggling with it?

Zerena Hoofs: “Honestly, some days it’s hard to keep a balance. I know that there are times I do feel like I should be paying more attention to my kids but I also know that it’s okay for me to have interests of my own. Back when I was raiding a couple of times a week I would give them dinner, put a movie on and hope to god no one needed their butt wiped or cracked their head open for the 2 hours I was online.

I think my balance is in the fact that I know that I have a mental list of things I need to do for them and once that’s done I know I’m free to concentrate on the game. Well maybe semi-concentrate until my husband gets home or they’re in bed. For example, I know I need to fix them dinner, get them bathed and in pj’s, help my kindergartner with his homework, pack their lunches, get their clothes out for the next day, etc. and if I don’t do that stuff I know that MY life becomes more difficult. Because I’m the primary care giver during the week I know that I can’t slack on making sure that stuff is done. My husband doesn’t get home until 7 pm so he really can’t help much except in the mornings.

My weekends are a different story. I know that spending time with my husband and kids is priority #1. In fact, I’d rather be out and about with them instead of sitting at my desk. When I play on the weekends it’s mostly evenings and some sporadic visits during the morning or afternoon.

I’ve learned I need to remember regularly that I am a person too and I’m allowed to have me time. (therapy works!) For a while I lost myself, especially when they were younger and in diapers. I became this person who I really didn’t know anymore just doing everything for the kids, even listening to kid music in the car. (ugh)
In my case it is my expectations of myself that force my balance. My advice to others would be don’t feel guilty about playing the game and taking time for yourself just make sure that you do your best to prioritize real life first. Know your expectations and know your limitations and it should kind of balance out.

It should be said that one of my dream vacations is to be somewhere with an internet connection and play wow for a week or two completely uninterrupted!”

* * *

God I love Zerena and her sense of humor.

The tricky thing is this: Over time, your priorities change.

Sometimes it’s a huge shift like getting married or having kids. Other times it seems like such a small thing, (like drawing), that we don’t even realize it’s eating up so much of our time.

That’s what’s happened to me since the release of Diablo 3. I’ve been playing the hell out of that game, and as a result my wheel has become less symmetrical.

I know I’ll need to make changes in my life if I want to maintain balance, but I also know that sometimes you just get out of whack. Like Zerena says: “Honestly, some days it’s hard to keep a balance.”

It’s an ongoing struggle. Sometimes I achieve the perfect balance and go to sleep content in the knowledge that I did everything I wanted to do that day. Other times I blow an entire evening playing Diablo 3 and lay awake feeling guilty that I didn’t spend enough time with the kids or working on my business.

But I think I’ve become a little more forgiving of myself. I know balance is key, but I also understand that I’m not perfect and what was balanced one day may not be balanced the next.

Will a Balance Wheel work for you? I don’t know. I wish I could write you a step by step guide on how to balance Gaming Time with Life Time, but I can’t. I know what’s worked for me in the past and I know what will likely work for me in the future. I also know a lot of you struggle with the same issue of balance.

So why not give it a try? It’ll take you 10 minutes max, and if you’re honest with yourself I bet you’ll uncover at least part of the solution.

Here’s how to make your own Balance Wheel:

  1. Identify areas of your life that are most important to you. Some examples might be: family, work, exercise, spirituality, health, parents, school, etc. Take some time doing this. You might find that certain areas are not as important as you thought, or may not measure up to what you’ve been told is “normal.” That’s okay! Always remember that this is YOUR life.
  2. For each area, assign it a number from 1-10. This number represents how pleased you are in that current area. 1 being not happy and 10 being nearly perfect. Going back to my first balance wheel from February, here’s what my numbers looked like.
    Kids: 9
    Games: 2
    Blog: 10
    Health: 2
    Spiritual: 7
    Dan: 7
  3. Using 1 as shading closest to the center of the circle and 10 being furthest from the center, shade in for each category that represents the number you assigned in step 2. For example, if you assigned a 10 for family, shade in the entire pie piece. If you assigned it a 1, shade a very small portion closest to the center.
  4. Take a look at how balanced your life looks right now. Is it a perfect circle? Is it an amoeba? Are you spending way too much time at work? Are you not spending enough time with the wife?
  5. We all have the same amount of time during each day. 24 hours. What changes are you going to make in your life to satisfy your and other people’s (family) needs?

I’ll leave you with this wisdom from Doom Guy, best known for his Zombie Plague infestation of Stormwind back in WotLK:

“Real life comes first, gaming comes second. My advice to those who are struggling to find a good balance between real life and gaming is to look at your life, think about what you want out of it, and figure out how to get it. I always wanted a family; a loving and beautiful wife and some adorable children. Now I have those and I want to keep them. Keeping your life just the way you want it is different for everyone. Few people can get away with gaming as their main focus in life. For me, I have to push gaming aside and hope for time for it. A good way to look at it is that without real life, games could never exist, so best maintain real life so you can maintain your gaming life.”

Feel free to let me know how your exercise goes. And if you have any tips for my readers about how YOU balance WoWing/gaming and RL, please share!

Category: WoW IRL  Tags: , , ,  10 Comments

D3: The Devil Is In The Details

WoW has been pretty quiet lately. I’ve been totally immersed in Diablo 3, along with my friend Dan Spidell. He’s been enjoying the game and came across a few things that inspired the writing bug. Since so many of you snagged the Annual Pass for WoW, I told Dan I’d post his thoughts on my blog.

Note: I will endeavor to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. I’ll be talking about game mechanics primarily (and my impressions of same), and when I do have to mention something about the story, I’ll be as oblique as possible.

So. The wait is over. Diablo 3 is here.

Now what?

This article isn’t designed to be a review per se. My plan is to talk about the good and bad of Blizzard’s newest juggernaut and hopefully get a feel for how it’s going to do long term. What did they do right? Where did they miss the mark? And how will all of this affect the longevity of one of the most-anticipated games of all time? more…

Category: Diablo  Tags:  5 Comments

About Me

D and I thought it made sense to draw our stories on the About Us page instead of using lengthy text for our Knowledge Distillery site. Here’s my portion:

about me

Done on marker paper with various-sized Microns and Sharpies. Used Tombow for the grey.

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