New samples and a newbie Malaysian expat's story of trying to figure out how to get them scanned

When I finished these art samples last month I needed to make copies. I also wanted to get them scanned so I could put them up online and have art samples printed when need be. It seems like a rather straightforward problem. But without the businesses I'd learned to know and trust back home, I didn't know where to go.

Now I realize that this sounds like a very straight-forward problem. Finding something as simple as a color copy center that makes adequate good-quality color copies is something I take for granted at home. But I'm here to say that the yellow pages and small business websites don't exist everywhere in the world to the same extent as they do in the United States. Nor do quality-color-copy centers and it takes awhile to develop any sort of social network of people to find places word-of-mouth.

So after finishing my art, trying my best to ask the people I do know here where to go, and searching the Internet for some kind of clue, I headed out to pound the pavement in search of adequate copies.

People were so nice throughout my search. But I'm a misfit in a foreign land. I was bound to bump into some culture shock.

For example, in one of the many color copy centers I tried, I watched the head manager cut 13x19 paper down with a razor, a straight-edge and a cutting mat to prepare some 11x17 card stock for the color copier. I guess I simply took for granted that a copy center would own a paper-cutter. Or 11 x17 paper. I wondered if the other places I'd been at earlier in the day had done the same thing and I just hadn't noticed. The manager was super generous with his time, and so, so kind and patient (he gets an A for customer service). But I still was shocked. And I'm not exaggerating when I say that this place was the best I found that particular day (I think it was the 5th shop I visited). 

Eventually I temporarily gave up and decided to haul my art over the ocean to make copies this time since I was going home anyway. I'd still have to face the problem of finding copies, but I'd face it later.

So I made copies when I was home in Bellingham, but sadly, the business I used to scan my art had decided to fold while I was away. I was left scan-less.

When I got back to Malaysia, I knew I had to face my problem. On a whim I decided to fuss around with piecing together my own scan from my semi-crappy scanner in my studio. I have tried this many many times, but always opt for different routes because collage is rather hard to scan well. Colors don't always turn out right, it's also easy to loose the sense that something has a bit of texture if the scanner is bad.

After spending most of a day with fierce determination, I think I managed to futz together something that works. Alleluia. And even though the first image took the whole day, the last image only took me half an hour. It's not as good of a scan as the pros did for me back home, but man, I am so so so psyched to have been able to do this myself.

I get that cliche -- necessity is the mother of invention.

Anyway, I'm happy to finally share these samples with the world! Hooray!

Also, I'm fishing for comments a bit to know whether this sort of story of my life as an expat is of interest to anyone or not. I've been trying to figure out ways to mix some of the flavor of expat life in with my art blog, so I'm experimenting here. If this bores you, please let me know. Like say "Kjersten, for Pete's sake -- just post sketches or something, we don't care about all this!" I can take the heat.