Today I’m sharing a conversation I recently had with one of the most creative people I know. Many of you might already know her, and for those of you who don’t, I’m happy to present to you my pal Jackie — also known as the brilliant mind behind the NerdECrafter channel on YouTube! This girl inspires me and we have so much in common, from our love of all things geeky right down to gaming, and the most special similarity of all is that both of us got our creativity from our sweet and supportive mothers!
In this quirky Q&A session, we get a little silly and a little personal, but above all, her answers make me proud to be part of a wonderful DIY community (and definitely motivated me to get to work on many more exciting projects)! Let’s dive right into our chat!
Cupquake: You are a self-professed nerd, standing tall and proud (hence the name NerdECrafter)! How did you get into nerd culture?
Jackie: I was a dweeb way before I knew what it even was! At a young age, I always had a preference for anime over other genres – except for Ninja Turtles, because TMNT is life! The first anime I remember watching when I was a kid was Hutch the Honeybee, but don’t let the name fool you, this anime was EXTREMELY gruesome, but somehow it was part of the kids’ show lineup before school *nervous chuckle*. When my mom brought home the Nintendo as a surprise for us, my siblings and I were hooked. My mom would bribe us to clean our room in exchange for being allowed to rent a game at the store. My brother and I must have rented nearly all the titles at that store eventually. I hold these memories so dear to my heart, and ever since, gaming and cartoons have been an important part of my relaxation time.
CQ: Do you remember the very first craft you were proud of?
J: Actually, my first experience with art was drawing rather than an actual craft. I used to draw so much as a kid, and my mom, being the most amazing person in the world, would just sit and watch me draw. She always praised my drawings, and was my biggest cheerleader in everything I did. As a 13-year-old, the drawing I was most proud of was one of Goku on a bird. My mom watched me draw the whole thing and told me it was very good. I was so proud of it. I mean, I still have it today! So that shows how much it means to me. When my mom passed away, part of my creative self died too. She was the pillar to my creativity, and she was the one who had introduced me to art, crafts, frogs, karate, and encouraged my love for all things Japanese. I lost myself for many years without her, and when I finally decided to continue everything she introduced me to, I went in 100%, with the honor to remember her and keep her voice alive in me through everything I do, and will do. I am who I am because of her. And recently, I have been able to pick up a pencil and start drawing again. I hope to start adding drawing videos to my channel on a more regular basis soon.
CQ: Can you share any horror stories from projects gone awry?
J: Oh geez! I’ll start with the most recent project: My Unicorn Pencil Case. I actually gave myself 2nd degree burns on 4 of my fingers. I had to peel away glue from my melted skin *shaking my head and laughing at my clumsiness*. Another project that gave me a hard time was the Miniature Betta Fish Tank. I made such a perfect little colorful fish, but for some reason, when pouring the resin, it kept turning an odd yellow, and then it would split my fish in two (as you can see on the picture). I had to start this project over 4 times before understanding that I needed to make the environment even smaller than I initially planned. And finally, when I tried using a different kind of clay – air dry clay – instead of polymer clay, the clay kept getting mushy and I completely abandoned the project. I may or may not have invented new words thanks to my frustration with air dry clay *chuckle*. I think the lesson is to really take your time and learn from each mistake. NEVER be afraid to experiment; failure is just a way for you to gain EXP in life!
CQ: You are an absolute pro at working with polymer clay. What is your favorite aspect of this particular art form?
J: Polymer clay is forgiving; even if you don’t have experience with it, you can create absolutely adorable creations with it! The possibilities of this medium isn’t just limited to jewelry! You can create miniature environments, cosplay items, sculptures, useful household accessories. The limit is really your imagination!
CQ: Describe your creative process.
J: The short answer: creating things that stem from things I love.
I love Disney, Pixar, video games, cartoons, absolutely geeky things, and sometimes just plain nerdy things, like environments, paleontology, biology, science. The most important thing for my channel is to stay true to who I am. It’s easy to get lost on YouTube and focus on wanting more views and trying to follow trends, because somehow we associated the idea of views with validation *sigh to myself*, but there has to be a very important balance between who you are, and what you create. As creators, I think YouTube is about sharing your passion with like-minded people, and not simply a matter of making content for the sake of views.
CQ: Staying consistent on YouTube can be challenging at times! Where do you pull your inspiration from?
J: My subscribers! BUT OMAGERD being consistent is SO HARD because I have a full-time job. Sometimes I have deadlines at work that cause me to work on weekends too. Since I started my channel 3 years ago, I NEVER missed an upload week, and I’m quite proud of myself! My subscribers’ sweet and encouraging comments are the reason I keep going. I don’t want to disappoint them. Many of them have been with me since I started, and I remember them by name. My consistent schedule is a way for me to say thank you for being awesome supporters, and here is my creation for you.
CQ: What tips would you give to someone who’s struggling with their own creative project?
J: Find your style. Don’t give up. Draw strength from what makes you happy, and express it through your medium. There are times when I feel stressed and discouraged because I’m not where I expect to be, but I always inevitably think of the story of the tortoise and the hare; it gives me comfort.
CQ: What has been your favorite masterpiece on the NerdECrafter channel so far?
J: There are two projects I’m particularly SUPER proud of *silly smile*. The first one is my Jellyfish Tank because I was able to make the oral arms (fluffy part), very flowy by using cotton pieces. The second one is my miniature Jack Skellington in a bottle environment because I managed to make Jack almost as small as my nail.
CQ: Do you like to have background music playing while you craft to help set the mood? If so, what kind?
J: I am TERRIBLE at multitasking. I am A.D.D., and I have a hard time focusing on things if something else is happening. When I work on a project, I do so when the house is completely quiet. I usually choose to craft when no one is home.
CQ: Who do YOU love to watch on YouTube? Why?
J: I think the simple answer is genuine people and consistent uploads! I like to think of people I watch as people I would normally be happy to have as real-life friends. I am not a fan of “production-type” channels because they are disconnected from the YOU part of YouTube. That being said, I absolutely love:
– You (Tiff and Red): because you are sweet, and on more than a few occasions, I’ve spit my drink because of your funny/quirky comments towards each other when you’re gaming. Your love and presence makes me smile and brightens my day.
– Baylee Jae (amazing artist): Her ability to draw and love for all things art motivates me to pick up a pencil and draw.
– Markiplier (gamer): He’s funny, and seems extremely down to earth. Also, his reactions when he gets startled in-game, are what got me subscribing *laughing*.
– Sharla in Japan (vlogger and friend): Sharla’s sweetness is what made me start watching her vlogs about her life in Japan. She’s both excitable and honest when needed. We became friends, and every time I go to Japan, we hang out. YouTube has helped me a lot with opening up to new friendships!
– Rachel and Jun (vloggers and friends): They are extremely knowledgeable and present a completely different side of Japan, and Japanese culture. They are very down-to-earth and an absolute joy to hang out with. When I’m in Japan, we also hang out.
– Nicolle’s Dreams (doll customizations): Andreja is a master at customizing dolls. I am pretty sure she wields some kind of magical abilities. Watching her customize dolls is relaxing, and not to mention you can tell she’s an extremely sweet person just by hearing her voice.
– And a few others of course!!
CQ: Are there any new mediums you wish to master?
J: I want to get back into drawing so badly! I would love to master Alcohol Marker Illustrations, Watercolor, and Oil Painting. I have yet to master polymer clay, but I like to think of myself as Jack(ie) of all trades, master of none *snort laugh at my own joke*.
This is the first full drawing I have been able to complete since my mom passed away. I did this one a few months ago. Before that, I always left my drawings unfinished or incomplete.
CQ: Crafting is one of the ultimate ways to relax and zen out. What other hobbies do you engage in when you aren’t creating?
J: Gaming and reading. I am a huge fan of MMOs, RPGs, and all things fantasy. When I am immersed in another world, I feel like I am living in the moment. Suddenly, when you enter the gates of Hogwarts, your current worldly stresses and concerns are left behind, or when you need to save your friends from the horrifying monster, your concerns of work and deadlines vanish. These worlds are definitely a temporary escape from ours, but at the same time, they serve as amazing teaching tools to understand our own behavior through those of the heroes’ roles we undertake. All stories have lessons, and even though they (gaming and reading) are a way to relax, they also serve as a way to solidify who we are as people.
Head over to to Jackie’s YouTube channel and subscribe, subscribe, subscribe!!!
Other stellar projects of Jackie’s involve Pokémon, Jurassic Park, and GROOT!!!!