NBCU's Bluprint For Creativity

Feeling stressed out and caught in a rut, I decide to look for a new hobby … on Bluprint, NBCUniversal’s recently launched SVOD lifestyle service.

Bluprint promises classes in dozens of topics offering “guidance for all skill levels,” a definite plus for my usual level of absolute beginner.

The service says it doesn’t matter if I have “two minutes or two hours.” Another plus: I can learn something new during the commercial breaks of my favorite network shows.

So I subscribe at and begin scrolling down the home page.

I find myself drawn to the word “tranquility” under a beautiful painting of a lakeside sunset. This turns out to be a six-episode class, “Reflections in Acrylic: Depicting Light on Water,” with a total time of about 2-½ hours. I decide to spend at least the next 24 minutes with Episode 1.

“Spend” turns out to be the appropriate word: I need to shell out for brushes, paints, canvas and much more. All with no guarantee of success. And I have already spent $10 for my monthly subscription, since there was no free trial!

It’s time to start over. This time, I see the question, “What do you want to do today?” The six choices include “Get Outside,” so I click on that. I next choose a time period: “less than 15 minutes.” Then I need to choose between “entertaining” or “informative.” OK, entertain me! Finally, I click on “Let’s Go!”

My top result: the “Burger Night” episode from “Outdoor Grilling & Barbecuing with Al & Matt” (Al Roker and chef Matt Aboo). But it’s raining, chilly and I don’t have a barbecue in my Brooklyn apartment.

I decide to revert to my standby hobby — TV watching -- since Bluprint offers several series made more for spectating than for participating. I don’t normally like reality competition shows, but I love the title of “Doodle Wars,” so I start watching — and can’t stop.

Unlike other reality shows, each of the "Doodle Wars" eight episodes is free-standing; two artists, who actually seem to like each other, compete in such challenges as drawing a giant comic book and creating arm-sleeve tattoos on real people.

That "doodling" sure looks like fun, however. One of the show’s judges, John Chad, teaches a nine-part Bluprint class titled “Ink Outside the Box!”  My artistic skills don’t extend much beyond stick figures — but Chad both inspires and teaches me, and I’m soon drawing my own comic strip (well, three panels at least). Indeed, you can see my first public showing atop this page.

Up next: “Urban Sketching in 15 Minutes a Day.” After all, the huge tree right outside my home office window is just aching to be drawn before all its leaves fall off!

Next story loading loading..