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24 Tags of Christmas 2015: Pencil Bears

Welcome to the 24 tags of Christmas series for 2015! I love putting this together each year. Well two years in a row at least! If you’d like to see last year’s day five tag, click HERE.

Pencil Bears

I promised you more pencil tutorials – well here we go! This sweet little image from Wplus9 just cried out for some fun colored pencil. The variations in this tag set are 1) different bears (black, white, brown, and bokeh! bokeh bear!) and 2) distress ink backgrounds. Check out the video below, or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube!

I love when my not-so-great inking resulting in circle shapes turns into a fabulous bokeh idea. The distress inks and round blender made that my favorite tag of the set! 🙂

Prismacolor pencils used: 927 Lt Peach, 1078 Black Cherry, 939 Peach, 919 NonPhoto Blue, 1027 Peacock, 932 Violet, 1082 Chocolate, 1056 Warm Grey 70, 943 Burnt Ochre, 947 Dk Umber

Sandy Allnock 24 Tags Pencil Bears




Handmade is the best kind of giveaway! Each year I give away all of the tags made in the series – so there will be 24 winners! To sweeten the pot, I am giving a financial donation to 24 charities in the name of each of the winners – so they’re going to get to pick which charity they love most.  To qualify to win, leave a comment on this post with YOUR favorite charity, and a comment on the YT video each day all week. I’ll pick 12 from blog comments and 12 from YouTube comments, and announce them all on Sunday the 15th!


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project; click on the wording to go directly to the item. Affiliate links may used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more.


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Artist and Adult Coloring Books


Coloring books have been all the rage lately – everyone’s talking about them! Check out the articles in Huffington Post and Parade, just for a few. It’s as though the rest of the world is finding out what we as artists and crafters have always known – coloring is relaxing!

Artist and Adult Coloring Books: the straight skinny!

What is the straight skinny? From Urban Dictionary: the bare, whole, and honest truth about a situation.

As I’ve shared some of the pages colored in my books, I’ve received lots of the same questions – and this post is an attempt to answer them. Please watch the video and then read info below in this ginormous post. (Did I say ginormous? I think it needs to be in all caps like GINORMOUS!)

I’ll be adding to this post if I get more info or buy more books (please, someone save me from shopping for more books!), and each coloring book is listed below with my notes about it. Enjoy the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube! (Warning: it’s a LONG video! My patrons promised me you wouldn’t mind!)

My friend Kathy (crazy amazing colorist) over at The Daily Marker has shared her books as well – see her video HERE for what she’s found. She also gives good advice about just coloring and relaxing. No stress!

The Questions

  1. Which books are good for which medium? Every book is on different paper. Some are thinner or thicker, some are printed on one side or two. I’ve listed each book below and some SUGGESTIONS for mediums. It’s not an exhaustive list, but you need to test for yourself. See the video for info on how I test.
  2. Which ones bleed through the back of the paper? Pretty much all of them, just some minimal exceptions. I always put a piece of cardstock behind whatever I am coloring or painting in the book. However – consider there are a LOT of pages in each book, and think about how fast you color. How many months worth of coloring joy do you have with just coloring one side? Question answered. 🙂
  3. Can I treat the paper with anything to keep it from warping? Some folks use different art mediums to coat pages first. I find that’s overkill for the way I work; if I want art to be fancier than I can get in a coloring book, I just begin to create a work of art instead and save my mediums for those pieces.
  4. What do you do with your pages when you’re finished? I leave them in the book. Just like I did when I was a kid! To me these are not finished works of art.
  5. If I frame it, will it fade in the light? If you use artist quality mediums, you might be okay; I’m not certain if really awful paper and really lovely paints cancel each other out. If you use regular craft markers, it’ll likely fade – so just change the picture out periodically, that’s all.
  6. Will coloring in these help me become a better artist? Yes and no. No because you’ll likely never be coloring on these papers in your regular art or craft projects. Techniques need to be altered, sometimes drastically, to work in these books. But YES because any time spent with a pen or brush in your hand is a good thing, right? I try out color combos in my coloring books – that’s a great way to learn how colors look together.
  7. Can I flatten a page that got crinkly with water? Try ironing it carefully between sheets of copy paper. However if you use anything thick, or paints with mica, those may iron off on the copy paper.

The Mediums: Test yours!

We as artists and crafters have a variety of mediums at our disposal. These books, though, were made for a general audience – people who pick up pencils or crayons at the drug store. Keep that in mind as you try things out! Dedicate your least-favorite page in a book to testing and try out all the mediums, keeping good notes on what it was and how you applied it. I’ve listed below a bunch of ideas – but please, try out what you have! Don’t make it hard on yourself, unless Santa needs to tuck an item into your stocking, of course, just put it on your Christmas list! Affiliate links are used throughout this post. Read more.

  • Crayons: Why not! Just get a good sharpener.
  • Pencils: I like Prismacolor pencils, but with coloring books – use whatever kind you like. Cheap ones from the drug store are usually just fine. With most coloring books, you’ll use up a lot of the medium, and lots of folks don’t want to use up expensive brand pencils. For a sharpener, I love this one.
  • Pens: Before getting to markers, let’s talk pens. Some of the books, as you’ll see below, have either areas you can zentangle (doodle) in – or they have SUCH tiny sections to color that you really do need a tiny nib! I have two pens I use in those cases – Fineliner Triplus
  • Watercolor Pencils: With these, color on the paper, then move the color around with a damp brush. (My favorite brush is this one but try out what you already own.) I have two types, but try out whatever you have:
    • Prima watercolor pencils: these seem to break down nicely with water on most of the papers -just use a very small amount to keep paper wrinkling to a minimum. They come in sets of 12, so pick a set with colors you like.
    • Inktense Pencils: the color is applied the same way, but after the first layer dries, you can put another color on top without moving around the dried color.
  • Water-based Markers: There are lots of options here! Try coloring both on the paper, and test coloring on an acrylic block or a piece of plastic and picking up color with a brush. And you can try out lots of other brands that aren’t listed here too, but these are my favorites:
    • Tombow: they seem to work most consistently and break down into watercolor best across different books; the brush nibs seem to push the color around best on many of the books I tried out.
    • Marvy Le Plume: I love the teeeeny tiny writing nib end! They also have a brush nib – they sometimes pill a little when applied direct-to-paper. But they watercolor pretty nicely.
    • Distress Markers: I only found that picking up color from a block worked; these pill up on most papers if you color directly with the brush nib.
    • Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers: These have an actual brush for a nib. On some papers colors blend without water, but not on all. The brush nib can be too wide for tiny detailed areas.
  • Watercolors: These can be as inexpensive as dollar store paints or as high end as you want to go! My favorite two types for coloring books, and again using very little water: Kuretake Gansai Tambi and Koi Sketchbox.
  • Alcohol-based Markers: I wouldn’t recommend these in general for blending most coloring books. The color blends within the fibers of the paper, and there’s not really fiber for the color to get into. But – that said, if you want to do as I did on a few of these and use flat color – go for it! I get Copics HERE.

The Books (Links at the end of this post)

I’m sharing below the books I have purchased; please don’t ask me about others, because I don’t have plans to buy more. I have years of coloring in just these books, ha! However, if I get new ones, I’ll add them to this post. In the descriptions below the sample images, I’ve listed some info about the book or the line of books. LINKS to each book are at the end of this post.

Adult Coloring Books Creative Haven

Creative Haven: Least expensive of the ones I tried.  I only have two but I assume they’re all on the same paper. Images are very detailed, lots of cute ones, but blending colors in these is more than a little challenging.

  1. Specs: 64 pages – 8¼” × 11″ (21 cm × 28 cm)
  2. Printing and paper: 31 designs in each book, printed on one side only; pages are perforated. Thin paper.
  3. Authors and designers — there’s a wide collection from a variety of people: African Designs, Art Nouveau Animals, Art Nouveau Designs, Creative Cats, Entangled, Flower Fashion Fantasies, In Bloom,  Japanese Prints, Lotus Designs, Modern Tattoo, Nature, Mandalas, NatureScapes, Steampunk, and Whimsical Gardens
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, crayon, and any watercolor medium with very light use of water.

Adult Coloring Books Calm Meditation

Calm and Meditation –  On extremely thin paper, but the lines? Nice heavy lines. I’m going to try some crayon with these since my crayons can probably handle it…stay tuned for the photo above to change out when I get time to do that!

  1. Specs: 128 pages. 8¾” × 11″.
  2. Printing and paper: 61 designs in the book, printed on one side. Extremely thin paper.
  3. Authors and designers —Patience Coster.
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, crayon. Water is really challenging.
Adult Coloring Books Zolocolor
Zolocolor: Designs in this book are widely varied – some loose and scribbly, some geometric, but all very graphical. You can do fun zentangling amid all the shapes, both organic and rigid ones. Some have a lot of black ink, some less. Mediums above: Top/back doodled piece is done with Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, the other two use a mix of Tombow and Marvy LePlume pens, no water.
  1. Specs: 96 pages. 8½” × 11″ (22 cm × 28 cm).
  2. Printing and paper: 46 designs in the book, printed on one side only. Thin paper.
  3. Authors and designers —Byron Glaser and Sandra Higashi.
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, crayon, any waterbased pens – the spaces are small so pilling shouldn’t be a bad issue. For Zentangling, the Staedtler or Copic Multiliners are fab.

Adult Coloring Books Charley Harper

Charley Harper Coloring Books: Renown illustrator Charley Harper has a unique style that lends well to coloring books – they’re one of the most fun image styles I came across. You can see more of his work HERE….expect a CASE of his style sometime, I think that’d be fun! The paper in this book is thin but has less of a coating than in other books, so I think it’ll have some interesting technique effects – but still limit the amount of water. I want to give this one a go with regular old crayons!
  1. Specs: 64 pages. 9″ × 12″ (23 cm × 31 cm)
  2. Printing and paper: 32 designs in each of the two books, printed on one side only. Thin paper.
  3. Authors and designers —Charley Harper
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, Inktense pencil with light water, crayon, any watercolor medium with very light use of water.

Adult Coloring Books Color MeColor Me – There are a few books in this series (Stress Free, Calm, and Happy…pick what YOU need most!), and they’re created by an art therapist as well as an artist – so maybe these have magical powers?! The papers have colored printing on the edges and back sides of most of them. Water or Copic pulls that color through to the front while you’re coloring but seems to dry back fine.

  1. Specs: 208 pages. 8½” × 9½” (22 cm × 24 cm).
  2. Printing and paper: 32 designs in the book, printed on 2 sides with color. Thin paper, slightly slick.
  3. Authors and designers —Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter.
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, crayon, most watercolor mediums with very light use of water, test which one works best for you.

Adult Coloring Books Just Add Color

Just Add Color – Very interesting designs in these books! Lots of unique modern lines. I picked up the Animals but who knows, I may need more. (Botanicals, Carnival, Circus, Day of the Dead, Folk Art, Geometric Patterns, Mid-Century Modern Animals, and Modern Patterns). The art above was colored in Inktense pencils, using just a little water.
  1. Specs: 64 pages. 8½” × 10″ (22 cm × 25 cm).
  2. Printing and paper: 30 designs in the book, printed on 1 side. A little heavier paper than most.
  3. Authors and designers —Jenn Ski (for this book pictured) and various (other books).
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, crayon, most watercolor mediums with very light use of water, test which one works best for you.
Adult Coloring Books Color Me Costco
Color Me Your Way – I found these quite a while ago at Costco – and I’ve found other unique ones at zoos and wildlife centers. So keep your eyes open!
  1. Specs: 28 pages. 11″ x 16″ (huge!)
  2. Printing and paper: 26 designs in the book, printed on 1 side. About medium thickness, slick.
  3. Authors and designers —Pamela Smart
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, crayon, most watercolor mediums with very light use of water. The Zig Clean Color work very very well on these.
Adult Coloring Books Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom – A wide variety of image styles. The paper is a nice bright white, so you can get intense colors. Mediums above: Prismacolor pencil moth, mandala in Clean Color pen (limited blending), Prismacolor fox, Copic butterfly floral – flat, no blending on this paper.
  1. Specs: 96 pages. 9¾” × 9¾” (25 cm × 25 cm).
  2. Printing and paper: 90 designs in the book, printed on 2 sides. Thin paper but bright white.
  3. Authors and designers —Millie Marotta.
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, some watercolor mediums with very light use of water.

Adult Coloring Books Secret Garden

Secret Garden – one of the most popular books! Detailed illustrations with hidden images, suggestions for drawing images to complete the picture. Above the fish are done in Copic – very light touch to try to get limited blending. Tree is done with Marvy LePlume pens. I have heard there’s a version of this book with heavier paper, but I did not have that one to test.
  1. Specs: 96 pages. 10″ x 9.9″
  2. Printing and paper: 90 designs in the book, printed on 2 sides. Thin paper, an off-white.
  3. Authors and designers —Johanna Basford
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, crayon, most watercolor mediums with very light use of water, test which one works best for you. Copic does very limited blending.

Adult Coloring Books Art Therapy

Art Therapy – The only books with hard covers. Imagery in the one I have varies widely, taken from stained glass art. Some drawn well, others not so much.

  1. Specs: 128 pages. 8¼” × 11¾” (21 cm × 30 cm).
  2. Printing and paper: 124 designs in the book, printed on 2 sides. Slightly heavier than some papers.
  3. Authors and designers —unknown
  4. Mediums I prefer: Colored Pencil, crayon, most watercolor mediums with very light use of water, test which one works best for you.

Pepin Artist Coloring Books

These are an exception to the rest of the books; I’ve shared about these books before, and I have more information and samples for you now. (See that earlier post HERE – video included).

What makes them different: The paper. It’s lightweight drawing paper. That means it’ll accept mediums in a very different way than the other books listed so far. The illustrations are made with very thin lines and they’re halftone – meaning they’re lighter than black. So your finished piece can look like a no-line painting!

Note that they also have fewer pages, and are the most expensive of the ones included in this review – though spending less than $20 for this much fun is really a deal anyway. (Think about it – if you bought a pad of drawing paper – add on beautiful illustrations – and the cost doesn’t seem nearly so bad, right?)

Specs for all these books below:

  1. Specs: 16 pages. 10″ x 13.5″. (25 x 34.5 cm)
  2. Printing and paper: 16 designs in the book, printed on 1 side. Off white lightweight drawing paper
  3. Authors and designers —Pepin van Roojen
  4. Mediums I prefer: Light watercolor using some kind of water-based markers is my favorite for these books.  They’re large format which makes pencil take a long time, but it’s also gorgeous. Copic doesn’t blend at all, really. But take the bullet/writing nib of a water-based marker, draw along the thin lines of the drawing, then take a just-damp brush and color inside the shape. The color should move with most water-based pens.

Artist Coloring Books Still Life Bouquets

Artist Coloring Books 1960s

Artist Coloring Books Turkish

Artist Coloring Books Arabian

Artist Coloring Books Japanese

Artist Coloring Books Art Nouveau


I don’t give out goodies very often – but….when I was sent my samples for this book I created a sample for….they sent two of each, pic is below! I’ll pick two winners – one from IG and one from here on the blog – and announce them next Friday. How to enter? Two ways:

  1. Go post a coloring page of your own on Instagram and tag me in it! Tell me in the caption what medium you use, I’d love to compile ideas for other things to try. Kids can enter too!
  2. Leave a relevant comment on this blog post!

Zenspirations Giveaway


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project; click on the wording to go directly to the item. Affiliate links may used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more.


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Blending Colored Pencil: Christmas Spirit

I was sent this little set called Christmas Spirit to use for my card, and I’m pretty well 100% certain it would have lept into my cart if it wasn’t already in my happy little mailbox, courtesy of Mama Elephant! I may be bringing up the rear in this three-day bloghop/stampede – but I hope it was worth the wait to get to my card!

Blending Prismacolor Pencils

This video topic has been a long time coming! Primarily because of the sharpener issues discussed in the video – thankfully now resolved. Yay! So I’m sharing my technique for getting a softly blended look without the use of blending mediums like gamsol or baby oil. If I can take my time and do this well, I like the look of it so much better than using the liquid blending mediums. Watch the video below or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube!

The masking on this card was CRAZY since I wanted to use every stamp in the set (sentiment is inside), and I gave up on shooting video of the masking process. It’s not for the faint of heart! It involved tons of this masking tape and a good pair of scissors for a ton of fussycutting.

Once I got it stamped, I fortunately thought to scan it so I could print my own and make more cards with it. (I’ll color this in Copics on Periscope today!) PLEASE be aware that doing this and passing files on to anyone else is illegal. You can scan and print for your own self only. But if you do crazy masking like this? You’ll want to make at least a couple more!

Sandy Allnock Blending Prismacolor Pencil

A sharp pencil, as you saw in the video, is crucial to getting this to work well! Invest in a good sharpener, it makes a difference. Colors used:

  • skin 1092 942 1009
  • greens 907 909
  • reds 923 925
  • browns 941 947
  • golds 1003  942 118
  • greys 1056 935

Let’s color this image LIVE!

If you’re new to my blog – you might not know that I’m hooked on Periscope! This afternoon at 1pm Pacific/4pm Eastern, I’ll be coloring this same Mama Elephant image LIVE – in Copic markers this time! Take yourself a half hour break from whatever you’re up to and join me. You can download the app for free on the web (itunes or google play) – or you can just pop over HERE to watch on the web! (You can’t chat or tap hearts on the web, but you can still watch!)

Sale & giveaway!

Heck yeah! There will be a 10% discount code on the Mama Elephant site, active for the 3 day blog hop…coupon code HAPPYTHREE!  Purchases over $100 will receive the MINI MESSAGES stamp set free, and purchases over $150 will receive the MINI MESSAGES stamp set and MINI TAGS die set free.

And what’s a party without presents? Mama Elephant is giving away THREE $25 gift certificates each day of the Stampede for a grand total of 9 winners!!! Holy guacamole, batman! Winners will be chosen and announced Monday, October 19th on the ME blog.

Where to go next:

If you’ve come from Joy’s blog and hopped along, you’re at the end of the hop. And if you haven’t hopped at all, well get busy over at the Mama Elephant blog to see all the creativity!


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project; click on the wording to go directly to the item.  Affiliate links are used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more.

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CAS Sympathy Cards: Agapanthus, Technique Tuesday

Sympathy cards are SO hard to make. They just hurt the heart, even though you know they’re going to ease someone’s pain just a little.

But… I think this stamp I used has taught me my new favorite word. “Agapanthus.” Just say it out loud. “Agapanthus.” Isn’t it wonderful?

On the 1st of each month Technique Tuesday releases a new Greenhouse Society stamp set. They’re sooooo pretty! I’ve started a little collection…and you can check them all out HERE! Or go to the Technique Tuesday website to sign up for a monthly subscription and get them at a discount.

Technique Tuesday sent me Agapanthus, July’s stamp, since they just loved my card with their Hibiscus stamp….and I couldn’t resist. Because they sent me two, one for me and one for you! Read about the giveaway below.

CAS (Clean and Simple) Sympathy Cards: Agapanthus

I decided to stamp the image on Desert Storm; I thought it might be an interesting exploration to try doing flowers on a darker paper – I’ve colored other images on it, but not florals. I also show it on white, so you can see the color comparison between doing so on darker and lighter paper. Very interesting, at least to me – the coloring nerd! Watch the video below, or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube..

I do like it on the white, but there’s something very unique and quite relazing about the desert storm color!

Sandy Allnock Sympathy Cards

Which do you prefer – the Desert Storm or the White? Maybe it depends on who it’s for….not really sure! 🙂



Yes, I have a stamp set to give away! The lovely folks at Technique Tuesday sent me two…one for me and one for you! Use the Raffelcopter below to enter…good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project; click on the picture or wording to go directly to the item. Affiliate links may used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more.

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Magical Monday: Adventure Calls (Colored Pencil)


My trip is over and I’m heading to the airport as this post goes live….I’ll be missing my family and my students both! It was a great time of rejuvenation, laughter, food, creativity – and now it’s time to get back to regular crazy life! So I figured this stamp designed by the amazing Birdie Brown would be just perfect.

Magical Monday in Prismacolor Pencil

In college, I cut my illustration teeth on colored pencil (you can see some of that work HERE)…and I don’t seem to get them out very often anymore. Mostly because it takes me so much longer to color with them than with my other mediums – thus no magical background on my image today! lol. I honestly did consider it….but I shot this before leaving for my trip, and was a little frantic, so that wasn’t going to fit into the #ohmygoshihaventstartedpackingyet schedule. (I also chose NOT to do the Magic Colored Pencil technique this time…and just leave the fun paper texture in!)

Enjoy the video below anyway – or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube!

The bunny in the stamp set is separate from the girl – so I had to do a little masking to put his ear in her hand so she could drag him to the airport with her.

And as you can also see, this stamped image can be added to #thehumanrainbow campaign on Instagram, wahoo! No need to limit ourselves to only Copics to shine a light on the diversity of the human race…it can be created with any medium!

And while I’m talking about the hashtag campaign – you just have to see THIS one by Maggie….it made me giggle! Gnomes are people too!

Note about pencil sharpeners: I’m still hunting the perfect sharpener for you all…..but what I’m finding is that a lot of the “auto-stops” on the sharpeners just don’t stop. They eat your pencil instead. Major bummer! But I’ve been buying sharpeners. A lot of them. I’ve told you about my amazing Panasonic that I’ve had since college – and it still works like a charm – but it seems to be out of production – though there are some used ones HERE and I’m telling you, I’ve had mine since college (read: Dark Ages), so it’s possible these sharpeners are still FABulous, and reasonably priced. I actually own two – I bought my second just in case the first ever died. And no, I’m not giving it up, LOL. Stay tuned as my budget allows and I’ll find one. #iamdetermined!

Sandy Allnock - Adventure Calls - Prismacolor

And I know lots of you have been waiting for a good pencil tutorial – stay tuned. I did just purchase the entire collection of 150 pencils (wheeeeeeeeeeeee!) so I’ll get to do some playing. (I had bought my previous collection in college, and wanted to be certain the colors I have are current when I use them.)

Special cards needed

I was so saddened to hear that Heidi Swapp lost her second-oldest son a few days ago. At a conference just a few months ago, Heidi gave the keynote, and she spoke so cheerfully and lovingly of her family and shared lots of photos with us. Picturing the anguish that her happy soul must be going through….oh my heart just breaks for her! I’m happy to see that the people at Persnickety Prints are collecting cards for her – please consider sending her something beautiful in the mail.


Edited to add: Winner! Mendi Yoshikawa is the winner of the Inktense pencils from last week’s giveaway!


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project; click on the picture or wording to go directly to the item. Affiliate links may used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more.

Thanks for visiting me today!

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Copic Coloring Birds and Mice – House Mouse

It’s Copic tutorial time again here on the ol’ blog…and today I’m mixing it up a bit. And I wish I could say I’m singing along while coloring birds and mice, but ya know…nobody needs to hear that!

Copic Coloring Birds and Mice

This little House Mouse stamp is just the cuuuuuuuutest! It makes me want to go find a nice remote place to go out and sing a tune of my own. Really remote though. LOL! In today’s video I’ll show you how to get extra detail by mixing your coloring media…watch the video below or click HERE to watch in HD on YouTube!

Fun, wasn’t that? I love that there are things like supersharp pencils that you can use to add in detail that gets lost as you color. Sometimes a pen works best, but Prismacolors can give you a softer look. It helps when you’re coloring birds or little mammals – a pen can make the detail a little TOO sharp.

But to get the pencil tip into nooks and crannies, it’s really sharp. I use THIS sharpener, but it’s a bit high in price for some bizarre reason (I bought mine for about $50 while in college) – But there are a more sharpeners HERE, and the one HERE is a fraction of the price of mine and really good. If you missed it last week when I shared it, there’s a video on THIS PAGE on how to properly sharpen a pencil. Lots of good info in it.

Sandy Allnock Copic Coloring Birds n Mice

Specials just for you (ha)

  • If you’re an Ellen Hutson customer, be sure to always read the email she sends out at the first of the month. She gives you a coupon code in it, good all month long! (Emailed to customers only!) If you’ve never shopped there before, go pick up something so you can get the July code in your email. It’s well worth it.
  • Dick Blick coupon code for this week only, 15% off AND free shipping on $89+ orders – use code CDWR til Friday. Some of you were waiting on a coupon to shop for watercolor stuff, now’s a good time!


Below are links to the supplies I’ve used for today’s project; click on the picture or wording to go directly to the item. Affiliate links may used, which means if you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I truly appreciate your support toward the costs of running this blog! Read more.

Well I’m outta here for today after my little fun with coloring birds and mice….see you again in my next post!

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Magical Monday: Mondo Magnolia Colored Pencil Flowers


Happy Mondo Monday…I hope it’s a mondo great day for you! I thought I would throw a curve ball in everyone’s expectations and work on colored pencil flowers instead of a Copic video today. Hope you don’t mind!

Colored Pencil Flowers

Since it’s Magical Monday, I don’t explain my technique in the video, though you can certainly see it. I colored this on Neenah Cardstock with Prismacolors, though softer papers are a bit preferable for me; I use an extremely sharp pencil and fill in all the little spots between pencil lines in layers – to create a smooth blend. One layer of the flower went from dark colors outside to light inside, and the other layer was in the reverse.

Read more below about my technique and some colored pencil flowers tips…but first, watch the video below, or click HERE to see it in HD on YouTube.

How to properly sharpen a colored pencil

I find that I do go through more Prismacolors with my sharp-pencil technique, but it’s worth it to me for the look I get. A lot of the illustrations I used to do a lot of (you can see some HERE) use the same technique. I use THIS sharpener, but it’s a bit high in price – there are a bunch HERE, and the Xacto Sharpener HERE is a fraction of the price of mine and really good. I found a great tutorial video at the bottom of THIS PAGE on how to properly sharpen a pencil. Who’d a thunk there was so much to say about the topic? Great info though!

And guess what? I discovered you can buy pencils one-at-a-time at Dick Blick instead of sets that have colors you’ll never use. Or replacements for that one that you wore down to a nub! Cool beans eh? (Did you notice how small some of mine got?! I need a new Raspberry!) What I used on today’s flower: Spanish OrangeOrangeRaspberryViolet and Violet Blue.

Sandy Allnock Magical Monday Mondo Magnolia 2

I wanted my card to be CAS to show off all the labor of love on the flower – so I simply popped it with THIS, added a sentiment from the same Mondo Magnolia stamp set (in THIS ink)…and added tone on tone Glossy Accents hearts and dots around the sentiment, along with on the dark flower centers bits.Sandy Allnock Magical Monday Mondo Magnolia 3


Affiliate links used in this post, at no additional cost to you. Read more here.

Colored pencil flowers are a great way to kick off May – so I hope you pick up this set and color it with something amazing. With it being such a big open flower, there are tons of ways to do it! (I’m pondering zentangle!)

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Make white POP – Compare white pens (+ winners!)


We all want our whites to look white…not just our socks, either! There are a lot of different ways to color something to make the white pop, so today we’ll compare white pens and other mediums to see how they all look on desert storm cardstock.

The stamp set is a brand new one from Avery Elle – it comes with a couple of the cloud sentiments, so it works great for a variety of types of cards. Enjoy the video – and be sure to stay tuned to the end for the list of winners of my 10,000 subscriber giveaway a few weeks ago! Watch the video below, or click HERE to watch it in HD on YouTube.

Compare white pens and more

It was fun to play around with all of these white mediums – I had always wondered how they’d do in a head-to-head test. Each one has its place though; even though I don’t use the Sakura very often, and the comparison made it look like it lost – the pen makes a thin enough line that sometimes I pull it out to make a super-thin white line. One pen I didn’t include is Ranger’s Inkssentials…I have a dozen in my drawer that don’t work consistently, so I don’t tend to even think to pull it out to try. But I’m glad I did finally compare white pens and other mediums that are in my little pen cup!Sandy Allnock - White CloudsPop

I enjoyed trying different Copic Marker colors to create a variety of planes as well…and each of the winners in the giveaway will receive one of them! Woohoo!



So tell me….do you do side-by-side tests like this and compare white pens or other products? I don’t usually, I just use what works…but I learned a lot myself by trying this!

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24 Tags of Christmas: Day Four


Today’s tag is more than just a gift tag…it would do a great job as a gift card holder too! (Watch the end of the video for that!) I’m picturing a bunch of these hanging on the family tree on Christmas morning with movie theater gift cards in them…a family outing, courtesy of Santa?!

Enjoy the video below, or click HERE to watch it in HD on YouTube.



  • Cut a sheet of 8-1/2″ x 11″ cardstock in 4 strips (8-1/2″ long x 2-3/4″ wide)
  • Score at 3/4″ and 4-3/4″

If you’ve missed any of the previous tag videos in the series – I’m adding them all to one playlist HERE.

As promised, closeups of the tags…multicolored first:

Sandy Allnock 24 Tags Day four 1

All white lights, with Glossy Accents….

Sandy Allnock 24 Tags Day four 2

Red and green bulbs only, with white pencil highlights…

Sandy Allnock 24 Tags Day four 3

And oh so pretty peacock feathers ink! YUM. And do you see that one bulb where it crosses over from one panel to another and the bulbs seem to align? That was totally unplanned, but WAY cool!

Sandy Allnock 24 Tags Day four 4

From the response thus far, it seems this tag series is going over quite well….couple more days to go!


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No Line Coloring Technique

Hello there! Welcome to my post today with my no line coloring technique!

No line coloring technique

My little card is actually *gasp* a “Look ma, no Copics!” card!! I’ve been thinking about coloring on Kraft for a while, and I’m down to my last sheet of this awesome paper…so now that I used the last sheet, I’m adding it to my Black Friday shopping list. YEAH! Without further ado…here’s my video for this card…and if you can’t see it below, click HERE to watch it in HD on YouTube!

If you’re new to my blog and YouTube channel, I’d love to invite you to subscribe! I share lots of fun, crazy, and creative things around here, and love to share ideas. I’m also on Instagram and share a lot more BTS (behind the scenes) type things there, if you’re into that kinda stuff.

And last but never least…shopping links are below in case you just have to have this lil birdie in your stamp room! He’s so sweet. And he’s perfect for the no line coloring technique, since I bet you want to try it now. And I’ve also linked up my colored pencil sharpener, I get lots of questions about what kind I use to get such a sharp point. And of course a number of pencil sets, depending on how much you want to get into it. I bought all mine in open stock over the years, that’s why mine sometimes have different type of labelling on them – but they’re the same awesome products made by Prismacolor.


Don’t tell my Copics, but this no line coloring technique was enough fun I might do it again. *grin*