Going from messy & scribbly — to beautiful art

Going from messy & scribbly — to beautiful art

Today’s art is inspired by the coming Valentine’s Day holiday – but also by things I hear from my students and readers!

I often see comments bemoaning a person’s own art. “I wish I could blend.” “My coloring stinks!” “My art looks so bad compared to ___!”

And though I say it often, I don’t think I can ever emphasize it enough: get your nose off your paper! When you are staring at your paper from 6 inches away, of course you’ll see any faults. But you know what? No one else looks at your work that way. And if they do, they don’t have a vision in their heads like you do – they just see a beautiful piece of art, and that’s it.

So today I’ll show you some of my art close up so you can see how messy it appears at a few inches away, but how lovely when at a distance. Maybe that’ll convince you to give yourself grace!

Tutorial: Title

Text

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Alcohol Markers (transparent color)

With strong, transparent color, it’s quite easy to color these chocolates with ease – go outside the lines to your heart’s content around the chocolates! Keep layering the colors til they look as dark as you want. Make the plastic liner of the box black (grey 7 or 8) or go over that with a brown to create a REALLY dark brown. White gel pen highlights top  off the “high points” and uppper left corner to create a shiny look.

Colored pencil (semi-opaque)

Since colored pencil can cover black lines below it, the medium can look a bit messier than alcohol marker. Gamsol, a blending solution, can be applied and color smooshed around to blend color and press it down into the texture of the paper.

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Creativity In Your Inbox

* indicates required

Gouache (opaque)

Gouache is an opaque watercolor – if you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a little like acrylic with different properties. (You could try this same thing with acrylics). Make the plastic tray black, add highlights in a very dark grey, then painted blobs for the chocolates. This was definitely the most fun to add the drizzled chocolate to! Gradually lightening the color until it’s white creates the look of softly molded chocolates.

So how about you?

What’s your internal language like about your art? Do you look at your blending and wish you could create art like so-and-so? It’s quite possible their art doesn’t look perfectly smooth…..sometimes it does but it’s certainly possible to make art that looks realistic without being “perfect”!

Intricate Sketches you can color

There’s a set of 5 (five for the price of four!) or you can purchase any of them, including the chocolate box, singly. Visit the printables page for more info!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:

Favorite things for finishing a card image (and new classes!)

Favorite things for finishing a card image (and new classes!)

Have you begun your holiday cardmaking yet? I have a small handful done but I feel so far behind! Today I’ll give ou a couple tips that’ll take a simply-colored image and spice it up – and one tip will even make your coloring faster.

PLUS I’ve just released four brand new Level 2 classes—coloring images that’ll be unique ones for your holiday cards. Let’s get going!

Tutorial: Favorite things for finishing a card image (and new classes!)

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Four Tips, especially for new colorists

  1. Got some messy blending? Cover it up by adding a pattern on top! Either white snowflakes or polka dots, or even dark stripes or dots on an outfit would do the same. And if it’s a background, just add falling snow! No one will see the messy color beneath.
  2. EASY blending: Color an image with one flat alcohol marker color, then do colored pencil blending on top. It’s the best of both worlds: simple flat alcohol marker with no blending needed, then the pencil won’t be fighting white gaps caused by the paper texture. Win win!
  3. Add shading to white pen texture! Go over the shaded areas with the alcohol marker base tone of the object being shaded. That’ll dull down the pattern in shadow areas, making it look more supple like real fabric. Scribble the pen on scrap paper 
  4. Make the tiniest highlights on eyes by drawing the dot with a pen, then “shave” it down to a good size with a pencil!

New Classes & more

Click on the image below to get to the course you’re interested in – you can see all the images that’ll be in the lessons once you’re there! OR you can go to the brand spanking new HOLIDAY page, where these are all at the top, and all the other holiday/winter classes are all on one page! Tap on the image below:

Alcohol Marker

Colored Pencil

Gouache

Watercolor

A timely older tutorial…for winter

White pens are the bane of the existence of many…this might help!

WHEW!

Those who’ve followed along on Patreon and Artventure know this was a heroic effort to get all this together; and I’m excited that I also have next week’s videos scheduled. So after I take a couple days to just SLEEP, I’ll be spending time working on sample pieces and figuring out prices for the upcoming commission fiesta. Hooray!

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:

How to draw on your kicks! (alcohol markers)

How to draw on your kicks! (alcohol markers)

Have you ever wanted to draw on your kicks? (That’s your shoes.)

About a year ago, today’s project was birthed, but didn’t happen til today; I had visited Old School Shoes in Santa Cruz, CA, and on a whim I asked if they had any “orphan” shoes. Like a leftover single shoe no one had thrown out, but couldn’t sell because there’s only one. They sent me home with a pair that just needed laundered – and thus today, I finally get to share my new kicks!

Tutorial: How to draw on your kicks in alcohol marker

I’ll be using alcohol markers; if you want to use paint, then google for the right kind, I did see there are lots of recommendations out there, but I didn’t feel like buying something new for my shoes.

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Sunflower shoes

This was my first pair; I discovered just how soft the color blends, which is great except for detail, you have to add black pen. Use something waterproof so your shoes won’t run in the rain.

Also – do the color work first. The sharpie did bleed a little when I added color atop it. It’s possible giving it more time to dry would help, but test it to be sure.

Galaxy shoes

This design worked great for the soft blends! Lots of pretty colors make them a rainbow! You can create all kinds of gorgeous blends whether making it a sky or not – do rainbows, soft flowers, whatever you like! For the stars I used acrylic white, in hopes it’s permanent.

My doodled kicks

I’m so excited – I never once owned a pair of hightops! Glad I at least snuck that in under the wire before a full six decades passed. LOL. I used one of my favorite doodles as inspiration for the lines, and colors had to include the trim color on the shows – reds and blues (which I translated as a blue violet). And added my signature yellow.

UPDATE:

I wore my shoes for dogwalks a time or two, but just last night I wore them to an art festival/wine tasting. It was a swankier community so wearing the PF Flyers stood out among the nicer-dressed crowd. One guy ran up to me and asked if those are “real” PF Flyers? And could I run and jump farther and faster now? It was kinda hilarious – but I felt VERY cool wearing my new kicks!

What would you draw on shoes?

If you try it I’d love to see what you make! Tag me on social or email what you create….by the way kids can do this too, it’d make them so proud to wear shoes to school that they made!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:

Having trouble finding Ohuhu blending groups? I hear ya!

Having trouble finding Ohuhu blending groups? I hear ya!

For something a little different today – a “talkie!” Just chatting, no tutorial, but I hope there’s something in here that helps everyone learn a little bit.  Pull up a chair and let’s chat!

Vlog: HELP! Color selection in Ohuhu markers (hex chart)

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Thoughts from the cutting room floor

Originally this was an even longer video, believe it or not! Gah! Craziness. I apparently had a lot to say!

This is a government/business issue, not a people issue.

The people who live in any countries with the aforementioned terrible practices are NOT at fault. Please do NOT attribute characteristics of the unethical businesses and governments to the average citizens in these countries or in your own. We have enough of that going on. Don’t blame the wrong people for the misdeeds.

Costing us art supply companies

A big thing that I decided to cut because I think it was implied: these companies who steal intellectual property are putting art and especially small craft companies out of business. If you’ve noticed a bunch going under in recent years, that’s often a part of it. These manufacturers are stuck either paying legal bills to try to get these fake products removed from these horrible websites, or they just leave it there and lose customers who won’t come back to shop at their own store anymore, because they only shop from thieves around the world to get themselves a deal.

We can help keep our favorite maufacturers and retailers in business by taking care where we buy from.

Exceptions to every rule

There ARE products made in unethical countries all over the world that ARE clear of the kind of corruption mentioned.  Not everyone is on the take. There are even some products I use regularly that were invented in and sold by companies within corrupt countries—but they came up with something new and unique in the marketplace. I’m not at all against that!

I’m also not an avid researcher of EVERY single item I purchase; plenty of good companies source some portion of materials from unethical places, and mircomanaging everyone’s supply chain is not what I’m advocating. 

But products that should cost much more but carry a dollar store price always do raise my spidey sense. If it looks like a dodgy item, it’s safe to assume there’s more to the story. Feel free to give them the benefit of the doubt if you’re comfortable doing so, but I personally find another product to purchase.

My own policy

I don’t knowingly promote any product that benefits from their Human Rights violations or commits Intellectual Property theft. (I’m not perfect at finding out all the details on every company, and every time Amazon is involved there’s a risk since it’s hard to go track down information.)

I also don’t promote product that I simply do not think is worth you spending your money on—unless I tell you don’t buy this $125 ballpoint pen. You certainly may buy anything you wish, but I don’t need to be part of that food chain, so generally I ignore not-good supplies rather than providing them oxygen.

I get 5-1o emails a DAY from foreign dodgy companies wanting me to promote their stolen goods, and it’s exhausting. Their marketing is insane. Ads chase me on Instagram and Facebook, and I hardly scroll my feed any more because of it! Any company that hounds me that way gets the “talk to the hand” treatment. Ohuhu hasn’t been as bad as others, but they did fall into the too-many-ads category and I had to mark them as spam on Instagram.

If any companies ARE really reading my blog like they tell me they are (ha!)….please just stop emailing me. Engage with my social posts and YT videos in comments, let’s get to know each other, THEN you can email me. Cold emails get you nowhere but my block list. Thanks.

So I can sleep at night…..

Since I do not want to profit from products I do not believe in, I’m doing two things:

  1. I’ve donated my set of markers and a bunch of sketchbooks to our family homeless shelter, and I’m hoping some young person with talent finds them and uses them to lift their family out of poverty.
  2. I’ll be donating the profits from the Ohuhu Honolulu Hex Chart to Human Rights Watch. 

I think that’ll help me get better sleep.

Ohuhu Hex Chart – Honolulu Set

Purchase a downloadable hex chart for Ohuhu’s Honolulu set of alcohol markers – included are both a blank one to color with your own markers, and a completed one to print for reference.

How to Use a Hex Chart Class

In this color course, learn all about ways to use the Hex Charts for alcohol markers or colored pencils to choose the right colors! Includes discussion of color theory as we examine photos and learn terminology like hue, value, saturation, temperature, and more.

Helpful?

I hope this was helpful – if you have further questions please don’t hesitate to ask. 🙂

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:

Hawaii Fundraiser Color Wheels + new Hex Chart Class

Hawaii Fundraiser Color Wheels + new Hex Chart Class

Shall we join hands for a Hawaii Fundraiser? It’s been heartbreaking watching so many lives disrupted – and ended! This story absolutely broke me.

I can’t do anything to stop climate change. I can’t build back homes. I can’t bring back those who perished. But I can use my art and platform to do a little something along with the art community, and I hope you’ll participate in one of the two ways I talk about in today’s video. THANK YOU in advance for your help!

Video: Hawaii Fundraiser Color Wheels + new Hex Chart Class

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

“Perpetual” fundraising

I plan to keep giving through the sale of this printable; the beneficiary will change, because, sadly we know there’ll be a new hurricane, landslide, flood, earthquake…..it seems there’s something new once a month, sometimes only a week or days apart.

Each week I’ll be making the donation to whichever situation is in the most dire need at that time. So if you want to help, color the image up again and share it with your online friends so we can keep generating income for those who need it!

If you want to keep giving through this method, you can just repurchase when there’s a cause that touches your heart; 100% of the money goes to the charity, I’m eating the Paypal fees myself, and knowing me, I’ll round up the donation. 🙂

Purchase yours today!

How to Use a Hex Chart class

For quite some time (to be honest, YEARS), new colorists have asked how to use the hex chart. Uhm, I just thought, hey you can see colors near each other so pick some out, right? I’d done a few YT videos using the chart, but I hadn’t done a deep enough dive to help folks. Until now!

This is an inexpensive class, so while the samples are pretty spectacular, please don’t get your hopes inflated! It’s primarily about color, and helping people to see the differences between colors by looking at photos, then a drawing of them. Sometimes that can help show what desaturation IS, and the power it has to change your art. So there are 10 lessons like that; little clips of coloring, some sample color chart tests, but I think it’ll be well worth it for those who want some help with their hex charts!

Thank you!

I appreciate your support of this fundraiser…..please share widely!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

  1. Alcohol markers:
  2. Colored pencils:
  3. Papers:
    • Stonehenge Drawing Paper AMZBLICK 
    • Neenah Cardstock, Solar White 250pk 

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:

Bringing animal images to life with color (tips for newbie artists) – CCC New Release

Bringing animal images to life with color (tips for newbie artists) – CCC New Release

In a Facebook message. a new colorist asked me which medium is best for coloring animals like dogs and cats. (And of course, it depends!)

The new Anita Jeram designs from Colorado Craft Company were too perfect a chance to show the comparison. They are SO DANG CUTE. #justsaying

So in today’s hop, I’ll show you three ways to color the same stamps, and you can decide what YOUR priority is!

BLOG HOP PRIZE INFO IS LATER IN THIS POST

Tutorial: Advice for new artists – coloring mediums for dogs and cats

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Alcohol marker

Not high on my recommendation list for new colorists, because, well, they’re expensive, and it takes getting a few trios or pairs before much can be accomplished. By the time you spend on that, you might decide that maybe you didn’t really like the look or the process anyway. But if you’re totally attracted to the look and you have a budget? Go for it! I have a few free charts with suggested colors to start with here.

Then get yourself some Neenah cardstock and either stamps with a Copic friendly stamping ink or a multiliner (Copic friendly) pen, and get busy making art! Then there’s always a Copic Jumpstart class that might help out too. A hex chart is a help too!

Watercolor

Though it’s a favorite medium for me, it’s tough to learn if you’re trying for realism; loose splashy color is fine but once it comes to mixing, water management, etc, it can be rough going. Don’t go buying a gajillion tubes to get started though – folks who have palettes with 36 or 48 colors paint no better than someone with 6! Learn to mix from the start and you’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars in $10+ paint tubes. Daniel Smith has an excellent set of 6 essentials colors – 3 warm, 3 cool. Simple. In the Watercolor Jumpstart class you’ll learn some basics of mixing colors and make charts to show yourself  how to achieve colors without buying lots of tubes. (Later you may want particular colors for ease of painting or techniques – but don’t start out buying them all!) 

Also start with good paper. I know it feels counter intuitive and you want to save money. But honestly, it’ll make a difference in your practicing. Decent brushes for beginners are the Silver Brush Black Velvet line, try a round 4, round 8, round 12.

#1 recommendation: Colored Pencil

The new artist wanted to know about dogs and cats — and realism. So this is one of several reasons this is my best recommendation. The subtlety you can get, the fine points with a good sharpener (handheld or electric)  – much to be said about them!

Pencils are something we’ve all used since we were children, so holding a pencil requires no special training. You can get a lot of colors without spending a ton (I recommend Prismacolor – a good artist brand, and has the best neutral range for animals). Colored pencils are also adaptable – trying out blending solutions and powdered pigments can give you lots of options inexpensively to achieve a lot of effects.

The Colored Pencil Jumpstart class is another that teaches color theory at the start so you get a good footing. You’ll learn about solutions and stumps and powdering your pencils – lots of techniques that’ll send you off on a coloring adventure. Pick up a hex chart here.

Pattern Stamping Class

The class I talked about that teaches how to make stamped patterned paper with Art Impressions Watercolor stamps…..it’s so much fun! Distress inks and stamping in the Pattern Stampinc Class. 

The rest of the CCC release!

I didn’t have time to fully develop cards, due to lots of unforeseen things coming at me this week (watch the Superpower or Thanks videos for more on all that. Remember that purchasing using my affiliate links also helps with the goal I’m working on, I appreciate your help in meeting it!)…..but I did find a little time to at least color up the images! Tap on any of them to enbiggen.

LIFT HIGHER

I expanded the tree, there’s just something about not “finishing” a scene that makes me crazy 🙂

PICNIC CATS

Again, expanded the background. Also changed a cat into a raccoon, eliminated the picnic basket.

PLAY BALL

A simple scene – note that putting a shadow WAY under the dog’s feet makes him look like a real leap-er!

TEAM CATS

This tree NEEDED to be bigger, and darker, so the birdhouse took the stage. Imagine Pink Panther theme music!

WELL LOVED CATS

Here I pictured Tsuki and Punch out by the pool, chilling out! I may need to add a scene to this one before mailing it.

TINY BIRDS

These are the ittybittiest! What would be your sentiment recommendation for this card?

BEST IN ME DOG + STAY PAWSITIVE

I combined two stamp sets, with the dogs stamped partway off the page.

You can imagine their conversation! They often are chasing and wrestling – then suddenly they’re both sitting very very still catching their breath, giving each other the stinkeye. It’s so hilarious!

Something to note on the grasses: I colored the mass of greens first, and the greens stopped a bit low—the grass in my back yard is in desperate need of mowing, so I added some tall and going-to-seed blades of grass to bring the level up higher. Which looks more like what my puppers are doing when out in the grass!

Shop the new CCC release

Bloghop!

Check out all the creations in the hop…..with 2 giveaways! The commenting for the contest will end July 12th at Midnight eastern time and will be announced July 14th on the CCC blog.

  1. One complete bundle or equal value gift card to one winner. The winner will be randomly drawn from orders placed that use a designer’s affiliate link.
  2. Giving away one stamp set on MY blog. CCC will randomly select the winners from the comments and will notify winner.

The bloghop list:

  1. Adrienne Kennedy CCC
  2. Amy Tsuruta
  3. Amy Young
  4. Daniel West
  5. Emily Midgett
  6. Jenn Shurkus
  7. Jennifer Kotas
  8. Jessica Frost-Ballas
  9. Kassi Hulet
  10. Kelly Griglione
  11. Kelly Taylor
  12. Nancy Sheads
  13. Sandy Allnock <— that’s me!
  14. IG:
  15. Adam Karle
  16. Jenn Gross
  17. Joe Sysavath
  18. Laura Inguz
  19. Mansi Bhatia

What would YOUR best recommendation be for a new colorist?

Think about someone brand new – needing to buy everything AND learn everything. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Why or why not? Leave me your feedback, I’d love to hear your answer!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email: