How to work with shimmery inks + community storytime

How to work with shimmery inks + community storytime

Have you ever found shimmery duochrome inks to be a little disappointing in real life action? Like, your written lines don’t shimmer, your painted wash doesn’t glisten? I’ve avoided these inks a while, because it just seemed some didn’t deliver what was promised.

Spoiler alert: USER ERROR. LOL!

I received another lovely package from Ferris Wheel Press – and one of the inks, Emerald Gardens, has a lovely shimmer to its duochrome. There’s also a more subtle, desaturated green called Dancing Thyme and – a ballpoint pen with waterproof ink!

DISCOUNT FOR YOU!

Use code ALLNOCK at checkout to
receive 10% off on your entire order!

Tutorial: How to work with shimmery inks

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!

Duochrome, shimmery inks

The word duochrome literally means “two colors.” But it’s not always easy to get all the second color – the gold or other-colored shimmer – to show up.

  1. Mix the ink well – and if not having good results, check that the bottle gets swirled between each dip of a pen or brush.
  2. If putting the ink into a fountain pen, stir it just before drawing ink into the pen. Also – don’t leave a duochrome in your pen for a long time unused; the mica could clog things up.
  3. The ink needs to be applied heavily enough for the mica to show up. Use a fountain pen that pours out enough ink onto the paper; some pens are stingy, some are more generous.
  4. Pro tip: if working on a big project and dipping a brush into water, use a SMALL water jar. Any excess micah could collect at the bottom of that jar! Let it settle, pour off a bunch of the excess on top. You can use that for adding shimmer to other projects – paint it like a glaze!

When creating a drawing that you want to shimmer, plan out which areas will be dark enough to have enough ink to shine. Then when adding ink with a brush, stir it as you load the brush each time, to be sure you get the mica moving and onto the brush!

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Creativity In Your Inbox

* indicates required

About community

My little story might have stirred up a desire in your own artist’s heart for an art community, too. It can be lonely working alone in our studios or at our kitchen tables! You’re not the only one having those feelings.

Being WITH others can make a huge difference. January and February, two months of 2024 when we had the most activity at Artventure because a bunch of us were taking the Whimsical Sketching and 30 Days to More Confident Sketching classes together. Not everyone posted on “the” day and that’s just fine – but seeing all the work at once, and everyone being refreshed on what was in that lesson…all that made our feedback incredibly helpful and specific for each other.

(Note: you can participate in Artventure whether or not you join us for one of those courses!)

Friday night is a great chance to come join us for a good time. Set up your art, whatever you’d like to work on, grab something to drink (safely so you don’t spill!) and log onto zoom to join us for a little while or the whole two hours! I always come away from those days being encouraged and feeling stronger.RSVP at Artventure in the Events tab, or if you just can’t do Artventure, email me and I’ll send you the zoom link. It’s free!

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. Ferris Wheel Press – use coupon code ALLNOCK for 10% storewide -inks:
    1. Emerald Gardens
    2. Dancing Thyme
    3. Ball point penScribe (comes in various colors)
  2. Swatches:
    1. Arches Cold Press Pad: 
    2. Plastic sheets for swatches
    3. Fountain Pens:
      1. TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen EF
      2. TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen F
      3. TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen M
    4. Hexagonal sketchbook no longer available
How to draw a bird nest

How to draw a bird nest

It’s Good Friday. I’ll apologize now for the video voiceover….it was recorded before we knew about Mom, so it’s not me being callous.

I think a nest with a couple yet-to-be-born eggs in it is probably one of the best subjects to honor Mom. She had me and my older sis on Good Friday of 1964. A third egg was added years later, but the bird sitting on this nest would have been…my mama.

But I’d like to tell you my Mom/Good Friday story, so keep reading…..and enjoy the video as if the world hadn’t just crashed around me. 

 

 

Tutorial: How to draw a bird’s nest

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!

A little story

Good Friday every year of my life was spent the same way. Hearing the story of the day I was born.

Every year on my phone call with Mom, she’d remind me that I was born on Good Friday – and she knew the pain of Jesus! We would laugh about it, year after year. 

Oh what I wouldn’t give to have one more year of laughing with her.

 

Fine Art Sale

Use coupon code HBD60 to buy something from the shop – my mom would have loved it if you bought something for your mom for Mother’s Day. I’ll take care of shipping things when I return.

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Creativity In Your Inbox

* indicates required

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. The sketchbook is no longer on Etsy – it’s by HandStitchedbyEllen who seems to have emptied her shop since I bought the sketchbook – a lot of creators are doing that nowadays, I’m so sad.
  2. Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils 
  3. Electric Eraser, Mont Marte
  4. Kneaded Eraser 

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:

Drawing Plants part 2: graphite vs marker

Drawing Plants part 2: graphite vs marker

A few weeks ago I posted a graphite drawing I had created. And today – I’ve taken that same landscape and turned it into an alcohol marker drawing! Not an excellent one due to my color challenges, but I think I can say I rocked it nonetheless…..I’ll let you weigh in on that!

Tutorial: Drawing Plants part 2: graphite vs marker

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!

What I didn’t like….and what I loved

I had mentioned I had some mixed feelings. The color choices here are fairly atrocious – not because they’re bad colors, but because there are so few greens, I had to deploy every last bit of color theory knowledge to try to make different greens! (I can’t wait til Olo’s new colors come out!)

But what I loved here – the values ROCK! A watercolor mentor of mine has said to me for years that colors don’t matter one bit if the values are spot on. You can paint an entire landscape in pink and purple and it’ll read right if the farks and lights are correct. And that’s what this drawing proved to me – and since I had done a detailed value study, I was able to really rock this marker version! 

You can do the same – try a value study first before your next drawing or painting, and see if it helps!

Story behind the class

Sometimes a piece I work on makes NO sense as a video, sometimes only as a YT tutorial, sometimes it needs to be a class. It depends on how much I have to say about it! There were overwhelming numbers of techniques and textures involved here, and I considered making it a class right away, but thought, after a couple classes have bombed, maybe I should ask first. (I end up doubting my ability to know what people might want to learn!)

In this case I did ask – and a bunch of YT commenters said they DID want a class. Now we’ll find out if that’s true, LOL! I’ll be messaging the commenters, so I hope they are ok with that. 🙂 If you’re interested, class sign up is here…..and the other classes I mentioned in this video are linked later in this post!

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Creativity In Your Inbox

* indicates required

Classes recommended in this video

These are on sale through the end of March…

Tutorial: 14 Tips to draw better plants (part 1)

The aforementioned part 1 video!

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!

Supplies

EASY! Draw a Celtic Trinity Knot

EASY! Draw a Celtic Trinity Knot

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner – and making art for holidays can be just for fun or perfect for a card to send good wishes to an Irish friend! Today’s project is easier than you might think it is – give it a try!

What’s a Celtic Trinity Knot anyway?

Celtic knots have a variety of stories associated with them – including Christian!

The three points of the knot are symbols like the divine trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit;  love, friendship, and strength; and so many more you’ll find listed all over the web. The interweaving lines, without beginning or end, symbolize eternity.

Tutorial: Celtic Trinity Knot

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!

How easy is this?

I know some of you may think this looks hard. But I made it easy! There’s a PDF you can get for free HERE – and it has the basic math *SIMPLE MATH* and instructions.

First is making the “trefoil” – the three interwoven “leaves” of the design. If you can measure a SQUARE, then you can locate the three points on the outside of the circle and the center of it. Then let the compass do its work!

Interweave the lines

Make them look like they weave in and out by erasing either the vertical or horizontal lines from each section.  Just remember that each trefoil has a “left” and “right” side – once I kept that in my head it was something I could follow. (Don’t do all three leaves at once; focus on one so you don’t get lost.)

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Creativity In Your Inbox

* indicates required

Embellish – or not!

Knots can be very basic, or extremely fancy! Google the knot and you’ll see many examples for inspiration. I decided on one simple leaf repeated three times. Placing your repeating object in a way that it starts/ends in a location you can easily find is helpful. Tracing paper can help too – trace that thing three times and lay it over the page to arrange them and see where you want to start/end.

Add color!

Not all Celtic Trinity Knots are green, but many are – I did see some lovely purple ones, rainbow ones – so basically you can do whatever you like! Mine’s in watercolor, with glazes of watercolor that helped me shift the color as I went.

Give it a try!

The free PDF is available to help you out! I’ll be posting a few more of these this week on social, so keep your eyes open for those in different mediums!

New Zooms Scheduled!

Head over to Artventure to RSVP in the Events tab.

EduZoom Color-along

The pot of gold image will be provided for those who sign up, so get yourself registered. Free!

Birthday Open Studio

Last year I had to work at my party, but this year we’ll just do a normal open studio. Bring your own birthday snack! Also free.

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:

14 TIPS to draw better plants, trees

14 TIPS to draw better plants, trees

Every artist has their own ‘favorite’ subject to draw or paint. I feel most comfortable with landscapes even though I include all kinds of subjects in my repertoire. I know for some, trees are crazy hard, and I’ve started a series that may go on for a while – I would love to help more people create awesome trees. In any medium the same principles apply, though I’ll be using a graphite pencil.

 

 

In my last tree tutorial, we talked about pine trees (left)….today we’ll talk about other plants and shrubs too (right).

The photo reference is HERE and is by photographer Pauline West.

Tutorial: 14 Tips to draw better plants, trees

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!

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Creativity In Your Inbox

* indicates required

14 Tips

  1. Study real trees! And bushes. And plants. Walk around them, peek under branches. What’s causing shadows? How bright are the highlights?
  2. Make each plant unique. What shape are the leaves? What size? Can you see branches or are they covered? How tight are leaves packed in?
  3. Set the darks. Choose an area that has a real dark section so you have something to balance against as you work through the drawing.
  4. Create shadows within shadows. A black in a field of 85% black will create more depth than just making the whole thing really dark. 
  5. Differentiate directional grasses. Do they lean in one direction? Vertical or angled? Sharp or soft tips? 
  6. Match darks. Refer back to the dark area you already set. Make sure you populate some of that dark elsewhere in the drawing.
  7. Scale matters. Sometimes scale is dictated by the plant itself and the size of its leaves or needles. But additionally, the further away the plant is, foliage gets smaller further away.
  8. Clearest detail in the foreground. It’s closest so you’ll see the most sharp detail. Additionally, draw the viewer’s eye to the place YOU want them to look by putting the most detail and value change there (lightest light next to darkest dark).
  9. Repeat yet vary. Most landscapes will have several plants of the same variety; be careful you aren’t replicating the same plant shape or floral pattern – mix it up.
  10. Strategically deploy an eraser. Don’t forget sometimes a light coat of graphite can be erased to great effect.
  11. Layer plants. Look for where one is in front of another. Lighter plants in the back with darker in the front are much easier than the negative drawing that has to be used to go the other direction.
  12. Soften distant elements. Exaggerate the value differences from the distant background to the mid and foreground. Let them be both lighter and more out of focus.
  13. Crisp midground twigs. On top of distant elements, add in some trees or plants in the mid gruond.
  14. Leave openings in canopies. When trees have sky behind them, you can often see light areas – they aren’t empty, but will have some twigs or leaves breaking into them.

Need a class?

I wasn’t planning on a class but I had posted a few days ago on the Community tab about whether a class is in order since I have the footage of this drawing. Let me know if you’re interested! 

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

Current Sketchbook Flip-through

Current Sketchbook Flip-through

A quickie today – I’m sick! Waaaah. Partly I got sick due to trying too hard; I went out in the rain trying to get footage of deciuous trees and came home soaked. And the next day I walked the dogs on another pouring down rain day. I came home and changed into dry clothes and had some soup – and woke up with a terrible sore throat!

The good news is that I tested negative for Covid. But i also know a bunch of people with some kind of long, slow, miserable cold….and I need this to be gone fast! Monday I’m teaching art to a homeschool group, and I have a new Travel Sketches class ready to do the voiceovers.  Cmonnnnnn cold medicine do yo thang!

In order to keep YT moving forward, as slow as it is, I thought a flip through video without me having to talk might be fun. Hope you enjoy it!

Video: flip through

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!

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Creativity In Your Inbox

* indicates required

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