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The Princess Bride Coloring Book – As You Wish / Westley and Buttercup Silhouette Roses Spread FO

Today marks The Princess Bride movie’s 35th anniversary!* I wanted to do something special for this final post of The Princess Bride Month so I started and completed a brand new set of pages in The Princess Bride coloring book. Nothing is more iconic than Westley’s famous “as you wish” line, so when I turned the page after my current WIP in the book and saw this double-page spread I knew it would be perfect to close out this month’s theme.

I instantly knew I wanted to put a sunset behind Buttercup and Westley and color their silhouettes in solid black. I wasn’t sure, however, if I wanted to mirror the sunset on the hills and have the lightest shades in the center, or if it would look better with the lightest greens to the front and the darker ones in the back.

I decided to pull a trick from my knitter’s handbook and swatch them! I took a clear image of the page and brought it into the Procreate app on my iPad so I could have a digital version to work with. Using the Apple pencil I roughly blocked in the black silhouettes and a quick sunset. I knew I wanted the bushes on the horizon to be dark as they would be backlit, so scribbled those in too. Then I copied the image so I’d have two to work from, and colored in the hills on each, reversing the color order. I quickly preferred the version on the left, so saved it as my reference sketch.

I’d also had the idea of possibly filling in the entire background of the roses page, so decided to test that too. I’m so glad I did as it would have been a TON of work and I really didn’t like the results. I’d also debated outlining the roses in gold and playing with the digital version allowed me to see that I DID like that, all without touching the original coloring page.

With the colors chosen now was the fun part- coloring the page! The entire double-page spread was colored with 12 Crayola SuperTip markers, 1 black Sharpie and 1 Pen-Touch gold metallic fine point paint pen by Sakura.

I chose 5 colors that would make a good sunset gradient and filled in the sunset first, blending the colors together.

Yes. I BLENDED the Crayola markers together! There will be a post coming up soon sharing the technique on how I did it, so stay tuned!

Once the sunset was in place I colored the horizon bushes. The same tip that allows the water-based markers to blend also allowed me to work multiple layers of marker to scribble leafy impressions into the bushes. I also used the same color on the foreground bushes just behind the couple.

Then, using 5 greens for the hills, I drafted out where each color would meet and then blended them in the same manner as the sky.

The final step for the page’s focal point was to color in Westley and Buttercup, and the remaining bit of foreground. Adding the black really made the other colors POP and I could not be happier with how the page was turning out.

For the roses I started by using the same darkest red as for the sunset, to help tie them together. Every rose was completed in the same manner: first a quick outline over the outer edges of each petal and then filled in the rest with a paler pink marker. The end result, using the aforementioned technique, gives a result similar to that you’d get with alcohol markers, with the red and pink blending together to make a soft gradient.

For the leaves I chose the lightest and darkest of the greens from the hills and worked in a similar way as for the roses- first a quick hit of dark green along the spine and lower edge and then blended it out with a light green to fill in the rest of the leaf.

It was repetitive, but easy, and soon enough all the roses and leaves on both pages were complete.

This was the spread at that point. I quite liked it but it felt a bit unfinished. My initial idea was to color the entire background of the left page in black, but as the lettering is created by the voids between the roses the words would have become black as well and I didn’t really want that.

Thanks to my digital sketch I knew I liked the idea of a gold outline around each rose. It wasn’t quite filigree but gave me similar “gold-edged china teacup” vibes. I have a few sizes of Pen-Touch markers and the fine (1.0mm) point was perfect for this step.

The gold outline was the exact finishing touch it needed. When viewed directly (as the upper right of the page) the outline almost looks like a bolder black, throwing the wording into higher contrast. When viewed from an angle (as in the lower left) the metallic gold really shines and gives the romantic, antique feel I was going for.

To further tie the two pages together I added a gold outline to the circle using the same marker, and then both pages were complete.

I’ve reviewed the quality of this book before but wanted to add one more time what a joy it’s been to work on. This movie has been a family classic since my childhood, with us spending many nights watching it by the fire, and all of us able to recite it nearly by heart. I’ve loved it enough to own the movie

on VHS!

…the book…

Check out that blurb on the back!

…and even the POP figures.

My siblings’ kids even have the baby counting book!

Can you count 6 fingers on the Count’s right hand?

I hadn’t known the coloring book existed so it was a real treat to receive from my brother for Hanukkah a few years ago. Not only does it hit my nostalgic feels but the paper quality is great, the images are a great mix of stills and graphic prints, and it holds up very well to a variety of media and can support mixed media. A very high recommend!

And finally, as the final bonus Princess Bride fact: When the weather was particularly cold, André the Giant would place his giant hand over Robin Wright’s head, covering it entirely and keeping her warm. (Source)

*According to most online sources

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The Princess Bride Coloring Book – Copyright Page

Another The Princess Bride Coloring Book longstanding work in progress has been completed! Originally blogged about here, this third Princess Bride Month post is actually the second coloring page in the book itself – the Copyright Info page.

As mentioned in the original post, my plan for the page was start at the sun in the center and work downwards.  I used a few shades of yellow for the sun then started with the oranges, using the darkest color from each section as the palest in the next.  So if the first section used colors A and B as ABABAB then the next section was BCBCBC, then CDCDCD, and so on.  I’d planned the gradation deliberately timed so the blues would hit by the waves, then the teals/greens in the water.

This was all worked using the Derwent Inktense water-soluble ink pencils. You can activate the pencils as you complete each section but I love seeing the contrast between the dry and wetted inks so I’d waited until the entire page was colored before beginning to activate them. I use the Derwent water brushes for the larger areas and keep a blender marker in my water kit specifically for small areas that are easier with a marker point. You can use any alcohol marker brand’s colorless blender though I prefer to keep one in my kit solely for use with water-soluble pencils (and not also use it with markers). The one in my kit is Prismacolor colorless blender and I really like that it has both a bullet nib for fine details as well as a chisel tip in case I should need it.

Here is the full image after all the Inktense was activated.

It’s…okay but I wasn’t wowed by it. Rather than leave it be, I decided to put my gel pens to work. I have so many gel pens and they can start to dry out over time, so it was a fun challenge to put them to good use and match all the Inktense colors to my gel pen swatches.

I used the glitter gel pens from the Gelly Roll 6-pc Stardust collection, the larger (13) Stardust set from the Gelly Roll large pack, and the glitter selection from the Shuttle Art assorted gel pen set. Having a large variety helped me to find matching colors for all the Inktense, which was really great.

You can see the sparkly difference in the sun (above) and the waves (below).

Here’s the whole page complete. I only added accent glitter to the shrieking eels, and I didn’t put any on the ship.

Otherwise the entire page is COVERED in glitter and my inner magpie absolutely adores it!

Bonus: Every post this month will have a fun fact about the movie. This month’s little-know detail: Did you know there was almost a very different Fezzik? When the movie was originally planned to be made in the 1970s, a then-unknown Arnold Schwarzenegger was interested in playing the role. However by the time the movie was actually made he was too expensive to hire! (Source)

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The Princess Bride Coloring Book – Ownership Page

Today’s Princess Bride Month post is the ownership page from The Princess Bride Coloring Book. It has the same carved wood and buttercups as the title page, and features an open book where you can write your name.

I’d written about this page previously and detailed how I tried to match my name to the font style of the text on the facing page. I wasn’t very happy with it until I outlined the book’s letters as well, so the two would visually match.

In the end there wasn’t very much left to do on this page to consider it complete. I added a bit of shading with Polychromos colored pencils and then augmented the heart shape of the florals with a soft blue heart background. I wish I’d done it more diffused but it doesn’t bother me enough to change it at this point.

In random other news – yesterday was this blog’s 18th birthday!

Bonus: Every post this month will have a fun fact about the movie. This month’s little-know detail: Did you know the movie is even a hit with the mafia? Per director Rob Reiner: Yeah, I walked outside the restaurant, and John Gotti was there with six wiseguys. There was a guy beside the limo who looked like Luca Brasi. He looked at me, and said: ‘You killed my father … Prepare to die!’ I almost went right then! [Laughter.] He said, ‘I love dat movie, da Princess Bride!’ (Source)

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The Princess Bride Coloring Book – Title Page

All last month I posted completed coloring pages from my 2019-19-WIP-to-FO Challenge. When I looked through the assortment of pages I’d originally posted to see what was finished, I noticed the cover of The Princess Bride coloring book.

Specifically it was the gold banner in the top corner that caught my eye. 30th anniversary hmmm? I was pretty sure I’d received the book about 4-5 years prior so did a little digging and, sure enough it was 5 years ago, meaning that THIS year will be the 35th anniversary since The Princess Bride movie was released!

The official release date seems to vary, with the majority of sites listing it as September 25th 1987, a few listing October 9th 1987, and one saying October 1st. I’m going to go with the majority on this one and officially designate this September as The Princess Bride month! I’ve got a few long-term WIPs that have finally been finished and will be shared over the month, along with a brand new double-page spread that I completed last month specifically for the 35th anniversary and will have a tutorial to go along with it.

The first of these pages (literally, as it is the first in the book!) is the copy of the title page itself.

Back in 2017 I posted progress pics along with my method for how I’d colored each section. I’d used Derwent Inktense soluble ink pencils for the base layer and then gone over it with Polychromos colored pencils to boost some shadows and add highlights.

I was pretty happy with where I’d left off but decided the page needed a background to properly look complete. I selected 4 shades of green and lightly filled in the page with small sections of each color, being sure to overlap them slightly. I then went in with the Prismacolor Colorless Blender (one of my FAVORITE tools) and blended it out. In the image on the right you can see the left half has been blended but the upper right bit has not.

The background came out exactly as I’d hoped – soft, muted and almost velvety! I’m really pleased with it, and find it gave the page the finished look I was after.

With that, at long last, my very first page from The Princess Bride coloring book was complete. All posts referencing this book can be found via the Coloring page up top, or directly here.

Bonus: Every post this month will have a fun fact about the movie. This month’s little-know detail: The R.O.U.S.s were played by grown men in rat suits! One of them got into a fight with his wife and burned down their kennel, so the film crew bailed him out of jail so he could film the Fire Swamp scene. (Source)

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Grimm Fairy Tales’ Alice in Wonderland FO

Next up in the run of finished coloring pages I tackled for my 19-WIP-to-FO Challenge is from the Grimm Fairy Tales coloring book.

I’d started this page back in 2017(!!) using the cover of the coloring book itself as a reference.

I’d found this 24-pack of Staedtler Colored Pencils at my local dollar store and was curious about how they would compare to more expensive pencils. Would I be able to get good results without paying very much?

As always I swatched the colors first for my swatch book. They’re very soft and muted, and the swatches remind me a lot of the Marco Raffiné colored pencils I reviewed here.

The pencils have hard cores that hold a point well but the color payoff is not very vivid. Even with a lot of pressure they remain desaturated and soft-looking.

Using light layers I was able to build up some color depth but it wasn’t easy.

What I’d said in my previous challenge post about this page:

As the caption states, I wanted to finish this page primarily so I wouldn’t have to use the pencils any longer.

Once the image was complete I found it lacking without a background but didn’t have any inspiration for what to put. In the end I did soft swirls with pink, purple and blue to fill in the white space.

Start date: November 2 2017

Completion date: January 6 2022

Summary: can you get good results with cheap pencils? IMHO, sure. I enjoy using my other pencils more, but if you’re looking for soft colors, hard leads that will hold a point and have a decent assortment of colors, you could do a lot worse than these inexpensive pencils. I wouldn’t recommend them for professional artists but they’d be fine for kids, school or coloring books with small sections that need good points.

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Kerby Rosanes Imagimorphia Eagle Page FO

The third coloring-book-related 19-WIP-to-FO-2019 Challenge update is the “eagle” page from Kerby Rosanes’ Imagimorphia. What I’d said at the time:

At the time I’d done the rainbows and an assortment of small areas with Stabilo 88 and Staedtler Triplus fineliners, then worked the clouds with Neocolor II water-soluble crayons.

I still don’t know why I lost interest. Likely it was because so many fun coloring books had come out around the same time and my attention span was fickle 😉

When I resumed working on it I filled in the remaining areas with the same fineliners as well as my set of Feela double-ended markers that have a brush tip on one end and a fineliner on the other.

I added Inktense water-soluble ink pencils at the end for the background, but clearly had not yet figured out how to apply them without leaving streaks, sigh.

I can’t say I’m super thrilled with the final image, though I am quite happy it’s done.

If I were to start it all over again I’d pick a cohesive color palette with the Color Catalog first. Ignoring the larger picture and working everything as individual motifs gives a rather chaotic look in the end that I don’t think I pulled off well.

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Doodle Fusion Marco Raffiné Test Page & Review

The next 2019 WIP to FO Challenge update (posted a whole 3 years later…sigh) is this page from Doodle Fusion. I love this silly book so much and have completed a bunch of pages from it (unposted), as well as prepped some in my color wash attempts. As they’re all filled with an assortment of wacky monsters it’s hard to come up with a unique name to identify some of the pages so since this one was deliberately done solely with the Marco Raffiné oil-based colored pencils, it’s become known as my test page of such.

I started this Doodle Fusion page on September 8 2019 with the intent of completing an entire page with the Marco Raffinés to really get a feel of how they work and blend.

I really like these pencils! They’re inexpensive (especially compared to the Polychromos or Premiers), and though the different pencils can’t truly be compared as oil-based vs wax-based will give different results and be preferred for different projects by different artists, they have their own unique charm and have been a joy to use. They’re less vibrant than some other brands but are no less pigmented, so while you won’t get neon brights (making them not a good choice for a fun 80s page) they’re great for softer, almost whimsical looks. They’re also slightly water-soluble, as per my tests here.

The first three images below show the lazy progress made over the rest of that month. I’d worked on the page slowly, picking out individual creatures and sections at random depending on my mood at the time.

Posting my WIP-to-FO challenge publicly spurred me to continue working on it, and the fourth picture above was done in January of 2019. I did a bit more work that month and then my attention waned again…

…until October 2020 when I finally picked it back up, determined to finish it once and for all.

I added a fading border to the outer edges in order to test the pencils’ (and my own) shading and fading capabilities. Once that was complete I finished the remaining creatures and doodles.

Overall I think these pencils work wonderfully in this book. It’s a plain-paper coloring book which can make using wet media difficult (although the pictures are one-sided so bleeding won’t be an issue if you protect the subsequent pages with a sheet of cardstock or something. There isn’t a lot of tooth to the page which isn’t the best for colored pencils generally, but these have enough “stick” to really take to the page well. After 2 years the page looks identical to the image above with no bloom (as can happen with wax-based pencils) and no apparent fading.

The only flaw I can see with the Marco Raffinés is the color payout. A number of sections above (ie: the red ball cap, the red 6-legged monster near the middle, the purple creature at the bottom center, the crayon bodies) were colored with maximum pressure to get the darkest, fullest coverage possible. As you can see there are solid, even sections of color but no real “brightness”. To me, all of the colors have a softness to them, even at full strength making them feel almost desaturated. You can see the difference more clearly in my swatches below.

Every time I get new colored pencils I swatch them, labelling the swatches with the color name or number. The oil-based Marco Raffiné pencils (above) are lovely and soft, and very similar in tone to the Faber-Castell Polychromos (below), which are also oil-based.

The Polys have more colors but the feeling of the individual shades is still softer, almost velvety, whereas the wax-based Primsacolor Premier pencils (below) are brighter and more vivid. (Click on any of the swatch images for a better view).

If you’re looking for deep, bright colors then you might be dissatisfied with these…but for anyone else they make a great, inexpensive option to have in your coloring toolkit.

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The Time Garden – Quilt Page FO

This past Tuesday (Aug 2nd) was National Coloring Book Day. I’d originally planned to celebrate and post by working on a new page from one of my books but I’m working on a major knitting project that is requiring my time and my hands. Therefore instead I’ll be sharing some completed pages that were part of a previous blog post series of mine – my 2019 19 WIP to FO Challenge.

First up is the Quilt Page from Daria Song’s The Time Garden.

What I’d posted at the time:

This page took nearly 3 years (!!) to complete, due to nothing but me putting it off forever. I’d started it on June 11 2016 and finally finished it on March 7 2019 making it one of the 19-for-2019 WIPs actually FO’d during 2019.

The small sections and tiny details of the page made it ideal for fineliners. Except for some metallic accents (using my favorite Gel Xtreme pens that have lasted for literal DECADES) the whole page was worked with Stabilo 88s and Staedler Triplus fineliners.

The quilt flower blocks repeat on a diagonal so I chose a different color palette for each row and worked the same 5 colors for each stripe but rotated clockwise once for each repeat. (IE: the color that was at 12 o’clock in the first repeat was used at 1 o’clock in the 2nd, and 2 o’clock in the 3rd, etc). This kept the coloring more interesting than coloring the same thing many, many times over.

And then I stopped with only one set of repeat left to go. No idea why, but as I’d kept the paper with my swatch notes it was easy to pull out the matching colors and get to work finally finishing it up.

I used the same colors for the matching quilt flowers in the main character’s hair on the facing page. I’d had the idea of coloring her the same through the whole book so left her uncolored until I was ready to tackle her on all the pages.

It’s a busy, chaotic mess but it’s finally done!

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Iced Angry Birds Cake

Over the years I’ve made a couple Angry Birds-themed cakes. Two of them were for members of the same family, and even though they were made years apart I wanted them to each feel unique. For this first one I used minimal fondant and worked with an iced base.

Cakes like this are pretty easy to do, and while I don’t have full step-by-step pics I’ll outline the process.

The bottom layer was baked and prepared exactly as in my post on how to bake a cake and prepare it for decorating. I then decorated the sides with Smarties (M&Ms for my American readers) and set it aside.

The top layer also started as a 9″x13″ cake which was cut into the shape needed. As for most of my shaped cakes I started with a paper template scaled to the proper size on my computer.

The template serves two purposes. First I used it to trace out fondant pieces for the eyes, brows and beak. As I didn’t want to cut into the template I used a straight pin (that I keep for food use only) to pierce the shapes’ outlines into rolled fondant. The resulted dotted line is easy to cut out with a knife or fondant cutter and the individual pieces can be attached to each other with a bit of water or fondant glue. The eyebrows and pupils were cut from pre-tinted black fondant, the beak was cut from white fondant tinted yellow with icing gels, and the eyes were cut from white fondant later outlined with a black food marker. Before putting away my fondant supplies I also cut out the birthday boy’s name from red-tinted fondant with alphabet-shaped cookie cutters.

Then I used the same paper template on top of the cooled cake and cut around it to cut the cake itself to the proper shape. (You can do these steps in the reverse order but sometimes cake will stick to the underside of the paper and that can discolor your fondant. Another option is to trace the cake shape onto wax paper or parchment paper which won’t stick as easily)

The second cake was then iced with red and white icing to match Red’s proportions and finally the fondant topper was added.

The fondant pieces give the cake a polished look while requiring minimal shaping or sculpting ability, making this a great way for beginners to try out fondant for the first time.

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S.N.A.C.K. Time

Chances are that a number of you who follow my posts here also follow NerdECrafter over on YouTube, but for those who don’t I wanted to share the news that Jackie’s got a new craft kit out!

Last year she put out her very own craft kit – the Not Another Crap Kit. The heavy box was packed full of supplies and included (sing it with me) Everything You Need.

I bought one and really enjoyed making custom characters with my boys. It was a great activity that kept them busy during the Christmas holidays, and they really impressed me with their artistic skills!

A full post about their creations will come but here’s a little glimpse:

As a fellow Montreal-er I’m so happy that the first box sold out well enough that she’s now got another out – the SUPER Not Another Crap Kit – aka S.N.A.C.K.!

Per the Smart Art description, this new kit has a value of over $250 and is “full of a completely new set of crafting supplies that even the most experienced of crafters may find brand new! Featuring a hand-sculpted mold by Jackie herself, let your imagination soar and create your own mythical beast to inspire even the saltiest of grains. With stunning paints, a sharp pointy thing, and your very own airbrush, think outside the box and craft something truly all your own.”

Unlike the first kit that featured a humanoid-shaped character, this new one is more mythically-based, while still having the armature holes to allow you to add wings, tails, or anything else you desire!

The first kit gave the boys and I our first introduction to UV resin and this new kit is an introduction to airbrushing, as it even comes with an actual portable airbrush kit and paints (along with figure, base and wing molds, clay, tools, brushes, and everything else down to rubber bands to help hold the mold together).

This is not an ad– I bought the first kit because I wanted to support a local crafter and this post is for exactly the same reason.

Find the kit, and more information, here!