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Use sandpaper to improve the tooth of coloring book pages

Today, September 14th, is National Coloring Day. Of course coloring isn’t limited to coloring books, but over the last few years they’ve definitely become more prevalent! Whether they’re your preferred place to apply color or something you only do with kids, you’ve likely noticed that the paper quality can vary greatly. From thick cardstock to what’s basically printer paper, the type of paper will affect everything from what media you can use in the book to if you can actually color both sides of the same page.

On average, most adult coloring books use a slightly thicker-weight white paper that can handle all dry media as well as water-based markers, with some bleed-through if you press too hard or go over the same spot repeatedly. Crayons and colored pencils will lay down pretty evenly as the paper has little-to-no tooth, but if you’re the kind of artist who prefers to work with a more textured paper, here’s a tip that can help transform the books you already own – sandpaper!

I’ll demonstrate this in my copy Archie’s Coloring Book (and there’s a video demonstration at the end of the post).

This is a great book that is jam-packed with tons of images of Archie and the gang, showcasing everyone from the core trio to side characters (Dilton, Moose, Cheryl, Sabrina, Josie and the Pussycats, Miss Grundy, Mr. Weatherbee), to the ‘Lil Archie gang. Even Jughead’s dog Hotdog appears in all his shaggy glory!

I first thought about this back in 2017 after watching one of SuperRaeDizzle’s videos on dollar store art supplies. If you don’t follow her you really should – she’s a fantastic artist who does a lot of art supply reviews and draws/paints with incredible realism. In the linked video she uses a sanding block to rough up a sheet of inexpensive Bristol board to give it a better drawing surface.

I thought it was really cool but didn’t think it applied to me – until I started wondering if the same technique would work in what I was using a lot of at the time – coloring books. In theory it seemed like it should work but with the paper so much thinner than Bristol board I didn’t know if it would work. Would it tear the paper? Would it destroy the printed outlines? Would the ink bleed?

I had to try it for myself. To make the results as clear as possible I chose a page that allowed me to clearly divide the page into two halves.

I left the Veronica side of the page untouched and sandpaper I had on-hand to lightly rough up the Betty side of the page.

Here you can see the before (left) and after (right). There’s no obvious distress to the page though if you look closely at the black line of Betty’s shirt near the guitar you can see faint striae where the ink was removed.

To hold the book open while I worked I used my pants hanger hack. Still highly recommend!

I then set about coloring the page with Faber-Castell Polychromos colored pencils. I was careful to color in both girls the same way, using the same colors and applying the same amount of pressure.

Right away you can see a difference! Coloring on the Veronica side was exactly like coloring with colored pencils on computer printer paper (though I think this paper is slightly thicker). It’s super smooth and flat without any tooth or texture at all, and the colored pencil glided over the page really easily. On the Betty side I could feel the roughened-up surface of the page and it gave the colored pencil something to grab to, making coloring a very different experience.

It’s difficult to put the feeling into words but coloring the Veronica side felt like I had to concentrate more, because my natural tendency was to use more pressure to get more color payoff, whereas on the Betty side the same amount of barely-there pressure gave a richer color payoff.

Coloring on the super-smooth side made me very conscious of trying to not color too hard because it took more work to lay color down. On the flip side, coloring on the textured side of the page made color application a breeze, to the point where I had to concentrate on not applying too much and losing any highlights.

Both sides are colored the exact same way, using different colors for shading. I didn’t want to do anything too fancy because this was only a test; it was more about seeing if the sandpaper would ruin the book or any attempts to color vs me trying to get a professional-looking result.

I’d sanded the guitar evenly down the middle and thought there would be a more obvious difference between the two sides but I’d say it’s pretty subtle. Again- the sanded side has more depth and more color payoff while using the exact same pressure as the unsanded side.

I was also curious if sanding the paper would affect marker application, so decided to fill in the music notes with a mix of sparkle and metallic gel pens, in black and charcoal. I was really happy to see that there didn’t seem to be any effect on how the gel ink applied, and that both sides had the same amount of glitter and shine in the light.

Finally I wanted to see if there would be any issues coloring on larger open areas, so I picked two colors and experimented with blending them to each other. In my first layer of color (2nd image from the left) you can see that both sides are streaky but the funny thing is it’s for different reasons!

Veronica’s side is streaky because I struggle with laying down barely any color…though I probably didn’t have a proper point on my pencil, which didn’t help. Whereas Betty’s side is streaky because that’s the grain from the direction I’d sanded. You can see it better in the image below (though I sort of like the streaky look on her jeans because it makes them look more like real denim LOL)

The last test that I did was to compare the difference that burnishing would make on either side. I went over both sides of the guitar with my beloved Prismacolor Premiere colorless blender and really tried to smooth any grain down and move the color to fill any remaining white areas. I have the page open in front of me as I type this and while my fingertip can tell the difference between the two sides it is SLIGHT, and definitely not as much of a contrast as the rest of the page halves.

(And truthfully I’m not completely convinced that I’d feel a texture difference there at all if I hadn’t sanded too hard in that spot, as you can see by the diagonal lines of indentation on the lower right of the guitar)

Here’s the completed page. If I didn’t know that one side had been sanded I would think that I’d colored harder on the right side, and possibly used a different color for Betty’s jeans and background, as I do feel that there’s a visible difference in this closeup.

I don’t find the difference is as obvious in this image, though I’m not sure if it’s because the black background is causing a distraction.

After trying this once I’m a convert! I have a large collection of coloring books and I think this technique opens up a world of possibilities for getting different effects and results with colored pencils, crayons, and pastels. The opportunities expand even further if you experiment with different grits of sandpaper!

Imagine coloring a fantasy scene and sanding a grassy area with one grade of sandpaper, bricks of a castle with another, and the bark of a tree with a third… you could get a whole range of textural effects within the image all before even laying down any color!

Other notes: in the video below you’ll see a little bit of ink smearing. That was due to pressing too hard with the sandpaper, so it’s avoidable but something to watch out for. I was happy to see that there was no consequence to the back of the sanded page, nor any texture transfer on the facing page.

Here’s a graphic for those of you who like to pin my posts, and as promised above, here below is a video showing this technique in action.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Happy Birthday Sweet Seventeen

Seventeen years ago, on September 7 2004, I started this blog. Yes, this creative passion project of mine is officially old enough to be in college and donate blood. It began on Blogger in the boom of knitting/craft blogs that fed blogrolls and Yahoo swaps and RAOK groups.  We’ve seen the onset of Ravelry and Worldwide Knit In Public Day, and welcomed pattern sources like Knitty, Craftsy, Twist Collective, St Denis Yarns and others before having to say goodbye to some of them.

With YouTube, Instagram and TikTok flooding the internet with video-based creative content, running a blog feels almost antiquated. I’ve been asked by friends and family why I don’t switch to another format but the truth is… I don’t want to. I love video tutorials. I follow a TON of craft-content YouTubers, and have saved a huge amount of “try one day” crafty TikToks to my favorites list too, so it’s not a critique of the other formats. They absolutely have their place, especially for some techniques or tutorials that can really only best be shown in video. That said, I still think there’s a place for blogs and photo-based project/pattern support.

My “blogaversary” this year falls on the first day of Rosh Hashana, which is the Jewish New Year.  I think that makes it perfect timing for a long-overdue blog restart. (I know, I know, I’ve said this before. Shhhh!) Coincidentally I was born on was erev (eve) Rosh Hashanna (we won’t say how long ago!) so Happy birthday to the blog, happy sort of birthday to me, and happy Jewish New Year!

To celebrate 17 years in the public craft domain I’ve scoured the site, my notes, folders, and metadata and picked 17 fun, interesting or long-forgotten items from my blogging history.

1-7

Numbers 1-7 are from the archives.  These are posts even I forgot about!  Some are helpful tips, some are free patterns/tutorials, and all are added to the How To section above.

8

Even when I don’t post regularly I get a steady stream of visitors (thanks!) and I’m always curious to see what search terms bring people my way.  So number 8 is my top referrer keywords from back in my Blogger days.  Funny enough it’s a tie between two completely random things that have almost nothing to do with my site: “cute japanese cartoons” & “hangman”.  I’m guessing the former is related to the time I knit a Japanese boy band, but the latter?  NO idea.

9

Number 9 is the results of my top search terms after migrating the blog to WordPress.  Unfortunately/fortunately Google has been encrypting the vast majority of search terms since 2013 so 9771 of my results are “unknown”.  Of the list that remains the top three terms are: “Toothless”, “pocketbook slippers”, and “pocket book slippers”, likely linking back to these two projects (Toothless, slippers).  Wanna know the lowest search result that brought someone my way?  “Long hair cut feet”.  I wonder how disappointed the searcher was to find my post was literally about a long hair transformation??

10

Number 10 is a really cool fact- I’ve had visitors from 170 different countries!  The majority are, unsurprisingly, from Canada and the United States, but rounding out the top 20 are the UK, Australia, Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands, Mexico, France, Iceland, Spain, Italy, the Philippines, Israel, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Argentina, Hungary and Denmark.

11-14

Numbers 11-14 are my the top 4 posts since switching to WordPress.  I had a hunch what these were because they keep Pinterest flashing up on my phone.  What I didn’t expect was that the top post would outrank second place by more than double!

15

I’ve spent the last few months poring over my unshared projects and planning out a blog schedule for the year.  For number 15 I thought it would be fun to look through my folders and see just how old my oldest unshared project truly is. There was a lot to wade through but I found it!  Coming in at over a decade old a crafty hack that you’ll see on the block next year dates all the way back to February 2010!

16

Looking through all those projects was a fun trip down a creative memory lane.  As number 16 here’s a little teaser of a post I can’t wait to share in full…

Any guesses?

17

And finally, for making down this far: number 17 is a picture of me at the same age as this blog.

Whether you’ve been here since day 1 or day 6204, thanks for being a part of my creative adventures. I run this blog for me, but I love sharing it with you. ♥

*All search terms and other totals above were accurate as of the date of preparing this post.


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Create This Book December Challenge – and Introducing a New One

It’s January, so that means out with the old, and in with the new… challenge. While I didn’t get as far as posting my backlog of projects and tutorials, the monthly posting (self-imposed) commitment did keep me going, and I’m going to take it a step further in 2021.

But first- let’s close out the current challenge. For the 12th and final time: each month in 2020 my 11yo son Henri and I chose a page from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1) and each of us completed the page in our own books. Now the year has gone by, Henri will be 12 next week, and there’s a link to all past pages at the bottom of this post.

For December Henri chose the “Create Art with Wax” spread on pages 52-53.

Instead of coloring with the crayons, he wanted to try a heat-and-drip method. He used regular Crayola and Cra-Z-Art wax crayons, and I decided to get “fancy” and go with the Crayola Twistables I’d used back in May.

Note- don’t do this. First of all, if you don’t twist the crayon out enough, you can start melting the plastic. Secondly, the glitter ones kept making strands (like when you use a glue gun). Thirdly, they don’t melt that great before starting to scorch, and finally – they burn. As in, like a candle. As in they hold a flame and now you’re just holding fire. I was able to time how long to heat them for, but I wouldn’t allow my kids to try to heat these. Stick to using them on paper.

We used the candle as our heat source and started playing around. Looking back at this pic I remember how well I thought it was starting. It wasn’t great by any means – they didn’t melt well and they dried super fast so I only got one dab onto the paper before having to re-heat… but it seemed like it would be ok…

<cough> …and then this mess happened. I have no words. Like, it’s just… ugly. I tried to embrace the “no rules, just go with it” but then also tried to do… something? The combination doesn’t work. These crayons for melting doesn’t work. Nothing you see here works LOL

In fact I like the blotting paper I kept on the side better than the actual “artwork”.

I even like the dusting page where we swept up all the wax bits better than the actual art!

So it’s no surprise that once again Henri kicked my ass!

Seriously. The kid made a freaking sunset over water.

How cool is that??? I love it. I’m tempted to give him a canvas and a lighter and ask him to make me one for my wall. (Kidding).

(Mostly).

And that’s a wrap on the year!

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

Final thoughts: this was a really fun experience to do all year. I loved having an art challenge with my child, and getting to see his creativity and the ways it can be similar or different from my own. I loved watching him hunched over the book or getting excited over an idea, and I love that I have the book as a memento of his talents at this point in time (and future ones as we keep filling in the pages).

Favorite page(s) of Henri’s: I love his February because it’s got so many weird and random elements (pooping apple?!?) that reflect his sense of humor. Speaking of which, I LOVE his September page! Not only the idea but the execution. Oh, and his July! He made it look like a full magazine spread!

Favorite page(s) of mine: I think March was my most “professional” page, so the part of me that feels like the art I present to the world needs to be reflective of skill, I’m proud of that one. April takes me back to my childhood, as a card fold I learned in an early art class when I was about 8 or 9 is one I still use today for fun “talking” cards, and this page will always remind me of 2020 and social distancing and quarantining and cuddling with my boys and giggling over cool TikTok videos. I also really like my October. I haven’t freehand drawn anything publicly (outside of Becket stuff) and it felt good to flex those muscles again.

Finally I think I like November for both of us. I created my first OC in years, and he wow’d me with the details and thought he puts into his drawings. He doesn’t miss a thing.

So now that 2020 is done, it’s time to reveal my 2021 challenge. It’s actually one I was looking into about a year or so ago, but then forgot about. When it came to mind on Jan 1 I knew it was a sign, because one of my current goals is to teach myself Procreate, and this challenge can be either physical or digital. I sprung for the digital version, and on January 1st 2021 I sat down and did my first square in the One Year Doodle Challenge by Jennifer (SeaLemon on YouTube).

My short explanation is that it’s a year (undated, so you can start anytime, any year) of doodle prompts, but you can watch her full explanation video:

I’m going to do my best to do one doodle per day and then post the full month somewhere in the first week of the following month.

As a little preview, here’s my January 1 square “balloon”. I was going to draw a regular balloon but went for a balloon animal instead. If I’d been sketching by hand on paper, I’d have put in the actual 3D perspective with the other legs and ear behind the ones shown. But I’m still learning layers and shading and didn’t want to have the extra elements to get me frustrated. As it was I should have used the function that smooths the lines, because my balloon would look way better without wonky edges, and the smudge function annoys me because it doesn’t smudge like I feel it should… Nonetheless I’m quite pleased with my little doodle and looking forward to seeing how far I come by Dec 31.

Happy New Year!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book November Challenge

As the year keeps slipping away, so do the days in the month. This challenge page WAS actually completed in November, but I wasn’t able to post it in time. I’d be upset but… it’s 2020. Really, in the grand scheme of things, a few days late is a total win. 😉

As you’ve seen every month this year, each month in 2020 my 11yo son Henri and I are choosing a page from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1) and each of us are completing the page in our own books. There’s a link to all past pages at the bottom of this post.

For this month Henri picked the “create a combo” theme on page 185.

As usual Henri’s creativity wow’d me. He decided to combine his favorite people (his family) and his favorite objects (video games), and game up with this detailed scene:

I didn’t even fully appreciate all the thought he put into it until I was taking close up pics for this post.

That isn’t just a shelving unit – it’s got a hinged door that’s open! The screen says “Press any button to start”!

In his dream world, his custom wall unit has one side that’s a full speaker sound system!

He thought through his image enough to include not only a virtual game and the PS4 up on the shelf, but to even have a PS4 game BOX with bar code on the front (does that make it a rental? LOL)

He even made his family game a WIKI PAGE where you can look up each of the game items and characters! Typos and wonky thumb placement (his words) aside, it’s clear he didn’t just half-ass this challenge but rather put in the time and details to make it as real as possible. And he did it in under 15 minutes.

This kid. ❤

When it came time to do my own page, I knew right away which 2 of my favorite things I’d put together. Ladybugs and snakes! They’re both special to me, and totems in their own ways, and as soon as I hit on the idea of a snake with ladybug markings I was sold.

I did a quick browse online and found a snake lineart in the appropriate derpy pose for what I wanted. I used it to make a quick sketch of the basic snake shape, and then looked up the proper ladybug markings.

All those eraser marks on the face show that I initially did what many people do and confused ladybugs with Asian lady beetles, and drew the classic “M”-shaped white head marking, as well as the large white shapes. Oops!

After I sorted out my sketch I did a quick fill in with my Feela markers. Nothing fancy, just some quick color sections and called it a day.

I think he turned out really cute! Kind of looks like a snake wearing a Red Riding Hood cloak that happens to have polka dots, or a snake in a dotted pj onesie. I haven’t created my own OC since I was in my teens, but this would definitely be my newest one. Ladysnake? Snakabug? Ladke? Snug? Whatever breed he is, I want a plushie of one!

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book October Challenge

October’s Create This Book challenge page was a fail from the start, because we should have picked a page we could complete with a Halloween theme. Fail #2 was not posting it within the actual month of October. But the page itself isn’t a fail, because I’m really happy with how it came out!

For anyone not following, every month in 2020 my 11yo son Henri and I are choosing a page from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1) and each of us completing the page in our own books. There’s a link to all past pages at the bottom of this post.

For this month Henri picked the “favorite cartoon character” theme on page 175.

Henri’s still on a Henry Stickmin kick and drew a few moments from the game. He traced a glue stick to get perfect circles for Henry, Ellie and Charles’ heads, and then freehanded the rest.

I love how easily he’s able to recreate what he sees freehanded (and often without reference photos), and I especially love the touches he added like the shadow under Ellie.

I was going to sketch up Harley Quinn but decided instead to go with my girl, Betty Cooper (from the comics, not the show). I found an image I liked online, and I’ll be honest- I was going to trace it. I was in the mood to color, but not to draw so I planned to take the easy way out.

And then I decided to draw after all, and accept however it turned out.

I started by sketching the outline of the face and then started blocking in the features.

Thickening the lines to match the widths of the comic really did a lot to make it look more accurate, though it did take me a lot of erasing and redoing until I got it to a point I was happy with.

It’s not quite perfect – her face should be longer so she’s a little squished between the nose and chin… but all in all I’m happy with my accuracy.

I filled in the inking lines with the brush end of my Feela markers. (There will be a full review on those coming soon, I’ve been using them a lot and really love them, especially for coloring book fans). Adding the black lines really helped me to see what worked and what didn’t. It still looks pretty good, but I can still see the shortened face.

The paper in this book is thin, and the water-based marker does bleed and ghost. But the page on the back asks one to “attach” something so I don’t think it will be an issue to cover in the future.

The next step was coloring, which I was really down for. I was watching the Big Brother 22 (All Stars 2) finale and it was something relaxing to do while enjoying the drama on screen.

Betty’s pretty simple, in terms of color. No shading, no highlights, just block color fills in the outlined areas.

I could have left the page as-is, but long-time blog readers will know I’m growing addicted to colorless blenders. I have a bad habit of “saving” things I like and not using them, and I’ve been trying to force myself to USE these things and not worry I’m “wasting” them by using them for their intended purpose. (Plus, it’s 2020. If ever there was a time for enjoying the little things, it’s now!)

Here you can see the difference before and after. Betty’s face was colored only with the Polychromos, but her neck has been gone over with the colorless blender. Just colored as you would normally, only instead of adding pigment, it blends the existing pigment together, smoothing it and filling in the white areas left on the paper. (Effectively, this burnishes the coloring, so you only want to do this after you’re done coloring, because it would be very difficult to lay down any more color afterwards).

Here’s Betty after I’ve blended the whole page. It really transforms the look! I find it makes it look more complete, and more professional. I’m always looking to improve my skills so these blenders are one tool I’m thrilled to have discovered.

Finally, I went back over some of the black lines with the brush end of my marker, to touch up areas where I’d gone out of the lines and the colored pencil showed on top of the borders.

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book September Challenge

September has come to and end, so now it’s time to share mine & Henri’s year-long challenge of doing one page from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1) each month. There’s a link to all past posts at the bottom of this post. For this month Henri picked the “shared drawing” theme on page 88.

Henri went first and drew this for me to complete:

(The right page was completely blank, but I forgot to take a photo until I’d already started sketching). It’s a dabbing dude wearing a Henry Stickmin dabbing shirt. (The Henry Stickmin Collection has been all over YouTube these days as assorted gaming channels play through, and the boys have been enjoying watching their favorites find every fail).

For my side (the right) I did my best to copy Henri’s style and make it look like one complete image. I think I did pretty good! (And I can use the excuse of copying the style to excuse my horrible hand drawing LOL)

When it came to my page, I decided to make Henri have to think and be creative.

I drew an iphone and told him he could draw any app he wanted on it’s screen. He decided instead to draw the lock screen, and I love it!!

In keeping with the Henry Stickmin theme, he drew Henry doing the Distraction Dance… specifically the one at 0:49sec here:

He did so good! He put the time, the date, even the “swipe to unlock” at the bottom… he even remembered to put the little connection etc icons at the top! I love it.

He did so good I don’t even care that he used permanent markers that bled through the page. I’m always in awe of his talent and I’m really happy that I have this drawing in my book to keep. 🙂

And that’s our challenges for this month. He’s already picked out October’s, so we can get started on them early for a change.

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book August Challenge

It’s the last day of the month, so once again it’s time to share mine & Henri’s year-long challenge of doing one page from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1) each month. There’s a link to all past posts at the bottom of this post. For this month Jakob decided to pick for us, and picked the “unusual combo” theme on page 35.

Henri loves food, so it was no surprise at all that he used foods in yet another page in this book.

He decided to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the Cronut and Krispy Kreme hamburger, and created a donut made out of pizza. Not gonna lie – I’d eat it.

For my own post, for some reason I kept thinking about pompoms. (The fact that I was literally surrounded by yarn while working up samples for my mask lanyards probably has something to do with that). The first “odd combo” that came to mind was a lamp made from pompoms, so I ran with it… even though it’s not all that crazy and is probably already a product that exists for sale.

I started with a quick pencil sketch, then loosely blocked in where the pompoms would go.

Then I went over the design with a 01 Micron fineliner, drawing in every little line of fluff.

Once the outline was in, I colored in the page with my Marco Raffiné colored pencils.

They’re oil-based pencils (as opposed to wax-based like Prismacolor Premieres), and have a harder core than the also oil-based Faber-Castell Polychromos, which make them great for holding sharp points.

They’ve got a lovely pigmentation but I find they often appear “softer” than Polys, as if the colors are more muted, or desaturated. I still love them, however, and they work beautifully on the paper in this book.

The soft color worked great with the pastel look I had in mind, in any case, and it didn’t require much pressure to apply color to the page.

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book July Challenge

Those of you following along know that every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). It’s getting too long to list each month’s challenge but they’re all linked for you at the bottom of this (and each month’s) post(s). This month he picked the “create an ad” page on page 99 …of which I again forgot to take a blank “before” pic.

It’s been fun figuring out ways to interpret the challenges, but by far my favorite part of each month’s task has been seeing how Henri completes his pages. This month he’d been watching a lot of Captain Sauce’s Slime Rancher playthroughs, and that led to this:

I love it! ❤

He made his ad for one of the pink slimes from Slime Rancher, and all the details just crack me up, from the star callout behind the grinning slime, to the “Pre-order today at slimeplush.com” at the bottom LOL

He even drew a cartoon page on the facing page so it would look like a magazine ad! He picked a few of his favorite asdf gags and drew them out as comic panels.

I, on the other hand, wasn’t as creative. When I knew I had to draw an ad I went for the first thing that came to mind… (sorry Kelis!)

First I did a quick pencil sketch.

Once the sketch was done I erased the whole page to leave only a faint outline, and then went over it with my Derwent Metallic watercolor pencils. I put a sheet of plastic-backed cardstock (saved from a package of bedsheets) under the page to protect the rest of the book from water damage. I could have Gesso’d the page first, to seal it for painting, but tbh I was really busy this month and put the page off until the last minute, so didn’t think of it until it was too late. 😉

The paper really isn’t made for water media, so instead of spreading the paint, it absorbed the water and nothing blended. I ended up having to go in with a 2nd layer on the damp paper, and would have kept going until it looked as intended if the paper hadn’t started to tear. My plan was for a blended watercolor background but obviously that didn’t work out.

Without waiting for the paper to fully dry, I went in with some Micron fineliners and inked in the details.

I used thicker Sharpies for the bold text…(immediately regretting the pink squiggles smh)…

…then finally added outlines again with the Microns.

And here’s the final page. It’s not quite what I had in mind, but that’s the risk you take using permanent media. Oh well. I still plan to use paint and watercolors in this book, but at least now I know that the paper doesn’t like it at all so I can adapt.

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book June Challenge

It’s going to be a fast one this month – literally! (In fact, it took me longer to create this post than it did to create the page it’s based on).

Every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). For January he choose page 163 (create an empty setting), for February it was page 208 (the “food” page), March was page 207 (the “something different” challenge), April was page 23 (the “folds” page), May was page 47 (the “bumpy” page) (links to all previous posts in this series below), and for June he picked the “quick sketches” page on page 39 (of which I completely forgot again to take a “before” blank picture).

This month’s task is to “Create Quick Sketches” – specifically to draw something in 1 minute or less. Henri wanted to draw Peely, one of his favorite Fortnite skins.

What an appealing fella.

Specifically, he used this reference image, saying “he’s so cute and derpy!” (Lol)

Here’s his quick sketch:

Full confession- he REALLY underestimated how fast 1 minute really is, and the first time he tried he was going for accuracy and only got as far as an eyeball and maybe one side of the banana. So we let him start over (his big brother Jakob was manning the timer).

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I brought my book with me to my mom’s and when about to start I noticed the “repeat” directive that Henri had missed during his attempt, and since I was stuck for ideas I just did some quick sketches of the various parts of the yard as shown above.

And that’s it for this month! Nothing much to show but another page down and another month’s challenge fulfilled. 🙂

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Create This Book May Challenge

There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes, but all I have to currently show for it is this month’s Create This Book Challenge, yet again coming in just under the wire.

Every month in 2020 my 11-year-old son Henri and I will be completing a challenge from Moriah Elizabeth‘s Create This Book (vol 1). For January he choose the “create an empty setting” on page 163, for February it was the “food” page on page 208, March was the “something different” challenge on page 207, April was the “folds” page on page 23, (links to all previous posts in this series below), and for May he picked the “bumpy” page on page 47 (of which I completely forgot to take a “before” blank picture).

We both wound up completing the page with similar themes of fun and playfulness. In Henri’s case it meant mixing his two current obsessions – LEGO and Minecraft. He used a LEGO plate for the texture and then drew two LEGO minifigs, one regular and one in a Minecraft-style.

This close-up really shows the texture in the page. I thought using a LEGO plate was a great idea!

I’ve been planning a bunch of plastic canvas projects and decided to use some scrap strips as my texture base. While the page does say to “try to write or draw something” I’ve been working on detailed items lately and was really craving the opportunity to color and not really think. I decided to relax and have fun with this page and simply rub the texture of my own current obsession.

Once that idea took hold, there was no alternative but to grab some crayons and really let my inner kid come out to scribble-scrabble. I dove into the crayon bag and came out with these Crayola Fun Effects Mini Twistables – multicolor twist-up no-sharpen crayons .

This wasn’t a page that took long, nor does it look like anything special beyond a riot of irregular color… but it was FUN. For the first time in a few months I didn’t have to think about what I was doing or plan the next few steps. I just sat and scribbled and watched the bright colors mix and blend and honestly? It felt really good.

A few days later I watching one of Moriah’s current videos within which she responds to a question about saving art supplies to combat the feeling of wasting them by using them up, and was reminded of these glitter pens I own. The white one is gold glitter in a clear base by Wink of Stella, and the black one is silver glitter in a clear base by Spectrum Noir, and while I love them (and ADORE glitter) I just… never use them. I never consider a project “worthy” or “appropriate”.

So I glitter-bombed my bumpy page.

I always forget how pressure-sensitive these glitter brushes can be, so accidentally saturated that middle block with the silver. That whole square was covered with silver glitter, the one to its lower right was covered with gold, and then I randomly did a few stripes and individual squares of each color around the page.

I was trying to limit how moisture-warped the page got so rather than let it dry naturally I broke out my heat tool and quickly dried the page. (Amazon seems out of the identical model but this one looks the same and is inexpensive).

Unfortunately because this is regular paper it did stay warped even once tried, but it didn’t tear through so I’m not mad about it. (Possibly the wax from the crayons protected the paper from actually ripping, though, so be cautious using very watery media in this book.)

Here’s the final page. Nothing polished, nothing professional or fancy. I didn’t even follow the instructions.

It’s chaotic and crazy and loud and sparkly, but it makes me smile. 🙂

It’s a sparkly rainbow, how could it not? 😀

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.