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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.

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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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!

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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Cartoon Girls Trio – UPDATE (19WIPtoFO2019)

Back in January 2019 (!) I posted 19 projects I was determined to complete in 2019.  Spoiler alert – I failed – but I have made significant progress on about half of the projects on the list. Inspired by the recent Masters of the Universe and Suicide Squad remakes, here’s the current progress on my trio of 80s cartoon girls.

What I said: I’ve never shown these before, except for the odd glimpse in the background of Instagram pics.  I started this trio of plastic canvas portraits when I moved in August 2017.  While I love how they look in black and white (and blue), I designed them to be in full color and I’d love to see them complete.

What I did: Quite a bit of progress! 

I’d never shown them on the blog prior to that post, so here’s a look back at how they got to where they are now.

I’d moved in 2017 and was really excited to be able to fill my space with all the crafty, nerdy little things that make me who I am. 

Every shelf and table has some item that references my varied interests, and I’ve even used some previous projects as home décor – see the Minecraft heads from my tutorials peeping from above the kids’ desk, along with an as-yet-unshown secret project hidden among the books – so I was really excited to fill a blank wall space in my dining room with a handmade project.

First I purchased three of the largest plastic canvas sheets I could find. When looking for inspiration for what to stitch on them I really didn’t need to look very far. There are Archie comics in nearly every room in my house, thanks to my kids enjoying them as much as I do. In addition to the coloring book from my last post, I’ve drawn Betty on the blog here before, and Henri had drawn Archie a few years back. (He was even an Archie comics character for Hallowe’en last year, and I’ll be sharing that project here in October.) So clearly, Betty Cooper would be one of my cartoon trio.

Initially I drafted up Betty, Archie and Veronica, and planned out a triptych of the three of them, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it was Betty specifically that I like, and that I didn’t care if I saw Archie and Veronica daily, so I scrapped them and looked around for more inspo. As soon as I had the freedom to look beyond Riverdale I knew Harley Quinn HAD to be one of them. I’ve adored her for decades, and she’s featured in assorted places around my house, including in two different spots on this one shelving unit:

Finally, it wasn’t hard to decide on Teela as my third girl. I grew up watching He-Man and playing with the toy sets along with my younger brothers. I don’t know if it’s that she’s a strong, independant woman or if it was because she often wore a cobra headpiece and had a snake staff, and I’ve always adored snakes… but either way she had to be the one to complete my cartoon trio. I’ve shared Teela and a portion of my 80s toy collection on the blog before, and they’ve now found a home in a cabinet along with other childhood relics:

The hard part done, the next step was to create charts for each character. Instead of doing it the easy way and importing reference images into a stitch software, I decided to go the hard route and chart them myself in Excel. I found reference images for each character, adjusted the Excel cells to be square and marked off an area with the same stitch count as my total canvas size. From there it was just a matter of redrawing each girl, pixel-art style, and tweaking the design until they looked right. I’d originally planned to use continental stitch to save time, but quickly realized the angles would be skewed and that cross-stitch would be best, using one stitch for every pixel/cell in my chart.

I ordered a bunch of yarn from Knit Pics, then got started.

Here you can see the initial stages. I didn’t want to have to refer to the charts throughout the entire stitching process so decided to start with the black outlines first, so I could then later fill them in, coloring-book-style. Plus I didn’t know how long they would take to complete into full color and wanted to be able to hang them on the wall in the meantime. Considering I started these in 2017 and I’m typing this post in 2021, I’m glad I had that foresight!!

After finishing most of Betty I moved on to chart HQ next. I bet you’re wondering why I left Betty mostly done instead of finishing the rest of her border? Took me a moment to remember too lol but it’s because I left myself things to work on that didn’t require concentration, so when I had more time I would work on HQ and follow my charts, and when I had the kids with me or was watching something that required more focus I could work on Betty’s border that didn’t require much thought or any chart reference. Basically it was the cross-stitch equivalent of having knitting or crochet projects of varying difficulty levels.

Once the outlining was all done I worked on each of their eyes, as I thought it would look better on the wall, and truthfully HQ was a bit creepy without them. Then, while I still had the blue out, I added Betty’s shirt. Her top was red in my reference image but blue is my favorite color so I swapped it out, plus I liked having a color that was in each of the 3 images, to help tie them together. The middle pic above is the one posted on the blog back in 2019, and where they sat for basically most of the last 3 years. At some point I filled in their mouths and got started on Betty’s skin, and that’s where I’d stopped and moved on to other projects.

Eventually I started working on them again. I’d always had it in mind to work on equal parts of each, so as they hung on the wall they’d look similar in completion. First Betty had the slow progress on her face and neck…

…and then this past summer Teela got the same treatment, using stash yarn so she wouldn’t have the exact same skin tone as Betty’s.

Technically I should have done Harley’s face next, for them to all match, but these sheets are large and get folded up against my body or resting under my arm as I work. Since Harley’s face is white, and clearly a focal point of the image, I decided to hold it off for last so it wouldn’t get dirty or faded, and work on her costume instead.

At that point I was on a roll! The new Netflix Masters of the Universe had just come out, and it was kinda cool to start working on Teela’s tiara while watching the premiere. In fact, I got so into it that I kept watching until I found I’d binged the whole first season!

Spoiler-free take: ignore the men complaining about the show. It’s awesome to see the old gang again, even Stinkor! (Man I can still remember the smell of that toy!) I love the focus on Teela and magic vs tech. Made me think about Skylanders and my girl Sprocket – guess I’m always drawn to my tech girls! Also, as a big Buffy fan, with Sarah Michelle Gellar as the voice of Teela, it’s fantastic to hear Buffy kicking butt again. ♥

This is where the girls are now. I’ll be working on HQ’s white bib and pompom next, to complete her outfit, and that will put me into the home stretch with only 2 sections left on each girl. At the end I’ll have to do one run of border around each one, as the edges are currently unfinished, and then finally attach rings for hanging them properly, as I’m currently holding them to the wall with thumbtacks.

I know it’s not conventional wall art for an adult woman, but I love them.


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WIP to FO Challenge- 19 for 2019

It seems like everywhere you look online these days, people are taking stock of 2018 and setting goals for moving forward.  The first few days of the new year tend to be all about making resolutions, and to that end- here’s one of mine:

I resolve to turn the following 19 wips (works in progress) into FOs (finished objects) before the end of 2019.

I’ll write at length about each project when I finish (and post) about them, but for now here’s a short blurb for each:

1. FO Project Jars

wip yearly fo jars

I need to rip out all the individual lengths of yarn (1-10 yards long, each), match them up with what project they were from, and put the separated yarn into jars designated for each year.

2. Harvest Moon Pullover – crochetwip crochet harvest moon

I started this sweater on November 25 2016 as a way to use my adored Noro Silk Garden limited stash on something for myself.  Limited yarn + crocheted pattern with big holes = a sweater that might fit… right?

3. Granny Rectangle Blanket – crochetwip granny rectangle blanket

I started this blanket on August 9 2015 as a way to use up random sock yarns I figured I’d never get around to using for, y’know, socks.  Figured out how to make granny squares as rectangles and then alternated with white for… some reason.

4. & 5. Ralph and Black Sheep’s Sweaters – sewing & cross stitchwip boys toys sweaters

I started these sweaters for the boys’ favorite stuffed animals a few nights before Christmas 2016.  They were intended to be little surprises for them but instead they’ve sat in a bag ever since.  Sadly Jakob is no longer as into iHasCupQuake as he used to be, so I’ll need to rip out the stitching on the front of Ralph’s sweater and hope it doesn’t leave gaping holes in the fleece.  Then I’ll have to figure out new designs to personalize the fronts, find where I put the sleeve pieces, and sew the little sweaters together.

6. Drops V-Neck Pullover – knittingwip drops knit vneck

I started this deep-v sweater somewhere in 2015 or 2016.  It’s slouchy and soft and I want to wear it already.

7. Fluffy Shawl – knittingwip fluffy shawl

I started this shawl on April 6 2015.  It’s been sitting untouched in a bag since roughly that Fall.  I love how the colors blend together (black Sandes Garn Sisu and purple/green Noro Kureyon Sock) and would like it to be done and hugging my shoulders.

8. Comfy Socks – knittingwip fluffy ankleless socks

According to myself, I started these socks 2 FULL YEARS AGO.  They’re supposed to be my ‘take along’ knitting but because I haven’t finished designing the pattern, I never take them with me to work on.  I need them done so I can reclaim the needles and portable hanging knitting bag and start being more productive again.

9. Fun Fur Vest – knittingwip fun fur vest

I started this Bergere de France vest in 2012(!!).  My Ravelry projects page has it listed as completed on Feb 10 2015 but clearly it isn’t.  No ends are woven in, it might need armhole cuffs, and I think I was debating overdying the entire thing black.

10. Doodle Fusion Marco Raffiné Page – coloringwip doodle fusion marco raffine

This page from Doodle Fusion was started last summer (I think) using only my set of Marco Raffiné oil-based colored pencils.

11. Grimm Fairy Tales Alice Page – coloringwip grimm alice in wonderland

This page from Grimm’s Fairy Tales was a test to see if I could get good results using dollar store colored pencils.  I’ve since moved the pencils somewhere else and want to finish the image so I don’t need to dig them out any more.

12. Grimm Fairy Tales Little Red Page – coloringwip grimm little red riding hood

Those of you who follow me on Instagram would have seen this page from Grimm’s Fairy Tales back when I started it in June.  I love how it’s turning out and want to see how well I can complete it.

13. Imagimorphia Eagle 2-Page – coloringwip imagimorphia eagle

This double-page spread from Imagimorphia was started in the Fall of 2016.  I loved coloring the tiny rainbows and then lost steam.

14. Imagimorphia Egypt Page – coloringwip imagimorphia egypt

I honestly don’t remember when I started this page.  Luckily I’d blogged about it!

15. The Time Garden Quilt Page – coloringwip time garden pattern page

I don’t recall when I started working on this page in Daria Song’s The Time Garden either but judging from other posts about it I’d made in April 2016, I’m going to guess it was about that time.  I have NO idea, however, why I stopped it so close to being done.

16. The Princess Bride Fred Savage 2-Page – coloringwip princess bride fred savage

This page was blogged when I first started it, way back in March 2017.  I don’t want to move on to another page in the book until this one is done, though, so I need to make the time to finally get it finished up.

17. & 18. & 19. Harley Quinn, Betty Cooper & Teela Wall Hanging Trio – plastic canvas

wip plastic canvas girls trio

I’ve never shown these before, except for the odd glimpse in the background of Instagram pics.  I started this trio of plastic canvas portraits when I moved in August 2017.  While I love how they look in black and white (and blue), I designed them to be in full color and I’d love to see them complete.

Think I can do it?  Want to play along? Use the tag #19WIPtoFO2019 so I can see how many you get through!

ps: As I’m about to post this I just realized that 19 projects means committing to completing more than one per month.  Months that are already pretty busy with Becket, work, kids, commissions and all the new projects I want to work on and might come up over the year… Wish me luck- I’m gonna need it!!

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.