1 Comment

inevitability is inevitable

And once again, what seems to happen cyclically around here has happened again.  Every time I get into a rush on secret projects that I cannot blog about, the blog itself falls into a standstill.  I get so focused on the major things… a sculptural piece I’m mailing out soon, baby gifts, the props for my upcoming show… and I forget that I can also share the small things that are just as important and fulfilling, if not as fun or tutorial-able.

Here, then, are some of those moments, from the last 6 weeks.

Photo 2016-03-07, 6 48 03 PM

Over March break the boys went to spend the week with my inlaws.  They learned how to play UNO and have been so hooked that even after being away from consoles for a week, this ^ was their first night back home.  Ignoring the systems, ignoring the tv, spending a quiet night after dinner rushing to get ‘just one more game in!’.  🙂time garden 01

I’ve been doing some coloring, mentioned a bit here and there on Instagram.  I’ve got big posts semi-worked up talking about markers and pencils and storage, but while all that’s been getting ready, I’ve been enjoying some quiet time of my own while the kids play or while watching tv and tackling some pages from one of my new favorite coloring books: The Time Garden by Daria Song.  The wallpaper background on these two (and the subsequent 2 pages set in the same room) took about a week to complete, tucking into it here and there when my attention wasn’t needed elsewhere.  I used my Staedler Triplus Fineliners in Mauve and Gray in alternating rows, and the dots in between the flowers were colored in Silver Gray.  The dots within the flowers were colored with a metallic silver pen from the dollar store, and then I filled in the background itself with an old blue Bristol colored pencil I’ve probably had since I was 10.boys asleep

We went out for a nice family dinner for my father-in-law’s birthday, and it proved to be a long, late night for the boys.  We were driving home from the restaurant at about 9:30 at night when I peeked into the back seat and saw them, sound asleep, and cuddling.

time garden 02

Back to more coloring.  After the long spread of wallpaper I decided to tackle something equally as detailed, but with smaller sections that could feel completed as I worked on them.  I jumped ahead to the Ghiradelli/Pier 39 spreads in the book.  Wherever I’ve found repeating elements I’m working on them at the same time vs having to make notes on what colors I’ve used where, so I did the large sign on the above spread and then jumped immediately into the matching cable-car page that followed.  The crab sign is colored to match the real one, using various Triplus or Stabilo 88 fineliners and then a light shading of colored pencil, and then after coloring the sign and its supports I suggested the myriad lights with a metallic gold gel pen.patterns

The Yarn Harlot‘s Strung Along retreat happened this past weekend and I donated some patterns for their goodie bags.  Hopefully they liked them!  Photo 2016-04-09, 4 58 26 PM

Saturday had another cute moment for the kids, when I passed by the open door to the den and noticed them watching tv like this.  Go figure… they’re so close that even with a whole floor and mini futon and couch and easy chair, they still prefer to snuggle together no matter what they’re doing.  I can’t imagine they’ll be this close when they’re teenagers, but it sure makes me smile for now.sam wants food

Sunday night I was working on the props for my show, making lists of everything I still needed to take care of, and a plan of action, and casually nibbling on a piece of kernatzel (pepperoni stick).  Turns out my cat is addicted to them.  ADDICTED.  What looks like a cute little moment above WAS TAKEN OVER 2 HOURS.  Each one of those photos is 30 minutes apart AND HE NEVER LEFT MY SIDE THE ENTIRE TIME.  Sitting.  Staring.  Drooling.

Finally, a bit more coloring, this time from the cable car page.  I don’t have the materials yet for one set of props, and the others were glued and clamped and drying in the garage, so I made a fresh cup of coffee and put on a YouTube channel I like and settled down to color the ice cream adorning the cable car.ice cream worse

I got this far when Yannick came home, and I showed him my progress, especially proud of the shading on the center cones (all done with the two sets of aforementioned fineliners and colored pencils).  “The cones look great,” he said.  “The pop too.  But what’s the turd on the end?”

Hmph.ice cream betterWho says you can’t polish a turd?  (Actually, you can, and not just by recoloring an ice cream pop).  The markers and pencils play really nicely together and I was able to adjust the highlights so it looks more like a slightly melty Magnum bar.  I also finished up the chocolate and strawberry swirls in the center, as well as the neon sign.

Any more coloring will have to be put on hold, as tonight I buy the final items needed to finish the props, and then my next few nights will be spent making same.  I can’t complain, though- it’s for a really great cause.

Shut Up and Dance 2016

If you want to see some incredible dancers, some amazing singers, a hugely talented band… yummy food… oh- and me… then get your tickets now and come enjoy the show!

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.


Leave a comment

Coloring with BIC Mark-It Markers

The more coloring I did, the more I wanted to do.  I began looking for better supplies and looking up better techniques.  It is impossible to be interested in ‘coloring’ and not somehow, somewhere come across Copic markers.  For the uninitiated, Copics are alcohol markers, one of, if not THE premium brand, and are vastly loved by artists everywhere.

They’re also expensive as hell.

When I’d first heard of them, a few years ago, I immediately discounted them.  I had no use for new art supplies that weren’t integral to my passions at the time, and that kind of investment just didn’t seem worth it.  Lately, though… something was drawing me to them.  Maybe I’d outgrown Crayolas, finally, or maybe it was the appeal of being able to blend and achieve digital-art-style results with something I could control by hand.  I started finding reasons to justify them- I’d do more drawing, and finally open an Etsy shop… and they’re refillable, so over time the cost works itself out… and I’m an adult, and could treat myself to professional, adult supplies…

I was in.  Hanukkah was coming up and the ONLY thing I put on my wish list was a gift certificate to Curry’s Art in Ontario, the place I’d found with the best prices for Canadians.  The markers I wanted, Copic Sketch markers, are available locally at $8 CAD each.  The cheapest US price I could find online is $5.35 but any free shipping deals were US only, and there would still be a cost conversion, and the exchange rate these days is insane, so I ruled that out.  Curry’s has them for $6.50 each, and free shipping within Canada if you spend $75.  Perfect!  (Note: I found out about Curry’s by watching Baylee Jae’s videos on YouTube, thanks Baylee!)

Knowing I had some time to wait until we had our family gift exchange and I (hopefully) got what I’d asked for, I looked further, exploring more tips and techniques.  Along the way I found a number of videos and blog posts mentioning BIC Mark-Its as inexpensive alcohol marker alternatives, stating they could also be blended, had better colors than Sharpies, and worked with Copic or other brands’ blending markers.

All my Sharpies were old and dried anyways, so I ordered myself 2 sets of BICs, the 36-pack fine and the 36-pack of ultra fine.

When they arrived I sat down with the boys one Saturday morning and we did some coloring together.  They’d been watching me color lately and a few times I’d given them a ‘treat’ and let them use ‘Mommy’s good markers’.  They love my colored fineliners and both were in awe of the stained glass coloring pages, so I let them pick their favorite pages to color for themselves.  When I was ready to test the BICs I printed off some characters from one of our new favorite shows, Bravest Warriors, and we all colored together, with me allowing the kids to use the BICs as long as they were responsible with them.

Photo 2015-12-19, 12 28 08 PM

Jakob went for speed, coloring the characters carefully, but quickly, and getting distracted here and there by the tv that was on in the background.

Photo 2015-12-19, 12 51 40 PM

Henri did the opposite.  He took his time, trying to color-match as carefully as he could to the original characters.  He was SO thorough, in fact, that he drew in his favorite missing character – JellyKid (complete with toast!) and even added Pixel to Wallow’s glove!
Photo 2015-12-19, 12 29 33 PM

I didn’t have anything in mind when I colored mine except to enjoy the markers, the lovely colors, and the flow of the ink.  I didn’t attempt any blending or ‘Copic-like’ techniques, just colored and chatted with my boys.

Okay well maybe I did a teensy bit of shading… if you look carefully at Plum there’s some blue shading under her hairline and skirt.  But that’s it.

I loved the BICs and I am thrilled that they’re part of my stash- uh I mean my perfectly adult and mature collection of art supplies.  But my FAVORITE part of coloring with them was discovered after I was done.

The BICs, just like Copics and other alcohol markers, bleed through most papers.  Alcohol markers are designed to saturate the paper to get even blending and streak-less coloring.  With water-based markers like Crayolas, coloring hard over one section will leave blotchy, uneven patches of bled color.  With these, however…
Photo 2015-12-19, 12 29 47 PM

The bleed-through is so lovely!  It looks like a watercolor illustration!  I’m fascinated by how pretty the backside of this coloring looks and can think of so many ideas for deliberate reverse drawings, coloring one side while intending the back to be the later ‘front’.Photo 2015-12-19, 12 29 58 PM

Not that, but I was completely charmed by my discovery on the paper I was using to absorb the bleed-through.  It looks like pointilism!  Probably not really good for anything, technique-wise, but I like how it looks regardless.  🙂

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.


1 Comment

Adult Coloring (and mini adult coloring book reviews)

My resurgence into adult coloring began even before I picked up Zentangle.  Nope, it was way back in 2013.  I don’t remember quite how it started, but I do remember the annoyance of wanting to color, being too lazy to draw my own images, too indecisive to print images off the internet, and the frustration of looking at various stores for coloring books but only finding child-friendly themes.  I didn’t want to color Diego or Elmo (though I would have gladly colored My Little Pony had I found one LOL)…   One day I’d stopped in at Omer de Serre for something else and took a chance on asking an employee if they had coloring books for adults.  He pointed me to a small turning spindle with maaaaybe 9 holders (that’s how NOT popular this was back then).  I was delighted, however, and even more so when I discovered the coolest books – the pages were translucent like velum or onion skin paper, but they had black borders that were opaque.  They were stained glass coloring books, and I immediately grabbed one.  Afraid they’d sell out of the ONE copy they had of the other types of books (again, adult coloring was NOT a thing in 2013!) I also picked up a few others.  They were nothing like the thick volumes you find today, rather they’re thin and printed on regular paper, but had cool patterns like geometrics and paisleys, and sparked something creative in me that I couldn’t wait to try out.

So I did.

I remember wanting to try and do ‘cool’ things with my coloring, not just blindly splash color onto the pages.

Photo 2015-11-30, 10 43 11 PM

This one, for example, is from a book called Masterscapes by Mindware.  The original image had no black space, but I thought it would be interesting to have the squiggles stand out, so I colored in the entire background with a black Sharpie.  I had bought a pack of 50 Crayola fine-tips for the kids, and then kept it for myself, and used the range of colors to fill in the squiggles with a rainbow, beginning with yellow in the top left, and working through the colors until the grays and black in the lower right.

Photo 2015-11-30, 10 42 34 PM

Again trying to be ‘artsy’ with it, I attacked another image from the same book with my black Sharpie.  I decided to give it a story in my head (hush, I’m rolling my eyes at myself too haha) and colored the lion/beast things in fire colors, the lower part with water colors, and then the steam was purple and gray, because the fire and water was mixing… blue and red mixing became purple… yeah.  I know.  Silly.  But it was more fun to think it through than merely scribble.
coloring collage 01

These two are both from the stained-glass book I mentioned above, which is also by Mindware and is called Tesselights.  The top image with the rings was colored somewhere between 2013 and 2014, with crayola fine-tipped markers, while the lower one was colored November 22 2015 with fine and ultra-fine tip markers from the dollar store.  It’s hard to show how interesting they are when a light shines through in a photograph, however for both, the image on the right is with a light overtop, and the image on the left has the light shining from behind.

This does point out one issue you need to be careful with, if you do intend to display these with illumination, like the ones my kids colored that we’ve taped to the window.  I’d missed a spot when filling in one of the purple centers, so the next day, when I noticed, I went back over that section.  In normal light it looks fine, however… when lit from behind the double-inked section is INCREDIBLY noticeable (the large splotch near the top of the lower left pic, if you couldn’t tell).  Photo 2015-11-30, 10 40 29 PM

This image, colored on November 3rd, is from a book called Deco Tech.  I’d gone back to Omer and bought a small pack of 18 double-ended markers, brush and fine tips, for $9.99, and used this image to try them out.  Once again there were no black sections in the original image, it’s just something I like to do when coloring.coloring collage 02

Here’s an example, colored November 8 2015, from the same book.  You can see the original image as it’s published, and then my colored version.  As you can tell I went through and filled in some sections with black.  In some cases, like these two, the black parts were done during the coloring, but other times I go over the entire uncolored image with black first, so when I do sit down to color, I’ve only got what’s left to fill in.

One more note, about Masterscapes and Deco Tech.  The images are printed double-sided, and the paper doesn’t seem much thicker than normal.  Which means that not only did my Sharpies bleed through, but my water-based markers did as well, especially in areas where I made more than one pass of color.  I was lucky in that for most of the images (so far) I had a clear preference for the image on one side of the page over the other, but so as to not lose your money’s worth for half the book, if you intend to use anything other than colored pencils in these books, I strongly suggest photocopying the pages, and coloring those duplicates.  Otherwise I think these (and the other books I bought, whose names escape me at the moment) are lovely, inexpensive books with fun, interesting patterns to color.

 
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.