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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 March Challenge

I haven’t posted since my February Create This Book Challenge post, and I spent a lot of time in the last few weeks debating posting this, or other planned projects. With so much going on in the world, it hardly seems important to share silly doodles.

Or so I thought, until I watched my kids spend an entire afternoon at the table, elbows-deep in my art supplies. Creating is important. It feels good. It can bring peace and calm amid chaos, and it gives a sense of accomplishment that can be difficult to find when schedules and routine are in upheaval.

So I asked Henri to pick the page for this month, and we both set to work.

For those who haven’t been following along, 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 we choose the “create an empty setting” on page 163, for February it was the “food” page on page 208, and for March he decided to go with the “something different” challenge on page 207.

Henri has 2 current obsessions – LEGO and The Legend of Zelda – and since he draws/makes/sculpts Link and the Master Sword incessantly, he decided to draw a LEGO minifig on his page, as he’d never drawn one before.

I love how the minifig looks resolute. Like “meh”. LOL

It took me a little while to come up with an idea for my page. I’ve been drawing/etc since I was very young, so it’s hard to come up with an idea that was truly new and not break the spirit of the challenge. In the end I decided to follow a YouTube drawing tutorial. I’ve watched many craft tutorials on everything from bookbinding to watercolors, but I’ve never actually followed a drawing/sketching one.

A quick search brought me to Shayda Campbell’s “Twelve Easy Flower Doodles You Need To Know” video. Shayda has a TON of help for new artists and tips and tricks on her channel, which I highly recommend. I almost never draw flowers so this seemed like a great fit. (At least until I was finished and turned to see if my ink had bled and saw the page on the back is “draw a nature scene”… oops!).

I settled down with a mechanical pencil from the dollar store, an 05 Micron fineliner, and an eraser pencil from Faber-Castell (the Perfection 7056).

I followed along with the steps in the video while listening to Jonathan Kellerman’s The Museum of Desire (an Alex Delaware novel) on loan from my local library. I admit I really wasn’t feeling my sketches until I was dne and looked at the page as a whole. Seeing them all together makes me happy, they look better than I’d thought! While nose deep in the book they really didn’t look as good 😛

This morning I realized it was the last day of the month, thus my last day to post this on time. I’d planned to merely take pics in sunlight and post them, but last-minute I decided to add a bit of color to the pages, so I pulled out my Polychromos and quickly finished off each flower.

Here’s the final results! I don’t think I’ll remember how to draw any of these by heart, but I’m really happy with how they turned out.

In particular I’m fond of the lilac…

…the hibiscus and the rosehips.

You can see some shadowing on page 207… that’s the fineliner doodles of “food” that I did for Februrary’s page. I was pretty confident that it wouldn’t interfere with completing this page, and I’m glad to see that it didn’t get in the way at all. It’s more apparent in the pictures than it is in real life – I didn’t even notice it while sketching.

Keep creating, stay indoors, stay healthy, and stay safe. ❤

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 February Challenge

Good thing it’s a leap year, because that means I can get mine and Henri’s February Create This Book pages posted on time!

As I mentioned in my intro post, 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 we choose the “create an empty setting” on page 163, and for February Henri decided he wanted to do the “food” page seen here on page 208:

This is no surprise to anyone who knows Henri. It’s a running joke that my almost-13-year-old son Jakob’s favorite food is “bananas”, while Henri’s favorite food is “food”.*

Henri completed his page first, working on it over a few evenings while watching The Masked Singer.

He started with the little taco near the top and worked his way down the page, but I’m showing his close-ups in reverse order. For reasons.

Even though he’s just turned 11 Henri has been drawing for years, and I’m always impressed with the thought he puts into his art. The cheese, popsicle and donut are clearly meant to look 3D, and he even drew the complete bite with teeth marks in the popsicle instead of merely a chunk missing. The donut is especially well done, where he didn’t capture merely the glaze dripping down the top, but his rounded bite went through the donut to expose the hole in the middle- something I probably wouldn’t have thought of, tbh.

The top of the page is where he really went wild with the imagination. As I’d mentioned, he’d started with the taco, and before it got page-smudged it was really, really well done. Next came the hamburger, then the pineapple got a few minutes of detail work. Then- the apple. Oh boy that apple LOL

I’m not putting a more detailed close up because I’m already smh’ing that I’ve included it twice in this post…but what happened is this: Henri drew the apple. Then he decided that the bottom of the apple looked like a butt. So he made it pooping. Then, for dramatic effect, he added a pair of undies to the apple, with a torn flap of fabric hanging off the back because the apple’s poop was so explosive that it ripped right through the undies. His words. (Which is good, because I have none.)

When it came time for my own run at the page, I was stumped. I wasn’t in the mood to attempt something photo-realistic but nothing cutesy or cartoon-y was coming to mind. And then I looked at Henri’s page again and noticed his cheeky “FOOD” lettering at the bottom. He’d pointed that out to me joking “it says decorate with ‘food’, so I did!”. And so did I.

While Henri had used a regular pencil for his art, I switched over to Micron fineliners for mine. I swatched both a 01 and 05 tip on a blank page at the back of the book and while they both worked well on the paper, I think if I’d tried to color in any areas the 05 would have bled through to the page on the other side. So I stuck with the 01 and doodled my way randomly around the page, filling it in with the word “food” over and over.

It was really relaxing to tackle the page with no ideas in mind and allow myself to doodle the word however I wanted.

I listened to an audiobook (The Never Game by Jeffrey Deaver **) and kept a sheet of cardstock under the page while I worked. As previously mentioned, I do this not only to prevent ink bleed-through but also to keep the pages beneath from getting pressure impressions.

I usually didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do until I started drawing the letter “f”, though every now and then I’d turn the page a different way and try to remember to keep some areas light for some white contrast.

The only exception to this was the empty FOOD at the top of the page, in the dotted area. I had to consciously work the dots around the letters without an outline (I didn’t use pencil at all) and then fill in enough background dots to keep the word legible.

It was fun filling the page with swirls and loops and lines!

Periodically I checked the back of the page for bleed-through and was happy there was none. There was clearly shading of the dark areas to the back side, but I don’t believe this will interfere with future coloring of that page, especially if I work that one in color.

And that’s February done! On to March!

Complete list of 2020 Create This Book Challenge pages:

*Jakob is almost 13. He’s in high school. This… does not compute.

**I’m a big Jeffrey Dever fan, and have been watching the new show Lincoln Rhyme: The Search for the Bone Collector. Fun show, but I can’t believe I’m about 6 episodes in to a LINCOLN RHYME project and haven’t heard the words “walk the grid” A SINGLE TIME.

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.