Quilling Adventures – featuring Makerly

In my living room I have a great big sideboard.  Something like this.  (Image from Google)

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It is absolutely crammed with projects that I’ve been meaning to get to.  Some things have been in there for years.  Like the weaving kit I was working on.  One of the other things in there is the contents of a Makerly box from several years ago.

Makerly boxes are a monthly craft subscription box which comes with just about everything you need to make a project in a certain craft.  I decided to try this box out and got myself a few a while ago.  The bath bombs I made last year was a Makerly kit.

In October 2018 I got a box to wrap up and stick under my Christmas tree – I love having things to open on Christmas day.  It was this Sugar Skull quilling kit.  Which I opened, looked at, looked forward to doing, put in the sideboard and forgot about.

Inside the kit there was almost everything you need – it was just missing a pair of scissors.

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There’s quilling papers, a slotted tool, a shape template board, tweezers, pins, glue, a skull template, backing cards and a photo frame.

I started working my way through the little instruction book.  The first step was to cut out the skull shape and glue to a backing card.  Then to glue a strip of paper around the edge for the border.

This was really difficult.  Not the cutting out part.  Getting the edge of the paper to stick.  The instructions do say you can skip this part.  So after a long time of trying and failing I moved on.

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I made the small tight circle that was the next step.

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And I put an unglued coil in the template board to relax into a loose coil, the moved it to a shape to turn it into a teardrop.

 

It was whilst gluing that teardrop closed that I realised that using the glue dispenser wasn’t necessarily the best way.  Right when I squeezed glue all over my fingers.  So I put a blob of the glue on a scrap of paper and used a pin to apply it.

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Next I tried to turn a sealed loose coil into a shape by hand.  Following the instructions on the guide.

 

Now it was time to look at the back of the book, and the extra tips it provided.  The first was to use half a strip to make smaller shapes.  This worked great with the tight coils, and with a hand-shaped eye.

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But that loose green coil was meant to be a heart shape.

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It wouldn’t settle into the shape though.  I thought perhaps I’d picked too big  a heart so I had a go with that smaller heart.  That seems to work better.  And I hand-shaped a moon with the other half of the red strip.

 

The next tip on the back was joining two shapes together to make another one.

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With my first attempt the two teardrops turned out different sizes.  But the purple attempt worked better.

 

The final tip was to put a closed coil inside a larger shape to add some texture. I made a tight black coil.  I coiled a piece of green and tried to loosen it up enough to fit the black inside but couldn’t get it to loosen properly and it ended up looking odd.

 

After working out all the techniques, it was time to move on to actually making something.  The sugar skull was pretty, but not really my style of thing.  I have hundreds of ideas stored on my laptop, but I wasn’t near my laptop at the time.  So I had a quick scout on Pinterest and picked out two fairly simple ideas.

 

I wanted to make all the pieces first, then put them together.  The ducks were easy.  Just a teardrop shape and a circle, with a little orange strip folded for the beak.  Then I went to start with the owl’s eyes and realised that the kit had no white strips.

I’d been thinking about doing one of my dome monsters somehow, and had an idea of how to include that with the ducks.  I made some more shapes, and then drew out a little outline on some backing card.

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Then I glued everything in place.  I learned a lesson about making sure I glue the right side of the shape – especially with the water curls.  I learned that the paper folds I’d intended to do the beaks with were just as bad as the border – mostly paper edge – and I couldn’t get them to stick.  I ended up cutting teeny tiny triangles and gluing them flat.  I used a hole punch to cut a circle of white card for the catchlight of the dome monster’s eye.

But I’m really happy with it.

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By now I had a handful of little shapes, and some strips torn from the block that I made into more random shapes.  What was I going to do with them?

With a little more Pinterest searching I found a trend for taking a silhouette and filling it with different shapes to make a pretty abstract piece.

 

I liked this idea and drew out a C on card, cut that out and glued it to another piece of backing card.  Then I glued on all the shapes I had made.

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Obviously there’s still a lot of space to fill in, but that had to wait until I got home.  I was on holiday with some friends at the time.

By the time I got home I’d done a whole load of research online, because that’s the sort of person I am.  I’d found multiple reference images of all the different shapes you can make.

 

And I’d collected lots of little images that I wanted to try making.

 

First though, I had to finish my C.  I remembered that I had a bunch of quilling papers and things in a box somewhere in the bedroom amongst the millions of crafts supplies I have.

I played with those for a while, making some more shapes and trying some new techniques that I’ve found in my research – like looping the paper around a lid to create a strong open circle, and using multiple colours in a coil.

 

Then I rolled a LOT of loose coils, from the old papers and the new ones…

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…and I turned them into a lot of different shapes.  I filled in some of the space in my C, then realised that there was still a lot of space.  So I made more shapes.  And then I made teeny tiny shapes and coils with just an inch of two of paper to fill in the smallest gaps.

Eventually I had my piece complete.  And I decided I didn’t like the backing card.  So I cut the shape out carefully – it was a lot easier to do on the outside of the curve – and re-backed it.  I put it in the frame that came with the Makerly kit, and voila!

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It’s been sitting on my desk for a while now and hasn’t fallen apart yet, so I must have done at least a semi-decent job.

I’ve done some more experimenting with quilling, and bought myself a couple more supplies.  But I’ll save that for another blog post.

 

 

 

February Scrawlr Box

The February Scrawlr Box came in exciting new packaging – which I didn’t take a photo of because I opened the box in the evening in a room with poor lighting, and then I threw the box away without thinking.  But here’s a picture from Scrawlr’s “We’re Making Changes” email, along with the other changes they’re making.

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Inside the lovely new box was this fantabulous art work…

…along with all these goodies.  There was also a chocolate gold coin but that didn’t survive long enough to get photographed.

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There is a little sketchbook, with more of the fantabulous art on it – which also appears on the sticker (that I forgot to photo before I put it on my sketchpad)…

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…as well as a Viking 4B pencil., a white Signo Broad gel pen, a set of Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens, some Culture Hustle Gold Dazzle plant-based glitter, a Stick-It glue pen, two sheets of Nomad 350gsm kraft paper and a Back Pocket sketchbook.

Here’s the menu.

The little sketchbook is so adorable.  It has the same art as the featured artist card, and a little note from him on the inside.

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And this is the inside front and back covers.

This box was delivered the morning I headed off to a cabin in the woods to spend a few days with friends playing board games and D&D, so I picked it up and put it in my bag to open there.  So naturally it had to have glitter in it.

So first I swatched out everything apart from the glitter (and the glue, obviously).

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Then I did a sketch on one sheet of the kraft paper.  A fairy, because I did it during FaeBruary.

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After that I tested out the Pitt pens by doing some Zentangle stuff.

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When I got home – well, a few weeks after I got home, I tested out the glue and glitter on the swatch page.  I’m not entirely stupid though, and prepped a folded piece of paper first to collect all the excess glitter and make it easier to pour back into the bag.

The glue was a little runnier than I’d like, and hard to be precise with.  But it’s glue.  The glitter stuck.

I tried to draw a finer line with the glue pen, and then also one with another glue I have called Anita’s Tacky Glue.  This one has a bit thicker consistency, and comes in a bottle with a small tip so it’s easier to control.

Having established that glitter does in fact stick to glue, I set to work making some art on the other piece of kraft paper.  I used the white gel pen too, to add some contrast.  It looks awesome.

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After that I did what any sensible person would do.  I messed around with the glitter.  After I’d coated the back of my hand with glue, let it dry, and then peeled it off.  Obviously.

I drew monster shapes with all the types of basic glue I have.  Apart from the tiny needle nose bottles, they just did outlines.

I have got written down which glitter monster was done with which glue, but it doesn’t really matter.  They’re glue.  The glitter sticks to it.  The only difference was the applicator really – some were easier to squeeze than others, some made finer lines, some were better for flooding.

The important thing is that I now have a bunch of glitter dome monsters.  And look how they sparkle in the sun!

 

 

 

 

Weaving on Cardboard

Years and years and years ago I found this tutorial online.  I can’t even remember how I found it.  It’s for doing weaving, but on a piece of cardboard instead of a loom.  Since I’ve never done any weaving I figured it would be fun to try.

So I printed off the tutorial, put it in my folder/box/room of things to try and completely forgot about it.  I mean, I knew it was there.  I have a list of everything in that folder/box/room.  I just never got around to it.

Until now.

I noticed that there’s been a lot of art blogs on here recently.  And that’s perfectly cool.  Except that I’m not just an artist.  I’m a crafter too.  The brand is called CRAFTED by Colette.  If I’d started it a year or so later, maybe it would be CREATED.  Besides, I still enjoy crafts.  A lot.  I just forget to do them sometimes.

So.  Weaving.

Apparently I’d prepared the cardboard when I’d printed the tutorial because it was attached to it with a bulldog clip.

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I gathered some supplies and settled down to do it.  Step one, wind the warp round round the card.  Check.

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Step 2, use a short ruler to wind through the warp and seperate the heights slightly.  Check.  Step c, thread your yarn on a needle and start weaving.  Under one strand of weft, over the next, under the next.  And so on.  Check.

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Step delta, weave thread back again, repeating the method for each strand of warp.  If you went under it last time, go over it this time.  Check.

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It’s not snug against the first line because of a tip the tutorial gives.  If you pull your yarn tight, you’re going to end up with bowed edges because you’ll be distorting your warp threads.  The tutorial suggests weaving lightly, then using a fork to push the row down.  (Picture taken later in the process – so ignore the continuity error.)

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I kept going, and I did start to get a bit of a bow, but it would be nothing compared to if I hadn’t used the fork trick.

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When I’d gathered my supplies I’d collected some small balls of purple and green yarns, because I love that colour combination.

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I’d planned on doing mostly purple, with hints of green.  When I unwound a length to start with though, I didn’t consider how many rows it would be.  I realised shortly that for this sort of thing it’s easy to work out how much you’ll need – you just measure the board.  It’s not like there’s a load of knots or stitches to use up more yarn. But because I can be a bit dense sometimes I didn’t think of that at first.  My green patch was getting a little bigger than I planned.  So when I messed up…

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…I took that as my sign to change colour.  The green was in the middle of the cardboard, and I figured I could put some purple below it.

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The tutorial said to change yarn colours by just leaving a few inches of tail and we’d learn what to do with it later.  I’d just need to use the fork to push it next to the green.

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After a while I decided that using a straight needle was being a bit awkward – I kept finding it hard to come up between warp threads.  So I switched to a curved needle for a bit.

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It was coming along nicely.  The colours were looking great, and it was fairly smooth and consistent.

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I probably didn’t pick the best material for the warp threads though.  I kept getting caught in the fibers, and then the weft wouldn’t push down smoothly.

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Finally I finished the weaving.  And it looked really pretty.

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Before I finished it off though, this tutorial was double sided.  It came with instructions for doing shape weaving on the other side.

It was a wee bit more complicated.  My first attempt didn’t seem quite right, but eventually I got a semi-recognisable triangle.

I managed the second triangle okay, but it all got too messy with filling in the background.  All the instructions say is: complete the coaster by filling in the space around the triangles.  Which wasn’t really enough detail for a complete beginner.  Do I do the whole piece top to bottom, or fill in the points first?  I had a couple of attempts, then gave up.  I’d do some research and come back to shapes later.

Okay, on to finishing off the pretty side.  I cut the warp threads on one end, and realised they were too short for my chubby fingers to tie knots in.

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So I had the genius idea of cutting the other end on the back of the card where the shape coaster should have been, so that there would be more warp thread length.  Then I could simply slide the warp threads through, and have enough length on both ends to tie finishing knots.

Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.

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Maybe it would have done if I’d used a more appropriate material for the warp threads, I don’t know.

But you know me, I couldn’t let that be the end of it.  So I bought myself a cheap little loom from eBay, did a bunch of research, and had another go.  Read all about that soon.

 

 

 

Tutorial Tuesdays

One of my goals for this year was to improve my art.  And there are multiple ways that I plan to do this.  I’ve been doing the occasional little doodle tutorial from Pinterest on my new tablet in order to get used to the movements and things needed.  I figured that making this an official thing would help with developing the habit.

So I present Tutorials Tuesday.   I know myself better than to assume I’ll do it every Tuesday, or even that I’ll restrict it to Tuesdays.  But it gives me a header for the page in my Notebook.  I’m not going to do a blog post for each one either.  I’ll group them, so there’s only blog post every so often.

The first ones I’ve done this year were Pokemon.  I’m not entirely sure why.  I like Pokemon, and these little tutorials are adorable.  I collected them from Pinterest, and I tried to do a reverse image search to locate the source but I failed.  There is a watermark on there, but I can’t translate it.

First up was Charmander.

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One of the things that I like about the program I use on my tablet – Ibis Paint X – is that you can get videos of what you’ve done. In this one you can see my process – including the long section where I struggle to figure out the magic wand and clipping mask tools.

You can also see that I tend not to use the whole page. I don’t know why that is. Even if I set a smaller page I still zoom in before I start to sketch. I am weird.

But I’m happy with Charmander.

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Next up was Squirtle.

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I used the whole page this time, as well as more digital tools – like copy and pasting, and resizing sections.

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I’m not going to do a video for each one. It’d take up too much of my blog’s media storage space for one thing. Plus, you’d get bored. I might include a video if it’s important, but we’ll see as time goes on I guess.

A couple of weeks later I continued the adorable derpy Pokemon series with Bulbasaur…

…and Pikachu.

There were two more Pokemon tutorials that I’d downloaded.  I did a slightly wobbly version of Jigglypuff.

Then I got this far into Eevee…

…when I realised that I wasn’t happy.

I’ve done a lot of art on my tablet that I’m really happy with.  But for some reason, following these little tutorials result in these very mediocre dodgy looking Pokemon.  I mean, they’re cute.  But they kinda look like the messed up versions you get on non-licensed “Pokemon” products.

So I decided to have a go at doing Eevee without the tutorial.

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I saved the video for this one so you can see my process.

And yes, I refined it a lot.  A LOT.  But I’m really happy with how much better it looks.

So what does this mean for Tutorial Tuesdays?  Well, there are still a huge bunch of them that I want to try.  Some are more complicated than these Pokemon ones, some are for different mediums, some are just random tutorials.

I’m gonna keep working through them, maybe not all on the tablet though.

 

St Patrick’s Day Line Art Swap

Nina and I have done it again!  This time we did a St Patrick’s theme, and used the colours of the Irish flag as our palette (apart from character’s hair/eyes etc).

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Despite having had an idea for what I wanted to draw while I was still drawing the Valentine’s piece, I completely forgot about this.  My excuse is that I’ve been sick with a cold – I’m a big baby when I get sick.

So when Nina messaged me on the evening of the 16th to let me know she was ready to swap line art, I was a little bit surprised.  I got something done, but it isn’t my best work.  I do think he looks kinda cute though.  This is Nina’s character Ernest, who is a main character in her comic Second Chance.

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Nina drew my character Wren enjoying a drink.

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I coloured her in digitally, and took advantage of the fact that brown is a dark shade of orange.  It’s not cheating!

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And what did Nina do with the line art I drew? She did an amazing job, naturally. She used just three colours (and layer modes) to make a rainbow!

Just Sketching

One of the reasons I have such a large pile of half-finished art pieces is that I have a block in my head that tells me I need to finish every single thing I start.  If I do a little doodle, then I need to work on it until it becomes a fully sketched, inked and coloured piece.

I’m doing a lot better at just sketching these days.  Well, I’m a lot better at just doodling – thanks to wanting to use up the rest of a sketchbook that was falling apart.

But I really am working on stopping at the sketch phase of things that are more than doodles.  Like this one – from an avatar I created using one of those generator apps.

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You might have spotted another sketch in that post actually.

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And the first version of the Elf Queen fairy.

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This one was from a tutorial – but how adorable is he?

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I’m also planning on doing the current run of Animal Alphabets as sketch pieces too, so keep an eye out for those.

Ikea Art Supplies

Months ago now, there was a bit of a trend on YouTube of using art supplies from Ikea to make a piece of art.  Well, I say a trend.  I can recall about one video.

But when my sister sent a message to the family chat asking if anyone needed anything from Ikea, I had a quick look on the website and requested a few things.

I got these Förnyad pencils – which are no longer on the website.

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These Måla fineliners, which you can find here.

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These Måla markers, which you can find here.

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These Fullfölja ink pens, which you can find here.

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And then this Fullfölja sketchbook, which you can find here.

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The first thing I noticed is that none of the packing was reusable.  Once all the pen packs were opened, they were rubbish.

The pencils were nice and sharp, which I like.  I hate having to sharpen new pencils.  They work well.  They’re pencils.  They erase well, which is important I guess.  The inking pens were nice and smooth.  They smear under water-based marker though.  The fineliner pens are gel pens and they’re lovely.  There’s a shiny silver and a shiny gold and the others are highlighters.  Again, nice and smooth.  I assumed the markers were double ended from the image on the pack, but it was just one nib.  It’s a pointed bullet nib, which allows you to make both the thin and thick lines shown on the pack.  They’re quite smooth as well.  No signs of pilling the paper with the initial swatches.

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I did have a go at blending them, but they don’t.  They layer nicely to create new colours though.

The book is just a book.  It didn’t have a distinct front or back.  It came with a template page which I used as a backing paper to collect ink that leaked through.  The paper was thin, but nice and smooth (is it just me, or have I used that word a lot in this post?).  It bleeds through, but most of the books I’m used to do that.  I tested how many layers of ink would start to tear the paper and they did pretty well.  I think I got to about 6 layers before it got rough.

After I’d done all that, I did a grid of layering the markers to see what other colours I could come up with.

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I also tested going over the inking pens with the markers, and then using the black marker as an inking pen since the inking pens bled so much.

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I had a little doodle with some of the fineliners and the inking pens.  These are really nice to draw with – especially doing grid-based stuff with a grid template page.

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These pens post too – meaning that the caps fit on the ends of the pens.  Very satisfying.

And then I got on to the art.  Naturally it had to be one of my little dome monsters. I sketched it out…

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and then I coloured it.  I did this first because of the way the inking pens bled.  The marker pens almost post, but not quite.  Not the end of the world, but it is nice when the caps do fit on the end.

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The markers were the worst supply from this little haul I think.  They felt right away like they were drying out.  And of course it’s hard to get smooth colouring with water-based markers.  I guess there must be a way, but I have yet to find it.

Then I outlined the piece.  I didn’t wait long enough for the paper to dry, and the lines bled in a few places – like the legs.  Plus, I messed up when outling the eyes.  I have problems outlining sometimes – there’s a whole other blog about that in the works somewhere.  So instead of white eyes with black pupils, I settled for black eyes and used the silver gel pen to add highlights – which didn’t work.

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It’s not great art.  I like the monster, but in terms of colouring I think the horns are the best bit.  Ikea is not an art supply company, and these are just cheap items.  All but the markers are pretty good.  And to be honest, I haven’t really used water-based markers since I discovered alcohol markers – so I couldn’t tell you if these ones were good or bad.

I did this project back in September 2019.  The pictures and notes have been festering in my “blogs to write” folder since then.  Now that I’m actually writing the blog, I feel like giving the supplies another shot.

I still have them all, nicely sorted and put away with all my other supplies.  I even have the book.  Perhaps they’d work better with a different type of drawing?  Perhaps they’d be awesome for a lettering piece, or for a Zentangle style piece.  Time to find out.

I re-swatched everything, just because I could.

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Then I started doing some lines for a random colouring doodle thing, except I wasn’t happy with my first attempt, so I had another go.

My colouring isn’t the neatest, but this was just a doodle.

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I also used the gold gel pen to do another random thing – inspired by an image from Pinterest.

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Of course, I had to draw and colour a dome monster.

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I coloured before I inked, because of the smearing.  I got about this far in and decided it was going to be as much of a disaster as the first time.

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But by the time I had finished and inked, it actually looked pretty good.

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It isn’t the smoothest colouring, but I think it’s quite good.  I do want to do a bigger, more detailed version of this particular monster.

I transitioned to using the gel pens by drawing little dome shapes of all the markers and all the gel pens, and turning them into little monsters.

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Then with the gel pens I did a Zentangle piece.  The pink is a tangle called Bysomnus.  The orange is a tangle called Membranart – although there’s an extra layer to that tangle that I couldn’t really fit cos of the small space.  The yellow is a tangle called Doo Dah – which is a freaking awesome name.  The green is a tangle called Chard.  The blue is a tangle called Vlace.  The purple is a tangle called Safflower.

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I really enjoyed doing that piece.  I need to do more Zentangle, but I think I’ve said that a few times already in recent months.

And then, since I’d said that maybe these pens would be good for lettering, I decided to do a lettering piece with the markers.  But I couldn’t settle on anything to letter – so I went with ROYGBIV.

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