Birthday Pencils

What’s this? A blog post written in a reasonably timely fashion? Madness!

My birthday was October 22nd, and one of the presents that my lovely boyfriend got me was a set of colouring pencils from The Works.

They aren’t high grade pencils, but I have a full set of Faber Castell Polychromos that I definitely don’t use to their full capability. Maybe a set of lower grade pencils would be better for me.

Step one – swatching. I know a lot of people find this tedious, but I really love swatching.

Next step, making a swatch sheet for the inside of the tin. The pencils have no markings on to identify colour or anything, so I cropped that photo from before…

… printed it off, cut a piece of paper the same size and swatched them out.

I made two mistakes when I did this. Firstly, I didn’t make the print out and the swatch the same size as the tin. That would’ve made it a lot easier to tell which pencil is which.

Secondly, I stuck it onto the lid upside down. Instead of peeling it off and resticking it, I just rearranged the pencils in the tin.

Finally I got around to doing some art. There’s a piece I’ve been meaning to do for Halloween/October since I had the idea months ago. A candy corn unicorn. So that’s what I did.

Sketch first…

…and then the final piece.

I am very happy with it. It’s so cute. And the pencils are awesome.

A Late Trend

To be fair, when I actually did the art, it was still a current trend. But as usual I’m late in writing about it again.

What am I talking about?

A few months ago there was a trend in the online art community of redrawing the blue-haired boy from the cover of an old classic “How To Draw Manga” book.

A lot of people had the book as kids, and it was a nostalgia thing. I never had it, but I love hopping on bandwagons.

I can’t remember where I first saw it, but Naomi Lord did it…

…and DoodleDate did it…

…so I did it too.

Here’s the cover in question.

And here’s my sketch.

And here’s my final piece.

He’s mildly derpy-looking, but most things I draw are. I think he’s cute nonetheless. What do you think?

Animaloonies – an Update

I have several ongoing series on my blog. Well, I have several folders of ongoing blog series in my blog folder. I haven’t actually updated any of them in far too long. So let’s update one now.

The Twitter challenge Animaloon Collective is another series I enjoy occasionally.

And just like every other challenge, there are some months that I do, and some that I don’t, and some that I add to my list of ones to do eventually.

I didn’t do Giraffe, or Whale.

I did do Spider – although he’s not a balloon. I appear to be very sucky at turning the animal into the loonie.

I didn’t do Kids.

January was Mythical, which you’d think would’ve been perfect for me. Except I was super busy and never got around to more than a sketch.

I did do Wolf, and had loads of fun doing it. I love this piece.

And then I did Dolphin.

I skipped Anteater.

I did Meerkat.

I only got sketches done for Hippo.

I did Llama – as colourfully as I possibly could.

I skipped Cricket and Lynx.

And I’ve done Fish. Which is actually today. So not only have I done a challenge, but I blogged about it in time! Go me!

Colours of the Month – an Update

I have several ongoing series on my blog. Well, I have several folders of ongoing blog series in my blog folder. I haven’t actually updated any of them in far too long. So let’s update one now.

This is one of my favourite challenges. It’s run by Marker Universe on Twitter, and I love any excuse to be given a palette.

Even the palettes that I haven’t done are sitting in my folder for when I can’t decide what colours to do. I don’t always use rainbow for things.

Here are some that I haven’t done yet.

Here’s some more I haven’t done yet.

And here’s September’s.

I just realised August 2021 is missing. Imma go find that and maybe do that. I’ll let you know if I do.

Colour Collective – an Update

I have several ongoing series on my blog. Well, I have several folders of ongoing blog series in my blog folder. I haven’t actually updated any of them in far too long. So let’s update one now.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually blogged about this one before but there’s a Twitter challenge called Colour Collective. It’s nice and simple. They post a different colour every Friday and you use that colour to make art.

I don’t do all of them, but here are some that I have done in the past.

Jasper helped with that one.

Hmm, why doesn’t the gallery thing show the whole picture? That’s annoying.

Animal Alphabets – an Update

I have several ongoing series on my blog. Well, I have several folders of ongoing blog series in my blog folder. I haven’t actually updated any of them in far too long. So let’s update one now.

In the year since my last post, there has been two full rounds of Animal Alphabets over on Twitter.

There was the Fan Art series that I mentioned at the end of that post.

A lot of these I wasn’t a fan of. A lot of them I didn’t recognise. And a lot of them I just couldn’t be bothered to draw. I’m trying not to force myself to complete every single challenge cos I get behind super quickly and then I get guilty and stressed and end up never completing it.

So I skipped Animal and Bingo.

I did do the Cheshire Cat though.

I skipped Droopy Dog, Enormous Crocodile, and Fantastic Mr Fox.

I did the Gruffalo.

Then I skipped Hardy Har Har, and Iago – although I would’ve liked to do Iago. Maybe I still will.

I did Jiji – and loved them so much I made them into stickers.

I skipped Kermit the Frog (he’s another one I might do though), Lion, Mojo Jojo, Nutsy, Ozzie (another on my maybe list), Pink Panther, Quick Draw McGraw, Road Runner (another maybe), Snorkmaiden (another maybe), Tony the Tiger, Uncle Scrooge (another maybe), Velveteen Rabbit (another maybe), Wile E. Coyote (if I do Road Runner, I’ll have to do this one), Xerneas, Yogi Bear, and Zell.

I could’ve just said that I skipped the rest of the alphabet, but then I wouldn’t have gotten to name them all and decide which ones to come back to.

The next theme was Rainforest.

Again, there were lots of animals in here that I didn’t do. There are a few that I have on a list to draw at some point though – obviously.

The ones I did do were Bengal Tiger…


…and Toucan.

The new series is Musical Instruments, with us picking our own animals – so maybe I’ll get round to some of those other ones I want to do.

1000 Hands – an Update

I have several ongoing series on my blog. Well, I have several folders of ongoing blog series in my blog folder. I haven’t actually updated any of them in far too long. So let’s update one now.

In the more than a year since I last updated you on my self-imposed challenge to draw 1000 hands, I haven’t smashed that goal. You’d think that in a year I could have drawn several thousand. But you’d be wrong.

My problem is that I load myself up with too many challenges and projects and then I get sidetracked. I usually get back to them at some point. I’m trying to get back to this one. I’ve even done some hands in the last week.

So here’s the last year of hands. Hands number 149 to 287.

I nearly doubled my total. And I’m more than a quarter of the way to my goal. Unfortunately (fortunately?) SamBeAwesome has decided to also do the challenge and she’s waaayyyy ahead of me.

I better get drawing more hands. I’ll try not to leave it another year before I update y’all again.

A Second Late/Early Christmas Post

Last time I mentioned that there may be more Christmas posts from last Christmas. I was right.

Sometime last year I kept seeing adverts for a TreeMendous online.

This cute little tree machine spun the ornaments around so that you (your kids) could decorate the baubles with pretty patterns.

I needed it.

Each advert lead to a different site – none of which exist now that I’m writing this a year later. The tree itself was a decent price. Ranging from £6 to £10. But the shipping was stupid. So I went looking elsewhere.

I ended up getting a Magic Tree from AliExpress, for £8.

The TreeMendous pun was missing, but I wasn’t paying £30 shipping for that.

It’s not the most impressive-looking piece of equipment, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be. It included everything it said it would.

The markers were vibrant, and actually worked on the plastic baubles.

I put in the batteries, and pressed the switch, and watched it spin.

It didn’t play a tune like the TreeMendous, but whatever.

Next, to add the colour. It’s simple. Just hold the tip of the marker against the bauble while it spins.

It doesn’t look too bad while it’s spinning.

But when it’s stopped you can see just how uneven and patchy it is.

This could be user error. It could be the cheap markers, or it could be the very low quality plastic baubles. But still, it was fun and kinda addictive. So I did another one.

I don’t know if the actual TreeMendous had a steadier spin to it, but this one is really wobbly.

It’s hard to get a solid colour too. The markers are essentially cheap Sharpies. And because the plastic doesn’t absorb the ink, once you go over it more than once or twice in the same place it all starts to come up.

Jasper helped with that one.

There’s no bad rainbow though.

At least until I messed it up by trying to do a nice black spiral.

I stopped after my fourth bauble was a total disaster.

Warning though, the ink never dries and it WILL smudge off as soon as you touch it.

Overall it’s a neat little gimmick. Kids would probably love it. I couldn’t figure out a way to buy more of the baubles, and I couldn’t find any other baubles with the same screw fitting. They might be out there.

If there was a grown up crafter version – with ceramic baubles maybe, and ink that would stick to it – I’d probably get it. Come to think of it, it couldn’t be too hard to make a manual version…..

A Christmas post: Am I early, or am I late?

It’s nearing the end of September. Now is a perfect time to write about the projects I did last Christmas. Right?

I’m not make excuses. You all know what I’m like by now. Here it is. There may be more.

I got this colouring book from The Works.

It’s very cute and has a great concept with a little trivia attached.

Because I’d ordered the book online, I had no idea what the pages inside were like. The cover and title page had me fairly reassured though. Until I flipped to day one…

What is that?! Is the whole book that simple and boring?

Luckily, no. A few were more simple than others, but there was nothing else so bland and easy.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete a whole piece every day, so I decided to adapt the tradition a little. I would colour as little or as much as I could each day, on the appropriate day’s page. And then the book would go with the Christmas decorations, and next year I’d do it again. After a few years I might end up with a finished book.

So I coloured the gorgeous Santa on the title page.

And then realised that I’d not be able to do the numbers on each spread if I didn’t use the right mediums. The paper quality is not fantastic.

That’s fine. I’d just be careful.

And on, to Advent!

I did a Zentangle design for day one, to make use of those big empty shapes.

Day two was fun. Look how gorgeous that tree is!

Day three was another simpler one, and I finished most of the page.

Day four was a couple of birds. Doves? Pigeons? Pheasants? Penguins? Who knows.

Day five is going to have more sneaky rainbows.

Now, day six had limitations. Remember I said that I wouldn’t be able to colour the numbers because pen bleeds through? Well luckily I had flipped through the whole book, because days seven and eight were only pages with numbers.

So day six had to be coloured pencils. No problem.

Here’s day seven.

I got a bit rainbow happy with day eight.

Day nine was some lovely ornaments.

Day ten is just delicious.

Day eleven is a beautiful snow globe. You can’t have a Christmas colouring book without a snow globe.

Day twelve got some rainbow confetti star shapes.

Day thirteen is an army of snowmen.

Day fourteen is some more ornaments – these ones looking delicious.

Day fifteen is a fireplace scene with a cute little kitty.

Day sixteen is sooooo many presents!

Day seventeen is an overflowing stocking.

And that’s as far as I got because Boris Johnson cancelled Christmas, and because Covid and all that shit and because it was all I could do to not sink into depression.

But there’s always next year. This year. A couple of month’s time.

Three Marker Challenge

One of the people I follow on YouTube did a video a few months ago about doing a retro three marker challenge.

That seemed like a really good idea, so I did one too. I got my boyfriend to randomly/blindly pick three markers for me, and ended up with a fairly cute combination.

I drew out my sketch, and then erased as much pencil as possible.

I did my colouring.

Being extremely neat and precise while I did so, obviously.

And then I gave it an outline.

It wasn’t quite finished. There were a few final touches I wanted to do with a white gel pen, but I was at my boyfriend’s house and didn’t have any with me. No problem, I’d do it in a few days when I got home.

Then I broke my leg.

Yeah. I slipped on the bottom step of the concrete steps outside my boyfriend’s house and fractured my fibula. Fun times.

I finally got home after two weeks in hospital but everything was completely derailed and off track and messy and I didn’t get round to finishing the three marker challenge until five months later.

But I did finish it.