November Scrawlr Box

A week before Christmas I received the shipping notification for the December Scrawlr Box. At which point I figured I should really finish off the November box.

Some boxes contain supplies that I know how to use and I’m super excited about, and they get completed within hours of me opening the box.  Some contain supplies I’m not so sure about, and tend to get set aside for a while.

The November box contained the second type.

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A day or so before my box arrived, Scrawlr sent out this very cryptic email.

When I got the box I discovered what it was about.  The little black thing above the pencil in my picture of the supplies.  It comes apart into two pieces, and goes back together to make a paintbrush.

I’ve never used gouache before, but it’s something that’s been on my list of art materials to try one day.  I had no idea where to start, so I was a little intimidated.  But I finally started.  By ignoring the supplies and sketching out a piece to paint first.

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Eventually though, I had to swatch.

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I tried mixing some colours, but wasn’t happy with the ones I produced.  I mean, they were nice colours, but they were totally wrong for the character I’d drawn.  She’s my original character Effy and she has very bright hair.

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So I decided to do something simpler instead.  I started with one of my dome monsters.

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And I did the latest shape challenge from Studio Tea Break – creating a monster, obviously.

Gouache is supposed to be more opaque, so you can do layers.  So I did the grey colour for the body first, then added the spots and the eyes.  I’m not sure if the spots came out okay, but the eye definitely needed a few coats.

I also did a blended circles exercise, and some dome monsters.

Of course, I couldn’t leave Effy unfinished, so I got out my watercolours for her.

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And because I like to use every bit of mixed paint left on the palette, I did more dome monsters.  And a cat in a window.  Because why not?

Oh, and before I forget, the featured Scrawlr Box artist for November was Riso Chan who did this awesome piece.

December’s Scrawlr blog will be posted in a couple of days, just in time to receive January’s box.

Christmas Haul

I promised you all a haul post of my Christmas presents, and I think we’re overdue for a picture heavy post.  So here we go.

First off, it’s not technically an art or craft supply, but it’s adorable and very useful.  Tom got me a unicorn lap desk.

I show you the cushiony bit because most of the following pictures have it as a background and I wouldn’t want you to wonder where my scruffy desktop went.

I got a unicorn 3D puzzle kit, which I have already completed.

I got a Superman “Lego” thing, which I have already completed.  Not pictured is a massive box of just basic Lego bricks that I also got.

I got a unicorn felt kit, which I have already completed.

I got three colouring books, which I have not completed, but I have started.

I got a unicorn sticker mosaic book, which I have started.  Can you tell I like unicorns?

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I got some tube watercolours, and some iridescent watercolours, which I have already started playing with.

As well as a 3 pack of watercolour sketchbooks, which was perfectly timed because I only have one or two pages left of my last 3 pack.

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I got a Star Wars crochet kit, which I have started…

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…and a needle felting kit that I have not started.

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I got a freaking set of Copic Ciao markers!  I have been using these since almost the second I got them.

I got some absolutely gorgeous Desert Bus special yarn by Schmutzerella yarns.

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I got some washi tapes, which takes my collection from a bazillion to a bazillion and a bit more.

I got lots of little bits and pieces including a funky double notebook, 2 matching pouches, a tiny notepad, 2 erasable pens, 2 massive scented highlighters, two sets of stickers (more unicorns!), and some UV resin.

And from my mother I received a big bag with a mix of new/secondhand craft supplies…

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…which included lots of stamps…

…and some acrylic stamp blocks…

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…and some stamp/cutting dies/embossing folder sets…

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…as well as a punch and bits…

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…some papers…

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…a box of sparklies…

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…and some miscellaneous bits…

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…that included the world’s ugliest ribbon, which isn’t actually that bad once it’s unspooled.

So yeah, I just got a few bits 🙂

Wanna take a guess at how many of these will reappear in blog posts?

Using My Instagram Palette

Last week, Kasey Golden on YouTube posted a video where she used her Instagram colour palette to draw with.

Of course I had to copy her.  So I popped off to the generator she used, ColorKuler.  I was half expecting my palette to be a rainbow, so at first I was a little shocked by these muted tones.

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But I suppose it was influenced by my many many robots.

As for what to draw, I’ve been doing lots of chibis recently.  And I was inspired by the beautiful dress on this drawing of the goddess Artemis by Naomi Lord.

After I’d finished sketching I realised that my girl was going to look a little anemic since there’s no flesh colour in my palette really, but I think she looks pretty good.


Obviously I cheated a little when it came to the hue of the background, but we’ll pretend we didn’t notice that.

I’m really happy with the detail on her outfit and accessories.  I need to do more intricate stuff in my art.  And I’m super happy with how she looks because it was all done digitally.  I did use a chibi pose reference from Pinterest, but other than that it’s all me.  Don’t ya just love seeing your skills improve?

It’s a Brand New Year

At the turn of each year I like to do a bit of a wrap up post. I’ve said before that New Year isn’t as important to me as Christmas – but my new boyfriend’s birthday is December 31st so that might change.

To be honest I can’t really tell you much about 2019 before September.  I know there was some family drama.  I know that I worked on improving my art skills.  I know that I was a vendor at some school summer fairs.  But I can’t tell you anything about my mood, or how I felt.

Since I met Tom at the start of September everything before has become a bit of a blur.  I know that before him I was lonely, and now I’m not.  Now I’m ridiculously loved up and positive and happy and hopeful.  He makes me feel like I have a future.

And he’s been extremely supportive with my art and my craft, and my blog and my store.  We’ve even done a collaboration.  Several actually, but you’ll hear about the others soon.

2019 wasn’t all about Tom.  I got to watch my niece and nephew grow even more into adorable, wonderful, entertaining children.  I got to watch my younger sister become even more of a brilliant mother.  I got to watch my youngest sister settle a little.  I got to watch my mum go through a couple of major surgeries and deal with it like a boss.  I got to create a deeper friendship with the artists I met on SamBeAwesome‘s Twitch streams.

I did have goals for the year.  I wanted my depression to stabilise a little, and it has.  I wanted my store to expand, and it has.  Not as much as I’d hoped, but it has.  Yesterday I received my first Etsy order from the Southern Hemisphere.

I set myself two challenges for 2019.  I wanted to draw 100 somethings, and after a poll, I settled on robots.  I have absolutely loved drawing robots.  I have drawn more than 100 of them, and plan on continuing to draw them because robots are awesome.  There is a blog post due about that challenge later in January.

My second challenge was to read at least one book a week.  And I smashed that as well – with the help of audio books.  What a genius invention!

Going into 2020 I have the same hopes as I usually do.  For my depression/health to improve, to stay loved up, for my family to be safe and happy, for my store to expand, and for my craft skills to expand.  I do have more detailed plans, which you can read about in my last post.

What would you like to see from me this year?  Any changes to the site, or my store?  Any additions?  Any collaborations you’d like to see me do, or artists/crafters to work with?

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season and I wish you all the best for 2020.

Because this is the third post in a row with no pictures, here’s my Instagram Top Nine.

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Twelve? Or Twenty-One?

I have a list in my notebook (obviously) of blog prompts that I’ve collected in case I ever run out of ideas.  One of those prompts is “12 things I want to do in the next 12 months.”  I thought that would be a nice blog to write at the turn of the year.  So over the last couple of weeks I’ve been compiling a list.

I had about 8 items on my list when a thought occurred to me.  The items I’d gathered were all things like the ones on my 20 Before 20 list.  Projects that I wanted to finish and things that I’d been putting off.  But should they be experiences instead?  Going for a picnic with my boyfriend?  Visiting a city I’ve never been to?

And what about the yearly challenges I set myself?  And my art resolutions?  Are they all seperate things, or should they be included?  Because I am me, I overthought this a lot.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that I would combine them all into a 21 Before 21 list.  And so here it is.

21 Things to Do Before 2021.

1) Start selling my art.  I’m planning on making prints of my work available on my Etsy store sometime soon, and perhaps stickers too.

2) Learn goauche and acrylic.  This process has already begun, as you’ll see in a week or so.

3) Hit 100 etsy sales.

4) Sell at a proper craft fair.  I’ve only really done school fairs so far.

5) Walk.  I really need to start being more active.  I am an incredibly sedentary person.

6) Be able to get the train to Tom.   This is related to the previous item, and also to my almost-crippling fear of the public.  Tom (my boyfriend) lives in the next town over, and it’s a reasonably easy process to get the train there.  Except that I currently find myself incapable of doing it.  I’ve had to rely on my mother for lifts – which is kinda pathetic for a 37 year old.

7) Get a gazebo and a trolley.  I’ve been doing more summer fairs than I have done in the past, and it can be almost unbearable to sit in the sun for 3-5 hours when you don’t like the sun.  It’s also disheartening to lose stock when the British weather decides to rain on the fair.  And at the moment I can pack everything I need into my wheelie suitcase and my backpack, but if I add a gazebo then I’m going to have trouble carrying things.

8) Finish 20 before 20.  There are still more than half the items on my 20 Before 20 list that need completing.  I could pad out this list with them, but I’m gonna stick them all as one item.  Some of them kind of overlap with others anyway.

9) Go on a picnic with Tom.

10) Visit a city I’ve never been to before.

11) Complete at least 20 other craft projects.  Since I’ve been doing art I’ve been neglecting my other craft hobbies quite a bit.

12) 20 “full” art pieces.  By this I mean pieces with actual scenic backgrounds and not just patterns.

13) 50 completely digital pieces.  Not necessarily with scenic backgrounds, or even fully coloured, but things that are started and finished digitally.

14) Bake more.  I made some gingerbread just before Christmas, and I made my usual sausage & cheese muffins on Christmas Day.  I do enjoy baking, I just don’t really do it often enough.

15) Join some blog parties.  I’d like to build up my readership, so I think joining in some things like blog parties would be pretty awesome.

16) More collaborations.  I’m enjoying doing line art swaps, and there are other collaboration ideas I have too.  Maybe a craft collab as well as art ones.

17) Finish all learning projects in my notebook.  I have a blog post about my learning process coming soon.

18) Finish more projects than I start. 

19) Take a photo of myself every day.  I did this a few years ago, but I’m going to do it with one of those apps that helps me line up my face to the same position.

20) Watch at least 100 of the films on my Films To Watch list.  There’s currently about 200 on there, with more being added every week.

21) Finish a colouring book.  This is something I’ve tried to do before.  I think I might start a new book in 2020 though, rather than finished one that I’ve already started.  Maybe.

2 For 20 Before 20

What’s this?  A blog post with no pictures?  What on earth has happened to me?  There are no pictures because they aren’t really any needed.

I completed a couple of items on my 20 Before 20 list.  The first one is the first one: get blog up to date and a bit ahead.  I currently have all time-sensitive posts written and scheduled, if not already posted.  And I have about 15 other posts written and ready to go.

The second one is the 16th one: start sewing again.

When my Mum downsized her home earlier this year I acquired a bunch of her furniture.  To fit that stuff into my little flat I had to reorganise, and practically pack up everything that I own.  Some stuff got put in different cupboards, boxes were everywhere, and it has taken me months and months to sort things out.  There is still a lot that hasn’t been sorted yet.  So when I decided to make myself a new skirt for Christmas last week I wasn’t entirely sure where all the things I needed were.

I suspected they were in one of the couple of boxes on a table in my living room, where my sewing machine was.  I moved some stuff so that I could get to them, and I looked through them.  But I couldn’t find the paraphernalia that I needed.

The only other place they could have been were in one of the many boxes in my shed.  There are lots of boxes in there, and most of them contain stuff that I intend to donate to charity.  I got a friend to help me work out which boxes were things I wanted to keep, and to move those into my living room.

I sorted those out, and put lots of things away.  But I didn’t find the sewing machine paraphernalia.  I gave up on the idea of a new skirt, and settled on just repairing one that had some issues.  So I got out my sewing machine, and a box of stuff that held the power cable and pedal.

Guess what I found in that box.  Yep, the sewing machine paraphernalia I was looking for in the first place.  I don’t know how I missed them the first time.

At this point it was too late to make a new skirt – I had a party to attend in a couple of hours.  So I repaired the skirt anyway – the hem needed lifting, the waist needed tightening and rehemming.  I listened to some Christmas music, I sewed, and I wore my skirt to the party.

I think that probably counts.  I’m sewing again.  So two more items completed.  I don’t think I’m going to complete all 20, but having the list has helped.


Art Resolutions

During last year’s Arty Advent series I made some art resolutions.  I actually did pretty well at keeping them.

The first one was to have less drawings floating in the middle of white nothingness.  I still need to work on backgrounds, but I do tend to do more now.  I do a little hint of floor, or a shape in the background.

Sometimes I do a pattern in the background.

Sometimes I do a simple-ish border.

Sometimes I do a hint of something that fits the theme of the piece.

Sometimes I’ll cut out the drawing and stick it on a piece of patterned paper, or use some washi tape.

And occasionally – but not often enough – I’ll do a full background.

I even did a completely over-the-top detailed piece for Halloween.

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My second art resolution was to practice digital drawing.  At the start of the year I got myself a Lenovo Yoga laptop that has a touch screen I can fold back – and I started drawing on that.  I did some pieces I was really pleased with.

And I did lots of pieces I wasn’t at all happy with – which I will not be showing you :-p  Near the end of the year I got a cheap tablet and have been having lots of fun working with that, making a lot of improvement.  I’ll be writing a blog post about that later.

My third resolution was to finish some of the million half-started pieces.  I do still have a bunch of pieces to finish, but I definitely don’t have the 50+ I had when I wrote that post.  I’ve finished some of them, but I’ve also culled a lot of them.  When I sketch, I have a tendency to decide it needs to be a completed sketched, inked and coloured piece.  So things pile up.  I’m trying to teach myself that just sketching is okay.

The fourth resolution was to have a go at using different mediums.  I’ve been bitten with the watercolour bug this year, and find myself reaching for them quite often.

And thanks to Scrawlr Box I’ve had a chance to try lots of new mediums including oil paints (which you can read about here), gouache (which you’ll be able to read about in a few weeks), watercolor brush pens (which you can read about here), and Chameleon colour-changing fineliners (which you can read about here).

My last art resolution was to try to do some collaborations.  In October I did a line art swap with Nina, and then in December we did another one.

So do I have some art resolutions for 2020?  Sort of.  I have lots of plans, and lots of ideas, but you’ll be able to read about them all in a couple of days.

What about you?  Did you have any art resolutions this year?  How did you do?

More Snowflakes

One of the projects I had planned for the 12 Days of Christmas series that never happened, was to make some snowflakes with my 3D pen.  The tradition it represented was the paper snowflakes I make every year and that I wrote about recently.

I collected a lot of snowflake images from the interwebs, and printed about 60 of them in various sizes.  Then I got out that very large spool of conveniently white filament that I bought.

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After a quick test to make sure the filament would come off the paper once set, I completed my first one.  I love how the melted filament looks like icing.

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I did a few more, including this one which was so delicate that peeling the paper off was terrifying.

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After I’d done a few I set to work trimming off the many many many strings from where I’d stopped extruding the filament at the end of lines.

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This was not as easy as I thought it was going to be.  And after an hour of work I decided I’d give up.  Making the snowflakes is much more fun that trying to clip off tiny strings without breaking the snowflakes.  So I had a batch of slightly hairy snowflakes.  But they’re still very pretty.

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I decided I was going to have another try, attempting to not stop and start.  I did pretty well with the first one, and the only string left at the end was easy to cut off.

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I went to add a loop, so I could hang it on my Christmas tree, and realised that drawing one with the pen would probably look better.  So I did another one of these cute little ones.  I forgot the loop.  I remembered it on the third try though.

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For the second two, I pressed the string down with my finger as soon as I stopped extruding and that helped minimise the strings.  So I figured I could try that with a more complicated one – stopping at the end of each line to make it neater, and pressing down the string before it solidifies.  It kinda worked.

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But it was a lot easier to just do a continuous stream of filament.  So I did some more.

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And then some more.  They’re kinda addictive.

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I didn’t use all 60 templates, but I think I made enough.  And they’re so pretty!  I do love snowflakes.

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Merry Christmas!

I used the December Colours of the Month

… to draw this adorable little Rudolph.  And then I turned it into a digital card to wish all of my friends a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah and whatever else you celebrate.

I appreciate and love all of you.  Happy Holidays!


Christmas Scratch Art

One of the things I showed you in my craft haul post was this neat little Christmas scratch art set.

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It was nothing fancy, but then I didn’t expect anything more for just £2.

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And it did come with things to punch out.  I always love that.

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I had a bit of fun fiddling around with the stencil and general doodling.

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And then, of course, I did monsters.

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As I said, it was nothing fancy.  But it kept me busy for half an hour.  And it was a nice bit of nostalgia.  We used to do these little kits all the time as children.  I don’t recall them making quite so much mess though.