June Scrawlr Box

The next post chronologically in my actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series is the June Scrawlr Box.

I got very excited when I opened the June box – watercolours!  I’ve been learning to paint with watercolours – blog post impending – so this was really interesting.

The box contained a Daler-Rowney Aquafine Travel Set, a white Posca pen, two Faber Castell Polychromo pencils (also exciting, I have a full set of these that I will one day learn to use properly), a Staedtler Noris erasable coloured pencil and a sample of Langton Prestige 300gsm watercolour paper.

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Step one – swatching time.

Step two – dome shaped monster.  Obviously.

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I really will get round to making them a species at some point.  Maybe.  Probably.  Eventually.

Then I did a pretty rainbow flower I’d seen on Pinterest, and a sunset sky, also seen on Pinterest.

On the watercolour paper I did two pieces.  A larger version of the sunset, and another sunset with a silhouette.

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The silhouette was supposed to be a unicorn, but the first attempt was very very bad.  I had tried it without a reference.  Which was a mistake.  I ended up correcting it a little to make it a cat-type creature thing.

I also did a little rainbow mandala thing while waiting for layers to dry.

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The featured artist for this month was Joana Fi.

Overall it was a brilliant box.  I prefer my Sakura Koi watercolours, but these are pretty awesome too.

Marker Haul

Over recent months I’ve been getting a little frustrated with my alcohol markers. My favourite colours of my Ohuhu markers have been running out. And as much as I love them, Ohuhu doesn’t do refills or sell individual markers. And even though I have quite a collection now, I was beginning to find that I didn’t have enough desaturated shades.

So when I came into some money in August, I got myself some new markers. And now I can do a marker haul post.

I got a few different types of markers, but I’m not going to do a comparison or review or anything, unless people wanted one.

One of the colours I only had a few of was turquoise/teal, so when I saw this set I decided it was a good chance to try Spectrum Noir.

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I had ordered these from AliExpress way back in July, before I could afford a marker haul, but they arrived around the same time as the others. With all the robots I’ve been doing lately my lighter greys have been running out.

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One of my favourite stores here in the UK is The Works. I get quite a lot of my art and craft supplies from there. They’ve been selling their own brand of markers, CMYK, for a while now – they do smaller packs with a colour theme, but this one had all the colours. And we all know I love all the colours. Plus, this set came in a cool box.

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As I said at the start of the post, I’ve been getting frustrated with my markers. The cheaper ones are great. They work okay. But when they run out, there’s no replacement option. The Copics are expensive, but when they run out there’s the option of the Various Ink refill – which refills a marker a couple of times. Unfortunately, the cheaper markers are an option because they’re cheaper. I can buy a set of 36 Copic Ciaos for £100+, or I can buy a set of 60 Ohuhus for £40. Yes, in the long run the Copics are cheaper, but it’s having the money in the first place.

The only option is to get them gradually. And Copics are a brand that you can buy individual markers of. I think it works out every so slightly more expensive, but £3.25 a week is a lot less of a burden on a budget than £100. So as part of my marker haul I went onto Cult Pens and got myself Copics.

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I’m collecting the Ciaos because that’s what I was gifted a 12 set of a couple of years ago. But the Ciaos are also cheaper. They hold less ink, and there’s only 180 colours in the range rather than the full Copic range of 358 colours, but they’re still pretty awesome. I did decide that I wanted to try out the Copic Sketch and the original Copic though.

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By this point I realised that I was nearly at the stage where I had at least one of each of the bigger brands – I already have some Touch markers, some Promarkers and a Brushmarkers. I was missing a Prismacolor though – so I went looking online. They’re a mainly American brand and therefore hard to get here in the UK. The only feasible option I could find was an independent eBay seller who was selling two of the same colour for a £2.50. When they turned up there was an extra marker too, in a different shade.


So… marker haul!


And of course I did all the swatching. I love to swatch.




May Scrawlr Box

The next post chronologically in my actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series is the May Scrawlr Box.

The May box contained 4 Pilot Pintor pens (the Pilot brand version of Posca pens), a Molotow Liquid Chrome pen, the ever-present pencil, and an eraser.  There was also a sample of Canaletto Liscio 125gsm paper.

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After swatching, I drew one of my little dome-shaped monsters – like I always do.

Pintor markers – like Poscas – are supposed to be useable on everything.  So I did another monster on the front of the sketchbook.

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The liquid chrome pen is freaking awesome by the way.  Look at this shine!

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You’ll also notice in that image a nice fat scratch down the poor little monster’s face.  I don’t know if Posca markers scratch off as easily or if it’s a Pintor thing.  Maybe I’ll do a paint pen comparison at some point.

And so on to artwork.  The theme for this month was “Paper Tiger”.  A paper tiger is a thing which looks dangerous, but is actually harmless.  The featured artist of the month did an actual tiger, and it looks really cool.

I didn’t want to do a tiger though.  I picked a killer whale.  And I used the sample of paper to sketch out an image and get going.  I sort of planned out the colours in advance.  I’d intended to use a blue Posca pen I had as the sky, but then I wanted to use the liquid chrome as stars and my blue was too light for a night sky, so when it came to it I used that for waves instead.

I decided I’d buy another pen – a purple Pintor – to do the sky.  But that involved waiting.  While I was waiting, I started another piece.  A block abstract piece.  I quite like doing abstract pieces.  They’re soothing.

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Then when my new pen arrived I finished both pieces.

This was a great box.  The paint pens are very cool, and I definitely intend to do more with them at some point.  But the stand out winner for me is that liquid chrome pen.  Look at the shiny..

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I’m gonna try and find a way to really use that pen in a fantabulous piece of art.  Eventually.


Colours of the Month & a New Challenge

Today we have a twofer.  Two challenges in one. One of them is even a new challenge! It’s a real exciting day here at Crafted By Colette.

The new challenge is @ScribbleIntoArt. On the first of each month they post a scribble, and then you turn it into art. I joined late, finding the August scribble on the 27th. But I was eager.

I copied the scribble into my sketchbook, and start sketching it over it with an off-brand Col-Erase pencil.

I loved the robot head, but then I’m not entirely sure what happened with the body. So I picked a different pencil and had another go.

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This time I was happy enough with my concept to move on. I didn’t want to destroy my base sketch, and having used coloured pencils and a sketchbook it was really hard to lightbox. So I just eyeballed it – changing the robot’s legs a little in the process.

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Next up was the colouring, and the second challenge of this twofer. The August Colours of the Month. This months colours were an intriguing set – cyan, magenta and yellow. So step one was to swatch out and work out which markers to use. I ended up with one of my Ohuhu markers and two of my new CMYK markers (Marker Haul post on it’s way).

Before I started colouring my robot I did some playing around to see what colours I could make. With cyan, magenta and yellow, in theory I could make all of the colours – like a printer. In practice it’s hard to do with markers. They’re very saturated. But I still managed to get a nice rainbow. I know that if I did the same with watercolours I’d get a much wider range of shades, but this was good for now.

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While attempting to colour the robot in a brown/black colour, it got really blotchy and weird. It was a nice effect though. It almost started to look galaxy-like. I was semi-tempted to add stars. I might well have another attempt – although what are the chances I can deliberately recreate a botch job?

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I’m really pleased with how the final piece turned out though. Helpful robot is polite and looks away while he holds out a towel.

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May Copic Colours

The next post chronologically in my actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series is the Copic Colours of May.

By May, the Copic Twitter account had changed it’s name to Marker Universe, but they were still churning out colour sets every month.

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So I did my swatching…

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…but it took a while for me to actually get around to doing the piece.  I was distracted by MerMay.  Which is just as well, because a couple of days later Marker Universe tweeted this…

And I realised that somehow I’d completely borked the third colour.  So I swatched again for that one.

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And then drew a pretty funky mermaid, because MerMay.

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The anatomy is a little awkward, and I really need to work on backgrounds.  But how awesome is that tail?!


Peep Update

I’m interrupting the blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series again because if I don’t, I’m going to end up with another backlog of outdated posts. So I’m alternating between backlog post and current post.

At Christmas I started a new Peep for my collection. In my bad lighting I picked a cream and a bright pink instead of the intended white and red. It was supposed to be candy cane striped, but I suppose it’s okay that it doesn’t – especially given that it only just got finished.

I’ve had the stuffing I needed to finish it for a while now, but … well… there is no excuse. It just took me ages to get around to it. It is finally finished though. Meet Holly.

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She is my tallest Peep so far. First tiny Phoebe, then not so tiny Rufus. Now Holly. At this rate I’m going to end up making one the size of a car. Now there’s a blog post idea.

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April Scrawlr Box

Months ago, when the April Scrawlr box arrived, I blogged about the March box.  Now as part of my actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series I’m gonna tell you about the April box.  Only 4 months late.

The April Scrawlr box contained a couple of fineliners, the ever present pencil, a kneaded eraser that I forgot to photo, and some brush markers.

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And the sticker of course.

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I swatched…

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…and then I drew myself a little rabbit creature.  Except that these markers are not so great for colouring.

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So I did some research – by which I mean that I watched a whole bunch of YouTube videos – and discoverered that they’re really good for lettering.  So I did some lettering.

It also transpired that the ink inside is supposedly watercolour paint ink.  So I did some more swatching, this time with a wet paintbrush as well.

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Then I had another go, using more appropriate paper.

I had fun playing around with the markers, but I didn’t really have a finished piece for this box.  I didn’t resonate with the supplies, but as my watercolour skills have been increasing, maybe I can do better at some point in the future.

August Scrawlr Box

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series to bring you a monthly challenge that is actually on time.  Yes, I’m actually blogging about a monthly challenge in the month following it – and not several months later.

I get really excited when the Scrawlr box drops through my door.  Surprises!  New art supplies!  New challenge!

The August Scrawlr box contained the ever-present pencil, a Pilot drawing pen, a Clairefontaine sketchbook and a pack of Chameleon Fineliners.

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The fineliners were really intriguing.  I bought myself a Chameleon Marker years ago – way before I was really interested in art – and then I ended up selling it.  Chameleon Markers have a “unique” system which lets you attach a mixing chamber to your pen and it blends the ink right on the nib.  It is pretty impressive.

I saw a glimpse of the fineliners on Instagram just the day before the Scrawlr Box arrived so I was super eager to try them out.

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Possibly a little too eager.  They were a lot of fun.  I could have filled the whole little sketchbook, but I resisted.  Just.

I did try colouring with them, but they aren’t really designed for that I don’t think.  It doesn’t look great.

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I didn’t do a full art piece with this box, but I don’t mind.  I spent about 8 hours playing with them and I’ve been doing so off and on ever since.  The fineliners are very awesome.

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It is tempting to get some more Chameleon Markers again, but they are NOT cheap and I already have an expensive marker habit – more about that coming soon.

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The featured art for August – which isn’t rude, because it’s a classic – is by Jonathan Knight and looks awesome.  Scrawlr are very good at picking their featured artists.

It’s very impressive.  I’m completely in awe of artists like that.  But it isn’t as adorable as this.

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March Copic Colours

The next post chronologically in my actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series is the Copic Colours of March.

As mentioned in my last post, the colours of the month evolved from just a three pack of Copics.  By March they were releasing the colours codes in Hex and Pantone too, for digital artists and people who don’t have the colours in Copics.

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First up was the fun bit.  Swatching!  Because I didn’t have any of those Copics, obviously.  A lot of people dislike swatching, but I really enjoy it.

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The drawing and colouring are also fun, of course.  This time I went with a monster, because monsters are awesome.

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I’m not sure where the weird shape came from.  It might have been me getting a friend to scribble on the page and me turning it into something.


December Copic Colours

While writing a list of posts I need to write for my actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series I started off thinking I’d do all the monthly art challenges (like MerMay and Junicorn), then all the Monthly Copic Colours, then all the Scrawlr Boxes.  But I’ve since decided to do things chronologically instead.  And the oldest challenge that needs writing about is the December set of Copic Colours.

This will actually be the first Copic Colours blog post, even though I’ve done a bunch of them now.  I did mention them once before though, way back in December’s Arty Advent Challenge.

The Copic Marker Twitter account releases a set of three colours every month.  At the time of the December set, they were a three pack you could buy.  Since then the Colours of the Month challenge has moved away from Copic, and onto other brands, but we’ll get there when it comes to it.

This is the tweet from December.

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I don’t have any of those colours, because I only had a few Copics at the time (not that I have many more now), so I swatched all of my blue markers and worked out which three most represented the three Copics: B00, B12 and B18.

I did a sketch for an image I wanted.  I have no idea what inspired a merman in December, but there you go.

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And then before I started colouring, I tested out some layering to see what other shades I could get.

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You might notice at the bottom of that page there, that one of the pens ran out.  Typical.  The problem with cheaper markers is that when they run out there aren’t refills for them.  Which really sucks.

And so the merman and his swatch sheet languished in my WIPs (work in progress) folder for months.  Five months actually.  But I finally got a replacement marker for that shade and finished the poor merman.

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I really like the colouring.  The anatomy could do with some work, but I’m pleased nonetheless.  And I enjoyed the concept of a monthly colour challenge so much I’ve done a few more.

Which I will be blogging about soon, I promise.