Arty Advent Day 14: A Year of Progress

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

In my Art Resolutions post the other day I showed a tweet from @Amylouioc and mentioned that the three drawings image would make an appearance in a few days.  Well here it is:


I first saw it when one of my new artist friends @NinaHah_Art posted it.

So here I go…

I’m pleased with how my drawing has progressed, but I’m really pleased with how my marker colouring has progressed so I’m going to show you three of those pieces.  It’s not quite the whole year though.  I got my first set of markers as a gift from a friend in July, and I tested them out with this guy.

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A few months after that I did one of my first fan art pieces.  I’m loving the new Doctor.

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And this week, as mentioned, I did this.

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I’m so proud of my progress, and I’m looking forward to progressing even more.  It’ll be an interesting comparison this time next year.

Arty Advent Day 13: Half Way Through

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

It’s December 13th, which means we’re half way through this Arty Advent challenge I’ve set myself.  In honour of being half way, I thought I’d show you some of the half finished art pieces I have that I mentioned in my Art Resolutions post the other day.

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First up is this beautiful little fairy.  She’s finished, but I really want to give her a background of some sort.

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This one is for Copic colours of the month.  Copic posts every month a specific set of 3 colours and challenges people to make a piece of art using only them.  I’m not using Copics, because I don’t have too many of them, so I worked out which of my markers most match and used them.  Until one ran out while I was testing how they blended.  So that particular merman is on hold.

These two are Zentangle-style pieces started over a year ago.  I had the idea, started drawing, then got distracted and never got around to finishing them.  But I’d really like to because I think they’re going to look awesome.

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This is the piece I started with the contents of the Scrawlr Box I got a month or so ago.  I could only afford the one off box for now, and I wanted to test it out.  I really liked it, and when I can afford it I want a full subscription.

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Some food inspired creatures from a night with my friends months ago.

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A middle-of-the-night doodle with the pens in my bedside cabinet that I’d like to make into a full piece.

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A self-portrait of myself as a monster.

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Squirtle is finished, but I’d like to do more Pokemon.  The starters at least.  And Pikachu of course.

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Some sketches from when I was experimenting with sketching in colour.  They’re really cute and I want to finish them off.

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And a random doodle that turned out really cute and deserves to be a fully fledged monster.

At least a few of these will be making reappearances on the blog as full posts when I’ve finished them.  So maybe next month, maybe next years (which is the same thing, but you know what I mean).



Arty Advent Day 12: Twitter Challenges 2

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

Yesterday I wrote about the awesome Twitter art challenges I’ve found.  I mentioned that I’ve only found two so far… this is the second.

I can’t remember how I found out about it, but I’m following more and more artists every day so it was probably something that one of them shared.  @Animaloonies

The Animaloon Collective is a completely awesome concept.  You take an animal and you turn it into a balloon.  On the 2nd Tuesday of every month people post their creations, with the next theme being given in advance so everyone can draw the same animal.   Here’s the Twitter header with some brilliant examples.


I missed the deadline for November so the theme I was going to start with was this one…

Having recently decided that I want to draw more Christmas stuff, I picked an elf.  I haven’t had time to do a pig as well.  Especially since the elf ended up taking a bit longer than planned.

I drew out a sketch in my sketchbook, and decided to just colour it in with felt tips rather than do the whole marker thing.  And it’s kinda cute.

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Except that I figured he needed a background, and I wasn’t overly happy with the colouring.  So I had another go.

I traced it out using my lightbox, and also traced out a tiny familiar silhouette in the corner because I didn’t trust my skills enough to do something so complicated so small.  And then I coloured in the elf.  I really enjoy doing the blending and shading, although I definitely need more colours.

I knew what I wanted to do for the background, but first I needed to do some experimenting.  I wanted a nice gradient from black to a light blue.  I tested all of my blues but I really don’t have enough.  I have 11 blues, but not quite enough with the same hue (I think that’s the right term, I’m working on my colour theory) so I wasn’t completely happy with the resulting gradient.  And it used a LOT of ink, but then I guess all marker pieces do.  I finished it off with some tiny white dots of gel pen ink to make some stars.

I love how it turned out.  It’s my first full page piece and my first scenic background rather than random patterns or washi tape.  And it just looks brilliant.   I especially love the little halo around the elf, done with the colourless blender.

There are so many little details that I’m proud of, but I don’t want to toot my own horn so I’ll just beam with pride privately.

Do you know of any other Twitter art challenges I should have a go at?

Arty Advent Day 11: Twitter Challenges 1

For December 1st-24th (and possibly a Christmas day bonus), I’ll be posting an art-related blog post every day.  If you visit my blog during this time, let me reassure you that I’m not just an art blog.  I do all the crafts.  You can look through my archives, or stay tuned for future posts, to see the other crafty things I get up to. 

I’ve been spending a lot less time on Facebook recently, and a lot lot LOT more time on Twitter.  And one of the things I love about Twitter is the challenges.  So far I know of two art Twitter challenges, but I’m sure there are many many more.

The first one I found about was @AnimalAlphabets, discovered on an old DoodleDates video on YouTube.

Naturally I had to go and have a look.  When I looked the current letter was X…

So I had a google for animals beginning with X and drew this.

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I noticed that the Twitter feed was sharing a lot of Xinjiangtitans, but figured maybe people couldn’t think of another animal beginning with X.  Then I realised that they were ALL Xinjiangtitans.  I must have missed something.  So I asked.


Yeah. I missed something.  I decided that since it was so close to the end of the alphabet I’d wait until the next round started.

The next round will be sea life and begins in the New Year.  For December they’re doing a two part Christmas special challenge.

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I think maybe I had sea life in mind when I did mine, but then I have been meaning to draw an axolotl for months.  I did some sketches from reference images I found on Pinterest…

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…and then I sketched out my own.  I coloured it with alcohol markers and I’m really pleased with how the blending and shading looks.  I love the outlining too.  Outlining in colour is something I’ve been wanting to try and I think it looks really striking.

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Now, you might notice that he’s missing a Christmas jumper.  I may have cheated on that front.

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It’s not a REAL cheat. I drew an animal beginning with A-M, and I drew a Christmas jumper.  I just didn’t draw them on the same piece of paper.  I love how it looks and I’m so tempted to change his outfit for different times of the year.

I promise that whatever animal I draw for the second half of the challenge will have a non-removable jumper.

I did say I knew of two Twitter art challenges, but this post is already pretty long and picture heavy, so tune in tomorrow to find out about the other one 🙂



Platonic Doodle Dates

One of my favourite YouTube channels is Doodle Date, with adorable couple Adam and Steph who do many arty challenges and activities together.  More than a few of the challenges have appealed to me and been added to my list of things to do.  When my friend Cayden was scheduled to come stay with me for my birthday weekend I decided that we should take on a Doodle Date challenge, but since we’re not a couple it would be a Platonic Doodle Date.

When we sat down to decide what to do, another favourite YouTube channel Draw With Jazza had just posted a video that we loved the idea of, so we ended up having a Platonic Doodle Date that wasn’t actually on Doodle Date.

In the video Jazza uses his Arty Games app to pick a bunch of challenges at once.  I happen to have the Arty Games app, and it’s really useful when you don’t know what to draw.  Not to mention a bundle of fun.  Jazza chooses a time challenge, a colour challenge, an environment prompt, a character prompt and a scribble.  Cayden and I are both relative new to drawing so we decided to skip the environment and character prompts for our first attempt.

So, for the timed portion.  We decided that since we both have quite simplistic styles at the moment, ten minutes would be plenty.

Next up, the colour selection.  We wanted as many colours as possible so we set the app to pick five.

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And finally, the scribble…

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However….  isn’t there always a “however” with me?  I got out my box of markers and went to pick out the right colours.  I don’t have a full set of very expensive Copic markers.  I have a small amount of Copics, a small amount of Promarkers, some Ohuhu, some DoCrafts and some TouchFive markers.  So I tried swatching a lot to get the same colours and it just wasn’t happening.

Which lead to the Platonic Doodle Date being delayed for a few hours.

Jazza’s app lets you add the type of pen set you have, except that it doesn’t have any of my other markers.  So I decided it would be a good idea to swatch all my markers and attempt to colour match them to Copic numbers. I did look for a conversion chart online first, but couldn’t find anything.

It took several hours, and lots of scrolling through websites selling Copic markers.  It was fun, but difficult.  There may be 358 Copic colours, but that isn’t enough!  So many of my markers didn’t fit any Copics, and there were more than a couple of times where two differently coloured markers ended up with the same Copic number.  But I finally had a set of “Copic” colours.

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And so we re-generated the colours…

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Then we decided that black shouldn’t really count, since we’d be inking in black anyway.  So we picked an additional colour…

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The eagle-eyed among you might notice that B16 appeared already.  Luckily B16 was one of those Copic colours that had a couple of my markers attached to it.  So we ended up with the following colour palette…

So we swatched, we drew out our scribble into our sketchbooks…

…we set out our pencils, erasers, inking pens and markers, we set up the timer and off we went!

Ten minutes is not enough.

We sketched okay, and we inked okay…

…and then lost all sense of sanity during the colouring.

Cayden (the green haired character) did a better job at the colouring than me (the bird) because he was sensible and used an A5 sketchbook instead of a huge A4 one like I did.

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It was hectic, and adrenaline-filled, and a LOT of fun. We both agreed that we should have done 20 minutes. And we both plan to redo our pieces without the time limit, just to show how good we really are.




Trying String Pulling

The other day my friend Del wrote a guest post for me about string pulling.  Now, I’ve had this image…

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…from Pinterest sitting in my “things to try” folder for absolutely ages.  Then one day on Facebook I see that Del has tried that very thing!  And made such a beautiful job of it too.

So I finally decided to have a go.  My first attempt wasn’t so great – the red one.

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A little bit too much paint. It was about this time that I decided I would message Del and ask her to write a tutorial.  But when I’d grabbed the equipment and taken it to my temporary art studio (in bed because I have the flu)…

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…I grabbed two types of string.  The red one was done with proper string, like twine.  The purple one was done with a thinner knotting cord, and I scraped the excess paint off too.  That seemed to work a lot better.

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Which is when I decided to get fancy.  I went with several bits of string, and a rainbow!

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It came out really pretty, but I wasn’t quite quick enough and the red paint started to dry before I did the pulling.

If you’d like to learn how to do it, definitely go and read that guest post from Del.  It’s very good, and includes sensible instructions like using a long piece of string instead of the piddly little pieces I used in the rainbow piece.  And there’s a mesmerizing video of some string actually being pulled.

She also advocates trying different mediums and different strings, and even not putting paper on the top before you pull.  I definitely intend to experiment more.  Once I’ve gotten over the flu.



One of the current Twitter trends I’ve noticed is #MerMay.  It popped up on some feeds I follow, and was shared by some others. From what I saw, it was a challenge where artists draw a mermaid a day.

I’ve done some quick research and apparently MerMay was created by artist Tom Bancroft, who has worked on some of my very favourite movies, including The Lion King.  And it also turns out that there’s more to MerMay than just drawing one a day.  There are also prompts.

Maybe next year I’ll partake in the challenge properly, but this year I’ve just drawn a few mermaids.

The first one I did was this one…

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A lot of my learning to draw so far has been copying images I like, and I usually find them on Pinterest, which makes it very hard to trace the original artist.  I did a reverse image search but all I find is links to the image on Pinterest.  If you know who drew this, please let me know.

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My next attempt was baby Ariel…

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Again, I couldn’t find the original artist.  I promise I will start paying more attention to this.

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I need to work on positioning my pieces on the page, as evidenced by this lovely mermaid’s midriff being over the perforations on my sketchbook.

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Original image from Pinterest again – maybe I should find a new source.  Any suggestions?

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At this point I moved on to original characters.  I’m trying to do more of that.

I like kind of everything about this one apart from her face.  Face was much fail.  Also, positioning fail again.

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Next up wasn’t original, but inspired by a pin that was gifted on r/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon.

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I decided I hadn’t drawn enough rainbows so…

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My final (so far) MerMay is an original piece, taking an original character…

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…and giving him a tail.

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That’s it so far, but there’s still a whole bunch of May left so there may be more mermaids coming.

Follow me on Twitter @By_Colette to see more MerMays and other crafty madness.



Christmas Haul

I know, I’m a little late in posting.  I’ve been a wee bit distracted since December.  But I got a lot of lovely crafty supplies for Christmas.

My colouring book collection got a big boost…

…and I got a whole load of gel pens to use in them.

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My yarn stash is a wee bit larger too.

I got plenty of little random crafty bits…

…a few cross stitch kits…

…and a few other craft kits.

I received this utterly adorable Christmas in a Tin, which had 2 different activities inside it.

The little wooden tree was adorable, although the jump rings supplied were a little bit.

The snowman was even more adorable.

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Happy New Year

2016 was the second year of existence for Crafted By Colette, and the first year of this blog.  I made a lot of mistakes, but I did a lot of good things too.  It’s been a fun experience, and I have lots of plans for the new year.

The biggest plan is to be more regular with the blog posts and the newsletters.  The second plan is to get the rest of my stock up on the site.  There are so many beautiful things sitting on my shelves waiting to be sold, that I haven’t uploaded yet.

Mostly, my plan is to keep crafting.  Thanks for all your support this year 🙂