Today I have a special surprise for you.  A guest blog post from the fantastic SamBeAwesome!

It’s October, and we all know what that means–WASHIWEEN!

Washiween was started last year in 2018 as a challenge to get myself, and anyone who wanted to join, to dive into our washi tape and create artworks using them. If you’re anything like me, having stacks upon stacks of washi tape is fun and exciting to look at, but you might struggle with getting yourself to use them! That’s what this challenge is all about.

It can be in any style, with any mediums, just as long as you’re using washi tape. I typically like to mix #Inktober with #Washiween by using various inks with my washi tape artworks.

Cursed Pirate

Mommy Mummy

Witch Boy

For this year, there’s an official prompt list if you’re needing some ideas to help get you started. I purposely left them open ended, so let your imagination run wild!

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If you’d like to participate, just post your artworks along with the hashtag #Washiween or #Washiween2019! Hope you have a blast!

It’s Colette again.  Thanks so much to Sam for writing a post for me 🙂  She’s helped me complete the first item on my 20 for 20 list. 


You can check out Sam on Twitter, Deviant Art, YouTube and Patreon.  And you should definitely come check out her streams on Twitch.  She streams Wednesdays & Fridays from 8pm-10pm GMT, and on Sundays from 5pm-7pm GMT.  (She’s actually in America but I suck at converting time zones.) 



July Scrawlr Box

The next post chronologically in my actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series is the July Scrawlr Box.  It’s also the last one.  I’m now up to date!  With monthly challenges at least.

The July box was… interesting.  It contained three water-mixable oil paints, a Scrawlr Box branded paintbrush, a mini stretched canvas, a palette knife card thing, a sheet of palette paper, and the ever-present pencil.

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I have never used oil paints, and didn’t really have any desire to do so.  But they were here, and so I would experiment.  And experiment I did – lots of mixing and making pretty shades of purple.

I didn’t want to use the canvas on a medium I wasn’t sure about, so I put that in my drawer of canvases to use at some point and grabbed a random piece of board.  I figured these colours would make a good galaxy.  So I just went at it.  Applied paint, and more paint.  Poked it and brushed it and squished it.  Oil paint certainly has a lot of texture to it.

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I ended up with a little too much texture.  It was going to be hard to add stars to this.

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So I attempted to flatten it a little, and made a mess.

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I decided to wait until it dried before adding stars – that way I could use my Posca pens as well.  Apparently oil paints take a few days to dry.

I did that on 19th August.  I was put off by the medium and didn’t play with the box the day it arrived.  As I write this it is the end of August and it’s still not full dry.  Maybe I had it on there too thick.  Who knows.  It’s not a great galaxy anyway.  I made a much better galaxy when I started to clean off the palette.

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I don’t think I’ll be using oil paints again.  I’m a messy artist as it is, and this was a little too much.  I got it everywhere.

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But at least I can now say I’ve tried them.  The featured artist certainly did a better job.

Oh, and because I hadn’t used the pencil I drew a robot.

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20 Before 20

During my way-too-regular Pinterest browsing last month I came across this image.

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And because I’m me, and I like making lists and doing challenges, I decided I’d have a go.  Obviously I’d be doing 20 though.  20 things to complete before 2020.

I did a bit of research – by which I mean I spent more time on Pinterest browsing for other lists like that one.  I saw some for every year back to 2016.  And they featured a range of goals: personal, business, artistic, health, romantic.  Some were things to begin, some were entire projects, some were things to finish.  It’s a really open challenge – you make it as personal to you as you need it to be.

And so, with the end of September looming and just one quarter of the year left, I wrote my 20 Before 20 list.

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1) Get my blog up to date, with lots of posts scheduled ahead. 

This one is kinda self explanatory really.  I have dozens and dozens of blog posts that are ready to be written and posted, and I have new ideas every day.  I need to get on top of it.

2) Do a lineart swap. 

This is something I’ve wanted to do since I started drawing.  Until recently though I haven’t considered my art good enough.

3) Upload a bunch of stock to my Etsy store.

I make a lot of stuff.  I have a lot of things I’ve made over the past couple of years – most of them with the intention of adding them to my Etsy store.  But I just haven’t gotten around to listing them.  Partly because I’m horrendous at taking photographs of it all.  I’ve recently met someone who wants to help me with all that though, so hopefully more and more things will be added every week.

4) Save a certain amount.

I’m not very good at saving money.  I’ve been doing a little better recently, thanks to my sister keeping the savings for me.  I have a certain goal in mind that I’d like to have in Bank of Sister by the end of the year.

5) Reach 100 followers on Twitter.

Currently I have 89 followers.  I’ve been floating in the 80s for a while now and I’d really like to hit a milestone by the end of the year.  I will more than likely hold a contest or a giveaway when I do.

6) Design and order new business cards.

My business cards are a few years old now.  They don’t have all the places that I can be found on them, and they don’t have my Etsy store.  They also don’t have any reference to my art.  So I’m going to do a redesign and order some new cards.

7) Finish sorting my art folders.

I have pretty purple folders where I started collecting all the art I made.  I put in all the stuff I could find that I’d done before I started doing it “properly”.  For a while I took all my pieces out of sketchbooks and put them in the folder too.  Recently I’ve been keeping things in their books, but I’d like to have little thumbnails in the folders.  I also have a big stack of stuff that needs to be put in there.

8) Be able to walk to the bus stop again.

I’m a very large lady, and I have mobility issues.  I used to be able to get about a little bit, but with a year or so of no money and anxiety about leaving the house, my ability to walk very far has diminished.  I’d like to work towards building that up again.

9) Create and release a free colouring page.

Ever since I started colouring in books for adults back in 2015 I’ve wanted to create a colouring book.  At the time it was going to be my Zentangle-style doodles.  I have some sketches and starts somewhere.  As ever, I got distracted by other things and never got around to finishing it.  Since I’ve started drawing the desire has reignited.  But again, it’s something I didn’t think I was talented enough to do.

10) Watch all the TV and films on my laptop.

I have a bad habit of collecting a lot of stuff to watch and never actually watching it, even though I do want to.  Over the last few months I’ve reduced a folder of 400+ things to watch (through watching, as well as deciding I didn’t really care all that much about some of it) to about 30.  I’d like to get that clear by the end of the year.

11) Finish at least one of the learning projects I have on the go.

I’m always discovering new things I want to learn to do.  When I do, I spend a good chunk of time researching and collecting tutorials and hints and things to try out.  So in my notebook I have about a dozen pages for learning projects, including watercolours, Copics, digital art, quilling, and lots of others.

12) Have no outstanding orders – including family.

I have a nasty habit of putting orders that my family makes to the back of my priority queue and that really isn’t fair.  I want to make sure that all of orders are complete by the end of the year – apart from a very large massive order that’s going to take me at least six months to do.

13) Finish sorting and listing all my books.

When my Mum downsized six months ago I got some of her furniture, which meant rearranging most of my little home.  So nearly everything I own went into boxes.  When I was unpacking stuff, I decided to update the list that I keep of my books, comics, colouring books, craft books etc.  Unsurprisingly, I got distracted and that list is still sitting waiting for me to finish it.

14) Finish a short story.

Long before I was an artist, even before I was a crafter, I was a writer.  I wrote poems and short stories.  I even had some things published – in anthologies and through competitions and things.  But I haven’t really written anything in more than 5 years now.  Writer’s block sucks.  I’d really like to complete a short story.  Either one I have festering on my computer, or a fresh one.  I might even share it when I’m done.

15) Get a guest to write a blog post.

I’ve had a couple of guest posts on my blog before.  Two years ago one of my best friends, Sam from Sam’s Skunkworks, wrote a post about painting miniatures, and then last year the fabulous Del from Del’s Doodles wrote about string pulling art.  I want to invite many more guests to post on my blog, and I’d like to get at least one by the end of the year.

16) Start sewing again.

I can use a sewing machine.  90% of the skirts that I wear are made by myself.  I’ve also made some plushies and other things using the sewing machine.  I haven’t touched it in a couple of years though.  It’s another skill/hobby that I want to pick back up.

17) Finish my art WIPs.

I’m sure it will come as a massive shock to most of you, but I have a problem with finishing projects.  I get distracted easily by other ideas and projects, so I have a lot of half finished crafts and art that I have every intention of getting back to.  At some point.  There are only a handful of art WIPs (work in progress) and I think it’s feasible to finish them by 2020, as long as I actually get around to doing them.

18) Complete as many urgent and semi-urgent items on my to do list as possible.

I keep lists.  Lots of them.  And I probably add more to my to do lists than I cross off.  What do you think the chances are I can complete this one?

19) Tangles to test and ZIA reference cards.

This one deserves a blog post of it’s own – but way back before I could draw I doodled a lot and did Zentangle art.  I have always been a researcher when it comes to new projects so I have hundreds of images on my laptop of patterns that I want to try out.  And I also started a collection of the tangles I like to use most.  A collection that I never finished compiling and that has been sitting in my to do pile for years.

20) Dentist and/or glasses.

I need to go to the dentist.  I don’t like the dentist.  So I put off going to the dentist.  I also need to go get my glasses prescription checked.  I don’t mind that so much, it’s just a case of actually getting it sorted.

So that’s my list.  Any guesses on how many I’ll have achieved by 00.01 on 1st January 2020?






July Colours of the Month

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

By July, Marker Universe had gotten themselves a website.  When they release the colours they give them in hex codes, Copics colours and all sort of brands from Winsor & Newton to Graph’It.  New brands seem to be added every month.

The colours for July were just gorgeous.

Next up, swatching.  This became a little more complicated than normal.  With the colours in other brands, sometimes the colours are quite different.  So I swatched for both the Copic colours and the Winsor & Newton ones.

And I settled on this palette.

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Right, now what to draw with them?  You know me, I like to multi-task.  So I combined this challenge with the Animaloon of the month.  July was Snake-loon.  I considered having a snake blown up like a balloon, but figured that was a little obvious.  Instead I went with a snake wrapped around a balloon.

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And that’s it.  That’s the last delayed Colours of the Month challenge.  In future I shall do my best to post them in a timely fashion – or at least to not let so many of them pile up.

The actually-blogging-the-backlog-of-monthly-challenges series is not quite finished yet though.  I still have July’s Scrawlr box to blog about.


Little Red & Big White

I don’t have enough sketchbooks. Well… I don’t have enough different types of sketchbooks. I don’t really have any hardback ones. And after seeing seven million Illo sketchbooks on YouTube – that are super expensive and practically impossible to buy in the UK – I had a craving for a square sketchbook.

So I got Little Red. Little Red is just 12 x 12cm and has nice thick paper.

I filled the first page with one of my little monsters – just a pencil sketch. I draw a LOT of monsters in this shape. It’s the go to thing I draw when testing new pens or paper. I’m considering making it an official species – but that’s a whole other blog.

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After that I wanted to test the claim on the back of the label that said Little Red was suitable for watercolour. For one of the Twitter challenges I join in with, I needed to do a little piggy. First up was some ballpoint pen sketches from Pinterest images.

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Followed by a pencil sketch of a nice round cute piggy. Which I then coloured with watercolours. The paper worked well – the colouring looks dodgy because I borked it up. I’m still learning with watercolours – there’s a lot of blog posts about that in the pipeline.

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The sketchbook held up well though. I mean, it buckled. But that wasn’t surprising.

Then, when I did an online order from The Works (one of my favourite stores here in the UK), I got another sketchbook. Big White.

Technically Big White is not a sketchbook. Technically it’s a notebook. The paper is white and smooth though, and I really like how markers work on it.

I’ve had one of these books before. It’s essentially the same as the All Who Wander Are Not Lost notebook I used for one of my art journals way back in May 2018. But this one comes with a customisable cover.

I sketched out a unicorn, because unicorns. I tested alcohol markers on the inside cover a little bit and it seemed to work fine.

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I was wrong.

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I tested some other brands, but they weren’t any better.

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Thankfully using an eraser helped remove most of it, so I could try again. I tried watercolours – I’ve done some watercolour pieces on smooth paper before.

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Nope. Coloured pencil?

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Well, ish. So I gave in and did the whole thing in pencils. It didn’t look too bad in the end, even if it was a little disappointing.

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For a minute a least…

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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.