Sketchbook Sunday: Monochrome Portrait in Watercolor

Hi friends!  It’s time for Sketchbook Sunday where I share the projects I am working on to grow my skill as an artist. Last week I mentioned that I was taking a class on painting figures in watercolor which required me to work from my own photos. During class last week our instructor has us draw a picture on a large sheet of transparent Mylar. I found a photo I had taken of my daughter sitting on a rock in a stream looking at her phone. She had climbed out there to take some pictures and she didn’t notice me snap a candid shot. I really loved the unposed causal feel of the photo.


The instructor has us draw it on Mylar because he is going to have us paint it 2 more times, once using the “Zorn palette” of cadmium red, yellow ochre, lamp black, Ultramarine blue and Chinese white, and then again with a vibrant palette which he has not specified to us yet. I am currently working on the version with the Zorn Palette and I will share a photo of the finished work next weekend. I am really enjoying this class because it is pushing me to do exercises I normally wouldn’t think to try nor would I be likely to paint the same thing 3 times LOL!  Watch the video to see the process!


I have received some surprised reactions from people when I tell them I am taking a class. “Why are you taking a class, you can already draw and paint?” is the general comment but let me tell you no matter where you are in your journey you should always strive to improve. It is being in that “atmosphere of growth”, as Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project puts it to stave off burnout and feel fulfilled and happy. Today’s project was not quick and easy, it was long and hard and in order to have a fulfilling career or even hobby we need to stretch ourselves a bit and push our skill to new levels.  For me that means paying good money to learn something new and having someone to hold me accountable. You can know the techniques in theory but until you go through the process and commit to doing them you will not completely understand the subject. I am unlikely to paint the same picture 3 times without having an instructor assign it, I am also unlikely to use the limited palette of Anders Zorn (which I learned didn’t even include Ultramarine Blue until his later years-Black, white yellow ocher and a warm red, can you imagine?!?) so trying the lesson another artists finds essential is very mind opening. I doubt black and white will be a permanent fixture in my palette but who cares? Be humble enough to let someone teach you something.


Do you want to learn something new? I believe that drawing is the foundation to all forms of art and I have a course on beginner drawing that does go over portraits as well as still life, landscape and warm up exercises so you can learn to draw what you see. If you want help learning to draw please check out my course Learn to Draw with Lindsay and I would be humbled and honored to help you along in your artistic journey. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Double inked embossed resist!

Hi Friends! Today I have a fun technique to share that will have you getting inky with your cardstock and stamps!


Watch the video to see how it’s done!

This video is sponsored by Rubber Stamp Tapestry  Use coupon code: LINDSAY and receive 15% off your retail order of $10 or more of peg stamps, peg stamp sets, and unmounted stamps! Coupon expires a week from this video publication. Continue to receive great deals by becoming a PegStamp VIP here. As a PegStamp VIP
you’ll get a weekly deal via email plus links to fabulous tutorials by me, Lindsay the Frugal Crafter and other designers.


Double inked emboss resist technique How-To:

  1. Ink up your cardstock with light and bright-colored inks. This will be the color that shows through your stamping.
  2. Stamp images with clear embossing ink and heat emboss with clear embossing powder.
  3. Sponge dark ink on top and let it sit for a minute so it absorbs into the paper.
  4. Wipe off the excess with a tissue to reveal the embossed design.

I hope you try this with a variety of stamp images as the possibilities are endless with this technique! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


We’re painting a creepy old vintage car LIVE today at 12:30pm ET!

Edited to add the photo of the finished painting! Have a wonderful weekend!


Hi friends! I am really excited to paint today’s project with you live at 12:30pm ET on YouTube today!


But first I want to announce the winners of the Jane Davenport book Giveaway! The following 3 people will win a copy of Fabulous Figures and Whimsical Girls!

  1. Lil Cordova from Albuquerque, NM
  2. Cathy Snyder from Pennsylvania
  3. Jill Salinas from Boulder City, NV

*Winners, I have also contacted you via email (check your spam folder if you don’t see it) please respond to that email for claiming your prize.

Today I thought it would be fun to play with color and texture so I chose this photo of an old rusty car by Kevin Clark on Unsplash. It kinda reminds my of Christine for the Stephen King Book although hubby tells me it was a Plymouth Fury, still, it is a bit creepy and fun for this time of year!


I love the contrast of the faded rusty paint job and shiny chrome as well as the texture of the asphalt in the background. It will be a fun project to do in watercolor. Please feel free to use what you have but I will be trying out my new Mungyo watercolors.


I have had dozens of requests to review these over the past year as Mungyo makes a lot of the art supplies for other popular brands on the market so it will be fun to compare swatches and see how they do! We are going to work in a limited palette today of Rose Madder (or Alizarin Crimson), Yellow Ochre (or raw sienna) and Pression Blue (or indigo or indanthrone blue.) Here you can see the beautiful array of muted shades we can get. BTW check out yesterday’s blog post if you want more info on making a watercolor mixing chart with your paints.


You can watch the live broadcast or replay in the player below but if you want to chat with fellow painters live or ask me questions during the show please tune in at 12:30pm ET today on YouTube.

Supplies (affiliate links used)

I hope you will join me LIVE 12:30pm ET for this fun painting tutorial, til then happy crafting!

Edited to add!!! I just got an email that Consumer Crafts is having another 20% off Sitewide sale this weekend, use coupon code SAVE20 through Sunday. They have a ton of fine art supplies now (maybe because the company that owns them bought Aaron Brothers?) and the prices are great. If you need any art or craft supplies now is the time to stock up. They are selling top brands like Arches, Daniel Smith, M Graham, Wisor & Newton and more. I replishined some supplies the last time they had a 20% off sale and got some great deals!


How to make a watercolor mixing chart & paint an Indigo Bunting

Hi friends! Today’s video lesson will take care of two topics that you requested. A couple of weeks ago for Sketchbook Sunday I posted a time-lapse of a trio of indigo bunting birds and I have dozens of requests for a slower version so if you skip ahead 30 minutes in today’s video you can see that real-time tutorial.


But first in the video I will show you how to make a mixing chart using whatever watercolor you have and tell you why it is a useful tool when you are beginning painting. I had several people ask about mixing charts when I painted the Monstera leaf on a live Friday a few weeks ago. I used the chart to figure out what colors would best suit my subject.


If you would like to learn more about color theory and the techniques to get you started in watercolor please check out my beginner course Essential Tools and Techniques for Watercolor Painting. In this course I walk you through all of the basic techniques you will need to be a successful watercolor painter from mixing luminous colors to techniques for perfect smooth washes as well as how to hold a brush for the greatest brush stroke variety. In the second part of the course I will walk you through 4 paintings step by step and apply all of the techniques we learned in the first part of the course.


If you would like more instruction on painting birds try Texture Toolbox: Feather’s and Fowl with four exclusive step by step painting lessons and a newly added alphabetized archive of dozens of previous bird painting tutorials.



This video is sponsored by Smart Art Box! They ship free within the US and also ship to 15 other countries *Additional shipping charges may apply to international orders.

Supplies (the supplies I used cam in the September Smart Art Box but if you missed out on that you can find them to purchase below, affiliate links used)

I hope today’s lesson helps you get the most variety of whatever paint you have. Have you made a mixing cart before? What did you think of the experience and was it helpful? Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Embossing mistakes? I’ve made a few…

Hi friends!  There is something magical about the glossy goodness you get when you heat emboss a stamped image…


…that is as long as the powder stuck where you wanted to. In today’s video I’ll show you how to fix embossing mistakes and make 4 inky fun Halloween cards!

This tutorial is sponsored by Top Flight Stamps! SAVE 10% off your next order with coupon code: thefrugalcrafter10 *USA orders of $50+ ship free!


1. Make envelopes first then trim scraps of envelope paper to use on your cards. The cards are A2 size (half of an 8.5″x11″ sheet of cardstock)

2. Cut white cardstock down to 3 3/4″x5″ and ink up with various shades of distress ink, heat set and flick water on all but one panel. Dry. *Heat-setting before flicking water makes the oxidization more pronounced. Heat-setting between layers prevents muddy colors.

3. On the panel with no water flicks stamp the large owl scene and heat emboss with black powder. Then take a clean brush and paint water over the own and castle to “bleach” it. Let dry. Stamp the other images on the other backgrounds, heat emboss and trim if needed.

4. Ink edges of panels and paper scraps with black soot ink if desired. Add brads and ribbon to background panels and adhere them to your cardbases.

Trouble shooting embossing tips!

  • Always use a anti static pouch (or baby powder) on your cardstock before stamping to heat emboss. It will wick away moisture and reduce static so your powder will only stick to your pigment ink.
  • If you do get stray powder use a small clean paint brush to brush it off.
  • Stamp with a slow drying pigment ink so you have time for the powder to be applied.
  • Heat up the heat tool for a few seconds before heating your powder. Move the tool to a new area after you see the powder starting to melt. Over heating will flatten the embossing powder and can scorch the paper.
  • If you missed a spot stamping fill it in with an embossing marker then re sprinkle powder and reheat. There no shame in that game!

So, before you toss a less than perfect embossed card in the trash try one of the above tips to spruce it up. Remember, handmade is not supposed to be perfect (what is perfect anyway?) a homemade birthday cake that is less than perfect in appearance is still as delicious (probably more so) than the expertly frosted one from the store. And your handmade birthday card will be more beautiful and meaningful than a perfectly mass printed one from the store. Your work is beautiful, share it with the ones you care about, and til next time happy crafting!

Learn to paint a vintage style rose & Xanadu handmade watercolor overview

Hi friends, today I am going to share some paints I was sent from Xanadu Art Studio. The shop is owned by a woman named Margaret who makes handmade watercolors in small batches. These lovely colors have a subtle shimmer and the soft muted colors are very pretty.


I don’t feel qualified to review these paints because I haven’t ever used any small handmade artisan watercolor before. The Renesans semi handmade paints from Poland were the closest thing I’d tried and they are more like commercially made paint so I didn’t feel it was an apples to apples comparison. So in this video I will give you an overview of the paints and pigments so you can learn about them. Below the video I will link up to other YouTubers who use handmade watercolors more regularly and are more knowledgeable than I am about this kind of paint. Also I’ll show you how to paint my “testing watercolors” vintage rose:) If you would like to learn more about painting loose roses in various arrangements and from different angles as well as a myriad of other flowers please check out my Watercolor Flower Workshop.

Here are some of the resources I mentioned in the video:

These were fun to use, I will use them with brighter colors as the palette is too muted on its own for my linking. Do you use handmade watercolors? If so I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions for getting the most from them. Thank for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Sketchbook Sunday: Portrait of my Daughters

Hi friends! I signed up for a class a couple of weeks ago to improve my skills concerning painting people in watercolor. I tend to paint a lot of still lifes and the occasional landscape but I rarely put a person in there even though it can add so much to a painting. So for the next few weeks on Sketchbook Sunday you will see time lapses videos of my at home assignments from the class. I worked on this painting off and on over the course of a week.


It felt good to push myself and try something new. I think no matter where you are on your art journey it is important to remain in an atmosphere of growth so you don’t get burned out (especially if you do it for a living.) I hope you enjoy my time-lapse and learn a  bit from my struggles:)

I used my M Graham palette for this as the painting is large (15″x22″) and I needed to have room to mix large washes. Affiliate links to Consumer Crafts, Hallmark Scrapbook and Amazon are used. Consumer crafts recently added many top artist paint brands and the prices are really great. In addition to M Graham, they carry Daniel Smith, Holbein, Winsor & Newton, Grumbacher, Van Gogh and more. It is worth a look if you need to replace some colors or stock up.

Colors I used:

  • Ultramarine blue (this is DaVinci)
  • Quin Red
  • Yellow Ochre 
  • Burnt Sienna
    (the above colors I used for my skin tone mixes as you can get a really nice range of neutrals from it, I recommend trying that color palette if you are looking to mix skin tones.)
  • Sap Green
  • Van Dyke Brown  (this is Qor) If you don’t have Van Dyke brown you can use sepia or burnt umber, it is a cool deep brown color.
  • Gamboge (I said Cad yellow deep which you can use but I double checked and I used Gamboge, really any warm yellow is fine)
  • My Palette is a 12″x16″ Jones Palette

Other Supplies:

  • I used a half sheet of Langton Prestige 100% watercolor paper (painting size 15″x22″) which is very similar in surface and equal in quality to Arches Cold Press 
  • I used a variety of brushes but mainly my Mimik synthetic squirrel value set, and I used a wedge brush for the leaves. The cute brushes with mermaid tails are by Jane Davenport
  • Prima Julie Nutting Skin Tone Watercolor Pencils are unfortunately discontinued and out of stock everywhere:( however, the colors are duplicated in the following sets: Earth Tones and Soft Neutrals. The sets can be found discounted at Hallmark Scrapbook for around $10 each. And they are also available on Amazon: Earth Tones and Soft Neutrals
    *BTW I am really disappointed that Prima discontinued this set as it is so useful!
  • Derwent Coloursoft wax based pencils20180922_123739.jpg

I hope you enjoyed the process, I must say after working on this for a week it was satisfying to see it come together so quickly in time-lapse LOL! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


Stamped & Painted One Layer Cards!

Hi friends! Today I’m going to show you a very simple technique for creating one layer greeting cards.


I use the Succulents stamp set I designed for Rubber Stamp Tapestry combined with other stamps to create a Thinking of You card to send to a friend. You can try this with any stamps you have that have large areas you can color. I recommend working on watercolor paper if you have it because the paint will flow and blend nicer and the tape will not rip it.

This video is sponsored by Rubber Stamp Tapestry  Use coupon code: LINDSAY and receive 15% off your retail order of $10 or more of peg stamps, peg stamp sets, and unmounted stamps! Coupon expires a week from this video publication. Continue to receive great deals by becoming a PegStamp VIP here. As a PegStamp VIP
you’ll get a weekly deal via email plus links to fabulous tutorials by me, Lindsay the Frugal Crafter and other designers.


1. Fold and tape down your watercolor card. Make an even 1/2″ border with the tape around the card and press the tape so paint can leak under it.

2. Stamp the planter in black and the succulents in green. Use the masking technique when stamping the plants.

3. Color the image with watercolors and let dry.

4. Paint the background with shades of pink, purple and yellow. You can flick on paint splatters if you wish. Let dry.

5. Remove the tape and stamp the sentiment.

6. Use paint to ink up some peg stamps and decorate the envelope if desired.

You can use any watercolor you have for this or scribble your water based markers on a white plate and pick the color up with a wet brush to paint with instead. I hope you enjoyed this easy project and til next time happy crafting!

Exploring Inks & Giveaway! Let’s get Ready for Inktober LIVE!

Hi friends! Today we are going to look at a bunch of different inks and discuss what they are best for. We will also compare inks and paint and what inks might go well with the supplies you already have. If you have been on the internet for any amount of time you have probably heard of Inktober, a month-long drawing challenge during the month of October started by Jake Parker (more details here) so I thought I’d help you get ready in case that’s something you want to try. If not you can still learn about inks and maybe add some to your stash.


I also have an awesome giveaway!

3 lucky readers will win a copy of both of Jane Davenport’s new books Fabulous Figures and Whimsical Girls! Jane uses inks a lot, she even has her own line of ink and I am sure these will inspire anyone to get creative. To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what your favorite ink is. Due to publisher restrictions this contest is only open to USA residence to let me know what state you are from as well. I will choose 3 winners at random next Friday. Good luck!These book are a wonderful way to kick start your creativity and get you ready for Inktober!

*Note, due to the high volume of comments it might take a while for your comment to appear on the site as new commenters have to be approved manually. Rest assured if you leave a comment on this post you are entered in the drawing.


You can watch the live broadcast or replay in the player below but if you want to chat live or ask questions about any of the inks I am using please watch on the YouTube watch page at 12:30 pm Eastern time.

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.

So…What IS ink exactly?

Ink can refer to any fluid colored substance used for drawing or printmaking. We are not going to discuss printmaking inks today which can be as thick as paints. Today is all about the inks we used for drawing and mixed media work. There are some blurry lines between what is ink and what is paint. Ink can be either dye or pigment based (just like paint) it comes in all sorts of colors and lusters (just like paint!) some is waterproof and some is water-soluble (just like paint!) and some is lightfast and some is fugative (just like paint!) The similarities between ink and paint are vast but the difference here (unlike printmaking inks) comes down to viscosity for the most part. Inks will be liquid and fluid and by the end of today’s presentation you will know about many different kinds and what ones will enhance your particular style of work and make your other supplies more useful.

The 5 most common inks for drawing

Let’s talk about water reactive inks first. These inks are similar to Dr Ph Martins Radiant line or children’s liquid watercolors. These dye based colors are super clean and transparent and they are the same type of inks you will find in most watercolor/water based markers. These inks will come bottled, in daubers (like distress stain), in markers (Tombow, Zig real brush pens etc), in spray bottles (Adirondack sprays) and can be applied with dip pens, fountain pens and with an airbrush. You can apply them with a paint brush too but it will stain your bristles. These inks are typically not lightfast so are only for work that is meant to be kept in a sketchbook or reproduced. Dye based stamp pad reinkers diluted with a  bit of distilled water will make this kind of ink. This ink can be layered as it stains the paper but the ink will react somewhat as it is not waterproof. It layers on porous surfaces because of the staining ability of the tiny dye particles to absorb into the substrate and stain it. Fabric die is an example of this process. These also can be used for calligraphy. My pick for a good all around water reactive drawing ink is Winsor & Newton. *There are shimmer versions of this ink as well, some in spray form, but I advise against using shimmery ink in fountain pens or airprushes as it may clog or oxidize.

India Ink is an ink known for being deep black, usually waterproof and made of carbon and used for drawing typically with a dip pen. You can find no-shellac fountain pen safe india ink, just be aware some is waterproof and some is not. You can also find colored pigment based india ink like the Bombay line from Dr. PH Martin. This is my favorite India ink because it is waterproof and lightfast and comes in a  beautiful array of colors. You can also get india ink markers like the Pitt Pens from Faber Castell, they come in nib sizes from superfine to jumbo brush markers. I really like the fine tip markers for pen and ink work. India ink is a wonderful addition to a watercolorists tool box as you can watercolor over these inks without lifting them. You can also use the inks on top of a watercolor and not worry about lightfastness. Just keep in mind that thick applications of india ink may seal the paper and not allow the watercolor to bond in places giving you a resist effect.

Acrylic inks are very similar to the Bombay India inks in color, viscosity and performance. The difference is the binder which in this case is acrylic emulsion. Many companies make acrylic inks such as Dr PH Martin, Daler Rowney, Liquatex and more! Acrylic inks come in a range of transparent to semi opaque colors and pearlescent/metallic finishes. Due to the pigment composition some can be airbrushed and some shouldn’t be (never spray apply anything with a CL label!) so read the labels to be sure. You can also purchase acrylic inks in a spray bottle and these can be used on paper, canvas, textiles and some plastics and metals. These can be applied over watercolor and acrylic paint as well. They are waterproof once dry. Most brand name acrylic inks use pigments like they would in their paint and will be lightfast. Specific info on each ink can be found on the bottle. You can explore acrylic inks here.

Alcohol inks are another favorite of mine because they are waterproof when dry on so many surfaces. They are best on non porous surfaces like metal, plastic, marker paper and glass but can be used on regular paper and fabric too (but the color will appear much darker.) Pinta and Adirondack are two of the most popular brands of bottled alcohol inks but you can also find loads of alcohol ink markers (like Copic, Sharpie, Spectrum Noir, Promarker, Concept etc.) to choose from! For drawing the marker will probably be more useful however if you like to make cards, jewelry or home decor projects having a few bottles of alcohol ink around would be handy because you can color ceramic and metal and use it to tint glass. You can use other media over alcohol ink but I don’t recommend using alcohol ink over acrylic inks or india inks as it will dissolve the layers below. This ink is available in markers, bottles and STAZ-On inkpads. Do not spray apply.

Xylene based inks like the ink found in Chartpak markers might be useful to you if you can stand the smell (it’s a doozy!) The clear Xylene ink is great for transferring toner based photocopy images to your projects (I have a tutorial here on transferring photocopies to ceramic tiles) and then you can color those images with alcohol inks without smearing because the solvent is totally different. OR, if you stamp an image with alcohol based Staz-on Ink you can color it with Chartpak markers with no smearing which is great for jewelry and home decor items. These markers can be used in the same way as alcohol based markers on marker paper but they are harder to get ahold of, can be more expensive and the smell is intense (unless they have improved it since I bought mine.)


I know that is a lot of info and there are a lot of brands that makes these kinds of inks and I will do my best to cover it in a comprehensive manner in the live broadcast but please refer to the cheat sheet above if you get confused. Thanks for stopping by, good luck on the giveaway and til next time happy crafting!