The Lemon is in Play… (and WOYWW)

Hi friends! It has been ages since I shared my desk for What’s on Your Work desk Wednesday. WOYWW is a fun weekly event at the Stamping Ground where you can share a pic of your desk. If you are nosy curious like me it’s fun to see what other crafters are working on! A viewer mentioned last week how much they used to like those pics so I thought it would be fun and my desk actually looked somewhat interesting. I was getting ready to film a review for a new set of markers and watercolors and the painting I did this morning was still out so I snapped a pic and immediately thought of the traveling lemon game. It’s from a really funny radio show called Cabin Pressure I borrowed from the library once. If you ever get a chance to hear it I recommend it. It is a riot! Anyway…

I have yet to film the watercolor review but hope to get back to my studio tonight once the house quiets down. For now though, you can enjoy this skill builder lesson. Let’s paint a lemon!

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.


Need more help with your watercolors? Check out my most popular course Essential Tools and Techniques for Watercolor to get you started off right on your watercolor journey. This comprehensive course will fill in any gaps you might have in your watercolor training and get you painting now! Learn more here. That’s all I have for today! I hope you find some time to paint!

Comparing 8 Skin-tone Marker Set. Which is best for you?

Hi friends! There have been many new alcohol marker sets released over the past couple of years. Today we will look at 8 popular skin tone sets to see how they compare. I will look at price, quality, variety/color selection, nib type, and overall value.

Markers in order of appearance, affiliate links used.


  • Price: $17 for a set of 24-23 colors+1 blender (.70 cents a marker)
  • Nib Type: Bullet-chisel
  • Barrel: Rounded square with larger squared-off end at the chisel nib
  • Not refillable
  • Includes carry bag
  • Thoughts: Out of all 8 sets I liked this color selection best. I like the new body of marker they changed to as the caps are easier to remove and prevents ink from drying out.

Arteza: $30.99 for 36 set (.86 cents a marker) *Use coupon PB15PROMO for extra 10% off

  • Nib Type: Bullet/Chisel
  • Barrell Type: Triangular with a colored band at bullet end
  • Not refillable (but maybe in future)
  • Open stock available on packs of 4
  • Packed in plastic trays
  • Thoughts: This is a nice neutral set with rich colors for ski and hair. This would be an excellent set for wildlife art too. *This is the case I put mine it and you can fit the 36 greys set in too:

Azure by Royal & Langnickle

  • Price: $16.42 for 13 markers -12 colors+1 blender ($1.26 per marker)
  • Nib Type: Bullet/Chisel
  • Barrell Type: Triangular with a colored band at bullet end
  • Not refillable
  • Packed in plastic trays
  • Thoughts: I like the Azure line of markers but I didn’t care for the selection in the complexion set. They are also hard to find and more expensive than similar options. These might be available at Walmart. I think they are mainly sold through school suppliers.

Studio 71

  • Price: $6-$8 for a 6 pack (skintones can be found in the 48 set too for $40-$47) $1 per marker
  • Nib Type: Fiber Brush/chisel
  • Barrel: rounded triangle
  • Not refillable
  • Open stock available
  • Packaged in plastic boxes
  • Thoughts: The color selection is nice but limited as it is only 6 colors. I recommend these markers to anyone interested in trying alcohol markers but don’t want to spend a lot of money. All of the colors in the skintone set are in the 48 color set and there are beautiful blending combinations in that set. The downside is that the stiff brush nibs will fray and if left idle for a long time you will get desalination (salt and pigment build up) on the tips. These are markers to try out and see if you like alcohol markers and then upgrade if you do.


  • Price: Around $30 for 24 colors ($1.25 per marker)
  • Nib Type: Fiber Brush/chisel
  • Barrel: round
  • Not refillable
  • The brush nib can be reversed if it frays extending the life of the marker
  • Includes carry bag
  • Thoughts: This is a very warm (yellow/orange) leaning skin-tone set. I would have liked some cooler or more neutral skin tones. This set doesn’t have a really pale shade either. The quality is good for the price but I would recommend one of their assorted color sets for more options.


  • Price: TBA but likely around $25 for the 12 pack (2.08 per) and $15 for the 6 set (2.50 per)
  • Nib Type: Foam Rubber Brush/Chisel
  • Barrel: Rounded octagon
  • Refillable and nibs are replaceable
  • 24 set packaged in sturdy cardboard box, 6 set n a plastic wallet
  • Thoughts: I love the durable and flexible brush tip on these markers. I really like the line of markers but the 12 color set has 4 very similar pale peach colors and I wish they’d replace a couple with some mid-tones. The 6 set is useful but will be replaced with the 12 set to prevent duplication across the range of colors.

Spectrum Noir Illustrator (reformulated)

  • Price $17.05 for 6 pack ($2.84 per)
  • Nib Type: *Foam Rubber Brush/Chisel
  • Barrel: Hexagon
  • Refillable and nibs are replaceable
  • Open stock available
  • Packaged in a plastic tray in a cardboard box
  • Thoughts: This is a good start but you will likely want more mid tones. The old version of these markers had fiber brush nibs that frayed but the new sets feature high-quality foam rubber nibs which are much more durable.

Copic Sketch

  • Price $35.10 for set of 6 ($5.85 per)
  • Nib Type: Foam Rubber Brush/Chisel
  • Barrel: oval
  • Refillable and nibs are replaceable
  • Open stock available
  • Packaged in a plastic wallet
  • Thoughts: Copic markers are the gold standard and the price reflects that. I generally advise against buying copics in a set because they cost the same if bought individually and purchasing what you want individually ensures that you only get what you will use. That said the colors in the skin tone set are very useful.

I hop this helps you in your quest for skin-tone markers. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments. Happy crafting!

Shocker! I'm Painting with Acrylics for Sketchbook Sunday!

Hi friends! If you’re a regular around here you know I am typically not that fond of acrylics but I decided to give them a spin this week for sketchbook Sunday!

I had a lot of fun with this painting. The reason I enjoyed it was because I didn’t force myself to finish it in one go. I started it early in the morning then walked the dog, then did another layer, then went to the gym, then painted a big chunk of it, then made dinner and finally I added the finishing touches after I let my eyes have a break from it. I think we often have times when we don’t get more than 20 minutes at a time to paint and having something like this on your easel to come back to can be really encouraging because you don’t have to come up with something from scratch, you just keep adding to it! The real time version of this is up in Critique Club if you are interested:)


Feel free to use the stencils and stamps you have on hand to create your background, it will be totally yours that way! Happy painting!

Sweet Little Lovebirds Beginners Can Paint!

Hi friends! Let’t take a break from winter for the next 45 minutes and paint these sweet tropical lovebirds!

These vibrant colors were so fun to work with on a bitterly cold winter day. I hope you will give it a try!

Supplies *Affiliate links used

I hope you are having a lovely day and til next time happy painting!

A Craft Room for Non-Fancy People (like me!)

Hi friends! Recently I asked if you would like a video on how to set up an art studio/craft-room in an unfinished basement or other unfinished area (we gotta use what we have right?) and the response was overwhelming. By the way you can see an indepth video tour with photos here. I filmed that a year ago and not much has changed but it is much cleaner than it is right now as I am in the middle of a big freelance project and din’t have time to make the room pretty. What you see today is typical LOL! Watch the video below if you have an unused/unfinished area of your home that you want to turn into a creative haven. It doesn’t have to be “magazine pretty” to be pretty FUNctional!

My art room isn’t fancy. It’s not even a room, it’s an unfinished corner of my basement. This video is not meant to impress anyone, I made it to inspire you to make a space for your art wherever you can. Most of the furnishings are reclaimed or picked up as needed. It’s a hodgepodge but it works well for me. I will try and find links to any of the things I mentioned below but most of the things I mentioned can be picked up inexpensively at the home improvement store like Lowes or a discount store like WalMart. Claim your space artists and crafters!

Resources *affiliate links used.

  • Lighting: I use aluminum clamp lights with daylight balanced CFLs or LED lights. *these can also be found at a hardware/department store easily
  • Heat: I have a 1500w Eden Pure Infrared space heater. It provides heat in a few minutes and, as you can hear in the video, gives off a fan sound. An oil-filled radiator is another (quiet) option but it takes longer to heat up an area so you might need to start it an hour before you begin working. I have an oil-filled radiator but it didn’t feel as warm to me as the Eden Pure. Amazon has lots of options with reviews.
  • Storage: 9 cube units and Letter trays to store or collect project parts
  • Moisture mitigation: I don’t know much about dehumidifyers but there are options with reviews here. We had an interior perimeter drain done by a company that was an installer/franchise of Basement Systems. I am not affiliated with this company and can’t vouch for all of their installers but it worked well for us. I’ll warn you it was expensive but it was worth it to be able to use our cellar. We have a one-story ranch so it basically doubled our space.
  • I have not used this product myself but other crafters with basement craft rooms recommend Damp Rid. It’s pretty cheap so worth a try if you have musty air.
  • Safety: Radon test *there is a mold detection test too if you are worried about that. Fire extinguisher *Tip: Unplug any space heater when you are done for the day and switch off all power strips, you save electricity and know all of your lights and appliances are off.

The reason I am sharing my studio is to let you know that YOU can do this! It might take working a little bit a day for a few months if your time or energy are limited but you can get it done. Don’t wait for circumstances to be ideal, use what you have so you can create today! Happy crafting!

They don't always turn out pretty…

Hi Friends! It is a snowy Sketchbook Sunday here in Maine! I just got back from walking the beast (aka Penny puppy) and I have to say that one of the benefits to having a very high energy dog is that you must get outside everyday whether you want to or not LOL! Winters are hard on me. I am someone who tends to feel cold a lot of the time and the short days can do a number on anyone’s state of mind. Also the lack of sun gives most of us in this neck of the woods a vitamin D deficiency. I tend to fall into the “Everything I create is garbage” spiral this time of year. Last year was really bad and I am trying my best to redirect and stay out of the dark and icy grip of winter artist block. In today’s video you will see the first attempt (the bad pancake art I like to call it) and how I redirected to create a better painting. I might go back and try to save the bad pancake but I know when I am in a certain frame of mind I need to change tack completely and start something new or I will just end up sad and frustrated. How do you cope with creative block? Do you find it harder to create during certain seasons?

Probably many of you are thinking “why don’t you take a break and come back when you feel inspired?” That’s probably very good advice for some people. I did take a week off from filming from Christmas Day to New Years Eve and 2 out of the 3 things I filmed on New Years Day were absolute junk. So many bad pancakes haha! I think, with me, art is like excersize. You don’t go from working out every day to being a couch potato and expect to hit the ground running a week later. Even when I take a proper vacation I sketch and watercolor for my enjoyment. During this week off at home I cleaned, read and organized (organizing is probably my biggest hobby after crafty stuff) but any time I sat down to paint for fun I felt like the well was empty and instead of pushing through or just drawing anything I decided to procrasticlean…boy, you’d think my house would be gleaming wouldn’t you? LOL! I don’t know if my tale of woe will be a help to anyone reading this but if it does then I’m glad. I don’t know of any creative person who doesn’t suffer from an unmotivated apathy from time to time. You just need to figure out the best way for you to deal with it. For me, the only way out is through as you will see in today’s video.

This video is sponsored by Smart Art! Smart Art is a monthly subscription box that delivers a unique surprise assortment of full-size art supplies to your door each month so you can learn and try new media! If surprise art supplies aren’t your thing you can also purchase past boxes while supplies last or beginner bundles of supplies. Each box comes with a project booklet too. Smart art ships to many countries. Learn more today!


  • Watercolors (Art Creations by Royal Talens) *Let me know if you would like a review on these!
  • Accordion sketchbook (Hahnemuehle)
  • Brushes & Carry Case (Royal & Langnickle) Watercolor Pencils (Bruynzeel)
  • White wax crayon added from stash
  • Rose Palette (a Christmas gift from hubby)
  • Reference photos: Rainbow Cabanas (failed painting) and Stream

Want more?

Want to learn how to paint better landscapes? Try my course Watercolor Landscape workshop! This class contains 7 hours of exclusive training to teach you how to paint landscapes with ease and confidence! You will find lots of lessons to build your skills in landscape painting plus 4 real-time step-by-step scenes to paint including a tropical beach which will be a nice break from winter. You can upload your work for feedback and ask me questions right in the class. You get to learn and it’s fun! I’d love to see you in class!

Thanks for spending a bit of your weekend with me and til next time happy painting!

An Quick Fix for an Annoying Problem in the Craftroom

I love using shallow plastic Sterilite and Iris drawers to store my craft supplies. I like to be able to remove the entire drawer and set it on my work table when I am crafting and painting. Unfortunately, I bought a set of drawers where the drawers could not be removed. Today I am going to show you how to alter them so they will be removable as that is so much more useful in many circumstances.

I used a hot knife to easily cut the drawer catch tabs from my cart, it melts the plastic rather than using force to cut it. You could also use a utility knife I suppose. I have a Creative tool from Walnut Hallow (mine is the scrapbooking one that came out years ago but their standard Versa tool (*affiliate link) is cheaper and more powerful) If the drawer catches on your card are on the bottom of the drawers you will need to empty the cart, flip it over and remove the bottom catches first on the bottom drawer, remove that drawer and work your way up. I hope this helps! It is making my drawers way more useful to me!

PS Several viewers mentioned that you can squeeze the drawers and remove them that way but that can warp the drawers over time and you do need two hands and a bit of strength for that. I’d rather just cut the tabs off and be done with them but to each their own. Happy crafting!

%d bloggers like this: