Gourds: Wet in Wet Technique (beginner tutorial)

Hi friends! This tutorial got mixed reviews and I can see why, it took me way longer than I had hoped to teach it. And looking at the end result I would have had a more refined painting after almost an hour. However, this is a beginner tutorial and I don’t like to rush techniques in my beginner tutorials. I also like to use student grade paints in my beginner tutorials so I can show you how to overcome some of the issues you might face when attempting it for the first time with student grade supplies.


If you are not a beginner and the finished painting doesn’t look good to you I suggest you pass on this one and wait for my more advanced Friday livestream paintings. I don’t mind:) I want to make sure beginners have tutorials with some gentle guidance as they work through their paintings for the first time. I hope you understand:) So, with that disclaimer out-of-the-way, let’s paint! This is a real-time lesson so you can paint along.


FYI I will be reviewing the set of 48 Mungyo watercolor paints that I used in today’s tutorial on Saturday. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


Easy as Pie!

Hi friends! What a weird week. Anytime we have a Monday holiday my schedule goes out the window. I have been working on some larger paintings for a class I am taking which has cut into my video creating time so I didn’t have a Sketchbook Sunday video but I did film a time-lapse of this slice of pie. It was the last piece of pie we bought at a bake sale to support out local cub scouts and I thought it looked so pretty so I decided to take a break and paint it!


I used Mungyo watercolors for this, I have been getting requests to review these for years and I finally found a set to buy on amazon. So far I think them but they remind me a lot of the Jane Davenport and Prima watercolors. I need to do a brighter painting with these before I review them but so far so good! BTW Ifound some really cheap and awesome pencil extenders on amazon, they were 3 for $2.79 and free shipping and I don’t have prime but they still came fairly quickly!

Supplies (affiliate links used)

I think whenever you feel inspired to paint you should! Even if you only have a few minutes. Those glimmers of inspiration are precious and often don’t come around when you have endless hours to create so seize them when they do! You can get more done in a limited time than you think.  Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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!

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!


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!

Learn to sketch pumpkins, gourds and squash!

Hi friends! Today I will show you how to sketch a variety of pumpkins, squash and decorative gourds.  I tried to pick a variety of shapes so by the end of today’s practise you will be able to easily draw whatever you want!


Feel free to pause the video is needed so you can draw along. You can draw in any media you like but I am using woodless watercolor pencils. This originally aired at 12:30pm ET today, here is the replay:

The best reference to use is actual gourds but if you can’t get any or if they are out of season try a seed catalogue. This article has 60 catalogs you can download. You can see much better detail from the images on your computer than from a print catalog and it is environmentally friendly too! I hope you have a great weekend and til next time happy crafting!

PS If you would like more real time drawing tutorials check out my class Learn to Draw with Lindsay!

Sketchbook Sunday {Pumpkin Spice Version}

Hi friends! Yesterday we took the kids apple picking and to a corn maze at a local farm. We saw pumpkins and gourds, goats and horses and beautiful fall flowers. The regional humorist Tim Sample was even performing and we could hear his act as we picked apples (soon to be made into apple crisp!) It is definitely starting to feel like fall here in maine, the weather is cool and crisp and that is what inspired this week’s sketch.


I recorded it in timelapse so it is pretty short but to be honest I wasn’t feeling the joy of the sketch today, I am not sure why, I think I should have done this on real watercolor paper but oh well, here it is anyway.


I wish I had a more inspiring project for you. That’s the way it goes sometimes:) Happy crafting!


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