A Sweet Sushi Valentine!

Hi friends! When my kids were little I loved crafting classroom valentines treats with them. I had really missed doing that the past couple of years so I said “What the heck, I’m making some!”

You can use this idea on any small boxed candy or take the idea and make a bookmark or card with it. Watch the video to see how!

I made a recipe card for coloring below. If you don’t have the same brand of alcohol markers I do (Ohuhu) you can match up the swatches with the markers you have.

Supplies (affiliate links used)

The moral of this project is if you you want to craft something
(even if you have no practical reason to) do it! I’m sure I’ll have plenty of help making sure the candy isn’t wasted LOL! Happy crafting!

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!

Fan Art: Drawing June from The Handmaids Tale {Sketchbook Sunday}

Hi friends! Last night I finished watching season 3 of The Handmaids Tale. This Hulu series was based on a book by Margaret Atwood and I can’t wait to read the sequel The Testaments.

I loved the acting by Elizabeth Moss so much that I decided to draw her portrait for sketchbook Sunday. You can see the time lapse below. A real-time version of this tutorial will be available in Critique Club in a couple of days.

Supplies (May contain affiliate links)

If you are new to drawing and would like an in-depth beginner drawing class consider my online course Learn to Draw with Lindsay where I teach you how to draw what you see without gimmicks. You can learn more about it here. Have a creative week!

…and by the way…

Sorry for the back to back blog post. I totally forgot to mention that tomorrow is the last day to save 50% on my Hand-painted Holiday class. Regular price $39, with coupon code XMASTREAT $19.50 through 12/1/19. Use the coupon code if the discount doesn’t automatically show up.

Jump in now and you still have time to hand-paint beautiful greeting cards and gift tags in time for Christmas! Learn more here. Happy painting!

Enjoying a Slow Saturday

Hi friends! How are you? I hope you are enjoying the weekend. It always feels weird on the days after Thanksgiving. The kids are home, many people are off from work and it feels like a couple of Sundays strung together. You see different neighbors when you walk the dog and things are slow and calm. I am sure that’s not the case in town for the folks working or shopping and however you choose (or have) to spend the days following Thanksgiving I hope you enjoyed it:)

I’ve been making my Christmas cards. I made 32 today of one design and I did 12 of another design yesterday. I hope to get them mailed out on Monday and then I can share the designs with you. I was able to use up a lot of older product and that feels so good! I love coming up with new ways to use old stuff and mixing old with new. It’s so satisfying to use stuff up, don’t you think?

Today is Small Business Saturday. I thought it would be nice to highlight a couple of small companies that sell watercolor stuff and are nice people. First up the Etsy shop “A Little Creative“. I met the owner April last year and she also lived in Maine, unfortunately (for me) she moved but luckily we still keep in touch. She sells the Polish line of watercolors called Renesans. They are a very high quality/low cost paints. I reviewed the pans here and the tubes are also excellent. She is offering 10% off (keep in mind the prices are shocking low to begin with) and free shipping on orders over $35 through Tuesday. These paints will make an excellent gift to any watercolor painter on your gift list.

Another small company that I am a big fan of is The Portable Painter. They make my favorite travel palette that I have been using pretty much exclusively since I got it and it was on my Christmas Gift Guide last year. It’s a 12 pan sketch-box that comes empty and you fill with the paint of your choosing (maybe the Renesans paint I mentioned above) and it has 2 water-buckets that attach to each end and I can rest it over my leg when painting in my Kayak or set it on the ground at the beach and the water-bucket legs keep the palette out of the sand. It’s brilliant! They are making a micro palette that is less expensive than the portable palette and cute as a button and I though you might like to know about it. I’d say it would make a cute stocking stuffer but I’m not sure if it will be out by Christmas but the original portable painter is a fantastic palette to give any painter who wants to paint out in nature. Here is a look at the new micro version. I will review it when it comes out.

Finally I did want to mention a big sale from a company that has been growing the last couple of years: Arteza. They have been knocking it out of the park with affordable, quality art supplies. I have been very impressed at the quality of their products and customer service. I would rate their supplies at the level of the serious student/crafter and you always get more than your moneys worth. I really like their Ever-blend alcohol markers (their 120 set is on sale for $72 this weekend, regular $129), Gouache paint, Real brush watercolor pens, canvas panels and expert watercolor pencils to name a few. Honestly the only thing I don’t love from them is their watercolor paint but I am very picky with watercolors and theirs are fine, they just didn’t knock my socks off. I am not sure if you can use a coupon on top of their black Friday sale which is up to 60% off but you can try PROMO10 and see if you can save more. I am so happy to see this company grow and hear from my viewers how well they were treated by them when they ordered.

I hope you are having a good weekend. I plan on taking one of my daughters to the local antiques mall tomorrow to do some Christmas Shopping. I hope to find some unique treasures that will bring joy to my loved ones this year. I know there is a lot to choose from these days so I just wanted to highlight a couple of online business that I think are worth a look and offer clever and reliable products that would make nice gifts. Just as a disclaimer I am an Amazon and Arteza affiliate and I do earn a small commission if you make a purchase through some of my links. I think I am going to head back down to my craft room now and see if I can come up with another Christmas Card design to batch out, I have an idea for a farmhouse style card, now, I just have to see if I have a pickup truck stamp, if not, I’m sure I’ll find something that will work. happy crafting!

The Antidote to Feeling Bad About All of Your Art Supplies…

Hi friends! I love it when I set a personal goal and it ends up having positive side effects I didn’t anticipate. When I decided to paint 20 mini oil paintings in November it was more of a way to beat the “winter blues” and ride the high of having an art goal like I experienced during Inktober. I had really missed painting in oils so I thought hat would be a nice medium to focus on. I didn’t expect the other positives…

I had A LOT of oil paints back from when I had a downtown studio and taught two oil classes each week. I bought my oils in large economy tubes and had jars of mediums and brushes galore. Luckily oil paints hold up well and I haven’t found any spoiled paint in my stash. With each completed painting I felt lighter, any guilt over having so much paint dissipated with every canvas panel I used up. Knowing that I was putting the stuff I had (and my time) to good use while I worked on improving my skills was the shot in the arm my creativity needed. I loved that I didn’t have to run out and buy something new to improve myself.

I would wager that many of us have an excess of some supply we bought years ago when we were really excited about a project. The more those supplies sit around we either feel bad about them or become blind to them. Neither is a great solution. I think many of us think if we use up our supplies on a project that doesn’t turn out well it is a waste but think of the waste of space the supplies take up if they are not getting used regularly. Or the waste of supplies if they dry up or go bad in the package. Even if you paint an canvas and it is “bad” you have created something. You may have failed at the idea you had in your mind but you succeeded in finding out what didn’t work. Often the painting looks different the next day and you can always try scraping back or adding more paint. You can even cut the canvas off the stretcher bars and staple on some fresh canvas and try again if you feel bad about wasting a canvas.

Nobody creates a masterpiece every time, especially if they haven’t done it in a while so why do we think we need to produce a winner every time we sit down to paint? I’d go as far to say that if you do create a great painting every time you sit down to paint that you are not challenging yourself and trying new things. With failure comes growth. Life if made in the mistakes and so is art.

I hope this post helps you lighten up your expectations a bit in your art journey. Take care and happy creating!

P.S. I’ll have a new real time watercolor tutorial for you on YouTube this evening and tomorrow here on the blog:)

A Project to Practice your Ink Blending!

Hi Friends! This birthday card is fun to make with limited supplies! It comes with an interior pocket that holds a bookmark/tag and would also be handy to hold a gift card! This card can be reused too.

Watch the video to see how!

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. Make an A2 size card and tape it to your workspace. 
  2. Cut a curved line out of a scrap piece of thin paper and cover the bottom half of your card. Cut a circle from a post it note and place in on the paper overlapping the mask.
  3. Use a straight edge of paper as a mask to ink sunbeams protruding from the masked circle in orange ink. Then repeat from the other direction using a different shade of orange or red. Add yellow over it all if desired.
  4. Remove the mask and place the other half of the curvy mask over the sun/sky area and ink the grassy area with shades of green ink.
  5. Stamp the pigs on the hill in black and the roosters towards the bottom. Stamp grass in green and black on the bottom edge and ink around the edges in black.
  6. Remove the tape and add banner to card with foam tape and add enamel dots. 
  7. Use a scrap of paper to make the inside pocket of the card and decorate a tag to go in it. Use the tag for writing so the card can be reused by the recipient!

Feel free to use whatever ink blending tools you like to make this project! The more you practice the better you will get and the more professional your cards will look! Happy crafting!

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