Magical Mushrooms! Pan pastels and watercolor crayons

Hi friends! I have been a bit obsessed lately with working on mat board scraps primed with clear gesso. It makes the most amazing surface for colored pencils, pastels, and even watercolor crayons! What’s more, is it is extremely cheap to make since I have lots of matboard scraps because I do my own custom framing. You can use the clear gesso over any art paper that is on the thick side if you don’t have mat board. You can even tone watercolor paper with watercolor or ink and add the clear gesso on top. It’s versatile!

If you would like a real-time version of this tutorial, along with 75 longer and more advanced tutorials than what I typically post to YouTube then you will love Critique Club! For $5 a month you get access to loads of art lessons (with 2 new ones added every month!) creative prompts and the ability to share your art for feedback from me. Click here to learn more or enroll today! Now, on to the timelapse!

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I am a big fan of using what you have so if you don’t have PanPastels you can scribble the pastel on scrap paper and pick up the pigment with a sponge. You can use oil pastels or other gel crayons in place of the watercolor crayons I used. The results may be a bit different but you might as well try what you have first. Happy crafting!

Pretty Puppy in Alcohol Markers and colored pencils!

Hi friends! Here is a fun little drawing I did of my neighbor’s dog, Bea. I loved her quirky look and thought it would be so fun to paint!

You can find a real-time lesson for this artwork in Critique Club! This membership group gives you access to 75 longer real-time art lessons, monthly creative prompts, and the ability to upload your artwork for feedback from me all for only $5 a month! Below you can find the timelapse with lots of tips!

Here is a playlist of the 4 alcohol marker basics videos I mentioned.

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I hope this inspired you to get some drawing done today! Remember if you would like a real-time version of this tutorial you can find it in Critique Club. Happy crafting!

Watercolor Crayons Might Surprise you!

Hi friends! Do you have a certain art supply that every time you use it you wonder why you don’t use it more often? That’s how I feel every time I use watercolor crayons!

They are convenient, reworkable and fun to use. If you have ever used a crayon you can use these. I had some request from Critique Club members to use watercolor crayons and it sounded like a fine idea. I wanted to create a tutorial that will result is a beautiful painting but would also teach all the tips, tricks and techniques I have discovered about the medium too. You can find the real time version of this tutorial in Critique Club if you like. Critique Club is $5 a month and you have access to all of the lessons (53 in all) in the group and I post 2 new ones every month! You can also upload your original artwork for me to critique to help you grow as an artist. That is optional, no pressure, if you just want to learn from the dozens of lessons that’s fine too:) If that sounds like something that would be helpful to you you can learn more or enroll here.

This painting is 11″x11″ and took about 2 hours. Enjoy the timelapse!

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  • Watercolor crayons: first choice is Caran Dache as they have open stock and sets, and the quality is outstanding. Another very comparable budget alternative to Caran Dache is the Lyra watercolor crayons available in sets. They are about 95% as good for half the price *But if you want a really budget alternative you can try the Crayola Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels, they are awesome and a good way to test out this type of medium for a song.
  • If you want to transfer a pattern to a toned surface white transfer paper is handy
  • You can sharpen up edges and outlines with watercolor pencils. I dip the tip of the pencil in a drop of water so the pigment will release, otherwise it can’t grip the waxy surface of the crayons.
  • Reference photo

Remember if you want to learn more about watercolor crayons the tutorial on Critique club has a lot of information. I hope you give this project a try! If you don’t have watercolor crayons then you can get similar effects in colored pencils (I’d draw it smaller tho or it will take an age!) or oil pastels. You do you! Happy crafting!

Struggling through a painting…

Hi friends! Today I am sharing a painting I struggled with. I’d been out of sorts all week and I found it hard to focus or even decide what to paint. As I worked through this painting there were many times I just wanted to toss it in the garbage and I probably would have if I didn’t need it for work. This brings me to the thought that there are several ways we can deal with a problematic painting. You can pitch it in the trash, you can set it aside to return to at a later date when your might has had a chance to forget the struggle (probably the best option but you may risk losing interest in the project) or you can do what I usually do which is to fight through and finish it. How do you deal with this?

The real time version of this tutorial is up in Critique Club if you want to see the struggle in real time and see how I solved the many issues that came up in this painting. You can also watch the time lapse below.


If you want to learn more about soft pastels I have a course: Soft Pastels for Beginners you might like and you can save 40% on that class, or any other class in my Teachable school by using the coupon code LOVE40 now through 2/20/21. The pastel class link above should contain the discount but if you don’t see it click “add coupon” at checkout and type in LOVE40 to get the Valentines sale price! Happy crafting!

Let’s Talk Layers: Using watercolor pencils and wax colored pencils together

Hi friends! I find that a lot of the time my students are displeased with their colored pencils work it is because they haven’t gone far enough with it yet. We think because all the paper is covered we are done but that is not often true. Not only do you need to cover the expanse of your paper but you need to build up areas as well. Think of it like a topographical map. the areas of your painting that are the focal points will have layers like a mountain range on a map would. Sometimes you want to add more pencils but you have filled the paper’s tooth and it won’t stick so what do you do then? In today’s video I will show you ways to build up layers and create a finished looking artwork. I will share tips of what to do when the pencil won’t stick and tricks for those final details.

You can find a fully narrated real-time tutorial of this painting in Critique Club. Below is the time-lapse.

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In other news I bought a new tea kettle. Thank you for your help in deciding:) Happy crafting!

Learn to Draw a Sumac Leaf in Marker and Colored Pencil

Hi friends! Today I have a leaf drawing and coloring tutorial for you. We will use toned paper which reduced the look of streaks and choppy blending.

By the Way, today is the las day of my fall sale! 40% off full courses in my Teachable school with coupon code FALL40 *Offer good through 10/18/2020, On checkout click “add coupon code” and paste in FALL40 to receive 40% off the class of your choice.

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That’s all for today! I was sewing some masks yesterday and decided I wanted to reorganize my sewing supplies since I recently cleared out some drawers. I think that will be a fun afternoon project! Maybe I’ll film it, interested?

Til next time, happy crafting!

Sketchbook Sunday & My October Personal Art Challenge

Hi friends! I was planning on doing Inktober this year but decided that I would just do my own thing. I wanted to improve my figure drawing skills so I am drawing people every day this month.

This was day 2 of my personal art challenge. If you want to see the daily artwork you can follow me on Instagram. You can see the time-lapse of this painting below!

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That’s all for today! Are you doing an art challenge this month? I might try to work in the 6 Drawtober prompts this month as well. I think personal art goals are really great for growing your skills. I am looking forward to working on this! Happy crafting!

Gas Station in Gouache: Sketchbook Sunday

Hi friends! I’m not usually inspired to paint architecture but when I saw this photo of an old gas station I thought it had a warmth and life to it and I was excited to give it a whirl!

Don’t forget the 50% off Launch special on my new Watercolor Glass Class! *Offer good through August 2020, use coupon code SHINE if the discount doesn’t appear.

I used this new set of inexpensive 24 jelly cup gouache from Artsy. I like this palette because it has a foam seal to prevent the paint from drying out or leaking and a carry handle that keeps the box upright. There is also a 5% off coupon on Amazon currently making this set less costly than other brands. I find the quality similar to the HIMI and ARRTX gouache so choose the set with the paint colors and palette you prefer.

The reference photo is from the Artist Photo Reference: buildings and Barns. There are currently 26 used copies on Amazon, I ordered mine from the seller Thriftbooks and they were awesome. I highly recommend all of the books in the Artist Photo Reference series. They are out of print but I was able to find the ones I didn’t have on Amazon used and inexpensively.

When painting in Gouache you can use any brushes you have for acrylics or stiffer watercolor brushes. I personally like the Zen All Media Brushes from Royal & Langnickle. They are available at most craft stores and are $3-$5 each and hold up very well.

I hope you had a creative day! Happy crafting!

The Fanciest of Pastels (Sketchbook Sunday!)

Hi friends, today for sketchbook Sunday I am breaking out my new fancy Sennelier oil pastels!

You can find the real-time version of this lesson in Critique Club. Critique club is a monthly membership group where you can upload up to two paintings a month for a critique from me. You also get access to dozens of real time narrated art tutorials with two new ones posted each month so you will never lack for something to paint as you grow your skills as an artist. Click here to learn more!

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These oil pastels were so fun to use and I can’t wait to play with them on a larger paper. What supplies are you currently excited about?