Back to Basics: Sketching with Water Soluble Graphite

Hi friends! I wanted to go back to basics today and play with a very inexpensive media: Graphite. More specifically water-soluble graphite.


It is a great bridge between drawing and painting and you can even erase it when dry. Watch the video to see how easy it is!

I do hope you give it a try. You can find water-soluble graphic sticks at more art supply shops near where the pencils are sold but if you need to order online here are some options. Affiliate links used, thank you for your support!


Let me know if you would like more back to basic project and til next time happy crafting!

I Created a Lesson for Angela’s Fehr’s New Watercolor Course & Giveaway!!!

UPDATE: The automatic discount code should be working perfectly now but if you click the link and it is not on sale then enter the coupon FIRSTDIBS for 50% off the Creative Watercolor Course.

Hi friends!Today I am so excited to announce that I have created a lesson for Angela’s Fehrs new Creative Watercolor Course! I met Angela Fehr because we both did Craftsy Classes this year. She is a lovely person and I think you will love what she has to offer.


The class retails for $59 but if you click this link before November 17th you and use Coupon Code FIRSTDIBS can purchase it for $29! You will get 4 1/2 hours of watercolor instruction in 12 thoughtful lessons (one of which it taught by your’s truly!)

You will learn:

  • basic techniques and an overview of watercolour terminology
  • tools and materials recommendations and how to use them
  • using watercolour with masks & resists
  • wet-in-wet techniques
  • watercolour special effects
  • product demonstrations: pigment markers, pigment powder, watercolour pans, masking fluid, pen & ink, watercolour pigment sheets & more

In my 38 minute portion of the course I will be showing you how to use watercolor to make the most of your stamping and papercrafting supplies with quick and effective techniques that won’t break the bank! Here is a sneak peek at what I did:


I also am blessed to be able to give away one spot in the Creative Watercolor Course! Leave a comment for a chance to win and I will draw a winner in one week. Don’t worry if you enroll and then win, in that case they will refund your purchase price or you can give the extra spot to a friend. So why wait! Use my special affiliate link which not only gives you a 50% savings (Using Coupon Code FIRSTDIBS if sale price does not show up) but makes it possible for me to provide the free tutorials I post regularly on my blog. Your support keeps the lights on and I thank you so much!

You can have other chances to win on these fine blogs:

So what are you waiting for? Enroll today in the Creative Watercolor Course, remember if you end up winning a spot in the class your fee will be refunded or you can give your spot to a friend and you both can can have fun! Either way you win with 4 1/2 hours of inspiration and new ways to use your watercolors! Winner will be picked on 10/23/16 and notified via email shortly thereafter. I also wanted to mention that the Creative watercolor Course is designed for crafters and hobbyists looking to make the most of watercolor in all of their crafting endeavors. You might also enjoy one of Angela Fehr’s other fine courses, there is even one to try for free! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Free LIVE Watercolor Class: Seashells 12:30pm ET today!

Hi friends! Today at 12:30pm eastern time on YouTube we will be painting these lovely seashells with 4 colors or watercolor paint!


Edit: The seashells only took a half hour so we also painted this during the live stream:


We with a waterproof pen and then apply washes. This is a fun, casual approach that combines loose sketching and a gradual build up of washes. You can use these technique to sketch and paint anytime and anywhere.


You can watch the live show or the replay in the player below but if you want to chat and interact with me and Sarah make sure to tune in today at 12:30pm Eastern Time on the YouTube watch page so you can chat with the community or ask me questions as we go!

Supplies available from sponsor Jerry’s Artarama!

  • Cotman Watercolors Or use what ever brand you prefer (Seashells: alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine blue and Burnt sienna) (Leaf: Cad red, Cad yellow, Sap green, Ultramarine blue)
  • Fabriano Studio Watercolor Paper (the best “cheap” paper I have found *the 11″x14″ 50 or 100 sheet pads are a great buy and is what I made my landscape watercolor block from, I cut each sheet into 3rds 4 1/2″ish x11″ pieces)
  • Brushes-Mimik (#3, #8 round)
  • Black waterproof pen (sharpie, micron, pitt pen-your choise!)

This weeks Craftsy Class pick: New! Get Started Watercoloring Fresh Florals by Kristy Rice on sale for $19.99! This lady is so upbeat, encouraging and inspiring. I know you will love her, I have been watching her class and her love of painting just shines though the screen. It is a beginner level class so I recommend it to anyone who wants a back to basics class or wants to loosen up in their technique.


Or check out this week’s other Craftsy painting classes on sale.

*Note, I receive a small commission on any classes you buy ANY classes via my link at Craftsy, it helps keep my tutorials free on my YouTube channel and I thank you for your support! I hope you have an awesome weekend and I hope you pop back tomorrow on the blog because I have an awesome free coloring class for stampers using alcohol markers and colored pencils! You won’t want to miss it! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Tips for organizing and getting the most out of your tubes of paint!

Hi friends! Tonight I am going to show you how I am organising many of my tube watercolors that do not have a dedicated permanent palette. I was concerned about having too many small random homemade palettes to deal with so what I have done is taken the tin that my Qor paints came in and filled it with half pans (or you can use bottle caps, I am sticking to half pans so I can put them in one of my field palettes if I want to at any time) with magnets attached. You are probably wondering why I just don’t glue them to the tin and save money on magnets. Here’s why: I rarely use more than 5 colors in a painting and I wanted to be able to move the pans to the lid with the mixing wells when I am painting and since they have magnets on the bottom they wont slide around on me. As exciting as it is to listen to me talk about this process I’m sure you’d probably rather watch a video so here you go!


I know I covered a lot in this video, here are the references I mentioned.

The gadget I used to get the paint out of the tubes is a tube wringer, Jerry’s has them the cheapest. Don’t bother with the paint saver keys. The one I have is similar to $5.99 model but if you can swing it I’d go with a metal one.

I did find a source of affordable empty half-pans and full pans, I just ordered 40 half and 30 fulls from Jacksons Art Supply on amazon and no matter how many you order (and you can combine half and full pans) it is just one shipping charge of $3.50 from UK to USA. I am not affiliated with Jackson’s or Amazon but it was the best deal I could find (26 cents half/39 cents full.) There is another outfit called Half Pan PH which also has a good price on half pans, they ship out of the Philipines, I have never ordered from them but they just announced global shipping.

The tin came with the Qor set of watercolors. I got a big tin with each set of 6 paints I ordered. They have switched to smaller tins for the small sets because artist complained but i like the big tins. You might ask where you order if you can get a set in a large tin if they still have them. currently Jerry’s has the best price on these at $20.00 (which is a couple bucks less than what I paid sheesh!)

I got the magnets from Oriental Trading but there is nothing special about them, just look for a good price, I got 200 for $6  or you could use rubber cement to tack down your pans but i wanted to be able to move the colors I wanted over to my mixing side so I did not get confused:) and also be able to rearrange them.

I wrote the names on my pans with an ultra fine tip sharpie which I also use to do watercolor pen and ink with:) Someone suggested using a brother label maker to do that so if you have one it’s a great idea. I don’t have one or plan to get one, I can’t even imagine being that organized with life.😀

I hope you found this useful. I have lots of room to store and mix paint in this tin and I actually have 2 more of these from the other 2 Qor sets I bought, one is storing random tubes of paint ans the other one is sitting in my “empty box storage” please don’t call hoarders. Erma Bombeck was talking about me and her mother when she said “She never met a box she didn’t like.) LOL, Gosh, I miss Erma. I sure is nice to have your paint organized and ready to go, almost as good as painting with it which I hope you do. Remember it’s not the paint that makes the art, you do that bit:) Have a good night and as always happy crafting!


Plein Air Postcard #5: Sandy Point

The decrepit piers in the water were a challenge to paint so feel free to leave them out if you wish, otherwise it is a lovely coastal maine scent. Have fun and happy painting!


I am using the set of 24 koi watercolor box. The paper is one of the watercolor blocks I made the other day:) Happy crafting!

Plein Air Post Card #2: Fields Pond

Hi Friends! I am officially on vacation for a week but never fear, I have planned tutorials for you in my absence, it will be like I never left LOL!


A few of you asked me to do tutorials of the plein air watercolors I have been doing lately so I have!


I am using Winsor & Newton watercolors:
perm rose, yellow ochre, winsor lemon, Windsor green, ultramarine, pthalo blue, burnt sienna

grab your watercolors and paint along! Til next time happy crafting!

10 Minute Sketches, Cheap Watercolors & a Haul Video!

Howdy friends! We have a lot going on in today’s post! First up I want to share what I did in a life drawing group last night. These were 10 minute poses rendered in Micron pen and watercolors:


If you have never been to a life drawing group before, you typically start with 2 minute sketches to warm up, then 5, 10 and 20 minute poses. My 20 minute one was so overworked, I realized that 10 minutes is perfect for me. By starting with quick poses you get over any inhibitions you might have about drawing a nude or scantily clad person. This was not a nude session.


This (below) was my favorite post of the night. The model was so long and lean it was hard to fit her on the page when she was standing up of reclining so this was easier to render. It has been over a decade since I went to a life drawing group and when I saw one was happening locally I Jumped at the chance to attend. I highly recommend it. And don’t worry about people judging your work, we are all scrambling on getting out own stuff drawn we can’t worry about what the person next to us is doing. I began with a rough sketch in pen and then added some watercolor washes. I brought my new Prima Watercolor Confection in Decadent Pies because I know the rich muted tones would be ideal for portraits and it was! I also popped a few more pans of color along the center channel of the palette, I like how there is just enough room to fit 7 half pans down the middle because a lot of tins do not have that much space between the pan holders. Also to buy a metal tin empty costs over $25 so this is like getting free paint (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)


Along with the paint I got a few more goodies from Simon Says Stamp with a gift card I received. I just saw that they now have the 2 new Prima watercolor palettes available on their site and they were not up yet when I shopped, if they were I would have bought them LOL!

Haul video!

These are the items I bought

*This post contains affiliate links, if you purchase via my link I earn a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

So that was a very random post huh? Well, I want to share that even if I don’t film a video I do use the stuff I buy (like the watercolors from that haul.) I also want to push you to draw, paint, sketch and create! Whether you are sketching a scene from your hometown or on vacation or taking a class, it will help you in all of your artistic endeavors. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!


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