One fishy, rainy morning …

I fully intended to sleep in this morning but woke up at 7 to the sound of rain. And for some reason, when it’s raining, I get the urge to pick up my paints and pencils and do something creative. Maybe splash some color around to brighten a dull sky? Negative ions in the air? Who knows. But I’ve got this fish design that’s going into my upcoming Oceanimaginary book and I’ve been dying to test it out with a little color. I printed the lighter grey-line version of this design (which I always include with my downloadable PDFs on Etsy) on Neenah Bright White 65 lb. card stock.


I find I enjoy coloring over the grey lines more than I do black lines. It allows me to use different colors (like reds, browns, blues and greens) over the grey to add more depth and line interest, plus there is less of a chance the black ink (I have an old Epson Inkjet printer) will smudge when I am using paints and lighter colored pencils.

The first thing I did was paint the fish’s body with a mix of Karen Spencer’s mica paints.  I really like using waterbrushes (the kind with the reservoir you fill for continued use). I typically have a few ready to go and use a different one for each of the general colors I am working with so it’s easier to switch while blending. In this piece for example, I had a brush for gold, one for orange and one for my reds—including a gorgeous red Karen named Ruby Charm! Be still my heart! Once the micas dried, I used Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils to blend in more yellow, orange and red. This can take away a little of the shimmer, but not much. The flower petals on the fish were colored with Pablo Orange Yellow and then burnished with the Blender Bright. Next, I used my harder Irojiten pencils (Crimson, Plum and Black) to carve in some outlines around the petals, swirls around the face, and fins.


As many of you who use mica and pearlescent paints know, it can be tricky to capture those stunning shimmers in a photograph, but wow do they look gorgeous in person.

I also used Sakura Gellyroll Glitter, Moonlight, and Sakura Souffle gel pens to add embellishments … usually dots to add interest to different areas of the coloring.

For the flowering anemone, I used Caran d’Ache Luminance, Pablo, Irojiten, Prismacolor, and Derwent Lightfast pencils. If you are not familiar with the Lightfast pencils but love the Lumis, give them a try. I bought a few through Blick and am now a huge fan. They feel a lot like the Lumis but require even less pressure to lay down color, and they sharpen beautifully, AND they are not as expensive which is a big plus for me.

I usually use the Luminance pencils as my first layers (and now the Lightfast) because I love the way they blend. I also find that the Prismacolors blend fairly well with them, too. There are a few colors in the Prismacolor Premier set that I can’t seem to find in other colored pencils sets—the Aquamarine for instance. It just has a beautiful hue and gorgeous saturation. I used it where the flowers (and buds) join the stems of the anemone and blended down (with a Prismacolor colorless blender pencil) with Lightfast Mallard, then Luminance Moss and Dark Sap, and then Lightfast Forest for the darkest areas.


For the flowers, I used my Luminance White and Buff Titanium pencils to blend my blues. I intentionally left a little oval of white paper at the base of each petal and colored a layer of Middle Cobalt Blue and Light Blue (Luminance) around the edges. The White and Buff blended them together and carried a tiny bit of pigment into the “naked” area of each petal. I used Irojiten Teal to outline/define the petals, then I used a blue Gellyroll glitter pen along with yellow Sakura Souffle dots for the centers. And a tiny dot of Gellyroll orange in each center once the Souffle dried. Sometimes it takes a while (especially when it’s humid like today) so to help hurry along the process, I either pull out my heat gun, or just set my art under my halogen desk lamp (which gets really stinkin’ hot) and that does the trick.


This is as far as I got for the day … time to get back to layout work for the pages for Oceanimaginary! The book is coming along nicely, and I’ll be hard at it for the next week or so until I send it off for publication. Once that is off my plate, I’ll be loading all the designs from the book into my Etsy shop, and I’ll be working on the 2020 Creative Companion and a few other surprises as well as we head toward the holidays and wrap up the year.

Thanks for being along for the ride—cheers to creativity and happy coloring, everyone!