How to deconstruct your 2023 Creative Companion (Organizer and Art Journal) to insert the pages into your own binder.
Check out the new collection of products featuring Prairie Birds! The line art was originally created for my newest book, Birdy, and while waiting for it to be finalized and printed, I started working on a coloring of the Prairie Birds using a mix of colored pencils, watercolor pencils and gel pens. I then digitized the art on my iPad so it was easier to resize for a variety of products.
While I am smitten with the sling chair (alas, not in my budget right now), I ordered a tote bag, water bottle, laptop sleeve and coffee mug for my own personal use in my studio and for little trips. I am sure you’ll see the mug on my desk before too long. Many of these products (just a few are featured below) come in different sizes, and some, like the water bottle, have additional options as well.
Check the prices occasionally because items go on sale at Society6 all the time and they offer special discounts for subscribers. Please note that these products are all made to order, and they typically ship within 3-4 business days from several facilities around the country.
A little about the company … Society6 makes all of its products on demand. Artists (like me) submit their designs to create a collection, and when a customer orders a product, Society6 then produces it using the artwork and ships the products directly to customers (not to me). A bulk of each item’s price covers the cost of the item itself, but every artist makes a modest commission on the products sold using their designs, too⏤which is pretty cool.
I have ordered products from Society6 multiple times and have always had a great experience. If you do have any issues with their products, however, they have a great return policy (though a few items, like furniture of course, are not eligible for returns).
I just got an email saying my laptop sleeve already shipped!
Off I go to give my little studio space a good cleaning. Hope you all have a wonderful day!
A few thoughts about pencils, blending and burnishing
Hi all, and happy Thursday! I thought I would share some thoughts I had while responding to a friend through Etsy about colored pencils recently. Because who doesn’t like a few tips when it comes to working with colored pencils? Keep in mind that I am not an expert by any stretch, but these are a few tools and techniques that work well for me. And to illustrate my thoughts, I colored my Rocky Raccoon design (available on Etsy).
My friend is one of those lucky owners of the Holbein colored pencils. I have a few and it’s so tempting to order the complete set, however I desperately need new eye glasses so the Holbeins will have to wait. She reached out to me because she wanted to learn more about the Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils. In short, I love them! They are highly pigmented and opaque, and lay down on most types of paper very nicely.
Working on more toothy paper can make ‘white speckles’ appear in your coloring. Basically, it’s simply your pencil skipping over the little divots in the paper while sticking to the more raised bumps with textured paper. You can feel a paper’s texture with your fingers, and if you look at it with a magnifying lens, you can see all the little peaks and valleys of the paper’s fibers. You’ll see more of them in highly textured watercolor paper, and less in more smooth papers like certain Bristols and card stocks. A Prismacolor colorless blender pencil can help further blend your colors and get rid of those white spots that appear on more textured papers, and I also do a lot of burnishing with the Caran d’Ache Blender Bright stick (but more on that shortly).
I have found that the Luminance pencils, combined with the Derwent Lightfast and the Derwent Drawing pencils, is a perfect combo. They work so nicely together, and the color range is gorgeous. They are all fairly earthy colors (which I tend to gravitate toward) and some brighter colors, too. These pencils are what I would call soft and highly responsive, though you can get a nice point on them for tighter areas and details. I typically use them for my base layers, then use the Tombow Irojiten pencils (which are quite hard and can be sharpened to a really sharp point) to add little details, extra color, and even burnish.
The few Holbeins I do have (thanks to another friend who sent me a lovely set of 12 pastels) work well with my Polychromos pencils (another perfect combo in my humble opinion) and I use the Irojitens with them for fine details and burnishing, too.
It’s taken me awhile to refine my approach to coloring and mixing pencils brands, but I think I have it down pretty well now for my tastes and coloring habits. Basically, I either use my Luminance, Lightfast and Drawing pencils together, or I use my Polychromos and Holbeins together. Do I prefer one grouping over the other? Difficult to say. I think the group I choose depends on my mood, though when working on black paper, I do prefer the Luminance, Lightfast and Drawing grouping because they are a bit softer and color over black paper more readily. And of course I still mix in other pencil brands as well including my tried and true Prismacolors and Pablos.
I know I have mentioned this before in other posts, but I find that smooth card stock sometimes needs a layer of watercolor pencils to give me a little extra tooth. I pick a few colors that will work well for my base layer, use a water brush to blend, let it dry thoroughly, then work with my colored pencils on top of the dried watercolor pencils. My favorites are the Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer and the Caran d’Ache Museums, though I love working with the Caran d’Ache Neocolor IIs, too. Lots of steps for coloring a design, I know, but I truly enjoy the process and am always pushing myself for better results.
Buying a set of the the Luminance pencils or the Derwent Lightfast pencils can be a bit daunting (for the old wallet) so if you think you would like to try any of these, order a few of your favorite (or most used) colors from Blick or Cult Pens first to see if you really like them before investing in the whole set. There are also a few places that carry single Holbein pencils, but buyer beware. I had emailed Holbein back in May with a few questions about their colors, color names, and where to find individual pencils and they responded with the following:
"The Holbein Colored Pencils are not available in North America yet as they currently present serious health concerns. A few of the colors can cause severe Chronic and Acute issues. They have been sold illegally by off shore retailers with no regard for Health labeling. The US and Canada have very strict regulations and these have been blatantly disregarded. We have advised those who write to return the pencils to the retailer who sold the pencils to them ....
The good news ... We will be launching the North American edition of the pencils by the end of the year. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the launch. You will be able to find them at all large US retailers in the months to come. For the record, your pastel set does not contain any of the invasive colors ... Rest easy!
So there you have it – Holbeins are coming to America! Not sure how they will compare to the pencils made in Japan, or if they will be available as singles, but I am very excited to find out and am saving my nickles.
UPDATE! Blick now carries the official Holbein pencils here in the USA!
As with any pencil brand, it takes time to get used to how it behaves on paper. Some pencils will feel natural and easy to use right away, while others require more time to adjust–and this is different for everyone. If you get new pencils and are not sure if you like them right away, play with them a while! It took me months to get a real feel for the Polychromos pencils after using only Prismacolors for years, and I had a similar experience with the Luminance. It took time, trial and error to really understand how to use them.
My three must haves? The Caran d’Ache Blender Bright stick, the Prismacolor Colorless Blender pencil, and the Caran d’Ache Buff Titanium pencil.
I use the Buff Titanium to blend and soften my colors, the Prismacolor Blender to simply blend, and the Blender Bright to do a final burnish of my work. All three pencils work differently and will give you different results, though they can be hard to distinguish at first.
To illustrate my thoughts on these blenders, here is a sneak peek at a raccoon I recently drew and colored. This little guy will be in the 2021 Creative Companion (and is now on Etsy as a downloadable PDF for coloring), but I used all three types of blenders to achieve the results I wanted.
First, I started with Luminance, Drawing and Lightfast pencils for my layers, then Irojiten pencils to draw in the additional background details (the little cloud shapes in the top half, the scribbles on the tree bark, and the green vines for the bottom half).
Once I had all my colors down, I used the Prismacolor Blender pencil to fine-tune areas that needed blending. This pencil “squishes” or rubs the pigments together on the paper without creating a sheen. In fact, it’s sort of like using super-super-fine sandpaper and retains a matte appearance. Don’t overdo it, though–blend with this pencil too forcefully and you can lose some of the pigment on your paper or rip a hole in it.
For the sun and the clouds, I used the Buff Titanium pencil (which is not technically a blender but I like to use it as such) because it has a faint yellowish cast (almost antique) and it really softens my colors.
For everything else, I used the Caran d’Ache Blender Bright which is a grayish, solid stick of high quality wax. It can be sharpened with any old pencil sharpener or blade so you have a fine point, or you can turn it sideways and use one of the flat sides to burnish large areas since there is no casing around the stick. One of the big reasons I love the Blender Bright is because in addition to intensifying my colors, it also creates a bit of a sheen and protects my art from UV light and water. It’s not necessary for a lot of colorings done just for fun, but since I sell some of my original colored pencil artworks, I want to be sure those pieces won’t fade.
Burnishing with the Blender Bright brings up the saturation level of the colors and essentially ‘locks them in’ under a smooth layer of wax. This is ideal for me because I use a lot of gel pens for embellishments. Because of that nice, impermeable burnished surface, the gel pens stay on top of the art and don’t soak into the paper so I get cleaner, sharper dots, lines and squiggles. This also means it takes a little longer for the gel to dry (because it essentially floats on the surface), but if you have a heat gun, just run it over your work on low for a minute and that usually does the trick. Just don’t let the heat get too close to your work or you can burn it. And that can be heart-breaking.
Don’t burnish anything until you have all your colors down–once burnished, it’s nearly impossible to add any more pencil layers because burnishing literally smashes all the tooth of your paper–compresses it down to a slick, flat surface. That’s why the colors look more saturated. Once burnished, the only thing I can add is gel pens, acrylic paint and Pitt pen (or other fine, opaque pens).
If you are anxious to burnish certain areas of your coloring (I get ahead of myself all to often), be especially careful when burnishing colors next to empty spaces that you plan to color (or add more color to). Especially with the Blender Bright because it lays down a layer of wax that is nearly impossible to color over. In theory, you could use a workable fixative spray over the burnished areas to add more pencil layers, but I have not tried that myself. I rarely use sprays since my studio is very small and am not too keen on asphyxiating myself.
When you have a little time, grab some scrap paper and give these techniques a try to get a feel for how they will work for you. I messed up a lot at first, but once I realized the steps (basic pencil base layers first, blending, finer details, burnishing, then gels if you like) I started to have so much fun and started to see much better results in my coloring. Burnishing is not for everyone (it is especially hard on your hands) but it can be very helpful to use a blender.
Hope this helps a bit, and as always, happy coloring! I am off to watch my daughter play some volleyball!
Playing with backgrounds: giraffes
Hardly a day goes by when my coloring team (and beloved FB community admins) Lora King, Betty Hung and Paul Stone Leach and I don’t hop on WhatsApp for a few minutes to say hi and share everything from gardening pics to funny stories, colorings and ideas, and updates on social media. A few days ago, we were talking about background options for the Botanical Giraffes coloring Lora was working on. She said that she had started with a pale blue background, then started adding brown and wasn’t too thrilled with it—shit brown, she called it. She shared a pic of her progress, and honestly, I liked the way she blended her browns into blues, but she didn’t (and that’s what ultimately counts).
So I asked her, half-jokingly, “Do you have an X-Acto blade?”
“You want me to cut it out and put on Holtz paper?” she asked. Since we have all been playing around with printing out coloring designs on scrapbook paper, I thought it might be a fun technique to explore.
“Scratch that idea,” I said, “too much cutting, lol!”
“So cut the sky out?…. that’s what I’d cut out right?”
“Yep, cut the sky out. But there are too many little vines and leaves—you would drive yourself mad, Lora.” The thought of superimposing the giraffes and vines over a piece of scrapbook paper was intriguing, though.
We then went back and forth with Betty about blending pencils with Pitt pens to create a dark background (and coaxing Betty to make a video tutorial for us). Lora disappeared from the conversation for a bit then came back and asked me to send her some .jpg designs that would look nice as a background.
“You cut that out already? I am impressed!” I said, then realized she had probably scanned her giraffe coloring into her computer and pulled it up in Adobe Photoshop. She removed the background using the magic wand and eraser tools—brilliant! So I did a quick search for free backgrounds and patterns online and started sending her a few.
In the meantime, Paula popped into WhatsApp and shared a screen shot of her phone—we racked up 130 messages! Yep, we get a bit chatty some days and those messages can pile up fast. And then Lora’s giraffe images starting appearing in our feed and we had fun voting on our favorites and talking about the way a background can change the look and mood of a coloring. Here is how Lora’s coloring looked with the background cut out in Photoshop—the background is empty space—not white, but transparent:
First she placed a vintage flowery pattern behind her already-colored giraffes layer that was tinted with greens, blue and purples. It looked pretty nice. Busy, but pale enough to contrast with the giraffes and it worked nicely with her green leaves.
Next came the old map background and we all loved it right away. Lora manipulated the map so that the African continent created a halo around the face of the middle giraffe and the theme and colors seemed to work really well together. Betty said it gave the piece a safari feel which fit perfectly. With the map, not only is there a visual impact, by intellectual as well—the map imparts meaning.
After the map, Lora tried a layer of colorful, dainty flowers—pale and very feminine. We liked it (despite how busy it was), but the map was still our favorite.
Then she added a layer of pale grey flowers. It offered a little more contrast, and might have worked even better if the opacity was reduced a bit so the pattern was more faded.
The great thing about Photoshop is that you can experiment till your heart’s content, though it does take some skill to use all the tools in the program and it’s expensive to purchase outright. More on that later.
Next came a series of blue backgrounds. The first one, with faint vertical stripes, made Lora’s colored giraffes stand out so much more clearly than the patterned backgrounds and it picked up the blue in the flowers she colored and made the pink flowers pop more prominently. And though this seems purely visual, the deep blue elicits meaning since we associate it with a night sky.
The blue splatter background had a nice effect, too, but you can see the giraffes sorta blend back into the background again. Not bad, but they don’t stand out like they do with the deeper blue above.
And finally, the blue paisley-style background. I like the way the blue is lighter in the center and darker around the edges because it highlights the circular feel of the composition and draws your eyes to the center giraffe.
Slight differences in background can make a difference in how we “see” a piece and this concept can be applied to how we color our backgrounds with pencils or paints as well.
When we started talking about sharing these experiments combining coloring with technology in a blog post, Betty reminded us that Photoshop is an expensive program / app but suggested people could still cut out open spaces on paper with a knife.
Physically cutting paper would be a very time-consuming process depending on the amount of detail and desired background space in a coloring design, but a fine X-Acto blade would work well. Printing and coloring your design on card stock would probably work best, of course, but there could be problems with the cut edges of the paper curling a bit and not laying flat on the chosen background paper—whether it’s scrapbook paper or some other special paper you are using. But maybe a thin layer of Mod-Podge over the whole thing would help sandwich the papers together? At any rate, it would be wise to experiment with all of this before committing to trying it on a prized coloring especially if you plan to coat or glue layers of papers together. You could even cut out shapes of scrapbook (or other) paper to add over your coloring design I suppose—as a collage effect. Another thought: a number of craft stores like Michaels here in the USA carry float frames that would be perfect for holding and flattening coloring cutouts since the two pieces of glass would essentially sandwich everything together.
Some of my favorite scrapbook papers are made by Tim Holtz, but there are lots of beautiful sheets and pads to be found online and in craft stores including Simon Says Stamp. If you do not have scrapbook paper at home, do a search on Etsy for “printable digital paper” and see what comes up. Lots of shops have gorgeous floral, vintage and other designs you can download and print or use digitally right away. You can also find patterns online, too, but be sure they not protected by copyright and truly free to use.
If you have the means to pursue the digital route (i.e. a computer or iPad, an art program that lets you edit like Photoshop, and the ability to use it or patience to learn how to use it), it can open up a world of possibilities for playing with backgrounds to create the perfect coloring art piece based on your personal tastes and needs.
Adobe Photoshop is amazing but it can also be overwhelming to learn if you are not comfortable with computers and the terminology used with this software. Photoshop used to be available on CDs as Graphic Suites, but now you can purchase an online subscription for a monthly fee if you don’t want to purchase the software outright. Unless you plan to use it daily for photo edits and graphics, though, I would look into other programs. If you have an iPad, I highly recommend checking out the Procreate app. It takes a little getting used to, but it is more intuitive than Photoshop and far less expensive. Basically, for a one month Photoshop subscription you can purchase Procreate outright and have plenty of change left over for a few colored pencils. And I can do almost everything I do in Photoshop in Procreate. And if you have an Apple Pencil, even better!
Betty mentioned that there are free background app for phones, but I can’t comment on them here since I haven’t used any myself. They would be fun to explore, though. The big take-away here is that I think experimenting with backgrounds using either physical or digital “cutouts” could be creatively rewarding for colorists.
Placing Lora’s experiments side-by-side offers an interesting overall perspective. From a “distance,” there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference between the first four patterned pieces aside from the more pronounced yellow hues of the map background, and the fact that the map elicits a more intellectual connection to the art.
The blues give us a whole new perspective. If we had more time, we probably could have gone on even longer playing with different background colors and patterns, but hopefully this gets your wheels turning a bit to play around with whatever you can get your hands on—whether it’s scrapbook paper or digital. Experimenting with color and different media can take your creations to new levels, and as always, the process of getting there can be enjoyable, too.
I have a collection of designs for printing on scrapbook paper, and the “Botanical Giraffes” (aka the Three Amigas) can be found in the RubyCharmColors Etsy shop if you are interested.
That’s all for now! A big thanks to Lora for sharing her art and time, and to Betty and Paula for adding to the conversation and making art talk so much fun! Love you ladies!
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!
Chiquitita and the Chicken Trio
Sometimes inspiration comes from things in our own backyard and the trio of designs for this coloring bundle was no exception. Our last hen to survive a fox massacre about a month or so ago has decided that she prefers hanging out on our back patio near me, my daughter, and our dogs. She still wanders the yard looking for bugs, but seems to like the protection of the trees and roof over part of the patio, and even sleeps on a small table close to the house at night. Chickens are notoriously pea-brained, but Chiquitita might be an exception. This is her coming around to see if I have any snacks:
Isn’t the real Chiquitita a lovely model?
Like the rooster and the baby chick designs, I sketched Chiquitita (and the beet leaves behind her) on my iPad, then used a new layer to create a clean black line drawing. Each design took about 8 hours from sketch to final line art, and then I had to convert them into vector files and then into PDFs. It is a process, but one I truly enjoy. A little worried about running out of space on my computer though … still chugging along on an old laptop with my fingers crossed it won’t lock up.
After the designs were done, I sent them along to my coloring team and was so excited to see what Lora King did with the rooster using Holbein, Irojiten and a mix of vintage pencils she found online. Lora typically sticks to softer colors, but she went bold with the roster and he’s gorgeous! Betty Hung colored Chiquitita with assorted colored pencils plus Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils for the soft beet leaves in the background. Stunning, yes?
Lora King’s rooster and Betty Hung’s Chiquitita
Now that the chicken bundle is on Etsy and I’ve had a chance to do a little color-testing of the designs, too, I thought I would share a few tips.
My original thought was to stick with only Caran d’Ache Museum watercolor pencils, but as I progressed and became obsessed with the possibility of finishing Chiquitita, I broke out the micas. Yes, the micas! If you have not seen Karen Spencer’s watercolors on Etsy yet, check them out—worth every cent as they are gorgeous, fun to work with, and they really seem to last a long time. I use mine a lot but have barely put a dent in the pans!
My first step was to color a base layer with the Museum pencils (Brown Ochre and Plum for the neck feathers, and Violet and Sepia) for the body. I do like using a watercolor base layer when I have time because it makes a really nice surface for my colored pencils. I try to apply medium pressure with the pencils and overlap the colors a bit so that when I grab my waterbrush, they are a bit easier to blend. I do not use a lot of water and just keep the brush moving while focusing on the smaller spaces. I also pay attention to where I pull the brush tip up because that usually leaves a little blop of pigment. Good for areas I want a little darker.
Remember to try different color combinations on a scrap piece of paper. It may not seem like Brown Ochre and Plum would go together, for example, but they create an unusual and striking blend. For those in the Ruby Charm Colors Facebook group (to join, just find us off the main RubyCharmColors page), you can print out the freebie I included in our Files folder to experiment with the feathers. And there’s a cute chick in a nest with eggs for coloring, too!
Sometimes experimenting does not always turn out the way we imagine but there is usually a fix. I used the wrong yellow (too harsh and bright, wrong tone) for the petal-feathers above Chiquitita’s face (yuck!) but later went back and painted over them with a mix of red and violet mica paints (below). I also used the micas to paint the edges of the feathers and started filling in more feathers with the Museum watercolor pencils.
Because I don’t use a lot of water while working, the watercolors dry fairly quickly. I usually bounce back and forth between areas during the whole process, too. For example, while the belly feathers were drying, I started coloring the section of yellowish-green feathers near the tail. Then the blue feathers, then the tail feathers, all the time keeping my colors fairly muted. Fun fact about the mica paints: once your brush has a little mica in it, even while using plain water to blend watercolor pencils, a subtle, lovely shimmer will show up in your coloring.
I used metallic gel pens for some of the embellishments on the feathers, then sharp Irojiten pencils to add some of the sharper lines. Instead of black, I often pick dark reds, blues and greens to give the lines a little more color interest.
I may go back over parts of the hen to add more detail and shading with my pencils and gel pens, but this is where I have left off with Chiquitita for now.
Since the rooster is part of the trio, I decided to use the same pencils and paints on him, too, though a little brighter colors and I added Inktense and Albrecht Durer watercolor pencils.
Once the watercolors dried, I used a mix of regular colored pencils to work in more shading and detail. It takes me forever to complete a piece because I can’t help working it—adding more layers and details until I get it where I want it. But I do enjoy the process so even if I don’t finish a coloring (I have stacks and stacks of them) it still feels good.
Another note about mica paints … sometimes it is difficult to capture the shimmer in photos! You;ll notice in the Chiquitita photos above that some show the shimmer, others do not. You need to get the angle just right if you want to micas to show up in photos. You can also try different lighting situations as well. Goose-neck style lights work pretty well because you can adjust the angle of the light.
Rooster with touches of gold and pale silver-blue mica feather tips
The final design in the trio bundle, baby chicks, is a bit challenging because of the wheel in the background. Even drawing the lines was a little tough (time-consuming) due to all the overlapping shapes. I did a fairly quick coloring of this one in hopes of helping colorists see how the design works, though there’s nothing wrong with coloring it any way one likes when it comes to the wood, metal bits, and open spaces.
Last pic of the day before I get going on my next project—I just stepped outside for a break from the computer and said hello to Chiquitita who is hanging out in the crate we set up for her on the patio next to the house. I have a feeling she’s going to start laying her eggs here instead of random places in the grass. Thanks for the inspiration, my pretty friend!
Chiquitita, tell me what’s wrong … oh, Mamma Mia!
Chicken Trio Coloring Pages
This black & white adult coloring line art bundle includes 3 designs, each with a bonus grey line version. PDF will be emailed to you upon payment acceptance.
Podcast with Passionista Colorista
I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to spend time with Isabell Vestermark, also known as Passionista Colorista, at the end of April to talk about Ruby Charm Colors. Isabell, a journalist who lives in Umeå, Sweden, was such an engaging host with lots of great questions for me. I am so happy we were able to chat about art and coloring—thank you, Isabell!
Please visit Isabell’s website which has links to her blog and social media accounts, as well as her podcast series—so many wonderful voices with a passion for art, coloring, colored pencils, and more.
And check out our podcast (#41. Behind the scenes at Ruby Charm Colors) when you have a chance. You can find my books on Amazon, plus Artist Edition books (when available), downloadable PDF coloring pages and other goodies in the RubyCharmColors Etsy shop.
Stay tuned because my new book, Insectimaginary (an adult coloring art journal), will be available on Amazon by May 15!
Sometimes I spend so much time drawing designs for my coloring books that I get a real urge to splash a little color around and have to take a break from the lines. I was only going to spend a little time with this cat (still pushing for my new book deadline), but I couldn’t stop myself.
This cat is on page 37 of the Ruby Charm Colors Creative Companion and also in the Volume 1 Adult Coloring Art Journal.
I used the wax-resist technique I also talked about here and here for the base layer of the cat: a Naples yellow Holbein pencil for the lines along with a quick wash of Karen Spencer‘s handmade watercolors (Carrie B., Brown Eyes, Brown World, Leroy Brown and Potters Brown). I then worked in gold and Ruby Charm (a deep ruby red) mica with the browns, and then Shy Violet for the eyes.
The neat thing about Shy Violet? It looks purple in the pan, but when it hits the paper, it develops a rich blue undertone. And depending on the angle of your lighting, it color-shifts between blue and purple. Many of her mica paints have this lovely color-shift effect, and all of them shimmer beautifully. You can find Karen’s paints in her Etsy shop, and she is known as @indigoartgb on Instagram.
After my paint had dried, I used colored pencils (mostly Caran d”Ache Luminance, Polychromos and Irojiten) to do a little blending and shading, and added patterns to the cat’s body. I also used a fine black Pitt pen to draw little circle patterns inside the ears. Sakura Souffle gel pens and UBRANDS metallic pens were used for the dots and embellishments.
On a side note … I had taken my personal copy of the Creative Companion apart (cut off the spine) so I could punch holes in the pages and put them into a ring binder (a little ordeal but great move) and that made it a lot easier to work with the page. My cat’s not completely done (still a little more fine-tuning) but back in the binder it goes for now. Time to get back to my lines!
Have questions about the techniques or tools I use? Don’t be shy about asking in the comments (or on IG or Facebook) – I love hearing from people!