Friday, May 13, 2016

Thoughts from my hotel room...

I'm on the road this week, it's the middle of the night, but I had this thought that I wanted to share...

Last night, a store owner at the event I'm at made my favorite comment of the day:
"How do you manage to get those 13yr old girls coming into my store, dragging their parents, to buy them art supplies?!?"

He's not the first store to tell me that, and that makes me so happy! That 13 is a kid who sees value in creating, and has convinced their parent that making art is a core part of who they are.

Making things defines us and gives us a deep satisfaction. How do you feel when you say the words "I made that!"

I made that art, that cake, that flower arrangement, that goal, that dream, that life ambition...we celebrate and cheer, we pat each other on the back. And we learned long ago that once that was made, we move on to the next thing to make, always striving to make more.

For some people, "I made that" is much harder. I made that bed, I made that step without the use of crutches, I made it out in public for the first time in months. Celebrate!!! You might feel that those are minor things, but not to the person in those shoes.

You know what makes me sad? Giving up before trying. Deciding not to make anything because you feel that it isn't going to be amazing. Doing nothing because someone you've never met in person on the Internet can make it faster, better, prettier, or cooler than you ever could. Thinking that your best friend can make a better cake, so why should you bother, it won't be as good.

I don't know the skill of the 13yr old girl the store owner mentioned. I know my skill as a 13yr old and I see 13yr olds in my classes all the time that are way more skilled than I was at that age.

I do remember that at 13 I didn't really care what I couldn't do, I was focused on making what I could do, making what I wanted, pushing myself to make and make and make. I'd scrounge up my paper route money and bike down to the craft store for twine, beads, paints, cake stuff...whatever creative things I was experimenting with at the time.

I didn't know my future self. I didn't know I'd be typing something like this in a hotel room thousands of miles from my hometown, helping teach art techniques to store owners...not because I'm the most amazing artist ever, (I'm not). I'm here because I was the 13 year old who also felt that constantly making stuff was the coolest thing I could be doing (besides reading books) and I never told myself that I wasn't any good.

I guess my long winded conclusion is really this: Don't get hung up on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or blogs, telling yourself you'll never be that good, so why bother trying? Everyone had to start somewhere. Be that awesome 13 year old in an art store! Celebrate everything you make!

Make what YOU want, and be proud of every bit of it....then start again, and make more.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Color along with me!

That was so much fun! This morning, we colored some awesome butterflies on our live video feed on Periscope and Google. For those of you on YouTube, you can watch the video here.

We colored the butterfly image from the Intro to Coloring with Copic Markers book, then we moved on to coloring a page from the additional Line Art Pack. You can download the individual sheet here for only $0.99! 

I really encourage you to watch the video, even if you don't have the book or line art yet.

We had such a good turnout that we're going to try and host one of these live coloring sessions again in a few weeks. This will also give us a chance to work out some kinks and make it better. So, stay tuned for our next live coloring session. If you have a time of day that you prefer watching, please leave a comment and we'll try to see what we can do better next time. Have a colorful weekend!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Live video on Friday!

Intro to Coloring With Copic Markers
Check it out! This Friday I will be hosting a live video on either Google Hangouts (click the link to send yourself an invite and info). Or, via Periscope (Periscope is an app that allows you to watch live video feeds).

I'll be showing you some tidbits from the Intro To Coloring with Copic Markers book that I wrote. If you don't have a copy yet, I strongly suggest that you pick one up so you can follow along as I color. I will be starting with the first project in the book, the big, beautiful butterfly. From there, who knows what I'll color? Whatever I color, it should be fun and hopefully you'll learn a few tricks and tips. So be sure to join us, 9am Pacific Standard Time. (Can't watch it live? Don't worry, it will be shared on YouTube).

We will be trying to host regular videos, so stay tuned for more chances to watch and interact with us live. It's the next bet thing to having us come to your town, hover over your shoulder, and teach you how to color.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Upcoming workshops

Does it feel like Spring yet? My flowers are in bloom, my yard needs mowing, but springtime also means my travels begin. So, if you would like to come to one of my workshops, then take a look at where I'll be, and maybe it will be close:

Papercraft Classes & book signings
Wed. April 20,  Afternoon, Heartfelt Hobby and Crafts, Sandy UT Marker coloring workshop. Contact the store for more information.

Wed. April 20,  6-8pm, Treasured Memories, West Valley City UT Alcohol Ink painting workshop. Contact the store for more information.

Fri. April 22,  10-12, Heartfelt Hobby and Crafts, Sandy UT Coloring Flowers with Copic Markers workshop as part of their Spring Escape & Create Retreat. Contact the store for more information.

Sat. July 9th at Main Street Stamping in Tigard, OR. I know it's a long way off, but those classes are already nearly full, so contact the store to sign up soon!

Anime Conventions
Copic will be offering some great workshops at Denver Comic Con, June 16-19th.
Or, join me in LA at Anime Expo over the 4th of July weekend for awesome workshops.

For Kids
I teach a lot of local art classes throughout the year, but especially in the summer. Join me for a variety of ages, from preschool story time, up through teen classes. Here are some to look out for:

Sat. April 30th, 9am-3pm Girl's Rule event, Eugene OR. For girls age 9-14. I will be offering steampunk/fashion coloring workshops. Visit their website for more details.

Then, this summer I will be offering classes at Eugene LibrarySpringfield Library, and Fern Ridge Library. Most of those classes will be in July, so check each website for exact dates and times.

I can't wait to see you there!

Meanwhile, here is a drawing I made a month ago while at a demo. I didn't take step-by-step pictures of the process, and I don't remember what colors I used, but you can see that I used the airbrush to create the soft focus and lighting effects that you see in the background. I drew the outlines with a cool gray 0.1mm multiliner.

From pencil to final coloring took about 5 hrs. This was based on a photo given to me by my dear friend Maaike in the Netherlands.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Blog Winner and Gift Tag

Happy Wednesday! I am thrilled to announce the lucky winner from my blog giveaway- Dani Chapman!

Dani Chapman said...
I think this book will be a must for anyone who uses Copics! I love coloring books but this one will be perfect for me so I can get better and more confident using my Copics!
Congrats Dani and I hope that this book will give you some useful tips for any of your future projects with Copics. If you would also like to pick up a copy of this book, you can find Intro to Coloring with Copic Markers here.

Quick Spring Card Project
And, since you are looking around my blog today, I figured I'd share a quick gift tag/card I made from the March Hero Arts Monthly Kit. If you haven't ordered one of these awesome kits yet, don't worry, there are still a few in-stock. Just pop over to Hero Arts to pick it up.  It has been a lot of fun to work with them in adapting my Coloring Flowers with Copic Markers book into stamps and projects!
This little gift tag is made with the cluster of flowers from the Marianne's flowers add on set, stamped with Memento New Sprout colored ink. I colored it using only 6 Sketch markers: G20, Y00, Y21, BG000, R81, and colorless blender. I used the techniques shown in the second project of the Coloring Flowers with Copic book, except instead of having 3 shades of a color, I used only 2, and on the leaves, my lighter green was actually colorless blender, and my darker green was simply allowing the G20 to dry before adding a second layer to get the color just a tiny bit darker. 
I'm thrilled with the final color scheme, and how it matched the card base from the kit perfectly. I chose a clean, simple white ribbon bow and was trying to figure out how to make it just a little bolder. After digging for a bit, I found a perfect little pop of yellow bling in my "drawer-o-stuff" to add to the bow. I held the bow and bling in place with a dab of the X-press it Gel Glue
Have fun coloring!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Intro to Coloring giveaway

New book for the Coloring Foundation Series!
I was cleaning off my desk and I noticed that I missed a blog post about one of my new books, Intro to Coloring With Copic Markers.

This new Coloring Foundations book is a must have for anyone who wants the scoop on how to use Copic markers! I wrote this book with clear, step-by-step tutorials to guide you through everything from smooth coloring to basic blends. From creating patterns, to properly adding highlights and shadows in a still-life. Images are clean and easy to follow along with, incorporating a good balance of simple to complex techniques.

All the books in the Coloring Foundations series are full color and include text in both English and Spanish. Tutorial images and blank color charts are in the back of each book, ready to be photocopied onto good marker paper.

You can purchase a copy of Intro to Coloring With Copic Markers from the Copic website, or
you can also choose to get an autographed copy of Intro to Coloring with Copic Markers.

Better yet, why don't you leave a comment here on my bog for a chance to win your very own autographed copy?! I'll draw a winner on Wednesday next week. (Limited to residents of US and Canada only, sorry!)

I had a lot of fun writing this book, and I tried to fill it with as many useful things as I could. I hope you find it helpful in your creative process. Good luck winning a copy!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Coloring Ducklings

Add contrast!
You may have noticed that I posted a new blog header recently. Here are a few step-by-step photos of my coloring process for the cute row of ducklings that I used on my header. I made this picture a few weeks ago, while demoing for the University of Oregon Ducks bookstore. (I figured this picture was  appropriate for the U of O.)

Once again, I need to give credit to my dear friend Maaike in the Netherlands for the beautiful reference photo. The whole process, from line-drawing to final coloring took about 6 hrs.

As with most of my illustrations, I started with a pencil sketch based loosely on the original photograph. Then I traced the pencil drawings with a 0.1mm black inking pen. I copied the outline onto my favorite marker paper.

I started coloring the little ducklings, as they were the focal point of the whole image. Y11, Y21,YR000, R81, YG91, Y28, YR14, E44, E47.

If you look close, you can see a corner of the reference photo peeking out. The log that the ducks are on sits in a murky, swamp with lots of interesting colors floating on the water. It took a lot of markers to suggest the water tones. At this point I was pushing at least 30 colors, so I stopped keeping track of all of them.

I like to put a lot of subtle base colors into things like the logs, then I add my dark colors to build up the variations. Compare the back log, which I've already darkened, to the log in the foreground. It is easy to see the yellows, pinks, oranges, and green in the light log. Then, when I add dark tones, it feels less flat. Also notice the pale blue I added on the underside of the log to suggest a watery reflection.

Contrast makes things jump. So, to make sure the ducklings are bright yellow and dynamic, I tried to keep the water behind them nice and dark. I added dark green dark blue, dark purple, dark browns, and all sorts of colors into the water so it looked murky but alive.

The grasses in the background are not as important, so I didn't emphasize those as much and I kept my stronger contrast in the foreground. However, I threw in a little airbrushing to darken it up back there.

My demo time was quickly ending, and I knew it would be a while before I could come back to finishing this piece, so I wanted to get it done before I left. A big risk with any complicated piece of art is overworking it. Knowing when to stop is important! Having a time limit has kept me from overworking many good pieces.

Here is the finished piece, including final touches of white added back in with the Copic Opaque White with a built-in brush. Scanning in artwork and color-correcting makes a world of difference (the lighting at the demo did not bring out the richness of the colors).

I hope you enjoyed the limited tutorial. It's hard to remember to take process photos when I'm also helping customers. May your week be just ducky!