This year’s Christmas cards 🎄

I’m still working out the kinks in the design, so they’re all different but very similar. I need something relatively simple because I have about 20 to make, but still I wanted them to be handmade and thoughtful.

See you next time. Merry everything and happy always!

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‘Tis the season!

You can find these and all my other FREE coloring pages here! These are in the digital coloring pages folder, as I created them with the help of the Mandoo app.

Held off until December to post these, I hope you’re happy! For me, it’s never too early for Christmas. To be completely honest, I illustrated the first two in August. Christmastime just happens to be my favorite time for arts and crafts, so sometimes I get a bit impatient waiting for it to come around again!

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you have a fantastic December. Take care and I will see you in the next post!

Meet the artist!

For the record, if you get confused easily like I do, >25 means older than 25. I did not want to reveal my full date of birth.

If you’ve ever been on social media, you may have seen people posting these introductory memes. My friend recently redid their take on this one, so I decided I would give it a go as well!

This ties into something I’ve been meaning to talk about too, I’m trying to create an avatar of sorts to represent me since I want to remain anonymous. The author of a manga I recently finished represents herself with a pigeon, and such things are very common among Japanese creators. More and more people are using personas to represent themselves online and I am very much here for this trend! Privacy is very important to me.

So far I’ve come up with this snowshoe cat character. I want to refine this design and try a more detailed style of drawing them. For now though, this Animal-Crossing-inspired “chibi” style will have to do. Even though I no longer play video games, I’ve spent so much time drawing Animal Crossing fanart that it’s just become second nature to me!

I consider this a thumbnail sketch, it’s very preliminary. This is my very first time attempting to draw this character, so some details may be subject to change! I think I’d like to add some asymmetry to the facial markings for a more distinct look.

Why a snowshoe cat? Well, I have a classic tuxedo cat as well as one who looks like a purebred Tonkinese cat, but they are sisters from the same litter! Snowshoe cats have the perfect cross between these two coats. I also have a separate fursona designed by the same friend I mentioned earlier, and that one is a hummingbird. Perhaps I can get permission to post it here sometime…

That’s all for now. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I will see you again soon!

I’ve decided against sketchbook monogamy, again.

This post is addressed to anyone who read my (now redacted) post about trying to become a “sketchbook monogamist.”

I’m going to continue using my sketchbook system detailed in a previous post, which allows me to use 4 at a time because they all have separate uses. If you count my digital thumbnail sketching on my phone, it’s more like I have 5! But I’ve come to terms with this now, and I’m no longer going to try to force myself to be like other artists that I admire. I love bouncing between a couple of sketchbooks at once, as long as I never have so many that I become overwhelmed. I’ll let others do what works for them and I will continue doing what I’ve found works for me!

Because of Inktober I found myself focusing on just one sketchbook because the challenge ate up all of my creative time. This led me to consider only ever working in one main sketchbook at a time. Now that Inktober is over and I’m trying to use up my stash of unfinished sketchbooks again, I’m having great fun jumping from book to book once more!

With all that being said, I’ve got tons of fun projects I’ve been working on that I look forward to showing you all. Until then, take care, and I will see you again soon!

Inktober 2022


To view all 31 illustrations, click here to visit the Google Drive folder!

Well folks, I did it. 31 illustrations in 31 days. Some took several days to complete, some of them I only spent a few minutes on. Either way, I got it done. Now I am exhausted and never want to look at another micron pen for the rest of my life! (Just kidding.) I’ve already complained enough about how hard this was in the previous post, so I will focus on the positives now.

I really did learn a lot from this challenge, and even walked away with more confidence in my abilities! The prompts helped me come up with ideas I never would have thought of on my own, and I got several illustrations I love out of the deal. Noticing which illustrations I enjoyed making the most was very enlightening, and I will definitely be using that knowledge going forward.

For the record, I got most of my references from Pexels and Unsplash. Some were also referenced from my own photos, (such as the shed,) and a few were referenced from my imagination or memories! Another thing I’ve learned from this challenge is just how important building a visual library through mileage is. The more you draw from seeing, the more you’ll be able to draw from muscle memory! I’ve found that I really like drawing my own memories.

While I’m really grateful that I finally completed Inktober for the first time, I’m not sure it’s something I’m going to do every year. By the time next October rolls around I’m sure I’ll be considering trying again, but I will be more willing to drop it if I feel it is doing me more harm than good.

If you have any questions or comments about any of the illustrations, please feel welcome to leave a comment! Thanks for stopping by, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Inktober Burnout

On day 27 I did a very low effort sketch and filled the rest of the page with journaling about how burnt out I was feeling.

Undertaking any art challenge comes with the risk of burnout. Inktober is a 31 day challenge that asks you to create 31 inked drawings in that time period, and even assumes you will work at a 1:1 day to illustration ratio. On top of that, it is probably today’s most popular art challenge, meaning you have endless options for art to compare yours to, which adds a significant amount of pressure to make each illustration good.

Inktober is the perfect recipe for burnout, and many artists acknowledge this. Some artists simply refuse to do Inktober for this exact reason. I decided to take it on anyway, knowing full well the potential consequences. Thankfully I took steps to make it easier on myself, and I know I would not have completed the challenge otherwise. Despite my efforts to streamline the challenge, I am still left feeling incredibly drained! Even as someone who draws almost every day for pleasure, Inktober really pushed me to my limit.

Currently, I don’t even want to take photos of my Inktober drawings. Looking for a place with good, consistent lighting and then setting up my desk easel and then meticulously framing each shot… It all sounds like too much for me. I’ve also been waiting for a sunny day that probably won’t come, November is very cloudy and rainy here, so I will end up having to settle for subpar indoor lighting and photo editing. More work for me!

It really doesn’t help that problems in my personal life have come up at the same time as I was working through this challenge. Even without a day job, I find myself overburdened with responsibilities. Currently I am juggling: Raising a one year old, caring for three cats (including one who is elderly and terminally ill,) house chores, running errands, countless appointments with Doctors and the like, caring for myself, my romantic relationship with my partner, and a primarily text-based social life. It is important to note that I also struggle with physical and mental disabilities! I think the fact that I completed all 31 prompts within the 31 day period is nothing short of a miracle.

Honestly, the truth of my victory is messy. Sometimes I would push off my other responsibilities until the next day, or stay up too late and sacrifice my sleep so I could work while our baby slept. Ironically, I seem to do my best work while tired, so this worked both for and against me. I often had to sketch ahead of time to account for the days I would just not be feeling up to creating. Sometimes I would just count starting the illustration as a victory and then work on it little by little in the days following. This experience has made me incredibly grateful that I don’t sell my art for a living, and especially grateful that I rarely take on commissions.

Now I question if I will ever do Inktober again. Maybe when our daughter is older, and by then we will also have less cats. While I am extremely satisfied by my success and all that I learned through this challenge, I’m not sure if it was worth the blow I took to my mental health.

I am excited to share what I made with you all, but please be patient with me while I heal and rest. Take care of yourselves, have a wonderful day, and I will see you again soon.

Art Supply No Buy: I’m throwing in the towel!

Do I regret attempting to go an entire 365 day year without buying any new art supplies? Absolutely not! Is it time for me to admit defeat however? Ultimately, yes.

This isn’t to say that I’m now going to go on a wild shopping spree and buy every single thing that has tempted me over the course of this year! I intend to continue on with a Low Buy for the foreseeable future. I want to buy new supplies on a “need” basis, rather than just because I’m itching to try something new. There’s no need for me to buy, for example, chalk pastels if I haven’t already come up with a project in my head that would benefit from having that particular supply.

Earlier this month I decided I wanted to make my 1 year old a low hanging gallery wall in our shared bedroom with simple artworks for her to admire. The biggest problem with this though, is that we had run out of nontoxic art supplies! The crayons we had bought for her to use were constantly going in her mouth, so we would dispose of them as she’d break them to prevent a choking accident. I needed her to be able to touch the art, even rip it off the wall and chew on it if she so desired. Nontoxic supplies are an absolute must for a project such as this.

And for a while I had been wanting some cheap water-based markers for coloring pages and quick washes of color in my sketchbooks. I love my alcohol markers but they always ghost and sometimes bleed through pages. They are also inherently more expensive, even though we use the inexpensive Ohuhu brand, so I am a bit precious with them. Using them for coloring pages feels wasteful somehow, even when it’s my own lineart I am coloring!

So I caved, and I bought a 50 count set of Creatology water-based markers. (NOT sponsored.) I have to say, I am extremely satisfied with this purchase, and I find they were worth breaking my No Buy over. And with this purchase, I was able to do what I set out to do, and created a cute gallery wall for my daughter’s viewing pleasure!

At first I felt a lot of guilt about this purchase, despite buying them for a good reason at such a low cost. As I investigated these feelings I started to wonder who I was even doing the No Buy for! I have concluded that my circumstances have changed since the time I decided to do a No Buy in the first place, and I have already grown significantly as an artist through this challenge. Finishing up 5 abandoned sketchbooks in 10 months is no small feat after all! This challenge also helped me realize I really do thrive while working on just one main sketchbook at a time!

Something else that necessitates changing up some of my tools is that I’ve realized I’m leaving my mandala period. It slowly snuck up on me and I never saw it coming, but creating mandala art no longer brings the same kind of joy it once did. For some naive reason I thought I’d be specializing in mandala forever… Now I question why I ever expected that. I’m certain I will still create mandalas on occasion, especially digitally for coloring pages, but they’re just not my main thing anymore and I have recently come to accept that. Now I am missing the giant set of Ohuhus I bought and donated out of buyer’s remorse… when I was specializing in mandala it felt unnecessary, but they would definitely suit the work I am making now so much better. Oh well, live and learn.

So while I might be unceremoniously ending my No Buy early, I promise it’s with the best of intentions. I have zero regrets about taking on this No Buy, and zero regrets about ending it earlier than planned! I have learned so much and I intend to carry those lessons with me through the rest of my life.

I will see you all again in the next few days as we welcome in November and celebrate the ending of Inktober! Until then, take care, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

This is the 10th sketchbook I’ve filled from cover to cover!

And the largest at that! It taught me that I prefer to work smaller, so it may continue to hold that record for a long time…

Strathmore Sketch:
400 series, recycled paper, 11×14 inch, 60lb.
Painted the cover with the only Poscas I had at the time, not a color palette I’d typically go for!
The liquid chrome Molotow accents on this piece really make it pop IRL!
This piece just feels balanced to me and I really like the color I used. I remember I really enjoyed making it!
The solid gold petals were actually because of a marker explosion! Happy accidents and all that, right? At first I was afraid it was ruined but now I like it even better.
This was a value study I did with a mechanical pencil. Not the best tool for the job, and I knew that. I learned a lot and ended up really happy with the results! My reference was a photo of my dear friend’s dog, Kimber.
This is actually a pretty small doodle, don’t be fooled by the image scaling! I just wanted to practice drawing hummingbirds and using alcohol markers, and ended up loving the results. Too cute!

For the longest time I could not for the life of me fill an entire sketchbook. It took me until 2019, at age 23, to completely fill a sketchbook for the first time. I still remember that chilly November morning, how I sat in our car in a gravely parking lot, doodling while I waited for my partner. I yelled from the elation when I realized I had finally done it. That was a day I checked a major milestone off my bucket list, I remember it with the same kind of clarity as the day I first held my daughter.

Now in the nearly-3-years since that time, I have somehow managed to fill another 9 sketchbooks, 5 of which I finished up this year because of my Art Supply No Buy and my newly found dedication to no longer abandoning sketchbooks partway through. I can see myself finishing up another one or two before the end of this year if I keep up this pace!

Allowing myself to see sketchbooks as a private place to practice, make a mess, and have fun has really helped me overcome the “precious sketchbook syndrome.” The gorgeous sketchbook tours filled with finished pieces on YouTube are cool and all, but not knowing that those artists probably keep a messy thumbnailing sketchbook on the side really held me back for the longest time. It’s awesome to make good art in your sketchbook, and you should always feel proud when you do, but your sketchbook should be a safe place to make bad art. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times more: without bad art, there would be no good art. So make bad art, and lots of it!

This sketchbook is actually primarily filled with bad art. It was hard to pick out what to feature here because so much of it is not really spotlight worthy in my eyes. That’s actually part of why it’s become so sentimental to me though, she served me well through countless trials and errors. It’s also the first sketchbook of mine I’ve allowed my 1-year-old to flip through and scribble in wherever she pleased, and that couldn’t have happened if I cared more about the art inside! Now it is an irreplaceable treasure filled to the brim with memories.

Inktober is finally nearing it’s end. Once it’s done I will be writing a summary post and showcasing my favorite pieces. I look forward to sharing that with you all! Take care until next time, I will see you again soon!

Jeltober!

Disappointment came over me when I previewed the 2022 Inktober prompt list, I just didn’t feel inspired by this year’s prompts. I’ve decided to do JelArts’ alternative prompt list instead! This will be my 3rd time attempting any sort of October daily drawing challenge.

Life is very busy for me currently so I’m going to be very lenient and forgiving towards myself this year. In both of my previous attempts I ended up quitting pretty early on, and that was before I became a mother, so I know what to expect out of myself. Giving up is an option, I’ll just be happy to say I tried.

The goal will not be to produce a finished illustration every day. I will feel satisfied if I get even a tiny doodle or messy sketch down. At least then I can potentially go back and finish it later. My goal will simply be to follow a prompt list for the duration of the month, regardless of the results.

Will you be doing Inktober this year, or any of its alternatives? I did a mandala theme last year, do you have any themes you’d like to incorporate into your Inktober? Let’s chat, I’d love to hear from you!

I am wishing you all health and safety, as well as a wonderful rest of your day!

Art Supply No Buy: Autumn check-in (baby scribbles edition!)

I have to admit that I actually bought some art supplies recently, although they are not meant for me! That being said, I haven’t been able to resist using them a bit. I’m fairly certain you all will forgive me considering the circumstances!

My 11 month old daughter recently discovered the joy of scribbling when she got hold of a ballpoint pen. So despite wanting to hold out till the end of the No Buy to introduce her to drawing, we caved and bought her a few art supplies. She tends to hit milestones early, I shouldn’t have been surprised!

“First Scribbles” Ballpoint pen on wall, collaboration between my daughter and partner, September 19th 2022. Frame by me, gold acrylic paint pen.

It turns out we might not have needed to buy any art supplies though, as she has figured out the Boogie Board and primarily uses that for her scribbles! Oh well, what’s done is done. She really loves the erase button, she often scribbles just to press it and see it disappear!

More lovely artwork by my daughter!

We bought her a very cheap pad of paper and a set of 8 larger washable crayons, all for about $5. She mostly bites the crayons and tears the paper, but she’s enjoying the new toys so that’s what matters. I can’t resist a good crayon, so I doodled a sweet Australian pup in my daughter’s sketchbook…

Unironically my favorite TV show.

We also found a dinged up magnetic drawing board at the thrift store, admittedly we have gotten far more use out of it than she has! It’s gotten my partner drawing a lot more, so I’m really happy about that. I may still upgrade to a less broken one next year.

Fun and adorable doodles by my partner,
Jasper Rae.

So while this may be considered a “slip up” in terms of my No Buy, I’m perfectly content with that. No regrets here, only happy memories made! Thanks to this No Buy the purchases were made with intention, so that still feels like a win for me.

I have been feeling a lot more tempted lately, and I’ve occasionally found myself looking forward to the end of this experiment. Overall though I feel an abundance of gratitude towards this No Buy, I feel like I have been extremely productive this year and learned a ton of valuable lessons.

That’s it for now, I have another post very close to ready though, so I’ll see you again soon! Take care, and I hope you have a wonderful day!