Easier doesn’t necessarily mean easy.

Autumn Treats coloring page!
I saved enough times while making this piece to create a work-in-progress collage!

When I first blogged about drawing mandalas digitally, I introduced the concept as “Mandala made easy!” I have since come to learn that easier doesn’t always mean easy.

This piece took several hours of work, even with the benefit of only having to draw each item once! This isn’t the first time this has happened, many of my digital coloring pages took a surprising amount of effort to create!

Making these is so enjoyable that, despite the frustrations I come across, it’s still very much worth the effort to make them. I get lost in the work. So lost sometimes, that I can forget I’ve even drawn that day, and then I still feel like “wow I haven’t been drawing enough lately!”

I love the meditative repetition of drawing mandalas by hand, and all the quirks and imperfections that make them so charming. But I also love the satisfying, immaculate symmetry of a digital mandala, not to mention the convenience of having the option to draw on my phone at any time! As long as I am drawing mandalas I think I will be making use of both methods, I enjoy them about equally for different reasons.

You can find this coloring page and all my other digitally-drawn coloring pages for FREE to download and use in this Google Drive folder!

If traditional art is more your speed you can find hand-drawn coloring pages, also FREE to download and use, in this folder right here!

I’d like to make even more autumnal art this year so hopefully you’ll hear back from me again soon. Until then, take care, and have a wonderful day!

Collaborations with an Angel

My mom’s art alias is Angel. I love when we collaborate! She’s more of a crafter than an illustrator, and I’m more of an illustrator than anything else, so we make a great team!

She traced some of my digitally-drawn coloring pages with acrylic paint pen onto clear plastic sheets to create these “stained glass” crafts. She’s actually the inspiration for the frame mandalas, so seeing her use them in the exact way I envisioned is so satisfying!

This one has been modified for privacy, obviously.

Thank you mom, for making such beautiful art with my art! Being a part of collaborations with fellow creatives is one of my greatest joys in life.

Hope you all are having a wonderful Labor Day, thanks for tuning in! Take care, and I will see you in the next post!

My first non-mandala coloring page!?

Truthfully, I started this piece last month and didn’t work on it again until today. I did about 80% of it in a single sitting today while my wife and daughter simultaneously napped.

I actually meant to include this in my post about dangle doodles as a header image and introduction to the whole concept, but then I finished the sketchbook I did all my other dangles in! I really wanted to share that sketchbook ASAP, so a sacrifice was made.

At least I did eventually finish it. I’ve started to let myself abandon projects if they no longer “spark joy” despite my perfectionism and completionism. I debated just scrapping this one, but seeing it completed really makes me glad I didn’t!

My Portfolio and Folders page is an index of all my public Google Drive folders filled with art, including all of my free coloring pages. You can find this one in the Traditional Art Coloring Pages folder.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Birdie’s favorite things at 9 months old!

(This piece has been altered for privacy)

I’m just too amused by this sketchbook page to not share it.

It took me so long to finish that she had already turned 10 months by the time I finished! It’s hard to make time for big projects like this when you’re a full-time stay-at-home mom, but it was very much worth it in my eyes. I even kept it as simple as possible, but I simply couldn’t find the time to work on it most days! It got done eventually though, as you can see.

You can’t tell just from the photo, but this is a VERY large sketchbook. I’m not sure of the dimensions, but it’s over 12″ wide. That contributed to how long it took to finish, each small illustration would have taken up most of the page in one of my travel sketchbooks!

Luckily though, starting today, I am only a part-time stay-at-home mom! Due to our situation we qualified for free daycare, so we now get 6 hours of free time every week day. She loved it too, no surprise there since she is such a social butterfly. She even napped TWICE, and she hates napping for us! I can’t wait to have so much more time to devote to my creative hobbies!

That’s all for now, I hope Monday was kind to you all, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Sketchbook number 9!!!

Last night marked the completion of the 9th sketchbook I’ve ever filled from cover to cover! So as promised, here are some of my favorite pages from said sketchbook. (Some of my favorites from this sketchbook have already been featured in my post about dangle art!)

Although this sketchbook was started in 2019, I actually filled about 60% of it in the last month. I’m excited to be starting a brand-new travel sketchbook, and I’m wondering how long it will take to fill up since I won’t be abandoning it this time! I think I will take it at a leisurely pace though, since I’m working on finishing a massive sketchbook that I can only draw in at home!

I’ve been wanting to make more Google Drive folders for my sketchbooks like I’ve done for the first two I completed, but I’ve not made the time to do so. I decided to just bite the bullet and do that for at least this one I just finished! I of course wish the photos were better but something is better than nothing in this case, and there were nearly 100 pages to photograph! Some pages have been slightly altered and one withheld entirely for the sake of privacy.

So if you’d like to “flip through” the sketchbook at your own pace it is available for viewing here! (Click me!)

Whew, two posts in one day! Time to rest up. I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday, and I will see you in the next post!

Dangle Doodles!

I checked out the book “The Art of Drawing Dangles: Creating Decorative Letters and Art with Charms” by Olivia A. Kneibler from my local public library and it has changed my life! How did I live 26 years without the magic of drawing dangles?

I’m a sucker for all methods of doodling and pattern drawing, which is why mandala is such a recurring theme for me. Dangles are right up my artistic alley. So after copying down many patterns in the book for reference, and of course practice, I decided to create my own original artworks using the dangle method:

In the future I would love to create real, tangible, 3D dangles! My partner pointed out to me that wind chimes are in fact dangles and that just made me all the more excited about the idea!

I actually have another post set to come out as early as later today, so I will see you all again very soon. Have a wonderful day!

I actually had to buy a sketchbook!

If you’ve read the post about my new sketchbook system you may recall me mentioning one of my “travel” category sketchbooks being bigger than I’d like. Recently I came to realize that it’s too big to fit in my cargo pants or fanny pack! I had two options: move that sketchbook to the “medium to large white paper” category, or let it go. Using a bigger bag wasn’t an option for me, due to my disabilities I need to carry as little weight as possible, and I have a tendency to fill all the space in any bag I use!

A few weeks ago I met my friend’s 4 year old daughter and we had a blast drawing together, and since I’d learned she didn’t have a sketchbook of her own, yesterday I decided to ask her mom if it was okay to give that sketchbook to her. They were both thrilled by the present!

With that taken care of, I was left without any excess travel sketchbooks in the overflow cabinet! My No Buy rules allow for replacements and refills as necessary, so I was allowed to buy one. I knew I wanted one of the exact size I’ve been using since it fits perfectly in both my cargo pants and my fanny pack, but isn’t ridiculously small either!

In order to not torture or tempt myself I actually sent my partner into the craft store for me! With her help we picked out a recycled paper sketchbook by Artist Loft. (Not sponsored!!) They were out of the exact sketchbook I had been using, but this one has the same page count, weight, is the same width and is only .5″ longer. I am excited about trying recycled paper- I think the little speckles in the pages might help me fight against the fear of the blank page!

(Image from the Michael’s website)

Well that’s all for now. I’ll make a sketchbook highlights post when I finish up this current travel sketchbook, which will be soon! I’ll see you then, take care in the meantime!

90 days free from the hardest addiction I’ve ever battled.

Content warning: self-injury; mentions of child abuse and substance use.

To commemorate the occasion, I made myself a little laminated keytag, which is being displayed on my fanny pack.

I’ve battled many addictions, from shopping and hoarding to drugs and alcohol, all just different symptoms of the same disorder. But the first and hardest addiction to quit has been self-injury.

When I was 12 I started cutting myself. Even before that though, I don’t even remember when exactly it started, I began hitting myself. Because my father beat me, I learned to beat myself when I was angry. Now it’s been a few years since I last cut myself, but it’s only been 90 days since the last time I hit myself.

I am truly amazed that I was able to get this far. I am being completely honest when I say this has been more difficult than kicking drugs. My fists are always attached to my body, I have to go out and buy drugs to use them.

Unfortunately I could relapse at a moment’s notice, but I won’t dwell on that fact. If I relapse I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going. Just because my clean time counter resets doesn’t mean all that work suddenly just disappears, these 90 days will ALWAYS count for something. Nothing will ever take away the fact that for these last 3 months I have not cut, hit, scratched, or bit myself.

I truly believe that if I could do this, you can break any bad habit too. Sometimes it’s a matter of gritting your teeth and sitting on your hands, but it’s well worth the effort.

Thank you for reading, please be kind to yourself, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Portfolio!

If you’ve visited my site before, you may have seen my “Folders Index” page, which contains all of my public Google Drive Folders filled with art. That page has a new name now: “Portfolio and Folders” which I think is more straightforward and less confusing.

A portfolio is a very useful resource for any artist, and since I was lacking in one I figured now is as good a time as any to create one.

Something I regret is that many of the photos were taken with older camera phones in less than ideal lighting, in the future I would like to rephotograph as many of these pieces as possible. A few commissioned works I no longer have access to, such as “Fight Club Punchy”, so the photos I currently have are the best I’m going to get.

Other than that though, I’m quite happy with it, I think it properly showcases my current skill set and art styles. I will continue to update it as I make more art and find new favorite pieces of mine!

That’s all for now! I have a few different projects I’m currently working on and I’m very excited to show them to you all when they’re done, so I’ll see you again soon!

Make Bad Art Collective

Established July 28 2022

Our mission:
To rebel against pretentiousness and elitism in the art community. We want to encourage all people to embrace their creativity, because we believe art is for everyone. We are explicitly and inherently anti-bigotry.


I decided to start an art collective! Nothing too serious, but it exists now! It only has 2 members at the time of writing this, myself and Jasper Rae, but perhaps in the future it may grow into something awesome. Or not, but it’s all for the sake of fun and trying to spread positivity, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to try!

There are no fees or dues, no responsibilities, and no expectations besides aligning with the mission statement. Again, if this actually ever grows into something notable there might be optional responsibilities, but for now there are none.

If you’re interested in being a part of this I’d be super happy to hear from you! Just send me an email at ari.october.art@gmail.com with your name / art alias / pen name, a little bit about yourself, and why you’re interested in joining! You’re not required to send in a portfolio or anything, but I’d love to see your work if you’d like to share it.

Just wanted to get this information out into the world. I hope you’re all having a wonderful day and I will see you in the next post!