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!

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!

Adventures in Red and Blue

[All photo credit goes to my partner this time around! It was much more frustrating than I expected to take photos of my tiny travel sketchbook. She really made this post possible, I was ready to give up! Thanks, love!]

This is just a small sample of the doodles I’ve made with my red/blue color palette. I would show more, but I need to figure out how to get decent photos!

These red and blue Sakura Pigma Micron PN pens were some of the last supplies I bought before I decided to do an Art Supply No Buy, I bought them right before Birdie was born because I was anxious and I thought it would cheer me up. I didn’t start really using them until this year though!

I had read about limiting one’s color palette and how useful it can be, and I’m really glad I tried it out for myself. The rumors are true, it’s fantastic! I struggle a lot with decision fatigue and this solves that problem. I don’t like working in just black and white all the time, so this gives me that color I crave while still not overwhelming my brain!

Deciding what elements of the drawing to make which color is exciting for me. Since most of the things I draw are not actually blue and red in real life it’s so interesting to see how different it looks when I cut down the colors to just two. I love how I can add emphasis and contrast using this method.

When it comes to doing art on the go I think a very limited palette is the best choice for me and I will continue with this method in the future. I would like to try experimenting with cyan, yellow, and magenta next time! Those are my 3 favorite colors, and they’re a famous trio!

That’s all for now, see you in the next one!

Paper plate mandala doodle!

I went to my first in-person NA meeting since the start of the pandemic today, and once the meeting actually started I realized I was missing something very important: doodling supplies.

Luckily I had a fresh clean paper plate in front of me, all I needed was some ink. So I asked my sponsor to borrow a pen and with that I was all set!

Personally I find it much easier to focus on listening when my hands are busy drawing, especially something like a mandala or other abstract doodles. Otherwise I get too caught up in my own head to pay attention to what’s being said!

It’s nothing too impressive visually but I wanted to share anyway, as it’s the first drawing I’ve done in a while. I guess lately I’ve been having trouble drawing in sketchbooks and I’ve found a lot more enjoyment from drawing on random objects. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for when my No Buy ends.

Maybe it’s time for me to move on from being primarily a “sketchbook artist.” But I set a serious goal for important reasons so I’m not going to stop my No Buy now just because of this realization. I think I will always keep sketchbooks even if they aren’t my primary thing, and this year will be over before I know it.

Well that’s all for now, see you in the next post! Happy doodling 🙂

Custom fountain drink lid!

I wanted the gas station clerk to know the drink was a refill, so I doodled on the lid in the car on the way there.

I ended up being able to use the self checkout station, so it didn’t even matter in the end!

Well at the very least I ended my streak of not drawing, and I found the texture of the Sharpie on the smooth plastic very satisfying. Plus now I will definitely be reusing the drink cup many times!

I think in the future I’d love to put my art onto a more reusable and eco friendly cup! I wonder how the big brands do it…

Sometimes I just can’t draw…

…and I’m making peace with that.

A doodle from my Boogie Board.

Over the last two weeks I haven’t been drawing at all, this lazy scribble mandala being the only exception. For a while before this I had been drawing every day, finishing multiple drawings per day sometimes, feeling super productive and creative.

I used to think these spans of time when I wouldn’t draw anything were a product of me being lazy and wasting my time. I used to buy new art supplies during these times to try to force myself back into creative mode, but often it was to no avail, and this contributed heavily to my art supply hoarding problem.

These creative lulls can be detrimental to artists who rely heavily on frequent posting to social media, as the algorithms most reward consistency. This is one of the reasons I left social media, I find that this pressure causes me anxiety and stifles my creativity.

Ever since I decided to stop shaming myself for these phases, I’ve come to see them for what they really are: periods of rest. I view the short lapses as naps and the long stretches as hibernation. Rest is just as important as the work we do, without rest we are far less productive and much more likely to give up altogether!

I now know, from lived experience, that this is just a break and I will get back into drawing when the time is right. It can’t be forced and attempts to do so will only leave me dissatisfied and upset. I now understand “art block” as a sign that I need to take a step back and spend my time elsewhere.

Of course, when the time comes to create again, sometimes it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things! I like to take it slow and approach it with a playful attitude. I’ll start with silly doodles, blind contours, basic mandalas, simple patterns, neurographic art, or even just pasting things into my sketchbook. Once I feel properly warmed back up, which can take anywhere from a couple hours to several days, I can attempt my more “serious” ideas. But sometimes my creative phases consist entirely of easy art and I’m okay with that too. Sometimes I just have to Make Bad Art.

This has actually been a pretty recent revelation which is why I’m only just now sharing about it. It’s so nice to feel at peace with myself when previously I would have been irritated by my state of “stagnation.” I feel even more grateful now for the times I do draw, I don’t take them for granted quite as much!

“Draw every single day” is common advice and I understand the intent behind it but I don’t think it works for everyone. Practicing self discipline is certainly important and you do need to draw frequently if you want to improve your skills, but in my opinion it kind of defeats the purpose if art-making becomes a dreaded chore.

I prefer this approach instead: always keep some basic tools for drawing handy, and draw every time you get the urge to do so. This approach has been much more successful for me personally for building a creative habit. I recommend keeping the tools in your travel kit to a minimum so you don’t suffer decision fatigue and can jump straight into drawing! I currently have a bicolor red/blue palette going on in my tiny travel sketchbook that lives in my purse, and to my surprise I absolutely love working with such limited colors!

Lately my creativity has been manifesting itself through writing more than through drawing, so I’ve started a little writing project. I want to say “stay tuned” but I have no idea if anything worth sharing will come of it… we’ll just have to wait and see!

Hospital Doodles!

I’m happy to report that I was able to get a few doodles in during the hospital stay before our daughter was born!

Birdie was born very healthy via a semi-emergency cesarean. I was induced but failed to progress for 24 hours after my water broke, and then she was having some heart rate dips. Turns out she had the cord triple wrapped around her neck! We are very lucky that things turned out as they did, even though the whole situation was very stressful… Not to mention uncomfortable. My spinal failed so I had to go under for the surgery but luckily I was still able to meet her not long after. C-section recovery is no joke, I have never been in so much pain in my life. Luckily now I am more or less all healed up, though I do have nerve damage on my lower tummy.

She’s almost 2 months old now and doing very well so far. She is getting progressively wigglier as she trains to start walking and crawling! I can’t wait until the day she can grasp a crayon…

I actually came here to write a different post, but I realized I hadn’t updated you all on the baby situation! So here’s that. Stay tuned for another post hopefully quite soon!

An art challenge that did not go as planned- a successful failure!

Armed with my new monogrammed lidded mug and fresh home-made poppyseed bread, I made a feeble attempt at filling 9 pieces of marker paper in 24 hours or less.

I only accomplished one piece in 5 hours, most of that time spent researching references or procrastinating, and now I’m mentally exhausted!

I’ve had this idea floating around in my head lately- “wouldn’t it be fun to try to fill an entire sketchbook in a day?” And since I haven’t touched this Strathmore marker paper pad in over a year, I asked my partner if she’d like to partake in a silly challenge with me.

There were 18 sheets left in the paper pad, which I divided into 9 sheets for each of us. I thought that if we really gave it our all we could definitely get this done in 9 hours or less… Oh how naive I was! Sure, it’s only been 5 hours since we started, but I can tell for certain there is no way we will successfully fill all 18 sheets in the next 19 hours.

For starters my partner and I are both perfectionists. Part of the point of this challenge was to overcome our perfectionism, but to the surprise of absolutely no one: that’s easier said than done. Second of all, we both have ADHD! That part speaks for itself. It’s probably hard for anyone to dedicate a whole day to one activity, but it’s especially so with ADHD in the mix. And lastly… Making art takes so much mental energy!! I was hoping we would really let loose and just do some really bad doodles… and my partner was attempting to do just that… She still ended up calling it a day after two sheets full of thumbnail sketches. I got totally sucked into wanting to make something that looked good, so in the same amount of time I only accomplished one piece. At the very least my partner got down several different ideas!

Despite all of that, I’m so happy we decided to take on this silly challenge! It got us to draw, it got us to start using up materials that have just been collecting dust, and it got our creativity flowing. We probably won’t fill up all 18 sheets in 24 hours, but even then the challenge still accomplished exactly what I hoped it would!! A very successful “failure” from my perspective.

I went into this challenge with very low expectations, knowing full well that this exact scenario might occur. I accepted the possibility of failure in advance and gave it my all anyway, and in doing so I was able to do more than I probably would have today otherwise.

It’s better to quit 15 minutes into the race than to never pass the starting line in the first place! Trophies for participation might be unnecessary, but I find that participation and the experience that comes with it is it’s own reward.

We will still try to fill up this paper pad as quickly as we can, perhaps modifying it to another “fill one page or more a day” challenge like we’ve done in the past. Definitely more manageable and a lot less pressure!!! Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to succeed at a sketchbook-in-a-day challenge, but I’m content with today not being that day.

Waiting room doodles!

Since I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy, I’ve been having loads of doctor’s appointments. At this point it’s a weekly occurrence, so that means lots of time spent waiting in the waiting room, and then waiting in the office between being triaged and actually seeing the doctor. The best way to pass the time is to whip out my tiny sketcher and just doodle the minutes away!

Getting back into the swing of things…

An experimental piece I did today, just playing around with color and texture. Not sure what to title this one.
[Copic marker on smooth sketchbook paper]

I practically haven’t drawn in months. I did a little bit of vent art earlier on in the year, and then a little bit of doodling here and there on my 3DS, but nothing aside from that.

Now that the weather is nicer, and since my partner and I are under quarantine due to her testing positive for COVID-19, I started thinking about picking up my markers again.

Last year I did a 90 day video game “detox” during the warm months and I used that time to do a lot of drawing while lounging outside in our backyard, so I guess it’s only natural for me to associate this time of year with creating. I like allowing myself to play as many video games as I want during the cold months when I can’t spend as long outside, and then taking extended breaks from them when it warms up again.

I don’t know if I’m ready to undertake another daily drawing challenge just yet. Since she’s had COVID for about a week now and we haven’t had any symptoms yet, I’m worried it’s going to hit like a brick in the next week. Though I haven’t tested positive yet, I know I will absolutely get it because there’s no way for my partner and I to isolate ourselves from each other effectively in our current living arrangements. Getting sick would definitely make me have to postpone any challenge I take up.

If I don’t catch COVID this entire time, that will be the craziest stroke of luck I’ve ever had. Maybe it does help that we got vaccinated, even though it was only days before the COVID exposure. If I test negative again this Friday, we will be able to end our quarantine a few days later on Tuesday. If either of us start having obvious symptoms, or if I do test positive on Friday, we will be restarting the two week countdown from that day. We will be playing things incredibly safe on the 3rd week, whenever that is, only extending our freedom to large outdoor spaces and drive-thrus.

Regardless of all that, I hope to be making more art soon and posting here more often again. Stay tuned!