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!

My sketchbook system: 4 is the magic number!

(If you take a sip of water every time I use the word “sketchbook” in this post, you should be quite hydrated by the time you’re done reading!)

Like many artists, I have suffered from constantly craving a shiny new sketchbook. I would often buy a new one before finishing the one I was working in, leaving the old one to collect dust. This is why one of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2022 was to finish filling 3 of those partially-filled sketchbooks, and at the beginning of July I was able to achieve that goal! Yesterday I went above and beyond, completing a fourth!

Through my Art Supply No Buy I have come to accept that I am not a “sketchbook monogamist” and that variety of materials is important to me. Tidiness and a minimalistic lifestyle are also important to me though, so I have come up with a system: I may have 4 sketchbooks active at any one time, but they each have their own use. These four categories of sketchbook are as follows:

  • One medium to large, white paper, dry or mixed media sketchbook.
  • One medium to large, black paper, mixed media sketchbook.
  • One watercolor paper sketchbook, of any size or color.
  • One pocket size sketchbook, of any media or color.

These categories allow me to have just enough variety for all the mediums and sizes I want to work with, while also giving me a hard limit on sketchbooks to prevent over-purchasing. When I run out of sketchbooks in one category at that point I may purchase one new one for the same category. So for example: if I fill up my black paper sketchbook I may buy a new black paper sketchbook, but not a new sketchbook of any other category… No matter how tempting the options may be!

My No Buy rules allow for replacements and refills when necessary. Because of this, depending on just how much I create this year, I could possibly find myself purchasing a new sketchbook before the year is over. Black paper is the category I am most likely to actually go all the way through, because I only have one small pad of black paper in surplus besides the sketchbook I am currently working in. We will just have to see what happens, but that could be quite exciting!

I decided to take an inventory of all the sketchbooks I have left that are waiting to be filled:

  • 2 in the medium to large white paper category, the larger one is about half-full and the other is completely empty.
  • 2 in the black mixed media category, one is about half-full and the other is a pad of removable paper I have only used one sheet from.
  • 2 in the travel size category, although they are a bit bigger than I’d prefer. In the future sketchbooks of this size will be in the medium to large category, I just don’t want to buy anything right now so they will stay put. The smaller one is about half-full, the other is completely empty.
  • 1 in the watercolor category, with a few pages full. You would think I might find myself needing another before the end of the year, but with a crazy almost-9-month-old it is hard to find time to watercolor.

Between filling up 4 sketchbooks and donating a few others, I have dropped my surplus numbers into the single digits! This is very exciting for me. I now see a number of sketchbooks I could imagine myself filling in the next 12 months, maybe even less, especially if I keep drawing as often as I have been lately.

I have to attribute a lot of this success to my change in lifestyle choices. I have not been playing video games for 42 days now, and over the last several years I have been working on cutting down on my internet consumption and overall screen time. Forcing oneself to allow for a healthy dose of boredom works wonders for increasing creativity and productivity, at least in my personal experience! Now I find drawing to be fun, a time for play and exploration, when previously it mostly felt like work and a chore compared to the instant gratification of the digital world.

Obviously technology still serves me, as I am currently writing this blog post on my smart phone. It has just become more of a tool than an entertainment device! I am currently very satisfied with my relationship to my tech and my art. It’s such a pleasure to be able to deliver such news!

It’s nice to get another post out again so soon, last night’s achievement has given me some momentum! My next post may take a while longer, but I will see you all there when it’s done. Stay safe and healthy!

Yet another sketchbook filled! That makes 4 this year!

Stickers courtesy of The Dollar Tree. I would love to credit the original artist but unfortunately they don’t so I have no idea who painted these lovely cacti!

These images are just a small sample of my favorite pages from this sketchbook.

The comic strips are collaborations with my partner, Jasper Rae. She did half the panels and I did the other half! It was a drawing game we came up with, one person draws a panel of a comic and then the other draws the next but with no communication or context other than the panel itself! It is based on other drawing games we’ve played and probably already existed in this same form before we thought of it, but nonetheless it is loads of fun and I highly recommend it!

I started this sketchbook all the way back in November of 2019, right after filling up the first sketchbook I ever filled from cover to cover! Most of it was actually filled in the last few months though, as part of my Art Supply No Buy side project of trying to finish up as many of my partially filled sketchbooks as possible. I “restarted” this sketchbook back in March, so it took only 4 months to fill the remaining 2/3 of the sketchbook!

While I won’t put a ton of pressure on myself to do so, I think it would be amazing if I actually managed to fill all of my semi-filled sketchbooks before the end of this year. I do own some blank ones still, so I won’t count those, but to just finally use the rest of all the ones I abandoned would be excellent. I hope to never abandon sketchbooks in such a way in the future, I plan on making much better purchasing decisions from now on!

I’ve got a couple things cooking in my drafts. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted (relatively, given how I used to go months between posts) I’ve just been rather busy lately! Thankfully it’s not because of procrastinating anymore, I’ve come to really enjoy writing and I look forward to making these posts.

I sincerely hope you are all doing well. Thanks again for all the support! See you in the next post, whenever that may be!

New Year’s Resolution: Complete!

(My tiny travel sketchbook started falling apart! A whole clump of pages fell out, which was very disappointing. So I decided to fill up the remaining 16 sheets as quickly as possible, which took 2 days. I had 3 more exactly like it, but unfortunately I will be donating them since they do not suit my needs. I hope they will serve their new owners well, they are very cute but they just aren’t durable enough for me.)

Included in my list of intentions for 2022 was a goal to finish up 3 of my partially filled sketchbooks, and near midnight of June 30th 2022 I accomplished exactly that!

My partner actually made it possible to finish before July, because she took on the job of filling the last 4 pages in my tiny travel sketchbook, much to my relief! I had been worried an hour and a half left in the day wouldn’t be enough time, as I am a chronic over-thinker! I set the deadline of midnight for myself because I heard it helps to set deadlines, especially if you’re prone to procrastinating. She really saved the day, I was feeling exhausted from the long day we had, and I’d already filled so many pages in such a short time!

My sketchbooks aren’t only for me, I love to invite others to draw in them and leave their mark. I cherish the drawings provided by others, they are the most special to me, far more important to me than anything I draw. I’m aware many artists may find me crazy for this, as for them their sketchbook is a sacred place for only them. I’m just not like that though, I enjoy art-making so much more when it’s with friends. My sketchbooks are like journals for me, which is why I also write in them and paste things in, they are books filled with memories. In my eyes, the doodle of a friend is a treasure.

I am so relieved to have, with plenty of help from my lovely partner, succeeded at finishing up 3 sketchbooks in a year. While it’s not quite as impressive as filling 3 brand-new sketchbooks from front to back in a year, I couldn’t be happier to have less clutter in my art cabinet! In the future I need to be diligent about not buying new sketchbooks if I don’t have a genuine need for one. I could write a whole post about my sketchbook categories and how I plan to handle purchasing new sketchbooks in the future, and I probably will honestly.

I would love to finish up even more sketchbooks this year, but either way this marks 7 sketchbooks filled, I am very satisfied with my progress! It took me twenty-something years to finally fill even just one, when I was younger I never would have imagined I’d actually fill seven entire books filled with intimidating blank paper.

That’s it for now, just wanted to share the celebration with you all! Have a wonderful day and I will see you in the next post!

I’m on a roll!

Released a new traditional art coloring page today, and even got a sketch in too! Just as I had hoped, as a side effect of not playing video games, I am creating more frequently. I’ve started using my watercolor sketchbook more, and I’m hoping to actually get it wet soon.

Working on my mid-year Art Supply No Buy check-in post, so stay tuned! See you soon!

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!

A few pages from the sketchbook I just finished

Again, I’d love to post full tours (or at the very least, more google drive folders!) of all my completed sketchbooks but I just lack the energy to devote to something like that right now.

So in the meantime, here are some highlights from that sketchbook I just completed tonight. That one was definitely more of a messy sketchbook, there were countless terrible doodles, but I thought these pages turned out a little better than the rest.