Annual Mandala Collections

I did want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all of you that have stayed loyal throughout the years. Although this site is only a year old, I have been working on bringing content to you for several years. I really do enjoy being creative every day, and I love even more to share it with all of you.

Each year, I have decided that I am going to create a Mandala Collection that can be sold as individual prints, or as a set of 3 or 5 mandala prints. I have done this for two years in a row and I am gearing up for my third year. But before I dive into that, I thought we would go take a look at the two previous years so that you can see what I am talking about first hand.

Mandala Collection I – 2017

Take a look at the posts for each one below, it will give you an insight into what was going through my head while creating them. This was my first year and I was not sure of how well I would do, or if this challenge would be too much for me. The theme of the first year was using black and white on gradient paper. These pictures do not show true justice for the design, but I promise you they look better in person.

Mandala Collection I, Mandala 1

Mandala Collection I, Mandala 2

Mandala Collection I, Mandala 3

Mandala Collection I, Mandala 4

Mandala Collection I, Mandala 5

Not too shabby for my first collection, if I do say so myself. I learned a lot of things throughout the year and was able to adapt the second collection into something a little different, and yet similar.

Mandala Collection II – 2018

The theme for the 2018 year was using mixed media and triangles. Each mandala has an organic feel to them and yet each one is adorned with sharp edges. This collection also looks better in person, and as soon as I can get a studio area set up with great light, I will take better pictures to share with you.

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 1

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 2

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 3

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 4

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 5

Mandala Collection III, 2019 – Coming Soon!

I would love to know what theme you would like to see in the new collection. Don’t be shy, I never throw an idea away. Comment in the section below! I look forward to hearing from you!

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 5

WE MADE IT! The final mandala in the collection is complete and I can’t wait to share it with you. First off, If you would like to see the previous mandala in the collection, visit the link below.

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 1

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 2

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 3

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 4

You may also look in my YouTube Video which does a complete recap of the full collection and the progress from beginning to end!

Ok, so now let’s continue with the fifth and final mandala in this collection! First of all let me say that this mandala was inspired by my 100mandala community, who have been giving us great challenges to help us think outside the box.  This mandala was inspired by the triangle and circle progression. It was a lot of fun to make and very easy once you got the hang of it.

I have always loved the way that flowers with many petals look and feel when drawing mandalas. The two rows of petals gave this mandala a look that drew your eyes to either the triangles or the circles, even both. Take a glance at the picture below, which pattern do you see most. I fell in love with using the metallic paint markers, it was more of a matter of choosing the color I wanted. Of course, I chose silver.

Many of you know that a lot of my mandala are inspired by Zentangle and other patterns I see in the world around me., and this one was no different. I knew that I wanted to fill the empty spaces with an organic Zentangle pattern I have used before.

As soon as I finished the inner circle, I had to outline the outer circle as well. It was perfect! I saw the flowers, leaves, and vines beneath, all neatly tucked within this triangle and circle progression. Once it was all completed, I was very happy with it. This mandala is far out of my element, and yet I am very pleased with the relaxation techniques it taught me in the process.

What is your favorite part of this mandala? Be sure to check out the video and give your feedback as well.

Mandala Collection II, Mandala 2

Here is the original pencil grid for this piece. As you can see I had no clue what I was doing. HA! What I was trying to do and what I achieved were two different things all together. I wanted to do a large flower of life, but this is what came out. I decided to just move on with this design, at least the best way I could.

After I inked the first layer, I immediately liked it. I felt like it brought to life the sort of design I was looking for. Continuing on, I started to add more details and at least get this first smaller flower designed completely.

It was a big difference for me to NOT use black as an outline because that is sorta the color I lean on most. I used three colors here: orange, green and purple. Each of these colors nicely built on the last and the full design became clear. I saw movement and I knew that I wanted the outer flower to reflect this movement in contrast.

Once the outline was complete of the outer petals, I started to add more details within them to bring the colors all the way out to the end.  It was at this time that I also wanted to add my white gel pen details. As soon as I stepped back from this, I was shocked that it had made it this far, unplanned.

I finished it all off with fine details and erasing all the grid lines. I would love to know what you think about the finished project and what was your favorite part of its creation!

 

Mandala Collection II – Mandala 1

Okay, So I know that we are on our second collection of mandalas and I wanted to share them with you here first hand so that you can see the progress as it happened. I have been so busy with life lately that I have failed to update my blog as often as I should. Hopefully, with the arrival of my new bullet journal, I will get back on track.

So without further ado.

Are you excited yet? When I first started this mandala, it was very late and I was just trying to get something down on paper after having such an off year already. My original plan was way different from what it turned out to be. So like with every mandala, I drew my gridlines and basic line work for my idea. As I was doing this, however, I found that what was in my head was not coming out on my paper.

Looking at this shot, you can see the beginning of this creation. This is the point where I thought that using the circles as if they were a plant or organism was the key to getting this mandala off the ground. I quickly got stuck on what would go between the circles without it looking too busy. What goes better with weird orb-like flowers than tentacles?

After I played around with this look in pencil, I inked it in and added just a pop of color. Adding this color just blew my mind and gave me the inspiration I needed to continue on. What do you think so far?

The gradient was really cool and making the orbs a darker green was the best thing I could do to really make them noticeable. After I got all the orbs colors, and boy were there a lot of orbs, I moved on to the petals. I knew that I could not make this whole thing green because then certain features would wash out. So that’s what I opted for my second color to come into play! Orange!

That was it, I knew I was well on my way to completing one of my favorites to date! It was so unlike every other mandala I had seen and it was my own creation. Am I getting you excited yet?

After adding white gel pen and yellow color pencil, that was it, I knew that it was complete. The one thing I always do is sign my artwork on the lower right-hand side, but only if it is complete. I would love to know what you think about this first mandala. Once the collection is complete, I will get scans of them so you can see the true color in each one.

Christmas Presents!

I know I know! Christmas is already over, but now that all the gifts that I made have been well-received I thought I would share them with you. Each year I love to give gifts that I have created. I love to create something that makes them think of me and the memories we have together when  they see them. They are also personalized so that they meet the needs of the person and their tastes.

Ok, I want to start off with one of my favorite type pieces. A very dear friend of mine went through a tough time and didn’t believe that they would get through it. However, after they rose from the ashes of that destruction, we started to talk about how they were like the Phoenix. Every year, I give this friend something that goes along with the theme of rising above your circumstance and setbacks. Each year is a new beginning. You can check out last years here. And the one for this year was a beautiful staff, since we are both nerds, that is designed after the Phoenix.

 

This was drawn with my black .03 Staedtler Pigment Liners, and colored with red, orange, yellow, grey and brown Steadtler Color Pencils. I then decided that taking the grey color pencil and rubbing it lightly over the outer edge of the paper gave the whole thing a new look. Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out and have already started researching phoenix ideas for next Christmas. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.

Onto the second gift, I was gifted a smaller lazy susan. It was made from bamboo, but had some apples painted on the top of it.  I wanted to do something very personal for my sister-n-law and her new husband. I knew that they would appreciate a handmade gift. So, I had my fiance’ sand down the top and it left a beautiful finish. Then, I started working from the inside out. Starting with the first letter of her new last name, “S.”

After surrounding the monogram with a very detailed mandala, I then erased my guidelines (still in the picture above) and put two clear protective coats on it. On the night we gave this gift, It was immediately put to use under the salad bowl in the center of the table.

The last, but certainly NOT least, gift that I made personally, was for my fiance’s parents. They have been such a wonderful blessing in my life and I wanted to give them something that represented family and unity. So, like the last gift, I chose to do a monogram again, but with my fiance’s parents last name letter “L”. But unlike the last gift, I chose to paint this on a black square canvas that I had.

I decided that using my gold paint pen from my table project gave this piece the life it was searching for. I absolutely love how it turned out and they seemed to as well. I am truly blessed to be able to share my talents with those around me.

Although these were not the only gifts I gave for Christmas, they were the most personalized gifts and I wanted to share them with you. Please let me know in the comments below, which was your favorite and why. I would also love to know any ideas you may like to see in the future.

2017 Year in Review

Happy New Year!

I want to create a special post that sorta sums up my year for 2017. You know that although I had been blogging since 2016, I only got my own website in 2017. Boy have I been blessed with this outlet to share my creativity and inspire others to do something creative every day.  There are several things that I am going to discuss, to include my subscription to Sketchbox, My first Mandala Collection, Christmas Gifts I created and my favorite creations of the year. So grab your cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and lets get started!

SketchBox

For those of you that don’t know, Sketchbox is a monthly subscription box for artists to try out different mediums. I have really been excited by everything that I have been able to create using the products I have received through these boxes. Some of my favorite products include a watercolor sketchbook, a full sepia Copic fineliner set, and last but not least watercolor pencils, this is only to name a few. If you would like to go back and review my unboxing posts you can visit them by clicking on the links below.

May  

June

JulyJuly Grab box  

August

September

October

 November

December

Mandala Collection I

For me, this was a huge accomplishment.  I wanted to start a collection of the mandala that was similar and yet different at the same time. For this collection, I chose to draw my mandala on gradient paper with black fineliners and a white gel pen. I was so happy how each one came out so different than the ones before.  Prints of these will be available in my shop once I get it all online. Stay tuned for this special collection. Each one of these mandalas are so special to me. I wrote a different post for each one, which you can visit below:

Mandala #1

Mandala #2

Mandala #3

Mandala #4

Mandala #5

Personalized Gifts

One of my favorite things to do is create something beautiful and personal for my friends, family, and co-workers. I truly enjoy the look on their face when they realize it is not only an original, but there are no others like it in the world. I want to share these few gifts with you.

Personalized Parties

Every birthday that happens in my house is a reason to celebrate. With the birthdays spread throughout the year, we are able to party all year long! Starting in February with my two from my previous marriage celebrating, then moving to my youngest two in June, oldest two in July and 3rd oldest in November. Mix that in with all the holidays and we rarely don’t have a reason to bust out some exciting party decorations. But also, because we have so many celebrations, It’s important that we get creative with them all, most of the decorations were homemade. Check out the following posts about my under the sea themed party for my youngest two.

Under the Sea

Octopus Guard

Sea Sponges

Jellyfish Mood Lighting

Furniture Painting

The absolute highlight of my year was creating a beautiful work of art for my mother. She brought this table to me and gave me no restrictions other than she wanted a Charity Original painted on top. Painted?! I’ve never painted anything detailed like the creations I have made.  Check out how this table progressed by clicking on the links below:

Scallopped Table #1

Scallopped Table #2

There are several other projects that I completed this year for Christmas Gifts to include a 12×12 personalized mandala painting on canvas, a monogrammed lazy susan and a phoenix staff for my best guy friend. All of these projects were special in their own ways and were hard to keep a secret for as long as I could since I love to share my progress pictures with the special people that received these gifts.

My Favorites of the Year

 

Final Thoughts

I do want to send out a special thank you for all of you that have supported me this year. I couldn’t have done this without you cheering me on. Special thanks to my fiance’ who has stuck by my side while I have spent the long hours trying to make something out of nothing. I love each and every one of you and I can only hope that in 2018, we will see a lot more growth from CraftyArtistKC. Help me make this year a good one by sharing my site with your friends family and social media accounts. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Let me know in the comments below, what was your favorite project or post from this year!

November 2017 Premium Sketchbox

So I am going to be doing some catch up on these Sketchbox Unboxings. The main reason that I have fallen behind is that we recently bought a house and we had a month of searching, a month of packing and a month of moving in and unpacking. Now I am trying my best to catch up on all these boxes. So here we are on November’s Box.

So here we are in October.  Every month, I receive a Sketchbox. This month, I have the premium box for $35 plus $5 shipping. The basic box is $25 plus $5 shipping. When you look at all the products inside, they all retail for around this. Now there are things that come every month, this includes; Sketchbox Sticker, Artist of the month box, Artist of the month tile, and a product description card. I will go through each of these items in detail below so that you can see what you get for the price.

In every box, you get a special inspiration piece from the featured artist of the month. The artist creates something from everything that is offered in the box each month. You can read more about the Artists of the month by clicking here. This month we received this gem:

So, what do you get in this months box? Sometimes you get more than $40 and other times you may get just under. In this months box, we received more than $40 worth of product. This month is all about watercolor. Well, let’s take a look below!

Dr. Ph Martins Hydrus Liquid Watercolor – $8.90

Handbook Watercolor Journal – $14.49

Princeton Velvetouch Mini Filbert – $8.95

SketchBox Signature Waterbrush – Fine – $5.50

Daniel Smith Custom Dot Card – $3.00

Faber-Castell Ecoo Pigment .6mm – $2.99

Total Retail: $43.83

Dr. Ph Martins Hydrus Liquid Watercolor – $8.90

Brilliant, lisghtfast, non-toxic, archival and AP approved liquid watercolor in a 1oz dropper bottle. The dropper bottle allows for repeatedly mixing exact color shades by mixing the same number of drops.

Handbook Watercolor Journal – $14.49

We LOVE the unique size and portability of this item. Bound in a beautiful linen book cloth cover, these journals offer a practical option for travel painting. Each book includes 30 sheets (60 pages) of a soft white, 200 gsm acid-free paper with a cold press finish that is the same on each side of the sheet.

Princeton Velvetouch Mini Filbert – $8.95

Velvetouch is comprised of a multiple-filament, luxury synthetic blend for excellent color-holding capacity, precision tapering and resilient spring. The blend of synthetic is unique to each individual shape to ensure maximum performance.

SketchBox Signature Waterbrush – Fine – $5.50

Another addition to our growing line of water brushes, this version has a fine tip for detail work and precise lines. Use it to pick up color from our custom dot card.

Daniel Smith Custom Dot Card – $3.00

We partnered with Daniel Smith to bring you our own selection of their superior quality watercolors. This custom palette allows you to test a curated range of their colors for your new watercolor piece.

Faber-Castell Ecoo Pigment .6mm – $2.99

This fineliner is from one of our favorite brands. Since the ink is waterproof, its perfect for adding detail or line work to your new watercolor work.

All in all, this box introduces me to a lot of products I haven’t used before but they are definitely products that I am eager to use. If you would like to get your hands on this sketchbox, or any in the future, please use this link so that I can get a credit to use towards next month’s box. I love being able to bring these unboxings to you from me.

October 2017 Premium Sketchbox

So I am going to be doing some catch up on these Sketchbox Unboxings. The main reason that I have fallen behind is that we recently bought a house and we had a month of searching, a month of packing and a month of moving in and unpacking. Now I am trying my best to catch up on all these boxes. So August through October will be late and November’s will be this month.

So here we are in October.  Every month, I receive a Sketchbox. This month, I have the premium box for $35 plus $5 shipping. The basic box is $25 plus $5 shipping. When you look at all the products inside, they all retail for around this. Now there are things that come every month, this includes; Sketchbox Sticker, Artist of the month box, Artist of the month tile, and a product description card. I will go through each of these items in detail below so that you can see what you get for the price.

In every box, you get a special inspiration piece from the featured artist of the month. The artist creates something from everything that is offered in the box each month. You can read more about the Artists of the month by clicking here. This month we received this gem:

So, what do you get in this months box? Sometimes you get more than $40 and other times you may get just under. In this months box, we received more than $40 worth of product. This month is InkTober. Well, let’s take a look below!

Winsor & Newton Drawing Ink – $5.39

Princeton Mini Detailer – Liner Size I – $10.35

COPIC Multiliner Sepia Set – $15.96

Zebra – Double Ended Brush Pen – $4.95

Tombow – Fudenosuke Brush Pen Set – $6.98

Total Retail: $43.63

Winsor & Newton Drawing Ink – $5.39

Simply put, we love this ink. This super high quality India ink is an illustrator’s best friend. It’s easily mixable with water to create shades from the lightest grey to the darkest black.

Princeton Mini Detailer – Liner Size I – $10.35

A precise brush perfect for ink illustrations. Its wooden handle is finished in a comfortable silicone, allowing a firm grip and ultimate control. It contains Princeton’s finest synthetic sable, the same used in their flagship 4050 series. This assures a perfect point and crisp edges.

COPIC Multiliner Sepia Set – $15.96

Copic is known the world over for having some of the highest quality illustration products. This set is no exception. Use these sepia tones to add depth to your new ink illustrations. This set contains 4 sepia Multiliner pens: 0.05mm, 0.1mm, 0.3mm and 0.5mm.

Zebra – Double Ended Brush Pen – $4.95

This brush pen is perfect for elaborate illustrations that demand the versatility of fine detail and bold strokes. It has both a medium as well as a fine tip. We partnered with Zebra to give you the first look at this item.

Tombow – Fudenosuke Brush Pen Set – $6.98

This set contains one soft and one hard tip Fudenosuke Brush Pen. Featuring flexible brush tip for different lettering and drawing techniques. Create extra-fine, fine or medium strokes by a change in brush pressure. We included this set so you could compare them to the Zebra item in this month’s box.

All in all, this box introduces me to a lot of products I haven’t used before but they are definitely products that I am eager to use. If you would like to get your hands on this sketchbox, or any in the future, please use this link so that I can get a credit to use towards next month’s box.

September 2017 Premium Sketchbox

So I am going to be doing some catch up on these Sketchbox Unboxings. The main reason that I have fallen behind is that we recently bought a house and we had a month of searching, a month of packing and a month of moving in and unpacking. Now I am trying my best to catch up on all these boxes. So August through October will be late and November’s will be this month.

Moving on to September.  Every month, I receive a Sketchbox. This month, I have the premium box for $35 plus $5 shipping. The basic box is $25 plus $5 shipping. When you look at all the products inside, they all retail for around this. Now there are things that come every month, this includes; Sketchbox Sticker, Artist of the month box, Artist of the month tile, and a product description card. I will go through each of these items in detail below so that you can see what you get for the price.

In every box, you get a special inspiration piece from the featured artist of the month. The artist creates something from everything that is offered in the box each month. You can read more about the Artists of the month by clicking here. This month we received this gem:

So, what do you get in this months box? Sometimes you get more than $40 and other times you may get just under. In this months box, we received less than $40 worth of product. This month is all about water-soluble graphite. Well, let’s take a look below!

Derwent Graphitone Set – $15.90

Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil – $7.36

Sakura Koi Large Round Water Brush – 9ml. – $4.25

Aqua Monolith Graphite Pencil – 4B – $2.40

Tombow Mono Rectangle Eraser – $4.49

Castell 9000 Double Hole Sharpener – $5.25

Total Retail – $39.65

Derwent Graphitone Set – $15.90

These solid graphite woodless pencils are water-soluble allowing for blending and unique watercolor style effects! Each can be used upright as a classic pencil or on its side for extended coverage. The set contains one each of four degrees: 8B, 4B, 2B, and HB.

Uni Kuru Toga Mechanical Pencil – $7.36

As you use a regular mechanical pencil, the lead wears down on one side, forming a slanted wedge-shaped tip. Each time you put the lead on the page you end up using a different lead surface (pointy, flat, wide, thin) depending on how you hold the pencil. This can cause dramatic and unsightly variations in line thickness as you draw and sketch. This unique pencil has a special mechanism that rotates the lead with each click to make sure that you always have a pointed tip.

Sakura Koi Large Round Water Brush – 9ml – $4.25

We also included a water brush from Sakura. This water brush has a large 9ml tank and a large round nylon brush head. Filli t with water and use it to blend your new graphite piece. Its great for plein air work and fits in any pencil case with ease, Its large brush head allows for broad strokes or precise blending with a simple change in pressure.

Aqua Monolith Graphite Pencil – 4B – $2.40

This graphite pencil has the same thick 4B grade lead with thin lacquer coating as a Cretacolor Monolith Graphite pencil but in a water-soluble form. It can be used wet or dry, on the point for details, or on the edge for shading large areas.

Tombow Mono Rectangle Eraser – $4.49

This Pen Style eraser features a retractable holder and a rectangular shape. Ideal for precise and broad erasing due to the shape of its tip. Use the corners for highlights and the full tip for broader areas.

Castell 9000 Double Hole Sharpener – $5.25

This double-hole sharpener fits easily in any pencil case. It can be used to sharpen standard graphite pencils with an angle of 21 degrees and larger pencils with an angle of 24 degrees for extra fine strokes. This sharpener has a removable waste container for quick, clean sharpening.

All in all, this box will get me more into my pencil sketches which I have strayed from recently.  If you would like to get your hands on this sketchbox, or any in the future, please use this link so that I can get a credit to use towards next month’s box.

Bullet Journaling – Refresher

If you haven’t heard of bullet journaling, it is a minimalists way to schedule your life. This is a system that combines several of your journals, schedulers, and calendars into one easy to keep track of book. Or so they say. Now before you get offended, hear me out. I tried this system back in November of last year, you can read that post here, and I failed.  My failure had nothing to do with the system and more to do with my perfectionism. I wanted beautiful spreads and amazing visuals on each page. Eventually, it became too much with the holidays and I never made it to December. To be honest, I don’t even know where that notebook is currently.

Now, lets discuss why this system failed for me. There are several reasons, some of them mental and some of them physical. These range from not having the right notebook, to not making the time, and not putting forth the effort. “Oh, I don’t need to write that down, surely I will remember it!” Famous last words. I never did remember it and I never did write it down.

Excuse #1: Not having the right tools.

Now, don’t think that you have to have the most famous bullet journal or the most expensive pens and products to do a bullet journal. You just have to be happy with what you do have. You can just use a composition notebook and a bic ballpoint. You don’t need the fancy supplies to get started, and honestly, I wouldn’t go out and buy them until you have created the habit.

However, in my mind, I didn’t have the right supplies. I didn’t want to use the inexpensive supplies I had on hand because I have to get excited about a new habit, or it won’t form. If I don’t have crisp, clean notebook and a pen just for it, I won’t be happy long enough to continue.  So, I bought the Leuchitturm 1917, which is like the official bullet journal. I did not buy pens for this, because I already have my Staedtler Triplus Fineliners that I love and work perfectly.

Excuse #2: I can’t make my spreads look like those on Pinterest

This is a very very common misconception. The spreads are beautiful, and one day, I will get there. But it is better for me to form the habit with the minimalist attitude. So, here is a picture of my year at a glance spread below. You will see that I just made it simple. I also added a thin piece of washi tape across the top, not even perfectly lined up *gasp*, so that i had a quick reference to jump back to. *personal information is blacked out*

I decided to only do 6 months because that would carry me to the end of the year. When the next 6 months arrive, if I am still doing bullet journaling, I will add it to it then another 6 month spread. Besides, who wants to get bogged down on trying to keep up with a full year at once. Guess what else? I only used black and white on this page. I want to get into the habit before I learn new ways to create the same spread. I highly recommend this way of thinking.

Excuse #3 – I don’t even know what I should track or that I want to track.

If you look online, especially Pinterest, you will find a huge list of trackers. But I say NAY! Don’t get bogged down with all the trackers available. Add trackers as you want to, and how you want to. Throughout the process you will find that you will come across things that are important to you specifically that you want to track. For me, I want to track my 100 mandala challenge! This challenge is important to me and something that I want to complete before the end of the year. Here is a look at how I am tracking this, in my 2-page tracker spread.

As you can tell, I drew  a simple mandala and also included the website where I got the challenge from. I then write a date on the number and color it in. This is my favorite spread so far. It appeals to my artistic side, as well as my need to track this challenge.

Excuse #4 – I’m too depressed/anxious about keeping up with something else.

Yes, depression and anxiety is something that we all have to deal with at one time or another. Some of us even struggle enough to be medicated. But that is what is so great about the bullet journal process, if you miss a day or a week, you can jump back in and there are no predetermined pages that you use up. You determine how and how much you use your bullet journal. I decided to try to list all the things that make me happy and put it at the beginning of my journal. This ensures that even on the days that are considered my lows, I have something to keep me from going under. Take a look at this below.

Excuse #5 – I’m too busy

Honestly, we are all too busy if we believe it, but the truth of the matter is, we can make time for anything! After planning out my first two weeks, I saw just how busy I wasn’t. I was too busy to add work, but not too busy to add fun. So I knew by looking at these two almost blank weeks, that I would see just how much time I really had to play with. Of course, I didn’t mark down all the ER visits and power outages and mom life with many many kids, but outside the home, I didn’t have much obligations. My next step is to track my hours, find out where everything goes. Check out these two weeks below. As you can tell, they are all really really simple.

So as you can tell, I didn’t want to do anything too crazy and I wanted to keep my trackers simple. At the beginning of each week, I also track my social medias. This shows me if I am doing a good job or if I need to work harder. Because I am just starting out, I feel like my numbers are embarrassing, BUT everyone has to start from the bottom.

I hope you enjoyed this walk through my bullet journal. Remember, you don’t have to wait until January 1st, to start. You can start in the middle of the month like I did. The objective is to start somewhere. Do you bullet journal? How successful are you with keeping it up. I would love to know your bullet journal experiences in the comments below!

Zen Art Challenge with Mindful Creativity – Days 15-22

Yay! We have reached week 3 in this months challenge. I know I am late posting this but life is crazy right now and I left this post in my drafts section. Normally I schedule the post and it works out great, however, this time I failed miserably at it. I had been trying my best to do only mono tangles, but as you can tell towards the end, I had to start combining them. Also, You might notice that I have eight days included instead of just seven. This is due to how I combined them. The fourth and final post will include all the tangles up into the end of the month. You won’t want to miss it!


Day 15 – ‘Unknown’

This border tangle looked way too snake-like for me, so I just went with it. I penciled in a log because I am just not sure if I am going to keep it or not. I felt like this tangle needed a background. Until I figure out what the background should be, I am just going to leave it penciled like this. What are your thoughts on a possible background? Let me know in the comments below, as I am always open for suggestions.

Day 16 – Breach

This is hands-down one of my favorites so far. Instead of doing each petal the same, I thought it would be wonderful to do a variation sampler of sorts. I love the way it turned out and how different each pattern came out. I embellished the ends with another tangle called beadlines. I think it finished it up nicely and complimented the main focus tangle.

Day 17 – Lacy, Day 18 – Jasmine, Day 19 – Deelish

I decided to mix all of these up into one mandala. How awesome did it turn out? You be the judge. I will say that I really enjoyed forcing myself out of my comfort zone with this one. Started the center out with Lacy. I decided to use stippling as the shading for the center of each square, I think that it gave it another dimension. The next layer is Jasmine. Now I will say that I did not like the examples of this tangle at all. it didn’t make sense to me as a grid pattern. It made more sense to me as a full circle or a border pattern, so I used it here. I did a little embellishing adding a single petal between each, but it worked out fantastically. Finishing it off with Deelish. This pattern is so versatile. I decided to bring the stippling out to the border to give the whole piece a finishing touch.

Day 20 – Strimonds, Day 21 – Zixts, Day 22 – Balloya

So as you can tell, I decided to do another combination piece. Combining tangles is always something that requires a little thought in how you want the finished product to look like.  In the very center, I decided to add the Strimonds as the centerpiece. This pattern is a great filler for most but it didn’t appeal to me, so I didn’t want much space to be covered with this tangle. I surrounded it with my rendition of Balloya. All of the examples have this pattern with three sides, however, I knew that I needed this to be the bulk of the piece. Finally, I decided to embellish the outer area with Zixts. Its such a fun tangle and worked well with Strimonds, as they looked very similar. All in all, I really can appreciate the color shading which brought a little, fun, into the piece as well.

I would love to know what your favorite tangle mentioned in this post was. Please let me know in the comments below.

All About Paper!

There are so many different types of paper out there. How are we to know what is the best type of paper to buy for the project we want to do. Well, I am here to give a little insight into the different types of paper. Although there is not enough time in the day to go through every type of paper, I will go through some features of paper that you should be looking for, according to which project you want to complete.

FIBERS

What you may not realize is that paper is not just made from trees. A sheet of paper is basically mingled fibers from various resources to include, but not limited to cotton, linen, jute, hemp, rice straw, cellulose, and bamboo. Of all the things paper can be made from, cotton and cellulose are the main types that are available. Cotton paper is considered high quality and can withstand multiple erasings.  If the paper is made of 100% cotton, it can last 100 years or more. There are papers of less cotton percentage that will not last as long and can become fuzzy if manipulated heavily. Cellulose paper is paper made from wood pulp. This type of paper has an acidic compound that destroys or breaks down the paper over time. This type of paper does not usually last long and is biodegradable. There are additives that can extend the life, but these types of paper are usually the least quality.

WEIGHT

One thing to remember is that usually thicker paper can handle the wetter medium. Traditional papers are measured by weight using pounds or grams per square meter (GSM). Inconsistencies of the measurements using pounds have led to using the GSM more often.  When the paper is measured using gsm, the weight of the paper will not change when the size of the paper.  changes.

SIZE

Sizing makes the paper more water-resistant and keeps inks and watercolors bright. Sizing also affects the paper’s archival quality.  There are two ways to size paper, Internal and External. Internal sizing is done while the paper is still in liquid pulp form, while external sizing is applied to the surface after the sheet has dried. These sizing methods can be combined or done independently depending on the needs of the paper being made.

FINISHES

Rough paper is designed by not pressing the paper as it is drying. This paper is good for transparent watercolors or pastels.

Cold Press paper, which is the most popular, is a handmade paper created by repressing a wet sheet.  Machines can also make cold press paper by passing it between rollers. Cold press papers soak up the water quickly and have some texture to it which means it dries pretty quickly.

Hot Press paper is created by running a freshly formed sheet through heated rollers. This creates a very smooth surface that gives you more time to play and manipulate the color on the paper.

Drawing paper has different characteristics that depend solely on the type of media being used. This can include ink, pencils, crayon, charcoal, and markers.

FORMAT

Single sheets may require tape or weights to keep the edges down depending on which media is being used.

Sketchbooks are a great way to take your art on the go. Although this format is typically used for dry medias, there has been a rise in mixed medias being used as well. It all depends on what you want to keep in your travel case.

Blocks are stacks of paper that are glued together on two or more sides are adhered to a backing board. While only one sheet can be used at a time, this format keeps the paper stretched out.

Rolls are usually in economical sizes and can take a more rectangle shape depending on the needs of the piece.

COMMON TYPES

Copy Paper is best used for handwriting and printing. It has a medium weight and has a very smooth texture. I use copy paper for my sketching. It is thin enough that when I’m ready for a final draft or inking, the light from my light box will shine through perfectly.

Cardstock is a mixture between paper and cardboard. It is best used for card-making, paper crafts or other free standing projects. I have noticed that with cardstock, wet medium tends to bleed or feather out further from the original line drawn.

Construction paper is best used for kids crafts. It is lightweight and has a rough texture. It is perfect for a quick project like a paper chain or bulletin board, where the individual creations are not saved long term.

Tissue Paper is very thin, almost translucent and can be used to make a stained glass effect. Tissue paper is used is so many crafts as well as gift bags. The possibilities are pretty ingenious if you take the time to research projects it involves.

Art Papers are usually very high quality with special attention to archival techniques.  These papers are usually more expensive than any other type of paper and are for final drafts, photographs, and cover a wide variety of mediums.


Final Note: As I said in the beginning, creating a post that went over every type of paper would be too exhaustive. There are literally hundreds of paper types I didn’t mention but I hope to add different types of paper to my art review supplies in the future.  If you have a specific request for a type of paper, let me know in the comments below. I look forward to creating with you!

9 Days

As I look at my last post, 9 days ago, I think about everything that has gone on in my life since then. I quit drawing, I quit writing, I quit blogging and I even quit working. My family was in crisis mode. When my family is in crisis mode, we band together and block all other things out. I am so blessed to be a part of the family that surrounds a member if they are going through something traumatic.

In my last post, “Dealing with Loss”, I wrote about losing my sister-n-law. But it was so much more than losing her physically. My brother lost his wife, my 2-year-old nephew lost his mother, and we lost a family member. During a time of loss, often times we lash out where there isn’t a problem. We get bruised easier by things that would normally roll off our back. We break down wherever we can find a place of solitude, for me, it was in the shower.

I also lost my grandmother, who I had been unable to visit for several years due to going through my own life crisis of divorce and becoming a single parent. Readjusting my entire life and trying to find out who I am, who I want to be and who I need to be. Just because I wasn’t able to see her though, didn’t mean that she wasn’t in my thoughts. I have very fond memories of her making me and my sister matching dresses, even if they did have frills. I remember every single Christmas, we would receive a wrapped shoebox full of all the goodies that she baked. And even though we all knew it was goodies, every year we were excited to see what came.

Just like with my sister-n-law, my grandmother always thought of others. They both were the types to go out of their way to make sure that every need they saw was met in one way or another. This world should be sad at the loss of not one, but two giving souls. They will both truly be missed.

So, how do I move on from here? I could stay saddened and burdened by the loss, or I can carry on the works of those two very special ladies. I’ve always had an empathetic point of view. I have always fought for the underdog and supplied where I saw a need. So those things, won’t change for me. But what I did find out was, I don’t have a lot of pictures of myself. Of course, I’m the type that would shy away from them, cursing the flash photography and family gatherings. But what I haven’t been thinking of, is the day I am gone from this earth. What memories will I leave behind?

So, it is my goal to touch more lives. To draw and not be so scared of what others might think about it. To sing, and not be ashamed of my happiness. To play with my kids and bring happiness into their lives. To compliment more, whether it is friends, family, co-workers or strangers. To help when I see someone struggling without having to be asked. To be understanding that we never know what is going on in other’s lives.

So, I know that if 9 days can change my life this drastically, it can change my view of how quickly life events can change others. My advice to you is laugh more, sing more, play more and be more positive. Be the change you wish to see in the world. If we all tried to be a little more positive, we could easily change the world into a more beautiful existence.

Adding Color

As my readers know by now, adding color to my art is always stressful to me. I love leaving them black and white because I love seeing what other people see in the picture without me guiding them to one thing or another. This was no different.

I had created this drawing about a week ago. I was just sitting down and doodling and this is what happened. It just came to life on the page. I belong to a few groups on Facebook specifically geared towards art and Zentangle in nature, and they suggested that I color this one. The few friends I showed also suggested I color it.  Here is the before.

I have to admit, the outflow of compliments on my colored piece made me feel a little more confident. I wanted to drag the colors across the page instead of having one color on one side and one color on the other. So I made sure that I tried to balance the colors as I used them.

I am very interested in your constructive criticism or ideas on how I can improve. So, maybe I might try coloring more since this one was so well received. I would love to know what you think about this doodle in the comments below.