Blue Dogs

I’ve been experimenting with layers and mixed media lately, it’s messy and I am not sure I like the look. I had some fun over lunch the other day, getting back to basics making some blue and green dogs with Daler Rowney inks and water. I’ve included some before and after shots below, so you can see how they develop. I have so much fun making them!



I usually fill the page with dogs and then wait for them to dry so I can outline with a Uni Posca or dip pen, and of course while I am waiting for them to dry I do a whole other page in another color.

Here’s a before and after. I like the crooked bumpy dogs best, they have a lot more character when it is time to outline.



I did a whole page of light green too. Here is one little guy.


A whole page of goofy puppies! I especially like the one in the lower right.





Some New Canvases!

Working on some canvases this week. These two are finished, so I thought I would give you a little peek. I have a few in aqua of different sizes that are all painted and waiting for me to draw on them.

These are fun to make because of all the layers. First, there are two base coats, after these dry I drizzle paint around in swirls. These take quite awhile to dry.


The third layer is ink. I drop it on and then spray with some water and let it move around on the canvas. Then more drying time.


The fourth layer is some matte medium to keep the colors froms lifting if I erase or use some water to erase a mistake.


And the last layer is my lovely Uni Posca Black paint marker. Here is the whole piece. It is 18 x 6.


I also finished this pink one.


I use blue and purple ink on top of the pink paint. I got the paint at Lowe’s for $2. The picture came out a little light a tthe top, it is a dark pink throughout on the background.



Mandalas (pretty circle drawings)

Another of those – “I am not sure how or when it started”. I became interested in mandalas (not the religious part, just the pretty drawings) and I started practicing drawing simple mandalas. Mine usually start out with six or eight “petals”, sometimes I struggle with making the petals more complex or interesting. I can spend hours at a time drawing mandalas in notebooks and scrap pieces of paper. (I like using paint chip samples too.) I’ve even purchased special sketchbooks just for mandalas. I have one with black paper and I’ve been using gold and silver Uni Posca markers to make them really pop.


Notebook sketch.

I am still surprised that many people don’t know what a mandala is. Here is a definition I’ve found online.

mandala: (noun)

  • a geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism.
  • from Sanskrit meaning disk
  • in common use it has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the universe



Notebook sketch.

I started drawing small simple mandalas at first. Trying to learn new ways to make them more fancy and intricate. Having “mandala envy” when I see other more complex mandalas on instagram.


Some pink paint I found on sale at Lowe’s, painted on a 6 x 12 canvas.

I played around with adding color to my backgrounds and tried doing some larger pieces (8×11 and then 18×24) This piece below was a disaster. I had made something that “I” thought was horrible. When I tried to paint over it I ended up with a crazy weird effect and you could sort of see the mandala underneath. I still wasn’t happy with it but decided to draw something anyhow. In the end I managed to save this canvas, so you never know what might happen if you keep trying and not give up on a piece.


I experimented using charcoal for shading.

I moved on to other substrates besides paper and canvas. I think I saw someone draw on plates and I had to give it a try. My mother and I would make trips to Goodwill looking for interesting pieces, something that would be good to draw on. It was a lot of fun, but I had to limit what I took home, I didn’t want to become a hoarder!¬†After we were done hunting for treasures we usally stopped at the Meadow’s for frozen custard. ūüôā

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A little yellow plate from Goodwill.

I had some problems finding the right marker that wouldn’t rub off the plates. At first I settled on the Uni Posca black paint marker. I use this marker for everything and absolutely love it!


Uni Posca image from JetPens

But the Uni Posca weren’t the greatest for this new project. After drawing the design on the plate or cup I would need to spray it with a clear sealant so it wouldn’t rub off. So I went to my trusted site to experiment with other markers.

After going through 4 or 5 different markers, I found some that were much better suited for the task.

I found this marker and it works well on plates and cups.¬†Sakura makes a ton of different pens and markers. (I might have a slight hoarding problem with pens and markers, sshh don’t tell)¬†It¬†doesn’t rub off easily and the surface doesn’t need to be sprayed. It isn’t safe for the dishwasher but can stand up to being touched and dusted with a soft cloth.


Here is another Goodwill find, maybe a vase? It was a find by my mother way back on a shelf and I thought it was so cool, I couldn’t wait to draw on it.


Vase? Lamp? Not sure but it was fun to draw on.

I find myself looking at walls and thinking about drawing on them. Here is a wall in our basement. I didn’t know what to do with the thermostat so I made it the center. It was my first large mandala and there are a few things I might change on it but overall I am happy with it.



Besides drawing bunnies and cats I end up drawing mandalas on almost anything, paper, walls, cups and plates. On the rocks pictured below, I used white ink and a dip pen. I have a love hate relationship with that pen, mostly hate but it is because I need much more practice using it.


Little pebbles from in front of the house.


I need to get to the beach  and find more smooth stones.

I follow a ton of people on Instagram that draw the most complicated and intricate mandalas, I can’t seem to get mine to be so complex, but I try to incorporate bits and pieces of others to keep things interesting.

Here is an example of a beautiful and complex mandala, I wish I could make something like that.

Here is a little pitcher I found at Goodwill. I am pretty happy with how this one turned out! Simple but elegant.


The example below is a lot of fun, it is done with a special marker (Elegant Calligraphy) and when you go over the lines with a wet paintbrush the ink spreads and has leaves behind bits of pink and purple.(you can’t quite see it in this picture) I love using this method, it is so much fun because you aren’t sure what you will get in the end.



Dogs? Chickens? Cows?

I don’t have anything against dogs, and I’ve tried doing some cows and chickens too, but cats are just so much more fun¬†easier.

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I need to practice making more dogs!

If I show someone a bunny or a kitten, they tell me can you do a “such and such” they are my favorite, why don’t you do a (dog, chicken, pig, cow)???To be honest I haven’t worked at making many other animals yet, and¬†I am afraid I will have a mini obsession with pigs or cows, like I did with bunnies. Once I start drawing them it is hard to stop.

Plus, when I switch animals like say from cat to dog, I am always afraid my dog will turn out looking like a cat. I have to remember to do the ears and nose differently and when I make the switch from cats to dogs, the first few dogs are kinda cat like in their appearance.



First attempt at a cow.

I played aound with cows for a few days, I think if drew as many cows as I did cats I would eventually find something about them that I liked. I just need more practice, or more time to practice. Did you ever notice how big a cow’s forehead is? and that a cow’s eyes are right by its ears? These are things you start to notice if you look at a lot of cows on google.



Chicken made with inks and Uni Posca marker.

I’ve been having fun with the chickens, I usually laugh to myself as I finish them up. I just find them so funny. They are always walking around trying to look important with their scrawny necks and bony knees.


Mice are cute too (when they aren’t in your house chewing your walls and pooping on the counter).


Maybe I should practice more pigs too? or is this a dog? The face says pig but the tail says dog. To be honest I think this may have been a non-dominant hand drawing in the truck while Erik was driving.



Well there is no mistaking this one……





More to life than bunnies

There is more to life than bunnies! The purple blob cat shown below was also inspired ¬†by Carla Sonheim’s blob animals. You can check out her blog here.

This cat is one of three, they were also an “accident” just like some of my other work. I didn’t like how dark the paint was on the block. I felt like if I tried to put a cat on the surface it wouldn’t be visible, so I put a thin layer of white paint on top, smearing and blobbing it on purpose.

I don’t draw the cat but rather use water and inks to create a shape. Once the ink is dry I outline with my trusty Uni Posca black paint marker. It is always fun to see what attitude appears as you put in the last few details. Another example of salvaging something that was “ruined”.



Teeny tiny cats. These didn’t turn out quite like I wanted. It’s my own fault, I didn’t prime the little canvases with gesso before I put the green paint down. (in a hurry I guess)

So the green paint wouldn’t completely cover the canvas and then I had the same problem with the brown ink and marker. They actually look pretty good in this picture, but not so much in real life. I kept trying to fix them with a brush marker, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to save these little guys. I did try painting over them with another color to start over but there was something weird about the surface of the canvas, so unfortunately they were retired to the trash.