In this new book I’ll be show you how to create your own inky worlds.
Inside you’ll find:
* step-by-step exercises
* inspiring prompts
* advice on materials
* my top tips and tricks
* and still plenty of pages to colour!
Why a Drawing Book?
I love making my colouring books but I wanted to give you something different and exciting that could inspire you in new ways, as well as giving you lots of pages to bring to life in colour!
Drawing isn’t a talent you have to be born with.
At least not the type of drawing I do.
You can learn to draw.
Pretty easily in fact.
You can learn to draw flowers the way I do.
In fact, you can learn to draw everything I put in a colouring booking.
And what’s more, anyone can learn.
(stop being so skeptical!)
I truly believe anyone can pick up a pencil and doodle a daisy.
It’s just a matter of confidence and knowing a few clever tricks.
And I’m the girl that’s going to share those with you!
Here are some typical reactions to the new book
(and my responses!)
1. ARE YOU CRAZY? Why are you giving away all your secrets?
Because sharing is caring! And I LOVE to see other people being inspired and creative, so why not share the tricks and tips that helped me draw the books? The more people drawing, colouring and being creative the better!
2. I don’t like drawing. I only colour.
Remember the time beforeyou were a Colourist?
Something made you pick up a pen or pencil and discover how wonderfully creative and happy you could be.
Maybe(just maybe) you could draw too?
Maybe this is the thing that will help you pick up a pencil and try it.
Maybeyou’ll love it just as much as colouring?!?
3. I’m terrible at drawing. It’s not for me.
I’ll share a secret. I’m also terrible at drawing.
Well, some types of drawing.
I struggle drawing people and my perspective is terrible.
However, I’m pretty good at the style of drawing you see in my colouring books.
There are many types of drawing.
The trick is to find the one that’s right for you.
And the good news is, the type of drawing I do is all method based.
Learn the basic flower formula and BOOM!
You can draw LOTS of flowers.
It’s just practise…
I’ll explain EVERYTHING in the new book!
So there you have it. A new book, out in October 2019.
For 6 months I won’t be posting, commenting or updating my:
Biggest Mistake Ever or Inky Genius?!
I’ve been an advocate of the Digital Detox for years, but now I’m going one step further.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE social media.
It’s an incredible gift and I’m convinced the Colouring Community wouldn’t exist without it.
For a while now I’ve found the time and energy I spend on all things digital creeping up, at the determent to other parts of my creativity.
So I want to see what happens when I strip out the social media.
I’ve experimented with scheduling and outsourcing.
I’ve tried mega batching and ‘non digital’ days, but here’s the thing – I just need a big chunk of time to explore ideas and make work.
There’s a difference.
Will I be Forgotten?
As someone who has the privilege of talking to hundreds of thousands of you every day on social media, this plan scares the pants off me.
Will I be forgotten?
Will the algorithms hate me?
Will I become irrelevant?
Will someone else take my place in your hearts?!?!
And the answer is: Probably.
But a tonne of AMAZING things could happen too:
A positive effect on mental health
For me, it’s a risk worth taking.
I want to wear an Apron again.
Ironically, the thing that finally made me decide to do this, was a photo on Instagram. Oliver Jeffers posted this picture of him working in his studio.
And you know what I thought?
‘I want to wear an apron again’
(Well actually, being Scottish I thought ‘I want to wear a pinny again’, but I digress…)
When I was at Art School I wore a paint splattered apron every day.
I was messy and creative and I didn’t have a laptop – I just made work.
I had ideas and made things.
I made good stuff and terrible stuff and everything in between.
It was GLORIOUS.
I’m going to wear an apron again.
One thing I will continue to do, is my newsletter – all be it a little differently.
From January, the newsletters won’t be weekly, but I’ll send one out every month or so with a sneak peek at some of the things I’m working on in the studio – a preview of the new work I’ll be sharing on my socials come summer.
So if you want to see what I’m up to, you need to sign up for my newsletter!
We’ll still approve your Colouring Gallery uploads and Kim who helps me here in the studio will continue to answer Facebook Messages and studio emails on my behalf. She’s a gem!
But other than that, it will be digital silence from me till June!
Last Live Video
I’m going to do a Facebookand Instagram LIVE video at 3pm UK time on Wednesday 19th December to talk about my 6 month social sabbatical – why I’m doing it, what I’m scared of, if I think it will be hard?!
If you can’t join me for the live, catch up later when the video is posted to my feed.
Merry Christmas and See You in Summer!
So when we close down the studio computers for the holidays this week, I’ll also be deleting my apps and signing out of social media. I’m scared and excited and nervous – which is always a good sign!
It’s been another wonderful year for me in the studio and all of that was made possible by you, the people reading this! I wish each and every one of you a cheery and colourful Christmas.
And don’t even get me started on my love of the ‘Life Hack’…
Anyway, I thought I’d add my own inky voice to this pool of online wisdom.
So without further ado, I present to you:
5 Supermarket Items to have in your Colouring Kit
1. Baby Oil
I use baby oil as a blending solution for coloured pencils. You have to use it sparingly to avoid turning your paper into a slippery mess – a little goes a long way! Watch my Baby Oil blending tutorial here to see more.
If you’ve used chalk pastels to create a background or particularly soft colouring pencils that are prone to smudging, a quick mist of hairspray works like Artist’s Fixative and will hold all those colours in place when you are finished colouring. Go outside, stand back to void dripping and give the picture a light mist.
I like to use the small cotton wool balls for blending chalk pastel backgrounds. I use a scalpel to scrape a small amount of chalk dust onto the paper, then use a cotton wool ball to blend the chalk into the paper. Watch my chalk pastel background tutorial for more info.
5. Nail Files / Emery Boards
I use emery boards (or sheets of sandpaper) to super sharpen pencil points or file away stained bits on blending stumps (used with blending solution) that might otherwise contaminate my colours.
Many of these items feature in my tutorial videos, so take a peek at those and see how exactly I put these simple grocery store bits and pieces to work in the studio!
Do you have any clever tips and tricks using odds and ends from around the house?!
When I find something that works well, I stick with it.
That’s why I’ve been using the same bits of kit since Art School.
Yes, I’ve flirted with shiny new things, fancy things sent to me or new inventions, but ultimately I keep coming back to the same core 5 things that I’ve been using since I was 19.
The old faithful’s!
1. Staedtler pigment liners
It’s no secret that I love these pens and have done since I was at Art School. Almost every drawing I create is inked with these. My favourite is the 0.2 nib but I also love a 0.05 for fine details and a 0.3 for thick, bold outlines.
2.Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser
I think this is the perfect eraser. It cleanly lifts off graphite, is non smudgy and is firm enough that you can use a scalpel to carve it into a point to erase tiny details. I’m not a fan of coloured or putty erasers. I find they make a big old mess. Sometimes simple is best.
3. Daler Rowney Layout Paper, A3 pad
A smooth, thin paper stock which is perfect for the type of drawing I do. I draw in pencil initially, then I place a second sheet of paper over the top of the pencil drawing and trace it in ink. Layout paper is perfect for this as the smooth surface allows my pen to glide over the page without feathering or smudging but is also thin enough that I can see through to the pencil drawing below.
4. Helix Compass
I love a wobbly, hand drawn circle, but if I need to be a bit more accurate, I use my compass. I’ve tried all sorts of fancy ones but I keep coming back to this trusty one I’ve had since school.
5. Scotch Tape
Boring but essential! I often create my drawings over 2 or more sheets of paper, tacking them together with Scotch Tape as I go. This tape is perfect as it peels off cleanly, so when I come to scanning the inked drawings I can ‘dismantle’ the original compositions and scan them page by page without tearing the paper or having horrible shiny tape marks on them.
What are your go-to Tools?
We all have them.
Whether it’s the pen you need for adding highlights or a sharpener that you can’t be without, I love our loyalty to the tools that help us create!
That little spark that used to fire you up when you got creative fades away…
When this happens, you need to take action fast!
All Creative people lose their spark now and again.
Great Creatives are just good at finding it again, quickly!
Here’s 5 quick ways to regain your Colouring Mojo!
1. Embrace the wildcard!
Colour something COMPLETELY different to your usual type of colouring picture. If you usually colour nature scenes, try a typography book. If intricate geometrics were your thing, give some big bold florals a shot. The idea is to embrace something that is alien and new and see if that sparks a new interest for you!
2. Swap Shop.
Ask some friends or fellow colouring group members if they fancy doing a colour swap. You each package up some of you colouring materials and swap for a week or so. You could swap pencil sets and see if you prefer Polychromos over Inktense or ‘specialist tools’ and perhaps exchange a blender pencil for a glitter gel pen. This is a great (and inexpensive!) way to try out some new tools and have fun experimenting.
3. Learn a new trick.
Hop onto YouTube and search for ‘colouring tutorial’. There are SO many great ones. I’ve posted a list of a few of my favourites here and of course there are my ones on my website. Learning a new skill is so exciting and will open up a whole new world of possibilities, so why not give it a shot? You could learn how to add sparkle to treasure, how to colour the scales of a dragon or some cool techniques for skin tone.
This is my secret weapon when I’m feeling a little sluggish in the studio. A good old clean up and declutter of my work space is so refreshing. Organise your pens and pencils by brand, wipe down your desk, water your plants, clean your erasers and blending stumps, empty your pencil sharpener. Soon you’ll have a colouring kit so inviting you’ll want to dive in and get going again!
5. Share your work!
Creativity can be lonely, so it’s nice to get some feedback every now and again and also have a bit of accountability. Post a WIP (work in progress) picture in a Colouring Facebook Group, show your best friend your book, upload a snap to my Colouring Gallery or take your work along to a local Colouring Group. It’s easy to shy away from a project when there’s no one asking how it’s going, but if you share your work and put yourself out there, it makes the process less isolating and you are more likely to charge ahead and complete the picture so you can share the final piece. You can do this!
And if none of these tickle your fancy, you could try these ideas.
I think the thing to remember is, Artists have been battling this issue since time began.
We all suffer from it. You are not alone.
And you will find you spark again, you just need to keep fighting for it!
Each week the contestants were given a challenge.
Make a self portrait.
Make art from these car parts.
Make something that tells a story…
The constraints were beautiful and the element of surprise and the short time scale meant the Artists were forced into creating fast and instinctively.
Clearly we can’t all be contestants on an Art TV show, but if you want to rekindle some spark to your art, try imposing some challenges on yourself!
Here’s 8 Colouring Challenges to Stretch your Creativity.
1. Three Colour Challenge! Limit your colour palette to just 3 colours: 1 key colour, a lighter or darker shade of that key colour and a contrasting accent colour. For example: Purple, pale lilac and mint green. Go!
2. Monochrome madness. Pick one colouring pencil and ONLY use that colour! This works best with pencil so you can get the full range of shades. Press hard for dark and apply less pressure for lighter shades.
3. Inky Goodness. Use a black pigment liner and embellish the illustration with black details. Fill solid areas of black or create patterns such as polka dots or stripes. You can use different nib thicknesses to vary the weight of the lines, I’d suggest a something super fine and delicate and something a bit heavier (i.e a Steadtler Pigment Liner in 0.05 and 0.3).
4. Flip your Book. Rotate your book 180 degrees and colour the page upside down. No cheating!! This forces you to view the illustration from a different angle and will give you a whole new perspective on your colouring!
5. Collaborate. Chose a page, colour a bit, then pass it on to a friend! See how long it takes for the page to make it around your group of friends and become fully coloured!
6. Crazy Colour Palette. Pick a page then use the most wacky and unrealistic colours you can imagine! Think luminous pink leaves, purple owls and green ladybirds. Let your imagination run WILD and create a wonderfully weird world of colour!
7. Use the your other hand. If you are right handed, try colouring with your left hand. And vice versa. Be warned! This one is TRICKY! Pick a page with lots of big shapes, stop worrying about going over the lines and give yourself permission to scribble a little. Using your other hand will trick you into using different parts of your brain and allow you to focus on the basics such as hand eye co-ordination and not get sucked into a perfectionism spiral.
8. Hot or Cold? Colour a page using either a hot or cold colour palette. Hot colours are yellows, oranges and reds. Cold colours are blues, greens and greys. And don’t worry if the subject of the page doesn’t match the colour palette!
I hope those ideas help nudge you out your comfort zone and into somewhere a little more scary and lot more creative!
I love taking a peek inside other people’s studios to see what they use.
I’m not talking materials like pens and pencils.
I mean the other stuff.
Here’s 5 things I need to make great work.
Headphones (Noise cancelling)
I have Bose ones just now, but any good, over the ear ones work for me. I listen to podcasts, audio books, happy pop songs or Brain fm whilst I’m working. Here’s some things I’ve listened to recently. But sometimes I just need quiet. It feels like they lock all my ideas in my head till I’m ready to draw them!
LED Light Box
If I’m tracing several layers of paper, I need a lightbox. This LED one is slim and bright, perfect for busy studios.
When I first started out, I couldn’t afford a lightbox, so I traced by putting my desk lamp on the floor, then leaning over it on my Pyrex Lasagne dish.
FYI, it works, but the dish needs to be SPOTLESS!
Anglepoise lamp with Daylight bulb
Good work needs good lighting. There are lots of variations of this style of lamp and in truth, they all work perfectly, I just happen to have this one. The important part is the bulb. Daylight or Craft bulbs emit a white / blue light which mimics natural light and allows you to see colours more accurately. I also find this light reduces my dreaded migraines…
Admittedly, I’m not great at keeping my houseplants alive, but I think they are super important for any workplace, especially a creative one. They enhance air quality and provide that important dash of living green that I think we all need to keep us happy and healthy. Some good options for those of us who struggle to keep them alive are Spider Plants, Pothos, Ivy and don’t forget the Succulents.
Those old faithful things that we come back to again and again.
Here’s the 5 Bits of Colouring Kit I use every day.
Faber Castell Polychromos. These colouring pencils are divine to use, but pricey. Let’s be honest, I would never have been able to afford them at Art School which makes me hesitant to recommend them, but they really are lovely to colour with. The pigment is rich and dense whilst the leads are firm enough to sharpen to a good point but luxuriously soft enough to blend like a dream. They have a HUGE range of colours and also offer the option of ‘open stock’ (so you can buy individual pencils, more green anyone?!). Lastly, they are oil based as opposed to wax (like say Prismascolor) so no yucky wax build up or bloom will appear over time.
Another great pencil option:
Not as expensive are the Staetler Ergosoft range. I’ve loved these pencils for a long time. They are a great entry level pencil, soft enough to blend, hard enough to sharpen nicely. Admittedly Staedtler don’t do a huge range of colours, but the joy of pencils is that you can blend and mix your colours to create a wide range of shades. These are a great set for anyone just getting into colouring or if you are gifting a book and want to give some pencils with it.
I’m going to cheat and recommend 2 things here. Firstly the simple double hole sharpener. Does what you need it to do. Great for pencil cases. But if you sharpen a lot of pencils, treat yourself to the Rotary Sharpener that clamps to your desk. Blister free sharpening, oh the luxury!
Sakura Jelly Roll White Gel Pen.
Sakura do a great range of gel and glitter gel pens (for when you are feeling fancy!) but if I had to recommend getting one, it would be a white. Adding a few little white highlights can make berries look shiny, eyes glisten and treasure sparkle!
Prismacolor Colourless Blender Pencil.
I find this wax blender is the softest and best for smooshing colour about when blending.
What are your go-to Colouring Kit items?
And what can you live without?
(I’m on the fence about battery powered sharpeners!)
Part of the fun of any creative practise is experimenting and discovering the tools you like.