Saturday, January 28, 2012


Sometimes I wish I had eight arms (and some coordination).  Then I could REALLY get things done.

I found a library card that I had liberated from a used book store in my stash yesterday, and since 2012 is the official Year Of Using Up All The Good Stuff, I started doodling on it.  I know you're as shocked as I am that it's another octopus.  I don't know why I have them on the brain lately, but I predict that you might see one more yet.

I coloured her in with Inktense water-soluble pencils and a water brush, then went over the lines with a Staedtler pigment liner.

Then I thought how nice she would like (and how beautifully she fit!) on the back of this tag in my current art journal and voila!  A little bit of messing around on the top of the tag and I called it done.

Bonus photo, because I love these and I know you do too: the journal on my messy, messy desk.


Love Shelley

Friday, January 27, 2012

Go the f*&^ to sleep!

My kids have been really antsy at night lately, and can't seem to stay in bed or go to sleep within a reasonable amount of time, which makes me irrationally angry and eye-twitchy and control-freaky.  So last night I sat at the kitchen table so they couldn't sneak around without getting caught, and drew a little bit.  I had been inspired by Nina Johansson's art, specifically this piece.  Don't you love the internet?  I've had some really great 'aha!' moments lately while I've been surfing around - like this reminder that you don't have to draw THE ENTIRE ROOM, you can pick a corner or a bit and just draw that.  That realization takes away the pressure of trying to figure out how to fit it all in, and where to even start.

Next time I think I'll outline in ink though.  The pencil is pretty soft-looking and I think I'd like it bolder.  And the perspective issues will probably straighten themselves out with practice, right?  (Say yes!)

Over and out.

Love Shelley!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Note to self.

Because sometimes I forget.

Love Shelley!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Oops, I did it again.

Last week we spent a few days in Edmonton and visited the West Edmonton Mall.  There's lots there to do and our fun didn't depend on the weather.  We did lots of cool stuff, including a quick 18 holes at the mini golf course.  I fell in love with the scenery - someone did an amazing job of designing all this whimsical scenery, so I took a bunch of pictures and later drew this... marker with pencil while the kids were swimming.  I tried something new (I had very limited supplies with me but that only seems to make me more creative!)  I used a red Inktense pencil to do the shading on the drawing before I added any water-colour to the drawing.

As I was doing it I wondered why I don't do this more often.  It makes sense, because once the Inktense is dry it's waterproof and won't move around.  Then I added the yellow and really liked it.

So around the marker, I added a very pale wash of blues and greens, thinking I would add some text later on.  Now it's a week later and I really wanted to finish it tonight.  That light wash seemed way TOO light, so I started adding darker watercolour with abandon.  Then I discovered that the word "MINI" was actually done in a water-soluble pen, although I can't for the life of me remember what I used.  A fine liner?  Must be.  Anyway, it smeared all over the place, so I added more dark blue and purple to even it out.  In for a penny, right?

Now, even with the white outlines, I know I overdid it.  Again.  When will I learn?  

At any rate, it was an interesting game.  My 7 year old son took WAY more than the 1 mulligan per hole we agreed on, and somehow still "won".  My husband, meanwhile, kept giving me suspicious looks when I got par or lower on a hole, and now I'm pretty sure he thinks that I'm secretly golfing when he's not around.  I guess it's not the worst thing I could be doing behind his back - wait till he sees me bowl!!

Until next time...


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Goodbye, comfort zone. (**CAUTION: BOOBIE DRAWINGS IN THIS POST**)

Well so far January has been pretty exciting!

In the last week I've stepped well outside of my comfort zone.   First, I did this:

This is the Mindbender, the awe-inspiring roller coaster at West Edmonton Mall.  It's 14 stories high, and is the largest triple-loop roller coaster in the world.  I told myself 14 stories is no big deal, after all, I rappelled down the front of a 17-story building last summer.  Well, the Mindbender makes the DropZone event look like an afternoon in a hammock.  It only lasts a few minutes but it's still pretty (terrifyingly) memorable.  Also?  Turns out I scream like a little girl on fast rides.  I did not know that about myself.


Then, I did something I've been talking about for the last 6 months.  I went to a life-drawing evening.  This is way out of my comfort zone because a) naked people and b) I've never gone to anything like this before.  It's not a class; so there is no leader as such.  It's just a person (NAKED) that we all gather round and draw.

Well it turned out to be a really nice evening.  It was my first time sketching; it was the model's first time modelling.  In my head I imagined that the model would be silent and aloof and very separate from the people drawing her; but she turned out to be really friendly and cheerful and came around at all the breaks to visit and see what everyone's work looked like.  It was a very low-key, casual, and thoroughly enjoyable evening.  She started off with 1 and 2 minute poses:

Then moved on to 3 and 5 minutes:

And then 10, 20, and finally a single 40 minute pose at the end.

If you're looking at the pictures and laughing at some of the details, don't worry, I laughed too.  But they're pretty strict with the timer - when it goes off, she strikes a totally different pose.  So I got interrupted a couple of times.  I'll learn to judge my time better and not give her half a head of hair or only one thumb next time.   Also my only goal for the evening was to be able to look at my sketches and recognize that it was a human being.  So I'm happy with my progress so far!

Now... what will I do this week to keep up this fabulous momentum?

Stay tuned...

Love Shelley!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

I have a good feeling about this year.

I don't believe in the Mayan prophecy... after all, if the Mayans were so smart, there would be Mayans.

So I think 2012 is going to be a really epic year.  I feel like in 2011 I was just warming up, just testing my wings.  All the big things I did last year were actually just medium things. This year I'm planning on taking off and amazing everyone, even (especially) myself.  I don't think there are any limits to what I can do.  

This is a small (actually tiny) example of what I'm talking about.  I have lots of art journals and I've messed around in all of them.  Then a little chunk fell off the back of one that I cut in half (don't ask - you would be horrified at what I did to this poor book). But instead of chucking those pages, I decided that it would be kind of a starter kit. Since then, I've just been taping a new page onto the back of it every time I decide to work on it.  I'm breaking EVERY RULE over here, you guys.  HAHAHAHA!!  Okay, so that's a super minor example, but you get the idea. I'm keeping an open mind and doing things the way I want, not the way they've always been done.

I've also added some tip-ins and fold-outs.  Because I love a book that's interactive, that you have to touch to find the secret hidden bits.

I glued two of the tags I had back-to-back and taped them in.

In these two pics you can see the fold-out open (up) and closed (down).

Also, this "page" is actually an envelope I taped on with masking tape. Right now it's the back of the journal but I'm pretty sure it won't stay that way for long.  I'm also dreaming up something interesting to put inside the envelope. Maybe blackmail photos or something.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for visiting!

Love Shelley!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Hi guys!!

So are you all signed up for Nathalie's Creative Jump Start 2012?  YOU'RE NOT?!?!  Well GO!  GO RIGHT NOW!!!!  No really, I'll wait.  It's free, and it's amazing.  It's amazing, and it's free!  Some of your very favourite artists have put together tutorials in various formats that will give your creativity a kick in the pants.  It's possible that I'm raving prematurely, because to be honest I've only watched the first video - but you can see by the impressive lineup of artists that this is going to be an EPIC series.

The first artist featured (and wow, did this start with a bang) is Dina Wakley.  I've been a big fan of hers for a very long time; her style is very free and inspiring and COLOURFUL!  And we all know how much I like bright vibrant colours.  Her Creative Jump Start is a warm-up exercise that she does before she starts creating for real.  Although you may agree with me that some of her "warm-ups" are cooler than some of my finished work!  But that's neither here nor there.

I followed her example, and this is what I came up with tonight.  Unfortunately it's a bit too late to start any "real" art, but I really like these the way they are!  Check them out:

These tags are basically finished.  I'd probably stick them on an art journal page as is.  OR cut bits out of them to use on something else. I used Tattered Angels Glimmer Mists on them, Staz-On black ink for the stamping, and Sharpies to do the writing.

The next three.  I'd probably add to these, possibly with some words on Dymo tape; and then use them on art journal pages or in letters to my pen pals.  Especially the one that says "Do not look inside."  That really has to go on the outside of a cool envelope, don't you think?  I like to keep the mailman on his toes.  Hee!

The final three.  The middle one is the only one where I changed up the technique a little.  I got out a stencil and some Mr. Huey's white spray, and gave it a spritz.  However, the dark blue ink underneath wasn't dry yet, so the white turned light blue.  However, I really like how it turned out.  I fiddled a little extra with the one on the right.  Dina's work is really organic, her stuff just seems to turn out right away, but I liked the red on the edge so I purposely added more, even though it totally felt like cheating.  I was trying to get some yellow in there too but my yellow wouldn't spray so I was just dripping it everywhere and making a colossal mess.  SO MUCH FUN!!!!

Just to give you an idea of one reason why this jump start grabbed me so instantly: Dina mentioned that she often does her warm up exercises on manila tags, and I just HAPPEN to have a drawer full of them.  That I organized just last week.  Serendipity?  I think so.

Want to see some close-ups?  Well, okay!

On this first one, I loved how the two colours ran together; you can also see a hint of the shimmer that the spray leaves behind.

Better view of the shimmer/glimmer; kind of strangely focused though.  I only have my iPhone for taking pics at the moment, but these did turn out surprisingly well!

This one is almost too simple; it definitely needs something.  But I so love how the red blends into the orange that I couldn't bear to cover it up yet.  

And finally, this one is much more messy-looking but I love the distressed effect that I (accidentally) got.

Now, I just hope that all this mojo lasts until the next time I get a crack at my art supplies.  Stay tuned!!!

Love Shelley!