Drawing the Tropics

Sharing some photos from the drawing and shading workshop I hosted last Saturday. I live for days like that... Meeting seriously awesome people, sharing my passion, making art, LAUGHING, connecting, helping to accommodate the courage it takes to show up... the list goes on and on.

I feel very lucky! Thanks to all the ladies who came and made it such a perfect time!

Here's a break-down of what we did:

Started with some fun, blind contour line drawings then went into our shading. I did some demos and shared some tricks. I had them create gradients with their B3 pencils and then forced them to draw tin foil and cotton balls!! Mwwaahaha scary stuff. But they killed it! I love these drawings!


The last hour was spent drawing and shading a tropical leaf or flower. Here are some Photoshop collages of their beautiful final pieces.


Making Meaning with Paper

For the past month I've been teaching an architecture class to kids ages 6-9... young ones! So really, "architecture" is a loose term for what the class is really about. The focus is to create meaning while learning about form, perspective and scale. I'm having way too much fun coming up with projects for the kids! In order to better understand what I'm teaching, I ended up doing each project myself. Such a good time!

1st Project: Paper Pavilion

This project is about creating structures for a world's fair. Students were asked to come up with their own fair theme and then using toilet paper rolls painted white, make models of their structures. Along with my own model (my world's fair is about colonizing space) I've chosen my youngest student, Hanna's model. She is 7 years old and has amazing instincts. I'm in awe of this kid's sense of colour and composition. Her theme? A world's fair dedicated to teaching kids "how important art is to making the Earth a happy place" (her words, not mine)

 Colonizing Space Pavilion - by ME!

Colonizing Space Pavilion - by ME!

 Art Pavilion - Hanna 7yrs old

Art Pavilion - Hanna 7yrs old


I've always loved the transformative power of make-up! My friend Jen and I decided to dress up like pop zombies for Halloween and I just came across the photos of our costumes... we looked scary and awesome! I didn't know if I'd be able to pull off doing the make-up but the tutorial I found on youtube was great and after a few glasses of wine I was totally into it.

We used cheap Halloween face paint in white, green, blue and yellow. For my face I mixed the green and yellow and for Jen's the blue, green and white. Then for the black I used liquid eyeliner and used a small paint brush to fill in the shapes with lipstick and white face paint. We really freaked people out!

Link to the tutorial I watched ------> https://youtu.be/ljjf8eqzZSM

Space Rocks: Step-by-Step

Here are some simple instructions on how to create a space rock. 

For these rocks I chose my favourite medium gouache because of it's ability to be both translucent and opaque.

To create opaque colours introduce only a small amount of water at a time to the guache, mixing the two really well, until you've reached the consistency of heavy cream.

To create a more translucent "wash" you add more water. Or you can start with a small puddle of water and slowly add gouache to it.

Gouache drys very fast... But when you use a clean, damp brush it will re-wet the paint, allowing you to manipulate it. You can smooth out edges and even pick colour up off of the rock.

10 Steps to a Space Rock

1. After you find a reference picture of your nebula, paint your rock black using a few coats of slightly watered down acrylic paint. I have chosen the the Eskimo Nebula: A planetary nebula 5000 light years away. Captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, this nebula displays what happens when a medium sized star runs out of fuel. In approximately 5 billion years from now the Sun will create a planetary nebula of it's own.


2. Select the colours of gouache you intend to use. Place a very small amount of the colours needed for the faintest areas of the nebula onto your palette.

3. Using a #1 brush, dip into your clean water and gather enough of it to create a small, thumbtack-sized puddle on your palette.

4. Add colour to the puddle until you have a transparent, watery wash. For my sample rock the colour was a bluish white.

5. Apply wash to rock using small circular motions. You can then blend the edges of your first coat using a clean, damp brush.

6. Apply the next colour using the same technique. For my rock the second colour was a greenish yellow. You'll notice that the colours pool in certain areas. This is good! Those areas will dry a little more opaque. You can guide where the paint pools using your brush. Look at your reference picture to see where your nebula is more opaque to see where you should pool your paint.

7. After you have painted layers of washes for the most translucent areas of the nebula it is time to bring in more opaque washes of the same colours. This is when you use those "pooled" areas to guide where this next layer goes. For my rock I added a stronger, more opaque yellow then orange.

8. After you've added the more opaque washes you will add a much brighter layer using gouache that has had much less water added to it. This is where I added my bright yellow and white.

9. Now it's time to use a clean, damp brush to blend the edges and define your nebula.

10. After letting the rock completely dry you can coat it with varnish or clear nail polish. Try a test area because some varnishes will smudge the paint.

Making a Scene

I'm a collector, I keep everything. I save packaging, scraps of paper, Styrofoam and toilet paper rolls. I impulse-buy toys, pick up rocks, collect figurines and books. I love creating landscapes and spontaneous compositions from the treasures I've saved. This process not only inspires ideas for illustrations but for drawing classes too!