Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Art. Aaaah, what a lovely thing. The ability to express one's thoughts by putting lines on paper. How nice.

One of my lovely readers (yes, I'm talking about you, Ashley) asked me if I could do a tutorial on how I do my art. First I was like, "sure!". Then I was like, well, I have no idea what sort of art I should do a tutorial on, and besides, doing videos are SUPER annoying (this is why I rarely *read: never* post videos) because they take literally forever to upload. So I'm going to do a post on art, sort of chatting about how I like to produce my art and maybe giving you a couple of tips here and there.
Firstly I'd just like to say that I'm in no way an expert artist. I am learning a lot as I go along, and I think that's really the best way to learn. There's no one way to draw. I'm just doing my best, hopefully producing elephants that look somewhat like elephants, and having lots of fun in the process.
Speaking of elephants, look who we have here!

Behold, you have before your eyes the first official peek into my sketch book. :P
The reason I'm showing you one or two sketch book pages is because I wanted to use my sketch book to illustrate (ten points if you get the pun) my first point.

Point Number 1:
The most important and helpful thing you can do to improve your art is to (yeah, you guessed it) PRACTICE!!!!

You know what they say - practice makes perfect. The only way to improve is to practice.
I'm always drawing. I'll be sketching the backs of people's heads while on the bus (case in point: First drawing on the left page of the photo on the right just above) and all sorts. I'm really lucky that there are great resources out there. One book I've been enjoying lately is How To Draw Everything, by Barrington Barber (note, if you get this book, you'll have to be a bit careful because some of the drawings in it are unnecessarily detailed, especially when it comes to the human body, if you know what I mean). It does have a lot of other great stuff in it though.

The violin drawing on the left page above was done on the morning of a big orchestra concert. The orchestra was all tuned up and was waiting to be called down to the wings of the stage. I was sitting by my violin case so decided to just sketch my violin sitting in the case. An example of how you really can draw anything, anywhere. And really, anything is a great opportunity to practice your skills.

Right, now we'll move on from that little illustration (you know I'm quite proud of that pun, don't you). I'd like to talk about my favourite art supplies (or rather, the art supplies I have, with a commentary on the pros and cons of each supply).

The best thing you can have is this. A book in which to sketch in. Or paper. Any paper will do. Goodness, even dirt will do (you can use a stick to scratch with, if that's how you're planning on doing it). Just find something to use to draw on.

And, just as importantly, find something you can use to draw with. As long as you have something to draw on and something to draw with, you're really all set. Everything else is just extra. (Even the rubber and sharpener aren't completely necessary. Well I guess the sharpener is unless your pencil somehow magically self-sharpens.)

  The next two art supplies on the list are the coloured pencils and watercolour paints. Coloured pencils are great for if you want to colour something in. You have lots of control over what you're putting on the paper, how you're doing it, and the final outcome that is going to be made.

Watercolour paints have the advantage of being really easy to use and spreadable. I love these things. They are in fact, great for backgrounds, for when you want pastel colours, light colours, for when you have a big area to paint and don't want to waste acrylic paint, and just for when you want the outcome to be smooth and beautiful. With watercolours, you mix the paint with water, then brush it onto the page. It really makes a little paint go a long way. I love watercolours, personally. They are so versatile.

Next we have acrylic paints and brushes. (Note: brushes are also useful for watercolour painting.)
Acrylics. Hmmm.. Acrylics are great for when you're doing a detailed scene. Say, I'm painting a flower and I want it to really stand out. I'd use acrylic paints. They don't go as far as watercolours do, because you use the paint by itself. You can mix the colours more easily and make a wide variety. Acrylics are more difficult to make a nice outcome with, maybe easier to mess up.  
And the brushes. Brushes are great. Great for painting.

 The next category of art supplies I'm going to be talking about are pens. Now, if you're not really into artist pens, feel free to skip this bit. If you are, or are curious, read on.
The above are my favourite pens. They are Staedtler fineliners. They are smooth, easy to use, beautiful, come in a wide range of colours (I only have four but would love all the colours haha!) and are so fine. Fineliners are fantastic. They can be used for absolutely anything!! I've used them for decorating my Bible, writing letters, underlining, creating sketchnotes, creating art... really, anything. These things are fantastic.

Ah. These things. On the left we have some Faber Castell Pitt pens. These guys are really awesome. I purchased these tentatively because I wanted some artist pens and didn't really know where to start. It was a good choice.
I have them in four sizes - Bold, Medium, Fine and Small. They are all fineliners, apart from the Bold, which actually has a brush tip. Actually maybe the B stands for Brush, not Bold... anyway I digress! The Brush one is a great option if you want to get into brush pens. The only thing is, it's quite thick and will become worn down really quickly if you press hard. Be careful. The other three are nice. It's great having the different sizes to choose from when lettering.

On the right we have a gold metallic calligraphy pen. I'm not too sure why I bought this, seeing as though I don't use it much. I'd rather have had the silver one, to be honest! Still, I really like how it has two ends, a thick end and a thinner calligraphy end. It is a lovely pen and I have nothing against it, I just don't find it too useful for my purposes!

And last but definitely not least is my Kuretake Zig Calligraphy 2.0 pen. This is pretty cool. It is a proper calligraphy pen, with a lovely end and making a nice line. If you want to try calligraphy or just want a really cool pen, this is a great option. Just be warned though, this particular pen seems to be water based so be really careful if you're using it with watercolor paints or similar.

My biggest piece of art advice, is, as you'll probably remember,

I don't care how you do it, just do it. Actually doing art is so valuable. Drawing, painting, sketching, doodling... it's all very pleasureable and what's more, you'll improve the more you do.

You don't need a bunch of supplies. Pencil and paper is awesome. Anything else is really just extra. You do not need a whole lot of pens, either. I just happen to be a bit of a pen collector. It's quite terrible really.

I'm sorry, Ashley, this didn't really end up being a tutorial, did it! Forgive me!
If anyone would like any specific art 'advice' and you feel I may be able to provide it (who knows, miracles may happen), feel free to leave a comment.

Other than that, have a fantabulous day, and I shall catch you later.
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  1. I really enjoyed reading this!
    I have the Faber Castell Pitt pens. I've only done some experimenting with them (no full-blown art projects) but really like using them, so far. ;)

    The elephant picture is really nice!

    Rachel M.

    1. Thank you! :)
      The Faber Castell Pitt pens are fantastic. You'll love using them.
      I quite like my elephant too. :P

  2. Wow! You are a great artist! I have been looking at writing with calligraphy pens. I'm sure you've seen I've been pinning some of your pins about it! Hope you have a great day! :)

    Allie D.

    1. I have seen that, haha! :) I'm glad you enjoyed my post, Allie. :)

  3. Thanks for doing a post about this Bonnie. I appreciate it. :)
    I think it would be cool to see how you do all your pretty lettering. You know, the fancy kind that you've shown in pictures a couple times... :D

    1. Hmmm, that's an idea. I might do that sometime. I'm not sure how I'd do that unless I did a video and I don't really want to go into videos, but we'll see what happens. :)
      Thank you for your suggestions! It's very nice having suggestions.


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