The Juiciest Brushes In My Studio

*Reading Time: 2 minutes*

One thing that I love about making traditional illustration is not just the surface I’m working on, or the brand of paint I swear by, but it’s the watercolor brushes that I use.

Each brush has it’s own style of mark making,

Each brush has it’s own flair.

The way the handle is held, the way the bristles dance back and forth on the painting, this results in it’s own personality.

It’s time to tell you about my favorite watercolor brushes in my studio: Princeton Neptune.

Continue reading “The Juiciest Brushes In My Studio”

Dragon Scale Sorcery

*Reading Time: 3 minutes*

This is the second installation of my vixen series! I wanted to play with perspective a bit and have a dynamic looking image. So I came up with this! Once my sketch on my Pastelbord was finished, I erased as much as I could and inked with my Micron pens. Since some parts of our foxy lady was closer and other parts were farther away, I dramatic line weight difference was key.

Pro tip! Inking on Pastelbord is much easier with a fresh pen. Linework application will be much smoother.

After the ink was completely dry, I applied my first wash of red. Working wet into wet, I layered on color after color, eventually darkening it to my liking. You can still see the graphite marks are still peeking through. Be very careful with sketching too dark on Pastelbord. I’ve said it once, and I’ll be happy to say it again: this surface clings onto pastel, charcoal, colored pencil and graphite extremely well. So lifting marks (even with a kneaded eraser) can prove difficult.

All in all though, I’m very loose with color bleeding to other areas. Because of the surface’s thickness, lifting watercolor is fantastic. You can lift almost back to white!



After mixing brown and ivory black paint, I kept chipping away at the background. As I figured out my color scheme ahead of time, I thought now would be a great chance to mess with different breeds of foxes, so I decided to make her a Grey fox.  Once finished, I started layering washes on the star of the show! I wanted a warmer palette as a contrast to her cooler counterpart, so I layered in reds for her hair and incorporated some background color that bled in.

Pro tip #2! When layering an under-painting, those colors will show through on the final piece. Under-paintings can add depth to the overall image and can harmonize your colors when done right.

After getting the basic colors in, I layered more and more to build up the shadows. Once everything was set, it was time to break out my Prismacolors! I’ve never worried about conserving whites while working with these. That sandy surface really does wonders with colored pencils. My white always does the trick.

Pro tip #3! When working on cold press or textured surfaces, make sure you have sharp tips on those pencils for stark, crisp marks.


After going back and forth, adding details from the red and green secondary light, to markings, to fire, to the shines of her eyes, our vixen is complete!



Until next time!


Cerulean Comfort

*Reading Time: 2 minutes*

As the amount of work that needs to be done has trickled down, I’ve took it upon myself to make my own project. A series of painting depicting vixens. This was my way to express whatever ideas came to mind at any point in time, and with no need to spend days or weeks at a time finalizing an image, I stuck with a smaller sizes for the body of work.

So let’s get started!

I sketched right on my Pastelbord with graphite, working, reworking, and re-reworking my ideas. There is a definite con to that, however. Pastelbord has a very sandy textured surface, so it grabs a strong hold of charcoal, graphite, and pastel. With that being said, graphite is difficult to erase completely. Once that was figured out, I had to make adjustments on my material choice.

After everything was as solid as it can be, I inked over it with Micron inks, playing around with line weight for variation. I decided to use ink instead of painting directly over it, because the watercolor would show the pencil marks no matter how much I erased. My original intent was to use only colored pencil, but I opted for watercolor instead.

I cracked open my Reeves watercolor set, and got to painting.

My first application was a light wash of Phthalo Blue mixed with white. I then began to apply more and more layers to my shadows, beefing up our scaly guy and making him more three-dimensional.


After those layers were semi-dry, I began laying pure pigments of Phthalo diluted with water, building up those layers. Layering some more color in, I added some violet to my darkest shadows and began painting in the scales. The big guy was eventually finished, and I tackled his fluffy companion.


Using the same methods as before, I worked on the vixen, layering yellows, oranges, and browns for her fur and dress. Once everything was dried, I went over with colored pencil to sharpen some details, enhance textures and add additional coloring to the overall image.

And voila, we are done!

Cerulean Comfortsmall
Watercolor, ink, and colored pencil on 5x7in Pastelbord

This was such a pleasure to work on. I can’t wait to submit more!



Local Art Opportunities

*Reading Time: 3 minutes*

If you’re like me and you might not know where to go next with your art, why not reach out locally? Explore your city, scope the stores, check out the art scene. You might find out there’s more than you thought. And who knows, all that aimless wandering can lead you to an artistic adventure right in your backyard!

Yesterday was a prime example of just that. I attended two events on a last minute whim. One is called Art on the Porches which is an annual event where local small businesses, vendors, painters, and artisans sell their work and wares to the community. Everyone’s works of art displayed on beautiful residential porches.

Three days prior I saw a flyer calling for art. This lead me to a great opportunity to partner with the Public Arts Task Force and submit two paintings to their silent auction fundraiser. Now, I’ve been working digitally for a while but I have the softest spot for traditional media. Not only haven’t I worked with Masonite before, but I also picked back up acrylic as well! Talk about an evening of experimentation!

After finishing this one, I started having an internal war with myself. I fell hard and I didn’t want to let this kitten go! *UPDATE* She’s found her forever-home!


“Tea and Company” Acrylic on hardboard 8×8


Come on now, how could you say no to that little face?

The internal struggle continued every time I looked at that piece. I ended up creating a second one just in case. After much coaxing and prodding from my family, I caved and sent them both in. Not bad for three days worth of work. Though I’m sad to see two wonderful pieces go, I’m so happy that I was able to contribute something to a great cause. I hope they go out to great homes.

“Spring Aromas” Acrylic on Masonite 8×8


After that event wrapped up, Plazapalooza was next on my to-do list and I met some more amazing people there. Everyone at both locations were so kind, exciting to talk to and had valuable information to share. I love that about art communities. There were people that were just starting out to those who have been in the market for decades. Everyone was willing to answer my questions and chat with me. It was an honor and a pleasure to fill my day surrounded by so much talent.

I’m telling you, if you want to try something new, go outside! Explore! I would have never found out about these local art opportunities if I didn’t wander around and end up at my art store. This was such a rewarding day and I could have never asked for anything better. I’ll start doing that now. If I feel artistically aimless, I’m going to explore my surroundings and see what’s happening around the community.

I wrote another post with 4 more tips on what to do when you’re stuck in an art rut. Check it out!

Have you taken advantage of your local community to do something new? Share in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!