My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


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InkTober days 9-12

InkToberAfter a few days spent in the car visiting colleges, this is what I came home and drew. The way there on Sunday was nice with lots of pretty fall foliage. The way home pouring rain. 😦

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners
I’m cheating a bit, using this extra painting with ink from last week. Forgive me but using it helps me catch up with my InkTober drawings. For any watercolor beginners out there, I share my steps in creating this easy painting in this post. It covers a few watercolor techniques.

Run InkTober
For day 11 I followed the InkTober prompt “run.” This was my third attempt and for this one I started with pencil. When drawing figures I have to “work it out” and adjust the lines, so pencil comes in handy.

InkTober shatter #inktober

The day 12 prompt was “shatter.” This is what came to mind. 😂 I’m all caught up!

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Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints

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Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners | Learn watercolor techniques!

This forest painting is very easy and you’ll learn several watercolor techniques along the way! For best results when painting with watercolor use watercolor paper. I used Arches 140 lb. cold pressed for this project.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 1 – Use painter’s tape to mask the trees. I cut the tape for the smaller branches. Notice some of my tape strips don’t go all the way to the bottom of the paper.

Step 2 – Using a very wet brush and the color of your choice paint parts of the area not covered by the tape – except the bottom of the paper. No need to be too careful, the tape will protect the tree areas.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 3 – Use a different color and paint around the first color, touching the first color so the colors bleed into each other. Leave the bottom area.

Step 4 – Use a brush that is less wet (less water) and more saturated paint and dip it in several areas. You can splash it too.

Step 5 – Paint the bottom area with grey – using a dry brush for a textured uneven look.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 5 – Using black or grey, add detail strokes to the trees. A flat brush works best. If the stroke is too defined go over with a wet brush (water no paint) to soften.

Step 6 – Sprinkle salt in parts of the wet areas. Wait for paint to dry.

Step 7 – When paint is dry, brush salt off the painting.

Step 8 – Peel up the tape slowly, being careful not to rip the paper.

Easy Forest Watercolor Painting for Beginners

Step 9 – Once the painting is completely dry use a thin black marker or pen – I use a Uniball signo gel pen – to outline the trees. I made my lines wobbly to look more natural.

Good job! I’d love to see. Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna.

Watercolor techniques used:

  • Masking areas with tape
  • Wet on wet painting
  • Dry on dry
  • Using salt
  • Softening lines with water

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Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!

This post contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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InkTober days 5-8

It’s interesting to see what everyone chooses to draw for InkTober, how they interpret the same prompts (if they use the prompts), and even how we all struggle to draw every day.

Long Beach, NY boardwalk #inktober
On day 5 the prompt was “long.” Having grown up in Long Beach I knew immediately what I wanted to draw. I did a quick sketch of the boardwalk and thought, “Is this too sloppy to post?” Of course the point is to post the good with the bad. Funny enough, my husband commented, “Can I have that?”

Farmers Market sketches
On day 6 I drew early morning with my coffee – some sketches for a “farmers market” print pattern. I swore I would draw later and this wasn’t my InkTober sketch, but in the end I never got back to it.

Shy #inktober
I loved the day 7 prompt of “shy.” I had a picture in my mind of a little girl holding her mom’s leg. Her favorite stuffed animal held tightly. I found an image similar to my vision online to use as reference.

Crooked teeth #inktober
Day 8 – crooked. Not a particularly attractive drawing. But this was what came to mind!

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more about the newsletter here.

Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints


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InkTober days 1-4

InkTober day 1 leaves
I was all excited for InkTober, and then I procrastinated the first day. Most of the InkTober prompts are verbs which I find hard. I used a prompt from doodlewash.com – leaves. Of course it was dark as I searched for leaves in the yard!

InkTober day 2 apples
Day 2 I used a prompt from both InkTober – divided, and doodlewash – apples. But I wasn’t thrilled with my results. It’s kind of a “which comes first?” question. If I start in watercolor, I build up the layers and then add a little ink. If I start in ink, I use a lot of ink details and then add a little watercolor.

InkTober day 3 seagull
Day 3 I didn’t follow any prompts and drew a seagull.

InkTober Day 4 scarecrow
Day 4 the new scarecrow on the porch was calling to me.

I’m getting into the groove. If you want to see my InkTober posts day by day follow me on Instagram @eileenmckenna.🙂

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Wave print on canvas!

Seascape canvas print of Blue Wave #11 by Eileen McKenna | #coastalart
I paint in watercolor and have only dabbled with acrylics on canvas. Seeing one of my watercolors blown up and printed on canvas is really exciting. It adds another layer of interest to the painting. A few steps away you see the ocean and the waves. When you step closer you see the brushstrokes.

The design of my home is, not surprisingly, very beachy. So this canvas, Blue Wave #11, fits right in. Next up to select a few of my square ocean paintings, have them printed on canvas, and hang them side by side.

All the paintings in my shop are available as Giclee art prints on gallery wrapped canvas. Take a look at shop.eileenmckenna.com.


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Committed to painting. No excuses!

Committed to painting | Artist's setup
I could have written about how I couldn’t paint this morning during my “extra” hour because they were demo-ing my bathroom. But, I realized in the time it would take to lament about not being able to paint, I could sit down and paint tonight. So I did. I started two new paintings, which will help motivate me to paint tomorrow. I’ve been loving painting every day – I don’t want to lose that! The bathroom will be a month long project. I need to make it work. 🙂

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Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!


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Ready for InkTober 2017?!

Favorite sketchbook and gel pen for Intober | #intober2017

Participating in InkTober last year was a motivating experience! I even had the pleasure – by sheer coincidence – of meeting Jake Parker, the creator of InkTober at Comic Con in NYC.

This year I’m ready! I got a fresh new sketchbook – my favorite kind – the Canson Multimedia. Last year as the end of InkTober drew near, I began adding watercolor to my ink sketches. I couldn’t help it! The Canson sketchbook pages are nice and thick, making them perfect for watercolor. And they are bright white too, which I love. I also have a pack of my favorite pens – the Uniball signo (bold 207). This pen is a gel pen and feels very smooth when drawing with it.

Last year I didn’t follow the official InkTober prompts. I’m not sure if I’ll follow them this year. Here are the 2017 Inktober prompts if you’d like to follow them. Here are some of my sketches from InkTober 2016:

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You never know where a 31 day challenge will take you, but if I had to set some goals I would say to draw people. Maybe incorporate lettering too. I’ll probably draw several Halloween themed things because ”tis the season. Last year I drew the inside of a witch’s house and then added another floor the next day! I just came across Mab’s Drawlloween Club list, which I might use for inspiration.

Are you thinking of participating in InkTober 2017? If so, let me know.
Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more about the newsletter here.

Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints

This posts contains affiliate links to products/brands I use and recommend. I earn a small commission whenever you buy using these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog!


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Sunflower fabric print for fall

Sunflower fabric print for fallhttps://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/eileenmckenna
I used a favorite sunflower watercolor painting of mine and turned it into a fabric print design. The Watercolor Sunflowers fabric is available for sale on Spoonflower.com. I created the fabric design by scanning my painting and working in Photoshop. In Photoshop I create the “repeat” for the pattern – the small square or rectangle that repeats and lines up perfectly for a seamless design.

I create an artboard larger than my intended repeat size and use guides to mark the repeat. Elements can overlap the guides, but anything that goes over gets cut off. So for a sunflower that gets cut off on the top, the rest of it must exist at the bottom to complete the sunflower. Like this:
How fabric print repeats work | Eileen McKenna #surfacedesign
When I’m finished laying out the elements, I crop the image at the guidelines to create my repeat.
Here is the final repeat:
Watercolor Sunflowers fabric print design by Eileen McKenna

When it is repeated it looks like this:
Watercolor Sunflower Fabric Print Design by Eileen McKenna

For step by step instructions on turning your artwork into a repeating design, read this post:
How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more about the newsletter here.

Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints


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Painting every morning – week 3

Painting every morning | Eileen McKenna watercolor artist
My back to school resolution of painting every morning during my “extra” hour is going great! I don’t always get to paint for the entire hour, as I sometimes have things to do before I leave the house, but I sit down Monday through Friday (and sometimes on the weekends too). I remember the advice Charlie O’Shields, Creator of doodlewash.com gave me when I interviewed him. “If you want to form a daily art habit you have to decide how much time you can devote to it and protect that time with your life.” And I’ve done that, turning down a walking date with a friend, and not using the time for my running.

Benefits to working every day at a set time:

  • No need for the internal struggle to motivate myself
  • More progress on my paintings
  • More progress on developing skills
  • I mentally stay “in” a painting and often work at other times too

Want a dose of creative inspiration? Sign up for my newsletter “My Creative Collection” by clicking here. Learn more about the newsletter here.

Prints of my watercolor beach paintings are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints