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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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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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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Perfectly Imperfect Lines

Perfectly imperfect black lines - adding lines with a smooth black gel pen
I used to be afraid to use markers or ink pens. The black lines were so permanent compared to pencil lines I could easily erase and fix. I thought the lines had to be perfectly straight, circles had to be perfect curves. That’s not easy to do!

Even though I was afraid of ruining my watercolors, a few years ago I was inspired to start adding lines using a smooth black gel pen – a Uniball signo. My lines were wobbly, my circles egg shaped. I began to see that perfect lines were boring. Imperfect lines look hand drawn. Where perfect lines look almost computer generated, imperfect lines have a bit of style. I still wince occasionally when I start adding lines and they look a bit wonky, but I’ve learned to go with it and embrace the imperfection.

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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Back to Daily Creative Habits

Back to daily creative habits. Shells in the sketchbook.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve done minimal drawing and painting. Periods like this seem to be a pattern for me. I think about doing creative work all the time, but I put everything before it – even binge watching shows on Netflix. It’s not creative block. I have tons of ideas. I just can’t seem to make myself pick up the sketchbook or sit down with my paints. And as the days go by it gets harder, and harder.

Experience has shown me that these periods can be avoided if I maintain the habit of drawing daily in my sketchbook. So today as I finally grabbed my sketchbook – I made the commitment to draw in it everyday. Other than making the time, I don’t put pressure on myself to make the results great. I know if I do the work, and play around, good things will come. I already feel happier after drawing these shells that I collected recently.

I first learned about the power of habits when I read Gretchen Rubin’s book, “Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits – to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life.” Back then I had also fallen out of the habit of being creative. I learned from the book that it was harder for me to be creative because I had to make the conscious decision to do it. It was an internal willpower battle every time and was no longer something I did without thinking.

Creative Habits and Gretchen Rubin's book "Better than Before"

Rubin perfectly states it here,
“When we change our habits, we change our lives. We can use decision making to choose the habits we want to form, we can use willpower to get the habit started; then – and this is the best part – we can allow the extraordinary power of habit to take over. We take our hands off the wheel of decision, our foot off the gas of willpower, and rely on the cruise control of habits.”

Read Better than Before.

This post contains affiliate links to products 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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Holly

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Day 11 of the Christmas countdown. Working on the lights and darks. Was fortunate enough to have a holly bush around the corner to take reference photos of. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

See the posts of everyone following along: Marion, Teri, Carol


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Creative prompts Advent Calendar

img_1014I’ve been on a roll the last 2 months creating everyday. In October I participated in InkTober, drawing in ink in my sketchbook. By the end of October I was adding watercolor to my sketches. This month I followed the World Watercolor Group’s November prompts which were all food. I was so happy to be back working in watercolor. Other than fruit, I don’t really paint food so it was out of my comfort zone. I appreciated the push because other than my pathetic brussel sprouts, I was really happy with many of my paintings.

For December, I’m getting into the spirit of Christmas! I created this prompt list for myself, but welcome anyone who wants to join in! All mediums are welcome! Let me know if you do and tag your work #adventmcr so I can see. I’m on Instagram too @eileenmckenna.

I’ve done holiday countdowns before – Valentine’s Day (twice) and St. Patrick’s Day. The challenge with those was always what to paint. This time I’ve created a prompt list to follow. I’m a little nervous about committing to creating everyday in the busiest month of the year, but I know overall I won’t regret it. In both October and November challenging myself has led to some pieces I’m really proud of.

My watercolor cherry pie

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A fall ink illustration

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To add ink or not to add ink? That is the question.

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I have to admit, I sometimes don’t know the right answer to this question. Most often my style is to work in watercolor and add details in ink. But sometimes I hesitate to add the ink details.

When I think about, the occasions where I question adding ink, are when I’ve added a lot of details in watercolor – a lot of layers. Sometimes the decision is easy. The painting looks finished, like these donuts. Other times I’m not sure – like the cupcake above.

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Adding the ink is definitely a different look. Just watercolor is softer and sometimes more realistic looking. Adding ink looks more illustrated, more whimsical. Like this cup of cappuccino and this ice cream sundae.

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One thing is for sure – once a line of ink is added, there’s no turning back. I often think of scanning and printing a painting and adding ink details to the printout. This way I can make sure I like it before touching the original painting.


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InkTober recap

Participating in InkTober was a great motivator. I got into the habit of working daily which was great. I didn’t follow the prompts but worked on what inspired me. I held off on adding Watercolor to my ink sketches, but towards the end I gave in. And purely by chance I got to meet the creator of InkTober Jake Parker!

I felt so good about doing all 31 days that this month I’m following the World Watercolor Group’s prompts. I’m glad to be back using Watercolor. Of course I’m still adding in some ink too!

Here are my favorites:

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