My Creative Resolution – Watercolor, Illustration, Print Pattern Design


Surfer Dad and Son

Surfer dad and son watercolor and ink sketch by Eileen McKenna | #inktober

I really got into my InkTober sketch today. First I drew in pencil the father and son – from a photo I took last month.

Then I went over the pencil in ink and erased the pencil.

I added watercolor in the background.

Then I added the foam in the water using white gouache. I added some ink details to the water.

I added the shadows to the figures and then added the lighter areas. I’m really happy with it. I probably would never have tackled this photo especially in ink without the motivation of InkTober. I wish I knew who they were so I could send them a copy.

Inktober Day 18

I’ve added three new watercolor ocean paintings to my shop! Prints are available at Take a look!


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InkTober 13-17

Seascape watercolor and ink illustration by Eileen McKenna #inktober
Day 13 – I found a page of little watercolor beach scenes I did a while back and added ink to them.
Seascape watercolor and ink illustration by Eileen McKenna #inktoberSeascape watercolor and ink illustration by Eileen McKenna #inktoberSeascape watercolor and ink illustration by Eileen McKenna #inktober

Day 14 – This sketch is from the cover of National Geographic and has been on my coffee table for weeks. Faces are not my strong point, so doing a face in ink, where you can’t erase and adjust, was risky.
Inktober sketch

Day 15 – A simple leaf I found on my run.
InkTober leaf

Day 16 & Day 17 – Flipping through my sketchbook I found a few watercolor illustrations that I added ink to. That’s me in blue. 😁

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

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Three New Ocean Watercolor Paintings

September was especially beautiful at the beach this year. It stayed warm much longer than usual. The surf was often very rough because of the hurricanes brewing far from shore. Here are three watercolors I painted from photos taken last month. And I took a ton more photos to last me through the winter!

These three September paintings are now available for sale as prints on watercolor paper or gallery wrapped canvas. Click here to visit my online shop.

West by Eileen McKenna | Watercolor seascape #coastalinteriors


September by Eileen McKenna | Watercolor seascape #coastalinteriors


Yellow Sky by Eileen McKenna | Watercolor seascape #coastalinteriors

Yellow Sky

All of the prints in my shop are available on watercolor paper or gallery wrapped canvas!
Click here to visit my online shop.
Blue Wave #11 Canvas Print by Eileen McKenna | Watercolor seascapes #coastalinteriors


Surf Collection

Surf Camp #1 by Eileen McKenna Camp #2 by Eileen McKenna
Surf Camp is the third collection of watercolor paintings I’ve released as Limited Edition Giclee Art Prints in my online shop. While my previous paintings featured bright blue skies, for these two paintings I had the pleasure of painting dark cloudy skies.

The Green Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints at The Blue Collection by Eileen McKenna | watercolor beach ocean landscapes available as limited edition giclee art prints


All About Portraits

The fourth issue of my newsletter comes out tomorrow and it’s all about portraits. Sign up here so you don’t miss it!

I started “My Creative Collection” to share all the things that inspire me, in hopes of inspiring you! It contains artists and makers, places, crafts and art mediums, tutorials, podcasts, interesting articles, and more. You can view past newsletter issues here.

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😀 Eileen

My Creative Collection


Designing print patterns – one a month

I’ve challenged myself to design a pattern a month this year. Although I designed a few in 2016, I was not as motivated as in 2015 when I also did my “pattern a month” challenge. I enjoy seeing how my skill and style is developing and evolving. Many of my designs are available on Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap. Visit my Spoonflower shop here.

2017 pattern designs to date. All are available on Spoonflower.

Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers Citrus print pattern - lemons, limes, oranges. Available as fabric, gift wrap, wallpaper Ice Cream Truck Print Pattern by Eileen McKenna  Penguin Polar Bear Christmas print pattern

In 2016 I designed a handful of patterns, primarily using watercolors and hand drawn elements. I’m especially fond of the ink daisies overlaying the watercolor background. I plan on using this technique again.

2015 Patterns. From the start I used hand drawn elements from my sketchbook, but also started using hand painted elements as opposed to “painting” them in Photoshop.

I think the most successful patterns were created after the fact – when I didn’t set out to design a pattern. I created the artwork, and then said, “I like that, I think I’ll use it in a pattern.”

Many of my designs are available on Spoonflower as fabric, wallpaper, and gift wrap. 

Interested in pattern design? I’ve written a few helpful posts you may want to check out:

How to create a repeating pattern in Photoshop. For fabric prints, gift wrap, wallpaper and more.


7 tips to keep your New Year’s resolution

I came across a note I wrote six months into my 2014 resolution to “draw, paint, create.” I wrote simply “just pull out the paints.” I realize now, that keeping a resolution isn’t that simple.

I’m celebrating the second year of keeping my creative resolution, and committing to a third. There are ups and downs to any resolution. There are times when you are into it, and times when you aren’t. Sometimes it’s hard to just “pull out the paints” (or eat a salad, or put on your running shoes, etc.).

Here are 7 tips to keep your New Year’s resolution:

  1. Make a “positive” resolution. Your resolution should be about what you are going to do, not what you are not going to do. For example – Eat healthy vs. Stop eating junk.
  2. Research your resolution. Read books, magazines, blogs, or watch videos about your topic. Researching your topic will help…

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Santa’s bag


Day 19 Christmas countdown. It’s so close! I want to scream, “SANTA!” like Buddy the Elf. If you haven’t seen “Elf” stop reading this post and immediately download it and watch it. It is hysterical.

When I was little Christmas took forever to get here. As an adult it seems to come pretty quickly. My kids are asking me if I’m excited for Christmas. Um excited isn’t the word. I still have to finish shopping, food shop, make food, bake, wrap too many presents, make sure everyone has something to wear, (thank you to my husband who will iron the clothes), pack the car, make sure we leave for mass on Christmas Eve in time to get a seat, spend the entire mass trying not to cry that my dad passed away and isn’t taking up the collection, unpack the car at my sister’s, heat up the food, and then, then I’ll be excited.

With that list, you may be wondering, “why is she spending so much time painting?” 😂

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img_1189Day 12 of the Christmas countdown. I was wondering where the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe comes from and found this:

“The plant’s association with romance dates back to ancient Norse mythology. By the 18th century, stealing a kiss beneath the mistletoe became a common practice among British servants and the tradition spread from there. According to the tradition, it’s bad luck to refuse a kiss beneath the mistletoe. After the kiss, the couple is to pluck one of the berries from the plant. Once all the berries are gone, the bough no longer has the power to command kisses. So if you hang a bough of mistletoe this year, make sure it has plenty of berries on it.”

Learn more about the origins of Christmas traditions from Fox News here.

Draw/paint along with me as I countdown to Christmas. When posting tag adventmcr. Teri is painting along on Instagram. See her mistletoe here. Marion is drawing along. See her post here.