Striking while the iron is hot.

It is an amazing feeling when you are “into” a project and the creative ideas are flowing and you’re excited and inspired and motivated. I’m always better off “striking while the iron is hot” and working on a project when the inspiration first hits me. If I wait, sometimes the spark is gone. The enthusiasm dies down and it’s hard to motivate myself to work on the project.

When I’m in the “creative mode” I can move from one project to another and get things done, while new ideas are popping up, and it’s great! I’m on fire! Other times, I spend days thinking, “I should sit down and paint something.” For some reason, it is hard to sit down and do it, and gets harder as the days go by. Once I do sit down, and start, it all seems to come flowing back.

I also feel this way about blogging. I’ll be on a roll with ideas and posting, and then a couple of days go by and I start to question myself – “What should I post? I can’t post that!” I get kind of shy and start thinking, “Maybe I shouldn’t share that mistake.” Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’ve made a commitment (to myself) to be honest about my successes and failures. The best medicine, again, is to sit down and share and get the ball rolling again.

Cupid was a Sharpie doodle in my sketchbook that I scanned and painted in Photoshop. Follow me on Instagram to see my other Valentine’s Day inspired posts!

“Draw, Paint, Create” Pattern

Wouldn’t this be great on pajamas?! This pattern (my January pattern) is in honor of my creative resolution. I scanned some of my doodles, created the pattern in Photoshop, and painted it with one of the digital watercolor brushes. Creating this pattern hits upon several of my goals for 2015, which include doodling, creating patterns, and digital brushes. Three birds with one stone! My revised goal is to create a pattern a month.

I still have mixed feelings about using the computer to create my patterns. As a Graphic Designer, it feels less like fun creative time and a little more like work. But there are certain things, styles, etc. that I want to try, and the computer is the way to achieve these things. I do love that the pattern is hand drawn illustrations and I’m having fun learning things in Photoshop I’ve never used, like the watercolor brushes.

Click here to see the prior post on this subject and my sketchbook. Stay tuned for Febraury’s pattern – I’m very excited about it!

Here is the pattern without the repeat.

Watercolor Brushes in Photoshop

I’ve been doodling in different themes lately, in the hopes of making patterns out of these doodles. I decided to add to my resolution, to create one pattern this year, and instead I’ve committed to creating one pattern each month!

I knew it was inevitable that I’d be bringing these ink sketches into Photoshop to color them. I have been using Photoshop for twenty years, but I’ve been using it as a Graphic Designer, not as an Illustrator. I decided I needed to learn more about Photoshop from an Illustrator’s perspective.

I found a great tutorial by on youtube, which shows how to create watercolors in Photoshop, using one of the Watercolor Brushes. I didn’t even know there were Watercolor Brushes!

I practiced with the Photoshop Watercolor Brushes, to create a design for an invitation I’m working on. I scanned my Illustration and painted it in Photoshop. Using the technique from the video is so much faster than I would have thought! And I love the look – it’s less “digital” than what I previously would have created in Photoshop.

I’m really excited to apply this technique to my pattern for January, which, in honor of My Creative Resolution, is “draw, paint, create!”

Defining paint color with help of the eyedropper tool (in Photoshop)

It has been three weeks since I last worked on my jellyfish painting. Isn’t it ironic that when I last worked on it, I wrote about it under the title, “Procrastination and Painting.” Seems like I’ve been procrastinating getting back to this painting! I know the reason why. I hit a stumbling block.

I was struggling with the color of the jellyfish. What I ended up with was a very orange color. No matter how many times I mixed it, I couldn’t get it to look like the photo. When I left off, I planned to use the eyedropper tool in Adobe Photoshop, to help pinpoint the colors in the photo. It certainly seemed like a good plan. Let’s see if it actually works!


When I opened the photo in Photoshop and starting clicking around on the jellyfish photo, I was surprised to see the colors that came up – maroon, brown, tan, gold. I already felt that it was helping me “see” colors in the jellyfish that I wasn’t seeing. Since I use thalo blue, cadmium yellow and cadmium red to mix my colors, I decided the RGB (red, green, blue) breakdown of the colors was the most useful. I tried to mix and measure following this breakdown.



My first try wasn’t great. I mixed a color which seem to match, but when I painted on top of my existing color, it didn’t look great. I guess the fact that I was painting on top of color, was an issue. The orange beneath my new color, was having an effect on the new color. I didn’t give up!


I kept mixing colors until I got something, that when I put it on top, it looked right. I feel like I’m starting to get there, but have my work cut out for me. I’m so inexperienced I pick hard things and don’t realized they are hard until I’m in the middle of it.


The thing that I love about this photo is that it glows. The colors in my painting are dull and I’m not sure I can fix it – if I’m mixing the colors. Tomorrow I have off and I plan on attacking this painting to see what I can do!