Tutorial – How to Draw a Giant Alium

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Miya Himi Gouache on Hahnemühle Harmony Cold Press Watercolor Paper

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This is a repeat of the Giant Alium step-out. I’ve updated the text, added a Close-up Alium step-out, a new example painting, and a video.

Giant Aliums are fun because they are essentially colorful fuzzy balls on long sticks with triangular leaves.

In the distance, you can’t see that aliums are made up of tiny petals, which I’ll call florets.

If you want to increase your sense of distance, use the Close-up Alium for the nearest flowers and then leave the other flowers solid, with a little shading to indicate roundness.

Or just make it easy and have all your flowers solid with shading.

Artwork: Zebra Pen Funwari Color brush, Zensations colored pencil and Derwent White Graphik Line Painter in a Stillman & Birn Beige-Tone sketchbook. I do NOT recommend the Graphik Line Painters because they blob.

Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Pad  (review)

Full list of Fun & Easy Step-outs

Want to share your Fun & Landscapes?  Join the Fun & Easy Landscape Facebook Group!

Tutorial – How to Draw a Grove of Trees

Artwork: Daniel Smith Watercolor on Stonehenge Aqua Coldpress Black

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This is a repeat of the Grove step-out. I’ve updated the text and added a new header example. Sorry – I didn’t have time for a video this week.

One of the hallmarks of ‘naive art’ (I recommend you google Naive Art Landscapes) is that real-life perspective is not important. If your buildings are a little crooked and the road in the distance looks as wide as the road up front – it just adds to the charm.

Grove is a forest of trees. It can be used as the main subject of a landscape, but is also great as a secondary subject in the midground or background.

Your grove can look like several trees or a tree with several trunks that split from the same base.

If Grove is your main subject, you add more detail. If it is background, you want to keep it more simple.

This drawing done with Zebra Sarasa Fineliners on Hahnemühle Watercolor Postcard

Wanna buy some of the cool toys I use?

Hahnemühle Rough Watercolor Postcards (review).

Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Pad  (review)

Stonehenge Aqua ColdPress Black watercolor paper (review)

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Zebra Zensations Fineliner Pen 0.8mm Assorted 24Pk

Daniel Smith Watercolor Half Pan Set of 15 Ultimate Mixing Set  ( review )

Full list of Fun & Easy Step-outs

Want to share your Fun & Landscapes?  Join the Fun & Easy Landscape Facebook Group!

Echo Technique – Fun & Easy Landscape Tutorial

Artwork: Zebra Zensations Technical Pen and Da Vinci Watercolor on Hahnemühle Britannia Cold Press Watercolor Paper. Brushes: Princeton Neptune 1 in Mottler, Princeton Neptune Quill Size 4 and Princeton Velvetouch Long Round Size 6.

If you are looking for the Life Imitates Doodles Weekly Wednesday Giveaway #19 , you can find it here. My Tea Party – Pencil to Paint tutorial can be found here.

Echo Technique

The Echo Technique is pretty simple.

You draw a plant, whether a bush, shrub, tree or flower, using simple shapes.

You add similar shapes inside the plant. If your plant is drawn with round shapes, then you draw round shapes inside. If your plant has long spiky shapes, you draw long spiky shapes inside.

It’s easier to show than explain.

The variety is endless because you can vary the shapes inside, as long as they echo, that is, they are similar to the overall shape of the plant.

Here’s a video, so you can see how I draw the plants, and how I vary some of them.

If the video doesn’t work properly on your device, click the link below it to be taken to the YouTube version.


Now you’ve got the idea, go forth and echo plants in your own unique way!

Wanna buy some of the cool toys used in this tutorial?

Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Pad

Hahnemühle Britannia watercolor paper

Zebra Zensations Technical pens (review)

Princeton Neptune, Series 4750, Mottler Synthetic Squirrel, Size 100

Princeton, Series 4750, Quill Synthetic Squirrel, Size 4

Princeton Velvetouch Series 3950 Synthetic (review)

Three Roads Fun & Easy Tutorial

This is a revised version of one of my previous Fun & Easy Landscape posts.
Instead of step-outs, today I’m showing you some composition tips.  The composition is the layout of your work, how it all fits together, no matter what the subject of your landscape.
Hints for an Fun & Easy landscape.  Keep it simple.  Have contrast – at least 3 values: light, midtone and darks.  Have something that ties it together and leads you through the drawing/painting.  In this case, a road.
I almost didn’t share this video.  I’ve never used gouache before, and struggled with this painting.   But I thought, I’m always telling people to judge their work for what is good about it, not what is bad.  I should take my own advice so people know that I mean it.

Three Road Compositions

I’ve come up with three kinds of road compositions that will tie a painting together, make it seem whole, and help lead the eye through the drawing/painting.  Note that you could also use fences, rivers, walls … anything that creates a ribbon/border through-out a painting.
Winding Roads
Winding Roads gently curve over slopes, emphasizing the height, width and distance of each section.
To increase the feel of the distance, the road is wider at the beginning (the bottom) of each slope and narrows toward the top.  The road in each subsequent slope is narrower than the slope before it.
Wrap Around Roads
The Wrap Around Road also winds around but not gently. It twists and curls like a snake, wrapping around various objects.  It disappears at times, when it wraps behind something.
If you want to imply distance, the road should be wider at the start (the bottom) and be slightly narrower each time it reappears from behind an object.  However, this kind of road is also often used in landscapes where there is no sense of distance or depth.  If the road is a lane or foot-worn track, it may widen and narrow at random, as it does here.
Striped Roads

Striped roads can be straight or slightly curved.  They carve your drawing into sections, that you fill with trees, flowers, rocks and animals. This is a good roadway to use if you like to create rows of objects.

If you want to imply distance you make each road narrower as you go up the page.  Items within each section become smaller to show they are further away.  But if you wish, you can ignore distance altogether.

Slight curved and diagonal to one another.

Straight and parallel to one another.

These are the three roads in my fantasy landscapes? What other kinds of roads might you have in yours?  Please share your thoughts!

Fun & Easy Landscape Facebook Group  

All Fun & Easy Landscape Step-outs

My supplies:

Hahnemühle Black book – Rochester Art Supply FineArtStore

Miya Hima 18-Color Gouache Set

Black Gold® Series 206D DAGGER – Size 1/2

Swirly Tree & Squiggle Bush Fun & Easy Step-outs

If you are looking for the Life Imitates Doodles Weekly Wednesday Giveaway #17 , you can find it here.

You might remember this drawing I did a couple of weeks ago. It gave me ideas – that can be a dangerous thing, but this time it was good.

Artwork: Zebra Metallic Brush Pen in a Hahnemühle Black book.

Usually, my Fun & Easy Step-outs are based on shapes, but today’s Squiggle Bush and Swirly Tree are based on lines. Curving lines to be exact.

Watch on video:

And read as well.

Squiggle bush is based on a series of repeating squiggles. You can line ’em up, alternate them, dab ’em around at random, outline a bunch, vary the size, and use them to form all kinds of shapes. You get a lovely texture, no matter how you use the squiggle.

Artwork: Zebra Zensation Fineliners & Technical Pen on Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Paper.

Swirly Tree is based on a series of curving lines that end in a swirled loop. The straighter parts of each line create the tree trunk, the curved ends create long branches and these are covered in small looped lines that create branch and leaf.

You can vary the number of curved lines and their lengths. The same can be done with the looped leaves.

Artwork: Zebra Technical Pen on Hahnemühle Mixed Media Bamboo Paper

The swirly tree and squiggle bush work well together because they are both line drawings.

You can vary the look of the trees with larger ‘fruit’ loops, and by differing the length of both trunk lines and looped leaves. Alternating the lengths at random creates a different look than alternating them evenly – one long, one short, one long, one short, etc.

If you draw a line, complete the closed loop and then continue to draw an inside line, you get a tentacled look .

Artwork: Zebra Pen Metallic & Mildliner Brush Pen on Hahnemühle YouTangle tile.

Since these two step-outs depend on line, coloring them is a little different. You can color a shape, and then draw the lines. Here I used metallic brush pens to draw the squiggle bushes and trees AFTER I had colored the tile with fluorescent mildliner brush pens.

Notice the very faint purple squiggles in the pink, suggesting bushes in the background. Instead of long, solid lines, I broke them up to create a more natural looking tree trunk.

Tip: I felt the sky was too streaky, so using the same color pen, I did a series of swirls. This creates a textured sky that suggests wind. Doing this doesn’t hide streaks, but they become part of the texture, adding to the work rather than detracting from it.

Part 2: Drawing the Elephant Landscape + Review – Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Pad

This is Part 2 of a 3-part series showing how to draw and color a Fun & Easy Elephant landscape. It includes a review of the Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Pad.

Part 1 shows you how to draw an elephant, using a Fun & Easy Landscape step-out.

Part 3 is a tutorial showing how I color the landscape using Zebra Pen Mildliners, Sarasa Fineliners, Zensations Technical Pen and Colored Pencils.

In the video I’m reviewing the Hahnemühlhle Hand Lettering Pad I used.

My tools in the video are a Zebra Pens Zensations Technical Pen, Colored Pencil, Mildliner,  Sarasa Fineliners and Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Pad.
                                                                     TEST SHEET
Who Can Enter? Anyone with a U.S. mailing address (I apologize to my international friends – complex laws and high postage costs!) 
What Is the Prize?  A  pad of Hahnemühle Hand Lettering Paper, 25 sheets size  A4, 80 lbs, like the one in the review.How to Enter?  Type, or cut and paste these words: ‘I want to win Hahnemühle Hand Lettering‘ into the subject line of an email, and send it to me at LifeImitatesDoodles [at] gmail [dot] com.  GIVEAWAY IS OVER:  Friday, July 13, 2018 at 11:59 PM PDT. Winner will be notified by email. 
Who is Giving Away the Prize? Hahnemühle! I’m just paying the postage to send the prize. Seriously, they have been so generous.  Please consider visiting them on FacebookTwitterInstagram or on their website to say thank you.

Hahnemühle sent me two Hand Lettering pads, one for review and one for giveaway.  I have received no other consideration, and all opinions expressed are my own.
For a full list and links to Fun & Easy Landscape Step-outs go here.

Want to share your Fun & Landscapes? Join the Fun & Easy Landscape Facebook Group here

Devil’s Lettuce Fun & Easy Step-out

The Friday Fun & Easy Landscape Challenge 3/23 -4/6: Draw a landscape using the Devil’s Lettuce step-out.  Extra calorie-free brownie points for adding a Bell 3 plant.

Devil’s Lettuce is a plant also known as Checker’s Fiddleneck, and seems to be the desert version of the fiddleneck fern.  I thought it was an interesting plant with its tiny blossoms growing all along its stem and the clusters of buds and blossoms at the end of its curly neck.

As always – make this your own.  Play with the sizes and shapes of the flowers and the curls and the clusters. Let your unique flag fly!

This example was done with Zebra Pen Zensations Brush pens and Mechanical Colored Pencils in a Hahnemühle Nostalgie Sketchbook. This was my first colored pencil in this book, and I love the way the colors are so bright!

                            Want to share your Fun & Landscapes? 

Join the Fun & Easy Landscape Facebook Group here!