Today, my hubby took a unicorn in his lunchbag.

Sorry for the double post – but I realized I’d messed up on my dates, and had to get my Unicorn out for Unicorn day, didn’t I?

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen & xxx Watercolor on Hahnemühle Cold Press Watercolor Postcard. Brush: Escoda Aquario Petit Gris 12

The Doodlewash prompt for April 9 was Unicorn, which fit nicely with the theme of mythological monsters I’ve been doing lately. We are most familiar with the medieval version of the unicorn – a pure white and elegant horse.

But the myth of the unicorn is widespread through-out history and descriptions vary. He comes in red, white and black. He’s horse-like, goat-like, wild ass-like or a mix of animals, having the ‘head of the stag, the feet of the elephant, and the tail of the boar, while the rest of the body is like that of the horse.

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Today, my hubby took a Lilac Breasted Roller in his lunchbag.

The Doodlewash prompt for April 8 is birds. I’ve never seen a Lilac Roller in real life but I love to paint them. They have eight colors in their plumage – green white, black, yellow, turquoise, dark blue, reddish brown and lilac. How could you not love painting a bird like that?

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen & Qor Watercolor on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brush: Princeton Neptune Quill Size 4 & Velvetouch Round Size 6.

Reference photo courtesy of suebrady5 on Pixabay.

Oranda Goldfish

Today, my hubby took a Fancy Goldfish in his lunchbag.

The Doodlewash prompt for April 5 is Goldfish. Descended from wild carp, most of the fancy goldfish species were developed in China and a few in Japan. Oranda means ‘flower of the water’.

Artwork-Zebra Zensations Technical Pen & Qor Watercolor on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed Watercolor Postcard. Brush: Princeton Neptune Quill Size 4 & Velvetouch Round Size 6.

Reference photo courtesy of diabianca on Pixabay.

Hot Summer Night with Giraffe

Artwork: Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pen & gel pens on Hahnemühle Cold Pressed watercolor postcard

I’ve been trying to keep up with the February Doodlewash prompts and managed to do most of them. The prompt Giraffe came up though, and time was short. I grabbed my Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens and just started drawing with nothing much in mind except Giraffe. I added a few doodles with a fluorescent yellow Gelly Roll pen, afterward.

The result is a bit odd, but I like it.

If you are interested in learning more about Ecoline Watercolor Brush Pens, you can find my review here. They are great for quick artwork, no muss, no fuss!

You can find Hanemühle cold-pressed watercolor postcards at:

Black Cat: Pencil to Paint mini-tutorial

If you are looking for the Life Imitates Doodles Weekly Wednesday giveaway, you can find it here. Today’s artwork was done on a Hahnemühle Cold-pressed Watercolor postcard. One of the giveaway items this week, is a tin of these postcards!

Today, my hubby took a black cat in his lunch bag.

This was done for the #Cat prompt on Doodlewash, and as usual, I combined it with something else that needed to be done, the daily postcard painting that I slip into my hubby’s lunchbag.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then cats must be the most soulful animals in the world!

The reference photo I used was courtesy of Ana_J on Pixabay.

I’ve used hnemühle cold-pressed watercolor postcard. They have a smoother texture than the rough postcards and I wanted the focus to be on the eyes. I felt heavy texture would take away from that, and chose the cold-pressed.

As usual, I did a pencil drawing. Since the shapes are fairly simple I just drew them without using the grid method. I also used a masking fluid pen to draw lines for the whiskers and fine hairs on the nose, above the eyes and along the side of the head. That’s why this scan looks bluish because the masking fluid is blue.

I chose the Pebeo Drawing Gum 0.7 mm pen, because it draws a very fine line. It’s still fairly thick for a postcard drawing, but I know that I’ll be able to soften the lines afterward. I don’t intend to leave them white, I just want to make sure they are lighter than the rest of the cat.

Originally, I had intended to go for very dark, dramatic shadows so I went with the Zebra PM-701 permanent black marker rather than the usual Zensations technical pen because it gives such a deep, dark color.

Oops! Turns out I need to get a refill for my PM-701! I got a dark, grey broken line instead of the bold black I wanted. No problem. Part of being an artist is going with the flow. I went with the medium values, only working hard to get the pupils of the eyes really dark.

Notice that I only drew about half of the pupils. The other half is lighter and I decided to paint those in.

The paints used were the Qor mini-half pan set.

First, I painted the eyes. I used a creamy mix of Cadmium Yellow Primrose, let it dry, and painted shadows with Nickel Azo Yellow, dropping in a watery mix of Transparent Pyrrole Orange for the darker areas. I finished the pupils with a mix of Payne’s Grey and Burnt Sienna.I used a Princeton Velvetouch Long Round size 6.

I painted the cat in three and a half layers. I did a wash of Ultramarine blue using a Princeton Neptune Quill brush size 4.

Once that dried, I switched back to the Velvetouch Long Round added a creamier mix of Dioxazine Purple where I wanted the darkest color – mostly over the areas shaded in earlier with the PM-701.

For the last full glaze, I used the Ultramarine Blue again, around the eyes, the top of the head, and a portion of the body to deepen the separation between the body and head.

I let it all dry and then removed the masking fluid. Sorry – meant to do another scan at this point and forgot.

The Hahnemühle postcards allow you to lift paint – that is to re-activate the dry areas and lighten the color. In what I’m considering my half-layer of coverage, I used a slightly (that slightly is important) damp brush to pick up a little color from around the white areas and move it until the white was softened into a light blue.

In the reference photo, the cat’s eye’s has a slightly glassy look. I wanted to catch a bit of that but knew from the start that it would be hard to do in a postcard sized painting. I could have used the masking fluid, but decided I’ would be easier using the white Signo Uniball gel pen. I scribbled lightly in the center of the eyes, over both eye & pupil. IMMEDIATELY, I ran my finger over the scribbled lines smoothing them out. If I had waited even a minute, the ink would have dried and I wouldn’t have been able to smooth it out.

If I had been painting at a larger size, I would have done this effect with masking fluid and softening. But the area involved is so small at 4 x 6 inches that it is very difficult to keep the area light enough. Since it’s the last thing done, I hate to paint the whole thing and then mess up the eyes at the last minute.

How to Draw & Paint an Alebrijes – Alpacamunk

My tutorial showing how you can create this creature with the head of an alpaca and body of a chipmunk! can be found at Doodlewash.

Book Review-‘Sketching Stuff: Stories Sketched From Life

‘Sketching Stuff: Stories Sketched from Life’ is a book with 282 pages of smiles!

It is available in hardbackpaperback and Kindle. and other ebook readers. I chose to purchase and review the paperback version because I have Charlie’s cookbook in that format and I like having them match.

As many of you know, for over three years Charlie has issued daily prompts at Doodlewash.com, and every day he’s published an illustration and essay based on the prompt.  No matter the prompt, Charlie weaves in stories of his life, his philosophies and the importance of staying young at heart. 

This book is a collection of those essays and illustrations, and there are some new ones, as well! All the essays are light-hearted, encouraging and intended to make you smile. In the section ‘Sketching All the Way’, he explains how he started sketching and the steps he took to make it a daily habit, as well as how he continues to show up every day with these ‘doodlewashes’ and essays.

If you’ve been reading Charlie’s daily essays, you know what to expect from the book.  His ‘rambles’ are laced with humor.  Although, I have several years on Charlie, when he reminisces about his childhood, much of it is nostalgic for me.  While many readers might not be familiar with a specific toy, or have celebrated the kind of event he describes, the feelings and emotions are universal.  

There are 180 illustrations.  While, the art is better viewed in full color, it translates well to black and white, and that keeps the price of the book down, which is always a good thing.  The ebook version does have full color so I may have to buy that version as well.

Many of the illustrations are very small, used to head or end an essay, but there are also half-page and full-page doodlewashes salted through the book.

The book is fairly thick at 282 pages, with a glued binding.  The paper is white and the text is clear and easy to read. 

The stories are organized into a series of themes: The Journey Begins; Days to Celebrate; Cabinet of Curiosities; Childhood Favorites; When the Music Plays; Those Furry Friends; Laughing When It Hurts; When We Were Kids; Little Life Lessons; Halloween Hijinks; Sketching All the Way; For the Love of Family; and Happy Holiday Moments. There are five to seven essays for each theme.

Sketching Stuff is the kind of book that you can poke at – start at the beginning and read to the end, or just pick up, open at random and start reading. If you don’t have much time to read, you can easily finish an essay while on break, riding the bus or during those rare times when you find yourself with nothing to do.  It would make a great coffee table book for a guest room.

I joined Doodlewash about a year and a half ago, and have long meant to read all of these essays.  It’s also part of my nightly ritual to read for about half an hour before going to bed, so I love having them collected in a book.  I can sign off from the electronics (highly recommended for helping you to sleep), read a ramble or two and head for bed, feeling relaxed and smiling.