Cardinal colored pencil drawing: in progress

Cardinal colored pencil drawing - progress 1

The bird drawing continues!  I started this colored pencil drawing of a Northern Cardinal yesterday using this photograph on Instagram as the source image.  I was really drawn to this photo because the cardinal is looking straight at the camera – what an amazing shot!  When I showed the drawing to my partner yesterday, he said, “This bird is staring straight into my soul.”  Haha!

Cardinal colored pencil drawing - initial sketch

I am happy to report that, unlike last time, I didn’t trace the outline of the bird beforehand.  It is all free-handed.  It’s not perfect, but it’s not too bad either!

More progress to come next weekend, hopefully!

Cedar waxwing colored pencil drawing

Cedar waxwing colored pencil drawing by Allspice Abounds

Cedar waxwings are such striking birds!  Last spring I started to get interested in bird watching (you know, yet another old lady hobby to add to my list).  🙂  It was my first spring in Minnesota, and I learned that we are located right along the Mississippi Flyway, which means many opportunities to see a diverse array of beautiful birds during their seasonal migration.  Plus, my new neighborhood has a lot more trees and other vegetation than my old neighborhood in Massachusetts (which was much more urban), so I have seeing birds left and right.  It has been awesome!  I am definitely still a bird-watching novice, but I’ve been enjoying the learning process. Continue reading

Why can I never finish a coloring page??

Ivy treasure map - progress 1a

Seriously, why can I never finish a coloring page?  Is it because they are all so incredibly detailed that coloring a handful of leaves takes me all afternoon?  Is it that I’m afraid of “ruining” my beautiful books by attempting to color them when I’m not 100% on top of my coloring game?  Is it that all my crafty hobbies take forever because I always get caught up in the details and make things as difficult for myself as possible?

Isn’t coloring supposed to be relaxing after all?  Hmmm…  🙂 Continue reading

Coloring: Koi Pond

johanna-basford-secret-garden-koi-pond-fish-lilipads

“Koi Pond” – Ink design by Johanna Basford in Secret Garden.  Colored by me with Prismacolor Premier colored pencils.  Time to complete: approximately 1 million hours.

Not much else to say except that this one took forever!  Apparently I started it in March, after which it sat neglected for many months.  Finally finished it up over the last few weeks.  There are a few “mistakes,” as usual, but I tell myself that they add character.  🙂

Check out the rest of my completed coloring pages in my Finished Project Gallery (scroll down).

Colored pencil technique 101: more leaf sketches

Colored pencil amateur hour continues here at Allspice Abounds.  I think the key to learning something new is to not take yourself too seriously.  I’m trying to give myself the freedom to just try things and not worry about perfection (which is really hard for a perfectionist).  🙂  Below are my latest sketches, and what I learned from them.

Blue and orange leaves with shadows

Colored pencil sketches - blue and orange leaf cluster

My objective here was to experiment more with using complimentary colors to create rich shadows.  Last time I used green and red, and here I tried orange and blue.

What I learned: (1) It works, but you have to be really restrained when using blue over orange.  I think I pressed too hard with the blue.  (2) I have to pay attention to which direction the shadows are supposed go.  Art 101, right?  Here I added a shadow every time the leaves overlapped, but I don’t think I did it right.

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Colored pencil technique 101: leaves with shadows

Cluster of leaves with shadows

Brace yourselves: I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of YouTube colored pencil tutorials.  Whoa, there is SO much awesome stuff to learn about drawing and coloring with colored pencils!  My innocent adult coloring book obsession has turned in a full-blown fascination with the big, bad world of art technique.  Who knew there was so much to learn??

I made the sketch above using my Prismacolor pencils after watching this delightful video from expert colorist Peta Hewitt (warning: it’s 43 minutes long).  The sketch took me about 2 hours (!!) to complete.

Two mind-blowing things that I learned in the making of this sketch:

  1. You can blend colored pencils on paper just like you would with paints.  The key is using a white pencil or a colorless blender pencil.  The effect is pretty startling.  The colors blend together pretty fluidly, and the colorless blender brightens the color significantly.
  2. To create a rich shadow, use a color complimentary to the original color.  For the green leaves above, I created the shadows using bright red.  Cover up the red with more green, blend, and enjoy your beautiful shadows.

Did you ever stumble upon an entire world that you never knew existed, and then voraciously learn everything you can like a rabid beast?  That pretty much describes my week.  I may have visited my local art supply store three times this week.

If you’re looking for me this weekend, I’ll be glued to more YouTube videos with my pencils and new sketchbook in hand.  So much to learn!  🙂

Coloring: The Butterfly Gardener

Secret Garden by Johanna Basford - The Butterfly Gardener - finished

“The Butterfly Gardener” – Ink design by Johanna Basford in Secret Garden, coloring and custom artwork in the center square by me.  All coloring was done with Prismacolor Premier colored pencils (36 pack).

The coloring bug has bitten me yet again.  I don’t know what it is about adult coloring books that I find to be so ridiculously addictive.  All I know is that when I get the itch to color, it’s like entering a mystical time warp of colorful, flowery bliss.  My latest finish is this flower garden filled with a melange of delightful creatures.

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Weekend happenings

Johanna Basford Secret Garden - Koi Pond coloring in progress 1A funny thing happened this past weekend: my boyfriend’s mom was in town, and she was staying in our guest bedroom (aka my sewing studio).  Soon after arriving, she curiously surveyed my sewing table, on which various projects-in-progress had been piled up as I had cleaned up the room to prepare for her visit.  Her various inquiries resulted in (a) a lesson in how to operate the serger (fun!), and (b) a tour of my newfangled adult coloring book.  Later, when both John and his mom independently decided that afternoon naps were in order, I found myself temporarily banned from my sewing room (aka the guest bedroom) and needed something to keep me occupied.  I grabbed the coloring book and got going on a new page.

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Coloring: Beemused

Johanna Basford Secret Garden - Beemused

“Beemused” – Ink design by Johanna Basford in Secret Garden, coloring and addition of various critters by me.

This page took quite a bit longer than I had expected, but hopefully it was worth it in the end.  I have to admit, I’m not 100% convinced about my choice of yellow for the background, but it’s too late to change it now.  Onward!

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Coloring: Fantastical Fern

Johanna Basford Secret Garden - Fantastical Fern full

“Fantastical Fern” – Ink design by Johanna Basford in Secret Garden, colored by me and John.

That’s right folks, my obsession with adult coloring continues.  Truth be told, I’m a little afraid of starting to sew again after hurting my back a few weeks ago, so I’ve decided to just take it easy for the time being.  I can still feel twinges of pain when I move in certain ways, so apparently the back is a fickle and slow-healing beast.  Ok back, you win, coloring it is for now.

Back issues aside though, I’m really into this coloring thing.  🙂

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