How to Start An Art Journal Right Now

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I've always been fascinated with the idea of keeping an art journal, but the perfectionist in me was hesitant to start one. What if I totally mess up a page? What if I can't keep up with it regularly? What if I can't find a way to write down what I did that day in a way that's totally cute and cool and Instagram-worthy?

These fears come from the fact that I've never been one to keep a diary or a journal, or even a PLANNER. Even though I love to buy them all (mostly for the pretty covers) I just can't keep one very consistently. I'm also not a bullet journaler, either. Basically, guys, I can't keep a daily practice well at all, and it has taken me almost 3 years in the art community to realize that IT'S OKAY. I simply don't get enjoyment out of planning and/or writing out my day-to-day activities. (Except when it comes to my business, where I keep a very tidy Trello board!) But, when it comes to art journaling, it seems as if a lot more possibilities open up, and consistency isn't as necessary as simply 'creating,' And that, I can get on board with. 

A few of my inspirations for some 'non-restrictive' art journaling are:
Mint and Maple
Megan Wells 
and Eugenia Clara

Following these three artists has really opened my eyes to the possibility that art "journaling" is what I make of it. And that's why I decided to give it a try.

My approach to art journaling is more about experimentation and setting myself free of limits and boundaries than it is keeping a 'journal' of my day-to-day activities. Sure, if I had an especially memorable day for some reason, I will document it. But, otherwise, I'm probably just going to make some art. And try my darndest not to care if it doesn't come out perfectly. Above, you can see a few spreads I've done in my journal. The one on the right was created while sitting at a picnic table at a local park. 

Most days, I'm not drawing or painting anything relevant to that specific day. To me, my art journal is an excuse to use a lot of the products I'm either A) not totally comfortable with B) just sitting on the shelf (like my Crayola colored pencils) or C) I don't love, but I need to use up anyway (my cheap watercolor palette)

The best part about using these items in my art journal is that no one (but me) is going to see it anyway....well, except for anyone that reads this blog post! There is a freedom that comes with knowing that. 

I also like to experiment with using different mediums together (you'll see that in this post), as well as adding layers upon layers. I used to be so scared of creating art that required a lot of layers. Art journaling has taken a lot of the fear out of layering, as I am getting more comfortable with 'continuing' until a piece feels finished. There's also MAJOR freedom in knowing that I call the shots on when a piece is finished. 

As I'm writing this, it seems as if art journaling has helped me overcome a lot of FEARS I had about creating art. Who knew? I didn't. Not until just now!

Let's go ahead and dive in to my mini-tutorial, where I break down my process for creating a page in my art journal. No limitations. No perfection. Just pure fun.


This is my art journal. I picked this one up from Hobby Lobby--linked below---because I wanted to get one with watercolor-friendly paper. This specific journal is for mixed media, so it holds watercolor, acrylics, markers, decoupage, and more! The pages aren't nearly as heavy-duty as I would like, but it's just a small journal, afterall. I've learned to love and accept the way the paper furls up after a few coats of watercolor. 

Here are some of my favorite products to use in my art journal:


Beginning with a blank page is scary! 

First, I pick a color, and lay down a light layer. I usually begin with watercolor, but you could start with any medium you want.


I also like to complete two pages at a time, so I went ahead and laid down a light layer of watercolor on the next page as well.

Like I said, art journaling is an excuse to use the supplies gathering dust on the shelf. One of those supplies is my set of Crayola colored pencils. I like to use the pencils to sketch on top of the watercolor and to add details/interest later on in the piece.


Right now, I'm really feeling florals, so that's what immediately comes to mind for a blank page. I used the black colored pencil to quickly sketch out some florals.

Next, I added a first layer of color to the florals using more watercolor. In the right-side photo, you can see that I added more color to the base layer to create some more detail. I also added black dots to the right hand side. There's no rhyme or reason behind this, except wanting to create!

On the left, I'm continuing to add layers to the florals to bring them to life (layers!!!) with the dual brush pens. I also continue to add some more random shapes and splashes of color to the background, just for interest. On the right, I used a blue Micron Brush Pen (linked above) to outline the florals. This really set them off!


To finish this piece, I added more details to the background using my Dual Brush Pens (the bullet tip side, so I don't ruin my brush nibs), and I'm calling it done!

For the next page, I basically did the same method of creating using layers and adding details to the background. But this time, I used white acrylic paint and a green acrylic paint (on the insides of the leaves) to make the colors pop. 


And this is what this specific two page spread looks like!

I really try not to dwell on what I could have or should have done differently, or whether or not I should 'make something' out of each page. That's another thing art journaling has brought to my attention: I often care too much about the 'utility' of each thing I create. Not everything has to have a purpose or be made into a product. It's helpful to remind myself that I will be so happy to have these journals one day far, far in the future. Whether my children love to look at them, or simply because I might draw some new inspiration from them one day. Who knows? I sure don't.

Are you going to try art journaling? Would you like me to share more about my process in the future? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

How to: Watercolor Galaxy Tutorial

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Watercolor galaxies are absolutely mesmerizing to look at, but they can be super tricky to create yourself. After years of experimenting with creating these galaxies, I finally tested a set 'process' for bringing a galaxy to life using watercolors and some acrylic paint. 

Below, you'll find step by step instructions (with photos) for creating the galaxy in the photo above, as well as a process video that shows my process in video form (but with a different galaxy!). It may take some practice before you feel like a galaxy pro, but it's a good thing practicing these is SO darn fun ;)

Materials Used:
Watercolors from this set and this set (specific colors needed are: black, navy, teal or bright blue, and a mustard or golden yellow)
Medium size round paintbrush
White acrylic paint 
Small paintbrush for white paint splatters (photo example further down)
Watercolor paper
Flat, circular object for outline
A cup of clean water
A towel for blotting

I think I've failed at watercolor galaxies in the past because I was trying to create them in no particular "shape." Recently, I've found huge success by creating my galaxies inside a circle or square shape, so now, I always begin my process by drawing myself a boundary. 
I took the lid off my coffee canister to outline a perfect circle, cause homegirl can't draw a circle to save her life.

The next step is totally up to you, but I like to start with black. I do a thin patch of watery black pigment and cover the left side of the circle (or shape). If you want your galaxy to be more 'navy' than black, start with navy. After I cover some surface area with black, I go back in to my watercolors and get more pigment. It's best to not add as much water for this step so you can achieve those really intense, dark patches. The dark and light patches create dimension, which is really what a watercolor galaxy is all about!

You'll also notice the edge of my first section is jagged and very 'organic.' This is something I do with each 'edge' before I big a new color. I think it helps the transition into another color to look more organic, and like something you'd see in outer space!

*The process of laying down a thin, watery layer of pigment, then adding more concentrated pigment will be repeated through each step of the process.*

Next, I moved to navy. Basically, you're going to do the same process. Lay down a layer of watery blue, then go back in and add more concentrated navy pigment in patches to give it some dimension. In the right-hand photo, I'm also trying to smooth out so of the harsh edges between the black and navy by adding a little more black pigment and 'mushing' everything together. Very technical terms, y'all!

After the navy paint was laid down, I moved to a bright teal-ish blue. You can mimic the shape I added this in, but it doesn't really matter because galaxies are all different, and they can literally be ANY shape at all. Do what you feel! And, ask you can see, I made sure the edges between the navy and blue are soft and the transition is somewhat smooth. Also, I wasn't crazy about how the black paint dried against the navy, so I went back in with some more water to smooth that out. *Remember, it's WATERcolor, so you can try re-wetting your pigment with a little water to create a better transition*

While the bright blue watercolor is still wet, I dropped in some golden yellow right through the middle. You can skip this step, or use a completely different color like purple, pink, or green. 

Now that the blue and yellow center is done, I finished the circle by adding a navy layer and a black layer to right, completely filling the circle.

At this point, you may be totally done and ready to add in all your stars, some lettering, or whatever tickles your fancy.

But, I wasn't crazy about how it looked when it started to dry, so I added some more layers of black and navy!

Then, I decided it needed more gold!

After adding more gold, I grabbed a small paintbrush, dipped it in water, then used it to splatter white acrylic paint across the circle. And this is when it starts to look like a real galaxy!


Now that you've seen the instructions, watch the demonstration video and see the process in video form! I sped the video up by 200%, but you get the gist! The galaxy created in the video is just slightly different, but all the same concepts still apply. I can't wait to see what kinds of gorgeous galaxies you create!

My Brit + Co Class: Beautiful Lettering Layouts

Helllllo all! Today's blog post is really fun and exciting because I'm sharing my experience filming a lettering class with Brit + Co in San Francisco!

In January, I had the opportunity to fly to California to film this class with my *dream* people. Brit + Co is such a prolific company in the DIY and blogging world, not only providing free content for their readers, but contracting teachers in alllll kinds of fields to teach a class on something their readers want to learn. 

Lucky for me, they were looking for someone to teach a process for creating beautiful lettering layouts. And that's where i come in!


One of my favorite things to create is what I call a "word collage." A word collage is simply a...collage of words! Duh! Here's an example of what I mean.

The process for creating a word collage like this is broken down in the class, which you can purchase here, but I wanted to share a little about what the class preparation and filming process was like!


It was exciting!

I dreamt about working with Brit + Co since I discovered they contracted teachers. For some reason, it never occurred to me that I could simply reach out to them....I thought you had to be some sort of celebrity to teach a class with them! (Because all my lettering idols have done classes with them...) But when they e-mailed me about promoting a class on my website, I channeled all my bravery and asked them if they needed any more teachers for the upcoming year! Those first correspondences with them were so exciting, and really gave me a boost of energy in my creative life!

It was scary!

The whole experience was a mixture of nerves and excitement, as well as a lot of expectation. And, if you're like me, you put a lot of pressure on yourself to perform at your absolute best. That's a curse I have to live with...the perfectionist curse! Thankfully, I worked with the sweetest, most encouraging folks at Brit + Co, that made me feel prepared and ready to teach the content and do it with a (genuine) smile! 
*Also, being in front of a camera crew, reading from a teleprompter, and having all those lights on you is just a little bit scary*

It was affirming.

This is a big one. Getting to work with a company I'd dreamt about, and really having to step up to the plate in ways I never had to before was very affirming to me; that I can "do this", that I'm worthy of having really cool opportunities, and that my hard work is paying off! 

If you want to watch my class trailer, click here! Let me know, will you be taking this class and adding some sweet lettering layouts to your arsenal?

My DIY Camera Set-Up for Filming and Flat Lays

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Hey y'all! Today, I am sharing a much-requested video and blog post about my DIY, affordable (aka: kind of ugly) camera set-up. 

When I first purchased my Canon camera for filming tutorial videos and classes, I quickly discovered that just a tripod (albeit a really nice one) simply wasn't cutting the mustard for filming a bird's eye view of my desk for both videos and flat lays. 

My husband, being the crafty genius he is--they don't call him Budget Bennett for nothin'--came up with a DIY set up that is not only affordable, but works like a charm, suits all my needs, and is portable! 

I encourage you to watch the video below to see how it all comes together, but below the video you'll find a full list of the products used, and lots of links for the ones I could find online. If you're not feeling confident that you can put this together yourself, or find the correct pieces, show this video to the crafty person in your life, and I bet they can help you out. 



Tripod with middle piece that holds camera securely and easily slides out.
*Optional* Scrap piece of wood for the flange to sit on.
*Optional* Clamps to hold the wood piece securely on your filming/photographing surface.
Flange with 3/4 inch opening
3/4 inch thick, 24'' tall galvanized steel pipe (length is optional)
A sleeve with a 3/4 inch opening in the same configuration as mine
A hex key or allen key that works for a 3/4 inch piece

Easy Watercolor Cactus Illustration

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Insta Takeover Story.jpg

Hey y'all! I'm back on the blog (after almost two with a brand new watercolor illustration tutorial. You may have noticed that I've been posting video tutorials now instead of my previous photo format. This is for two reasons: it's a better learning experience for you, and a much easier teaching experience for me! And that's why I'm so excited for today's Cactus illustration----it's EASY PEASY BABY.

Below is a full supply list that includes links for everything, and then the video tutorial. Below that are some tips you may find useful in your artistic endeavor!


Watercolor Paper
Brush Pen
Fine Tip Pen
Cup of clean water
Paper towel for blotting
Optional - Blending Palette

Here are some helpful tips:

  • If you are working with a basic or limited color palette, no worries. Mix blue and green, green and yellow, or add a little black to green to achieve various tones that will give your cacti some personality and individuality.
  • Try to appreciate what the pigment does on the paper. Don't treat watercolor like an acryllic paint---not every stroke needs to be perfect. That's why watercolor is so freeing...or so frustrating to perfectionists! ha!
  • You don't need to use a brush pen or fine tip pen to finish your illustrations if that's not your thing. No worries! Do you!

Did you enjoy today's tutorial? Are you going to try it for yourself? Let me know in the comments or hop over to my Instagram and tag me in your cactus photos. I would LOVE to see them! 

Watercolor Lettering Basics: Brushes, Paper, and Other Important Materials

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Watercolor Lettering Basics Part 2

I'm so excited to present the second part of my new series: Watercolor Lettering Basics. I've created this 5-part series as an introduction to watercolor lettering. By the end of this series I want you to be more comfortable with the idea of using watercolors and a paintbrush in your lettering practice!

In the first part, we covered the 'thing' itself: watercolor (you can read that post and watch the video here). In this second part of the series, we're going to cover the other materials you need to get started in watercolor lettering: brushes, paper, palettes, and more!

My goal with this second part of the series is to finish out the 'materials' section so that you can make the ultimate decision: where to start and what to purchase! Below you will find the video where I demonstrate with the papers and brushes I use as well as some more details and links for where you can pick these items up and begin practicing before we move on to the GOOD STUFF...getting started! 

Press play and dive in!

1. Brushes

The main thing you need to know about brushes is this: for brush lettering, it's best to use a round brush. A round brush is simply a concise way of saying 'tapered bristles that end in a point,' which ends up mimicking the look of an actual brush pen nib. In the video and for the remainder of this series, I'm using these Folkart Brushes (that I found at Wal-Mart for cheaper than the listed price) that are specifically labeled for lettering and detailing. However, choose whatever brand and price range of round brushes you want! I encourage you to pick up a variety of sizes because you never know which brush size will work for you. But---until you're sure you want to take your watercolor lettering to the next step, don't go out and buy a $10 brush! Start simple (and cheap) and work your way up!

There's also the Waterbrush. You'll definitely want to check out what a waterbrush is by watching the video, but THESE are the brand I absolutely recommend if you think a waterbrush is the way to go for you!

2. Papers

There are a couple of papers you can choose from to get your watercolor lettering practice off to a great start. The two types of papers I have used (and had success with) are: Mix Media Paper and Watercolor Paper. In the video above, I demonstrate with these two types of paper, as well as a thick cardstock, which I know a lot of lettering artists already have in their supply. What you're ultimately looking for in a paper (and why cardstock usually won't work), is a toothy, thick, absorbent paper. This is what watercolor paper is made to be, and why it's the best choice for watercolor, in my opinion. Mix Media paper is meant to hold several different mediums (acrylic, marker, pencil, ink, light watercolor), but ultimately, it's not made to hold a ton of liquid/water or the multiple layers of watercolor that it might take to create a dynamic watercolor piece, and in the end, it's probably going to buckle and/or just plain not look that great. If you already have some Mix Media paper in your collection, of course you can use it to play around! However, when you're ready to start creating full pieces, I think you'll find that watercolor paper is the way to go. 

3. Palette

This is a totally optional material to have, but I've found that I love having a separate, reusable palette off to the side in addition to whatever palette might come with a watercolor set. In the video above, I show that I use an extra ceramic plate I had in my kitchen. The awesome thing about watercolors is, no matter which form of watercolor you're using, a damp washcloth or paper towel will wipe the watercolor off of a ceramic, glass, or plastic surface plate, therefore making literally all palettes reusable! I like having a palette for mixing colors, having more room to play in general, and also just for organization. If you're using a lot of colors, it's helpful to have lots of space for mixing. Feel free to go to the craft store and pick up a plastic palette for next to nothing if you're not comfortable with dirtying up a plate!

4. Other materials to have on hand....

  • The last few things you'll need:
  • A cup or bowl full of clean water
  • A paper towel or wash cloth to blot or dry your brush
  • Some washi tape or artist tape to gently tape your watercolor paper to a surface to prevent buckling

Ok guys!! Next week, we'll be getting started with using a brush to create beautiful lettering! I can't wait to see you there...let me know what you think about this series so far!

Watercolor Lettering Basics: Which Watercolor Should You Use?

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Watercolor Lettering Basics.jpg

I'm so excited to kick off the first part of my new series: Watercolor Lettering Basics. I've created this 5-part series as an introduction to watercolor lettering. By the end of this series I want you to be more comfortable with the idea of using watercolors and a paintbrush in your lettering practice!

The first thing we have to cover is the 'thing' itself: watercolor. Just one trip to the craft section of even the Dollar Tree could easily get a watercolor lettering newbie overwhelmed. There is more than one 'form' that watercolors can come in---liquids, pots, pencils, tubes... andI'm sure I'm forgetting something!

My goal with this first part of the series is to demonstrate the various forms of watercolors I have used in my watercolor lettering so that you can make the ultimate decision: where to start and what to purchase! Below you will find the video where I demonstrate the various forms of watercolors I used as well as some more details and links for where you can pick these up! 

Press play and dive in!

1. The most affordable option for beginners...

I list this option as the most affordable because of the amount and variety of colors you get! Even though these paints are on the lower end of the quality scale, they are an excellent option for any beginner. This is the palette I used (heck, I still use it) when I first began watercolor lettering, and actually, it's lasted me about 2 years now that I think about it! What do you have to lose? Especially if you're just beginning...

2. Tombow Dual Brush Pens (As Watercolors)

I include this option because a lot of you are probably already familiar with these brush pens. What's better than already having a key ingredient to watercolor lettering in your stash at home?! Nothing! I briefly demonstrate how these pens can be used as watercolors in the video, but for a more detailed demonstration, I suggest this video. 

3. Watercolor Tubes

Watercolor tubes are the watercolor form that intimidated me the most....because of the limited color selection I have in tube form, I don't like using these. BUT, as you can see in the video, they can be incredibly pigmented and have a very smooth feel on the paper. And, a little bit definitely goes a long way with this form of watercolor, so you are bound to get your money's worth out of these babies!

4. Fancy Watercolor Tubes

These are the same principle as the cheaper tubes, but wow, they come in so many beautiful colors...and they had better for the price! I would only recommend these if you're more advanced or are ready to begin creating archival pieces to gift or sell.

5. Liquid Watercolors

Liquid watercolors are probably my favorite form of watercolor! The bottle and dropper can be intimidating, but I actually find they are the easiest and smoothest watercolor to use. Dr. Ph Martin's Radiant Concentrated Watercolors are my favorite brand, but there are some awesome homemade brands out there (like this one). If this watercolor looks appealing to you, I think you would have a great experience with it!

6. A traditional watercolor set

I love this little travel set! It's adorable, comes with a brush, and the watercolors inside are very high quality! 

All in all, it doesn't matter which form of watercolor you start with...just that you feel comfortable with it and excited about it!

Come back next Monday for the next installment in this series when I'll cover what brush(es) to pick up, what paper to use, and the other materials you want to have to get started!

Comment below and tell me which watercolors you're going to pick up and play around with before next week...

I'll see you then!

Kiley's Favorite Things: 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

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Cocktail Collage Hallostyle.jpg

It's my favorite time of year: the time when I get to stuff my face and support my favorite local and small businesses with all the excitement and Holiday cheer I can muster up!
I'm totally channeling Oprah and calling this Kiley's Favorite Things BUT...this year, I put out a call for YOU to suggest or nominate a small business or a handmade product that you want the world (or at least my blog readers) to know didn't disappoint! So, consider this a mix of my and your favorite things.
Get ready for SUCH an extensive shopping guide that you could probably knock every single gift you need to get off your list right now....and then buy something for yourself!

I've talked too much already....let's do this.

For the lettering lover (or learner)...


I've always been a huge fangirl of Shelly Kim of @lettersbyshells, so it's no surprise that I would fall head over heels in love with her BRILLIANT step-by-step lettering cards. Anyone can learn Modern Calligraphy or Art Deco Lettering with these beautiful, compact, and super useful tins full of instructional cards for each letter in the alphabet. This makes my list because, well, I've already purchased a set of both for a letterer in my life!

Get the Modern Calligraphy Set   |    Get the Art Deco Set

Second on my list is this beautiful book by my good friend Brittany Luiz. This year, I've been asked more than ever "what can I get so-and-so that loves there a book they could letter in?" And my answer has always been "there's this book by my friend!" Brittany's book, Lettering With Purpose, is perfect for anyone that wants to learn to letter, improve their lettering, and do it with...well, purpose! It's full of prompts and so much space for you to go crazy on the page! I can't recommend this one enough.

Get it here!

Other lettering books I highly recommend from fellow lettering friends:
Hand Lettering for Relaxation by Amy Latta
The Ultimate Brush-Lettering Guide by Peggy Dean
Hand Lettering 101 by Chalkfulloflove

An In-Person Lettering Class With Yours Truly


Heck yes I included this! There's nothing more exciting to me than getting to meet you all! If you live in the Lexington, KY area, you need to save your seat at my next in-person Brush Lettering class. On Tuesday, December 12th, at 6:30PM, I'll be teaching lettering, and I want you to come...and bring a friend! Even if it's not your thing, you could consider giving a seat to the class as a gift to a friend or family member hoping to learn the art of brush lettering. In the past few weeks, I've had friends buy a class for a family member going through a rough time, and another person bought a class for an older family member. Such a thoughtful gift, and one that won't sit on the shelf for years to come! *Collect moments, not things*
Reserve A Seat Here

The most beautiful hand-lettered devotional

My good friend Lauren Ibach hand-lettered this devotional, pourING her absolute heart and soul into it. So, I ordered two copies! This book would make the P-E-R-F-E-C-T gift for you or a friend or family member.....really, for anyone in the entire world. You can get a copy (or five) right here.

For the coffee drinker or the mug collector...


This adorable mug by Mandy at A Heartened Calling >>> Get it Here.

This 'Wake Up and Create' Mug by Creative Biz Rebellion (Support one of my favorite podcasts!)

The mug that is BEGGING to be filled with hot cocoa by Andrea of Pretty in Ink Shop!

For when you need to sneak some alcohol in at the family one of my faves, Brim Papery!

For the gal (or guy) that loves a cute, comfy tee....

This tee is so special to me, for multiple reasons. One: it has my lettering on it. Two: It is the first piece of apparel my podcast co-host and I have designed and launched to support our show, Misses Ambitious. This t-shirt drops THIS Black Friday in our Etsy Shop so keep your eyes peeled and grab one of these limited edition shirts while you can!

More impossibly cute + motivating tees:

This one by Creative Biz Rebellion (gotta support a fellow podcast always + forever)
The CUTEST Find Joy Tee (ON SALE)

Little gifts that will mean the world...

 Photo by Amanda Kammarada

Photo by Amanda Kammarada

A personalized stamp by Hello World Paper Co.

Kelly at Hello World Paper Co. is the epitome of all the things I love about small business: Her business gives back on the reg, she works out of her home, supports fellow businesses, co-hosts an amazing podcast (I've already mentioned it twice in the post), and she brings joy and fun to STAMPS. Who KNEW?! Whether you want to gift a logo stamp, an address stamp to the newlywed couple you know, or the cutest Santa Stamp to bring extra magic to Christmas morning, Kelly is your girl! Check out her stamps here.


I wish there were no use for this keychain, but hopefully, if you have to give it, it will bring comfort and happiness to the recipient. Get it here.

For Your Sassiest Friend


This (True for Me) Tea Towel

Um, literally any one of these Emily McDowell Tote Bags.


Finally, the gift that keeps giving (potentially all year round).

 A monthly delivery of fun, encouraging snail mail designed to help you fail forward. 

A monthly delivery of fun, encouraging snail mail designed to help you fail forward. 

IT'S FAIL! MAIL, Y'ALL. Kristin, of The How to Fail! Podcast, is creating a movement in the creative community and you don't want to get left behind. Fail! Mail is the perfect gift to remind your favorite creative friend that failure is inevitable, and it can be totally fun--cathartic, even. This is a 'start-up,' if you will, so if you want to be the first in line to get the December delivery (and support one of my favorite people/podcasts), you can click here. And, if you're one of the first 25 to sign up, you'll get a pretty sweet print by yours truly!

Order Your Fail! Mail

 Photo by Tombow USA

Photo by Tombow USA

Rounding out the list, we have the BRAND NEW Tombow VIP Subscription box! This might be a #treatyoself moment, and that's totally fine! If you're a fan of Tombow products, you need to hop on this train and have the latest, greatest products sent to your door every month. 

Become A Tombow Vip

Shew, that's all my little heart (and wallet, let's be real) can handle for right now! If you're picking up any of these gifts for a friend, family member, or yourself, let me know in the comments! I will add to this list again before it gets too late to order in time for the holidays, so check back in about a week or so! 

I can't wait to see what you choose! <3

Metallic Watercolor: First Impressions, Swatch, and Review!

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One of my recent obsessions has been watercolor...specifically, watercolors from Prima Marketing. Their adorable packaging always draws me in, and lucky enough for them (ha), their product totally lives up to the hype!

You've seen me use their regular watercolors in the past, but this week I'm using their Metallic Watercolors. 


The Metallic Accents set comes with 12 beautiful, shimmering metallic watercolors.

 Photo by

Photo by

In order to see the colors in action, I suggest watching the video below, BUT, here are my key takeaways after testing this product.

-These watercolors are slightly gritty, but I imagine most, if not all, metallic watercolors are a bit gritty by nature due to glitter or shimmer added to the colors.
-These are pretty sheer, but buildable, and complete opacity can be achieved.
-Some of the colors are VERY similar to one another---the Copper and Red colors are almost identical.
-I've never used another metallic watercolor brand, so I cannot compare. Hopefully I can in the future!

Another product I was excited to test this week is the Pigma Brush Pen by Sakura. This pen is MY NEW JAM. 

What drew me in about the Pigma Brush pen is that it can be used on watercolor paper and the tip won't be damaged! The tip is also pretty darn flexible, which makes it the perfect 'medium' brush pen inbetween my favorites, the Fudenosuke Soft Tip and the Dual Brush Pen!

Have you tried Metallic Watercolors? Have you tried the Pigma Brush Pen? I'd love to know your thoughts on both...leave them in the comments below!

Tombow Techniques: 2 MORE Unique Effects

Tombow Techniques: 2 More Unique Effects!

Almost ONE year ago, I posted 3 unique effects I loved achieving using my collection of Tombow Dual Brush Pens. This simple blog post has since gone somewhat viral on Pinterest. I truly can't believe my eyes every time I log into Pinterest, seeing so many people pin this blog post to their "lettering tips" board.... especially since the original blog post was done so early into my lettering journey, thus the quality being very poor in comparison to where I am today.

So, I've done a little update of sorts! I re-shot two of the 3 techniques, simply giving them a more colorful and thorough re-fresh. I decided not to re-shoot one of the techniques because it doesn't fit my style at all now, and, I'll be wasn't a very good technique at all!

However, the two techniques below are SO FUN! Not much has changed as far as my love of using these techniques, but the new, improved photos are much more clear, helpful, and cheerful! So, please enjoy this refreshed blog post showing off Tombow's most popular pens! 

Let's jump in!

1. Speckling AKA: Confetti

Speckling, which looks a lot like Confetti, is done by placing tiny dots in concentrated areas of your letters. It works best when you layer a darker color dot on top of a lighter color. The only thing you have to be cautious of is staying inside the lines! Other than that, this technique is as easy as pie. 

Here are the colors I began with. From left to right they are: 026, 133, 452, & 533
Like I said above, this technique only really works if you begin by laying down the lighter of the two colors you've chosen. 

Next, using the fine tip end of the Dual Brush Pen, I start making my tiny dots. I prefer to work from the bottom-up, but you could definitely start from any side of the letter you want.

Another thing to remember is to choose two colors that are in the same color family, so they blend and mesh well!

 This pretty pink shade is 815

This pretty pink shade is 815

 This Kelly Green shade is 245

This Kelly Green shade is 245

 This teal blue shade is 373

This teal blue shade is 373

 This purply-magenta color is 685

This purply-magenta color is 685

2. Palette vs. Palette-less Blending

You know I'm a huge fan of using a plastic baggie with my Tombows, but I've also collected so many 'professional' blending palettes that I never have to waste a precious plastic baggie again! (And, full disclosure: my husband and I have stopped buying them as part of our mission to contribute LESS to landfills across the globe)

So, in this second technique, I'll briefly show you the difference between using a blending palette vs. not. Not all of us lettering artists have or need one, but it's nice to be aware of the differences!

Below, you can see I'm using the same shades as the first technique. And, also just like the first one, I prefer to begin with laying down the darker of the two colors. 

If you'll look at my blending palette, you can see a big ol' mess of color! That's because, in blending, there's a LOT of scribbling. Begin by laying down your darker shade onto the palette, then, with the brush tip of the lighter shade, scribble across it to pick up the darker color. But, in case you've never blended before, here's a MUCH better, more detailed explanation in this post.

The other blending technique doesn't involve a palette at all. In fact, all you do is rub your brush nibs together...which sounds REAL strange, but it works!

In the first step here, I am rubbing the teal and light green nibs together. I did a little scribble on the paper with the lighter green, but you can see how quickly the darker color faded away in comparison to the example used above. I don't love this method, if I'm being totally honest! I don't find that it always works 100% and it certainly doesn't have the same effect that palette blending does.

So there you have it!

As always, you'll want to experiment with the colors in your collection. For this palette-less blending process, a yellow color actually doesn't pick up much of a darker color (like a red or pink) at all. However, the yellow will pick up lots of the pink when you blend the old-fashioned way on a blending surface of some sort. Basically, you just never know how the colors will work together until you try it. Experimentation is the KEY to discovering your favorite lettering techniques, and of course, your very own style.

What are your favorite effects to achieve with your brush pens? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Make Traceable, Printable Worksheets Using ProCreate!


Recently, in my private Facebook group, The Unexpected Letterers (you can request to join here), there was some discussion about how to create traceable, printable worksheets without using Adobe Illustrator. I thought this was an excellent discussion, because so many of my creative friends don't have the time or money to invest in programs like Illustrator or Photoshop.....but they do have an iPad Pro.

Because I create lots of worksheets (traceable and not) for my blog readers and students, I knew I could be of some help. So, in this week's blog post, I'm showing you how you can create a simple traceable printable using only Procreate and your Apple Pencil.

I highly suggest watching the video below, then coming back to read the extra information I've included on printing instructions, uploading to a website for download, etc. That's the important stuff that isn't so much fun to film ;)

This printable is a JPG and is sized to print on standard 8.5x11 copy paper. For tracing, print on a high-quality cardstock and use with the Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip Brush pen!


1. Open a HIGH RESOLUTION canvas in Procreate.
*Your canvas must must MUST be at the highest resolution possible since we are not digitizing in a program afterward. I use the automatic screen size option Procreate gives me, and it works just fine.*

2. Create your worksheet or printable using whatever usual sketching / finalizing processes that work for you (you can see mine in the video). 

3. If creating a traceable worksheet, make sure all your content is in black, then bring the opacity of the traceable areas down to only 10%.

4. Export your finished printable or worksheet as a JPG, and save to your photos.

5. E-mail, text, Airdrop, or Dropbox the image to yourself/your computer for printing.

6. Print as usual. For a traceable sheet, print on a high-quality cardstock.

EXTRA NOTES on Creating, Uploading, and Printing your worksheets:

*Keep in mind the specific pen you want your worksheet to be used with. If you want to use a Tombow Dual Brush Pen, the size brush pen you use in Procreate matters. When printed, you want the strokes on the worksheet to match your strokes in real life! Do a test run with all the pens in your collection to figure out what size of brush pen you'll need to use in Procreate for future reference! (Hint: a Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip is a size 9 in the standard Procreate Brush Pen)

*If you want to give your worksheet away to your audience to download via blog post or email list, you want to provide clear instructions on how to download and what paper to use. If you have the proper programs, you can turn your printable into a PDF for your audience, but in my experience, a JPG (sized correctly) will print properly on a regular sheet of paper, and the file can also be uploaded back into Procreate for your audience to trace themselves within the program. 

*I would NOT recommend creating printables this way to sell as instant downloads. The resolution, while fine for leisurely tracing, is simply not good enough to sell. The average buyer of a worksheet like this will want to have lots of printing options that will all result in high-quality worksheet, and without Illustrator or Photoshop, this just isn't a possibility. 

Got any other questions? I would LOVE to answer them in the comments below so SHOOT! Will you be creating your first worksheet anytime soon? Would you like to see an Illustrator tutorial on this same topic? Let me know below...

How To: Draw A Simple Floral Wreath Using A Dual Brush Pen

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I love a simple floral wreath to accent any kind of lettering. It is one of the biggest trends in lettering and art right now, and I foresee it will remain a trend for years to come.

Don't know what I'm talking about? 


Or this!

A simple wreath like this makes a big impact, and impresses EVERYONE. But also, it's one of the easiest looks to achieve if you have the right tools, and a few extra minutes!

Here's what you'll need!

  • Cardstock suitable for brush pens - I use this kind (You can buy single packs cheaper at Wal-Mart, if you have one near!)
  • A Dual Brush Pen or other brush pen in the color of your choice (I'm using DBT 312)
  • A small nib brush pen or fine liner (I'm using the Fude Soft Tip)
  • A pencil
  • An eraser

Now we're ready to get started in creating our leaf. Before we begin, I'll show you the basic shapes needed to create my version of a leaf wreath.


This is the basic leaf shape. So simple right? 


And this is the basic wreath shape....aka: a circle!


The darker lines represent the sections I divide my wreath into. Each of these sections will 'host' 3-4 leaves. A large leaf and two small ones--possibly more if you need to fill in space.


I like to draw the large leaf first, then add the two small leaves on either side of the line.

All my leaves go in the same direction, but you can switch that up if you want!
Once your leaves are drawn, it's time to sketch the quote inside.

Watch the video

Watercolor Halloween Jack-o-Lantern using Dual Brush Pens

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Sweet Tooth.jpg

After my interview with Ciara of Pretty Strange Design for The Misses Ambitious Podcast (Episode #58), I was inspired to start creating more 'art for art's sake,' and things that are just for me to enjoy---not to post on social media or to sell in a shop. Even though I ended up making a YouTube video about the process, the purpose in creating the art is for me to do something I enjoy in celebration of a holiday I really love: Halloween.

If you've been following along with me for any amount of time, you know that I'm trying to improve my illustration and watercolor skills as a personal challenge. I've never been particularly good at watercolor, but I'm slightly okay at drawing. Most of the time, I find that I love my drawings, but I don't love them so much once I have to apply that's what I'm working on these days: bringing pencil sketches to life with different mediums, my favorite being watercolor. 

Here are the tools I used: 

In the process of creating Mr. Pumpkin Guy, I made a HUGE mistake---I smudged some wet watercolor all over the page.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.45.22 AM.png

If you watch the video for no other reason
than to see how I fix this mistake, it'll be worth it, I promise!

Cause it's magical.

Watch the video and see how I created Mr. Pumpkin Dude!

Did you enjoy this video? Are you an aspiring illustrator like me, or are you already a pro? I'd love to know any tips, video resources, or books you've used in your illustration and/or watercolor practice. Drop them in the comments below!

See you next Monday with a brand new video and blog post!

How To Add Dimensional Shadows to Your Lettering

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Recently, I have been trying not to neglect my Dual Brush Pens so much! I've got a beautiful collection of them in my office, and I'm not using them nearly enough.

 SIDENOTE: This is how I store my most-used Tombows!

SIDENOTE: This is how I store my most-used Tombows!

In the spirit of paying lots of loving attention to my dual brush pens, I was playing around with how to add easy shadows to my lettering that goes beyond just adding a dark line. I wanted to add dimension, but I didn't want it to be difficult. 

And I came up with a little system that works for me, and, in my opinion, looks pretty good! 

All you need to create this look is...

Watch this short video tutorial on how I'm creating dimensional shadows to take my lettering up a notch or two!

What did you think about the video? Are you going to try this technique? Leave a comment below and tell me! I would love to hear from you!

4 Tricks for Better Brush Lettering with the Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip

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Hey y'all! Lately, I've been thinking video is a way more effective method of teaching you all my tips and tricks! So, that's what I decided to go with this week. 

Today, I'm sharing my Top 4 Tricks for better brush lettering (on the first try) with my all-time favorite pen, the Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip!

I encourage you to watch the video below, before scrolling down for a full list of supplies and some extra details on using these tricks effectively!


1. Re-trace Directly On Top of Your Initial Pencil Sketch

This is one of my tried and true methods for getting my lettering to fit together like little puzzle pieces. Like I mention in the video, I've been lettering for two years....don't get discouraged if this trick doesn't work for you, or if you takes you a bit longer to develop the 'second sense' for letter/word placement. It is something that truly comes with time, experience, and lots of experimentation!

2. Save your more troublesome strokes for last!

I'm always shaky from too much coffee consumption! Therefore, I save my more difficult strokes (usually upstrokes or elaborate tails on my y's and g's), until last. But what really makes this a 'trick' is that I turn my paper completely sideways or upside down, where I can still pull my pen in a downward motion. However, even though I'm technically making a 'downstroke,' I apply minimum pressure with my pen so that my stroke looks like a totally normal upstroke. No one knows but me :)

3. Use a Fine Liner to clean up rough edges

If the second trick doesn't quite work for you, that's fine! This one will solve that. Use a fine liner pen like a Micron or a Tombow Mono Drawing Pen to clean up your rough edges. Take your time doing this, though! Any wrong moves, and everyone might figure out your secret!

4. Get yourself an artist grade eraser!

This one is a game changer! As you can see, I like to letter directly on top of my sketch, as opposed to using a lightbox...even though I still use one of those too. But, I'm able to get such a clean final product by using an artist grade eraser when I'm ready to get rid of those pencil marks. A regular eraser just doesn't do the trick quite like one that is meant for artists! Trust me on this one....I have an 'Eraser Round-Up' here you can refer to if you need some suggestions.

Ok, y'all! That's it for this week. Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these tricks, and whether or not they work for you. Do you have some tricks of your own? I want to hear about that, too! 

How To: Watercolor Pumpkins (In 5 Simple Brushstrokes)

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How To: Watercolor Pumpkins (In 5 Simple Brushstrokes)

I'm really excited to show you this tutorial today, because it's so fitting for the season, and also....EASY AS PIE. PUMPKIN PIE. 

These watercolor pumpkins will blow your mind! Get ready to paint a million pumpkins today. It's addicting!

Let's get started.


Here's what you'll need!

  • Watercolors (I'm using the Prima Decadent Pies Set, because they have a ton of great Fall colors. If you don't have a set like this, all you really need is an orange! I'm also going to mix up a blue, gray, and green to create a beautiful blue pumpkin later.
  • Watercolor Paper (I'm using The Hobby Lobby brand of cold-pressed paper cut down to 5x7 size.
  • A Large-ish Round Brush
  • A cup of water ---mine had already been used to practice some pumpkins so it looks gross! Oops!
  • A paper towel for blotting your brush if it gets too wet!

I'm using a large round brush (I believe it's Size 12) for this tutorial. This is one of my favorite brushes ever--I think I picked it up at Michael's? Either way, I love this large size because I can get really thick, beautiful brush you'll see, they totally bring the pumpkin to life. If you want to make daintier pumpkins, you can size down to a smaller brush, using the same brush strokes. The important thing to remember is that you will need to use a ROUND BRUSH to achieve these brush strokes.

As for the colors, I'm using the rusty-redish-orange color seen in my palette. It's the perfect pumpkin shade, which means no mixing for me, which I love. I've got my brush pretty saturated with water so I can get a lot of pigment from the orange color, which creates gorgeous textures.

You can see more about this in last week's How To: Watercolor 4 Fall Leaves.

Like I said, all you need to know are 5 brushstrokes to create a beautiful watercolor pumpkin. I'm going to show you those strokes....feel free to practice with a pen or pencil before you are ready to try with your brush.

We're starting from the left and moving right. The first stroke is a 'C' shape, just like this one.

The next stroke is similar to a C, but not as dramatic. The third stroke is basically a straight line.

For the last two strokes, you're going to do a mirror image of the first two.


These are the five strokes you need to create a really beautiful watercolor pumpkin! Now, let's mush them closer together, and watch the magic happen!


The only 'trick' when painting these shapes closer together is adding in some extra connections at the top and bottom to give your pumpkin a more 'painterly' look! Also, depending on how wet your brush is, your shapes might bleed into one another, and that is totally fine! In fact, I think it looks awesome that way! 

Don't be discouraged if your first pumpkin doesn't look great. That's what practice is for! Let's do another one...

For this pumpkin, I mixed up a grayish-bluish-greenish color. I just LOVE a dusty blue pumpkin in the fall, so I was extra excited about this one.

I used the exact same strokes to complete this pumpkin!

Let's paint another!


This pumpkin looks a little different (because, not all pumpkins are the same). All I did for this pumpkin was to make it 'skinnier.' It is also more saturated with color, so it looks a little more 'artistic,' but that just gives it character!

One last pumpkin....

For this last pumpkin, I went back to the dusty blue and I got a little cray-cray with my strokes, just to show that you can be really loose and imperfect with your brushstrokes and still achieve a gorgeous pumpkin!

Don't worry---finishing touches are just as easy as the pumpkins themselves.


Grab a brown, and paint the pumpkin stems with literally one stroke!! Feel free to experiment with the way your stems look, like I did. You really can't go wrong with a stem.


This last step is totally optional, but all you have to do is use the thin end of your round brush to paint these little green squiggles (what are these things called in real life?) coming out of your stem. 


Seriously, I can't get over how easy these are. 
Are you going to try these pumpkins? Let me know how yours turn out in the comments below!

Also, let me know what else you want to see in a 'How To:' tutorial. 

How To: Watercolor 4 Fall Leaves!

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So, it's totally 90 degrees here in my neck of the woods, but it is officially fall, and I'm ITCHING to bust out the riding boots and scarves and cozy oversized sweaters...I'm also itching to get my first PSL of the season because, as a former employee of Starbucks, I can appreciate it, but it has to be enjoyed on the true definition of an Autumn day. 

90 degree weather ain't it. 

Never fear, though! I'm bringing fall foliage to ME no matter what. 
Today, I'm going to show you how to watercolor 4 different fall leaves.

The possibilities are endless for this project! Once you're a leaf pro (don't worry, by the end of this you totally will be), you can create SO MANY beautiful Fall prints to hang in your house or give as gifts....imagine it now: Watercolor Leaf Wreaths?! WATERCOLOR COFFEE CUPS WITH LEAVES SWIRLING AROUND? WHAT?! HOW CUTE.

BRB painting that right now.
Enough of me, let's get to the painting!


Here's what I used:
Watercolors (Fall Colors..specifics listed below!)
1 Round Brush
Tombow Dual Brush Pens in Brown, Tan, or Red (whatever you've got in your collection)
If no Tombows, feel free to use black ink or saturated watercolors
1 Piece of Mixed Media or Watercolor Paper
Clean Water
Paper Towel
Ceramic Dish or Palette (Optional)


I'll be using a medium size round brush (Size 6) for each leaf! My leaves are a medium-small size. If you want to make larger leaves, use a larger round brush...the instructions stay the same.

I'm pulling all my 'Fall colors' from two different watercolor palettes. On the left, I've got my favorite Winsor & Newton Watercolor Palette (Right now it's only $12 on Amazon), and on the right is my Decadent Pies Prima Set (On sale for $20).

Because I'm pulling from two palettes, I have a ceramic dish to hold my watercolors and serve as my palette for this tutorial. Totally not necessary, but I like making things as simple as pie for myself since I tend to get frustrated with watercolors really easily. 
I pulled a variety of oranges, pinks, reds, yellows, green, and a brown.

*If you're new to watercolor, and you're unsure of how to pull color from a palette onto a plate, here's how you do it: Using a wet brush, I dipped my brush in the pans and 'mushed it all around' until the brush was saturated in color. Then, I put the brush on the ceramic dish until the color was transferred. It's super easy!

Off to the side, have a clean bowl or mug of water and some paper towels for blotting your brush or absorbing extra color from the paper, if needed.

*For the entire tutorial, I'm keeping my brush pretty wet because that is how you achieve these really cool textures. So, keep that in mind!

Let's jump in!

1. Tulip Poplar

The Tulip Poplar leaf is the easiest of them all, because it requires only one color: brown. Dip into your brown, then make this wide U or half-circle shape.

Finish the outline by drawing these triangular shapes on top.

Fill in the outline, then, while the leaf shape is still wet, grab some more brown (this time, dry your brush a bit with paper towel, then grab the brown---it'll be more saturated this way), and dot the saturated brown paint into the wet leaf. The color will spread, creating those awesome watercolor textures. If you need to, get some clean water in your brush and dot that onto the leaf as well, creating more texture.


This is the completed body of my leaf. We are going to add accents to it once it has dried! Until then, let's move to the next leaf.

2. Beech

For the beech leaf, I'm using 3 colors to bring it to life! First, I start with an ochre/yellow base. If you don't have a golden yellow, really any yellow will work.

Create a basic leaf shape.

While the base is still wet, dot some watery-brown and watery-green onto the leaf base and watch the colors spread! Only a hint of your yellow base should be visible. Add more yellow to some areas if you think it's necessary. This is all about playing with color....anything will look great because foliage is so unique!


This is what my beech leaf looks like so far. Once again, we'll add accents once it dries. Let's move onto the next leaf until then!

3. Cinnamon Oak

I'm upping the intricacy with each leaf, so I've posted the photos in order (L-R), with the description below the entire set. Here we go!

Begin with a golden or ochre color. The leaf base here is fairly simple, but it is curved. Draw the outline, then fill it in with the same color. Next, grab some orange or red (whichever you have), and begin dotting the orange into the leaf base while it's still wet. The color will spread!
Next, still using the orange, begin drawing the 'bumps' on the edge. Once you've completed that step, make sure the orange is nice and blended---no harsh lines here, people! Add more golden or ochre if need be.

After that, dip into your green, and dot that into the leaf as well, adding bumps to the outside. You can continue adding brown and yellow and green until your leaf resembles beautiful Autumn foliage, bumpy and textured all the way around!

While that is drying, let's move to our final leaf, THEN we get to add accents and truly bring these leaves to life!

4. Sycamore

This is my personal favorite leaf! Once again, it's a bit intricate, but nothing you can't handle. You're a leaf painting pro at this point!

For this leaf, I'm starting with a red/pink base. Begin by making a basic leaf shape, with those funky wings off to the side. All three shapes should be overlapping, creating that familiar autumn leaf shape we all know and love! Fill in the shape with the red or pink color.

Next, grab some green and begin dotting it into the top and outside edges of each side of the leaf while the base is still wet. Add funky bumps and points to the outside (similar to the Beech leaf), feathering the color out to look really natural and organic. 

Here's a photo if you need a close, real-life look at the edges of the leaf.


Next, dip into your orange and dot that color into the inside of the leaf, leaving a little space on the right hand side for some more ochre. Make sure everything is blending together by adding a tiny bit of water to your brush and gently mushing everything around if need be.

Finish by adding some gold/ochre to your leaf on the right hand side, and once again, make sure everything is blended! 

While that leaf is drying, let's move back to the top and finish off our leaves with accents!


To add accents to each life, I'm using the bullet nib of my Tombow Dual Brush Pens. You can use black ink, acrylic paint, or really saturated watercolor. It's totally up to you, but this was easiest for me!

I'm starting with brown to accent my Tulip Poplar.


Begin with a thin line through the middle, bringing it downward and outside the shape, creating the stem. I made my stem a little thicker at the bottom to resemble a real leaf. Your lines don't have to be perfect! Imperfection makes them look much more real in my opinion.

Finish by adding lines across the leaf, extending outward from the middle. Voila! You're done with this one.

To finish the beech leaf, I'm using a tan color. Begin the same way, drawing a line through the center, creating your stem, and then drawing the veins that extend outward from the middle. I kind of 'gently' let my lines get thinner and thinner until they disappeared. I like the effect this gave. I'm really pleased with how this one turned out!

For the Cinnamon Oak, I'm combining my brown and tan for the veins of the leaf. I began with brown, creating the middle vein, stem, and some of the veins extending outward. Then, I used the tan color to extend the veins to the outside edges, and add more in the center.

Finally, we're ready to complete our Sycamore leaf. I chose a red for this. I began with the stem, and then drew some lines extending outward, as seen above. And we're DONE!!


Let me know if you're going to try this tutorial, and what you think of it when you do? Do you want to see more 'how to' posts like this? Whatever you're thinking or need to get off your chest---do it in the comments, y'all!

PROCESS VIDEO: Watercolor Galaxy Lettering Using Tombow Dual Brush Pens


Y'all, I'm so excited to be bringing you a tutorial in a new form today----video!! It's so exciting, though I am a bit nervous for you to see it since I haven't done a YouTube Video in like 3 years.


This week, I posted this photo on Instagram, and a lot of people were surprised to know that I used Tombow Dual Brush Pens (The NEW Galaxy Palette) to create this awesome watercolor piece.


The new galaxy palette is stinkin' AMAZING. All the colors in this 10-piece set combine and blend together to make beautiful unicorn/galaxy hybrid color variations!

Check out my quick swatch picture below. I created this first thing just to have a 'key' when choosing what colors I wanted to pair together.

AND BTW: You can get all Dual Brush Pen 10 Packs 20% off if you use the code 'YAY20' on Tombow's Website. Don't miss out on this's only good September 22-26!


Then, I decided...why not film myself re-creating the watercolor piece? In the video I not only use the markers in the galaxy palette to create watercolor lettering, but I use a few extra tools to bring the galaxy theme to life. 

Click play to watch the video, but refer back to this blog post for a full list of recommended materials, and written instructions.

Recommended Materials:
Copy Paper
A pencil
Tracing Pad (I use this one)
Watercolor or Mix Media Paper
Tombow Dual Brush Pen Galaxy Palette
A large round brush (I use size 12)
A small detail brush
A stiff brush for paint splattering
A cup of clean water
Paper towels on hand for blotting and drying brushes
White acrylic Paint
Gold Acrylic Paint

 0:55 - Grab a piece of paper (any kind of your choosing) to sketch your design. Don't worry about this being just need a good sketch to trace from.

0:55 - Grab a piece of paper (any kind of your choosing) to sketch your design. Don't worry about this being just need a good sketch to trace from.

 1:58: Place your sketch onto a tracing pad and line your watercolor or mix media paper on top of the sketch, where you want it to appear in the final result.

1:58: Place your sketch onto a tracing pad and line your watercolor or mix media paper on top of the sketch, where you want it to appear in the final result.

 3:10: Begin scribbling your dual brush pen tips onto your blending surface---I'm using blending palette sheets from Tombow, but you could use alumnium foil, plastic baggies, or any other slick plastic surface. Dual Brush Pens are water-based, so they wipe off easily from a plastic surface with a damp paper towel. I'm using two sheets because I want to get multiple color variations going---I explain this in the video!  Set the gray dual brush pen from the kit to the side, because we're going to save that one for later!

3:10: Begin scribbling your dual brush pen tips onto your blending surface---I'm using blending palette sheets from Tombow, but you could use alumnium foil, plastic baggies, or any other slick plastic surface. Dual Brush Pens are water-based, so they wipe off easily from a plastic surface with a damp paper towel. I'm using two sheets because I want to get multiple color variations going---I explain this in the video!

Set the gray dual brush pen from the kit to the side, because we're going to save that one for later!

 3:55: To apply my watercolors to the paper, I'm using this Size 12 Round Brush. Have some clean water standing by!

3:55: To apply my watercolors to the paper, I'm using this Size 12 Round Brush. Have some clean water standing by!

 4:05: With a lot of water in your brush, start dabbing it onto the palette and mixing two colors together at a time. This is how we will create the super pretty unicorn/galaxy color variations in our piece.

4:05: With a lot of water in your brush, start dabbing it onto the palette and mixing two colors together at a time. This is how we will create the super pretty unicorn/galaxy color variations in our piece.

 4:54: Have at it! Start using your brush (filled with color and water) to bring life to your piece! I highly suggest watching this portion of the video to see how I'm dropping more color into the wet paint to bring texture and excitement to my letters.

4:54: Have at it! Start using your brush (filled with color and water) to bring life to your piece! I highly suggest watching this portion of the video to see how I'm dropping more color into the wet paint to bring texture and excitement to my letters.

 8:50: Once you're done apatplying the watercolors, wait for them to dry and watch the magic happen as the watercolors start to form really cool textures.

8:50: Once you're done apatplying the watercolors, wait for them to dry and watch the magic happen as the watercolors start to form really cool textures.

 9:07: Grab your two acrylic paints (gold and white), as well as two brushes (a small detail brush and a stiff brush of any kind), as well as a surface to put your acrylic paint on. I just used a folded sheet of scrap paper.

9:07: Grab your two acrylic paints (gold and white), as well as two brushes (a small detail brush and a stiff brush of any kind), as well as a surface to put your acrylic paint on. I just used a folded sheet of scrap paper.

 9:42: Grab your stiff brush and dip it in a little water and a little of the white acrylic paint. Use your finger to splatter the white paint onto your paper, creating a star pattern.

9:42: Grab your stiff brush and dip it in a little water and a little of the white acrylic paint. Use your finger to splatter the white paint onto your paper, creating a star pattern.

 9:49: Use your detail brush to apply larger white stars in areas where you think a beautiful, shining star should go!

9:49: Use your detail brush to apply larger white stars in areas where you think a beautiful, shining star should go!

 10:11: Repeat the same process with the gold paint to give it more shine and dimension!

10:11: Repeat the same process with the gold paint to give it more shine and dimension!

 10:42: Finally, use your gray pen to add shadows to the letters, finishing it off!

10:42: Finally, use your gray pen to add shadows to the letters, finishing it off!

So, I realize I don't go over the basics of using a brush to letter or doing watercolor lettering, so if that's something you'd like to see, please leave me a comment here in this blog post or on the video, and I will make it happen for you :) 

See ya next week!

Monoline Lettering On Glass! (Easy Lettering Tutorial)

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GET READY, Y'ALL. This tutorial is SO stinkin' easy I can't even contain myself. 
It's so easy's monoline lettering. 

For anyone that's new here (first of all, hey girl hey), monoline lettering is the easiest of all the lettering forms. Because it's literally just a prettier version of your own handwriting. No thickened downstrokes, no trying to use a brush pen, no embellishments...nope. None. Just writing.

Best of all, there's really nothing to completing this project except for some mad tracing skills, which I know we've all got!!!

Lastly, the finished result is so chic, so impressive looking, and such a statement piece. I posted a photo of this on my Instagram last week, and so many people were texting or messaging me, asking if I could do something similar for a wedding or bridal shower. So, this tutorial will really get you some commissions if that's your thing!

Are you ready to get started?

The materials you'll need are very minimal! 
-1 Piece of glass (size of your choice!) I am using a 9x12 piece from an old picture frame. 
-1 Pencil
-1 Sheet of Paper
-1 Brush Pen or Dark Ink Pen of Your Choice (You could use a black Sharpie)
-Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Pen in White (You could use either Medium or Fine Tip)

Begin by sketching your quote or design on a sheet of paper. 

Because I'm lettering on a large piece of glass, I'm using the entire sheet of paper. If you're lettering on a 5x7 or other size piece of glass, you'll want to trim your paper down to a size that fits your glass.

Maybe the best part about this tutorial is truly how crazy your pencil sketch can get! Look at that disaster! I'm pretty sure only I could ever understand what is supposed to go where...but hey, it's my process and it works for me! No one is going to see your pencil sketch except you, so don't fuss too much over it.


Guess what? This part of the process doesn't have to be perfect either! YAY!
I traced my pencil sketch with my trust black Dual Brush Pen because I had every intention of doing 'faux-calligraphy.' As you know, I'm about to change my mind :)

You could absolutely use a regular black Sharpie for this portion of the tutorial if you are planning to do monoline lettering.


Once you're happy with your design, place your paper beneath the sheet of glass and position your design where you want it to appear on the glass surface.

Begin tracing! So easy! 

My only suggestion here is to go S-L-O-W and take your sweet, sweet time. Even though you have to pump these pens to get the juices flowing, I actually didn't need to 're-juice' for the entire piece. Isn't that awesome?

And it is COMPLETE!

wHAt?1?1?!?! Yes. I said complete. Done. Finished. 
This baby is ready for a wedding, a picture frame, a gift bag... a store window! The possibilities are truly endless with this crazy easy DIY that will fool EVERYONE into thinking you're some sort of lettering-pinterest-guru-goddess. Which, maybe you are, idk?!


I'll be putting this bad boy on my new bookshelf in my office. I'm currently redecorating my entire office, and I can't wait to show you the photos of where this guy is going when I am able to put all my decor in place! So exciting!

Step by Step Abstract Art Tutorial (EASY)

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Woo! I'm bursting at the seams to bring you this step-by-step easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy abstract painting tutorial! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've recently become obsessed with the abstract art medium, and since I'm still a beginner, I wanted to share a beginner-level tutorial with you. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you!

What I'm loving most about acrylic paint right now is how stinkin' affordable it is. Acrylic paints only cost about 50 cents at most craft stores. Since I'm not selling these or really even giving them as gifts, I don't need to invest in anything more high quality at the moment. 

Want to get started? Me too! First, let's see what you'll need...

Ok, here's what I used:
-A paint palette (can use a paper plate or a large piece of cardboard, but I linked a similar palette to mine below)
-3 Types of Paintbrushes: A small round brush, a large flat brush, and a small angled flat brush
-Canson XL Oil & Acrylic Paper (I L-O-V-E this paper. It is a bit more expensive, depending on where you find it, but it's awesome. It's like canvas paper!)
-Washi tape or other removable tape
-A variety of acrylic paints. You could use whatever colors you please that complement one another!!
-Not pictured: a cup of water and some paper towels for washing brushes between colors.

You begin with a blank slate, which can be exciting and filled with opportunity or scary and filled with ways to mess just depends on how you look at it! I choose to look at it the first way :) 

The canvas paper is taped down with some washi tape (or any easy removal tape) for two main reasons:
1. I like my paper to stay secure so I can really go crazy with my paint brush!
2. I love the clean lines I get when I peel the tape up. #satisfaction

As you can see, I also have my palette to the left of my paper. My palette is horribly messy, but oh well! The main colors I'm using are in the bottom 5 wells of the palette. The white and gold paints will be applied directly to the paper later in the tutorial.

I keep my cup of clean water beside me the whole time, but I did move it out of the frame to keep the light bright and airy for this post. So, please remember, I am completely cleaning my brush between switching colors. 

When cleaning my brush, all I do is swish it around in the cup of water until it comes clean. Once clean, I squeeze the brush tip with a paper towel until most of the water is out. It's a really fast process, and it 'ain't no thang' if your brush is a little damp. It actually helps the paint go on much more smoothly! 

STEP 1: Start with green (or the color equivalent of your choice). You will simply want to dip your brush in the green enough to cover about one quarter of the flat brush head. It's better to get too little than to get too much, as you can always add more, but you can't take away! 

STEP 2: Brush the green (or color equivalent) on in a triangle shape on the bottom left corner. Try to cover the same amount of area I did, obviously, scaled correctly to fit your paper size. (Remember, I used 9x12 size paper)

Have fun with your paint strokes. As you can see in the close-up, I'm not precise at all! I like a little rough brush stroke texture. It will most get covered up anyway!


STEP 3: We're moving to the pink (or your color equivalent) next! Pick up about the same amount on your brush.

STEP 4: Do pretty much the same thing with the pink (or color equivalent) in the top right hand corner. Try to match my shape as much as you can, but once again...HAVE FUN! Don't stress.

STEP 5: This is where it really gets fun! Pick up the light blue color (or equivalent) and start brushing it on just to the right of the green. I didn't do a great job at photographing where the blue should go, but you can definitely make out where I placed it. 

As you're brushing it on, you wanting to overlap with the green to create this soft minty color. 


Ultimately, you want the green and blue to be blended like so. Alternate between picking up more green on your brush, then picking up some blue until you get the consistency and look right (or similar). 

Remember the rule: Don't stress! This is abstract. It is fun! Don't be afraid to 'mess up.' Imperfections are what this kind of art so rewarding.


STEP 6: After the green and blue is blended, you'll want to pick up quite a bit of gray (or color equivalent) on your brush.


The gray color is going to cover up pretty much all the white space you have between your blue and pink. Brush it on freely, not trying to blend with any other colors, just filling in space and having fun!


This is about what your painting should look like (or similar!). Everyone's painting style is different, and I think it's probably impossible to recreate anything exactly (even I can't match every brushstroke). Now, we're going to add accents that can cover any areas we may not be crazy about. 


STEP 7: With the white paint, put little drops of white all across the gray area, as seen above.


With your brush, simply swipe up and down, spreading the white dots out, creating white brush stroke-y areas across the gray section. Very technical stuff here, guys!


STEP 8: With a smaller round brush, grab a decent amount of the navy color (or equivalent).

Place the navy paint in the un-blended edges where two colors meet, roughly in the areas seen above.


STEP 9: Now, with the gold color, make dots of paint on the paper as I did above. You'll need more paint for a smaller area, because the gold paint is quite sheer, and we want it to be a bit more opaque!

Side note: I'm using an angled flat brush for the gold paint. You don't have to use the exact same type of brush, but it really does help achieve the look I'm going for in this tutorial.


Use the angled flat brush to spread the gold out into an even, opaque layer. Do your best to feather it out at the edges, if possible!


Here's a closer look at how I'm spreading the gold paint out into a completely even later. All the streaks of thick paint will be gone by the time I'm done with this step. As you can see, I also decided to add a little extra splotch of gold in the upper left hand corner. Basically, add gold where you think it needs to go to be a balanced look!


STEP 10: Pick up some white paint on the same brush

Use this brush to make these rectangular-like dots of paint in various lengths. You can add these dots wherever you think they're needed! 


I added the dot pattern in the two corners, and in a portion of the gray section, which is only barely visible. I like that the pattern is subtle in some areas, and really sticks out in others!


STEP 11: PEEL THAT TAPE, GURL! You don't have to wait until it's dry to peel the tape up....who has the patience for that anyway?!


I am currently in the process of redecorating my office (so excited to blog about the process!), so all my walls are bare. I threw this painting in a frame and quickly hung it on my wall for a temporary photoshoot! My cat is having a great time posing in front of the camera!! 

I want to know! Are you going to try this step-by-step tutorial for yourself? Are you into this abstract style? Where do you want to hang your painting? Let me know it ALL in the comments.