We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. Nancy Streza and Kayleen West
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We Worship God: Nancy Streza & Kayleen West

We Worship God: Exploring the character of God through alphabetical devotion

I am so excited! I can now reveal that I’ll be celebrating my very FIRST United States publication this December – thanks to Xist Publishing. And what a beautiful picture book it is too! I thoroughly enjoyed and fondly illustrated We Worship God. I painted each illustration in watercolour…or should I write watercolor?

We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. Nancy Streza and Kayleen West

We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. ‘C’ page (comforter)

We Worship God is written by a very talented US author, Nancy Streza. We Worship God is not only an alphabetical story but a poetic dedication of praise – so clever! I can imagine this book will be recited by children. I fell hard for this one-it felt like an extension of Adoptive Father and my heart was immediately invested. Rainbows of love poured from my brush as I personally devoted each illustration to our amazing God.

We Worship God will be released in time for Christmas in eBook and softcover. I will be ordering a limited number of books for my local readers who want copies for Christmas.

I took several studio and work in progress photos so I’ll share more later on the making of the book. Perhaps even a video.

It is so good to finally get to share with you this gorgeous new picture book!

We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. Nancy Streza and Kayleen West

We Worship God, ABC Christian Picture Book. Xist Publishing. December 2015 Publication

Sketchbook collaboration drawings: Bugs Bunny and Kids
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Fan Photos to Sketchbook

Adult Colouring Tutorial - Stage 7 Details: How not to make a colourful mess: patchwork rabbit
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Adult Colouring Tutorial #1:- How not to make a colourful mess!

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Colouring Books for adults by Aussie Girl!

Colouring books for adults have finally broken the pretentious I’m-to-old-for-that-nonsense barrier and staked their rightful claim as not just art therapy but plain ol' fun!

Colouring Books for adults are a hit in Australia and throughout the world!

Perhaps you’ve heard about the neuroscientific celebration breaking out across the globe? Colouring books for adults have finally broken the pretentious I’m-to-old-for-that-nonsense barrier and staked their rightful claim as not just soothingly therapeutic but plain ol’ fun! Colouring books are seen as not just okay for adults but one of the healthiest activities we can indulge in. The world is getting smarter as they discover how important art can be for balance and health. Anyone can profit from the rejuvenating benefits of colouring in. Our world is so fast now. We all need to take more time to unwind.

Our savvy men are jumping on board too – good on them! Lord knows, we all need more balance in this frenzied world of ours! Kids have the science down pat but it took us longer to catch on.

For years I have been advocating how meditative drawing, doodling or simplified creativity play, encouraging others to PLEASE have a go and test for pleasure! I stress not to get trapped in performance based creativity and simply PLAY!

So what did I do about it?

I created an exciting new colouring book that is more than its pretty seahorse face. Positively Quote Colouring Books are full of intricate illustrations AND affirming and encouraging quotes and phrases (some famous and borrowed and some of my own). I have made every effort to give you variety over the pages as well. And…it is printed in soft sepia lines for an authentic artistic finish.

Positively Quote Colouring Books for adults - sample pages

Positively Quote Colouring Books for adults – sample pages

For the perfectionist and anxious, I have ensured there are 2 of each illustration for practicing. You can chill out even more. If you make a mistake or want to try a couple of colour combinations it allows for a second chance. Positively Quote Colouring Books will be printed on one side so if you want to frame the affirming reminders you won’t be sacrificing all the work you did on the back.

People have shared with me some of the benefits of colouring books for adults. They are great aids for:

  • Dementia
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Fear of flying
  • stroke rehabilitation
  • insomnia
  • Stress and relaxation
  • Pain relief (distraction)
  • group, family or team bonding
  • loneliness

I have launched a Facebook page and a pre-order special. I haven’t had a chance to post here because the orders took off like crazy. It has been so busy! People are snapping up the pre-order copies super-fast. My distributor for retail, Dennis Jones has snapped up a large part of my print run already. The ring of Christmas gifts is in the air.

Here are a few photos to demonstrate what is happening. It will be published in October but who knows – it may be sold out before then!

If you want to reserve copies go grab them now!

You can PRE-ORDER HERE 🙂

Pages: Positively adult colouring book. Colouring books for adults and teens.

Pages: Positively adult colouring book. Colouring books for adults and teens.

Photoshop time savers - action. There are just a few Photoshop time savers I use.
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Best Photoshop time savers I know!

Photoshop Time Savers #1

Do you want to save a ton of time when working with Adobe Photoshop? Then let me tell you about the best Photoshop time savers that I know of – Actions.

Creating actions in photo shop is as simple as recording a set of actions you do so that you can replay them with just one click. I have several actions recorded, saved ready for me to utilise when I open up Photoshop.

For instance, I have an action for all the different sizes of images that I optimise for the Internet. Not only do they reduce the image size, saving it as a small file, but I also can nominate where to save it to. One of my actions saves my 600 pixel web optimised images into the specific folder that synchronises with my iPhone.

I have actions that change the colour of a black and white design. Actions that stamp my work with my watermark and automatically typed my web address. And actions that change the appearance of images with filters and by importing image files into layers.

Photoshop time savers - action. There are just a few Photoshop time savers I use.

Photoshop time savers – action. There are just a few Photoshop time savers I use.

One of my most favourite actions is one that prepares my files as I scan them in. It releases the base layer, adds a new layer, turns my work around because when I put my sketchbook in the scanner it is in the wrong way for the screen orientation, and adds a levels layer ready for me to adjust the levels of my drawings and ink sketches. I know – Photoshop time savers – right?

All these simple actions took little time to record, name, and save but saves me a tremendous amount of time now!

So if you are not utilising actions in Photoshop, PLEASE do yourself a favour – go record your most commonly used actions now! You’ll save a ton of time!

Want to know how? Here’s the help on Adobe: Photoshop time savers: How to record actions

What you best Photoshop time savers? I’d love to know!

Stay tuned for something else that I’ve recently discovered that city saving me even more time.

SURFACE PATTERN DESIGN: Children's decor. Fish aquatic design for bolt fabric, lamps, clothing, wallpaper or stationary. Available for Licensing
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Creative courses – Swallow the lemon and spit out a strawberry

But you recommended a lemon!

On Social media, someone recently voiced their concern about recommending courses. A valid concern. Some require students to invest large sums of money in their education. Illustration and design courses can run into the thousands – as much as $14,000! The larger the fee the larger the risk of people returning to blame you for their financial loss if it doesn’t suit them.

Learning is subjective. All you can offer is your personal experience and state it as such. I always like to begin with something like, For me the benefits where x,y,z ….and I was glad I took the X class but you will have to decide if it fits your needs. Or, this X classes wasn’t a good fit for me but read up on it, it may totally suit you.

Swallow the lemon and spit out a strawberry

I shudder when people bag out tutors on social media (I do see it too often). Most people who teach genuinely want to help others but have to make a living as well. Student concerns are fine, but sarcasm is unwarranted. There are the exceptions to warnings. For example, I was watching a particular video introduction webinar recently to see what other tutors are offering in a particular area I will be teaching soon. I didn’t want mine to duplicate anyone else. I don’t mind amateur video but this was really challenging to watch. Her voice was constantly dropping out. If I were a student I would have been terribly frustrated by this. To add to this there was error in the information as she was sidetracked. These were not edited later – an oversight that could confuse the students. It is always a good idea to share your concern with the tutor or school and give them a chance to respond.

If I were a student and someone asked my opinion, I would respond privately if there were negative concerns. Having contacted the tutor, I’d be equipped with a fair response too.

Remember when recommending others that a starting approach like …In MY experience, or for ME personally may be the clearest way to express your joy or disappointment but in all responses please be kind.

A few design courses I’ve done…

Firstly, none of the following 2 courses where associated to any negative comments I refer to. Both are more affordable than many classes also.

Bonnie Christine on Creative Live

One of the best pattern design courses I have taken was Bonnie Christine’s Creative Live course, Design Surface Patterns From Scratch. The regular price is under $79. It was meaty learning and worth every cent because I had limited experience in several of the areas she taught.

Creative Live has live courses running all the time. You can watch for free or buy to watch as your leisure. The production of the videos are exceptional. https://www.creativelive.com

Design Surface Patterns From Scratch with Bonnie Christine
Image credit Bonnie Christine: http://www.bonniechristine.com/

Elizabeth Olwen on Skillshare

The very first class I took for pattern design was Elizabeth Olwen’s Pattern Design: Creating Inspiring Repeats. http://www.skillshare.com/classes/design/Pattern-Design-Creating-Inspiring-Repeats/1356401580/projects on Skillshare.

I benefited from seeing the blob tool used as a main tool in a pattern design. As I like to freehand and draw, this tool is appealing. The easy to understand instruction on repeat patterns and exporting a tile was valuable to me too.

Elizabeth’s beautiful work can be seen here: http://www.elizabetholwen.com/

The fishy result: new patterns for licensing!

As a result of the classes and the videos I’ve watched over the past few months I have produced many designs. This is one of my most recent below. Please someone license this for lamps!

Pattern Design: Children's decor. Fish aquatic design for bolt fabric, lamps, clothing, wallpaper or stationary. Available for Licensing
I loved seeing all the great projects submitted after the class today. You can see them here: http://skl.sh/16xq5xt

I just haven’t wanted to stop long enough since this journey started! This class was the first pattern class I took and in a few short months I have totally immersed myself in surface pattern design, trying to learn as much as I can. I LOVE learning and watching videos but better still is implementing the learning. The blog brush was a breakthrough moment for me – love that brush! I found the repeat pattern teaching in this video easy to follow – thanks Elizabeth!

Until then I had been working in Photoshop, Illustrator was a bit of a mystery to me. I have learned so much through great resources like this and hungry for more!

This is one of three fish designs I have been working on. One has hugs and kisses on it and why I named the collection, Fishy Hugs & Kisses. I wanted to challenge myself to mix the pen tool objects with the contrasting soft blob brush shapes and lines. I am pretty happy with the result.

Pattern Design: Children's decor. Fish aquatic design for bolt fabric, lamps, clothing, wallpaper or stationary. Available for Licensing

Pattern Design: Available for Licensing

Mock ups are also new to me. I had to test this design out on a lamp shade for a children’s room. The only issue I have now is….I want these on lampshades for real!

Pattern Design: Children's decor. Fish aquatic design for bolt fabric, lamps, clothing, wallpaper or stationary. Available for Licensing

Pattern Design:  Available for Licensing

My new creative courses – strawberries welcome!

If you want to get in the front of the queue for information packs on my new courses in Children’s illustration, drawing or creative inspiration (coming soon) click the image below.

Online courses in Children's Picture Book Illustration, Drawing and Creative motivation and inspiration with Kayleen West

Easy steps to zentangle? Doodling for fun.
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This is how to draw something AWESOME – easy!

Have you noticed the flood of attractive patterned doodling popping up everywhere? It has been branded as tangles or zentangles. I guess in some places that is a better term than …well…doodle. Doodle here means…well…a boy’s thingy..you know.

I bet most of you have at one time or another doodled on a scrap piece of paper – most likely whilst on the phone. Have you ever looked at part of it and thought, ‘gee, this little bit here looks…good” ? Doodling can be taken to a new level and not by any great skill either. Anyone can doodle…or tangle.

After posting a tangles inked doodle I did for #INKtober and #illo52weeks,  a fellow artist asked me what was the best way to start with something like this. Fortunately I did take a progress photo. This is my advice for anyone wanting to create something like this. Start small. It is meant to be fun, easy and experimental.

Easy steps to zentangle? Doodling for fun.

  1. Begin with a simple shape or squiggles line. In this I drew one long squiggle with fish in mind as I drew. I overlapped shapes but didn’t lift the pen of the paper until I had the page covered in a squiggle.
  2. Additionally, you can begin by making as many variations of marks on paper as you can. Look at patterns and shapes of items around you and use them for inspiration.
  3. Use your reference sheet and begin filling in the shapes within your squiggle with a different design in each.
  4. After all sections are filled (you can leave some blank if you want – no rules) then look for places where you may want to clean up the line or thicken some in parts.

They are really only simple shapes like lines, circles, squares, triangles etc in various thicknesses collected together – nothing elaborate. This is why ANYONE can do this!

And that is all there is to it. There are plenty of books on the topic that can give you ideas but look around you and try simple shapes from your surroundings. You’ll find plenty when you start. And of course you can do this on any surface like I did on this art doll. There are endless ideas for covering surfaces with this approach. Feel free to post you creations inspired by this post. We would love to see them.