Sketchbook collaboration drawings: Bugs Bunny and Kids

Fan Photos to Sketchbook

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 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.

Children's illustration: Four little girls playing

Illustration – Little girls ready to play – children’s illustration

Illustration: Inktober in ink

Illustration for INKtober 2014. Little girls so out to play illustration. #inktober

Children’s Illustration: Four ready for play

Today’s illustration is an illustration of happy little girls playing.  As I slop around the house in my comfy clothes I frantically flick the white-tail spider out of my hair – it must have crawled in there at breakfast! Glamorous or pretty is the last thing I feel right now but  as I throw my little sketchbook under the scanner for the first time today, I can’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction. It is rewarding processing little sketches; the special little creations that come from nowhere and from no real quantity of time. It is the quick, non-committal doodling that can be the most delightfully satisfying.

In the illustration they are dressed far more prettier than I am right now! They are ready for a fun day out, complete with handbags, a spinning top and a flag! They’re ready to celebrate life as little girls should. Today I get to celebrate their creation and name them if I wish. Yesterday they where no way in my mind or on paper. Now they could be anything; a stand alone illustration, a pattern design, a book character – who knows? The illustration is too lovely not to do something with it.

INKtober sketch a day sure is filling up my little sketchbook with illustrations dedicated to ink. What fun! I found an old pen I forgotten I had too. I’ll have to play with that as well.

I hope you enjoyed meeting my little girls today. Do you want to see more ink illustration? My page dedicated to all the INKtober sketches so far can be found here: Inktober Illustration

Inktober was started by Jake Parker in 2009. You can see his archives from this year on the official website. All credit to him for this initiative. I have decided to keep my sketches pretty simple due to project commitments and alike but enjoy the stress-free simplicity of that. You will find Jake’s lovely illustrations here:

INKtober 2014. An inked sketch each day for the month of October. Today it is a inked birds illustration. #inktober

Inktober Creative Advantage

Inktober is a creative challenge to create an inked drawing every day for the month of October.

We all know I am a sucker for illustration challenges so why should Inktober be any different?

While playing with creative friends on Facebook (so much fun!) an illustration member of the 52 week illustration challenge and Facebook buddy, Jacqui Peterson mentioned that another illustrator, Jody Pratt had started a community page for Inktober called INKtober 31. Nah I thought, I haven’t got time for that.

Fast forward 2 week and I am posting my 14th inked drawing today  and I am in love with ink!

INKtober 2014. A ink sketch each day for the month of October. Today it is a inked birds illustration. #inktober

INKtober 2014 –  An inked sketch each day for the month of October.

So to cut a long story slightly shorter, I have created this page in my sketchbook section to upload all my daily Inktober doodling. They are not meant to be masterpieces but some have potential for development. I am really glad I joined Inktober, as I get that bit more experimental drawing done and some have been good beginnings to work on later. This week I made a surface design from one of my Inktober pieces. I did as a card for my sister’s birthday. I also have a new surface design page so please check that out too! It is only new but it will grow rapidly so keep checking back.

Giraffes inked for Inktober 2014

Giraffes inked for Inktober 2014

I was pretty excited with the way it turned out. I am just trying to decide on the best background colour to go with. Now I have to pick a colour preference… 1,2,3 or 4?

Giraffe Sisters surface design. Because I have a sister I'll always have a friend. Pink cushion for girls.

Giraffe Sisters surface design. Because I have a sister I’ll always have a friend. Pink cushion for girls.


Update May 2015: I finished the challenge and have made inking part of my drawing lifestyle since!

A list of  Inktober related posts can be found here:

Daily Doodle Happy Hippo birthday card. Childrens illustration
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I can’t stop drawing, drawing, drawing!

Scribble, scribble, scribble. I carry my sketchbook everywhere and now I have my baby Cintiq in my lap TV time means more drawing time. My family like to wind down with the TV and I like o draw. Why the influx of extra drawing? Well….apart from working on the sketch stage of an awesome new book, I have added Daily Doodle to my routine more. I don’t participate every day, but pick a few to challenge myself .Here is a catch up on some of my Daily Doodle drawing…

Drawing is the key ingredient to a strong portfolio. The more you draw the stronger your work will be. The best illustrators draw exceptionally well. A sketchbook can be your best friend. When I see illustrators with piles of sketchbooks I almost need a bucket to drool in! I regret not drawing in my own sketchbooks more often but now I do a lot; illustrating at church my notes (I remember the message a lot better this way), sketching whenever it is not anti-social, early before the kids wake, when my husband is training – any time I can.

This year I know my work has advanced because of the amount of drawing I’m doing. I have always had the skill to copy and draw but imaginative drawing is another ball game all together. My imaginative drawing has strengthened as a result of the challenge themes. Just like writing challenges or other goals you commit to, you end up far more productive when faced and focused on a regular challenge.

This week I found a quiet cafe/restaurant with a sitting area where I can work away from my studio. A get away like this was needed to get me out of the studio and my desk. I intend to meet with others ans scribble in the near future and encourage others to start drawing more. It is SO MUCH FUN!

How often are you drawing? Maybe do a little today?

Children's illustration. Tortoise and the hare. Rockets - Let's get the party started. Toned sketchbook
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I Think I Am In Love

I am in sketchbook heaven right now. I have wanted a toned sketchbook for a very long time and finally ordered a few from overseas. My American friends, you have all the goodies – It isn’t fair! I would love better access to some of the home-wares and art supplies you have. I found someone who would delivered here and a cheaper than the ones I have seen in art shops.

Children's illustration. Tortoise and the hare. Rockets - Let's get the party started. Toned sketchbook

Children’s illustration. Tortoise and the hare. Rockets – Let’s get the party started. Toned sketchbook

This is the first drawing in my new sketchbook. I love this paper! It isn’t that thick but is smooth and grey lead is easily removed repeatedly. The sepia and white pencils look great. It is a great base to colour digitally too. It will be difficult to go back to white paper for sketching now I have been spoiled. I can see why so many illustrators and animators use toned paper.

Here you will find a coloured one I did for a get well soon card illustration, and for #illo52weeks dots.

I have been having a lot of fun creatively this month. I launched a fun and educational video on creative drawing, Eye and Imagination, which evolved from the #illo52 week theme “eye”.

I have been dabbling in the Daily Doodle drawing challenge in my TV down time and produced a colouring page download.

Work is consistent. I am in the middle of the sketching stage for a ABC picture book for Xist Publishing; my newest project.

Along with the author Victoria Lane, I will be launching a picture book, Celia and Nonna with Ford Street at the SCBWI Sydney Conference and in Melbourne at end of August.

Celia and Nonna,. Picture book by Victoria Lane and Kayleen West

Celia and Nonna,. Picture book by Victoria Lane and Kayleen West

I have some work in progress images from Celia and Nonna. I will share something soon and talk about how a the book was put together.


The Sketchbook Project touring.
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Sketchbook Project YouTube Video

Now, I finally have the hang of uploading video to YouTube, you can have a sneaky peak into a little sketchbook that took a little tour around the world via The Sketchbook Project. I filmed my sketchbook from The Sketchbook Project in 2012 when painting its cover. You can see all the pages in the video too. I came a cross the file this week and thought “It is time to upload this!”

I got to hold it and look through my little sketchbook one more time late last year when the library traveled to Melbourne Australia. I know it is sentimental of me but there is something adoptive about a sketchbook and I NEVER part with them or tear pages from them. This was a big deal for me. A single piece of art (no problem) but a set like this was a reluctant gift. The motivation was the fact I could appreciate the thrill of a traveling exhibition like this. I know I like to pour over other people’s sketch journals.

It now resides in the Brooklyn library’s permanent collection.

The Sketchbook Project touring.

The Sketchbook Project visit. Melbourne National Gallery cafe with my daugter and a little street art going up as we drive past an alley in Melbourne. Me with my little sketchbook for one last hold.

A little visitors tip: When visiting the mobile library, there is a lot of queuing involved. I was a little frustrated so share the sketchbooks with some others on the table. If you borrow and share you’ll see much more in the time you have. If you are a bit selective, I would suggest you look up who’s sketchbooks you want to view prior.

Welcome to your new home gift card illustration. Boxes word illustration challenge #illo52weeks
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52 Week Gift Card Challenge – #21 Boxes

Welcome to your new home gift card illustration. Boxes word illustration challenge #illo52weeks

Welcome to your new home gift card illustration. Boxes – Word illustration challenge #illo52weeks

A “welcome to your new home” gift card illustration – sketch stage. Of course one must unpack teddy first. Her mum has opened the kitchen box for accessing coffee ASAP – I soooo understand that. Caffeine is essential in any house move, several in fact. I shudder at the thought!

My last move was 4 years ago and still a nightmare I remember. The home owner hadn’t moved out when we arrived and left the house in a very dirty state. We had to do a frantic call out for help to half clean the essentials before we moved in. The removalists damaged several things, took cigarette breaks every 5 seconds and left us that night with half of our possessions on our front lawn. Yes we were expecting rain too and NO the removalist wouldn’t repair or compensate for the damage he caused. I won’t be moving again in a hurry.

I am thinking of adding a cat in the kitchen box to magnify the curiosity of the pets. I’ll have only its tail seen, poking up out of the box. Cats get into everything and know no boundaries. What do you think?

Interestingly, an obscure theme like boxes seemed impossible at first but in fact was easy once I began. I avoid painting the subject like a still life. Those days are over. I prefer more story. I also wanted to ensure I did a gift card illustration this time. I need to finish it in watercolour now. I will pop it on my blog when it is done.

The next word challenge is eye. I have already been working on this and it turned out to be an even bigger surprise. I’ll have something very different to show and tell next time; something I use as an activity in schools and hopefully a fun video idea. Stay tuned!

Kids Show and Tell Invitation

Teachers and parents: If you children are inspired by anything I share on my website blog I would love to see what they are creating and celebrate some of those creations. I would love to start an online gallery for kids to show and tell. If you have anything you want to share email me via my contact page. I would love to see!

Angels watching over me. #illo52weeks challenge. Illustration in ink and coloured in watercolour and Photoshop.
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52 Week Gift Card Challenge – #18 Celestial Body

Two very different style illustrations from me this week for the 52 week illustration theme challenge: Celestial bodies.

I have been experimenting with pattern in my sketchbook and they have evolved from that. The lower illustration was evolved whilst listening to revelation on my iPad. A rather eventful book in the bible, especially when Michael and his angles fight the devil.

On a very different note, the whimsical reflection of angels going about protecting and praising makes me feel pretty happy when I look at it. I did a big whoopsy though. I drew it with a spelling error – thank goodness for Photoshop! I spelt guardian – gardian!

You will see more pattern form me. I will be launching from this idea for a picture book – fun!

So where does the “gift card” part of the challenge come in? Well, I haven’t deviated too much. In time, I will pull some of the image from the top illustration and use it for that and a surface design project.

Angels watching over me. #illo52weeks challenge. Illustration in ink and coloured in watercolour and Photoshop.

Angels watching over me. #illo52weeks challenge. Illustration in ink and coloured in watercolour and Photoshop.

Celestial Bodies. Michael the angel. #illo52weeks challenge. Illustration Photoshop. Revelation 12:7 Then there was war in heaven. Michale and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels.

Celestial Bodies. Michael the angel. #illo52weeks challenge. Illustration Photoshop.

Pencil illustration sketch for 25 week illustration challenge - Cross-hatching
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Cross-hatching and a cross hatching

Cross-hatching Illustration

Cross-hatching is this weeks theme. I did use cross-hatching in my illustration; a method where you cross lines over each other however my illustration is a play on words. My cross-hatching is literally a cross hatching! Don’t ask me why I chose an elephant to sit on the egg. I think maybe because it is just as ridiculous as a cross hatching. However if you think of the Christian symbol; the cross it does represent being reborn.

A little trivia: “elephant’ was the first “big” word I mastered in kindergarten. I used to recite, “ele-ph-ant” over and over and think I was so clever; such a big girl spelling this word. I loved the way it sounded spelling it out too e-l-e-p-h-a-n-t!


Pencil illustration sketch for 25 week illustration challenge - Cross-hatching

Pencil illustration sketch for 25 week illustration challenge – Cross-hatching

My week 8 illustration challenge for #illo52weeks is cross-hatching – get it?


52 week gift card illustration challenge #illo52weeks - Machinery. Watercolour
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52 Week Gift Card Illustration Challenge #6 Machinery

52 week gift card illustration challenge #illo52weeks - Machinery. Watercolour

52 week gift card illustration challenge #illo52weeks – Machinery

You can view all posts so far for the 52 week challenge here