Monday, October 24, 2011

Dangerous Doodle - 'Awesome Overlap'

Another Dangerous Doodle to inspire you!  Let your imagination run wild with this tutorial.  This pattern could be used to create all sorts of textures - scales, fungus, weird sea plant life, you name it!  The best part is the little shine created by leaving a gap in the shading.  Watch the video below to find out how to draw it in detail. 

Don't forget to add your drawings to the 'Dangerous Doodles Flickr Group'.  Don't worry if you are a beginner, either, because everyone in the group is very encouraging, and there are always lots of constructive comments.  Have a go at the challenges, too...they are always great fun.

By the way, thanks for all the suggestions for new Dangerous Doodles.  I'm keeping a list of ideas for when I draw my next batch.  If you enjoyed this tutorial, check out the others in the tutorial section of the blog.

Have fun, and let me know in the comments below what you think.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Three Little Trees For Someone Special - New Demo Video.

'Three Little Trees' design on a printable card.
Emails are nice and all, but don't you just love to get something in the snail mail once in a while?  I don't mean the sort of mail that starts with 'You owe us...', but one that is sealed in a fancy envelope, with beautiful handwriting on the front, addressed with your actual name, not just 'To the householder'. 

You open the envelope carefully, slide out a card with a happy image on the front which makes you smile, open it up, and read a message from someone you know.

Even though I am addicted to checking my email like most people, I still always find myself attracted to the card stand at the stationary shop, especially those sparkly ones with glitter on them, they are my favourite.

I love stationary in general and everything that goes with it...notebooks, writing paper, cards, envelopes...I remember receiving gifts of writing paper sets with matching envelopes, and never using them because they were just too beautiful to write on...did you do that too?

I have designed quite a few stationary related items which are available as printables in my shop.  One day I would like to offer them as physical items already printed and made for customers, but for now printables are more practical for me, living all the way down here in New Zealand it is a bit pricy for postage charges.  Printables are great, because people can print it out on the paper that they prefer, and can usethe design as many times as they like, and you don't have to pay for postage!  If you are anything like me, you perhaps wait till the last minute as you are ready to walk out the door to go and visit someone, that you wanted to give them a thank you card.  Perhaps it is a holiday and all the shops are closed...not to worry, just print off a card, fold, glue, write, seal, and Bob's your uncle!
Making the 'Three Little Trees' printable card is a pretty simple process, but I thought it would be fun to make a little video showing how to make it, and what it looks like at the end.  I also included a very teeny tiny surprise...make sure you watch the whole thing to see it!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dangerous Doodle Spotlight - 'River of Lava'

'River of Lava' by Belatrix29.
Click image for more detail.

It's time to spotlight some of the lovely work people have been adding to the 'Dangerous Doodle' group at Flickr.

I chose this piece, 'River of Lava' by Belatrix29 (also known as Helena). You can see more of her beautiful drawings here.

Come to think of it, maybe it could be a bit of a subconscious choice on my part, considering the title of the piece.  Last night I had a rather confused dream about a volcano erupting.  I spent the whole dream either trying desperately to get away from it, or getting distracted by other nonsense. 

Aren't dreams great?  You can be escaping from an erupting volcano, but still have time to pop in to your friend's house for a nice cup of tea.

Anyway, back to the subject!  Helena has encapsulated such a diverse collection of patterns in her 'River of Lava'.  I like how she has framed them all in the circle, and each pattern swirls outwards from the geometric shape in the middle. 

Let's have a closer look at some of those patterns, and discuss how Helena has used them to create a really wonderful artwork.  This is something useful that you can do with your own drawings as well.  If you select interesting pieces, cut them out (either on Photoshop, or with good old scissors) then they become even more beautifully abstract.  You can even use them as starting points for new artwork.

This pattern resembles 'Sea Sick', a very wavy doodle which has puddles of concentric circles wedged in between moving parallel lines.  Helena has taken the pattern to the next level by adding a subtle shadow next to the wavy lines, which creates even more texture, height, and layering.
 Here is such a beautiful interpretation of  'Shell Treasures'.  Helena has drawn overlapping shells which get smaller as they work their way around the spiral.  This adds perspective/distance to the piece.  She has also layered some gentle hues of pink and purple to the shells which really bring them to life.
 Here we see 'Deep in the Jungle', with vines curling around themselves, and lush green leaves popping out here and there.  I love the way she has added a hint of shadow in just the right places to make the vines look three dimensional, as if one curl might be in front of another.
 The 'Over and Under' Dangerous Doodle is a very versatile one, as it can be interpreted in many different ways.  It could be a crisscross of highways, branches, nerves, or whatever your imagination dreams up.  Belatrix has used this pattern to emulate waves of hot molten lava, using sizzling colours of yellow, orange and red.  She has woven this through a darker background, which really makes it stand out.
This reminds me of some wooden steps going down to some sort of mysterious trapdoor.  Again, those wonderful shadows do the trick.
 Sometimes it is not WHAT you draw, but it is what you DON'T draw that makes all the difference to a shape!  Leaving out a little piece of each line in these swirls gives them the effect of being ultra shiny...great technique!
 Cleverly hidden in the 'Sea Sick' pattern are some sharp 'Spikies'...  Watch out!
This wonderful pattern reminds me of a futuristic transportation tunnel made of glass.  Again...great use of perspective, with the lines all disappearing at a vanishing point behind the curve.

Thanks again for adding your wonderful masterpiece to the group, Helena!  That's the end of the second Dangerous Doodle Spotlight.  Don't forget to subscribe so that you don't miss the next exciting episode.  Keep adding your drawings to the Flickr pool...yours could be next!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Name that Okashi!

I remember when I was young (not that long ago...yeah right! hehe) my dream travel location was somewhere like England, or Scotland. Somewhere cold with snow and castles and lots of green rolling hills and mountains. These were the places I always read about in books as a child.  Little did I know, that I would end up going somewhere totally different.

I began my travels in Japan, then went to South Korea, China, over to Morocco, and a few other places.  I haven't made it to anywhere in Europe yet, maybe one day.  It is funny how I ended up going to all the places that I knew nothing about and didn't have much interest in.  That has all changed, though, as I love reading about these places now, and dream of going back there one day. One place which I really loved was Japan.  I have to admit I spend a lot of time looking for interesting blogs and YouTube channels about Japan, and this is all because of a lovely friend of mine (thanks, M!) who invited me there and persuaded me to set off on my big adventure all the way from Australia.

So what has this all got to do with the image above?  Well while looking for cool stuff about Japan, I found a YouTube channel created by 'NihonJenn' who is a North American living and working in Japan teaching English (something I am always interested in, as I taught English in South Korea for two years).  She talks about various things she observes about her life overseas, and has a very cute segment called 'Name that Okashi'.  In it she talks about the latest Japanese snack she has found, and lately she asked her subscribers if anyone would like to make an intro for her next snack I thought it would be fun.  Brings back memories of all the interesting snacks I used to try in South Korea.  I could never read the writing on the packet, but it was always a surprise to break it open and find out what was inside.  The convenience store across the road from my apartment must have made a small fortune out of me in the two years that I was there hehe.

The image above is a still from the 10 second animated intro I made.  As you will see, I didn't use any fancy animation software to make it, I just did a bit of drawing with a black pen, scanned it into Photoshop, and then coloured it in different stages, saving a Jpeg of each stage, and then I just loaded them all into Windows Movie Maker, added a bit of sped up voice and background music, and...Voila!

You can watch NihonJenn's 'Name that Okashi' video here, or alternatively, you can view the animated intro by itself on my channel.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunny Side Up

Egg on toast...sunny side up, runny yolk, salt and pepper.  Cup of milky tea on the side.  My favourite breakfast.  This one, however, has been cooked according to a special 'Dangerous Doodle' recipe:

Original black and white version.
Dangerous Doodle Egg on Toast   (Serves one)

1 drawing journal
1  thin black permanent ink pen (approx 0.3)
A generous sprinkling of Dangerous Doodles (eg:  Head in the clouds, Deep in the Forest, Spikies, Sea Sick)
1 computer with Photoshop or similar software installed (or a set of coloured pencils or watercolours)
1 Scanner
1 imagination


Draw the general shape of the egg lightly with a pencil.  Outline with the thin black pen, then use your imagination and have fun doodling on the egg using a variety of Dangerous Doodles.  Make sure the ink is dry, and erase the pencil lines.  Use your choice of medium (Photoshop, coloured pencils or watercolour for example) to add colour to your egg to make it look as delicious as possible.  You don't have to stick with yellow and white, splash in a few other different colours to spice things up a bit.

This drawing was my attempt at #1 challenge 'BREAKFAST' for the 'Dangerous Doodles' drawing group on Flickr.

You can also buy this drawing as a print in my shop.

Bon Apetite!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Click on image above for more detail.

Yesterday I decided that the photos on my posts needed a bit of hand-drawn bling!  My children were drawing in their daily journals at the kitchen table (they are 5 and 3 years old...they draw a picture and then they dictate the story to me as I write it next to the picture). I can't watch someone else drawing and not get into it myself, so I whipped out my pencil case and sketchbook, threw down some general shapes, and began to decorate them.  Some turned out scannable, and others, I'm afraid, will have to remain in the sketchbook.  After scanning I changed the colour in Photoshop (always fun!).  I made quite a few of them, so you may see them pop up on future blog posts. Keep your eyes peeled!

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