Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Inspiration Please, Friends!

The children's bookcase I am working on. Where should I go from here?

Hi Folks! Tonight I have been busy painting this cute children's bookcase we picked up from the school next door to us.  Perfect for three home schooled children who love books.  

Today has been a really book themed day, actually.  I took my children to the little local library and they signed up for 'The Great Reading Race' competition which the library are running at the moment.  Then the kids chose about a million books to take home (hey, I'm not complaining...I would rather they read books than watch DVDs)  and then on the way home, we passed the primary school next door and lo and behold they were getting rid of all this school furniture. For free! Most of it was pretty useless, but we grabbed this cute little book shelf.  It even has cubby holes in the back to put more stuff inside!! 

My husband said 'We can just stick it in the garage to store things, it's pretty ugly'.  'Oh no', I said, 'I will paint it!'.  'Yeah right' he said, looking at me sideways with a smirk.  My husband knows my bad habit of not finishing things. We have a lamp sitting next to our bed with a half finished painted design on it that has annoyed him for years.  However, this time I was feeling very inspired.  I grabbed the paint, rolled the bookcase out on the grass under a tree (it has wheels too!) and my two eldest and I began to throw on some paint.  They (aged 4 and a half and 6) both now have pale purple acrylic tinges in their hair and the youngest was almost completely covered in paint splodges when he finished, but we had a great time.  It's all part of the homeschooling experience, right? 

Children's bookcase.  View from the front.

Children's bookcase, with books added.

Anyway Once we got the main colour on and they all went to bed,  it was brought inside for some details.  Here is what I have come up with so far.  What do you think?  I was aiming for a sort of 'books flying through the clouds and off into the distance' sort of effect.  These are just the outlines.  Now I need some advice.  What should I do next?  Should I add more details, some shading, some different colours? Should I paint over it and start again? Or should I just leave it the way it is?  I really am a bit stuck and need some inspiration, to prove husband wrong and finish the project.  Waiting eagerly for your comments!!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Stitching in the Children's Ward.

Hi everyone...Long time no blog! I have been making things, though.  Perhaps not the sort of thing that you are used to seeing on Miraculous Mosquito...but I thought I would show you anyway.

The pear needle book I made
in the hospital.  You can see I am still
practicing my blanket stitch!

We have been going a bit 'felt crazy' around here lately (by we, I mean myself and my 6 and 4 year old).  I recently paid a visit to my favourite shop in the whole world, called 'Pete's Emporium'.  It used to be a tiny little shop in Porirua (just north of Wellington) jam-packed full of all sorts of bits and pieces.  Now it has moved across the road to a bigger space, and good ol' Pete has expanded his range of items, in particular the art/craft/fabric/sewing section which I spend most of my time in.  There I picked up a whole lot of felt in many different colours, then on my way home I dropped in at my local library where I grabbed the reserved books they had kindly saved for me.  One was a book about how to make felt toys and other groovy things.
This little guy turned out kind of cute, I thought :)
His body is stuffed with polyester stuffing, and his tail is flat.

My kids just borrowed a book from the library called 'Jolly Olly Octopus' I think
that is where the inspiration for this came from.

These clouds are just flat, stitched around the edge, with a white side and a blue side.

   Recently I have been spending a bit of time in the hospital with my daughter and son who both have asthma and have had some nasty attacks lately.  There's not much do do there while you are cooped up in a small curtained cubicle waiting for the next inhalation of Ventolin.  Beforehand, waiting at home while the ambulance was on its way and I was making sure I had everything packed in my overnight bag, I decided I was not going to spend another night in the children's ward with nothing to do but play games on my phone while my eyes turned square.  I grabbed the felt toy book, a bag of felt, and some needles and embroidery thread.  At least I could teach myself to do something while I was there.  I made a really cute felt needle book with a pear on it which, although not perfect by any means, didn't turn out that bad and I was happy with it.

This little fishy turned out a bit weird
but I like his shape.
I have always been a bit scared of sewing for some reason, but now I am really starting to enjoy it, and my children also ask if they can do some as well when they see me stitching away.  Encouraged by that mild success I decided to make something a bit more detailed, and when I got home from the hospital I decided to make an interactive toy for my children.  I made some fish, an octopus, and a few clouds, which I am somehow going to make into a sort of picture which will either be attached to a wall or made into a 'quiet/soft book'.  The kids will be able to attach the fish and other objects onto an ocean themed fabric/felt background wherever they want, with snaps and velcro.  I've got a few more ideas...a guy fishing in a boat...a giant clam with a pearl inside....etc etc! Now to actually FINISH it....that's my REAL challenge !!  If you have been reading my blog since the beginning, you will probably know that finishing things isn't exactly my speciality, but I'm getting there.

Hope you are all having a great day (or night!)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Moleskine Experiment #3 - Fancy Heart

A quick painted doodle in my Moleskine Experiment series.  A fancy heart.  Because we all need a little love :)  Watch me painting it here....or better yet, watch the whole playlist just for fun!

Lots of Love 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Moleskine Experiment #2 - Paisley!

Paisleys are great, aren't they?  I love 'em.  If I see anything in a shop with paisleys on it, it immediately catches my eye.  They are so much fun to draw, because they have a lovely flowing shape, and you can make each one totally different just by changing the pattern.  Once you have the general shape down pat, you can then add whatever your heart desires. 
 As part of my Moleskine Experiment series, I doodled this particular one on a recycled cardboard folder, using 'gesso' paint which had been watered down so that it flowed just so.  What do you think about this design...should I use it to paint on my Moleskines? Let me know in the comments below...and don't forget to watch the video and share it with your friends.

Happy doodling...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Time For A Change.

I was staring at that great big blue pencil on my blog banner the other day and suddenly decided...It's time for a change!  I was feeling in a mostly black and white mood that day and so, voila!  I snapped my fingers and lo and behold, I found myself looking at my new banner and background.  As you might already know, I'm the sort of person who gets lost in details.

Details... I just had a flashback ! I remember my Dad asked me to paint him a sign for a garage sale one day when I was a teenager.  His words to me were 'Daughter dear, could you paint me a sign for our garage sale....oh...and please...just plain writing this time....don't EMBELLISH IT!!!'.  Well, yes I did make that sign, and I tried my very best to make it plain so that it was easy to read from a passing car.  However, my Dad made that fatal mistake of leaving me alone too long with a paintbrush in my hand after the words 'garage sale this Saturday' were carefully and neatly painted.  I mean, a few curls and swirls here and there couldn't possibly hurt anyone, could they?  Doesn't everyone like a bit of decoration in their life?  Surely those big lovely bold letters were meant to be embellished?  When my Dad came back to check my handiwork he laughed, rolled his eyes and shook his head. 'You just couldn't help yourself, could you!' he sighed.  'It's OK Dad, you can still read the words on it....just...hehe' I answered sheepishly. 

It was the same in classes at high school.  I would often hand my notebook into the teacher and get the same written comments when my book was returned:  'A beautifully decorated must have taken you hours to do this.  But where's your homework??'  It was the same with assignments.  And exam papers.

The other day I made a chicken and vegetable pie with homemade pastry.  It was delicious...I wish I had've taken a photo of it to show you.  I was going to actually, but by the time I had turned around to get the camera it had been sliced into pieces and served onto everyone's plate.  Anyway I think the main reason I go to the trouble of making a pie with homemade pastry is so that I can doodle on it.  This one looked great.  It had hearts, flowers, swirls, dots....the lot! All sculpted in pastry and coated with a layer of beaten egg to make it go extra crunchy on top.  I think I spent more time decorating the top of it than it took me to make the actual pie.  It was so much fun though.  Edible there's a thought!  Maybe I should get into cake decorating or something, I could really go overboard with my embellishment addiction with that hobby.

Oops!  That was a long flashback.  Get to the point, I hear you shout.  Ok well, the blog's new look.  I spent some time thinking about making it sleek, stylish, and shiny-looking, sort of minimalist and nice and simple.  A place to rest your eyes, a vacation from the craziness that is the internet.  I really did try.  But it just wasn't me at all.  Who am I trying to kid? So instead, I went in totally the opposite direction and crammed as many doodles in as I possibly could.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!  That's better!  Glad I got that all out of my system.

Let me know what you think about the new look, in the poll to the left (if it is still there by the time you read this article).  Or better still write a comment below.  I would love to know what you think :)


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Ultimate Doodling Playlist!

First of all I want to give a big HOWDY to all the new MM blog subscribers.  You have probably found yourself here because you are a keen doodler like me, or maybe you just like to look at all the pretty pictures.  Whatever the reason, I am glad you are here in my little corner of the internet.  Welcome to the workings of my brain hehe.
Anyway, I'm not sure if you have discovered it yet, but over on my YouTube channel, I have a playlist just fort the serious doodlers out there, called 'Dangerous Doodles'.  Make sure you check it out if you haven't already, and feel free to leave comments and share with your friends.  Hope you like it!


Don't Jump In! Another Moleskine Experiment Video.

I thought it would be nice to bounce back from my long online absence with a bit of an experimental painting video.  So many things have happened since my last post, including moving our family to a different house...stressful to say the least!  However, it has all been worth it, we now have more space (including more space to do our artwork...YAY!) It meant moving a bit further away from the city, but it is to be expected...cities are not really designed for families, are they.

This little painting experiment is the next in a series I am doing, as I prepare to paint on some lovely Moleskine notebooks, as well as a Moleskine drawing book with beautiful paper, that I picked up from the local art shop. The books have darkish coloured covers, so I wanted to experiment on some similar surfaces before I tackled the actual Moleskines.  As always I recorded it all on video.  I did quite a few different experiments which I will be posting soon, so if this is your kind of thing, make sure you subscribe to my blog, facebook page, twitter and all the rest of the thingies I am attached to, so you don't miss out on any new videos.

If you would like more info, I recorded an intro video about my Moleskine experiments which you can view below.

Hope you are all well!  Can't wait for your comments :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The 'Capsule' Leaf.

A few weeks back, my family and I went for a nice break in the countryside.  We stayed in a great little cabin which was connected to the main 'camp' by a small forest which featured a fast flowing stream which we crossed over a little bridge.  It was so nice to just be able to stop, listen to the sound of the forest, and look closely at all the different plants and insects.

It is interesting how, in the city, the animals are wary of the humans and don't hang around for too long when we are about.  It is often difficult even to hear them...but it is a different story in the forest.  The forest is theirs and as soon as humans arrive, you can hear the birds all calling loudly to each other to announce that there are intruders.  They are quite bold and come close on the nearest branch to check you out and then fly back to their mates and report what they have seen.  I can just imagine what they are saying: 'Hey, I just saw the strangest birds...they are as big as a tree...and one of them has such a huge beak, if you can call it that.  It's the funniest thing I've ever seen...HAHAHAHA!!'.  Then there are the animals of the eight legged variety.  'Hey, Bob...let's wait 'til it's nearly dark, build a huge web right across that pathway, and then one of us will sit in the middle of it and see what happens when they walk through it...I feel like a good laugh!  Why don't you sit in the middle?'re bigger than me.'  You really get the feeling that you have walked into another world, and I love it.  My children love it too because everything is amazing to them.  They notice the smallest details, too.

In this beautiful forest were the most amazing ferns, I had never seen them before, and I am not sure what they are called or whether they are native to New Zealand...perhaps someone out there might know more...please let us know in the comments.  I have shown them in the image above.  On each leaf there are hundreds of tiny capsule-like bumps, and if you turn them over you can see that these hold small brown seeds.  If you run your finger along them you can feel an interesting texture, a bit like reading braille. 

My daughter was obsessed with collecting these leaves and we ended up with them all over our cabin, so one night I got out my sketchbook and drew one, which you can see in the image above.

Do you have any nature sketches/artwork you would like to share?  I'd love to see them!

Happy drawing!

Monday, February 6, 2012

GARDENABLES! Episode #1 'Trev's New Look'.

Please click the comic page to see a larger image.

Please click the comic page to see a larger image.
Two days ago I decided I needed to draw an online comic strip, and...Voila!  'GARDENABLES' was born!  Here is the first exciting episode, entitled 'Trev's New Look'  (exciting? Ok I will leave that up to you to decide hehe).

Anyway it's just a bit of fun, and I hope you enjoy it.  It's the first time I have ever done an online comic strip, so I would love to hear what you think of the first episode.  Please add your comments, ideas, and helpful suggestions below.

Should I keep going and make episode #2?  Or should I just kill it now and put it out of its misery?  Perhaps you have suggestions for characters or storylines?  Let me know.

I have also recorded the drawings and will be posting them on my YouTube channel very soon.

Oh...and make sure you subscribe so you don't miss out on any of the fun!

Happy reading!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spiffy Up Your Journal!

The other day I paid a visit to a place in Wellington called 'Uncle Bill's'.  No, he's not my uncle...just one of those shops that you can buy just about everything from at a very inexpensive price.  Buy at your own risk, mind you, and make sure you check that everything works before you leave the shop.  I went there to buy gel pens, but ended up buying everything else instead, as I tend to do in this type of shop. 

They had some interesting art equipment there...not the sort of thing you would expect you to last a lifetime, but I bought myself a pretty decent paintbrush.  It's called a 'Taklon Liner' and it has really long, thin bristles which are great for doing fine curly flourishing lines.  Once I got the hang of it I just couldn't stop, and began painting everything in sight with some white gesso I found at the back of my art cupboard.  I will have to work out how to fix the paint on somehow, perhaps some spray varnish will do the trick...otherwise the whole lot will just scrape off.

As you can see, my art journal with its smooth black cover was just asking for a spruce up.  I have video recorded some other little curly paintings I did on some dark surfaces with white paint, and when they are all nicely edited I will post them on my YouTube channel so you can see how I did them.  I can't wait to show you. 

In the meantime, I have posted a video about the materials I used to decorate the cover.

If this takes your fancy, make sure you subscribe to my blog and YT channel so you don't miss out on the rest of the series.


A Pleasant Surprise!

While checking my email this morning I received a pleasant surprise!  As my eyes scanned through the list of inbox subjects, on in particular caught my eye.  One of my YouTube subscribers had sent me a message of congratulations for winning the Shoo Rayner Drawing Competition!  Then I found a message from Shoo telling me I had won his competition, and asking where to send the prize.  WOW!  I never win anything...hehe.  I hardly ever enter competitions.  However, I enjoy Shoo's entertaining drawing videos so much I felt keen to submit something this time...and I'm so glad I did!  I won, among other things, a signed copy of one of Shoo's children's story books that he wrote and illustrated himself.  I will enjoy reading it to my children, who also love to watch his drawing videos.

You can view Shoo's contest announcement video above, which shows all the great entries that he mentions (make sure you visit them all and give them a 'thumbs up/like' and a comment).  Below is my own video, and the winning drawing.

Thanks soooooo much to all who watched and 'liked' my video, I'm sure it all helped me to win the competition.  Welcome, also to all the new YT and Blogger subscribers who have recently discovered my little corner of the internet, I hope I can continue to make more videos that you can enjoy.  I have so many ideas in my head...if only there were more hours in the day!  Right now it's 1am in my part of the world (the only time I get any peace and quiet in a house with 3 children aged 5 and under hehe)...staying up far too late...AGAIN!!!  But it's worth it when I receive all your wonderful comments.  Thanks again!


My winning entry - Ink on paper, coloured digitally with the help of my trusty drawing tablet.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cast Your Vote for a Dangerous Doodles Pattern Tutorial Book

Thanks to everyone who read and commented on one of my previous articles, 'A Dangerous Doodles Pattern Book?  Suggestions Welcome.'  There have been some really positive comments and many people have expressed interest in buying a book if it was created.  I have been busy drawing a whole new collection of exciting  patterns, and looking into the best format and layout for a
how to' style book.  I am thinking of making something that looks more like a booklet or 'zine' which will cost people less to purchase, and not too hefty for shipping.  I'm still open to different options and ideas, though, so please feel free to add your comments below.

To give me a better picture of how many people are interested, I have added a quick and easy poll on the left sidebar of this blog.  Please cast your vote, share this article with as many people as you can think of, and hopefully this will help move things along a bit.

By the way if you haven't already seen the DD tutorials on YouTube, you watch them here.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Letter 'G'! - Fun with Typography - Drawing Video

The letter 'G'!  Part of my 'Fun with Typography' series of quick drawing videos.  The letter G video is below, and don't forget to check out all the other letters on my YouTube Channel.  Subscribe to my YT channel and blog to make sure you don't miss out on any.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Forgotten Folio.

Pssst...The Forgotten Folio...coming soon...that's all I can tell you...the rest is top secret. 

Subscribe to my blog and my YouTube channel so you don't miss any of the inside information.  Share with your friends. The more, the merrier!

Until next time,

PS:  (Watch the teaser below!)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fun With Typography - The Letter F - A Dangerous Doodle Drawing Tutorial.

Continuing with my typography series...the letter 'F' has arrived! 
More letters soon to follow :)

Watch the drawing tutorial and have a go yourself.


Congratulations to Morgan...Here is Your Personalised Printable Notepaper!

Morgan's name decorated with summer flowers.
Congratulations to Morgan, who recently commented on one of my videos and won herself a personalised printable notepaper set with a matching envelope.  These are now hers to print out as many times as she likes, and send to her friends and family.  This design was drawn by hand with black pen on paper, and then digitally coloured.  I also made this into a drawing video, which includes some photos of our little garden, the inspiration for the flower design.  You can see the video below.  If you would like to see more of my printables, visit my shop.

The finished personalised notepaper with matching fancy envelope.


Watch me design Morgan's prize in this video.  There are also a few photos of my garden as well.  Don't forget to comment, thumbs up, share and subscribe...every little bit helps!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Finished! My Entry for the Shoo Rayner Drawing Competition.

Phew!  I finally finished my entry for the Shoo Rayner drawing competition.  The black and white version is hand-drawn in black ink on paper, and the colour version has been scanned and digitally coloured on the computer, with some extra words added.  You can view my video entry below, which shows some small snippets of me drawing.  Although it was a lot of work (not just the drawing, but the video editing etc) it was a lot of fun and I learned quite a few new tricks while completing it.  It also made me feel like running my own competition sometime soon, once I get the ideas all sorted out in my head.


Watch my entry for the Shoo Rayner Drawing Competition.
Don't forget to like, comment, and subscribe to my channel
if you feel so inclined :)  It all helps my pen to keep on movin'!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Do THREE trees make ONE forest?

My three little trees design was recently featured in an Etsy treasury with a collection of other three little! I didn't even know there were so many interpretations!  Very cute, I thought.  You can see the actual page here.  A big thanks to Val, who took the time to put the treasury together.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Shoo Rayner Competition Entry - Sneak Preview.

Update:  You can view the finished competition entry drawing here.
Shoo Rayner is a UK illustrator whose work I have been following for some time.  In addition to illustrating over 200 books, he also has three YouTube channels!  He must be a very busy man.  On his channels, he teaches how to draw everyday objects, gives career advice for artists, and shows us some of the interesting bits of his life.  He does all this with lots of laughter, and I always enjoy watching his videos when they pop up on my YouTube subscription page.  

At the moment he is running a competition, where you can choose any one of his drawing tutorials, and draw your version of it as a video response.  I thought I would give it a go.  I have finished drawing and recording the black and white pen sketch, and now I am working on the colouring and editing.  I just splashed out and bought myself some new black drawing pens in a range of different sizes.  What a difference it has made...I can't stop drawing!  It's amazing what a new pen can do to inspire you.

The video below is just a sneak preview.  I will post the finished product as soon as I can.  When I do, if you are feeling generous you might like to watch it on YouTube and click the 'LIKE' might help me win a prize!
Check out the Shoo Rayner Drawing Channel Competition video here.  Don't forget to subscribe to his channel, it is well worth the click.  

A sneak preview of my entry for the Shoo Rayner Drawing Competition.

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