Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Christmas to all and a couple of artworks

8x10 inches
Coloured pencil and Gouache on watercolour paper
The Hidden Garden
8x10 inches
Watercoloured pencils, regular coloured pencil and Faber Castell pitt pens on Pastelbord
It's been quite a long time between blogs and most of the artworks I've been working on lately have been commissions for Christmas so can't be posted for a couple more weeks.
I have an article in the latest copy of Australian Artist entitled You Can Draw on Absolutely Anything which discusses just some of the many surfaces you can use with coloured pencils. You can see my High Tea pictured on the cover of the latest issue.
Fatso is a gift for my Sister-in-Law who was devastated when Fatso passed away unexpectedly last month and this was one of the last photos taken of him.
The Hidden Garden was done just for fun to try out some different combinations of media. It didn't work out quite the way I had planned but it was nice to try out different subject matter and materials.
Hopefully I can get back into some regular blogging over the next couple of months.
Wishing all of you a truly wonderful Christmas and a really happy year in 2013 :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Publishings and other musings


For those of you who to subscribe to Ann Kullberg's CP Magazine, you can see my step by step tutorial on how to draw 'Hoodie' in coloured pencils on drafting film in the current (November issue). This is an abbreviated version of the full tutorial which you can find at my website at
Grandpa Elliott was selected for the Colored Pencil Magazine 2013 Calendar and you will find him along with the other winners in this month's issue of the Coloured Pencil Magazine.
Australian reader's might also spot the Miniature Grandpa Elliott in the current issue of Australian Artist which covers an article about this year's Australian Society of Miniature Art (NSW) National Awards Exhibition.
 And here are a couple of commissions completed over the last few weeks. We are gearing up now for that crazy time of year and so it is back to the drawing board to work on more commissions.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beer, Bread & Berries Artwork and tutorial

Beer, Bread and Berries
8x10 inches
Coloured pencils on Drafting film

My poor old blog gets a bit neglected these days and I do apologize to anyone who may follow it, but it seems to be a constant battle juggling and prioritising art work, family and maintaining internet sites. This is my latest artwork and tutorial and whilst I do enjoy drawing people and animals it was a lovely, refreshing change to draw a still life and particularly one that had a range of surfaces and textures. This artwork was worked on both sides of the drafting film to firstly intensify some of the richer colours such as the strawberries and stein and also to create the softer reflections that appear underneath. If you would like to learn how to draw something like this using coloured pencils on drafting film, you can purchase this tutorial for a small fee from either my website at or my Etsy store.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hoodie - New Art Tutorial

This latest 8x10 inch artwork is my darling little nephew Chris and was drawn with coloured pencils on drafting film. This time I used Faber Castell Polychromos on Grafix Dura-lar which gives a lovely smooth, translucent look to your portraits. You can purchase the 21 page comprehensive step by step tutorial from my website at Watch this space for more tutorials soon.

Ebay Store Closing

After receiving an email from Ebay to say that the subscription for stores is now increasing from $25 per month to $50 per month, plus you still need to pay a listing fee, plus they still take 7% of the final value fee, I have no choice other than to close the Ebay store I have held for 5 years. I do hope this doesn't cause any inconvenience to my loyal and much valued customers. You can still purchase all my art tutorials and commissioned portraits from my website at or from my Etsy store. If you have any problems with either of these sites, please don't hesitate to contact me directly. I will also be adding to my tutorials on a regular basis and they are being added to a range of new sites over the coming months.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I Love You, Mum sample illustration

This is a sample illustration for Hachette Australia for a planned children's picture book, drawn with coloured pencils and markers (the sky and mountains) on drafting film. I love drawing animals on the drafting film, but one of the things I have always struggled with is getting a nice smooth sky using pencils on film. Last week I invested in the airbrush system that goes with the Tria Markers (Copic have a similar system) and used the markers that I have had for years and it worked like a dream. First time I attempted it, it didn't go so well - the key is to work from light to dark, so as to get the smoothest transition. I did the sky on the back of the film, working right across the page and then used methylated spirits to remove the marker from behind the koala and tree trunk. The mountains were also done using markers and a base coat of pale green was applied to the grassy area. The rest of the illustration was worked from the front using coloured pencil.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Special Moments

The First Encounter
8x10 inches
Coloured Pencil on Colourfix Suede

Grandpa Elliott in Miniature
2.5x3.5 inches
Scratch art and Coloured Pencils on Scratchbord

I was priveleged to have the opportunity to draw the commission for The First Encounter. It is always a joy for any artist who works on commission to be able to draw moments that convey human moments and this lovely image was no exception.

I was also thrilled to discover that this little version of Grandpa Elliott was award the Most Innovative piece at the recent Australian Society of Miniature Art National Awards Exhibition, and was also purchased by the judge. Grandpa Elliott has been a bit of a lucky charm for me and I send lots of hugs his way!!! :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Crazy Days

8x10 inches
Coloured Pencils and Zest-it on Pastelmat

High Tea
4x3 inches
Coloured Pencils and Scratchart on Scratchbord

The Window Cleaner
3x4 inches
Coloured pencils on Colourfix Suede

I must apologize for not posting in a while. We had our son's 21st Birthday on Saturday night and have been busy preparing for that and all the interstate family who were travelling down for the event. We then got a phone call on Friday to say that the caterers we had booked for the event had just gone into liquidation and so it was then a mad rush to get some food together for the 70 guests we were expecting. We got there in the end and it turned out to be a lovely night.

These are also some of the artworks I have been working on over the last couple of weeks. Lola was a commission and High Tea and the Window Cleaner were both done for the upcoming Australian Society of Miniature Art National Awards Exhibition.

On a different note, my tutorials can now be purchased from a brand new website that specialises in selling tutorials iPublicate. The PDF's will come as an instant download once your payment goes through and so there won't be any delay as there is on my other sites, where I need to send the tutorials through manually. If you are interested in purchasing my tutorials, please give this site a go.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Grandpa Elliott in Miniature

Grandpa Elliott in Miniature
3x4 inches
Coloured Pencils and Scratchbord tools on Scratchbord
This is the second time that I have taken the time to draw Grandpa Elliott's Portrait. I wanted to try out some scratchbord in miniature and combine it with coloured pencils and his wonderful beard and the highlights on the glasses seemed to lend themselves perfectly to scratchbord art. This artwork is for the upcoming Australian Society of Miniature Art exhibition and with entries due by the end of next week, I am rather ambitiously (or stupidly), hoping to get another one completed within that time frame.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Let's Count Kisses Personalised Prints


You can now get your very own personalised prints to go with the Let's Count Kisses Picture Book (Hachette Australia). These books are available on-line and in most book stores and would make the perfect gift especially when teamed up with a framed print with your little one's name or personal message printed on their favourite illustration from the book.
For more information about how to get a personalised print please visit either my Etsy Store or Ebay Store and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or special requests.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Graphite Cat Step by Step Tutorial

 Whistful 2
8x10 inches
Graphite pencil on drafting film

This is the third time I have drawn this darling little kitten from this image and this time it was to complete a step by step tutorial at the special request of a client. This is a deceptively quick drawing to do and so it has amazed me over the years just how popular it has been - must have something to do with the irresistable subject. The reference photo for this artwork was provided with the kind permission of PCB 75

This 19 page step by step tutorial explains all the tools and techniques needed to work with graphite on drafting film and is available either from my Etsy store, or direct from my website at

Friday, June 1, 2012

Let's Count Kisses now available in shops

Let's Count Kisses should now be available from most book stores (within Australia). If you are interested in getting a hold of the book and your local book store doesn't have it in stock, then they should be able to get it in for you. Outside of Australia, hopefully it won't be too long before it is available on Amazon. For more information visit Google books

Tutorial - Combining two images together to create a single image

This tutorial explains how to combine two separate images next to each other to create a new single image file (I was recently asked how you do this) using the free image editing program Paint.NET. (Please note: this program only works on Windows, not Mac)

The first step is to open one of your images in Paint.NET by clicking on File > Open and browsing the files on your computer.

The next step is to change your canvas size, so that you can fit your second image next to the first. Click on Image > Canvas Size and then double the width in the Print Size box.

Next, go to Layers > Import From File and then browse your computer for the other file.

The second image will open on top of the first image, but you can click and drag the image to place it beside the other image.

You can now save your image as a new jpeg file.

Sepia Portrait and New Tutorial

Bonny Chris
8x10 inches
Coloured Pencil on Canson Mi-Teinte Paper

This portrait is of my darling nephew Chris and a huge thank you to his Mum and Dad for allowing me to use their reference photo. By far the most popular portraits that I get asked to do are the graphite ones, but those of you who have been following my blog for a while will now that I generally steer clear of working with graphite as it is not my favourite medium. Hence the motivation for creating this portrait and tutorial. Sepia portraits are a lovely way of still getting a Monochrome look, but with a touch more warmth.
For anyone interested, this 17 page tutorial gives a step by step guide on how to do a sepia portrait, using coloured pencils. I also used zest-it solvent to give the skin a smoother look, however you can still complete the tutorial and portrait without using the Zest-it. For more information, please visit either my website or from my etsy store.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Step by Step Coloured Pencil Tutorial

Do you find working on backgrounds a bit tedious or challenging? This 26 page tutorial has two sections to it. The first will guide you through how to create a background using the free image editing software Paint.NET, which you can then print straight onto your Stonehenge paper (or your own favourite art paper). The second section takes you through a step by step guide on how to draw this gorgeous Meerkat using ink and coloured pencils. For more information about this and other coloured pencil tutorials, please visit either or my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

King of the Castle

King of the Castle
8x10 inches
Coloured pencils and ink on printed Stonehenge paper

This artwork will be the subject of an upcoming step by step tutorial on working with coloured pencils on printed Stonehenge paper. Doing backgrounds is often the boring part for me, as I love doing the detail and drama of the main subject, so printing on your art paper, (which is really no different to working on coloured paper) can give you another avenue for exploring creativity and having a bit of fun with your art.

This gorgeous Meerkat was a most obliging model when we visited the Canberra Zoo recently and he really did look like the King of the Castle as he lorded over all the Meerkats on the ground below.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How to place a Watermark on your Artwork / Image

There are many different ways that you can place a watermark on your artwork or photo, but I thought I would share my method as it uses a wonderful photo editing software that you can download for free from the internet called Although I do have the full version of Photoshop, I find this program quicker and easier to you use, so it is great for anyone who doesn't want the expense and complexity of Photoshop, but still wants to play around with their images.

The first step is to open your image within your program.

The next step is to go to Layers and click on Add New Layer

In the Tools box on the left, click on the T for text. You will then see some tabs pop up at the top, which allow you to choose your font, font size and positioning for text. I always choose the same font for all my images (Lucida Calligraphy) and this will give your portfolio more uniformity. The size of the font will depend on the size of the image you are working on. You can then play around with the positioning of your watermark. I usually place it in the middle of the image, but away from major features. A little box will come up on your image that allow you to move your watermark around once you have typed it it.

You can also see a colour selector box on the bottom left of the page. As a rule, I always use either black text for a lighter artwork, or white text for a darker artwork, and I then adjust the transparency so that the watermark is more subtle. However you can choose any colour font you desire from the colour selector.

In this next image, you can see I have added in the text, and you can also see the little box which allows you to move your text around. To get a Copyright symbol, hold down the Alt button and press the numbers 0, 1, 6 and 9, in that order.

The next step is to adjust the transparency of your watermark, so that it doesn't overwhelm your image. Click on Layers and then Layer properties and then adjust the slider across until you are happy with the transparency and then click on OK.

The final step is to merge the layer down. If you don't do this, it will be saved as a PNG file in layers, rather than as a jpeg file. Click on Layers and then Merge layer down.

The final and most important step is to Save As a new file. If you just click on Save, then your original image will be over ridden with an image with the watermark, so always click on Save As and give your file a new name. Be sure to check also that it is being saved as a jpeg and not a PNG file.

Whenever I scan in a new artwork, I save it as the original size, then in a smaller size without a watermark, and also the smaller size with a watermark. So, in most cases, for each of my artworks I have a folder with at least 3 copies of the image in different formats.
I hope this brief tutorial gives you some helpful hints. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

For more tutorials, please visit

The Agony and the Ecstasy of our Computer Age

First the agony: After finally clearing our computer of a trojan 2 weeks ago, a recent Vista update caused our computer to crash numerous times. Panic - call our wonderful IT man, who came and tried to resolve the issue, and then suggested we upgrade to Windows 7, after the problem still wouldn't resolve. Bought and installed the upgrade - still having problems. Our IT man then informed us that the only solution really was probably to format the whole disc drive and do a clean install from the Windows 7 Upgrade (did you know you could do that?!). He copied all 20gb of important files over to a Hard drive, formatted the computer and did a clean install of Windows 7. We also bought the latest Microsoft Office, since we have still been working from a 2002 version and at last we have our computer back, better than ever, but minus $1000!!!

Now for the Ecstasy: Over the years of blogging and networking on all different sites, I have made some really wonderful friends, none of whom I have ever met in person. One in particular, I now count amongst my very dearest friends. She first contacted me about 4 years ago after purchasing one of my artworks from Ebay and asked whether I would do a commission for her and this started the ball rolling for me with commissions. Since then, we have stayed in touch, following each other's blog (she is a very talented artist), and through phones calls and emails. Upon reading of our recent computer problems and challenges with one of our dogs, a 'rescue parcel' arrived in the post last week with goodies to destress both the dogs and me. That parcel came at a time, when I was feeling very stressed and bought me to tears, and my gratitude to her is immeasurable. It is amazing to me that you can have such precious friendships with wonderful people that you have never met in person and they can have such a big impact on your life, and that is the best part about this incredible computer age!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


This 8x10 inch artwork was drawn with coloured pencils on drafting film and is now the subject of a 21 page comprehensive step by step tutorial available from
The reference photo for this gorgeous kitty was provided with kind permission of PCB75

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Step by Step Tutorial on doing Realistic Portraits using Coloured pencils and Zest-it

This brand new 26 page tutorial is now available for a small fee from my website at It is a comprehensive step by step guide on how to achieve realistic portraits using coloured pencils and Zest-it pencil blend on Pastelmat. There is also a section on how to use Pan pastels in combination with the coloured pencils to achieve a softly blended background. This particular tutorial uses a range of different brands of pencils, however, by using the Coloured Pencil Conversion Chart which is also available from by website, you can work out which of your own pencils to substitute for the ones used in this tutorial, so there is no need to go out and buy a whole lot of new pencils.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A couple of Commissions plus a couple of little dramas!

8x10 inches
Coloured pencils and Pan pastels on Pastelmat

8x10 inches
Coloured pencils on Mat Board

This has been one of those weeks. I have a couple of love/ hate relationships going on at the moment. The first is with one of our dogs, Sophie (9 months old), who decided on Monday night to chew a biro to pieces and then spread the contents all over our bedroom carpet and bedspread. After googling every conceivable remedy for removing ink, we had tried a multitude of solutions and went to bed reassured that much of the ink had been removed. On awakening on Tuesday however, we found that one of the remedies had not only removed much of the ink, but also the dye from the carpet and bedspread (I suspect it might have been the toothpaste). Panic stations. We now have a new bedspread and a new rug to cover the offending patches on the carpet. Just as well Sophie is so endearing and much loved!!!
After resolving that problem, I decided to open some emails, only to find that everything on our computer was frozen - so needless to say my second love/ hate relationship is with our computer. Three days later and several hundred dollars poorer, we are now back up and running again. In between the dramas, I managed to get a bit of work done as well.
Adora will be the subject of a new step by step tutorial and should be available from my website at from next week.