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.