Why I Love the Underrated Cat's Tongue Brush

If you are not using a Cat's Tongue brush, you definitely should.  It is like the Swiss army knife of watercolor brushes!  I absolutely love this style of brush and I talk about it in detail over at www.zembrush.com.  

I painted this entire mermaid painting with just a Cat's Tongue brush, the no. 4 2400 Golden Taklon Cat's Tongue Brush is my current love.  That triangular shape is everything!  Click here to read my article over at ZEM Brush.

I list all of my favorites over here, as well as what is in my watercolor kit.

Also, don't forget to use code ERIKA10 to get 10% off your purchase at ZEM Brush!

Join my list, The Creative Conversation, to hear more about my painting techniques and behind the scenes studio sneak peeks.

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Watercolor Project Update

Oh my goodness you guys.  I have been gone for a minute and I've missed you. I've been Periscoping pretty randomly and with the lack of daylight due to daylight savings, it's killing me.  I usually scope or film in natural light so since that's limited, I'm at a loss.  I have been re-focusing everywhere but this blog.  So, let's see.  I've been painting and when I finished the 100 day challenge I updated my Etsy shop with new watercolor prints from that challenge as well as adding new photos to show the prints themselves too.  I hope that helps with envisioning how they look in real life and they are super cute.  Could be a little biased though.  I joined Society 6 forever ago as well but I updated that too so now there are more cute characters on phone cases, totes, mugs, pillows and more.  I don't know when they made changes but it is so much easier to add products now.  Check them out and follow me there!  

I've been painting two side projects, The Reindeer Squad and Christmas Sweater Birds (birds in Christmas sweaters that say Joy, Peace, Noel, etc, eep!).  I've only shared little sneak peeks on my Instagram (@fluximagery) so far but I will be launching those designs very soon.  Join my newsletter so you don't miss a single update.  The prints and products available make great gifts!  After all, Christmas is right around the corner.  

Love this time of year!  

Watercolor Bird Painting Process Video

I just finished Day 36 of the 100 Day Project on Instagram.  I can't believe I have stuck with it this long, looks promising that I might make it to the end!  We'll see, baby steps.  This little video shows how I paint and it was nice to do something outside of the project paintings.  Be sure to like and subscribe to my YouTube channel, the link is up top.  

Is there anything you would like to see on my channel?  Let me know.

The 100 Day Project - Art Challenge Tips

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The 100 Day Project (#the100dayproject) is the first daily practice project I have taken seriously in awhile.  Right now I'm on Day 10 (follow @fluximagery on Instagram) and while the project is fun, it is definitely challenging and that is one of the reasons why I signed up.

Here are some things that have helped me along the way with being consistent and enjoying the journey.

Be Prepared

Being as prepared as possible is a HUGE help.  I am making 4”x4” watercolor originals daily and they are for sale.  IE. Day 1 is $1, Day 2 is $2, etc.  When I first wanted to start this, I was going to make 5”x5” illustrations but then I quickly realized I would be burning through a lot of watercolor paper quickly.  So I went with Fluid hot press, 8”x8” watercolor blocks.  Instead of measuring out the 4 inch sections on each sheet from scratch, I cut a 4”x8” template out of sturdy UPS mailer packaging.  This is such a timesaving template and helps me get straight to the painting when I’m limited on time. 

Set a Time

During the week my lunch break is the best time to get my painting completed and it's been working for me.  Once you figure out what time works for you, stick with it.  Be realistic, set a time in your calendar if you must and commit to that time.  Last week was my first weekend of the challenge so I got it done in the first half of the day because once we leave the house as a family, you never know when you will get back home.  The natural light is gone and the day is pretty much a wash for the challenge.  Commit to a time that works, do it, check it off and you'll feel great!

Set Parameters

I am not the best example of this but set some parameters for your project.  Choose the same supplies to use over and over, the same size of art pieces, etc.  It's nice to not have too many variables to make individual decisions about daily and it will help with turning your work into a finished product later if you go that route.  Mine is turning into 100 days of watercolors so far.

Be Kind

Be nice to yourself, for me I committed to showing every painting on Instagram and other social media for 100 days.  This is not easy, I am not 100 percent happy with each painting but I need to keep the negative self-talk in check.  This is the same for you, you can be your worst critic.  There are times when I post something that I think is cringe-worthy and it gets the best response from others.  You never know, if you bring a smile to one person, be happy.  Also remember that this is a learning challenge and no matter what, you learned something.

Connect

Reach out to others who are working on the same challenge you are.  There is strength in numbers and they can encourage you when you see them sticking with it and vice versa.  It’s can be easier when you make the effort to connect to this community that is trying to do the same thing you are.

I hope these tips help you with your 100 Day Project or any other challenge you decide to take on.  What tips have you learned that help you with art challenges?  

Inquiring minds want to know.

P.S. If you need help creating more consistently, check out my FREE 5 day course where you will start making creating a daily practice.  Let's get creative together.  Sign up here!

P.P.S. If you are a busy illustrator who needs help with success in your practice and goals, this printable worksheet helps you prioritize your day. You can organize your day, list your goals, make notes, track your habits and sketch daily. An awesome recipe for success, baby steps count. Get yours here!

#THE100DAYPROJECT

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I'm in!  I'm so in!  I heard about this project, The 100 Day Project by Elle Luna, earlier this month and wasn't sure if I was going to participate.  100 days of anything is a long time and I don't have a ton of "free" time, etc, etc.  But I do want to grow, I do want to get more consistent, etc.  

So here we are, The 100 Day Project is a project where you do anything for 100 days.  Pick something and do it consistently for 100 days.  I am going to focus on daily small watercolor paintings, 4"x4" and they will be for sale.  In order to purchase one of the 100, you need to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Instagram (@fluximagery).  The pricing will correlate with the day, IE. Day 1 is $1, Day 2 is $2 and so on.  I'll be selling them as "custom orders" via my Etsy shop.

Follow me on Instagram and type in the Instagram post comments "Day _" and whoever is the fastest is the winner. When a painting is sold (and newsletter subscription is confirmed), I'll update the Instagram post with "SOLD" in the description.  I will be shipping* out the paintings once a week (Saturdays or Mondays, or a mix).  The paintings will be sandwiched in between bristol board in a 5"x7" envelope.

One last thing, if you are a lucky winner, I would love it if you would post it in your Instagram feed and tag me (@fluximagery).  That would be amazing.  My custom hashtag is #100daysoffluximagery and the project hashtag is #the100dayproject

A couple of my watercolor friends are joining in the fun too!  - Christie Drahnak and Randi from Moon and Skye.

*shipping of paintings in U.S. only, can't afford international shipping coins right now. :)

Check out my Conquer Creative Challenges course!

5 Watercolor Brushes I Love

I tend to paint small, 4"x6" was my largest size for awhile.  For the past few months I've been breaking out of my shell and I'm now at a full 8"x10" painting.  As a result I am painting with bigger brushes along with my ittybittys and I'm obsessed.  

Here are my top 5 and a bonus:

  1. 00 Winsor & Newton Cotman - teeny tiny for little details

  2. 2 Round Princeton - rounds are very versatile and you can use them for just about anything

  3. 2 Da Vinci Maestro - another round that is a great one for washes on smaller paintings or details on larger ones

  4. 2 Grumbacher - Flat edge brush for any sharp edges, a beak on my birds or squares, etc.

  5. 8 Princeton Elite - a larger round brush for bigger washes

  6. Bonus* - 3/4 Grumbacher 680 Mop (can’t link to exact one, this one goes to a nylon bristle version) - versatile because of the rounded shape and the size holds so much water, can get a lot out of it without re-wetting the brush

Little tip, the bigger the brush, the more water and then more time for color play in the washes.

Do you paint big or small?  I posted a YouTube video showing these brushes as well as some of the swatches/marks they make as well.  

Here's a list of my favorite supplies.  Whatever your preference, I encourage you to try something new and see what happens.

If this was helpful and you are interested in learning more about watercolor, take my online instant access watercolor course right here. Can’t wait to paint with you!

P.S.

I would love it if you joined my list, the Creative Conversation, to hear more about the supplies I use, exclusive studio sneak peeks and more.

P.P.S. If you are a busy illustrator who needs help with success in your practice and goals, this printable worksheet helps you prioritize your day. You can organize your day, list your goals, make notes, track your habits and sketch daily. An awesome recipe for success, baby steps count. Get yours here!

Watercolor Experiment Video

I hope your 2015 ended with a bang and your 2016 is looking like a promising and fun filled year.  I've been working on getting looser and out of my head (so many critical thoughts while painting), so I have been painting these watercolor swatches and drawing over top with a thin micron pen (.03).  It has also helped me work on things I want to, like drawing hair.  Pretty fun and I encourage you to do the same!  I have about 10 other drawings like these on my Instagram account which is @fluximagery.  I even snap on SnapChat from time to time at @fluximagery.

Hmm, what else......I also updated my Society 6 shop with one little print of a pony that you can check out here:  http://bit.ly/ponypack.  If you know of someone you think who would be interested in my art, I'd love it if you shared or tagged them on my Instagram.

I think that is it for now, checking in and I am making strides to check in more often!  This is my sandbox that is begging for me to play in it and I want to share more.  Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Bye bye for now!

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Creative Girl Workshop.

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I chipped away at another bit of my fear of the unknown last weekend. I took the Creative Girl watercolor class by Danielle Donaldson earlier in the year and loved it. After the class was over, she announced a watercolor workshop across the country and one of the stops was Denver. I didn't think I would be able to attend but luckily things worked out so I could.

This was an all day watercolor workshop and I can't remember the last time I had seven hours where it was just me focused on art. The venue was beautiful, Old Glory Antiques off of Broadway, with vintage finds all over. I was surrounded by beautiful creative women in the workshop who flew or drove from all over. Some hadn't even painted with watercolor before, it was pretty cool. We did figure eight and swirl washes of different color paints, watching how they reacted and dried. Then we tried to find the things we liked and didn't like so we could work on our own styles. Later on we worked on recreating one of Danielle's watercolor girls. I think I focused too hard trying to get what I could out of every moment because I ended up getting a headache afterward. Does that happen to anyone else or just me? Anyway it was a great workshop and I can't wait to be able to attend more and meet more inspiring women like Jennifer Rizzo, Jeanne Oliver, Danielle Donaldson and my new painterly Instagram friends. Thanks for the connection and community.

My Watercolor Supplies.

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This isn't everything, I obviously forgot my paper!  Probably because the day I sketched this I really did forget my paper (whole pad was in my scanner), but my friend Christie met up with me and spotted me a sheet of soft press.

Here is what I bring everywhere so I can paint on the go....or even just downstairs instead of being stationary at my watercolor desk.  Doesn't happen that often right now with a 3 year old and a 5 month old.  Need to be mobile!

  1. My pencil pouch - got it from Urban Outfitters years ago.  Holds my pens, mechanical pencils (.03), long click eraser, brush pens, iPad/iPhone stylus, lead refills and cough drops.
  2. Herschel backpack - I. Love. This. Backpack.  It's so cute and functional.  I almost bought a Kanken one but it has no padding or real structure with my stuff in it.  There is a separate compartment for a laptop but I put my iPad in there, books and sketchpad.
  3. Assorted brushes - I love DaVinci and Sceptre Gold.  Prefer natural hair vs. synthetic.  My brushes range from 00 (super tiny) to 8.  I work teeny tiny so small brushes are my jam.
  4. I have a travel watercolor paint case with a mix of tube paints inside.  I love Winsor Newton professional, Holbein and when I run out of these I think I will try to get my hands on Schminke.  Can't justify buying a set right now...but it is very tempting.  Next month is my birthday month after all.  I am hopeless.
  5. A rubber portable cup for my water  - It folds up and it's amazing
  6. Paper towels - I don't take the whole roll, just about 5 or so sheets.  They are a life saver for mopping up mistakes, drying my brush and adding effects.
  7. Paper (not pictured) - I love pads and cold press (some texture) is what I use, soft press (light texture) and hot press (no texture) are turning into my favorites though.  Fabriano is my number 1 choice.

Seeing the supplies of others is a guilty pleasure of mine so I thought I would share some of mine.  Here's a list of more of my favorite supplies and resources.

Have a great weekend!

Deconstructed Mason Jar Salad Video.

Meal preppin' is working out smashingly!  This week we have had home-cooking every day and for two of these days Raul and I ate mason jar salads for lunch.  This time the salads consisted of Italian dressing, shredded carrots, thinly sliced and chopped cucumbers, sunflower seeds and spinach.  Good.  Stuff.  So of course I had to paint another jar salad painting.  This one is very yummy with strawberry, dried cranberries, poppy seed salad dressing, romaine and spinach.

Delish, let's see how long we can keep this going.

Let me know if you try any of these "recipes", would love that.