Friday, August 19, 2011

Coloring book update

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. In the past three weeks I've gotten a strained knee, replaced my windshield unexpectedly, replaced all four tires, again unexpectedly, replaced my cell phone (broken speaker), added new massage clients, been working on two logos, advertising a flower essence class, AND deciding to buy our first house (second attempt since the crash of 2008 when we last tried). Phew! What with this and that, my coloring book has gotten a bit of a bum rush. But no longer. I just finished illustration #10 today and that means 2 more to go. I'm glad because I'm really liking the process. I think I could spend great deals of time creating pictures to color. I hope to do just that! ;-) 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Visiting Obstruction Island

I was fortunate to visit the home of premier watercolorist, Caroline Buchanan, last weekend on the San Juan Islands. It turns out that Caroline was a very dear friend of my recently deceased mother-in-law, Kim Waller. I remember Kim telling me many times that I should take some classes from Caroline, but in typical “child” fashion I didn’t take the suggestion too seriously. After all,  Kim never even told me Caroline’s whole name!

Caroline was a gracious hostess and we had a wonderful visit. Besides talking poetry (Kim had been a published poet) we spoke a lot about art. It was really amazing looking at her artwork and gleaning wisdom about painting at every turn.

Although there wasn’t much time to draw in the short time we were there I did do a few quick sketches. Funny to think of such fast sketches as representative of time spent with a watercolorist like Caroline, but they will always remind me of the details. Matt worked the camera on this trip and me the pencil. And that worked out just fine!

So will I take a workshop with Caroline in the future if I get the chance? Yes, absolutely! Thanks Kim for the suggestion. ;-)

Knick nacks on high shelf

Cabin panorama

Window view

Ferry moments

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Adventures in Pen and ink: it’s all about the line.

As I inch towards the completion of my first coloring book, I wanted to stop and reflect for a moment on the importance of good ink. I have already talked a bit about the fact that I’m a pen fiend, always looking for a pen that can perform well in pen & ink work. I am VERY picky. For my coloring book images I have been using my Noodler’s Flex pen (bless its little split nib!) and a couple of Pitt pens for heavier lines.

Having found a couple of pens that I like, the next thing to discover was a good ink to put in them. I have used Higgins Black Magic ink for dip pens for a long time but wouldn’t dare put that in my fountain pens. I don’t even want to guess what that ink would do to them! Instead, I've gone for proper fountain pen inks. I have tried both Noodler’s and Platinum inks so far. I really like Noodler’s Lexington Grey ink for drawings. It’s not as dark as black but still pretty dark. It’s waterproof and doesn’t have a terribly long drying time.

I also keep a little “stable” of pens on my taboret filled with a variety of colored inks. Sometimes, I'm testing the inks and sometimes, I just like having certain pens available with certain inks in them.

Here’s my current line-up.

Parker Sonnet with Noodler’s “bulletproof” Black
Flex nib #1 with Noodler’s Lexington Grey ink
Flex nib # 2 with Noodler’s Blue Nose Bear (I haven’t really put this one through its paces yet. But I'm excited about it.)
Piston fill # 1 with Noodler’s Lexington Grey ink
Piston fill # 2 with Noodler’s Polar Brown ink (A good brown so far!)
Platinum Preppy fountain pen with Noodler’s Nikita (I like this ink – it’s fun.)
Platinum Preppy fountain pen with Noodler’s Squeteague (I LOVE this blue-green ink. It's very pretty.)
Platinum Preppy marker with Noodler’s Whaleman’s Sepia (Too dry for my fountain pen I like it in the marker. Also, it turned the chamber of my Flex nib clear demonstrator neon green. :-( No one knows why.)

For those who don't know about Platinum Preppies, they are pretty decent cheap fountain pens. Sometimes they will give me a drip of ink but they are great for testing ink samples. I like having them around and for the price – they’re really great!

Ink sample sheet

Thursday, August 4, 2011

8 Terrific Ways to Use Clip Art

Clip art image copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2011
Get it free at
Clip art can be a fabulous way to personalize cards and gifts. How? Read on and learn eight great reasons to have clip art on hand.

Eight terrific ways to use clip art
1.      Greeting cards
3.      Invitations
4.      Flyers & Business Cards
5.      Scrapbooking
6.      Decoupage
7.      Enlarge it and use it as a coloring page for kids.
8.      Dress up your Word documents with it.

Greeting Cards
Using clip art is a fun and rewarding way to make personalized greeting cards. You can create your card on the computer using Word, Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint, or any other program. Or, you can create a card by hand by cutting out a clip art image and gluing it onto a folded card or card blank. You can hand color your image using watercolor, ink, or colored pencils. Add some other doodles and/or decorations and you’ve got an original and totally personalized greeting card.

Clip Art used for greeting card, copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2011
Bookmarks make great giveaway gifts. Using techniques similar to the greeting cards suggestions above you can create personalized bookmarks to share with friends and family. You can even make collectible ones and trade them between friends.

Clip art used for bookmarks, copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2011
Some clip art really lends itself to invitations. Making a hand-made invitation can be extremely easy to do. Start by typing up your event information in Word and then add an appropriate illustration to the bottom corner. An easy way to make a very personalized invitation.

Victorian Image from Dover clip art book
Flyers & Business Cards
When creating a simple business flyer or a business card it is not always necessary to ask your designer to produce or procure artwork for you. Many times clip art will work splendidly.

Dover clip art used to create business flyer
Scrapbooking always requires a lot of photos but sometimes you want to illustrate a specific event with another sort of picture. Whether you need an image of a baseball player for a Little League page, or a set of balloons for a girl’s birthday party page, having a few pieces of clip art on hand can be just the ticket.

Clip art image from Dover clip art book
Decoupage is a perfect use for clip art. There are a great many clip art books available with wonderful color clip art in various themes ready for any sort of decoupage project.

Clip art image from Dover clip art book

Enlarge it and use it as a coloring page for kids
Many times clip art can be enlarged on your computer or at a copy shop and then used as a coloring page for kids. Think of it! An ongoing supply of low cost coloring pages! J

Colored clip art from FREE clip art available at

Dress up your Word documents with it
We use Word for so many things nowadays but most of the time we write our documents without pictures. Why not add some clip art to spruce up a personal letter? If you’re writing a professional document you can also use clip art (only appropriate images, of course!) to create a professional logo or letterhead.  Clip art used in a document can be as simple as a small image of a heart or it can be much more complex, like an image that fits with the name of your business. (I use a cartoon image of a small pegasus for my business Flying Pony Studios.)

Flying Pony Studios logo. Copyright Sara Light-Waller, 2011
Where to get clip art
Dover Publications is probably the best known source of books on a wide variety of clip art subjects. You can find them at the Dover website.

Get some FREE Clip Art
Join my mailing list and download four pieces of professional clip art for your use. Go to to get your free clip art today.

If you have a specific desire for a piece of clip art but you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can commission me to make it for you. You can see prices for "line illustrations" here.

Have fun expanding your creative experience with clip art!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Even Cowgirls Sing the Blues

Ok, ok I haven’t been a cowgirl for some time. But “Even Dressage Riders Sing the Blues” just doesn’t have the same ring to it! So I’ve sprained my knee and am taking the week off to let it heal. Unfortunately, because the injury is to overworked flexor muscles, sitting at my drawing table doesn’t help. Instead I need to elevate it in extension. But I can draw with a board on my lap and that’s ok. But not for fine art. So it’s reading and resting for me for a few days. *sigh* I hope later in the week I’ll feel well enough to work on my coloring book. But we’ll see. So close and yet so far.