Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Bunnies and Foxes

I love to draw and paint. But I've always shied away from drawing animals. It wasn't until this year that I found myself three years into my YouTube channel with over 150 videos and none of them included animals! It seemed like maybe something was missing from the channel. So for the April Plan-With-Me journaling video I decided to try putting a bunny on the cover page and although it took an afternoon of sketching (and lots of erasing!) I was really pleased my the final result! 

Feeling quite confident after I drew one bunny that wasn't creepy, I thought I'd attempt a cute fox. Prince Edward Island is home to many rabbits and foxes, and we see both animals often in the springtime, so a fox seemed like a perfect follow-up subject. Side note: I don't think I'd ever seen a fox in real life until we moved here! Now we see them all the time and even had one walking down the sidewalk with us last Friday night! 

If you're like me, and you feel that illustrating animals just isn't your thing, I hope watching these two tutorials will make it seem a little more approachable. In the watercolor fox tutorial we illustrate the fox three different ways, some more detailed than others. Because in the end, it's not about drawing a super-realistic fox, it's about capturing a few key features and sharing your own unique illustrative voice. 

Now that I'm not scared of drawing and painting animals, you'll have to let me know: what should we do next? A watercolor raccoon? Or maybe a hedgehog? Leave a comment and let me know! 

Watch the April Bullet Journaling video for the full bunny illustration tutorial:

And check out the Fox + Flowers springtime watercolor to see how this piece came together:

Get my Fox + Flowers coloring page! All channel bonus content is available for $2 a month on my Patreon site. Go have a look! 

Monday, 5 March 2018

How To Paint Watercolor Flowers + Leaves

I've been putting in some practice time lately when it comes to my watercolour florals, and after posting a few of my finished pieces on social media, I received a number of requests to revisit the subject of watercolour flowers and leaves in a YouTube tutorial. So on Friday that's exactly what we did! Flowers and leaves are such recognizable forms, they're hard to abstract beyond the point of recognition and this makes them a perfect subject for practicing watercolor technique. 

So in the latest tutorial we're not only focusing on botanical forms, we're also talking about how to use your paint brush, how to manipulate the brush to create a more sophisticated painting style and how to let go and let the paint do it's thing (it's this last one that I always have the most trouble with!). 

When you're practicing your florals, I suggest abandoning classic forms and colours. Make your leaves any colour you want, paint your flowers in any shape you like. If you paint a rose, don't worry about what the actual leaves of a rose bush look like, paint a leaf shape the suits the pattern that you're creating. Think of this as though you are design a floral print for a pillow case or a dress, and choose the colours and forms that appeal to you. 

An afternoon of painting should be relaxing, not stress inducing. When you sit down to paint, try to slow down and take joy in the materials. Take a minute to watch the watery colours bleed into the paper, think about how the brush feels in your hand, and more than anything, don't worry about 'getting it right'. Perfectly, imperfect: it's not just a catch phrase or a motto, it's a recipe for creating something new and interesting! Watch the full tutorial on YouTube now. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Wax Seals For Invitations

This month marks five years since I started my blog. What began as a sort of home-renovation and craft project diary soon became, to my surprise, a YouTube channel. I was teaching hand lettering and illustration (on camera!) and even though it wasn't at all what I'd envisioned at the outset, I knew as soon as I started creating art tutorials that it was the perfect thing for me. Over the last three years I've made nearly 150 videos and of those tutorials, only one has come close to going viral. And that video was my wax seals tutorial. 

Wax seals and stationery products of all sorts are definitely having a moment. There's just something so lovely about a smooth matte paper envelop sealed with that creamy stamp of wax. It's classic and timeless and somehow modern and unique. And really it's pretty too.

In this week's YouTube tutorial I'm prepping wax seals in bulk. Making a large number of seals ahead of time allows you to easily use them for wedding invitations or other mass invites. I personally want to have a tea party, actually, make that a garden party, just so I can send some pretty wax-sealed snail mail. 

The gorgeous paper crane stamp that you see here is from Stampitude. They make everything you need to get started in this timeless stationery art. Whether you want to prep bulk seals for this season's invites, or slowly melt wax over the heat of a candle flame to seal that one special letter, you need to check out their stuff. Click here to shop this blog post.

Watch this week's video for the full tutorial on preparing wax seals in bulk.

And be sure to enter the giveaway! Thanks to Stampitude, you can win everything you need to start making your own sexy snail mail. Enter the giveaway now!

Monday, 12 February 2018

Homemade Natural Cleaning Products

Over the weekend I finally tackled one of my resolutions for this year, which was to switch to natural cleaning products for our home. Not only did I want to toss the chemical-based, heavily scented products (that never fail to give me a headache), I wanted to switch to all-natural sprays and disinfectants, and I wanted to make the cleaners myself (after all, they're mostly just vinegar!)

This is one DIY that really couldn't be easier! I picked up a few simple products from the drug store: vinegar, distilled water and rubbing alcohol, and then I spent no more than half an hour mixing up my new cleaning products. If you're thinking about making the switch for your home, I recommend picking up some cheap spray bottles the next time you're at the dollar store, of just reuse empty spray bottles from the cleaners that you currently use. (Method brand, in particular, is packaged in nice clear bottles). 

To make these natural products you need little more than vinegar and water (distilled water is best as it is less likely to leave streaks, but it's not strictly necessary) And if you choose to scent your cleaners, you'll need essential oils.

Like choosing a flavour for your homemade candies, choosing an essential oil for a DIY project is always the best part! I love going to the store in search of my new favourite scent, and I've used essential oils to make all kinds of natural home and body products, recently I've made wintergreen body scrub, grapefruit lip balm and eucalyptus mason jar candles. To make my cleaning sprays I used the typical 'clean' scents of citrus, mint, and eucalyptus.

Natural Multi-Purpose Cleaner counter spray, disinfectant

1 Cup White Vinegar
1 Cup Distilled Water
10-12 Drops Essential Oil (Lavendar, Citrus, and Mint Scents work well)

Homemade Glass + Window Cleaner

1/3 Cup Rubbing Alcohol
1/3 Cup White Vinegar
2 1/4 Cups Distilled Water
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
10-12 Drops Essential Oil

Saturday, 20 January 2018

My Hand Painted Watercolor Clipart

This is something I've been meaning to do for years! Since I got started on YouTube I've wanted to begin releasing clipart; it's a way for me to continue to share the art that I make. And now, if you're supporting me on Patreon (all content I release there is available for a $2 monthly donation) you have access to all my clipart packs! The first watercolor pack has just been released and it contains these lovely blue-toned florals. 

I love seeing my art come off the page and find new life online. You are free to use these florals anyway you like! Place them on your website, blog or e-invites. The zip-file contains 19 PNGs, so you can use each flower, leaf or branch on its own or you can group them together to make sweet floral motifs like the ones you see here. 

Check out my Patreon site now! And be sure to download last week's 'Coffee Shop Shelfie' printable illustration and clipart pack, as well as my junk food clipart! Thank you so much for your support.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Watercolor Supplies Explained

This week on my channel it's all about watercolor supplies. We're talking proper paints, paper and brushes! So often I see good paintings done on bad paper. Non-watercolor paper, like that from a sketchbook or printer, can't handle much liquid, so it buckles and warps under the paint. The result is a painting that doesn't look nearly as nice as it could.

There are loads of reasons to use proper supplies, recently I purchased some nicer brushes and I was shocked at how much better my painting became. I could do smaller detail and hold much more paint in the brush, which makes for a more enjoyable painting process.

This video is not at all meant to get you to go out and buy expensive supplies. In fact, most of these products are sold in both 'artists quality' and 'student quality'. Buying student quality paper or paint means that you'll see an improvement in your skills and your supplies, but you won't have to spend a lot of money. Then, when you're ready to sell your art, you can look at investing in the higher quality items. Watch this week's video for all the info!

Friday, 12 January 2018

Bullet Journal Doodles

For this week's tutorial I thought it would be fun to do some 'classic Shayda' stuff. When I started the YouTube channel almost three years ago, I did a lot of illustration and hand lettering tutorials with a focus on simple doodles, and that's what we're working on this week. We'll cover flags, banners, arrows, flowers and other 'bullet journal-y' type drawings such as geometric hearts and little succulents. Take a peak at the pics and then head over to my channel to watch the full tutorial!

Doodles like these act as decorative accents in your planner or bullet journal and they also help to create space and division on the page. So next time you're struggling to make a beautiful and organized monthly layout, think about how you might incorporate a flower, flag or similar doodle. 

In my own planner, I'm constantly going back to botanical illustrations. I find them very relaxing to draw, and I always like the way they look on the page. What's your go-to doodle?

Since the theme of my week seemed to be fun little doodles, I found myself spending last Sunday doodling away the afternoon at our favourite local cafe. The result of my doodling was this coffee shop 'shelfie' art, and now you can get it for yourself!

Both the printable and digital files are available on my Patreon site. Check it out and please consider supporting me! Also, fun side note, if you grab the digital illustration you'll get a zip file that includes the artwork plus a PNG of each individual doodle, so if you want to use a single graphic, say, just the succulent or the tea kettle, you can do that! 

Watch the full tutorial now:

Friday, 5 January 2018

January BuJo + Free Stickers

Happy New Year! We are shaking off the weirdness of 2017 and starting this year with a whole lotta good stuff! This Friday I seem to have gone a bit overboard (that's what happens when I take one whole week off, I suppose) we've got a Sakura give-away (details on my Instagram or in this week's video), free digital stickers (illustrated by moi) and yes, it's finally happened, my first bullet journal tutorial! Watch it on my channel, when you're done with this blog post, of course! 

Whatever 2018 may bring, it will always be the year that I started bullet journaling. And I really love journaling. Like, really really. It's funny, because for a long time I thought that I wouldn't enjoy it at all. I thought it would be tedious and self-involved and overly time consuming. But I was so wrong!

BuJo turned out to be all my favourite things hiding in one lovely, meditative hobby. It's all about organizing and list-making (and crossing off said lists-my fav!) and doodling and designing and lettering. All the best things in life! So needless to say I now have nothing but time for my new hobby and not only to I love spending time on my journal, but it's helping me to stay organized and stay motivated when it comes to my resolutions. Side note: is there anything MORE motivating than getting to put a little check mark beside an item? I don't think so.

So let me show you around my journal! Above is my January front page; I decided to do a very BuJo-y paper cranes illustration, as well as my month-at-a-glance calendar. Below the calendar I list important dates and my weekly YouTube videos. 

After my January layout I have a weekly spread that I'll do for each week of the month. The spread takes up two pages with lots of room for daily to-do lists, lots of negative space (very calming and always good design) and the bottom left corner gives me the perfect spot for a weekly doodle. 

I also used a few pages at the beginning of my notebook to do a 2018 yearly layout. I created a simple two page spread with the 12 monthly calendars, a 2018 botanical illustration title page, some pretty quote pages that incorporate collage, and one page was dedicated to my goals, words and resolutions for the coming year. 

Watch this week's YouTube tutorial for a full 'tour' of my journal, lots of tips and tricks for creating your own beautiful BuJo, and all the contest details (find them in the video description). 

And don't forget to check out my Patreon page! Patrons get access to an extra monthly tutorial and loads of printable original art by me! This week you can download two packs of digital stickers and use them however you like. It's all available on Patreon for a $2 monthly donation. Thank you for your support! And here's a little peak of what you can expect from my Patreon, I've released three of the nine junk food digital stickers for all my blog readers to enjoy. Just click here to download.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas Watercolors

I've been doing a lot of watercolor painting recently, and it's funny, I used to absolutely despise watercolors. I didn't like them because you can never cover up your mistakes. There's no painting over a bad spot with watercolors, they are light, translucent, and delicate. And I was a heavy handed perfectionist. I preferred acrylics, and painting over things about a million times until I was happy with the result, so naturally, watercolors just weren't for me.

But today I've made peace with watercolors. I've tried my best to rid myself of my perfectionist tendencies and to take joy in the process of painting, of making art. And once you get excited about the act of painting, and not just the making of some finished 'perfect' piece, watercolors seem like a whole lot more fun. They're wonderful to play with. You can splash them around the page, make puddles into abstracted flowers, brush strokes into leaves and vines.

And it seems like watercolors are having a bit of a moment. I've been getting many requests for painting tutorials on the channel lately, so with Christmas right around the corner, I've got a holiday watercolor tutorial to share.

This week we'll illustrate and paint a candle in the window. It's a warm and inviting motif that will always remind me of our first Christmas in the maritimes. We've just moved to Prince Edward Island (we spent the last three summers in Canada's smallest province, but this will be our first winter Christmas) and a candle in the window is a popular tradition here. I think the custom has something to do with guiding home those at sea. So a candle in the window is just what we're tackling this week on the channel. Watch the tutorial now:

Friday, 8 December 2017

Gift Tags + Pretty Printed Paper

I do a holiday gift wrapping post pretty much every single year. I can't help it, I love to wrap gifts! As each holiday season approaches I begin to think about what sort of 'gift wrapping style' I want to employ. Should I do white on white? Paper ornament gift tags? Classic kraft paper and fresh greenery? (This is usually the option I settle on). I love anything simple and clean and classic.

This year I've printed my own papers and bags, and I've put my whole process on YouTube for you to follow along with. I've made it simpler than ever, so don't think you can't do this! (or don't have time). I've also created some hand painted gift tags for you to download and print. They're simple and woodsy and whimsical. I love them and I hope you do to! 

To print my gift tag designs for yourself, just click the link below.
Shayda's Hand Painted Gift Tags 2017

Watch the printed gift wrap tutorial now: