Tag Archive | crayon


After my triumphant return last week, I didn’t want to break the streak. I really have done very little craft-related in the past, oh, I don’t know, four months, so the pickins are slim. Today we will look at some crayon, uh, well “art” is probably too strong a word in this case. “Exercises”? We’ll go with exercises.

You may or may not remember my entry for the GNR fan site avatar contest — it was part of a guitar that I then embellished with a rose and the words “Paradise City.” I did it in colored pencil and it didn’t have the richness of color that I really wanted. I did discover in that process, however, that guitars are fun to draw. I can’t play a guitar and I’m not a big guitar geek who can identify all kinds of makes and models and their significance in musical history. I know just enough to lead people to believe that I know more than I really do, but not enough to maintain that illusion for any length of time, especially if someone wants to get into the technicalities of amps and pedals. But that doesn’t stop me from appreciating the art of a guitar. And there are some guitars out there that are really quite beautiful. So I drew a couple more.

The first one is the same guitar that I drew for the avatar contest, only this time, I was seeking to attain a truer color. And there was a learning curve! Starting at the top of the colored section, if you go around counter-clockwise there are four distinct test patches. In these test patches I was attempting to figure out which colors should be laid down first, how much overlap to give them, how much pressure on the paper, what kind of strokes to use and which direction. Important things to know and many of them were counter-intuitive to other mediums, such as watercolor or colored pencil.

Finally figured it out on the bottom right section.

Finally figured it out on the bottom right section.

One of the distinctive features of this guitar are the “tiger stripes” in the wood and you can see that I was struggling to achieve those, too. In the end, I found that in order to give it the proper depth, I had to draw the stripes on first and then color over the top of them with the main colors. That way they looked more integral to the wood and not merely laid on top.

The second guitar is George Harrison’s Gretsch Country Gentleman. I really had a hard time trying to get a decent color on the pickup plates and ended up with this muddy mess. I still haven’t figured out the right crayon combination in order to get that dull brassy color.


You may also notice the logo on the lower right side. I wasn’t paying attention and colored it white at first. Dumb. I tried scratching it off, but pretty much once you’ve put crayon to paper, you’re stuck with it. I colored black over the top of it (like it was supposed to be) and couldn’t even get close to a clean edge. Then the next problem was that I then had to carefully color around the logo on the pick guard which was this light almond color. Another muddy mess. Lesson learned: apply light colors first! Which I should have known, but in my attempt to correct the original mistake, I wasn’t thinking very far ahead.

Another sketch I made is of Axl. I know, I know. I have a book with pictures and he makes a good model because he sits still. For this one, I decided that rather than trying to achieve realistic coloring, I would focus more on getting the values and shading right. So I chose some flamboyant colors. Any person’s skin who is this pink needs to be admitted to a burn unit. Think of it more like pop art a la Andy Warhol with Marilyn Monroe.

axl pop art 2 - reduced

Having learned my lesson from the Gretsch guitar, I colored the white reflections on his hat first, then added the blue and then the black. That actually turned out pretty well. Now the hair… well, I was experimenting with different colors and ended up with too many and so lost some of the depth and definition. And you might be able to tell that, by the time I got to the coat, I was getting bored and didn’t feel well, so it kind of got the scribble treatment. As far as technical prowess goes, I believe the face is recognizable despite it being just a little bit too wide. That happened because I drew the initial sketch flat instead of raised (like on an easel) and it distorted the proportions. It bugs me a little bit that I did that, but eh, I know I can do it right, so I try not to dwell on it too much.

So there you go. Some stuff I’ve done. We’ll see if I can maintain this frenetic pace.

Oh, and in case anyone was curious, my submission did not win the avatar contest.


It’s pretty dang cold in the cabin today, so any wit I may have planned for this post is frozen stiff, kinda like my fingers. Mostly I just wanted to show you some of the cool stuff I got for Christmas!

First, my ever-observant sister-in-law got me the crayon drawing book I had mentioned here a few weeks ago. I am so excited about this, I can’t even tell you. I went to the store yesterday to buy some crayons, thinking I would get the 64 count box. Apparently, I haven’t been paying attention to crayon developments. They had the 64 count, and then a 92 and then a 120 count!! Wowzers! I figured, the more colors the better, so I splurged. When I got home and opened it up, I found the large box contained two 48 count boxes and one 24 count. Wait a minute, what kinda rip-off is this…? I opened both 48 counts and much to my relief and delight, saw that the crayons are all different. There really are 120 colors! Yay! There won’t be any color drawing around here, though, until my hands have thawed out.


The other book is crochet animals from Rana. There are some cute patterns in there. The descriptions of the animals are kind of goofy, almost like they were trying too hard to make it interesting. You don’t have to convince me why I need to make a pirate panda bear. It’s cute and that’s good enough reason for me. Rana is looking forward to me making some of these animals; I think she may have plans… haha


In my stocking, I found these two little goodies from Mr. Gren. One is a disappearing fabric marker. I usually use a bit of chalk, but it doesn’t work on all fabrics. I’m looking forward to trying out the marker on my next sewing project. The other, strange-looking object is an ergonomic crochet handle. Sometimes I have trouble with my hands cramping up, especially when using the smaller hooks, so this should be a good help! I’ve already been using it.


So three cheers for Christmas! These gifts should lead to some interesting projects and posts this year. Oh, yeah… “year.” Happy New Year to all of you!

Brought to you by the letter B

B is for buffalo. And brown. Also, bison, if you’re into particulars. But don’t be surprised if the rest of us ignore your smug self and continue to discuss buffaloes. The American Bison has been referred to as a “buffalo” since 1635 according to the American Heritage Dictionary and frankly, 377 years of public consciousness is hard to change.

“Jen,” you may be asking, “what is the big deal about buffaloes?” Well, I’ll just tell you. I had a dream. Not a MLK Jr. type of dream; my dreams, while vivid and detailed, rarely have anything to do with moral and civil betterment. This dream was about a buffalo. Track with me here.

Fun with photo editing.

I was running through the plains of Colorado, desperately trying to escape the buffalo that was charging me. But guess what? I am not faster than a buffalo (they can run up to 40 mph!). The buffalo caught me and pinned me to the ground. I cried and pleaded with the buffalo not to eat me. Apparently it was one of those rare carnivorous buffaloes (that’s not really a thing, just so you know). The buffalo then told me that he would release me on one condition. “What? What?” I cried. “If you promise to blog about buffaloes on Monday, Tuesday, Gretchen, and Saturday, I will release you.” Fair enough, I thought, so I agreed. The buffalo stood up and I was instantly teleported to Norway. It’s nice there (I’ve never been there).

There you have it. Today is Monday and I am fulfilling my promise so that I won’t get eaten by a buffalo. What about Tuesday, Gretchen and Saturday? Well… I don’t think I want to dedicate a full week of blogging to buffaloes. Besides, I’m having trouble finding Gretchen on my calendar, despite helpful advice from a friend who told me that it falls between Barb and Carol.

Buffalo mama and baby in June at Northwest Trek animal park.

In keeping with my nature, I began researching buffaloes and learned all kinds of interesting things. Did you know that the reason zoologists talk about American Bison is because there are also European Bison? True story. European Bison look nearly identical to American Bison, although slightly taller and not as heavy. They used to live all over Europe but were almost driven to extinction by the early 1900s. Only 12 captive European Bison remained and it is from those few that the herds of today were descended. Now they mainly live in the forests of Eastern Europe. The European Bison is also the national animal of Belarus as the American Bison is the national animal of the USA. See all the things you can learn?

I didn’t want this to be completely unrelated to crafts, so I printed out this picture of a buffalo (American version) and colored it for you. And I made sure to include a bit of my beat-up cutting board in the photo so that you could be certain that this work of art is, in fact, mine.

I guess I should sign it.

As I was coloring, it reminded me of a book I saw in a catalog. I want this. It looks like a lot of fun!

It says “look inside,” but you can’t because it’s just a picture. But if you click on it, it will take you to Amazon, where you actually can look inside.

So the next time I color a buffalo, it will look even more lifelike. It may even talk to you and give you a free trip to Norway.

And, if you can’t get enough of buffaloes, you would do well to watch this video. Seriously. It will make your life better. I’m not kidding. And there are four episodes!