New Brand, YouTube and an Inktense Gem Tutorial

It’s a great new year! I’ve had a lot happening behind the scenes and time off with my family. First and most importantly for me was the gracious gift from the incredible digital artist Christel Foncke, allowing me to use one of her beautiful pieces of art to brand this website and all it’s social media sites. This incredible piece of art is just a hint of what Christel can do with her Apple Pencil! I will have her Artist Focus soon! Thank you, Christel! I can stop worrying about it now and I love it as much today as I did the day I added it! Follow Christel at @Christeldraws on Instagram.

Christel Foncke art ©️2018
Christel Foncke ©️2018

I have been in “school” at the YouTube Creator’s Academy because I’m slowly changing the format for this blog to include video. The more artists I focus on, the more I want to spotlight their work using video. Since my next artist in focus will be the incredibly talented Tomàs Padrós, I wanted to be sure I spent time learning to edit video, add audio and learn about copyright laws. I’ve been absorbing a lot of information and I needed to practice. This move was much more complex and involved much more time studying and practicing than I anticipated! I practiced by FINALLY doing the Inktense Pencil gem tutorial for which I’ve been trying to find the time about 6 months! So, I present my Derwent Inktense Gem Tutorial Part 1, which involves laying down and activating the Inktense bottom layer as well as 6 of my favorite color combinations. It features a traveling tangle tile with Amanda Rose Rambo, the “Gem Queen”, and myself. She has a great YouTube channel at Vitruvianart. Her content on creating gems is outstanding! So check her out! I’ve done two posts on her work if you’re interested (ZenGems: Meet Amanda Rose Rambo!, and Amanda Rose Rambo, Faceted Gem Master Class)

Traveling Tangle with Amanda Rose Rambo
Traveling Tangle with Amanda Rose Rambo

When I finished the first video, I uploaded it to “Gem Ho’s” the FaceBook group for Amanda’s VitruvianArt. They gave me some great feedback which I then used to make a part 1.5 which includes a complete gem using the new highlight technique I developed based on the feedback of the group. I would very much appreciate any feedback, positive or not. If you like the video please remember to like or comment and subscribe to my channel! It is pretty empty now but I have plans for it! I will be remaking the artist focus videos (with their permission) and uploading them both here and YouTube. I’ll be adding my pattern videos and anything else that seems interesting. My goal is to make each one better than the last! I need your help my friends! Give me honest feedback and comments. I can work on my accent if it’s too annoying but not if you don’t tell me it’s making you crazy! Thank you so much for all your support last year and Happy 2018!

Please remember to like, comment and subscribe!



Diva Challenge Tile 344

The lovely Diva, Laura Harms has given us our monthly UMT (use my tangle) this week. She has chosen CZT Carole Ohl’s lovely starlike pattern called afterglow! Here’s the step-out at Carole Ohl’s website.

I’ve never use afterglow before. I tend to enjoy the more organic flowing types. Of course, that is quite short-sighted of me before I even try it! As I progressed I started varying line color and width. I used micron pigma 01 in brown, and sepia, as well as a graphic 1 also in sepia.i then applied several of Eni Oken’s techniques for tiny details, and tan treasure tiles. It didn’t become special though until I shaded the star. I love how it turned out. 😀


Diva Challenge #333

 This week’s Diva Challenge was brought to us by guest bloggers, CZTs Juliette Flessinger and Kellie Fellinge, from the podcast, Tanglepod.  Listen to their diva Challenge here. This week we were challenged to find and use our “cozy” tangles. Tangles we feel relaxed and comfortable with.  I chose flux (Rick’s version) and went with a tile  i had distressed earlier and then shaded using Crayola Super Tips. The Crayola Super Tips are water-soluble and perfect for shading with watercolor, Derwent Inktense or distressed inks. Right now, they sell on for $14.00 USD for 100 colors. A great deal for most wet media projects. All of the guest bloggers this summer have been excellent.



Artist Focus: Carlos Cano

Welcome back to! This week I’m bringing another incredibly talented artist, Carlos Cano, from Spain! I’ve had plans to feature Carlos for weeks and I’m so glad I can now showcase his amazing art! Carlos’ story is a fascinating tale of artistic progression. Personally, I am a big fan of the first picture below! Let’s get to know Carlos Cano!

“Hi, I’m Carlos Cano, and  live in Madrid, Spain. Since I was young I liked art in general, and drawing in particular. My initial attempts were drawings with ballpoint pen, first only in black and white, and little by little I introduced some color. I have to say that I have always been a simple amateur, I have never received any kind of art (except zentangle, I will get to that). My drawings were always abstract, in somewhat twisted ways, so much so that some friend always said that what I drew was “guts.” Sometimes I relied on something from my surroundings, but I always experimented with it: I was looking for shapes to attract me.
One of the things I always tried to achieve was color gradients, which took me for hours with the ballpoint pen. I also started to test gradients with stippling, but with this technique I did less drawings
I have always enjoyed experimenting with shapes and techniques, and always tried to go to all the art exhibitions that I have been able to. After each exhibition, when I got home, I came back loaded with inspiration, and I turned in blocks of drawing trying to do something similar to what I had seen (which I never got, but that really amused me).


Let me show you some of my old drawings, with ball point pens, and one stippled: 

This is an amazing example of stipple (using tiny dots to shade or make pictures). I’ve done these and they are incredibly time consuming but the effect is very cool!


In 1988 I left up drawing and began to try many other unfinished activities (including learning Japanese, or play rock guitar)

Three years ago, I took again a pen thinking on try some idea. In this case I used fountain pens, also drawing with dots. I did four drawings. The next is the one I prefer:



But it’s not good idea stippling with fountain pens: the ink always dries, and it changes color. And the nibs, well, they oxidize and also change the ink color.

Then, I discovered zentangleand before I learned the technique, I made the next attempt, also with stippling and fountain pens:


This astounded me! All small dots! I can’t imagine the time this took! Stunning!  


Since 2005 I have been attending Zentangle classes with María Pérez-Tovar, and I have always tried to experiment with the different tangles, modifying them and trying different ways to use them. For example, these are some personal versions of three tangles. Tri-BeeInapodNiuroda



I’ve used also some sense of humor in my drawings (the first is a version of the tangle Drawings, the second was for Halloween:






Sometimes I’ve mixed different media in a drawing, as in this hand I’ve used micron, alcohol markers, color pencils and stippling:



Spend a minute looking at this. There is so much subtext and the attention to detail is to be appreciated! I think my favorite element is the single Printemps on the index finger. A perfect example of the line weighting we’ve been working on in in various groups! Perfection!


Recently I have recovered the desire to experiment with other techniques, and I have redrawn with colored ballpoint pens. This has been my first attempt for more than 30 years.


Ballpoint pens are what’s really amazing about this and all of them. With a pen like Pigma Micron or other technical pens there is a nib with ink flow like a felt tip pen. Stipple takes a light touch down for each dot. Ballpoint requires pressure with a circle movement each time. No big deal. Until you work on this scale. Incredible!


In this drawing I’ve used Copic markers as color background, and ballpoint pens:





One technique I discovered recently is that of shaving cream. With it you get backgrounds of random colors very interesting. I use it with liquid watercolor, although you can also use food coloring, even acrylic paint. My way of drawing on these backgrounds is not very orthodox: I try to draw shapes following the colors of the background and then modifying and adding figures as they occur to me. I must say that my way of drawing is formed by 90% of improvisation, and some previous idea that I quickly modify as I discover possibilities in what is coming out.

The following sequence shows more or less of what I’m talking about:


The next example correspond to a version of StaubKorn’s Pico:


With patience and imagination, you can transform any background in what you want. For example, I transformed a partial blue tile in a “tree of life”:

I’m still in awe of Carlos’ techniques both old and new! I’m going to try the shaving cream trick for sure! I’m so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to get to know these artists from across the world! You are a fascinating bunch and I cant wait to show you who is next!



PETA HEWITT’S World- Wide Coloring Competition 

Last week I spoke about Peta Hewitt’s coloring competition. This week I want to show you my finished entries although I’m not as pleased as I had hoped with the way they turned out. I know this is not surprising because most artists feel this way about their work before they’re finished. If you are interested in checking out Peta’s competition or her website or blog you can find her here Peta Hewitt’s website ( 

Peta used three different pictures that she drew based upon an Australian theme and there are prizes for each picture.  

The first is a pair of sugar gliders in a garden: 

The second is a platypus napping in a stream. 

The third is the Australian National flower: the waratah flower. It was a real job getting the flower petals on bottom a rich dark red and still leave the main flower with a bit of pinky maroon. (Yes, pinky is a word.) 

Winners will be announced on July 4, 2016 (Peta’s birthday!) It would be nice to win but I learned about Australian flora and fauna and no finished product is useless.  I only wish all my Sakura stardust pens would show up in a picture.  The platypus pic is covered in glitter! 

Playing with Mungyo Pastels

I’m excited today because my package from Amazon arrived! (Who doesn’t like getting stuff in the mail?!) One of my gifts (to myself) was this set of Mungyo Pastels. This is the 64 color set. Pretty huh? 

So I’m playing with pastels today and working on my coloring entries for Peta Hewitt’s coloring contest. Peta is an amazing artist and colorist from Australia and I regularly stalk her wonderful YouTube channel Peta Hewitt  Her coloring contest is Australian based and includes 3 special pictures drawn by Peta around the flowers and animals of Australia theme. If you want to give it a try,  visit Peta’s website at the link above for more information. 

This is my test page for Peta’s sugar glider picture.  I’m testing several ways of blending the pastels as well as looking at how it layers over colored pencils and how dark I can take the background without going black. The yellow steaks on the above picture are prismacolor soft core canary yellow. I started with light color combos then moved darker still blending. I’ve been using a paper towel over finger tips to blend. You can see at the right top the yellow pencil under pastel pink is a nice blend. The dark blue over it shows a blend, just not one I’ll use much!

Here I’m trying to see how dark I can go without going black. I plan to use this technique in my coloring books and it will be important to keep the pages sprayed with a workable fixative such as Krylon. I’ll also keep blank sheets of paper between the pages I’ve worked on to prevent smudging. 

Here in the bottom right is about as dark as it will go.  I also switched from a paper towel for smudging to a q-tip. It’s much smoother and softer looking.  I also stopped putting pastel on the paper and started loading the q-tip by swiping it along the top of the pastel. These are so soft you don’t need to scrape it off which will save on wasted pastels! Also I wanted to mention, if you get it someplace you don’t want it (an almost certainty with pastels, you can easily erase any mistakes.  And lastly,  when using with colored pencils,  whatever kind, remember the wax in the pencils puts down a protective layer so if you get pastel over pencil it wipes right off.  It makes pastels ideal for coloring books where you’ve use colored pencils for the design and want a soft background. I’m not sure yet whether if you want it to stay over the pencil if the fixative spray will keep it there.  Ah! An experiment for another day!

I love these Mungyo Pastels and this 64 color set was under $10 USD on

I will post my finished entries as soon as they are finished. They may look like grade school art projects but I’ll have fun doing them!