Category Archives: Artist Tips

Artist Tip #23 – On being self employed

Three things to think about:

  1. When the money stops coming in you do NOT stop working
  2. When the money does come in you DO save as much of it as you can for when the money stops coming in
  3. When the savings are gone you can either sulk, get a real job or GET creative

Artist Tip #22 – Just Doodle

Sometime last year I updated my Facebook account saying something along the lines that I couldn’t draw and wasn’t finding any inspiration in life. A cousin of mine, Marc, commented on that Facebook update by simply stating “Doodle”. This is one of those times when I wish Facebook had an internal update search engine as I can’t and will not go back through hundreds of Facebook updates to find Marc’s comment. That word though, and comment have stuck with me when I feel overwhelmed and can’t seem to be productive.

These are some recent doodles. Continue reading

Hand painting Christmas balls or is it really about sex?

Each year, well almost every year I sit down and paint Christmas balls for gift giving as I finally did finish setting up that area in the living room to paint at earlier this week. I needed an area that could remain creatively messy. Thus far I’ve painted four Christmas balls and sadly have run out of Varathane to top coat them with. I’ll need to make a run to the hardware store this weekend. Yes, I use hardwood floor varnish on any piece that I paint with acrylic.

I think painting is like riding a bike. You really don’t forget how to do it but it does take about four balls to get back into the groove of making those itsy bitsy paint strokes. I use Kroma Artist Quality Acrylic made on Granville Island in Vancouver and you can only buy it there to. It’s a wonderful milky acrylic and heavily pigmented for a brilliant colour and a smooth finish.

These are some finished balls I’ve painted from years gone by that I’ve kept for myself. I think I’ve painted close to 150 different balls that family and friends now have and decorate their trees with.

And this just made me laugh to much not to post this here on the blog!

If you’d like to add me as a friend on facebook. Feel free to do so! It gets quite lively over there at times! Haha!

Knowledge no.1 & no.2 – Exploring the Traditional and Digital Mediums

Last year I was fortunate enough to acquire two printers. Since then, the task of scanning and digitizing my original artwork has consumed much of my waking hours. Each original needs to be scanned at a minimum of 300dpi. I scan at 800 to 1200dpi to achieve maximum quality. If you scan at a higher resolution you can also enlarge the final output of the piece without losing detail. But if you only scan at 300dpi you can’t enlarge it without losing quality. ‘Tis the way with raster based art.

close-up of Knowledge no.1 - original collage illustration by artist Jessica Doyle

Continuing from the last post

This brings me to the prints being produced using this new technology; new to me anyways. In the past I scanned in artwork and coloured that artwork in Adobe Photoshop or redrew it in Adobe Illustrator if it was perhaps a black ink drawing on white paper for producing a final print. Or, I scanned in the artwork and printed it so that it appeared identical to the original watercolour or acrylic painting.

close-up of Knowledge no.1 - original collage illustration by artist Jessica Doyle

I’ve got these stacks of prints you know. And I’d never actually done anything with them except print, trim, title, sign, date, number if it was a limited edition, package and ship off.

Knowledge no.2 - original collage illustration by artist Jessica Doyle

I do plan on producing Limited Edition hand embellished and coloured prints that are on watercolour paper using a few of the many black ink drawings I’ve rendered over the years.

But I’d never actually drawn on a print to make it an original illustration or collage. NEVER. These are the first two. There are more to come… I’ve been busy! Woot! :)

close-up of Knowledge no.2 - original collage illustration by artist Jessica Doyle

Knowledge no.1 and Knowledge no.2 explore both traditional and ancient ways of acquiring knowledge. Part of the process to create these two collages was to use two prints as the basis from the Mushrooms (Pastel Edition) series.

close-up of Knowledge no.2 - original collage illustration by artist Jessica Doyle


  1. Ledger paper for it’s numerical use in business. Numbers are a universal language.
  2. Moleskine insert paper for their illustrations of books and it’s universal acceptance from artists as a premium surface to draw upon.
  3. Yellow acid free Manilla paper for peace
  4. Grey acid and lignon free Canson paper for it’s superior cotton quality and calming effect
  5. Mushroom prints for their ancient pathway to gather and understand the world around us.
  6. Original Tree ink drawings for growth. These little drawings began as ACEO‘s. I cut them out 😉
  7. Micron Pens and Faber Castell Pitt Artists pens
  8. Archival glue for assembly
  9. And a few very sharp knives to cut it all out with.

Final Size of each collage is 8×8 inches / 20,3cm by 20,3cm.

Both original collages are available in the original art section of the shop.

If you notice a link within my blog or post that displays weird text in place of where an image/picture should be please let me know. During my move to a new host some of my image links were broken. Thanks so much. xoxo

How I Created Evolution – A Five Step Process

It’s not often that I’ll share my process with you on how I create an illustration from beginning to end for a few reasons. Namely, it’s uber difficult when hit with inspiration to stop what you are working on and scan that in or take photos of it in equally timed steps. Two, it’s apparent that one runs the risk of being copied and I’m not talking about being inspired or learning from another artists work. Where would any artist be without being inspired! Three, I’m shy.

So, here I am revealing to you how I created this whimsical illustration aptly entitled Evolution.

Step 1 – Ink on paper

Using Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens I drew the mandala shape freehand on Strathmore flower petal paper. I do not draw in pencil first and then ink over top. I eliminated that step a while back. I tend to use the Brush (B) tip to draw the illustration with and refine it with both the Fine (F) tip and Small (S) tip artist pens.

Update – And thanks to Lorrie who asked “how big is it?” Final finished size is 8×8 inches / 20,3cm by 20,3cm.

Step 2 – Watercolour on ink

By painting a thin wash of watercolour within the petals and varying shapes I created the underpainting of the illustration. I paint using Windsor & Newton Watercolour with a #8 long handled Deserres Turquoise Brush.

Step 3 – Coloured pencil

After the watercolour dried I highlighted and shadowed the mandala with Prismacolor Verithin Coloured Pencils. The image is beginning to pop now!

Step 4 – Ink details and coloured pencil refinement

I added the central stamens using a white opaque Pilot pen and added highlights with minuscule little dots to the ocher green watercolour. These pens are great and will remain opaque on most darker surfaces. And I added green ocher ink to the outer perimeter of the mandala.

Step 5 – Final

Drawing feathery wisps using a pretty pink Pilot pen I finished the outer perimeter of the Mandala and added a similar shade of pink with coloured pencil to create the illusion of melon… Well, that’s what I’ll call it. Melon.

Materials Used

•Prismacolour Colored pencils
•Windsor and Newton Watercolour
•Faber Castel Pitt Artist Pens
•Pilot Hi-tec C Pens

I welcome your feedback and hope you enjoyed learning about my creative process. Please feel free to share this post and/or link to any of your creative process blog posts within the comments below.

The original Evolution illustration is for sale in the shop and is also available a limited edition archival print.

Artist Tip #21 – How I created children’s paper scrap packs for Christmas gifts

Last night I assembled three paper scrap packs for my nieces; ages three, six and eight.

If you are like me you have many many paper scraps, oops prints and papers that are too small to use. I cut down a larger sheet of cardboard with teddy bears printed on it which now doubles as the backing inside the 8×10 inch plastic bag. The resealable plastic bags are the same ones I use to seal my art and reproductions in. A ziplock baggy would work fine to.

I dug out my medium paper scrap box finding all the pretty paper I could and cut any rough edges square and did the same with the paper from the miniature scrap collection. Next, I sifted through oops and test prints and placed five or six in each bag.

scrap pack - jessica doyle

I cut down one strip of blank stickers and wrote on the back “Draw your own Stickers” and drew the first two for them so they could colour them in.

Lastly I made four packs of itsy bitsy mini blank greeting cards with envelopes for them to draw on. I recycled used kraft mailers to make the mini envelopes and found some shiny red paper to create the envelope seals with. I threw in a glue stick and then sealed each bag.


They look fantastic! I hope they like them :)

Last Artist Tip – How to draw a miniature in 5 easy steps

Artist Tip #20 – How to Draw a Miniature in 5 EASY Steps

How to Draw a Miniature in 5 EASY Steps

  1. Cut a piece of paper no larger than half the size of the palm of your hand
  2. Grab your smallest tipped paintbrush, nibbed pen or sharpen that pencil tip to a very fine point
  3. Make sure your eyes are never further than 8 inches away from that piece of paper at all times
  4. Begin creating NOW
  5. Use a magnifying glass if necessary

Last Tip – Fighting for the right to be an artist

Artist Tip #19 – Fighting for the right to be an artist

After writing the last tip I was left feeling empty, emotionless and bland.

This week I feel optimistic, content and hopeful that the hard work I am doing will pay off. And it is. Through continuing to improve one’s skills and continual learning and perhaps a bit of luck one can become successful in the Art world.

So am I fighting it? No. I’m enjoying the ride. And the best thing is this;

Last Tip – Are you feeling it?

Next Tip – How to draw a miniature?

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