Philosophy of Sprinkles and Artwork

Extra, Extra Sprinkles … Please!

sprinkles on ice-cream sundae illustration
Say it with Sprinkles!

Sprinkles on ice cream at a drive-through window inspired my fancy sundae art. I was seeking ice cream, i.e., DQ Fan Food, with granddaughter Tori, and discovered the secret of life — sprinkles.

While traveling in Kentucky, we pulled into the nearest Dairy Queen.

We sailed past the menu board (memorized), rolled down the car window, and chirped out our order.

illustration of bird with plumes and pumps
Chirp-chirp

Tori ordered her favorite Blizzard, topped with sprinkles.

A nano second later, she springs forward from the car seat as if she had an emergency. She needed to add something important to her order. In her most polite voice she adds …”and extra, EXTRA, sprinkles, please!”

Add Sprinkles to Everything!

ice cream sundae art with extra, extra sprinkles
Extra, extra sprinkles, please!

What’s a few more sprinkles? I loved the delight in Tori’s eyes when she saw her Blizzard lavishly covered with sprinkles.

When I think of good getting better, I visualize extra, extra sprinkles and the enjoyment the little things in life bring.

Don’t skimp on the good stuff.

It is that practice in life to top what you are doing with something better and to want to change the ordinary into the extra ordinary that maximizes those little joys of  life. Continue reading Philosophy of Sprinkles and Artwork

Miniature Art Collection of Icons and Symbols

Icons, Art in Miniature

 

Icons and symbols are miniature pieces of art. Their swirling lines and shapes create iconic images that decorate, illustrate, and identify. These icons can become epic, i.e., the Mac Apple. (See a page of icons on my Blog and a more complete collection at Swim Yellow Duck.)

miniature "pw" monogram with calligraphy border
My “PW” monogram, underwater

I christened my PW monogram floating in the sea alongside a whale as art in miniature and on a lesser scale.

Working from a sketch, I had envisioned my initials inside a formal cartouche symbol, somewhat like a monogram found impressed on an old English manuscript. However, my mind wandered to Lollipop Land as I worked, and soon my “PW” initials were under water watching a whale swim by.

An Iconic Collection

Art from the Free Icons & Symbols Collection
Free Icons & Symbols Collection

I’ve launched a  collection of icons and symbols from my digital doodles for you to use as a resource, gratis. It’s an Iconic Collection of Free Icons and Symbols .

The zip folders include various file sizes in three formats, JPG, PNG, and SVG, that you are free to download. I’ve showcased some on my Free Icons and Symbols in a gallery on my blog. For a more complete visual reference, check out my Swim Yellow Duck gallery.

purple imperial insignia icon from the Free Icon& Symbol Collection
Imperial Insignia Icon

I tend towards elongated swirls. I think flowers. Many of my icons are flowers and scrolls. In my handwriting, much like stopping to smell the roses, I stop to twirl my letters because I love the curve of a line.

Icon for Christmas in July

Oh, Christmas Tree
Oh, Christmas Tree

If you are one of those who dream of snow on a sunny day in July, you might be a Christmas in July person. It’s a great time to buy yourself a gift because summer sales in July are door busters.

The fun thing about icons in my collection is that you can make them any size and any color.Christmas tree decorated

Cactus Icon

Flowering Cactus Icon from the Free Icon and Symbols Collection
Flowering Cactus

What comes to mind first when you see a cactus? You’re thirsty, an iguana, desert sand, sun screen, a western movie or possibly, tequila … ?

For me, it’s Cabo San Lucas, my favorite vacation spot. Although, anywhere in the tropics with sand and the ocean would suite me well.

I will post more icons from time to time. Until then, happy trails ….

How-to: Add Color To Digital Art in a Click or Two or Three

The art in my folders is, for the most part, saved in three formats, JPG, PNG, and SVG.

Inverted icon in JPEG format and framed withwith green border
JPEG: inverted black & white and added a green border to the bounding box

A JPG image is compressed and set in a white bounding box. There is little you can do to affect a JPG  in two or three clicks. In art programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can invert the colors, i.e., change the white to black and black to white.  And, you can frame the bounding box.

The PNG and SVG formats lend themselves more simply to editing.

PNG image of a cactus icon colorized and embossed in Photoshop
PNG: colorized and embossed in Photoshop – retained the transparent background

In art programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can lock the transparent background on a PNG, and paint away to change the color. As well, you can do anything to a PNG that you can do with a JPG and still retain the image transparency when you save it as a PNG.

You can totally edit an SVG image in vector art programs like Adobe Illustrator etc. The sky is the limit. Add a pattern background to the image, animate the image, or completely re-make the image, make it huge or make it tiny,  all without loosing image quality, thanks to the nature of the beloved vector format.

Original cactus icon
Original SVG Cactus Icon
Changed the flower to a bird and replaced the black and white with color
SVG: original image edited in Illustrator: changed the flower to a bird and replaced the black and white with color, all with a few simple clicks!

Happy Campers Own Trailers

RVs are Home on Wheels

I’ve always preferred camping out in a hotel room, but watching a steady parade of campers to the Ozarks this summer has made me curious as to the world of RV trailers.

I now picture myself hauling a teardrop Tab camper or other glam buggy to a nearby lake or camping spot for spontaneous outings and for hauling around my art supplies.

poster with nine campers
Campers on Parade

Campers in Art

Hence, I was inspired to draw some campers recently, and I have added a few of the campers to my Free Image Gallery of digital art.

Camper RV with patriotic trunks
Dory’s Camper

Dory’s Camper was inspired by my cousin. Her RV is huge and modern, unlike the vintage one I drew, but she prompted the red, white and blue trunks waving  from the antenna.

My first sketch included a flag, but thoughts of Dory and the family reunion in Nashville popped into mind.

Dory had arrived at the campsite driving her mobile home, loaded with food and fun. Later in the day, she pulled out some undies and clipped them on the clothesline.

The panties were huge. It was fun watching her decorate the camp site.  I always smile when I think back on the fun time with family and the reunion and picture those panties waving in the breeze.

Cousin Dory hanging large undies on a clothesline at the campsite
Undies for the clothesline

IMG_0064

Flip Flops in my Digital Art Gallery

I Love Flip Flops

Flip Flops with a black and white check pattern
Flip flops with a Checkered Past

There is nothing that puts me in a vacation state of mind more quickly than slipping on a pair of flip flops.

In May, I was in my perpetual vacation-state-of-mind, and drew lots of flip flops, which I added to my Free Art Gallery.

Also, I modeled them together with some sandals for a poster and added it to my Art Gallery.

 

Flip Flops Take My Mind Off Politics

icon for free digital art
Wide Eyed Me

Wide Eyed rather describes my state of mind this political season. I am in a dizzying state of whazzup.

First, Jeb bowed out of the 2016 Race for the  White House 2018, more accurately described as the demolition derby. He and the clan are dissing the National Republican Convention, even.

Pretty bummed. I like principled governors like Jeb Busch and John Kasich, who accomplish reforms and know how to navigate the system. I want to see in my lifetime an immigration policy for Hispanics in particular that institutes a pathway to citizenship for a people who have enriched our culture and who have been welcomed through our back door for some 50 years. Continue reading Flip Flops in my Digital Art Gallery

Cubic Self-Portrait in My Dreams

cubic art portrait in my dreams
Cubic me fantasy

Cubic Me is an empirical fantasy of a splendid day.

I was drawing portraits and saw a photograph of Lady Gaga. Soon I was blurring reality in juxtaposition.

I was studying Cubism. My first attempt at Cubism was a self-portrait,  titled Modular Me.

digital art self portrait. wistful of cubism
Modular Me, digital art to the power of three

Since I enjoy geometric prints and adored geometry in high school,  Cubism promises to be a natural for me, but I have some work to do.

It’s fun to re-composite an image in geometric shapes, but more challenging is to imagine a flat object from different viewpoints and to create that final image with differing viewpoints and on different planes, which is pure Cubism. Continue reading Cubic Self-Portrait in My Dreams

Painting Pool Balls in Spots and Stripes

Billiards anyone?

montage illustration of pool balls
Pool ball jumble

In high school, I learned to shoot pool, AKA billiards, thanks to Saints Hubert and Ellene Watson, our church youth leaders. They adopted me, so to speak, as an honored guest into their home when I was a teen.

Friday nights, Ellene would bake her famous chocolate cake with butter cream frosting and  Hube racked up the pool balls for a spirited game of pool.

I have no recollection of helping with dishes and I no doubt scratched the green felt on Hube’s pristine pool table. Nevertheless, they rolled out the red carpet for me, week after week.

On Cue music box by Enesco with mice playing pool: Karen Hahn designer
Mice shoot a game of pool in the vintage Enesco musical “On Cue” to the tune of “The Entertainer”: Enesco designer Karen Hahn

Pool balls with stripes and spots

Today, I have my own set of pool balls, displayed in a crystal bowl. They remind me of friendship. I love peering at the ivory balls, much like watching goldfish in a fish bowl.

Beautiful, ivory white balls, each numbered and splashed with bright stripes and spots, ready for a game.

Why not make a painting of pool balls?

You draw what you love. Unfortunately, drawing and painting pool balls for me has led to a stash of failed attempts.

sketch of shading to add dimension to a flat object
Darrell’s quick-sketch to show how shading gives dimension to a pool ball

Hubby Darrell had compassion on me and sketched a pool ball with shape in front of my eyes — in a nano second.

Choose a light source, he said. Add shading to give shape and dimension, he said.

Suddenly he transforms a circle into a pool ball.

For me, it does not. So, I continue to study the elusive pool ball.

Back to the Drawing Board

Hopelessly, I asked Darrell to photograph our pool balls, thinking I could draw from the photographs. He photographed each one, individually, with the same light source.

I made a montage illustration in Photoshop by masking and arranging balls to my liking, resizing some.

Undaunted with my failures at painting, I played around with the pool balls in my digital art programs to make a poster.

illustration of pool balls
Play Ball!
Digital Pool Balls Spin Around on My Computer
Pool ball photography
Montage of pool ball photography
Photography: pool ball montage

Early Snowfall and Pillowcase Art

Snowy art for pillowcases by Darrell Wiskur to color
Snowfall in the Ozarks

 A dreamy, deep snow came early to Arkansas, 2013.

We hope for snow in the Ozarks

We woke one morning to a mid-December snow, 10-inches deep, over a slick layer of ice. We were glad for the surprise snowfall.

It is always super nice not having to fret about if or if-not we will have a Hallmark snow before Christmas Day … always a quandary in the Arkansas Ozarks.

Snowbound and off school, the grandchildren went sledding, built snowmen, and decorated gingerbread houses … putting everyone in a holiday state of mind.

School buses, parked. Our world stood still.

As we were on the verge of cabin fever, the sun came out and melted the snow. Alas, we were as happy to see the snow go as to see it come.

How To Tutorial

Pillowcase art for a snowy Christmas

The snowy woodland scene is an illustration by hubby Darrell Wiskur for a book daughter Wendy O’Dell wrote and designed.

The book, Mommy’s Days, Planning Daily Activities with Infants and Toddlers, was published in 1998 by Heir Press.

Darrell’s illustrations were pencil line-drawings. The book was printed in black & white. I wanted to color it, so I scanned the art and turned it into a vector illustration in Adobe Illustrator.

I created shapes, which I filled with color, then added a gradient to the background in Photoshop.

I love the art and the verse:

Stars shining brightly
Soft snow on the trees
The ornaments of God
All nature can see!

Art for a pillowcase

So much in love with the art, I printed the snowy woodland scene on pillowcases for our grandchildren to color.

Our family likes a calming craft for the children before Christmas dinner. I thought this wonderful verse and snowy woodland scene would make a perfect Christmas craft.

I had the line-drawing printed on pillowcases at a specialty printing shop.

Oops, didn’t think that through

Grandchildren paint pillowcases on Christmas Day
Drew coloring a pillowcase with washable fabric pens.
Grandchildren paint pillowcases before Christmas dinner
Stephanie loves art and working hard
Painting a snow pillowcase on Christmas
You would have to be a surrealist to paint snow anything but white.

Coloring snow is less than a perfect idea. After-all, snow is white. Fortunately, we have creative grandchildren.

Merry Christmas to All, and to All, a Good Night!

Merry Christmas‘Tis the joyous Christmas season

A favorite Christmas quote from A Christmas Carol, says …

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.
-Charles Dickens

The key to happiness is to hold on to that child-like wonder at Christmas.

Bah Humbug! cross stitch needlework
Bah Humbug!

Alas, the holiday season can bring a mix of good and bad memories. Once, during my  Bah Humbug! period, I cross-stitched another Dickens quote, Bah Humbug! And beautified it with a gilded frame.

Foremost this Christmas, cherish the simple things of the heart.

Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes. -Charles Dickens

Merry  Christmas to all, and to all, a good life!

How To TutorialMy digital how-to artwork for story illustration:

In Adobe Illustrator, I penned a blue gradient for my snow bank.
rolling_snow300x
I created layers of art in Photoshop. On top of the snow, I layered my Santa art, created in Illustrator.
Then, I duplicated Santa and skewed him, dialing back the transparency for a red shadow on the snow. I imagined Santa’s suit would reflect a jolly red on the snow rather than gray.
Santa and his Shadow
To complete the illustration, I added a lens flair above the snow for a heavenly light.

Christmas Greetings illustration of the nativity
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.” -Dickens

And cropped line work of the Nativity by hubby Darrell Wiskur  from a Merry Christmas letter he designed years ago, commissioned by a dentist for his office Christmas letter. 

Read Luke 21:1-40, a Biblical record of the incarnation of Christ … Emmanuel, God is with us.

 

Styling with Monograms – or, What’s in a Name?

Styling a Monogram

Monogram of the letter G with flowers
“G” for Gwendolyn

I heard a style watch for fall forecasting the comeback of monograms. Wanting to be trendy, I decided to design one for my scrap pages and journal notations.
I opened Adobe Illustrator, but found no font to inspire me at my fingertips.
Anxious to show progress quickly, I opened my iPad and turned a “G” doodle into a flower pot.Icon of a curved bar with fringe in blue

Back on my computer, I attempted a preppy style with three initials constrained in a circle, but had mild success. Also, I set my initials in JFRingmaster and warped the text in Illustrator.

Monograms with fancy letters using glymps from my typeface menu
A swish, swash monogram with glymps

For a frilly version of my monogram, I used the Illustrator Glyphs in the type menu to add ligatures for that look of aristocracy.

icon calligraphy with a ball of beadsStriving for a monogram sharpened my eye to typefaces and gave me a greater respect for those geniuses who design them. My latest typeface love is Axiforma from MyFonts. I’m crazy about the font because it comes with many faces, from thick to thin, in regular and italic, so I bought it.

Finally, years ago my hubby had a calligraphy artist pen my name. I scanned the art and outlined it in Illustrator.

Monogram Love

Order and Hierarchy of Initial Monogram

  • Same-size letters in a straight row represent: first, middle, and last initials.
  • Three initials with a large center initial and two smaller initials, on the right and left: large center initial for last name, with first initial to the left and middle initial to the right.
  • A wedding or couple’s monogram is made with a large center initial (their last name), with groom’s first initial on the left and bride’s first initial on the right.
  • Two letters, same size, represent your first and last initials.
  • Stylized single letters represent your first name or your last name.
Block letters from my Art journal

Add monograms to not just identify belongings but to add a personal stamp to your lifestyle. Celebrate your name!

At Starbucks or whenever hubby Darrell needs to give his name at a counter for pickup, he uses his super initials, DW, which alleviates letters and time and rescues the barista from a comedy of errors … “Daryl,” “Darrel,” “Darel” “Darrell”?

Monograms in my future
My monogram initials encircled with a heart reads as my first name and last initial or my initial monogramame or my monogram
Letters read as my initials, paw, or my nickname and last initial, Pat W. – a clever sketch by hubby.

First, I sketch or ink my monograms. And, I have a secret weapon. My husband is an illustrator. He leaves sketches like love notes on my desk when he knows I am working on an idea.

He left a monogram sketch on my desk yesterday of my nickname Pat and my last initial W.

In his usual cleverness, he inter-wove letters, adding an end swash on the W crossing back over the leading edge of the W forming a secondary T, to read both as my initials, PaW, or my nickname Pat W.

Think about your initials. Is there anything unique about the sequence of your letters that would make a distinctive monogram?

Play with the letters in your name, and create a distinctive mark, a custom monogram, all your own.

Re-writable EW monogram on a pillow made with mermaid fabric
Emma draws her monogram initials on a mermaid pillow with reversible sequins

A monogram is a trusty friend…

Learn lettering from gurus famous for copperplate and a myriad of calligraphy styles

Lip-Smack Brush Tutorial

No matter how hard I strive for sophistication in design, my projects take a right turn towards the wild side as did my first journal kit, aptly named Zany.

I had fun creating Zany papers, buttons, brushes, and elements.
My favorite brush is the Lip-Smack Brush, and my favorite element is the pool ball button.
Here’s a preview of my kit, which includes 16 Papers, 20 Elements, and 2 Brushes.

Creating brushes in Adobe Photoshop is a cinch!

  • Slick your lips with a bright lipstick and kiss a piece of paper.
  • Scan the Lip-smack into your computer as a jpeg.
  • Create a black and white copy of the lip-smack. (Optional: I cleaned up the image and removed the white background from the scan so that I had a transparent background for a .png file.)
  • Select the Elliptical or Rectangular Marquee Tool and drag to create a selection around the Lip-smack.
  • With the Lip-smack selected, go to Edit>Define Brush Preset>Name your brush>Click OK.
  • Look for a visual image of the Lip-smack brush at the bottom of your brushes palette. Deselect your Lip-smack image.
  • Now the brush is in your brushes palette whenever you want to seal something with a kiss!

Before you close your image, save the lip-smack as a .png file so you have a brush and a handy image of the lip-smack, ready to put a personal stamp on your projects.