Rethinking Embedding Instagram Photos

If you read my post from yesterday, you’ll know I was excited to find out that you can embed photos directly from instagram.

As with many things, even if you can, it’s good to find out if you should.

My friend Robyn emailed me with some really important feedback. While browsing her Feedly feed, she noticed that when she saw my post, she couldn’t see the image. Since I specifically talked about including an image, she knew it was probably there, so she clicked over to my site. I was curious, so I checked my Bloglovin feed, and also noticed that no photo showed up in the preview. For anyone who follows me with Feedly, Bloglovin, and probably other RSS feeds, they might not have the same incentive to click through without seeing a preview of the image in their feed.

For me this is a deal breaker, so for now I’ll stick to uploading photos to Flickr and linking them from there.

Here’s the same image from yesterday, linked from Flickr, in case you missed it:

Doodles on Watercolor

It looks a lot better than the embedded instagram photo anyway!

It’s good to try out new things, but it’s even better to find out what really works best! Thank you Robyn!

Inktober 2014

For the last 17 days I’ve been drawing one floral pattern a day for #inktober. Although I was aware of Inktober last year when a few friends participated, I was in the thick of my daily pattern project and decided to challenge myself to paint on colorful backgrounds. So, this is the first time I’ve participated in this fun project that was started in 2009 by Jake Parker.

I decided to use one brush pen for the month, and I have to say, I’m really loving it. Sometimes limitations are just what you need to stretch creativity into a different direction. I’ve been enjoying the variety of lines and marks I can draw with just this one tool.

Bold or dainty strokes:

inktober day 4

inktober day 2

Controlled detail or expressive shapes:

inktober day 9

inktober day 10

The expressive quality of the line can be so lovely when using a brush pen. It’s also been eye opening to work with both thick and thin lines:

inktober day 15

I’m tagging all my drawings with #inktoberpatterns to make it a little easier to find. If you care to join in, there’s still about a half a month to go!

Line and Shape Doodles

Here are a few recent line and shape doodles that I’ve sketched. I started by doodling mostly lines with a black sharpie pen.

Line Doodle with black pen

I continued in a similar style with a couple colored pencils, while incorporating more shapes as well as line.

Line Doodle with colored pencil

Next I did a more intricate version of the line and shape doodle using fine line Zig Writer markers.

Line Doodle with Fine Line Markers

After taking a break from creating and sharing on social media for the last couple months, it was very satisfying to draw these. Plus, they really feel like “me,” and I already have a few new ideas from the process of creating them.

Doodle a Day August


On instagram I follow a bunch of cool artists, and I get to see what they are up to and what art they are making. I got to know Rhianna Wurman through the Positive Inking project I’m a part of, and when I saw that she was doing a “Doodle-a-Day” for August, I was tempted to do it too. When my friend Emily Balsley said she was going to join in, well, I knew I couldn’t resist.

So I dove right in.

For the first couple of days, I ended up doodling flowers and leaves, purely by coincidence. When on day 4 I was able to create a flower doodle for the prompt, “Somewhere You Sat” I figured it would be a fun added challenge to see if I could stick with plant life all month. Much to my surprise, I was able to do it, even on a couple of hard days with themes like “8 O’Clock” and “Arrow“. True, there were a couple of days that were more than a bit of a stretch, such as the doodles for “Card” and “Cool,” but in the end I figured it was more about the inspiration and wherever that may lead than a strict interpretation of the day’s word.

All in all it was a super fun challenge. Not only was it exciting to see what in the world I would come up with everyday, but I also looked forward to what the other artists would do with they day’s theme.

I won’t share all 31 doodles with you here, but I would like to show you a few of my favorites.

I love the idea I came up with for Day 3’s theme, “Coin”. At first I didn’t think I could do anything botanical with it, but then I thought, “Silver Dollars!” I love pealing off their rough, flat shells to reveal the shimmery, paper-thin “coin”. I found a small branch we had in the basement, leftover from last year’s “harvest” and drew it.

Day 3: "Coin"

I think this was actually the drawing that got me thinking about doing botanicals for the month. I figured if I could make “coin” work, I could figure something out for the rest of them!

Day 9, “Messy” was also a fun one. Since I was often drawing from life for my daily doodles, in my mind I made the distinction that they were still doodles because I wasn’t really after accuracy or precision. It was about looking and drawing what I saw without over-thinking it. Having said that, my tendency is toward being precise and over-thinking it, so some of the doodles were definitely more drawing-like than I intended. Not so for “Messy”.

Day 9: "Messy"

Yes, I drew it really fast and messy! I placed my pen where I wanted to draw a certain group of flowers/textures, and then moved my pen quickly as I captured the essence of their texture. Definitely a satisfying practice and result!

Although I drew from life or photos for many of the days, I also drew quite a few true doodles. The theme for day 19 was “Hole” and while my initial idea was to draw holes in dirt, I instead opted to draw lots of holes in flower shaped buttons.

Day 19: "Hole"

These were all pure imagination, which, one could argue, is what doodling is all about.

Day 5’s word, “Logo,” was another great opportunity for pure doodling. I decided to draw some ideas for a logo for this month long doodle project! I first drew one logo with the words, “Always Drawing Flowers” but that logo didn’t see the light of day (until now) because I thought of another fun name: Flower Art Rebel. A college art professor of mine once told me that I could explore any subject matter I wanted–except flowers! Since then I always feel like a bit of a rebel when I draw anything botanical, and it seemed to be a fitting title for August’s doodles.

Day 5: "Logo"

My favorite is probably the skull and “cross-flowers”.

There were some days where I definitely wasn’t done doodling after just one page.

One day I doodled a bunch of random shapes on a page, and it was kind of a jumbled mess, so I cut it up, rearranged it, and collaged it into a new composition I call Petri Dish.

Petri dish collage

I’m not sure where the inspiration came from for Petri Dish. It just evolved organically. For other drawings, I created variations of the doodles I did for the Doodle-a-Day project.

One of my favorite “extra” drawings was inspired by one of my least favorite doodle-a-day drawings: Day 15, “Ready”.

Day 15: "Ready"

I wasn’t at all ready to doodle when I started, which was the point of the drawing and how I tied in the theme. I drew the words first, and then filled in the center part of the image with a random doodle. I don’t mind the doodle per se. I can appreciate the humor of the bug shaped blossoms, but I wish the words weren’t there. What I really liked about it were the leaves. They inspired me to create a simpler drawing.

Inspired by Day 15, doodle-a-day August

The simpler version of just the leaves then inspired me to create a pattern.

pattern inspired by Day 15 from doodle-a-day August

Notice some shapes similar to those in Petri Dish?

It was a great month full of drawings, and I wanted to continue. September is a busy month for me, so I decided to simplify things a bit. Instead of following along with the Doodle-a-Day themes for September, I decided to do a themeless Pattern-a-Day.

I’m using a little sketchbook that my friend Beverly sent over to me in a recent mail art package which luckily has EXACTLY 30 pages! I also decided to only use the IKEA gel pens I recently bought.

sketchbook for pattern a day september

This has worked out well for me so far. I have been able to draw a new pattern every day, and I so far haven’t had to “catch up” which I had to do several times in August.

Here’s a little sneak peek of what I’ve been working on so far in September:

Day 3 Pattern a Day September

Next week I’ll be at the beach, and I hope it’ll be just as easy to draw patterns there with sand underfoot and a sea breeze all around.

If you want to see more of the doodles from my August collection, you can see everything (plus all the extra drawings from the month) on flickr.

You can also check out the other patterns I’ve uploaded so far for September, also on flickr.

Also, if you are on instagram, you can follow along and see the patterns posted daily: @aisforanika #patternadaysep. Although I’m not doing Doodle-a-Day this month, you can see what all the other artists are doodling every day on instagram: #doodleadaysep.

Painting Experiments

This month I’ve been creating a doodle a day along with several other artists on Instagram (#doodleadayaug). I wasn’t intending to have a theme when I started, but after the first few days, I realized I kept drawing flowers. They are one of my favorite things to draw, so it’s been a fun month!

One doodle in particular inspired me to take the subject a little further.

initial sketches

I enjoyed the sketchy line quality, but felt it could be improved upon with some added color. An idea formulated in my head to do a loose underpainting of color with gouache and then add the sketchy line work on top of it with an acrylic paint marker.

The first step was to print out a quick copy of the original sketch, and transfer each drawing to watercolor paper using graphite transfer paper.

Transferring sketches with graphite paper

I really love the way these taped down sketches look, so I had to share!

Once the doodles were transferred, I painted each one using various colors of gouache. I liked the paintings at this stage, but I felt they were missing something. At this point, I was wondering if the intense black outlines would be “too much,” but I still wanted to go ahead and try out my original idea, just to see what the result would be. One of the thoughts I like to keep in mind when I make art is to not be afraid of “ruining” a painting or drawing by trying something new. True, sometimes ideas don’t translate well, but I figure that if I’ve done something I like once, I can always make it again if I mess up!

all flower paintings, side by side

After seeing the side by side comparison of all the paintings before and after the addition of the black outlines, I’m on the fence about which I like better. I still think that at least some of the paintings without the outlines are missing something, but maybe the black lines are too overpowering?

Taken on their own, I don’t mind most of the outlined versions, but I also wonder if they read as paintings, or just as colored-in drawings. If that’s the case, I could probably achieve this look in a much faster way, maybe using marker or colored pencil instead of paint.

Now that I’ve tried out my idea but am not 100% satisfied with it, I’m planning to redo the paintings to see if I can come up with a result that I really feel is “it”. Instead of outlining with black, I’ll work on adding depth and maybe outlines with more layers/colors of paint. So the experiment will continue!

Do you have a favorite of the above paintings? Do you think the outline works better for one painting more than another? I’d love to hear what you think!


I set up this new blog, and now I’ve hardly been posting any entries! Well, I suppose that’s because I’ve been busy lately. Isn’t that always the case? Not only that, but I feel like I’ve been in a state of creative block. I haven’t had as many ideas for new work lately, and overall I’ve been lacking creative direction in my work.

That said, I did find the time late one night to doodle and little something, and then found the time late the next night to add watercolor to the doodle.


For some reason this watercolor makes me feel a little odd. I always think of an ill fitting shirt when I look at it. To set myself at ease, I also created a cropped version.


Does the first image make anyone else feel a little strange, or is it just me? Which version do you prefer?

This will be my last post before I leave for Kauai! I’m leaving bright and early in the morning. Before it’s the least bit bright actually, and I plan to purely enjoy myself on this vacation. I’m not even bringing my laptop along with me!

I’m sure I’ll have photos and hopefully some art to share when I get back, after the 28th of September.

cicada shell and robot egg

After finishing a couple of shell prints recently, I had the inspiration to add some drawing to one of them, but I was feeling a little uncertain about what to add.

shell print

To explore an idea without the pressure of being perfect, I made a quick copy of the watercolor painting. The print setting was on fast, so the copy turned out very light when compared to the original painting.

cicada shell and robot egg

I first had the idea for the striped egg, so that’s where I started. The cicada shell was sitting on my desk, and I decided that a little sketch of him would be a nice addition. The arms of the egg evolved of their own accord, and just like that, the innocuous egg shape turned into a robot egg. The other squiggles were added here and there to provide a little extra atmosphere.

I have an unexplainable fondness for this piece. Perhaps because of the way it evolved. Perhaps because it’s a little odd, and yet somehow oddly perfect. I really enjoy not only the doodles themselves, but also the detail of the texture created by the pixelated fast printout. It reminds me of swarms of things or primordial soup.

cicada shell and robot egg detail

I’m glad that I made the copy of the original watercolor, not because the drawing was imperfect or because I’m glad I didn’t “ruin” the watercolor, but because the lighter copy provided the perfect background for the odd scene. The bolder color of the watercolor might have overwhelmed the subject matter and wouldn’t have let the drawings shine through.

oh! hello!

four hellos

Oh, hello!

Welcome to my new blog. You can find my old blog over here. I’ll still be posting at least some partial entries over there, but here is where the real action is going to be from now on.

My rediscovery of the very awesome Hello Project has coincided nicely with the set-up of this new blog, so read on to hear my Hello Project story.

About a year ago, I started working for a financial start-up company. Now, a year later, the company is no more, but what remains are many doodled-on post-it notes. There was a lot of down time in between spurts of activity at the new company, and I doodled to pass the time using what was nearest to me–ball point pens and post-it notes. During my post-it doodling days, I stumbled across the Hello Project for the fist time, and I doodled a couple of hellos (the blue ones). But my hello doodles languished in the stack of decorated post-its for months and months.

Recently the Hello Project again came to my attention, and I was inspired to make a couple new hellos (the yellow ones).

This time, I followed through and scanned them all and sent them off to the Hello Project and now they are up on their site for the world to see! Check them out, browse through all the other hellos, and then make one yourself!