magic scanner

Before the end of 2011 I bought myself a new scanner.

My old HP All-In-One scanner/printer got the job done, but scanning was always frustrating because it never quite captured all the detail or accurate color of my art. I’d do my best to edit the images, but I knew it could be better.

I did a ton of research and decided that the Epson V-750 was the scanner for me. Most of the comparisons I saw online showed scans of slides and photographs, but I was encouraged by the detail that it picks up, even in photos, so I felt confident it would do my art justice. I wasn’t disappointed!

I won’t go on and on since the images speak for themselves.

Each of the following scans are minimally edited, mostly just cropped and a little dust clean up. In the images below, the HP scan comes first, followed by the same image scanned with my new Epson.

Kaleidoscope Drawing
HP Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
Epson Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
HP Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
Epson Scan

Isn’t the difference amazing? For me, the Epson really shines in the lightest areas. It captures the detail of every mark I make; even light pink colored pencil, or delicate graphite. I’m sure I could bring out the color in the Epson images, but I was so impressed by the quality right out of the scanner that I wanted to share them without any editing at all.

The Epson V-750 has been a dream come true so far. It’s fast, it’s quiet, and the image quality is impressive. I actually look forward to scanning. No more frustration!

I almost forgot! I made these two drawings for a couple mail art exchanges to Kati Driscoll and Rhya Tamasauskas. I just love the way Rhya described the mail art I sent, mentioning that “the collection of colours and textures reminds me of the beach at sunset…running in sand as the landscape changes in big sweeping gestures right before our eyes.” Isn’t that dreamy?

Collaborative Accordion Book

A few weeks ago, I got a nice surprise in the mail from Jules Young; After completing her page, she sent me the collaborative accordion book that is traveling around the world for many talented artists to make their mark on. I’m the 4th artist to get the book. Valeria Poropat started this project and so far it has traveled around Europe before making its way to me. I was very excited and inspired after seeing the first three panels, and quickly started brainstorming ideas of my own.

There was no set theme, so I thought about the project itself, and the phrase, “from here to there and back again” popped into my head. As I thought about it some more, I decided it made more sense from my point of view to switch the order of “here” and “there” to read, “from there to here and back again”. I liked the sounds of it, and started sketching out my idea.

original sketch

After a few rounds of sketching, I came up with a composition that would work for the narrow orientation of the pages. I made a few quick copies to try out different colors.

testing colors

When I was ready to transfer my sketch to the book for the final drawing, I ended up using a window as a lightbox, just to get the basic lines and composition that I’d already worked out in place.

Pencil Lines

Once I finished tracing, I drew the rest of the smaller elements, and drew over everything with an ink pen.

Basic Lines, inked

I then freehanded the remaining details in pen.

Black and White

The last phase was adding color, which I took my time with, making decisions along the way. At one point the ribbon was going to be blue. I also considered pink, but in the end, I zeroed in on a cream color with accents of green, and I really like the natural feeling it gives the piece.

Finished drawing!

4 pages so far

From left to right, the artists that have so far added drawings to the book are Valeria Poropat, Tricky Tanya, Jules Young, and me!

There are quite a few pages and artists left to go, so I’m really looking forward to see what each artist adds!

A New Kaleidoscope Drawing

After hanging up all the work I framed at Metropolitan Cafe, I was 99% satisfied, except for one area where the triptych seemed too small for the prominent space above the fireplace.

Circle Drawings on the Wall

I decided to make a larger drawing to hang in its place, moving the triptych on the wall that’s to the right of the space shown in the image above. I started working on the new drawing the very night I got home from hanging the show.

I started by drawing a grid on some smooth drawing paper with a pencil (and a ruler of course), and then drew the outline of the circle with the help of my trusty compass set.


After drawing the grid I actually erased most of it, leaving only a hint of the lines, just dark enough so I could make out the grid while I was adding the colors. I started with pink.


Unfortunately the pencil lead kept breaking, so before I knew it, the pink pencil was down to a little stub. Luckily the peach color in the set was very similar in tone, so I switched to peach to finish the first layer.

Best Part

With the first color finished, I started the next one: chartreuse green. Adding a new color is the best part of these drawings because that’s when I get to see how the colors will interact as they are layered.

Once the chartreuse was finished, I used true green to start the next layer.

Best Part 2

Ice Cream Cone

I took one more in progress photo when I finished the true green layer, but then got so wrapped up in finishing the drawing that I forgot to take any more in progress pics! Instead I took a photo of all the colored pencils I used for this drawing, which include those I’ve mentioned, plus aquamarine, carmine red, magenta, and violet.

Colored Pencils

Large Kaleidoscope Drawing

When my mom saw the final drawing she said, “it looks like a kaleidoscope”. I think that’s a great observation, so I’ll be calling this series “kaleidoscopes” from now on.

Before I could snap a photo of the finished drawing, I framed it and whisked it away to Baltimore to add it to the show. While I was at Metropolitan, I took a photo of the framed drawing. I wish I’d taken a wide shot of the room so you could see the difference now that the triptych has been moved. I’m sure I’ll visit the cafe again soon, so I’ll update this when I get the shot.

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils

I tried out the Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils on a piece of Arches hot press paper.

Prismacolor pencils!

I decided to use the Arches paper instead of the grid paper I’ve been using for previous drawings to see how the thicker paper would hold up, and to see how the image would look without the underlying grid. I’m still working at a small size at this point (about 5.5 inches square).

I took a few in-progress shots with my iphone while I was working so you can see how the image changes with each added color.

yellow & orange
I started with a layer of yellow ochre, followed by pale vermillion.

yellow, orange & mulberry
The next was a layer of mulberry.

yellow, orange, mulberry & process red
I filled in more of the circle with Process Red.

yellow, orange, mulberry, process red, & true blue
True Blue was the first cool color added, followed by a layer of ultramarine blue to finish up the drawing.


I like the final drawing, but I also like a lot of the in between stages as well. I’m thinking about making a few drawings that are more like “incomplete” circles.

The Prismacolor Premier colored pencils were very nice to work with on the thick paper. The color came off onto the paper very easily, so there was no warping of the paper at all. The biggest challenge was keeping a sharp point. I had to sharpen the Premier pencils a lot more than the Verithins, but also didn’t have to press as hard, so I guess it’s a trade off.

The lines appear a lot more wobbly without the underlying grid to anchor them, but I like the look anyway, and I’ll probably get better at drawing straight lines with a little more practice & patience.

Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils

I finished up my first colored pencil drawing, using the Prismacolor Verithins.

Prismacolor Verithin colored pencils

These drawings take a really long time to make. There’s a lot of detail and a lot of overlap, so it’s just a process that takes a while. The results are well worth it, and overall they’re a lot of fun to create because they change so much as I develop the pattern and add new colors.

Drawing in progress

The leads of the Verithins are rather hard, so I found myself pressing very firmly on the paper to get the color to show up, especially with the lightest pink and green. Because of that, I ended up embossing the paper so much that it’s rippled and doesn’t lay quite flat. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get a good scan, but the shadows are very slight.

colored pencil

I’m going to do another drawing using the Prismacolor Premier colored pencils to check out the difference, but ultimately I plan to do a series of these on larger plain paper.

Suffice it to say, I’m very happy with my new colored pencils so far!