My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1628: New Toys

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-28-2015 12:20 PM 1383 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1627: On to the Weekend! Part 1628 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1629: More on Inktense Pencils and Blocks »

Some girls like shoes. Others like fine jewelry. Still others, fancy clothes. . .

While I enjoy those nice things, they are something that I can take or leave. Don't get me wrong – I love having a couple of 'extravagances' such as my Chanel perfume and soap. (After all – I want to smell divine when doing my woodworking and painting! ;) )  But for the most part, I try to keep things simple. Except when it comes to art supplies . . . 

I can almost hear you guys cheering already! 

Some say we are judged by our peers. If that is the case, I am in pretty good company. One of the perks of being a designer for a living is that most of my friends are also creative people and there is an unspoken understanding between us that no matter how many creative supplies we have – be it hardwood, paint, tools, blades or brushes – we ALWAYS have room for more. Why that just goes without saying. 

About a month or so ago, I was closing out my day as I normally do surfing around the internet. Often when I am busy the way I have been, I am quite wound up and in order to get to bed, I need something to relax me and unwind, so I cruise Facebook and YouTube and so forth. 

During one of these sessions, I came across some videos of some beautiful work done in colored pencils. I was blown away at the detail and realism I saw from them, I never knew that would be able to be achieved. So I started thinking . . . 

I had here with me a set of 120 Prismacolor pencils from way back when I lived in Chicago. I had taken a class or two using them and besides a couple being slightly used, the set was virtually brand new. I dug them out and started reading up on how these wonderful artists achieved such realize with materials that I was only able to use to create child-like drawings. It fascinated me. 

I began learning techniques and I purchased some of the additional supplies I needed to give it a go (decent paper, etc.) and I have been playing with it ever since. 

On Friday, my most anxiously awaited shipment of Derwent Inktense pencils arrived. I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to try them out. (I will be blogging on them more soon.) 

I got my set on Amazon for less than half price. I purchased the full set, that came in this beautiful wood box:

When I opened it, I think my heart skipped a beat! 

I feel like a QUEEN! 

Now the Inktense pencils have very different properties than the Prismacolors, and I will explain them in a later blog. (I promise)  But after spending the time to get to know them a little better and experimenting with them, I started a new project with them in conjunction with my Prismacolors to make something 'just for fun' and to LEARN. And I am having a BALL with them!

I decided to create a simple 8" x 8" drawing for started. I used a piece of 140lb Fabriano hot press watercolor paper, which is heavy and will take a lot of water, but has a very smooth texture, which will add to the realism of the finished drawing. 

I decided to make a bee because I just like bees. I found a photo of a honeybee and blew it up to the size I wanted. I then masked the bee out with masking fluid so I could apply the background. 

(It doesn't look too impressive, but it doesn't look too intimidating, either!)

I then used one of my Laurie Speltz stencils to use the Inktense pencils to make a hive design on the paper. The Inktense pencils turn into ink when you wet them and are permanent, making them perfect for backgrounds. They won't lift up when subsequent layers are applied like normal watercolors do. 

I then washed a very pale yellow over the honeycomb pattern after I 'set' the honeycomb lines with water. This will make a very subtle background which I will add more to later on. 

Then I want on to begin the bee. While the area  of coloring is only about 1.5 square inches, I probably used about 10-15 colors so far. It is a very slow process, but one that I find most enjoyable. 

I am rather pleased with how the bee is beginning to look . . . 

More importantly, I am LEARNING and ENJOYING what I am doing. Putting down color with pencils is pretty much the opposite process of when I paint. When I paint, I lay down the darker colors first and then add highlights on the top. With coloring, it is almost the opposite, where the light highlights have to be left 'open' in order to make them stand out. It is really an exercise for my brain and thinking. 

I am also learning to look at the objects very differently. Instead of looking at say an eye or a wing, I focus on the minute shapes that each objects is created from. They don't have to make sense at all when laying down the color, but it is amazing how they seem to come together to create an object full of depth and dimension. This will certainly help my other forms of creating as well and improve both my drawing and painting skills a great deal. 

I don't know where I am going with this new (to me) medium. I don't think that I would be able to teach this in packet form as I do my scrolling and painting packets. Not yet anyway. There is too much that I, myself need to learn to feel good about that. 

It is all part of growing as a designer and creating new things. While each aspect of art can overlap, it keeps things fresh and exciting when we explore new ways to creat. 

People often ask me how I keep from 'burning out'. I suppose my best answer is that we should never stop seeking to improve ourselves and learn new things. For each time we turn a page to a new technique or medium, we are opening an entire new chapter for us to get excited about and explore. And that can go on forever. :)

I hope you all had a good weekend. I was busy and got a lot done. My video for Art Play Date is complete, I got to play with my new 'toys' and I even started designing some new projects for a collaboration book that I have been invited to contribute to. I ended my weekend by watching the beautiful eclipse last night. Our sky here in Nova Scotia was crystal clear. It left me in awe. 

Today there is lots of cutting on the table. Designing as well. I am surely going to remain busy and happy. I hope you are as well.

Happy Monday to you! 

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

10 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3642 days

#1 posted 09-28-2015 01:36 PM

Glad you are happy with the Derwent pencils. The company have been around for years and are known for their quality products.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3526 days

#2 posted 09-28-2015 01:55 PM

Yes, they are very high quality and well-respected. These pencils are unique and absolutely beautiful! There are many challenges working with new media such as this, but it will be a great leg of my journey. I also have the Inktense block set which also has wonderfully unique properties.

(Here is a secret – I am going to try these with some of my WOOD projects and see how they fare. Their permanence after initial addition of water may be a property that will lend itself to some of my woodworking projects. The ease of application (in pencil form) may make it a possibility for those who don’t want to ‘paint’ wood. Also, since they are ink, they are transparent so they will allow the wood grain to show through. They are available ‘open stock’ as well, so one can choose their colors individually. Lots to think about. :) )

Have a great week, Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View scrollingmom's profile


1202 posts in 3070 days

#3 posted 09-28-2015 07:34 PM

Very interesting. Excited to see what you come up with.

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2738 days

#4 posted 09-28-2015 09:19 PM

Sheila, I’m quite sure that you will put them to good use being the ARTIST you are. You’ll find new and unique uses for them. Ya got a quality sharpener I suspect so you don’t grind ‘en away too quickly.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3526 days

#5 posted 09-29-2015 12:22 AM

Thank you both Kelly and Russell. :)

Russell – I do have a nice sharp sharpener. That is a very important piece of equipment with the pencils.

Oh, I am going to have FUN! I was so excited to get them. I couldn’t sleep Saturday because I was thinking of my “bee project” before I even started it! I am funny like that. I have many projects swimming around in my head.

I hope I can do some nice things with them. Stay tuned. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2679 days

#6 posted 09-29-2015 04:04 AM

Wow! Beautiful colour combinations in that box! have lots of fun with them. Looking forward to seeing your finished bee – looks great so far.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View michelletwo's profile


2783 posts in 3621 days

#7 posted 09-29-2015 11:05 AM

oh gal! what delights wait for us! yes it is all about us :-) :-) What fun you will have..when I start on a new area of wwkng I am always revved up and my brain kicks in & it is wonderful. Hope it’s the same for you.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3526 days

#8 posted 09-29-2015 12:00 PM

Thank you Anna and Michelle. Sorry for being so late in replying, the computer gremlins were at me this morning! :)

Yes – it is so much fun to play with new tools – of any kind! I see lots of possibilities for these fun colors, and I showed more of them in the next post. Very colorful things are on the horizon! :)

Have a great Tuesday!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3410 days

#9 posted 10-15-2015 12:31 PM

These do look amazing. I know anything you use, will be a masterpiece, whatever you use. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3526 days

#10 posted 10-16-2015 11:16 AM

Thank you as always, Roger. It will be fun to “play!”


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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