Thursday 30 October 2014

Book Review: Love & Misadventures and Lullabies

Love & Misadventure and Lullabies by Lang Leav

"Time", a poem in Lullabies.
You were the one
   I wanted most to stay

But time could not
   be kept at bay.

The more it goes,
   the more it's gone-
   the more it takes away.

  Love & Misadventure, and Lullabies are both gorgeous books filled with poems written by Lang Leav. It's a book about love lost and love found; about the many shortfalls we have as human beings and how we try to love other people's perfect imperfections. It's a book that resonated with parts of my soul. A book that made me stop for brief moments in between poems to think back on certain memories that I have and hold dear to my heart.

  Love & Misadventure and Lullabies can be bought at your local bookstore. I bought mine from, though.

  The illustration was drawn with Derwent's Line Maker. You can read my review about those pens, plus enter an ongoing giveaway here. (Oct 2014-Nov 2014)

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Painting of the Day: Cosmic Tides

"Cosmic Tides" by Martine Johanna
  I feel that this painting is a symbolic representation of the dualities of our Selfs. How we have masks to hide our true feelings; how we have different facets and faces to our personalities. Martine Johanna makes gorgeous, emotive works depicting the female; trying to grasp the elusiveness of the soul.

  You can see more of her works via her website.

Friday 24 October 2014


  A new Artist Trading Card (ATC). A simple one this time.

  "Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.
                                                             -Scott Adams

  I just bought lots of new books, so next week I'll probably do a review on at least one of them. :)

  Have a great weekend ahead~

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Painting of the Day: by Frank Rosenzweig

"Untitled" by Frank Rosenzweig
  Frank Rosenzweig uses his very own techniques to work with the medium of rust. I think it's a wonderful contrast to the subject he chose to depict.. Rust being a representation of the old and the aged, of being forgotten; the young nubile female figure representing youth and beauty.

  View his Tumblr via this link.

Monday 20 October 2014


  I was trying out a new idea using Derwent's Inktense... Anddddd~ The idea didn't quite work out.

  When laid dry, Derwent's Inktense are nicely pigmented. When you add water, though, magic happens. The colours turn into really bright, highly saturated pigment ink.

  What inspired me for this project was a microscopic view of the drug, Ecstasy. The picture was from a series of pictures that showed a microscopic view of different drugs.

  I flipped the orientation of the blob, and also rethought the colour scheme.

   And after adding colours... Viola.

  I had wanted to keep adding those thin lines within the blob, but now I'm not sure whether I like this piece much or not... I may or may not revisit this piece in the future, but for now I'll be filling it away. There's simply too many other ideas in my head for me to stay with an idea I'm not sure of right now.

  I really like the Inktense pencils, though, and I'll probably be experimenting with them again in the future. ^-^

Thursday 16 October 2014

Derwent Graphik Pens Review (with a giveaway!)

  It's.... Try Out Thursday! ^-^

  Today's totally rad product is Derwent's new line of pens called "Graphik". What I tried were the Line Painter and the Line Maker (for the longest of time, I read them as "Line Marker"...)

  First impressions; isn't the packaging super gorgeous? I mean, just look at the pretty designs of the packs.... High-quality packs with a metal stud button to keep it closed. You could totally just leave the pens within the packs and take the entire thing with you when you're sketching en plein aire. What I liked about the Painter pens was the fact that the pens come individually wrapped, to prevent any accidents from happening during transportation; and the wraps weren't difficult to remove. So, A+ for packaging and design.

  The Painters are opaque, permanent, water based paint pens; with ink filled barrels that have a little shaker in them- kinda like those old school correction fluid pens. I assume that what I have are blister packs cause I'm missing a couple of colours from the set... It could be that Derwent is selling them in sets of five, though.... Also, they're all 0.5 nibs.

  The first time you use these pens, you have to shake the pens well, then press the nibs against a paper for 2-3 seconds to allow the ink to follow out to the nib. You can watch this video to see what I mean and also to see what kind of effects you can achieve with the Painter pens: Introducing Derwent Graphik Line Painter Pens

  They each have a cute name to correspond to each colour.

  Minted is a gorgeous mint green colour that a pastel princess would absolutely die for; Paradise is a very clear cerulean blue; Herring is a fire-engine red; Tom is an orange that leans more towards red; and Brickroad is a very very pure, bright yellow.

  As for the greys; Fox is a silver that would really show up well against black paper; Snow is obviously white, but it's not a very very opaque white (the best opaque white I've found was uni-ball's  white Signo Broad); Magic is a good solid black but it does feather a little more than I'd like, it'd be good if you have large areas of black that you want to ink in; while Graphite and Jungle are shades of grey.

  As for the Line Makers... They're standard artist pens- lightfast pigment inks, with three varying nib sizes- 0.1, 0.3, and 0.5. They remind me of Sakura's Micron pens, but somehow the Graphik Line Makers feel better in my hand. The nibs don't feel so scratchy against paper and I imagine I would be using them a lot for zentangle drawings in the future. I wonder whether Derwent would add a 0.05 or 0.8 nib in their Line Maker set anytime in the future.... Just found out that Derwent did, in fact, roll out a 0.05 and a 0.8 nib version of these pens.  Totally rad.

  Here's a quick little doodle I did with the Line Makers...

  Ink Test for the Line Makers:

  Neither the Painter pens nor the Line Makers pens had any bleed-through the paper I used. (I used Derwent's Inspire Me Sketchbook for the ink test. You can read a review about the Inspire Me Sketchbook here.)

  I can see myself doing more projects with the Line Painters and also buying the rest of the lovely colours within the set. Also, I could possibly have the Line Makers take over my preferred brand of pens for zentangle drawings. And that says a lot. Great job Derwent on a brilliant new product.

  If you'd like to purchase these pens, Art Friend sells them. The Line Painter are sold $23.50 for each set. The black Line Maker cost $16.90 for each set. While the sepia and graphite Line Maker cost $9.95 per set each.

  After reading through this review, are you excited to try out the new Graphik pens for yourself? Well, you're in luck. I'm giving away a free sample pack that comes with two brand new Graphik pens- one Graphik Painter in the colour "Paradise", and one black 0.3 Graphik Line Maker. :)
Terms and Conditions:
- You have to be living in Singapore. 
- Tell me why you deserve to win and you'll be entered in the giveaway. Simple as that! Don't forget to add an e-mail that I can reach you if you're the winner of the draw.
- Like my Facebook fan page to gain two more entries in the draw. This isn't compulsory, but I'd appreciate the likes. ^-^
- Giveaway closes on the 16th of November 2014, midnight, Singapore time. Good luck~ 

  If you'd like to ask me any questions about Graphik pens, or about the giveaway, I can be reached at .

Update: Here's a post with proof that I sent out the prize to the winner, Hui Yun ---- (click me)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday 15 October 2014

New Artist Trading Cards

New Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). After reading "The Mandala Book" (read my review of that book via this link), I felt inspired and decided to do a pretty mandala. 

  Also, I recently made some bookmarks. I'm selling them at SGD1 ($1) a piece, excluding mailing fees. They would make great gifts for your family or friends, or as a gift to yourself if you're a bookworm. ^-^
Front of the bookmarks

Back of the bookmarks
   Other than that, I've been busy with a new zentangle drawing with some new art materials that I got. Stay tuned for more reviews, and a giveaway too! ^-^

Monday 13 October 2014

Comparisson: Sharpie Permanent Marker and Sharpie Pen

  Everyone should be familiar with how the Sharpie Permanent Marker looks like, right? Well, who knew Sharpie also made a Sharpie Pen....

   Click pen; rubber grip; metal clip with the word "Sharpie" engraved on it; straight silhouette. This one has the word "MED" printed on it; to what I assume means medium sized nib.

It's a 0.5 with a rounded nib. It's one of those kinds of pens that if you were to hold the nib against a paper, the ink would start feathering outwards.  Anddd~ It's pretty lightweight.

Ink test:
  The Sharpie Marker I tested was an ultra fine point one, and its nib did look smaller than the Sharpie Pen. Oddly, though, in the ink test, the Marker's ink did feather quite a bit more than the Pen.

  Compared to the Sharpie Permanent Marker, the Sharpie pen's ink is more of a grey than a true black. To my eyes, though, even the Sharpie Marker isn't a true black- it has an ever-so-slight purpleish hue to it.

  As you should be aware if you've ever worked with Sharpie markers, they're permanent markers so they naturally have a very sharp odour to them (maybe that's why they're called "Sharpie"..?) With the Sharpie Pen, though, there wasn't any odours. Also, with the Sharpie Marker, there was bleed-through. With the Sharpie Pen, there wasn't any bleed-through.

  I would say the Marker is great for craft projects (*whispers* I use them to draw designs on my nail polish when I want to add some personality to my nails.) And the Pen is good if you like a pen that is lightweight but feels good in your hand and is not like those cheap-y ones that feel like they'll fall apart after three clicks.

  I bought both products at Bras Basah's Art Friend. They carry a good range of Sharpie products. The Markers retail betwen $3-$4, while the Pen cost me about $8. While you're at it, try their new metallic markers- they work really great for when you're scrapbooking and want to write a message on a dark paper.

  You might like: My Review of Derwent Graphik Pens

Thursday 9 October 2014

Book Review: The Mandala Book

"The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe" by Lori Bailey Cunningham

  This book has received quite raving reviews on, and for good reasons.

  Initially, I just thought it'd be a book with pretty pictures. Yes; it does have gorgeously breathtaking pictures, but this book is much more than just a coffeetable book. It goes through the many ideals and philosophies behind the mandala as an art form. It covers the religions that have used mandalas; how the mandala is a symbolic representation of you, others, and the Universe; the shapes that are used in mandalas and what they represent.

  The book goes through chapters; from an introduction to mandalas, to understanding the concept of mandalas; to teaching readers about the symbolism surrounding different shapes- from different types of circles, to the dyad, to the triangle, and square, and pentagon, and hexagon... It then wraps up with patterns that can be found in nature. Finally, there's an afterword, and the book ends with drawings of examples of mandala patterns. 

  I'm also really glad that it is a hard-cover book because I know I'll be referencing to this book many more times in the future. With a whole 297 pages of knowledge and pictures, I'm sure you'll find value within this book. This is a wonderful book to buy if you'd like to learn more about mandalas; if you're a zentangle artist that is looking for inspiration; if you're a spiritual artist or someone who uses a lot of symbolism within your work; and even if you're not an artist, the images and ideas within this book are worth a buy.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Portrait Commission Woes

  I took on a family portrait commission a while back... The client and I agreed that I would draw the sketch out first, then see whether he liked what I came up with, and then I would proceed with the actual piece.

  He sent me quite a number of pictures. We discussed the project further. He wanted it to be done and delivered to him by the 6th of Oct as a surprise for his wifey. I told him that wouldn't be a problem. I proceeded to sketch and ink my idea on an A5 paper.

  This was what I came up with:
  Admittedly, the wifey didn't look so much like herself. The little boy looked alright. I drew the hubby very well, though. Tis' alright. With a whole lot of revisions, I was ready to draw the actual piece.

  I had a busy schedule at that point in time- with appointments, and my braces, and taking the time to do my own art as well... But I had a deadline in mind, and I wanted to send out the finished drawing way before that.

  Fast forward a couple of days later, I finished the sketch. Feeling pretty confident in what I had drawn, I showed the drawing to the client for approval to move on to inking. Apparently, though, the client thought otherwise. He said the wife didn't look like her. I told him I had remeasured multiple times and that I had drawn her exactly as she was in the picture he gave me. He said she looked too fat- so I made her face slimmer. I explained to him that it was the angle of her in the picture that made her jaw looked bigger. He insisted she didn't look like her, so I sent him a side by side comparison of her and the drawing of her I had done. He then finally agreed that I indeed had drawn her like the picture, but that he still thought she looked fat.

  In Chinese, we call it "trying to pick bones from an egg"... Finding fault when there isn't any.

  Following that, I asked him whether I could proceed with inking, and that if the sketch was approved for inking, that I would need full payment to proceed.

  He didn't and hasn't replied.

This was the final sketch: (it's lighter cause this was the sketch phase)
  I was (and still am) pleased with it.

  Following this project, the faults I'd like to find with said-unnamed-client is that, if he didn't like the angle of his wife in the picture, then why did he sent it to me in the first place? Also, why couldn't he just have given me a reply? I would have been slightly huffy and annoyed at him; yes, but I would still have remained professional. We had agreed that I wouldn't ask for payment unless he approved the sketch, but I also have never had any of my clients think that the drawings I made not meet their expectations.

  He did, however, teach me an important lesson- after the small sketch phase; collect downpayment immediately.

  I must, at this point, remind myself that Art is relative. What one person likes- another might not. Let this be a reminder to myself and also a lesson to artists who take up commission works on the side to make some pocket money for yourselves (cause you may be like me and have two cats; and cat food is expensive)... Collect downpayments in case your client bails out on you. Never work for free. Even if the client doesn't like the preliminary sketches, you keep the downpayment cause it's only fair for you.

  And if a friend tells you that you "should do them a favor", considering that you guys are friends... lawyers don't fight for their friends in court for free; doctors don't give their friends free surgery; teachers rarely give their friends' children free tuition... You, as an artist, shouldn't be any different. You have a skill to offer to people, and you should value yourself enough to charge for your good services. Never let anyone try to make you think any less of yourself. :)

  Now, excuse me whilst I go eat a tub of ice-cream to feel less huffy about this incident. I'll feel better by the time I go to bed, though, don't worry your pretty little mind about me. ;)

Monday 6 October 2014

"Princess of the Sun" Process gif

"Princess of the Sun" by Stephanie Jennifer

  I thought this would be a fun gif to make. A process gif of how I made "Princess of the Sun". I'll be making two more drawings with similar compositions but in different colour schemes. The next one I'm working on will be of a phoenix. :)

  Hope you're having a wonderful Monday so far~

Thursday 2 October 2014

Derwent Coloursoft Review

  With the recent quality drop in Prismacolors after they changed their manufacturers from USA to Mexico, I've been on the search for a brand of coloured pencils that lay on smoothly just like Prismas... Lo and behold, Coloursoft seemed to be the perfect substitute.

  Coloursoft is a line of artist grade coloured pencils by Derwent. The colours are creamy and lay on beautifully on paper. Most of their colours are lightfast. And if I were to find their only shortfall, it would be that the pencil range falls short of Prismacolor's 150 selection. What they lack for in colour options, they make up for in sheer craftsmanship, though.

  I own the tin set of 12 and 72 Coloursoft. Derwent sells something called blister packs, where they put a couple of products within one package for you to sample the range and decide whether you like the product enough to buy it. I really like that. However, having heard plenty of good things about Coloursoft, I decided to go ahead and purchase the tin set of 12. 

  They were lovely and I soon had to get the full set of 72.

Derwent's wooden box set is compatible with all of its pencil range. This used to house Derwent's Studio range- I didn't really like that range. Admittedly, the Coloursofts fit better in the box than the Studio pencils...

The lead of my black broke because I angled it wrongly as I stuck it into my electric sharpener. :x Ooops. But just look at those delicious colours, though... So pretty~

  Above is what I've done with the Derwent Coloursoft.

  As you can see, the colours are really easy to blend and the transitions from one colour to the next look very smooth. The colours are also very vibrant and pure. With all these awesome qualities, Coloursofts have become my ultimate favourite brand of coloured pencils.

  You can purchase them from, If you live in Singapore, and were wondering where you can purchase them; look for your nearest Art Friend.