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Happy June my Beautiful Butterflies!!

We're officially in the heat here in Houston. And goodness, the sun is already kicking! I'm definitely a cooler weather girl, but alas I try to make the best of the summer with cute summery outfits, dipping my feet into the water, and enjoying some refreshing drinks.


Last month I promised you I would share what I've been working on, and let me tell you it's been a long time coming. I wrote a children's book about 6 years ago to be exact, after the birth of my niece Penelope. But once I wrote the book, I found myself so intimidated to illustrate it. So instead, I decided I needed to practice more and I found myself knee-deep in my "animals in clothes" series.


Months later, and many illustrations later, I found myself creating my space series, and on time went. I kept thinking I would go back to it, but I never quite did. But at the beginning of this year, I revisited the story and honestly quite enjoyed it. So, I thought this is the year that I'm going to start the illustrations. I have one book under my belt, and many illustrations in my portfolio, while the task still seemed daunting I decided it wasn't as daunting as before.


So this past January I set out on an epic research of book sizes, thumbnails, and book styles, and I sort of jumped in and have really found my way. I've just been in the sketching phase, but I'm really enjoying it so far and finding confidence as I re-work (and re-work some more) these illustrations. I can feel the color phase fast approaching and I know that will be a beast, and I will likely feel overwhelmed yet again, but I'm okay with that.


I'm planning on self-publishing this little lady since this project is more for me, but I thought I would share a few little behind-the-scenes snippets. The style and look will surely change when I get into color, and I'm sure so much re-working will happen, but a small little sneak peek of where I'm at is always fun.

I started with incredibly rough thumbnail sketches.

I started playing around with character styles, which have constantly been evolving through my different rounds of sketches and will likely change more as I get into color.

I've been reminding myself to enjoy the process as I go, instead of itching to get to the end. This is a labor of love and I want to learn and appreciate it.

I'm all about these little doodles. I just started printing them out from my iPad so I can play with the continuity of the style.

Here's a quick photo of me drawing on my iPad. I find that I sketch quicker on the iPad because of how I can alter and change and move around my ideas, but when it's time to paint it will be with a paintbrush.


Well, friends, that's all I feel comfortable showing so far. Just a quick little preview of what I've been working on behind the scenes. Hope you all have a great June and I will see you next month.


xoxo

Rachel










Hello, my Beautiful Butterflies!


April is officially over, and we're finding ourselves inching closer to summer. I spent the first two weeks of April (and my birthday) off on an adventure in South America where Autumn was in full swing. It was such a unique and beautiful trip and definitely a check off the bucket list. Because I'm mainly in catch up mode for work, I thought I would share a few pics of my trip with you for this post.


We traveled to Chile and Argentina, specifically the Patagonia Region, and went hiking on the W-Trail in Torres Del Paine National Park and again in El Chalten to see the infamous mountain range that the Patagonia Apparel Logo is based on. I find travel and hiking to really be a refresh for me and also a huge source of inspiration. Wanderlust, Adventure, and Nature play a large role in my work so it's always magical being immersed in that world in real life. This trip truly was magnificent, but it was also challenging from an endurance perspective. We spent 5 days hiking 50 miles with all of our stuff in our backpacks (25 lbs to be exact for me and closer to 30 lbs for Ricky). And then we drove to the El Chalten hike, a few days later, to hike 13 miles for the infamous Fitz Roy mountain range. We were a little rough for the wear by the end, but it was very much worth it.


Pictured above is the view of our last day on the W-Trail. We woke up at 4 am to hike to this viewpoint to watch the sunrise. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip.


A little cluster of some of the animals we saw along our trip. 2 Penguins (which was such a treat because most had gone back out to the water), horses galore, and guanacos which are kind of like llamas that roam the land like deer in the US.


One of my favorite pics and spots on the trip. We were fully immersed in the beautiful fall foliage and experienced (on top of that rock) a 360-degree view of Autumn colors and mountains. Because Patagonia is so far south their fall coincides with our Spring.


A compilation of the many glaciers, lakes, and gorgeous mountains we say. We were truly gifted with such great weather considering how unpredictable the weather can be in that area of the world.


A view from the boat that took us to the start of the 5-day hike. Truly we were startled by the beauty and of course, we started to get so excited seeing everything from afar.


This is a final compilation of pics and a few of my hubs and me. We were definitely challenged on this trip in terms of endurance, but I cannot tell you how proud I was when we completed all of these hikes. We saw so many beautiful views that you can only see if you walk a ton of miles, so it made everything that much more special.


Not much art in this post as I said at the beginning, but I've been busy playing catch up, and next month I'll be sure to share some fun things I've been working on.


Until next time,

Rachel








I realize we're still in March, but this month was truly a blur for me. Instead of moving slowly and steadily, like in January & February, it came and has almost gone before I knew it. Although each week went suspiciously quickly, I found time to work on some personal projects (yippee!) that I'm not quite ready to share yet (maybe next month). As you can see on your calendar, I'm coming to you while we're still in March, but that is for good reason. I'm heading on a trip to Patagonia for 2 weeks so I won't be able to send this out at the beginning of the month per usual!! I'm incredibly excited along with a slight dose of trepidation - going to an area of the world I've never been to before. I will share all about it when I return. But in the meantime, please accept an early "Happy April" from me, and let's dig into the subject of this month's newsletter: my favorite art supplies!


I love art supplies, quite honestly I could swim in them! Walking into an art store, whether a local joint like Texas Art Supply here in Houston, or a big chain like Michaels, or an online store like Blick Art Supplies, gives me so much excitement and possibility. I want all the things, and all the tools, just because.

One of the many aisles at Texas Art Supply is pictured above. Look at all of those brushes!


If I had my choice, I would solely go to Texas Art Supply, because as you can see in the photo above, they truly have everything! Their price points are nice if you don't want to spend a ton of money, but sometimes I will find myself at Michaels because it is closer to my house if I'm feeling extra lazy (which is often). I've gone to both places often enough, that I know which store has what and which is cheaper for which product. So I can plan it out ahead of time if a trip to my favorite local art store is needed (It's not that far away, but the traffic is bonkers in Houston, so legit I have a small window when I am willing to go there).


In terms of art supplies, I'm going to break it down for you by product type. Let's do it!!!


Favorite Art Paper:

I prefer painting on paper, rather than canvas, allowing me to be a little less precious and a little more playful with my work. I also tend to scan in, and enhance in photoshop, my paintings, so the paper is easier for me to scan. The Arches brand - is by far my favorite and is quite buttery. With inflation and supply chain issues they have increased in price quite a bit for their 20"x30" sheets, but they are worth it in my opinion. 140lb refers to the weight/thickness of the paper (I like this middle-ground size). And Hot Press refers to the texture (Hot being smooth, Cold being textured). For scanning in work and potentially deleting the background the hot press is an easier thing to manipulate in photoshop for me.


Favorite Paint Brand

Seriously cannot rave about this brand enough. I was turned onto them by an artist I follow, Rebecca Green, and I haven't looked back since. I use both their watercolors and acrylic gouache paints. And the pigments are just so beautiful I could melt, cue the fainting couch!


Favorite White Ink

I cannot rave about this brand enough. If I had the choice for any ink, I would pick this brand. But the Bleed Proof White in general is my favorite for post-painting additions. It goes on super opaque over dark colors and is great for touch-ups as well.


Favorite Painter's Tape

Hands down! No questions about it. The delicate surface is perfect for watercolor paper, and rarely ever bleeds through - and when it does my Dr. Ph Martin's Bleed Proof White will come to save the day!


Favorite Paint Brush Brand

This is a tricky one, because I am a Messy Marvin, and am rarely methodical when I paint. I just randomly pick a color and see if it works. I know a lot of artists that test things out a ton on thumbnails and scrap paper and multiple iterations of the same painting, and I envy that, but I just don't have the patience for it. I want to start and I want to start NOW! I am haphazard and did I mention messy? You may be wondering what this has to do with Paint Brushes. Well, all of the aforementioned attributes of my painting style mean I am not kind to my brushes. I try to be, every time I hold a new brush in my hands, but usually, I'll forget that it's soaking in water, and a whole day (or week) will pass by and the brush is quite janky now. So, I can't spend a ton of money on brushes, I am not nice to them. Winsor & Newton brushes aren't outrageous in cost (under the Cotman Line), but listen, friends, I will find myself spending even less if I'm on a particularly bad streak of ruining brushes. Sometimes you need to adapt to the art supplies, and other times you need to accept what you can't change and adapt the supplies to you.


Favorite Colored Pencils:

I draw over the top of my paintings pretty frequently now. Sometimes for texture, and other times just because I can...These work really nicely over gouache and watercolor compared to other brands that don't show up as well.


Favorite Paint Marker Brands:

Both of these brands have amazing opacity and go on smoothly. I'll use other brands if I'm in a bind, but these are the ones I prefer the most.


Favorite Honorary Mention: Watercolor Pastels

I only have a few of these, but I'm slowly collecting more. I'm finding them to be such a fun fusion of a pastel (kind of like a crayon) and watercolors.


Favorite Tool I Can't Live Without:

A lightboard - seriously! Changed Everything! They used to be huge, clunky, and expensive, so I used my window instead to trace my sketches. But now, they are sleek and affordable. I found mine on amazon, and it is sooooo worth it. The size I got (A2) looks to be unavailable at the moment, but the A2 size is here.

 

Coloring Page Freebie

I made a little coloring page download of the "Art Supply" Image for this month. Download it here, print, and color it with your own favorite art supplies.


 

That is all from me for this month. My shop will be closed for the next two weeks and I'll talk with everyone soon. Enjoy your April my Lovelies and I will talk to you soon, Rachel


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