Behind the Scenes: Hogwarts

This piece has been a long time coming!

My thoughts behind that is two-fold: first, I’ve wanted to draw the Hogwarts castle for a really, really long time. And second, this drawing has been on my shelf as a commission for a YEAR.

Now I HATE making anyone wait for anything, especially an entire year. But this one was delayed for a lot of reasons: finding the right reference image and then having it sent to me the day before my phone decided to lose EVERYTHING on it, not being able to find the perfect reference image again, me selling and buying a house, and then still not being able to find the right image again. But, it was found and I had the drawing in hand ready for delivery less than a week later.


Title: Hogwarts

Size:  8×10

Medium: Graphite pencil and white ink gel pen on acid free paper

Purpose: My friend Sarah bought the gift certificate that I donated for our church’s 2017 short term missions auction, and this is what she chose for me to draw.

Thoughts on this piece: I went into the drawing completely terrified. The reference image that was chosen had a lot of complex pieces to it, from the night sky to the light beams and tiny little windows on the castle. The composition was fantastic, but it didn’t translate well to an 8×10 piece, so I had to rework it. Once I got over all of those challenges, the drawing went along really well! I think having come off of the Drawing a Day Challenge not too long ago really helped with that 🙂


Favorite parts: I really love the light beams coming up behind the castle, as well as how the lit windows all look. I’ve always wanted to draw Hogwarts, but never had I even considered doing it at night and I am really excited with how it turned out!


Least favorite parts: The rocks the castle are on bother me, but when I added more detail to them, I felt like it was taking away from the castle. Taking away more detail from the rocks made the castle look like it was floating on a cloud. This is the best balance between low and high detail that I could get, but it still feels off to me.


Fun tidbits: I think this is the third original of mine that now lives in Sarah’s house!


Product availability: The original is unavailable, but prints are available in my Etsy shop here.


If you won a certificate for a drawing, what would you want it to be of?


Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: What I Learned, How It Went

Is it really over???

I know I’ve said this a lot, but man, it feels like the challenge just started, yet somehow it feels like it went on forever.

I was so tempted to surprise you all and do one more week of the challenge to do some of the top requested drawings that are left, but my family is home on vacation this week and as our youngest has a birthday this week as well, that had to be my priority. I promise to get to that list soon though!

On to the recap!

What I learned:

The biggest thing I learned was that taking almost a year off from working is not good for me mentally. Every time I saw the boxes for my studio and office still in the sunroom waiting to be unpacked or my future office/studio still in shambles, I’d get more frustrated, anxious and agitated. Every day that I got to do a drawing, I felt all of that melting away. Yes, my boxes are still there and the office is no where near finished, but I had my joy back.

How it went:

I think this year’s challenge went a lot better than last year! I think knowing what to expect and what parts were going to be hard ahead of time really helped me prepare better. I also didn’t deal with the burnout like I did last year, although there were a few days where I just did not want to draw an animal again!

I also really enjoyed my followers on Facebook guessing the subject each day! I loved the interaction and their creativity in their guessing. I still owe them a cat’s butt at some point 😉

For next time:

I will definitely be taking the weekends off again. It helped prevent the burnout that I had last year, and even though we’re so close to school, having all three kids in activities, it just made life so much easier not having to worry about fitting the drawings in. I will also plan better for which month I choose for the challenge! This month was rough with all of the kid’s activities, so it made trying to get all the drawing, editing, and posting done around that was exhausting and stressful most days.

I will be making some drastic changes to the challenge next year. While I do plan on continuing the challenge, I will no longer be doing a drawing a day.

Wait, what?

I haven’t fully decided on the challenge title yet, but it will still be creating a full fledged piece a day, but it could be a watercolor painting, an oil painting, or yes, even a drawing. There were so many pieces I wanted to create this challenge, but doing them in just graphite pencil was…well, boring. It will also break up the monotony I dealt with this year. Last year’s challenge had a diverse subject list, and this year was mostly animals. While I don’t mind that necessarily, having other things like landscapes and sunsets and just some color thrown in is going to be so wonderful!

Differences from last time:

A huge gold star to one of my besties for recognizing a big change this year!!!! She asked me what I was doing different as she noticed a difference in the drawings from last year, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. This year I still had the same goals (increasing inventory, bettering my skills, learning that I can and should take the time for my art, etc.), but I added another one that I didn’t share: don’t just draw something just to draw it, but make it a real piece. What that translates to is last year I’d concentrate on the subject I was given to draw, but not always the surroundings (background, foreground, etc.). This year I wanted to have each piece be more like a snapshot in time, where there was a background, a foreground, the subject itself. It makes the pieces more well rounded, more finished feeling, and just better. I didn’t do it with every drawing, but the majority of them I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried it.

I sold drawings and had many requests for prints as well! Last year there were only a couple print requests and no drawing sold, so I’m not sure if it’s because I have a bigger following this year or maybe the drawings are better, but I am so encouraged and humbled. Thank you to everyone who requested a print or bought a drawing!!!!!


All of the originals that are available are in my Etsy store, and prints have started to roll out as well. Note cards will be coming once my office is put back together.

Other Thoughts:

Favorite drawing: It’s like making me choose a favorite child: I can’t do it! I really am so in love with each and everyone this year!

Least favorite drawing: Snake, but only because I had to look up snake reference images 😉


What are you doing with the list of things you haven’t gotten to?

That is a fantastic question, and one that I don’t have a definitive answer to yet. I still have about 20 or so suggestions on my list, and I have a few ideas of what to do: extend the challenge another week or two (or more like four to finish the list!), save the list for next year, or randomly do a drawing a day here or there throughout the year. I’m probably going to do the last option, so be expecting random drawings to pop up here and there before next year’s challenge!


You can view all of the drawings from this year’s challenge here.


What was your favorite drawing from the challenge?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 25!!!!


I have to be honest, when I finally sat down to work on the drawing this morning, I almost started to cry. Part of it is just exhaustion from all of the work that goes into each day’s drawing, but a lot of it is I’m going to miss it so much! Thankfully I have a great project lined up to keep me busy 😉

But here he is, the final drawing of the challenge and last piece to the Hogwarts House Mascot series:

lion full

Title: Lion

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil and white ink gel pen on acid free paper

lion detail

Inspired/nominated by: It’s the last piece of my Hogwarts House Mascot series. This is the Gryffindor lion, and I did the Hufflepuff badger, Ravenclaw raven, and yes, even the Slytherin snake!

lion detail 2

Favorite parts: Yes. Everything. I ended on a great note and am very very happy with this guy!


lion face

Challenging part: I didn’t mention this in the previous two day’s drawings, but there was an underlying challenge that I hadn’t considered when drawing the badger: not only did I have to work on the composition for each drawing individually, but I had to work on the composition as a whole. I did the badger as a landscape, but then the snake was a portrait. The raven and lion were also going to be landscape, but that was unbalanced for having all four together as a set. I then decided the lion would switch to portrait, but then having the snake look to the right (which is what was already completed) and the raven look to left would be odd unless they were both portrait. So, the raven was switched to portrait, but that left me scrambling today as the lion had to be landscape, but he fit so much better as a portrait. With a little tweaking and switching reference images, I got it to work….but it was a challenge I never expected to have and you wouldn’t even think about it when seeing the set all together:

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Please excuse the poor quality for that image; they’re in their plastic sleeves so they’re protected, and there is a lot of glare on them!

Product availability: The drawing is available for purchase in my Etsy shop here; it will be available in a print soon, and yes, you will be able to get the entire series as a set as well!


Which mascot is your favorite?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 24

Happy 2nd to last day of the challenge!!!!

I decided to just finish out the Hogwarts House series; half of the series was already done, and I know I had some people very anxious to have the series in print, so it made sense to finish it now.

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Title: Raven

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil on acid free paper

Inspired/nominated by: This is part of the Hogwarts House Real Mascots series 🙂 Today’s is the Ravenclaw raven!

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Favorite parts: The entire thing! This is one of those pieces that I’ll finish and wonder how it came out of my pencil. I also love the background; I’m actually considering going back and reworking the badger and snake backgrounds to match this one.

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Challenging parts: Probably just the chest feathers, getting the contrast and balance to mesh well was a challenge (as always!).

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Product availability: The original is available in my Etsy shop here, and prints are coming soon.


Who’s ready for the Gryffindor lion tomorrow!??!?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 23

Today’s drawing did not go the way I wanted it to by any means…but that’s completely and utterly my fault.

I asked on Facebook if I should finish up the Hogwarts House series that I started yesterday or if I should continue to choose the subjects randomly. That question completely backfired when my results were tied! I decided to choose one subject at random and then throw that suggestion and one of the house mascots into a bowl and draw that way. Well, that ALSO backfired when I drew randomly and it was a house mascot….and it just happened to be the one I’m terrified of:


Title: Snake

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil and white ink gel pen on acid free paper

Inspired/nominated by: Me and my idea to do the Hogwarts House mascots in real life. The Hufflepuff badger was done yesterday and this is the Slytherin snake; I still have the Gryffindor lion and Ravenclaw raven/eagle left.

snake detail 2

Favorite part: The eyes, for sure! Also the scales. They’re so much like feathers but smooth in texture. They were time consuming, but so much easier than actual feathers to do!

snake detail

Challenging parts: Choosing a reference image! I know so many of you love snakes and think they’re amazing, but I am honestly terrified of them. I will see one outside and run into my house. I will see a picture of one and have to close the book or computer and go to another room. Every year when spring and summer roll around, I challenge myself to get over my fear before fall comes, and last year I even touched one that my hubby had caught by our pool. I was SO PROUD of myself! However that night I had a dream that I was in a pit of snakes and they were slithering all over me and suffocating me; I woke my husband up with my screams and throwing the blankets and pillows off of the bed. We’ve agreed I just can’t be around snakes or deal with them at all. It’s an irrational fear but it is very very real. I talked myself into looking up images by just searching for snake faces, and then I just pretended they were lizard faces (and I LOOOOOVE lizards, even iguanas which have bit me before), and I was able to handle it. I decided on doing the snake raised up only because my original idea of having one look at the viewer was going to be tricky to get the perspective and detail right. I actually drew little arms on his sides like he was a lizard and then blended them into the background when I was finished. Anything to get the job done! Now let’s just see if I can sleep tonight…

snake detail 3

Product availability: The original is available in my Etsy shop here, and prints will be available soon.


What’s your opinion on snakes: beautiful, terrifying, or somewhere in between?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 21

Happy last week of the challenge!!!

Crazy days like today make me anxious for it to be over. Between babysitting all day, trying to draw, doing work for my other business (I sell Monat hair products), and everyday life, one less thing on my plate is going to be a welcome thing!

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Title: Daisy

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil and white ink gel pen on acid free paper

Inspired/nominated by: My honorary big sister Heather! This is her pupper Daisy 🙂

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Favorite parts: The grass in front with the daisies! When Heather requested I do a picture of Daisy, I thought it would be sweet to have her in grass surrounded by daisies. Once she sent me a picture of Daisy in the grass, I knew that it was meant to be!

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Challenging parts: The eye and ear on the right side. Getting the shading right was a real challenge, and while I’m not 100% happy with how it ended up, the more I tried to make it better, the worse it got. I even took a 2 hour break, but still it wasn’t working. But, I can’t say I’m ever 100% happy with ANY of my pieces 😉

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Product availability: This drawing is available in my Etsy shop here. Prints will be available soon.


Only four drawings left in the challenge! What has your favorite drawing been so far?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 20

Happy Friday, everyone!

I am so glad this week is almost over. My boys have been wrapping up their Odyssey of the Mind presentations this week (the Regional competition is tomorrow!), my daughter is in her last week of the modified swim season, and we are all just plain tired. My day started off with sunshine, coffee with a dear friend who I haven’t seen in forever, and of course, drawing!

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TitlePenguin with Baby

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil and white in gel pen

Inspired/nominated by: JoBeth R.! She was first one to suggest this, but there have been multiple suggestions afterwards for penguins!

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Favorite parts: I love how the background turned out! I originally was just going to have the sky blend into the snowy ground, but it felt like I was taking the easy way out. I added some subtle penguins in the background, and now it just feels complete!

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Challenging parts: The baby’s down. It was a lot like working on the wolf’s fur yesterday, but as it was on a much smaller scale, it was a lot harder!

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Product availability: The original drawing is available in my Etsy store here, and prints are coming soon 🙂


How was your week? Are you anxious for the weekend too?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 19

This drawing took forever today….but it’s not entirely the drawing’s fault. There is so.much.fur. in this drawing which took awhile, but the biggest time sucker?

Getting to watch one of my most favorite movies EVER while drawing!


I know, I should have waited until after the drawing to watch it, but we just got The Greatest Showman on digital download and I just couldn’t wait until Saturday night when we surprise the kids with it. I think I did more movie watching than drawing this morning, and if you haven’t seen that movie, it is a MUST SEE! I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is, and the kids and I are obsessed with the soundtrack.

But we’re here to talk about drawings and not movies, so I will continue on with today’s drawing!


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Title: Lone Wolf

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil and white gel pen ink on acid free paper

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Inspired/nominated by: My youngest kiddo! I’m not sure exactly what prompted this suggestion, but I’m so glad he mentioned it because even with all the fur, I loved working on this one!

Favorite parts: The eyes (but is that surprising?)! I also love the ears, the nose, and how the fur turned out!

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Challenging parts: Concentrating while watching the movie was hard 😉 But I think the hardest thing was just figuring out the fur and how best to draw it.

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Product availability: The original drawing is available for sale in my Etsy store here and prints are coming soon.


What is your favorite movie?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 18

Guess what I started working on today!???!??



So far I have the Giraffe in 5×7 and 8×10, Starry Sky in 8×10, and I’m working on the Sloth right now. Every one of the drawings should be available soon in 5×7 AND 8×10, so if there are any you are interested, let me know and I’ll get those images done first. I’ll be listing what I have available on Etsy within the next couple of days!

I also worked on today’s drawing of course:

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Title: Bald Eagle with Fish

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil on acid free paper

Inspired/nominated by: This was originally nominated by Gretta S., but then Steve C. expanded on the idea by suggesting having the eagle above water.

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Favorite parts: I’m really happy with how the water splash turned out! I saved that last for two reasons: I had to finish the other areas first (it’s easier to erase/add white ink than it is to draw the water/claws through water droplets), and because I was scared of doing it! There are just some parts of drawings that I don’t look forward to doing because I know it’s going to be challenging and I always leave them for last!

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Challenging parts: Actually, this drawing was pretty straight forward and not that hard overall. The water actually was probably the hardest part; I’m so used to doing watercolor water for Boathouse illustrations, but graphite and watercolor are two very different things! I’m just out of practice doing in in pencil, so it took longer than I would have liked, but I think in the end it was okay.

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Product availability: The original is available in my Etsy store here. Prints will be coming soon!



Only 7 more drawings left in the challenge!!!! What are you hoping to see come up?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day #17

I am having a serious issue with the challenge this year.

Okay, so maybe serious is a little too strong of a word to use, but I’m having a problem and I blame all of you: my list of things to draw keeps getting longer and longer as I keep adding amazing suggestions from you guys, but there is no way I can do them all in the time frame I have set aside for the challenge.

Now I could always add another week (or probably two or three if I were to do everything on my list) and get everything done, but I really can’t do that as I have a book that is just begging to be illustrated. Maybe I’ll do a challenge in the fall, but that’s my busy season with festivals so that doesn’t really work either. I might just have to save the rest of the list for next year or just randomly work on the drawings during the year here and there as my schedule allows. Whatever option I end up doing, you guys have really outdone yourselves with fantastic suggestions this year and it’s making it hard for me to choose what to do every day and wish that I could keep up this crazy challenge indefinitely! Kudos to you all!

But back to today’s drawing…

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Title: Hummingbird and Flower

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil on acid free paper

Inspired/nominated by: My friend, Kirsty N.! We were talking about the cow drawing last night, and she suggested doing a hummingbird. I mentioned I had done one last year for the challenge, and as I was looking for the blog post to share with her, I was inspired to do one in flight by a flower. She agreed, and as I couldn’t get that image out of my head, it had to be today’s subject!

Favorite parts: Little hummingbird face!!!!

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Challenging parts: The feathers on the body! They’re reflective in the reference image, so trying to translate that to black and white without it looking polka dotted was hard. The flower was also a bit of a challenge; trying to get the coloring in the center and it’s veins while keeping the soft and delicate petals was not as easy as I expected!

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Product availability: This original drawing is available in my Etsy store here. Prints will be coming soon, and this will probably be joining the upcoming drawn bird note card set.


What has been your favorite drawing of the challenge this year so far?