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: 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.

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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 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?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 16

Happy Monday!

This wasn’t the original drawing I had picked out for today. I woke up thinking about otters (random, I know!), and although an otter isn’t on my list, I wanted to draw one. However, when I got on Facebook this morning, the first thing I saw was a friend’s post about it being National Agriculture Week. What better way to celebrate than with this girl!

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Title: Cow

Size: 5×7

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

Inspired/nominated by: Bonnie B.! She and I were on the library board together, and while I was at the Gaslight Holiday Celebration with a table of my art last year, she and her husband asked why I didn’t have a cow piece. I said I never thought about it, but it was definitely going to go on my list for this year’s challenge.

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Favorite parts: I love the ears! They’re such a soft shape (I really don’t know how else to explain it!), and I really like how the face turned out in general.

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Challenging parts: Just like the skunk drawing, getting the contrast between the white and black to stay crisp but still have some variations to allow for shading wasn’t easy. This was definitely the easier of the two pieces though! I also know nothing about cows and haven’t really seen one in person up close, so trying to draw one and get a good likeness was challenging.

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Product availability: The original is available for purchase in my Etsy store here, and prints will be available soon. I do plan on starting prints this week, probably on Wednesday!

*** Update on availability: This drawing has SOLD.


What is your favorite thing about cows?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 15

Week 3 is finished! Woo hoo!

I really hate to admit this, but I’m pretty tired of drawing animals. Don’t get me wrong, I love drawing them, but sometimes switching it up is nice!

I didn’t really have anything on my list that wasn’t an animal; the items that weren’t animals were a little too complex for me to work on today, so I had to figure something out.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I’m tired of winter. It snowed again last night and I had to scrape my van off this morning. My mind was drifting off to the summer sun, our annual vacations to the Outer Banks…and then it hit me: I’m working on a specific series of pieces, and I hadn’t added the next piece yet….until today:

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Title: Currituck Lighthouse

Size: 5×7

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

Inspired/nominated by: Me being cranky in the snow! And my friend, Vanessa, in a way. The first year my family went to the Outer Banks, she suggested I should go visit the five main lighthouses of the Outer Banks and then turn them into drawings or paintings. We only made it to three of them that year, and it wasn’t until our visit last year (our third year) that I made it our fourth: Currituck! My husband, his brother, and my littlest guy visited it and even climbed to the top! I drew the other three previously visited lighthouses during last year’s Drawing a Day Challenge: Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke.

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Favorite parts: The trees and landscape! The hints of brick on the lighthouse! Ok, who am I kidding, it’s an Outer Banks lighthouse, I love all of it.

Challenging parts: There are so many layers of landscape and the buildings and trees, trying to get it all to play out well was challenging. That seems to be a recurring issue this year, but I’m also focusing on improving that, so I’m being stretched.

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Product availability: The original drawing is available in my Etsy store here and prints will be coming soon! I’m also planning on doing an OBX lighthouse note card set.


What’s your favorite lighthouse?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 13

Helllooooo halfway point!

I feel like I started this challenge yesterday, but at the same time I feel like I’ve been doing it forever. I remember feeling that way last year, too. While I’m looking forward to not having to take up so much time every working on the entire process (drawing, photographing, blogging, scanning, etc), I am really enjoying working again and hope to keep up the momentum  when it’s over.

To celebrate the halfway point, I thought I’d do a fun little creature today:

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Title: Clown Fish

Size: 5×7

Medium: Graphite pencil on acid free paper

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Inspired/nominated by: My youngest kiddo, who has a nickname that is appropriately Fish! I asked him this morning what kind of fish he wanted, and without missing a beat, he said a Nemo fish, of course!

Favorite parts: I was terrified of doing fish eyes! They are so different than any other eye I’ve drawn, but they ended up being a lot easier and I really like how they turned out. The entire drawing was actually easier than I anticipated!

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Challenging parts: Getting Mr. Fishy to look round, making shadows on him while keeping the white sections and what would be the orange sections different shades of gray, aaaaand getting the anemones to be visible, flowy, yet subtle in the background.

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


What is your favorite kind of fish?

Drawing a Day Challenge 2018: Day 12

Today, in a nutshell, was rough.

It started out great: the kiddos left for school, I had breakfast, and I started working on applications for festivals for the year! I loooove working on these as it brings me hope that summer will be here (which, at the moment, feels unlikely as there’s a snow storm rolling in tonight/tomorrow….again…).

At 10, I switched gears and got to work on the drawing.

But nothing on my list was inspiring me, begging to get off of the list and onto my drawing paper. I looked up images for a few, but nothing felt right.  I couldn’t not draw today, so I had lunch, took a breather, and got back to choosing a drawing.

At 11:50, I finally had a subject and acceptable reference image ready, and I got to work….on this gentle giant!

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Title: Moose

Size: 5×7

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

Inspired/nominated by: My friend Jessica B.!

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Favorite parts: I really like how his back turned out, as well as how the grass/flowers in front turned out! I wasn’t sure how the foreground plants would turn out, but they were much easier than I had anticipated 🙂

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Complicated parts: Surprisingly, the antlers! The reference image has them mostly in shadows, but while drawing them, it made them look flat. Getting them to look rounded while keeping them true to the moose took a long time to get right!

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

*** This drawing has sold! ***


How was your day today?