Happy Friday + Randomness


Happy Friday! This week I’ve been diving in full force and working on my book, and I’ve just made a happy discovery. I love painting with gouache, but with the kinds of illustrations I want to create I need a lot of control and the flexibility to change things on the fly. The beauty of traditional painting is the lovely unintentional effects that can happen. The not so beautiful part is the permanence of a painted line when mistakes are made — no undo button! Enter digital watercolor painting. Can you tell which one was done digitally above? Okay, you can probably tell (it’s the one on the right), but pretty darn close, no? It’s my first attempt at digital watercolor painting, so things can only improve going forward.

As I was sketching, I realized that watercolor brushes are available in Photoshop and after watching hours and hours of youtube videos (what did we do before youtube?), I’m starting to get the hang of it. It’s so much fun!!! And the best part: no mess, no accidental water spillage, no washing of brushes, and — this one happens way too often — no dipping brushes in my tea. Definitely my kind of painting. There are tons of free brushes available for download, and I’ll try to assemble a list of brushes and tutorials after I’ve tried several out, more as a reference for myself.


How about this one? Can you tell which one is digital? I’ll let you guess…


Secret Valentine Exchangers! Gifts should be shipped by today, if at all possible. I’m getting so excited to see all the teaser photos in the Flickr Pool. The always astute (and hilarious) Lightning McStitch requested a list of all participants, and I’m working on it. Not everyone has a blog, but I hope all participants will be able to post photos of received gifts on Valentine’s Day and I will feature the photos here on the blog (for some international shipping, the gifts may a take a bit longer to arrive). Fun!


K on my cooking:

Mama, I love everything you cook! Except for this thing today. Blegh. What IS it*??

* It was a miso-ginger noodle soup I made up. And that first sentence is a lie — she dislikes almost everything I cook unless it involves copious amounts of cheese!



Have a relaxing weekend, all! I’m off to make myself a piping hot cup of tea and practice more digital painting…

Brrrr….such arctic temps
Seattle is not immune
to polar vortex

16 thoughts on “Happy Friday + Randomness

  1. What a fun discovery! I could see the (small) difference in the ice cream cone, but not in the heart. And after this initial steep learning curve, those photoshop watercolor tools will be a huge help with your book illustrations!
    And thank you for qualifying K’s dinner comment – it makes me feel slightly less bad that my kids never preface negative dinner comments with their proclaimed adoration of my food.

    1. It’s been awesome – I’ve been playing around with the various “brushes” non-stop! K is prone to flattery, and I see a bright future for her as a used car salesperson…

  2. I really can’t say enough how much I love your aesthetic. Enjoy learning your new “medium”!!

    p.s. If it wasn’t for YouTube, I don’t think I’d have ever picked up sewing more than a straight line. There are only so many duvet covers and pillow cases one can make.

    1. Oh, thanks so much, Alana! So sweet of you. YouTube is a lifesaver – I even illustrated a little graphic once that went something like “With enough hard work, patience, enthusiasm and a LOT of YouTube videos, anything is possible.”

  3. Wow! I’m so impressed with the results you’re getting in Photoshop. I’d love a post about your favorite resources and techniques. I am in constant risk of mixing my art/sewing supplies with my beverages and plates! Doesn’t help I store my pins in a ramekin…

    1. Pretty good, right? I was surprised myself at how painterly the results came out! I store a lot of my supplies in ceramic dishes and bowls too:-) Great minds…

  4. Cheers Sanae!
    My kids only have to ask what’s for dinner before they say they “don’t like that” I swear sometimes I haven’t even answered yet.
    Who would ever have thought that watercolour painting would come with an undo button one day. this world we live in, huh! The images/paintings are beautiful
    Can’t wait to feel the loved-up happiness come Valentine’s day.

    1. Ha, I get the preemptive “don’t like that” response too, Shelley! Yes, so looking forward to Valentine’s Day. I think it’s great that it’s a whole different take on the holiday and it’s been so fun!

    1. Thanks, Arlene! I’m having such a great time learning how to paint digitally! And I always appreciate it when folks acknowledge my haikus – I actually put a lot of thought into them 🙂

    1. Ah, that makes me happy Nienke – the one on the left is digital! It means I’m grasping the techniques, which is awesome.

    1. Thank you, Fi! Photoshop is all powerful. I’m convinced that one day it will cook and clean for me as well 🙂

  5. Sanae- I have a question about when photos of the SV projects are needed for posting? I documented everything well before shipping it off but am waiting to post any photos of the completed project so that my SV can experience a total surprise… hopefully it will arrive in time for V Day… I’m thinking of posting something on my blog as well, but again, I’ll wait until Valentine’s day…

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