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365 Days of Dogs

Molly Sketch 032917

I’m launching a new project where I post a drawing or painting with a dog as the subject on Instagram for 365 days. Why? One reason is it’s a way for me to practice my skills as an artist. Another reason is I want to build a daily habit and find that posting the results on social media help me with accountability. Third, it’s fun! There is something very satisfying about sharing what I create with others.

Every day I will post a sketch or painting of a dog. The goal is to experiment with different media and practice my skills as an artist while documenting the journey.

I’ve added my first subject, a sketch of my dog Molly here in this post and on Instagram. If you have any questions about the project, please get in touch!


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Purple May the Blue Heeler

May 2 - blue heeler dog, acrylic on canvas

May 2 is a portrait of a blue heeler rescue named May. She lives in a farm on Florida and is about three years old.

I used fluid acrylics and iridescent acrylics on canvas applied with brushes and palette knives. I really enjoyed experimenting with different colors and using different tools to get effects. My goal was to capture May’s sweet and slightly pensive personality. May is happiest when she is next to her favorite people.

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Create Anywhere You Are

create anywhere you are. How to put together a portable kit to take anywhere

Have you ever gone somewhere and then realized you had nothing with you to draw or paint? Never be without creative supplies again with today’s tips. I’m going to share with you how to be ready to create wherever you are by putting together an artist go bag.

I was on vacation at the beach a couple of weeks ago (Yay!). This was a great chance to sketch and create. Luckily I had packed a “go bag” of art supplies. This is a pared down kit of what I have in my studio at home. I like to carry materials that are easy to take with me and don’t make a big mess or require a lot of time to set up.

TLDR: For sketching on the go, experiment and find what you like. Start with a pencil, pen, sharpener and an eraser and a sketchbook.

The minimum you need with you is:

  • 2B Pencil
  • white plastic eraser (or a pink pearl, available at most grocery stores)
  • Paper (an acid free mixed media sketchbook is best but a few sheets of paper will do)

You can get a lot fancier though and put together a mobile kit that will let you create all sorts of paintings and sketches on the go. Here is what my beach painting kit looked like:

portable art kit

I have a small plastic pencil box I use to carry a set of portable art supplies for painting and sketching. Here is what is inside it:

  • Various sizes of acid-free pens
  • A small filbert (rounded) paint brush for washes
  • a regular small rounded paint brush for watercolor
  • an eye dropper
  • A stadler pencil holder with 2B and HB leads
  • A Sharpie with a fine point
  • A black plastic eraser
  • An ink based archival quality stamp pad (I like the distressed effect ones for adding tone to backgrounds)
  • Gelato crayons of different colors
  • watercolor markers or pencils

A note about the Gelatos: these are gel based water soluble pigment sticks that make large marks on paper. You can shave and blend them with water first, but I like to use them to lay color down onto the paper then go back over with a brush. I usually lay down one color at a time or at the most two so the colors don’t get muddy.


You can easily carry this box of supplies in a tote or backpack or large purse. I like a smaller sketchbook, 5.5″ x 8.5″. I don’t recommend carrying around an 11 x 14 size. Carry something you can easily take with you and later on scan pages.

The point of a portable kit isn’t to make amazing art. A portable kit is great for:

  • Visually documenting colors and shapes and mood in real time
  • Reference for other projects
  • A no fuss way to develop a daily creative habit
  • A great way to relax and enjoy the surroundings
  • Visually capture ideas and feelings
  • Making a keepsake of a memory for later
  • Fun!

I ended up with a few great little paintings from my trip and some meh ones but that was OK. It’s about the journey and on the journey you want to have a way to create anywhere you are.

You can see what I usually carry in an even smaller bag for drawing/sketching and get extra tidbits on materials on this video I put together.

I hope you enjoyed the tips and info in today’s post. What do you struggle with when traveling as a creative?

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100 days my Mom’s dog May

May with a tody

My mom has a sweet blue heeler dog named May. She has this funny pose she does when chewing on a toy where she uses her left paw to hold the toy down against her right leg and paw.

May with a tody

I used Adobe Draw to quickly sketch her for #100daysofdigitalsketch, my personal challenge for the #100days project. I still find it awkward to switch to different brushes and then have to change colors. It would probably be better to set all the brushes to one color before I start. I drew with my finger instead of a stylus this time.

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Five Tips for Creating Better Color Palettes for the Web

Color palettes using simple and complex colors

I’ve put together five tips for creating better color palettes based on a recent talk I gave to computer science students. Faced with working on their first mobile apps or sites, they had never really been given advice on choosing color palettes. I realized this is one of those gaps in knowledge; part of the missing manual of design experience you build over time as a developer or designer. I hope you find them useful too.

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