#art – Make a pen sketch pop on your phone

My last art post had me frustrated with using colour pencil on paper. You try to rub off the colour pencil and bits of paper can come away as well. This led me to explore free apps that I can use to play around with colour without it affecting my originals.

Today I am using the paint palette in photos of my Samsung phone. Then uses effects on InFrame app at Google play. Heaps to choose from. Playful fun.

original pic
  1. Take a black and white pen drawing on your phone. Square is easiest.
  2. Open the palette tool in photo editor and add colour. I used the highlighter version so that it is a bit translucent. I coloured in a couple of sections digitally and did a swirl in purple over the top.
  3. Open InFrame app
  4. Played around with the effects. I only chose a few. I have reversed the colour so the black stands out. I then chose the circle shape.
  5. Share to your phone when you are done or straight onto Insta. I went in to the photo editor again to make the colours look heaps stronger. Very strong motif. Nice to play with colour without the original being anything other than black and white.

#art – Sometimes it is better to keep things black and white

I got stuck into daily doodles as lockdown had me forgetting what day of the week it was. I love their randomness. I don’t need to worry about how they come out. I date stamp each one.

Now as keen doodlers are probably aware a true doodle is an absentminded creation. Best ones I find are done when talking on the phone. Mine get a bit intricate. I do them large and there is alot of shading.

But after many large doodles I thought I would try to take a couple to the next level and colour them. I couldn’t  believe how it brought me undone.

For some reason when I colour my pen and ink drawings with colour pencil they just lose whatever it was I saw in them. Maybe cause they are no longer random. They lose that meditative state.

I am so sad about it. Unlike paint, when you commit to a colour in pencil on paper you are stuck on the course. Try to erase it? Don’t bother. It just wrecks the tooth of the paper. The colour never quite comes off.

At least I documented it on my phone in black and white first.

#true story – Back in the nick of time

I just got ‘back in the nick of time’ today. I’d been ‘galavanting around’ the local cafes trying to find a coffee brand that ‘piqued my interest’. Eventually I ‘set up shop’ in a local art cafe. I grabbed a coffee and a bit of cake, and sat and ‘watched the world pass by’. Cool jazz played in the background as the sound of the coffee machine deafened the barista. Still, ’twas good coffee even if future hearing aids may be required!

Eventually I meandered back home with the ‘sun on my back’ and a ‘song in my heart’. 

Almost home I saw storm clouds gathering above. Pedestrians hurried to find shelter. Thunder roared in the sky. Would I make it home in time?

‘Home safe and sound’ I sat and looked out the window. It was just ‘pissing down’. I’d ‘missed it by the skin of my teeth’!

Phrase/Saying and origin

  • back in the nick of time – back just in time (UK 1500’s)
  • galavanting around – roaming around for pleasure (UK 1800’s)
  • piqued my interest – I was interested (France 1500’s)
  • set up shop – to be at the one place for a while (UK 1500’s)
  • watched the world pass by – watching people going passed
  • sun on my back – feeling good like a bright sunny day
  • song in my heart – feeling great (USA 1920’s)
  • home safe and sound – home safely (UK 1400’s)
  • pissing down – raining heavily. Very descriptive but it is slang so choose who you say it to. To ‘piss’ is to urinate.
  • by the skin of my teeth – just got there in time so wasn’t affected (Land of Uz – Book of Job 7 – 4BCE…ie really old!)

Photo by Fiona Art on Pexels.com

As the tide of information dissipates thumbnail sketches appear like cocktails at a resort

After many years of university study, words become scrawl. Scrawl becomes a treasure trove of inspiration. Text turns into it’s own motif. The greater the need to focus the more text becomes a rhythm. A rhythmic sea of text that appears and disappears like waves on the beach.

Unexpected words from a speaker cause a flurry of scrawl barely readable. Then, as the tide of information dissipates, thumbnail sketches appear like cocktails at a resort. 

Discerning the message – Dee Grant – 2002

Drawn at a professional development weekend on teaching ethics. Discerning the Message was drawn on a Best Western notepad while listening to a keynote speaker.


Art Yoga – Warm Up

BY DEE GRANT(with audio) I have a great treat to get your mind thinking outside the box. This sketching warm up exercise is about giving a bit of a yoga stretch for your mind. Are you ready?


  • Pencil
  • A4 pieces of paper (4 pieces)
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Capsicum (I am using a capsicum. Capsicums have an interesting shape)

1st sketch

  1. Sketch the vegetable how you normally would. (5-10 min)
Sketch as you normally would

2nd sketch

  1. Sketch the vegetable again but this time without lifting the pencil off the page.
  2. Without lifting the pencil off the page, draw an outline of the vegetable so it takes up most of the page. (3 minutes)
Outline without taking the pencil off the paper

How did you go?

OK, lets challenge your brain a bit.

3rd sketch

  1. This time put the pencil in the hand you don’t normally use, your least dominant hand. You know what comes next!
  2. Without lifting the pencil off the page, draw an outline of the vegetable so it takes up most of the page. (3 minutes)

I’m always intrigued by this exercise. There is a totally different feel to each work. It’s almost like it was drawn by another person.

Use your other hand

Game to take it one step further?

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#Art – Create to Frame

How to choose department store frames to exhibit your student artwork. If you are doing art school save money. Get savvy. Create to frame!

The goal for this post is for you to try out creating your artwork so that it will easily fit into a standard frame. A frame from a department store. The example here is framing a 12 x 12 painting.

Department store frame with custom mat

I could cry when I think of the amount of expensive custom frames I’ve had made up in my days as an art student. This was all because I created artworks that didn’t look right in standard size frames. For an art student that’s ‘flat out rubbing two sticks together’ framing is a necessity rather than a luxury.

Think neat and tidy.

Think neutral tones so that you can use and reuse the frame/s for various presentations.

Think about something that scrubs up well in your student exhibition. Are you better to have 3 or 4 the same size and colour so that they can be grouped together?

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#Art -Watching Pencil Muddy the Paint

(with audio) “Every artwork is a potential masterpiece” but you don’t always know what will look good, especially when you are starting out. I never want to set up people for failure so today I am sharing some tips on life drawing when you’re starting out.

Difficulty spells disinterest

My students one year were given a 12 inch square canvas to paint a picture of themselves and something that identifies them. One student showed me her detailed pencil drawing drawn directly onto the canvas.

In my mind all I could see was the frustration she would be setting herself up for. Having to paint such detailed information onto that small canvas. Watching the pencil muddy the paint or the paint beading over the graphite. Watching the paint go in spaces not intended. Alarm bells as difficulty spells disinterest at the early stages of artmaking in my books.

You live and learn as a art teacher. I bet the next lot of students were bored to tears when I advised on keeping it simple and not too detailed.

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