On my desk this week #2

 Neon mandala coloring page by Thaneeya McArdle

As usual it's been a colorful week in my studio! 😊 If you've signed up for my newsletter you might recognize this mandala as one of the free coloring pages I sent you as a "thank you" for signing up. If you're not already subscribed, you can sign up here and collect this freebie once your email address is confirmed!

I was keen to make this mandala as colorful as possible, so I experimented with coloring over the black lines using gel pens and paint pens. I love the result! I used Sakura Gelly Roll pens, Uni-Posca Paint Pens and Sharpie Water-based Paint Pens to cover over the black lines, and they all did a fantastic job. I also used Sharpie Glitter Pens, which did a decent job of coloring over the black lines, but left a tad more of the black showing through than the other pens I mentioned.

 Close-up of neon mandala by Thaneeya McArdle

If you want to try covering up the black lines on your coloring pages, take note that when the gel pen or paint marker is first applied over the black line, while the ink or paint is still wet it might look like some of the black is still peeking through. Don't fret - let the gel pen or paint marker dry completely, then reassess how it looks. To my surprise, when using Sakura Gelly Roll pens the black lines would often be completely covered up with just one layer of gel pen! When using the paint pens, sometimes I would gently go over the first layer to strengthen the color over the black lines. 

As a side note, I'm also including this mandala in my upcoming Think Happy Coloring Book, which will be available in September!

 Free samples of Yupo and Stonehenge Aqua Paper, from Legion Paper

In my spare time I've been experimenting with Yupo paper. Have you heard of it? It's a neat surface because it's non-absorbent, which means the pigment rests on top of the paper instead of soaking into the paper. This is a whole new ballgame for me because it means the paper reacts differently than I'm accustomed to when using liquid art supplies like watercolors, alcohol inks, gel pens, felt-tip pens, etc. I had actually dabbled with Yupo several years ago but couldn't quite figure out what to do with it, so when Legion Paper (the company that makes Yupo) reached out and offered to send me some free samples (shown above), I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it again.

 Experiments on Yupo paper

As you can see in the pads on the left, I've been testing out each paper using a variety of supplies, like colored pencils, gouache, acrylic inks, paint markers, gel pens, graphite, watercolors and alcohol ink. Yupo takes some getting used to so I'm still figuring out how to use it in a way that best suits my artistic style. When I've had more time to complete a few artworks using Yupo (and the other papers they sent me, Stonehenge Aqua Hot and Cold Press) I plan to post a longer write-up on my art tutorial site, Art is Fun.

So far I'm really enjoying using paint markers on Yupo. The surface of Yupo is incredibly smooth so the paint markers glide on beautifully without tearing up the paper, which can be a problem sometimes when using paint markers on certain types of paper, especially when using paint markers with really fine nibs. Plus the colors look so vibrant on Yupo paper!

 Experiments on Yupo Paper

To create the two artworks shown above, I'm using Posca paint markers and Montana paint markers (both of which I love). At this stage I'd say I'm only about 40%-50% done. Now that I've covered the whole paper in paint, I'll continue adding more and more details until it feels finished. I'm basically following the same techniques I describe in this abstract art tutorial, so check it out if you're interested in learning how to create your abstract art. 😃

If you try using paint markers on Yupo, be aware that the paint will take longer to dry than it will on most other paper types, due to Yupo's non-absorbent surface. Be careful to let the paint dry completely before you add more so you don't accidently smudge the paint. I find it's handy to work on two pieces at the same time, as shown above, because I can work on one piece while the other is drying, jumping back and forth between the two.

 Painting on rocks, eggs, jars and ceramics: Paint marker projects by Thaneeya

I've also been having a ball using paint markers and dimensional adhesives on a bunch of different surfaces, such as wood, ceramics, rocks and mason jars! Shown here are a few finished pieces and a few works-in-progress. Painting on 3D objects is so fun that I wish I could spend all day doing this, but these days I'm so busy with multiple deadlines that I can only spend a few minutes each day dabbling with my Paint Marker Projects (as I've dubbed them in my mind). Later this year when I have more time I plan to add a section to Art is Fun about using paint markers on all these surfaces, but that's another thing that'll have to wait until my workload lightens in a few months.

 Craft haul!

Despite my busy schedule I'm still acquiring arts and crafts supplies that I long to use but will just have to set aside for now! It seems that whenever I see shiny colorful glittery supplies I really can't resist! Above is my most recent craft haul. The beads and washi tapes on the left are from Walmart, the wood panels, felt and narwhal in the center are from Target, and the adhesive gems on the right are from Michaels. Can't wait to use them all!

While at Michaels I was delighted to spot six of my books for sale on an end-cap!

 Thaneeya McArdle coloring books in Michaels

Well that about wraps up this week in review. Thanks for reading & I'll see you again soon! Hope you have a colorful week!