Axolotl How-To

Tools you need…. Watercolor (or thick) paper for watercolors, a pencil, brushes, your desired watercolors, and a pallet for mixing (if desired).

Time to sketch out our Axolotl! Use the following photos for a step by step guide or freestyle it!

And there he is! Now to paint him. Choose three colors you desire to use. I’ll be using my colorways More than a Horse, StarLust, and Blush.

Use your lightest color to paint the body. (More than a Horse contains gems which I loved using for a bit of added texture, your watercolors may not have this added).

Next, use your second to darkest color for the cheeks.

Finally, use your darkest color for the details!

Time to finish up your Axolotl! I use a black sharpie to finish him off, but you can use watercolor or a metallic marker if you prefer.

I can’t wait to see your finished Axolotl. If you post him on Instagram tag me so I can see! (@TheSmilingHippo) Until next week my friend.

How Meditation is Brain Changing

When you think of meditation, images of people sitting on yoga mats in the middle of a park might first come to your mind. Actually, meditation can happen anywhere, since all you need is time and your brain. There has been a big push in meditation in society recently, and I know a question you may be pondering might be: Is meditation actually helpful? Well, I am here to report that meditation is actually one of the best practices you can do to keep your brain healthy. According to Alice Walton at Forbes, “Studies [are] reporting that meditation helps relieve our subjective levels of anxiety and depression, and improve attention, concentration, and overall psychological well-being.”

I don`t know about you, but I could definitely use less anxiety and more well-being in my life. The science behind how this works is fascinating. According to Dr. Thorpe and Dr. Link at Healthline, “Mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress…In an 8-week study, a meditation style called ‘mindfulness meditation’ reduced the inflammation response caused by stress.” As seen, meditation does wonders for your brain, and I can testify to this as well. One of my favorite ways to meditate is by simply taking the first five minutes of my day to picture where I want to be and what I need to do today to get there.

Looking for ways to meditate using art? Check out my Instagram page for reflective quotes, inspiration, and how-tos you can use for meditating. (@TheSmilingHippo)

Supporting small businesses on a budget.

See all these cute businesses and want to support them but you can’t?! I got you.

1. Share their products! You may not be able to support them but maybe you have a friend who can. Sharing also brings encouragement to the seller and helps shoot them up within the algorithm.

2. Ask if they offer a payment plan option. Most shops these days have one. If the shop is on Etsy, Etsy has a program where you’re able to split payments into four, just select the option during checkout.

3. Offer your services. DO NOT ask for free products. However many smaller shops may offer a discount if you deliver them with an unboxing video, photographs of the product in use, content they can use across their platforms. This will vary across shops so if your shop says no don’t get upset, simply support them another way.

4. Save up and wait. Especially during holidays many shops will run sales. Wait for these dates and perhaps you’ll be able to pick up something for a discount!

5. I know it’s cheesy but like and comment on their content! It doesn’t do much but it truly boosts the spirit of the seller and gives them the courage to carry on.

Well, there you go! 5 easy ways to show your love and support to small businesses. I hope this post sparked some ideas! Now go show some love❤️❤️❤️

Keeping a Sketchbook

If at first you don’t succeed, watch the Office series for the 5th time. Well, I may have made that up, but trying again is important too. There is no better way to try again and experiment than with an artist’s sketchbook. I love using a sketchbook, because it allows me to be more creative and test ideas or materials. According to the Milan Art Institute, a sketchbook “allows artists to experiment to see how each different media handles, particularly if they mix different media together.” Using a sketchbook is a great way to play around with different paints, markers, or others! If you`re unsure if you want to start painting faces or drawing trees, try it in a sketchbook! It can be your own personal book or you can share your paintings with your friends.

Not only can having a sketchbook be influential for experimenting with different media and honing your artist skills, using a sketchbook is just plain fun. There is no pressure to be perfect when working in your sketchbook. The Milan Art Institute believes, “Mastering your art skills does take practice and determination, but even the most disciplined approach to art mastery should include space for joy and fun.” A sketchbook is really helpful when art seems to become a chore in your life. Doing art for fun again in a sketchbook will help your passion for art to come alive again on these pages. I highly recommend using a sketchbook, and I use mine almost every day to play around with different ideas that I have. 

For more on using a sketchbook, check out the Milan Art Institute

Need a sketchbook? Check out my personal favorites from My Amazon Favorites page!

Thank you for stopping by, I’ll see you next week!

Creating a Simple Border

Ok, I’m not a great calligrapher (or… a calligrapher at all actually…) but sometimes I have a fun word or a great quote I want to paint. Today I’m going to take you through the basics of creating a great border for your word/words! This helps tie in your entire piece and show off your artistic skills as well. Let’s get started!

First off choose your subject. My words for this piece are “Lil Fruity” (ya’ll know I can get crazy🤪) so I went with citrus fruits! Over simplify your design, then draw it out multiple times in multiple sizes throughout your canvas. Don’t create a pattern with them, keep it random but keep it balanced.

Hack: draw very lightly so you can come back with an eraser and erase some marks you don’t like.

If desired, add in some foliage! This can be these stems (shown above) or simple leaves, this will add a contrasting color and element to your piece.

Remember: Vary the size, look, and shape of your leaves. Keep a balanced look without keeping an obvious pattern.

Next up, brainstorm something small to add into the spots that look uneven, or have small gaps. The easiest idea are small florals. Think up a simplistic design and add them here and there where you think they should go.

I don’t even know what these are called… let’s call them rain droplets! I added them into my composition because it needed a little more. You can stop after your third element, or add some raindrops, swirls, or patterned lines if you feel it needs a bit more.

Remember: Keep it simple and try to stick to only 3-4 elements.

Now for color! Keep to a limited pallet and just have fun with it. I ended up adding little dabs of paint here and there to tie it all together.

And that’s it my friend! As always I hope this blog inspires you to simply be creative and try something new today. I’d love to hear your feedback or see what you’ve been working on. Feel free to reach out via Instagram or email. (both links found on my homepage). Have a fantastic day my friend!