Sunday, January 18, 2015

best (watercolor) fishes

if you've read my blog for a while, you know that my friend gina is one of my all-time favorite artists, and one of my fave people, generally, for that matter! sadly, she has left off blogging in the last year or so, but i hope she'll be back, eventually. meanwhile, we email and text and plan future thrifting expeditions! i mention all of this to give you the backstory on today's card: having started, last year, to do some drawing and painting of my own original images, i wanted to make a uniquely painty card for gina's birthday. especially when i realized that one of the things i've gotten pretty good at drawing are funky fishes:

koi watercolor paints on strathmore paper; faber-castell pitt pens in s and xs nibs for outlining; white sharpie paint pen for bubbles; cardbase made from paper accents black glossy cardstock

i happen to know miss g. loves fish*. she draws them, paints them, and has carved amazing fish stamps like this one and this one! the latter was the most direct inspiration for my card... but let's face it... it's nothing like what she does. for one thing, her fish are stylized versions of actual fish you might see in an aquarium, whereas mine is smiling! in my opinion, you don't see enough smiling fish in nature, but i suppose modern life is stressful for everyone, and we shouldn't judge.

i've mentioned before that when i want to try to draw something, i usually look for examples of how other people have done so, to gather some ideas that i think might be within my capabilities. this process typically takes a few days and is being done "in the background" of life; often while i'm on the treadmill or exercise bike, i'm scrolling through images online and letting them marinate in my head. i tend to do stylized line drawings, ink them in with permanent pens, then go mad with watercolors. in this case, i looked at a lot of gina's own fish stamps and things, then i did a few different pinterest searches. some specific things i liked and thought i might be able to interpret in my own way were the happy faces of these cute goldfish, the scales and pink splashy coloring of this koi, and the layery waves of this doodly ocean. i wound up doing the fish and the ocean separately, so that i could fussy-cut the fish and pop it up on foam tape for more dimension. i briefly considered machine stitching along all the waves of the ocean, but luckily, jeff talked me down.

i was inspired by the colors and general swirly-ness in the current (HA! fish! current! geddit??!?!?! ok, sorry, nevermind...) curtain call inspiration challenge board:

oh and there's one more thing i have to show off, only because A) my other big obsession recently is hand-lettering** and B) i hardly ever do anything awesome INSIDE my cards, but for once i actually did! go, me!

it's such a grey and rainy day here in the northeast, i should probably go out and check our backyard for stray fishes at this point! fortunately the temp has gone up to a blistering 36F and the especially dangerous icy road conditions of this morning have passed. i'm hoping the rain will stop before it gets cold again tonight. meanwhile, wherever you are, darlings, if you're driving in wintery weather be especially careful and especially safe! ♥♥♥

*speaking of gina and fish, a couple of years ago, she designed some totally awesome digital papercrafting kits, (which sadly are no longer available) including one called "of the water" which i happen to own and still absolutely adore! i was honored to be on her design team for that project, and in the course of writing this post i found some of the cards i made using her kit, in this post and this onewhich i happen to think hold up pretty well. nothing like a little stroll... or in this case swim... down memory lane, eh? :)

**this style of wonky faux-calligraphy is one of my faves, i stole the idea and technique from this cool tutorial on the jones design co blog!


  1. Wonderful! Really like the inside!! We're in the upper 30s too. WOW!

  2. You simply amaze me. You do! I LOVE your drawing AND your lettering! Loooooooooove!!!!!! I know you're working at them both, and practice pays off! Keep it up! xo

  3. You drew this!!!!!! WOW! Amazing and absolutely awesome! WOW once again! Love it.

  4. Oh my...LOVE this post! You know I adore your watercoloring and then to see what you did on the interior....AWESOME.
    Please tell Gina "Hello" for me!

  5. Fabuloso Lauren! Wow - Your card is beautiful inside and out! I especially love your water/waves!!! So doodly (ha, is that a word?) and fun! My youngest son came along while I was reading and was excited to see that you had been drawing and watercolouring as he had just finished doing the same at the kitchen table. Might just be that he'll be checking out your blog from time to time!
    Hoping the weather improves where you are. It has warmed up here such that we are no longer adverse to venturing out to play in the white stuff. As a result, we spend time Thursday, Saturday and Sunday on snow! A busy, but seriously fun weekend! It almost got warm enough to rain and threaten our precious white stuff, but thankfully dipped back down to a more reasonable temp for January. Here's hoping your roads are safe to drive.
    Shanna :)

  6. I do love this card!! I am such a sad blogger. :( I keep wanting to get back into it, but dang! I love how this card turned out. Just think you never drew things before and you are good at it! I put this card in my 2014 year planner book to keep forever of course!! :)

  7. butterfly koi seem to lack some of the body size of regular koi, but the overall fish can run as long as 36 to 40 inches in the right pond


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