digitizing calligraphy skillshare class review + free card to download

hi everyone! blogging has been pretty slow over the last few weeks as I have been busy with a few projects- I’ll share what I can here soon! In the meantime, I recently did Molly Suber Thorpe’s online skillshare class- “Digitizing Calligraphy- from sketch to vector” and thought I’d post a quick review for anyone who might be interested in doing the class or learning more about taking traditional lettering into digital format.


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endangered species illustration+ skillshare giveaway!!

Today I am running this blog’s first giveaway- its for a service I really enjoy using myself and can’t wait to tell you more about it- read to the end to find out more!!

I am quite a fan of skillshare– I’ve referenced it a couple of times on the blog- and have done a few classes through the website. I think its a really useful and affordable way to learn from the pros in various creative areas. Recently I did a new class by Christine Fleming called “Scientific Illustration- conveying information with charm“. I wasn’t entirely sure what the class would be about, but lets just say I was in as soon as I read “scientific illustration”!!

This class teaches you to distill information from scientific fact into fun and educational illustrations. If you check out BuzzHootRoar (which “is a graphics-driven blog that shares and/or explains a scientific concept in 300 words or less”– for which Christine is the resident illustrator) you should get a feel for the sort of style/approach of the class. I found the class really fun and it opened up some options of combining traditional and digital tools that I hadn’t really considered. I also really enjoyed the short lecture on colour theory- which is an area that I really need to learn more about. As part of the class there was a challenge to create an illustration to celebrate National Wildlife Day. I thought it would be cool to illustrate the some of the most endangered species worldwide. I made a selection of ten of the most endangered species- making sure to include at least one NZ species (hint: kakapo!).

I decided to ink the final illustration using my kuretake brush pen, and then colour it digitally in Photoshop.

Here is my entry:



first attempt at colouring…


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inky doodles- from random sketch to finished drawing

I’ve been playing around with ink and brush lately- having been totally inspired by Yuko Shimizu’s illustration and her new class on Skillshare– which is just amazing. Here are a series of photos from very random squiggle that I made into a face, all the way through several iterations to a final illustration that I’m pretty happy with. Re-doing drawings until I’m happy with them is something that has only just recently occurred to me (!!!). Its very rare that I’ll be able to make something that nice first time round, so instead of just being annoyed about the first go, hopefully with practice (ie what I have done here)- I’ll get better!

Anyway- here are the various versions:

1. Random Doodle:


Not sure where it came from, just randomly came into my head after squiggling that line that makes up the profile of his head.

2. the illustration I was pretty happy with but then decided it would be cool to add some extra bits to



I wasn’t happy with the little bird sitting on the guys head- so decided to change it to a big toucan (its in the Amazonian rainforest if you couldn’t tell) sitting on a branch above his head. Also wanted to improve the background a little.

3. The one where I had this idea to also add in little eyes in the dark areas of the foliage


That wasn’t a good idea….

4. The final (ish) illustration


Of course I’m sure there are still improvements that could be made! But I’m pretty happy with it. Its the most fun as well as the least planned drawing I’ve done in a long time, so that was pretty cool. All done with India Ink and a Chinese calligraphy brush.

You may have noticed but the posting has been a bit irregular over the last couple of weeks. I will be back to more regular posting soon- I’ve been working on a few real scientific illustrations!!- and should be able to share more on the site then.

Until then I’d love to know- Do you have anything new you have learnt recently that has made drawing more fun for you?

Have a great week