Interview with… Ellievsbear

When I think about illustrators whose work is so otherworldly and dreamlike that I would like to live inside their illustrations, the one that immediately comes to mind is Ellievsbear. I really wanted to learn more about her art process and inspiration. My palms were sweaty when I sent an email asking if she would consider being interviewed… Thankfully, she was so kind that she answered all of my questions!

Who is Ellievsbear?

Ellievsbear is a visual artist with distinctive illustrations set in an universe she created. She uses both digital and traditional mediums. I’ll now let her and her work speak:

Check out more of Ellievsbear’s work on her website, Instagram, Twitter and Patreon.
1.      Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I’m a self-taught illustrator living in Brussels, Belgium. I work predominantly as an independent artist and enjoy creating cute and whimsical illustrations with a focus on world building and storytelling.

2.      How did you develop your unique style?

It isn’t a conscious process, I just keep drawing the things I enjoy and the illustrations I’d like to see. I don’t consider style as a thing that is set in stone but rather a reflection of the artist’s journey at a moment in time. Every person keeps learning from their daily life experiences, discovering new interests and going through powerful emotions, and alongside this journey their art style evolves in a similar manner.

3.      What inspires you?

Stories in any form; such as movies and animation, but most of all I’m inspired by books.

Colours are also a big source of inspiration for my art, oftentimes I will see a picture of a landscape with amazing colours and will want to use these to create an image of my own.

4.      Is there a specific way you search for inspiration or do ideas just come to you naturally/out of nowhere?

Bits of both, sometimes images come to me easily and seemingly out of nowhere but they cook for a long while in my mind before I put them on paper. Other times I have to sketch for an hour or so before finding concepts I’d like to explore. Inspiration can be found everywhere but you have to be constantly looking for it, the same way a photographer trains their eye to look at things differently.

5.      Do you have a degree in art and do you think it’s important to have a formal education when it comes to art and illustration?

I didn’t study art and started my career in a completely different field. What I think matters is to be curious and constantly educating ourselves. But this doesn’t necessarily requires to study art in college, especially nowadays when it’s so easy to learn online and find ressources about any subject very easily.

6.      Could you share a most touching or amazing moment in your career by now?

It’s more of a personal moment, but every time I see my 7yrs old nephew we create an illustration together. It has become a ritual of sorts, and he recently said how thankful he was that it made him enjoy drawing so much.

7.      If you had to choose just one would you choose digital or traditional painting?

Digital. Because it’s so versatile and doesn’t require a lot of (sometimes expensive) art supplies.

8.       Do you think it’s harder to work with traditional or digital tools/mediums?

Both have their own difficulties, all in all it comes down to what you’re most used to. Someone with more experience in digital painting may find it easier than traditional or the opposite for traditional artists.

9.      Which programs and tools are you using for creating your illustrations?

For digital art I paint with a Wacom tablet and Photoshop, for traditional art I enjoy pencils and watercolor the most.

11.  Are there any art materials you can’t work without?

Paper! Even though I mostly work digitally, all of my illustrations always start as a sketch or thumbnail on paper.

13.  Advice you would give to the young artists?

Enjoy the process, work on your fundamentals, don’t worry about style. And most importantly, make time for personal projects!

16.  Have you noticed that your style has changed over time and how?

Yes, it changes constantly. The themes I like exploring have stayed constant for the most part but technique wise I enjoy testing different things. Sometimes changes are subtle and I’m the only one seeing them, but hopefully it also changes because my skills are getting better.

17.  What do you think is essential for getting better at drawing/painting/illustrating?

Practice and patience.

18.  What’s your favorite artwork of yours?

I don’t have favourites, I enjoy the process more than the finished product. When I look back at past drawings I keep a very analytical eye and all I see is what could be improved in the next one.

19.  Could you describe your art process?

I always start by thumbnailing rough ideas in a tiny sketchbook. Sometimes I can see the colours of it right away in my mind, sometimes I have to try different things before it clicks. When I need to do colour studies, I import the thumbnail into photoshop and keep it very small while I test colours. The thumbnail stage is very important and can be difficult because it is what I call the « thinking » stage. This is where I make all the decisions, about composition and colour palette, it needs to work in a small size or it probably won’t work on a larger canvas. Once all these decisions are made, the process becomes much easier and relaxing, I can tune out and paint and render without having to think at all.

22.  What do you do if you don’t feel motivated?

I remind myself of all the things I want to create and the limited time there is in one life.

23.  Do you sometimes feel pressure to post new stuff on Instagram and your other social accounts?

In a certain capacity, yes, because my living depends on it. However I do not see it as a burden but an opportunity, and when reframed in that light it is not as stressful as others make it seem. I only post content I’m happy with, and I don’t hesitate to take a step back when I need to relax. I only use social media for my art business so I don’t consider the way I use it to be invasive. Most of the times I don’t even check social media if I don’t have anything new to share, in a way this allows me to stay focused on my own projects at my own pace without being too distracted. 

24.   If you weren’t an illustrator what would you be?

I’m not sure, there are a lot of jobs that could be fun! I haven’t always been an artist, and becoming an illustrator has been a really good fit for me at this stage of my life.

25.   Is there something you don’t know how to do that you would like to learn?

So many! I constantly start learning new things then get somewhat discouraged by the time required to master anything new. I’d love to take more time to learn how to animate my illustrations, or to create little video games set in my universe. Little by little, I’ll get there!

26.  What would be your ideal dream project?

I’d like to be part of a team project where everyone is passionate and driven about it, so anything that would allow me to contribute and meet other artists really.

27.   What do you think is more important for success: talent or hard work?

Definitely hard work. I don’t really believe in the notion of talent. I think passionate people are less likely to give up when facing difficulties and that’s what sets them apart, behind any skilled individual are hours and hours of practice and hard work and a great deal of determination.

I’m sure that by now you fell in love with Ellievsbear’s illustrations (if you haven’t already been, that is). You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter, check her website and store for more content or be her patron on Patreon. If you’d like to know more about Ellievsbear, here’s another interview with her on ballpitmag.

If you’re searching for more inspiration, be sure to read my interviews with illustrators Karl James Mountford and Sibylline Meynet. Whom would you like me to interview next?


Best Pen for Drawing Portraits

Chapter 2: Monami Fx Style + Monami bp 153

You may have read my previous post regarding Monami Cartoon 153 pens where I’ve told the story of how I was on a quest to find the perfect pen for drawing and I stumbled upon the company Monami Korea.

For the longest time I was trying out different pens: marker pens, fineliners, ballpoint pens, pens, pens, pens in order to find the one which suited my style best. And I didn’t even think I had a distinctive style – I just wanted something that would have the characteristics of a pencil so I could draw the tiny details and not make them as bold as the rest. And the hair, oh the hair, one of my biggest problems. I just couldn’t draw hair with a fineliner, because it would come out too bold, too sharp and too messy, no matter how small the nib size was.

And then I tried using various ballpoint pens. I was satisfied with the general look and feel – being able to actually draw without it looking like a printed coloring book, as I did with fineliners. But still, those ballpoint pens weren’t the best option because they really bled a lot, and every once in a while I would move my hand and smudge the drawing and then I would spend the rest of the time trying to fix it (in which I would rarely succeed).

The Scavenger
drawing with fineliners in 2017
aquaman unfinished
drawing with a random ballpoint pen in January 2019

So I was searching for a tool which would have the following qualities:

  • easy to control the thickness and thinness of the line
  • won’t smudge
  • handy for sketching
drawing with Monami ballpoint 153 & Monami Fx Style

Since pictures (and drawings) speak more than words, you can see that Monami bp 153 has the characteristics I mentioned. But what was surprise to me was actually the other pen Monami was generous enough to send me to sample – Monami Fx Style. It draws really thin lines so it’s suitable for more detailed and tiny work. I was incredibly satisfied with the style of drawing I got when combining these two Monami pens in my recent works.

Sketching with pencils isn’t for me because it always smudges, and I really like strong and visible lines in my illustrations. But I don’t want them to be to bold, because it doesn’t look that well with the other materials I use such as watercolors. Creating with Monami bp 153 has the feel of the pencil, but the lines are more prominent and won’t be covered when painting. Exactly what I was looking for!

Have you tried these pens and what do you think?


Interview with… Sibylline Meynet

When I made the list of artists on Instagram which I would like to connect with, Sibylline was one of the first that came to mind. If you’re not familiar with her work, I’m sure you’ll understand why soon enough. Her artworks are both dreamlike and powerful, but I’ll let her and them speak for themselves.

Who is Sibylline Meynet?

Sibylline is French artist with a very unique otherworldly style. She does both traditional and digital illustrations. You can find more of her work on her Instagram, website and Patreon. And you can even watch her timelapse painting videos on Youtube.

Do you have a degree in art and do you think it’s important to have a formal education when it comes to art and illustration?

I graduated high school and started as a freelance illustrator right away when I was 19. I never liked school and the thought of going back to school (even to study art) made me so sad. My parents are very open, and let me do whatever I wanted once I got my diploma. I was very motivated, and it was my dream to become an illustrator. Drawing has always been my passion since I was little, so I would say, in my case, that studies were not necessary. I thought I’d learn what I needed to learn by myself.
But I know some people need to go to school and learn from professionals – which is a wise decision. Freelance is hard, and when you are an 18 years old freelancer who just started out, it’s not that easy. I think schools are great if you want to learn different techniques, or technical stuff in general (I am thinking of perspective, backgrounds, how to use and understand colors, shapes and light, how to create good composition…). Those technical things that are hard to learn by yourself.
I am not sure art school are the best to stimulate creativity in general though. To me, being able to create whatever I wanted was primordial. But everyone has a different experience when it comes to school. I guess it depends on what you need and your personality!
To answer your question, it is important to have a formal education in art and illustration if you feel like you can learn and improve with professionals. I wouldn’t recommend to force yourself to study art if you don’t want to, or if you’re confident you’ll be more comfortable learning on your own.

Could you share a most touching or amazing moment in your career by now?

I am so lucky and grateful to have lived many incredible moments since I started working as an illustrator. But I am going to share two moments that happened this year and I will always cherish !
These two events are connected actually – Gallery Nucleus asked me to be part of an exhibition with two amazing artists I love – I immediately said yes, and decided to put together an artbook to launch it at the gallery in Los Angeles. My sister and I spent so many hours working on it. It was funny to take my old works back out to put them in this book! I ordered the books online, had trouble with the shipping company, waited weeks to receive them in time for an art show in Los Angeles – it was so stressful. So when they finally came (1 day before I left for L.A.), it was such a relief! It was well printed, we were so happy.
Then I went to Los Angeles and had such a great time at the gallery. The people I met, the things I saw, the places I have been – it’s my biggest highlight of 2019! I learnt so much during this trip.

If you had to choose just one would you choose digital or traditional painting?

I think I love traditional art better – but I can’t say digital isn’t part of my daily life. I would probably say traditional though, because I am too attached to paints and markers, and the feeling of drawing on paper!

Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

It’s not an advice, but it’s something I keep remembering when I am feeling down about my art. My mom used to say “nothing is useless”. So whenever I can’t draw, when nothing good comes out of what I am drawing and think I am wasting my time, I remember what my mom said. Then I know what I do isn’t a waste of time and will help me in the future.

Who are your biggest influences?

I would say Gustav Klimt and Marc Davis !

Have you noticed that your style has changed over time and how?

Yes ! When I look at my works from last year, or even from 6 months ago, I think ‘ok this led me to where I am today’. My old works have the same essence and energy than my current works. Almost the same shape too, but not quite. It’s a weird feeling to think nothing is written in stone, and as long as we keep doing what we do, it will always change (hopefully in a good way!).
Style change because our life keep changing, too. Because we travel, we meet new people, we see new art, we try new things, we grow as human beings and it shows in our art.
Sometimes it makes me laugh when I see old works because, let’s face it, it’s not very good. But sometimes I see what I wanted to say and it touches my heart! It’s like seeing pictures of yourself when you were a child, and you know you did your best that day.

What do you do if you don’t feel motivated?

I go out ! I like to take walks, watch a movie, go to a café, talk to my friends, doodle… without the thought or pressure to create a masterpiece. Just simple things!
Remember why you draw: because it is your biggest passion and it makes you happy. Don’t ruin it, don’t feel forced to create the perfect illustration. Just have fun and most importantly, do it for yourself!

If you weren’t an illustrator what would you be?

I am pretty sure I would be a photographer ! I love taking pictures, all the time. The idea of creating memories makes me so happy!

Is there something you don’t know how to do that you would like to learn?

So many things ! I would love to know how to draw a decent background. Even a simple one! I have to take some time to focus on drawing scenery, backgrounds and create a special atmosphere in my illustrations.

What would be your ideal dream project?

I have always worked with my sister. We do everything together, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without her! We have 100 projects together, and one of them would be to make our own animated cartoon. That would be awesome!

While we’re looking forward for Sibylline’s future projects you can find more of her work on her Instagram, website and Patreon. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and watch her timelapse painting videos on Youtube!


Interview with… Karl James Mountford

The biggest reason I made this blog was to write posts which I would’ve liked to read. And what I would like to read most are interviews with the contemporary artists that inspire me and that could inspire you. Thinking about it, that wouldn’t be such an impossible idea to carry out. But still, I was incredibly nervous and sweaty palmed when I contacted one of my favorite illustrators whose work I’ve been following for a long time, Karl James Mountford. But he was so kind that he answered all of my 20 questions!

Who is Karl James Mountford?

Google would say that Karl James Mountford was born in Germany and graduated in 2013 at Swansea Met Uni with a Masters degree in Illustration and Visual communication. He works in both traditional and digital mediums and I am incredibly honored to be able to share his answers and artworks here. So I’ll let him and his artworks do the talking.

1.       How did you develop your unique style?

I don’t know… being influenced by artists and a need to create… maybe?  But I think we might put too much emphasis on style, it just sort of happens and it changes, it has to, otherwise your work becomes stagnant.

2.       What inspires you? 

It changes. When I was in uni it was other artists and I remember thinking “I wanna draw like this person or create like this person one day” but now it’s changed. I can admire other artists work, but what inspires me, especially in my own work, is what I feel or don’t understand or how colours fall at certain times of day and music too, music creates a lot imagery.

3.       Is there a specific way you search for inspiration or do ideas just come to you naturally/out of nowhere?

With my own work it’s often my own thoughts and it just naturally happens and then I entertain the idea and it becomes something… most of the time.

4.       Can you explain how you create the characters such as the ones in “The Art of ruining conversation at dinner parties”? (I love that one sooo much!) Or the one you called “Peachy Parade”?

Usually it’s doodling in the sketch book and then it turns into something and then I try painting it or planning a screen print. It’s like reading a good book: you start on the first page and then before you know it, you are on chapter 29…

Peachy Parade
5.       Could you share a most touching or amazing moment in your career by now?

I’m not sure, I’ve had nice things happen. A 12 year old emailed my agent and had made some illustrations based on my drawings that was really cool. It was the first time I thought “Woah my colouring – it did something for someone else”. That was impressive to me.

6.       If you had to choose just one would you choose digital or traditional painting?

 They are both great… but… traditional for me. 

7.       Do you think it’s harder to work with traditional or digital tools/mediums?

Tradition. There’s a patience you have to just give in to. Digital is quicker and safer (in case you make a mistake) which means you don’t over, over think.

8.       If there weren’t digital tools, which technique would you work with? (acrylic, oils, watercolor etc.)

Acrylic is what I used throughout uni. I didn’t go near a computer if it could be helped. It was only really after uni that I taught myself digital art.

9.     Are there any art materials you can’t work without? 

Pencil and paper. I know it’s boring but if you’ve got those too, there is no stopping you.

10.   Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

…I’m not sure… I think there’s a heap of good advice from other artists. I seem to be someone who makes a mistake and hopefully learns from it. I think with social media you can be more savvy with how the industry works.

BUT THE UNIVERSAL BEST ADVICE – “DON’T EVER WORK FOR FREE”. It’s just a slap in the face to the artist, not even if it’s a massive well known company/client… you don’t work for free. If they value your work, they can pay you for it. 

11.   Advice you would give to the young artists?

Enjoy it. Make art you want to make so you get work you want and keep at it.

Follow Karl on Twitter.
12.   Who are your biggest influences?

Shaun Tan is my ultimate influence. There are so many it would a long list.

13.   Name three artists (or more) you’d like to be compared to.

Erm… none. Being compared to other artists isn’t great for you, taken me a while to figure that one out. It gets you their work and your not being fully realised for what you do. I learnt this when I was asked to draw like Julie Sarda for a possible job and I was skint and needed to pay rent so I said yes and then I got the work, but I felt odd trying mimic her work. And something in my gut felt a bit off about the whole thing.

14.   Have you noticed that your style has changed over time and how?

You never really notice it change until you look back. For me it’s small things that I change or become tired of that change, like textures used or shape and form.

15.   What do you think is essential for getting better at drawing/painting/illustrating?

LIFE DRAWING CLASSES! If you can understand all the principles of drawing from life… your interpretation becomes tenfold more lucrative.

Check out Karl’s Instagram for more incredible artworks.
16.   What’s your favorite artwork of yours?

I just made a piece for a gallery show about nature and it was the first time in ages that I just loved making something. No one telling me to change this or redo that. 

17.   How much time do you need to finish an artwork?

Honestly depends on the artwork at hand, sometimes days sometimes months.

18.   How do you know when an artwork is finished? 

It’s a gut feeling thing… I’m never fully sure. It’s purely gut feeling.

19.   What do you do if you don’t feel motivated?

 I don’t do anything, I leave it and try not to draw. It does nothing for me to force artwork for the sake of feeling like I’m doing something. Sometimes just having artist block is needed… It’s a break.

20.   Do you have some interesting projects coming up which you would like to share?

I’m working on a board game with a company in Italy, which is great as I’m usually a book cover boy so it’s great to mix things up.

While we’re waiting for Karl’s board game and future projects, you can read other interviews with him at BoxBird, Saahub & Redbubble. You can more of his work on Instagram, Twitter, his website & buy prints on Society6 and Redbubble.


4 Simple Tips for Drawing More Realistic Portraits

4 Simple Tips For Drawing More Realistic Portraits

Today I wanted to share a few useful tips with you for drawing more realistic portraits. Those are pretty simple things I sometimes do when I think that the person I’m drawing doesn’t look quite like themselves. It’s hard to discover if an eyelid should be drawn more upwards or downwards or the position of the nostrils etc. The first one I’ve read somewhere but unfortunately I can’t remember which artist wrote that, otherwise I would’ve linked to the article. The other three are something I do, but I’m sure that other artists have probably come to the same solutions. Human minds are unique but since they should all function in the same way, it’s not at all rare to come up with the same ideas.

So here’s four tips I use to make drawings more realistic:
  1. Flip the drawing (if it’s not on canvas, that is) and put it in front of a bright light. That way you can see the flaws better – for example, if the eyes are not looking in the same direction, if the jaw should be wider on one side etc. (I had so much problems with this Captain Marvel drawing!)
  2. Leave the drawing and get back to work after a few hours or the next day/week. I’ve found this really helpful. If you stare too long at something you get so used to it that you can’t spot the mistakes. (In a way it’s the same when you repeat the same word over and over – it looses meaning.)
The most useful one (for me):

3. Scan the drawing. This puts it in another light. When you see it on the screen, it gets so much easier to spot the flaws – if the colors look off, if the smile looks fake and so on.

Last but not least:

4. In the extreme cases where I absolutely can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong I use this trick. I scan the drawing and then I compare it side by side with the original photograph. Or even better, I open it in Photoshop and make a new layer out of the original. Then I adjust the opacity to, for example, 50% and adjust the size so it fits over the scanned drawing. That’s the easiest way to see what is the problem but beware because that might be cheating… I think it’s absolutely okay when you’re learning to draw since it’s harder to discover the flaws in your portraits.  

Portrait comparison side by side, photograph and watercolor painting.
Side by side comparison helps, too.
Other than that it’s just practice practice practice.

You can see in my portfolio how my drawing changed over time: 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Do you know any other advice or tips for drawing more realistic portraits? Have you tried any of these? Please feel free to share your experience! Or just say hi!


Trying out a new style with Arteza watercolors

Side by side: On the left are my usual materials and on the right the watercolors, paper and brushes from Arteza. I used Monami ballpoint 153 and Fx Style pens for both drawings.

You weren’t expecting another post so soon, were you? Well, I promised myself I would write one post per week for the rest of the year. It so happens that last week I believed my pc broke down. I couldn’t turn it on so I didn’t post the review that was promised, Monami Carton 153 Ballpoint pens set review. But what actually happened was that my 128GB USB drive was connected and that was the only reason my pc wouldn’t cooperate. And I didn’t even try to remove it! Anyways, long story short, I don’t want to disappoint myself, do I, so now you get two posts this week.

If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me clumsily unboxing the glorious supplies I got from the wonderful folks at Arteza. They were so generous that they sent me Arteza watercolor Set of 36 Colors in Half Pans, Arteza Expert watercolor paper and both a set of 6 water brush pens and a set of 15 miniature brushes. (You can still check out those videos on my Instagram – I made a highlight called “Arteza”).

First thing I painted when I finally got my excited hands on Arteza watercolors, was a portrait from the same photoshoot I painted days before with my usual materials. The reason for that was so I could spot the differences easier.

The portrait I did using Arteza supplies: watercolor set, watercolor paper & water brushes + miniature brushes.

This was done using my usual materials: Nevskaya Palitra watercolors, Canson Mix Media paper & random brushes I’ve been using forever.

But somehow that wasn’t enough and then I decided to paint the same portrait with Arteza materials and with the ones I usually use. (That was only an excuse, hehe.)

Here’s the result:
First a disclaimer:

I am not used to watercolor paper. Since I use both watercolors and colored pencils, I have discovered that mix media paper works best for my kind of technique. That might be wrong use, but I like the effect it has, even though the paper does get bent (and then I have to put it under some heavy books to flatten it, haha). That’s why those two portraits look like two different people created them.

Another thing is, I’ve never used water brushes before and the experience was definitely different than using my old brushes. I have to practice using them – they are really convenient. And I absolutely loved the miniature brushes! There are so many different sizes suitable for very fine detailing. Still have to try them all!

Something I used for both of those were my new Monami Fx Style pen and 153 ballpoint pen which I outline all of my drawings with.

The palette:
I had to swatch these three times (Third time’s the charm, right?) First time some swatches turned out very light and some very dark because I didn’t use the same amount of pigment. Second time around I messed up the order and forgot one color so I had to do everything again. Oops.

Here’s a few words about the color choice. I enjoyed swatching so much! There are so many shades of yellow! Even though I don’t use yellow that much, they are really bright and vibrant and make me want to paint with them. I also liked that this palette has a number of purples, because the one I use has only one violet. On the other hand, for me personally it was difficult to see differences between some shades of blue, they all looked kind of similar. The indigo I use is more dark blue, and this one was dark violet, so I couldn’t get the effect I wanted with it (I use indigo a lot instead of black). And those are actually the only remarks I have. The colors are very vibrant and highly pigmented. They mix well and you even get a water brush in the set!

Final thoughts:

The Arteza watercolor paper is really high quality, but it just doesn’t fit with my current style. For that reason I thought it wasn’t fair to compare the watercolor set when I’m using a different kind of paper. Finally I decided to paint on my usual mix media paper. I had to do Arteza justice, so I painted the things I’m best at – some Star Wars and a dog! That was also an excuse to use those wonderful yellows…

C3PO or an excuse to use those wonderful yellows.
Yes, I LOVE drawing pets and you can commission a drawing of your pet here.

When it comes solely to the watercolor set I can sincerely say that the quality is amazing for the price. I’m looking forward to creating more artworks with these and trying out some new techniques with that watercolor paper! Keep an eye out for a review of all the brushes soon…

Looking forward to creating more artworks like this with Arteza!

Monami Carton 153 Ballpoint pens set review

A long time ago in a galaxy called the Internet I was stalking other artists to find the perfect pen when I saw the Monami 153 Cartoon ballpoint pens. I remember it was the green one I saw first and I liked the design so much that the quality didn’t even matter to me. But unfortunately those pens were nowhere to be found in the country where I live. After months of searching and watching timelapse videos with these pens on Instagram, I decided to reach out to the company that produces them, Monami Korea.  They were so amazing and considerate that they sent me a whole parcel with samples to try out. So now I get to make a review!

Well that was a beautiful story. And with a happy ending too, because I am even more satisfied with the pens than I imagined I would be.

Please don’t think I’m going to sugarcoat this review because I got a bunch of things for free. It is my pleasure to write this first review of many to come and I will be 100% honest. Otherwise what’s the point?

So here’s a video of me sketching with Monami 153 Cartoon ballpoint pens. Because pictures and especially videos speak for themselves better than I do (especially since English is not my mother tongue).

This set includes 12 0.5mm oil-based ballpoint pens in 12 different colors. They are packed in a beautiful transparent bag with slider which you can carry anywhere. The best thing is that each pen has different tiny supercute illustrations. They are coordinated with cute color names (I wrote them on the photo on the right). I don’t know about you, but the design of the products I use is really important to me. I loved how it was done with care – it’s simply a joy to look at these pens. Another thing I liked is that they are also practical – easy to hold and control and carry with you.

What I like the most is you can use these pens in variety of ways (one example are the drawings I did which you can see below). You can write wit them or sketch with them. Personally, I think it’s really fun to use them instead of the usual black pen to make a layout of my drawing.

You can watch the video of me writing this on my Instagram story. You can always find it in the highlight: Monami.
Let’s look at some pros and cons written in my handwriting which I hope you’ll be able to read, hehe.
A closer look at some pros:

0.5mm makes it really easy to sketch tiny details and when you apply pressure you can get bolder lines, so it’s really easy to use it almost as you would use a pencil.

I always draw first a sketch with a pencil so it’s important to me that I can draw over the pencil. Some pens can’t do that, but this one I have tried out and it works perfectly.

The only cons I could think of:

On the other hand, yes, it does bleed a little, but I always keep a tissue nearby to clean it. It’s not as bad as some other pencils I’ve used, so I don’t think this is going to be a huge problem. I’m looking for some tips on how to use pens that bleed, so feel free to comment if you have an answer!

The other thing I forgot to write is that the last two colors which should be neon aren’t that visible on the white paper.

Please let me know if you’ve tried these out, if you have some tips and if you have any questions at all!


Traditional vs Digital Art Infographic

Welcome to Traditional vs Digital Art 101. I’ll try to show the differences between those two, advantages and disadvantages when it comes to both and debate if one is better than the other.

So what’s the difference?

First let me clear up what the terms ‘traditional and digital art’ cover. In this article by traditional art I mean the techniques such as oil painting, pastel, acrylic, aquarelle, gouache, ink and every other form of drawing and painting using physical mediums. On the other hand, digital art stands for digital painting, a modern technique of painting which is using digital tools and technologies.

The main difference is the equipment:

As previously mentioned, the most obvious difference is the mediums used. In traditional art techniques the artist uses physical equipment such as paper/canvas, pens, brushes, watercolors, oils, acrylic etc. Your working space gets messy with all the water, paints, pencil shavings, eraser residue and so on. And your hands get dirty too!

Now, in digital art you can also use a pen or a finger, but your hands don’t get dirty. Digital art has brushes too but those are digital ones. In order to be a digital artist you need a computer, a software (such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Painter or something else), graphics tablet and possibly a digital/smart pen too. Then you need to learn how to use all of that.

Is digital painting easier than traditional?

While researching for this post I came across a lot of articles stating that digital painting is too easy compared to traditional. I couldn’t agree less! For me personally it seems harder to learn all those tricks and shortcuts and how to create textures and brushes etc and how to use them, than to play around with watercolors and colored pencils. Without a doubt both techniques are difficult to master even though they depend on completely different tools.  Nevertheless, the question about the worth of digital illustrations compared to traditional ones still stands.

You can check out my comparison of advantages and disadvantages of traditional and digital painting in the infographic I made below:

traditional art vs digital art infographic
It took way too much time to make this infographic in Photoshop! (Yes, I know I shouldn’t use Photoshop for this.)

So to sum up, those two types of painting are very different and it would be unfair to make them compete. In many ways digital art is an imitation of traditional art. They both use the same art concepts, such as balance, color theory, harmony and contrast. It is only natural in the 21st century for art to evolve too, along with modern technologies.

Even though digital art can’t create completely the same feel of texture found in traditional art, programs and tools are constantly perfected in order to achieve that. But digital painting has some other qualities. With colors, effects and filters which are impossible to produce with traditional techniques, digital illustrations provide totally new creative experiences.  Not to mention animating. And new possibilities can never be a bad thing.

There is no reason for those two forms of art to compete, since they are being used in different spheres. Digital art is better suited for projects related to the commercial use and graphic design, while traditional will always have place in galleries, museum and auctions. And I’m not saying that they can’t overlap or mix!

My experience with both forms:

As you may already know, I’m painting primarily with watercolors and colored pencils (you can check out my portfolio). But I absolutely love the way digital art looks and I’m jealous of everyone who’s good at it. I have a long way to go when it comes to digital painting. It’s a little frustrating for me to learn how to use Photoshop and Illustrator and other digital tools for drawing, but I’m sure that all that effort will be worth it one day. Since possibilities are endless when it comes to both forms of art, so why not enjoy them both?

I would also like to link to the articles I’ve read prior to writing this one, as a real scholar. So you can check them out by clicking here (Blake Dehart), here (Graphic Mania), here (The Odyssey Online) and here (Breathing Color).

Do you agree with me or do you have a different experience? Please share you opinion in the comments or contact me!


Not only a website, but a blog too!

Hello to you who are reading this! I am pleased to announce that you are now reading my very first blog post. I have no idea who you are though I probably have a plugin which tells me that the website has been visited by your presence (still have to learn how to use that). It’s greatly appreciated that you chose to read this in whole of the vast and infinite universe called Internet, so I will try not to waste your precious time. (And hello to my friends who’ve been forced to read this and proofread this.)

First a disclaimer:

I’m really nervous and have been postponing writing this for so long. I am afraid that I will sound really stupid and unprofessional and that I won’t reach your high expectations. And I, too, have high expectations of myself! But what’s the worst that can happen? I can imagine a future me reading this and being ashamed. But let’s just remember how I used to draw in 2013. And how I do that now. (pictured below) So hopefully, one day I’ll be reading this and I’ll be proud of the progress I made in writing too. But to be able to do so, I have to write now. So let’s get down to business.

I’ve actually only planned to make a portfolio website so I could connect better with you. I never intended to write blog posts. It’s 2019 and basically everybody has a blog. It can get a little overwhelming, at least for me. It seems like everyone has an opinion on everything and everything has already been blogged about.

Wondering how to choose best paper for watercolors? There are about 33.800.000 articles on Google regarding that question.

Not sure how to poach an egg? 47.000.000 articles.

What should I write as my first post? About results. And Google says I should write about myself and my goals with this blog, so here’s

a really short backstory:

As probably every artist always says (though it sounds pretentious to me when I call myself an artist) I have always loved to draw. But I never thought I would be good enough or that it would be more than a hobby. I was drawing because I couldn’t not be doing that. Finally, in 2014 I made an Instagram account just for art, so I wouldn’t bore my friends with constant drawings on my private account. And then after a while (and a lot of ups and downs) I realized that I did improve. And I began to believe that I could be even better. Before that I used to feel very frustrated when the drawings didn’t look the way I wanted them too (not realistic enough; eyes crossed, one bigger than the other; colors completely wrong; paper ruined). And I was never satisfied. It was never good enough. Now I know that the time I spend creating any drawing isn’t wasted even though the result isn’t satisfying. I no longer believe in talent – I only believe in improvement.

But I did think about giving up on drawing a lot. Still do. Whenever I scroll Instagram and come across much more talented and creative artists. Whenever I search Pinterest for inspiration and find hundreds of thousands incredible artworks. Whenever I visit Behance or Dribbble and get lost in all those incredible projects. Will I ever be as good as them? I constantly have to remind myself that there is a visible improvement in my drawings which I’m still afraid to classify as art. And I love drawing. That should be the only thing that matters, right? So now I’m here and I’m writing this and I won’t give up (because I’ve paid for hosting and now I have to keep this site updated). And you shouldn’t either. Did you know that art style is like a fingerprint or zebra’s stripes – there aren’t two which are exactly the same. So next time you doodle when you’re bored, remember that there is no one in the world, dead or alive, who can doodle like you. How ’bout that! And although there are other people with same name and surname as me, there is not another me in the world. Or you, for that matter. Because of that I have decided to occasionally share my experiences here in the form of reviews and roundups and other topics I get questions about on my Instagram. I will focus most on materials, inspiration and stuff that can be helpful to you. The thing I’m most looking forward to is interviewing other contemporary artists whose work I admire. Because even though the amount of incredible artistic projects can be overwhelming, there can never be too many. We need to inspire each other. That’s why I would also love to read and share your opinion and experiences.

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Comparison of a drawing of Winnie Harlow I did in 2016 and 2019 to show the progress I've made.

Thank you for reading a piece of my mind (or skimming through it – I completely understand if you skimmed because I do that too). As you maybe have noticed I don’t feel very confident in myself when it comes to writing, especially for a blog. According to Google you should write simple short sentences with a lot of spaces. Like this. I guess. Just kidding. To be honest the mission with this website/blog is both to try and find my writing voice and develop my own drawing style. All in all, I’m really excited to see how that’s going to work out. But also, I’m here for you and I would be thrilled if you, who are reading this, could comment with your ideas for this blog. Or how you like the website for that matter. Your feedback/opinion/requests are welcome! And if you don’t want to talk, you can check out my portfolio or prints and merch with my drawings on Redbubble, Society6 or Inprnt. Keep an eye out for more content soon.