mummy and me art collaboration in progress, Italian Greyhound dog sketch. How to create an art collaboration with a toddler

How to create an art collaboration with a toddler, even when you don’t intend to!

This how to create an art collaboration with a toddler instructional article is brought to you by, “I am always a mothering, even when I am drawing”, “I was only distracted for a zero tenth of a second”, “lighting fast toddler hands” and “how do I salvage this?”.

I will start this post off by saying I am a typical creative.  Not only do i have multiple project going on and unfinished at any given time, as well as a ton more more running through my head, I am also my worst critic.  I also draw in my daughters presence, always, as I keep her full time whilst working from home.   And that’s how this story started months ago.

I was drawing a cat in impressionist form, or at least I was trying to (I don’t even remember why I was drawing a cat, though as it’s one of my daughters favorite animals it may have been for her benefit) and I wasn’t happy with what I had so far. It just looked wrong rather than an impressionist style cat.  At the same time I was sitting with my daughter who was three in our living room.

I was a little distracted with everything being that my mind was being pulled in multiple directions (daughter, drawing not going the way it should, other members of family, rest of my surroundings).  I put the drawing down on my lap with the pencil resting on top, whilst fielding “can I help you draw the cat?” whilst finding a distraction for my daughter, when the inevitable happened.   My daughter evoked one of her super speed toddler powers, grabbed the pencil and “helped” me draw.  Within a blink of an eye it was done, I don’t even think I had time to put down the object I had just picked up to distract her with.  I’d say I was frustrated or slightly annoyed.  But in truth, despite the fact I knew that those pencil scribbles were done with such a heavy hand that no amount of rubbing out would remove the deep trench marks, I really wasn’t.

Truthfully I hated it a little less, though it may have been that biased mothers love of everything their child creates (yes sometimes you do just a smidgen of a second feel bad wiping away the artwork your precious angel decorated the walls with whilst seething that they chose that as a canvas and not some of the scrap paper).

That all said I still didn’t want to waste the art materials and hours that I had struggled to draw that darn cat. Even more so since I hated it a little less now.  I wracked my brain for ideas to salvage it.  Frankly trying to rub out the pencil scribbles didn’t appeal as I knew it wouldn’t work all that well, so I decided to incorporate them.   And the best idea I could come up with was to keep them as part of the line drawing of the sketch and let them dictate colour placement.

Mommy and Me art project, Art Deco cat drawing in progress.

An actual improvement. The accidental mummy and me cat drawing collaboration in progress.

I am by no means the first, last or only artist to collaborate with their children, on purpose or otherwise.  In fact not very long after I had started salvaging this cat drawing by incorporating S’s scribbles, I came across a post on Facebook about the talented illustrator and graphic artist Mica Angela Hendricks who is Busy Mockingbird.  Detailing her art collaborations with her own daughter.

The more colour  I added to our accidental mummy and me cat collaboration, the more I liked it and the more apparent it was that S really did help.  So I decided to try and replicate the effect and process again with a new picture and this time I would take photographic evidence of each step by step progress.  And it worked.

So here for your viewing pleasure is a step by step guide (with pictures) to creating an art collaboration with your toddler, even if you really don’t mean to.
  • Step one . Draw something.  It’s very important that you own this drawing, act like it’s yours, this help for the next to steps. Its also better if you do this in eye sight of your intended collaborator (read toddler/small child)
Mummy and Me Art, Italian Greyhound Sketch In Progress

Italian Greyhound Sketch in progress. Pencil on paper, early stages.

  • Step two.  Collaborator notices you drawing and the questions ensue.  “What are you       doing?”, “Why?”, “What are you drawing?” “Why?”
  • Step three.  If all goes well in the first two steps, this step should be where you field the question “Can I help?”.  If it’s not forth coming you can always jump the gun and ask them to help. Though I find from experience with my three year old, she finds more passion in things they are not allowed to do.  “please eat your favorite mac n cheese?”…. “NO!” “Don’t put that yucky tasting thing in your mouth!”…. ***put’s it in mouth.  “No you can’t help with this drawing darling, this is mummies special work just by her , but thank you!”……leads to step four.
  • Step 4.  Collaborator (toddler/small child) engages their lightning speed super powers and grabs drawing instrument that you stupidly left in their reach (yes it doesn’t matter that it’s in your lap/hand/up higher than you thought they could reach.  Silly, silly you).  Collaborator (toddler/small child) re-engages their lighting speed super powers and “helps” you draw.
mummy and me art collaboration in progress, Italian Greyhound dog sketch.  How to create an art collaboration with a toddler

Tiara and converse optional, helping mummy draw an Italian Greyhound.

mummy and me Italian Greyhound sketch in progress

The more scribbles the better. Well as long as you can still see the main drawing underneath.

  • Step 5.  The salvaging of the artwork, or more better put colouring in  the artwork.  This is where you get to have fun with your colour mediums.  For this I broke out my oil paint based sharpies.  I was careful not to go over S’s scribble lines that I wanted to keep.  I chose a select number of main colours for the body of the dogs and cat, and black to go over my line drawing and scribble lines by S.
    Italian Greyhound, mummy and me art in progress

    How good are you at keeping between the lines?

    This is where you need to revisit your childhood colouring in skills and keep between the lines of both your line drawing and your collaborator’s scribbles.  fill in the different areas of your drawing that were created by the scribbles  with your choice of main body colours.  I alternated between gold and silver, creating a patchwork Art Deco effect.

  • Step 6.  Tracing over the lines and scribbles.  Very carefully I took a black oil based marker and traced both my line drawing and S’s scribbles that I was keeping.
    mummy and me Italian greyhound drawing. Work in progress

    Tracing the lines and scribbles, in black marker.


  • Stage 7.  This is the grand finally, erase the messy pencil marks that are leftover and went over, tidy up and missed marks in the marker pens, sit back and admire your finished artwork.
    mummy and me Art Deco Italian Greyhound Portrait.

    The finished collaboration. Our mummy and me Art Deco Italian Greyhound Portrait.


And rinse, repeat and create an art collaboration with your toddler…..

Art Deco Cat art, mummy and me art

Art Deco Kitty, Finished Mummy And Me Art


and repeat …

Art Deco mummy and me italian greyhound, mummy and me drawing.

Another Italian Greyhound in progress.

Italian Greyhound mommy and me artwork.

Finished dog on a pillow. S and I are on a roll.


and repeat…

Italian Greyhound Mommy and me art in progress

Who’s line drawing is better? Mine or S’s?

Gone Shopping, Italian Greyhound Dog art with bag, mommy and me art

All done with a Deco feel.

Now you have read this how-to create an art collaboration with a toddler, do you think you might create some mummy (or daddy) and me art yourself? If you do share your makes on our Facebook page. The link is in the footer our our website. or better yet leave a comment on this post.


Good New Iris, Floriography Inkblot Art.

I’ve been quiet lately on the posting news front as well as new blog posts.  This is mostly in part because I started a project that I expected to take no more than a week and that snowballed into a bigger job than I thought it was going to be.   I decided to do a bit of virtual house keeping, and no doubt some of you have noticed a few changes on this website, with new additions and tweaks here and there.  Unfortunately I am still not finished.  But you can expect a new blog addition to this website in the next few weeks focusing on my fabric design.  Hopefully I shall be finished with the majority of my virtual house keeping by the end of the next two weeks, unless more things pop up that I hadn’t thought of.

One of the changes I wanted to make was a featured image for my news page.   It’s been my to-do list for a long while. I kept changing my mind as to an appropriate image.  I finally a month or two ago settled on an idea and instead of changing my mind it stuck. Simple to the point and with meaning.

What imagery could convey news you ask? That’s pretty much what I was struggling with for a long time too.  But then whilst I was looking through my floriography dictionary, I came across the entry for iris flowers, blue ones to be exact.  A beautiful flower that I not only loved enough to consider for my wedding bouquet (unfortunately they didn’t happen due to the florist couldn’t find any at his supplier that morning of good enough quality, though my bouquet was still beautiful none the less) but also in my favorite colour.

The symbology made sense. It also made sense to call on my floriography inkblot artwork for another element of my website seen as I already had incorporated the medium and style for my logo. It was decided, hopefully no more changing  of my mind.

So this posts artwork is a floriography inkblot piece on the blue iris.  I call it “Good News Iris” for the floriography meaning of blue iris flowers which is good news..  Inspiration was it’s meaning and intended purpose.

I used blue finger paint and green food dye dissolved in water to create to create the inkblots on watercolour paper stock as I was at the time making salt and watercolour art with my daughter S and that’s the paint mediums we were using for that.  Which just goes to show you don’t need to use professional mediums to make something look good, and weird experimentation’s can result in some beautiful outcomes.  Over the inkblots I drew by hand the Iris details, first in pencil and secondly in gold oil based sharpie pen. Then finished it off with gold gel pen for the hand written floriography and my two signatures.

And this is the final piece.

"Good News Iris" Floriography Inkblot artwork of a blue Iris. The blue iris can mean good news.

“Good News Iris”
Floriography Inkblot artwork of a blue Iris. The blue iris can mean good news.

So there you have it…. my new news page icon.  Now don’t forget to check out my news feed page for babble, I mean good news from me between posts.  Now it has a featured image there’s no excuse to miss the page.

As I always do with most of my art I shall be making “Good News iris” available in my POD stores, should you wish to own your own piece of good news. Just follow anyone of my various store links to check whats available.


Oh that flirtatious little dandelion.

It’s Valentine’s Day coming up and I bet when you think of flowers and romance you envision red roses.

But there’s another unappreciated plant that would also fit the romantic flowers category, though when I tell you what that plant is you might not believe me.

If anything this plant probably brings to mind childhood play times in the grass, fairies, wishes, free snacks for pet rabbits and if you are like my husband, sheer loathing.  As the designated person in charge of the grassy areas on our property, this plant is a thorn in his side. To be pulled and discarded at first sight.  It’s not something he wants in his garden (not that the dandelions care about those wishes), no doubt any romantic connotation is far from his mind when he sees one.  But if you look up the symbolic meanings of this plant, then you might be in for a surprise.  For something so supposedly unwanted, the results sure are poetic and beautiful.

There’s more than one meaning for this plant, and I shall focus on only one for this post.  One that is quite appropriate for a certain popular day that’s coming up, Coquetry.  The definition of coquetry is “a flirtatious manor or flirtatious behavior”.  And by plant I mean a very well known garden weed.  This fluffy little guy.

That flirtatious little dandelion puff n our garden... It's floriography meaning is coquetry.

That flirtatious little dandelion puff n our garden… It’s floriography meaning is coquetry.

Yup that’s right I am talking about the dandelion.  Dandelions are flirty.  Bet that’s not something you would have ever thought before reading this.  And if we are really honest, a lot lot cheaper than the Valentine’s Day standard of red roses.  But somehow I don’t think my husband will take up giving me dandelions as tokens of affection.  And the real thing whilst quite pretty once gone to seed is quite quite delicate.  One breath, or sneeze and you’ve got a bare stem.

This little, delicate and fun garden weed, with its surprising floriography meaning inspired me.  So I broke out the green ink again.

drawing in green ink, with a dropper. This is how my inkblot art starts.

drawing in green ink, with a dropper. This is how my inkblot art starts.

 And I started making some green grass inkblots.

Fresh green inkblots before the details of the flower have been added.

Fresh green inkblots before the details of the flower have been added.

 This time I went with silver pen instead of gold like the roses.  I felt the silver suited the green and the dandelion puff much more.

Close up of the silver details being added.

Close up of the silver details being added.

 After a few stolen work minutes here and there I finally had something finished.

Coquetry Floriography Inkblot of the Dandelion. Finished piece.

Coquetry Floriography Inkblot of the Dandelion. Finished piece.

I am pretty happy with how it came out.  It even looks good in a white frame.

Originals of two floriography inkblots featuring Dandelion/Coquetry (left in frame) and Ivy/friendship (right)

Originals of two floriography inkblots featuring Dandelion/Coquetry (left in frame) and Ivy/friendship (right)

 And as I have enjoyed creating these inkblots, and learning about floriography so much, I am going to set you all the challenge to join me.

Lets blow up our social media with beautiful flowers, plants, and beautiful sentiments.  We can fill the internet with secret messages and learn about floriography together.

I want you to share pictures of a plant or flower in your feeds be it facebook, twitter, Google+, Tsu, Pinterest, or even Instagram. It can be a photo or even a picture you drew or created.  Along with the flower or plant’s name, it’s floriography meaning and the tag #FloriographyInkblotInspiredMe so we can all see see it. Come on lets communicate through flowers and plants on the internet. It will make a pretty change in our news feeds from the usual image content we see and share, and you might find some of the meanings surprising.

I’m looking forward to seeing what you share.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. May your days be filled with coquetry and love.

Are you having a Merry Christmas?


We celebrate Christmas in our house.  And this year V was off work for both Christmas day and Boxing Day (it’s a Brit thing), so we have had a busy week.  Actually with two days of friends and family dinners and another play date and dinner for S, it’s been a really really busy week.  And with that and being busy to the lead up to Christmas I never managed to finish my artwork for my Christmas post.

So I’m sneaking on now to share it with you and to just say…

Hope you had a happy holidays and have a great new year.  And thanks for supporting me, my art and my blog.

I’m looking forward to sharing more art with you in the new year.

These two inkblot art pieces were inspired by a beautiful poinsettia I bought this month.

Green and red Poinsettia floriography inkblot artwork. The Poinsettia ~ Good cheer and success.

Green and red Poinsettia floriography inkblot artwork. The Poinsettia ~ Good cheer and success.

The poinsettia has more than one floriography meaning that i have found through research.  This piece depicts the meaning “Good cheer and success” which no doubt is connected to it’s popularity as a decorative Christmas plant and it’s association with Christmas.

 This second piece is another inkblot artwork featuring the poinsettia plant… this time leaving out the green ink.

Floriography inkblot of a poinsettia with the meaning of purity.

Floriography inkblot of a poinsettia with the meaning of purity.

From research I have found it stated that the Aztecs gave the meaning of purity to the poinsettia. And that they used it’s red leaves for dye. Sometimes you learn more than you expect when studying up on something simple.  Look up the meaning of a plant and end up reading a page on the Aztecs, their sacrifice beliefs and where they got dye from.

See you in the New Year everyone. Good cheer and success to you all!

Messages in Petals

Since we bought our current home and finally had our own garden, we been getting into gardening and growing things.  Well if I ‘m honest, it’s mostly been a lot of my enthusiasm and ideas and hell of a lot of V’s physical input and gardening.   Anything from roses to tomatoes and squash we have been trying to grow it.  With perhaps more emphasis on the edibles rather than ornamental plants. Having great fun growing, picking and eating the fruits of our labors….OK mostly V’s labors and my direction.

With all the new flowers and plants growing in our gardens and in the neighbors gardens I didn’t have to look far to find sights that inspired me.   I had previously bought some mini red roses and planted them in a planter on my patio and they were in full bloom.

My mini red roses.

My mini red roses.

I wanted to do something inspired by the beautiful red roses. I had also been recently reminded of the subject of Victorian Floriography, which I wanted to learn more about.  The basic premise of Floriography is that every flower or plant has a meaning attached to them.  And by understanding those meanings you can convey secret messages or sentiments to others through flower arrangements or even individual flowers.  I bought the book “The Language and Sentiment of Flowers” by James McCabe. Which is essentially a flower meaning dictionary, where you can look up either a specific flower for their meaning or a sentiment to find a flower suggestion.  I’ve really enjoyed reading this book. And have found it very helpful when researching this project. Though I have come across one or two plants  not included so far. I do recommend this book if you are looking of a Floriography dictionary.

Now I knew what my inspiration was going to be I had to decide what felt right as a medium.

A few years ago I went through an artist’s ink phase, and subsequently got into inkblots. Where I developed my own style/method of drawing with inkblots, which created some beautiful prints.  Mostly these prints revolved around flora inspirations and abstract shapes as those subjects seemed to suit the style this method resulted in. This felt light a natural fit for my new project.

I used this method to create part of my new logo which you saw in my last blog post.  My mediums of choice for this project will mostly be artist ink, pencil and pen (in this posts case oil based Sharpie), on paper.

You can never have too much ink...that is artist ink.

You can never have too much ink…that is artist ink.

And because I like to be a bit different I like to paint and draw with pipettes instead of brushes.

Not the usual artist tools

Not the usual artist tools

So I spent a little while making a mess with ink and having fun.

The beginnings of an inkblot drawing.

The beginnings of an inkblot drawing.

After it's pressed.  Not as pretty. A true inkblot now.

After it’s pressed. Not as pretty. A true inkblot now.

After that I let it dry before I went on to add the details and finish it.

So for this post I went with a specific flower and then looked up its meaning/sentiment for my inspiration rather than the sentiment being my starting point.

As I already stated, I decided to start with the red roses in my garden. So all that was left was to look up roses and their meanings whilst the ink dried.

A single red rose. Love and Simplicity.

A single red rose. Love and Simplicity.

According to some of my research roses especially red ones, generally stand for love in floriogrpahy.  But variations in colour, or even type of rose or number of blooms and if open can dictate a change in meaning. Therefore if a red rose stands for love and a single rose stands for simplicity one could interpret a single red rose for a simplistic love.

Once all was dry and I was able to pencil down some details taking a lead from the natural flow of the inkblots I ended up with two different red rose prints.

Both I gave gold pen details. Each one construes a different sentiment based on my research of floriography.

The first print features a bunch of roses on their stems with leaves.

Bunch of red roses stand for love.

Bunch of red roses stand for love.

The second piece was a single rose with some leaves visible.

A single rose stands for simplicity.

A single rose stands for simplicity.

Whilst red roses are said to hold a floriogrpahy meaning of love a single rose can sometimes mean simplicity. Therefore you could construe a single red rose as a declaration of simple love.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed making these pieces and learning more about floriography.  And I can’t wait to make more, so watch this space as it may become a regular subject on the Inspired Me Studio blog.