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.


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.

Yoo-Hoo I See You


Since I started selling my art on Zazzle and Spoonflower, I have realized that being social is a necessity to get my work seen and perhaps make one sale. And since then I’ve been on steep learning curve as to what marketing means to an artist.

Many think that selling your photography or artwork on a POD site (print on demand website) is a simple and quick way to make money from your creative efforts.  But it’s anything but quick, simple and by no means easy.

Starting out I expected to spend majority of my time creating the art, followed by creating designs for POD sites from said art and finally promoting. But the reality has been in fact the reverse. I have at times spend majority of my time networking or socializing, followed by designing for the POD sites, and then some artwork. Which may not sound like a big deal, except for me it matters as my time in the to create is already short.  But I still do it anyway. I do it because because without networking and socializing nobody would see my art, or my blog.  Let alone my art of the POD sites.  Often I do it religiously, sometimes I take a break for a couple of days, or more.  I follow advice I have been given.  And I try all the social media networking/marketing advice I find.  Post regularly and I try to not go a huge amount of time between blog posts (which is hard because I don’t like posting till I’ve completed a project which may be more than one piece in my mind when I start out.  But through all of that I sometimes…….Actually quite often find myself looking at the screen like this.

Peek a Hoo, I see you!

Peek a Hoo, I see you!

And wondering Do you see me?

You see for the most part, the only time I can see someone has read my blog, or liked my work, and designs is if they tell me.  Be it through a simple like or comment, even an email, or a simple mention, share on their profiles and pages, or re-tweet. Without those I can’t tell what you think or if you have even read what I have written. Yes I have statistics for this website…but they are very vague. It doesn’t say if you liked something….sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the visits from genuine folks and the bots or spammers with their dubious shoe sales.  So often when I publish new posts and network on all the different social sites, I sometimes wonder if anyone sees me? Sometimes it feels like I am talking into the massive abyss that is the world wide web. The proverbial tree in an internet forest.  If I post something and no-one is there to read it, does it make an impact of any kind?

I create to be creative as it is what I love.  And I also wish to show S that you can still try to do something that makes you happy even if its not a nine to five that’s guaranteed to make a living.  So I wont stop doing so, because I cannot see who’s listening to me.  And I wont stop sharing in case someone is.

So I shall just have to continue to be inspired and create.  And I shall continue to share.

And I shall probably also still often find myself staring at the computer screen,



still like this looking for that  spec of encouragement.

Still wondering are you out there? Can you see me?

Multi-color Barn Owls Print Bath Set
Multi-color Barn Owls Print Bath Set by InspiredMeStudio
Look at more Barn owl Toothbrush Holder and Soap Dispenser Set at zazzle

There’s a Hummingbird in my Garden

Since I moved to California (from England) to be with my husband, I’ve become more appreciative of birds. Not that I didn’t like them before. I loved them. I have had for many years a pet Cockatiel which sadly had to stay in the UK with my parents. But when I came to live here, it was the first time I had ever seen a hummingbird. They are tiny, cute and beautiful and I was in awe. And when I found out you could get a hummingbird feeder! So we strung one upon our balcony and that was my solution to not having a pet for the first time in my life. Over the past 5 years I have watched the hummingbirds come and go from our feeder, bought a house with a garden, bought an extra feeder, watched even more hummingbirds come and go, even stay and fight off others.

I’m truly hooked and inspired.

Some of them are iridescent, with bright emerald greens and ruby reds. Others different hues of browns.

I was inspired enough to ask V to get me some photos….


Ruby Throated Hummingbird perched on a wire.

Then I was inspired to sketch….

Hummingbird sketches in pen

That inspiration moved on to create.


Hummingbird in black pen and pencil.

And create some more


Doodles of concept ideas

I did studies of the different aspects of hummingbirds that intrigue me….


Studies of cypress vines. Hummingbirds feed from what seem to be the most beautiful flowers.

And finally create something more detailed.


Unfinished perched hummingbird framed with cypress vine. Pencil and black pen.

I haven’t finished with my hummingbird inspiration….and I haven’t finished all that I have created so far. In fact I still am uncertain what exactly I will do with the different studies featured in this post. I know I will certainly revisit them as well as the inspiration of this post..

Not least because there is always a hummingbird in my garden. They really do enjoy the red sugary drink we put out for them.

My Daughter, My Inspiration.

And here we are my first two pieces and first inspiration.

This inspiration has been a learning curve for me and brought with it a huge realization on many fronts. Firstly I have learnt that it’s much harder than I thought to find the odd five minutes here and there for hobbies when you have a 1-year-old. And the odd five minutes here and there don’t lend to very much creatively and doing it this way means a not so great drawing that took maybe an hour in total max took forever to finish. But what really hit me was holly cow are my drawing skills rusty!!!!!!
And it is that realization that hit me the most. I’m not sure which had more of an effect, the former or the later. But one thing I’m sure about, is that I’m not very impressed with the results.
I thought I was capable of better. But hopefully as this project progresses my skills will improve….I hope.

Anyway enough digressing and back to the real purpose of this blog. This posts inspiration and what resulted from it.

This weeks post is brought to you by the letter S. Specifically my beautiful daughter S. My never-ending source of inspiration and muse who has motivated me to do many things. Such as cook. My husband and anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t cook very often. There are very good reasons behind that. Mostly it’s not something I even average on except for one or two things. But yet at the 6 month mark I was hell-bent on making my own baby food. And then just recently S was part motivation for this entire drawing project. And I don’t mean just this weeks post. I mean the whole thing. I want to be able to show her the many facets of mummy and foster a creative environment for her to grow up in. And to do that I need to actually do the things I love and enjoy and not just say I can do them.
Every day S does something inspiring and new. Yesterday she showed us that just because we think she’s a little too short to reach something doesn’t mean she won’t courtesy of her new “stand on tippy toes skills”. She’s getting closer and closer to walking properly every day and just yesterday I caught her dancing somewhat…well butt shuffling in a bad rhythm to Choo Choo Soul while in her high chair. There’s always something new to wrap my head around and I’m still trying to process that it’s already been over a year since we brought her home. My baby is growing up! And fast!
We’ve been snap happy taking millions of pictures for the memory banks and got as many videos as she would let us catching her doing the latest “cute new thing”. So why now immortalized some our memories in pen and pencil? Is it not appropriate that my motivation be my first inspiration?
Well lets look at the results.

This is my first piece. It’s coloring pencil on paper.

20121023-215901.jpg Drawing number one.

I took inspiration from pointillism for style. Purely for fun. I do like how it looks like a mosaic almost.
And here’s a close up.

20121024-145426.jpg Close up of drawing number one.

You can see in the close up how I did the dots.

20121024-160119.jpg Memories of impending motherhood.

You may be wondering “what’s with the big star?”. Well it’s to signify S’s name. It is “star” although not in English. It seemed appropriate as she is our little twinkle and I’d wish for her upon a star any day. That and we were searching for a beautiful girls name to represent my heritage as she has V’s surname which makes his (or at least part of) very obvious. It was beautiful and not too difficult for an American tongue to pronounce although many still miss-hear it. And bonus was it is very rarely heard of over here. Which is something we wanted as well. Something unique but meaningful to who she is.

20121024-160322.jpg Tiny feet.

Like any mother I have the obligatory thousands of photos. In fact I think I hit well over a thousand by the time S was six months old. When I sat down to start drawing for this post, I looked at the many I have on my phone (don’t you love the technology of today? You can’t fit that many photos in your wallet!), and thought about in what way I wanted to represent my little muse on paper. I knew I wanted to represent my love for her and our bond most of all. Before and after she was born. Had I found more opportunity to concentrate on my drawings, I think I would have ventured more into conveying who S is. Her personality, her loves, and likes. Just generally what its like to live with S. I truly do feel so lucky to be able to call myself her mum and claim her as mine, well ours.

But that’s enough gushing. As I said earlier I did do two drawings. The second one (shown bellow) was done in pencil and black pen. This drawing I was aiming for was a picture to convey what impending motherhood felt like for me and how I feel about it now. Waiting for S to finish cooking and greet us in the big wide world. Again I’m not that impressed with how it turned out. It was pretty rushed and more worthy of the title doodle than drawing.

20121029-141350.jpg Drawing number two.

And a close up of drawing number two. I did swirls for the sky instead of dots like before. The swirls were strangely relaxing to do. Must have been the monotony. Although not as neat as I’d have liked due to me rushing it.

20121029-141534.jpg Close up of drawing number two.

And I guess that concludes my first inspiration post. I’ll leave you to mull on what you have seen and read. While I go off to draw some more (hopefully with improvement) for a new post.