Crystal Ink Swatches

Crystal Ink Swatches

Ink Swatches

This time I’m creating color ink swatches for the seven colours of the rainbow.

I’ve always felt that paint, ink or colored pencil swatching could be created in a way to make an art piece.

I like working with color and art but dislike not having anything to show for it at the end.

I believe that all my art practice should be beautiful and so I decided to take my swatching up a notch.

Instead of just doing the swatch on a square grid, I’m going to create some artworks as I do this swatch.

These will be in the shape of crystals.

I’ll be using my new favorite Windsor and Newton drawing inks.


Seven is a popular number found in everyday life. There are seven days of the week and seven colors of the rainbow, seven chakras and now seven crystal forms.

I’ll be using the seven colors of the rainbow for my ink swatches.

I selected one of the seven forms with a crystal in that form which matches the colour. I will be using artistic license for these images.

Clearly, I’m not using all the colors available in the Windsor and Newton drawing inks range.


It’s always handy to work in groups of seven as there are seven colours in the rainbow. These colours are broken out from white light which is the true energy.

The seven colours of the rainbow in order are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

In a rainbow usually the red is always on the outer circle and violet is always on the inner cycle.

Beyond both ends of the rainbow is where we find infrared, before the red, and ultraviolet, after the violet.

We cannot see these color with our eyes, although scientists can measure them.

Art Supplies

For swatches or ink swatches you can use what you have.

There really is no need to get the exact supplies that I’m using. I believe as an artist you probably have what you need right in your own home.

The specific art supplies which I used are listed here:

Art supplies

Crystal Forms

In nature, a crystal habit is how it forms.

A crystal’s form is determined by the number of axes and faces on the crystal.

The seven crystal forms are:

  • Isometric
  • Tetragonal
  • Triclinic
  • Hexagonal
  • Monoclinic
  • Orthorhombic
  • Trigonal

Each of the crystal forms has many crystals associated within that form.

I have selected one colour from each group that matches one of the seven colours of the rainbow for my drawing ink swatches.

Isometric Crystal


Isometric crystals have all three axes the same and are at right angles to each other.

Isometric Crystal Examples

Examples of isometric crystals are the garnet an icositetrahedron and the spinel an octahedron.

An example of a red crystal in the isometric crystal form is the garnet.

Isometric Crystal Examples

Examples of isometric crystals are the garnet an icositetrahedron and the spinel an octahedron.

An example of a red crystal in the isometric crystal form is the garnet.

Orthorhombic Crystal


Orthorhombic crystals have three axes of unequal length. Two are at right angles to one another and the third is perpendicular.

Orthorhombic Crystal Examples

Examples of the orthorhombic crystal structure are the peridot and topaz.

I chose to draw an orange crystal from the orthombic form and this one is a topaz.

Tetragonal Crystal


Tetragonal crystals have three axes which are at right angles to each other. The two on the same plane are equal in length while the third is perpendicular to this plane and of different length.

Tetragonal Crystal Examples

Examples of tetragonal crystals are the zircon and the scapolite.

An a yellow crystal in the tetragonal form is scheelite.

Hexagonal Crystal


The hexagonal crystal has three of the four axes all in one plane and intersect at 60°. The 4th axis is perpendicular and unequal in length to the other. There are six planes of symmetry.

Hexagonal Crystal Examples

Examples of hexagonal crystal are the apatite and the beryl.

A much-loved hexagonal form crystal is the emerald which are green.

Triclinic Crystal


The triclinic crystal has three axes of unequal length all inclined to one another at different angles.

Triclinic Crystal Examples

Amazonite (alkali feldspar) and rhodonite are examples of the triclinic crystal form.

The example I’ve chosen for a blue crystal in the triclinic form is the turquoise blue.

Monoclinic Crystal


The monoclinic crystal has three axes of unequal length. Two intersect at an oblique angle in one plane and the third is perpendicular.

Monoclinic Crystal Examples

Examples of monoclinic crystals are the epidote and orthoclase feldspar.

In the monoclinic crystal form I have selected the crystal chrysocolla which is often an indigo color.

Trigonal Crystal


The trigonal crystal is similar to the hexagonal system. There are three axes at 60° to each other in the same plane. The fourth axis is perpendicular. There are three planes of symmetry.

Trigonal Crystal Examples

Quartz and sapphire are examples of the trigonal crystal form.

There are many crystals in the trigonal form and the one I have chosen is amethyst which is violet.

Amethyst Cluster

A popular way to draw an amethyst is in cluster form.

These are highly popular crystals because they form points and sometimes points for both ends.

They are often used in new age practices and crystal healing.

An amethyst cluster will emanate good energy into a room.

Crystal clusters are highly popular as gorgeous décor items which you can place on a coffee table.

Amethyst Cathedrals

The way amethyst crystals grow are sometimes as original bubbles trapped within an ancient lava flow.

The minerals get trapped within the bubble and overtime crystallize.

These bubbles can either be small as geodes, but when they became very big, they are known as cathedrals.

An amethyst cathedral can be spectacular and a great addition to your home or office style.


Many of you ask about my process and how I created this artwork.

Research for Ink Swatches

I did some research to start with as I needed seven crystals in particular colors.

I wanted the color sequence to go as on the rainbow which is from red to violet.

I had to explore the crystal forms and find out which crystals were the correct color that I required to use for my rainbow.

Crystal Forms

I investigated each crystal form to find for instance a red crystal for the isometric and a green crystal for the hexagonal.

Even though there are many different crystals within the same form they’re not all the same colors.

I also spent quite a bit of time studying the crystal axes and faces and what that really meant.

To be honest I still don’t fully understand this part, but I do have a couple of sketches to help determine which crystal is which.

Pencil Sketch

Seven Crystals

Once I had decided which color crystal I was going to use for each form, I laid the crystal shapes out in the order of the colors that I had chosen because I wanted it to go from red to violet.

Now technically this may not be the natural way that you would list crystals because I understand there is a particular pattern, but I moved it around because I wanted to use the different colors crystals.

What the forms were didn’t really matter to me because I was going to be using my inks.

With a 2H pencil I started with to lightly sketch out these crystals.

Although technically when a crystal grows it can be perfect, very often in nature they are not.

Crystals frequently contain flaws, imperfections, cracks and cloudiness within them.

It all depends on which other minerals were around at the time it grew.

When you draw your crystals, they don’t have to be exact and mine certainly are not.

Black Pen

With a 0.5mm black pen and I went over the main outlines of the shapes.

I used a light touch because these lines are a guide on where to place the ink.

crystal image

Colored Ink

Now comes the fun part where we start to use the colored drawing inks.

Red Ink

I started with the red end, so the ink color is called deep red.

I took a clean paint brush and put some of the red ink into the well on my palette so I can see what I’m doing.

With a clean paintbrush which had water on it, I gently laid some water over the shape of the crystal.

Next, I picked up my red ink on my paintbrush, not diluted, and I started dabbing it into the water of the shape of the crystal on the page, so it will naturally disperse and move.

In a way ink is very much like watercolor but it is lighter, and I do enjoy using it.

Orange Ink

For the second crystal, which is orange, I used the ink called orange which is great.

With a clean paint brush, I picked up some orange ink straight out of the ink pot and put it into my palette well.

Then I wet the shape of the crystal with some plain water and dabbed some orange straight onto the crystal.

The idea that I was going for is that it would create a mottled effect, but we can still see the color of the ink.

I’m making ink swatches is so even though there will be some dark areas of ink there will be a lot of light parts as well.

Yellow Ink

There are a couple of yellow inks in the Winsor and Newton drawing in collection.

I chose the Canary yellow for this project.

With a clean paintbrush, I picked up some yellow and put it in the well on my palette.

I wet the crystal with plain water and added some dabs of yellow ink.

Green Ink

For the middle hexagonal crystal, which is going to be green, I chose the ink color called Apple green.

Funnily enough there is an ink called Emerald green in this suite of inks, but I didn’t like the way it was. It was a little too blue for my liking, so that is why I went with the Apple green color.

I wet the crystal and dabbed in some Apple green ink to the crystal.

Blue Ink

The next color in the rainbow is blue. In my stash I have two blue inks namely Cobalt blue and Blue.

For this project I chose the cobalt blue for the blue crystal because I was going to use the other regular blue for the indigo.

With the clean paintbrush I picked up some cobalt ink straight from the pot and put it into the well in my palette.

Next, I wet the image of the crystal and added some cobalt ink into the shape.

Indigo Ink

For my indigo crystal I chose the ink that’s called Blue from the Windsor and Newton inks.

I believe they may have a darker blue as well or a more indigo blue, but I don’t own it, so that’s why I chose the Blue.

It also occurred to me that I could have gone in and used my regular fountain pen dark blue for this project, but that really wasn’t what I was going for.

The idea is that I’m swatching out my Windsor and Newton drawing inks.

Next I wet the crystal and then added some dabs of blue ink for the indigo crystal.

Violet Ink

For the seventh and final crystal which is going to be Violet, I chose the ink which is called Violet which is great.

In my general ink collection, I do have a purple as well which is far darker, so this Violet was a great choice for the Violet crystal.

This will be the amethyst crystal which I must say is one of my absolute favorite crystals.

For this final crystal I wet the paper and with a clean paintbrush I picked up some of the amethyst ink out of the ink pot and I dropped it into the well in my palette.

In this way I could see what I was doing I wet the image and then I gently dabbed some Violet ink into the final crystal.

Gold ink


Below each crystal I wrote the shape name, the crystal form and the name of the ink color which I used for that crystal.

Gold Ink

Because I always seem to add some gold to all the images I do, I decided I would as well this time.

After all, why not?

I got out my gold ink and with a clean paint brush and straight form the ink pot I put some glimmer and shimmer onto each of the crystals.


I’m very happy with the final artwork.

I truly believe that doing a color swatch doesn’t have to be boring.

To add some more interest to a swatch makes sense to me.

There are other ways to do this without even doing crystals.

Perhaps you could do fruit where you would have a red fruit and an orange fruit and a yellow fruit and, in the end, you have created a delightful little artwork as well.

I know that making swatches is a valuable part of an artist’s practice, but swatches don’t have to be humdrum.

Thank you for sharing your day with me.


Aspiring Artist Activity

For this activity (which you can do with your kids) get your art supplies to hand and your sketchbook and please do the following:

  • Choose your art medium. It could be pencil crayons watercolors or inks it’s up to you.
  • Select the seven colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
  • Using our images as a guide, draw out seven crystal forms. If you find these drawings a bit tricky just work with the small cube first, alternatively you could do fruit.
  • Color in the crystals making sure to have some dark full color at the bottom that fades lighter towards the top.
  • Label each color with the correct color name from your art medium for example cadmium yellow so you know exactly which color you used.
  • Write a title on your swatch so you will know exactly which medium you used whether it was your Faber Castell polychromos crayons, your watercolor paints, or your Winsor and Newton drawing inks.

Share Your Artwork

You can share your artwork on social so everyone can see what you created.

If you add the hashtag #AHAactivity I can find your work as well.

More Articles

Here are some more articles for you to have a look at about the different types of art and other cool stuff we do on this blog.

AHAtober – Inktober for Self-care

AHAtober – Inktober for Self-care


Inktober is an art movement devised by Jake Parker way back in 2009.

To do Inktober you draw one ink artwork for every day of October. 

At the end you have thirty-one artworks.

Inktober Prompts

Each year the official Inktober prompts are published which you can follow.

Many artists and creators devise their own prompts depending on the type of art or interests they have.

For instance, there is the Starztober challenge for astrologers.

The Inktober artworks are drawn in ink thus it is called Inktober and not Paintober.

Many artists take up the challenge, post their work and process drawings on their social channels.

The Inktober Challenge

Inktober is a challenge you take with yourself.

The task to create one ink drawing every day for the month of October.

To win Inktober is to complete thirty-one drawings in the tenth month.

Many people start Inktober, but not everybody completes it, and I can attest to this.

Inktober is not a competition against other people, but rather it is a contest with yourself.

The question is, “Are you able to create one new ink drawing every day for thirty-one days?”

That is the challenge of Inktober.

When you complete all thirty-one drawings before the month has ended you win Inktober.

Previous Inktober Years

I’ve started Inktober before, but I’ve never completed.

I believe that this year I will get there.

I’m more of an artist than ever before so I am up for the challenge.

AHAtober Prompts

If you want to be traditional you can find this year’s official Inktober prompts here (when they are published).

As an aspiring artist, I have created my own Inktober prompts this year and they are all related to self-care.

I plan to use my Inktober drawings as the basis of a coloring book which I plan to publish next year.

This year my personal Alison Hazel Art Inktober theme is around supporting mental health, mindfulness and neurographic topics like rest, reflection and the work/life balance.

I feel these are the topics I mainly focus on in my art practice and I want to share them with you.

Official AHAtober 2022 prompts

Inktober Journal

I have a new journal dedicated to Inktober this year it is a Stillman and Birn Nova Series sketchbook with toned paper.

The size is 3 ½ by 5 ½ inches or 9cm by 14cm.

Note that this is a pocket sized notebook.

I believe this will help me complete Inktober because I only have to draw a small artwork.

It has over 60 pages which is more than the 31 pages I need for one page per day.

I usually only draw on the right-hand page and leave the left side empty as it is the back of the previous artwork.

Cover Page

Below is my inside cover page. It is clearly written AHAtober, Inktober for Self-care, 2022.

So now when I look back at this journal in years to come I will immediately be reminded what it was all about.

AHAtober journal cover page

Prompts Two-Page Spread

On the next full two-page spread I’ve written the full list of AHAtober prompts.

I have the 1st to the 16th or October on the left-hand page column and the 17th to the 31st on the right-hand page column.

This way when I’m out and about with my AHAtober journal I can see the day’s prompts and get right on drawing the artwork.

I plan to start these sketches early in the day. I may be at a coffee shop or on my lunch break and I have no reason not to at least draft the outlines.

AHAtober 2022 prompts list

Drawing Inks and Supplies

I recently started working with colored inks and I plan to use this medium in my Inktober challenge this year.

The art supplies I’ll be using are:

Art supplies

My Art Style and Process

As with most of my pen and ink drawings, I plan to start with a pencil sketch.

I’ll also have a border typically 1cm or half an inch wide.

Then I’ll do the black pen outline.

Next, I’ll add colored inks either with a pen or with a paintbrush.

Inktober Strategy

My strategy for Inktober for this year is as follows:

  • I hope to win at Inktober22.
  • I plan to only compete with myself.
  • I will draw every day.
  • I propose to learn more about how to work with inks.


Thank you for making me a part of your day.


Aspiring Artist Activity

Gather your Inktober sketchbook, pens and ink and please do the following:

Official AHAtober 2022 prompts

Inktober Prompts

  • Decide whether to use the official Inktober prompts, my Inktober prompts or create your own Inktober prompts.

Inktober Journal Setup

  • On the first page write your name.
  • Write the year.
  • On the second page write the prompts list. This may flow over to two pages.
  • On October 1st, start your first drawing perhaps on the right-hand page.
  • Keep going inking every day and complete the challenge.


  • If you are comfortable, share your artworks with the hashtags #inktober or with my hashtag #AHAtober.

More Articles

Here are some more articles and blog post from our site.

How to Win at NaNoWriMo

How to Win at NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.

As the NaNoWriMo movement has become a global effort it could be called IntNoWriMo or International Novel Writing Month, but that probably won’t easily catch on.

NaNoWriMo happens every November.

The goal is to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of the eleventh month.

NaNoWriMo closely follows Inktober which is an art challenge every October which I love as well.

How NaNoWriMo Works

Say you were planning a novel, or any other type of non-fiction book or writing project, to have 50,000 words is a vast number of words completed.

If we take 50,000 words and divide them by 30 days, it returns 1667 words per day, every day for the month of November.

Stephen King

In his fabulous book, “On Writing” Stephen King says he writes 2000 words every day of the year, including Christmas Day, and on his birthday.

When I first read this fact it seemed an awful lot of words, but then I thought to myself, well perhaps I can do 1000 words a day and this has been my goal since then.

For NaNoWriMo you can write 1667 word a day and just push yourself a little further.

When I started writing blogs, I was writing about 150 to 200 words and then putting it in a drawer and coming back three days later as I thought this is how real writers work.

I’d read that proper writers write a bit of work, then they let it percolate and they eventually come back to it, but that really didn’t work for myself and my blogs.

After discovering the word count that Stephen King aimed for each day, I decided that I will write 1000 words a day.

Suddenly one thousand words became the perfect length for a blog post for me.

Most serious blogs are at least 1000 words, and some can be around 2000 words because this is a good amount which can be read in under five minutes.

How to Win at NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is a challenge which you take with yourself.

You can report your wins on social media with everybody else who’s doing it under the hashtag #NaNoWriMo.

But to win at NaNoWriMo you must write 50,000 words during November.

The idea is that your 50,000 words could be a solid foundation for any type of writing project.

What to do With What You Write

What you write for NaNoWriMo will be different for everyone.

Here are some of my ideas on what to do with what you write.

  • It can be the basis for a book.
  • You could have 1000 words per week for your blog for a whole year and then you would get fifty blog posts of 1000 words each.
  • Your writing could become the basis for a course outline that you want to teach which may be a speciality topic that you inside out.
  • It could be content creation for any creative project. For example, if you are writing for other people, or ghostwriting, you can get your ideas down in 50,000 words.
  • You could have fifty 1000-word (or thirty 1667-word) scripts for YouTube videos if you are a YouTuber.
  • You might write fifty 1000-word (or thirty 1667-word) short stories or short story outlines. If you are artistic you may wish to go on and illustrate these as well.

Why Do NaNoWriMo

When you consistently write every day, and you push yourself to 1667 words, it builds the habit of writing.

This ritual will benefit you for the rest of your life because once you see what you can achieve during November you realize you have so much more inside you.

These revelations come to yourself as you see what you can achieve.

You can write 1667 words today and you can put 50,000 words down in November which could be a turning point for you and your creative journey.

My Experience with NaNoWriMo

I have tried NaNoWriMo three times in the past.

First Attempt

The first time was years ago when I thought I was going to write a novel. I quickly discovered that a novel isn’t my thing. They say everyone has a Great American Novel in them, well, I don’t think I do because writing a novel just didn’t keep my interest.

Second Attempt

The second time I attempted NaNoWriMo I was writing a new age book and although I got off to a good start, after about seven days, I just couldn’t keep up with the word count and I let it go.

In the time after my abortive NaNoWriMo attempt I did complete that book, but it took an awful long time (years) to get the basics down.

I often think that if I’d stuck to NaNoWriMo I would have forced myself to have all the basics that I needed for the structure of the book.

Third Attempt

The third time I attempted NaNoWriMo I was all caught up in all the social media aspect of it.

I saw that people were posting and saying, “I did 1500 words” or “I did 1200 words today” or “I’m on track for NaNoWriMo” and, “by day five you should have XYZ in number of words and I’m there.”

Many people were making it, but I found I still couldn’t keep it up every single day.

I slowly slipped behind on the word count and I let it go.

But this year I’m getting organized to write NaNoWriMo.

Planning NaNoWriMo for This Year

I’m writing this in July because I’m already thinking about what I’d like to achieve during NaNoWriMo in November which is still five months away.

I know that being prepared properly is what’s probably going to get me through.

There are several steps I’m planning out and I’m going to list them now.

What I’m Writing – 30 Blogs

I shall write thirty blog posts of 1667 words each, so that would be one blog post per day in November.

My decision is to write thirty blog posts of 1667 words each for following year.

I’m going to do thirty separate blog posts which will certainly set me up for what I need to provide me with lots of content going into the New Year.

After NaNoWriMo, and during this December, I can polish the posts.

My first completed blog post will be published in the first week in January.

Word Document Setup

I will set up the thirty Word documents on my computer beforehand and have them ready to go.

Each Word document will include the date in November and the blog title all set for me to start typing immediately on November the 1st.

New Journal

I also have a new journal, I love journals, which I’m dedicating to NaNoWriMo this year.

In my NaNoWriMo journal I am making notes about the content.

If I do thirty individual topics, I need thirty titles for each of the blog posts.

Then I will know each morning when I wake up what my daily title is and what I’m supposed to be writing about that day.

I don’t want to be sitting at my keyboard thinking, “Gosh what shall I write about? I know, let me make some coffee and do the laundry” and not getting the words on the page.

Although I’m not writing any words before November, I am planning what I’m going to be writing about.

Artwork for Each Blog

Because I am a creative and not just a writer, I do like to do art which is what the website is about.

For my NaNoWriMo journal I require a book with at least thirty full double-page spreads one spread for each day of November on which I can do an art piece related to the blog post.

This means the book must have at least 60 pages if not more.

Daily Reflection

I’m also planning to have a daily review at the end of each day.

I envisage my daily review as a place where I can write one or two sentences about how the writing went.

Because I do believe that some days, I won’t be able to do any writing at all and that being the case, I would either have to catch up over the next few days or get ahead beforehand, so that I can afford to take a day off if I have to.

I don’t want to limit myself to 1667 words per day and, certainly, if I can get ahead in the beginning that will help because I do tend to flag mid-month.

I feel that having a reflection in the evening in my journal jotting down a few sentences will help me realize what I’m trying to do and why I’m trying to win at NaNoWriMo.

My NaNoWriMo Page Template

This diagram shows the layout of my journal pages for my NaNoWriMo writing this year.

I always start on a double spread page.

NaNoWriMo template

Left-hand Page

On the left-hand page, I will draw the artwork that goes with the post.

Right-hand Page

The first right-hand page will be divided in a particular way.


At the top is the working title, subtitle and then the paragraphs below.


On the right-hand sidebar is an area where I can make notes about items which I need to mention such as:

  • People’s names.
  • Specific concepts I want to make sure that I’m stating.
  • The highlights about the actual blog post.
  • Links to websites or to an artist where I reference their work.
  • I may need to make sure that everything is tabulated, and accreditation goes to those who I’m talking about. For instance, if I reference a Picasso painting, I will put a link to Picasso on his Wikipedia page or something like that. Or if I reference neurographic art I may put a link to some of my YouTube videos about this topic.
  • Tags, links and hashtags will all go in the right-hand sidebar on the first page, so I know immediately what the post is about.

Main Body

The body of the writing will be on the right-hand page in the wide left column.

I will set out my journal ahead of time because I do enjoy handwriting although I may ultimately put it all into Word.

I will write in Word to get the correct word count, and this might sound like double duty, but I do believe that being properly prepared will help me.


The bottom footer area is for reflection and evening review about how I felt the day went.

I want to reflect on this writing journey.


If I don’t manage to finish in November, I will still have all my notes in my journal about what I was getting into.

I can continue into December, if necessary, but I hope that it won’t come to that.

What to Write – Ideas

I want to share my plans for NaNoWriMo with you so that you might give some consideration to getting started with some writing project of your own this year.


You may want to do a memoir for your family. A family record is something I’ve been toying with as my daughters are saying, “Hey tell us about the old days, were you in the war?”

I mean how old are they think I am?

Recipe Book

Perhaps you want to do a recipe book or perhaps you want to talk about gardening these are topics that interest me.

I may or may not want to at one point write about those things this year.

My focus is writing about developing creativity specifically in women over the age of 60 in the third age.

I am just sharing this with you.

If you feel typing is not your thing or tapping on the keyboard is not your thing or you don’t even know how to use Word, then pick up a pen.

You can still get yourself a journal and start writing and planning out what it is you want to share and what you really want to leave behind.


This might be the year when you write your life story for your future generations which can be shared with your children, grandchildren and the rest who come behind you.

You have a lot to offer.

We are moving in a digital world and many of the young folk don’t know anything about it.

You might want to share that.

I’ll talk more about documenting your legacy in another video.


I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t manage to write 50,000 words in November.

I would love to complete this and I’m getting as prepared as I can to do NaNoWriMo and I plan to do it, but I will not mentally harangue myself if I do not complete the challenge.

Additionally, I will not consider myself a failure if I don’t make it.

However, I will certainly consider myself a success if I do win at NaNoWriMo.


Use the hashtag #AHANaNoWriMo so we can see what work you are doing with our template.

I’d love to see what you create.



Aspiring Artist Activity

In your art journal (or your special NaNoWriMo journal) please do the following:


  • Over a two-page spread on the left-hand page, write the dates from November 1st to 15th in the margin. On the right-hand page, write the dates November 16th to 30th.
  • Think about what type of writing project you want to complete in NaNoWriMo.
  • Between now and November write in the working titles of the writing project you plan. If it is a novel, write titles for each chapter or if it is for blog posts write the titles for each blog.


  • On the next two-page spread draw out the template and write the date as November 1st.
  • Leave the next two-page spread empty for the overflow words from November 1st.
  • Continue drawing the template on every other two-page spread for each day in November.

Now you are all set up to win at NaNoWriMo this year.

Blog Posts

Here is a sample of some more topics from our blog posts.

Inukshuk – Pen and Ink

Inukshuk – Pen and Ink

Inspiration As a part of working on my nature journal, last weekend I went down to the beach at the coast in Vancouver. I was there last week but this week I walked further round the promenade and came across the massive inukshuk. An inukshuk is a figure made of piled...

Creative Projects for Aspiring Artists

Creative Projects for Aspiring Artists

Creative Projects

Allow me to share with you how I manage my creative projects as an aspiring artist

I believe that being an artist, or an aspiring artist, or even a reluctant artist is a natural way to be.

Maybe you were brought up to view art as fluff and something that kids do.

Or perhaps you were programmed by your early home environment to believe that to be an artist is not a real job.

Personally, I was good at art at school and I had my first artwork exhibited at the tender age of nine in the local town library’s gallery.

At high school, as I scraped through maths, science and English literature I still excelled at art.

Yet I did nothing with it.

I could always draw and doodle.

The Middle Years

After school I found a job in an office, got married and had four hungry children, here I want to say, “…and a crop in the field…”

My life was busy with family, family, family.

Only when my youngest daughter left home in 2019, and my husband passed away, did I have time for myself.

I turned to art and signed up for a one-day Art Retreat at the Luminous Elephant art studio in Vancouver.

At this time I began sketching privately and then joined the Vancouver Urban Sketchers  group and went to a few meetings.

Alison Hazel Art

I created this website to showcase my sketches and named it Alison Hazel Art.

To start with I hesitated to use the word “Art” in the title.

I mean, don’t artists have degrees from prestigious universities and certificate and all that?

Who was I as a mature housewife type of scribbler to call myself anything “Art” but, I reasoned that I was an aspiring artist and I am on an artistic journey.

My path to become an artist is different to yours and the art I create is different to yours, but it is my journey and I’m walking this road.


I hope to get better over time.

In the past two years I’ve accumulated some markers, watercolour paint, pencil crayons, acrylic paints from my daughter’s school leftovers, ink and pens.

Perpetual Nature Journal

In May 2022 I happened upon the Daily Nature Journal channel on YouTube and my direction shifted.

Starting a perpetual nature journal I began to relish journaling.

Discovering International Nature Journaling week (which is every June 1st to 7th) was another sign, I mean, who knew?

Last Half of 2022

As we enter the second half of 2022, I wonder what I will do next.

I have some ideas about personal energy management as I do seem to get tired easily these days.


I like to have projects on the go and the main reason to have projects is that it is good to have something to get out of bed for every day.


I began with Morning Pages like Julia Cameron earlier this year and I decided my Morning Pages needed their own journal.

I discovered that, as I had so many interests, I preferred to have a variety of journals. I’ve subsequently moved onto multiple journals.

Now, I have a journal for:

  • General life with a yellow cover.
  • A family memoir with a taupe cover.
  • A grimoire with a dark ocean blue cover.
  • An art journal with a sage green cover.
  • A crochet journal with a Wedgewood blue cover and a crocheted cover.
  • A perpetual nature journal with a black cover.


After struggling along with one A5 sketchbook where everthing went in, I decided that to have more than one sketchbook is a better plan and this works well for me.

Now I have sketchbooks for:

  • Field sketches size A6.
  • Field sketches size A5.
  • Watercolour size A5.
  • Grey toned paper size A5.
  • Beige toned paper size A5.
  • Black paper size A4.
  • Handmade paper which is 10cm square.

I do prefer smaller sketchbooks like A6 and A5 rather than the bigger A3 and A2 sized ones.

This may be because I like to finish each artwork in one day and I can do that better with a pocket sketchbook.

In a way, my art supplies seem to be breeding all by themselves.

Quarterly or Seasonal Projects

A quarter of the year is three months or around just under 100 days.

Quarters can be related to the seasons as well Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

When you divide the year into four segments it provides you with a good chunk of time to get something worthwhile done.

Some ideas for quarterly projects which I’m toying with are:

  • Making a large painting.
  • Creating an online course that I can teach.
  • Planning and organizing a weekend art retreat.
  • Writing or designing a book.


Monthly Projects

Mid-size project are my monthly projects.

In this section my creative projects maybe:

  • Doing Inktober in October.
  • Writing NaNoWriMo in November.
  • Designing the art for twelve themed greeting cards.
  • Creating a set of twelve Artist Trading Cards.
  • Making artworks for a calendar – does anyone have calendars anymore?


Weekly Projects

Small quick projects which can be easily completed in a day or two are my weekly projects.

In this category my projects could be activities such as:

  • Recording a weekly video for YouTube.
  • Writing a weekly blog post for my website (like this).
  • Creating a simple drawing or painting.
  • Shopping for art supplies.
  • Swatching my paints, coloured pencils or inks.
  • Tiding up and organizing my creator studio.
  • Attending a weekend art retreat.
  • Going to an urban sketching meetup.
  • Planning an art date with my daughters.
  • Visiting an art gallery in my city.
  • Going to the beach to sketch.

The idea is to have three different projects on the go at any one time and these are a large one, a midsized one and a small one.

It is enjoyable to be able to chop and change between three different ongoing projects.

Quarterly, monthly and weekly projects provide me with creative choices depending on my mood.

I don’t always have the energy for intense creation for an extended period.

If I’m honest, this is the reason I believe I, and you, will benefit from having a variety of projects on the go at once.

Let me know what you think.



Aspiring Artist Activity

In your art journal and, thinking about what you would like to try on your art journey, please do the following:

  • List three large substantial quarterly projects.
  • List three medium sized monthly projects.
  • List three shorter weekly projects.
  • Choose one from each time frame and start.


In this way you will have three different projects to get your teeth into.

Now you will have a variety of activities to keep you going and you can start to plan the next trio of projects as well.

Sketchbook – Orchid with Colored Pencils

Sketchbook – Orchid with Colored Pencils


On Mother’s Day I was fortunate enough to receive this beautiful orchid from my daughters. It was totally unexpected as I’ve never owned an orchid before.

I decided to do a sketchbook drawing of this orchid as it had such an interesting form.


I drew a border around the page and with the 2H pencil sketched out the main lines of the orchid.

This is called a waterfall orchid and it’s actually supported with a plastic structure to keep its delicate shape.

I positioned the pot slightly to the left so I could have the full cascade of the waterfall petals of the orchid in the top part of the page.

I then went over it with a Sakura Pigma Micron 0.3mm black pen and firmed up the lines.

Next, I erased all the pencil marks and ran over the page with a kneadable eraser to lift up all the loose graphite.

Colored Pencils

Actually I chose a selection of colours of coloured pencils from my pencil stash.

I’m using the Faber Castell polychromos crayons and the colours are middle purple, pink rose Carmine pink madder lake, dark Naples ochre, olive green yellowish and chromium green opaque.

The main colours for this drawing are the pink of the flower with the yellow centre and the green of the leaves on the stem.

I started with the lightest pink, pink madder lake and drew some light lines coming out from the centre of the large petals.

I then took the next deeper pink and filled in the blobs that really look like a face. I do not know the names of these parts of the plant.

Finally, I took the darkest pink to do the two sort of horn bits that are sticking out which is where I understand that the insects land when they’re collecting the pollen and nectar.

I then turned my attention to the leaves and using the two shades of green I coloured them in trying to put the darker shade on the lower side of the leaves or the underside of any shaded areas.

The Pot

The pot is interesting with diamond shapes in it shown in the way it caught the light.

I just wanted to give an idea of the shape and not give all the detail, so I used a beige pen here.

I continued building up the petals working from the center outwards adding more depth of colour on some of the closeups you could see that the one bloom was facing the other way and therefore it was much darker behind then the petals that are shown at the front.

I drew a horizontal line to stabilize the plant on some kind of surface and shaded in the table with pinks and I shaded the background in a light beige.

Plant Meaning

I have a fabulous book called The Secret Language of Flowers by Samantha Gray which I use when I’m looking at my flower meanings.

It turns out that orchid has several meanings of which some are beauty, mature charm, love, refinement, thoughtfulness and many children.

On the left hand page I drew a box and wrote the plant name and chose one of the meanings which was beauty as I felt it was the strongest meaning for this specimen.

Signing the Artwork

I put my art initials AHA for Alison Hazel Art in the bottom right-hand corner in the same pen I used for the black lines.

Finally, I dated it with May 2022.

Completed Artwork

I’m really happy with how this sketch came out.

I learned that there are quite a lot of intricacies within the flower itself.

Also on the one bloom on the top left for some reason I only had four petals on it and at the last moment I added the fifth petal as I realized it was missing.

I continued to add depth of colour from the pink on the underlying petals to make them recede so that the two main petals, which were lighter, could come forward.

I’m really very happy the way this sketch came out and it’s a great addition to my sketchbook.

Aspiring Artist Activity

Take a flower that you have either in your house or some flowers you bring in from outside.
  • Sketch one or two blooms. You will probably need some greens and then perhaps two or three of the main colour in crayons.
  • Start with a pencil sketch make sure you have a border and make sure you have a horizon.
  • Colour in your plant until you’re happy with it.
  • This should be a fun project.
  • If possible, find out the meaning of the flowers which you have drawn and write a note on the left hand page.


You can share your completed artworks with the #ahasketchbook so we can all see what you have drawn.

Thank you so much for being with me today.



More From Our Blog