Outsider Art: Ragana

Almost Done

I recently added to my collection of Pan Pastels with several shades for darker skin tones. After testing out the blue, pink and cream shades for the drawings of Astrid and Knud I really wanted to get around to drawing Ragana.

Ragana was so very nearly in the first book (**), but in the end I cut her out because it just didn’t work at that point in the story

It wasn’t easy finding the right shades for Ragana, normally I find that any skin tone kits are either far too pink (or strait up white) for pale skin tones, and anything darker than a coffee tone is nearly impossible to find. In the end I bought a kit (**) which is actually sold for weathering model trains, and it was just perfect!

Basic Shading

I still need to draw Ragana with a much darker skin tone, it’s still a far too pale for how I envisioned her, but it’ll take a few more tries before I can perfect my technique.

 I used a fluffy c shaped makeup brush to apply the pan pastels 

The first thing I did is use the pan pastels to get the highlights and shades on the face. I wasn’t looking for anything detailed at this point, just laying down the primary undertones and shades. Three different shades of brown and then a very pale yellow as a highlighter on the top of her cheekbones and brow bone.

Lips pre blending Adding Details Eyelashed

For all of these drawings I like using a combination of art and makeup brushes to apply it. I’ve found with the fingers its far too easy to apply the colours heavily, not to mention with brushes you don’t risk leaving oil stains on the paper from your fingertips.

After I’d used the pan pastels I went ahead with my Polychromo pencils to add the smaller details to the skin, lips and eyes

For the lashes I love using a fine tip pen or a chinese caligraphy pen to draw each individual lash around the eyes. Sometimes I’ll use a pencil first to make sure I know where I want to go with it, but normally I just go ahead and use the pen.


I still need to finish drawing her hair and ears, but I’m really happy with this version compared to my first try. It’s a slightly different method to how I drew Knud, but with a bit more work I should be able to finally get the rich dark skin tone I’m trying to draw without completely ruining it like my first attempt. And yes, Ragana is meant to be an absolutely jaw-droppingly beautiful woman. A lot prettier than Astrid. Maybe now I should finally get around to drawing Jarl or Ragi…

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Outsider: How I Made The Book Cover


This whole book was a massive learning curve. Writing it, re-writing it, publishing it. The initial biggie was doing the cover,  I was so nervous about doing it! But I knew I would not be happy if I let someone else make the cover.

For the second book there are a lot of things I’ll be doing differently, but for the first try I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out!

One thing I was a little gutted about was that the blue and red tint on the text for the cover didn’t work, and we had to ditch it. I’m already pretty sure how the cover for the second book will look, so hopefully I can avoid repeating the same mistakes (or just make a whole bunch of new ones!). Either way, here is my vlog showing the whole process.

I hope you like the video! :D

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Outsider: Astrid Vârcolac Concept Sketch


I had so many different ways I wanted to draw this one! The Vârcolac skin was not something I had originally planned for when I was writing Outsider. It started out as just a simple wolf skin with nothing particularly special about it. 

I used (**): Pro-markers, Mechanical Pencil, Paper Blender, Water Colours, 0.1 Black Pen and a White Ink Pen

But about half way through the book, right before they meet the Leshy, this image of Halvard spotting a wolf in the distance came out of nowhere, and at that point I decided the wolf skin was going to become a lot more than just a wolf skin.

Sketch Pro Markers Reference

As usual I did all my sketch work on tracing paper and then, once I was happy with the pose, transfered it onto the card. While I was going over the transfered sketch, I made sure I had my sketchook with the notes and ilustrations for Astrid’s outfit next to me, so I wouldn’t make any mistakes about her clothes or the colour.

Before I started painting with water colour I used a few pro markers over the sketch

For me Astrid’s clothes were very important. As someone who occasionally wears corsets I can tell you the full torso corsets, while your posture might be perfect wearing them, they will not let you jump around or be particularly flexible.

Filled In Colour Black Pen

Being in the kind of environment Astrid is in, her clothes needed to be very practical, and be layered in such a way that the undergarments could be worn alone in hot weather, and the over garments were more suited to colder climates. Layering clothes as much as possible so she doesn’t need to carry heaps of clothing around with her.

I really wanted to avoid having anything remotely constrictive  about her clothing 

I have several sketches of how her clothes are layered in my sketchbook. I’ll show you them properly at some point, but for this book (and probably the next) it’s only really her winter clothes and her wolf skin you get to see.

White Pen Finished

So, that’s the final drawing of Asitrd’s Vârcolac wolf skin. I’m not going to go more into it case you haven’t read the book. Those of you who have read it know what I’m talking about so let’s not spoil it for everyone else! ;)

If you want you can get the book here! 

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Outsider: Making the Map of Ammasteinn


The map of Ammasteinn is one of the first things I did art-wise for Outsider. I didn’t want to start writing and not have a clear vision for this world Astrid would be traveling, not to mention I needed to plan everything which happened in the 40 year gap between Astrid leaving the Red Mountains and agreeing to take Jarl and Knud to Lǫgberg.

 You can follow all the art work I’ve done for Outsider here on my Pinterest

Of course you don’t get to read about this in Outsider, but it becomes very important in the sequels I’m writing, and I don’t like having a character without a history to them. When I start writing I want to know exactly the kind of people they are so that there is a reason for their behaviour.

Amenstein Map

I mentioned in my announcement video that I will be making quite a few of these videos and blog post and that’s where you guys come in. I want to know what you want to see next! Which characters you want me to draw (I’ve already done Astrid, it’ll be out soon!) the outfits, the creatures, the places, all of it! And while I’m at it show me your drawings of Outsider! How do you imagine a Leshy would look? Or Jarl and Knud?

You guys are all creative and talented, show me what you can do! :D 

It doesn’t have to be traditional painting or drawing, maybe you prefer digital drawing, or makeup and crafting? Or cosplay photography? Absolutely anything! I want to see it and see how you imagine the world of Ammasteinn and Astrid.

You can read Outsider here 

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Making the Paper Wings Lyric Video

First Photos

I should have gotten this blog post done months ago, it took so much time and work to make even when you don’t count how long it took to write and make the song, but I figure better late than never.

This was the first time I’d ever made a lyric video 

This was the first time I’d ever made a lyric video so I was really nervous about it! Like anything I do, now I don’t like it because I can see everything I could have improved, but it was a very good learning experience! So the next songs will be much better because of it (or at least I hope!)


In total the paper wings video took about about 2-3 weeks solid to do. The editing itself didn’t actually take that long, probably about 20 hours roughly in total to edit, but the drawings took aaaaaages!

First thing Silvija and I did is decided on images that we felt was the best representation of the lyrics.

We figured out the timing of the video and how long each picture would have on the screen then wrote out what single image would best represent that section of lyrics.

What I used

Once I had that it was really just about doing all the initial sketch work before doing the drawings. I had a rough idea of how I wanted to edit the video but as usual, once I started editing the plan changed slightly.

I used: Mechanical pencil , Paper tortillion, 1.0 ball point pen

I love pointillism but at the end of making this video I was ready to hate it forever. Took so long just to do one of the small drawings, it was worth it though. I’m especially fond of the feather drawing and the broken glass bell dome with the escaping key.

Laid Out On The FloorLaid Out Broken Feather My Two Favourites

And just a small update, no we (Fenix) have not forgotten about the album. It’s all written (some of the feedback I got for this song was majorly helpful for that) and we’re going to be recording as soon as Natassja. As much as we can’t wait to get into all the musical goodness it would be stupid to put the album before education when there are only a few months left for Natassja.

Small side note, if we were to put any of these on T-shirts which drawing would you like best? 

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Art Eyes: Crystalized

Arty Makeup

For me this time of year is where two things happen like clockwork, I get stressed out of my mind over absolutely ridiculous little things and I get horrifically board of whatever I’m doing regularly, and at the moment that’s the Disney Series which really is far to much on the ‘tame’ side for me at the moment.

Thanks to miawells_x  on my Instagram for suggesting the name! :) 

Don’t worry, I’m still doing the Real Life Disney series, but I absolutely have to start breaking it up with more random and challenging videos or I’m going to start pulling my hair out! So…yea…I need my more crazy video have to come back! So I’m proposing a micro series of ‘wearable’ arty looks a lot like my Lace Eyes Video

Makeup Tutorial

I know this look isn’t to everyone’s tastes but these are the kind of looks I like to wear on the rare occasion that I actually wear makeup of any sort outside. Personally I think if you’re going to wear makeup you might as well go all out and have fun with it!

I hope you like it :) 

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TAD: Little Imp

TAD: The Art Diaries

I Didn't Do It

When I was in the second/third year of my art A-Levels my school decided that, despite me being only a few months away from finishing, that they were going to stop paying for my lessons and cancel them all together. Given the amount of effort, time and how close I was to finishing you can imagine how gutting this would have been if they’d gone through with it.

I was lucky though and a lady my mum knew offered to subsidise me, allowing me to finish 

I only found out about this soon after I’d finished my graphic design degree. I wanted to think of a way to say thank you that was more than some cheap thank you card. I was going to make a full blown children’s book, but since I’ve only just started that (updates on that later) I wanted to send a little something now.

Tracing Paper

I decided to do a drawing of an imp, (based on an old photo I have of my little sister) and send her that, along with a thank you card. It’s not the best way I can think of to say thank you, but given the fact it’s been four years now since I finished my A-levels I wanted to give her something now and then, once I’ve finished the Children’s book, dedicate that to her and give her the first copy as a proper thank you.

What I used: Tracing Paper, Mechanical Pencil, Polychromos Pencils, Pro Markers, Pan Pastels, Paper Stump, White Ink Pen

I always do the sketch on a tracing paper till the proportions are perfect, I hate wasting paper with the first few rough sketches and with tracing paper you can flip it over to check the proportions. It’s quite funny how mirroring an image will show you flaws you hadn’t noticed.

On Paper

Next I traced the final image onto the paper I wanted to use. Since I was using my polychromos pencils I used a thick paper with a perfectly smooth surface. I’m still experimenting a lot with colour, I’m much more confident with portraits when it’s just pencil or charcoal, colour is still a major learning curve.

One of my favourite techniques at the moment is to use promarkers for the underlying skin tone and then layer coloured pencil over it

Once I’ve layered the pencil I either blend it with my fingers, a paper stump or a blending pencil. Layering the pencil is what took the most time (no surprise) I think in total I spent about three hours layering up all the colours on the skin.


Base Colour


When ever I do drawing’s like this I’m always tempted to leave them like at the stage above. I find half finished drawings so much more interesting than finished drawings.

They let your mind imagine how the drawing would look like when it’s finished, rather than just glance at it and go “Oh..that’s pretty”. But since it’s a present and not everyone appreciates a half-finished drawing I figured I should finish it.

In Progress

And that’s the final drawing! I have a full scan on my Deviant Art if you want to see it in more detail. Quite a lot of you asked me to do a drawing tutorial but I’m going to wait a while before I do one since I haven’t completely figured out my favourite method of drawing with the coloured pencils.

You can see the full drawing here

Messy Table

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Ghost of Christmas Present

Christmas present

Of course the minute I’d finished editing and uploading this I realised…*sigh*…that it really is a variation of the Christmas look I did last year. I seem to have this thing where I go for gold and green each christmas. So…yea, sorry about that! :/

This kind of look is not for anywhere with harsh lighting. Late and with low-lighting looks best with this combination

And while I’m on the role for apology’s sorry about this video being up so late. The annoying thing is I worked my butt off this week to get all 3 of the Ghost videos done (I had to re-film the ghost of Christmas past because I hated my original version) so of course You Tube thought they would throw a spanner in the works and hit my videos with a false copyright claim.


I’d planned to use this track by SleepTheif which worked so well but You Tube were not doing anything about the claim from CD Baby so I had to change the music. Not much point in uploading a Christmas look after Christmas.

Since this is the Ghost of Christmas Present it made sense for the look not to be over the top or more of a character kind of look, but like something you would wear in this day and age.

I hope you like the tutorial :)

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Ghost of Christmas Future

Ghost of Future

Now you’re prObably wondering, hey…where’s the Ghost of Christmas Present? Well, thanks to you tube and their terrible new system companies who don’t own or even distribute the music used can just make a claim on your video. And then all you can do is dispute the claim and wait for You Tube to get around to resolving the issue eventually.

So I’ve had to upload this series in the wrong order, thanks You Tube

I sorry about this :( I worked my butt of this week to get all these videos done, filmed, photographed and edited as well as I could, and then You Tube just chucked a spanner in the mix!  I hope you like this one  though and hopefully the problem will be fixed in the next day or so.

My Future

Now I know that traditionally the Ghost of Christmas Future is show either with no face or one which looks like a scull, but I think most of you know by now that I repeating what’s already been done and like to put my own spin on things.

The idea is simple. Each side of the face represents a different future, one sad and one happy

Depending on which side of the face you can see then that if your future. Though annoyingly when I was looking through the pictures pretty much all the good ones were of the sad side of the face, it seems even subconsiously I prefer darker looks. They always come so much more naturally.

Dark Days

I hope you like the tutorial and with any luck You Tube will get their act together and release the claim soon so I can make the Ghost of Christmas Present live. Other than that thank you so much for making this year a great one and I’ll be back in the New year with hopefully improved videos and blog posts for all of you!

Merry Christmas! :D 

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TAD: Nail Wrap Designs

TAD: The Art Diaries

Over the past few months I’ve been hired as a consultant for a company called Lazy Nails to help them develop their ideas for their, logo, packaging, UV nail varnishes and nail wraps, and on a side note I’m so proud of how the nail wrap packaging turned out!

Once I’ve finally finished making the armour for Conquest I’d like to have nails that go with it, so I started drawing these

Recently they released a nail wrap product where you can have what ever design you want printed as nails wraps, which I thought I’d take advantage of. I thought, while I’m at it, I might as well do a few more designs and then possibly do a mini giveaway giving away the ones you guys liked the most. Would be quite a nice way to giveaway something a little more personal.

The first thing I did is draw out the nails shape. I drew them much bigger than your actual nail size would be so I had more space to work with, and so the final wrap would be more detailed.

Once I’d drawn out the shape of the nails, I sketched out the designs on tracing paper before transferring them onto the card

As usual I used my trusty automatic pencil(**) to sketch out the design. Once I’d traced the original design I changed a few things, especially for the butterfly nails, but overall they stayed the same.

Here’s a little tip: If your trying to bend out inks a wet cotton bud is amazing!

Note that it shouldn’t be dripping wet or you’ll risk too much water making the design bleed. It’s also really great for ‘lifting’ areas where you might have applied too much of a colour and want to remove some ink, except in that case the the bud should be slightly damp to allow it to absorb ink.

The main thing I used for these are the Winsdor and Newton inks (**), Staedtler fine liners (**) and a black fine tip liner (**). If you want to see more about my art collection here is my video about it since I always get tones of questions about it.

Even though they’re so small in total these took me about 5 hours to do 

Quite excited to see what they look like once I get them printed. Though I drew the sword nail wrap with Conquest in mind I think I’m going to use the black and gold design instead, personally I think it looks much more striking and ornate, which is exactly what I’m going for.

So those are the finished desings! :D Not sure when I’ll be doing the min giveaway for them, but either way as soon as they’re printed I think I’ll be selling the original card I drew them on as soon as I’ve found a A6  fame for them.

Which is your favourite?

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