Experimenting with Watercolor: Mountains and Rivers Landscape

Watercolor painting of mountains and rivers, with birds flying above.

As I mentioned before, I’ve been sketching on watercolor paper with the full intent to paint them traditionally, rather than digitally – but I’m a little nervous to start.  What if I ruin it?!  You know the feeling?  With digital art, you always have CTRL+Z, but with watercolors, you can’t change it once you put down the paint.  So nerve-wracking! 💦 💦 💦

I didn’t want to let that feeling hold me back, so I looked up some tutorials on Youtube and started painting some small pictures to break the ice!  This painting of mountains and rivers was made using simple techniques from this video by Mr. Otter Art Studio:

The idea of a simple landscape using washes sounded easy enough for even a beginner!  And it was a lot of fun. 😀  Though, I think I’ll practice a bit more before I try to paint one of the sketches! (^__^);;

And a close-up of the painting:

Have you tried painting with watercolors?  How did you like it?  Let me know in the comments below!

Pencil Sketch: Cloud, the Lady of Spring

Cloud as the Lady of Spring - small version - by River on Strike A Spark

I’m still in a flower-inspired mood, so have a sketch of Cloud as a Lady of Spring!  In keeping with the witch drawings I did last Inktober, Cloud is the character I turn to when I want to draw flowers and spring-like themes.  She’s just so optimistic and sweet herself that it seems a natural fit! (◕‿◕✿)

I’m looking forward to coloring her – but I’m still a little inexperienced with watercolors – so I’m a little nervous. *sweats*  I should start with something simpler, yet I can’t stop drawing such complicated sketches.  orz  Oh well, practice practice!

If you have any watercolor tips, or a good tutorial to recommend, I’d really appreciate it!  Let me know in the comments below!   (^u^)

Draw Everything June II: Week 1

For the month of June, I’ve found a new challenge: Draw Everything June!  Run by Sailor Sakky on deviantART, Draw Everything June is a figure-drawing challenge with a new reference photo posted every weekday (so at least weekends are off – phew!).  I’ve decided to do this challenge as a daily warm-up, which means it’s perfect for pencil sketches! XD

To keep organized, I’ll be posting my sketches for Draw Everything June once a week – probaben ly Friday or Saturday.  Other content (paintings, WIPs, essays, & project updates) will continue being posted as well.

Here’s the first week!  A bit short because there’s only been two weekdays in June so far.  Presenting Annalia Goldburn:

DEJ2 Day 1: Recruit - SMALL version by River on Strike A Spark

Day 1: Recruit
Nice to meet you. . . . I’m Annalia Goldburn. . . I hope we can get along. . . .


DEJ2 Day 2: Practice - SMALL version by River on Strike A SparkDay 2: PracticeEven the simple spells are a lot of fun!

For my own amusement, I’ve decided to follow Annalia’s adventures for the duration of the challenge.  So it will be a challenge of consistency as well as figure drawing!  😀

See you with Part 2 later this week!


#Mermay Sketch: Starfish

Starfish: Chibi Mermaid for Mermay Sketch - Small Version - by River on Strike A Spark

For the last day of May, I have one last #Mermay sketch to share with you!  This picture was actually my first concept for #Mermay, but the last finished – there were a few structural flaws with the original thumbnail that took me a while to work through.  In the end, though, I’m glad I stuck with it.  She looks happy playing with her starfish friend, doesn’t she?


  • Time: 2+ hours
  • Materials: Stathmore 300 gram watercolor paper, 0.7 mm mechanical pencil

Another Sketch for #Mermay! Chibi Mermaid Nutmeg

Chibi Mermaid Nutmeg - Small Version - by River on Strike A Spark

And the mermaid sketches keep on coming! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧  Today we have Mermaid Nutmeg swimming with her yellow tang friends!

Last time Nutmeg appeared on Strike A Spark, she was a witch.  This time she’s a mermaid.  Fantasy just seems to follow her around, doesn’t it?  She’s super cute as a mermaid, but I kind of miss her bunny ears. . . . TT_TT

Again, Cloud will be painting this piece, so please look forward to seeing the finished result! And keep an eye on her blog: Cloud’s World Of: 


  • Time: 2 hours
  • Materials: Strathmore 300 gram watercolor paper, 0.7 mechanical pencil

Pencil Sketch: The Queen of May

The Queen of May Sketch - Small Version - by River on Strike A Spark

Since GIMP and/or my tablet drivers and/or my laptop in general have been making it difficult to paint digitally, lately I’ve been doing a lot of pencil sketches! Today’s piece, “The Queen of May,” was inspired by all the flowers in bloom – the apple blossoms and lilies a few weeks ago, and the daisies wildflowers which have just burst out.  It’s so refreshing to see all the color and hear the birds singing whenever I go outside. (✿´‿`)

The watercolor paper I’ve been using is such a joy to work on – I like the smooth paper in my sketchbook, but the textured Strathmore paper holds pencil so well and gives an interesting effect even to quick sketches.  It’s so much fun, that the hour I spent sketching seemed to go by in the wink of an eye.  It should be fun to paint, too – but I think I want to practice with watercolors some more before I try it. . . .


  • Time: 1 hour
  • Materials: Strathmore 300 gram watercolor paper, 0.7 mechanical pencil

#Mermay: Chibi Mermaid Claire

Mermaid Chibi Claire - Small Version - by River on Strike A Spark

Wow ~ the colors are very dramatic today ~ OwO

Hello hello!  Hope you all had a good weekend. :3  Today I have another sketch to share with you!  Presenting Claire, another character from our upcoming webcomic, in chibi mermaid form!  😀  Can you spot all the fishes swimming around her?

Mermaid Claire was a lot of fun to draw, even with the difficulty of drawing her hand(s).  I feel like my style is slowing evolving towards a style that is consistent and something I can be happy with.  I’d like to improve my sketching speed, but I’m sure that will come as I continue practicing. 🙂

Cloud noted that the watercolor paper we were using was a little thin, and rippled when she was painting, so today I sketched on a thicker 300 gram paper from Strathmore.  The texture was different, more like little blocks – a more mechanical texture.  It holds pencil well, though, so I was happy with that!  I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks when painted. :3  If you paint with watercolors, what’s your favorite paper to use?


  • Time: 2 hours
  • Tools: Strathmore 300 gram watercolor paper, 0.7 mechanical pencil