Colored Mandalas

I must confess that this new job of mine is taking more time than I thought it would. I’m enjoying it, mostly, so I can’t complain too much. It has, however, eaten into the time I normally have for blogging, drawing, etc.

I have lots of projects I need to get working on, so I just need to buckle down and force myself to be productive. We are planning to move to Canada next year, so I want to try and earn income from internet side hustles so that I can be working even while we are moving and traveling.

I’ve purchased some equipment that I hope will help me launch a YouTube channel, as well as working on more products for my Etsy shop. The Etsy shop has kind of languished once I went back to work, so I definitely need to get my rear in gear there.

I did spend some time doing some more experimenting with iColorama and coloring in some of the Monday mandalas.

I really liked the black and white original design of this mandala, but I’m not sure it worked well for me when I colored it in. Maybe I’m just not feeling the color scheme. Even though I wasn’t happy with it, I threw it into iColorama and played around a bit.

It turned out a bit odd, but kinda groovy looking, so I kept it. The blur around the edges is a little trippy. I do like how it draws your eye to the center, though perhaps the middle is a bit busy.

I was on a roll, so I continued coloring. This design is one of my favorites so far and I was curious to see how it worked for digital coloring.

I am happy with the way this one turned out just coloring it in Procreate. However, I couldn’t resist also playing around with it in iColorama. I couldn’t tell you exactly what I did in iColorama, but I think the final product turned out pretty well.

I still need to get more designs drawn and other things. I’m also debating whether to post some of the stuff I’m creating for work on TeachersPayTeachers. I’m already doing some of the work for my job, it would be nice to make a few extra bucks off my hard work. 😀

Playing with Color

I had some spare time a few days ago and I sat down with my iPad and did some digital coloring. It’s been a while since I’ve done that, and it felt good to just play around.

I took some of my mandalas and colored them in. I like doing that better than just coloring the lines themselves, like I’ve done with some previous designs. I picked out a few of the ones I thought would be fun and just went at it.

I really like how this one turned out. The colors are bright and vibrant and it makes the various layers stand out more than they do in the original black and white drawing. Of course, then I had to throw it into iColorama and see how I could play around with it in that.

I added a texture and a new color overlay. There’s also an embossing effect to make it look raised. I love how it has more dimension and texture. This could be an old tile design or part of a vintage textile pattern. Pretty cool.

I also had time to color in another mandala. I was curious to see how this one went, because I really liked how the original black and white turned out.

This one doesn’t have a lot of contrast, but I’m still happy with how it turned out. I may try coloring it again with a different color palette and see if I like it better. Or maybe throw it into iColorama too and see how I can transform it. I still don’t know all the ins and out of iColorama, but I’m having a ton of fun playing around with it. 🙂

I’m Going Dotty

I forced myself to sit down this weekend and spend some time drawing and coloring. I needed to relax after all the craziness of last week. As I was scrolling through my Procreate gallery, I realized I hadn’t created any dot mandalas in a while, so I opened a new canvas and started working.

I’m still struggling with color palettes, but I decided to just push all those worries aside and start creating.

I’m still also struggling with the new editor forced upon us here at WordPress. I finally have a handle on copying serial posts (like the Monday Mandala series), but it appears as I write this post, that the issues with images in the block editor are still there.

Argh.

Anyhoo, I like the colors in this one, although I think I should have made the outer layers more detailed. Also, the gray layer kind of disappears, which makes the overall effect a bit odd – it looks like there is something missing, until you look really closely. After struggling with background colors for a bit, I decided just to move on.

So I started this diamond shaped mandala. Although I didn’t know it would be diamond shaped until I was done. 😀

I like the blues of this one and I think the balance of detail is nice. Now if I could just start to feel more confident in my color choices . . . :/

Busy, Busy, Busy

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Credit: Pixabay

Life has suddenly gotten crazy busy.

I’m hip deep in lesson planning for school.  I’ve started a new diamond painting, this time with square drills instead of round ones.  I’m busily painting minis and trying to improve both my painting and photography skills.

I’m desperately hoping that my black thumb hasn’t killed all my garden plants, though I’ve yet to actually see any produce.  And my children are starting college, so I’m scrambling to pay tuition, buy books, and arrange schedules.

All while trying to get my Etsy business off the group, as well as launch a YouTube channel for my mandalas.  Speaking of, (insert shameless self-promotion here) if you haven’t checked out the mandalas on my Etsy store, you should!  They are larger and more intricate than my Monday mandalas.

Right now it’s just got coloring mandalas, but I’m debating putting some of my stickers up as well, maybe even some of my dot mandalas.  I’ve been hesitant to just jump in before now, but it’s amazing how having to pony up for college tuition can railroad right through your reservations about something!

I did manage to snap some photos of my most recent finished minis – I’ll try to post them later this week.  I think I’m learning how to use the contrast paints more effectively.  Now if I could just find the time to watch some tutorials on painting eyes.

Looking through my files, I found an old mandala I’d drawn using Amaziograph.  I can really see how shaky my hands are when looking at the lines here.

Amaziograph 3

I do like the flow of the design and that it’s fairly simple, but the shakiness of the lines bothers me.  Or does that make it seem more ‘authentic’?  Because it’s not perfect, so it’s clear it’s hand-drawn?  Do you consider it ‘hand-drawn’ if it’s drawn digitally rather than on a physical medium?

So many questions, so little time.  I’ve got to get back to work, so I hope you and yours are all doing well right now in this crazy world of ours.

Diamond Painting Mandalas

I mentioned in a previous post that I had discovered some new art forms for mandalas.  I’ve already posted about my experience with dot mandalas and making them in Procreate.  I loved creating the dot mandalas that way, and I will be making more of them in the future.

Diamond Painting

During one of my YouTube forays, I came across people who were ‘diamond painting.’  I had no idea what it was and I fell down a YouTube hole learning all about it.  Essentially, it is like cross-stitch, but instead of a needle and embroidery floss, you use small gems (diamonds) called drills and create a canvas using them.

I loved cross-stitching, but my eyes and my carpal tunnel keep me from it these days.  After looking at a LOT of videos about diamond painting, I decided I would try it and see if I liked it.  I hopped online and started looking.  I found some simple ones that were mandalas and ordered them, thinking that they would be a good way to find out if I wanted to stick with diamond painting and order more.

I ordered them in April, and thanks to the pandemic, it took until the middle of June for them to arrive.  There were 4 mandalas in the package and each canvas was 30 cm X 30 cm.  Not huge, but big enough for me to see if I liked it.

Diamond Painting Mandalas

I opened the first one and got started.  At first glance, there were a few surprises.  The size was fine, but I had expected the design to be ‘full drill’ – ie, every piece of the design would be filled in with a drill.  Not so.  And all of the mandalas had differently shaped gems, rather than all being round or square.

DP Mandala 1

This particular mandala was annoying, because as you can see, I was short two gems to finish the design.  Not the end of the world, but aggravating.  It did give me an introduction to diamond painting, though – and the was the point.  If I really cared, I could source some extra gems to finish, but I’m fine calling this an experiment.

After finishing the first one, I moved quickly on to the second one.  It went a bit quicker, now that I had an idea of what I was doing.  This one was a bit more fun, as there were more drills and the pattern matched up with the printed design, something that was lacking on the first mandala.

DP Mandala 2

Each canvas has a key on it that tells you which color/shape drills to use on the corresponding grid on the design.  The painting is covered with an adhesive which the drills stick to as you place them.

I was on a roll, so I moved on to the third mandala.  Thankfully, none of them were missing drills or had the designs offset like the first one.  This design looked more intimidating than the first two.

DP Mandala 3

After working on it, I realized it wasn’t really that much more complicated than the two I had already completed, which was a bit disappointing.  I wanted a challenge.  Some of the drills were very small and placing them often resulted in me dropping them on the floor, followed by lots of cursing. 😛

By the time I got to the fourth one, I knew I was hooked.  Diamond painting is a nice, relaxing craft that I can do while my husband and I watch TV of an evening.  The final mandala had a lot more drills, so it took a while longer to complete than the first three.

DP Mandala 4

Ready for More

After finishing up the fourth one, I decided I wanted to try a ‘full drill’ painting, and I also wanted to try using the square drills instead of the round.  I ordered one to make for my nephew, but when it arrived, it had round rather than square drills.  I must have not paid enough attention when I was ordering it.

So I ordered another painting, making sure that it was square drills.  I also ordered a storage kit for all the extra gems from the mandalas, thinking that I could store those and the extras from the next painting in it.

It was smaller than I realized, and after sorting and storing all the extras from the 4 mandala kits, it is now full. :/

I ordered another (larger) storage kit this time.  I’ve already started on the diamond painting for my nephew, so we’ll see how quickly I can get it done.  I’m trying really hard not to just go out and ‘buy ALL the things’ for diamond painting.  I still need to see what options are out there, and what I really NEED.  I am excited to have discovered a new (to me) crafting hobby!

Busy Bee

The last week has been very hectic. We’ve had a lot of appointments and obligations and I feel like I’ve been running around all week, which means lots of things I normally take care of haven’t gotten done. That leaves me feeling anxious and uneasy, because I don’t like leaving things undone. This weekend is looking like it will be just as busy, so – ugh.

There are always positives to celebrate, though. My husband is getting a promotion at work, which means a pay raise – awesome! 😀 My youngest may finally get to have a graduation ceremony – also awesome. I’ve been diving into my new job as well, which right now just means I’m spending a lot of time sorting, cleaning, and disinfecting so that everything is ready if/when we open up in the fall for students.

We’re still working on paying down our debt – something I hope we’ll be able to do a bit faster now with that pay raise. I’m still plugging away trying to create other income streams for us. My dream is to make a living virtually, so that we can live anywhere we want and still have a stable income. We’re a long way from that, but – baby steps.

I did also have someone ask me about buying one of my Monday Mandalas. In case I haven’t made it clear, the Monday Mandalas are FREE. You can grab them off the blog anytime. They aren’t very hi-res because of storage limitations on WordPress, but they are free. If you want to use them for something, an attribution would be nice, but if you just want to print one out to color or load into your favorite digital coloring app, feel free. 😀

If you’d like something a little more challenging/intricate to color than my Monday Mandalas, you can take a gander at my Etsy shop and see if there’s anything you like. I don’t have many items there at the moment, but I’m hoping to get some added this weekend.

That’s if I can peel myself away from my newest obsession – diamond painting. 😛 I discovered diamond painting one day when I fell down the YouTube hole. I used to needlepoint and embroider, but my carpal tunnel (and my bad eyesight) has made that impossible. Diamond painting is sort of like cross-stitch, but with little sparkly bits called drills. I found some cheap ones on Amazon (they are mandalas, of course!) and bought them to experiment with and see if I liked it before I spent a lot of money on some bigger, fancier pieces. So far – I love it. I’m a little annoyed with the first one (I got a package of 4) because they shorted me two gems for the design, so I can’t finish it. However, I do like doing it, so I’m planning on adding it into my craft rotation.

And, of course, I’m still trying to finish up those darn minis I discovered hiding in the basement. I have quite a few of them done – I just need to find the time to take some pics and get them posted. Maybe after graduation, when I have a few spare moments!

Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Abandoning Amaziograph

Amaziograph 3I’ve had a lot of fun playing around with the Amaziograph app – especially since it’s made for making mandalas.  It has a lot more options than Procreate in its radial symmetry, but I just can’t get over the shakiness of the lines.

That’s not Amaziograph’s fault – it’s mine, because I have shaky hands.  And, unfortunately, the older I get, the worse the tremors get.  With Procreate, I can adjust the line smoothing to account for that – with Amaziograph, I can’t.

So for making my mandalas, I’m going to stick with Procreate.  I’ll still use Amaziograph now and then, but it won’t be the go-to tool that I thought it would be when I got it.

I do have my eye on another program I discovered the other day, called iOrnament.  I haven’t purchased it yet, but I will in the next week or so.  After I’ve had a chance to play around in it, I’ll post something here.  It looks a lot like Amaziograph, with the options to do tessellations and such.

I saw a coloring book at the grocery store today titled ‘Kaleidoscope Coloring.’  It was a bunch of animals with zentangle doodles for coloring.  Guess I’ll add ‘kaleidoscope’ to my Etsy tags, lol.

Money for Nothing

FailYesterday was frustrating.  Very frustrating.

I upgraded my site to premium so that I could use the simple payments option – something WordPress has been lauding as a way to use your site to make money.  Great! That was my eventual goal here – to start selling my mandalas and stickers, but on my own site, so that I wasn’t paying Amazon and Etsy lots of money in fees.

I’ve read so many people who say that they drive their own traffic to Etsy – so if I’m gonna do all that work, I might as well drive people to my own site, right?  Then I’m making the money off my hard work, instead of Etsy.

After upgrading to the Premium plan, I started researching how to use the Simple Payments buttons to sell my digital coloring mandalas.  Turns out, the Simple Payments just lets you collect payments for your products – there is no way to add a link or anything to the payment button.

So, essentially, a person would pay, then have to wait for me to receive the notification from PayPal that I’d been paid, and then wait for me to send an email with the link or file for what they purchased.  Which isn’t horrible, but isn’t at all what I was led to believe I could do with the simple payments.

After more research, I discovered a way to use Google Docs and PayPal to add things to my site for sale.  That was an experience in itself, because what I wanted was for buyers to be taken directly to a download link for the item after they paid.  Making a download link from a Google doc required even more research, because of course it’s not an option in Drive.

During the first test, I got to the document, but it didn’t appear that the file was downloading correctly.  (My husband was testing for me on his iPad.)  After getting the direct download link issue sorted, then I realized that for some reason (I’m assuming because he’s using his iPad and iOS never plays well with others), he isn’t being taken directly to the page with the download link from PayPal.  He has to ‘return to merchant’ inside PayPal and then he gets taken to the correct place for the download.

Soooo frustrating.  This is probably why so many people would rather just use Etsy or Amazon for this.  In fact, I’m debating if this is all worth it myself, particularly since I apparently upgraded my WordPress plan for nothing.  I could have inserted the PayPal buttons and configured it as it without upgrading, because all the payments take place on PayPal anyway.  I guess I could upgrade to the next tier on WordPress, where there are some actual e-commerce options, but after feeling like I’ve already spent some money for nothing, that doesn’t seem appealing.

Aaaaarrrrggghhh.  😦

Digitally Coloring Mandalas

I’ve been playing with various options with the mandalas I’ve created so far.  I’ve made a bunch that I’ve posted here on my blog, but I am also working on others that will hopefully go into my Etsy store for sale as digital downloads.

I wanted to see what some of my designs would look like if they were colored in, to make sure that the designs were intricate enough to be interesting to color.  I also experimented with different ways to color them in, since I want to give people options.

I took one of my favorite mandalas so far (Mandala 6) and tried a few ways.  I’ve been using my Procreate app on my iPad to create these mandalas, so I wanted to see what they would look like if I colored them in using Procreate.

I know many people have coloring apps on their phones and iPads, so I thought this would be a good way to see how well my designs worked doing so.

Mandala 6 Colored ProcreateI’m pretty happy with the results.  I think there is a good amount of detail in the design and that it works well coloring digitally.  I can see where I’ve made some mistakes in creating the design, but since these designs weren’t specifically created for coloring, I’m not going to worry over it too much.

It would probably look even better if I had used a variety of colors rather than sticking with a blue scheme, but I had a reason for doing that, which you’ll see in a later post.

I am also hoping to offer the option to purchase my mandalas (together or separately) as stickers, so I need to test out coloring them on sticker paper as well.  If nothing else, I’ve had a lot of fun creating the mandalas themselves, so I’m calling all of this a success! 😀