Doodlewash 30-day challenge

Hey everyone!
This month I tried to take on the monthly challenge from Doodlewash. It’s about painting 30 watercolours in 30 days, and there’s a list of prompts to follow.
Since we’re only in the middle of the month, you might have figured out that I didn’t make it through the challenge.

Continue reading


Opera mom

As promised, I just finished a bigger, brighter, black and white picture.
I spent so much time on the ink-work that I was scared of ruining it with the paint. I would imagine this to be really colorful, but as that was not the plan, I decided to scan it before doing anything else. So now, if I want to color it again, I can just print it out. Here’s how it looks:


And here it is with all the black paint on it, plus a text that says “sometimes the mom sings opera at breakfast”: OperaMammaText.jpg
It’s inspired by my mom, who doesn’t actually sing opera at the breakfast table, but she does sing sometimes. And she lives in a pretty messy house with my youngest brother and a big bunch of cats. It could very well look like this.

I think my biggest struggle was the shadows. Since I couldn’t use color to get a focal point, I had to do it with light instead. I think it turned out fine, but omygoshyouguys, it took so long to finish. Unfortunately, when I’m excited about a project, I forget about pretty much everything else. So this have kept me awake for way too long, and I’ve also fallen behind on a few commissions, so I’ll be working hard the next few days.
It was worth it though. I really like it, and Mom loves it.

See you when I’ve caught up with my work!



While I’m speaking of portraits anyways. Here’s a bit more about that.

Just like any other realism, portraits isn’t something that I’ve spent much time practicing. I recall making some pencil-sketch of Helena Bonham Carter for an art-assignment in elementary school, and a tiny drawing of my grandparents from the same time(which is still displayed in their house, and I’m horrified by it whenever I visit). Since then, I can’t remember making any portraits.
But then, the commissions came, and suddenly I had requests for portraits, even though I didn’t even have any in my portfolio.



Like other commissions involving photographs, it’s often more about artistic interpretations rather than depictions. Mostly it’s family portraits in a cartoonish style, and they turn out looking something like this ————————————————————>
Making a portrait this way is tricky. Even if it’s just a simple figure, I must put a lot of thought into where the facial features go, to both match the style, and have the drawing resemble the person.
Still, it’s nothing compared to a real portrait.
One tiny line in a wrong place can mess up a whole face. You’ve probably seen portraits that are good, but there’s something really creepy about them that you can’t put your finger on. Yeah, that’s just an eye in a slightly wrong angle or a mouth a tiny bit too big.

My first portrait was a pencil sketch of leonard cohen and two others. I was so scared about messing up, but this was just the rough sketch, and the client was so happy with it, they didn’t even want me to finalize it. I’m not too proud of it myself, but you don’t tell your boss that you disagree when they say job well done. So here’s how that turned out.DSC_0074.jpg


Then it was this cool old cowboy who needed an image for the articles he wrote for a newspaper.
It was my first ink portrait and ink can not be erased (obviously), so if I messed this one up I’d have to start all over. But it turned out fine, and I must say, the shirt was actually harder than the face on this one.




Then came along something much much scarier. On my fiverr-page I offered creating pictures in coffee. I thought I would reach coffee-shop-owners who wanted something fun to hang on their walls. But instead, it was coffee-loving people wanting portraits. And omygoshyouguys, that was the real challenge. Coffee is so hard to control, it’s sticky, it runs away to places it shouldn’t be and it takes forever to dry. I spent so many hours on these compared to what I would with any other medium.

Ok, so this one isn’t great. But I’m still                           Nope, that’s not a screw-up. That’s
happy about it because that was a very                              a zombie doll
blurry photo.

I see I switched scanners around here. Believe it or not, that’s the same kind of coffee.
I really like these two. I’m happy about the roughness of the left one, and for the right, I’m just glad I managed to make a good one out of both coffee and ink.



After that, my first portrait in watercolor and ink. Scary as usual, but here I had started gaining some confidence in this area.deborah


And lastly, the ones in only watercolor. I am super happy about these, and don’t even hesitate to make them anymore. The first I made was of Darwin, which was great, because that guy is recognizable as long as there’s a big beard and bushy eyebrows, so it was hard to mess up, even if I was making a color portrait after a black and white photo.

This little lady you’ve seen before

And this latest one, which I’m really proud of, even though the dog looks crazy.
I promise, it looked crazier in the photo.samjoemollyoriginal
Yeah. Watercolor is obviously my medium. Maybe I should just stick to that instead of stupidly messing around with that ink and coffee.

I hope you enjoyed these. And if you didn’t, at least now you know where not to go for a pencil-portrait.

Have a great day!


A portrait of my sister

In occasion of dad’s visit this week, I decided I wanted to paint a portrait. Actually I’ve been wanting to make this for quite some time, but haven’t gotten around to it until now.

Three years ago, I got a new sibling. Or, half sibling. Same dad different mom. Her name is Maja, and she’s the coolest little lady ever. Also, she’s the biggest reason for why I sometimes feel bad about moving so far away from my family. At the same time, our family has always been spread out over big distances, and while we rarely see each other, we do love one another, so I’m sure we’ll be able to have a relationship despite the big distance and age gap.

It’s pretty strange to have twenty years younger sister. My dad was really young when I was born, and I had a lot of friends who had siblings older than my parent. Now I’m that sibling that’s older than some of her friends parents.

Anyways, the portrait. I decided I wanted to make it when I saw a photo of Maja in her favourite toy – the plastic bathtub. Immediately I got the idea to paint it, but instead of her sailing around on the kitchen floor, she’d be on the ocean. Now it’s finally down on paper:
Unfortunately, the paper is too big to fit in my scanner, so the quality is only as good as a camera-phone can get it.WP_20170301_009.jpgWP_20170301_011.jpg

From what I’ve heard, Maja was very surprised that she could be a drawing. I can imagine it’s very strange to see yourself that way for the first time. Well, at least her parents like it, and I’m sure she’ll get used to it sooner or later :)

A little experiment in the diary

Hi guys! Today I’ve been working on a small experiment.
Again, inspired by the nice weather, I wanted to depict our morning walk in the mist, and I wanted to use my masking fluid, or drawing gum or whatever it’s called.
It’s not like this is an experiment in the sense of this being something completely new.(I have obviously used masking fluid before)
But it felt like an experiment because I haven’t used the masking fluid on this paper before, and instead of just covering one small detail with the fluid, I was going to cover almost the whole page, and I was going to do it in a different order than I normally do.

So here’s the first step. I loosely drew up the scene in pencil, and inked the characters.

Step two. Here’s where it gets different, because normally I would ink the whole thing before putting anything else on there. But now there’s masking fluid all over the place.
I’m pretty sure it’s made for water based colors, so I had no idea how it would handle being drawn on with an ink-pen.

Ok, so it seems all right so far. The rest of the ink is on, and the masking fluid didn’t really suffer from it. I think. I can’t be completely sure until I try peeling it off.

Step four. The watercolors. Nothing special here. Just coloring like I always do.

And so the masking fluid gone.
It actually was amazingly easy to get it off. It didn’t rip the paper, and the ink stayed in the right place.

Just a few extra details on top of that and it’s all done!
It didn’t turn out just as I had imagined, but does it ever? I’m pretty happy to have found out how well the masking fluid works with this paper, and I’m sure I’ll be using it more.
I’ll be working with paintings kid’s faces in a mall the whole weekend. I’m super excited and nervous about it, but it’s probably going to work out just fine. I wish I could take photos of it, but I’m pretty sure it’s very indecent of me to exploit other people’s children on the internet(If I ever get kids of my own, I promise their sole purpose in life will be showing off my face-painting skills). So you won’t be seeing anything about that.
I just wanted to let you know why I won’t be posting or mailing or anything the next couple of days.

Have a nice weekend y’all!


Trees and light

Yesterday’s personal project was inspired by the fantastic weather.
I was really bummed about not having a camera with me on the morning walk, because the whole forest was shimmering and I wanted to paint everything I saw. Unfortunately my photographic memory is really lousy. Like, embarrassingly lousy for an artist. So these painting doesn’t even get close to representing the beautiful day.
Next time I’ll bring a camera.
Morning                                                                        Evening

Have a great day!



The past weeks I’ve been getting a lot of work involving depicting photographs. Usually when a commission involves a photo, it’s more about artistic interpretations of them, but lately I’ve been doing a lot of realistic depictions.
This is something that I haven’t done much before I started doing commissions, and I still never do it unless it’s for a job. Because, honestly, it’s a little boring.
For me, the fun part in painting is to make something that wasn’t there before, and while copying surely is a challenge, it’s just not the same.
Nevertheless, these commissions are always very welcome, as it is such good practice for me.
Here are some paintings I’ve done recently for different clients:
City.jpgFor a blog

2184.jpgplant 001.jpg
For commercial purposes



Birthday party invite
For an article


For personal use

The best thing about depicting photos is the awesome sense of accomplishment when it’s finished. Not only because it takes a long time, but also because I’m always happily surprised by the result. Like “wow, did I just make this??”.
When making all the childish cartoony stuff that I do, I easily fall into self doubt. I can feel that my work is too simple, that my success is undeserved and that I’m not a “real” artist. But creating paintings like these makes me realize that I can actually do things other than just cute doodles.
So, these commissions are great for practice, and most of all, they’re great for boosting my confidence.
Thanks to all my lovely clients for trusting me with your projects!

Hope y’all are having a great day!



Good morning!
I want to show you a project that I worked on in November, for a musician named Dave Crosby.(not the older, bearded guy, but the other, younger, clean shaven Dave Crosby)
I was really excited about the description I got, which was something like: “a dark monster hanging up eyeballs on a line, above him a ‘swirly’ sky(with faces in it) and it’s as if it’s exploding into space”. Ok, that sounds really confusing, but he had some reference pictures along with the description, so it was easier to figure out than it sounds.

DSC_0590 (1).jpg

The reason I was so excited about it is because most of my commissions are either really sweet things for children, or it’s depicting photographs. It’s not at all like I don’t enjoy those jobs, but a dark and scary picture is always like a welcomed break from all the cute stuff.
Here’s how the painting turned out:
This was for an album cover, and naturally, I thought the music was something hard and loud, but I was surprised to learn that it was a pretty mellow singer/songwriter who ordered the painting.

As it was for an album, Dave thought it could be cool if his name was written in the swirls. So he ordered another one, with a few other changes as well. Quite a hard task, but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. As I had gotten a lot of practice on the first one, this one looks a lot cleaner, don’t you think?

When looking up his youtube channel, to share with you guys, I realized that this is the guy who just went viral, with the video of him and his young daughter playing ‘you’ve got a friend in me’. If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Such a contrast, between these creepy paintings and that most adorable video the internet has seen since, well.. The last adorable viral video I guess…

You can find his youtube channel HERE

And the newly released EP is HERE
Have a great day!