The Raw Brownie is a go-to recipe in our Blue Star family! Easy, healthy, and so tasty! We first discovered this recipe from Sarah Britton of My New Roots and have since experimented and adjusted it to exactly how we like it. One of the best parts about this easy dessert is that you can be creative with the flavor. You can use your favorite nut as the flour base, some of our favorites are almonds, pecans, walnuts, or even a mixture of a few! You can also make these brownies as sweet or as bitter as you’d like by adding more medjool dates or more cocoa! We are confident you’ll love them as much as we do.
One of our favorite coloring techniques is mixing mediums. Using a variety of coloring utensils on the same coloring page adds depth, dimension and vibrance! We used colored pencils, markers and watercolors. In this photo we started off outlining and coloring key elements with marker to help them stand out. Because colored pencils are best for light shading, we let them do the majority of work in filling in shapes with shades that complemented the darker marker details. Our third element, watercolor, played in perfectly for the soft texture we wanted to achieve for the soil.
One of the best things about the holidays is getting together with family and friends over some festive snacks and wholesome activities. Coloring is obviously our favorite go-to activity, but sometimes we like to show our crafty side and create more tangible items for gifts or around-the-house decorations. Here are some of our recent favorites that we’re creating this year:
Amongst all of the holiday hustle and bustle, we wanted to share with you two products that we absolutely adore! We are lucky to not only be surrounded by stress relieving adult coloring books, but also supported by people and brands who promote health and wellness. Here are two of our favorites:
Evolution of a book from conception to completion: The Trail of Painted Ponies
The Trail of Painted Ponies has roots deep in Native American lore. We wanted the interior to be a celebration of the expressive designs and historical legacy The Trail of Painted Ponies created. We searched for color inspiration, design elements such as Native American patterns, and fonts that would help separate our book from the crowd.
When it comes to coloring mediums, pencils are by far the easiest to control and use. However, they oftentimes lack the vibrancy of paint and ink. But with the following technique, you get the best of both worlds!
Using a colored pencil, shade your images as you normally would. Add some contouring around lines to give form to the image and don’t be afraid to go dark with the shadows. Then, use a q-tip or a colorless stump blender and some solvent (baby oil, gamsol, etc) to blend the contouring blocks of color. This allows for the color to really pop, bringing out saturation, vibrancy and contrast between your hues. It’s best to use this technique on card stock or higher weight papers so your artwork doesn’t come off looking like it was used as a placemat at a greasy burger joint.
Alex Doffing, illustrator of Stress Relieving Flower Patterns, is a rockstar artist based in Minneapolis that we are so lucky to have on our team. Not only is she a talented graphic designer, but she is also extremely brave and not afraid to go for what she wants. She recently quit her full-time, stable job to travel to Europe for a month and then pursue a freelance career.
We spent some time asking Alex some personal questions! We hope you enjoy!
- How did you get your start in drawing?
I have been drawing (and coloring!) since before I can remember. My whole family is pretty creative in their own ways (Dad’s a handyman, Mom’s into decor…) but my grandma is a painter and she and I would sit with her set of desert-hued pastels for hours when she’d visit from New Mexico. It didn’t occur to me until high school that graphic design was a viable career option, and not until after college that illustration seemed feasible as well.