How to pot up a succulent

Super simple instructions on how to pot up a succulent, perfect activity for the kids.

1. Gather your materials: a small succulent plant, a plastic grow pot, potting soil, and a small trowel or spoon.

2. Start by preparing the plastic grow pot. Ensure that it has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent waterlogging. If it doesn’t have any holes, you can create them by poking a few with a sharp object.

3. Fill the plastic grow pot with potting soil, leaving about an inch of space from the top. You can use a pre-mixed succulent or cactus soil, or make your own by combining regular potting soil with sand or perlite for better drainage.

4. Gently remove the small succulent from its current pot. You can do this by carefully squeezing the sides of the pot or tapping it upside down while supporting the plant with your other hand.

Succulent Terrariums

5. Once the succulent is out of its pot, gently loosen the roots by lightly massaging the root ball with your fingers. This will help the roots establish in the new pot.

6. Place the succulent in the center of the plastic grow pot, ensuring that it sits at the same depth as it was in its previous pot. Adjust the soil level if needed, so the top of the root ball is slightly below the rim of the pot.

7. Fill the remaining space around the succulent with potting soil, gently pressing it down to secure the plant. Be careful not to bury the succulent too deep, as this can lead to root rot.

8. Once the succulent is potted, give it a light watering to settle the soil and help the roots establish. Avoid overwatering, as succulents prefer drier conditions.

9. Place the potted succulent in a location with bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves. Succulents thrive in warm and dry environments, so ensure proper ventilation.

TIP: Early morning sun is okay for succulents in the Brisbane area – even in the. Summer. (An hour or two won’t kill them).

10. Monitor the succulent’s watering needs. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and then water thoroughly, ensuring excess water drains out through the holes in the pot.

Enjoy your potted succulent and watch it grow! Remember to provide occasional fertilization and repot as needed when the plant outgrows its current pot.

How to create a realistic sketch

Phalaenopsis Orchid sketch – black and white with watercolour

Creating a beautiful and realistic sketch can be a rewarding and fulfilling artistic endeavor. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, here are some tips to help you achieve a stunning and lifelike sketch.

  1. Start with a good reference: Choose a high-quality reference image that captures the subject’s details and features. It could be a photograph or a still life setup. A clear and well-lit reference will make it easier to capture the nuances and intricacies of your subject.
  2. Observe and analyze: Take your time to carefully observe the reference image. Pay attention to the proportions, shapes, and values. Analyze the light and shadow areas, as they play a crucial role in creating depth and realism in your sketch.
  3. Sketch lightly: Begin by sketching the basic shapes and outlines of your subject using a light pencil. This initial sketch will serve as a foundation for the rest of your drawing. Focus on capturing the overall form and proportions accurately.
  4. Build up layers: To create depth and dimension, gradually build up layers of shading and details. Start with light pressure and gradually increase it as you add darker values. This technique allows you to control the tonal range and achieve a more realistic effect.
  5. Pay attention to details: As you progress, pay close attention to the smaller details that make your subject unique. Whether it’s capturing the texture of hair, the wrinkles on a face, or the intricate patterns on a flower, these details add realism and character to your sketch.
  6. Use a variety of shading techniques: Experiment with different shading techniques to add depth and texture to your sketch. Techniques like hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, and blending can help you achieve different effects and enhance the realism of your drawing.
  7. Take breaks and step back: It’s important to take breaks during the drawing process. Stepping back and looking at your sketch from a distance can provide a fresh perspective and help you identify areas that need improvement. This also allows you to assess the overall composition and make any necessary adjustments.
  8. Practice regularly: Like any skill, creating realistic sketches requires practice. Set aside regular time for sketching and experiment with different subjects and techniques. The more you practice, the more you will develop your observation skills and improve your ability to capture realism in your sketches.

Remember, creating a beautiful and realistic sketch takes time and patience. Don’t be discouraged by mistakes or imperfections along the way. Embrace them as part of the learning process and keep pushing yourself to improve. With practice and dedication, you will be able to create stunning and lifelike sketches that showcase your artistic talent.

Up until 2021 I was solely using traditional art methods. Now I create mostly digital in Procreate. The skills I learned in the 4+ years using traditional art tools and media set me up so well for the transition to digital art.

TOP TIP: Have your reference photos in colour and black and white. Use both images for shape, proportion and details.

For FREE reference photos for you to practice on go to my page Floral Garden Colouring where you will find 20 mages you can use.

How to – Paper or Canvas

As an artist I get many questions. One is what paper or canvas is best to use. The answer isn’t always straightforward. In this article I will walk you through a few different but easily accessible choices based on the look your are going for.

Sketching/Drawing

For practice drawing and sketching you want to have a smooth paper. A hot pressed paper that isn’t too thick. Anything up to 120gsm is pretty good. The thickness of the paper will still give you a quality feel to your sketch and the hot press will give you a smooth finish. The smoother the paper, the cleaner your lines will be which will give you a more realistic look.

My current art journal is less than 100gsm and is not suitable for anything other than sketching. Below is a picture of an Orca I sketched sometime ago. If you try to use other medias (paint or watercolour) on this type of paper it will wrinkle and curl. It damages the paper and if you do that, there’s no saving it.

Orca – light weight sketch paper

Mixed Media Paper 250 gsm +

The below sketch is a graphite on 250gsm mixed media paper. This paper is meant to handle Acrylic paint well, water colour however, is a bit of a stretch. I love it to print my art work on to this paper because it has a bit of texture just like a canvas and it gives the print a really good quality look and feel.

Norbit the dragon – Graphite sketch

Cold Pressed Cotton Paper

A cold press paper is rough, it has what is called ‘tooth’. It is ideal if you like that bumpy, textured feel and look to your painting. I personally don’t like to draw on this type of paper. I love to paint on it! I use a 300gsm cold press cotton paper with my acrylics. You get a matte finish with the textured finish of a canvas. The cotton paper is actually made for water colour paint because it can handle the wet application without creasing and folding. I use watercolours and acrylic and it performs beautifully.

Poppies – Water colour in watercolour paper

Stretched Canvas

There are several types of canvas you can purchase. The main types are stretched canvas, canvas board and canvas sheets. I prefer to use a stretched canvas. I like the bounce back it gives. All types of canvas have a tooth (bumpy texture) that I love! With the stretched canvas’s you don’t have to frame and can hang as is.

TOP TIP – be sure to paint the sides of your stretched canvas. It will look more professional once on the wall.

Saundersfoot beach – on Stretched Canvas

Above is an acrylic Painting is on a stretched canvas of Saundersfoot Beach. This is my favourite material to paint on.

Canvas Board

As you can see from the below picture canvas board performs much like a stretched canvas. It has a tooth, although not as deep or prominent. It is an easy and cheaper way to start painting. They come in all sorts of sizes and packs. You can frame them easily too.

Raspberries – Acrylic paint on Canvas Board

I hope you liked my tips for how to choose the right paper or canvas, be sure to check out my article on How to improve your Sketches.