Artists: Why You Need a Black Paper Sketchbook

Black paper sketchbooks have become increasingly popular among artists for their unique ability to make colors pop and create dramatic effects. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or an enthusiastic beginner, incorporating a black paper sketchbook into your artistic practice can open up new creative possibilities and elevate your artwork.

why you need a black paper sketchbook

In this post we’ll explore the benefits of using a black paper sketchbook, discuss different art techniques and media that work well on black paper, and provide some example artwork to inspire you.

* Please note, some links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. I appreciate your support and it helps me create more great content for you to enjoy!

The Benefits of a Black Paper Sketchbook

Enhanced Contrast and Vibrancy

One of the most compelling reasons to use a black paper sketchbook is the enhanced contrast it provides. Colors appear more vibrant and stand out dramatically against the dark background. This can make your artwork more striking and eye-catching. For example, a bright yellow sunflower drawn on black paper will look much more vivid and lively compared to one on white paper.

black paper sketchbook sunflower mandala

Product Suggestion: Canson XL Series Drawing Paper, Black, Wirebound Pad, 11×14 inches.

Unique Artistic Effects

A black paper sketchbook allows artists to experiment with unique artistic effects that are difficult to achieve on white paper. For instance, white gel pens or metallic markers create a striking contrast and can be used to draw intricate details that stand out. These effects are particularly stunning in artworks like night-time scenes or galaxy-inspired drawings.

Encourages Experimentation

Working on black paper encourages experimentation with different media and techniques. It pushes artists out of their comfort zone and invites them to think differently about light and shadow. Techniques like using paint (acrylic or gouache) or layering colored pencils to build up vibrant colors can lead to new discoveries and skills.

Techniques and Media for Black Paper

Metallic and White Gel Pens

Using metallic and white gel pens on black paper can produce stunning, high-contrast artworks. These pens are ideal for creating intricate designs, mandalas, or lettering. The reflective quality of metallic inks adds a shimmering effect that is particularly captivating.

metallic paint pen mandala on black paper sketchbook

Colored Pencils

Colored pencils, especially high-quality, opaque ones, work beautifully on black paper. The dark background makes the colors appear more saturated, allowing for rich, vibrant artwork. Layering and blending colors can create depth and dimension that stand out vividly.

Chalk and Pastels

Soft pastels and chalk are excellent for creating soft, dreamy effects on black paper. The dusty texture of these media lends itself well to blending and creating smooth gradients. They are perfect for landscapes, abstracts, or any artwork that benefits from a soft, ethereal quality.

Acrylic and Gouache Paints

Acrylic and gouache paints are opaque and cover black paper well, allowing for bright, solid colors. They can be used for a variety of techniques, from detailed illustrations to abstract pieces. These paints are ideal for artists who enjoy working with bold, vibrant colors and want to create striking, high-contrast artwork.

gel pen floral illustration on black paper


Incorporating a black paper sketchbook into your artistic practice can significantly enhance your creative process. The vibrant contrast, unique effects, and opportunities for experimentation make it a valuable tool for any artist. Whether you’re using metallic pens, gel pens, colored pencils, pastels, or paints, black paper can elevate your artwork to new heights. Explore the possibilities and add a new dimension to your creativity with a black paper sketchbook!


julie signing off

Aesthetic Sketchbook Art Ideas and Inspiration

sketchbook art ideas and inspo

Welcome to this guide on creative and aesthetic sketchbook art ideas and inspiration! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, your sketchbook is a canvas waiting to be filled with creativity.

In this post, we’ll explore a variety of beautiful and imaginative sketchbook art concepts to fuel your artistic journey. From whimsical illustrations to captivating doodles, get ready to discover endless possibilities for your sketchbook. So, grab your pencils and let’s dive into the world of aesthetic sketchbook art ideas!

aesthetic sketchbook art ideas and inspiration


Explore the world of collage in your sketchbook by layering different textures, colours, and images to create visually stunning compositions. Cut out images you like from a magazine or print them off and paste them in your sketchbook. Then, draw or doodle around them.

zentangle face art drawing collage magazine woman


Delve into the intricate world of insects as a theme for your sketchbook art. Capture the delicate beauty of dragonflies, the industrious nature of ants, or the fascinating patterns of beetles. Experiment with different mediums and techniques to bring these tiny creatures to life on the pages of your sketchbook, and let their unique characteristics inspire your creativity.

dragonfly illustrations mixed media art

Metallic Pen on Black Paper

Explore the striking contrast of metallic pens against black paper in your sketchbook art. Let the shimmering pigments dance across the dark background as you create intricate designs and patterns. Experiment with different strokes and techniques to achieve mesmerizing effects that catch the light and add depth to your artwork. Whether you’re drawing celestial constellations or intricate mandalas, the combination of metallic pens and black paper offers endless possibilities for stunning compositions in your sketchbook.

metallic mandala art on black paper


Dive into the whimsical world of mushrooms in your sketchbook art. Capture the intricate details of these fascinating fungi, from their delicate gills to their whimsical shapes and textures. Experiment with different drawing techniques to bring your mushrooms to life on the page, whether you’re sketching realistic portrayals or adding a touch of fantasy to your creations. Let your imagination run wild as you explore the diverse forms and colors of mushrooms, creating enchanting scenes that transport viewers to magical realms within the pages of your sketchbook.

zen mushrooms drawing in sketchbook art ideas


Explore the animal kingdom in your sketchbook art, from majestic owls to playful dolphins and everything in between. Whether you prefer realistic depictions or whimsical interpretations, there’s endless inspiration to be found in the animal kingdom. Experiment with different styles, techniques, and mediums to bring your favourite creatures to life on the page. Whether you’re sketching from life, referencing photographs, or drawing from your imagination, each animal sketch is an opportunity to hone your skills and express your unique artistic vision. So grab your pencils, pens, or paints, and embark on a creative journey through the fascinating world of animals in your sketchbook.

owl drawing sketch moleskine sketchbook

Abstract Shapes, Patterns and Colours

Dive into the world of abstract shapes, patterns, and colors in your sketchbook. Experiment with bold designs and vibrant hues to create visually striking compositions. Whether minimalist or intricate, unleash your creativity and explore endless possibilities.

modern line art journal page ideas

“Zen” Art

Discover the tranquility of Zen art as you transform everyday objects into serene compositions. Embrace simplicity and harmony, infusing ordinary subjects with a sense of calm and mindfulness. Let your creativity soar, just like this hot air balloon floating peacefully across the page.

hot air balloon mandala drawing

Colourful Doodles

Unleash your imagination with vibrant and lively colorful doodles. Dive into a world of endless possibilities as you explore a spectrum of hues and playful designs. Let your creativity run wild, filling the page with whimsical patterns and cheerful motifs. Embrace the joy of doodling as you infuse each stroke with bursts of color, creating a kaleidoscope of visual delight.

colorful chalkboard art

Body Parts

Dive into the fascinating world of sketching body parts, from the delicate curve of lips to the expressive depth of eyes. Each stroke brings anatomy to life, capturing the intricate details and emotions of the human form with skill and precision. Sketching body parts like lips and eyes allows artists to explore the intricacies of form and emotion, creating compelling visual narratives with every stroke.

lips and cherry sketchbook art ideas


Delve into the meditative world of mandalas, where intricate patterns and soothing symmetry converge. Let your creativity flow as you craft circular designs that radiate harmony and balance. Explore different styles and techniques, from traditional motifs to contemporary interpretations. With each stroke, find peace and tranquillity, as you immerse yourself in the rhythmic beauty of mandalas.

red and blue mandala drawing


Indulge your senses in a garden of artistic delights with floral sketches blooming with color and life. From delicate petals to vibrant blooms, flowers offer a timeless muse for artistic expression. Whether you’re capturing the elegance of a single rose or the exuberance of a wildflower bouquet, let your creativity blossom on the canvas. Explore the intricate details of each petal and the graceful curves of each stem as you bring nature’s beauty to life with your artistic touch.

gelly roll pen flower drawing in black paper sketchbook


Embark on a cartographic journey as you reimagine maps through artistic expression. Explore the contours of the world, from sprawling continents to intricate cityscapes, through your unique artistic lens. Capture the essence of place and wanderlust as you blend geography with creativity. Whether you’re sketching fantasy realms or tracing real-world landmarks, maps offer endless possibilities for artistic exploration.

aesthetic sketchbook art ideas - maps


Incorporating a variety of styles and subjects into your sketchbook can fuel your creativity and enhance your artistic skills. From intricate mandalas to whimsical doodles, and from abstract patterns to detailed body parts, the possibilities are endless. By exploring these aesthetic sketchbook art ideas, you can create a rich tapestry of visual art that reflects your unique perspective and inspires continuous growth in your artistic journey. Keep experimenting, keep creating, and most importantly, enjoy the process of filling your sketchbook with beauty and imagination.


julie signing off

How to Find Your Own Unique Art Style

how to find your art style

As an artist, discovering your own unique art style is like finding your voice in the world. Whether you’re selling your art online, through retailers, or at a craft fair, having a distinct look sets you apart from the crowd. But how do you find your own unique art style when there are so many options to choose from?

how to find your own unique art style

Try New Things

Start by experimenting! Digital and traditional tools let you try out all sorts of techniques and ideas. Especially when you are first starting out, don’t be afraid to play around with a wide variety of mediums to discover what you enjoy working with. Mistakes are part of the process, and sometimes they lead to unexpected discoveries. Every stroke of your brush or pen helps shape your style.

How to Find Your Own Unique Art Style

Pro Tip: Have a sketchbook that is designated just for you to practice, create ugly art, experiment, and test new ideas without the pressure of having to finish it or share it with anyone else. I also recommend this book: Wreck This Journal.

Take a Class or Follow a Tutorial

Taking online art classes and following tutorials have been a huge help for me in defining out my own art style. YouTube and Skillshare have loads of classes on different software, techniques, and styles. Implementing what you learn and putting your own twist on it can really help you find your unique look. In person classes can be really inspiring too! So, don’t be afraid to sign up for a class or watch a tutorial— it could make all the difference in your creative journey.

Get Inspired by Other Artists – Past and Present

Take inspiration from artists you admire. Look at their work closely—how do they use color, shape, and theme? But it’s not just about the famous artists; check out what’s happening in the art world right now. You’ll pick up tips and trends that can influence your own style. Be mindful not to copy others though!

Pro Tip: Visit art galleries and outdoor art events regularly in your city to get inspiration from a mix of classic and contemporary artists.

photo of a woman at an art gallery

Trust Your Gut

Listen to your instincts. What subjects excite you? Which colors make you feel something? What types of marks or mediums do you enjoy working with the most? Your style should reflect who you are, so trust your inner voice when making artistic choices.

Keep Improving

Refine your work over time. Look back at what you’ve created and think about how you can make it even better. Listen to feedback from others, but remember to stay true to yourself. Improvement is about polishing your style, not changing who you are.

Pro Tip: Make a lot of art. It can take years to develop a cohesive art style, and having a large body of work to look back at makes it easier to identify consistencies which will help you define your style.

Pictured below: One of my old mandala illustrations vs. a newer piece. Note the improvement!

black and white mandala art drawing
pink flower mandala

Be Flexible

While it’s important to have a consistent style, don’t be afraid to try new things. Your style can grow and change over time as you do. Adapt to new trends while staying true to what makes your art unique. This could look like incorporating a trending colour, like the Pantone Color of the Year, or a trending theme into your work – but making it your own. This could also be trying out a new software or medium to create your work.

Learn More

To learn more about how to find your own unique art style I highly recommend this Skillshare class: Find Your Style: Five Exercises to Unlock Your Creative Identity.

man and woman having a conversation about art styles

Create Your Legacy

Remember that your style is your brand. Make sure your work reflects who you are as an artist, but also as a unique person. Pour your heart into every design you create. Whether it’s original artwork, digital illustration, pattern designs for clothing, home goods, or paper products, let your art speak for itself and connect with people around the world.

Finding your art style isn’t a one-time thing—it’s a journey. Embrace the process, and trust that your unique voice will shine through in your work. So, grab your favourite tools and start finding your art style today!


julie signing off

The Best Alternatives to Redbubble for Print on Demand Artists

alternatives to redbubble print on demand
alternatives to redbubble print on demand

In the ever-evolving landscape of the Print on Demand (POD) space, changes in popular platforms like Redbubble and Society6 have left many artists questioning their next move. With fees for artist plans and tiers becoming more common, the rise of AI art, and a general decline in sales, it’s crucial for artists to explore new opportunities. Despite these challenges, the POD industry still holds potential for artists in 2024 and beyond. This blog post aims to shed light on lesser-known alternatives to Redbubble and Society6, providing artists with fresh avenues to showcase and monetize their work.

*For a more comprehensive list of Print on Demand websites and suppliers worldwide, check out Print on Demand Central – it’s a great new resource for the POD space, you should check it out!

Alternatives to Redbubble and Society6 for Print on Demand


Zazzle is a versatile POD platform that stands out for its focus on customizable products. Artists can create templates from their designs, allowing customers to add their own text and/or photos to personalize the products further. This unique feature opens up new possibilities for collaboration between artists and buyers, fostering a more interactive and engaging experience. Learn more about selling your art on Zazzle.

create custom products on zazzle
Create customizable products on Zazzle.


As one of the pioneers in the POD industry, CafePress has stood the test of time. What sets CafePress apart are its diverse product offerings, including some unconventional items like oven mitts and pot holders. Artists seeking a platform with a broad range of unique products may find CafePress to be a worthy alternative to explore.


Threadless has carved its niche in the POD market by fostering a community-driven approach. Artists can submit their designs, which are then put up for community voting. The highest-rated designs get featured on various products. Threadless also allows artists to open their own storefronts, providing a platform to showcase and sell their work independently.

butterfly pattern shoes from threadless
Design shoes on Threadless


ArtsCase specializes in protective cases for smartphones and other electronic devices. Artists can leverage this platform to turn their designs into functional, stylish accessories. With a focus on quality and protection, ArtsCase offers a unique avenue for artists to expand their product range beyond traditional prints.


Spoonflower is a standout option for artists who want to explore the world of fabric and textile design. This POD platform enables artists to print their designs on various fabrics, allowing for the creation of custom textiles, wallpaper, and more. Spoonflower provides a unique opportunity for artists to venture into the realm of home décor and fashion. Learn more about selling your art on Spoonflower.

alternatives to redbubble - fabric swatches from spoonflower
Fabric swatches from Spoonflower

Design by Humans

Design by Humans takes a curated approach, featuring handpicked designs on a range of products. The platform emphasizes the quality of artwork and encourages artists to showcase their creativity on high-quality apparel, phone cases, and accessories. With a focus on artistic expression, Design by Humans offers a space for unique and visually striking designs.


Spring stands out by offering artists the ability to sell both physical POD products and digital downloads. This platform provides a seamless integration with YouTube channels, allowing artists to connect with their audience through multiple channels. The flexibility to sell digital downloads alongside physical products can be a valuable asset for artists exploring various revenue streams.


For artists with a penchant for metal art, Displate specializes in metal posters. This unique medium allows for durable and visually striking creations that stand out from traditional paper prints. Displate’s emphasis on metal as a canvas opens up new possibilities for artists looking to make a bold statement with their artwork.


For artists seeking full control over their online stores, integrating a print-on-demand service like Printful with their own website provides a seamless solution. With Printful handling all of the printing, packaging, and shipping, artists can focus on creating and promoting their artwork.

This integration allows artists to maintain their brand identity and customize their storefront to reflect their unique style. By offering a wide range of print-on-demand products, from apparel to home decor, artists can cater to diverse customer preferences.


As the POD landscape continues to evolve, exploring these alternatives can provide artists with fresh opportunities and avenues for success. While Redbubble and Society6 have paved the way, these lesser-known platforms offer unique features and product offerings that can cater to different artistic preferences and customer demographics.

Remember, adapting to change and diversifying your presence across multiple platforms can be the key to sustained success in the dynamic world of Print on Demand.


julie signing off

How to Make a Half Drop Repeat Pattern in Procreate

half drop repeat pattern procreate
half drop repeat pattern procreate

Are you an aspiring digital artist or designer looking to master the art of creating seamless and visually appealing patterns on your iPad? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll explore how to design a half drop repeat pattern using the Procreate app, turning your ideas into beautifully tiled masterpieces.

You can watch my video below, or keep scrolling for a written guide.

How to Make a Half Drop Repeat Pattern in Procreate

Step 1: Set Up Your Canvas

Open Procreate on your iPad and create a new canvas. For pattern design, it’s crucial to choose a square canvas to ensure symmetry. A standard size like 3000×3000 pixels works well, but you can adjust according to your preference and needs.

Step 2: Draw your Motifs

Use the Procreate brushes to sketch your motifs on the canvas. Whether it’s florals, geometrics, or abstract shapes, this is the stage to let your imagination run wild. Make sure your motifs are drawn or merged onto a single layer with a transparent background. Once you’re satisfied with the design, duplicate this layer and lock it so you preserve the original artwork.

how to make a half drop repeat pattern procreate

Step 3: Add Color to all 4 Corners of the Canvas

After finalizing your design, choose any color and apply it to each of the four corners of your duplicate layer, without overlapping your motifs. Ensure that you’re working on the same layer as your design. This will be erased later, but will enable us to use Snapping to create our half drop repeat pattern.

procreate repeat pattern tutorial

Step 4: Duplicate and Turn Snapping and Magnetics on

Duplicate this layer 4 times, so you should now have 5 copies in total. To do this, select the layer and swipe to the left, then select “Duplicate.”

Next, go to the move tool (arrow) and into the Snapping settings. Turn Magnetics and Snapping on and have the Distance and Velocity turned up all the way as high as they can go.

repeating pattern tutorial procreate

Step 4: Shrink and Snap the Layers into Place

Now, turn off all other layers except for the one you’re working on. Using the move tool to shrink it down from the corner until it snaps into place into the bottom left corner of the canvas, exactly 1/4 of the canvas.

Turn on the next layer, and snap it to the top left corner of the canvas, right above the first layer. Do the same with the next layer, shrinking it down to the bottom right corner of the canvas.

Now we will create our half drop by dragging this layer to the center of the right side of the canvas. You should see yellow lines in the center of your canvas which indicates you’ve snapped it to the right place.

half drop repeat pattern procreate

Step 5: Finish off Your Half Drop Pattern

Shrink your next layer down into the bottom right corner and drag it down until it’s half way off the canvas and snaps to the bottom of your centered layer. The bottom half will get cut off, and that’s fine, it’s what we want.

Do the same thing with your final layer, but snap it to the top right of the canvas, then drag it up above that middle layer. The top half will get cut off, which again is what we want. Then, pinch all of the layers together. Finally, go in and erase those triangle markers, as they were simply to facilitate Snapping, and not part of our design.

finishing the half drop repeat

Step 6: Finalize the design

From here, you can go in and refine your pattern by adding some elements in between your motifs, or even moving your original motifs around a little bit. Just be careful not to go over any of the edges or move any of your motifs that spill over the edges.

Step 7: Test Your Repeat Pattern

Before finishing our design, it’s essential to make sure the repeat pattern is working correctly. To do this, first create a copy of your pattern tile. Then, add a new layer below this and fill it with a solid color, ideally one that you want to use as your pattern’s background. Pinch the 2 layers together into a single layer.

repeating patterns in procreate

Duplicate this layer 3 times, so you have 4 copies in total. Using the move tool, with Snapping and Magnetics on, shrink each layer down and snap them to each of the 4 corners of the canvas. Make sure to snap them to the yellow lines, to ensure they line up correctly.

testing the repeat pattern procreate

Step 8: Finishing Touches

From here, you can zoom in and check the attachment points to ensure that your repeat is working correctly. You can go back to the original pattern tile and make adjustments If necessary, but you now have the basis for your half drop repeat pattern!

Creating a half drop repeat pattern in Procreate is a rewarding journey that allows you to unleash your artistic vision and apply your designs to an even wider array of products through Print on Demand websites. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to experiment with different techniques and styles. With Procreate’s intuitive interface and powerful features, you’ll be crafting stunning patterns in no time. Happy creating!


julie signing off

10 Ways for Artists to Make Passive Income

While many people think of selling original artwork and taking commissions as the only ways to make money as an artist, there are actually many different ways to make passive income from your art. This can include selling products with your artwork on them, teaching classes, or even blogging. In this post, I’m sharing 10 different ways that artists can make passive income, many of which I’ve tried myself!

ways for artists to make passive income online

* Please note, some links in this blog post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. I appreciate your support and it helps me create more great content for you to enjoy!

Here are just a few of the many ways that artists can make passive income:

1. Print on Demand

Leverage Print on Demand services like Zazzle, Redbubble, and Threadless to showcase your art on merchandise like t-shirts, phone cases and more. Mitigate logistical concerns as these platforms handle all of the printing, shipping, and inventory management, allowing artists to concentrate on their craft – making art!

tie dye hummingbird t-shirt

2. Blogging

Blogging serves as an effective platform for artists to establish their niche, showcase their artwork, and connect with their audience by delivering engaging content. Optimize the blog for search engines, promote it through social media channels, and monetize through advertisements, affiliate marketing, or product sales. A strategically managed blog can transform into a consistent revenue source.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Related to blogging, incorporating affiliate marketing into your online presence can increase your earning potential by promoting products you already use and love. Promote art-related products or tools and earn commissions for every sale made through your affiliate links. This requires minimal effort once set up.

4. Online Courses

Capitalize on your expertise by developing an online course. Select a subject of personal passion, structure it into comprehensible segments, and ensure an engaging presentation. You can use Youtube to get started and then branch out into platforms like Skillshare and Udemy to monetize your courses. You can also consider selling them through your own website or blog if you already have a dedicated following.

mandala coloring book cover

5. Books and E-Books

Design and sell printed books and e-books related to your area of expertise. Platforms such as Amazon KDP and Gumroad enable independent distribution. Crafting a series enhances visibility and ensures a sustained source of passive income. You can create things like colouring books, step-by-step “how to draw” or paint series, and more.

6. Digital Art Downloads

Monetize your digital artwork by selling instant digital downloads of art prints, patterns, illustrations, SVGs, and other types of digital art files. Platforms like Creative Fabrica and Gumroad allow artists to showcase and sell their digital creations without the need for physical production or shipping. You can also sell these through your own website.

7. Art Subscription Services

Launch a subscription service where subscribers receive exclusive digital art content regularly. Platforms like Patreon or specialized subscription services enable artists to generate recurring revenue.

8. Patreon

Establishing a Patreon account allows artists to convert loyal supporters into patrons. Offering exclusive content, ranging from behind-the-scenes material to early access, creates an incentive for patrons to contribute. Regular updates and occasional perks maintain patron engagement, ensuring a reliable income source.

photo of a woman researching Ways for Artists to Make Passive Income

9. Art Licensing

Explore licensing agreements with companies that want to use your art on various products. Earn royalties without the need for hands-on involvement in the production or distribution process. This requires some upfront research, and pitching your portfolio to companies and art directors, but if you can get a deal art licensing can be extremely lucrative.

10. Virtual Art Exhibitions

Organize virtual art exhibitions or galleries, either by yourself or with a group of other artists. Charge entrance fees or partner with sponsors to monetize the events without the need for physical set-up or maintenance.

There are an endless number of ways for artists to make passive income, and these are just a few ideas to get you started. The best way to find the right method for you is to experiment and find what works best for you and your art. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process!


julie signing off

The Best Photoshop Alternatives for Digital Artists

The Best Photoshop Alternatives for Digital Artists

In the realm of digital art, Adobe Photoshop has long reigned supreme as the go-to software for artists. However, as the digital art community continues to grow, so does the demand for alternative tools that offer powerful features, affordability, and versatility. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your digital art journey, there’s a wide array of Photoshop alternatives to consider.

The Best Photoshop Alternatives for Digital Artists

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best Photoshop alternatives, catering to various needs and budgets, in no particular order.

Please note: prices listed below are in USD and reflect the price at the time of writing this article in October 2023. Some links may contain affiliate links.

woman holding silver ipad using procreate


Price: $12.99

Targeted at iPad users, Procreate is a robust and intuitive drawing and painting app. With a sleek interface, Procreate offers an impressive set of brushes, blending modes, and a straightforward layer system. It’s a fantastic choice for artists who prefer to work on a tablet.

Corel Painter

Price: $429 one-off or $199 per year subscription

Corel Painter is renowned for its emulation of traditional media. It offers a vast array of brushes and tools, making it a top choice for artists who want to recreate the look and feel of traditional painting on a digital canvas. It’s excellent for those seeking a more painterly experience.


Price: Free!

Photopea is a free online image editor that closely resembles Adobe Photoshop in both look and functionality. It’s perfect for artists who need Photoshop-like features without the Adobe subscription cost.

Affinity Photo

Price: $69.99 for desktop or $18.49 for the iPad version

Affinity Photo is a powerful Photoshop alternative that’s available for a one-time purchase, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious artists. It offers a wide range of tools, including retouching, selection, and compositing capabilities, along with advanced color correction and RAW editing.

artist's laptop

Clip Studio Paint

Price: $49.99 one-off or $0.99 per month subscription

Clip Studio Paint is renowned for its specialized tools for comics and manga artists, but it’s also a versatile choice for digital painters. It provides an extensive brush library and a vector layer feature, which is useful for line art and inking. It comes in both Pro and EX versions, catering to different needs and budgets.


Price: Free!

Krita is an open-source digital painting application that’s gaining traction among artists. It offers a user-friendly interface, a broad selection of brushes, and advanced features like HDR painting. Being open source, Krita is free to use, making it a popular choice for artists on a tight budget.


Price: Free!

GIMP is a free and open-source raster graphics editor that provides a robust set of tools. While its user interface might feel a bit different from Photoshop, it’s highly customizable and capable of handling complex photo manipulation and digital painting tasks.


Price: $79.99

ArtRage is designed to simulate traditional art materials like oil paint, watercolor, and pencil. It’s an excellent choice for artists who want to experiment with realistic textures in their digital work. It’s available for Windows and macOS, as well as iOS and Android devices.

digital artist looking for photoshop alternatives

PaintTool SAI

Price: $36.69 (or 5500 Japanese Yen)

PaintTool SAI is a lightweight and affordable option. It’s especially popular among manga artists due to its simplicity and high-quality brush engine. Although it may lack some of the advanced features of other software, it excels in its primary function: drawing and painting.

Medibang Paint

Price: Free! (includes in-app purchases)

Medibang Paint is a free, cloud-based digital art app suitable for both beginners and professionals. It comes with various brushes, pre-made backgrounds, and cloud syncing for seamless collaboration. Medibang Paint is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.


Price: $89.99 or $149.99 for Pro

Rebelle stands out for its focus on replicating traditional watercolor and acrylic painting techniques. It simulates watercolor diffusion, color bleeding, and other realistic effects. It’s a unique choice for artists who want to explore a more organic painting experience.


Price: Free!

Inkscape is a vector graphics editor suitable for artists who work on digital illustrations, logos, or vector-based artwork. It offers a comprehensive set of tools for creating scalable graphics and is free to use.

photoshop alternatives for digital artists

Autodesk SketchBook

Price: Free! (or $19.99 for Pro)

Autodesk SketchBook is a versatile drawing app available for various platforms. It’s popular among artists due to its responsive brushes and robust drawing capabilities. While the basic version is free, Autodesk also offers a subscription plan with additional features.


Price: Free!

MyPaint is another open-source digital painting software that focuses on simplicity and an unobtrusive user interface. It’s well-suited for artists who want an uncluttered canvas to focus on their creative process.

As you can see from the choices above, the world of digital art apps is vast, with options for every artist’s preference and budget. From Procreate’s intuitive iPad experience to the affordable power of Affinity Photo, these Photoshop alternatives can help you create stunning digital art and enhance your artistic journey. So, don’t be afraid to explore the many Photoshop alternatives and discover the one that best suits your creative needs.

If you want to learn more about the art apps and tools I use for my own creative art business, check out the Artist’s Resources section here on my website.


julie signing off

The Best Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas and Inspiration

Welcome fellow mandala art lovers! If you’re seeking some fun and aesthetic mandala art ideas and inspiration, you’re in the right place. This post is your gateway to a world of creative and accessible mandala art drawing ideas that are sure to spark your imagination.

Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas

What is Mandala Art?

Before we dive into these awesome mandala art ideas, let’s take a quick look at what exactly defines a mandala. A mandala is a symbolic geometric design that represents harmony, unity, and balance. You can read more about mandalas in this blog post.

Now, without further ado, let’s dive into this list of aesthetic mandala art ideas that will surely ignite your artistic spirit.

And if you’re eager to take your mandala drawing skills to the next level, don’t miss out on my mandala drawing class – a wonderful opportunity to enhance your craft!

Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas and Inspiration

*Note: all mandalas shared below were drawn by me, unless otherwise stated

Begin by embracing simplicity. Opt for a straightforward design and employ a contrasting, complementary color scheme to achieve a bold aesthetic impact.

blue and yellow contrasting color mandala art drawing

Experiment with creating mandalas on black paper using metallic or gel pens.

silver and gold mandala on black paper, Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas

Explore the fusion of intricate mandala patterns with animal forms for a captivating and artistic result.

ladybug aesthetic mandala art ideas

Divide the mandala down the center and infuse one side with florals or an entirely contrasting element for a unique touch.

half mandala with flowers

Speaking of flowers, you can integrate blossoms into your entire mandala design to create a breath-taking impact.

hand drawn beautiful floral mandala drawing

Explore a unique approach by transforming unexpected objects into mandalas, like these ice cream cones.

ice cream cone food mandala, Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas

Experiment with embedding a scene within your mandala artwork, like this example featuring a mountain and forest design.

black and white mountain scene mandala drawing

Explore color variations and overlaid shapes, as demonstrated in this cloud-themed mandala design.

sky mandala with clouds, Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas

Get creative by crafting mandalas in unexpected locations or materials, such as etching them onto seashells or drawing them in beach sand.

beach mandalas art sand ocean

Explore diverse materials like gel pens to add variety and texture to your mandala creations.

succulent mandala drawing with gel pens, Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas

You can also try making your mandalas digitally using apps like Procreate. Watch my video on creating mandalas in Procreate for a helpful tutorial.

Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas - pink digital mandala

Consider placing mandalas within other objects, such as this example of a hot air balloon mandala design.

hot air balloon mandala drawing

Alternatively, keep it minimal with black and white. Add shading or use varied pen thickness for a bold impact.

black and white mandala, Aesthetic Mandala Art Ideas

Add an element of surprise by placing unexpected objects within your mandala, like this captivating Jupiter-themed design.

jupiter space galaxy mandala

You can see even more examples of aesthetic mandala designs in my sketchbook tour video below.

For even greater mandala art inspiration, you might find my mandala drawing workbooks with prompts truly enjoyable!


Mandalas are like your artistic playground – experiment, explore, and enjoy! Whether you love simple designs or want to try something unexpected, the world of mandala art is full of possibilities. So, grab your tools and start creating your own unique mandala masterpieces!

If you were inspired enough to create your own mandalas from these, share it on Instagram make sure to tag me @julieerindesigns.


julie signing off

How to Make Money as an Artist on Skillshare

how to make money as an artist on skillshare

Hey there, fellow artists! Have you heard of Skillshare? It’s an online education platform for creative people who love to learn and teach. It’s not only an opportunity to learn and share our skills, but also has the potential to make us some extra money, or even a full-time income! So in this post, I’m going to be sharing with you my experience of how to make money as an artist on Skillshare.

Back in 2021, I took a leap outside my comfort zone and published my first Skillshare class. Now, with five classes under my belt and a growing income stream, I can attest to the great opportunities this platform has to offer.

Although the initial challenges of video creation were intimidating, the rewards have been fulfilling and it has opened new doors for my career as an artist and content creator.

So let’s jump in to this post on how to make money as an artist on Skillshare.

What is Skillshare?

Skillshare is an online learning platform and community with thousands of classes in design, business, and more, taught by professionals in their field.

Members pay a monthly, or annual fee to access all courses on the platform, along with some other perks, such as live classes. They predominantly focus on creative disciplines like painting, illustration, and software tutorials such as Photoshop and Procreate.

As well as being an excellent platform to hone your creative skills, Skillshare offers the opportunity for artists to share and monetize their own expertise.

As a Teacher on Skillshare, you can create and publish your own courses, guiding learners through your unique creative process while earning money doing what you love.

my Skillshare profile

How do you make money as an artist on Skillshare?

The most common way to make money on Skillshare is by becoming a Teacher and uploading your own courses.

When someone watches one of your courses, you earn a share of the revenue, based on how many minutes of your course(s) they watch. If you have a popular course with a lot of students, you could potentially earn a decent amount of money.

Another way to make money on Skillshare is by becoming an Affiliate. Affiliates are people who promote Skillshare courses and earn a commission when someone signs up for a Premium Membership using their affiliate link. You can promote your own and/or other teacher’s classes to earn this type of income.

If you have a blog or social media with a large following, you could make some decent money by promoting Skillshare courses.

How do you get started on Skillshare?

To get started on Skillshare, the first thing you need to do is create a free account and set up your profile. You can do this by going to the Skillshare website and clicking on the “Sign Up” button.

Note: If you’re not interested in becoming a Premium Member, you can still make money from Skillshare as a teacher and affiliate.

How do you make courses for Skillshare?

Now you’re ready to create your first course. This may take a significant amount of time, and there can be be a learning curve if you are not familiar with the hardware and/or software needed to produce videos. It’s okay, you can learn! (If I can do it, so can you).

There are tons of resources out there to help you product your first Skillshare class. Both on Skillshare itself, Youtube, and blog posts on the web.

The main things you will need to produce your videos are:

  1. A phone or a camera to film
  2. A microphone
  3. A computer with video editing software.

It’s possible to create your class without a microphone, but they do tend to perform better if you can speak directly to your students rather than just screen casting or using on screen text.

For editing my videos, I use a free video editing software called DaVinci Resolve. I was completely new to this software so I followed some Skillshare courses and YouTube videos to learn how to use it. You can use any video editing software you have or are familiar with.

Skillshare class structure

Skillshare has a very specific structure for their courses that you’ll need to follow.

They want a stand-alone introduction video which is kind of like a trailer or highlight reel for your class, which anyone can watch it (even non members). This is meant to entice people to sign up to take the rest of your class. Below is an example of a class trailer from one of my classes:

You’ll also need to film individual videos for the Supplies and Class Project, and an Outro or Conclusion video to wrap it all up.

So a typical class outline might look something like this, with each one being a separate video:

  1. Introduction
  2. Supplies and Class Project
  3. Lesson 1
  4. Lesson 2
  5. Lesson 3
  6. Outro

Skillshare also really encourages you to have some sort of Project at the end of the class that students create and can share with other students on the website and social media.

You’ll also need to come up with a great title, description, and an eye catching thumbnail for your class. This takes time and experience to master. Your first course might not be that great right out of the gate. But just keep working on it and making more more courses, and this will improve over time! The great thing is you can update your older classes with new thumbnails, revised descriptions, and even add or replace whole lesson videos in the future.

The Skillshare website has tons of information and tips about producing your first class. I highly encourage you to go through the articles in their Teacher Handbook before you get started.

Don’t worry too much about getting it just right the first time. After you publish your class, someone at Skillshare will review it within the first 72 hours and let you know if there are any issues with the video quality or content so you can address it and even re-upload if necessary.

How to Promote your Skillshare classes

Once you’ve created your course, you’ll need to promote it. There are several ways to do this, and I’ve listed just a few ideas below:

  • Share it with your following on social media.
  • Write one or more blog posts about it.
  • Post your intro video on YouTube with a link to the class in the description. (You are allowed to post the intro video but not the other lessons on YouTube)
  • Engage with your existing students and encourage them to leave reviews and share their experience with others, helping build your reputation as an instructor.
  • Collaborate with other Skillshare teachers and cross-promote each other’s courses to tap into each other’s audience.
  • Use email marketing: Build an email list and send newsletters to your subscribers, promoting your Skillshare classes and sharing valuable content related to the courses.
  • Use Pinterest: Create eye-catching graphics and pins that lead to your Skillshare class landing pages to attract organic traffic.
  • Create shareable content: Develop engaging and shareable content related to your classes, such as infographics, tips, and tutorials, to attract more attention online.

These are just a few ideas of ways you can promote your Skillshare classes to attract more students and make more money.

how to make money as an artist on skillshare

How much money can you realistically make on Skillshare?

There’s no easy answer when it comes to how much money you can make on Skillshare. Realistically, it depends on a variety of factors such as the quality and popularity of your courses, how often you promote your courses, and how many students enroll in your courses.

That said, some Skillshare teachers have been able to generate significant income from their courses. Some of their Top Teachers have reported earning over $100,000 in a year.

While it’s certainly possible to make good money on Skillshare, it’s important to set realistic expectations. Many Skillshare teachers supplement their income with other activities such as freelance work, consulting, or selling other products. If you’re looking to make a full-time income as an artist online, it’s important to diversify your income sources.

At the end of the day, how much money you can make on Skillshare depends on a variety of factors. If you create high-quality courses and promote them effectively, you can certainly make a good income from Skillshare.


In conclusion, my journey of making money as an artist on Skillshare has been rewarding. From publishing my first class in 2021 to now having five classes and a growing monthly income, I’ve experienced the power of this platform.

So if you’re looking to make some extra money as an artist from teaching online classes, Skillshare is a great platform to consider.

Let me know what you think about making money as an artist on Skillshare in the comments section below! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this potential income stream.


julie signing off

How to Make Coloring Pages on Your iPad with Procreate

Hey there, fellow creatives! I’m excited to share with you a fun tutorial on how to make your very own coloring pages on your iPad using the Procreate app.

coloring pages ipad procreate tutorial

In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll dive into the world of creating beautiful mandala coloring pages on your iPad, complete with inspiring quotes that will uplift your spirits. So, grab your iPad and let’s get started!

How to Make Coloring Pages on your iPad with Procreate

Step 1: Setting up your Canvas

To start, open the Procreate app on your iPad and create a new canvas. Choose the dimensions and resolution that you prefer for your coloring page.

To create coloring pages for print, I suggest using the Paper size, which is 8.5 x 11 inches.

coloring pages ipad page setup

Step 2: Drawing the Mandala

Navigate to the Actions menu (the wrench icon on the top left of the screen), click on Canvas, turn Drawing Guide on and then click Edit Drawing Guide.

Then go down to Symmetry > Options, and select the Radial option.

Now, using the drawing tools in Procreate, begin drawing your mandala. Play around with different shapes, patterns, and intricate details to make your mandala unique.

drawing a mandala in procreate

Step 3: Adding Inspirational Quotes

Now, it’s time to incorporate an inspirational quote (or other text) into your coloring page. Select a quote that resonates with you or your audience.

To add your text, go to the Actions menu again, click on Add, and then click on Add Text. Type out your quote, then go to Layers, tap on the text layer, and then select Edit text. Under Attributes, select the icon that looks like an O (next to Underline). This will make the text appear as just the outline of the font (note: this does not work on all fonts).

Then, you can go through your fonts and select one you like. You can download additional fonts from Creative Fabrica, if you like.

If the letters of your chosen font are connecting, they may overlap. You can then go to Layers, tap on the text layer and select Rasterize. Then you can go in and erase the overlapping lines to make the text connect cleanly.

Finally, position the text around the mandala, ensuring it complements the overall design.

ipad coloring page tutorial

Step 4: Final Touches and Exporting

Once you’re satisfied with your coloring page, take some time to add any final touches or details.

When you’re done, export the file in a high-resolution format, such as a PDF, PNG or JPEG, depending on your specific needs.

To share your mandala go up the Actions menu (wrench icon), click on Share, and then select the file type you require, and save it to your iPad.

Now you’re ready to print or share your new coloring page however you like!

coloring pages ipad procreate export


Congratulations! You’ve successfully created a stunning inspirational quote mandala coloring page using Procreate on your iPad.

Coloring pages are not only a great way to relax and unwind but also make wonderful gifts or digital products to share with others. You could even make and sell your own coloring book if you make enough of these.

You can also download the coloring pages featured in this tutorial by clicking on the image below or visiting the Downloads section of this website. There, you’ll find a collection of intricate mandalas and uplifting quote designs ready to be colored and enjoyed.

Whether you choose to unwind with a cup of tea or share the joy of coloring with friends and family, these printable coloring pages are sure to bring moments of tranquillity and creativity into your life.

coloring pages ipad procreate tutorial

I hope this tutorial has inspired you to create your own coloring pages! Feel free to experiment with different styles, themes, and techniques to create unique coloring pages that reflect your artistic vision. The possibilities are endless!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, don’t forget to like and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more art-related content. Stay tuned for future videos where I’ll be sharing additional tips, tutorials, and creative inspiration.

Thank you for joining me, and I can’t wait to see your beautiful creations!


julie signing off