Turtle Totem Finished Piece

This piece was a challenge. I do not know why though. It was not fluid. I never really found a flow to the drawing. Usually I know what I want to do just by looking at it. Not this time. I had no idea what I wanted to incorporate of how I wanted to execute it. Perhaps a small bit of it was that I am still learning how to use the watercolor pencils. It takes time and practice. I know this but it is still frustrating when something doesn’t look the way you want it to.

I feel like I could have added a lot more detail with my ink work also. I have noticed that I have slowly slipped away from adding pointillism to my pieces to incorporate shadows. In my earlier drawings, I used this technique frequently. I should have used it with the turtle to allow it to blend more and become more real.

Although, I encountered a problem with my pens. The ink from the pen activated the watercolor pencil on the paper, therefore, it gets gunk on the tip of my pen and stops working. I thought it would be easy to add the ink after the color but it doesn’t really work. Maybe I should try doing the ink first and then use the watercolor pencils. Or else I will have to try a different type of pen.

I also grew very bored and tired of the piece. I had so many other ideas that had popped in my head that I would have rather been doing. I should have just abandoned the piece and came back to it later. I think the end result would have been better. I was just in a rush to finish it by the end. I was ready to move on. This definitely did not help the outcome.

It is not my best work but it is far from my worst. I still like the whimsical feel of this turtle. I really enjoy the smile and added that feature for a good reason. The reason I wanted to draw the turtle in the first place was because of an incident that recently happened to me. I was driving down the road with my brother in law and we saw a snapping turtle trying to cross the road. It had almost been hit a handful of times so we pulled over to rescue it. It was challenging trying to move it without getting snapped at but we were successful and got the turtle to the other side with the help of another driver passing by. We felt like super heroes and referenced a funny quote from one of our favorite TV shows, Futurama. “I saved a turtle today. What have you done with your life?” I was thrilled to be able to save the turtle and wanted to create this design to go with the phrase.

Have you saved any turtles lately? Share your story in the comments below! I would love to hear more success stories about our turtle friends! If you like this piece, you can find this and others in my shop at Redbubble!

Thanks for stopping by!

Take care, free spirits!

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Totem Animal: Orca

I had so much fun creating this piece. I always have an idea in mind but as I draw I let the piece create itself. My original thought was to have each orca resemble each half of a yin yang symbol. They originally were going to be done in zentangle and one porpoise would be black, the other white. The more I worked on it, my entire idea changed. The orcas’ skin is so smooth and shiny, I didn’t want to take away from that by adding patterns. I thought, instead, it would be a fun opportunity to play with the value scale and get some nice blue hues in replace of the orcas’ natural black. To fill in the space between, I created a neat design to represent the waves of water splashing around them. It’s a very calming piece. I feel like I can hear the water splashing when I look at it.

The orca has always fascinated me, ever since I was a child. They are my favorite marine animal and they have a lot to boast. So let’s dive on in and learn about their symbolism! (…see what I did there…)

Orca Symbolism

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First of all, lets get this out of the way so there is no confusion. Orcas are also known as killer whales. They are not actually whales, however. They are the largest porpoise (like dolphins) species in existence.

Orcas are highly intelligent creatures. They have the second largest brain in the ocean and can figure out any dilemma they come across. Have you ever seen those videos on youtube of the killer whales hunting? Pretty crazy stuff! Their ability to work together and problem solve is remarkable. This is a key point we should take from the orca. If they have swam into your consciousness, it may be time to start using that big brain of yours. Keep yourself mentally active and healthy. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take on any obstacle in life!

Orcas are a strong symbol of family. They live in huge “pods” sometimes of 40 family members! The females lead the pod, passing it down from generation to generation. They have great respect towards their grandmothers and mothers. We, too, should remember to respect our own family members who have cared for us and taught us what they know.

It is also important to work together. Killer whales know they can accomplish more when they are together. They are phenomenal hunters. Orcas have often been referred to as the wolves of the water because of the way they work as a pack to catch their prey. Make sure you are being a good team player. Help each other to obtain a common goal. The success rate is higher when you work together. It is much easier to make waves with many whales than it is with one. Imagine what you can do if everyone is in tune with each other. Communication helps with this.

Orcas are very vocal and rely heavily on sound. They use echolocation to navigate the world around them. Plus their songs are beautiful and melodious. If you hear the call of the orca, remember to use your own voice. Communicate with others to achieve harmony. Sing your song and enjoy the music of others. A calming tone can do wonders!

Some Native Americans believed that each orca was a reincarnation of a loved one. They showed a great respect for the animal and never hunted them. They were a sign from the spirit realm that a love one that has passed is still with you, watching over you. If you have lost someone recently, perhaps they have come to comfort you in the form of orca.

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The orca is such a powerful totem and they represent so much more than what I covered here. Make sure to check out other sources to get a full interpretation of your totem. Thanks for stopping by this week! Say hi in the comments below and let me know what you think of the orca totem!

Make a splash, free spirit!

Find Orca Totem prints and other products @Redbubble

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Manatee Totem in the Shop!

Good morning art lovers! I am super excited to announce that my Manatee Totem is now in the shop! I have so much fun designing these products and it adds a little twist to my drawings. I design the backgrounds on photoshop and they really add to the image! I get to play around with so many different colors and it gives me ideas on how I can make my drawings better as well. I use to be strictly a graphite pencil artist but I’ve realized that has changed, a lot! Now I use ink pens, colored pencils, art markers and now photoshop! I’d say I’m more of a mixed media artist now. But don’t worry, I still have a lot of pencil ideas a’brewin! I want to get back into my “Eye” series. I had a lot of fun doing them and people seem to love them! My totem animals just kind of took over! That’s ok, though. The totem animals will be an on-going thing. They will never end, not until I have drawn a totem for every animal in existence. I’m not sure if that is possible in a single lifetime but I will certainly try! Anyways, now I’m rambling.

Here are some of my favorite Manatee products but there are so many to choose from! You can see all the products available in my shops at

Redbubble & Society6

There are also prints (framed and canvas as well), yoga mats, coasters, notebooks and journals, tapestries, serving trays, keepsake boxes and so much more! Any and all sales are greatly appreciated and will help me grow into a full time artist…which means more and better art!

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope you find something you like!

Happy shopping, free spirits!