Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to my dear blogger friends. I hope the year ahead is a good year for all.

I thought I'd post this silly painting from my ipad.
I think I used Art Rage. No mess, no fuss and endless color possibilities. Also FUN.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Design Creative Process of Three Kings

Just in case there are any artists reading this blog who are curious about digital art, I thought I would post the creative process of a design I drew up with Corel Draw and Painter sometime ago.
Click the image for a larger view.
When I draw digitally, I have a Wacom tablet, Bamboo Fun, the smallest and cheapest model.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Home Made Christmas Cards

This past weekend I decided to bite the bullet and put some cards together using some of the digital drawings I have been playing with lately.
At this time of the year, I like to buy a box of 40 Strathmore photo cards because they have neat little windows where one can insert a photo or art or a piece of painted silk or fabric. Once mounted the cards take on a professional look.
I realized I have a lot of new angel designs so I took them into Painter and  added a few touches and in no time I had about ten cards all mounted and ready to go. All I need now is to sit down and write notes inside.
I took a photo of some of them to post here. 

Friday, December 07, 2012

More Angels

I've been drawing angels again for Christmas as I try to come up with a Card design again. I thought I'd post a few more here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coloured Line Angel Experiment

Thanks to Lynne Chapman, the amazing UK children's books illustrator, for sharing a photoshop trick for applying to line drawings. What fun!
I found a lovely line drawing online program similar to scribbler too but different. If you have a tablet to draw with you might try it out. You can save drawings to your computer and then paint them in Painter or Photoshop or any painting program.
One can also create different coloured lines in a more hands on way with this program.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Witch in the Sky

Margie Wallace looked up at the night sky to see Abigail flying across the moon exactly as she had promised. But she gasped as she realized the witch was taking poor Sally-Cat along for the ride.

"Hang on Sally! Don't let go!" she yelled over and over again until she lost her voice.

Illustration Friday's word this week is SKY.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Halloween Video

It's time to finish and post my Halloween poem animation project before the month is all over and gone.
Here is a HALLOWEEN MOVIE link that should work. It was created for my five year old grandson and my five year old great nephew. I hope it isn't too scary. Boo!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I have set up a flickr account today. I wonder if you  can see my Halloween spooks drawings? Are you scared?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Halloween Witches

The turkey leftovers are now in the soup. The Canadian holiday weekend is over. I have been drawing spooky characters.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012


After much deliberation I posted  my new video on YouTube. I have no idea what to do with it but I am so glad I made the piece. I guess an artist just has to keep on making art. So I may as well share this with my dear friends who also blog and who occasionally come by maplepancakes. Thanks for being there!

The video is six minutes long. The story is about a kid living in the 1950's and her discovery of cowboy movies. So far I have shared it with my friends and I posted it on my portfolio blog.

My project was an experiment in animation.
I created the animation using an online drawing program created by Zefrank and Mario Klingemann, edited in Painter 12, and animated clips created using my drawings in sequences with Animationish (A wonderful animation program designed for kids).

I used my iPad to record the sound track with Garage Band. I had to make a few runs through it to get it without helicopters flying past or ambulances or even crazy drivers spinning wheels on the streets below. I recorded in the bathroom but then it sounded as if I'd recorded in the bathroom. I recorded in the bedroom with the story taped to my closet door so that I could stand up and read the whole thing without stopping because I haven't figured out how to split tracks without them sounding disconnected. I also added voice tracks running under the dialogue. I became singing nuns and then later for the video, the voices of kids playing cowboys.

If anyone had been looking in at me sitting with my iPad laying tracks into Garage Band they might have thought I'd lost my mind.

But it is now finished and I had so much fun with it I am so glad I put the time into it.

If anyone wants to comment I will be so happy to know you looked at it.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

At The Lake

I spent a few days with my grandson this past week. He lives just down the road from this beautiful lake.
I have to admit I was pretty tired after four days with a four year old. He starts kindergarten this week along with millions of kids across the country.
I thought I'd share a few of the photos we took of each other. Since he was wearing his superman shirt he thought he might just be able to fly.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Where Did The Ducks Go?

The family of beautiful wild ducklings disappeared suddenly three days ago when no one was looking. There are rumors along with feathers on the pond, and not much else. This photo is from the last time I saw her on the day she disappeared. She is protecting those babies with her wings.
Most of us are hoping they have been located in a better place in a pond filled with life and bugs and plants. The fountain is crystal clear but provides no nourishment as far as I could make out. People brought lots of food for the ducks though, some of it good and some just awful like the floating bread in the pool from well meaning kids and even a pile of what looked like goat cheese placed near her nesting spot!
Patients in wheel chairs continue to ride themselves over to take a look at the ducklings and there is nothing to see. I am thinking about putting up a sign but first I think I'll call the SPCA to see if they are responsible for the removal of the family.
I know there are others, not quite so humane who expressed anger against the ducks staying in the fountain. "They have got to go!" was expressed by one woman as her chocolate lab ran about splashing in the pool right beside the frantic mother duck.
I heard through the grapevine, that the groundskeepers were annoyed because ducks meant extra clean up.
I had mixed thoughts. I loved having the ducks around and I started documenting their daily growth with my camera. But I worried about them being there.
Some parents sat beside the pool laughing when their ten year old boys splashed around with four foot long water guns while the ducks tried to quickly escape. But one little fellow didn't make it out on time and he swam around in circles crying in duck cry sounds calling for his parent duck.
A row of adults and kids gathered and stood between duckling and mother duck preventing the escape. They were amused and they laughed at the antics of the terrorized little guy.
I was so upset I realized my protective feelings were getting a little weird around these creatures. After all they were only ducks. Yet I am ashamed about the lack of respect for wild life and the lack of empathy or care some people expressed.
Now they are gone and many of us are a little sad. But I am going to see if I can find out who took them away and why.
SEPTEMBER NOTE: According to the neighbours, the ducks were rounded up in a box and relocated to a better place by a group of people from the SPCA. I wish they had left a note.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Ducklings

My project has me totally involved. As a consequence I have not posted for a while. I do however keep up the dog walks with Maggie.
Every day we pass a fountain near the hospital. It looks like a kids wading pool in size and structure but it is a fountain of clear water that is constantly filtered. A few weeks ago I snapped a picture of a couple of Mallard ducks that had dropped by for a swim in the pool.
There was no more sign of ducks until last week when the female emerged from foliage followed by ten of the most adorable ducklings I have ever seen. These little babies have become the talk of the neighbourhood with strangers talking to strangers, children coming by to see them with parents in tow, hospital patients in wheel chairs with IVs get wheeled over to sit and observe.
Who would have ever thought that baby ducks could create community?
So far, the male duck has not appeared. I wonder if he ran into a raccoon or if he just took off. In any case this momma duck is doing a great job of managing her family of ten.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Sunshine Days

It is a beautiful sunshine morning in Vancouver. Before I take Maggie out for a walk around her favourite park in the loveliness of the cool fresh air I thought I'd post a little note with a drawing related to my project.
I have been enjoying the process and I get totally lost in it. I forget all about time but my dog Maggie has to go out for walks so she makes me get up and away from the computer every once in a while. This is good for blood circulation and keeps me from blood clots and stroke which I am constantly reminded of by an advertisement on TV that repeats itself into my brain until I want to scream or turn the TV off. My TV is near me and it keeps me company while I work when I'm not listening to music.

After many years of working for others and creating images to fit the requests of clients, I am enjoying the freedom to play with this stuff. Some retired folks play golf and some travel and some go shopping. But since I can not afford those things I write stories and draw and now with the wonders of technology and computers, I can put little movies together that would have been impossible in the past without a team of people and expensive equipment out of the reach of folks like me. As far as I am concerned this is heaven. I give thanks for every minute of every day.
The software I have been using to put together a short animated video is Toon Boom Studio and Corel Painter 12. I am drawing with my Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet using the online program ScribblerToo created by Mario Klingemann. If you love to draw I guarantee you will have fun with scribbler if you are inclined to play with line drawings. Once I get this finished I will post it on youtube in case there is anyone out there who might be interested in seeing the results of this experiment. Later. Maybe next week.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Cowboy

I am coming up for a little blogging air. I get so lost in a project and that's where I have been. Not lost exactly, but trying to cut a path through to the end. I see the sun is shining today and this is a real treat lately in Vancouver.
This fellow is part of this 'project thing' that is consuming my brain lately.
I agree. I am weird. But I can't stop now.

Many thanks to ScribblerToo, an online digital drawing program created by Mario Klingemann . I used it for the line drawing for this character. I painted the drawing in Painter 12, a program I won (Yes it is true!) from CorelDraw for taking part in questionnaires regarding Corel Software products.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Poppies Along The Way

While walking the dog early on Sunday morning, I came across this scene of poppies and rhododendrons. A peaceful cat stared at me eye to eye from where I stood with my camera across the street.
Some idiot in the neighbourhood seems to have delighted in tromping down these beautiful poppies. I am imagining this character on a skateboard as he goes about the lawns probably at four a.m., leaping onto anything exposed that is beautiful.
He's done this to quite a number of flower beds in my area of the city. I am assuming it is a he.
I may be wrong. Perhaps it is some poor soul who keeps falling into flower beds because of some mysterious impulse they cannot control. In any case it gives me something to post about today.

I have been working on a book I started a long time ago. I have never sent it anywhere because I wasn't ready to let it go. Many years have gone by and I have matured and I can get rid of the bad parts because I am not emotionally attached to the story the way I once was. For this book project, I am using a program recommended by my friends in CWILL BC (Canadian Writers & and Illustrators of BC) called SCRIVENER which makes it easy to organize files and chapters.
I like it a lot and I am going like gangbusters through the writing. It is so helpful for moving chapters around.

I come up for air between the writing hours and I walk the dog or maybe dance a little around the room to get the blood flowing. I have a constant conversation with myself wondering why I am dedicating so many hours to this project. It is a lonesome thing to sit down alone and write every day. But I am doing it. Regardless. Because I just have to.
And in the meantime there are lovely things to see on dog walks around my neighbourhood. This is Maggie checking out the smells beneath pink poppies.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Two Digital Paintings

I have been writing and editing this week and when I write I go into the 'zone' and only come up for air when I need something to eat or the dog reminds me she has to go out for her routines outside.
I miss writing here on my blogs, but when I write I have nothing much to post. So tonight I thought I'd try some quick Art rage iPad paintings using reference photos I've taken around the neighbourhood so that I could put something visual up here.
All you need is an iPad and a pen for the iPad to draw with and the fast and low cost Art Rage APP which is to me one of the most satisfying Apps for making art.

Oil Paint brushes

I love having so many choices for color.
Watercolour and air brush brushes
with pen outline.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Opened Eyes.

Here's my lady. I'm calling her Norma.

Norma is startled at the moment having just opened her eyes to the world.

It was fun getting her this far today. Thanks for reading and looking.

Her beginnings are described below.

I think she may be about to go shopping.

Steps Along The Way

The other evening after a day of writing and editing I sat with my iPad on my lap. I started drawing with my favourite APP for drawing on iPad,
(Art Rage ) while I was  watching Birdsong on Masterpiece Theatre.

This started to look like a piece of cloth as I ran lines thick and thin, transparent and soft across the glass with my stylus for iPad.
I created a few of these 'plaids' during the evening with my dog snuggled beside me on one side and my cat on the other side.
After I completed four plaid like designs like this I sent them by email to my computer.
The following evening after another day of writing, I called this particular pink plaid into Corel Photopaint X5 which is part of my Corel Graphics design suite.
Using the freehand mask tool I started cutting out shapes, saving them and pasting them onto my Corel Draw page. They looked like this.
I have added a black background to emphasize the shapes for you viewers who might be interested in my crazy exploration process.

Because I have been writing a story set in the nineteen fifties, these dress shapes are straight out of my memories of the time because I did wear dresses with horsehair crinolines underneath which made the skirts flare out.

So then I figured I should put a character into the dress.
So with CorelDraw I made some vector shapes for legs, body and arms. And now, today I have this little character who fits my story nicely, I think... for a start anyway.

Now I will take her into Corel Painter to soften up her hair and to give her a face. And I shall post more later.

In the meantime, the reason I am so freely telling you about my affection for Corel is because today I received an email telling me I am a winner of a free Corel Product and I am over the top happy. I rarely win anything and it seems especially nice that this is happening today after getting my income tax organized and off into the universe with all the stress and strain of worry about owing as usual.
So a big thanks today from me to Corel because it makes my life full of unexpected surprises and endless creative pathways to explore.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Scene on a Rainy day

I spent much of the weekend watching and being inspired by the FREE Weekend of  water colour videos on Artist's Network TV.

Two water colour painters I admire demonstrated how easy it can be.

Right? Oh yeah. Right!

It wasn't quite as easy as it looked. I admit it has been a while since I had a real brush in my hand. So, yesterday, after a disastrous attempt at painting with real paint and real brushes, and after tossing out several sheets of good paper and after losing my mind temporarily in frustration, I went back to digital. I thought I'd share this today.
Why do I like creating digital water colour art ?
1. Being comfortable with the software. Painter and CorelDraw.
2. One can play with different colour schemes.
3. Easy to delete and start again.
4. No mess, like indigo blue staining fingers or stepping on a blob of water colour and leaving blue blobs on the floor and carpet.Ugh! Yes.I did
5. No need to spend money on expensive paint and supplies and brushes.
There are lots more reasons but this post is now long enough.

This little scene will make a background for some animation experiments.  I know I must keep on with the real paints too. But that will be another post. It must be like getting back on the horse.

Here is the reference photo. A park playground near where I live. I took the photo two weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

IF / Return

The word this week on Illustration Friday is RETURN.
So if I choose to post this bunch of experiments all together I could say say something like
"These little characters are the beginnings of my return to a love of experimenting with animation",

Or I could write
"The cats watched and waited for the return of Freddy the mouse and his twin brother Dexter."
Or I could say
"The rainbow goose returned alone after his long journey. He ran through the fields just outside the town hoping his sweetheart would have arrived ahead of him."
"The surving octupus and a few fishes returned to their home lagoon to delight in the purity of clean water after so many months of swimming around deadly oil spills in the ocean."
And I could also write
'Albert returned to school with his wonderful painting rolled up and safe in his back pack ready to show to the class."
Dear reader, if you are still with me I would give you a big hug. Thanks for coming by.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Four Colourful Cats

Four cats appeared on the page. They need to say "Hi. Happy Spring!" They are the colour of Easter eggs and ended up sitting on their tails which is because of poor planning on my part. They were supposed to be sitting on a fence with tails hanging down.
I think they are waiting for an Easter bunny or maybe a butterfly or a bird. I suppose they would prefer a mouse.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Benefits of Entering a Contest / Win or Lose

 The winner of the Toon Boom Animated Valentine Contest was a teenage girl with Autism with an intense interest in Animation, lots of facebook friends who voted for her and great family support. This is a good thing.

Entering the Valentine Animation Contest had benefits for all contestants. For me the best parts are
  • Free Software, Flip Doodle Boom, an inexpensive software for teachers and kids enabling them to create short Animations with ease.
  • In this moment of great enthusiasm, I downloaded a free demo of another program called Animationish  which I LOVE because it is drawing based. So I purchased a copy for myself. It is worth every penny!
  • I know teachers would find it a great way to teach basic classical animation to young art students of all ages and it sells at a very reasonable price compared to expensive Toon Boom software products for professionals.
All is well. Here is what I made for you dear blog friends today. A one minute video using Animationish with images edited in Corel Painter and Corel Video Studio.
I call it  Happy Chickens. Do you think they might make a neat e-birthday card?
Oh! And don't miss Albert's smile at the end which is an experiment to see if you can import jpegs and png files into Animationish. And you can!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Flying Piggies Valentine

I entered a little animated valentine into a contest with Toon Boom using their software Flip Doodle Boom which they offered free as a download until February 10.
I spent several days learning how to use it until I created this little video. I have posted it on you tube.

Flip Doodle Boom is designed for kids and is easy to use if one is truly interested in animation.

I think creating animations must be good for brains. Better than crossword puzzles perhaps? For example: One might wake up from sound sleep in the dark night with the perfect solution and a way to move weird little pigs around in balloons. Crazy making perhaps? But fun if one is so inclined. There are a few of us out there.

I feel happy to have finished this and to have had the opportunity to learn a little bit of this wonderful little animation program. Now I want to make more.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Maple Pancakes Blog!

I started this blog in January 2005 and it is still here! So Happy Birthday Maple Pancakes.
I think I'll keep on going.

Today I'm posting two drawings I made on my iPad using the APP Autodesk Sketchbook Pro  for Ipad. 

If you happen to have an iPad and if you love to sketch and doodle, I recommend this delightful APP. It takes a while to get used to it but once you discover a favorite brush you gain control and then it is fun.

On another software testing subject, I discovered an animation program for beginners and a Valentine Animation contest with Flip Boom Doodle, a program from Toon Boom. It is a basic but fun animation program and it is free until the end of February 2012. If you miss the free download it is around thirty dollars to buy or less and this is a great price for a lovely little software package for kids and teachers wanting to make animated films fast and easy.

Further blogging about what happened to me as I entered the Flip Boom Valentine Contest is in the next two posts.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Boxer Named Maximillan

This is a vector drawing taken into Painter for details. The reference photo was posted on Wet Canvas this weekend on the All media Events. Thanks to  For the DEWI who is moderator this weekend and who provided the photos and for hosting.

I find that WC keeps me experimenting and there's a bit of sharing among the artists which makes for a little social contact and when I am working it is good for me to step away to play every once in a while.

And I never know if something is going to turn out. But this fellow looks pretty neat I think. He was someone's beloved Boxer named Maximillan.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Turning Pages with Book Creator

Here we are almost at the middle of January. This month marks the anniversary of this blog which I started in 2005 on January 23. When I began I had no idea where it was going and I am still wondering. What I do know is that blogging has helped me. I can't explain it exactly. But I know it's been a good use of my time to post all kinds of things that I find interesting and although I am certain a lot of it is not of interest to others, I think blogging helps me to stay grounded and learning. Maybe that's not a bad thing. And I would love it if anyone out there finds inspiration here.

Last month I bought a little program just because it allows one to create a personal project in an e-book format with turning pages. Here are some photos of me and my first test run.
I brought in a few of my Christmas characters in jpeg format saved in my pictures file on the iPad, added some text on the fly and voila, a little book project. This is a neat app for kids of all ages for school projects, for poems, for photo journals etc.
I think it looks rather cool.
One adds text to each page using the iPad keyboard that pops up on screen.
I don't think one can import text though I may be wrong.
Once you have created a little book you can place it on your bookshelf on your iPad. i believe you can also post your book to iTunes.
The APP is called Book Creator by Red Jumper Studio.
If you go to their website you can see more information and a demo video. It is as easy as it looks. So if you have an iPad and if you have some jpeg files there is nothing to stop you from making a very professional looking virtual book with turning pages.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Stinky Dog Video on New Year's Day

Starting off a brand new year I thought I'd post some old stuff with added music sound tracks.
This art was created with my Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet and using Corel's Painter Elements.
Every once in a while I saved a frame as I drew it.
I used Roxio's online Photo Show, a favourite website, to put it together with  dissolve between each frame.
Ask me any questions.