90 Day Art Challenge Paper Art Update (Feb 24 – March 16)

As the 90 Day Art Challenge is coming to an end, I am losing a bit of steam. I have so many daily responsibilities, that if I don’t work on the challenge one day, it becomes harder to work on it the next day. Hence, why so many of the days were combined. But I’m pushing through.

Day 55 – February 24, 2018

I decided on the new theme for my next paper art project and began working on drawing trees. I wanted them to have odd branches that curled a lot to give them an eerie vibe.

Day 56 – February 25, 2018

I cut out two pieces of semi-transparent yellow paper, cut out the trees I had drawn previously and attached them to the paper. I plan on making a lot more trees.

Day 57 – February 26, 2018

I worked on another tree and attached it behind the other trees. I also made a moon to go on the right hand corner. I seemed to work super slowly today for some reason. So unfortunately, I did not get much done.

Day 58 – February 27, 2018

I continued working on more trees. I wanted some of the trees to be branching in towards the center to create a type of tunnel effect. I want the piece to look like there is a path of trees leading to something amazing or horrifying – not sure yet. I still need more trees to achieve that look.

Day 59 and 60 – February 28 to March 1, 2018

I continued drawing and cutting out yet more trees that would go in the background. I made sure to use lighter paper to make them look further away.

Day 61 – March 2, 2018

I made two more trees to add to the tunnel effect and attached all the trees to the clear paper. So far, I feel like I am getting the effect I was hoping for.

Day 62 to 67 – March 3 to 8, 2018

These past six days have been extremely frustrating. I have been rearranging the trees, adding more trees, cutting out a moon in the yellow transparent background and adding a white transparent background, then another yellow one behind that, rearranging the lights, and painting the back of the shadow box white, to make sure it looked the way I wanted it to to look. I rearranged the trees a lot. It has been a challenge, to say the least, but I finally achieved the glow and shadow look I wanted.

Due to the frustration with it not looking the way I wanted it to look, I did not take any pictures, until I finally achieved the look I wanted.

Between the layers, in the middle-ground, I added foam board to space them apart more and give the piece more depth. I also made sure to use different colored paper on the trees to give the piece a bit more dimension.

Day 68 – March 9, 2018

I cut out another tree and added it to the closest layer. I also added another piece of transparent yellow paper to the background on the left side, to make that side darker and make the side with the tree path and the moon stand out even more.

Day 69 – March 10, 2018

I added a few more trees, and then removed one of them, because it felt much too cluttered. Lastly, I bent some of the branches forwards and backwards to give the trees more dimension. Now I have to start adding the characters and the fallen leaves.

Day 70 – March 11, 2018

I began working on one of the little creatures that will be inhabiting the enchanted forest. It’s definitely a challenge working with smaller pieces, especially since I’ve never made any people this small, but it will be a good challenge. She is a little under an inch and a half tall.

Day 71 & 72 – March 12 and 13, 2018

I had to combine these two days, because I was unable to work on paper art on the 12th, so I put in extra time on the 13th. For this hour, I put together the little girl and made a mask and a tail for her. I also made the missing arm, a hand and some shoes. I had to remake the mask because I messed up the first one. I also decided to remove the face to let the yellow light seep in and give the little girl a more eerie look.

Day 73 – March 14, 2018

This is not entirely paper art related, at least not in the traditional sense. But I decided to create a little stop motion video using my newest paper art creation. It was fun being able to place the little girl in the different layers and seeing the trees move with every picture. It game me some ideas for future paper art projects. To view the video, click here.

Day 74 & 75 – March 15 to 16, 2018

Pre-Updated Version

I decided to take a mini break from working on the forest shadow box and instead focus on the Tree Woman shadow box since I felt that the look of the Tree Woman and the way I attached her, the lights and the window, was far from ideal. I wanted to make sure the piece was something I was genuinely proud of. So I removed all the pieces and began reworking the woman. I started with her headpiece. I am still not sold with what I made. I know I’ll end up reworking it again.

Week 8, 9, & 10 REVIEW

I have found that with anything I create, there are always parts of the process where I stumble a bit and feel less energized or motivated. While other parts are extremely energizing and I don’t want to stop working on my projects.

When I encounter these stumbling blocks, I think it’s good to take a step back sometimes and work on something else for a little while to recharge my batteries, so that’s what I did with the forest shadow box. Plus, I just wasn’t pleased with the end result of the Tree Woman shadow box. I feel like I can rework it and make it look so much better. We’ll see what happens. 🙂

90 Day Art Challenge Paper Art Update (Feb 10 – 23)

The previous two weeks were so hectic, that I did not have a chance to complete the challenge every day, but I did make up the time that I was missing by making other days longer. I was also not able to post the update blog (that’s why it’s a week late). But things are back on track.

For the last two weeks, I continued working on the Day of the Dead themed shadow box. I continued trying to use more layers on the different characters in order to make them more three-dimensional and to make them more like real people look (but in paper form). I am so pleased with the results.

Day 41 – February 10, 2018

I unfortunately did not work on paper art today. For tomorrow, I will be sure to devote an extra 30 minutes.

Day 42 – February 11, 2018

I worked for a bit over an hour to make up for yesterday’s lack of paper art work. I worked on the little girl that is standing. I made her hair, separated her legs (to make her more three dimensional), made her arm, and made a little boot. Paper art takes much longer than it looks.

Day 43 – February 12, 2018

I worked on the eyes, which took much longer than I would have liked. I also added the eyebrows and created the part down the middle of the hair.

Day 44 – February 13, 2018

I kept working on the little girl. I added more details to the face and detached the head, then reattached it. I also made the second boot.


Day 45 – February 14, 2018

I worked on the mouth for 30 minutes. I had to redo it several times and nothing seemed to work. I didn’t want the character to look too pouty. I ended up deciding to just draw the lips on the character. Hopefully, in the near future I’ll get better at cutting out tiny lips so that they look the way I intend them to look.

Day 46 – February 15, 2018

I worked on the hair and gave it a bit more texture and added more layers. The way I used to do it was too flat, so I am happy with the improvements I’ve made thus far.

Day 47 – February 16, 2018

I worked on the little girl’s shirt sleeve and her arm. I detached both from the body and added a thin foam piece between the body and the arm to make it more three dimensional. I also added some details to the dress.

Day 48 – February 17, 2018

I worked on the little girl’s shoe – I decided the boots were not working for me – and I also added a few minor details to her body to finish the piece. I then began working on the second girl’s hair and face.

Day 49 – February 18, 2018

I worked on the smaller girl’s face some more. I cut out the eye sockets and added white paper to the back, then I drew in the iris on the white paper (before attaching it to the face base). I added some brows, her nose and her cheeks.

Day 50 – February 19, 2018

I added another layer of hair with cut  pieces to give it more texture. I also added more details to the face, like the tear, the mouth, and I outlined the eye. When gluing down the hair, I only glued the top part, to let the strands of hair appear to be protruding more in certain parts, like real hair does. For future pieces, I do plan on adding different colors of paper to make the hair look more like real hair.

Day 51 – February 20, 2018

I finished working on the little girl. I added clothes. I made the clothes in layers. For example, I made the sleeves and pant legs separate. I also made the heart with the thorns separate. I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of the little girl.

Day 52 – February 21, 2018

I attached the dolls clothes, her arms, and legs. I placed her arms below her sleeves. I then attached both girls to the piece and made sure everything was glued down well. I am so happy with my finished piece. I love it!

Day 53 – February 22, 2018

I did not manage to work on the challenge today. 😦 But I’ll make it up.

Day 54 – February 23, 2018

Again, I did not work on the challenge, which is so disheartening, but I’ve carved out time in the weekend to work on it for longer periods of time and make up the time I missed, and then some. I’m excited about the next paper art project I will be working on.


Although these past two weeks did not go as planned (i.e. I did not get a chance to work on paper art every day) I am so happy with what I’ve accomplished thus far. I do believe my pieces are a lot better than when I first started.

One take-away from these past two weeks has been to pay attention to the way 3D objects actually are. By not gluing down all the parts of the hair, or the arms, or the clothes, etc., it has given my pieces a more realistic look. I also realized that by adding a bit of foam board between layers, (for example, between the head and the body), it also creates the illusion of more dimensionality. I plan on continuing with this process and making even better pieces. Stay tuned!

90 Day Art Challenge Paper Art Update (Jan 27 – Feb 9)

These past two weeks have been great. I feel like I’ve tried techniques that are more advanced, at least more so than what I was doing before. I used techniques that gave my piece more texture, more depth, and that resulted in a cleaner look.

Day 27 – January 27, 2018

I updated the face so that it would look less full and more skull-like. I also began adding flower embellishments on the shirt as well as the stitching. Lastly, I began decorating the face in Day of the Dead style.

Day 28 – January 28, 2018

I continued working on the flowers on the shirt – it was a long process, but it was surprisingly relaxing. I added the petals individually and the center part of the flowers to give it more texture and depth. I also updated the collarbone and the neck. I added black to the back to give it more definition. I also added more layers to the hair to add some gray and to give it more texture. I have been implementing techniques that I had been too scared to try before, and I am loving the way it’s turning out. I have found that using a brush to apply the glue is ideal, especially for smaller areas. I have also found tweezers to be a life saver when applying the small little pieces to the character.

Day 29 – January 29, 2018

The fact that the petals around the eyes were so large was really bugging me, so I decided to remove the face and add a new one. I am really happy I opted to do that, because, although the change is not drastic, I definitely notice a difference.

Day 30 – January 30, 2018

I worked on the arms today. It was kind of hard figuring out how they would be positioned so that they did what I wanted them to do. In the end, I think I got the look I was going for. I also added seams to the shirt to separate the arms from the rest of the shirt. So far, I am very pleased with the way this shadow box is turning out.

Day 31 – January 31, 2018

I began working on the shape of the little girls and I also cut out a layer of grass. They both need additional work. I also cut out the foam pieces to separate the different layers. I put all of the layers into the box (with scotch tape for now) to see how they will look together. I still have a long way to go, but I am very pleased with the way it is turning out and the new techniques I am using.

Day 32 – February 1, 2018

I worked on another layer of grass to give the piece a bit more depth and I created a border that will frame the shadowbox – it will be covered in flowers and skulls. The border will work as decor, but it will also hide the foam pieces that are attached to the back of the translucent purple paper.

Day 33 – February 2, 2018

I began working on the flowers that will go around the border of the picture. I wanted to cut out each petal and make them look like African Marigolds (which are traditionally used in Day of the Dead celebrations), but I want to make several of them in different colors. It’s tedious work, but I like the way it’s coming out.

Day 34 – February 3, 2018

I continued working on the flowers and added little skulls to the center of them. I really love the way the flowers are looking. I made sure to fold the flower petals up and inwards to give the flowers more body.

Day 35 – February 4, 2018

I decided to change the border in terms of the color and the shape. I think the new shape and color of the border will make the piece look a lot better. It still needs the leaves and a lot more flowers for the border to be complete.

Day 36 – February 5, 2018

I began adding some leaves to the picture frame and gave them some whimsical twirls. I felt that having them look like traditional African Marigold leaves would be too boring.

Day 37 – February 6, 2018

I added more to the background to hide the white foams that support the bottom layer. And I added some tombstones and candles to the middle ground. I also added more of the leaf designs to the border.

Day 38 – February 7, 2018

I worked on the flowers on the bottom side. They have taken such a long time to make, but they really enhance the overall look of the piece.

Day 39 – February 8, 2018

Today I just worked on tracing and cutting out flower petals. I did not take a picture of this.

Day 40 – February 9, 2018

I finished the border and I attached all the finished pieces to the box. The only thing left now are the little girls. I also changed the placement of the flowers to distribute the cool and warm colors a bit more.

Week 4 & 5 Review

I am so pleased that I am experimenting with my paper art techniques. I do think the newest creations have improved by leaps and bounds. They definitely are more time consuming, but they are looking a lot better (closer to the types of paper art creations I was hoping to make).

I think as long as I keep experimenting through this 90 day art period, by the end, the difference between my day 1 and day 90 creations will be obvious in terms of growth.

90 Day Art Challenge Paper Art Update (Jan 13 – Jan 26)

These past two weeks were a bit harder to complete, simply because life got in the way. My two year old got sick with the stomach flu and required a lot of attention (my husband was out of town when that happened as well). But I managed to work on paper art pretty much every day and learn more about the medium in the process.

Day 13 – January 13, 2018


I didn’t have enough time to work on the challenge today, so I didn’t complete very much, but what I did complete, I think made the piece a lot better. I added the bottom floorboards to the shadowbox and I added a foam back frame to the boy character to make him sturdier when placed in the shadowbox.


Day 14 – January 14, 2018

I added the top side boards and the top board to make it more three dimensional and I also made the back frame for the Tree Woman.



Day 15 – January 15, 2018

I worked on the Tree woman’s face, by shaping it a bit more. I also made a headscarf for her, which took much too long to make. I made about five attempts and none of them seemed right. Now I just need to add the details. I also fixed the bottom right side of the wall part to make it look more angled and make the bottom part of the floor fit in with the rest of the image.

Day 16 – January 16, 2018

I worked on the Tree Woman’s face today. I’m not completely convinced I like the look of it, but I think it will work.


Day 17 – January 17, 2018

I worked on the woman’s headdress and her face a bit more. It still gave me difficulties. I am not 100% pleased how the headdress turned out. I feel like adding color to it, made it look bad, but I’ll know for next time. I also added a few folds to the dress.

Day 18 – January 18, 2018

I finished the light box. I added more detail to the clothing folds and the arms and branches on the Tree Woman. I also made her some simple shoes. I attached the Tree Woman to her base and to the box. I am pleased with the end result, but I know I can make something better.

Day 21 – January 21, 2018

I skipped the last two days, but made up for it today by working on this for over an hour and a half. I began working on a new light box idea that I’m really excited about. For this project I wanted to try and implement the silhouette technique which is found in more traditional paper art. It doesn’t look like I did much, but getting the transparent sheets the right size ended up being more complicated than I thought.

Day 22 – January 22, 2018

I worked on the main tombstone today. I simply worked on the shape and added a few more layers to it to give it a bit more three-dimensionality. For this new shadow box, I am trying to add more layers of paper. For this one, I did use markers to give the tombstone a bit more depth and to try something a bit different.

Day 23 – January 23, 2018

I worked on the details of the tombstone some more. I added the words and added a few more layers at the bottom and at the center to give it even more depth. I also added a bit more with the brush markers. So far, I am pleased with the way this is turning out.

Day 24 – January 24, 2018

I began working on the shape and idea for the grandmother. I decided she would be the deceased (aka calaca) character. I didn’t want her to be the traditional skinny calaca, so I decided to make her a bit more broad. I also plan on adding some ghost-like elements to her.


Day 25 – January 25, 2018

I continued working on the calaca. I added the dress and some details to her face. I also added a transparent white paper above the body to make a ghost/calaca character.

Day 26 – January 26, 2018

I worked on the ghost/calaca character a bit more. I added more details to her dress and more to her eyes (adding those tiny details has been time consuming, but it will give the piece more texture). I also updated the shape of her body to give it a more ghost-like feel. And I added a little ghost tail to the tombstone. I might change the transparent paper to another type of transparent paper, but I’m still debating that.


I really like the direction I’m taking for this new piece. I like that I am focusing on adding more layers of paper to the different pieces in order to give them depth and texture. I took a lot of cues by looking at other paper artists’ and seeing what techniques I liked and trying to implement them into my own work.

Hopefully, the next two weeks will go more smoothly so that I can get a lot more work done and create pieces that are even better.

Stay tuned!

Art Inspiration of the Month – Sarah Dennis

As part of my 90 Day Art Challenge, I decided it would be vital to look at other artists’ work to see the amazing things they’ve achieved with their chosen medium. The goal is not to be as amazing at the craft as they are, after the 90 day period, but to see what is possible with continual work and practice (and lots of patience).

When doing research on paper artists, I found so many talented individuals, but one that stood out amongst the rest was Sarah Dennis (click on her name to check out her website).

I was inspired by her beautiful and flowy paper designs. There is so much magic and character in each of her pieces. It’s remarkable to think that she is able to create so much detail and depth by simply using paper and a craft knife. There is movement in each one of her pieces. They are like little stories unfolding before our eyes.

Sarah combines paper cutting with collage to create her beautiful scenes. Below you will find some more of Sarah’s pieces (and some of my favorite).

Who are your favorite paper artists?

90 Day Art Challenge Paper Art Update (Jan 1 – Jan 12)

It’s the start of my first 90 Day Art Challenge. I decided to focus on paper art, seeing as that’s the medium that has interested me the most these past couple of months.

The ultimate goal of this challenge is to improve my skills as an artist by reading up on the medium, learning from other paper artists, and by making paper art every day for the next three months.

Below is a day by day breakdown of what I made and learned each step of the way, these past two weeks.

Day 1 – January 1, 2018

I started off by just making something. I didn’t really have a concept in mind. The end result was not great. I ended up with a creepy baby rabbit instead of a cute rabbit.

I realized that in the future, I should have all the pieces (for example face pieces) cut out before I glue anything, in order to ensure that I like the look of it. I should also color and add texture to the pieces, before I glue anything on top of them.

Day 2 – January 2, 2018

Again, I did not have a concept of what I wanted to make today. All I knew was that I wanted to try to create a face using as many pieces of cardstock paper as I could. In other words, I wanted to limit my use of colored pencils.

I created this witch face without looking at a reference. The face was not great, but I am just starting out with this medium. I believe I would be more successful starting off with a bigger face as a surface area to practice on and hone my skills.

Day 3 – January 3, 2018

I couldn’t fall asleep last night when I came up with the idea of making a light shadow box depicting Tomás and the Tree Woman – they are characters from a story I am working on. The idea just came to me and I kept coming up with more ideas on how to bring it to life.

I decided to start with the middle-ground since it would include one of the most interesting components (the stained glass window). I used translucent paper to make the glass effect and, so far, I am very pleased with it. I still need to add more layers and make the wall around it more three dimensional and interesting. I’m excited for the end result.

Day 4 – January 4, 2018

I continued working on the stained glass window and the wall. Visualizing how I would break up the wall and floor was a bit of a struggle for me, but in the end, I like the way it is looking.

Day 5 – January 5, 2018

I began working on the items that will go in the background, behind the window. I made the moon – I had to add three layers of translucent paper to make it stand out behind the window (I’m still not sure it does, I might use construction paper instead. I also began working on the trees that will go in the background. They will be black, leafless trees whose shadows will be visible through the window. I did not take a picture unfortunately.

Day 6 – January 6, 2018

I managed to add a lot more detail to the attic walls and the floorboards. For today, I focused less on cutting paper and more on adding the details that would give the piece a bit more of three-dimensionality. I really love the way it is turning out.

Day 7 – January 7, 2018

I spent a lot of time painting the box that will feature my paper art and did not get much time to work on paper art. I also made the hole for the lights to go through. I attached the lights and then attached the middle-ground with the background to the box. This day was a fail in terms of practicing paper art, but I made up for it the following day, by devoting an hour to making my first character.

Day 8 – January 8, 2018

Day 8

I started working on the little boy character. For this project, I decided I wanted to use more layers of paper to get more of a 3-D effect, which I feel I am achieving. The issue I have with these small pieces is the detailed work. I need to keep practicing in order to get better. So far, I am happy with the way it’s turning out.


Day 9

Day 9 – January 9, 2018

I continued working on the little boy. I only worked on him for the minimum amount of time I said I would work on paper art in a day (30 minutes). I changed the positions of his arms, added hair, added a back pocket and fixed his shoes and face. So far I am liking the details even more. I am a bit iffy on the hair and how I will construct the face, but I will cross that bridge when it comes up.

Day 10 – January 10, 2018

I worked on the boy some more. I also made the rose and started working on the doll. I am not completely thrilled with the way the boy came out, particularly his face, but it’s a work in progress. I’ll get better at making faces with time. Overall, I think the piece will be beautiful.



Day 11 – January 11, 2018

I continued working on the boy (I added the final details) and I continued working on the doll. So far, I am pleased with the way it’s turning out, but I need to figure out how to add more details with paper, for example, on the hair or the fabric folds.


Day 12 – January 12, 2018

I started working on the base of the Tree Woman. She has been more complex to create than I anticipated, but I like the way she is turning out. I think the entire piece will end up looking amazing. I want to make sure her branches look like branches, but also like horrid extensions on her body. I will work on that this weekend and hopefully have a finished piece by Monday, so that I can start working on the next project. The picture is found below.


Week 1 & 2 Review

I think I work best when I have a project in mind. I was much more excited once I got the idea to make a shadow light box inspired by my story of Tomás and the Tree Woman. I felt like there was more of a purpose to what I was doing and I had more ideas to create more dimensionality than I have before with paper.

I also did research on other paper artists and their techniques and I got a lot of great practical information that will help my pieces look a lot more polished and professional. I was inspired when looking at their pieces, because it made me see some amazing creations that are possible to make with paper.

My goal for the next couple of weeks is to try to create a finished project every week or two weeks. Ideally, every week. However, I need to devote more than 30 minutes each day to complete a piece in one week.

I am excited to see what this finished piece looks like and eager to expand my paper art skills.

90 Day Art Challenge

While attending the SCBWI Summer Conference this past July, I was inspired to grow as a writer and illustrator. There were many wonderful speakers that gave us a lot of valuable information and encouraged us to keep going.

One that really inspired me was LeUyen Pham’s workshop, titled “One Artist, Different Styles”. In her workshop, she talked about her experience, technique, and background. Her workshop was loaded with tons of wonderful information, but one thing that stuck with me was her advice to continually keep working to improve our illustrating technique. She said that if you are comfortable in your illustration style, you are doing something wrong and you have stopped growing. She said what has helped her be successful is continuously working on her weaknesses.

After hearing her speak and looking at the stories behind a lot of her work, I realized that there are so many artistic techniques that I have yet to master and have put off trying for fear that I won’t be good at them. But fear should never be a hindrance, especially when it is stifling growth.

Therefore, I decided to create a 90 Day Art Challenge (aka a 3 month challenge), in which I would practice a new medium every 90 days and work on that medium every day for at least 30 minutes (there will be a few exceptions, due to trips or holidays, but for the most part, it should be every day). During those 90 days, I will also be reading on how to learn the medium effectively.

The goals are to improve working with that medium, to learn as much as possible in those 90 days, and to share my work and experience every two weeks on this blog and on a much more regular basis on my Instagram account. By sharing my journey, I will be holding myself accountable to others. If you are interested in following along, or even doing your own 90 Day Challenge, please do and make sure to share your thoughts, suggestions, struggles, etc.

Beginning in January and continuing on till the end of March, I will be working on paper art. I started delving into paper art for Mabs Drawlloween in mid-October, and continued for a few more projects. Nonetheless, I still have so much to learn and improve on. And I’m excited to see what I can do with paper when I am practicing on a regular basis.

I will be providing thorough updates every two weeks, on Fridays (the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month). The first update will be on January 12th.

Make sure to follow my blog and to follow me on Instagram to get more up to date updates.

If you did the 90 Day Art Challenge, what art medium would you start off with?