• Smart Dummies

    Smart Dummies Week 9 Schedule

    Smart Dummies has run longer than it ever has before, and I think it’s a bit too much. Next year’s event will be shorter and have prizes again! Look for more info next week for next year’s event.

    Smart Dummies Week 9 Schedule

    Sunday – Smart Dummies Week 9 Schedule

    Tuesday – Finding Places to Submit Your Work

    Thursday  – Facing Rejection

    Friday  –  Smart Dummies Finish Line

  • Art,  Smart Dummies

    1 Cat 3 Ways to Shade

    I wanted to show a little bit of shading from flat colors. I used the same cat in all of the paintings and used flat colors as a base. These were all done fairly quickly in Clip Studio Paint so they are a little messy. I’ll be posting 2 more ways to shade a cat on my Patreon next month! https://www.patreon.com/SmartDummies

    The first cat was created using the crayon tool. The second with the pen tool and blurring the edges with the running color on fiber blur tool. The third is with an oil paint brush and the blur tool.

  • Art,  Smart Dummies

    More Great Tips and Tutorials

    Smart Dummies is winding down. I have a few more great sites for art tips and tutorials. I wanted to share these before Smart Dummies ends!


    Gabrielle Patrick: https://www.instagram.com/gabs_art_tips/
    Robin and Lorenzo: Eterington: https://www.instagram.com/etheringtonbrothers/
    Griz and Norm Lemay: https://www.instagram.com/grizandnorm/


    Natalie Merheb:




    SVS Learn has a #Inktober special on right now. Sign up in October and get 30 days for FREE: https://www.svslearn.com/

    Mira Reisberg’s the Craft and Business of Children’s Book Illustration class has been delayed, which it means there is still time to sign up for the 2020 class. This may be the last live Children’s Book Academy class so sign up now! https://www.childrensbookacademy.com

  • Smart Dummies

    Smart Dummies Week 8 Schedule

    I hope you are doing well finishing up your finals. I’ll have a couple posts for you yet this week. Next week we’ll finish up with a bit about submissions!

    Smart Dummies Week 8 Schedule

    Sunday – Smart Dummies Week 8 Schedule

    Tuesday – More Great Artists

    Thursday  – Process Post

    Friday  –  Possible Book Review

    Sunday – Smart Dummies Week 9 Schedule

  • Art,  Smart Dummies

    Mark Mitchell Interviews Me and an Inking Video

    I have a couple of videos for you today! The first is a video of me inking an old painting. I go through the steps of first redefining certain areas of the drawing with pencil and then I go over it in inks. I like how Clip Studio has a vector layer that can be adjusted after drawing lines.
    Final Image

    Mark Mitchell interviewed me recently about Smart Dummies. I thought you might like to see the video! I always enjoy talking with Mark. He has a great class! You can find out more about Mark here: https://howtobeachildrensbookillustrator.com/ A new semester of his class “Make Your Marks and Splashes” starts in a few months and I’ll let you know about that soon.

  • Art,  Smart Dummies

    Support Me on Patreon!

    I hope you are enjoying Smart Dummies this year. I love helping out other people and I hope you are learning a lot, or at least getting a lot done this month. Smart dummies is not an easy event, so be nice to yourself and celebrate what you are able to complete.

    Today is my birthday! What better way to celebrate than to update all my reward tiers and give presents to all my patrons on Patreon? I feel like I’m winning my birthday already: https://www.patreon.com/SmartDummies I don’t have presents on Kofi, but you’ll have my love if you can only make a one time donation there. https://ko-fi.com/daniduck

    It is not free for me to run this blog and the events do take a lot of my time. If you have the money, please consider helping me out. I will be working to giving you lots more value for your donations. Check out the new tiers and know that I’m open to suggestions! 

    Smart Member
    $1 or more per month

    Basic Membership Includes

    + Monthly Art Process Videos

    + Monthly Challenges to help encourage creativity in your writing and art

    + Your name listed in a special post before Smart Dummies and  Spring into Writing!

    Smart Fiver
    $5 or more per month

    All of the previous tier benefits plus:

    + Your questions answered on a short video every month.*

    + Extra entry on all Patreon giveaways and contests.

    + Your name listed in a future Smart Dummies/Writing Challenge Booklet.

    *You ask me 1 question a month and I’ll give you a video answer of your question on Patreon. Access will be given to everyone in this level and above.

    Smart 10s
    $10 or more per month

     All of the previous tier benefits plus: 

    + 1 Hour Chat with me and other Smart 10s every month.

    + Exclusive Smart 10s only content.


    Want to make a one time donation? https://ko-fi.com/daniduck  (This will not give you access to patron rewards, but I will love you forever. Even if you don’t donate.) Feel free to contact me about other ways to donate!

  • Smart Dummies

    Smart Dummies Week 7

    I  have a very busy week ahead of me this week so everything will be happening after Wednesday. I hope you are doing well with your dummies!

    Smart Dummies Week 7 Schedule

    Sunday – Smart Dummies Week 7 Schedule

    Wednesday – Process Post!

    Thursday or Friday – More Process!  

    Sunday – Smart Dummies Week 8 schedule

  • Art,  Smart Dummies

    Art Process and Thumbnails

    Before I show you some process posts I’m going to start with a poll I posted on social media. This was a question asked by Tara Santoro (@JerseyGirlDraws on twitter).

    This is pretty reflective of the people I’ve spoken to. Most believe thumbnails are essential. There are a few that think they aren’t important. 

    Brian McLachlan (@McLachlanBrian on twitter) said as a response, “Once you’ve done enough layouts you don’t need to thumbnail everything.” Which makes sense! 

    There are some of you that hate thumbnails and think it’s silly to use them. I think not using them may be a harder path, but that path is up to you! 

    Initial thumbnails should take you no more than a few seconds on each one. It’s just to figure out proportion and where things go. More than a couple seconds makes it stressful. Too much detail in thumbnails can be stressful. Keep them simple, and if you want to do detailed thumbnails do that after!

    Some Final Art Resources

    Here are some resources you may want to look into before creating your final art! In fine art the idea is to make a beautiful piece that will last a long time. With kidlit your final art doesn’t necessarily have to last a long time (it does help, though). It does have to look good. Instead of giving you a bunch of resources for fine artists or illustrators, I’m going to show you some art projects that are mostly for kids that may inspire or inform your own art! 

    Want to find a process in your medium? Just go to Pinterest or YouTube and type in your art medium and then “projects”. You can add “for kids” if you want to find easier projects.

    Watercolor Techniques: https://www.projectswithkids.com/watercolor-techniques-for-kids/

    Blending Colored Pencils: https://www.mybluprint.com/article/blend-your-way-to-smooth-colored-pencils

    Scraping Painting with Oil Pastels: http://krokotak.com/2019/06/scraping-painting-with-oil-pastel/

    Acrylic Painting with a Fork: https://www.projectswithkids.com/palm-tree-fork-painting-for-kids/

    Painted Collage Art: https://layers-of-learning.com/painted-collage-art/

    Torn Collage Art: http://www.onecolorfulday.com/free-printable-night-sky-collage/


  • Art,  Smart Dummies

    Fun Art Videos!

    I have a fun inking video that I made today. I need to go back in and edit it a bit. 5 minutes of me having the save dialog open isn’t that much fun to watch. I will be adding sound and hopefully narrate this as well. Hopefully I can get this up for you soon! For now here are a few instructional Youtube channels that will help you with your art!

    SVS Learn — Home of the 3-point perspective podcast (video version). This podcast tells you everything you need to know about Children’s illustration! Will Terry, Jake Parker and Lee white host. Their excellent Youtube channels are also below https://www.youtube.com/user/SVSLearn/videos

    Will Terry — Kidlit Illustrator with a huge collection of videos about the craft and business of kidlit books! https://www.youtube.com/user/willterryart

    Jake Parker —  Creator of Inktober and Illustrator https://www.youtube.com/user/jakeparker44/videos

    Lee White — Kidlit illustrator and Fine Artist https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa8I_myjn8osVaEPsS7eq1Q/videos

    Rachel Armington — Her videos are watercolor, food and crafts! She just posted a video about making clay models for illustration! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ7Eosyn2nYbNbkokKrmPcw/videos

    Chris Hong Art — Some fun illustration techniques and lots of pretty art. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGHCzXORMIUiBZmNHr1ovjw/videos

    Sheldene Fine Art — This is a nice channel that has all kinds of different techniques you can try for your own art. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_KkCbQ6ZlN0dGnT1GLdz7A/videos


    Have a Youtube channel you’d like to share? Please post the name in the comments below. I’ll be sure to share the channel in a future Smart Dummies post!

  • Smart Dummies,  Uncategorized

    Smart Dummies Week 6: The Week That Time Forgot

    Have you ever forgotten about a number? I sure have. At the beginning of Smart Dummies I completely forgot about the number 6! I couldn’t think why this upcoming week was so off with the schedule (we will be working on finals next week, not this week). Now that I know about the number 6. I will be working to come up with good stuff for this week. I will also be recalculating my age based on this new information! 

    I’m hoping to have some process videos to show you soon. Fingers crossed that I can make or find people to post some process videos or posts. I’ll also come up with a post of links to different techniques. The following schedule is subject to change!

    Smart Dummies Week 6

    Sunday – Smart Dummies Week 7 Schedule

    Tuesday – Process Post!

    Thursday – Links to Techniques 

    Friday – Possible Book Blog

    Sunday – Smart Dummies Week 7 schedule

    If you have not signed up for Smart Dummies yet go here: https://www.daniduck.com/register-for-smart-dummies-2019/ You can sign up, pick up the booklet and badge and find out everything you need to know about the event!