My name is Jonene Ficklin, and I'm a full-time wife, mom, writer, and professional artist. I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I use colored pencils, oil paints, and watercolors. I love what I do!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The awesomely sweet Brenda Sills has passed on this award and I’m so flattered, especially knowing a bit about her. Last year, we carpooled to a writing workshop, and I can honestly say she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve met. She’s also amazingly versatile, talented, supermodel beautiful, and a super-mom to boot! Check out her blog here:

Here are the rules:

To claim your award:
1. Copy and paste the award to your blog. 
2. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
3. Share seven random facts about yourself.
4. Pass the award along to 5 deserving blogging buddies.
5. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

And here are the seven random facts.

1. I just saw the movie Super 8 last night and it was fantastic! It’s kind of a mix between Goonies and ET and Alien. I won’t say anymore, other than I was either laughing myself sick, or clinging to the back of my chair through the whole thing. You won’t want to miss this one.

2. Last night for dinner we had creamed peas, pearl onions, and baby potatoes over biscuits. I’ve only made it three times as an adult, but remember eating it as a child (minus the pearl onions.) The kids are still scratching their heads over whether they like it or not.

3. Today my family blocks actually read ‘Family.’ See post:

4. Secret book discovery: If you haven’t read THE THIEF series by Megan Whalen Turner, you are in for a killer treat! Oh my heck! It just gets better and better and better. The first book has you wondering what in the world it’s about, but hang in there because by the time you get to book two and book three, you’ll be raving like a lunatic to every soul you meet. Trust me! It’s happening right now. (Thank you, Leisha, for adding a new addiction!)

5. Last week I attended the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference with master teacher Martine Leavitt, and I’m in heaven! My head’s swirling with information and ideas I can’t wait to put into action. If you love to write, save your pennies, mark the week of June 11 – 15, 2012, and start watching the website like a hawk in January 2012 for registration.

6. I’m writing a pirate book right now, and, after the conference, I’m literally bursting with the story.

7. I’ve decided to become a sporatic summer blogger so I can spend more time writing the pirate book that isn’t letting me sleep. I apologize right now.

And so, we’re onto awarding 5 super sweet blogging buddies:

Chersti Nieveen

Elizabeth Dimit

Yamile Mendez

Emily Mah Tippets

Elizabeth Mueller

Congratulations all!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Lesson 35 Watercolor - Sandy Beach

I'm rubbing my hands together right now. I LOVE to paint sand. We're going to get a bit creative. First, frisket off the edge of the waves and the turtle.

We'll be painting in the sand color soon, but we want some light sandy particles to show through the final paint. We'll let the frisket do that.

Grab a dish/container you're willing to sacrifice and an unused toothbrush.
 Dribble a small amount of frisket in the pan, take your toothbrush and dip the end in the liquid frisket.
 Spritz the sand area lightly.
 Do a little more, a  bit at a time until you have a lightly dotted area. You will get some big drops or non-circular spritzes. Let them dry. You can erase each of them out if you don't want them. Wash the toothbrush in water immediately and be thorough, to get all the frisket off.
 Here is what mine looks like.
 Some spilled over into the water area.
 I'm using my handy-dandy frisket eraser to clean up the area I don't want frisket in.
 Here is what is left.
 Now paint some yellow tones in using thinned-out yellow ochre.
White grains of sand will show through when I erase them out, but I want yellow grains, too, so I'm going to spritz more frisket over the yellow tone I just painted. (Let the yellow paint dry first.) Wash the toothbrush again. If the frisket dries on your toothbrush, it's a beast to get off.
 Now that the second layer of frisket is dry, paint in some brown on the sand. I mixed brown, orange and yellow ochre for the sand color.
 Next, I shade in the skuff marks left by the turtle, and add some soft details into the background for distance on the beach.
 After letting it dry, go in and darken the tones.
Oh, boy, now you get to erase the frisket grains of sand. Make sure that all the brown paint is COMPLETELY dry or it will smear into the newly appearing areas.

Once the new grains are exposed, we'll spritz on some medium and darker grains of sand. This time, I'm covering the top part of the painting with paper, to keep any stray spritzes from going astray. Mix some light brown and some dark brown watercolor paints. Dip your toothbrush in (one color at a time) and spritz it on the sand.

 Here, I've done the the dark brown spritzes. (Click on the picture to enlarge for detail. I think you can click on it again to enlarge it more.)
 And some light brown.
 After erasing the remaining frisket from the turtle and sea, here is our sand.

Next: the hills and mountains . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Contest Winner

Sorry to keep you waiting. I won't bore you with how fun the writer's conference is (So fun! So so so fun!!), but let's get straight to the good stuff.

The winner of the free 8x10 Giclee print of her choice is . . .

Jaleta Clegg

Congratulations! Please contact me by email:, and let me know which print you'd like and where to send it.

Why Those Aspiring to Authorhood Should Tweet

Hi, this is Zarin, Jonene’s offspring. She wanted me to guest blog while she’s at her conference. I write a little myself and build websites for authors. I run a blog about web promotion, author sites, social media, etc at

I decided to talk about a scary topic today: twitter. I know a big chunk of writers love to blog. Not as many have caught on twitter. Maybe the 140 character limit scares writers. Maybe it’s the word “tweet”.

Whatever the reason, here are 3 reasons why you’re missing out if you’re not on twitter:

#1 – Networking
Online presence is becoming more and more important in the writing industry. You expect an established author or agent to have website. Having a blog is starting to become and expectation as well. So it twitter. You’d be surprised how many authors, editors, agents and publishers are on twitter.

Neil Gaiman, for example has over 1,500,000 followers. That means 1.5 million people see every tweet he sends out. Unlike Facebook, you don’t have to wait for a “friend approval” in order to follow someone. Search for your favorite author or agent, and click “follow”. That’s it.

Twitter is an excellent tool for following trends and news in the industry as well as building helpful connections. The more industry professionals you follow, the more you’ll be in the know, and the more will follow you.

#2 – Quick and Easy
Blogging is awesome, but it’s also time consuming. Twitter on the other hand, takes just a couple minutes of your day. All you do go to, type in your 140-character or shorter message, and that’s it!

#3 – Complements Blogging
It’s not one or the other—you should be blogging AND tweeting. Tweeting takes so little time, there’s no reason not to. When you have a new blog post, link to it on your twitter. This will increase your exposure and audience. There may be authors or agents that don’t follow your blog until they see a link to an interesting article on your twitter feed.

There are also ways to connect your blog to your twitter. You can add a twitter feed to the sidebar or footer of your blog to show live twitter updates (you can find twitter feed plugins to add it to your blog easily). You can also add “tweet” buttons to your blog posts so that other visitors can spread the word on their twitter page. You can get easy to use, copy-and-paste code for twitter buttons at

The more exposure, the better. It’s a domino effect. Imagine if someone like Neil Gaiman tweets about your blog post—that means 1.5 million fresh literary eyes on your blog.

Whether you’re published or not, twitter is a useful tool for writers. When you are published, you’ll already have a following and twitter experience. For authors twitter is an awesome way to reach out to readers and promote their work.

So register, find professionals to follow, and try it out!

You can more of the basics about what twitter is and how to use it here:
And how to promote your twitter page here:

Contest Winners Announced Tonight

Sorry, but I'm in heaven. Not really, just close. I'm attending a writer's conference. So please forgive me, but I'll announce the awesome winner of the print tonight. Have fun today! (I know I will.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lesson 34 - Watercolor - Clouds

Contest alert:

Tuesday I announce the winner of an 8x10 Giclee print of your choice from my website. Last chance to enter will be Sunday at midnight. There's still time to enter. Go here for details:

Watecolor lesson - how to paint clouds:

Now that the frisket has been removed, we have a nice cloud shape, but the edges are hard. Most cloud edges are soft and fuzzy. Let's go in and soften them up.

 Take a paintbrush and dip it in water. Squeeze most of the liquid out of the brush, then scrub along the cloud edge.
Some of the paint will be rubbed up into the white area, or overlap the sky. If you leave it, it will tint the clouds or leave lines in the blue sky. To prevent this, after an inch or so of scrubbing with your wet brush, stop and take a dry washcloth.Tap over the area you just scrubbed. The cloth will pick up the color and any excess wetness.

 The right bottom of the cloud has been softened here.
 Now we're ready to soften the left side. I've finished the bottom cloud piece, but need to do the top one.
 Here is what it looks like after.
 And we'll do the top of the cloud next.
Okay, those edges are softened. We're ready to begin laying color in.

 This is my watercolor palette. There are many sizes. I prefer large. My colors are dark blue, sky blue, yellow ochre and grey. The middle area is where I mix them.
 With watercolors, it's best to start off light. You can always go darker. This is light grey mixed with yellow ochre that I'm using along the bottom of the clouds. As soon as I've made a few strokes, I take another paintbrush with just water on it, and go along any edges left from my stroke. This keeps the area soft, with no hard lines or edges.

We're adding wet paint to a dry area. This technique (surprise, surprise) is called 'Wet on Dry' painting.
 Next, I'm adding a little blue to the grey and creating a break in the bottoms of the clouds.
 Mixing grey, blue and a little yellow ochre, I add color into the body of the clouds, taking it right up to the area with frisket.
 The area is getting wet and starting to buckle. I stop for about a half hour to let it dry, then go back and add more color into the clouds.
 This is what my main tone looks like on my palette.
 I add a bit more color. I like the cloud shapes. After letting this dry a little, I want to add some deeper tones.
 I've added more grey and dark blue to my color mix and then lay it in on the clouds. The paper isn't quite dry, so this mixture makes it buckle quite a bit. But I'm happy with the tones now.
 After adding a light skiff of very watered-down yellow ochre along the highlighted edges of the upper clouds, we're ready to erase off the frisket below.
 It's good to step back and look at the painting every once in a while. I noticed that my upper cloud tilts and doesn't look right. I need to level out the bottom left side. Okay, now I'm happy.
See you soon for the next phase!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I've Been Meme'd

The wonderful Lydia Kang, aka, has been kind enough to tag me for a Meme. So, whether you like it or not, here we go:

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?

The first time my husband saw me, because I can’t remember it – and that bugs.

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

Letting my dumb friend in 4th grade talk me into drawing a nude woman during recess. (Long story short, a boy saw it, a teacher got involved, and I haven’t done a nude since.)

What movie/TV character do you most resemble in personality?

After much angst, and asking everyone in my family, we all concede that I’m closest to Anne of Green Gables. Although I have the best of intentions, my wild imagination and that stupid Murphy’s Law land me in plenty of fixes.

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?

Ay-yi-yi. All right. If I must.

I pick Johnny Dep as Jack Sparrow because:

Captain Jack Sparrow: You know that feeling you get when you're standing in a high place with a sudden urge to jump? I don't have it.

I’ll just push him off.

And we’ll both be grateful, because he survives.

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.

Procrastination with big chores like Spring cleaning – which tends to happen in the fall – a year later.

Describe yourself in one word.


Describe the person who named you in this Meme in one word.

Awesome! Oh . . . and fun. And versatile. And multitalented. And smart.

Sorry, one word won’t work here. If you don’t believe me, and you haven't checked out Lydia’s blog yet, do yourself a favor. Here's another link:

Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.

It’s a fun way to connect with people.

Name at least 3 people to send this Meme to, and then inform them.

Leisha Maw:

Rebecca Carlson:

Carol Lynch Williams:

Chersti Nieveen:

Julie Daines:


One more week for my contest to win an 8x10 Giclee print of your choice from my website. See here on how to enter:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Theme!

Hey Guys! Web Managers Here So Far Me (Taryn) And My Older Brother Zarin (Jonene's Kids) Have Been Working Until 1:48 AM To Make This New Theme That Matches The Website So, Tell Us What You Think and be sure to hit that "like" button at the bottom of the page!

And hopefully i won't get in too much trouble for writing this on her blog without her knowing, haha

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lesson 33 - Watercolor - Frisket and Painting the Sky

Last week, we put liquid frisket on the areas of the watercolor paper that we want to remain white. I also painted frisket along the mountain and sea beside it, so I can finish my sky strokes without worry of overlapping.

The sky is a big area, and since the paper will get wet, it will buckle. There's no way around that. Taping the paper helps, but you'll find that big areas with flat colors are difficult. I'm turning my board around so that the sky is closer to my hand. I'm also angling my drawing table slightly, so any excess water pools down.

We're ready to start painting. First off, we're going to paint 'Wet-on-Wet'. This technique is simply wetting the page with plain water first, then painting your color onto the wet surface. The reason we're using wet-on-wet is it's more forgiving on a large area. Dry paper sucks the paint right in and you end up with stroke marks that are next to impossible to get out.

Okay, get a large brush wet and begin stroking the plain water over the area you want to paint. The paper should be damp, but not soaking.

Dip your damp (but not dripping) paintbrush in your color and beginning at the outer edge of the paper make a stroke, then stroke up the page. The color will get lighter as you go.

This color is good, but too light. However this area is getting too wet. I don't want to put more on until it dries a bit or it can buckle too much and the color will pool and dry in the buckles.

I'm going to move over to the left and work this area. I've wet it down, but since it's a large area, my brush was pretty wet to cover the entire area. It's too wet, though, so I'm using a dry cloth to tap it and take out most of the moisture.

Alright, I'm ready to paint the larger area. I need my paint to be darker, stronger. The first stroke always looks terrifying.

You must move quickly here. Continue upward, going left and right, smoothing the color and spreading it upward. Again, it will get lighter as you go.

It's alright for your strokes to overlap onto the area that has frisket on it. It's very nice not to worry!

By the time I finish the left area, the right area is dry enough for another go-over. Still, when I'm done, both areas have some buckling. It will dry mostly flat, though. Here it is turned around:

I'm going to flip it around again, so I can remove the frisket with my specialized eraser (see lesson 32). I'm still leaving the frisket on over the mountains and ocean until I finish painting the clouds.

Ah, I love a nice white area! Next week, we'll paint all the tones and shadows into the clouds.

There are still some areas of the clouds that I want left white, so I've gone back in and painted more frisket over those areas:

Here is a close up.

All right, come back next week for the clouds.

And if you haven't yet, don't forget to enter the contest to win the 8x10 Giclee print of your choice from my website. Details here:

See you next week!

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