Learning forgiveness through the new energy of Beltane

** domestic violence trigger

A year ago I was woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call that stopped my heart. 

My sister was in the hands of a surgeon who was trying to repair her windpipe after her throat had been slashed by her ex partner.

After being kidnapped and abused over a period of hours, she had survived two attempts on her life by him and now having a tracheotomy was the only way to save her.

Anyone who has sat in vigil, waiting for news from a surgeon knows, the seconds last longer. We were lucky that day. She is still here. Scarred. A little broken and growing stronger every day. A survivor.

Following those first few weeks, She was inundated with good wishes and acts of kindness by complete strangers and friends alike. The kind of acts that make you feel not alone in your pain and 'we' were all incredibly grateful for that support.

Through it all, She forgave him. Instantly - from what I could see. Not because he deserved it but because She knew and saw and had loved him, as the deeply flawed individual he was. Scarred himself by drug addiction and the mental illness that comes with it.

In the past year I have watched as She has clawed her way 'back' to a life of normalcy. In her own way. Deeply immersing herself in her work to get through memories and thoughts of the fateful hours she endured. I am proud of her strength beyond measure. She is, after all the older sister I looked up to and wanted to be 'as cool as'. Now, even more so.

It is the anniversary now. In the Northern Hemisphere, you are celebrating Samhain. The night that marks the turn into the darkest part of the year. A night to honour those who have passed over. For celebrating death and the recycle of rebirth. Which all seems fitting for what happened at the end of October a year ago. But here, in the Southern Hemisphere, we are approaching Beltane. 

Beltane is the marking of the peak of Spring and the passing into Summer. A time of high energy and an abundance of fertility. An emergence into the bright light of summer and a time to act on new ideas, hopes and dreams. 

An energy change that I hope will come to reside in my sister. If simply wishing could make it happen then I would wish for Her to feel peace. Deep, impenetrable peace. A sense of renewed hope that Her world is capable of feeling whole again. That this anniversary, will mark not the first year that has passed since 'it' happened but the first year since She survived. I wish Her to see She is strong, She is brave, She is unstoppable. I wish the ending of her grief. 

Because of all things, Her grief right now is boundless. For those watching, they see only the ending of the physical violence. They do not see that he was a person who was loved by Her, before the end came to pass. They do not see the deeply troubled man who needed help he couldn't bring himself to ask for. 

Many of you will not understand the grieving for a man who caused so much pain. You do not have to. You only have to show empathy and compassion to another human being. Both to Her and to him.

We all have made choices in our lives that have negatively impacted those we love, and even those we don't know. Being alive means we have the power to ask for forgiveness and to strive to right our wrongs. 

He cannot. The man who caused the pain and the grief for Her, committed suicide hours after he thought he had killed her. 

I do not believe any of what happened over those hours, were the actions of a well balanced man. I forgive him. I can because I still have my sister. I can because to do so, allows him to find peace wherever he now is. That, to me, is important. In a world going crazy empathy and compassion should be a basic human characteristic we embrace.

Forgiveness allows us to move forward, truely move forward. Which brings me to my final wish for Her. I wish for others to forgive him for what he did to Her. 

For over 9 years he was part of Her family. A stepfather with moments of real joy with Her children. He was loved, unconditionally by Her granddaughter. He was funny and quick witted. He could be kind, loyal and caring. He was deeply flawed but still deserving of a funeral, with people to say that his life had meaning beyond his final hours. I wish for him forgiveness. Wherever he is now, I send him peace, for his actions and for himself. 

In the spirit of Beltane, I wish him a safe journey onwards and for someone to say his name with kindness and a fond memory. If you cannot do it for him, then do it for Her. To allow her grief for the man She loved to pass.

I love my sister with all my heart, to see her pain over the man she once loved causes me pain. I cannot fix it or heal it. But I can forgive him. Let Her find Her way back to who She is. She is good and kind, shares all She has and deserves a life that is less hard than this last year has been. I am so proud of Her for finding Her way through the pain and the grief to still be standing today. She has taught me a lot this past year. Strength. Resilience. Forgiveness. Compassion.

She is a light through darkness and a journey unfolding.

Sister... May your next year bring you joy. I love you x

Brad, safe journey onwards 

I Just Want To Draw - Workbook Pre-Order Offer

Soooo exciting news is afoot.... Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a special pre-order offer.

On October 1st I will be releasing a book. One hundred and eighty pages of art'ing goodness.

Buuut it's not just a book - you also get access to a secret squirrel group on facebook that has video tutorials to help you. (I learn by watching and figured plenty of others would as well). It should be noted that my video skills are pretty much 'zip all', I'm praying to the video gods that I will get better!  

You also get access to a members only area of my website. In this sneaky sneaky little part of the internetty, you'll find resources to help with your art'ing adventures, I will continue to add yumbo stuff as I find it. That includes new activities. There are free colouring pages there, digital art prints you can download and take to a commercial printer. Tips, tricks and technique hand-outs that I've collected over the years and from my time at LeftBank Art Supplies, dealing with suppliers and art product makers.

It all combines to make a seriously cool and informative resource for a beginner artist. Added bonus is you get to laugh at me on video from the comfort of your own home. 

The book is A4 sized (210 x 297mm)ish. Has a heavy duty metal spiral bind, that is prettily hidden by the cover thanks to the geekery awesomeness of Lisa (she who is all things printery related), and that super cool cover is a heavy card with some lush matt laminate for extra strength. 

The good stuff on the inside is printed on 150gsm satin paper. What that means is the pages are THICK! You cannot see the illustrations on the back side. The satin finish is yumbo to draw on too.  

I am a bit biased but she's quite lovely, and bound to be even more so once you get in there and start art'ing on her pages.  

My plan is to stop doing my art teaching classes and host them on the internetty. So when you buy the book, you're effectively signing up to my drawing class but you'll be at home! In your pyjamas, art'ing with me. Awesome sauce. The videos will always be there if you get stuck and one day - when I'm super rich and have onety two million art hangout buddies, the content will all move to  a brand new sparkly website (are you listening universe?)

The book release date is the 1st of October. The book (and alllllll that other internetty content) will be $129.99 NZD.


PRE-RELEASE SPECIAL OFFER--- All pre-orders secure a special one time offer of 1 workbook for $99.00. Pre-orders between now and the 25 September will receive free shipping within New Zealand. If you're overseas and want to join in the art'ing pre-release magic I will give you a 20% discount on the book (your shipping will be additional - my pigeons won't fly that far for free).

All pre-orders will ship the first week of October (barring a printing tragedy). To grab this special deal you need to email me: handmethatpencil@gmail.com or get in touch through my Facebook page.

I've included some page photos so you can see some of the yumness on offer within the book. There's exercises, colouring, drawing tips and pages and pages of geek tech stuff to help with layout and design basics. It's everything you'd get to learn if you were sitting in my classroom and a whole lot more! 

I cannot wait to hear what you guys think! 

Let's get creating! 


Face drawing exercise


Check out that super chunky, strong binding! 



Colouring pages and digitally created backgrounds for you to draw over, cut up or just stare lovingly at. 


Squillions of little doodled creatures and things, including tutorials on how to draw wings and fins. 


Things to copy and trace and gather inspiration from - so much magic!!!! 


Easy peasy activities you're going to want to try. 


How to break down bodies so you'll be drawing like a pro in no time. 

The Wanderers

I think these babies deserve a bigger post... They’re just so yummy and are seriously making my heart smile.  

The Wanderers are little boats/ships, sometimes with a lady aboard, who are out living a life of adventure. I usually draw these, on one of my crazy painted backgrounds. I love that they feel hopeful and brave and intrepid all at the same time. I kinda hope they inspire other people in the same way! To me they represent a spiritual journey and are all tied up with positive vibes and good juju.



I started making these with a mold made from Jovi air dry clay. It’s quite chunky so that I can create tiny boats by using the inside as a base or go bigger by sculpting a form around the outside. 

I’ve been using Sculptamold and that stuff is yumbo! Really light weight which helps make them feel delicate and you can create awesome texture in its pulpy surface. If you are one of those weird creatures after a smooth surface then you could either make a runny mix, add some PVA or sand your complete boat before you start colouring it. I’m not after perfect so I do none of that.   (You can hear me laughing right?).

Colouring them is waaaaay too much fun. I’m experimenting with creating patina, and layering in some gold leaf. Then dirtying it all up a bit. Heaven!!!!  

The magic ingredient seems to be happening with the final stages of colouring. Blue Interference medium is giving the sheen that you can see. When you add that with ‘a smidge’ (technical term) of colour (turquoise), then you get that aMAZiiiiing paua colour combo that’s happening on the inside.  



Next step is detailing the outside and I cannot wait!! 

Products: Everything I’ve used I got from LeftBank Art Supplies here in Wanganui.  

Jovi Air Dry Clay for base mold

Sculptamold (Frances gave me a packet to try - best BossLady ever)

Gold leaf and size

Derivan Matisse Structure paints

Princeton fine liner brush

Das flat brush

Interference medium - Shimmering blue

Blood, sweat and tears from my own two hands.



Daydreaming and procrastinating

My best intentions to be an 'artist who blogs regularly' never succeed in reality. I'm ok with that 😊. 

For the past couple months I've been working on creating a journal for my classes/students. Something that consolidates design basics, drawing exercises and tips, creative activities and a collection of 'pretty pictures'.  

Its a bigger undertaking than what I thought it would be. It started small and then I realised you can't do this without a bit of that and if you add those then some of them would be great too!  

Its fun to make and fingers crossed it will be fun to work through and will maybe help ignite some creativity and magic in someone else's life. Sharing my passion and all that jazz.

Ive attached a few pictures of completed illustrations - let me know what you think ✌🏼💗✨ 



Timelapse of colouring a digital illustration and weekly waffle.

Another happy, shiney week in art land.

Working on changing my drawing style and it's much harder than I thought it would be! At the moment, 80% of my drawing is done traditionally - pencil on paper, then scanned and coloured digitally. I'm trying to figure out what exactly I don't want to give up and what I do need to let go of to push my art in a new direction. The idea of drawing totally on a tablet seems a little sad so I don't imagine that will turn into a reality - not in my pencil loving world anyway.

Water colour painting is totally kicking my frog lately, every time I put the brush on paper something magical happens, (which is absolutely no reflection on any talent I may have and more about the medium). I've set myself a wee task of drawing something, (faces and working on that stylising thing again), then replicating the design across different mediums - digital, water colour and my brushmarkers. It's fun to trying to replicate techniques across the mediums (failing mostly) and then just enjoying the totally different feel each illustration has.

I'm not sure what the end goal actually is for the experimenting, after 3 years of working mostly on tarot decks for my passion projects, I feel a bit disjointed now I'm not working on designing one. Time to throw myself in to something new - which will probably be my workbook/art journal. It has lessons, drawing tips, activities and some magic info for art journaling. 

Living the dream when the problem is what art project to concentrate on!




digital colouring

Creative Journaling Roundup

Over the last couple months I've had the pleasure of hanging out with some lovely ladies and 'arting' on Tuesday nights. 

Tonight was the final night for this first round of classes. A very quiet night with half our classmates out sick - get better!! It's been pretty special to have a bunch of students go from 'I can't draw' (biggest lie EVER - everyone can draw), to hearing 'Wow! That's amazing!' So cool to be a part of someone's creative journey.  

Over the ten weeks, we have doodled, created patterns, drawn mermaids and my spirit dolls, which are cocooned ladies hanging from branches. Learned the magic that is possible with paint and a scraping motion, practices drawing faces, collages, made little books that fold out and tell one big story.... So much fun! 

Onwards to the next round of classes, for beginners that will be Thursday 3 May. To register just email: handmethatpencil@gmail.com or call in and see Justine at LeftBank Art Supplies. 



Colouring Paper Doll templates



Magic hair!



Beautiful patterns! 



Template transferred to wet strength cartridge paper using graphite transfer paper - a great product for in your artist toolkit.



Tracy is lost in creative process, concentrating hard and Chris is making a watercolour wash with her yumbo Inktense pencils.




Choosing the next colour for her watercolour adventures! 

New Beginners Journaling Class

We are nearing the end of the first creative journaling class. Ten weeks of classes has been crazy, creative fun as we have played with whimsical illustration.

A great bunch of ladies gathered every Tuesday and got messy with paint, acrylic, ink and pencil. More than a few laughs and some seriously beautiful work produced. It's such an amazing feeling to have someone say they cannot draw and to watch them walk out at the end of the night with a (mostly) finished piece of art. Well done ladies! 

Over the course of the ten weeks, we've played with using pattern to make simple line drawings POP!! Mermaids, castles, face drawing, we've painted crazy backgrounds and drawn in sailing boats pulled by magical sea horses - all of the magic, in all of the world. 

Last week we created an illustrated quote with ink and hand drawn type. One of the great things about journaling is how every ones final piece, is unique. 

With one more lesson for this course, it's time to think about the next one. New classes will start Thursday 4th May at 5.30pm, at LeftBank Art Supplies on Taupo Quay. This is a beginners course. Going through basic journaling techniques and aimed at unleashing your inner creative magic.  

Course costs $240.00, payable to Hand Me That Pencil and booking is a must! Spaces are limited with only 4 of 6 spots available. You can register by emailing: handmethatpencil@gmail.com  

Let's create some magic!


Student work - creating a castle



Spirit Doll lesson


Gesso handmade book - student work

Gesso handmade book - student work


Work in progress - student work



Work in progress - student work

Spirit Doll Illustration

For Artists Open Studios this year I decided to try something new. I made cocoon dolls, that hang from the ceiling. They embodied a spiritual transition, had delicate illustrations on their bodies and had 'cocoon wraps' of gold leaf. 

Quite a departure from my normal drawing, it was interesting to work in a different medium, with 'new' problems to work through. I've gone back to paper to play with the concept. 

I really like the idea of a range of spirit dolls - made from natural(ish), recycled materials. With crystals attached. Similar in idea to medicine woman dolls. It's fun just to draw them let alone create them as a doll, I need to work on ways of including different elements.

This one became a part of my creative journaling class. I envision her hanging from a tree which is why she's upside down. The first time I drew her and painted her, there was a tragic accident with a gold ink pen. Redrew her and painted it again. There's still a black linework background to add in but I'm loving her so far. It's definitely sparked off a bundle of ideas! 


Close up

2018 AOS dissection

I was in a new spot this year, with the best boss ever Frances Sim Higgins, letting me show my work from LeftBank Art Supplies. 

It was great to be in with other artists and I acquired some sneaky, sneaky tips and skills from being around  Julz Coffey! Julz is reknowned as a Fibre Artist and maker of beautiful things. Quite pleased to be bringing two of her pieces home with me this year! (You can find Julz on Facebook under Julie Coffey Artist and Frances Sim Higgins has a page as well - highly recommend looking at their work annnnd both do workshops and lessons).

I'm not quite sure yet what the highlight was for me from this year. I am the proud new owner of a lovely mixed media piece by Tanya Hayton (The Paper Package), which I'll photograph and share after I pick it up tomorrow. I met lovely folk - as I always do at markets and AOS. My circle of 'woowoo', cool kids has grown as well as some work collaborations I'm pretty excited about! 

What was a nice surprise, was the interest in my 'doodle' pages. Both in the (undrawn on) painted backgrounds, which I prep and scan for my creative journaling. And then the overwhelming response to my little characters and ships was VERY unexpected. I know that my colour combinations are not traditional, so to have so many people love them as a work of art to hang in their homes was seriously awesome sauce! All up, 14 ships, mermaids and magical castles have been adopted by AOS visitors - pretty crazy cool right? With 2 more commissioned. Obviously I need to change my focus and spend my life creating inspiring words and telling stories with lines in white.

I don't remember how many times I've been asked about the pens I use. I happened across them on my internet travels and can honestly say - there is NOTHING like them in New Zealand. Like seriously - they are not sold here. But I'm working on it, with the help of the best boss in the world and a company halfway round the world, we hope (cross your fingers - we're doing the hoop jumping now), to have them for sale soon. It will be worth the wait, I KNOW you're going to love them as much as I do.

For all those who came out and once again supported me, I thank you very much. For those waiting on digital prints of original art works that sold before you could get your hands on them, they will be available within two weeks from my Etsy store. If you live in Wanganui, I will create a coupon code that when used, will let me know you'd like to pick it up from LeftBank Art Supplies.  

Its time for bed now - I have some serious sleeping to catch up on! 

J xox



New decks released on Etsy!

After what feels like a month of late nights and an abundance of coffee, I have just listed TWO new decks on Etsy. 

You can find information about The Common Thread Major Arcana tarot deck and the Learning To Witch oracle deck over at www.handmethatpencil.com  in the TAROT section. Each of my 3 decks has their very own page annnnd there's even free downloadable journal/workbooks there as well!

The Song Of My Heart deck has her page and now you can download her little white booklet straight from the source. (That has always been a mission but I finally learnt how to upload files to Squarespace - winning!!!) 

If you get overcome with desire to own one of the new decks there are links on the page (including a discount code) that will zoom you along the interwebby to Etsy.

Now, I'm off to forage for food and have an early-ish night!  Less than a week until Artists Open Studios!!!!


J xox


13 days until Artists Open Studios

There's really no need for a countdown, I'm well aware that over the next two weeks my head will explode.  

I will make, at a guess, 20 lists. Twenty, because I will lose the first ones I write. I will lose the important ones first - that have the supplies I need. The last minute printing jobs that I always forget at shows. Like labels. And price tags. Because heaven forbid, someone will fall in love with something I made and HAVE to take it home.  

Which would be nice. Especially if it's something new. I've branched out this time. Made paper clay dolls, which are a little bit unusual. They are butterfly ladies. In their cocoons, with delicate line work drawn on them, gold leaf wings wrapping as casings and gently sleeping little weirdo faces. A mermaid slipped in too. Just because. 

I've been playing with larger work too. Still within my theme of wings and fins. Layers and linework, giant journal pages really. Dark, dramatic backgrounds with shimmer and a dash of iridescent paint.  

We shall see how they go! It's been pretty cool seeing artists who are in AOS coming into the shop. They all have a sprinkling of excitement about them. I'm guessing I'm further through in my mad rush panic stage than they are - or am I really the only artist who panics at a deadline?

It's all part of the process is what I tell myself. 

Tarot decks are printed and all ready to go. The Song Of My Heart deck offering stability and The Common Thread Major Arcana ready to show her face to the world. There's another deck hiding in the shadows but I'm unsure if she is ready to be unveiled yet. She's an oracle deck and making her wording perfect is taking longer than I hoped.  

Greeting cards are all printed, some new witchy designs which make my heart smile as well as images from the Bird Edition of the SOMH deck. I hope they will be loved!  

Back to the grind - terrible saying, it's not even a chore! Creating is a joy I am grateful for. 

Sending out some love and light, thanks for dropping by!

J xox




Varnish drying on my cocoon ladies.



Temperance tarot card from The Common Thread Major Arcana deck.



Detail from Metamorphosis mixed media painting.

Artists Open Studios Preparation

Last year I participated in my first Artists Open Studios here in Wanganui, New Zealand. The impetus of having a serious deadline for the next edition of my New Zealand tarot cards nearly sent me insane but it was so worth it! 

I had on display the process behind the cards. Visitors to my 'studio' could see the walls covered in journal pages, giant concept sketches and the finished cards were available for purchase. This year, I've signed up again. Return visitors will be able to buy the latest edition of My Song Of My Heart cards - The Bird Edition. Featuring flora and fauna of New Zealand illustrated on diverse ladies. 

I wanted to really push myself and create something new so there will be  dolls made from paper clay and plaster as well. After so long of working on developing my drawing it's been hard work to create with 3 dimensional creations! They are slowly coming to life and it will be interesting to see them in their final form - work in progress is a definite term for the dolls.

I will be at LeftBank Art Supplies on Taupo Quay this year, a new space with the lovely Frances Sim Higgins and Julz Coffey. I cannot wait to be a part of AOS again and look forward to seeing you there. Call in, say hello and if you are working with my deck, please tell me how you find her for readings. Feedback helps make her grow stronger as not just a piece of art but as a tool for your spiritual practice.




Song Of My Heart tarot deck - a New Zealand flavoured deck for your spiritual practice.

Paperclay art doll - little mermaid

Paperclay art doll - little mermaid

These dolls are quirky, imperfect and touched with a hint of popsurrealism and the darker side of life. 



Little faces and tons of doodling!




Fantasical creatures and ladies of myth, my dolls this year are all about wings or fins.