We’re back with a new digital collection: Folklore Flora

Hi there, everybody!!

Yep, it’s been a while. I’ve missed you folks dearly. Now... is it just me, or has this year been a bit surreal? What started for me as a mini break led to a multi-month sabbatical from drawing. I’ve come to realize that solitude is paramount for my well being. Time in the garden, going away on little trips, taking hot baths, walking the dogs — plus spending time with my daughter before taking her to college — these absorbed me and nourished me, as the call to create eluded me. I decided to stay in the peaceful flow. And I feel refreshed like never before!

I refer to being quiet as “protecting my peace.”
Apparently I needed more peace than I realized.

Did you feel this way at all? Just needed time to be.

Power Poppy is still in biz, and while the blog is quiet for now, there is more goodness on the horizon. The Bloomies and I hope to see lots more of you in the coming months! And guess what, I made some new art.

I’ve got new downloads that you can color in, and new downloads that are already colored — they are my original paintings prepared for you to print out at home.

I have a story about how these drawings came to be...

Tallulah & Mom in NYC

My daughter Tallulah (after she graduated high school in June, Lulu decided to ditch the nickname we gave her as a baby, and use her real name!) and I drove her to college halfway across the country. It was a wonderful, memorable experience. As any of you who’ve gone through it know, the feelings are allllll over the place.

After I returned from New York, I found myself in an introspective spiral. Taking lots of walks and even more hot baths, or basically staring in to space. Really the only thing that felt “right” was sending her letters. Not just any old letter, though, I stuffed envelopes thick with a pretty card and long note, newspaper clippings, stickers, photos, quirky things from around the house. And each time, I’d make a special piece of artwork with an inspiring quote. Something to help her feel loved and not too lonely, to remind her that she's on the learning adventure of a lifetime. That if she’s too sad, that this is really only an experiment, it lasts just a few months, then you are home for break! If she’s nervous, I remind her that she’s highly capable and she's GOT this. I mean, if anyone has GOT this, she does. (Maybe I should have had her running my business, she doesn’t ever seem to need to take a big ol' break!)

I researched writings of all types, hoping to get inspiration from people wiser than I, to share with my daughter. In the course of doing all of this, I kept coming across words that I knew needed to be shared with a broader audience. Pretty convenient that I have a place to share stuff like this, eh?

On a walk with my husband Doug and our dogs, we came across an Ohio Buckeye tree in our neighborhood. I know what a buckeye seed looks like, but I’d never seen them hanging from the tree! What a crazy sight, heavy, bulky globes, some half-open, revealing the buckeye seed within. Buckeyes were all over the ground, so I put a few in my pocket. 

Folklore says that carrying a buckeye in your pocket is good luck. I’d already jotted down an insightful quote from the ancient Roman philosopher Seneca, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity” in my sketchbook during my research — what a great quote. Now to have found buckeyes to go with the quote? Pretty serendipitous if you ask me. Decided to make a little painting to pop into one of Tallulah’s cards. (Somehow I juxtaposed the two most important words... where is my mind lately?)

After this exercise, I got to thinking... what other bits of flora (not just flowers, but seeds, fruits, vegetables, and trees) have symbolism like that of the buckeye? I wracked my brain for a bit... and there really is soooo much, but since we’re approaching fall, I decided to focus on Figs, Apples, and Gourds, in addition to Buckeyes. Some of what I found out:

Apples are associated with Knowledge

Figs are associated with Enlightenment 

Gourds are associated with Plenty

Buckeyes are associated with Good Luck

I looked up loads of quotes along the lines of each of these themes, and decided to create a botanical image of each piece of Folklore Flora and hand lettered a quote for each one. It turned out pretty neat!

I decided to create an outline of each of these drawings so that YOU can color and create with them yourself — and send them off to someone who needs a mental lift. There is some weighty thought wrapped up here... but the sentiments I’ve included go really great with each theme...

Here is the downloadable set that comes with a TON of options...

AND for the first time ever — I’m offering my artwork as individual full color paintings! Thought it might be fun to see what you guys might want to do with them... you can print the images out on watercolor paper and frame them, or create cards with your papers and embellishments. Whatever you want — just so they aren’t sold and mass marketed or uploaded to Pinterest, pleeeeaaaase. :)

A few of our amazing designers — haven't you missed them?? OMG I have!! — created beautiful things with my new Folklore Flora digital downloads. Be sure to go say hello and check ’em out!

Leave me a note and let me know how you’ve been, what you’re up to, and what you’d like to see in the future from Power Poppy! 
Thank you so much — it’s fun to be back!!


Inspire Me Monday: Confession Time!

HEY FRIENDS! I'm back today for Inspire Me Monday with something really different for me. And I'm going to start with a confession: I've been bored lately with my Copic markers. GASP! I know, but it's true. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one for whom the past year was tough. But as things open up around here, I'm feeling a weird combination of languishing, but at the same time wanting to find a new way to express myself creatively. So it was time to try something different.

Actually, I think I'm bored lately with cardmaking in general. Or maybe just overwhelmed. I feel like I have two of everything and it doesn't help that I suffer from full set syndrome. In addition to having a full set of Copic markers, I also have three full sets of colored pencils - Prismacolor Premier, Faber Castel Polychromos, and Caran d'Ache Luminance. Full sets! And I rarely use them, mainly because I've struggled finding a paper that I like. So I decided to set my Copics aside for now and experiment with my numerous colored pencil sets.

Like Copic markers, you can't just use any old paper with colored pencils and expect good results. Here you'll want a paper with a bit of tooth that can grab the pigment off the pencils. Paper is such a personal choice and I tested A LOT of papers before I found a pencil/paper combination that I liked. 

My current favorite combination is Prismacolor pencils with Stonehenge Drawing Paper, especially the toned papers. The paper is 100% cotton with a slight tooth. I tend to have a heavy hand (I need to work on that!), but the paper can handle several layers of color, which is what gives colored pencil drawings their rich color and blend. I bought one of the Stonehenge Multi Pads which includes papers in warm white, natural, cream, fawn, and pearl gray. Although I started with the white paper, I found it easier to work with the pearl gray paper. 

So to be really different - I pull a holiday stamp - Season's Greenings. I love the Santa image and I never got around to coloring it when the stamp was released. Since I was using the polymer set, I stamped the image with VersaFine ink. For those of you who prefer digital, the image is also available in the Planta Claus digital stamp set

First, I'll show you my finished card.

And here's what I learned along the way:

  • Allow lots of time to color. This is going to take a lot longer than coloring the same image with Copic markers. So settle in and enjoy the process.
  • Experiment with some of the toned papers. As a Copic colorist, I tend to automatically reach for white paper, but colored pencils provide a perfect excuse to try out other colors.
  • Work in layers. For the first layer, I tend to block out where I want the shadows and highlights and use the subsequent layers to refine placement and blend the colors.
  • Keep a light hand. If you press too hard on the first layer, you'll flatten the tooth and the paper won't be able to take on additional layers.
  • If your hand is getting cramp or sore, you are gripping the pencil too hard so loosen your grip. If you hold the pencil further back rather than close to the point, you will automatically lighten up on your grip and pressure on the paper.
  • I prefer a sharp pencil so I had to experiment to find a good pencil sharpener that created the point I wanted. So don't be surprised if you have to test more than one sharpener to get the perfect point for you.
  • Most of all, just have fun. Experiment with pencil combinations. You can always find suggestions on Pinterest, but use those as a starting point. You'll get to know your pencils better if you just grab some and experiment with the blends.
Thanks for joining me today! I haven't ditched my Copics entirely so be sure you check out my Power Poppy coloring videos on YouTube.


  • StampSeason's Greenings Clear Polymer Stamp Set. Image also available as Planta Claus digital stamp set
  • Paper: Stonehenge Drawing Paper (I have the 9"x12" Multi Pad)
  • Ink: VersaFine Clare in Nocturne
  • Prismacolor Premier Pencils
    • Greens: Spring Green (PC913), Apple Green (PC912), Grass Green (PC090)
    • Reds: Carmine Red (PC926), Crimson Red (PC924), Crimson Lake (PC925), Tuscan Red (PC932)
    • Yellows: Canary Yellow (PC916), Yellowed Orange (PC1002), Mineral Orange (PC1033)
    • Greys: 30% French Grey (PC1070), 50% French Gray (PC1072), 70% French Gray (PC1074)

Inspire Me Monday: The Flower Bomb (that nearly bombed!)


WELCOME BACK FRIENDS! I'm here today with a project that almost didn't happen. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Yet somehow I'm here with a card that turned out just fine. 

OK - so first let me tell you the card. It features a detail from the Flower Bomb Digital Stamp with a sentiment from In Praise of Sunflowers (now retired). 

So right about now I would be telling you about the coloring video I created for you. Or I would be if the camera hadn't shifted the exposure so that all you could see was - well, nothing! So no process photos, no witty commentary on what I did, and no opportunity to dazzle you with my technique. Instead, here's the list of markers I used. 

Next problem -- the layout I had in mind just didn't work. The papers that I had selected didn't enhance the colored image and the whole thing just looked over engineered. Sometimes the card you see in your mind's eye is much better than reality. The original image that I colored was actually a bit bigger so I trimmed it down a bit and set off to create a simpler card design.

However, that involved trying to select a new set of design papers. I could have gone with a white background except that I used X-Press It paper for the image and it has a gray tinge that looks odd against really white paper. None (and I do mean none) of my solid card stock coordinated with the marker colors I used. The B60s are hard to match with cardstock so I thought it would be easier to coordinate greens and pinks for the background. 

I created a lovely stenciled background using a pale pink cardstock, a brocade stencil, and texture paste. But apparently there was a bit of black ink somewhere on the stencil that transferred into a portion of the paste so that area of the design was now dark gray. No worries! I applied white embossing powder and heat set it after the texture paste was fully dry. 

And voila! A beautiful background that STILL didn't work with my colored image. Back to the drawing board. Or more accurately, at this point, it was late in the evening so I just went to bed!

The next morning, now refreshed and renewed, I announced that I was going to my studio and would not emerge until I had a completed card. My loving husband decided to bring me a light breakfast for sustenance - an English muffin with strawberry jam. Breakfast also included a beverage which turned out to be sangria because my husband -- who doesn't drink -- thinks you can use it as a substitute when you're out of orange juice. And while I didn't drink the sangria, the ensuing laughter seemed to break my design block and a card finally emerged.

Notice that I found a purplish-blue paper for the background! And while it's not the card design that I started with, I think that it's now even better. Sometimes you just have to jump through ALL the hoops to get to where you need to be in the end.

Don't forget! If you are new to digital images, we've got you covered. Check out this DIGITAL TUTORIAL by Julie Koerber with creative tips for working with our digital images as well as this step-by-step tutorial by the Bloom Brigade’s Allison Cope for working with digital images using GIMP, a free downloadable photo-editing program. And I have a YouTube video showing show I use Microsoft Word to print out digital images.

Thanks for joining me today! Be sure you check out my Power Poppy coloring videos on YouTube.


Garden Dirt: Tulips in Hobnail Pitcher, a Swatch for Underpainting with Copic Marker


Green is bursting everywhere!

We're still a bit early in the season to have many flowers blooming here in my small corner of the world, but the green spouts and buds are out.

Tulips are one of my favorite flowers and I thought I'd force a few bulbs (artistically) for this segment of The Garden Dirt. Let's get ready to talk about green!

Hello, my name is Amy Shulke and I'm the illustrator and art instructor over at Welcome to another edition of my color swatch series here at Power Poppy.

If you're new to my lessons, you're probably wondering why I'd name a beautiful flower coloring series after dirt. We want to think about pretty colors right? Certainly not dirt. But we're talking dirt because every garden needs dirt, it's the foundation for life. We need dirt for coloring too, dirty colors are the foundation for realism.

You can read more from my Garden Dirt series here.

Think about the parts of a flower...

Most people don't think deeply about flower anatomy. You've got a general idea about leaves, stems, petals, and the funny things in the center that the bees all like.

Close your eyes and picture your favorite flower. No cheating, don't go sneak a peek at one, let's just think about a flower you know really well... Now tell me about how the flower petals connect to the stem.

Hmmm. This is harder than you expected, right?

We're so used to thinking about the blossoms and leaves that we rarely think about the stems. When we do think about stems, they're just some random tube shapes coming from somewhere under the blossom.

Admit it. Right now, you're not really sure how flower petals connect to the stem. Most of you are thinking about silk flowers where you can pop the whole flower head right off the plastic stick.

Ahhhhhh, grasshopper-- you're missing the most astoundingly beautiful part of a flower!

Real flowers are not like silk flowers!

With silk flowers, you have a green plastic stem and pretty colorful petals glued on top.

But with real flowers, the petals grow out of the stem. With some flowers, it's actually hard to tell where the stem stops and the petal starts.

We all remember chlorophyll from elementary school science class, that's the stuff which makes leaves look green. And if you think about it, chlorophyll makes the stem green too.

But here's the cool part... chlorophyll doesn't just stop dead at the top of a stem.

If you look closely at the base of a petal, you'll see green chlorophyll climbing up from the stem into the flower petal. Look even closer and you'll see the pretty pink, yellow, or red color from the petal leaking down into the stem.

Colorful petals and green stems are connected; they're part of the same system. The color from one body part oozes into the next body part.

Which means that even on the most brilliantly colored blossoms, you'll see green seeping up on the underside of many petals.

That green blend is beautiful!

For more realistic flower petals, add green to your Copic Marker blending combination

I know this idea frightens you. Green blended with red makes blech! Green blended with yellow ruins the yellow. Green blended with orange makes vomit...

I know. I can see you getting squirmy in your seat. The laws of color mixing strictly prohibit mixing light red and green together.

Uh... what exactly is it that happens if you mix light red and green? Does it explode? Does fire rain from the sky? Plagues of frogs, locusts, or IRS agents?


Nothing bad will happen if you add G43 to your pretty red blending combination.

I did it in my tulip project here and I'm still alive enough to tell you about it.

Go ahead and try it. Tell the cops that Amy said it was okay. You'll be fine.

It's pretty.

Very, very pretty. And isn't that why we color?

Let's color tulips together!

The tulips shown here are a small portion of Power Poppy's Tulips and Hobnail Pitcher digital stamp but my color recipe will work with any tulip image. Try it on the tulips in Springtime Love Roundel, Spring Border, or Love One Another. This recipe even works with other flowers.

I started by bringing the G43 from the stem up and into the base of each petal. Then I softened the G43 with a few flicks of G40. Then I continued on with R21 up to the middle of each petal and softened it with R00. I left the edge of each tulip as clean white paper. 

G43 to G40 to R21 to R00. Sounds weird, looks stunning!

And hey, we're coloring tulips over at Vanilla Arts this month. My Tulip Wreath project uses a very similar blending combination. Join us there for a little bit of advanced artistic coloring.

All Vanilla Workshop classes are immediate access. Work at your ow pace, color it as many times as you want!

Have fun adding green ink to all your blending combinations!

Happy Coloring!

Inspire Me Monday: Easy Breeze Coneflowers!


GOOD MORNING EVERYONE! Well spring has finally arrived, at least according to the calendar. We spent last weekend at our local garden supply store to get ideas for our backyard. My husband is the gardener, but I get to pick out the flowers. It's a division of labor that I enjoy! 

It's too early to plant anything here - our garden relies on a combination of containers and raised beds. We have a small water feature which my husband wants to redesign so we've been busy rearranging our equally small backyard to accommodate all the changes. But it feels good to be outside again and planning for what we hope will be a more normal future.

I plan on adding coneflowers into our backyard this year but it will be a few weeks before they are available in our garden store. In the meantime, I have to be content with coloring them so today's post features the Easy Breezy Coneflowers Digital Stamp Set in anticipation of my summer garden. 

Often, I'll enlarge a digital image so that it takes up most of the card front, but I decided to downsize the image and color it on a smaller scale. But the smaller image didn't take up much real estate on the card front so I struggled awhile with the card design. I changed the card orientation from portrait to landscape and that change helped me view the layout in a different way. I've always loved the critters that Marcella adds to some of her drawings so I cropped out one of the bees in the Asters Abuzz Digital Stamp Set to add to the background and used one of the sentiments from that set. I added a honeycomb stenciled background inked in pale pink and suddenly the card came together.

Since the image is small, I didn't worry about adding a lot of detail into the petals. Instead, I stuck to a simple dark to light blend with my Copic markers. 

That's all for me today! Be sure you get out and enjoy the sunshine!



Garden Dirt: Flowering Clover, a Swatch for Underpainting with Copic Marker


Guest post by Amy Shuke of Add realism to Copic Marker blends by underpainting with complementary colors. Pink RV55 marker creates natural looking shade underneath green markers for sweet clover leaves and blossom. | | Alcohol Markers, Colored Pencils, Underpainting Swatch

Need a quick bit o' luck?

Saint Patrick's Day is almost upon us.

Uh oh... so soon? Already? Wait, what month is it anyway?

If you're anything like me, you've totally lost track of days and months. Luckily, I've got a quick coloring project for you today, just in case you need to pop a card into the mail, pronto!

Hello, my name is Amy Shulke and I'm the illustrator and art instructor over at Welcome to another edition of my color swatch series here at Power Poppy-- The Garden Dirt.

Are you wondering why I'd name a collection of beautiful color combinations after dirty ol' dirt? It's because in realistic coloring, we take pretty colors and cover them with other pretty colors to make muddy colors. The real color of shade and shadow is always a little yucky, a little muddy, and a little dirty.

You can read more from my Garden Dirt series here.

Guest post by Amy Shuke of Add realism to Copic Marker blends by underpainting with complementary colors. Pink RV55 marker creates natural looking shade underneath green markers for sweet clover leaves and blossom. | | Alcohol Markers, Colored Pencils, Underpainting Swatch

Sometimes I color for realism. Other times, I color for fun.

If you're a fan of Marcella's stamps and digis, you're pretty darned used to coloring leaves.

So even though shamrocks and clover are cute as the dickens, they're still... ho hum... sigh... just another green leaf using the same old green Copic Markers and colored pencils.

Unless we have a little fun with the underpaint.

Check out the shady spots on my green clover leaves here. See that funky shade color? What is that weird color?

Would you believe it's the same color as the clover blossom?

Guest post by Amy Shuke of Add realism to Copic Marker blends by underpainting with complementary colors. Pink RV55 marker creates natural looking shade underneath green markers for sweet clover leaves and blossom. | | Alcohol Markers, Colored Pencils, Underpainting Swatch

Pink under Green makes a shady green

I know it sounds weird but weird color is what we're after.

Last month I shared with you about layering green under pink. This month we're reversing the combo because this magic trick works both ways. Green and magenta sit opposite of each other on the color wheel and when opposites cross paths, the color get a little wild and funky. 

To color the Shamrock n' Roll digital stamp, I started with RV55 and layered two leafy green markers over the top. I have no idea what to call this new color. Gink? Preen? I don't know but it sure is fun to make.

And guess what?

This same marker combination can be used on several of Marcella's clover-ish shamrocky floral images. Try it on Clover and Pansies, Wish You Luck, Asters Abuzz, or the magnificent Lumious Bouquet with its oversized Japanese Peony blossom and clover.

Green, pink, gink, or preen, it comes out a little different every time. I color with gink and preen a lot. When I'm working with a pink blossom, it's really hard to resist the ginky temptation.

Try it, you might be a ginky kind a person too.

Guest post by Amy Shuke of Add realism to Copic Marker blends by underpainting with complementary colors. Pink RV55 marker creates natural looking shade underneath green markers for sweet clover leaves and blossom. | | Alcohol Markers, Colored Pencils, Underpainting Swatch

Let's color Flowering Clover together!

I've got a special treat for you today. 

Head on over to my site at to download the FREE Flowering Clover recipe guide. I've included a few photos of the process plus a couple of tips to help you make the most of this odd blending combination.

And if you're looking for an online class to really explore pink and green, you're in luck!

My Verdant Spring class uses a similar color palette on Power Poppy's Bowl of Beauty digital stamp. We layer green under pink and then green over pink with beautiful results.

All Vanilla Workshop classes are immediate access. Work at your own pace, color it as many times as you want with no expiration date. 

Have fun playing with gink and preen! 

And I'll meet you back here next month with another colorful swatch of Garden Dirt.

Inspire Me Monday - Thinking of Spring!


Hello, Power Poppy Fans! It is my turn again to bring you the Inspire Me Monday project. I continue to be plagued with migraines, exhaustion, and joint pain. I appreciate everyone who has prayed for me over the past months! It is so frustrating and debilitating! I have been trying to do EVERYTHING on my good days, which is not that...well that good for me! 

Now, what an uninspiring opening! However, I know that many of you are also battling "stuff" right now, and you can relate. I also know, like me, you are probably looking for that light at the end of the tunnel. For me that light is spring and Easter. I live where the weather is pretty fine all year round, but for those who live in snowy climates, you must be ready for SPRING!

To get that spring feeling, I pulled out a bunch of spring images and printed them in a large, coloring book page size. If you go to the Power Poppy Store, and do a search on "spring" you will see many amazing stamps pop up!
I pulled out some colored pencils and started to color and experiment. I tried this pencil brand on that paper. I tried this color combo of green, and then that other one. I played and flitted around like a butterfly! I spent a lot of time planning, which is my normal mode of operation. 

However, I really needed to just get to it! I knew that I may only have one good day out of three, and here I was fiddle-faddling around! Mercy sakes!
In the end, I settled on printing this image (Lilac and Lemons) onto kraft cardstock to color with colored pencils. This is as far as I got because, I continued to be bothered by the fact that this brand of pencils does not have color names! They each have a unique number, but no names! Because my brain cannot let go of something once I latch onto it, I decided to give each and every one of the 168 pencils in this set a name! Yes, I did! (If you are interested in such things, visit my personal blog on March 11th to see the end product.)

I had a few happy days researching colors and thinking up descriptive color names, and just having a creative party for myself! Which did not translate into a finished project in time for today's post, but it did give me a fun boost of creativity!

At this point in time, I have been allowing my creativity to go off on adventures. If I don't I am simply unable to create at all. But, although I did not actually MAKE anything I still wanted you to have something to look at. Here are a few of my past spring inspiration pieces!
I colored this project last month, over a few weeks time. The image is the Volumes of Beauty digital stamp. I colored this with only Crayola colored pencils! I was proving a point about coloring with inexpensive materials. I love how this turned out, even with budget products!
This is the Shimmering Flight digital stamp colored with Copics and glitter gel pen. I love the different textures on this project!
This bright "pop in the eye" project was also colored with Copics. The image is the Luminous Bouquet digital stamp. This panel is one of  a series that I colored a few years ago. I place these panels on my desk each month for a spot of color and inspiration! I highly recommend surrounding yourself with your own creative efforts! 

I hope that you get inspired to grab some spring images, some spring colors, and have a day of colorful play! Don't feel like you must have a finished project at the end of it. Just explore your creative spirit and see what happens! 

Thanks for stopping by!