The Nerd Bird Bird Herd


Outside my window there are herds

Of all sorts and kinds of noisy birds.

They’re really, really going NUTS!

No if, ands, or buts.

They chirp and call and chirp and sing.

They’re goin crazy ‘cause it‘s SPRING!

One day it’s 20 degrees out and snowing. The next day it’s 50 degrees, the snow melted off, and you have to go back in the house because you dressed in long underwear, thick pants, long sleeves, a heavy coat, hat, scarf and gloves, and now you’ve got to put on a short-sleeved shirt. That’s how you know it’s Spring in Indiana.

Even the birds are confused.


The Eyes Have It

Innocence, Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2018

Coming up with an extremely appealing facial design is probably the number one aspect of designing a doll, paperdoll, coloring page, digital or rubber stamp or character. You want something that is universally appealing to all ages, genders, nationalities, so that’s a daunting task. Plus, it’s not easy to create beautiful designs that haven’t been used before and don’t look like something else that’s already out on the market. So, when you create one that works, you keep it and use it!As an eBay doll seller/redesigner, I’ve learned that doll companies use the same basic face style on each of their doll models. So, following that well-established tradition, I’m doing the same with the current crop of images I’ve been drawing. You can use the same basic face (as long as it’s an appealing design), tweak the features a bit and have an entirely new creation! Plus, it makes it much easier, faster and cheaper for the designers and companies. All of the well-established doll companies do this: Madame Alexander, Mattel, Kish, Tonner, etc.

PINK ROSES, Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2019

As the old saying goes…it‘s all in the eyes. The eyes are the number one part of the figure that have to be right. If they are off in any way, nothing else works. It is through the eyes that the viewer is drawn to the image, so they need to be beautiful and engaging. Creating the hair style, body, clothing, accessories, color palette and details fall into place fairly quickly and easily once the eyes and face are set.

Roses, Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2018

I‘m still learning how to design a good coloring image (and stamps) and am learning it might look easy but it isnt! So many things go into designing an image – composition, balance, line style, direction, line width, subject matter, and more!

Someday I would love to design paper dolls, figurines and dolls. I love modern dolls produced by Madame Alexander, Kish, Tonner, Maggie Iacono and others. I collect and am knowledgeable about hard plastic, composition and vinyl dolls from the late 1930s to the early 1960s. My love for dolls strongly influences my designs on paper.

Lady of Roses, Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2018

A Free St. Patrick’s Day Digital Stamp, Adult Coloring Page for You!

For You, Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2019

Spring is here!

So let’s all cheer!

Let’s all say Hurray!

‘Cause it’s a happy Springy Day!

I’m not quite sure what it is with my fascination with bunnies, bees and clover recently. It must be a Spring Thing after being cooped up inside the house all winter. We’ve had an awful lot of snow and some sub-zero temps.

This cute little bunny is sharing a big bouquet of spring’s first batch of tender green clover with a little fairy friend. She looks rather hesitant, as if she’s uncertain as to whether he would like for her to eat it or use it as a bouquet. It might be a bit of both, since you’d share your food with someone you care about, right?

I’ve included two images, one that can be used as a digital download or coloring page, and the second can be used as the same, but includes spaces for addressing it to Someone Special from You!

For You From, Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2019

This image has an area for you to write in the name of Someone Special you’d like to give your colored image to.

We all love freebies! Me, included. Here’s a FREE adorable digitally downloadable printable jpg file (300 dpi) for you to use in your St. Patrick’s Day and Spring crafting projects – scrapbooking, digital stamping, cardmaking, papercrafting, journaling, albums, gift tags, adult coloring, stickers, and more!

For You!

From Me!

For You, From Me, Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2019

Hoppy St. Paddy’s to SomeBunny Special!

Hoppy St. Paddy’s Day to SomeBunny Special! Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2019

It’s that time of year

For stripey bees and clover…

Those tiny leafy plants –

White and green all over.

St. Paddy’s Day is here,

’Cause it’s that time of year!

I’m working on this digital greeting card design in Procreate. It’s a lot easier, faster, and less troublesome to create a practice greeting card on the iPad than it is to break out the paper, coloring supplies, glue sticks, buttons, scissors, embellishments, ribbon, etc. (It’s not that I don’t have piles and piles of 6×6, 8.5 x 11, 12 x 12 cardstock and scrapbooking paper in many different shades, prints, textures and surfaces, ribbon of all kinds – satin, grosgrain, sheer, wired, buttons in every shape, size, and subject matter, low temp glue guns, glue sticks, archival glue sticks, jewelry glue, stickers from various sticker companies across the globe, and other necessities. It’s definitely not that…or maybe it is. ) And when I break it out, I “” You know what I mean. And, my husband is MUCH happier if I don’t.

Designing attractive greeting cards is not easy, as I’m discovering. Making them look half-way decent is one thing. Making them look GOOD is another. But, making them look good enough for people to want to purchase is another kettle of fish entirely.

And that would be why companies spend millions on research into the psychological aspects of colors, shape, design, marketing trends and whatnot. It’s also why companies have a huge staff of folks who handle completely separate parts of the design process: linework, coloring, character design, lettering, page design, etc.

So, I’m going to keep practicing in Procreate until my craft room(s) is/are slightly more orderly, and try to keep hubby fairly happy (since he’s the one who pays for all the craft supplies).

Hoppy St. Paddy’s to Ya!

Hoppy St. Paddy’s Day to SomeBunny Special! Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2019

Hop on over to my Etsy shop SherryWestArt for this cute image to make your own adorable card for SomeBunny Special!

Blushing Pink Tea Roses

I LOVE pink tea roses. If I ever draw a flower, it’s probably going to be a tea rose of some sort. When I first moved to Indiana almost 20 years ago after meeting my hubby on an online dating site (that was new and exciting back then, lol), one of the first things I did was to go to a nursery and get some gorgeous high-quality, pricey Jackson & Perkins rose bushes. I took them home, carefully planted them exactly according to the instructions on the hang tag, even bought a J&P rose book and read up, then babied them. Then the Japanese Beetles ate them. All of them. And everything else I planted.

In addition to my grand experiment with the J&P roses, I had prepared a two-foot dirt border all around the front of our 2,000 square foot modular. That meant I had to hand dig out all of that stubborn grass and soften the rocky sandy soil to prepare a flower bed…with an old shovel and hoe. We didn’t have the finances at that time, being newly married, to purchase other gardening equipment that would have made the whole process much easier.

I checked out books from the library, extensively researched what trees, bushes and flowers did best in our climate zone in Indiana, and carefully hand drew out on art paper, in color, the types of flowers, bushes and border – according to color and height – that would create the prettiest effect. I went to several stores and nurseries, looked into ordering bulbs, perennials and annuals in magazines and online, and even considered the intriguing idea of planting an attractive edible garden instead in the border area.

After carefully mapping everything out, researching, shopping trips, etc., I had my seeds, planted everything, carefully watered them, kept and eye on them, and waited. And waited. And waited,

Finally! Little green sprouts began to appear.

I was so excited! My very first flower bed!

But something was wrong. Very, very, very wrong.

Five sprouts came up.

That wasn’t right.

I didn’t plant five.

I planted 35.

What on earth? (Sorry, no pun intended.)

Well, as it turns out, we lived out in the country, right across the street from a low line of hills with lots of forest. We also live in very richly soiled farmland, surrounded by working family farms and fields – soybeans, hay, and corn are the usual crops.

There are little slender paths leading down that hill across the street, through the trees, through the tall grass where it’s parted on either side, down through the dirt and in a straight line to our house…several of them.

At daybreak and dusk each day, the deer and critters made their journey out of the woods, down the hill, crossed the street into our yard, went through our yard and out into the surrounding fields to eat the standing and fallen corn, soybeans and hay.

We often got possums and raccoons on the back porch, saw deer eating the fallen apples in the back yard, endured cardinals hitting our windows in the throws of hormonally enraged territorial-ism, listened to doves gently cooing, speckled starlings noisily squabbling, robins alertly standing in the grass looking for worms, watched bunnies, squirrels and chipmunks dashing through the grass searching for fallen walnuts and other edible items. All this is to say that our garden, or flower bed, didn’t stand one heck of a chance from the get go. And that wasn’t even throwing the myriad of diverse bugs into the pest equation.

Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2019

Yes, I KNEW I would have to deal with pests. I read up on that aspect of it. What I hadn’t figured on were the overwhelming odds stacked against me and my poor flowers.

Every single morning, I impatiently came out to check on my seeds and bulbs to see if they had sprouted. I waited, and I waited, and I waited. And, nothing came up. When something finally did come up, it was five out of 35. There was something very wrong with that number.

I had also purchased plastic pots for the porch in varying sizes and colors..carefully panning those out as well, according to which colors and sizes would look best placed in specific places around the porch, as well as which flowers would look loveliest according to color and height, as well as sun- or shade-hardiness.

I came out one morning to find several of the pots turned over with fresh dirt and my precious baby flowers strewn haphazardly all over my porch .

I was NOT a happy camper! What. On. Earth?

I angrily and frustratedly replaced the dirt, gently tucked my poor stricken flowers back into their beds, and hoped and prayed they weren’t all too dead to revive and survive.

I came out the next morning very hopefully and found….the same exact scenario.

And the next morning,

And the next.

After an awful lot of fussing, loud complaining, griping and grumbling to my patient husband, we came to the conclusion it was either the possums, raccoons, squirrels or chipmunks looking for seeds and bulbs. The smell of freshly turned dirt got their attention from miles away, and down the hill they obligingly trundled to make a meal out of what I had so carefully, but inadvertently prepared for them.

After the critters, the harsh sun on the front porch, and the bugs, I gave up. I’m not stupid. I know some folks are die-hard seasoned gardeners, but I’m not one of those. I didn’t think doing a flower bed was going to be such a dramatic, anti-climactic activity. It’s supposed to be “relaxing.” And, after all that, I certainly wasn’t feeling “relaxed.” Not about any of it.

My naive dreams of beautiful flowers and roses died a very hard and practical death in that short span of time. Between the harsh, hot summer sun, the bugs, the critters and the birds, I knew I was outgunned. I’m not stupid. Sometimes, ya gotta know when to say “when.”

There are some things in life we are good at, and some things we aren’t, and I obviously wasn’t good at this one, lol. I knew better than to try to fight off all of nature….especially when we lived out in the country in farmland. We were basically just a critter buffet waiting to happen.

Sherry West, SherryWestArt, 2019

Ok, back to the roses and the reason for this post…. I’m sorry, I bunny-trailed (see what I did there?).

I created the above illustration as a black and white coloring page for my friends adult coloring group on Facebook. I liked it so well, I had to give it a try, too.

I am NOT a colorist. Everyone in the adult coloring community probably knows this by now, lol. However, I surprised the heck outta myself by being able to do this one this well. I’m absolutely THRILLED. I just HAD to share it with the whole wide world!!!

I colored it using “pastels” on my iPad Pro, with an Apple Pencil in Procreate.

I like the digital version so well, I may just break down and pull out my real live pastels and give it a try, too.

This image is available in my Etsy shop as a digitally downloadable jpg file in both color and b&w in b&w lineart or grayscale for use as an adult coloring page or to use for scrapbooking and papercrafting.

Ladybirds and Ladybugs

Bunnies, Bees & Guineas

In my first blog post, I mentioned how much the white cotton tail bunnies love the clover that grows wild all over our yard

What I didn’t mention is that guinea pigs love it, too. We’ve had 30 over the last many years, and we quickly learned what their favorite food is. Yep, clover. Tender, fresh, succulent, leafy, sweet green clover. The newer, the better….as in, popped up fresh for breakfast that very morning. The same goes for dandelion greens, too.

Bees. Bees and white clover flowers go together like bees and honey. They are always busily buzzing around the little white multi-petaled flowers tucked into the large green clover patches. Bees are the main pollinators of clover.

Do you know about clover honey? I keep raw clover honey on hand and put a tablespoon in a glass of lemon and water each day to help counteract allergies. The honey needs to be from bees in your local area to combat the local allergens.

You can also eat raw and cooked clover. Dandelions, too! The bunnies, bees and guineas know.

Bumble Bea, Itty Bitty Bugz, Sherry West, SherryWestArt

Lucky Little Clover

In the wild, carefree psychedelic 70s, I was in elementary school. Most of the kids ran around the playground at recess playing tag, baseball, tetherball or other games requiring decent coordination (and I wasn’t very coordinated), I sat with a friend in the deep green grass looking for four-leaf clovers. She seemed to always find them, but I never did. I surely needed lots of luck just to be able to find the lucky little clovers!

We spent countless sunshine and sweet-leafy-green days sitting in that grass looking for four-leaf clovers. I may not have ever found any of the four-leaf variety, but what I was lucky enough to find were Ladybugs! Fat, round, perfectly symmetrical, and bright glossy red with black spots They were beautiful!

We held them in our hands and watched them crawl up and down our fingers. Upon reaching the end of a finger, the ladybug always seemed to know it was time to go. She would lift up the two top red casings, and out unfolded delicate deep brown sheer wings which had been ingeniously hidden and protected beneath. After they unfurled to their full shape, she gently and effortlessly rose unto the unseen currents of air, floating quietly away until I could no longer see her.

Ladybugs and Ladybirds

As a child, since ladybugs were called “lady-bugs,” I always thought they were female (as opposed to “gentleman” bugs). In the United States, this is what we we call them.

In England, however, they are called “ladybirds.” What a lovely name for a lovely bug! “Ladybug” is very nice term, but “ladybird” is better!

Leia Ladybug, Itty Bitty Bugz, Sherry West, SherryWestArt

The following lyrics are from “Ladybug Ladybird,” of Helen Ferris’s “Favorite Poems Old and New, Selected for boys and girls,” 1957.

Ladybug Ladybird

Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
the field mouse is gone to her nest
the daisies have shut up their sleepy red eyes
and the birds and the bees are at rest
Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
the glow worm is lighting her lamp
the dew’s falling fast, and your fine speckled wings
will flag with the close clinging damp
Lady-bird, Lady-bird, fly away home
the fairy bells tinkle afar
make haste or they’ll catch you and harness you fast
with a cobweb to Oberon’s star.

Ladybird Ladybird, the modern children’s rhyme

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one,
And her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan

Bumble Bea, Itty Bitty Bugz, Sherry West, SherryWestArt

*These adorable images – Itty Bitty Bugz, Bumble Bea – & Leia Ladybug – are available in b&w and color as digital downloads in my Etsy shop SherryWestArt for all of your spring scrapbooking and papercrafting projects.

Further interesting reading on the subject of Ladybugs:

Leia Ladybug, Itty Bitty Bugz, Sherry West, SherryWestArt