Tag Archives: pen and ink

Visions of Sugar Plums


We haven’t seen any real snowflakes at our house yet. But I have been in the holiday spirit because I have been working on pictures inspired by the Nutcracker Ballet.

My mini sketches that I paint every morning have been characters from the famous ballet.

I also have been working on a picture book idea about a little ballerina’s first performance. I am using one of the images from that story for my next promotional postcard. Here is a sneak peak.Postcard Peek

If you are not already on my mailing list and you want me to send you a postcard let me know. Tell me your address at moiraswiatkowski@gmail.com .

A couple of picture book authors I know, Debbi Ohi and Josh Funk wrote blog posts about how you can support an author besides buying the book. So I was inspired to make my own list of ways you can support me in case you are not in a position to publish my book or to hire me as an illustrator.

Number One: Buy Some Merch.

I have items for sale that are either handmade or print-on-demand from four online retailers.



My Etsy shop has original watercolors and pen and ink drawings on paper. https://www.etsy.com/shop/atlanticmo?ref=l2-shopheader-name




My Society6 shop has quality prints as well as other merchandise such as fun t-shirts, tote bags, mugs and leggings. https://society6.com/atlanticmo




My Spoonflower shop is for my pattern work which is available as fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap. http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/atlanticmoira




OK, the main reason to go to my CafePress shop is for the Breaching Mermaid Shower Curtain. http://www.cafepress.com/atlanticmo

On demand printing requires a couple of more days to receive since they aren’t sitting ready to go in a warehouse so keep that in mind if you are holiday shopping.

Number Two: Share

Ballet Bag from Society6 Moira Birch Swiatkowski

If you do buy something, please take a photo and share it on social media or send it to me to share. I love to see that stuff out in the world.

I also appreciate it when you share links to my shops, website, blog posts and pictures.

Pinning something to Pinterest from my website or shops is also greatly appreciated.

Number Three: A Kind Word …or Heart or Thumbs Up

I do truly appreciate all of your encouragement whether it is in private or on social media. I mostly talk to myself up here in the art studio and those little bits of encouragement from my friends goes a long way.

Now I will pirouette my way back to the drawing board.






Falling Forward

Last week I took the boogie boards, beach chairs and umbrella out of my car and put them in the garage for winter storage. I even vacuumed the half ton of sand that we progressively brought home from the beach this summer.

Summer is over, for real.

Thankfully, Fall is so dang beautiful here in New England that it distracts us from what we know to be true, Winter is coming.

I had some other good distractions this month.

I had a show of the Mini Sketches at the Dennis Public Library. The show had a good response and even some sales. The show is currently down now but you can check out the Mini Sketches for sale from the show here https://www.etsy.com/shop/atlanticmo?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Art Show Inspiration and Art Packing it up





The other fun thing I did in October was Inktober. I drew 31 ink drawing for all the days of the month. This year I did a sequential story based on a real story I heard about some birds that helped each other out. I made a video so you can see the story unfold. It’s on my YouTube channel here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTF-dscagu8 .







I’ve started a new series of morning sketches. I am randomly choosing different characters from the Nutcracker ballet. I am working on a story about a little ballerina and this will help me work out some ideas and keep my mind on ballet.

If you want to follow along check out my Instagram  here, https://instagram.com/atlanticmo/

Fritz Sugar Plum Fairy








leggingsAs per request I have added some dogs to my Society6 shop and I will be adding more as we get closer to the holidays. They have leggings now which I think I might just need a pair. Check those out here, https://society6.com/atlanticmo/prints?show=new

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on some stories and portfolio pieces. I will have another postcard going out after Thanksgiving. Email me if you want to be on the mailing list.


It should be a pretty busy month which hopefully will end with me eating some pumpkin pie.

Head Cook and Bottle Washer

I made this poster for my sister-in-law, Bricken. For part of her master’s degree program she is doing a project called, “The Great Tap Water Challenge”.

The idea is quite simple, stop using plastic, disposable bottles or cups to hold your beverages.

reusable poster

My family has a case of bottled water that sits on our back porch that can be grabbed on the way out the door for sports, road trips and dance class. It is very convenient when we don’t have time to find, clean or fill the reusable water bottles.

This winter, when Bricken told me about the Great Tap Water Challenge, that case of water was frozen solid with a couple of inches of snow on it. This was perfect timing for our family to make the switch. We decided to leave the frozen bottles alone and make a new habit to switch to reusable.

What seemed like a big inconvenience has been no big deal at all. We all have easy to wash and handle containers that suit our styles and activities. My husband has a large stainless steel one that is perfect for a construction job site. Mine is made of glass since I use it mostly in the art studio or car. My daughter has a fashionable, lightweight bottle which fits nicely into her dance bag. My son has a sturdy one with a handle that matches his bat bag.

And if we do forget our bottle we look for a bubbler (drinking fountain) or a vendor that will give us a paper cup of tap water. So far, no one has gone thirsty.

If you want to join in, you can go to the Facebook event page.


…or you can just do it on your own. Do it for a month. See how it goes.

And if you don’t think you can give up your bottled water, please recycle.


Love Bird

For the past few years I have been making custom Valentines for my children.

This year they are both in Middle School. I don’t know if they are going to want to give them out to their classmates. But I wanted to keep up the tradition anyways. Here is what I came up with for 2015.

I have Valentines to download and print at home for sale at my Etsy shop if you want to avoid the snowbound shopping.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/222064105/duckling-valentine?ref=shop_home_active_1valentine ducklingHappy Valentine’s Day!

Sending warm thoughts,



Bird Count

bird contact pageThe bird thing started this past winter.

I had been doing most of my illustration digitally using a stylus and tablet for the past few years and before that my main medium was brush and acrylic paint on canvas. Some time in late February I decided to try something new and I started drawing with pen and ink on watercolor paper.

Around that same time I had an idea for a picture book that involved birds.

I thought, I should learn how to draw birds in this new medium.

Now, the best way to learn how to draw something is to draw it.

It felt good to be learning something new. I knew very little about working with pen and ink but that knowledge was a lot compared to what I knew about birds.

I started with the most common bird at my feeder, the chickadee, one of the handful of birds I can confidently identify.chickadee 2

Getting the hang of using the dip pen took a little while to get used to. I fooled around with the pen on dry paper and wet paper. I tried using a little ink, then a lot of ink. I used an ink wash with some soft brushes. I added a bit of watercolor.

Then I drew it again and again until I felt like the little guy looked like an actual bird.

Next I did the titmouse, then the cardinal, the woodpecker and one by one the usual gang at the bird feeder including squirrels, bunnies.squirrel bunny

All this trial and error drawing was leading to a fat stack of bumpy watercolor paper with birds painted on both sides of the paper and on any free white space.

I had been posting on Instagram my progress and friends were starting to ask me, “What’s the deal with the birds?”. I have answered them by muddling through my explanation about the children’s book which is only the beginning of the answer.

The truth is I really like drawing the birds. I want to draw more birds. I want to learn more about birds. I think this feeling must be akin to what bird watchers experience when they first start.

I never understood the fascination. I couldn’t understand how people could spend their free time and money just looking at birds.

I get it now. There is something magical and otherworldly going on with these creatures that is so different from our human existence that goes on unnoticed most of the time.

I notice now.