If you want to learn how to draw with no stress, take this class.

If you want to learn how to draw with no stress, take this class.

That’s exactly what Brannan Lawson said when she finished the last module of Shiny Happy Drawing earlier this year.

Now, the long and short of it is that I truly believe that drawing makes life better – more colourful, more detailed, more vibrant.


So I invite you to join me for SHINY HAPPY DRAWING!


It’s 6 weeks of online drawing instruction, complete with videos and photo stories, projects, printable pdfs and a private facebook group.

Not only will I get you started with ‘how to draw’ you’ll learn how to make drawing a part of your day to day life. It’s all about learning by doing.

New lessons are released each Sunday for 6 weeks from Monday 1 October 2018 (but there’s no hurry as you’ll have ‘forever access’!)  And no matter when you join – all the previous lessons will be available immediately!

  • Week 1 – Why Draw?
  • Week 2 – Space
  • Week 3 – Big and Small
  • Week 4 – from 2D to 3D
  • Week 5 – Colour
  • Week 6 – Projects to fit into your everyday

Each week I’ll also be doing a Facebook Live video related to that week’s projects. Videos will be uploaded to the website afterwards. To accommodate different time zones (and my kids!), I will alternate times for these sessions.

The purpose of this online course is to challenge, guide and inspire you to draw more and often. All without freaking you out! It’s suitable for artists of all levels, but beginners are especially welcome.


Just a large scrap book or two, a couple of pencils and a ballpoint pen will start you off.

Of course, I’ll demonstrate with more things (and you probably have more drawing tools in your house right now), but it’s all optional.

Any more questions? Check out my FAQ list here.

The complete Shiny Happy Drawing eCourse is $132 AUD including GST. That’s about $99 USD and it should convert when you pay (let me know if you have a problem with it).

So welcome!  And let’s go!

PS. If you have any questions, please drop me a line and I’ll get right back to you – it’s going to be a lot of fun 🙂


Here’s what previous Shiny Happy Drawers had to say:

If you want to learn how to draw with no stress, take this class.

Fun – fun – fun! Anna presents the exercises in an easygoing, insightful manner. She puts you perfectly at ease with what you are doing.

I loved how each project was approachable to me (a beginner) and how I got amazing outcomes! I never thought that would happen. Anna is an excellent teacher, even though these are videos I feel like I’m right there next to her learning.

Just try it! It’s great fun. It doesn’t matter if you want to show anyone or not. It’s training me to look for more detail in the things around me which I’m really enjoying. Also you don’t need to go and buy a whole lot of things. I scratched around the house and found a surprising amount of art supplies (mostly belonging to the kids). If I didn’t have something Anna was talking about, I just used something else.

Love the short, informative videos, your friendly approach and the way you make it look so easy and achievable.

This class is fun, interesting, informative, and you learn so much. The subjects that we draw are easy to find. Jump in have a go, it’s fun.

The FAQs about Shiny Happy Drawing

The FAQs about Shiny Happy Drawing

I’ve had a few questions about my upcoming drawing eCourse… (and most were from my Mum – thanks Mum!)

I’m talking about ‘Shiny Happy Drawing’ . It goes live on Sunday 1 July and includes 6 weeks of videos and projects (one will be released each week).

(If you’ve already signed up, thank you! You can go have a cuppa and relax. You’re in. 🙂 )

If you have questions and would like to know more, keep reading, or just click through.

Do I have to be at my computer on Sunday 1 July?

No, you absolutely don’t. That’s just the day I’ll be releasing the first videos on our private website (you’re given access to that when you sign up). You can watch it whenever you wish.

The second set of videos will be released the next Sunday, and the third, the Sunday after that, but whether it takes you a day, a month or a year to get around to watching and learning, it’ll all be there, ready when you are (so there’s no pressure!).

Can I watch the videos more than once?

You sure can. Once they’re online, you can watch them on the site as many times as you like. That’s one of the advantages of this online thing – it’s like a real-life class, but with the benefit of a pause button!

Do I have to be on Facebook or join the Facebook group?

No, the private Facebook group is simply an added bonus that I offer with the class. It’s a place to share your drawings if you want to, and I can share feedback or ideas with the group more easily there.

I will be checking in often during the 6 weeks of the live course, and the group will continue beyond that, but no, if you don’t want to be on Facebook, you certainly don’t have to be. The main course is hosted on a password protected website and you’ll have full access to that.

What supplies will I need?

You really don’t need much for drawing and I’m trying to keep the supplies to a minimum for this class. I encourage you to look around your house or office and see what you already have before you go out and buy anything.

That said, it would be great to have a couple of HB and softer (2B, 4B) pencils, a ruler and eraser, a sketchbook of some kind, and some coloured pencils, felt pens and maybe some watercolours on hand.

I’ll be demonstrating with and explaining a lot of different materials, but there’ll always be options to do each project with different supplies.

What happens once I buy the course?

You’ll receive a welcome email straight away, and it will include a link to the online classroom. You can take a look around before the class starts and the videos will start being added on 1 July, and for five weeks after that.

My goal is to inspire you to make drawing a part of your everyday. I’ll explain the basics, and how I think and feel about drawing, and then invite you to ‘fill your book’ with me (whether it’s a small book or a large book is up to you!).

I’m a big believer in ‘learning by doing’, so the weekly projects are designed to improve your knowledge and make you keen to draw more. And ‘drawing more’ is what’ll make you a better drawer, so it’s a win/win!

I’m an absolute beginner, is this the course for me?

Now, this wasn’t one of Mum’s questions but it was asked by a person in Scotland (!)… and you know what? The beginning is the best place to start. Grab and pencil and paper and join in. You just might love it.

Any more questions spring to mind?

I’d be more than happy to answer any other questions you have. Just email me and I’ll get back to you asap.

See you in the online studio on 1 July!


Come and draw with me

Come and draw with me

I truly believe that drawing makes my life richer.

It’s also the basis of good painting, so that’s handy from an art point of view.

So let me introduce you to Shiny Happy Drawing.

It’s 6 weeks of step-by-step drawing instruction, complete with videos and photo stories, printable pdfs and more.

Not only will you learn how to draw, you’ll learn how to make drawing a part of your day to day life.

We’ll be taking off on Sunday 1 July, 2018, with new lessons released each Sunday for 6 weeks.

The purpose of this online course is to challenge, guide and inspire you to draw more and often. It is suitable for artists of all levels, but beginners are especially welcome.

Once you’re in you’ll have ‘forever access’ to the course and videos. We’ll be using a private Facebook group for show and tell, feedback and mentoring.

I might even try that ‘Facebook Live’ thing all the cool kids are doing!


I’m recommending that you start with a large scrap book or two (splurge on the ones with the bright white 100gsm pages – they’ll be a dollar or two!), a couple of pencils (maybe a 2B and a 6B) and a ballpoint pen. Of course I’ll demonstrate with more things (and you’ve probably got more drawing tools in your house right now), but it’s all optional.


Shiny Happy Drawing costs $99 including GST. 

Shiny Happy Boxes and Bags

Shiny Happy Boxes and Bags

It’s been a long time since I’ve bought wrapping paper… and I find it almost impossible to throw away bags and boxes that I ‘just might’ find a use for. So in the interest of decluttering let me guide you through the creation of these truly unique gift bags and boxes.

Firstly, you’ll need some bags and boxes to upcycle. I LOVE Apple packaging, and it’s best to paint over all the imagery on them so you don’t get your recipient’s hopes up (unless you truly are giving them and iPad of course!). I’ve also used a couple of simple bags and a post box with some interesting Ukrainian leaf stamps (thank you Etsy!).

If there are stamps or interesting things or images on your bags and boxes, make sure they’re stuck on well. I’ve used some Golden Gel Medium to adhere the stamps well, but PVA or a glue stick would also do the job for this project. (The leaves on these stamps inspired the pattern I ended up painting onto this box.)

Choose your colours and paint over the text and logos – I’ve used Teal + White, Hansa Yellow + White and Magenta + White. By adding the white to each colour I’ve made the paint more opaque/less transparent, and more likely to do a good job of covering the bits I want to disguise.

Then using a paint pen or brush, start adding some patterned detail. You can also use stencils, more collage, pencils or sharpie markers. Be inspired by the patterns around you – fabrics, cushions, even all those new colouring in books that seem to be everywhere at the moment, can all be sources of pattern inspiration.

Here I googled ‘woodblock’ images and started with this paisley pattern inspiration.

For this bag I used acrylics to sketch on a loose wreath especially for Christmas.

Now, whether they go under a tree or in the mail, know that your packaging is as much a gift as what’s inside. Do a few at a time so you’ve always got a bag or box handy.

Fun, huh? I’d love to see what you make! Share with me on instagram or facebook – #shinyhappyart

Learning how to see

Learning how to see

Today’s tip (and thanks for waiting, by the way) is about drawing and painting what you ACTUALLY see, not what you THINK you’re seeing.
I’d love to encourage you to draw your kids, their toys, your pets… someone or something close to you – and certainly that would be MY goal for you. Wouldn’t you love to have a drawing of you as a child, by your parent or grandparent? Would you care if it wasn’t perfect? (Would you even notice?!) But most of those subjects have opinions, or you have very high expectations of yourself to create a true likeness.

So, if you’re a beginner, I’d really recommend starting with something like a flower, or even food – because they are subjects that really won’t mind if it doesn’t look EXACTLY right!

Now, to explain what I’m talking about today, here’s a starting photo of a flower from my Mum’s garden. It’s got an interesting shape, and that’s what I’m looking for today.

Now, here’s what your mind is probably seeing as the flower… that is, what you think you had to draw. It’s an arrangement of petals and stamens, in varying colours…
But I’d like to encourage you to see this instead…
And once you can see the ‘thing’ as a shape instead, whack on a quick grid…
… and then turn it upside down.
Now draw that!
Now you’ve got the proportions of your composition right (or at least they’re a lot closer to being right that they would have been if you’d just gone ahead and drawn ‘the flower that your brain saw’). Then refer back to the original photo to fill in the most important details… (stay loose, the world doesn’t need an exact duplication – we’ve already got a photo!)
What next? Start shading in the background darks (don’t use black!) and inside colours – keep thinking of them as shapes, relative in size and shape to the other things around them.
Then think of tonal variation – make your dark areas darker, which will naturally make your light areas appear lighter! Just push a bit harder on the pencil, or ‘crosshatch’ which simply means, sketching lines in the opposite direction so that they ‘cross’ – that’ll make things darker too.
You don’t have to have special pencils for an exercise like this – I used a box of “Jumbo Triangle Colourfun Pencils” (I like to have a go with them before I share them with the kids). But of course, if you’re using basic colours, they may not have much of a selection. So use the COMPLIMENTARY COLOUR (opposite on the colour wheel) to ‘grey back’ any brights that are too bright. For example, here I have shaded some red over the bright green in the background, so it appears a little more natural and is a different colour to the green of the stamens.
Keep on filling in any areas that need more definition, then turn it right side up… and there you have it! A flower that looks a lot more like it should, than if you’d just ‘drawn a flower’.

If you want to learn more about this method, I highly recommend the classic drawing book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. She describes in depth just why things don’t look the same when they are upside down. I mentally turn shapes upside down when I’m doing precise calligraphy, and ALWAYS do it when I’m drawing or painting faces that need to be recognisable.

And the best bit is turning it right-way-up at the end.

This is the exact technique I used to paint this rabbit on cardboard that we used at our school Race Day last Saturday.

I’ll show how I do this with faces in a future Art Tip.

What are you going to try drawing now???