Little Stories – Playful Pieces

Ink sketches with fude pen by Soma @


Hi Everyone!  Little Stories are posts where I share unrelated odds and ends from my life and my atelier.  This one is full of playful little pieces.  Whenever I need a little push, I work on teeny tiny things.  They not only help me get going again,  they also often spark new ideas.  These little pieces that I worked on earlier are setting the stage for my winter break.


Please click on the image thumbnails to see the photos –



I always keep a stack of small pieces of inexpensive watercolor paper on my desk.   I paint simple things on those papers whenever I need to warm up before working on something larger.   Sometimes I also use them to try out new art supplies that I have purchased, but haven’t used yet.  There is never any pressure with these practice pieces.

Over the break, I plan to work with these new art supplies a bit more in-depth, and then share the results with you.




Japanese Kana Syllabary by Soma @


Japanese Syllabary


I was very fastidious about making good sweeping curves while drawing these flash cards of Japanese syllabary.  After 142 cards, I not only learned the characters well, they also provided good practice for drawing curves with a pen.

I will continue to work on my Japanese studies over the break.   This will include a trip to the Japanese store so we can start making authentic Japanese food at home.  I love to explore authentic cuisines from different countries, which is always a highlight of our travels.




Charlie's 18th birthday card - cat watercolor painting by Soma @


Our sweet Charlie turned 19 last Saturday


He LOVES cheesecake.  So for his birthdays, he gets a special treat – a very sizable portion of cheesecake.  My husband and he have a very special bond.  He was looking up at my husband to sit with him while he savored his birthday treat.

Although he is a perpetual kitten, I painted this dignified version of him in the library for his 18th birthday last year.   I am really quite excited about the new painting I am working on, featuring him celebrating his 19th birthday.




French link handmade book by Soma @


Although I love binding books with decorative stitches on the spine, I unfortunately don’t get to make these decorative books often.  That is another thing I want to work on over the break.  I already have a bunch of pages prepped to be bound in different styles.  When I make these books, I like to color coordinate everything. 




Handmade books and journals by Soma @


I sometimes zone out while making books.  That’s how I ended up binding these books all together, but they are lacking cover art.  That’s next for this stack of little journals.

Handmade journals are available in my shop



Fairy Lanterns Northern California Yellow Wildflower Art @ by Soma


New book covers will undoubtedly include some block carvings.  My head is teeming with new ideas and some of them are already penciled into my sketchbooks.   Time to sharpen those carving tools.  Keep an eye out for journals with new cover designs in the shop.




Ink sketches with fude pen by Soma @


A tree and a travelling woman.  I was really not in the mood to do much that day.  So I grabbed a few scrap pieces of paper and started drawing with a new $10 fude fountain pen.  Changing the angle of the nib of a fude fountain pen changes the line thickness.    I miss these impromptu drawings.  I would like to sit by the fireplace and do more of these as well.




Oaks in autumn at Yosemite photo by Soma @


Most importantly, before March shuts me indoors again, I plan to take many walks outside with my beloved camera.  I took this photo during our last visit to the mountains.  I can’t wait to go snowshoeing there among the trees and the stones. 




The Girl and Her Cat watercolor painting by Soma @


The time has come for me to go on my winter break.  I look forward to donning my favourite woolens and exploring the peaceful, sleepy world outside.  Inside the home, long hours of video game playing with my husband has become a tradition.  Ink and paper adventures also await me, along with the prospect of warm beverages, fireside reading, and kitty cuddles. 


Thank you so much for being here with me and for your lovely and encouraging words.   I will be back around February / March with a lot to share as well as new The Girl and Her Cat stories. 

Wishing you a safe and magical holiday season.   I hope you find a few playful pieces to unwind with during this time as well.

See you then,


I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please consider paying a visit to some of them.


P.S.  The Ink Torrents Graphics shop remains open.  I will continue to fulfill orders, as always.  I will also be available via email.  Thank you for continuing to shop from my store.




Leave a comment


Polar bear watercolour painting @ by Soma


Polar Bear Svalbard watercolour painting @ by Soma


Hi Everyone!   Not being able to go outside much during March through October, my atelier becomes my playground.  Recent days have shown me that I feel most comfortable in uncharted waters, creating new things.  I have been experimenting and working my way forward. The Girl and Her Cat are also making their way through The North to the harbour for their journey onward.



Hand binding my sketchbooks



Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



One of the recent finishes was me rebinding six of my sketchbooks.   I don’t care for ring-bound or vinyl-covered books.   Since I am a book binder, I got to work.




Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



You know my weakness toward this moss-green colour.   That sketchbook is still mostly new, but the blue-grey one is completely full.




Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



It has my sketches, notes, and  paint recipes, just to name a few.  Some of the drawings, like this one of my beloved kitty, are very personal to me.




Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



I absolutely LOVE these two colours.   A lot of my paintings have a mix of them, often as backgrounds.   The green sketchbook is new, the blue is a playground.




Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



I try out new colours and techniques in the blue one.  Seeing this painting reminds me of that wonderful December evening when I was painting it surrounded by my loved ones.  




Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



The original book came with a vinyl cover, which is not my favourite.  It was also really hard to keep flat, making it difficult to draw or paint in it.  The book was from a well-known company,  but I was disappointed with the binding.

I started systematically disassembling the book with a pair of scissors and a knife.   I find cloth-bound books to be very special.  I bound this one with black cloth.




Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



I took all the original stitches out and restitched the book. It stays completely flat now, while I draw or paint in it.  My dear husband also loved the newly bound book.  As the original book was a gift from him, it was good to see that smile on his face.  I did talk to him before ripping the book apart!




Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



At 9in x 12in, this is the largest book I have bound until today.   Fabric used for book covers is specially lined.  I made this book cloth at home using one of my favourite  fabrics.  I am actually looking forward to making more custom ones.

Pocket-sized cloth-bound books made by me are available in my shop




Hand bound sketchbook @ by Soma



I use this sketchook for architecture drawings.   I thought a book cover with clocks would be perfect, as stories often live on though architecture, making them timeless.  This is a drawing that I couldn’t bring myself to touch for a while, but I think it’s time to continue the journey of this painting again.



My sketchbooks have been there for me through the happiest and saddest of my days.  So, it’s no wonder that I want to wrap my ink-and-paper friends in lovely covers.  My sketchbooks always seem to take me where I need to go instead of where I want to go.  That is how The Girl and Her Cat came into my life.



Distant Pages


The two of them are now collecting a few more stories from the distant and enigmatic lands of The North before they head off on a new adventure.  This particular blue book is one of my big favourites.  I mixed mythology and my own travels to create brand-new stories.


Please click on the image thumbnails to see the pictures and read about their wanderings –




Angel of The Night



Hel the angel of the night watercolour painting @ by Soma



I was inspired to paint her from the story of mythological Hel.  However, I always love a little twist.  The Girl and Her Cat met this much-misunderstood gentle angel.  They also learned that she is the one who sets the souls as stars in the sky.  That way no one is ever truly forgotten.


The Benevolent One





This mighty dragon likes to help lost seamen.  I think most dragons are quite benevolent.   Not at all how the books describe them.  How about you? 



The Solitary Sentinel



Polar Bear Svalbard watercolour painting @ by Soma



Of all the paintings in this book, this one best embodies my short time in Svalbard.  I love how they are amicably curious and not threatened by each others’ presence.

I love to travel to new places and experience the diversity of our planet.

In the words of Lord Byron –

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar;
I love not Man the less, but Nature more.



A Page with all the paintings from the Distant Pages book



Until next time,



I am linking up with the linky parties on my Events And Links page.  Please pay a visit to some of them.




Leave a comment


Enter your email to receive new inspirations, product reviews and pro-tips
error: Content is protected !!