Guest Post: Erika – A shark. Painted on a Uke.

Welcome to the first of my series of guest posts! I have some crazy talented friends who practice a variety of different crafts, and I wanted to take the chance to showcase them on my blog. Also because when I first made this blog it was under a completely different name and I was actually co-hosting it with the lovely lady behind this post, Erika, and I have since gone back in time and changed this post (and her other 2 posts) to ‘guest posts’. So yes, these words are coming from ‘the future’ and not actually Sept 2015 which is the publication date. Shh, I know, time travel is dangerous, but if the Doctor can do it than I can too. 😉 Nonetheless, I will probably have more in the future because I really do have a lot of friends who make very cool things! So without further ado, please enjoy Erika’s post about the amazing shark ukulele that she made for our mutual friend Andrea!


About Erika Glover

Erika is a graphic artist and designer based in Vancouver. A few years ago a friend introduced her to cross stitch and embroidery and she has been hooked ever since. She also loves to draw and spends her free time doodling, creating geeky cross stitch patterns and binge watching Netflix. | Instagram | Twitter | Flickr

A shark. Painted on a Uke.

A couple of months ago two friends, Kate and Peter, asked me to help them make a one-of-a-kind gift. Their wedding was about a month away, and our mutual friend Andrea was going to be the emcee. They wanted to give her something special as a thank you present. Kate and Peter are a very musical couple, and recently got Andrea interested in playing the ukulele. Their idea was to give her a uke of her very own. No ordinary ukulele would do though, not for this lady. You see, Andrea loves sharks, really loves them, so something this special for Andrea had to have a shark on it. They asked me if I would draw or paint a shark on the ukulele they were going to buy. How awesome is that?! Of course I said yes!

My initial thought was to use pencil crayons on the wood surface of the ukulele, similar to the technique of artist Bryan Collins (seriously, check out his youtube videos, they are amazing). In my head I pictured a plain wood ukulele, where I could distress the surface a little to get more of a raw texture for the pencil crayons to stick to. However, when I saw the beautiful uke that they had picked up, with teal coloured wood stain and a satin finish, doing anything to distress the finish was out. Now, I got a little nervous. I didn’t want to ruin this beautiful ukulele, I thought it looked so nice just as it was!

Yes, it’s missing a string. Of course a string broke when it was in my possession. This just added to my anxiety of ruining things.

The only thing I could think of that would stick to surface and not rub off was acrylic paints. I remember I loved painting with acrylics as a kid, but it’s been so long I definitely needed some practice. I forgot how quickly acrylic paints dry, and how it becomes hard to blend colours smoothly once it does start to dry. I did some practice sketches and played around with the paints a bit more. I grew more and more nervous about jumping in a getting the actual piece done.

When it came time to actually paint on the ukulele, I was terrified! I’m the type of artist who sketches something out twenty times before I get it right, so I really rely on my eraser. I’m not very good at ‘on the spot’ art, or where I only get one chance. To help give me a little guideline, I lightly sketched the shape of the shark with a white pencil crayon. It showed up enough on the teal surface to give me something to follow. Then I had to just go for it. I slowly built up layers of paint, working quickly so the paint didn’t dry. Once I started and had a few layers down, my confidence grew and I felt much better about what I was doing and that I wasn’t going to ruin this special present.

I wanted to shark to still be visible whether the uke was stored upright or on it’s side, like it was swimming around the curve of the ukulele’s body.

When it was finished, I was so excited. I was really happy with how it turned out, and so were Kate and Peter. I’m really proud to have been apart of this project and know now that I just need to trust myself more. Being pushed out of my artistic comfort zone was scary at first, but paid off in the end. And yes, Andrea loves her shark ukulele!