The Artist Behind the Art: Sandy’s Mixed Media Magic

"Don't wait till you can afford all the colors, all the supplies, all the anything; use what you do have. If you need to borrow your kids' colored pencils, do that. Buy the best you can afford as you continue your art journey, as the quality will make a difference in your work, but don't wait to win the lottery to begin making art!" - Sandy Allnock's advice to beginners.

A beautiful wood burning picture of the famous Madonna and Child, artwork by Sandy

Madonna and Child, Pyrography (wood burning)

True to what the title says, Sandy produces a different kind of magic with her artwork. From her beautiful watercolor paintings to her stunningly detailed pencil drawings, Sandy is a master at encapsulating the whimsical wonders of art in different mediums. The best part is that she'll teach you how to do the same! 

"I've been an artist my whole life - just ask my Mom how many times she cleaned my drawings off the walls or the side of my dresser when I was little! My initial desire was to become an art teacher; as I was a youth, I had so many encouraging art teachers."

When describing her art, there are no words that would be enough to justify their versatility. Sandy features portraits, landscapes, characters, icons, animals, and many more subjects - basically, anything that can be put onto paper!

Like how many of us love exploring her gallery to see her impressive works, she loves exploring different mediums to learn something new to do with paper.

"I've dabbled in all different kinds of art and mediums over the decades, everything from crafts to fine art, alcohol, and water-based markers to watercolor to pencil, even trying my hand at pysanky (Ukrainian egg dying) and pyrography (wood burning)! Once you spend time honing drawing skills, every medium is just a tool; transferable drawing skills make learning new mediums so much easier. I enjoy mixing it up in my studio to try all sorts of things….gouache being the most recent!"

A stunning drawing of a cart using water-based markers

Artventure Cart, Water-based Markers, Pen, and Ink

Looking at Sandy's plethora of beautiful figurative works and doodles, you'll wonder how she gets all these ideas - and how she never seems to run out of them! 

"Inspiration can be found anywhere—and I look for it around me all day and night, apparently, because I am one of those people with such vivid dreams that I wake up and put it on paper! But I also am inspired by nature, current events, seasonal topics, and artists who work in completely different genres. Even the packaging on the grocery store shelf can provide a color combination to try. A common theme that crops up in my work periodically is taking any topic and adding an art supply "spin" to it just for grins - because we all love our supplies, don't we?"

However, Sandy's love for art goes beyond her own canvas and translates to other people's as well. Thanks to her passion for teaching art, she has built a positive community with the goal of encouraging everyone to pursue their creativity.

Because of Sandy, many more people are inspired to take up their brushes, pencils, and paint - and experience the best that a life with art can provide!

"...But the one thread running through everything: teaching. That childhood love of teaching has returned in the last few decades, and as I have grown my YouTube channel and teaching website, I've realized everything came back around to the original dream I had of becoming an art teacher! Many of my art projects are created to answer my own internal question: "How can I use this project to inspire and grow others in their art?"

A lovely watercolor artwork of a forest

Deep Forest, Watercolor Painting

Indeed, Sandy has been staying true in answering her internal question because her works have inspired thousands of artists worldwide. She tries her best to bring out the inner kid in all of us - the one that just wants to color and draw without the burden of trying to make it look perfect or beautiful. After all, creativity has no bounds!

"Since I don't use just a single medium, different objectives cause me to choose what to use each day. When I feel loose and free, my watercolor palette comes out to play. If I'm inspired by a subject that'll need detail and subtle color, perhaps colored pencils. Alcohol markers are great for not just vibrant scenes on crafty projects but for larger pieces when I've got a big and bold idea to communicate!

Rotating between them keeps boredom from setting in as well - and to always find ways to challenge myself, I'm constantly exploring new and different mediums. I love that each of the supplies in my studio gives me options for my mood, for my subject matter, my finished vision, and for the amount of time I have on hand."

A pretty coloring pencil artwork drawing of a snowman

Magical Snowman, Colored Pencil Drawing

If you ask her what type of medium would be the best to use for beginners, this is her reply:

"Colored pencil is probably the most natural for new artists; since we've used pencils our whole lives, we're comfortable with one in our hand to make marks. Alcohol markers would be the second easiest, as they are at least not a wet medium that will move unexpectedly - but beautiful blends can be captured with them.
Then there's my treasured watercolors that I love dearly, and one must be a daring soul to explore painting since it's a lifelong journey to master the medium! But my best advice to get started: JUST START."

Despite her versatility with different mediums, one certain medium stays close to Sandy's heart: alcohol markers. We agree because her work with alcohol markers has definitely been revolutionary, especially for the close sisters of artists - crafters!

"I'm probably best known for my work in alcohol markers; in the crafts world, I was one of the early explorers in creating elaborate scenes on cards, then teaching others to do so. Creating settings for stamps and giving the images themselves realistic dimension with highlight and shadow is addicting!

That led me to create larger works in these markers too, and while there are plenty creating figurative fantasy work like animé, I enjoy translating realistic drawings with more natural uses of color. The desaturated colors are some of my absolute favorites, not the rainbow-bright colors many are attracted to; the neutral hues are what make something look realistic. In combination, of course, with that chiaroscuro effect of strong contrast and vivid light!"

A beautiful alcohol marker art of a waterfall by Sandy Allnock

Cool Waterfall, Alcohol Marker Drawing

If you want to try a new routine for doing your own project, try replicating Sandy's wonderful morning process: 

"My favorite time of day to create has to be early morning. I'm fresh from a night's rest, I've got a fruit smoothie next to me, the sun is just rising outside my studio window, and the possibilities for the day are endless! I turn on some jazz or lo-fi to set a slow pace for the start of the day. And I welcome the little rabbit who suns himself in my front yard, an escort for my muse.
The first-morning effort is always an exercise of some kind: a sketchbook warmup for the day. I've got about 30 sketchbooks on the shelf right now (GAH!) that I'm working through, each has different papers or is of a different size, and each then inspires what goes inside. Some books are themed - one is just watercolor splashes, and another is black and white line doodles….sometimes I choose the sketchbook based on what I feel like creating. Once I've indulged in this just-for-myself exercise, I'm ready to tackle what's next in my day."

 All in all, Sandy's mixed media artwork is a testament to the limitless possibilities of art, showcasing a variety of materials and techniques that come together in a harmonious and visually striking way. 

Through her art, Sandy teaches the importance of embracing mistakes and experimenting with different mediums and textures. Her mantra, "paper is just paper," reminds us that there are no limits to what can be created when we let go of our fear of imperfection and embrace the creative process.

Find the best, high-quality watercolor pans, liquid watercolors, and more supplies for artists at ArtistrybyAltenew

Artist-Grade Watercolors

Get Inspired by Sandy’s Stunning Art! 

You can follow Sandy on her Instagram, and check out her Youtube channel.   

Stay tuned for more inspiration from other artists like yourself! If you want to be featured on our blog, please send a message via email. 

Our blog is a platform for artists and creative individuals to showcase their talents and share their experiences with others. We believe that everyone has a unique and exciting story to tell. So don't hesitate - send us an email today and let us know about your fantastic work and journey! We can't wait to hear from you!


  • Artistry by Altenew

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments! We are more than happy to help inspire you with stories of talented artists like Sandy. We hope to hear your stories here too, someday! :) <3

  • Carolyn mNeumann

    You desire every accolade your receiving. I watch your U-tube channel all the time. Thank you for all the time and energy you put into your art for us. Making me/us want to be in your brain for about an hour or more every day. Thank you for your talent, your sharing, your teaching and of course your love of art.

  • Chantal

    Sandy is the key to the creativity chest that adulthood had locked away!

    Thank you

  • Martha Gordin

    Sandy inspired me when I first started card making and what I learned from her years ago continues to fuel my enjoyment of a wonderful hobby.

  • Chris

    What a joy Sandy is! Her teachings are wonderful! I look forward to seeing something almost everyday on IG or her YT channel. Oh yes, she knows how to have fun too!

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