Got Kids?! Take a Break with Sleepy Safari

K. Ryan Henisey, teacher and award winning artist, reads Sleepy Safari, the first in a series of sleepy-time readers for young families.

Rather than ducks or sheep, count a safari for your sleep.

The happy animals on Sleepy Safari rest under a magical sky of smiling stars. This bedtime book is great for children of all ages and encourages restful sleep.

Read along with the gentle rhyming ballad to induce happy dreams.



Get Ready for Halloween with 100 Monsters

There’s no need to be afraid of the dark or things that go bump in the night. Explore the world of myth and monsters in this 2 for 1 book! Children will delight at this adorable rhyming book and monster encyclopedia.

Each monster is fully illustrated in K. Ryan Henisey’s award winning, watercolor and ink style. Children and families will sing along, listing all the classical creatures that don’t scare them at all.

Both ‘100 Monsters’ and the ‘Monstrous Encyclopedia’ teach children not to be afraid. With sweet faces and bright smiles, each illustrated monster encourages bravery.

Perfect for reading aloud, ‘100 Monsters’ allows low level readers the opportunity to read a book over 100 pages long! Parents and teachers can read the rhyming book aloud, leaving young readers the opportunity to explore the encyclopedia at their leisure.

All of the monsters within the book are taken from global mythology, representing locations and stories from around the world.

Sample Pagephoto 2photo 3photo 4photo 5

How to Paint with Watercolors

Welcome back!

Now that you have experimented and gained experience with your watercolors, you are ready to start adding control to your images. This lesson on negative painting is perfect for watercolor beginners, parents, teachers and children. Stick to simple line drawings and encourage patience by practicing this watercolor technique.

As I am sure you have noticed, water and wetness play a large role in your painting. With negative painting, a clear delineation is maintained by carefully holding fast to the separation of wet and dry.

This is where patience comes into play with your paintings. If you work too quickly, your watercolors will bleed, resulting in soft lines. Using patience, clean, hard lines can be made.

For Teachers and Parents:

Link this lesson to science by discussing the diffusive qualities of water, the water cycle or evaporation.

You can even use pigments and wetness to illustrate erosion.

Negative painting is one of the tools I often use when painting illustrations. The clean lines lend themselves well to the pen and paint style of many children’s books.

To start, use a simple line drawing.

A simple drawing is a great place to begin.
A simple drawing is a great place to begin.

One of the many benefits of negative painting is that you can still apply your pigments using all of the methods available to you. You can choose wet on wet, wet on dry or use a variety of washes.

However, in this exercise you want to carefully avoid painting within your “drawing” or negative spaces. (There are other ways to mask the “white” of the paper but for this lesson we will simply develop our brush skills.)

After painting the layer, you wait. If I were to paint the next part of the image before the first part dried, the colors would bleed and my resulting picture would be blurred.

Adding the first layer.
Adding the first layer.
If you rush your painting, blurred lines will result.
If you rush your painting, blurred lines will result.

While you wait, practice these tips for patience:

  1. Paint more than one project at a time. If you paint 2-3 images at once, you can rotate through each as the others dry.
  2. Distract yourself by doing something else. Research has proven that a quick walk around the block will elevate your mood and help maintain focus.
  3. Meditate or practice yoga. Painting can be tiring to the body and the mind. Be sure to reward your creativity with self care.
  4. Practice your skills on scrap paper. There’s always room to improve.
  5. Take a cat nap. Sometimes slowing down is the best way to keep moving forward.

Okay! We’ve made it!

Now that the first layer is dry, you can continue. Layer by layer, complete the painting, maintaining the lines and details.

Finish by filling in the layers.

Negative painting allows you to be as detailed or as simple as you’d like while keeping hard lines.

In this image I used a wet wash.
In this image I used a wet wash.
Finishing the image, I use a variety of wet and ry techniques while staying within my lines.
Finishing the image, I use a variety of wet and dry techniques while staying within my lines.

Next time, we’ll start to add complexity to our paintings with the Power of Wet.

Start Your Watercolor Workshop


Toads & Diamonds

Gentle and Fanny learn the importance of acting neighborly in this retelling of Toads & Diamonds.

This classic fairytale is retold by award winning author and veteran public school teacher, K. Ryan Henisey. Original drawings accompany the retellings in each video, promising to inspire as well as teach.

Parents, Teachers and children, please enjoy these videos. Feel free to share across your own platforms.


Animals of the Dreamy Desert

Dreamy Desert, Tortoise
Dreamy Desert, Tortoise

Tortoise is curled up for the night, protected by a bit of fallen chaparral. 

The vibrant dusk of a Dreamy Desert is perfect for any space and encourages restfulness and joy. The happy animals depicted in this peaceful, watercolor series rest under a dreamy sunset filled with smiling stars.

Painted in K. Ryan Henisey’s award winning style, each illustration originally appeared in Dreamy Desert, an illustrated sleepy time ebook for children.

Reds and yellows blossom under a deep, restful sky. Each animal type is prominently displayed in a pose of restful sleep. Smiling stars keep watch over the dreaming landscapes.

Find your rest in the Dreamy Desert.