In my courses, you'll always have my enthusiastic permission to take inspiration and copy the included exercises and illustrations as part of the creative process! After all, my intention is to help you become a better artist. By studying and replicating the course content, you'll acquire valuable techniques, develop a deeper understanding of telling stories without words, thoughtful compositional content, along with formulating essential processes that cultivate your creative voice. Practicing the art of copying, or what I like to call creative practicing, will help you establish a strong foundation and open the door to discovering your one-of-a-kind signature style. - Danielle


As we embark on this adventure, I'll help you master the art of drawing detailed, small animals using simple breakdown techniques. We'll explore the concept of "inspiration blocks" which will aid you in brainstorming creative ideas for your illustrations. In this course, you'll also learn to use tracing as a tool to boost your confidence in drawing. We'll work on painting backgrounds that are not just beautiful, but also meaningful. You'll learn to incorporate scale and proportion into your illustrations for a more realistic effect. By the end of this course, you'll have a deeper understanding of how breakdown studies, free play exercises, and focused drawing methods can enhance your illustrations. You'll also see an improvement in your watercolor skills and develop a big-energy love for spirit animals.

All my courses come with detailed videos, handouts, and worksheets to guide you through the learning process. This course offers handy tips, exercises focused on specific techniques, and five complete Spirit Mama Illustrations from start to finish. These include adorable spirit puppies, kittens, bunnies, mice, owls, and squirrels!


Join me as I explore how to mingle pencilwork, watercolor, and a sprinkling of mixed-media supplies. You'll learn to build your own sources of inspiration, engage in purposeful practice, and create a captivating series of illustrations that will continue to inspire you long after the course is over.

Bold Backgrounds.

Learning how to paint big backgrounds can be frustrating. I'll share a technique that will simplify the process for you. We'll even add some plaid!

Big Hair.

We'll create big hair that provides a cozy space for our spirit animals. Although it may seem challenging, it is a calming and meditative process.

Pleasing Placement.

Part of good composition is knowing your artistic limitations. Learn how to tuck each animal in with your girls to set yourself up for painting success.

Spirit Mama. The following is a sampling of the curriculum and a list of supplies for this course. Most of the supplies I use are artist-grade and are a more significant investment than student-grade. I highly encourage you to use what you have and take notes while watching the videos for the first time. Then, invest in the supplies that will truly enhance your own art.
XO, Danielle

Example Curriculum

  Welcome to Spirit Mama
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days after you enroll
  Project | Trio of Mamas
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  Project | Owl Mama
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  Project | Mouse Mama
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days after you enroll
  Project | Squirrel Mama
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days after you enroll
  Project | Burro Mama
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days after you enroll
  Bonus | Coloring Pages
Available in days
days after you enroll

Creative Essentials are the short list of basic supplies that I use in all my classes. 

  • Artist-grade watercolors (pan or tube)
  • Watercolor-only brushes
  • Artist-grade paper (140 lb., cold press)
  • Mechanical Pencil (.3 mm lead) and white vinyl eraser
  • White ink marker 
  • Tube of Artist-grade traditional white gouache
  • Mixing palette (white porcelain dish works as well)
  • Clear Jar/clean water
  • Paper towels
  • Table Salt

Course-specific Supplies are tools and materials that I use during this course. As always, I highly encourage you to use what you have, make notes, and only invest in what you really need to add to your creative toolbox. 

  • Clear Drying Glue
  • High Flow Acrylic Paint (Golden Titanium White and Carbon Black)
  • Lollypop Sticks (Wilton Lollypop Sticks)
  • Mixed-Media Journal (Watercolor Dori from The Messy Nest on Etsy)
  • Scissors
  • Ultra-Fine Point Permanent Black Marker (Sharpie)

Please note that the supplies used in this course may not be available where you live or may have been discontinued based on the original course release date. If you’re having trouble finding a specific supply, you can try searching for art supply substitutions online. There are many resources available that can help you find alternative supplies that you can use instead. You’ll find the brand-specific creative tools and supplies that I currently use tucked away in all the corners, shelves, and drawers of my studio on the STUDIO page of my website.

Kind Words.

Sweet animals cuddling up to Danielle's girls is incredibly adorable. The varying sizes of the illustrations allowed me to choose the level of detail I wanted to incorporate into my own work. Surprisingly, the backgrounds were not as challenging as I initially anticipated. -Alicia T.

Meet your Instructor.

Hello, I’m Danielle Donaldson. With my trusty mechanical pencil (and eraser), a plethora of watercolors, a penchant for imagination-filled detail, and sprinkle of mixed media experimentation, we’ll adventure together and make some creative magic.

Helpful Handouts.

All courses include a coordinating Handout Packet in PDF format that serves as a tangible reference of the video content and includes insight into my creative process. It also provides an opportunity to continue growing your creative skillset after the course is complete.

Let's Get Started!

CURRENCY. This course is priced in USD. REFUND POLICY. Because you have immediate access to the content of this course, I am unable to offer a refund. QUESTIONS? Send an email to [email protected]. Please allow 48 hours for response.


How long do I have access to this course?

The course comes with lifetime access and all lessons are downloadable as well.

What is included and how long are the videos? Scroll up to Course Curriculum. In addition to the videos, courses always include coordinating (PDF) Handout Packets.

Is this course suitable for all levels? All levels are always welcome! I try to teach to the middle in my courses. That means beginners might need to practice more and rewatch the videos more than once to grasp techniques and concepts. Advanced artists can use the content to elevate their style by taking bits of the course and infusing them into their own style.

Is high speed internet needed for the course?

Yes. You'll need a good internet connection to watch/download the videos.

Should I buy all of the art supplies used in this course? I highly encourage you to watch the videos and review the handouts prior to investing in new supplies. If you have fallen in love with watercolor and want to continue working with them, I do feel that to get the most out of watercolor-based art, you should consider investing in artist-grade paint, paper, and brushes.

Please visit my STUDIO page on my website to explore the current tools and supplies I use to create my art.

Do you have an online community for your courses? The Danielle Donaldson Art Room is a private Facebook group for participants in all of my courses. You'll find the information to join once you have signed up and have access to the course.

I have a question about this course and can't seem to find the answer. I am happy to help! Please email me at [email protected]. Please allow 48 hours for a response prior to reaching out again.