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Drawing Experiences From Travel with U Brands

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U Brands sent me their pencil and pen products to review. I was not financially compensated. All opinions are my own and reflect my unique experience.

Not many people know it but I was actually an art major in college. As a child, I loved doing little drawings or cartoons and later learned to paint in several different mediums – watercolor, acrylics, and oils. My Mom, ever the supportive one, would sign me up for any class for anything I showed an interest in. My youth was full of tennis lessons, drawing lessons, painting lessons, swimming lessons, and more.

Don’t get me wrong my childhood did not have me going from one activity to the other like kids these days (that phrase alone makes me feel so old). But rather, my Mom saw it as a way for me to learn what I might enjoy doing as I got older.

I couldn’t have had more disparate interests than art and sports. As I entered the time of life when decisions have to be made I chose to study art at a larger university because I could continue playing sports at the same time.

Little did I know that making that choice would have such a huge impact on my life. Entering Northern Illinois University as a Visual Communications major meant I could study not only art but design and advertising as well. Advertising had always intrigued me from the time I watched Bewitched and saw Darren Stevens (more the first one than the second ‘replacement’ Darren). I thought that would be something I’d like to do.

Dick York as Darren Stevens
Dick York as Darren Stevens

At the same time, I played on the women’s basketball team, which allowed me to keep playing the sport I loved the most. I saw it as a win-win situation, especially when I was able to secure a tuition scholarship in my second year after making the team as a walk-on my first year. This, of course, made my parents happy too.

NIU Basketball
NIU Basketball

Fast forward, thirty-some years ahead, and time for drawing and painting disappeared from my busy day-to-day life. Working in advertising and later taking on the hat of an entrepreneur left little or no leisure time despite the fact that I traveled the world.

On The Road Again

I recently decided to change that. I’m now carrying with me my pens, pencils, and tools that I need to capture my experiences while I’m traveling. Recently we had the chance to visit a friend who relocated to the east coast. We were passing through her hometown on the way to a conference. We couldn’t wait to catch up. When we arrived she and her 8-year-old son Aljur were there to greet us.

Frankly, in the beginning, he really wasn’t that thrilled we were there. They had just returned from a trip to a relative’s wedding. They were both probably tired but timing being what it was they were stuck with us.

As the day went on he opened up and started to have a bit more fun. A boat ride, an ice cream cone, and a hamburger for dinner were pretty fun after all. By the time we got back to the house after dinner, he was ready to call it a day.

Blue Crabs in Maryland
Blue Crabs in Maryland

I whipped out my new bag of U Brands shiny colored pencils and told him that I was going to draw for a bit. I asked if he would like to join me. He didn’t seem that enthused at first. There were YouTube videos to watch, after all. So I just took out my bag of pencils and some paper and started drawing a crab, since we were in Maryland and had just feasted on blue crabs.

Me and Aljur drawing and having fun.
Aljur and I drawing and having fun.

Rainbow Animals

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him watching me and wanting to join in. I asked him again if he wanted to draw and he ran right over. We sat at the kitchen island that evening, drawing, talking, and giggling. We laughed at the funny names on my U Brands colored pencils and decided that I probably had way too many color choices in my bag of 48 pencils.

Unique Colored Pencil Names
Unique Colored Pencil Names

He decided that he was going to make his animal with rainbows on it. Like one of the stuffed animals he had. I said I loved that idea and was going to make my crab a rainbow crab. He agreed that would be fun. Why not draw a rainbow cardinal?

Rainbow drawings
Rainbow drawings

After about thirty minutes or so he was getting a bit tired so we wrapped our drawings, signed them, and called it a night.

While I had so much fun drawing and talking to Aljur that night what he didn’t realize is that evening inspired me to start a rainbow animal series. When we got home a few days later, I drew and painted another rainbow crab and turned it into a greeting card that I can use for thank you cards and whatnot. I sent one to him as a thank you.

Rainbow Crab Painting
Rainbow Crab Painting

My plan is to continue the series. Since we just got back from Providence, Rhode Island you can expect to see a rainbow lobster very soon.

Tools of the Trade

I also have to thank U Brands for sending me a ton of samples to try. Without your help, I don’t think I would have been able to start my drawing mojo again. They have a complete line of pencils (which have fun creative names like just peachy, hot tamale, and dill with it) and pens from which to choose. There are even fancy gel pens in glitter, pastels, neon, and classic colors. They also have a full line of stationery, office, and home goods.

U Brand Gel Pens
U Brand Gel Pens

What I love most about U Brands is that with every purchase a portion of the proceeds goes to the Kids in Need Foundation. The foundation provides free school supplies nationwide to students in need of them the most. I’m also a teacher and this makes me very happy.

U Brand Colored pencils
Take time to have fun!

Stay tuned for more rainbow animal drawings. If you’d like to learn more about U Brands and see all they have to offer, check out their website at

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Co-founder of Food Travelist. I love to explore the world and love learning about new places. I'm an eater and I've got a smile for everyone I meet.


  1. Fun! I think UBrands needs a dedicated Zentangle enthusiast/blogger as an ambassador. Can you think of anyone who would fit that bill? 😉 I had no idea you were an art major although I think marketing people need to be visually creative.

    • suereddel Reply

      I think I might have to make an introduction Suzanne!

  2. In the past I used to take a drawing pad and pencils wherever I travelled, but I seem to have got out of the habit. Now you’ve reminded me what fun it is perhaps I should start again!

  3. Sounds like those coloring pencils are just the thing to have when you’re visiting with children, especially 8-year-olds. I think I’ll give it a try with my 8-year-old granddaughter. I think the pencils also would be wonderful to use for illustrating a travel journal.

  4. I do have a creative flare, not so much in drawing, but can mix patterns and colors in sewing and painting furniture and accessories. I do love doodling though.

  5. Nice work Sue! Love the rainbow crab and the fact you were able to pull your friend’s son from his electronic world into drawing (if only for a bit). These pencils have some fun names too!

  6. I love gel pens and colored pencils and this really looks like a great brand. It’s so nice that you shared your art with her son and the drawings are beautiful.

  7. Blue Crabs!!! I love crabs 🙂 I have never been to Maryland, love seafoods, would love to visit someday! I like drawing, very soothing and relaxing.

  8. Jilly Spellman Reply

    You did an amazing job. I just love that crab! I know a few people I could buy these for as a Christmas gift.

    • suereddel Reply

      Maybe I need to set up a web page and start selling them 😉

  9. Sue, I loved your story. I’m also very impressed with your art! I didn’t realize you had been an art major! Talented lady. I took a drawing course a few years ago and had intended to draw while travelling, but I must be ADHD as I had NO patience. Maybe I should give it another go. You’ve inspired me!

  10. I love your Rainbow Crab Drawing, Sue! It is so filled with life and fun! Thx for sharing your experience with the drawing pens. I will share with a friend who loves to draw.

  11. It sounds like a fun experience! You’re very talented! I love that you draw your experiences from traveling, it’s one of the best ways to remember a trip.

  12. I love crab and that drawing is seriously awesome! I love all of the colors you use. I like doing crafts that don’t rely on our phones to help us with it. Plain old crafting at its finest

    • suereddel Reply

      Sometimes old school works the best. Thanks for stopping by Ali!

  13. Love that crab!!! Were you in Ocean City, MD by chance? Went there several years ago and the crabs were great

  14. How cool! We live in such a beautiful and colorful world. I really enjoyed reading this blog post.

  15. You have opened up a whole new world with those coloring pens. This has inspired me to draw and color more with the grandkids.

  16. Drawing is my hobby. I like drawing. Their color pen is wonderful and their review is good. I honestly enjoy your post. U Brand is really nice. Thanks for your posting.

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