March 28, 2017

Testing Out My New Prismacolor Pencils

As I mentioned in a recent post I have newly acquired some Prismacolor pencils. (Affiliate link- see end of post.)

I seriously feel like a kid at Christmas with these new art supplies in my hot little hands!

Art supplies, art materials, colored pencils, coloured pencils
I bought the 36 pack. I also made my husband go out to his car at 11pm at night as he picked them up for me. No, I couldn't wait until the morning!

The colours are vivid, and being the colour lover that I am, this is a must. They feel soft and buttery, and I was surprised as I was drawing with them because I was expecting them to be smudging on my work and my palm that was dragging across the page in my sketch book, but they didn't do that. Hardly any colour was on the side of my palm.

Playing with my new art supplies :)

They draw over a lot of surfaces. They even had a go at drawing over some gloss medium! Not fantastically, but to make a mark over a gloss surface is the sign of a great pencil. I don't know how they got them to do that without being smudgy!


This is my sketch book where I used a mix of pencil & acrylic. I love the way they draw over the acrylic paints and the colour is still intense. I'm really getting into art journalling lately.

Close up. Paint & pencil.


This is just pure pencil. Of course I couldn't help to put a couple of strange creatures in there. How can you blame me? I was listening to Beck sing about silver foxes looking for romance. (Weird music is very cool to get the creativity flowing, if you ask me!) I love Beck!


This is again a mix of pencil & acrylic paints. I can't help introducing paints early when I'm drawing. But as I'm loving the intensity of these colours so much I'm happy just drawing with them for longer than normal before I pick up the paint brush.


So, the verdict is that I am in love! If I was stranded on a desert island, these pencils would be a no brainer!

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affliliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.

March 25, 2017

DIY Craft: Stamped Easter Bunny Gift Tags

Easter Craft Project

I have an easy craft project to do today for Easter coming up. It's an Easter Bunny stamping craft project. You could use these tags to spruce up some little chocolate gift bags. 

This one uses basic materials and is easy enough for the kids to do/ or help out, depending on age of course. 

You will need:

- Paper
- Foam sheet (just the kind you use for kids crafts)
- Ink pad (we used black)
- Acrylic paints 
- Watercolour paper (nothing fancy; you may use student quality- just make sure it's smooth)
- Glitter (yay!)
- Stamp block*

Other things you'll need: Pen, pencil, scissors, hole puncher, double sided tape

Start by working out the size of your tags.  I made mine 2 x 3 1/2" (5 x 8.5cm). 

Draw the tag size onto some paper then draw a simple bunny head. Start with a circle for the face, then add your two ears and facial features. You may want to draw it a few times and then pick your favourite. Don't worry about perfection here. Cuteness comes in the naive details :)


Once you're happy with your bunny face, place the image over the foam & draw around the edges, That will produce a bit of a ghost line on the foam so you know where to cut out. Alternatively just hold the paper on the foam and cut around the shape. Press into the foam with your pen over the bunny facial features to imprint the details. 

Then remove thew paper template and go over the facial details again pressing down to indent the lines a bit more.


I attached my bunny face onto the stamp block using some double sided tape. 

*I had a see-through stamp block that I found in a cheap craft store, you may also use a block of wood or something else similar that will do the same job.

Then, stamp away! Take your stamp ink pad and make some test prints.


Now you can decorate your paper.

I added a watercolour effect to my paper. I use a smooth surfaced paper, so that when I stamp my image it is not affected by the paper texture. I simply water down acrylics and paint with them like watercolours.


Keep adding more paint until you're happy with how it looks.


Once dry you can cut out to your predetermined size.


Stamp your bunny faces onto your tags, leaving space at the top for a hole to be punched. I love the look of stamping, the slight variations and rustic-ness of the printed images pleases me :)


I then mixed up some warm red with a bit of white and a touch of cool blue. I made the paint thick and blobby so that I could paint a spot and glitter would stick to it when sprinkled over.


So, sprinkle your glitter and shake off excess. Snip your top two corners off and punch a hole in the top. 



And you're done! Wait to dry then use to decorate some Easter gifts. 


Variation: If you'd like to simplify the project for younger kids or if you're a teacher doing this with a class, you could use some heavyweight scrapbook card instead of painting your own tags. Then just proceed with the stamping and adding some paint & glitter.

Enjoy!

Jules :)



March 21, 2017

Colourful Wish List

Well hello, creative people :)

*This post may contain affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

Here's my colourful wish list for the moment. So colour addicted. :)

A little while back I mentioned Lyra pencils as a great brand of coloured pencil for intense colour; but I've recently tried out Prismacolor pencils and am investing in a set. I'm not saying these are better, I'd have to get my hands on a set of Lyra and do a comparison, but then again that would be just my opinion anyway, and other creatives have their own preferences for how an art material should perform. Then I'm sure there are other great brands of pencils to get me all even more confused!

Art supplies
This rug, but in runner form for my stairs. It's flat woven, so am not sure if it will hold up to lots of traffic. It's the perfect blend of being colourful but not too crazy and over the top to please the more conservative people in my life ;) Found via Temple & Webster.

Eclectic home decor, home decorating, boho rug
I am so digging these vintage tea towel cushions by Morgan Wills. They are so creative and quirky. I could probably get sucked down a rabbit hole on that website too! Note to self: don't go there, you got work to do!

Home decor, eclectic, colorful

And whilst I'm on the subject of cushions here's one from Nathalie Lete. I faint with all the amazing stuff that she does.

Art pillow, art cushion

Also, just yes please. Via Vivadecora. No explanation needed.

quirky, eclectic & boho home decor

And perhaps a wall full of colourful needlework via les-miniatures.blogspot.com Swoon!

Colourful needlework craft

These crazy good concrete planters from Emma McDowall.


And I cannot do a colourful wish list without including something from Anthropologie. I'll have these reusable mugs thanks! I am an obsessed tea drinker; all kinds. Tastes better in a pretty cup, if you ask me. Also, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to awesome tea cups, did you know? :)

Pretty and colorful homewares

I have the feeling like I've eaten too much chocolate cake now. So good but I'm hurting...

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affliliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.



March 16, 2017

Make Art That Sells- Illustration Project 2

So, I have finished the next illustration for the Make Art That Sells online course that I signed up for. We were to design & illustrate some plates for the Home Decor component of the course using Staffordshire Pottery as our inspiration. I'm doing MATS A, which has five components: creating illustrations for bolt fabric, home decor, children's books, wall art & the gift market.

You can check out the first illustration I did for the Bolt Fabric component here. I also have a lot of thoughts regarding the course in the first post, which all still ring true for me. I'm finding it invaluable.
Painting one of the illustrations

I am learning so much with each component and trying to push my art skills further and further with each part of the course. Always, always more to learn and improve.

So, we had to research Staffordshire Pottery, and I was really excited to discover these ceramics. I love their naive quirky style, and I was especially taken by the leopard and lion pieces.

I can see why Lilla Rogers chose Stafforshire Pottery as inspiration for the project. They are just so inspiring. Well, to me anyway! How adorable are they!? You need quite a few pretty pennies to actually own some Staffordshire Pottery though.

I love the look on this leopard's face (image credit)

This reminds me of the dog we had when I was a child. Love all the flowing 'fur' (image credit)

I really dig the naive quality of this piece (image credit)

Some of my sketches, studies, roughs and paintings

My lion plate evolved. I sort of forgot that I needed to put a border on him so I ended up shrinking him in photoshop on the plate and painting a border separately and combining the two digitally. What would we do without technology? I love photoshop!

I used photoshop to overlay my illustrations onto a blank plate that I painted up myself, which you can see in the above photo. I then made another layer in photoshop where I made highlights to overlay on top to give the plate it's characteristic shine. 

I also wanted that opulent gilded look so made a layer where I added in some gold highlights.

The leopard plate

The lion plate

My finished submitted file for the Home Decor component

So I'm all done with this part of the course! Next up is the Children's Book Illustration market. We are to illustrate a page spread or a cover for a fairy tale called "The White Cat". As always, I'm very much looking forward to getting started with it!

Jules :)



March 13, 2017

Bits n Pieces ~ What I'm Working on ~ Ramblings

Hello!

Just thought I'd check in and do a bit of a round up if you will of what's happening in my illustration/ art/ creative world.

Yesterday saw me get a bit overwhelmed with all that I have to do (the Mr has been away for work a lot and I am on a healing diet which requires lots of cooking; add that to just looking after kids, housework, illustration work, a market coming up, plus all the other things I want to do...)

We can't do it all, can we? I have around 7000  photos on my computer that I haven't done anything with. And when I get in these states of overwhelm I think about ALL the stuff I want to get done. The weeding, gardening, the mending pile... Why!? Why do I think of it all at the same time!? And why if I take a break (such as going out for coffee with friends) then my mental state comes out of that overwhelm? I think in reality it's more about my state of mind than the circumstances, so I'm trying to be aware of this and be more in control of my mental state. Sometimes when we hit overwhelm it may mean we just need to mix things up and do something different or take a break. Who else gets overwhelmed like me?

My couch upstairs, a.k.a. the messy craft shrine 

Something that does make me feel good though, is just picking up a project and making some progress with it. Then all the happiness of creating comes back and I feel motivation to create again regardless of the fact I have like a zillion unfinished projects lying all over the house :) It doesn't really matter, does it, in the big scheme of things? 

I have nearly finished that small rug hooking project, so that's a win!


Something I did finish recently is this modern acrylic painting. It's on a small 8x8" canvas and I am loving the contrast and colour palette in this original painting. I listed it in the shop here.


I also got around to listing this one too. It's a small acrylic painting on a handmade plaster panel. I really do love the texture of painted plaster. Also now in the shop.


I'm also working on the third component of the MATS A illustration course I am taking. It's the Children's Book Illustration component and I'm very happy to get started. I will post about my second round soon. But for now I am playing around with some cat character designs. Very fun.

In the home decorating arena I am researching and gathering inspiration on what on earth to do with our stairs. (Pinterest is a godsend!) We have lived in this house for 6+ years and our stairs are unfinished. They are the first thing you see when you open our front door! They are on our list of things to complete for our latest ongoing home project. The Mr and I are constantly arguing about what to do for the stairs. (!) I'm thinking a runner but every time I go to research runners the only good ones I find are all from shops overseas. Waaaahh! Talk about first world problems. But if someone knows of where I can find a moderny-boho-colourful rug runner here in Oz I'd be very grateful. But in the meantime I will shed tears again over not having Anthropologie here in Australia. Yes, totally first world problems. I am aware.


Maybe I should paint the stairs...!?

This week I am working on some illustrations for a children's dictionary, and also finalising my next two tutorials which are coming up soon. Easter themed!

But today is a public holiday so I will float around the house, maybe create a bit here and there, eat, cook, drink numerous cups of tea, and watch the kids play in the sun. Getting prepped and reenergised for another busy week ahead...

See you soon.

Jules :)




March 10, 2017

Art Book Review & Road Test: The Painting Workbook by Alena Hennessy.

Art book review time! Today I'm reviewing The Painting Workbook by Alena Hennessy.

*This post contains affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

First of all, I can't believe I'd never heard of this artist before. I thought I was fully immersed and up to date with all this arty stuff online. But when I saw some images of a fellow artist friend's work on her instagram that she had completed whilst taking one of Alena Hennessy's online art courses, I immediately googled Alena and I was so happy with what I discovered. (Surely I have seen her work around, and just not known who she was? Surely!)

Art Book, Art book review

When I first got my hands on this book I couldn't stop to read any of the information as the pictures were so beautiful it teased me to just look through the whole book first! The first thing that jumps out at me is her colours. They are bright and bold, which is what I like to use too.

Once you've got that out of your system, you can focus on the information and 52 prompts given in the book. I love that they are prompts so that you can take some inspiration or guidance from them but create your own individual & original artwork. 

Some of Alena's breathtaking art...



Just so amazing and beautiful.

As the title suggests this book is about creating art/ paintings. It goes through materials and tools and the uses and applications of different paints, mediums, surfaces and extra things you might like to use whilst creating art. Then, some basic techniques, colour theory and other thoughts regarding creating art are discussed before moving onto the prompts. Some of the prompts are followed by mini workshops, where she goes through a certain technique in more detail. 

This is not a how-to-draw book, but a book full of prompts that Alena has outlined with an explanation for each on how you might get started. You can use the prompts to push your own boundaries, try something you've never tried before (like paint a picture with a minimal colour palette for example) or use it to help get out of a creative slump. Or just for plain fun!

I think regardless of if you were wanting to get some prompts to start painting, the simple act of just flicking through this book is inspiring enough for me and just makes me want to paint anyway!

I decided to try a bit of 'finger painting' and 'paint with prints'. You know, I never finger paint. Maybe I have with my kids but not on my own personal artwork. 

So I took out a half finished painting, one that has been sitting around in my studio for a while and I added some components from some of my old unusable prints.

 ...And then dipped my finger in some paint.

Find your flow, art, painting



Very fun and liberating! I added some splodgy marks here and there.


Other prompts I focussed on during this painting from Alena's book were 'repetition' (which I added in the form of repeating patterns), 'add some script', 'layering' (always!), 'draw on top', and 'found objects'. I used some bits and pieces from my mosaic stash :). 


Mixed media original painting by Jules Madden
My finished "prompted" artwork 

I really love this book and was so happy to discover the gold that is Alena Hennessy's work and teachings. It's the kind of book that will happily live on my coffee table just for the pleasure of reading through it to kickstart some inspiration, or just as valuable accompanying me in the studio.

I do think this book could be used as a fantastic tool for kicking some creative block. Just start with a prompt and hopefully the flow will return. And with 52 prompts there is one that's sure to spark some inspiration.

If you'd like to know more check out Alena's The Painting Workbook here or visit her website here.

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affliliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.
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