Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Giveaway closed--Nature Walk Collection by 7Dots #7DotsStudio #NatureWalk #UmWowStudio

Recently I won a set of the Nature Walk collection by 7 Dots Studio.

As it happened, I had also bought a set.  What to do?  I'm sure I'd find enough uses to use every scrap, but I decided, hey! I haven't had a giveaway for a while!

I'm not giving away quite the whole collection ('cause a few things I want two of, lol!), so you may want to buy your own, and get the whole magilla.  I'm keeping one of the sets of stickers and the chipboard).

What am I giving away? This giveaway is  now closed.
(Forgive the watermarks--they are NOT on the actual pages))
1 set of six 12x12 sheets (12 designs) and twelve 6x6 sheets (12 designs) - the sheets have different designs on each side, so there are two designs per sheet.









2 Sheets of Nature Walk stickers


1 set of Nature Walk Clear Stamps



How to Enter?
Cut and paste these words 'I want to win Nature Walk' into the subject line of an email, and send it to me at LifeImitatesDoodles@gmail.com. This giveaway is  now closed.

When is the giveaway over?
The giveaway starts on Wednesday, February 26, 06:30 AM and ends Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at midnight.  I'll notify the winner by email on March 6, and announce the winner once he/she has responded.

Who can enter?
Of late, my giveaways have been U.S. only because of the cost of shipping.  Since I haven't had a giveaway for a while, and the weight is low, I'm going to open this one to everyone.

Good luck!

If you don't wish to wait and see if you won, you can buy the Nature Walk collection at the 7Dots Studio or from UmWow Studios, where you can also pick up lots of cool chipboard items.

And, of course, I have to include an example of something I've done with the Nature Walk collection.  I decided to use it for the Journal52 prompt: Found Poetry.




Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Extending your Micron Pens

Tutorials
Techniques with Pastel Pencils
Tutorial 1 about shading -(Ellen Wolters video)
Let’s paint snowdrops
Oversized tag card
Working with Yellow (colored pencil tutorial)
custom background stamps & ruler stamping

Giveaways
Graphic45 Vintage collections giveaway
Graphic45 Facebook giveaway
Nature Walk Collection giveaway

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review of the Pilot New Brush Pen #Jetpens #Pilot_New_Brush_Pen #Life_Imitates_Doodles

Jetpens sent me a couple of Pilot's New Brush pens (that's what they are called--the 'New Brush' pen) to review. They come in a Fine and Medium point size and I received one of each.  


Thank you, Jetpens, for the opportunity to try these pens out and share the results with my readers.

Specs  Fine/Medium
Shipping Weight: 0.84 oz/0.85 oz
Body Color: Black
Body Material: Plastic
Diameter - Grip: 12.5 mm
Diameter - Max: 13 mm
Length - Capped: 18.4 cm
Length - Posted: 20.5 cm
Length - Uncapped: 17.2 cm
Tip Length: 8 mm/9mm
Tip Material: Synthetic Hair
Tip Replaceable: No
Cartridge Replaceable: Yes


Look & Feel
The Pilot New Brush pen has a long body.  I have small hands and worried that it might be too long, and thought I'd have to use it uncapped.  To my surprise, it's so light that the length wasn't an issue.  I've been dealing with a sore wrist, but found this pen caused little strain.  That doesn't mean it is easy to use--brush pens aren't unless you are used to brushes.  But I'll discuss that later.

The pen also has a soft body.  As in squeezable.   I doubt it will be easy to break, but I'd carry it in a bag or wrapped in paper towels in case something heavy was set on it so that ink spurted.

All the writing on the package is in Japanese, so it took me a few minutes to realize it, but you need to remove the white ring on the pen to engage the ink cartridge.  Then you squeeze the body to start the ink flow.  Fortunately, there is an 'F' in the identification number for the fine point pen and an 'M' for the medium point.  Eventually, I got where I remembered that the green labeled pen was fine and the orange was medium.


The brush tip is white to begin with, and you squeeze until it is black. For the most part, the ink will continue to flow as you write or draw, but if your strokes are too fast, you may need to squeeze lightly to get more ink.  You can use this to advantage if you want a broken look or dry brush feel to your lines.

There isn't too much difference between the fine and medium points.  I did find it easier to write with the fine, and I had to be more careful with the medium if I wanted fine lines.  Having both sizes extends the variety of line so that's nice.  If you can only afford to buy one, consider whether you prefer a bolder line or finer line and choose accordingly.


Performance
I mentioned above that this brush pen wasn't easy to use.  Please don't let that scare you.  In western culture, we're used to writing with pens, and brushes require a slightly different skill set.  If you've painted or done calligraphy, a brush pen will be easier for you to use.

It isn't a difficult skill, just one that takes a little practice.  You have to learn how to get the line width you want consistently--what pressure to use and at what angle to hold the pen. For the purposes of this review, I held the pen as though it were a ballpoint, but you have more options with a brush pen, and can get even more effects by holding it like a paint brush.

The good news is that it's fun.  I spend an hour or so, just making marks, doodling strange little animals, pushing and plopping and flipping the pen around.  I enjoy marveling at the flow and what different effects I can get from these pens versus the normal pen.

So how does this pen hold up to other brush pens I've used?  I'm going to make my comparison between this pen and other 'synthetic' brush pens.  Natural hair brush pens are a whole different animal, in my experience.

The New Brush didn't stand out as the best, but it was comparable to other good brush pens I've had.  The hardest thing for me with a brush pen is avoiding the spiky lines you get from the very tip. I found it easier to control but that may be partially that I've had more practice now.

One of the claims of the pen is that the synthetic hairs will hold up longer.  I can't tell that for sure in the time I've had the pens.  But in past brush pens, the hairs started to spread and the spiky lines became more prevalent.  I'm hoping the fact that I have less spikiness now is a good sign.

The ink in the pen is not water-proof, but the lines tend to blur slightly rather than smear when they get wet.  Don't get me wrong--they will smear if you use enough water.  But you can spread the ink quite a bit without losing your lines.

Examples:

Writing is more difficult for me than drawing, and always has been.  It is no different with the New Brush pen.

It didn't take me long before I could write legibly, but it would be a while before I could get the beautiful flowing lines that I know are possible.  I know others would find the exact opposite.  




My first full drawing was done in a dot-grid journal, so I could concentrate on how I was drawing my lines versus keeping them straight.  This was a smooth, fountain-pen friendly paper, and perfect for the pen.

Drying time was a little slower with this paper, but I could still run my finger across a line without smearing it within a 30-40 seconds.

For this piece, I worried more about control than variety.  I attempted to get the lines I wanted consistently.

I wanted to see how the ink would do on a slicker paper so I chose a piece of scrapbook paper with a light, neutral colored stripe design.  The ink did well, with only a slight lag in the drying time.

For this drawing, I loosened up, playing more with variety rather than control.  At least I tried to--it's hard to let go!


I decided to up the ante a bit.  I had painted an acrylic background in one of my art journals.  Acrylic dries to a slick surface, but some of the paint was metallic, and very slick. I half expected the ink to bead up and refuse to soak in.

It did soak in, but the drying time was extended considerably.  As in days.  The ink actually dried to a tacky consistency within a minute or so.  You could touch it lightly without disturbing it, but if you rested your hand on it, you'd get ink on your hand.  It didn't smear easily, but it would smear.  At this point, two days later, if I rub hard, I can still get a very faint residue.  I don't know if it will ever cure beyond this.  

It's harder to clog a brush pen, so this might be an option for drawing on surfaces that are otherwise difficult to draw on.  However, you wouldn't want to handle the finished piece often.  It would probably be best to use some kind of fixative, or to put it behind glass or plastic

Note, that on parts of this painting, I added a thin layer of paint over the ink.  You can see where the lines seem faded and gray. I then added areas of more paint or ink, getting a very 3D look.  I also got a holographic effect in one area, where the dots seem to move when you move the page in the light.


As I said earlier, the ink is not water-proof.  That can be used to advantage for shading or coloring. 

The ink moves well without becoming drippy, but you can't lift it away very well.  This limits your effects, but makes it nice for quick sketches.



Overall
The Pilot New Brush pen would be a nice choice for sketching while you travel.  It's light, gives you a variety of line widths, and allows you to shade if you have a waterbrush as well.  It's a solid entry into the world of brush pens.  I wouldn't rush to replace a brush pen you already like, but if you need something new or are just starting with them, this is a good value for the price.
Other Reviews

Disclaimer: I received these two brush pens from Jetpens.com for the purpose of reviewing them, but have received no other compensation.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Petal Pusher tangle pattern
Tangle Patterns: How to draw QIAN-LONG
New Tangle: Greek
How to draw tanglepattern Flux -video

Art Journaling
No Excuses Art: Weekly Sprout #2

Tutorials
Layering Color, a Video Tutorial
St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Wreath Tutorial
Textured Window Canvas Tutorial
Niji Water Brush Tips

Giveaways
Trinote Review and Test Drive a Quo Vadis Giveaway
CAS-ual Introductions and Prizes Day 2
StencilGirl Products and Walnut Hollow Blog Hop and Giveaway


Monday, February 24, 2014

Another drawing of Christmas Roses #LifeImitatesDoodles #PigmaMicron

Last week I did a review of the Clairefontaine Japon Calligraphy Pad, which included a pen and ink drawing of roses, that I did as Christmas present for a friend.

That wasn't the only drawing of roses I did for Christmas.  This was done with the same pens on different paper.  I loved doing these, but OH! they took forever!


Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Weekly Challenge #156
New online class "Tangling with Colored Pencils" 20% discount for a limited time.  #zentangle
No Zendala Dare was posted this week

Art Journaling
Journal52 Prompt 8: Found Poetry 

Although these journal prompts are numbered by the week, there is no pressure to do every prompt.  Feel free to join in at any time. Whether you go back and do earlier prompts is totally up to you.  There are Facebook groups where you can share, but you do not have join.  These prompts are to help you create art on a regular basis, not to make you stress about keeping up or sharing your work.  It's all good!

Tutorials
MAKING A CARD WITH COLOURED MODELING PASTE
WATERCOLOR WORKSHOP: Painting Bearded Irises
Dylusions art journal page from scratch
Two interesting Gelli Plate experiments

Giveaways
Neatography Letter and Mail Package Giveaway
Authentique Paper Giveaway
A spring kit sneak peek and a Chickaniddy Crafts giveaway
Vintage Supply Co Salvage Giveaway (Facebook)
CAS-ual Introductions and Prizes Day 1

Miscellaneous
RETRO EYEGLASSES FREEBIE printables
Review of the Clairefontaine Calligraphy Pad

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Review of the Clairefontaine Calligraphy Pad

I received one of Clairefontaine's Calligraphy 'Japon'Pad a while back, and I've been loving it!


It's a huge pad at 12 x 15.5 inches, and all though the paper is only 60 lb, it has proved to be surprisingly sturdy.  With no more adieu, I'll get into the review!

Look and Feel
Specs
-Simili-style Japon Paper
-ivory color
-top bound, glued
-25 sheets
-60 lb/130 g/m2
-acid free paper
-rigid backboard, lightweight
-Size:  12 x 15.5"/30 x 40 cm  (also comes in 9.5 x 12".  The link above takes you to this smaller size )

The Clairefontaine Calligraphy Pad comes in a top bound glued format.  The paper tears away easily.  So easily that I don't believe you would want to keep your finished pieces in the pad because the pages will work loose eventually.

Despite being glued, you can open the pad at any point and the paper lies flat. There is a very thick but lightweight cardboard backing for support.

The paper is thin, but has a hard surface, smooth but not slick. It feels similar to a thin cardstock, making it sturdier than most 60 lb. paper, but it's more flexible than cardstock.

The color of the paper is ivory, which I always feel adds elegance, making it suitable for calligraphy.  If you have a strong preference for white paper, this may not be the pad for you.


Performance
The paper has a surface that allows for smooth writing. Again, I think of cardstock.  It's hard to explain, but this paper reminds me of cardstock or  a manila folder in many ways, and yet I definitely don't think of it as either.  Totally different vibe.

Although I used several different mediums on the page, there was almost no show-through unless you hold the paper up to the light.  Even when I thoroughly saturated the paper there was no bleed-through.

The drying time for ink and paint was markedly slow, even for fountain pen friendly paper.

Writing 

I've never been much of a calligrapher, but this would be the paper for it.  You need very little pressure to write because the pen just wants to flow across the page.  You do need to take extra care not to smudge because of the drying time.

Pen and Ink -Pigma Micron

This was one of the Christmas presents I did last year.  I don't think I need to say much--this is one of the paper I'll be using for pen and ink, in the future.

Fountain Pen & Roller ball-J. Herbin Inks

Colors are bright, just short of brilliant, on this paper.  I think that has to do with the drying times--the color doesn't get absorbed.  Some of the blues that I used in this drawing are very similar, but the differences were more apparent on this paper than on any other paper I've used.

Making a Journal--tearing and sewing
I was intrigued by how sturdy this paper was despite its relatively light weight, so I decided to make an art journal with it.  I won't go into much detail regarding the making of the journal because that isn't what this review is about.  What is important is that with this size pad, I could fold and tear one sheet in half, then fold both half-sheets to create 8 pages of 6 x 7.75 inches.  

So with 6 sheets of this paper, I created a journal with 48 pages.  Almost enough to do a page a week for a year!  Yet this is how thick the journal is.


This makes a nifty, light-weight journal you could take on your travels to practice calligraphy or sketching.  (I used wallpaper glued to one of the half-sheets for the cover.  Cardboard from a cereal box would work as well).

What I learned from the process of turning this into a journal is that the paper tears easily, if you fold and burnish the fold.  I used a metal ruler as an edge to tear with.  Since it tore smoothly, I wanted to test and make sure the paper would NOT tear as easily by accident.  I held the paper by a corner and flapped it vigorously.  I creased a section (but did not burnish).  I worked the paper back and forth, back and forth.  I got the crease to tear, eventually.  I had to work hard at it though.  This paper won't tear unless you want it to, or you really abuse it.

The other thing I learned is that the paper sews well. When you do a pamphlet stitch, there comes a point when you pull your thread tight in two directions.  If the paper is too weak or soft, it can tear or scrunch up at this point.  I was able to tug with a firm, even pressure without any untoward effect on the paper.

Collage/Glue/Gel Medium
So--art journaling.  That means mixed media.  Glue, gel media, extra weight from collage, wet media.  Me, being me, you know I'm going to do mixed media!

I decided to start with collage.  On a separate sheet, I painted squares with acrylic paint.  I cut the entire sheet into small squares and then glued the squares at random on a page in my book.  I used PVA glue for some squares, glue stick for some and Golden's soft gel medium for others.  All three mediums adhered well. There was no buckling from the wetness of the glue, or the shrinkage they can sometimes cause.  The paper didn't fold over from the weight.

Acrylic Paint

I painted several layers of acrylic paint, making some of it runny and some of it thick so the weight would be different across the page.  In some places, after the paint was dry, I spritzed it with alcohol and lifted the color.  In a few places, I scrubbed quite a bit.

The paper held up well to the weight with no dimpling.  There was some buckling, but it occurred where I had sewn the binding, and I think it happened due to my uneven sewing rather than an inability to handle the paint.  I couldn't get the color of the paper back (which didn't surprise me), but I had no pilling or tearing from scrubbing where I'd sprayed alcohol.

No color showed through or bled through to the back of the page. I abused this paper, but the painting is still half-way decent. I'm looking forward to painting on it for real.

Acrylic Paint, Photo Transfer and Color Pencil

This page is a cheat in a way.  I've been playing with a drawing program called Scribbler Too, that does some funky radial lines when you draw and I wanted to use this little girl I'd done.  I decided to try a photo transfer.

The image from Scribbler Too was printed onto plain old copy paper, and cut out.  I covered the entire spread with Golden's Titanium Buff acrylic paint, applying it thickly where I intended to place the girl.  I put the printed image printed side down and pressed it firmly into the paint, while making sure not to move it around.

Acrylic paint is an adhesive (gel medium is essentially acrylic paint without color) so I didn't let the paint dry completely.  I waited approximately two minutes and then peeled the paper away.  This is a tricky maneuver.  The type of printer you have (should be an inkjet), and the type of paper can make a difference.  I might have been better off to let the paint dry completely.  Then you have to wet the paper and rub it off bit by bit, instead of peeling.  I did have to do some rubbing.  My transfer was very light, so I darkened it with a Pigma Micron pen.

I wanted the feel of a vintage child's book, so I felt the subtle color from colored pencils would work best to color the page.  That's why I say it's a cheat.  Once you paint a page with acrylic paint and it dries, you've sealed the page, so this wasn't a good test of how color pencil works on this paper.

Watercolor

I had to try a truly wet medium, of course.  As with the acrylic painting, I worried more about abusing the paper than about creating a great painting.  I applied the paint thickly in some areas, let it totally puddle in others and I rewet and scrubbed to lift paint in a few places.  I dropped wet paint into both dry and wet areas to see what would happen.

The paper held up well to the scrubbing with no pilling or tearing.  In the wettest areas, there was some dimpling, which caused the paint to pool. The paint beaded up more than usual, and I had to encourage it to spread.  When I dropped wet paint into wet it did not mingle as much I as expected.  Overall, the paint just doesn't move well across the page.

I was able to get a wide range of intensity from very pale to very deep color.  There was a small amount of granulation (that dark pebbly look on lighter) , but not much.

While the paper dimpled it didn't curl until the paint started drying.  You can see how much in the photo below.  But I didn't even have to weight the paper to remove.  Once the paint dried, I simply curled it in the opposite direction and most of curl was gone.  It wasn't really a problem while I was painting because it didn't happen until the paint was almost dry.



The sound of the paper changed, becoming crinkly.

This is not a watercolor paper, but you can use watercolor.  For the casual painter, or for quick sketches it would work for watercolor.

Overall
This is a calligraphy pad, and works well for that purpose.  It's lightweight but sturdy which makes it good for other mediums as well.

The ivory color of the paper will be a plus for some and a negative for others depending on taste, but I think the long drying time is the only real drawback.  For me, the patience that requires is well worth it for the ease of drawing and the brilliance of the color.

I've had problems with my wrist, lately, due to the cold weather and the amount of drawing I've done.  It was easier to draw and write on this paper due to the smooth surface.  For me, that counts for a lot!

Once again, I thank Exaclair for the chance to try out this pad and review it for my readers.
Disclaimer:  I received this Clairefontaine Calligraphy pad at no charge, but have received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.  I was not asked to do this review by Exaclair, Clairefontaine or any other company.

Saturday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Weekly Zentangle Roundup #162
Tangle Patterns: Tangle Refresher 71

Art Journaling
Art Journaling with Gina Rossi Armfield: The No Excuses Approach - video

Tutorials
Art Lesson: Shading Choices
Doll Quilt Tutorial
Watercolor Tutorial and Artistcellar.com Stencils
Easy Tutorial: Paint Bamboo in Watercolor - video

Giveaways
Stillman & Birn Sketchbook giveaway
Jetpens & SP giveaway-3 stamp sets;  Stardust Gel Ink Pens; Sharpie Standard Marker Pens
Teresa Collins $400 MEGA Craft Giveaway
Win $100 to Michaels, Jo-Ann's, Hobby Lobby OR Fabric.com
Giveaway Round Up @ian_hedley @PenHabit

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Weird Women of Scribbler Too #Scribbler_Too #Life_Imitates_Doodles

Although, I do draw more animals than people, I do people too.  But as often as not, they're on the odd side.  My Scribbler Too ladies are no different.

When you goof up in Scribbler Too, the only way you can erase is by switching to white and drawing over the area.  I didn't like what I'd done for the mermaid body, but when I started 'erasing' it, I ended up with a look that I did like, by only partially erasing the black lines.


I think I was channeling Brian Kesinger when I drew this one!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Want to Live on a Coffee Plantation #ArtJournal #ArtJournaling #LifeImitatesDoodles

As I mentioned earlier this week, I've joined an art journal swap.  We each chose an OLW (one little word) as a theme for our journal.  I chose the word Energy.

I'm the least energetic person I know.  So I think about energy a lot.  As in, I wish I had more.  I should do something about getting more energetic.  Soon.  Pretty soon.  Sooner or later.  One of these days...

A lot of people dream of having more energy.  So they reach for the coffee cup.  Cups.  Coffee Pots.  Drinking coffee is a national pastime.

So I think my page captures reality for many people.



For those interested-I've written the steps to my process, and then I've gone into detail about the reasons for my choices.  I often hear questions with a similar theme--how do you know how to do that?  It isn't exactly a know.  Knowledge certainly helps, but if it was a do this, do that experience, we'd all be doing it!  You more or less decide what you are going for, not just what the subject is, but how you want to present it, and use your knowledge to guess at what might work.  If it doesn't, you use your knowledge to go for something different.  

My subject was Coffee as Energy as personified by a woman drinking coffee. I wanted a piece that blended realism and comic drawing, and I wanted to have the feeling of depth and distance.

My Process
The woman drinking coffee was drawn in a program called Scribbler Too, that adds radial lines as you draw, so you get these amusing funky images.  I saved her and printed her out onto sticker paper. 

I cut the image out and painted her with acrylic paint.  The paper was so slick that the paint went on blotchy, but I expected this and blotted most of it up with a paper towel, leaving just tints, except for the all-important coffee cup.  I set the sticker aside and started on the journal page.

For the hills, I chose warmer greens and yellows 
     green gold
     chrome green
     yellow ochre
     Hansa yellow medium

For the background trees and sky I chose cooler colors 
     phthalo green
     ultramarine blue

My Reasoning
To get a feeling of distance, I:
     Created distinct areas of color, placing the light & dark where I wanted most contrast
     Made the woman and the coffee cherries larger so they overlapped everything else
     Used the lightest colors on the woman so she stood out
     Used the most intense colors on the coffee cherries so they stood out
     Had warmer colors dominate the foreground & mid-ground (theory-warm colors seem closer)
     Had cooler colors dominate the background (theory- cool colors seem farther away)

To create the woman as the focal point, I:
     Used lighter, tinted colors contrasted with darker greens around her
     Made her larger
     Used more detail

To create the coffee cherries as a secondary focal point, I:
      Used red
      Made the branches larger 
      Used more detail, but not as much as in the woman

To tie the painting together: 
     Outlined the more realistic elements with gel ink (even though this flattened things somewhat)
     Used small amounts of the cooler colors from the background for shading
     Used small amounts of the warmer colors from the foreground to suggest trees in the distance.
     Used red for the coffee cup as well as the coffee cherries

To lead the eye around the page:
     Subdued the brilliance of the red color
     Used the bright gel ink to lead the eye down the page
     Used red in upper and lower quadrants of the page
     



Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Catching Up: Tangle Pattern Organization

Art Journaling
Set up your Palette
Journal 52 - Cover Tutorial

Tutorials
Coloring a Purple Iris with Copics
Tutorial: Using Chalk Pastels to Stamp 
Stendoodling Is For The Birds

Giveaways
Graphic 45-Typography prize pack scrapbook paper collection
Win a copy of 'Artist Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures' (must be a member of Art Colony.  Free to join).
A Cocoa Daisy Color Swatch kit giveaway

Miscellaneous
I’m so Crafty I Sweat GLITTER! Free Printable
Type It Tuesday: CK Stalk font

Are you (or a friend) an artist who would love to share your love for art with the world? Tweet @PentelofAmerica. They're always looking to feature artists!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Today I Drew Elephants--#ScribblerToo, #LifeImitatesDoodles #ZentangleInspiredArt

I haven't done anything new in Scribbler Too since before Valentine's Day, but I had so many that I held some back, knowing I was already blitzing everyone.

I'll eke these out one or two at time when I don't have anything else to post.  Please forgive if I get confused and post some that you've already seen.

Today, I have elephants--kinTod of.

Here's the more-or-less traditional elephant.

And then here's an elephant in abstract.



Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Weekly Challenge #155
Tangle Patterns: How to draw POINTS AND CURVES

Art Journaling
Join Terri Sproul every Tuesday Night for a fun FREE Live Art Journal class with fun Techniques

Tutorials
Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft: Stamping with Gelatos
An Artist Trading Block How-to
Mastering Twinks Sneak Peek - Facebook video
Stamps to Die For--52 weeks of free techniques

Giveaways
Watercolor Painting Club giveaway-Daniel Smith Watercolor Paint Kit (Facebook)
Simon Says Stamp--win 15 New Pigment Ink Pads

Monteverde Intima Fountain Pen Giveaway (Pinterest)



Monday, February 17, 2014

Adventures in Art Journaling #ArtJournal #ArtJournaling

I'm currently obsessed with Art Journaling, so I joined a swap.

We're using a Strathmore Mixed Media Visual Journal.  I know that many of you are familiar with these, but for those who aren't, they have a paper cover that tears off easily, and heavy cardboard covers.  The paper is 90 lb.  It isn't my favorite journal, because the wire binding allows the paper to slide more than I like, but it is very sturdy and will stand up to just about anything, so it is a good choice for a swap like this.


I got off to a bad start.  I created this cover...


...and then, worried that the Pigma Micron pen I used for tangling might wear off eventually, I decided to apply a very light coat of transparent gesso.  Hah! I dropped the jar, and half the contents spilled onto the journal.  Even with sopping most of it up and spreading it as thin as I could, the gesso dried matte and left a haze over everything.  You could barely see the gold foil horses I cut from a Lunar New Year envelope or make out the words. Back to the drawing board.

I got fancier this time, gluing down Micro Marbles to fill in the butterfly wings and to re-create the word Energy. 



I used the same Viva Decor gold modeling creme, but instead of tangling with a pen, I used a metallic blue acrylic paint, and touched up places with metallic leafing pens in gold and silver.

It ended up darker but with more color.  I also had a difficult time getting a decent shot of this one where the first scanned easily. I like it, but there are elements from the first I wish I could have recovered.  Oh well.  I'm glad I scanned the first cover in before I ruined it.  This way I got two covers for the price of one!




Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Weekly Challenge #155--Will be posted on Tuesday this week
How to draw FIRE WORKS
TanglePatterns String 092
Tangle Patterns: STORIES: Tangling with Parkinson’s Disease
Zendala Dare #92

Art Journaling
Journal52 Prompt 7: When I Grow Up
No Excuses Art Sprout 1: Catch Your Breath

Tutorials
Shading Fluorescent Yellow Copic Tutorial
Reflective Surfaces: Top 10 Tips for Painting Water
Black & White with one color-coloring a stamped scene

Giveaways
No Excuses Art Giveaway (must join a Facebook community to enter)
Daily Marker Giveaway - Simon Says Stamp March Card Kit

Miscellaneous
Unscripted Sketches Challenge
Sunday's Challenges

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Painting Poppies, Muscle Memory and Starting at the Beginning

Yesterday, I took a watercolor class with Kathy Delumpa Allegri.  It was a beginner's class starting with the very basics of color mixing and brush control.

I also made the decision to start doing watercolors with my non-dominant hand.  This wasn't the challenge it would be for some.  I'm left-handed, right-eye dominant, which means I've always done some thing right-handed.  All those Scribbler Too drawings I've done recently were done with my non-dominant hand.

The reason for all this?  I've been playing with watercolor for a couple of years now.  I've done a few things I really liked, and most of what I did was okay.  But I never felt as though I were using watercolor AS watercolor.  I was drawing/painting the same way I did most of my work.  And I really want to capture the essence of watercolor.

I wasn't sure where I was going wrong, so I decided to back up, start at the beginning and see if that helps.  By switching to my non-dominant hand I remove muscle memory, so both my mind and body are on the same page.

Kathy's class was great.  We ran out of time to do a finished painting, spending the morning on mixing colors for the color wheel, and the afternoon working on brush control, which was exactly what I was hoping for.  I can't say we covered anything I wasn't aware of, but I picked up some insights on color temperatures, and got some excellent practice with the brush.

As soon as I got home, I painted a picture with the three colors we used in class (Quinacridone Rose, Cobalt Blue, and Aureolin/Azo yellow).  The only Cobalt I have is a cheap, student grade, so it didn't spread very well, but it got the job done.  I'm hoping I can take some more classes with Kathy.  Her spring classes start on March 11.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Sorry!  I'm going to be taking a watercolor painting class this weekend, so there will not be a link list this Saturday and Sunday.  Geneviève Crabe posts her tangle list on Friday afternoon.  I've linked to her blog, not the specific post, so Roundup #161 may not be available if you check early in the day.  Also, be sure to check Tanglepatterns.com, as there are usually updates on Friday.

Zentangle
How to draw tanglepattern Showgirl - video
New Tangle Putter
Zentangle® on Glass & Ceramics
Weekly Zentangle Roundup #161
Calling all Zentangle® and Zen Doodling artists: Your art could be featured in Northlight's new book 'Zen Doodle: Oodles of Doodles'

Tutorials
Technique Today: Gouache - videos
Watercolor Hydrangea Two Ways
art studio storage ideas + inspiration
two mixed-media jewelry techniques
Still Life Painting with Pan Pastel
Moray Eel in Mixed Media - video

Giveaways
Word. Stealth Edition Notebook Giveaway
**Giveaway** Pocket Pink Cushion Tutorial
Derwent is giving away 20 Tote Bags and Pencil Memory Sticks (Facebook)
Approachable Art Giveaway-colored modeling cream by Viva 
No Excuses Art Journaling Giveaway

Miscellaneous
The Derwent Art Prize 2014- offers a total of £12,650 to artists worldwide



Thursday, February 13, 2014

Have a Beary Nice Valentine's Day!

My Scribbler Too version of a Valentine's Day Bear Hug!


A Field of Flowers #LifeImitatesDoodles

I had the hardest time photographing this so that it was all in focus.  There was some curling at the edges but not enough to justify the corners going so out of focus.

Oh well, here it is in all it's glory!  Acrylics, glued ephemera and Sakura Gellyroll on mixed media paper.


Thursday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Tangle Patterns: How to draw PHEN

Tutorials
Painting Light in Winter Landscapes  (tutorial uses oil paint, but technique can be used with any medium)

Giveaways
Petaloo blog hop
Share the Love Blog Hop with GIVEAWAYS
Retro Café Art Gallery-China doll head shrine and more (Facebook)
WHY NOT WIN WEDNESDAY with DCWV-chance to win an assortment of Vintage Collector embellishments
Secret Garden giveaway-a copy of Secret Garden coloring book, Postcards, art supplies and a plethora of inky bits and pieces

Miscellaneous
Wednesday Craft Challenges

Become a Letraset Product Tester-- The testing will take place during office hours at our offices in Shepherd's Bush, West London (easily accessible via public transport) and will take about an hour. As a thank you for your time and participation, you will receive approx. £30 worth of free Letraset products.  No reimbursment of any travel costs. If you would like to participate or for more information, please email research@letraset.com by 21st February and quote “nib research” in the subject line.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Scribbler Too does color too #ScribblerToo #LifeImitatesDoodles

I prefer playing with the Scribbler Too effect in black and white more than in color.  The lines seem to get extra spiky, when you start working color over color.  But it's still fun!

I really had to do fix-up work on this one.  For some reason, I thought red foxes had black faces (maybe some do).  Anyway, I didn't feel I had the mask right, so I looked up some photos and not a not a black face among them.



And I hadn't done a landscape yet.  So, I did.


Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #Lifeimitatesdoodles

Zentangle
Where did the Lilah Beans come from
Tangle Patterns: How to draw SHOWGIRL
How to draw BISCUS

Tutorials
Gelatos Techniques with Hot Glue - video
Glitter + Stencil Technique
Tutorial: Adding Color on Heat Embossed Images
Colored Pencil Blending & How To Make Any Size Easel Card
Flora Grande Bloom Tutorial
playing with paste…part 2...
Pan Pastels and Crackle Paste
Fine Art Friday: Mixing a Green Color Palette in Watercolors

Giveaways
Graphic 45 -By the Sea collection prize
Petaloo blog hop






Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Journal52: Prompt 06 - The Lost Art of Love Letters #Journal52 #LifeImitatesDoodles #ArtJournaling

I've joined a free year-long journal prompt group, Journal52, run by Chelle Stein.  My goal is to keep it quick and easy, no planning, no fretting, no criticizing, just exploration and fun.

The yellows in this scan aren't correct--they are much lighter and, except for the heart, there is a green cast to them in real life.
Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of my process.

I kept my pages simple, despite starting out with the wrong blue.  I meant to pick up Ultramarine Blue but mixed Primary Cyan and Quinacridone Burnt Orange instead.  Ultramarine Blue and Quin Burnt Orange make a nice black.  Primary Cyan and Quin Burnt Orange? Meh.

I made up for that by dry-brushing on Ultramarine Blue in areas.

The whole layout was done in layer.

My heart was cut out from different paper, painted with Titanium Buff, and glued on, with some of the edges left unglued.  I tore strips from a music sheet and glued them down.

Then I started adding color, pure Ultramarine Blue, pure Hansa Yellow Medium, and pure Quinacridone Burnt Orange (which is the red color for this *triad).  When this layer of color dried, I started my layering process--adding a thin **glaze of blue, letting it dry, spritzing with alcohol and then wiping off some paint with a baby wipe.  I'd repeat with yellow, then with burnt orange.  I did this several times.  Sometimes I used glazing medium, and sometimes I ***dry-brushed the paint on.

I added the beams of white last, using both the baby-wipe and dry brushing methods.

The words of the prompt were stamped on, and outlined with a Sakura gellyroll Moonlight pen (it's yellow but the scan washed the color out)

A Pigma Micron pen .01 point was used to write my love letter.

*A triad is a painting done using only three colors.  I also used white so I pushed the triad concept a little. There are many different triads possible.  I was shooting for one that was close to using primary colors--red, yellow, and blue, but I used burnt orange as a stand in for my red, because I wanted earth tones rather than bright, intense colors that would fight the illusion of my light beams.

**A glaze is simply a thin layer of paint or medium that is painted over another layer.  The paint can be thinned down with water or glazing medium.  Glazing medium keeps your color more intense, but is a bit spendy.

***Dry-brushing is a technique where you add a very small amount of paint onto a dry brush, and scrub the paint (lightly) across the page.  This gives you a broken effect where other colors or the surface of the paper show through.

Use Fantasy Landscape Step-out #FantasyLandscape #Step-out #DrawingTutorial

I'm repurposing a step-outI created years ago to use in tangle drawings.  I redid the steps to show what's happening with the head, ...