Dragonfly design for Crane&Co

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I received these cards in the post today from Crane&Co!  I think you can tell I designed the artwork.

The design is Letterpressed onto cotton rag paper using a grey ink; this means the lines of the design are slightly impressed into the paper.

I’m really chuffed with how it’s come out!

Butterflies

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I used Autodesk Sketchbook Pro on my Microsoft Surface Book along with my Surface Pen to add patterns and shading to two of the butterfly outline designs I drew yesterday.  I’m happy with the results.

Today I’ve also created two more dot mandalas, each around 5″ in diameter.  I added some gems to those, as well as to the small dot mandalas I created over the last couple of days.  The sparkle really adds something special to them, and helps to emphasise the circularity of mandala designs.

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Mixed media index cards – 3 June 2016

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Two more index card done!

I drew the fungi then coloured them with the Chameleon Color Tones and Color Tops pens.  Cogs have appeared in the background once again – gotta have a lil bit of steampunkishness!

I’ve used 3D Crystal Lacquer on the fungi caps and on the stars in the background.

I’m liking the slightly bigger format of the index cards compared to ATCs.

Chameleon Color Tones, Color Tops and a Coloured Mandala

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Yesterday, I recieved a big box filled with goodies – a full set of the Chameleon Color Tops to go with my Chameleon Color Tones markers, as well as a full set of ink refils for them

I couldn’t wait to try them out, and did on a couple of small fungi I’d drawn, which you’ll see in another blog post as I want to use them on some mixed media index cards.  I loved using them, and so wanted to do something a bit bigger, and the mandala above was the result.

What I love is the ability to create smooth gradations between one colour and another, with out the fuss of using two color tone pens to achieve this.  Of course, I still love the original colourless to full colour color gradation, and have used this in the mandala on parts of the butterflies.

However, I love strong, bright colours, and the Chameleon Color Tops are fab for doing this!

Now, I do have a full set of Copic Ciao markers, which are great.  However, achieving a smooth colour blend is quite difficult, especially with colours that are far apart in intensity or colour.  You can use the tip to tip method of transferring colour from one pen to another and use the pen to blend the colour a bit better, but I still struggle, even on specialist marker paper.

Not any more!

What I haven’t done is to look at how the pens blend when the colours are from different colour groups, such as blending a green to a red, but you can guarantee I’m going to try them out.  Apart from them maybe creating some mud where the colours overlap (which would happen anyway), I have confidence they’ll do this just fine and dandy.

Yesterday’s Mixed Media Index Cards – update

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I spent some time yesterday and this morning adding some details to drawing on each of the index cards.

I added stippling and lines to add shading on the focal points, both in black and white.

I also added some ground for them so they weren’t floating in air; the grasses or plants in the background I wanted as black silhouettes just so interest/texture/pattern was added.

Finally, I added either white dots or black ‘popping bubbles’ to the ‘sky’ for more visual interest.

I’m now much happier with them and feel that they are complete.

Mixed media index cards

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I started these 5″x 6″ cards yesterday and finished them (I think) this morning.

The focal images I drew myself on watercolour card.  I used Caran D’Ache Supracolour watercolour pencils and a damp brush to colour them.  I was quite happy with the colouring; I do find pencils a lot easier to use than traditional watercolours.

Nex, I cut three of them out around their edges and used a black marker to colour the white edges (and disguise my poor cutting out skills).  I had to use a craft knife in a couple of places.  The other two I cut out as small panels.

The drawings are a little bare of detail, mabye, but I can go back and add detail once I’ve decided what I’d like to do.

I’m not all that happy about the torn paper behind the focal images; you try things out and learn, maybe.  The torn paper is Gelli printed tracing paper made using PaperArtsy Fresco paints.  I then ran them through my Sizzix Big Shot in various embossing folders, and on some the embossed images have had some metallic waxes gently brushed over them. I also added some Inktense to the papers to darken the edges and add shadows.

What I am really happy with are the index cards themselves.

I started by covering them with gesso.  Then, I used some foliage stamps from IndigoBlu with grey Archival Ink by Ranger to add patterns.  I really liked this, as the patterns were softer and already ‘ghostly’ in the background, a much better choice than black Archival.

My next step was to add colour using ink blending sponges and Distress Oxide inks, followed by a spray of Gold perfect pearls mixed with water.

This is where there was an unexpected effect – the wet Distress Oxides were repelled from the Archival ink.  I loved the result, as well as the way the colours mixed as they pooled around the stamped patterns.

Here’s a close up where you can see how the Archival Ink has repelled the Distress Oxide inks:

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Then, I used Versamark Ink to stamp more foliage on some of the cards, and mini-mandala type patterns on others.  I then sprinked WOW Embossing powder (clear holographic) over the ink then melted it with a heat tool.  This added an extra layer of interest – a subtle layer as it can only be seen from certain angles.

I framed the cards using black Archival ink and a foam blending tool to give a distressed looking edge.

Then, it was just assembly of the focal points and so on, before sticking the index cards to some really thick card to get them nice and flat; the cards are so thin that they curl a lot when working on them, even with the layer of gesso to seal the card in.  Cosmic Shimmer’s Specialist Acrylic Glue worked beautifully for this.

I had intended to make more ACEO cards, but I drew the focal images a tad too big for that format, so thought I’d try out an index card instead.  I quite enjoyed working on the slightly larger scale.

Mixed Media ACEOs, and updates

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Mixed Media ACEOs/ATCs

I’ve spent the last four or five hours creating this set of four ACEO/ATC cards.  It’s been a while since I did any mixed media work, but I felt the need to get a bit messy.

Each card measures 2½” x 3½” (approx. 6.5 cm x 9 cm) with the substrate being some fairly thick Kraft card.

I started by using some yellow Frog Tape to hold the cards together so I could make the background at the same time.

I started by applying PaperArtsy Fresco Paints to the kraft card until I had a finish I liked.  The colours I used were Cheesecake, Rose and Sherbet.

The next step was to add some Windsor and Newton Modelling Paste through a couple of stencils (one was the dot fade stencil by Tim Holtz, the other a mini dragonfly stencil by Creative Expressions).

Once the modelling paste was dried, which I hurried along using a Tim Holtz Heat Tool from Ranger, I watered down some Alchemy Waxes from Imagination Crafts  (white gold, tulip and apple green)and used a paintbrush to colour the dragonflies.  I then used the wax and a piece of Cut and Dry Foam from Ranger to apply some of the waxes over the dot patterns.

Once I’d finished applying the wax, I wasn’t happy with the result on the dragonflies, so I used Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint in Rich Gold to re-colour them. I was much happer with the results, especially the dragonflies that I’d coloured pink/red.

The next step was to have a furtle through various coloured diecuts I have in my stash.  Every now and again, I spend a day cutting out various die cuts (mainly cogs, flowers and foliage, but sometimes other things too) and then colouring them to add to my stash.  It saves on time when I have the urge to do some mixed media work. It also makes use of my rare urges to do die cutting, which I find a very tedious process.

After a good furtle, I found some cogs that would work on two ACEOs that had just the dots on the background. I couldn’t find anything I’d want to add to the dragonflies; I was just happy with them as they were.

The die cuts were applied with Cosmic Shimmer Acrylic Glue from Creative Expressions, then some Vintage Photo Distress Oxide Ink with a wet brush was used to add shadows.

I used a Quickie Glue pen from Sakura and Gold Superfine Embossing Powder from WOW to add some gold dots and to areas where there was no embossing paste.  Following this, I edged the cards using a piece of Cut and Dry foam and black Archival Ink from Ranger.

 

I then chose some words from the Tim Holtz Chit Chat stickers and glued them down with the Cosmic Shimmer Acrylic glue, and used a damp brush and a China Black Inktense pencil from Derwent to add shadows around the stickers.

The very final step was to add some sparkly gems, and they were done!  Once all is dry, I can add my information to the back and so on, and I have some ACEO cards to use on other mixed media projects or in my art journal.

Other arty news

Over the past week I’ve been keeping myself artfully busy learning a bit more about Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and how it works for me; you could say I’m building up a relationship with it.

For now, I’ve been drawing LOTS of mandalas!  I’m keeping them back from t’internet as I hope to publish them (some are already spoken for by the Colorist app), and other people asked if I was going to make some available for purchase.  So, I’m building up a collection of them for that purpose – either with a publisher, or I’ll self-publish if necessary.  I’ve also done a couple more small mandalas that work nicely as designs to be coloured and made into greetings cards, kind of like digital stamps.

Talking of digital stamps (digi stamps), there are some ideas rattling around my noggin that I’d like to try out, so there’ll be more news on this later on no doubt.

It looks like I’m going to be doing a colouring book of spooky templates in the near future, so if anyone has any ideas for ‘spooky’ or ‘eerie’ then feel free to share!

I also have a few ideas for written books rumbling around my noggin; however, it’s really hard for me to do something with them as I doubt myself so much, think they’re silly ideas, and so on.  The ideas aren’t wholly in my noggin, I do have notes on them on the ‘puter which need tidying up…but I’m finding it difficult to do this because of all my self-doubt and self-criticism. I just need to keep saying to myself, ‘But you have recorded these ideas so they are there for you, so you have made progress).

Other things going on in my life

A week ago, I finally had the hedge at the front of the house removed, as well as the back garden completely cleared.  My garden is tiny, but it’s amazing how much space was hidden by the cotoneaster and forsythia!  I do have some clean up to do, but there’s no great rush on that.  I also need to consider what to do with the back garden.

The process of getting this done has caused me great anxiety, but there was an ah-ha moment when I realised that some voile panels in the windows in my front room would help me to feel ‘safer’ and more ‘private’ while letting in daylight.  For a long time I’ve hid behind curtains; well, I still am, but at least I can see out through the voiles even if people outside can’t see in!  Why I didn’t think of this a long while ago, I don’t know, but thank goodness I did!

I’ve done a couple of anti-stigma talks for Time to Change Wales, and I’m seriously wondering if I’m really making any difference as my story is so bland and ordinary … after all it’s not a dramatic tale to tell, and I really don’t think it’s anything people haven’t heard/seen on TV on the soaps and so on…so I’m really feeling quite downhearted about that at the moment.

I know it may very well pass, but at the moment … it’s difficult….my therapy?  Art of course!