Folk Art Birds and a Hand-carved Stamp

Friday, June 19, 2015


So I did a little folk art inspired illustration the other day of some wood pigeons and when I was finished I thought one of the wood pigeons would make a nice stamp! So I grabbed a rubber block, did a quick tracing of the wood pigeon and transferred it to the block by rubbing it face down with a bone folder.


I carved around the outline using my lino cutting tools and carved some of the inner details (I was carving out all of the pencil marks out and leaving the blank parts untouched). I did it pretty quickly because I wasn't too worried about having it looking perfect.


I cut off the excess rubber around the outside of the stamp with a strong, sharp knife. I then carved out some of the smaller details around the neck and eye.


Then I tested out my new stamp by inking it up with some Memento Luxe Bahama Blue ink, I love these inks, they always give me great results! Then I carved any little bits I didn't want away from around the edges, some people leave these bits but I usually get rid of them!


Then I went on to stamp an army of birds! I think they would make nice hand-made wrapping paper with a matching notecard.


Here's a closer look at the illustration that inspired the stamp. I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy Father's Day! : )



Time for tea!

Monday, June 15, 2015


I've a couple of new illustrations to share today, this time with a tea theme! I love teacups and mugs, and I've quite a large collection of all different shapes, sizes and patterns. So I decided to paint a few, there's also a couple of jugs in there too. As soon as I'd finished the cups and jugs, a teapot flashed into my head and of course I had to paint that too! When something pops into my mind it has a habit of lingering there until I make it a reality!


I don't normally go for yellow but this was the coloured sheet (see my previous post about the painted sheets!) that spoke to me! And for some reason I always associate kitchens with yellow, probably because my mom always painted her kitchen yellow and it's stuck in my memory!


I love the bright clash of colours in this, yellow, pink, orange and red, it shouldn't work but just feels right somehow (to me)! Anyway, hopefully I'll get to do another illustration or two this week, I'm busy working on some Halloween commissions at the moment! And yes, Christmas will be next!! : ) Thanks for dropping by! : )






Inspired by house martins

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Hello! I've some illustrations to share with you today, including some handlettering. Just in case you're wondering I'll still be sharing paper-crafted projects on my blog, including published cards, tutorials etc but I'll be showing more of my illustrations and patterns on here too. It's an area I've always wanted to explore, so I'm making the time to create a body of work and see how my style develops. I'm creating something everyday and it's exciting to see what emerges every time.


I was a bit intimidated by the white page every time I'd sit down to create something, so I had the idea to work on coloured backgrounds. It happened by accident really, I use acrylic paints when I'm working and I usually have some left over, so instead of wasting it I get several sheets of paper and paint a block of colour. I have a pile of these on my desk now and I pick one every day, depending on what colour I'm drawn too. It makes it much easier to start!


The house martins in the above illustration were inspired by some real house martins nesting outside my window! They've been swooping by back and forth for the past few weeks building their nests. I love watching them and hearing them twittering!


They've returned to our house for a few years now, they usually nest high up in the apex of the house but this is the first year they've built low down just above the window, only about 8 feet off the ground! It's amazing to see them so close up, they don't seem to be too bothered by us and we have been careful not to scare them.


We have three nests altogether and I think a forth is being built on the remaining side of the house! I just hope they all nest successfully this year, it's terrible when they fall down. Fingers crossed they all make it! : )



DIY Folder with Pocket Tutorial

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


Following on from my last post where I painted a large sheet of patterned paper, I mentioned I had a project in mind to use it. Here's what I used it for, I made a neat folder for my sketches and illustrations. I've been doing more illustrations recently, working and developing my style, I do work in sketchbooks and notebooks but I like to work on loose sheets a lot of the time and I've little stacks of these all over the place! So I thought I'd make a special folder to keep them in.

I had an idea of what I wanted the folder to look like but I wasn't really sure how to make it, so I pretty much made it up as I went along. I took a few photos as I was making it, it's not perfect, I definitely would have lined the inside to hide a few things but otherwise it worked out nicely!


So my painted patterned paper is face down under these pieces of card. My folder is going to be holding A4 sheets of paper so I made the large rectangles slightly larger than that, the two long strips of card are the depth or thickness of the folder and the last rectangle on the right is the flap closure on the folder. I trimmed the corners of the patterned paper before folding but didn't go right to the corner of the card, I just left a couple of mm.


I used double sided tape to stick the card to the patterned paper and a glue stick to stick the edges of patterned paper over. I folded the two ends first then the top and bottom of the folder.


Then I folded over each join to make sure everything was sitting nicely. Now at this point I probably should have lined the inside of the folder, I didn't think the white join lines on the inside would bother me so much but they do now! SO, line the inside with a coordinating paper!


Next I made a pocket to go inside the folder, this is pretty straightforward, you have tabs on either side, the top rectangle adheres to the folder and the bottom rectangle will be the front of the pocket.


I used double sided tape to stick the ends together, here it is fully assembled. I adhered the shorter side to the folder.


At this point, I would test the positioning of the pocket before sticking it down, by inserting a sheet of paper, so the distance from the edge will be the same at the top and bottom.


I did use both double sided tape and a stronger craft adhesive to stick the pocket down, just to make sure it was secure.


I planned to have a tie ribbon closure at the front. So I needed to make some slits for the ribbon, firstly I measured half way between the top and bottom on the inside and made a small mark.


You only need to make two slits, the first one is shown below, I marked it with a pencil, slightly larger than the ribbon, so it would be easier to thread through.


The second slit is on the other side of the piece of card that holds the pocket. Again I marked it with a pencil.


Then make the slits with a metal ruler and a sharp craft knife or scalpel and mind your fingers!


Then simply thread the ribbon through from the back into the first slot and across and out of the next.


Bring the ribbon around to the front, with even lengths on either side. Then tie a neat bow as best you can!


Then trim the ends of the ribbon with a sharp scissors, don't trim it too short in case you need to take a bit more off if your cut isn't clean.


And that's it, the only change I would make is to line the inside to hide the white lines but at least you can see the folds clearly in the tutorial because of them!


That's all for now! At least my sketches and illustrations aren't all over the place now and it turned out pretty cute! I think I'll make a couple more. Thanks for dropping by! Have a great week! : )


Pattern by hand using Acrylics

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


I've a new floral pattern to share today, inspired by the above illustration I did of a watering can and some florals. I really liked the colour combo and had a little project in mind for the finished patterned paper (more on that later!) I started out with a sketch of the repeat. Here's a link on the process. I sketched it in pencil first then went over it with a black pen so I could see it clearly for the next step.


I transferred the pattern using a 2H pencil onto a really big sheet of paper (the size I wanted for my project was slightly longer than A2), I simply traced the pattern on a window because it was so big!


Once I had the full pattern completed, I started blocking in the different elements using acrylic paints. I used acrylics this time because I wanted a more vibrant result. I mixed all the colours I wanted to use before I started.


There was a lot to fill in but once I got into the rhythm of it, it started to take shape fairly quickly! I've actually started to find the process helps you to see the pattern more and learn about how a pattern flows, so I think it's a good exercise if you're just starting to learn about pattern, like me!


The shapes and forms I kept pretty simple. I wanted the pattern to be fairly loose, fluid and free.


I didn't want to restrict myself too much with the original pencil sketch, so if I felt an extra flower or element was needed, I added them as I went along, of course I had to add them to every repeat in the pattern though, which again I think helped me to start seeing pattern more easily.


After I had blocked in all the flowers, I was pretty happy with how the overall pattern looked and could have left it there but I wanted a coloured background so I made the scary brave decision to start colouring it in green!


It did take a while to paint it all but it was strangely therapeutic and pretty satisfying once I'd finished it all!


This is the completed full sheet of patterned paper! It has a really nice feel to it too, the texture of the acrylic paint makes it pretty special.


I'll be back tomorrow with another post about the project I used the patterned paper for, as well as a step-by-step tutorial! Thanks for dropping by and sorry it was so long since my last post, I've been pretty busy. If you're on Instagram, you'll see more regular posts about what I'm working on there, here's a link to my Instagram profile, it's also in my sidebar here on my blog.

Oh, one more thing, if you're interested in learning more about surface pattern design, I highly recommend the book - A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kim Kight, it's jam-packed full of information about creating patterns both by hand and on the computer.

There's also a really great class that's just started called Pattern Play by Bari J, it's on Jeanne Oliver's Creative Network and it's not too expensive. It focuses more on using Photoshop instead of Illustrator to create patterns from artwork and paintings. I'm finding it very interesting! : )