Splashing about with ink…

As I draw digitally most of the time, I like to break out and make a bit of a mess every now and then.  Last week I got inky, tried out some new water soluble pastels, and mixed in some water colour and pencil to make some original art work badges…

Mixing up media that you may not think will work together is fun. Grab some paper, don’t worry about the outcome. Just go for it!

For these images I used: acrylic inks; water based inks; water soluble pastels, water colour, pencil, a dip pen, a brush pen,  and water colour pencils.

My badges are for sale here.

Bears Make Music…

MUG TEMPLATE

January has been a busy month for designing and making new products. These handsome animals can be found on a mug, along with several other new designs.

I’m also busily designing greetings cards which have a life beyond the mantelpiece. More about that soon. In the meantime, take a look at my first set of designs which are already available.

Merry Christmas…

 

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Wishing you all a very jolly Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I was pleased to have this picture in the SCBWI Advent Calendar this year alongside Christmas illustrations from some super talented artists.

Lots of micro stories were written to go with the illustrations, you can read them on Twitter.

Thank you to the lovely SCBWI writers who wrote words to go with my illustration:

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Finally, thank you all for your support during 2016.  Hoping 2017 will be peaceful and marvellous.

Jools x

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A Brief Ramble about the SCBWI Conference 2016

I’ll keep it short and incoherent. For those of you who don’t know SCBWI is the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (British Isles). Last weekend they held their annual conference in Winchester (and have lots of other exciting and interesting activities the rest of the time).

This was the 2nd time I’ve been to the conference.  It’s so fabulous I just have to tell you about it.  It’s also very intense, and fabulous.  I’m still mentally digesting all the wonderful fabulousness and remembering odd bits of fabulous stuff at odd times, so this is a very garbled account of some of the bits I did.

3The Sketch Crawl.

Drawing out and about in Winchester with a bunch of other illustrators and non illustrators. I drew skaters, buildings and other things.  Then we met up to compare sketches and chat over a mulled cider.  Here’s one of my sketches in progress:

Roman glass in Winchester Museum

Being inclined towards art the best thing about the conference for me is the opportunity to 8listen and talk to proper illustrators with books out in the real world…

This year Leigh Hodgkinson (she’s @hoonbutton on Twitter) was one of the keynote speakers and I also attended a break out session with her.  It’s completely fabulously fabulous to find out what goes on in the head of another artist. I love all her making different things and ideas, and came away with ideas of my own about collaging things and ways of working to try.

Viviane Schwarz gave an amazing picture book workshop. Lots of fast drawing, cutting up, stealing other people’s drawings and making a group picture book.  I learned a whole new way of thinking about ideas and creating characters.  You can follow Viviane on Twitter.

2One of the other things I did was to dare to put my portfolio out on a table where people could see it. That won’t be scary next time. It was brilliantly educational just seeing my work alongside other peoples.

10And there was so, so much more. So many people, opportunites, interest, books, pictures, cake.

The weekend was a lovely bubble of talking about writing and illustration.  I learnt so much and met so many lovely people.  I made friends.

You can visit the website of the SCBWI here.

Thanks to Dom Conlon for letting me steal some photos.

New Stuff…

I’m busy working on a new project that will be revealed soon…ish. Well, not soon. Sometime.  In the meantime, I’ve made a few new things, had some things made, and drawn lots of silly things.

You can keep up with all my nonsense on Twitter or Instagram…this sort of thing:

I’ve had lovely teatowels screen printed:

And made a couple of illustrations for Inkology.co.uk

….click on the link to read fun kids poems by Dom Conlon.

Animals in Jumpers…Free Colouring Sheet to Download

This week I’ve been drawing animals in jumpers…

…using pen, coloured pencil and watercolour pencil.  I thought they would make fun brooches..

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I’m going to use the images for prints and cards and a few other things. The brooches are available on my Etsy shop, BearsGetCrafty.  Also, as they I enjoyed colouring them in so much, I thought I’d share the fun… Click here to download the colouring sheet.

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Summer is here…

…and my thoughts have turned to the garden with birds, bees, gardening and sun-photography.

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Page of designs and ideas for gardening brooches and earrings. Below: Some of the final results.

I’ve also experimented with cyanotype photography, using garden flowers and drawing on glass to make the images…

…and using the images to create jewellery.

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I’m looking forward to finding other ways of applying this technique.

There’s an explanation of Cyanotype photography here.  I bought ready to use paper, which is extremely easy and fun to use.

Items shown above are available to buy from my Etsy shop, BearsGetCrafty.

Have a lovely weekend in the garden. x

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Making My Own Textures for Photoshop (contains Bears)

brown

A Sad Bear

I recently bought a graphics tablet and have been busy teaching myself to use it and improve my photoshop skills (which are quite basic).  Here are some early attempts:

dancing rabbits

Some Happy Rabbits

I felt these needed some texture. I’ve used downloaded textures on pictures before, but wanted to create a retro printed look.  See a few examples of work that inspires me here.

I decided to try making my own textures. The easy bit was messing about with ink.. I rollered printing ink onto a smooth surface, then placed paper on top and rubbed hard. I also rollered ink directly onto different textured papers.

Then I scanned the results (after drying them, don’t scan wet inky or painty paper. It makes a mess of your scanner. Not that I’ve ever done that. No).

And, of course, you can make textures any way you like: paint, lino printing or scan or photograph fabric, paper etc.

Now the complicated bit (because I didn’t know how to do it).  Thank you @Daz_Woodcock on Twitter for a suggestion which made me think: “Oh! I know what to do!”  It was the making my black inky lovely textures into whichever colour I wanted to use in my picture that I thought was difficult. It’s really very simple indeed:

  1. Open your texture file in photoshopopen texture file
  2. Add a fill layer over the texture and choose the colour you want to useselect colour for texture
  3. Adjust the blending option to ‘screen’colourfill screen
  4. Flatten
  5. Select all and copy.flatten texture & select

Don’t forget to close this file without saving when you’ve finished with it!

The next bit is about inserting this into your picture. You’ll probably want to start your drawing as a separate file before you do the texture thing above.  If you’re not interested in this bit you may still like to scroll down to the bottom to see my finished piece of art.

I start with a new file whatever size I want. I create a layer over the background to draw on.  Something like this:draw bears

When I’ve finished the line drawing, I create a new layer above the background and under the line drawing layer. I paste my texture onto this, then resize it using Free Transform.add texture under drawing

Obviously, I don’t want green bears. Well, not this time. So I’m going to add another layer of texture in brown. It’s a different texture to the green one, but I used the same method to make it.

This time I made a new layer between the green layer and the line drawing..paste 2nd texture

..and again used Free Transform to resize and move it.free transform 2nd texture

I removed the excess brown by selecting and cutting the parts I didn’t want, then tidied it up using the eraser. This can be done as neatly or as roughly as you like. The effect I want is to have the brown colour not exactly under the line drawing.add detail

I then add a lot more line detail and drew in the noses and eyes. The shadows were added by selecting an area and using a 50% transparent fill with a darker brown.add nose and eyes

That is a very much simplified version of  my bear picture. In the one below I used more layers, messed about with different blending options and layer transparency and drew in more detail.  Obviously as I’m a beginner at this there is a lot I don’t know and there are other ways of doing things. (Tips always welcome.)

Here’s one I made earlierblue bear 1