A Few Edinburgh Bears

 

CattravellingEarlier this month I managed to pack my bags and head off to Edinburgh, with my daughter, for a few days.  Naturally, I was on the look out for bears.

The signs were there. 37438782952_56f11d5916_o

 

 

The first bears we met were a bit on the stiff side to say the least..

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..and this was not at all what we’d expected from the famous Edinburgh pandas.  IMG_4657

 

 

Those are in the National Museum of Scotland which is lovely and well worth a visit. It also serves excellent cake.

 

We did catch up with a real live panda at Edinburgh Zoo, but I didn’t manage to get a photo. These chaps were more co-operative IMG_4691(and more terrifying).

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I think my last Edinburgh bear is my favourite.   It’s the memorial to Wotjek, the WWII ‘Soldier’ bear, in Princes Street Gardens.  You can read about him here.

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There was also whisky, getting wet, history and tales of body snatchers in the kirkyard after dark, but you should go and find out about those for yourself.

I’ll be back soon with needle felting, new drawings and other things I’m making.

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to look at the new things in my shop.

 

 

 

New Things

There are a bunch of  new greetings cards in my shop this month, including these dinosaur and space cards, which come with any age badge you like (I sold a 95 years badge last week).  You can check out all my new cards designs at BearsGetCrafty: there’s one for lovers of GIN (with the choice of a super badge or magnet), something naughty,  something nice, and bears, of course.  😉

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Mr Fox Sewing Kit Prototype

As usual, I also have lots of ideas and work in progress. 🙂   Greetings cards with stickers and sewing kits will be arriving soon!   I’m also thinking about cards with moving parts and pop-ups.

Over at BearsGetDigital there is lots of new art to download, digital drawings and watercolour paintings to use in card making, on websites….whatever you fancy. 🙂

I have several new illustrations, for poems by Dom Conlon, on www.inkology.co.uk.  universe_boxEnjoy his darkly funny stories while you’re there too.

 

In between all of that, there have been a few fun things appearing on my work desk:

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To see more of what I draw and make you can check out my Instagram account BearsGetCrafty or follow me on Twitterbers

Bears Make Music…

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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.

“You go round…”

A quick round up of those cat bothering bears for those of you who haven’t seen them all.

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“Do you think it’s dangerous?”                                              “I don’t know, but it’s blinking huge. Let’s get out of here.”

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“Don’t look down.”

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“Don’t move! It’s spotted us!”

Making My Own Textures for Photoshop (contains Bears)

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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:

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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

 

 

This year….

…has been one of learning a lot about drawing by doing it most days and falling in love with ink.  I really, really do love ink. And being messy, and splattering it about, and mixing it with paint, and drawing with different pens, and watering it down, and painting with it, and getting it under my fingernails….

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It’s also been a year of getting lots of encouragement and realising that people enjoy seeing my work. Twitter has been great for that. I’ve enjoyed it. Even more amazingly people have bought stuff and commissioned stuff.. 🙂

And I’ve illustrated a whole book! That really is not something I ever imagined I would do. Thank you, Dom, for telling me I could do it. 🙂

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I’ve also made a few illustrations for Dom’s poems on Inkology.co.uk. Here are a few of the latest:

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And there have, of course, been bears…..

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Looking forward to starting on some exciting new illustration projects in 2015, more jewellery making and those little origami books…..

…..and more bears. 🙂

happy2013