Friday, 29 August 2014

learn: Derwent Inktense Pencils with Suzy Houghton

After drawing a very soft pencil outline I began colouring in the petals. The colour goes a long way so you only need the smallest amount coloured.

You can see how far the colour spreads once you add water. As with normal watercolour, I let this section dry before doing the adjacent petals. At this point there is only one layer of colour down.

Using the same colour pencil, I have done over the petals with one more layer of pencil and water. Then after allowing it to dry, I added shadows in a slightly darker shade.

The shadows have now been wet and the flower is complete.

As a contrast I have completed the right hand side of the flower using Derwent watercolour pencils. To keep things equal I repeated the process so both sides of the flower have two layers of the main colour and one layer of a darker shade.

COMPARING - Inktense Pencils and Watercolour Pencils
The colour is obviously more intense and rich with the Inktense Pencils. Because of this I find I get my desired result with only a few layers of colour. I find they are a much softer pencil than regular watercolour and don't need much pressure to lay down the pigment. If you are heavy handed, however, the results are pretty stunning.

The other thing I love about the Inktense Pencils is that once the layer dries it is permanent. you can add layers over the top without having to worry about mixing the layers below. Although this can be a problem if you put something in the wrong place. While it is still wet, you can resolve the problem to a certain degree, but as they are ink based most of the colours are 'staining'. Unlike watercolour pencils, where you are able to 'lift' a desired area later on, once the Inktense pencils are there to stay.

The Inktense Pencils used left side of flower:
Carmine Pink (main)
Shiraz (shadows)
Golden Yellow (Centre)

The Watercolour Pencils used right side of flower:
Rose Madder (main)
Burnt Carmine (shadows)
Deep Cadmium Yellow (Centre)

You can see more of Suzy Houghton's work HERE and follow her Facebook Page HERE

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

nicky's picks - week 34: BUTTERFLY

I've been looking forward to this week's theme 'Butterfly' because I could predict the high standard of talent that would be created. I have not been disappointed.

I hope you enjoy the huge list of creations I have included in this week's picks. I thoroughly enjoyed everyone's wonderful and creative artwork that continued to brighten my news feed.

x Nicky
Skye Robertson
Aura Parker
Leonie Cheetham
Tania McCartney
Clare Crow
Jenny Moundfield
Natalie Daniel
Patricia Pinsk
Samira Mi
Tania McCartney
Melissa Tan
Vicky Pratt
Charms Le Den
Liz Anelli
Penny Fisher
Bettina Dodson
Vanessa Pritchard

Saturday, 23 August 2014

learn: Using hand-rendered patterns into Adobe Illustrator with Tania McCartney

I have quite the obsession with both gorgeous backgrounds/pattern, and mixed-media picture books. The book I'm working on at the moment incorporates these elements and I thought I'd show you how to create your own special images, using both hand-rendered and digital images.

First, create a document in AI (or Photoshop, though you may find the following commands slightly different in PS) ...

Paste in (crtl V) your hand-rendered jpeg. This is an A4 piece I produced using a gelli print press. Make sure the file isn't too big. If the resolution is high (ensure your scanner scans at high res), you should be able to enlarge a smaller file with no loss of clarity.

Click on your paintbrush or pencil tool ...

And draw your shape over the background ...

You will now need to join up the ends of this shape to make it solid, and fillable. Zoom in and locate the two ends, as below. Click on your Direct Selection Tool (or press A) and select both end points of each line ...

Now right cluck your mouse and select JOIN ...

You will now have a solid shape, below. Select this shape with your black arrow Selection Tool (or press V), and also select your jpeg image. You can do this by clicking on image, holding the shift key, and pressing the other image.

When both are selected, right click your mouse and select MAKE CLIPPING MASK. You will get this lovely filled shape!

Clipping masks make AI files really huge, so bear this in mind when adding big jpegs, and only do a few clipping masks per document. Resize your shape to the desired size, as shown. If you hold down the shift key while resizing, the ratio will remain consistent ...

Want more? Why not add a blue background - here a simple square, filled in with blue. Once you've created this, press ctrl [ to send it behind your shape ...

Want to add some clouds? Paste in another patterned jpeg and do the same as before ...

Draw a cloud shape on top, join it's ends to create a solid shape ... 

Right click and make a clipping mask. Make more of these or simply copy and resize the same one.

Send them back behind the mountains, as before...

To add some really interesting texture to the sky, paste in another patterned jpeg and enlarge it to cover your entire image ...

Highlight it then click on Transparency. I will set mine to 20% opacity ...

You'll now see a lovely texture to the sky. This layer is currently sitting over ALL elements, including the sky and mountains ...

I think this looks really cool as-is ...

But if you wanted your objects to have more clarity, you could send this new opaque layer behind your objects. Then you could add a sun and some birds ...

I hope you have a lot of fun with this--I know I have! And my biggest thanks to my friend, my book illustrator and eternal support, Tina Snerling, for helping me learning about clipping masks in the first place.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

natalie's picks - week 33: TOY

It was wonderful to reminisce in the joys of childhood and see the many treasures that made up this weeks theme TOY.

The talent this challenge highlights is such a pleasure to witness, here are some of the picks that resonated with me the most this week.



Heidi Cooper
Tania McCartney
Kylie Box
Bettina Dodson
Mel Gannon
Maree Healey
Kristen Okeeffe
Katie W Stewart
Leonie Cheetham
Lindy Bayley
Margaret Dewar
Jessica Guthrie
Nicky Johnston
Penny Fisher
Sally Fawcett
Deborah Parker
Patrica Ward
Samira Mi
Suzy Houghton
Vair Buchanan
Damiem Thomasz
Vicky Pratt
Odette Teerink
Jess Racklyeft
Skye Robertson
Penny Fisher
Paul Heppell
Sophie Pittaway
Heather (6)
Phil Kavanagh
Hugo (9)
Samantha Indigo Zaleski
Grace (7)