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Archive for the ‘Hint & Tips’ Category

Welcome Back

As part of the online workshop series Adventures in Acrylics, I’d like to share a tutorial to help you get the most from your choice of colours, whether you have been collecting them for years or have a shiny new box of gleaming tubes in front of you. After this you will know just what colours you have and be able to find just the one you want from a huge pile, every time.

Do you know what colours you have? Make a colour chart and discover your full palette

Do you know what colours you have? Make a colour chart and discover your full palette

You Will Need

  • Acrylic paper or piece of white mount board
  • All the acrylic paints you have
  • Brush
  • Water pot with water
  • Rag
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Pen

Method

Do have a new box of paints? Then if the tubes are still in the box they are lined up ready to go. Perhaps though you have been collecting your acrylic paints for some time. If that’s the case, go rummage, find every tube/pot/jar of acrylic paint you have. If they are all in one place together you are more likely to use more of them ;)

Some acrylic paints are flow formula (ie more fluid) others are heavy bodied (more like toothpaste in consistency). Separate your acrylic collection into two boxes so you can easily home in on the different kinds when you want to.

  • Separate your chosen paints into colour families, reds/yellows/greens/ blues etc. Lightest to darkest within those groups works well.
  • Because paints often dry to a slightly different colour than they look on the tube/packaging, you are going to paint samples of each. In the interests of only doing this once ;) Try to paint your samples on to something sturdy like white mount board as it will last longer.
  • Next to each patch of colour that you paint, write the details from the pot/tube. That’s the colour name and number and if you have a selection of brands the brand name too. You can shorten the brands to initials as long as you write yourself a key ;)

Make sure you wash out your brush well between colours and keep changing your water so the colours stay true.

Now you have a beautiful chart that can live in the box with the paints, when you are creating a project you can use the card to choose just the colour you want, and know which one it was. Drawing a pretty grid to paint inside is optional, but it can make it easier to scan across later on.

Here is a picture of my paint chart, the quick one I made when I first got my paint (on the mount board, shown above) and the detailed one on the acrylic paper. You could also glue this sheet onto mount board, if you want it to last longer.

Detailed Paint Chart

Detailed Paint Chart

Options/Added Extras

If you prefer a more mobile colour chart.

  • Cut a piece of mount board for each paint you have.
  • Write the brand, colour name and number on the back of each tile, before you paint your swatch on the front.
  • Punch a hole in the cards and string them together so you can keep them in colour families, but still have the options of adding to the collection as you buy new paints.

This version will also allow you to pull colour schemes together from the cards and encourage you to experiment with more than just your favourites.

Links

Check out the Art Supplies tab at the top of the blog, you will find links to the main manufacturers there. At the paint manufacturers sites you will often find downloadable colour charts, although these are only guides as the printed colours will vary depending on how your printer is set up (and how much ink is left in it ;) )

The manufacturers charts are very helpful for identifying the colour names/numbers and for newbies which paints are opaque, transparent or semi opaque or semi transparent. This is very helpful when you are just starting out and haven’t yet worked out which colours will  have which opacity. It makes a huge difference to the success of your experiments, when you know the opacity of your paint colours ;)

Hope this tutorial helps you discover just how many colours you have, and now you know what you will have, perhaps it will tempt you to use more of them, rather than just sticking to your favorites. I’d love to see your finished results.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post, as part of the Adventures in Acrylics workshop, I’ll be sharing a tutorial on how to create a wonderful dark wood paint effect. It looks something like rosewood, or perhaps mahogany, but whatever you want to call it, this gives a beautiful effect. Like the previous tutorial, this is super simple to create and waiting for the paint to dry between layers, is the most time-consuming part.

Here’s what a finished piece looks like

Dark Wood paint effect for Adventures in Acrylics

Dark Wood paint effect for Adventures in Acrylics

You Will Need

  • Winsor & Newton: Galeria Acrylic paint; Buff Titanium, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.
  • White mount board
  • Jar of water
  • Scrap of rag for cleaning.

Method

I’ll include a written description of the process, for those who don’t speak English, there’s always the trusty translator, check out the TRANSLATE THIS SITE link, in the side bar.

  • Put some Buff Titanium on the palette, than use the palette knife to apply a layer paint over the white surface of the mount board. Apply the paint generously, as if you were buttering bread ;) Change direction with your knife and leave a few white areas here and there. Allow this layer to dry fully, before you move on.
  • Clean your knife in the water, while you wait for the paint to dry.
  • Next, put out some Burnt Sienna onto your palette, pick up some paint on the knife and apply the Burnt Sienna in patches, here and there over the Titanium Buff. Change direction when applying the paint to create textures. Leave some of the white areas and some areas of the buff titanium visible. Allow this layer to dry fully, before you move on.
  • Clean your knife in the water, while you wait for the paint to dry.
  • Put some Burnt Umber onto your palette, this is a semi transparent colour and will allow the other layers to be seen through it. Pick up a generous amount of Burnt Umber onto your knife. You only need a thin-film of the paint over the card, but the knife will move better over the card if it has a layer of paint across it. Apply a thin layer of the Burnt Umber over the whole piece and allow this to dry. Try not to go over this layer too many times as it tends to get sticky as its drying and if you want a smooth result you don’t want to over work it. Allow this layer to fully dry before you move on.
  • Clean your knife in the water, while you wait for the paint to dry.
  • If you feel your piece is looking too bright apply a second layer of the Burnt Umber over the card, either just in places or over the whole thing, depending on the look you are going for.
Dark Wood paint effect for Adventures in Acrylics

Dark Wood paint effect for Adventures in Acrylics

The earlier layers glow through the semi transparent Burnt Umber, and add lots of visual interest and texture to the piece. Like the weathered wood, you can make this more textured by using heavy bodied acrylic paint like Daler Rowney Cryla if you prefer or use mediums to change how your Galeria paint behaves. This original version is reasonably smooth so if you wanted to stamp or write over the surface you could do so. It would also take  image transfers if you wanted to add some.

Options/Added Extras

In the coming weeks/months I’ll be introducing you to some acrylic mediums. As well as mixing the mediums to your paints, you can also use some of them as a glazing layer. If you already have some, you could paint over the finished piece with matt or gloss medium.

  • The matt medium will not change the appearance of the finished piece, but it will seal in and protect the layers of paint.
  • The gloss medium will dry to a high shine, and make the piece look as if it has been polished.

Experiment with what you have and see which you prefer. You don’t have to add the glaze layer, but it will help seal the paint in.

Links

Check out the Art tab at the top of the blog for details of suppliers where you can find a local stockist and also colour charts for the paints I’m using.

Hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and will give the technique a try, it is simple to do and by varying your colours or how you apply the paint, there are plenty of opportunities for further experiment with this idea. I’d love to see your results and how you incorporate this technique into your own projects. Do leave me comment with a link to what you create.

For more in this Adventures in Acrylics series check out the dedicated class page.

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

To begin the online workshop Adventures in Acrylics, I’d like to share some tips for how to look after the tools you’ll be using. So they will last you for longer. Acrylic paint is a joy to use, but you need to be kind to your tools for them to look after you.

Tools for Adventures in Acrylics; Online Workshops

Tools for Adventures in Acrylics; Online Workshops

You Will Need

  • Cold Water
  • Bar of white soap
  • Washing up brush
  • Scrap card
  • Rag or towel

Method

Acrylic paint dries quickly in air. To help your tools last longer, wash the paint or mediums out of them as you go, as soon as you finish using them. If you let the paint dry into the bristles of your brushes, they will be ruined.

Brushes

Keep a piece of scrap card next to you as you work. When you want to change colour, simply brush out the remaining colour from the brush, onto the scrap card. Rinse the brush out in a jar of water, until the last of the paint has gone, if you do this while the paint is still wet on the brush, it comes out easily.

At the end of your painting session: Wet your brush and swipe it over the bar of soap, lather the brush by swiping it too and fro in the palm of your hand. Rinse well in cold water to remove any remaining colour and soap. Leave your brushes to air dry fully before putting them away.

Painting knives

Remove access paint or medium by swiping the knife across the scrap card, then swish the knife if your water pot. You can use a scrap of sponge to help rinse off any more stubborn residue. If you clean knives as you go, you probably won’t need to do any more to the knives at the end. Make sure you dry your knives off on a towel or rag, before you store them, so they don’t go rusty.

Palettes

Rather than add to land fill with tear off palettes, I use a non stick surface to mix colours on. The white enamel plate I use is ideal and is very easy to clean. Allow the paint to dry onto the palette (trust me, if you use a non stick surface like said plate, its fine).

Once the paint is fully dry, pour a small amount of water into the plate, just to cover the paint. The water won’t re-activate dry paint, but it will lift it. Leave it a little while and the larger areas of paint will be floating in the water. Use the back of the washing up brush (dedicated to the job DO NOT put one you use for paint in the kitchen!) to encourage the remaining paint off the plate. Peel off the larger areas of paint and put them in the bin. Use the bristles of the washing up brush to encourage the few remaining spots of paint to lift, then rinse under the tap.

Easy peasy, you use minimal water and aren’t using acres of paper you don’t need to. I tend to keep the prettier scrap card, sometimes you can turn them into art by stamping over them ;)

Dry your tools with the rag before storing and you are ready to go next time. Next week I’ll be introducing you to palette knives and there will be a video tutorial for a new painting technique.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon, for more Adventures in Acrylics.

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post a great little tutorial for making Book ties. I’ve been making these for years and they are really handy. You can use them for book marks, for holding your pages down while you sketch outdoors and make them as functional or fancy as you like. Great for last-minute gifts too.

Billie's Book Ties

Billie's Book Ties

You Will Need

  • Sketch book or whatever style and size of book you want to use your book tie with
  • Cotton cord or flat shoe lace. I found UN Waxed cord or lace gave a better hold. The waxed ones seem to slip to easily.
  • Beads if you wish to add decoration for a more elaborate design
  • PVA glue if using cord instead of shoe laces
  • Scissors

Method

This is definitely one of those tutorials best done on film! Trust me these are super easy to do, and really quick to make as well.

Options/Added Extras

Depending on the cord style you use, how about adding some more decorative beads to use the book ties as book marks and page holders.

Try them using flat shoe laces for your art journals, they are great for keeping your place, or keeping your book closed too.

Links

Shoe laces are widely available on the high street

Cotton cord I bought from Sanctuary Beads on Ebay 

This tutorial was meant to go up last week, but You Tube put the original soundtrack back on after I dumped it. All you could hear were the budgies and DH clucnking around :( Have to re upload it and then it takes 36 hours to ‘settle’ to quality in You Tube :( Hope I can resolve this or the online class is in jeopordy!

Best wishes and thanks for reading see you soon

Billie :)

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Tutorial; Colour Cards

Welcome Back,

A quick n easy tutorial today, but one I’ll hope you’ll find useful. When you start painting with watercolour paints, it can be a little tricky remembering which colour is where on your pallet just by sight alone. Once the colours dry, some of the darker ones look identical. Here’s how to make a paint chart, so you will know where your colours live and what they look like painted up.

Colour cards for watercolour paint

Colour cards for watercolour paint

You Will Need

  • A piece of card, just smaller than the paint box you want it to live in. Use the cardstock that you paint on most regularly.
  • A pen, that will not be affected by moisture, but will write on your cardstock of choice.
  • Ruler and pencil
  • Paint box of your choice
  • Brush and water

Method

  • Start by ruling your cardstock into squares to match the layout of the paint box, you need a smaller square for the paint patch and a larger one next to it to write the colour. My paint box has three rows of paint so I need six rows of squares.
  • Paint one square on your card, for each of your paint colours
  • Next to each painted square, write the name of the colour that was painted there.

If you travel with your paint box, you might also want to write your contact details on the back of the card, so that if you were to loose your box, it could be returned to you ;)

Colour cards for watercolour paint; in use

Colour cards for watercolour paint; in use

Options

Help, I don’t know the names of the colours in my paint box! Now What?

If you have a Winsor and Newton paint box and your paints are in removable pans, carefully remove the pan from the paint box and look at the side of the little pan. In more recent years, the names of the colours have been scanned onto the pans.Handy eh! :)

If your paints are older or from another brand, try checking the manufacturers websites for their colour charts, they are often available as PDFs. Compare your painted squares to the colours on the charts and you should have a good idea of which colours you have.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will give it a go, call me sad but I do have a paint chart in each of my paint boxes. I never remember the names of the darker colours or the exact locations of colours, even though they are in the same places in the box. It’s really helpful to have a little card, so when you need to add a little dash of a particular colour you have a quick and easy reference point to check back to.

Links

Check out the Art tab at the top of the blog, beneath it you will find listings of the main manufacturers of art supplies.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; The Complete Drawing Course for Beginners DVD.

Ronald swanwick's Complete Drawing Course for Beginners; DVD

Ronald Swanwick's Complete Drawing Course for Beginners; DVD

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Teaching Art
  • Item number RSNDN
  • RRP at time of writing: £40.84 SAA members price £20.40

Reason For Buying

For years I’ve drawn - badly! I have bought many books whose titles sugesteded they would teach you all you needed to know about drawing..then didn’t. That said they were for complete beginners, then expected prior knowledge, which as a beginner I didn’t have. I wanted to sort out perspective and the fact this course if for beginners and DVD was ideal as I am a very visual learner and sounded perfect.

Pros/Cons

Pros

The title is true, you need no prior knowledge of the subject. It really does take you from the very beginning and expects no prior knowledge of the subject.

Ronald’s descriptions are very clear. He explains things as he draws, which really helps you learn and understand the concepts.

Perspective instruction that makes sense! Theres a first!

Planning and Proportion is a superb section and helps you plan where on the page to start drawing so your main image doesn’t either fall off the page, or get squashed into a corner

Instruction on measuring helps things stay the correct size

Wide range of artistic subjects covered. People, buildings, scenes, landscape, flowers and still life are all covered.

Cons

In fairness, my copy was filmed in 2005 and the only issue I have is really a niggle. My version was filmed in 4:3 aspect ratio, which comes out odd, when viewed on widescreen tv. You may need to alter your tv screen setting to prevent the picture being stretched and squashed on todays larger TVs.

The item number I have included is for the latest version listed on the SAA website, it has been re-launched so it may be that they have solved this issue on the newer versions.

Build Quality

Excellent! Lighting, sound, and camera work are all spot on and really enhance the great content. You can easily see what is being drawn over the artists shoulder, and the picture in picture in places helps you see what is on the page and the original item at the same time. You can navigate by chapter so if you are reviewing a particular technique you can skip right to the section you want.

Value for Money

Excellent. The run time is 268 minutes and the content is superb. One to one tuition, in your own home as many times as you like for £40.84 is well worth it. If you become a member of the SAA you can save even more and have this delivered without P&P charges for just £20.40.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, its fantastic. If you would love to learn to draw and have never got on so well, or would like to improve particular areas of your drawing, this is for you. A great drawing partner for newbies as well as more experienced artists looking to brush up their skills.

Summing up

I’m VERY sceptical of products claiming to be ‘The Complete’ or ‘The Bible of.’ as many of them often aren’t and you end up feeling let down and disappointed.

This course lives up to its name very well. It is perfect for someone who has never drawn before and for someone like me who has drawn but struggled to achieve anything they liked as a result. This truly is the BEST drawing DVD I’ve ever bought and I highly recommend it to everyone.

If your New Years Resolution was to learn to draw, this would be a perfect companion for you.

Links

Ronald Swanwick

Excerpt from DVD, from The Painting and Drawing Channel

SAA. The Society for All Artists is a great online community and mail order art supply store. They have a wide range of art materials and the best selection of books and DVDs to help you achieve your artistic goals. members get discounted prices, and free P&P as well as many more benefits. I’ve been a member for years and highly recommend them if you are regularly buying art supplies or looking for tuition.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

For those of you who like to make New Years Resolutions, and those like me with bad memories. Perhaps you want a quick n easy way to remind you when birthdays are coming up. A short tutorial today, that is quick n simple to do but should help you to remember the birthdays of those you cherish.

Birthday List with Serif Craft Artist

Birthday List with Serif Craft Artist

You Will Need

  • Computer
  • Serif Craft Artist
  • Digikit: Season of Giving
  • 160 gsm card stock
  • Printer

Method

  • Open Craft Artist Program
  • Go to Blank Projects and select your paper size, I wanted A6 so I went to the custom section and typed in the dimensions there.
  • From the digikits choose: Season of Giving
  • Add the ‘Gift log’ from the embellishment section of that kit, by doing a single click onto it, you could add the whole digi kit if you wish or just the specific items you want. Also add a material in the colour of your choice.

You will now see a blank page on the work area of Craft Artist, this is where you put the items you want to print. On the left of your screen, the items you added from your digikit will be in the tabbed sections marked; Backgrounds, embellishments etc.

  • Drag the gift log picture from the embellishments tab area, on the left, onto your blank page. As you ‘drop’ the embellishment will stay on your page, you can move it around, or resize it, till it is where you would like it to appear.
  • Next go to the materials section and bring over a piece of material. Click on the SCISSOR tool, then choose PUNCHES and the square punch to cut a narrow strip from the material. Place the strip of material over the words Gift Log and drag on the corners of the piece of material until it fits the area you want.
  • Go to the TEXT tool at the top of the page, click it once, then click on your page, this activates the tool. If you go back to the top of the screen you can select from any font on your computer. Type the words ‘Birthday list’ on top of you material. When the text is selected like this, you can also drag the corners of the box around it, to resize the text larger or smaller. Move the text to where you would like it on the page by dragging it there using your mouse.
  • Click save and then print onto your chosen cardstock.

You can create this project any size. The original is for you to list all the birthdays on one page. If you have lots of people to buy for, an alternative would be to make a separate page for each month. Like this one.

Birthday List with Serif Craft Artist.

Birthday List with Serif Craft Artist.

Hope you can follow this tutorial ok and I’d love to see what you make, do leave me a link to your projects with your comments. If I can work out how to add pictures from screenshots, I’ll try to share more complex tutorials with Craft Artist.

Links

I highly recomend the Craft Artist Professional Program and the Photo Project software too. If you haven’t got the Craft Artist software yet, get in touch with Serif as I believe the PhotoProjects programe includes Craft Artist Professional and gives you even more tools.

There will be more projects from me using these programs, so if you want to join in, rush over to Daisy Trail and get some software and digi kits ;)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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