Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

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If you have decided to try acrylic paint for the first time, gone to the art store to purchase some paint, brushes etc and been bewildered by the choice, this book is for you. If you were too embarrassed to ask for help in the store, this book is for you. I started an art journal in May 2009, and soon discovered that layering water colour paint, or water soluble wax crayons, didn’t really work. I had seen people using Liquid acrylics and had some of my fathers Cryla paint to try, but all the gels and mediums were a mystery. I wanted a book that would explain the different kinds of acrylic paint, what the differences were and what I could paint on. This book did just that. Today I will be reviewing the following book

The New Acrylics;

Complete Guide to the New Generation for  Acrylic Paints

by Rheni Tauchid


Rheni Tauchid's Excellent book

Published by Watson-Guuptill Publications

ISBN 0-8230-3159-4


Chapter 1; The language of Acrylics

Here you are introduced to just what acrylic paint is. The differences between the very fluid acrylics through to the heavy body (thick) acrylic paint. There is an explanation of the difference between student and artist grade paint.


Chapter 2; Materials and Equipment

The most comprehensive description of the different surfaces you can paint on to and how to prepare them. The different kinds of implement that you could use to paint with.


Chapter 3; About Colour

Here you will find descriptions about colours and the differences between various pigments, both natural and synthetic. This is a  kind of Features and Benefits description of different colour groups. If the descriptions on the labeling of paint tube, jars bewilders you, there is an excellent description of what the various terms mean. Metallic, iridescent and other unique colours are also described.

Chapter 4; Acrylic Mediums

 This is one of my favorite chapters in the book. As a total novice to acrylics, mediums were a mystery, they look the same in pots, they sound similar in their names. Before this book I had written off experiment with mediums, as too costly. This chapter starts with a review of the main groups of mediums and uses pictures to compare different mediums, to various food stuffs; honey, icing, cream. Things that most people can relate too…inspired! After this there are dedicated sections on each of the mediums, showing applications for which each medium is suited. A perfect glossary to refer to, for future projects. No more blind date buying of mediums, just to see what they do.

Chapter 5; Basic Applications

This chapter has a description of techniques –  not a step by step but enough information for you to understand techniques; under painting, glazing etc and their effects on colours. How you apply them to your own creativity, is still wide open. This is a very clever book, at no point does the author attempting to ‘push’ the reader into any particular style. It is so refreshing to read this style of work, plenty of inspiration, without feeling forced into a particular style of working.

Chapter 6; Alternative Approaches

Techniques a plenty! Here is where there are some excellent step by step tutorials. Interestingly, even here the tutorials are just for a specific technique – still not trying to ‘tell’ the reader where these ‘should’ be used. You might expect me to want to be told where to apply these techniques, since I’m a total beginner but everyone has their own opinion about what art is to them, so this is actually perfect. I had so many ideas while reading this book, about how I could use the paints/mediums and techniques. Maybe if the book had tried to ‘tell’ me where I should be using them, I  might not try my own ideas and either think my way was wrong or just follow a particular project and not experiment.


There is a generous section on using acrylics for printing. Some great ideas to try, 3D work and mixed media are also covered.

Chapter 7; Decorative Objects

 A selection of step by step projects, using the techniques described in the earlier sections of the book.


Summing Up

What I love about this book, is that it gives you a comprehensive description of the different paints and what they do, without pushing you toward any particular style of painting. Other art books want to teach me how to use acrylics to look like watercolours or to paint in the oil painting style. This book could have been called ‘The Dictionary of Acrylics’ or ‘All the things you’ve always wanted to ask about acrylic paint, but were afraid to ask.’ If you are passionate about colour you will love this book, the author is clearly passionate about the subject and her style of writing is inspiring and engaging as well as informative.


This book is a perfect reference guide for the new painter, and for more established artists who want to try some new mediums or techniques. There is some superb artwork in the book and each new page, just makes you go WOW. I defy anyone to look through this book and not be desperate to get to their paint after reading it.


I started reading this book knowing NOTHING about acrylics. Intimidated by the choices of paint available and not knowing what kinds of products to purchase. I did have a clear idea of how I wanted a finished piece to look but needed advice on what products would be suitable to achieve this. This is the most inspiring book on art I’ve ever bought. I have learnt which paint to buy to get the effects I’m looking for, which mediums would be suitable and how to use them. I am now very excited about all the amazing things that acrylic paint can do. I now can’t wait to get some paint and start experimenting.  My fear of painting has, at least in part, been replaced by excitement about all the possibilities of what can be achieved with acrylics.


This is a fantastic book, thank you Rheni for the wealth of information packed into this book and for allowing your reader space, to use the materials and technique’s in their own way. This is a MUST have book for anyone interested in acrylics, a fantastic reference  and research book for all your acrylic questions. Would I buy it again? Definitely and I’ve recommended it to all my friends too.



Here is a link to the book on Amazon

This is Rheni Tauchid’s Blog


Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂


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Welcome Back

As some of you will know, I am a regular member of the Book Arts Forum. Today’s post includes pictures of the book I created for their swap for June 2009.

Front Cover of Stampboard Book

Front Cover of Stampboard Book

 This book is 2 x 2″ and incorporates coptic binding

Detail of the coptic stitching

Detail of the coptic stitching

The back cover

The back cover

Inside the Stampboard book

Inside the Stampboard book

The book is held closed with a ribbon closure

The book is held closed with a ribbon closure

Stamps were by Elusive Images and are available from Graphicus I really enjoyed making this book, hope you like the pictures.

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 following book;

Acrylic Artist’s Colour Mixing Bible by Ian Sidaway

The book is published by Search Press and the ISBN number is 1-84448-137-9

I have just started to use a set of Cryla acrylic paints and wanted to know how to mix colours effectively. The sub title of the book is; A visual guide to more than 2500 mixes and glaze effects. So this looked like a good place to start.If you have never used acrylic paint, or are considering trying it, then this is a very good book to buy before you buy your paint etc. There are sections covering Materials and equipment, techniques, colour theory and the rest of the book is full of pictures of colours of paint and how they mix with a ‘core pallet’ of colours.

Materials and Equipment

This section covers the nature of acrylic paint and what to expect when you use it for the first time. There are a variety of different kinds of acrylic paint which are covered at the very beginning. There are also all kinds of different additives that you can mix with your paint, all of which achieve different finishes, these are also discussed in this section. There are various ‘tools’ you can use to apply your paint, not just brushes, the book describes which work best with the particular types of acrylic paint. Different kinds of mixing pallet and easels are also discussed. The section ends with a description of the various supports (surfaces) onto which you can apply your paint, you don’t have to use paper or canvas, the book describes painting on to wood and how to prepare your chosen painting surface for the paint.


The great thing about this section, is that it not only describes a whole range of different techniques but it also shows which kind of paint it is best to start with, to achieve a given effect. As I say, perfect if you haven’t yet bought paints, as by looking through the techniques sections, you can see what kind of styles you prefer and select the appropriate choice of paint.


Understanding Colour

This section is dedicated to colour theory, it is comprehensive and although I have to say I still don’t understand it, it is a chapter to study as it will be very useful. The chapter ends with an introduction to the core palette of twelve colours that are used in the colour mixes, for the rest of the book. 


The Colour Mixing Directory

The rest of the book is full of a very comprehensive range of colour mixes. Recipes of how the core palette of twelve colours, mix with a range of other colours. This is excellent, if you have ever stood in front of a shop display of tubes of paint and been bewildered. You get to have a good look at lots of colours and see which appeals to you, in the comfort of your own home.

  • Each base colour is given four pages.
  • At the very top of the pages, the original colour is show pure, and it lightens as it goes across the page.
  • There are six panel’s of colour on each page, these show the colour to which the page is dedicated, mixed with each of the core pallet colours in turn, in various different combinations.
  • The original colour is also shown mixed with these colours and with white added or water added. So however you use your acrylic paint you will get an idea of the results you can expect to get when mixing.


Summing Up

I am very pleased with this book, it is wire bound so lays flat when it is open, very handy if you are referencing it whilst mixing colours 😉 It is useful to see a whole range of different colours, to help you choose your own palette for the first time. The section about the difference between the different kinds of acrylic paint and what techniques can be achieved with them, was very helpful. The brush/tool section, is great for selecting the correct tool for the kind of paint you want to use.

My one personal downside of this book, was that I was really hoping to be able to be able to purchase the palette mentioned at the start of the book. This article was written in June 2009 and at the time this is published some of the colours from the core pallet in the book, are not available in my choice of acrylic paint (Cryla). In fairness to Daler Rowney their Cryla range is due to expand in October 2009, so I may well wait until then to make my final choice of which paint to buy. I am also considerering Golden fluid acrylics, so my options are still open.

Another book I would like to get and after only a brief look through, would also recommend for anyone starting out with acrylic paint is; The Acrylic Artist’s Bible; The Essential Reference for the Practicing Artist by Marilyn Scott. Marilyn’s book is full of techniques and a good place to start if you are new to the medium, like me.


Here is a link to Amazon for the books mentioned in this article, as there are search inside options available for both books.

Acrylic Artist’s Colour Mixing Bible by Ian Sidaway

The Acrylic Artist’s Bible; The Essential Reference for the Practicing Artist by Marilyn Scott


Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

If you love paper you will love this book!!!! Here is my review of the paper back edition

Over 40 Exquisite Paper Folding Projects

Paper Fold It by Steve and Meguimi Biddle

Published by David & Charles www.davidandcharles.co.uk

ISBN 13;978-0-7153-2585-8

ISBN 10:0-71553-2585-X

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paper-Fold-Exquisite-Folding-Projects/dp/071532585X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226072228&sr=8-1

As the title suggests this book shows you many projects created using assorted paper folding techniques.  There is an introduction to the various types of paper available and the tools you will need for the projects shown in the book.

The book takes you through three projects in each of the following paper crafts;

Teabag folding


Iris Folding


Tissue Folding

Modular Folding

I bought this book on impulse after a quick flick through it. I almost put it back as Iris folding just isn’t my thing, I don’t have the patience for it. Having had some time with it, I am now so glad I decided to buy this book. It is a very inspiring book, once you have created some of the projects you are bound to come up with new ways of using the folds to create all kinds of gifts and embellishments.

As well as the projects there is an excellent reference section at the back with details of suppliers around the world, of paper societies and also templates for some of the projects in the book.

This would make an excellent gift for anyone who loves paper. It is an excellent introduction the the various paper crafts mentioned above with enough information to encourage and inspire without overwhelming the reader. The projects are shown step by step with plenty of photos and drawings to enable everyone to get started really easily. I definitely recommend this book to everyone interested in trying new techniques with paper crafts.

Best wishes and thank for reading


Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

The book I am reviewing today is;

Compendium of Celtic Crafts by Judy Balchin, Courtney Davis, Vivien Lunniss and Suzen Millodot

Compendium of Celtic Crafts

Published by Search Press; www.searchpress.com

ISBN 13 978-1-84448-355-6

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Compendium-Celtic-Crafts-Courtney-Davis/dp/184448355X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226072783&sr=8-2


Anyone who has a keen interest in Celtic artwork will recognise the names of the authors above. This book appears to be a blending together of several sections from other books brought together in one publication. If you have other books on the subject by these authors you would be advised to see this book before you purchase. I have at least one of the individual books by Judi Balchin on Celtic glass painting but still bought this book as it was nice to have the information all in one place and the jewellery section alone was worth the price.

The topics covered in this book are;

  • Celtic Illumination
  • Celtic Calligraphy
  • Celtic Knotwork Jewellry
  • Glass Painting
  • Paper Crafts

Each of these sections is broken into four with excellent information for how to create your own knotwork, Zoomorphic designs and jewellery following the knotwork patterns. There are templates for the glass painting and plenty of useful examples of all the subjects shown and the book is in full colour.


If you have never bought a Celtic themed art book this is a great introduction to the varied styles that were used at the time. Definitely worth buying.



Courtney Davis; http://www.celtic-art.com/

Judy Balchin; http://www.judybalchin.co.uk/indexframeset.htm


Best wishes and thanks for reading


Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

Thanks to a heads up from Glenda over on http://artylicious.wordpress.com/I discovered that Craft Stamper Magazine was having a makeover. I had pretty much given up buying craft magazines a year ago as most of them were aimed solely at beginners, this has a place, but since the demise of Simply Stamping Craft Stamper magazine was the only thing worth buying. I bought Craft Stamper occasionally, only as I am on a tight budget and I had got a bit board since it was £3.95 and I’d read it in fifteen minutes 😦  So I was very interested to see what the new look would do to the magazine.



  • Lots of new designers
  • So many projects, alongside the main projects which are described step by step there are also many finished pieces with enough information to enable you to make it or a similar card etc.
  • Less space given over to advertising
  • Arty projects, nice detailed inky projects aimed at the more advanced crafters
  • On trend projects. Books and inky stuff are really popular just now and there were plenty of inspirational things to make in this issue.


It is good to see they have kept the best bits of the original magazine

  • Hot new products
  • Details of what products were used in projects and where to buy them
  • ATC Swap
  • Competitions
  • Special Offers
  • Free cover stamp


What I do like is that rather than a quick read, this is now something that every time I go back to it, I find something new that I didn’t see the first time through. Much better value for money and definitely one I’ll be buying again.

If the publishers happen to read this ‘WELL DONE, this make over is a breath of fresh air to the magazine, you have taken the projects to the next level. Have my favorite designers and some great new ones and I love the number and complexity of the projects in the new magazine. It is refreshing to see a magazine aimed at the more seasoned crafter.



Here is a link to the magazine’s preview on-line and to where you can subscribe;


http://www.craftstamper.com/extra/pageflip/CS/99/ This is the preview page. (This link will be time limited to preview the current issue of the magazine. If you read this after the end of July 2008 it may no longer work).

Thanks for reading and see you next time

Billie 🙂

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Welcome Back

Since we dedicated last week to tutorials on paper coloring techniques I thought this would be a good time to do the review on this excellent book;

Paper Transformed A Handbook of Surface- Design Recipes and Creative Paper Projects by Julia Andrus


This book is wonderful and full of inspiration. You will find a selection of techniques using all manner of supplies, to transform your paper from plain to just plain beautiful. Here are some of the projects covered in the book;

  • Marbling
  • Watercolours
  • Paste Paper
  • Pastels
  • Original Designer Papers
  • Metal Look-Alikes
  • Special Paper Treatments
  • Alcohol Inks
  • Beeswax
  • Dry Embossing
  • Stamping Techniques
  • Stippling, Spionging and Stenciling
  • Paper Finishews
  • Aging Techniques
  • Dying and staining
  • Sparkling Paper Projects


 This book is suitable to paper crafters of all levels, the materials listed in the book are widely available either from craft suppliers or art stores. If you have enjoyed the type of projects I covered last week then you will love this book. This is the sort of book that will always be on your worktop, there is just so much that you will want to try. The book has finished examples and lists materials and instructions for all the techniques it covers. It also has a recipe for Cooked Cornstarch paste so if you would like to try paste paper there is help here. Julia designed the Perfect Pearls range of pigment powders and these feature heavily in the book.


To give you just a taste of the sorts of things covered in the book here are a few links;

 http://www.juliaandrus.com/ This is Julia’s website

http://uk.youtube.com/user/JuliaAndrusDotCom  This is Julia on You Tube

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=y_hIllTPG-A&feature=related The video Julia and Suze Weineburg have produced and put on You Tube. I think it is this one that shows the book???

Do watch this video it has a wonderful technique http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VDz1o42QVn0


If you deserve a treat by yourself this book, if you know a fellow artist or crafter who deserves a treat by them this book too.


Best wishes and thanks for reading

Billie 🙂

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