Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Gouache Returns!!

Last night I got my gouache paints out of the lovely tin where they've lain undisturbed for about 6 months and actually used them. I roughly painted in Tiger's body, then scanned him in and overlaid the same black sections and line as Monday's Tiger. Check it:

The paint:

With the overlay:

And Monday's entirely digital painting for comparison:


This makes me VERY HAPPY. I've been so disinclined to use the gouache paints in recent years because the results are not tidy enough for my liking (anal alert), but if I can do lots of simple, textured areas, scan them in and add the detail digitally with the Wacom pen, then I think I've found a new fave way of working. The digital gouache effect isn't as nice as the digital watercolour, so I think this way round would be a good middle road. I can keep it fairly textured and random with the paint, then tidy it all up afterwards in Photoshop like the Virgo I am. Woo!

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Treasure from Oxfam

I picked up this intriguing children's book in the Oxfam Bookshop a couple of weeks ago. From the cover, it appears to be a teenage self-help title, but actually, it's a poem. Not a collection of several poems, just the one. The interior illustrations are totally different and much more interesting in my view:








I love that black-line-with-one-colour style; so 60s. The last page is my favourite; the legs along the top are just fab.

It's written and illustrated by Rosalind Welcher, who sounds like a right go-getter from the back cover blurb (writer, illustrator, designer, printmaker, cook, ardent sailor, woodland-owner), and first published in 1967. It's a lovely little book and so unlike anything that would be published today.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Home Printing

So, over Friday and Saturday I made my screen and this morning I did eight prints from it:







My first attempt at a home-made screen is a long way from perfect, but I'm so glad I had a go as I've learned loads in the process. I think I'll leave anything with more than one colour (or two very simple colours) and lots of detail for the print studio and a photo stencil. But anything simple and/or blocky I can easily do at home. I think my screen block had dried out a bit too much as it was really thick and took ages to dry, which made washing out the drawing fluid really hard, so I need to thin that gubbins out a bit before using it again, or just get a new tin. I also don't think I need to flood the screen between prints as it was just too much ink, resulting in it getting underneath the screen in places.

But these are a good starting point. I may play about with cutting areas out and layering embroidery or fabrics behind as I planned to do with my princess prints. (Yep, only managed to plan two so far; knew I would.)

The most exciting thing of all, though, is that the home-made printing table works AWESOMELY and I am very glad to have it. Cheers muchly to Boyfriend again.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

A Totally Digital Mary


So, after having so much fun with the borrowed Wacom, I went and bought my own. It's even better; so fast and sexy, and it came with loads of free software that I'm enjoying playing about with this evening. I'm hoping this is going to make the inking-up/outlining stage of my work so much quicker. Woo!

 I've also just cleaned all the excess screen block off my screen in readiness for printing at some point soon, using the shower with my finger stuck down the pipe to increase the water pressure. It took ages and I am now a) soaking wet from the waist down and b) totally deaf.

Friday, 25 June 2010

A Bit More of a WIP




Shocking, I know, but the home screenprinting gubbins is getting its first airing. I'll finish making the screen tomorrow and then there'll be no stopping me!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Second Go With a Wacom

Thank you so much to all those who have offered Wacom advice; I'm going to be taking you all up on it over the next few weeks! I went to bed last night with mind buzzing in a "Hmm, not sure about this, think it's going to make things harder not easier" kind of way, but tonight I'm more positive. I decided to try tracing my Mary, Mary rough from the other day (as that's pretty much the kind of thing I want to do with it, anyway, in the hope that it'll cut out the print-out-rough-ink-it-over-scan-it-back-in middle man). Here are the results:

The line:

And quickly coloured in:

I'm getting the hang of it, I think. There's so much to play with, like pen pressure and tilt and all sorts. It's making my finger hurt a bit at the moment from pressing down so hard to get variations in the line! But I'm persevering.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

First Go With a Wacom


Hmmm. Going to need a WHOLE lot more practice with this baby, currently on loan from Lovely Jo. It's harder than it looks. By about a million miles. Any advice for a tablet virgin from you oh-so-experienced artists out there?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Last Dress - For Now!

Boyfriend and I had the day off today, so I thought I'd try to look purty as we went out and about and so donned the new red polka dot dress:




It's the same pattern as the grey-with-blue-roses, so it needs the belt. I HEART red and purple together.

In other news, I've (belatedly) discovered the Heal Tool in Photoshop. Check this:

Straight out of the camera:


After adjusting the Curves, altering the Contrast and using the Heal Tool on my under eye shadows and the odd blemish:


Instant ten hours sleep; I need never rest again. Just goes to show you what magazines must do to every picture, and mine is just a clumsy first attempt. Crazy.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Mermaid Mug

Happy Birthday, Eldest Sister, 26 today! After going to see Green Day at Wembley with Middle Sister last night, she's off bright and early to Hampton Court Palace today. Have a good one, chuck.

I made a few things for her, including an iPhone case (which was demanded of me, actually) and a couple of pillow cases embroidered with a sea/fish/mermaid design. Guess what? Oh, did I forget to take any photos? Yep. They are pressies after all, so, naturally, I forgot. Will get Middle Sister to take some. Sigh.

But anyway, I do have some photos of the mug I sent her, but only because I had two printed and I have the other here! Good, old Vistaprint printed these up and the design is the same as the embroidery on the pillow cases:





Here's the only photo I have of the embroidery, a fish in progress:


Cool mug, though, huh? It came out really well; nice and clear and it washes excellently. I may get some more printed in other designs for the old crafty shops. I would definitely like to produce the mermaid design as an embroidery pattern to sell, that would be awesome. Got to get cracking on these craft shop ideas, but I'm always just missing a vital part of what I need to pull it off! Better get some supplies in ASAP.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

New Red Shoes

I haven't fancied a pair of Crocs for ages, but these babies just spoke to me.



I bought some really cheap red pumps a few weeks ago, and, although they're nice and all, they offer no support whatsoever and wearing them all day is a bit on the painful side. So, after the inevitable red vs yellow dilemma, I got these; they are uber comfy. New shoes = happy.

My horoscope for today said this:

A group with which you're affiliated with, probably mostly women with children, could meet today and, as a result, you're likely to grow closer to some of the others involved. Some stimulating conversations could take place, possibly involving new ideas for improving your home life. Letters or phone calls could also come from friends or family members, bringing news that you'll be glad to hear. In the evening: try out a new recipe!

This afternoon was spent at Stanmer Park for a lovely bit of alfresco knitting with the Laydees, and tonight I'm making spicy pork burgers, which I've never tried before. Weird, eh? Freaked me out, anyway! But I suppose horoscopes have to be right now and again if only because of the law of averages.

In other news, the cardi is coming along. I've nearly finished the second sleeve, then it's on to the last front part. Woo!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Polka Face

The last dress for now; still got one more polka-dotted creation to sew up but I'm a bit too obsessed with getting this cardi knitted and done to crack out the sewing machine!



With this one, I brought the waist line up by about 2 inches to make it into even more of an empire line dress. I like it a lot, but I did find the waist line tended to hoike up a bit during wear, but that could have been because I was carrying my bag around all day.

Sadly, there'll be no skirt made from the left over fabric as there is no left over fabric! I totally screwed up the top half of the dress and cut it, and the sleeves, on the wrong grain, meaning that when I put it on it wouldn't stretch and I couldn't breathe! Back to the cutting table with that. But it's a nice  outcome, I think.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

The balcony this afternoon:






Boyfriend and I hired a car this morning for a couple of hours and went to Rushfields to get a few pots and compost to finish this baby off. (And have lunch in their very nice cafe, of course.) All plants are in their final homes, now, although I have a few spaces for small pots which I may sow up with more herbs or salad leaves. You can't have enough of either.

I'm so chuffed with how the tom plants along the window have grown. One of them has a couple of flowers out already, so the tomatoes themselves won't be too far behind. Woo!




Another that has taken nine months or something. Rubbish. But they are done and they are awesome. The yarn was a birthday pressie and hand-dyed by the lovely Pie. The girl has patience, I tell ya. I'm now desperately trying to finish Boyf's cardi, which, surprise, surprise, I started over a year ago. It will get done! It will! I'll probably cast on a pair of socks to take on Wednesdays, though, as I'm self-sabotaging like that.