Thursday, 24 November 2016

Oops! Inktense Part 3!

I've been teaching drawing and colouring with Inktense pencils this week. Every time I do, I am reminded that these are such a lovely product. I just love 'em!

They are so easy and effective to use with just a few top tips to make the effects extra special.

It reminded me that back in March I added two tutorials on this blog for using them and promised a third one. Life got so busy and I forgot to do it.

Part 3 was going to be about using these amazing, versatile pencils on fabric. Here it is...

It is a little known feature of Derwent Inktense pencils that when they are dry they become permanent. This makes them fab to use to colour fabric. 

Some artists use Fabric Medium to wet the pencils and it is great to experiment with this and see if it gives extra fastness but I have always just used water to fix mine.

The colours are also translucent which means you can layer them. This means that you can keep adding colour and blending it to make lovely watercolur effects.

Step one: I used a vintage doily and drew one of my  little crazy birds onto it. I probably used a 0.2 size Pigma Micron pen for this because it is permanent and can draw fine detail without the nib being ruined on the textured fabric, if it is used carefully.

I will have some workshops coming up soon,  in 2017 on Whimsical Illustration

Let me know if you are interested in these because lots of people have been asking about these and I think places may go quite quickly.

I then embroidered over the lines and details using 21st Century Yarns hand dyed thread. Then it was time to play with the pencils!

I drew around the embroidered contours on the doily with the pencils. I used 2 colours because I love the way they mix to give a blended watercolour effect. Here is a closer look.
Click on the photos to get a larger and closer look.

Then I added the water. Here is the most important bit......
This gives you much more control over the dissolving the pigment and spreads it only as far as you want it to go.
As soon as the area you have been working on is dry, it is fixed and you can add more colour if you like.

The area on the right of the photo above shows the effect with the water added.

I will probably leave it like this now. Sometimes, you just need a little bit of colour to zizz up a thingy! Finished!

These would be fabulous to decorate one of the pages in a 

Fabric Book. 

Workshop coming up in February for making these and I will probably include this technique in that action packed day.

Have a go! I'd love to know if you do and what you think.

PS. Try colouring on Satin ribbons and on threads too.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Workshop details for Chesham at last!

11th February:  Mixed Media Fabric Art books. £65

Using hand painted Calico and mixed media we will make a handmade fabric book with textile pages and pockets. There may be opportunities to continue learning additional techniques throughout the year to add to your skills and the beauty of your book.

11th March: Scrap Stitching £65

We will use hand embroidery techniques with treasured scraps of textiles, silk and vintage embellishments to make a little picture with exquisite details. Later in the year, in June, there will be a chance to learn a different set of techniques with rust dyed fabrics.

8th April: Blanket Books £65

We will use vintage wool blankets, wool fibre and hand embroidery to make Folk Art inspired treasure books.

13th May: Rust! £65

We will use some fantastic rusty resources to learn how to make rust dyed fabric. You will be able to take these home to be used in a future textile project. We will also learn how to make an embroidered panel using previously rust dyed fabrics from my personal collection.

10th June: Scrap Stitch 2. £65

We will use precious scraps of vintage fabrics and previously rust dyed fabrics with hand embroidery to make an exquisite textile panel.

8th July: Folk Art Needle felted and hand embroidered picture. £65

We will needle felt and embroider a Folk Art inspired picture onto vintage wool blanket using merino wool fibre and hand dyed, silk and wool threads.

13th and 14th October: 2 Day workshop. Altered Books. £150

This is a 2 day workshop which will introduce the subject of Altered Books from scratch and advance into adding doors with real hinges, niches and decorative 3D elements. The 2 days are packed full of mixed media materials and techniques. You will leave with lots of ideas to continue your adventures with Altered Books.

To book a place please email Paula at:

Saturday, 12 November 2016

A time for gathering

Autumn is such a beautiful time isn't it? 

I really want to capture it; the astonishing changes in colour, the crisp chilled air. Artists have always tried to capture the colours and feelings of the season.

For me, I also want to capture the textures. Crunching through the leaves, the rustling of the trees...

When I was a little girl I used to try saving the beautifully colourful leaves or sticking them in a scrapbook but they always fell apart or continued drying till they became brown and brittle.

I know how to do it now!

You need to gather the leaves before they are brittle. At the beginning, when they have lots of colour and are still flexible is the perfect time to add them to our sketchbooks and preserve them for a long, long time. These are about 6 years old and they are in one of my sketchbooks that have been looked at by hundreds of people.

Here is how to do it. PVA glue! also known as White Glue.

This is an adhesive that is made acrylic. A kind of plastic and if we coat our leaves well enough it encases them and will stop them deteriorating. 

These pieces of Bracken Fern were picked while they were still flexible. On a piece of non stick paper I coated the back and front with the glue making sure I coated every little nook and cranny.

I painted my sketchbook page with a base colour and when it was dry, coated it with PVA glue and laid the fern onto it. I added more glue and pressed it into the fern so it becomes fully embedded.

When it is fully dry you can add colour by watering down paints and trickling them between the spaces in the leaves.

Now you can capture a little piece of Autumn colour for yourself. Go out for a lovely walk and see what beautifully shaped leaves you can find.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Felt! I've missed you!

I've had such a lovely time this weekend making and embroidering on Handmade felt. I ferreted around to find as many lovely textured bits to add to the layers and found little scraps of silk organza, recycled sari fibre, hand dyed scrim, and silk throwsters waste.

Look what happened! Felt is magic!

I embroidered it with number 5 perle WonderFil Eleganza threads. They are variegated colours and matched my felt so well. A few people have asked about the background under the felt. Its a page in my sketchbook where I've been playing with weathered and worn textures.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Fish Talk!

Its been so lovely to have a day to myself just getting back in touch with my pen!

I love trying different media and get so excited about combining them but sometimes the simplicity of just a pen and paper and time to doodle are are one of life's little luxuries.

I can't get enough of looking at Fish and trying to capture their lovely sleek scales and the infinite forms of their shapes and colours. The more you look, the more you see all kinds of repeating patterns and the more we observe the details the better we get at drawing. 

The section below shows the repeating patterns and the lines that give the fish its structure and shading. This is the fish before I cut it out.

The collaged page is in my Fishy Sketchbook. A whole book of fishy moments! It's good to return to it when I need a fishy fix!

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Moon Child

We have had some beautiful Summer evenings lately here in the UK. Summer has arrived at last and at the end of the day when everything is quiet even our rather scruffy garden looks so lovely in the moonlight! 

There is usually a soft breeze which sways the branches of the trees and the shamefully overgrown grass and the large golden Harvest Moon makes everything looks magical.

I wanted to capture the way that the moonlight shines in cool, silvery slivers on everything it touches, only just highlighting the textures of nature and making us imagine the shapes still in shadow.

I'm not very good at drawing faces. I usually avoid them and draw something else instead. But as I usually encourage my students to be fearless I thought I'd take my own advice and try painting a moonlit face on a black background.

I started with a wash of black acrylic on watercolour paper followed by a wash of metallic gold and bronze to give a bit of shimmer.

Then I painted the face with a wash of thinned white. I wanted the darkness to provide the shadows. The rest of the paper was filled with plant shapes in the same wash of white. The brush still had a bit of gold on it so there are yellowy hints in there too.

I then had a lovely time back in my comfort zone, with my trusty white pen, doodling in all the moonlit highlights. 

I'm quite pleased with it! I like the way the gold peeks through the white wash to give it some depth and just a little bit of shimmer.

Here is a close up of the eye so you can get a better look at the layers. 

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Amazing Rust!

Just a quickie look at today's rust. I am so pleased with these. They are so clearly printed that it looks like the rusty washers are still on the surface.

On thick cartridge paper. 

On thick cartridge paper. It looks so like the metal.

On cartridge paper with organza and modern cotton lace.

Cartridge paper again.

On a vintage hankie with a lace edging.

On fine linen scrim and vintage lace. So fabulously crunchy!
On cotton in the background.