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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

New Daycraft Diaries and Journal!

I want to thank Mr. Foreal Lee of Tai Shing Diary Ltd for sending me some fantastic Daycraft Diaries and a Notebook to review.

I'm going to review each of these separately once I have the chance to run them through their paces, but I thought I'd give you a peek.

From top, going left to right: Executive Diary A5 size; Animaland Diary (elephant version), A6 size; and an Expresso Notebook A6 size.

There will be a giveaway!  Since there are two diaries (Dayplanner) and I prefer a smaller one that I can carry in my purse, I'm going to give away the Executive Diary.  I'll have used a few pages for the purposes of trying out the paper, but I'll try to make it pretty enough to add value.

Keep an eye out for the post.  I'm shooting to have the first review and starting the giveaway on Monday!

Meanwhile,  I want to mention how impressed I was with the packaging of these products.  The Executive Diary was bracketed with two sheets of thin cardboard.  The brad and loop were protected a foam cushion and another small piece of cardboard was inserted under the loop to protect the edges of the diary.  


The accompanying letter was printed on a nice sheet of Kraft paper that I'll use for one of my projects, as I will the shredded paper that was used to surround the books.


I also received a Daycraft 'Make my Day' 2013 Catalog, and I have to say, it's cool.  Kraft paper cover with embossed title, and pages that are sturdy enough for altering.  When I'm done drooling over the products, I'll be repurposing this catalog for an art journal!  

Nothing will go to waste, because I reuse the boxes too.

Out of the three products I received, one is elegant, one is adorable and one is fun and funky (a pre-stained notebook, lol).  You can tell that Daycraft has something for everyone.  

Don't take my word for it--head over to their website  and check out all the goodies.  And remember, those are Hong Kong dollars so the price will be different (cheaper in the U.S.  The rates vary day to day, but $129HK is approximately $16US).  

To make things even better Daycraft offers free International postage.



Links to Four New tangle patterns


I haven't had the chance to post much or surf too much the past few days, but I have kept track of any new tangle patterns I find.

If you haven't stumbled across them already:

Deelish by Stephanie Skelton 
Drobbles by Cindy Angiel 
Llilly by Ksenija Vojisavljevic
WGT by Emily Classon, CZT

Link: Custom cards and envelopes using Gelli Arts Mono Printing Plates

Custom cards and envelopes using Gelli Arts Mono Printing Plates-Video from Aug 25, 12 Make'n'take at Blockheads Paper Arts store.

Viva Las Vegastamps! Design Team Call!

Viva Las Vegastamps! Design Team Call!

I don't think I'll be trying out this term because of my mother's health but I can tell you it's lots of fun!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Link: t's BLOG CANDY time at The Craft Barn Blog



Head over to the The Craft Barn Blog for a chance to win their giveaway!

I'm going scarce again!

I've got a busy week coming up--you know, the chicken with its head cut off routine--so I'll be scarce online and artwise.

Except for Thursday.

I have a Viva Las Vegastamps! design team post coming up on Thursday, so please keep an eye out for that!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Geneviève Crabe's Weekly Zentangle Roundup

Geneviève Crabe's Weekly Zentangle Roundup

ABC Toys and Crafts going out of business. 60% off everything.

ABC Toys and Crafts going out of business.  60% off everything.

Tangle Refresher 32


Tangle Refresher 32 at Tanglepatterns.com

31 Insanely Easy And Clever DIY Projects


31 Insanely Easy And Clever DIY Projects

Sakura / Zentangle Teaser Video

Sakura / Zentangle Teaser Video

via Note Booker, Esq-Rhodia Unlimited Notebook review and giveaway

via Note Booker, Esq-Rhodia Unlimited Notebook review and giveaway

New tangle pattern Windy Mills


I had a few hours to draw, and for a change I didn't have a review or deadline to meet, lol.  I sort of went...but what do I do?

I decided I wanted to play with my gold, silver, and copper Sakura metallic gel pens on Plike, because the two are made for each other.  Plike paper has a smooth velvety finish and the gel pens just glide across it  You can get the ink to pool by pausing at the end of a stroke, leaving a nice round raised dot, that looks as though it has been embossed. 

A video by Patrick Gallagher showing how to draw freestyle Celtic knots had me wanting to play with the method (Judy West has drawn instructions for one at Creative Doodling), so I've got a couple of freestyle knots and a solomon knot in there, and of course my new tangle pattern Windy Mills is used for the border.

Scanning never does justice to the glimmer of gel pens, unfortunately.  

Windy Mills can easily be varied by adding more or doing fewer loops, or filling the interior with something besides crossed lines.  You could also fill the loops in with designs or color them solid.  The loops can be drawn at the same height on both sides or alternated for asymmetric look.

Although I've taken 3 steps for the first side to more clearly show what is happening, it will be easier to draw all three steps in one stroke, the way I've shown step 4..

Have fun!

Plike is available at the Gruppo Cordenons Website.  Sakura metallic gel pens can be found on Amazon.com or almost any arts, craft or stationery store.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Link to Aileen's Musings: Free Downloadable Word Sheet

Aileen's Musings: Free Downloadable Word Sheet

Blockheads Paper Arts-Stamps and more

Blockheads Paper Arts Brick & Mortar Store

Many of you may be aware of Blockheads Paper Arts online, with their wide range of unusual rubber stamps and crafting goods, so you can understand how pleased I was to see they opened a brick & mortar store here in my hometown of Portland, Oregon.

Once I discovered that the store has opened, I wasted no time before visiting.  I did very well ignoring the temptation to buy everything--we still have a few dollars left in our bank account, lol!

The store is very small, but there is a lovely selection of rubber stamps, and stamping goods.  Despite the store's size, there are make'n'takes--short crafting sessions about 20-25 minutes long.  Each week there is a different technique covered (see schedule below).  You use the store's  supplies and take home what you make.

Each Make'N'Take session costs $3, but if you spend $10 or more on the same day, it's free.  Make'N'Takes run Tues - Sat, starting at 01:30 pm and continuing at 1/2 hour intervals until 05:30 pm.

A friend and I attended a make'n'take yesterday, learning how to use Gelli Printing Plates to create a card background with a matching envelope.  I did some Zentangle-Inspired art on my piece afterward, so I can give the card to a friend who is moving to Hawaii.


If you're shopping for stamps in Portland, here's the place to go.  If you live too far away, check out
their online store.

Other links:
Blockheads Paper Arts Blog
Blockheads Paper Arts monthly blog candy

Make'n'Takes schedule

August 21-25: 
Gelli Plate - personalized matching cards and envelopes using acrylics and stamps
August 28-Sep 1:
Personalized cards and envelopes using CAS (clean and simple) techniques and stamping with markers
September 4-8: 
Embossing technique - TBD
September 11-15:
Stamping with ink – which ink to use when and why
September 18-21: 
Distressing techniques – choose one of 3 techniques to try
September 22: 
Special guest Stacey Dunning – TBD
September 25-29:
Memory glass pendants
October 2-6:
Goosebumps – what does this stuff do anyway?
October 9-12:
Recycle Me! Making layered cards using household paper products
October 13th: 
Special guest Helen from Art on a Lark
October 16-20:
Emboss Resist stamping technique


Link to pattern Twinkling Star

Twinkling Star pattern by Judy West.  Also, check out Judy's fantastic alphabet patterns at the  http://creativedoodlingwithjudy.blogspot.com/.

Link to new official tangle pattern IX

Tanglepatterns.com-official tangle pattern IX

New tangle pattern WW and Review of the Rad and Hungry Rad and Hungry STMT X PERU KIT



Included in the Stmt X Peru Kit: 
- A spiral-bound notebook filled with paper made with eucalyptus pulp. 
- An ‘Hecho en Perú’ drafting pencil with an emerald green paint job sportin’ a silver ferrule cap.- A red/blue combo proofing pencil. - A BONUS grid-lined notepad. “Block para calculos”? We know our calculus...
- A woven bracelet
- A real-life frogger illustration card

This is a review of different kind.  I didn't do a bunch of pictures, and I'm not going to discuss the quality of the paper, because it would beside the point.
And what. you may ask me, is Rad and Hungry?
Oh my.  Such a question.  It's a little bit lo-fi.  It's a little bit global. It's a little bit of something for those people marching to a different drum, But that drum is one we all hear.
From the Rad and Hungry home page-"Call it office supplies or a stationery kit. What it is – a world tour delivered to your door."
Make that a world tour in lo-fi office supplies.  Pencils and notebooks from countries around the world.  Not the fancy, quality stuff. The stuff you stop in at a little shop along your way because you need something to write on or write with.
And why would anyone buy such a thing?
That's where everyone has their own answer.  Perhaps they lived in a country once and want the memory.  Perhaps they like the theme of collecting such items from other countries. Or they might just like getting that notebook that looks a little different to add to the collection.
For me?  I like the idea that I'm getting something from everyday life from a place far away.  And, inevitably,when I get it, it feels familiar.
My favorite piece from the Peru kit was the Bitacora Block pad. 
We're in the process of selling my mother's home.  While digging through old, old stuff, I found an old tablet full of my sketches.  Now, the text on the cover was in English, and the paper was old, yellowed and torn.  Aside from that, the Bitacora Block is a dead ringer for that old tablet.  
Everything I'll draw in the Bitacora will bring back a memory of sunlit days spent sketching in the backyard of Mom's old house.  Pads like this aren't available where I live--maybe in some very small towns somewhere, but I doubt even that.
So I'm reminded--no matter how different a culture seems, no matter the language barrier, the distance and miles--there a deep down resemblance between us all. Everyone sees how the internet is connecting us.  We sort of miss the lo-fi connection unless we go looking.  
I said I wasn't going to post a lot of pictures in this review, but I 
I said I wasn't going to post pictures, but I did do a new tangle pattern.  I chose to use some of my new Zebra pens because they're darker than pencil (besides, you know I don't use pencil except to block out shapes!).

Hey! Lo-fi paper and lo-fi pens do a pretty good job together!
Cartin’ lo-fi goods through the streets of Lima – the real-life version of Frogger. Speedin’ cars, spitting alpacas, nothin’ gonna hold us back. ‘Cause we got RAHstrs to please and a whole lotta adventure to be had.
Our limited edition August 2012 Kit features ::
Every kit at Rad & Hungry comes with a story telling why the particular goods were chosen.  The blog  contains the highlights of every trip, along the way. Kits are available as single kits, Quarterly Subscription and Yearly Subscriptions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Surprise gift from Bonnie Jean Woolger

So life got away from me in June and July.  I wasnt' posting much, but I received some pretty cool stuff, some as prizes, some products for review and one surprise package from Bonnie Jean Woolger.

It was an awesome package and I'd been hoping to do something with part of it before posting about it, but time--that ever elusive element that you can't see, and can't touch, but that affects your day and life so much!--is getting away from me again, so I decided I'd show off the goodies she sent me.


I did a little research on the journals but couldn't find too much information.  The large spiral bound has a label declaring it to be a Kraft Jumbo (and I can't wait to do something with that Kraft cover!).  You can't really tell from the scan, but the $1.57 journal has a 3D cover that shows you bananas when you move it in the light.  It's an Andy Warhol that is lined on one side and blank on the other with light green tinted paper.

The paper in that stack are 'Due Date' slips for library books--fantastic for collage, etc. and did you see?  Textured CLAYBORD!!!!!  I love that stuff!  I'm trying to think of something marvelous to do with it.

So thank you Bonnie!  I'm sorry this took so long to post!  One of the reasons I hate commitments!  I always have to put them first instead of doing what takes my fancy--and my fancy is defnitely taken by these wonderful gifts!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Link to pattern Zixts

Cindy Angiel has posted the steps to her pattern Zixts.

Link to tutorial for mini Backpack Box

Scrap with Stacy-Mini Backpack Box

Icraft EMagazine with tutorials and projects!

Icraft EMagazine with tutorials and projects!

Link to Review & Giveaway: Palomino Blackwing Sketchbook

Giveaway of a Palomino Blackwing Sketchbook at  Notebook Stories

Review of the Tangle Book of Kells ebook

The Tangles of Kells
Yoga for Your Brain™ Inspiration Sketchbook #1
by Sandy Steen Bartholomew

Specs
PDF(electronic download) format only
30 pages, 16 sheets
56 tangle patterns (all new or new variations)

Content
Cover
Intro Page
9 pages of tangle pattern steps
3 pages of illustrations
Link page
End page
(see list of tangle patterns below)

In a refreshing change of pace, Sandy Steen Bartholomew has given us an ebook, a downloadable PDF that you can buy at her website (click on the big red 'shop' button at the top of the page) or her etsy shop, to print yourself, or use on any electronic device that supports a PDF.  

The cover declares this to be an Inspiration Sketchbook from Yoga for Your Brain™, but you don't need that book in order to enjoy this one.

The tangles in the book were inspired by the animated movie 'The Secret of Kells'. Sandy spied endless designs, while watching the show that just demanded to become tangle patterns.  And so now they are, lol!

The book is chock full of pattern steps illustrated in the Zentangle® style, but there is no instruction or emphasis on the Zentangle method itself.  

Sandy says, "My emphasis, whether it's Zentangle or drawing, or just getting out of bed, is to encourage people to learn from my mistakes, um... learning experiences?... and integrate what I show, with their own lives. I hate copying and crafty projects with only one outcome. I tried to de-emphasize the Zentangle-y aspects, so people can just make art, whatever they want to call it."

Indeed.  She gives us tangle patterns that range from the simplest of lines, a mere stroke or two, all the way to complex Celtic knots, yet the illustrated steps are always clear and easy to follow. Her style is never intimidating or confusing.

Save for the introduction and links page, there is almost no text.  There's one line explaining that 'red' indicates the next line drawn, and the titles of the patterns.  At the end of the book there are some playful illustrations, with a brief teaser.  And still, I believe someone who has never heard the word Zentangle could grab this book and run with it.


Page done using only patterns from The Tangles of Kells ebook.
A Note about my example drawing.  I decided to try and stay closer to Sandy's style than to my own, and not shade, to give more the flavor of what someone could do, just based on what it in the book.  I wanted both color and B&W for the same reason, but I didn't want the color to overshadow the tangles, so I went with grayscale (the left is actually the back of a bleedthrumanade-alcohol marker bleed-through).


The Tangles of Kells can be purchased at Sandy's website or Etsy shop!


Tangle patterns included:



Book Tangles
Title
Arball
A-V-A
Backwash
Blaze
Burr
Ceil
DoodleDent
Doodlemoon
DubKnot
Erik
Fernery
Fidget2
Floracult
Fob
Fuse
Garnish
Hatch
Hombre
Iona
J-Roll
Kelp
Knot1
Knot2
Lamen
Lief
Lochs
Lolly
Lune
Mason
Mesa
Nami
Nock
Padre
Plait
Prizm
Quill
Ratrun
Roller
Scaff
Scramble
Scurge
SnowKnot
Somes
Spec
Splash
Spora
Stalaktos
Stella
Stix
Strata
Sylph
Sylph (variation
Sylphling
Twista
UmbleWeed
Winnow

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rhodia Journal Swap-Round 07, Page 07


The person who will end up with this book has a Boston Terrier (or dog similar to one, anyway).  I cobbled this together from Boston Terrier pictures and her drawings of her own dog.  Hope I got close!

Check out the Rhodia Tumblr Swap to see what the other players are doing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crack the Glass with Floor Paste Wax


Supplies:
Johnson’s Paste Wax
Tsukineko - Ink Crystals – Walnut
Ultra High Gloss Clear Embossing Powder 

VLVS! Stamps:
Tree Writing Collage 4 1/2 x 5 3/4All Hallows Eve 2 1/4 x 3 3/4 
Ink/pads:
Ranger Archival Ink-Black
Tim Holtz Distress Ink-Vintage Photo
Ancient Page Re-Inker-Cardinal

Papers:
12x12 sheet Colorbök’s Specialty Pack
8.5 x 11 Paper Accents Heritage-Aged Parchment

Tools:
Scissors
Sponge daubers
Water (or Walnut crystals already mixed in water)
Brush

Creating the ‘Cracked Glass’ effect
Stamp the images in black on the Kromecote paper, leaving ½-1 inch around each so you can tear them out and still have white surrounding them.
Tear the images out.  You want rough edges.
Brush generous amount of wax over the entire surface of the Tree Collage Image.  
Dip the brush in the Walnut crystals and brush them in the area surrounding your stamped image.  I brushed up around and over the edges of the image because I didn’t want an evenly ‘square’ look.  It can take a minute for the crystals to liquefy.  If they don’t liquefy, then add just a touch of water. 
Drop a single drop of the Cardinal re-inker towards the bottom of the image and brush into the walnut stain.  A little Cardinal goes a long way, so be careful.
While the stain is still wet, heap on clear embossing powder to cover the entire waxed piece and heat ‘til melted. 
Cover the entire piece in wax again, and again coat in embossing powder and heat.  Let cool.
Once the piece is cool, fold it in several places until the wax cracks.
Gently rub the Vintage Photo Distress ink over the cracked edges to bring them out.
Set this piece aside and repeat the whole process for the ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ piece.

Putting the card together
Place the Tree Collage piece you just finished on the 8.5 x 11 Aged Parchment sheet to eyeball the size.  Tear out a piece of the Aged Parchment so that is it roughly ¼ inch larger than the Tree collage piece.  You want rough edges.
Use the Miracle tape to adhere the tree collage to the Aged Parchment.  I tilted my Tree Collage slightly to once again avoid a straight-edged square look.
Take the 12x12 Colorbök’s sheet and fold it in half with the white side in, to make it a card.
Place the Parchment/Tree piece on the lower right of the Colorbök’s to eyeball the size.  Tear off the top off the Colorbök in a rough tombstone-like curve so that there will be about 1 inch around the Parchment/Tree piece.  You want rough edges.
Adhere the Parchment/Tree piece to the Colorbök with the Miracle tape.  Again, I tilted it a bit.
Drop a few crystals in a small amount of water (or used already mixed Walnut stain) and use a sponge to daub it on all the rough edges.
When the walnut stain is dry, tape the All Hallow’s Eve piece to the card. 
Add whatever sentiment you wish to the inside of the card.

Link:How To Draw A Freestyle Celtic Knot

Patrick Gallagher shares his method of drawing Celtic Knots


How To Draw A Triquetra Knot 


How To Draw A Freestyle Celtic Knot- YouTube




How To Draw A Carrick Bend Knot - YouTube



How To Draw A Solomon Celtic Knot - YouTube

Link to Pumpkin Surprise – tangle pattern

Neil Burley has posted the steps to his new tangle pattern Pumpkin Surprise.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review of the Zebra Z-Mulsion EX & Zebra Z-Grip Ballpoint Retractable Pens

Ah.  Pens!  I love pens.  Art pens, ballpoint pens, rollerball pens, fountain pens.  I love them.  So I really want to thank Shoplet. and Zebra Pens for the opportunity to review some Zebra pens.  The package we received was awesome.



I was only asked to review the  ZebraZ-Mulsion EX Ballpoint pen & the Zebra  Z-Grip Ballpoint RetractablePen out of those I received, but you'll see me using the others as time goes on!


The Z-Mulsion EX pen curves to conform to the size of your hand, and has a rubber grip for comfort.  I found it to be a little thick for my small hand but still found it comfortable to write with.   The blurb for this pen declares that it uses an emulsion ink featuring a combination of oil, water and pigment, and I was anxious to take it for a test drive.

The ZMulsion EX does indeed write smoothly.  I'm a lefty, so I smearing the ink but had no success.  The way it glides is different somehow from other pens I've used and I''ve tried to find a word for it.  I wasn't able to do so while writing, but I think I narrowed it down somewhat while drawing.


I didn't like the pen as much for drawing, which doesn't mean I disliked it.  When I draw I vary the pressure I'm applying, the speed at which I draw the line, and the length of time I allow the tip to sit in one place.  It's almost automatic, something an artist learns to do, in order to create textures and tonal values.

I immediately discovered that the ZMulsion Ex's ink flow isn't up to light, fast strokes--little to no ink goes down  or I'd get a sketchy line with a glob of darker ink at the end of the stroke.  This is fairly common with ballpoint pens.  The same thing that makes for steady, even lines in writing makes it less flexible for drawing.

In the areas where I filled in solid dark there was some bleed through, which you can see in the scan above. I didn't see this at all when writing.

As I said, the problems I encountered drawing are fairly common ones--design features if you would--and they can be overcome by adapting the way I draw.

It takes me a bit to adjust so I moved to larger paper with a little more tooth.  It didn't take long before I was sailing along.  But with the added texture in the paper I could better detect what was different in the pen's gliding motion.  I still can't find the exact word.  I almost want to say the glide is jittery, but that would imply a wildness that isn't there.  It's a smooth experience, but the pen seems to move in your hand.

The pen can be messy.  When ink does glob up, it can get on your fingers or clothes if you happen to touch the tip (which I always do.  Some kind of fatal attraction I have to stray blobs of ink, paint and dye, lol).

I love the color of this blue, and I want to try out the black and red colors as well.

I suspect this will be a pen you either love or hate.  Want the chance to try one out?  Head over to Shoplet's giveaway for a free ZMulsion EX (until supplies run out) and a chance to win Shoplet gift certificates for $50, $100 and $150!


The Zebra Z-Grip Ballpoint Retractable pen has a more standard ballpoint pen chassis, but it's smaller than the ZMulsion EX and I, personally, found it more comfortable.  The body is clear so you can see how much ink you have.  


The ink isn't as bold and there is nothing that stands out as different.  It's a good pen.  It doesn't smear and it writes smoothly.  

I liked it better for drawing.
The ink flow allows more variation in the line.  After this squiggle to the feel of the pen, I decided to use it for something more ambitious.  I'm in a journal swap, and I decided to combine my tasks.


  Good pen.


Remember Shoplet can fill all your  Office Supplies needs!
   

Rhodia Journal Swap: Round 7, Page 3

Punchinella adhered with 2-sided Miracle tape, sprinkled with embossing powder which was heated until melted. Use more Punchinella as a stencil, and then tangled parts of the page.



Friday, August 17, 2012

Sandy Steen Bartholomew's first ebook now on sale!

Sandy Steen Bartholomew's first ebook! Inspiration Sketchbook #1 - The Tangles of Kells PDF.  On sale now at her Etsy shop!

Weekly Zentangle Roundup

Genevieve Crabe's Weekly Zentangle Roundup is out!

Link to tangle pattern D-Vine

The steps to tangle pattern D-Vine, from CZT Debbie Purdue, have been posted at Tanglepatterns.com.

Zendala Dare #19

Zendala Dare #19

New Tangle pattern Bubble-up and Review of Stillman & Birn's Gamma Series Sketchbook

Stillman & Birn Gamma Series Multi-media Art Journal



Stillman & Birn produces multi-media art journals in five different series--the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta & Epsilon series.  Each comes in a plethora of sizes.  Used for this review is an Gamma Series Heavy Weight Sketchbook Hardbound 5.5 x 8.5 inches (14 x 21.6 cm).

The Specs 
Paper weight: 100 lb (150 gsm)
Paper color: Ivory 
Surface: Vellum
62 sheets, 124 pages
Bound in the United States


Look and Feel
As with all the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, the cover is textured black binder board with the Stillman & Birn logo and the series name embossed on the lower back cover.  You immediately get the impression of sturdiness, and if you look closely at the binding, you'll see it is both sewn and glued.  There is an initial stiffness but if you slowly bend the sketchbook back as far as it will go, the binding loosens and the pages will lie flat.  You'll need to do this in several places.


Although the paper is thick (though only about half as thick as the Beta and Delta series paper), it is very flexible.  The wrapper states that it is 'suitable for all dry media and will accept light washes.'  It has a smooth surface, but there is some grain to it.

The Gamma and the Alpha series books have the same paper, except for color.  The Gamma comes in ivory.  It's very light, and in some lights might seem white.  Colors are slightly (slightly) less brilliant, but the ivory is slightly easier on the eyes.

Performance
Fabric tipped Art pens
I used Stabilo Point 88 fineliner pens for this drawing and the pattern steps.  These pens use a water-based ink and are very good for drawing bold black lines.  On totally smooth papers the line is very consistant which can be easy to use, and is desirable if you want stark black and white, but doesn't allow for building tonal values (gray to black; light to dark).  On the Gamma's vellum, slightly-toothed surface the pens easily do both.  Dark, stark blacks. Faint wispy grays. All the tones in-between.  Vary the pressure and speed with which you draw and vary the tones you achieve.

NOTE about the tangle pattern: Bubble-up can be drawn as either symmetrical or asymmetrical.  The lopsided 8 added in step 3 bulges out in  left-right repetition. Make your 8s, both vertical and horizontal, similar in size and you'll have a clean, bold look. (Keep the bulge--just make every bulge the same size).

If you vary the size of your 8s, you get more of wild, meandering look.

Neither is better--you might want the very orderly look for a mandala, but choose the uneven look to imply the feel of pebbles or bunches of fruit. It's a choice.

Watercolor-Twinkling H2Os
I did this a bit differently from my usual style.  My preference is to add color first, then do my linework, and add more color if needed.  This time I did my linework and painted in.  I was surprised-the paper did curve quite a bit.  There was no dimpling or buckling.  I haven't weighted the book, yet, but I suspect the curve will straighten out when I do so.

Iris Folding/Stamp pad ink/Metallic marker


This didn't come out as good as I hoped, but it was a first try, and I learned a few things.  For the purposes of this review, I learned that the Gamma paper is excellent for this kind of mixed media.

If you are unfamiliar with Iris Folding, the basic steps are:

Cut a hole in your paper (the journal page, in this case).
Tape folded strips of colored paper in a layered spiral pattern, on the back of the paper (this resembles the shutter and iris of a camera).
Tape something on the back to cover up the strips and tape.
Decorate the front of the page around the Iris.

I wanted to see how the pages of my Gamma sketchbook held up to cutting, and to the weight of the 'iris'.  I also used the journal piece that was cut out--I cut it in quarters, made a fan of each quarter and used the fans as stencils, before spraying them with Tattered Angels glimmer mist.

Results--I put the corner of a cutting mat under the page, and used an exacto blade to cut out my circle.  The paper cut easily.  There are a couple of ragged edges.  That was me.  I was moving my blade rather than turning the page.

I used Origami paper for my strips.  It isn't terribly heavy, but I added 28 strips and the weight does add up.  The paper held up to the weight as though it wasn't there.  No buckling or warping whatsoever. I taped a piece of cardstock over the back of the taped paper strips.  The paper carried that extra weight easily.  I didn't like how it looked, however, so I removed the cardstock and taped two pages together.  You can barely tell the difference.

I rubbed a sponge over an inkpad, and holding the cut-out fans down, on the page, I dabbed the sponge around the fans to get a stencil effect.  Even though the 'fans' were cut into fairly thin strips, the paper held up to some energetic dabbing.

I tore the fans apart because I wanted to use them for petals.  Than I ruined things by adding metallic marker.  I don't like it, and I'll probably add on some 'collage' items.  There also aren't enough 'petals' but I didn't have anymore of the cut-out piece left.  Since this review is about the Gamma paper, not Iris folding, I decided to quit for now.

Alcohol marker bleedthrumanade

I used Spectrum Noirs for the background color and Micron Pigma for the linework.  The marker color goes on rich and deep, but isn't brilliant.  The bleed through to the back of the page is 10-20% and I decided to try something different, which leads me to....

Color pencil-Lyra Rembrandts

I don't know what it is, but when I use any kind of pencil, my hands ache after a while.  They seldom do when I use pen, so it must be the type of repetitive motion I'm using, or the amount of pressure.  At any rate, it can take a while to build up your color and values with pencil and that causes me pain.  I've been playing around using the pencils over alcohol marker--that way some of values are already established, and I don't have to work as hard at it.

There's a downside of course.  It's harder to get the right tonal values where you want them, but that's the kind of challenge I love, lol!

As soon as I turned the page, I 'saw' this young lady in the color that bled through from the front of the page.  She told me quite plainly that she needed the soft, subtle colors that you get with colored pencil, and Voila!  Here she is!.

Conclusion:
The Gamma series sketchbook has a beautiful surface for pen & ink work, and the ivory paper is easy on the eyes while still providing bright color.  It holds up to light washes, cuts easily without being easy to tear and is capable of supporting the weight of collage or ephemera.  The binding is excellent, the book lies flat, even in hardbound format.

With this review, I've shown you all the current sketchbook series.  I hope Stillman & Birn come out with more.  I'd love to see toned paper or more surfaces.  The Stillman & Birn sketchbook is priced competitively, affordable enough for the casual user.  And the quality makes it suitable for any level of artist.

My previous Stillman & Birn reviews:
Comparison of the different Stillman & Bern Series sketchbooks
Alpha Series Review
Beta Series Review & Comparison of Hardbound vs Wirebound
Delta Series Review
Epsilon Series Review


Find out more at the Stillman &Birn website.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Link to tangle pattern Enflamed Bubbles

Linda Rea has posted steps to her tangle pattern Enflamed Bubbles.

New tangle pattern Bramble


A lot of people liked a certain area in a recent drawing I did, so I thought I'd make it into a pattern, with a little discussion about shading/shadows.  You might also want to see my post about tangle enhancement Threedy.

Another question I often see concerns knowing when your work is finished.  The answer to that is going to differ for everyone.  But one thing I've learned for my own process is that if I look at my work, and it just seems 'right', however ambiguous the reason, I stop.

I had intended to add a lot more tangling, but this just felt 'finished'.  I think I like the contrast of the simple skeletal line work next to the heavily textured, shaded areas.