Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review 'Zentangle® Für Kids, Forest Animals' by Beate Winkler #Zentangle #BookReview #ActivityBook

If you are looking for the giveaway for ten J. Herbin Fountain Pens and Blue Pervenche Ink cartridges, you will find it here.

Last year Beate Winkler came out with 'Zentangle® Für Kids', a German edition hardback Zentangle activity book with a strong circus theme.  Now, ''Zentangle® Für Kids, Waldtiere (Forest Animals)', the second book in her series is out!

Front of book
As with the first book, this an activity book, with the emphasis on tangling.  It is written with children in mind, but I think it would be entertaining for almost any age group.

Back of book
For those of you who have been waiting, I'm told that Beate's first book 'Zentangle® Für Kids' will soon be out in an English version.

Look and Feel
No. of Pages: 64
Cover: Hardcover
Binding: Sewn
Size: 22.6 x 28.1 cm. (8.9 x 11.1 in.)
Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Language: German
Extras: Stencil

'Zentangle® Für Kids, Forest Animals' is hardcover, with good quality paper and a sturdy sewn binding, that will hold up to rough handling.  It's a bit heavy, but no more than you would expect from a hardback of it's size.

The book lies flat, so you can easily imagine a child lying on the floor, immersed in the book.   It can also be folded back for easier holding where there is less space.  It doesn't lie quite flat in this position, but could still be colored in without much trouble.

There are stencil cut-outs glued to the back inside cover of the book.  There are three ovals, 2 butterflies, and two tags.

There are 25 tangle pattern step-outs (including my own Vortex).  I don't know if any of these are new, but they are a good mix of grid-based and free-form, using a variety of shapes that will help the artist create beautiful and interesting Zentangle drawings.  They are easier patterns with a couple that offer just a bit of a challenge.

A two page activity spread follows every five tangles, prompting the artist to use what they've just learned.  The drawings are fun and sassy, and as the title suggests, full of trees and animals. There are tips and prompts within these activity pages, as well as four pages of tips and examples.   Plenty of space is left for you to draw in, but there is lots of help, so you don't get that empty page syndrome.

The step-out have very little text instruction, following in the steps of traditional Zentangle, where the steps need no words.

At the beginning of the book, there is an explanation of Zentangle, a suggestion of what is needed, how you start, and how the patterns work.  The latter part of the book has examples, shading instructions, the technique for making a paper box or basket, a glossary, suggestions for coloring, animal and tree templates, as well as links for further study.  There is a Thank You section, information about the author and Zentangle, and a complete picture index of the tangles included in the book.

The pattern step-outs:
German Name/ English Name  (any misspellings are mine, not the books)
Silverstermeer/Fire Works
Springli/ Fescu
Rin Und Rut/Eyelet & Ribbon
Wimpelchen/ Rain
Blümerant/Arc Flower
Fischers Fritze/Florz

I tested various media on the last page of the book to see how the paper would handle them.

I tested several of Sakura's Gel Ink pens, watercolor brush markers, watercolor and water-based markers*, as well as Stabilio water-based ink pens, Alcohol-based marker and colored pencil.

The paper is this book is of a good quality, but it isn't made specifically for watercolor or alcohol-based media.  You will get show-through (you can see the shadow of the color on the back of the paper) or it bleeds-through (color actually seeps through the paper to the back).

There was an illustration on the back of my test page, so ignore the black ink, please.  The red shows that the watercolor marker applied dry shows-through and used wet bleeds-through.  The water-based marker also shows-through.  Surprisingly the watercolor doesn't do either, but this might vary according to the amount of water used.  The alcohol marker bleeds through, which was only to be expected.

It doesn't show on the scanner but the water-based ink pens show-through very slightly.

This is pretty standard for a book of this kind, and isn't a reflection of the quality.  Paper made for watercolor media is specially made and expensive, so most books don't have it to keep the price down.

For my examples, I did the first two-page activity spread.  Because the book is so large, I had to photograph them, so please forgive the quality.  

On one of the activity pages there was a box with pre-drawn sections for adding patterns.  As prompted, I did the first five patterns from the book -   Silverstermeer/Fire Works; Springli/ Fescu; Sterntaler/Msst; Karokästchen/Yincut; Apollo/Strircles.  I used my new Cuttlelola Electric Dotspen, which has gel ink in it, because it is so cool.  In essence, this whole piece was drawn with nothing but dots.

On the other side of the page, I used several mediums.  I wanted to explore watercolor more thoroughly, so the woodpecker and tree are done using Koi cake watercolors.   The middle section was colored with gel-ink pens (the orange is all sparkly, but of course the scanne doesn't show it).  The background pattern was drawn with a Pigma Micron pen and colored in with colored pencils.

There was no show-through or bleed-through with any of the mediums.  The paper did wrinkle just a little, where I used watercolor, but after being closed overnight, most of it has disappeared.  The gel ink went down smoothly with no skipping and the color is nice and bright.  I used four layers of colored pencil with no waxy build-up (this may vary according to the brand of pencil), and managed to get a nice blend of colors.  The scanner didn't quite pick up all the color though, so this photo doesn't show that.

This is a well-made and appealing book.  The content is fairly standard, so it will be of the most interest to the beginner, or those who have bought the first book, and want more of the same.  . 

It's a book that a child might well keep, and value later in life.  An adult would probably enjoy the activities and artwork well enough, and might like the idea of having these tangles available in a hard-back durable book.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Review of the J. Herbin Fountain Pen #Exaclair #Fountain Pen #Giveaway

Yes! Another review and giveaway! Giveaway has closed.

Exaclair, Inc. has sent me a J. Herbin Fountain Pen for review, and is allowing me to host another giveaway.  Ten winners will receive one of these fountain pens AND a tin of 6 Blue Pervenche ink cartridges!  Giveaway information is at the end of the post (sorry, the giveaway is U.S. only).

This is an entry level fountain pen with a clear plastic body and a medium point nib.  The ink cartridges come in a cute round tin, and the ink is a beautiful periwinkle blue.

Thank you to Exaclair, Inc.  They are so generous.

J. Herbin Fountain Pen
Body: Clear Plastic
Grip: 9.5 mm// 3.5 inches
Length: Capped-11.2 cm / 4.4 inches; Posted-14.9 cm / 5.9 inches; Uncapped-9.7 cm / 3.8 inches
Filling Mechanism: J. Herbin Cartridge, Standard International & some Converters
Nib Size: Medium

Blue Pervenche Ink Cartridge
Cartridge Size: Short International Standard
Diameter: 7 mm
Ink Color: Periwinkle Blue
Length: 3.8 cm / 1.5 inches
Water Resistant: No
Characteristics: Non-toxic, pH neutral, Lightfast, All-natural dyes

Look & feel
The J. Herbin fountain pen is an entry-level fountain running about $15.  It's made of clear plastic, which allows you to see how much ink you have in the pen.  The clip, the nib, and cap point are metal.  It's extremely light, but small.  I have small hands, and find it just right but do need to post the cap on the other end of the pen while writing.

If you are familiar with the J. Herbin roller ball pen, this is very similar.  The main difference being the fountain pen nib.

The J. Herbin marketing calls the nib a medium point, but it seems more like a fine point to me.  There is no standard on nib sizes so let's say it's a fine-sized medium.  The nib is steel, but not stainless steel or anything fancy.  About what you might expect at the price.

The pen takes the standard international cartridges, as well as the J. Herbin cartridges.  If you wish to use it with bottled ink, there are converters that will fit.

The clear plastic body allows you to see how much ink you have in the pen, which is very handy.  It's light, but also fragile.  This is not a pen to carry or store anywhere that it might encounter rough handling because that plastic will crack.

The pen has a fairly standard mechanism for adding ink cartridges.  It does have a metal ring between the barrel and nib holding portion of the pen.  It comes off when you unscrew the barrel, so you must take care not to lose it (if you do, the pen will still work.)  To insert the cartridge, you take off the cap, unscrew the barrel ...

... and insert the proper end of the cartridge into the pen, pressing gently until you hear a pop! Pretty simple even for me, and I confuse easily.

I love the little tins that the cartridges come in.  They're metal, and a nice size to store.  After, you can use them for buttons, or paper clips, or other crafty things.

The ink is a periwinkle blue, one of my favorites.  It leans toward the drier end of the scale.

Overall, I was pleased with the performance of the pen.  At first, the pen was scratchy and the ink stopped after a few moments.  I remembered having this problem with the roller ball pen at one point, and pulled the ink cartridge off (carefully, so I didn't get ink on myself) and pushed it back on).  After that the ink flowed just fine, until I was almost out of ink.  I did have problems getting that last bit of ink to flow.

The nib seems fine point to me, which is fine with me, because I can get finer lines for drawing.  For writing, it means it is best not to write large.  It's not a flex point or wide enough to get the variation of line needed for the swoops and swirls of calligraphy lettering, but it is a fountain pen, not a calligraphy pen.

That doesn't mean you can't 'draw' your fancy alphabets with it though.

I really like both the pen and this ink for drawing.  I can get fine lines for detail, variations of darkness for shading, and an easy flow for coverage.

I'll just let you look at the examples (I call them my Shy Ladies, because their eyes are hidden), as I think they make my point.  I used three different papers in this order: one smooth, one just a little rougher, and one with a little tooth.

The pen is short, and those with large hands may find it uncomfortable.  Even with small hands, you'll probably need to post the cap (stick it on the other end of the pen) while writing.

This is an entry level pen, and you won't get the Wow! factor that you might with more expensive pens.  It works well for what it is.

While I did have some problem with ink flow, initially, I was able to fix the problem and the pen worked fine after that.  The plastic body is a mixed blessing, as it's very light and easy on the hand, but also fragile.

The ink cartridges are easily loaded into the pen, and the ink is a fairly dry one.

Ten winners will each receive a J. Herbin Fountain Pen and a tin of Blue Pervenche ink cartridges like the ones reviewed here.

How to Enter
Type or cut and paste the words  'I want to win a J. Herbin Fountain Pen & Ink Cartridges' into the subject line of an email, and send it to me at LifeImitatesDoodles [at] gmail [dot] com.

Start and End of Giveaway
The giveaway starts on Sunday,  May 29, 2016 at 06:00 AM PDT, and ends Sunday, June 5, 2016 at 11:59 PDT.  I'll notify the winners by responding to their email on Monday, June 6.

Who Can Enter
I do apologize.  This giveaway is U.S. only.

Disclaimer: I received this J. Herbin Fountain Pen and tin of Blue Pervenche ink cartridges from Exaclair Inc., specifically for this review and giveaway.  I was allowed to choose the item to be given away.  I'm excited about hosting this giveaway, but tried not to let it influence my opinion, and all opinions are my own.  I received no other compensation.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways is published on Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays

The Daily New Tangle Challenge
Weekly Challenge #58: Tangle with G-L-J

Pattern Collections Grid Journey Lesson 6
Pattern Collections Author Focus: Melinda Barlow

How to Tangle a Corset with Alpha-Doodles
How to Tangle Using the Alphabet

"It's a String Thing" #146
Pattern Collections String 13

TanglePatterns Refresher 129

Ben Kwok Template: Anemonefish

Draw With Me: Cadent and Paradox video
Fasset Pattern Video
TanglePatterns: How to Draw Lenche
Pattern Collections Oldie: X
Pattern Collections Oldie: Glace
Pattern Collections Oldie: Oh! Well
Pattern Collections Oldie: Nymph
Pattern Collections New: Carry
Pattern Collections New: Carry Flower
Pattern Collections New: Carry Leaf
Weekly Zentangle Roundup #274

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Journal52 Prompt #22: New Beginnings OR Old Traditions
Gratitude52 Weekly Prompt #21:Those Who Made The Ultimate Sacrifice 

How to use photos for painting
5+ Cool Coloring Techniques to Help You Spice Up Your Coloring
 Make mixed media bottles with an Alice In Wonderland theme

Petaloo International Giveaway- 12 x 12 Paper & Flower PRIZE
Steampunk Stamps Giveaway! (& a Stamp School Video!)
Throw Back Thursday Blog Hop and Stencil Giveaway
The Postman's Knock Facebook Exclusive Weekend Giveaway-Finetec Pearl Colors palette
BoBunny Giveaway-Firecracker 6x6 paper pad
Jetpens Giveaway-Pilot Metropolitan Fine Retro Pop Fountain Pen & Rhodia Ice Pad

Pen & Ink
Habana notebook and J Herbin ink reviews

Friday, May 27, 2016

Lazuli Bunting and the Oregon Coast #52WeeksofWatercolourBirds #Watercolor #LazuliBunting

There were a couple of days at the Coast with bad weather, and I managed to paint three birds in my '52 Weeks of Watercolour Birds'.  I'm now actually a week ahead.  No matter - I know there will be a week between now and the end of the year where I won't be able to paint, so I'm good.

Watercolor class, this session, has a theme of the Pacific Northwest, so all three of my birds are native to Oregon, I think.  At least, part of the year.  I enjoyed painting them anyway, whether they are or not!

I'll show you the third bird next week.  This upcoming Sunday, the 29th,  I have a fountain pen giveaway starting, so be sure to check it out.

This bird was painted using Lukas watercolors in the Global Art Materials Field Watercolor Artist Journal Hand Book, 7 by 10-Inch that I'm using for the '52 Weeks of Watercolour Birds'.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review of the Cuttlelola Dotspen World's First Electric Drawing pen #Cuttlelola #Dotspen #ElectricDrawingPen

Once upon a time, I used to stipple my drawings from start to finish.  If you are unfamiliar with the technique, it's done by applying dots, dot by dot, onto the paper.  It's time-consuming, eventually painful, and quite beautiful.  After a year or two, I could no longer use the technique without considerable pain in my wrist and shoulder.

So I was ecstatic when I received a Cuttlelola Dotspen World's First Electric Drawing pen as a birthday present from my brother and his wife, .  After using it for a while, I knew I had to review it because, if you are like me, you are very curious about this pen, but hesitate to buy it without knowing more.

Look & Feel
The Cuttlelola Dotspen Electric Drawing Pen is 6.6 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches (16.764 x 1.524 x 1.524 cm), which is a bit large in my small hand.  Nonetheless, it isn't very heavy so I don't find it uncomfortable.  It is an electric, chargeable pen that uses gel-based ink cartridges.

You probably wonder what it's like to use it.  My first thought when I started was that I felt like I was tattooing the paper.  No sooner did I think this, then my husband said, "It looks like you are tattooing!"  I've never been tattooed or tattooed anyone, so the real experience is probably quite different, but I suspect it has similarities.

I had no problem getting the hang of using the pen.

I want to get the biggest problem (at least if you are in the U.S.) out there from the beginning, which is the cost of shipping & handling.  The pen is $58.00 USD and comes with 20 cartridges.  The S&H is $7.50 USD. A refill pack of ink cartridges is $3.50 for a 5 pack of cartridges.  The S&H is also $7.50.  I know I won't be able to use the pen very often with refills at that price. I've written and asked whether that cost would be combined if you ordered several packs, and I'm hopeful that will be the case. 

Edited to add Cuttlelola's response about S&H: We are actually working on with new distributor in US, so that in the near future you can buy easier from US directly, if you buy serveral packs on our Amazon the postage for at once of $7.5 I think. We much appreciated your supporting.

Looking at the tip, you'd think the pen was just a ballpoint, and in many ways it works the same.  The ink is advertised as waterproof, but only after it sits for quite a while. If you wet it too soon, it will run a little.

You hold the pen tip slightly above the paper (actually having the tip on the paper can damage the pen).  When you push the red button at the top, the tip begins moving up and down about as fast as a person could go.  If you push the red button again, two times, the tip speeds up considerably.  This second speed is the main one used to fill in large areas and draw lines.  The slower speed is for detail.

The pen does make a slight whirring sound and thump as it dots the paper. The surface you are working on makes a difference.  It's not very loud, but might be annoying for some.

The Cuttlelola is electric, and you plug the USB cable into a slot at the top of the pen. You charge the DotsPen by connecting it to your laptop, mobile device or any 5V DC power supply.  Once charged, you can use the unconnected pen for 15-30 minutes, depending on the speed you are using.  You can also use the pen while it is connected to the power supply.  The cord is about 3 feet long (91.44 cm).

The pen is easily unscrewed, and you just push the ink cartridge into the pen gently until it connects.  I'm pretty clueless about that sort of thing, but I had no problem with it. 

The instructions included are sparse, but adequate.

The cap does not fit on the end of the pen, which I dislike, because it means I will probably lose it eventually.

The packaging is worth noting.  The pen comes in a tin with a cardboard sheath.  You don't need to keep the cardboard, but it's pretty, so I will.   The tin is decorated with a cuttlefish illustration.

The pen fits nicely inside, and it has foam padding to keep the pen secure.

The USB cable fits in a corner, or you could put a spare cartridge in there for travel.

I've had no problems so far, but the company warns outright that rough handling can cause damage, so it is obviously fairly delicate.  They also caution that the pen is not for use by people with cardiac pacemakers.

I do have arthritis, and while using the pen causes far less pain than stippling by hand, I do feel the size and jarring after about 1/2 hour.  It's easy enough for me to just set it down for a little bit before continuing and I've had no significant pain.  Still, it's something to consider if have any kind of hand or arm problems.

All three of my examples were done in a Laws Sketchbook, which has a smooth cardstock like paper.  It is 7.1 x 9 inches (18 x 23 cm).  After these three, and some random testing and light shading on a couple of watercolor painting of similar size I had run the first cartridge out of ink. 

I found that it's a little difficult to get a strongly defined, straight line, so you get a soft, diffused look overall.  On the first example, I used a Pigma Micron for the basic linework, and did all the shading and fill (even the darkest areas) with the Cuttlelola.   

On this second example, everything was done with the Cuttlelola, so it has a softer look.  It takes a little time to get those darker areas, and of course, uses up those precious ink cartridges.  I think it is worth it though.

I wanted to try something that would force me to work at the values and textures, so I did this cat.  It was done entirely with the Cuttlelola.

The Cuttlelola is the coolest toy I've had in quite a while.  While the initial price is reasonable, the refills may be expensive, depending on where you live. 

It definitely beats stippling by hand, but there is still some wear and tear on the arm.  If you can take the size, weight and motion, you're able to create some fantastic works.  Even if you only use it for shading, it will give your work a beautifully finished look.

The pen is delicate, so not for young children, or the irresponsible.  It should not be used around people with cardiac pacemakers.

Video Ad for the Cuttlelola

Another review of the pen at the FrugalCrafter

Disclaimer: I received this pen as a birthday present.  Cuttlelola did not ask for this review, and probably won't even notice it.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Snow Bunting and the Oregon Coast #52WeeksofWatercolourBirds #Watercolor #SnowBunting

Last week I was at the Coast, but I brought along enough art supplies to keep up with the '52 Weeks of Watercolour Birds'.

For my watercolor class, we were supposed to paint wildlife that was native to the Pacific Northwest, so I decided to combine the two.  I was in a bit of a hurry, trying to find out which birds were native to Oregon, and I came across the Snow Bunting.  I'm still not sure if this bird is considered native or just a common visitor, but... close enough.  It looked like an easy bird to fit in during a busy week, and it was!

This bird was painted using Lukas watercolors in the Global Art Materials Field Watercolor Artist Journal Hand Book, 7 by 10-Inch that I'm using for the '52 Weeks of Watercolour Birds'.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Red-Necked Tanager & the Cuttlelola Pen #52WeeksofWatercolourBirds #Watercolor #Cuttlelola

For week 19, I chose to paint a Red-necked Tanager.  After the fact, I changed it into a line and wash, using the Cuttlelola Electronic Dotspen that my brother gave me for my birthday.  It's so cool!  In essence, you hold the tip a little way off the paper and it dot...dot...dots super fast.  I had over-worked the paper a bit, and was having trouble getting the darker values down, so I used the pen to put them in.

You know I'll be doing a review on the pen before too long, lol!

This bird was painted using Lukas watercolors in the Global Art Materials Field Watercolor Artist Journal Hand Book, 7 by 10-Inch that I'm using for the '52 Weeks of Watercolour Birds'.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Family Reunion Time! No link list posts until 5/23

I've got a family reunion happening, so I decide to just take the week off from my posting.

Have a great week. See you all on Monday the 23rd!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways is published on Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays

Due to a family reunion, there will be no link lists next week.  They'll resume on Monday, the 23rd.

The Daily New Tangle Challenge
Weekly Challenge #56: Tangle with V-E-Y

"It's a String Thing" #144
Pattern-Collections: String 12

TangleHarmony: This Week in Art #18
Pattern-Collections Author Focus – Mildred Galliher
Pattern-Collections Grid Journey Lesson 4

Tangle Patterns: Tangle Refresher 128

Tangled feather
Swarm Pattern Video
Squill Pattern Video
Tangle Patterns: How to draw FLUXOGEE
Pattern-Collections New: Downstream\
Pattern-Collections New: Lily Bridge
Pattern-Collections New: Rick-A-Rack
Pattern-Collections New: Demi-Duo
Pattern-Collections New: Sun Tile
Pattern-Collections New: Akirfa
Pattern-Collections New: On Point
Pattern-Collections New: Rondelo
Pattern-Collections New: Gypsy
Pattern-Collections New: 5 Fishies
Pattern-Collections New: Dancing Duo
Pattern-Collections New: Sextant

Pattern-Collections Oldie: Fleurette
Pattern-Collections Oldie: Rondelles
Pattern-Collections Oldie: Mooka-grid-Seed
Pattern-Collections Oldie: Duc-Hex

Weekly Zentangle Roundup #272

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Journal52 Prompt #20: Food with a Face OR What Feeds You
Gratitude52 Weekly Prompt #19: Good Thing 
Lost Ocean Colouring Competition

Three Envelope Art Mini-Tutorials
Hints on how to paint midday skies
Tutorial Thursday - Handmade Felt Flowers
Easy Drawing with Circles and Triangles

Richeson/ArtistsNetwork Giveaway-A New Prize Every Day May 1-May 15
Colored Pencil Magazine Color Me Spring GIVEAWAY
‘Ever After’ Collaborative workshop Blog Hop and Giveaway
Win it on Wednesday! Annie’s Coloring Pages
ep_lettering/Sakura Instagram giveaway-Gellyroll & Micron pens, Strathmore Drawing pad & hand-lettered card. Ends Sunday

Pen & Ink
Serious Nibbage Part 45: Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place

Friday, May 13, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The winners of the Brause Calligraphy Beginner's Card Set have been emailed

Five winners have been chosen by random generator, and all have been emailed.  If you entered the giveaway please check your email.

Thank you to everyone who entered.  Keep your eye out for the next giveway - a J. Herbin Fountain pen!

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways is published on Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays

The Daily New Tangle Challenge
joey's weekly tangle challenge #112
Eni Oken's Watercolor challenge 10
It's a String Thing #144
Mandala Monday Challenge
Ben Kwok Template: Pufferfish
Pattern-Collections Grid Journey – Lesson 2
Pattern-Collections Grid Journey – Lesson 3
Tangle Patterns: How to Draw Curly-Q
Pattern-Collections New: Belle
Pattern-Collections New: Semoj
Pattern-Collections New: Spike
Pattern-Collections New: T
Pattern-Collections Oldie: Dessus-Dessous
Pattern-Collections Oldie:Wartz
Pattern-Collections Oldie: Vache1
Pattern-Collections Oldie: Pointu

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Free Gypsy Grimoire Art Journal Lesson
Free email 'Introduction to Art Journaling' course

Let’s Paint a Columbine Flower
How to Draw Lace
Pocket Letters

Richeson/ArtistsNetwork Giveaway-A New Prize Every Day May 1-May 15
NSD The Wonders of Watercolor Challenge Sponsored by Prima
PaperCrafter's Corner Giveaway-Coloring Book, Storage Bag, Tim Holtz Goodies
Blick Pet Portrait Challenge
Crafty Chica Craft Bag Giveaway
Follow Jetpens on Twitter for a chance to win a Rhodia Notepad and Pen

Pen & Ink
Review: Pelikan Souverän M800 Grand Place Fountain Pen 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Three Cows #Strathmore #AquariusII #watercolor

This is one of those paintings that I hated at the time I painted it, but then later decided wasn't so bad.

I'm still not thrilled with it, but ... it's not bad.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways is published on Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays

The Daily New Tangle Challenge
Tangle Patterns: How to draw K-LEESI
Doozaly Pattern Video
Pattern-Collections Event : Grid Journey Week 1
Pattern-Collections: Author Focus-Genevieve Crabe
Pattern-Collections New: Clef
Pattern-Collections New: VitrailToo
Pattern-Collections New: Little One
Pattern-Collections Oldies: Vitrail
Pattern-Collections Oldies: Tresse
Pattern-Collection Oldies: FleuriToo
Pattern-Collections Oldies: Fleuri
Pattern-Collections Oldies: Demi
Pattern-Collections Oldies: Classe
Pattern-Collections Oldies:Ballons
New Tangle Pattern Curly•Q
Bloomin' Blue
Spliced Diamond
Blueberry Dreams
Which Way
Ben Kwok Template: Walrus
Weekly Zentangle Roundup #271

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Journal52 Prompt #17: Friends OR Fur Friends
Gratitude52 Weekly Prompt #18: Mothers

How to Overcome the Fear of Figures in Your Landscapes
Oil Finger Painting: Koi Fish
Jellyfish in Pan Pastel Tutorial (Beginner)

Richeson/ArtistsNetwork Giveaway-A New Prize Every Day May 1-May 15
Share Your Mom's Best Advice and Win 2 Z-Grip Floral Ball Point 5-pack pens
Art Journaling Magazine Giveaway
The Postman's Knock Facebook Exclusive Giveaway - Finetec Golds palette
Jetpens Giveaway-J. Herbin's Bleu Myosotis Ink & a Calligraphy Pilot Prera Clear Body Fountain Pen 

Pen & Ink
Prompt #1709 Visual Prompt – Panda

India Map - Downloadable Colouring Pages

Friday, May 6, 2016

Raven about memory #Stillman&Birn #Zeta #ArtJournal

Waiting for new birds, and I decided to paint one in acrylic over a background in my Stillman & Birn Zeta, that I did a year or two ago. I don't remember how I did the background, though.

 Ah, for the memory of my youth - that I remember!  I need a raven like Odin had, to keep my memories for me, but I guess I'll have to settle for painting them.  The ravens, not the memories, lol.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Any Port in a Study #Watercolor #KDAllegriArtClasses #Arches

If you are here looking for my review and giveaway of the Brause Calligraphy Beginner's Card Set, you will find it here.

One subject I've always been afraid to try was boats.  They were the subject in today's watercolor class, and I have to say, after painting this, I'm still afraid to paint boats, lol.  Ah well. Maybe, I'm a little less afraid than I was.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review of the Brause Calligraphy Beginner's Card Set #Exaclair #Calligraphy #Giveaway

It's time for a giveaway! (The giveaway is now closed)

Exaclair, Inc. has sent me a Brause Calligraphy Beginner's Card Set for review, and is allowing me to host a giveaway.  Five winners will receive one of these sets!

The set is a large envelope, full of cards with examples of 9 traditional calligraphy alphabets - Carolingian Script, Chancery Cursive, Gothic, Gothic Black Letter, Gothic Fraktur, Italic Script, Modern Sans Serif, Roman, and Uncial.

Thank you to Exaclair, Inc.!

Size: Approximately 10 x 13 inches
Paper: Cardstock
No. of Cards: 12
No. of Alphabets: 9

Except for two cards that are examples, each card has an alphabet.  Both upper and lower case are shown, except for Chancery Cursive.  It takes up two cards, one showing the uppercase and one showing lowercase.

These have pretty much the traditional calligraphy instruction.  The strokes of each character are numbered to show the order in which they should be made, and arrows are used to show the direction of the stroke.  If you've seen calligraphy instruction before, you know what to expect.

These are cards, so they are cardstock.  The surface is smooth, but not slick. They are also very large.
Sort of the large print of calligraphy instruction.  The photo below shows the set sitting in front of my computer screen to give you an idea of scale.

Because they are so large, the stroke and arrow information is easy to see.  You can tell, though, that these are instructions written on a smaller scale for the traditional size book, and blown up to this size, because you see the wobbles in the witing that normally don't show.

The large size is still portable, though you wouldn't be able to fit it in most purses, briefcases or folders.

The envelope is made of cardstock, similar to the cards though more slick.

It is held shut by a flap.  I think I'm going to put some Velcro on the flap, because I suspect this will tear sooner or later, if I use the set very often.

The set only includes cards (Brause does also do a set that includes nibs, ink and nib holders).

I have to confess that during my school years, the only art projects that I consistently scored poorly on were the Calligraphy projects.  And for this review, I had intended to spend some time practicing and showing you some awesome examples.  Well... the set was late coming to me, and I'm working on a big project, and my mother's needed me to do a lot lately--you know, the usual life stuff.  I don't see things changing for a while, so I bit the bullet and plowed ahead--scheduling the appointment and mixing metaphors at the same time, lol.

Deciding to get one up on personalized cards for the family, I wrote out the greetings on a mixed media card stock.  I did one practice run, and went for it.  I'm not exactly a beginner, but this is not my forte, so you a good idea of what the cards might help you do.

Carolingian Script

Chancery Cursive


Gothic Black Letter

Gothic Fraktur

Italic Script

Modern Sans Serif

Roman Alphabet


Although this Brause Calligraphy Beginner's Card Set is called a beginner's set, it only includes instructional cards, so you do need to get nibs, nib holders and ink elsewhere. 

There are no surprises to the set, except for the size.  The instructions have minimal wordage and assume you'll understand the numbered strokes and arrows.  Pretty much what you will see in any traditional calligraphy instruction.

The large print makes this great for anyone who finds it harder to see than they used to, and the cards can easily be propped up for viewing while you practice.

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION  (The giveaway is now closed)What Will They Win?  
Five winners will each receive a Brause Calligraphy Beginner's Card Set like the one reviewed here.

How to Enter?
Cut and paste these words: 'I want to win a Brause Calligraphy Beginner's Card Set ' into the subject line of an email, and send it to me at  LifeImitatesDoodles [at] gmail [dot] com.  

When is the giveaway over?
The giveaway starts on Wednesday, May, 4, 2016 at 06:00 AM PDT and ends Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 11:59 PST.  I'll notify the winners by email on Wednesday, May 11.

Who can enter?
I do apologize, this giveaway is U.S. only.

Disclaimer:  I received this Brause Calligraphy Beginner's Card Set from Exaclair Inc. specifically for this review and giveaway. I was allowed to choose the item to be given away.  I'm excited about hosting this giveaway, but tried not to let it influence my opinion, and all opinions are my own.  I received no other compensation.

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Zentangle Challenges The Daily New Tangle Challenge Pattern-Collections Daily Pattern Focus Zentangle All Around-Taking it to the Next L...