There are different ways to add the sparkle to your artwork. One of them is ‘Gilding’. It creates a nice embossed sparkling effect. It could be a simple outline or dots or stars or more in that shiny effect. Embossing with the gilding method is best suited for greeting cards as well as art and craft projects in school. In this post, I am going to share some tips to get this process right!
What is the material required? Gilding Glue and Foil Sheets are the main materials. Since I had Gilding Flakes at home, I used them. Gilding Foil Sheets are like cheese slices while Flakes are like crumbs or grated cheese. Hehe..I didn’t know how else to explain it without showing the product. The flakes give a crackled finish while a foil sheet gives a very smooth finish. Other than that we need a brush to apply the glue and dust off excess. Last but not least tissue paper or cloth. Gilding method is a highlight or add on to your existing artwork.
Next, let’s discuss the process. The process is simple. We apply the gilding glue using a brush. It becomes transparent as it dries. It is tacky or sticky for a few hours once it dries. Carefully transfer or lay the sheet on top of the artwork. The foil will automatically stick to this sticky base. Areas in excess where the glue was not applied but the foil fell can be dusted off later.
Gilding gives that metallic embossed look. Unlike ‘Embossing’ which requires a heat gun ‘Gilding’ is a natural drying technique. We use embossing glue and stick fine glitter powder in embossing method. Then we use a heat gun to fix the powder. The powder melts with the heat and sticks to the surface, giving the embossing effect. The look and finish may be similar for both methods. Best to choose the one you like. Depends on the purpose, material and your use.
Five tips for getting the gilding method right :-
Apply a sufficient amount of glue neatly like a thick outline. Points where the glue was less, will not get sticky enough to stick the foil. This will result in breaks in the line or flow.
The glue remains tacky for a good number of hours to work with. No need to hurry. Take your time.
Open the flakes like a sheet or use sheets for a neater look. Rolled or crumbled flakes give a lumpy finish.
Keep a paper or extra tissue below your artwork to collect the excess dusted off. It can be put back into the box for use next time.
Switch off the fan while working on it. The dust flies off very easily. Even if you breathe, the foil or flakes fly off. They are so light in weight.
I tried it on a small postcard first to understand how to use the material. You could do that too. For the background, I drew flowers using watercolour pencils. I am aware that we do get a home-use heat press that works on this principle and gives a more professional finish. The print is like glue, we then insert the foil with the paper in the heat press which sticks the foil to it. I had that machine earlier as a kid. The finishing that I could manage with the heat press was similar to the one that I managed here when I did the process by hand.
Hence if your use is sparing, you need not invest in the heat press or the heat gun. The gilding method will work wonders. For lettering or calligraphy artists, ‘Gilding’ could add that zing to your next artwork. Let me know your views if you have tried this technique. Have an arty week ahead!
Yes! That is the term used for a painting technique – ‘IMPASTO.’ Impasto technique in simple words is painting with a knife. A painting knife is different from a regular knife. The blades come in different shapes and sizes to create different textures. You could relate better if I named a famous artwork created with this technique – ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh.
Impasto technique is commonly used in paintings of the ‘Abstract and Impressionist styles’. Instead of using a brush to apply paint on the canvas, we use a knife. It is a metal piece (flat) not exactly sharp but more of a shaping tool with a wooden handle. We can create a variety of textures using it. The texture created will depend on the pressure applied and how the knife is held by the artist.
Hence, the texture created by two different people using the same materials can be different. The method of application is what matters. This method is not exactly taught. The artist must try different strokes to see which one he/she is most comfortable doing. Like they say each one of us has that one special movement in which, only we can do best.
Initially, when I learnt this method during school days, we referred to it as ‘texture painting.’ This term expands the scope to use other tools for application to create textures with paint. For example, we can use the blade of a cutter or a simple piece of ply laminate. These can be sharp, so please be careful while using them. Ever noticed a worker applying a white base (putty) or cementing the cracks in the wall?
I know, to be safe please use knives and not these other things. All I meant was that we can create textures with anything, even combs. It’s like the application of icing on the cake. In this case, think of paint as the icing that we are using. I gave that connection on purpose. The consistency or feel of how the paint should be for a good output can be understood through this connection- soft, quick drying and thick.
This painting technique gives a 3D-like output. There is no need to paint various layers. We only need to give a background colour to the canvas and then we can paint directly on it. Impasto is originally done with oil paints. But it’s expensive and takes very long to dry. I have tried this method with gouache paints (on paper) as well as acrylic paints (on canvas). Both work very well in their way. The paint dries quickly and the artwork can be completed in one go. We also get various mediums that we can add to acrylic paint in order to enhance this work.
Textures can also be created with ‘Guesso’ at the beginning for the background and then painted. However, most of the time we just directly apply a nice rich thick coat of paint directly to the canvas. Please note, this method uses a lot of paint. So make sure you are stocked up with enough paint in the colours that you need. The exact amount depends on the artist’s usage but the amount of paint that is used in a painting with this method is almost 3-4 times more than a regular method.
A trending art that uses this technique but with different material is ‘Russian Sculpture Art’ or ‘Russian Sculpture Painting.’ Readymade ceramic pastes in various colours are available in the market. These are used to make florals. Do check this art on the internet if you heard it for the first time. It isn’t exactly sculpting but it uses ceramic paste with the painting knives.
And finally, where will I get these knives? In earlier days artists would make their knives but we are in the modern world now, right? That means it is available at almost all stores selling art material. It is also called a ‘palette knife’. It is barely sharp enough to cut the paint. So even children can use it under their parent’s or teacher’s supervision. Go ahead and try a new technique of painting this week! Have an Arty Week ahead!
It is the wedding season. Most people would say an Indian wedding is incomplete without the Mehendi Function. Bollywood Weddings made this art Internationally famous. Rarely would I meet someone who has not heard about it. Lots of traditions, stories, folklore and songs are known for Mehendi; as it’s called in our local languages.
Henna Art is not only popular in India but also in the Arabic Countries. Women simply love to adorn their hands and feet with mehendi. In fact, in some families, even men apply Mehendi. Of course, the designs are different and it is more of a custom for them unlike it is for women. Henna artists charge depending on the intricacy and size of the design.
There is a good chance that you might have noticed a very striking similarity between my artwork with henna designs. It is also a possibility that I do more Ink Artwork, Doodle Art, Mandala Art and Zentangle Art because of my fluency in Henna Art. I learnt this art from my mom. She had learnt it in her youth before marriage.
Henna is a plant-based paste put into a cone and used for external application. The herbs and oils blended in the paste create a red-brown-black colour pigment on the skin after it dries. In that sense, it is like the ink of the tattoo. It also has a nickname ‘temporary tattoo’. Further, Henna is a traditional dye used to colour. In olden times, people also used it as a hair dye. Henna is known to have a cooling effect on the skin.
I learnt traditional designs as well as Arabic designs. Designs are also referred to by the main motif that makes them popular. ‘Motif’ is the term referred to a shape that is filled with patterns. A mehendi design consists of main large shapes filled with intricate repetitive patterns. For example ‘Dot design’ is the one with only one big dot in the centre and the tips. It reminds me of ‘Alta’. Alta is also a dye applied similar to Mehendi but it is made from beetle leaves. The designs are applied using a stick or cotton and hence are not very intricate.
Traditional Mehendi in India would mean filling the whole hand with the design. For weddings, brides apply mehendi starting from their elbow and filling the whole palm as well as on the backside. Similarly for the feet. Arabic mehendi designs are like a long trail concentrating on the central axis. Usually, the designs are forms of birds and flowers. Nowadays some artists include human figures and portraits in their designs too.
This henna paste applied on the palms is then kept overnight to dry. We then scrape it off and clean the hands with oil, usually eucalyptus oil. This gives a good smell. Hehe… I know some people don’t like the smell while others really love it. Anyways the point is, the longer you keep it, the better the colour. And then there are some fun traditions that go with it too! Like darker the colour stronger your love bond and so on.
How it all began? Once while cleaning the drawers I stumbled upon my mom’s henna art books. It instantly grabbed my attention and I asked her to teach me this art. First, she asked me to practice motifs from her book. Thereafter, she asked me to practice some common patterns that are used in combination to make designs.
In the beginning, I drew all the designs in the outline of my own hand on paper with a pen. After practice, the pen was replaced with the mehendi cone. Many people draw designs on acrylic sheets with the mehendi cone before doing it on someone’s hand. This helps beginners as well as those who want to try out a new design. Once proficient we can then start applying professionally for someone.
Making the Mehendi paste and the cone is an important step in getting a good colour. The fresh the paste the better. Making a good cone helps when creating the designs or applying mehendi. The pressure applied produces thick and thin lines. The cleaner these lines the better the design. Further, the paste should stick to the hand to produce consistent colour. A mehendi artist will always have some extra paste stuck on her hands because the cone leaked or popped some extra.
I have used the same cone-making method to make cones for piping chocolate or icing on cakes and ceramic designs for mixed media and murals. I hope you understand how I actually connect to this art form that made it easy for me to learn other things. It gave me the hand training that I require to draw these intricate designs. We also get books with mehendi designs easily in the market. They are affordably priced.
Here’s a little secret, we get readymade mehendi cones in the market as well. If one does not know how to make the paste from scratch most of us buy this cone, open and remix the paste well and fill it in a fresh new cone. This makes it simpler. The professionals get together and make the paste as well as their own cones. Last but not the least this art requires a lot of patience and being able to sit still for hours.
Having said all that what if I were to tell you I don’t practice this art anymore? I don’t have pictures of my work either. That is the truth. My paternal family does not consider mehendi auspicious and we don’t apply it in any of our ceremonies. With time as I understood their customs and beliefs, I stopped applying mehendi myself as well. Now it is mostly in my other styles.
But I definitely recommend everyone to try it at least once – both applying it yourself and to someone. Earlier when we didn’t have professionals to apply mehendi, it was always the ladies in the village who would make little designs on the bride’s hands and feet. That way the whole hand would be full and everyone would get a chance. That makes it an art for everyone. Have an Arty Week!
A short simple post answering questions about selecting an Easel or a Drawing Board. People usually have two opposing thoughts on this topic. Some feel “what is there to select? Every artist or painter needs an Easel” while others feel “it is the last thing to invest in”. There are a lot of myths about an Easel. No doubt it makes an excellent gift to give an artist, but do you know which one to select?
Easels are a one-time investment and costly. Every artist uses whatever he or she is comfortable with. Not all artists draw, sketch or paint on an inclined surface. Different painting styles can mean using or not using the Easel. What I feel is that earlier people began carving or drawing on walls and ceilings most people would draw or paint like that. Then later when the paper was discovered, our writing desks had a slight inclined table top. Now if you have noticed, our table tops are flat.
Great! So do you need an Easel or not? All photos depicting an artist will always show an artist with an Easel. It is very symbolic. However only artists painting a canvas use an Easel. We can and many artists sketching in pencil or charcoal attach their paper to a drawing board and put it on an Easel.
For my art exams and in school we did not have Easels. Drawing on our school desk during class or then most of the times sitting on the floor. It was with the drawing board in my lap sitting cross-legged on the floor. Yes, it can mean a backache after long hours of work. Whenever, I draw and paint on paper, I keep the paper on a drawing board or a flat table top. But for Acrylic Painting or Oil Painting, I need an Easel. The canvas is painted keeping it upright.
Easels are usually wooden or metal. An Easel made of metal is more versatile and is like a tripod for lights or a camera. It is suitable both outdoors and indoors and the height is adjustable. Next, we get travel Easels with a drawer for art supplies to carry on outdoor trips. Then there is the authentic symbolic wooden Easel. Yes, we do get two or three variants in them. Last but not least we get Easels used only with a display board.
Things to keep in mind while selecting an Easel are :-
The Easel is heavyweight and sturdy. It stands upright correctly balanced and doesn’t move or shiver while painting.
The Easel is suitable to draw or paint on the size of the canvas or drawing board that the artist most commonly uses.
The height of the Easel – whether the artist paints while sitting or standing and if by any chance the artist is taller or shorter than average. The comfortable height that he or she paints at.
The finish polish or coating on the Easel that is there to protect it from rusting. This is important because the canvas or paper can develop stains or mould if the Easel is damaged.
Outdoors or Indoors – some artists paint outdoors on tours or trips.
Similarly when selecting a drawing board it is important to look at it from a similar point of view. I would say it is like selecting a cricket bat. The drawing board gets seasoned over time and the artist gets used to it. Common sense isn’t it? But a very important decision. Because it is a one-time buy and it is the highest investment compared to all the other art materials.
Some artists prefer custom-made Drawing Boards and Easels. It is a good idea to get one made if one has a source. We can put our drawing board on the Easel as well. Special clips that will not leave a mark on the paper when secured tightly to the board are easily available. Note the thickness of the drawing board while selecting the clips.
Then after years when it wares off and the artist has to buy a new one, it takes a really long while to set up with a new one. It affects the art or rather the comfort level while drawing or painting. That’s a small post on Easels and Drawing Boards this weekend. Have a great week ahead!
Did you know? The wooden pieces that come along with the canvas are actually keys used to tighten or stretch the canvas.
I find it very exciting and interesting to make and give handmade greetings with personalised messages. I think I have to tell you, all the cards that I have received till date, I have kept them very neatly stored in my drawer. They are all special and a beautiful memory. In fact whenever I conduct workshops, it is that special thank you card that is worth a billion to me. Is it just me?
Now a days most of the people use digital ways to send messages. Very few people call to wish or invite. I know! The personal touch has changed to digital. That is why, if even one person puts in the effort to send a handmade card, it makes the receiver feel loved. The time, effort and the thought is what counts. Paying or downloading and sending is what anyone can do. Isn’t it?
Making a greeting card all by yourself may seem difficult for some. No one wants to be judged or mocked for their artistic skills. Besides not everyone can be a master at it. I understand. But what if I were to tell you that even with minimal artistic skills and creativity one can make beautiful professional looking greeting cards.
Yes! In this post, we will be discussing a few tools and techniques for making professional looking greeting cards with ease. There are so many of them, so I have clubbed them as per the method of making. The materials are expensive and a mistake in selection means it was a waste or is just lying around. It is a costly affair. This makes it more important to know about them. I am going to try and explain the tools and the methods together, so that we know what all we will be adding to our shopping lists.
1. Stamps and Inks – Stamps with a variety of designs are available. Every few months all shops stock new designs. I buy them based on the theme like – Birthdays or Christmas. We get everything from alphabets to numbers to florals to the popular movies and more. I buy stamps in off season or bulk for discounts. They stay well for years and is usually a box collection we can share among creative friends too.
Along with stamps we need a stamping block or a stamping pad. What is that used for? The stamps are silicon and not firm. They have a glue side which helps attach them to the block, dip it in ink and press it on paper for an even finish. A neat finish is very important when selecting quality. Once complete we clean the stamp with a cleaner or dry cloth and put it back in the pack. The same block can now be used along with another stamp. A stamping pad works to stamp multiple ones quickly and neatly. It is a great tool if you make multiple greeting cards.
Next we select ink pads or pigments for the stamp. A good choice for selecting from the colour options is available. My pick – A black archival ink stamp pad is a must have. The ink is waterproof and instant drying. We can colour the stamped design with markers. We need not worry about any smudges. Other than that a few more standard colours can be selected according to the theme. We also get oxidised inks. They give a different finish and their colour shades are also different. The inks give a kind of the rustic finish rather than the bright regular shades.
For beginners, basic tools are great. Once you get a hang of it and use them more often, I am sure you will pick more. There are innumerable creative ways of using stamps. We can use them for journals and other tags too! Most stamp sellers share ideas for using stamps and their latest collection on social media. I am always amazed to see how much creativity one can have. Do check them for inspirations.
2. Embossing – The process of embossing is very simple. The material quality matters. Earlier embossing techniques and materials were not that great and they looked very messy, more like a beginner’ school project. We have now started getting good quality embossing glue and embossing powders. We apply glue using the stencil and then dust it with the embossing powder. The glue is either dabbed onto the surface or applied with a brush. The excess powder falls off once it dries. It is the same method of sticking glitter powders. The difference is in setting embossing powders. An embossing heat gun is used to set the powder. The powder melts due to the heat and binds to the paper.
Different grain sizes and colours are available. They all give a different texture or finish. I select embossing powders in fine grains so that they melt and set evenly.
3. Stencils – As the name suggests these are cut outs of various designs on plastic or paper. They are either one use or multiple use stencils. We also get stencils with a sticky backside to stick them on the surface we are working on. This helps secure the stencil in place. We can do the same thing with tape. Stencils are helpful in tracing artwork and can be used for embossing and painting with most materials. It makes a great assistant for the creative folks.
4. Pigments – The name means colour which is present in Inks and paints. We get a concentrated version in a box just like the stamp pad. Pigments are powdery and the composition is different from inks. I find them similar to compressed powder in makeup. They are very useful in applying background colour to the card paper.
We need a sponge with or without holders to apply and blend it. They are available as single solid colours or as multiple shades in the same box for creating shading. They are very easy to use and create a nice perfect finish if applied correctly. I picked up boxes with basic shades that go on almost all designs. They can be used with stamps and stencils to create different effects. In fact I liked it so much that I bought the other colours too!
5. Punch – This is the cutting part. Specialised paper cutting knives are available. However if cutting is not exactly your main skill it is best to use a punch machine. Small individual punch machines with small designs like flowers, leaves and more are available. This punch is just like a regular punch machine, just that this one punches fancy shapes instead of the regular circles.
Further we get a small dye cutting machine that has metal stencils to cut multiple shapes from paper at the same time. And last but not the least we also get a larger complex machine that cuts various shapes from paper based on computerised designs that we provide. The prices are also likewise.
The small punch machines are easy to carry and work well for many basic crafts. Professionals might want to invest in the other cutting tools. I prefer the specialised cutting knives because that is my skill. There are many cutting blades that come along with it that are for precision cutting.
A few other helpful tools and materials are – 1) double sided tape and 2) washi tape for graphics or protecting a surface or marking (my detailed post on using Washi Tape is there on the blog page) 3) folding, rolling and shaping tools to make paper crafts. An interesting idea is 3D cards and Shaker Cards. Teachers can ask their students to make shaker cards with all the stars they collected during the month.
I just saw the meme that reads ‘buying crafting materials is a different hobby’. Hehe! That is true. We all stock materials we may not use but we can always try to stock only what we use. Including my previous posts on paper crafts I have now covered all the methods of making creative handmade greeting cards. If you have made a creative paper craft, do share them. I would be very happy to see them. Have a crafty week ahead!
Bold and expressive brushwork to convey the beauty of the mundane ordinary subjects around us is what I love to do. Hello! I am Dr Shaazia Hawai, a dentist by profession and an artist at heart.
Art, for centuries, has been a means to express individualistic creativity. To me, art is a language that I intend to speak fluently. It thrills me when I see someone who has mastered the language of art. It intrigues me when I discover someone adding new layers to its tapestry of possibilities.
Being a dentist, I was miles away from indulging in anything creative. Science and Art are very different after all. I started painting as a means to explore my creativity after a visit to an art supplies store.
I felt overwhelmed looking at gorgeous landscapes, realistic portraits and stunning abstracts. ‘Still Life Painting’ or ‘Object Drawing’ had this strange attraction for me. It was something that I felt I could dabble with. And that is how my journey as an impressionist still life artist began.
I enjoy painting with acrylics as the medium is versatile and allows room for experimentation. Painting still life has its advantages like the subject doesn’t get tired, doesn’t move and it’s so easy to procure ( just raid your kitchen). I suggest painting one new object daily.
For the initial few months, I used to paint only in my spare time. As time progressed I started dedicating more time to paint because I was enjoying the process. I set up a small workspace in the corner of my bedroom for painting. That really kickstarted the daily morning ritual of painting. The ritual then became a habit. It got me focused and gave me clarity with regard to what I needed to do with my art.
If you are beginning your journey as an artist my suggestion to you is to form your own daily routine. I saw massive progress in my painting style and brushwork with this system of practice. I started posting my artwork regularly on social media.
I was approached by an art supply store to conduct online workshops for them. I had not learnt painting the formal way and so teaching art or even painting in front of a live audience gave me goosebumps. Overcoming my fears and conducting the first workshop was a game changer for me.
Not only was the workshop a success, but I also had a blast interacting with fellow artists. This gave birth to my Saturday live paint-along sessions on Instagram. I still conduct them. You may drop by and check my page to join the party.
The idea of being around like-minded people enhances creativity. We challenge and help each other by supporting the artist community.
My paintbox consists of primary colours (red, blue & yellow) and white. A few flat and round brushes ( I use mostly 6,4,2 flat brushes & 6,2 round ones) a substrate on which you will paint ( paper, canvas, wood, cardboard, etc)
A great tip that I have learned is that – acrylic paints tend to dry dull if diluted with water, so I usually use a medium (gloss/matte) to increase the flow of the paint and limit the use of water to only for cleaning brushes. (Note: Wash brushes immediately while painting with acrylics)
Let’s Paint ‘A Pear’
It is best to simplify the object. A pear looks like an alphabet ‘A’ or a triangle over a circle. After establishing a loose sketch, I apply a thin wash of neutral colour. This underpainting helps eliminate the whites of the paper and creates depth in the painting. Next, I establish the dark tones in the painting and paint from dark to light. You can also paint from light to dark. It depends on your chosen medium.
A loose brushwork like mine can be achieved by holding the brush at its tail end. Then I add the highlights, background and fine details to bring out the likeness of the subject. One can always add more details and finer brushwork to make the subject more realistic. But if you prefer an impressionistic style like me, leave it in a loose expressive state.
I am a firm believer in what Van Gogh said, “Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.” An artist paints from his soul to produce magic on canvas. That’s why a true artist’s work is easily recognisable such as Van Gogh’s starry night, Monet’s lilies, Cezanne’s still life & Klandinsky’s abstracts.
My suggestion to all beginner artists is not to copy styles or trends on social media. Paint what your heart desires, and you will make mistakes but keep practising because Bob Ross said, “There are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents.” And as you embrace these happy accidents, you will evolve as an artist.
Dr Shaazia Hawai is a dentist, who spills her love for colours onto the canvas. She is also adept at Arabic Calligraphy and Paper Quilling.
Taking imagination and fantasy from the world of magic and transforming it into something beautiful in this world; is what I do every day. Does that sound interesting? Hello everyone, I am Radha, a clay artist. Doing something creative by shaping earth with your hands can be an incredibly humble, joyful and healing experience. I enjoy working with clay. Minutes to hours and hours to days, I do not realise how time flies when I am working.
My journey as a clay artist started in 2012. I was highly impressed by a clay artist named Iris Mishly and her clay crafts. Indian clay crafts – terracotta jewellery has always been my personal favourite. Yes, I am a self-taught artist. I have not taken any formal training in clay modelling. But arts and crafts were always my hobbies since childhood. I like all kinds of painting: including oil painting, fabric painting and mandala painting. Anything challenging and creative, I do not mind trying.
Initially, I made jewellery for myself – mainly small earrings and pendants. Friends and family loved it as I made a few for them too. Then as I learnt more complex patterns and forms, I made more designer fashionable jewellery. Learning, designing and creating more and more new projects in clay continued for a few years. And by now, I had developed a steady hand and good speed in working with clay. What started as a hobby is now my full-time profession.
Later after a few years, making small figurines or dolls from clay interested me a lot. Then I started making dolls for the shop. The appreciation for them was overwhelming. Everyone liked the new dolls. They were a great success. It has been 10yrs since I set off on this journey. Now I have a store online where I design, make and sell clay dolls as cake toppers, fridge magnets, pencil toppers, keychains, jewellery and more. You might want to take a look at my work. They make great gifts too!
‘Clay’ has many forms; air dry clay, polymer clay, wet clay, and porcelain clay. And among them, a personal favourite to work with is Polymer Clay. It is more versatile and flexible to work with comparatively. Earlier I used this clay for most of my works. However, later as I started making figurines, polymer clay did not give me the option to produce it in large quantities. Hence I chose to create using air-dry clay. To make a clay model, we would need clay – Polymer or Air-dry (whichever one would like to use), moulds, acrylic paints and brushes. Clay modelling tools if and where required. Glue and embellishments if you wish to decorate them further.
Materials that are available locally and with ease make it an attractive hobby to take up. Other than that, it involves a lot of finesse and patience. It does not require much space either. I design the model on paper, select the clay and material and then begin to create it. Even I got stuck while converting the design on paper to the model. I needed to make modifications or rework some of it. Finally, the Clay project is ready to be shipped after a week of hard work. Shipping an article that is this fragile and hoping it reaches the customer perfectly the way it is, used to give me nightmares. With time I learned to wrap it up with enough cushioning, to ensure the clay model reaches the buyer safe and sound.
I like to personalise and customise my orders. ‘Cake Toppers’ are my best sellers. There was one order that I distinctly remember. It was quite a challenge to design a doll sitting on a swing, while the swing was hanging from a tree. It was sweet, cute and delicate. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to know the customer’s reaction when she receives it. The wait finally ended when she replied “I have received it. It is in great condition and I simply love it. It is exactly what I was looking for!” I was so relieved. It made my day.
There are a lot of things that one can make using clay. Food miniatures are a trend picking up very fast. Realistic-looking miniature pieces of foods to create displays or for the dollhouses are called food miniatures. Wedding Memories of a couple, decorations for gift hampers as well bottle caps are all popular clay figurine models. If you are thinking of taking up clay crafts as a hobby, I suggest you stop thinking and take it up. It is something I feel all creative artists will like and can give a try.
Make a simple clay model with me :-
I use air dry clay for my project. Most of them are available in different colors or you can mix them accordingly to your project design.
For the face I use skin color, hair black color and for the dress use colors as per your choice.
If you have a mould simply press the clay into the mould as required. Clean up the extra. It helps to make multiple pieces.
Once the desired design is complete, unmould the design and smoothen the edges. For the hair I use black clay depending upon the hairdo, I use resin eyes or acrylic paints for the eyes and eyebrows.
Now let the clay air dry for the next 24 hours or until it’s solid.
And it’s ready! Your first easy clay project. Have an Arty Weekend!
Ms. Radha Srikanth is a clay artist and the owner at ‘Cute Li’l Things’. A mother of two, Radha manages to keep a balance between work and home.
Hmm.. the aroma of a freshly brewed coffee can be so refreshing, isn’t it? Sniffing coffee beans can almost reset your sense of smell. When we sample different perfumes and a particular strong smell gets to our head, it lingers. How to clear it? Take a few coffee beans in a cup and smell them. After sometime smell another perfume.
We can creatively use coffee for many things other than just sipping a nice cup of coffee. You may have come across or tried these. In this post I am sharing three artistic creative ideas of arts and crafts with coffee. I have tried my hand at all the three and they can be wonderful creative outlets for anyone, especially coffee lovers. It is the skill and material that make this art unique.
The first one is using coffee beans – I had some coffee beans left in the pack. They were way past their expiry date on the packet. I wasn’t sure if these were safe for consumption. So I decided to do some art craft with them. The method is selecting a drawing of your choice and creating a design by pasting these beans on the paper. It’s like ‘button craft’. Draw the design and paste the coffee beans. Jute pieces or jute strings make a good combination with it.
Alternatively they can be decoratively filled in bottles or jars to make showpieces at kitchens, coffee shops and restaurants. Choose a simple design with distinct lines. The artwork can be framed in a box frame and kept as wall art. However, Coffee beans are natural and perishable. They can get infested in future and the artwork may get spoilt. This thought made me go a step further.
I made coasters with coffee beans and resin. We can use the coffee beans with resin to make decorative clocks, trays, coasters, jar lids and everything else that we make with resin otherwise. This way, they have a protective covering and they are air tight. Do check my posts on resin art for more ideas. It is the same process. We use coffee beans just like any other embellishments or materials. We can combine it with resin colours and other materials too.
Second one is Coffee Painting. Yes! We can paint with coffee just like we paint with any other paint. The painting technique is very similar to watercolour painting but in monochrome. ‘Sepia tones’ is the correct term used for artworks in shades of brown. We often use this palette to show something as ancient or old or aged.
I used to make ancient historic looking scrolls using this method. To make it, we take a sheet of paper and paint with coffee paint. The light yellow brown will make the paper look aged. Darker paint on the edges and lighter in the centre. Cover the whole page. Blocks or patches of dark light shades look natural. We need a thick paper for this, more than 200gsm or at least 200gsm watercolour paper. Give the edges a slight burn with candle. Write the scroll in calligraphy to make it look authentic. It could be a treasure map too!
If you have artistic skills, we can actually paint with coffee. Take two bowls. In the first one add one spoon coffee powder and two spoons water. In the second bowl for a darker thick concentrate take one spoon coffee powder and one spoon water. Mix it. The painting and blending art style is like painting with watercolour. Other than that painting with coffee is a very different experience. To create the coffee paint we need instant coffee powder. I used Nescafé powder as it blends well in water. No lumps or chunks.
Creating an actual artwork using coffee requires prior experience and skills in painting. That is why I suggested the scroll design which is very easy and will always look good. I recently bought some art material from ‘Creative Hand Art Materials’. They sent me a small sample pack for watercolour paper. The paper is 300GSM. I painted the Bird Artwork on it. The scenery is painted in my regular Art journal.
Third and last is ‘Latte Art’. It is a very skilled art but many coffee shops let you try it. The coffee is first poured in a particular manner and then designs are created on the surface. Originally, ‘Pouring’ was the only technique to create designs. Designs were created by pouring the cream in a particular way. Now there are more techniques in Latte Art. ‘The Leaf’ is the first basic design in Latte Art.
‘Latte’ is coffee with cream or milk and ‘Art’ because we are creating designs, hence ‘Latte Art’. The easiest technique is to use a stencil. We place the stencil on top of the coffee cup and dust it with coffee powder through a strainer.
Further after the coffee is poured we use toothpicks or the tool to create enhanced artworks. The drop is a dot, we drag the point in a single direction to create the designs. We can dip the point in cream or coffee concentrate to add little details.
This swan is a combination of the pouring method and using the tool. After the leaf is poured, the art is then enhanced using the tool. Sometimes, we directly use the tool to paint with cream. They also add food colour to make colourful artworks.
The most complex of these I feel, is the 3D Latte Art. Here, they create 3D structures on the coffee surface with cream and coffee concentrate or chocolate sauce. 3D Latte Art is very Popular in Japan. It was started by a Japanese Artist. Cute things are always liked in Japan. Sharing a few pictures from the internet below. Do browse and look up for more. I don’t hold any rights in them, it is just to show the readers what I am talking about.
Did you know, we get printing machines that print designs on coffee? A cream gun that makes the white cream for art. There is a lot to explore if you are a coffee lover, isn’t it. Although the cream flattens as time passes, I am sure you will agree that these creations make the coffee more alluring and tempting. They are very fascinating to watch as well as try.
The main ingredient is the cream. Creating that at home is difficult. I have tried it with the beater at home but it doesn’t give the same effect. We need the coffee machine or it’s tools. Best to let the Barista pour it for us and then try the designs along with them. That way they prepare the base for us, making it easy.
After that admire your creation, click as many pictures and then drink the coffee. As simple as that! It is a fun and relaxing activity to do on a weekend. Try it for your next date at a coffee shop, if you want to make it more interesting or if you are dating an artist. Hehe.. of course, you can try it otherwise too!
Isn’t it amazing how we can use something so regular from our daily kitchen to make such beautiful artworks. Have an Arty week!
Did a hand drawn artwork and now want to make copies OR drew it digitally and now want to print it? Photographs, Graphics, Vector Art, Backgrounds, Designs, Drawings and Paintings – All of us might have tried to print these at some point of time or another. It could be for a School Project, a University Submission or a Personal Art Craft Project or for Commercial use.
I see many people struggle to get good prints of their work. What went wrong? They don’t know. I often get to hear “I gave the print command and the printing device printed it.” “I took it to a professional printer and he said the art work is not done correctly. The printing service owner said the device (printer) has done it correctly.”
It’s our loss as the money is wasted and we are not happy with the output. Today’s post is about ‘Getting a good print out’. I am going try and translate the language of a printer. In other words explain it in simple terms that everyone can understand.
Initially I sold ‘Digital Downloads’ at my Etsy Shop. It was one of my best selling products. One can ‘buy >> download >> print >> use.’ I also included a file with printing instructions and ideas for assistance. So the buyer can confidently print the art work they bought at home on a home printer or with a professional printing service of their choice.
Yes! Now a days most of the projects are only online submission and we don’t print files. I am aware of that. However there are times we want them printed. For example – A photo book or a journal or diary. A card for celebration or the final university project.
There are some basic terms one must know to be able to give the device the right commands for printing. After all it is a computer, it will do as commanded. Here’s a list of jargons we come across for this task. These are not definitions but rather explanations in a simplified form. The regular definitions are already up there on the internet.
Pixel – Think of a paper made up of small particles – numerous dots. This is a Pixel. It is square in shape. A computer screen is made up of numerous pixels. Just as we measure paper in a unit such as cms or inches, we measure a computer screen in pixels. Right click , go to ‘properties’ of the computer file to know the measurements of the image. It will be shown as length x breadth.
Some common standard monitor screen sizes
1366 x 768 pixels High Definition (HD)
1600 x 900 pixels High Definition Plus (HD+)
1920 x 1080 pixels Full High Definition (FHD)
3840 x 2160 pixels 4K or Ultra High Definition (UHD)
Image Size – The length and breath of the image, just like the length and breadth of the canvas or paper. For ease we can convert this from pixels to cms and vice versa with help of converters online. Helps know the best size it will print in. The size an art work is created in is always the maximum size it will print best.
Pixelate – Fine dots give a good image. The size of the pixel is called the pixel size. When we drag the file way larger than the size it was created in, each pixel size also gets amplified and we can see the distinct square blocks making up the image. The image is said to be pixelated. Always print the file only to a maximum of the size that it was created in, so that it doesn’t pixelate.
DPI – This is the resolution of the image. Consider the detailing done while copying or scanning the file. A higher resolution means more detailing and a larger file size. This value must be set while scanning the image or art work. Anything below 150dpi is blurred while above 300dpi may be excess. Images at 300dpi print well. It is a standard. For images that are used online on websites or blogs we generally keep the resolution as 150-200dpi. DPI stands for dots per inch.
File Size – Consider this as the weight of the package. The transport service in this case is electronic but allows a limited weight only. The weight is measured in kb, Mb, Gb (Kilo bytes, Mega bytes, Giga bytes). This information can be checked in the properties tab when we right click on the file. Higher the resolution, higher the file size. Means the package weight is high. A large size file takes longer to upload. We can lower the size of a file by compressing it. However it also compromises on the quality.
Compressing a file – Making the file size smaller. This could be by reducing the image size in terms of the length width as well as the file size in terms of the bytes. In some portals or software’s it can be a hidden command. In many email services, forms collecting data and social media platforms a default setting is made. The computer is asked to compresses the file to upload/ download faster. If we want to send across a high resolution file, we must make sure we turn off this setting and manually set it.
These are technical words that are used to describe or check if the file is suitable for printing. One important point we need to understand is that there will always be a minor difference in the colour on the screen and in print. I have explained ‘why’ this happens in my post about the Colour Wheel. For those of you who missed it – It happens because of the difference in the colours of light and the colours of pigment. A computer screen uses RGB (Red Green Blue) format while the Printing devices are based on the CMYK format (Cyan Magenta Yellow Black).
As professionals, designers must order prints with the exact colour shade and can specify the number assigned to the colour or shade. There is a standardised numbering system followed world over. This way the printer just cannot go wrong. It prints the exact colour selected.
Now there are some basic printer settings which all printers have. A Printer (device) comes with a set of default settings but we can always modify them if desired. Let’s understand these.
Black and White – It will print only the extreme colours Black or White. No shades of grey. This setting is used to print all text files to save the toner and ink.
Grayscale – The page will be printed in shades of black and white. The shades in between will be printed as tones of grey. Even a coloured image can be printed as black and white or grayscale. The output will differ.
Colour – This is the setting we want to select for printing colourful images. A thing to note here is that a scanning device also has the same settings. We need to make sure we scan it and print it with the same settings for the desired output.
Print Margins – The white borders on the printed page are margins. We can change these when we give the print command. The image size and page size will not be exactly same, even if theoretically they are the same size. It means that the page and image edges will not coincide or overlap. An Image printed will always be smaller than the actual page.
This is a technical aspect of all printers. It differs with technology and brands. We do get borderless printers to print high quality photos and large format pictures. For home printers, at least even if we keep the margins to zero, it has a ‘gutter’ which will always be there.
Fit to page – This is a simple beginners setting. If the image is bigger then use the ‘fit to page’ setting to get the image to limit to the size of the page. For example the artwork is 12 inches by 18 inches which is bigger and we want to do a test print at home and the printer at home prints only A4 size, which is smaller than the art work. We can use the ‘fit to page’ setting and comfortably print it in A4. If this setting is not used the printer will use multiple pages to print the same image. It tries to print the artwork at the exact size it was created plus the white print margins. Leads to a lot of wastage in paper.
In another case, if the image is small and we use the ‘fit to page’ setting the image will be dragged to make it as large as the page. It will get pixelated.
Further we also need to ensure the aspect ratio is locked. Meaning when we change the size of the image, if the computer is decreasing the length by one inch it decreases the width also in the same proportion instead of keeping it constant. Otherwise it will change one of them and the image will not print correctly. This is the reason the white border is broad on one side and very thin on the other.
Of course we can cut and remove the white borders, join these sheets and all. However it is best to avoid such wastage by making sure the commands are in line with the output we want. Here is a simple chart explaining standard Paper Sizes used by all printing devices. They are denoted as ‘letter’ or ‘A3’ or ‘A5’. We select these from a drop down menu. The computer will edit the other settings to match it once we select from the drop down menu. The image is by Vector Stock and only for reference.
Let’s do a quick recap of the points to remember:-
1) Draw your artwork in the same size as the one you want to print. A larger art can be comfortably printed in a smaller size but not the other way around. If you are downloading and printing then check this info.
2) Scan it at 300dpi OR set the resolution of the computer drawing file at 300dpi. We can reduce this if we want to use the file only in the digital format. A printer will require it at 300dpi only. Changing this at a later stage spoils the file. It is to be done from the beginning itself.
3) Specify the colour or black and white print settings. A colour image can be printed in black white or grayscale also if that is the command selected.
4) Read the Printer Paper Sizes Chart and keep it handy. This enables us to know exactly the size we require the work in.
Last but not the least. Do this with the art that you create or art that you bought. Art work downloaded from the internet may be subjected to Copyrights. Printing or making copies of certain art work is considered illegal or a violation of the law. I did do a post on Copyrights earlier. Do take a look if it interests you. Making copies of things like currency or coloured copies of government papers is strictly illegal. Please do not engage in any such practices.
Use this information to make prints for your artwork, download files that are permitted for personal use or artwork that is officially yours and you have the rights in it. I hope this information was helpful. Now we can confidently get good prints at home as well as at professional printing services. Have an Arty Weekend!
Photo Credits : The WordPress Photo library for all the photos except one from vector stock and the other one that is mine.
How to say that? It is ‘Silu -et’. That’s right! I am not talking about a soft fabric but a technique of painting. Silhouette is also a popular method in photography. It is an object or profile in dark black against a very bright source of light, usually the Sun.
To understand it better, do a small experiment. Take a camera and try clicking pictures of any object with the Sun at Sunrise and Sunset. The object will always come dark. On the other hand if you click in the other direction where the Sun illuminates the object, we get a crisp clear photo with details of the object. That is why they say don’t click against the Sun. Unless of course you want the special effect.
The reason is the immense brightness creating a contrast with the object. Thus the object appears completely black or dark with only an outline or profile. A distinct shape of the object will be seen. This is called a Silhouette. Sunrise and Sunset are the perfect backgrounds.
It is a very simple method for painting and can be done by just anyone. No need to know anything about painting. One can paint with any medium of paint. In digital it is super quick to draw one. We can even paint it using markers. Relief techniques as well.
It is 3 simple easy steps 1) Decide the placing of the objects 2) Paint the background in colours of yellow and orange 3) Draw the object and colour it in black – as simple as that. One thing to note is the position of the Sun. White followed by lemon yellow followed by orange to red, brown and black. This is the colour blending of the Golden Sky.
Drawing the object directly seems difficult? Let’s make it even easier. Download a ‘Silhouette’ of the object, print it and cut it. Place it on your drawing and mark the outline. Now paint it black. We can use a stencil also. For a first timer it is ok to use assistance. Once we understand how to paint it we will be able to do it without any assistance.
It is like the learning side wheels in a bicycle. We can let them off once we learn to ride. It helps overcome the stigma ‘I can’t paint’. A beautiful blend of colours with a distinct object highlighted. The colour on the outside and the object in single solid colour – Silhouette. The internet has ample images for inspiration. Choose something you like.
I paint them digitally because it is super quick. Beach scenes or by the sea shore are best drawn using this method. One of my favourites to paint would be the Knight holding the flag and the other is a famous scene from the movie ‘The Lion King’ where Mufasa roars from the top of the cliff. A woman standing at the cliff point with open arms and breeze blowing through her hair is another one I like to paint.
Painting Silhouettes is easy and hence can also be very easily replicated and copied. Hence, I don’t sell them at my shops. Decided to do a post on them for learning and understanding. One can always paint them for their learning without any worries OR If photography is your area of interest, try clicking some pictures.
The title says it all ; this is a all you want to know kind of post and it is all about ‘The Washi Tape’. Ok! What is so special about it? Fine! It is just another tape, so use it as one. True! I think it is a door to creativity. Especially for storytellers who cannot draw well but have so much to say and share.
What is Washi Tape?
The name literally translates to Japanese Paper Tape. In India we have been using paper tapes for painting jobs. It is usually to protect an edge from unwanted paint. It is often referred to as masking tape. However Washi Tape is way better in terms of quality. It was originally used for Arts and Crafts. I think it is a must have for everyone, for students and professionals both alike. If your children are in school and have to do a lot of projects or journals, you will definitely agree. I just love them.
What is so special about it?
The paper is different. It is strong and stiff like a tape but light and semi transparent like paper. Layering is possible. Next, the glue is very good to stick it smoothly on a surface. At the same when we remove it, it will not leave any stickies or damage the surface. Comes off very easily. The glue can be easily cleaned with soap and water, if any. Last but not the least we get them in a HUGE, yes HUGE variety of colours, sizes and designs. We can cut and use them as stickers too!
Where will I get them? What is the price point?
It is a Japanese Tape so obviously it is available at stores that sell art craft materials and stationery from Japan. I bought mine during my visit to Japan. I have original Japanese Washi Tapes from The Japanese Paper Museum. In India, we now get them online as well as at all Art and Craft stores. We do get products that may not be the original one from Japan but are referred to as Washi Tape only because they are decorative tapes made from paper or titled so for search engines.
Washi Tapes are available in different sizes (broad) and usually bought in combos. Depending on themes, designs, colour matching and so on. It all depends on how you wish to use them. The prices are also offered like wise. The more you buy, the higher discount. For example INR. 30/- for one or 6 for INR.120/- It is an example, actual price may vary but is approximately in the same range.
How to use them?
As a regular tape in your diary to stick or attach something
As a decorative tape for borders, arts crafts, projects. journals, diary, your writing book, greeting cards, memory journals and more.
As a protective edging tape while painting surfaces. We tape the surface we don’t want the colour on. So when we remove the tape the extra colour or resin is removed and that surface is clean.
To create effects in some abstract geometric art
Marking a straight line while painting or drawing
Special Tip – A new Tape may have strong glue that may erode the paper surface a teeny bit. To avoid that simply paste the tape on the paper and lift immediately once or twice. Then stick it. Now when we remove it, the paper will not erode.
Paper Tape can be used on any surface for edging or protecting the edge or surface. I used it to protect my coasters while coating resin. It works well with liquid paints as well as spray paints. It is an essential for re- furnishing and re- painting jobs. The plain colours are cheaper than the fancy ones.
Yes! I think they are totally worth the investment. There are ample ideas on creatively using them shared on Social Media. Take a look to get started. I have covered all the important information for a crafter or artist in short. If you wish to know more, you can always search online. Do check my Pinterest Board – Washi Tape Ideas to get started. I have pinned 50 different projects or ways one can use Washi Tape.
Valentines Day tomorrow! You can buy Washi Tapes and make your last minute preparations like a pro. Have an Arty Week!
Click! Click! Hehe! We don’t get to hear this clicking sound anymore. The cameras are silent but we still click as many pictures or probably more. Now that our phones have a very strong camera lens, we like to capture every memory.
It is a memory, it is special. Then why let it remain in the phone. Let’s print it and put it in a nice photo frame. That is my topic for today’s post – a very simple easy DIY Photo Frame. It also makes a great handmade gift to share with your loved ones.
Earlier if I had to make something like this I would have to buy mount board or ply and then cut and make the frame myself. Also cut such vintage design decorative pieces. I agree, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea to get a good finishing at these. Tedious too!
Now we easily get ready made stuff like plates in different shapes, pen stands, photo frames, coasters, alphabets and much more. The art and craft stores stock these. Further we get a large variety in primed chip board pieces. These designs are laser cut from plywood or board. They are primed ; meaning painted with a base paint. Won’t require gesso or primer to paint. We can directly use acrylic paints.
The material is plywood or fibreboard for all of them and hence for any craft or painting it is the same family. I did do a project earlier with the same materials – A Nameplate and Coasters. In case you wish to read those posts, the links are at the bottom. Yes! The material is mainly used for Mixed Media projects. Some stores are offering DIY kits with these.
I think one can always get more creative and use them differently, isn’t it! A big smile 😀 How is this project different? The method of painting is different. This method is super easy. Anyone just anyone can make it and it will still be a masterpiece.
Materials Required :
Ready Plywood Base – Photo Frame – any design of your choice
Decorative Primed Chipboard pieces – any design of your choice
Acrylic Paints and Brushes
Varnish for Acrylic – Spray or Liquid – either will do
Your enthusiasm to create something new
Minimum materials and most of it will be from your paintbox. No need to buy them. Make use of whatever you already have at home. Let’s get started! Put enough newspapers or plastic to protect your table or floor, wherever you are working. We do spill paint while doing this.
Special Tip : Cut out a rectangle from the plastic envelope of the frame or chipboard pieces. The size of the photo to be inserted. Insert it in the photo slot to avoid it getting blocked due to paint. This way we give a protective base and avoid colouring that portion.
Further we can use stencils to create textures on the base. We can use Tape to create designs as well. Pack the edges with Masking Tape or Washi Tape to avoid colouring the wrong side. We can even paint the edges in a different colour. Remove it once done. I will do a post on using tape soon.
Arrange these pieces and roughly decide their placements. Next select the colours. Individually paint all the pieces in any single colour. Here, I have painted the chipboard pieces in Gold. Chipboard pieces are by the brand ‘Little Birdie’. We can shade them but they are already 3D and hence I feel a single colour looks better.
The frame base is painted in Titanium White. One edge I have painted in Pink – Medium Magenta. After that I have dusted the frame with the same Gold used for the pieces. Gold on White is blended to look like gold is dusted on it. Finish the edges and back side likewise. Acrylic colours are painted in layers and blend even after the base colour dries. Use a wet brush only if needed. We use water only to clean the brush.
Thereafter I added the Gold Border using acrylic pens or paint pens. I use ‘Posca’ and ‘sharpie’ brands. They work well. This one is a bronze by sharpie. Once the pieces dry we can assemble or stick them together. They dry very well in about half an hour maximum. Next, we assemble or stick them together with glue. I use ‘Fevicol’ – India’s most popular glue.
Next we add the embellishments. Any finishing touches if you require. Let this dry completely. Varnish it the next day and it is ready for use.
I like the colours in this one. Reminds me of my doll houses and princess fairy tales. I have mentioned the shades if you wish to use the exact same shades. Acrylic Paints are Artist Colours by the brand ‘Camel – Kokuyo Camlin’. I use spray varnish also by the same brand.
As you see, ones painting skills will not make much of a difference. It will still look as elegant and beautiful. Don’t forget to add your photo! Hope you enjoyed this post. Have an Arty Weekend!
Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! This post is in continuation with the previous one. I shared about Resin Art, Fluid Art and Art with Alcohol inks in my last post. I now have some additional inputs on that topic. Sharing them in this one.
I learnt that alcohol inks work best on a special paper called ‘Yupo Paper’. Heard it for the first time? Honestly, it was new to me as well. I knew alcohol inks work best on impermeable surfaces. But the real fun is when we use them on Yupo Paper. The inks stay nice and bright.
What is this Yupo Paper? These are sheets that look and feel like paper but are actually plastic. More like opaque OHP sheets. ‘OHP’ if that rings a bell in your mind. Do you remember? Those projectors that we used before PPT presentations became our daily desk items. Yes! They are made from a synthetic material called polypropylene.
I had already bought inks by ‘Little Birdie’ and so I used them. Alcohol Inks and Alcohol Blending solution by JAGS is also available and I found it better and affordable. This isn’t any promotion. I bought the material and used it for my art project. It is only my experience that I shared.
Certain washable inks can be cleaned once we write or draw on them. It works great for learning to write as an erasable paper. They are recyclable. I bought a pack of 5 sheets by a brand called ‘JAGS’. They have an amazing Art store that stocks a lot of variety at affordable prices. I wasn’t prepared to spend too much on something that may or may not turn out well. Hence I picked the smallest pack.
Then when I sat to paint with alcohol inks on Yupo Paper, I realised how cool this combination is. The inks stay on them longer, they drip well and then the alcohol blending solution does it’s magic. Steer them with a heated blower – hmm I meant a hair dryer. Last but not the least, stick gilding flakes to the areas with ink lumps. The ink is naturally tacky so the flakes stick easily. Clean off the extra. This should add that golden sparkle.
It makes a great background for most surfaces. Products also look good with these designs. Or simple Art Frames with abstract art. How do you plan to use these? Share them in the comments below. I made a card with them to wish all of you a very Happy New Year!
I am back at my desk after a short break. It means the blog posts will now be regular like before. Will be back with more art and craft ideas. Have an Arty Week!
Hello everyone! As promised, I am here, with complete details on working with this sticky, messy and crazy material called ‘Resin’. I will also share about creating designs with alcohol inks. I have clubbed these three styles because their methods are the same – random, uncontrolled, indisciplined and crazy.
It is because of this property that each piece of art is very different from the other. We create beautiful waves and ripples like flowing water resulting in abstract designs to make various usable objects.
Trays, Coasters, Keychains, Name Plates, Cookie stands, Cheese Boards, Wall Clocks, Wall Art, Bowls and Boxes to store little things, Jewellery, Stationery and more: there are so many things we can make with these art styles. We do not need any prior training in art for it. All three are popular activities for art-themed parties.
The material for these art styles is available in large quantities. I would say, “It is a good idea to share the material with a small group of people.” Everyone can take home a souvenir they made at the party. The colours can be mixed and provided in paper cups. The participants follow along instructions and everyone creates a beautiful and unique work of art. Imagine having fun and making art both at the same time.
Here is what you need and how to go about creating amazing works of art. The material is easily available at art stores and online. Some may feel the material is expensive as the minimum quantity is also large. It would be a good idea to use the material for other arts and crafts too. For a single project the material will turn out to be very expensive.
Fluid Art and Resin Art take about 24hrs to dry and set completely. Last but not least, if we spill the resin or the paint, it can get very messy. So unless you want a scolding from the house owner, please take adequate measures to cover your table or desk with newspapers or disposable mats or plastic sheets that will be discarded after the activity.
Artwork created by pouring acrylic paint onto a surface is called Fluid Art. Acrylic paint with pouring consistency is readily available. All we need to do is pour the colours onto the surface. We pour multiple colours into a cup (one inside another) and then spill them on the canvas without mixing. A blower or dryer is used to blast hot air and create some special effects. It is a lot of paint. The excess paint drips from the surface. As the paint dries, it hardens.
An artist uses colour combinations to create designs of his taste and choice. The canvas must be kept horizontally on a levelled surface. We also get ready art kits for this kind of paint parties. Once the art is done, tap the canvas lightly at any corner to level out the paint and avoid lumps. The vibration created by tapping the canvas levels out the paint. Acrylic paint has its own shine. The last step is to spray varnish as a protective layer for your art.
You can clear coat it with resin to give a smooth glass like finish to the bumpy colours if you wish. It is like applying top coat to your nail art.
Alcohol-based inks that have a nice deep colour are readily available in bottles. The bottle nozzle has a dropper. They are available in a wide range of colours. One thing we definitely need is an ‘alcohol blending solution’. Make sure you add that to your basket while shopping for alcohol-based inks.
The paper we use for this art is important. An impermeable surface works best. I used a thick textured watercolour paper. Sometimes, the ink can come on to the other side of the paper. It is not necessary to use paper. Other materials can also be used but they need to be primed or treated before use. Ceramic tiles can also be painted using this method. Clear coat the tiles with resin to give a glass like finish.
How to use them? Simply drop a few drops onto the surface and let them flow. The drops create ripples and flow in different directions. They never walk straight or as instructed. Jokingly I say the inks behave as if they are drunk and so they are called alcohol inks.
We can lift the paper and change the level of the paper to control the direction of the flowing ink. This helps avoid getting a large clump at a single spot. Alcohol Inks dry instantly. We use drops of the alcohol blending solution to blend the inks. Try both methods – first the ink drops and then the solution and vice versa. The results in both the case will be different but both are great ways to create art.
We get them in gold and silver too. Browse a few alcohol ink artworks online and notice a nice gold outline in the artwork. We can rub gilding flakes on the dry ink clump. It is tacky and the flakes easily stick to it. I really love stationery created with this method. It has a pop of colour, is simple and classy.
Resin is a kind of lacquer. It gives a nice reflective glass like finish. A clear coat is applied as a protective layer on various artefacts. I did a detail step-by-step post on clear coating your canvas in one of my earlier posts. As my hands were busy I could not share pictures. You may read the second half of the post on blue MDF coasters to know about clear coating using Resin.
The other method is using silicone moulds. Alcohol inks can also be added to the resin in order to create effects. Alcohol inks do not dissolve or blend completely in resin. Once a clear resin is poured into the mould, add a few drops of alcohol ink and see how it spreads in all directions like rays of the sun. I used a wooden toothpick in circular movements to create marble effect. Alcohol Inks have a certain amount of transparency when used with resin.
Beach scenes or seawater effects are the most trending works of Resin Art. We mix something called ‘Resin Pigment’ in the clear Resin to make opaque colours. We can add gilding flakes, sequins, dried flowers and leaves, acrylic cut lettering, glitter and other decorative things to the art. I just saw a few videos they used 3D liners and Washi Tape to create stain glass like effects. Bottles of crystals that look like crushed glass are readily available in various colours for Resin Art.
Art Resin is best for home use. It comes in two bottles. One will be the ‘Resin’ and the other will be the ‘Hardener’. Depending on the brand it is to be mixed in a paper cup in the proportion 1:1 or 2:1. Please read the instructions on the Resin bottles. The proportion is very important. In case it is not mixed in the correct proportion, it will not set correctly.
Stir the mixture continuously for 3mins until it becomes colourless. This is the clear Resin. Resin starts hardening after 30-40 minutes. So complete all the designing by then. Pigments are concentrated colours to be added and mixed with the resin using a wooden spoon or stick. They blend well with the Resin. Make a different colour in a different cup. Paper cups and wooden spoons work best for resin.
There is no method to pour these colours or mediums. We have to ‘go with the flow’. A heat gun is used to pop air bubbles that come up to the surface in the resin. I pop them using the pointed side of the toothpick. Resin is self-setting and must be left to dry on a levelled surface. Pour from the centre and it automatically spreads to the ends. Try different pours and see the results. It’s just fun!
I wanted Coasters for my table so I bought the square moulds. Moulds for all the objects are easily available at art and craft stores and online on Amazon and other marketplaces. If you want to make something else you can buy those moulds. The process is the same. It takes 12 hours to set and another 12 hrs for curing – a minimum of 24hrs are required before un moulding.
Professionally Resin is used with wood to make decorative furniture too. This requires further processing and is better to work in a studio. Resin gives out fumes that can be harmful if inhaled. They wear a mask while working. That is why for home use, we use a milder version – Art Resin. Children can work with resin if supervised by an adult. Once the resin hardens, it feels like an acrylic block.
Special Tip: A hairdryer or hot air blower helps push the colour in a particular direction or dry the ink before it spreads further. It also helps create special effects in Fluid Art – bubbles or fizzy kind of border. Use it to blow and lightly pop the bubbles in the resin. Now you see! It is such a handy tool while working with any of them. But be careful not to over do it or you will get blown away.
I made the Pink Coasters just to try the material. After that my Mom wanted me to make her a set of these wine and rose gold coasters. Abstract art is all about your aesthetic sense. It looks beautiful for any decor. Give these art styles a try for a fun-filled creative activity. Have an Arty Week!
The first thing we usually ask or get to know about someone is their name. That is how we relate to them. We all like it when someone calls us by our name, isn’t it? That is what my next project is all about – a name. In this post, I am sharing about making a nameplate. It could be a simple door sign for your room or studio, an open or close sign for your store or a board sign for your home.
I wanted one for my creative corner. My initials are ‘NM’ and my shop name is ‘NMartworks’. Although I do various Arts and Crafts but mainly I’m into Drawing and Painting. That is why I selected a ‘Palette and Brush’ theme for myself. I wish to to make this project using the art materials that I already have and buy as little as possible. A common problem for such projects is about assessing the quantity of various materials required.
The first step to any project is to visualise. I visit art and craft shops to look for what is available. After that I design the project. Next I list the requirements and make a rough estimate considering the variance. I check my stock, meaning I check the material that I have at home and then I source the remaining. Most of the time this works out just great and other times I have to re-work it to cross the hurdles.
If there is a special price or discount on the material it is a bonus. Once in a while, that stuff you really wanted can get picked up before you get your hands on it. Certain materials are available only in large packs or you run out of it at the last minute. Also sometimes the same design is unavailable later. These hurdles are a part and parcel of the making process. Unless you are into selling and regularly stock material, these little hiccups are for everyone. Doing my homework makes me feel in control of the situation for my peace of mind.
List of Materials
MDF Board – Palette Shape
Primed Chipboard pieces – Vintage design and Floral
Glue – Fevicol
Gold and Bronze Sharpie Pens
The quantity for all the material for this project can be the smallest size bottle or tube available in the market. It is a small one. We can use all the material for other projects too. To know more about selecting art materials check my previous posts. I have covered the topic in detail.
Let’s get started
I have made the Nameplate on the lines of a Mixed Media Project. What is Mixed Media? As the name suggests it is mixing different media or materials. Wood, Metal, Fabric and Paper are commonly used for Mixed Media Projects. We use objects made from different materials, arrange the objects and make one new object. I placed the MDF Palette, the chip board pieces and brushes together.
The objects I have used are of the same material family – wood. The best way to glue wood is using India’s most popular glue – Fevicol. If you don’t believe me? Check their advertisements. Yes! Even if we were to use fabric, metal or paper in our project we would have used Fevicol. The surfaces of the objects that I have used for the nameplate have different colours and textures. Some are polished, some unpolished.
Colour always sticks well on a clean rough surface. Sanding them is one option but not ideal. The other is ‘Gesso’ pronounced with a ‘J’ and not as a ‘G’. Gesso is a kind of primer. It primes the base and makes it ready for painting. Gesso is a mixture of POP (Plaster of Paris) or Chalk/ Gypsum and Glue or a binder. I have used a textured one. It is thicker than paint and is used to create textures. We get a variety of them. The cracked effect is one of them. It develops cracks as it dries. We have two colour options – Black and White.
What is a primer? As the name suggests it is the first or prime paint applied. Think of it as the base coat. It prepares the surface for painting. A primed and painted surface will look very smooth and finished. It also lasts longer than a non primed one. Gesso is quick drying. It is always applied as a single coat. We can paint on top of the first coat only if any spot was left out. If we paint another coat it destroys the texture of the previous coat. Let’s paint it now.
I wanted a red gold finish. I painted it using Gold, Crimson, Black and Copper colours. I added little highlights in White colour. Last but not least I used Sharpie Pens to paint the leafy texture in the background and added silver embellishments. Thereafter I tied matching Gold string to hang it. In case you bought an MDF Palette that does have the holes, make these in the very beginning itself.
Alternatively we can paint the pieces individually and then arrange them. Even that works. The chipboard is already primed and can be painted directly. Chalk Paints work very well on MDF pieces. About two coats is good and no need to prime it. I wanted the whole plate to look like it’s made from one single block. Hence I painted it as a single piece in the same colours.
All of this is fast drying. However it is important to let it set and dry completely before varnishing. What is varnish? It is a clear coat. A kind of resin. We get gloss or matt options. I often use gloss because I like a little shine that the acrylic colours give. We get liquid ones to apply using a brush and a spray as well. Personally, I like using the spray because it covers the whole canvas equally without any lumps. A varnish protects your work from dust and other particles and seals the paint.
It becomes easy to clean an artwork after varnish. To clean a varnished Art we lightly wipe off the dust using a dry paintbrush or soft cloth. No need to frame the Paintings either. Hence varnish is a good idea for a nameplate. Now it’s ready to use! Let us put it up as the door sign.
Do share your views about the project in the comments below. Have a creative weekend!
Hot or Cold ? It is a good idea to use coasters when you want to avoid marks on the table that happen because of the condensate on drinks. I like customised or things made especially for me. Buying a ready coaster off the shelf was boring, making one myself sounded more fun.
That is why I decided to make my own coasters. And what is a project without a challenge? For this project, my challenge was to clear coat the coasters. The first thought for anyone when I say ‘handmade coasters’ is to think of them as school crafts made by children. This isn’t that. We want something professional looking and long lasting. Just because it is handmade does not mean it should be any less. Isn’t it?
These are coated and exactly like those available in the market. They are durable and stand various temperatures. The coating protects the colour and design as well.
Materials Needed :
Pieces from MDF Board – These could be any size and shape. We get ready ones at all art and craft stores. The quantity depends on your table. I picked six square shape boards of 3.5 x 3.5 inches
Chalk Paint – I picked the frozen blue shade of chalk paint by a company called ‘Little Birdie’
Acrylic Paints – I used acrylic paints in bottles. Pearl finish teal blue and regular finish persian blue colour. One has a glitter finish while the other has a plain finish. The brand for my acrylic paints is ‘Fevicryl’
3D liner White Pearl by ‘Fevicryl’ for highlights (optional)
Permanent Markers to draw or outline the design
Design Stencil – You can use a readily available one or make one with paper yourself for the design. To get the exact same design on all coasters it is important to have a stencil. It makes replicating the design easier.
Acrylic Varnish – I used the spray from the brand ‘Camlin’
Art Resin – comes in two bottles (resin + hardener) to be mixed and used. The resin to hardener proportion is different for different brands but will either be 1:1 or 2:1. This is for the coating. I used epoxy art resin by the company ‘Little Birdie’
MDF Board is thick board made from wood fiber. For art and craft the material is handled just like plywood or wood. Ready pieces of different shapes and sizes are available in the market for various arts and crafts. For coasters they are available as multiple packs or single pieces, with and without a stand to complement it. The choice is yours.
I had picked six square shaped board pieces with rounded corners. They don’t have a wrong side or right side. We can paint on either. Select the side you feel looks good and make that the top side. I painted them on both sides with chalk paint using a flat brush.
What is chalk paint? Most acrylic paints leave a self texture and gloss after drying. Further, we need to prime the base before using them. Chalk paint is also an acrylic paint but it gives a matt finish and better coverage. There is no need to prime the base. Can be applied directly to any wood or wood like surface. I have applied two coats of chalk paint on both the top and bottom of all coasters.
It is quick drying. An interval of 15-20mins between coats is sufficient for it to dry. On the side rim as a dark colour and just to have a contrast I applied Persian blue colour from the acrylic bottle paints. These are liquid and of pouring consistency. Work very well for Dot Painting as well.
After drying I secured the stencil with a paper tape on the top side of the coaster. I traced the design using a blue permanent marker. Did this for all the coasters. Painted the design using acrylic paints in bottles. Highlighted using a 3D liner – white pearl colour. You can use the permanent marker on dried acrylic paint for touch up of the design.
Now we need to let this dry completely. Acrylic Paints are fast drying. We may feel it is dried after an hour but before the next process let it dry completely to the last particle for at least 24hours. Apply two coats of acrylic varnish after that and leave it for another day 24hours after that. I sprayed varnish on the backside as well. Makes an easy clean surface in case it gets dirty.
It is usable after this but I wanted to coat it with resin. Resin is a thick clear coat making it durable against extreme temperatures and gives a reflective glass like finish. Even a small piece of dust will sit and stick to it. The acrylic varnish makes it easy to clean the dust and locks the paint. That is why, the colours don’t smudge or bleed when we pour the resin.
Now for the challenging part – applying the coat of resin. Working with resin can be messy. The clean up is very difficult. Make sure you do this at a place well protected with paper or plastic for any unwanted spills.
Resin is like lacquer. Art resin is a slightly milder form and better to work with at home. Use masking tape or paper tape and pack the edges of the coasters. So in case the resin spills you can remove it with the tape after it dries. Put the coasters on a levelled lifted surface. I placed a paper cup upside down and put the coaster on it.
Wear silicon gloves or plastic bag as gloves. Resin sticks to the hand. It becomes sticky and is difficult to remove. In case you get some on your hand while working use an alcohol based solution or acetone or sanitiser to remove it. It does not go with soap water. I haven’t clicked pictures of the process as both my hands were occupied and I couldn’t touch the camera with dirty hands.
In another paper cup I mixed resin in the ratio 2:1 (resin to hardener) as mentioned in the description on their bottles by ‘Little Birdie’. The next process is same for all resins. We have to stir it continuously using a wooden stick for 3 mins till it becomes transparent and then pour on the surface to coat. 40ml + 20ml = 60ml was sufficient to nicely coat six coasters. The proportion has to be correct else it will not harden upon drying.
I poured the resin mixture at the centre and spread it to the edges using another wooden stick. The excess drips. I cleaned it using the stick. It is a self setting liquid and any craters will level out as it dries. Lightly pop the bubbles that come up using the pointed side of a toothpick. Also use a heat gun or a hair dryer or blower over it once. This pops the bubbles too.
Let it dry in a dust free environment. It gives out a mild smell or fumes as it dries. Hence best to leave it at a spot not frequented by anyone. It takes 12 hours to set and 24 to 48 hours for curing. The surface will be hardened, clear and reflective like a glass. Easy to clean and protective for coasters. We get food grade resin also. They use it for making trays and other kitchen items.
Think creatively and make your own design. Coasters made entirely from resin using silicon moulds and fluid art as also popular. They mix a paste called resin pigment to add an opaque colour, alcohol inks for transparent colours, decorative elements like glitter, stones and dried flowers to the resin and make many artistic home decor items.
Do try it out and share your experience. Have a creative weekend!
Note: This is not an advertisement or paid promotion. I bought the materials, made the coasters and clicked the pictures all myself. Kindly do not use without permission.
Originally used only as a protective charm for infants by native Americans, Dreamcatchers have now gained a lot more popularity. It is believed to be good luck to receive a Dreamcatcher as a gift. True or not, I think it makes a lovely gift. I believe the thought behind the gift is what really counts.
I love trying new arts and crafts. This time I wanted to try making a Dreamcatcher. I bought a DIY kit that came with materials and instructions. After making one myself, I think I can explain it in a short and easy way. Sharing my experience and method, for the readers to try making one themselves. There are many tutorials on YouTube for various designs of Dreamcatchers.
A Hoop – Wooden or Metal
String or Lace to cover the Hoop
String for the web
Strings to make the hanging ones
Decorative elements like beads and crystals
Hooks to attach the feathers (optional)
Scissors and Glue
Let’s make the Dreamcatcher :
I used the pink string and wrapped it around the metal hoop, covering it completely.
Continuing with the same string, I made loops for the outer layer of the web as shown in the diagram. Make sure they intersect forming a interlocked continuous web and the thread is tight.
For the second inner layer, I continued to make loops just like the outer ones with the intersection at the centre of the outer loops.
I continued making layers till the centre. As we move to the inner layers the loops become smaller and difficult to make. We can use a needle if required. I made sure it is a continuous string (single string) and it is secured tightly so that the loops don’t open up.
If the string is not long enough attach more string to it, until it is complete. Then at the centre I attached a pink bead. You can have a charm of your choice. This is the end of the web. I tied the knot and stuck the ends with glue.
Decorate the web with crystals.
Then I tied the purple hanging strings to the hoop. I have attached five of them. Need to cut them to size first. For example if you want it to hang as long as 10 cm, then double it to 20cm and add about two cms more to tie the knots. The one on the extreme right and extreme left are of equal length and they are the shortest. The other two slightly longer and the one in the centre is the longest, it gives a u-shaped look.
Then I attached beads and feathers alternately on the purple strings by tying knots so that they don’t slip downwards. It’s a regular knot. I have used metal hooks that came in the pack to attach the feathers. They seemed very helpful in securing the feathers. You can attach them with string also if you don’t get hooks.
Completed! Admire your work!
Special Tip : Apply dots of quick drying transparent glue (I have used Fevi Kwik – an instant adhesive) at intersections wherever needed to avoid the string from slipping and opening up. Use it only as needed to secure beads, strings and feathers.
The difficult part is in weaving the web. Once we get that correctly everything else goes faster. I had a great time making it. I hope you enjoy the process too! And don’t forget to gift it to someone you want to look after. Have a creative weekend!
Note : The DIY Dreamcatcher kit I bought from the ItsyBitsy Craft store. One can purchase all the material individually at the store as well. All the pictures are mine and I have actually clicked them. Kindly do not use them without permission.
On my way home, I stopped to grab a coffee at my regular coffee joint when I peaked at the new poster coming up on the notice board. It was a poster of an Art Exhibition coming up at the display gallery on the first floor. The exhibition was by a five-year-old artist.
Wow! At that age, I didn’t even know how to spell art or write anything. A little girl, just five having an entire gallery display, a solo artist. Did I wonder how? What? Why? When? Who? My mind began to run at the fastest speed that I had known.
Modern Art, Abstract Art and Contemporary Art these terms are used together or in place of the other many times. This little artist was into Contemporary Art. Her guardians were organising her show. She was trying for the world records as the youngest artist to have a solo art show.
I don’t know if she made it but it got me my topic for this post. Yes! We will be discussing Modern Art, Contemporary Art and Abstract Art in this post. Are these the same? Not really. Honestly very few people understand these or know. It is more about visual appeal. If they like to look at it, they buy it. Simple!
Modern Art is a term used for the thought process. The artist is painting something that is not restricted by the traditional boundaries of the past. Abstract Art means it doesn’t resemble anything in form as such. Contemporary means more of the style of today. As art styles evolved every landmark change coined a new term. More like the terms are used for the art style in a particular era.
Modern Art is better defined in terms of shapes and textures. It looks more like patterns and designs. Contemporary Art on the other hand is more abstract than modern Art. Modern Art is a style popular in 1860s to 1970s. Contemporary Art is more as today’s Art style.
The key point in selection is the colour scheme. This art goes well with today’s modern contemporary interiors. It doesn’t represent or mean anything. Just adds a look and feel to the whole place. Many people like to purchase Art that doesn’t have an exact defined meaning.
This Art looks better on a nice big canvas. Reprints are easy. Selections are quick and simple – most of the times people just go with what their interior designer suggested. And the prices are affordable. Art galleries also like to stock more of these because it is a fast-running product for them.
Jokingly I am sure at least one person looking at it will be like “Hey! I can paint that!” Haha! True and False both. True because people think it is easy I can dip a brush in colour and run it on the canvas and call it Art. False because you can’t recreate the same thing. Your Art will always be different. Interesting! Isn’t it!
Abstract Art is all about shapes, textures and colours. It completely depends on the artist’s aesthetic sense. The Art can be geometric or random. The artist paints a mood, an emotion or a feeling using colours and creating textures with brushes, hands or tools. Big bold strokes and striking colours are my style.
There is no good or bad here. One either likes it or doesn’t like it. No two ways about it. One cannot say if this was like this maybe it will be better. Here it is an artist’s call when to say complete. It must be visually appealing. This Art gains meaning when it is installed in a space. It is more like it completes the space and gives the look to a place. What one feels is too much may be perfect for another. Always to your taste!
‘Dream of your Art and Paint your dream.’ All in all paint whatever comes to your mind with complete confidence. To get that beautiful artwork preferably paint on a canvas in acrylic colours. This gives a lot of options in creating different textures. You may want to read my previous post on painting with acrylic colours to know why it is a preferred medium to paint. View Post on Acrylic Colours.
No one can teach anything here, we paint what comes to us naturally. We can browse the internet and look at paintings by famous artists for inspiration. The technique is we paint directly with colour. No erasing, going back and forth or smoothening or anything. And paint in layers. One colour over another is completely ok. No need to blend.
I have made abstract modern art designs for my products at my Society shop and Redbubble shop NMARTWORKS. Here I am sharing some printable posters with my Art which would make suitable Wall Art pieces for residential as well as commercial spaces. These are more on the lines of contemporary art. These artworks have been created digitally for prints in different sizes but exactly on the lines of how we would paint them offline.
Learning to paint, this little child asked me “Ma’am why can’t I paint a green or pink sky? Yellow water or black rose? Isn’t art about the freedom to paint?” I was startled for a moment but then I tried to look at it from his eyes. Yes! The artist is free to paint whatever he wants and as he wants. Then why wasn’t I ready to accept his imagination? Did I consider it as a violation of the norms? Why does the sky have to be blue and the trees green? Has this thought crossed your mind too?
Art is about the freedom to express. We all draw and paint to express our thoughts. Worldwide, we associate colours with certain emotions. That is why when an artist paints a red rose it invokes a different reaction and when he paints a black rose it invokes a different one. Why? Because every colour has a meaning. Some meanings are accepted in general on a broader level by most people while some meanings are deeper or secondary and have more local communal interpretations.
For example, red as a colour of love is generally accepted by all. On the other hand red is also the colour of anger. Further, red as an auspicious colour is accepted only by certain communities. So you see one colour can have many meanings. How is this meaning derived? It is mainly because of our associations through our thought process. Colours which we see around in our environment and surroundings are colours we associate better with. Colours as symbols to indicate messages or mark goods in trade have been used since time immemorial.
In India, we have the white desert better known as the Rann of Kutch. Art that is traditional to this location is on a white background, just like the white desert. The locals have colourful dresses to be seen easily. They also have mirrors to reflect the sunlight. They like to use bright colours in their homes and clothing. The colour pigments are made locally by the artisans from materials in their environment. Over the years they begin to associate feelings of happiness and cheer with these bright colours like red, green and yellow. This story holds true in some way or another for art around the world.
A good piece of art is one that conveys the message well. All artworks require a good choice of colours. However, artworks like designs, patterns, abstract art and modern art tend to have a higher dependence on the colours used. Hence before choosing colours for the artwork it is always better to know about colours and their meanings. If you want to appeal to a certain audience, it is always a good idea to know their interpretation of colours.
The study of colours is a vast subject and many people have built careers on it. In this post, we will limit it to the use of selecting colours for drawing and painting – mainly to express ourselves well through our art. Almost all colours will have some meanings and emotions considered as positive and some meanings and emotions considered as negative. Depending on the emotion one wishes to invoke as an artist, one can decide the colours. Then of course there are the light and dark shades – tints, tones and shades for all colours.
There are colours clubbed as warm colours – these invoke a feeling of warmth. Shades on the colour wheel from yellow to red are warm colours. Colours that invoke a cool refreshing feeling in us are termed cool colours. These are the other portion of the colour wheel. What is this colour wheel you are talking about? I have shared it in one of my previous posts. You may want to read up a bit on it as well. It is called ‘Understanding Colours’.
Let’s discuss some colours and the emotions they invoke :
Purity, Innocence, Clean, Fresh, Simple, Good, Complete, New Beginnings.
On the negative side it is symbolic for blank, empty, cold, death or mourning. Secondary meanings include peace, calm and hope. Spiritual meanings like enlightenment or illumination, renunciation or disinterest.
Power, Authority, Strength, Seriousness. Business or Law – Black and White.
On the negative side it is symbolic for dark emotions or opposite of white, sadness, mystery, night, evil, despair. Secondary meanings of sophistication, elegance and formal dressing. It is also the colour of death and mourning in some cultures.
On the negative side it stands for cowardice, deceit, caution, sickness, illness, Secondary meanings in religious texts or associated with the Sun or god. Yellow is also for Gold.
As a combination of red and yellow orange has similar emotions. Joy, Warmth, Sunshine, Energy, Creativity, Health. It is also a colour of movement and change.
On the negative side sometimes considered as superficial, aggressive, overpowering, rude and frivolous. Secondary meanings include its reference to fruits, vegetables or seasons.
Growth, Nature, Earth, Environment, Health, Good Luck, Harmony, Prosperity, Fertility.
On the negative side very often used to show jealousy and greed. Secondary meanings include its association as the colour of money. Often used in symbols for the environment or natural organic products. It is considered lucky in some and unlucky in some cultures. Green is also wisdom in some cultures.
Open Space, Freedom, Imagination, Trust, Loyalty, Intelligence, Wisdom, Flowing or Journey, Serenity, Stability.
On the negative side it means frozen or cold, unfriendly, suspicious, sad and depressed. Secondary meanings : Blue being the colour of the sky and water, it is a very popular colour worldwide. Most companies have their logos in blue. Blue is the colour for boys in some cultures.
On the negative side it is associated with pride, pompousness, mystery, sadness, frustration. Different shades have different meanings. Violet and lavender are also shades of purple. Secondary meanings : it is the colour of mourning in some cultures. It is also considered spiritual and magical in some cultures.
We don’t use any single colour for a particular meaning. It is a mix of colours and the shade also matters. How it is used and what is painted influences the message. All countries have different colours that are symbolic to them. For example Green is considered unlucky and associated with infidelity in China while red is considered as protective and lucky. Indigo is referred to as Japanese Blue because it is the most used colour in Japan. Red is auspicious while black is bad luck in Japan.
If we look at flags or national symbols of a country, we will understand their colours faster. Countries use colours they consider auspicious or representative of good luck on their flags. There is no one shoe fits all situation. We need to do our own homework and read up our bit.
The next time you are drawing or painting, think about the colours you are selecting. This is not an exhaustive list. You could even make your own list. I shared this because I felt just as this knowledge helped me make my art better, it could help you too. Have an Arty Week!
July is the monsoon season for us. Grey clouds, rain and humidity make it difficult to paint by hand. That is why I usually take it slow during this time of the year. Whether it is about clicking pictures, getting new ideas or creating art: the weather doesn’t help much. Oh! Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t mean I like this season any less.
What I am trying to say is nature is asking you to take a break. Step out and enjoy the music while it plays. After all, nothing in nature blooms 365days. We, artists, cannot be doing the same thing all year round. Hence I use this time of the year to break the monotony by 1) Travelling – so that I get new ideas and inspirations 2) Upgrading – to be better at my work, learn about the trends and maybe polish or learn a skill or two.
I learnt making caricatures digitally last weekend. How to make Reels on Insta the weekend before. Animation in a software called Procreate this weekend. Video editing and photo editing with In shots before that. And sometimes an entire software like Affinity Designer. The list goes on. Earlier we used CorelDraw, Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator and Flash for designing and animations.
So I prefer to do more digital artwork during this time. Fortunately I was introduced to the world of computers by my parents at a very young age. I would finish my school work on time to play the latest video game cassette. It wasn’t just me! Everyone in the family had this zeal for tech and computers. And all of us were good at it in our way. I also liked helping my friends with basic computer skills for school and college.
During those days we had to take up computer courses as additional training. Schools and colleges taught mere basics. The specialised art courses did not teach computers either. It was mainly about drawing and painting by hand. Back then, computer courses were pricey. And finding a good teacher was difficult. Many people thought it is an expense that they want to avoid.
However, our thinking was different. I took up training in Graphics and Multimedia professionally. I also had access to some tech journals and magazines that my father had subscribed to for himself. They were indeed helpful in getting started. Later I took up a job in that field for a couple of years. It was mainly to pay my expenses, gain experience and learn work discipline.
After that, I continued to work as a freelancer alongside my studies. Art was considered more as a hobby by everyone. People in India do not think of art as a career. Art is perceived more as time pass in our society because it doesn’t pay much. The race is all about becoming a doctor, engineer or manager for an intelligent child.
Art took a backseat for a while until I completed my education. I started working in the corporate world like everyone else. It was just designing logos, business cards, brochures or other material once in a while here and there. Art for commerce, business or trade is called commercial arts. I did scribble in my office memos. My office colleagues would know it is from my desk because of my art. Even though I had formal training in Graphics Designing, 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Video and Sound Editing and Web Designing, it wasn’t of much use.
The time gap widened and the softwares that I used got redundant. My mom believes ‘No knowledge goes wasted.’ Later when I set up my shop for selling art I started finding all that I learnt helpful. I felt it being put to good use. Even though I use different softwares today and so much has advanced in technology, I can grasp or learn any new stuff easily because of my foundation years. That is why I say ‘Art remains, only the tools keep changing.’
Now I do digital art regularly. My art is available as instant downloads or digital downloads that are printable at my Etsy shop. Once the buyer pays, Etsy sends them the link to download the files. They can download the files and print them at home or with a printing service. The details for downloading and printing are all mentioned.
“Nah! Give me a printed one!” If that came to your mind do not worry. You are not the only one. Many people wish to avoid the hassle of going and getting it printed. They can shop at my Redbubble and Society6 shops. All my shops are by the same name NMARTWORKS.
Society6 is a print on demand service. Meaning I upload my art or designs through the artist panel. Once a buyer purchases a product society6 prints it at their nearest vendor (printing hub) and ships it directly to the customer. It means as an artist I should know how it prints on different surfaces, how the colours will look and how to do the settings for each product. This is where my earlier experience makes a difference. Society6 is a preferred destination for Art Prints both framed and unframed.
Redbubble is also a print on demand service just like Society6 but has different products. Their artist panel is very user friendly. Here one can find artistic stuff like tech products, home and living, stationery and school, travel accessories. Society6 also has products but different ones. And similarly, Redbubble also has art prints but both have a different customer base. I would suggest you visit both and pick the one you like.
Then of course I have to market them on social media. My video and sound editing knowledge helped me there. And my knowledge of web designing helped me with WordPress. Basically all the marketing material and handling my shops. I agree the new apps and upgrades have made the task much ….much easier and faster. We don’t need to put in as much effort or spend as much time anymore thanks to presets and templates. But for a novice, it is like entering a whole new world.
I get a number of queries like; How did you do it, show me! Can I make it? How come yours turned out better? Edit this picture, why can’t I? The app says anyone can do it. The lockdown made so many people digitally savvy. There are numerous resources to learn anything you want including online classes. What they seem to be missing is the foundation.
‘Rome was not built in a day. It requires the same effort, hard work, diligence, discipline, a practice that learning offline would require. Don’t jump! Most people learn a little here and there or ask for shortcuts to get the work done and move on. Best explained by saying I learn some from the first-grade book, a few pages from the fifth grade and then expect a 100% result in the tenth grade. And btw they want to be able to do it like a tenth grader in one month.
I am glad I learnt all that, even applied it at work. Now I only make improvements to get better. Digital is good. But it is not easy! There is a lot we need to know. Best to learn at least the fundamentals and then have a go at it. Have an Arty Week!
‘Life is the Art of Drawing without an Eraser’ I am sure you have heard this one before. But the truth is most of us cannot draw that well. We all make mistakes at some point in time. Nobody is born knowing it all. What we do after that .. how we correct it .. what we learn from it .. is important. Think! What is it that we could do differently so that the mistake is not repeated? We learn by asking questions and making mistakes. We grow as we learn. It is a part of the process.
People can be a bit too hard on themselves. They discard things with the slightest flaw or even a single mistake. In Art, we can either incorporate the mistake into the design or erase it. Then it is about how big or small the mistake is. My Art teacher always said, “It is ok to make a mistake. What you should also know is how to correct it. You cannot keep throwing away everything or stop painting altogether because of them.”
Reflecting, I realised I had made mistakes on my art journey as well. Sharing them with you could help you avoid them, rectify them or at least feel that you are not the only one. Here’s a list of the ones I could recollect.
If one uses a very sharp pencil or a hard graphite pencil on paper, it creates a dent. The pencil graphite can be erased but the dent or mark will stay.
Excessive erasing can peel off the paper. Hence it is important to select a good eraser as per our use.
Erasing when the paper is slightly wet will erode the paper. Literally!! There will be a hole. This happens if we use pencils along with watercolours. It is best not to draw with a pencil before using watercolours. If at all we do use them, make sure it is very light and will get covered in paint. We won’t have a problem if we use gouache colours because they are thick and opaque.
Drawing with a pencil on a canvas and erasing it is a big no-no. The graphite will mix with the paint and the colour will change to dull and dark. It is a good idea to draw with a paintbrush on a canvas. We can use a very light shade (almost white but visible to the naked eye) for drawing or making the markings. This will get covered up when we paint on it thereafter.
We do get ink erasers. Pencil erasers can be used for colour pencils too. I tried erasing a little pencil mark when the paper was almost dry but not completely dry and the paper peeled. This was because of the moisture in the marker. The idea is that once we paint or colour on the paper, the pencil mark goes under it. Hence it cannot be erased even after drying. Whether we use pencils, markers or paints it is best to erase all the extra markings before painting. We can always keep the outlines that will get covered with thicker outlines or enhanced after painting.
This is one of my favourites – Give a light wash in the background and then detail and then more detail. Same way in pencil shading. Do the light tone, then darker and then darker as and where necessary. Work on the whole piece simultaneously, so that the colours of the artwork mix and match well. Also, there is a complete flow in the picture. By any chance, if we make any mistake or want to make changes after doing the other portion we will be able to correct it. Once the dark or final touch is done, it becomes a lot more difficult to correct it. That is why it is always better to work in layers.
Spilled a colour and ruined the spot? Lighten the colour by removing the pigment by lightly dabbing on that portion. Let it dry completely and then paint over it. That is what I meant by it can be easily corrected in the beginning. That is why nobody paints one part of the art to the finish while the other part doesn’t even have a base wash. That’s 99% a digital edit.
Want to remove dried paint? Acetone works well to remove Acrylic paint on surfaces like glass or plastic. I have used it on canvas too. The cotton in the canvas will have to be treated with gesso once again before painting.
The paint water glass tipped and dripped water onto the paper. This happens a lot when we work in small spaces or a hurry. Especially during art exams. For many of us, it can even be a horrifying experience. Don’t worry this can also be corrected. Take a dry cloth and lightly dab on the paper to soak up the excess water. Some paint will come onto this cloth. It will be back to the light wash stage. Let it dry and repaint only that portion.
Last and very important – In the process of correcting the mistake, don’t try too hard. Sometimes people focus so much on the mistake that it ends up becoming the highlight instead of blending or fading away in the picture.
One thing I clearly understood is most of the times we are the only ones to know what the mistake is and where. The onlooker doesn’t know it unless we specifically point it out or highlight it or in any way make it very obvious. If we manage to blend it and make it flow along with the rest of the painting it can add to the beauty. Yes! Some mistakes can be beautiful. A little here or there adds to the beauty of handmade. It makes it different and unique. It makes it special.
What if none of these methods works and we have to do a re-do? Then think of what Thomas Edison said ‘I haven’t failed, I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ We are all human. To err is human. I like to wear my bruises as my badges of honour. So if at all we make a mistake, there is nothing to worry about. It is ok to make mistakes.
Fortunately, we have erasers for art. And there are different types of erasers too. Hehe.. Yes! There are different types of erasers. And no please don’t call it rubber. It is called an eraser. We all have this one vinyl eraser or a regular soft eraser (with a brush to clean the dust) for regular use. This can be used for Art as well. A pencil eraser for erasing precise lines (this is an eraser pencil, see the picture) and a kneaded eraser (magic eraser as I call it) that absorbs graphite and charcoal is something every artist should include in their toolbox.
Having a good eraser and more so the right ones can be very helpful in drawing and painting. I don’t use erasers that are hard on the surface such as the sand eraser and the pink eraser. An eraser mounted on the pencil is a big no for me. It is not for drawing or sketching. One can use it for regular writing work. We also get changeable erasers and electric erasers in the market. These erasers are more pricey and better suited for specialists or professionals.
Do you also have eraser stories? Feel free to share them. We could all learn from them. Have an Arty Weekend!
My city is almost in a complete state of lockdown. The thing with these people is that they think this is the new normal. They aren’t opening the lockdowns. Stepping out is a complete ‘No-No’. To draw and paint, I need to calm my mind. During such prolonged lockdowns, keeping your mental health good becomes challenging.
We aren’t getting any materials either except groceries. The city never really opened the lockdowns since last year. As the wait becomes longer, hopes get dimmer. Reading all this news only makes it worse.
That is when I came across this Sunday Column in India’s largest selling newspaper. It is called ‘timespapershaper’ by ‘The Times of India’. They share ‘How To Make’ Origami Models. A new one every Sunday! Origami is the Japanese Art of Paper Folding. All you need is a sheet of paper.
I collected the posts and sat down to make the ones I liked. Origami can be a very relaxing activity for a person of any age. I thoroughly enjoyed my time off-screen. Almost felt like I should do this digital detox regularly.
I am sharing pictures of the Origami Models. I made all these by myself reading these posts. For the last few difficult ones, I did turn to their videos on FB and Insta. These are listed in the order of their difficulty level. The difficulty level meter is based on what I felt.
A big Thank you to ‘timespapershaper’ for teaching us these beautiful Origami Models.
It is a simple creative activity that can be done with things we have at home. However it helps relax and rejuvenate. I feel everyone should try them. It doesn’t require any prior training and the benefits are totally worth the time and effort. Have an Arty Week!
Hey! Look! I managed Pencil Shading. I am confident that I can handle it well. May I try Charcoal now? Hehe…If that is your question “Sure! Why not!”. Charcoal sketching is very similar to pencil shading but in ways, it is also different. We use charcoal pencils or charcoal powder instead of graphite. In pictures, graphite looks a little greyish while charcoal gives a distinct black colour.
Would you like to join me down memory lane? In this post I am sharing my artworks I did years ago. Some while learning at the class and some afterwards. Soft Pastels (chalk) is also a similar medium. It has colours and is easier to handle. I couldn’t take formal training for Soft Pastels but I can decently manage with it. In fact, I really loved the medium once I started working with it. One can do much with it. Paintings with Pastels are quick and can look very realistic.
Those are charcoal sticks in the picture above. They very are useful for filling darker tones in large spaces. All the pictures here above are of my artworks that I learnt and did in the class. Charcoal Sketching wasn’t exactly my strength but I enjoyed it and I think I did pretty well. Finding a good teacher is a blessing. So many can draw and paint but not all of them can teach.
Many people think pencil shading or charcoal sketching means making something exactly like that in a photograph. Please understand we are not competing against computers. Earlier when we did not have cameras people liked to have portraits and landscapes for memory. That is why artists tried to paint those pictures. That is replaced with photography. The cameras we now use are so amazing with details and precision that we need not paint the same.
Some people edit photos and add effects to make them look like sketches or paintings. For me, if the computer can do it better, I feel it is better to let them do it. Personally, I like sketches that have a hand-drawn touch or twist to them. For my exams at the classes, we had to draw a sketch of a student sitting around: first in a pencil and then a charcoal sketch. That was my attempt at ‘live study’. I was happy I cleared the exam with pretty a good score.
Storing Charcoal Artworks can be a little tricky. The powder continues to dust off. It can spoil the other artworks stored with it. Store it in a cello envelope or sleeve. Once it is final, spray it with a fixative to fix the powder. Not only will the Artwork stay well, it won’t dust off and spoil the other papers it is kept with.
Soft Pastels are more like chalk. They work very well for shading large surfaces. We can use the broader side as well as the pointed side. We also get Pastel Pencils for more precise finishing. More the shades in the colour box, the better for shading. Blending done with the finger works best.
Nostalgia! I am all ready to paint with charcoals and pastels all over again. I would like to make a new artwork and see how it turns out. Would you like to give Charcoal Sketching and Soft Pastels a try? Have an Arty Weekend!
Pencil shading is creating artworks using pencil strokes. I did my first artwork in pencil shading during my school days, probably in the 5th or 6th grade while preparing for my art exams. Later, after the 10th grade I took up a course in Charcoal Sketching. It was a vacation batch and as a preliminary step to Charcoal Painting my teacher took a few classes in Pencil Shading first. I learnt a lot both about Pencils and Charcoals in that class.
A pencil is the most easily available drawing tool. Learning pencil shading can teach a lot about shade and light in a drawing. Pencil Shading as a subject will be a part of every curriculum – at every Art School or University or College or a Masters level study. Traditionally ‘live study’ meaning the subject to be drawn or sketched is actually in front of you and you have to draw it was the way to sketching in Art.
It would be a good idea to invest and buy a few books on Pencil Shading and Sketching. It will be helpful to observe works by different artists and study their styles. We can practice and draw from the drawings in books. One can draw from photographs or online drawings at a later stage. Beginning from a book or with a tutor guides us stepwise and covers all the subtopics. Artists who wish to take up Pencils as their main medium of Art require training of an advanced level.
Begin with simple ‘Landscapes’ to more complex ones, followed by ‘Object Drawing’ and ‘Nature Drawing’ and finally to ‘Human sketches’ and ‘Portraits’. That is how I did them. Drawing and sketching always helps and is important even if you take up any other medium. I really think everyone can draw and everyone’s drawing will look different.
Here’s how I learnt it or what I learnt about Pencil Shading:-
To start with, select a simple single subject like a flower or leaf or a pot or a pan. (Picture 5)
For the first one, try to shade using only the 2B pencil. Observe the strokes, texture and blending (Pictures 1 and 2)
Add darker tones with 4B and 6B pencils (Picture 3)
Can blend using the finger, stumps or cotton buds (Picture 4)
Use a kneaded eraser. It helps erase a clean line when pointed and used. If you just tap it on the shaded area it will absorb the graphite like a magnet making the shaded area lighter but keeping the strokes. That is why I call it a magic eraser. (See pictures 6 to 8)
A beginner can start by looking at artworks and reference images in drawing books. I wouldn’t advise looking at images on the Internet because sometimes they are a bit too much for a novice. One can barely differentiate between a hand-drawn and digital artwork. Some of these are genuinely handmade artworks by professional artists, while some are computer edits. Don’t be disheartened looking at them or set the benchmark too high. That is why I suggest books or taking up formal training.
Pencil shading is the foundation to a lot of methods in drawing and painting. Once this is aced, the other methods become easier to learn. With time and practice the shading will improve. Like in this picture the leaves in the bottom images are my previous works and then with time it improved as the top two images. All the four are from my early days of learning pencil shading. Then as we feel more confident, we can take up advance levels.
I felt sharing my experience might help beginners taking up Pencil Shading. One can use Coloured Pencils for colouring as well. I have seen artists doing realistic colouring using coloured pencils. One small but important point that I would like to make here is ; with the advent of such amazing digital tools for drawing, even the best artists can get fooled as to whether the art is hand-drawn painted or digital. So please be honest with yourself and learn it without using the digital tools.
There are some additional things one needs to know about Pencil Shading. Knowing these can sort out some problems that may pop up while learning :-
1) Create strokes or lines to shade in the direction of the object surface. Rounded for the pot. The direction shows the rounded ness of the object. (Picture 9 and10) Some people create bold strokes in pencil shading like this but they should be in the flowing direction of the object. That is how they show movement also.
2) The Paper matters. The thickness, grains and texture of the paper influences the finish. I suggest Cartridge Paper of 160-200GSM if you don’t know which one to go with. After a few trials, you will surely be able to select the paper that works best for your style. (Picture 10)
3) The graphite powder can stick to the hand ruining your work. Keep a plain paper under your hand while shading to avoid this. (Picture 11)
4) All artworks in Black and White look best with contrast. There must be a distinctly dark tone, mid-tone and a light tone in the artwork. The whole artwork could be done using only one pencil. However, there should be areas you can distinctly call dark, mid and light.
5) For a white, we either erase a portion or leave it as it is. Shade the area around that with a mid or dark tone to give a contrast. (Picture 12 and 13) The white looks whiter when there is a dark colour around.
So let us start! Make smaller objects first and then an entire picture. Think of Pencil Shading as learning the ABC to Art. We don’t need to be professionals at it but we definitely need to know it – Pencil Shading. Have an Arty Weekend!
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Two Artworks with the same sketch can look different only because of the colours, isn’t it? I have known people who cannot draw or paint that well but can colour amazingly well. In fact, their colouring is so good that they can turn it into a profession. Then how come nobody teaches us how to colour or why don’t we give much importance to it? “What is there to learn in that?” they say. I would say colouring is also an Art.
Everything from selecting the colours to the finished look has little things to understand. Once we know these, anyone can colour like a pro! Nowadays colouring is a popular hobby among both children and adults likewise. Art material brands offer free colouring pages. We can also download colouring apps or we can buy colouring pages online.
The drawing in colouring books have larger blocks to colour for younger kids and then as we progress to higher age groups, they have more intricate designs with small blocks to colour. Printed colouring books for children and adults are available at all book shops. It is a great activity for creative minds to do while waiting or travelling.
I have already done an elaborate post on selecting pens and markers before. In this post, I will share tips and tricks on colouring with them. Even today I try and learn new ways or designs to make my work better and faster.
I have worked with pens and markers by almost all popular brands. Professionals prefer using alcohol-based markers for their art and illustrations because of the finish. This includes 1) artists making greeting cards and stamping 2) illustrators making fashion illustrations 3) architects and interior designers making drawings 4) cartoonists, caricature artists, character designers and manga artists.
Watercolour artists use watercolour pens and markers for creating those effects in colouring. I like using oil-based markers for metallic colours. I also use permanent waterproof ink or archival ink pens for outlining, drawing patterns and for all my ink illustrations.
Beginners could buy a set of watercolour markers and waterproof ink pens to begin with. Then as the interest develops, it is a good idea to invest in alcohol-based markers and metallic markers. We also get acrylic markers or paint markers to draw on objects.
It is always a good idea to test the markers before buying. See the finish after drying and check if they come on to the other side of the page. If they do then we need to use a different paper for it. I have faced this problem with colouring books that don’t use good quality thick paper. Markers work differently on papers of different textures and thickness.
Whenever we use alcohol-based markers we need to place a paper or protector below our paper to avoid colouring unwanted things. I mean the drawing board or the table or surface. Watercolour markers can be washed off from surfaces but not the others. Hence washable markers are best for kids.
Here are some methods or techniques for colouring. You could have a different style as long as it suits the kind of finish you wish to achieve.
Solid Colour – Colour in a single direction and use the pointed tip to fill the corners that may have been left out. Do not keep colouring the same place over and over. There will be colour blocking when the ink is wet. However once it dries, the colour automatically evens out in the case of most markers. When colouring larger blocks use the accented tip or the brush tip. If we use the round tip it will create a self texture in the fill; meaning we won’t get an even colour in the fill. Once again please note the direction is important or colour in tiny circles.
Highlights – Leave out the portion of the highlights. Do not colour it. The part where the light falls maximum is called highlight. It is a good idea to leave out a larger portion if you are not sure. The area can be coloured later. The white ink doesn’t work well to give highlights because the colour somehow shows through it. It isn’t even.
Blending Two Colours – Can we do shading with markers? Yes of course. Doesn’t matter which marker it is, watercolour and alcohol-based markers both can be used for shading. I recommend applying the light colour first and then the dark colour, so that just in case some of the colour comes on to the tip of the marker then a light colour marker may get spoilt. Many artists colour dark to light also but that is mostly with alcohol-based markers.
Single Colour Shading – The pressure applied is important here. We get colourless blenders for blending the colour. It is also a marker but the ink is colourless. Apply pressure and then lift the pen to create strokes for shading in single colour.
Darkening a Colour – If you apply another coat of the colour when the colour is wet, it will blend. So to create a dark line or make the same shade darker apply another coat after a few minutes. It will blend with the previous colour but will be darker. This works only for alcohol-based markers. For watercolour markers once dry the colour doesn’t blend. The green dot above has the dark colour done like that.
Creating Textures and Patterns – When we apply a stroke of two different colours next to each other, they blend. We can use these alternately and create fill textures. When we want the lines to stand out or want to create patterns without the colour blending. We can use a permanent ink marker before or after using the watercolour or alcohol-based marker. I use permanent ink pens for outlines during finish as well as my base sketch.
Colour Palettes – It is always better to think about the colour combinations beforehand. We get a lot of shades in the markers. Colour mixing isn’t possible. The paper can tear with excessive scribbling. This art has the yellow, orange, brown colour combination. Buying large boxes of markers is expensive, especially the professional or artist pens.
Selecting the right colour combination can make a huge difference to your artwork. If possible do a little research on the most popular colour palettes or international colour palettes frequently used before buying the markers. I recently bought a box of markers with the basic colours and then bought individual pens for the extra shades that I needed. It worked out to be cheaper than buying the larger box with colour shades that I didn’t need or wouldn’t use.
The colour combination in the artwork by artists of a particular region is influenced by the colours of their local surroundings. Further every colour conveys a meaning and emotion. For example, the colour red is considered auspicious in some cultures and it conveys love or anger as an emotion. I have done a post on understanding colours before this. You may want to take a look at it.
I normally draw my own sketches but you could print the colouring pages at home or with a printing service. Most of the large stores have a printing service. Do share your colouring experience with us. Have an Arty Week!