Book Review - The Joy of Acrylic Painting: Expressive Painting Techniques for Beginners

 
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The Joy of Acrylic Painting: Expressive Painting Techniques for Beginners by Annie O'Brien Gonzalez, although stated as being geared towards beginners, includes ideas and information that can be also useful for more experienced artists.

In this book, Gonzalez focuses on inspiration and technique.  A wide range of projects based on ways to find inspiration and on a variety of techniques are detailed throughout the book.  

The first project is a Painting Notes Sketchbook.  The author goes into detail on making and using one.  A Painting Notes Sketchbook differs from a regular sketchbook as its purpose is to serve as a place for collecting ideas, patterns, textures, photo inspiration, and plans for paintings rather than for general sketching.  She calls it “a working reference stuffed with ideas for paintings”.

 Painting Notes Sketchbook

Painting Notes Sketchbook

Gonzalez talks about getting started with painting, finding the time and motivation, and finding inspiration. She discusses creating your own style, ways to use marks and symbols, and finding inspiration from favorite artists.

 Collecting Ellements: color, shape, textures

Collecting Ellements: color, shape, textures

She has projects throughout the book ranging from “Create A Line And Shape Library” to “Paint An Imaginary Landscape”  and creating your own collage materials and technique sections that include setting up your space to get ready to paint, using color and value, and making marks.  

 Making marks

Making marks

 Working on a mixed-media collage painting

Working on a mixed-media collage painting

I found the inspiration ideas interesting and motivating, the techniques sections useful and the project ideas interesting.  I think any artists who are looking for inspiration, motivation, and techniques will find this a useful and engaging book.  The Joy of Acrylic Painting: Expressive Painting Techniques for Beginners is available at Amazon and other booksellers.

The opinions in this review are my own and without compensation.

 

My First Enamel Pins - Making a Pin Design

 
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 I just received my first batch of enamel pins made from my design.  I think they turned out pretty cute.

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I designed the pins and the coordinating backing cards in Affinity Designer.  I find it more user friendly (nodes, selections easier to see, fewer and easier to understand steps for some actions) than Adobe Illustrator.  I did take the finished .eps file into Illustrator to convert it to an .ai file for the pin manufacturer.

 screenshot of Affinity Designer showing large nodes pen tool uses.

screenshot of Affinity Designer showing large nodes pen tool uses.

This is an example of a finished Illustrator design file to be sent to the pin manufacturer.  It includes a larger image of the pin, the pin scaled to fit the 1" size to show the finished image size, and the colors wanted for the pin. 

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To assure the colors of the finished pin match the colors you want, it is best to have the design file  show the colors as Pantone Solid Coated colors.  You can buy Pantone color cards from the manufacturer or on Amazon.  They are expensive and tend to be sold as a set of coated or uncoated color guides.  Ebay is another source where you might find the coated color guides by themselves.  Illustrator also has the Pantone Coated colors under Swatch Libraries, Color Books, Pantone Solid Coated.  Affinity Designer has a drop-down menu in the swatches for Pantone Solid Coated.  The colors of the online Pantone color swatches are not as true as the physical Pantone color guides as they are seen differently in different monitors, but they are a pretty good approximation.

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When designing a pin, size and number of colors are the main characteristics to consider as far as price.  The larger the pin (size determined by largest size), the more expensive it is.  Usually 4 colors are included in the base price.  Then the price goes up for each color added.  So when designing a pin, it is good to keep the number of colors used to 4 or less.  Take your design into a vector program such as Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer and make it into a vector image by doing an Image Trace in Illustrator or trace using a pen tool or pencil in Affinity Designer. 

Draw your metal lines in the color you wish to indicate for the metal color - light grey for silver, dark yellow for gold, and black for black metal lines.  The colors inside the lines represent the enamel.  For enamel pins, the color inside lines must be solid and flat, no gradients. or patterns.  Lines should be no smaller than 2 mm. for hard enamel and 1 mm. for soft enamel, and spaces between lines should be no smaller than 2 mm.  Lines will become metal, and shapes can be designated to be metal in finished pin also. 

Remember that the pin will be small.  Simplify the design so details show up well in the small size.  You can draw a square the size of your final pin, 1" for example, and then scale your image down to fit into the square.  Print it out to see how it will look in the final pin size.

I decided to have a back stamp logo added to my design.  This is a design stamped on the back of the pin.  It gives your pin branding and is kind of like signing a painting.  The back stamp is made as a separate mold with a separate fee added to the total pin cost.  It is a one time cost though, as it can be used for future designs.

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Kat Pin, hard enamel pins are now available in my Etsy shop.

 

 

Some Tests on Sticker Materials

 
 Stickers stuck on cardstock

Stickers stuck on cardstock

I did some testing on some sticker materials.   I tested matte paper, clear glossy, and matte paper laminated with clear glossy adhesive laminate. I test them for writability with pen and pencil and with water.

In the photo below, I have tried writing on the stickers with both pen and pencil. 

All of the sticker materials could be written on with pen. 

The pen markings on the matte paper, clear glossy, and clear matte sticker paper were stable when I rubbed over them with my finger. 

The laminated paper however, smeared easily when rubbed.   I would not recommend writing at all on the laminated paper.

The matte paper and clear matte sticker paper were the only ones that could be written on with pencil.  The pencil markings did not smudge when rubbed.

 stickers with writing on them

stickers with writing on them

Next I tried rubbing the sticker materials with a damp kleenex.  I also wet the paper the stickers were on right next to each sticker.

The pen and pencil did not run on the matte paper.  The image itself did not run, but there is a slight water stain that remained after the water dried.

The printed images on the clear glossy and clear matte sticker papers completely wiped off where they were rubbed with a damp kleenex.  They are definitely damaged by water.

The damp kleenex did not affect the printed image at all on the laminated paper sticker, although it rubbed off written pen on the surface of the laminate.  I tried wetting the cardstock next to the laminated sticker, and the sticker still was not affected.  The laminated sticker seems to be fairly waterproof.

 stickers after rubbing with damp kleenex

stickers after rubbing with damp kleenex

For the last test, I adhered a laminated paper sticker to the lid of a small plastic box and took it to the sink, and ran water over it.  It still looked unaffected. 

Then I rubbed some liquid soap on the box lid and washed it off, rubbing lightly with my hand.  This time I saw water had seeped onto the edges of the matte paper under the laminate.  The paper dried and appeared undamaged, but the sticker image ink bled very slightly around the edges of the sticker.  The laminated paper sticker should not be attached to objects that will be washed.

 laminated sticker on plastic box showing water seepage around edges of sticker after hand washing with running water and liquid soap

laminated sticker on plastic box showing water seepage around edges of sticker after hand washing with running water and liquid soap

 laminated sticker on plastic box showing paper dried after washing and slight bleeding of image around some of the edges

laminated sticker on plastic box showing paper dried after washing and slight bleeding of image around some of the edges

The sticker testings showed some of the uses the stickers were suitable for and some of the uses that weren't ideal for them.

A New Ellifolks Teddy, Rabbit and Chick, and Four Art Prints in Etsy Shop

 
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Two new Ellifolks critters are now in my Etsy shop along with two new art prints.

Johnson, a mohair artist bear is hand dyed and hand shaded to give a rich, vintage coloring. I used a sparse mohair for Johnson to add to the vintage look and feel.  He has one glass eye with a wool felt edging and one vintage shoe button eye ringed with a red embroidered circle. His circle nose is embroidered with pearl cotton thread. He is stuffed with excelsior and cotton batting.

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Harriet Rabbit and Sam are a hand dyed and hand shaded pale pink rabbit and a hand dyed and hand shaded pale green chick both made of sparse German mohairs.

Harriet Rabbit is approximately 8" tall including ears and is cotter-pin jointed for a vintage feel. She is wearing a needle-felted purple polka dot hat with cotton lace trim. She has German glass eyes and a pearl cotton embroidered nose and mouth. She is stuffed with excelsior and cotton batting. She has steel shot in her tummy to give her a nice weight.

Sam Chick is approximately 4 1/4" tall including his purple glass bead legs and feet. He has a needle-felted comb and beak and German glass eyes. He is stuffed with excelsior.
 

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"Boy With Dog" is a fine art giclée print of one of my original color pencil and digital paintings.  I did a drawing with color pencils and then scanned it into my computer.  I colored it in Procreate using many layers and types of digital brushes.

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"Girl With Poodle and Flowers" is a fine art giclée print of one of my original mixed media/acrylic paintings. This was painted on a  cradled wood panel.  I started with a very textured layer of gesso and incorporated the texture into the painting.  I also used pencil and color pencils in the painting.

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"Sail" is a digital painting I made in Illustrator.  I like the combination of the clean, flat shapes with gradient color.

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"Dolls with Donuts" is a digital painting I made in Illustrator. 

Please come visit me in my shop! :)

Peanut Butter and Jam Chocolate Cups

 
 Peanut butter and Jam Chocolate Cups ingredients and supplies set up.

Peanut butter and Jam Chocolate Cups ingredients and supplies set up.

A while ago I watched Creativebug's video, "Homemade Dark Chocolate Peanute Butter and Jelly Cups" and was excited to try making my own. 

Mark and I gathered the ingredients and supplies and put everything out on our kitchen island.  We used Ghiradelli chocolate chips, smooth peanut butter, graham crackers, confectioner's sugar, and jam.  We used apricot jam in half the chocolate cups and strawberry jam in the other half.  (We both liked the cups with apricot jam better, but it is a personal preference.  Use your favorite type of jam.) We made a half recipe, and it made about 16 cups.

We lined a large cookie sheet with parchment paper to protect the sheets from jam and messy melted chocolate.  I found mini paper cupcake liners at Michaels.  We used them for the chocolate cup molds and laid them out on the parchment sheet. 

The graham crackers were crushed in a food processor. Then we mixed the crushed graham crackers, the peanut butter, and the confectioner's sugar together for the peanut butter filling.  This made a soft, shape-able filling that we formed into little patties. 

 Mixing peanut butter mixture filling

Mixing peanut butter mixture filling

 Peanut butter mixture filling formed into patties

Peanut butter mixture filling formed into patties

The chocolate chips went into a Pyrex bowl and then into the microwave for melting.  We did short microwave times of about 30 seconds each, taking the chips out to stir after each microwave session, and were careful not to burn the chocolate.

When the chocolate was melted, we used little pastry brushes to brush the chocolate onto the insides of the paper cupcake liners.  We covered the bottoms and sides with the melted chocolate and then turned the liners upside down on the cookie sheet so the chocolate could run up the sides and thicken the walls.

 Liners with melted chocolate brushed onto bottom and walls, then turned upside down on cookie sheet

Liners with melted chocolate brushed onto bottom and walls, then turned upside down on cookie sheet

The cookie sheet then went into the refrigerator to speed up the hardening of the chocolate.  When the chocolate was solid, we placed a peanut butter mixture inside each chocolate cup, and then some jam.  This was a messy project, but very easy and a lot of fun

 Peanut butter mixture and jam filling added to hardened chocolate cups.

Peanut butter mixture and jam filling added to hardened chocolate cups.

Then we used the pastry brushes again to cover the filling with more melted chocolate.  We were careful to go all the way to the edges, so the fillings would be well encased inside the chocolate cups.

 Melted chocolate brushed onto chocolate cups.

Melted chocolate brushed onto chocolate cups.

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The peanut butter and jam chocolate cups were seriously yummy!  But the chocolate wasn't tempered, so it started to melt while you were eating it and had to be kept in the refrigerator.

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Hacked Faux Fur Jacket for Sophie

 
 Jacket WIP trying on.  Sleeves are longer to fit Sophie.

Jacket WIP trying on.  Sleeves are longer to fit Sophie.

I found a beautiful free download faux fur jacket pattern by Design by Lindsay and decided It would be perfect as a starting point for the jacket I had in mind.  I showed it to Sophie.  She loved it and asked if she could have it in the same fabric.  I was surprised to find the fabric was still available through fabric.com.  I found some soft, lovely dusty pink Bemberg rayon at Mood and some covered  Dritz hooks and eyes at Jo-Ann.  I set the printer to print at 100% for the size and printed out the pattern.  I lengthened the jacket a few inches,  flared the sides seams to be slightly A-line shaped, and raised the neckline to be a regular round neck.   I added side pockets and made them out of the lining fabric.  I also added covered hooks and eyes so the jacket could be worn closed.

 Rayon lining pockets added to jacket side seams.

Rayon lining pockets added to jacket side seams.

I cut out the fabric using an x-acto knife cutting from the back and carefully going only through the backing fabric so I didn't cut any of the fur pile.  I sewed the body and lining separately and then sewed them together using a jacket bagging technique Threads has a clear tutorial for bagging a jacket lining here

My teddy bear sewing experience came in handy when constructing the jacket, as it is working with fur fabric pile.  I used an embroidery needle and my bunka brush to pull the fur out of the seams on both the inside and outside of the jacket. I trimmed all the fur out of the seam allowances and used a catch stitch to flatten and hold all the faux fur seam allowances and sleeve and garment hems against the  outer fabric. You can see a detailed catch stitch tutorial on the Craftsy blog.

 Catch stitched shoulder, arm, and neck seams.

Catch stitched shoulder, arm, and neck seams.

 Catch stitch close-up.

Catch stitch close-up.

 

I closed the opening in the hem created when I bagged the lining.  Lastly I hand sewed the five covered hooks and eyes to the front opening of the jacket.  Done! 

 Covered hooks and eyes in process of hand sewing to jacket front.  (some pins still visible.

Covered hooks and eyes in process of hand sewing to jacket front.  (some pins still visible.

Sophie loves her faux fur jacket.

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Art Prints and Zipper Pouches Now In Etsy Shop

I have added several fine art giclée prints and some zipper pouches to my Etsy shop.  The prints are of acrylic, watercolor, mixed media, and digital paintings I have done.  I use a lovely 100% cotton rag Entrada Rag paper by Moab for the prints.  They are printed with archival Canon Lucia inks.

I just added this print to the shop:

And here are a few of the other prints.

 Girl with Elephant - Circus Time

Girl with Elephant - Circus Time

Here are the zipper pouches.  I think they turned out nicely.  The two smaller ones have a pretty sheen, and the larger pouch is out of a canvas-type fabric.  They are fully lined in black.  They work well for clutches, to hold makeup and other essentials.  The larger one can hold art supplies on the go.

 Circus Dreams - large zipper pouch

Circus Dreams - large zipper pouch

Love to have you come visit!! :)

Jeans Rivets TWO TYPES OF RIVETS AND A NIPPLE STYLE RIVET Tutorial

When making my jeans, I tried hammering the ring style rivets I was using on an anvil block, and saw that the tops of the rivets were flattened some.  I found an inexpensive jeans rivet setting kit on Gold Star Tool.  This was helpful, but I think the die was set too deeply into the hand setter, so I still had to finish tightening the rivet by hammering it from the back onto an anvil.   I do think this method did less flattening of the rivet center.  Here is the rivet hand setter kit for ring style rivets.  I'll show this method in case people want to try it, and will also show setting a nipple style rivet with a different hand setter that does work really well.

 This shows the shaped end of the rivet setter and the shaped little anvil it comes with.

This shows the shaped end of the rivet setter and the shaped little anvil it comes with.

These are my denim samplers.  I used these for trying out different rivets styles, practicing riveting techniques, making jeans buttonholes, and attaching jeans buttons.  Some steps of tutorial are shown using the denim sampler.

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Two types of Jeans rivets - Ring rivet and Nipple style rivet:

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Tools Needed:

For Ring style rivets:

1.  Fabric marking pen

2.  Awl

3.  Jeans rivet - ring style rivet hand setting tool and anvil set (available from Gold Star Tool)

For Nipple style rivets:

 1.  Fabric marking pen

2.  Awl

3.  Jeans rivet - nipple style rivet hand setting tool and anvil set (available from Tandy Leatherl)

Directions For Setting A Jeans Rivet:

1.  Mark the placement of the rivet with a fabric marking pen.  Then use an awl to carefully make a hole where you want the rivet to go.

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2.  Put the rivet back in the little depression on the anvil.  I use solid instead of hollow rivet backs as they are easier to cut down to size without distorting the shape of the rivet back post.

 Rivet back sitting in anvil depression.

Rivet back sitting in anvil depression.

3.  Put jeans on top of rivet back with inside facing down and with rivet post going through hole in the jeans.

 Rivet sticking out of denim too much (denim sample shown here)- needs to be cut down.

Rivet sticking out of denim too much (denim sample shown here)- needs to be cut down.

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4.  Use Wire cutters to cut off rivet post excess.

 Cutting off extra rivet length

Cutting off extra rivet length

5.  Put cut rivet back with jeans back into anvil depression.

 Rivet sticking out correct amount after cutting off a little length of rivet back post.

Rivet sticking out correct amount after cutting off a little length of rivet back post.

 Making sure rivet back is sitting correctly in anvil depression.

Making sure rivet back is sitting correctly in anvil depression.

 Rivet back now in anvil depression.

Rivet back now in anvil depression.

5.  From outside of jeans, put the front part of rivet over rivet post and push down so it is sitting flat.

 Rivet front sitting flat over rivet back post.

Rivet front sitting flat over rivet back post.

6.  Press rivet front down onto post of rivet back.

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7.  Place rivet setter over rivet front so rivet fits into depression of rivet setter.

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8.  Hit end of rivet setter with rubber mallet or hammer.   Hit Rivet setter several times with mallet until rivet front is flush with jeans.  Be sure to keep rivet setter as vertical as possible.  

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9. To get rivet front tight against jeans, turn rivet over so it is facing down.  Place rivet on anvil, and hit back of rivet from behind with metal hammer until rivet is sitting tightly on jeans.  Try not to hit the rivet too hard to avoid flattening it.

 

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Finished rivets on jeans.

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Part two - Nipple Rivets

I got this rivet setting kit on eBay.  This set is also available at Tandy Leather.  The set has 4 other hand setters that come with it.  This rivet setter works with nipple rivets.

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To set a nipple rivet, follow the steps 1 - 8 for ring rivets but use the hand rivet setter for nipple rivets.

 Rivet front is sitting over rivet back post.

Rivet front is sitting over rivet back post.

 Hammer hard to set rivet flush with jeans.  If rivet back post is cut short enough, the rivet front can be hammered flush with jeans without post coming through the front.

Hammer hard to set rivet flush with jeans.  If rivet back post is cut short enough, the rivet front can be hammered flush with jeans without post coming through the front.

Finished Nipple rivet.

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Morgan Jeans - a Jean Journey

 
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For my first pair of jeans, I checked out various jeans patterns on the internet and picked Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Patterns. I love the boyfriend style and Closet Case Patterns has a reputation for such quality patterns.  I made the jeans for my daughter, Sophie.

Making the jeans was a big project.  I took Heather's "Sew Your Dream Jeans" online course and it was a wonderful class.  The class is a video course, and she goes step by step so you see the whole process.  She goes into a great deal of detail, and covers tips for getting a good fit, goes carefully over any difficult or confusing construction techniques, so the class is very easy to follow.  I highly recommend the class.

Something I did that was helpful to me was to use Wash-away Wondertape for temporarily gluing down the turned under back pocket facings and seam allowances for sewing the pocket top stitching and then for holding the pockets in place for sewing to the jeans back.

 Wondertape strips on pocket facing

Wondertape strips on pocket facing

The front of the jeans in progress -

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Inside front of jeans in progress -

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I used a Hong Kong seam finish for the raw edge of the fly shield and a vintage flower cotton for the front pockets.

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Artist Bear Pattern Now in Ellifolks Etsy Shop

 
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Hello,  I have moved to a new Squarespace site for my website and blog and have reopened my Etsy shop.

Lucien Artist Bear pattern is now in my Etsy shop.  He is a downloadable PDF pattern that includes three PDFs - a 24 page detailed instructions PDF, the pattern pieces PDF, and a 4 page Materials and Supplies resource list PDF.

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The pattern was fun to create.  I used Adobe Illustrator for the diagrams and got a lot of practice using the pen tool.  Here is a video showing some basic Illustrator pen tool techniques.  Tracing a simple image is a good way to practice getting comfortable with Illustrator's pen tool.  I placed a photo on the bottom layer in Illustrator and drew on two layers above it.  Locking a layer you are not using protects it from having anything accidentally changed, deleted, or added to it. The small blue circle on the screen appears whenever I am clicking on dragging the cursor on the screen.

When I say "option/click", it means to hold down the option key on the keyboard while you click the cursor on the screen with your mouse or track-pad.

Source: https://www.etsy.com/listing/560256722/pdf...

Teddybear Extravaganza Online Show - Preview Today 4:00P.M.

 
Remy
Remy

I am excited to be participating in the Teddybear Extravaganza Online Show, which will run March 21 - 23.  There will be 75 international bear artists participating.

Here is Remy, my preview bear.  He is a OOAK (one of a kind) 6 1/4" tall jointed bear and is made of   Schulte mohair that I hand dyed.  You can vote for him or any of the other preview bears as your favorite here.

New Digital Paintings in Ellifolks Etsy Shop

 
Shopping
Shopping

 

I have added two digital paintings to my Etsy shop.   This painting is titled "Shopping". It was painted on my ipad using the Procreate painting app. You can visit its Etsy page here.

Susie's Midday Dreaming
Susie's Midday Dreaming

This painting is "Susie's Daytime Dreaming". It was also painted on my ipad using Art Rage and Procreate apps. You can visit its Etsy page here.

I was Published in Somerset Digital Studio

 
Somerset Digital Studio Spring 2014 issue
Somerset Digital Studio Spring 2014 issue

I was very excited and honored to see my tutorial, "Using an IPad for Help with Painting Design Decisions", published in the Spring 2014 issue of Somerset Digital Studio.   In the article I talk about how I use the iPad for help with deciding the direction to take with paintings when I am feeling unsure about adding, changing, or deleting something.

Somerset Digital Studio article
Somerset Digital Studio article

The article is based on my blog post, "Tutorial - IPad And ArtRage for Help with Painting Design Decisions" which expands on the article.

Thank you Jana Holstein for publishing my tutorial in this beautiful issue.

Emaline - New Miniature Mohair Artist Bear in Etsy Shop

emaline-sidefrontarm-blog Emaline, a new Ellifolks miniature mohair teddy bear is now in my Etsy shop.  Emaline is 2 1/2" tall.  She is wearing a handmade skirt of lace trim and a bead necklace of vintage glass beads.  She has a peach-colored vintage millinery flower by her ear.

Emaline

She is all hand stitched, and I dyed and shaded her red mohair.  You can see her here.

Emaline

 

Recording Video of Your IPad Paintings - Procreate

Procreate - iPad painting in progress

There are a few iPad painting programs that either automatically record your paintings as they are created or that you can set beforehand to record as you paint. Procreate, SketchClub, Sketchbook Pro, are some current paint programs that allow you to create videos of your paintings in process.

In this post I'll talk a little about recording video in the Procreate app. While you are working on any painting in Procreate, Procreate is automatically making a video of your work in progress behind the scene. At any point, you can click on the little wrench (Actions) icon at the top left of the screen, then click on share and then send your video to email, Dropbox, ITunes, or even save it to your iPad Photos.

The video above shows an unfinished Procreate painting in progress. Watching the video, it is interesting and helpful for me to see my process. Sometimes I find a place where there was something I liked but got changed. sometimes I can go back and recreate it.

This painting started out in ArtRage, as do many of my iPad paintings, because I love to capture the oil brush and watercolor brush textures. Then I usually save the image and open it up in Procreate. Most of the ArtRage painting gets covered up, but I like to leave some of the texture.

The progress video shows me adding a second image on top of the first image and then keeping only parts of it. I used some copy and paste and transform in the painting. Near the end of the painting, I accidentally added a big green line across the girl's face when I was pinching out the screen to magnify the area I was working on. You can see me deleting it in the video.

I love using the videos as tools to help me remember my process and to help me remember how I got certain effects.

Tutorial - Getting Started with Procreate iPad Painting App

 

Procreate is my favorite digital painting app. The basic tools are easy to use, but if you want to delve into sophisticated, complex digital work, you can with Procreate. A 189 page handbook comes with the app and goes step by step through Procreate's various tools and techniques, including brushes, layers, iPad gestures for Procreate, transform (enlarge, reduce, or distort a layer), and selections (select area, then copy and paste).

When you open the Procreate app it brings you to the Gallery. Click on the plus on the top right corner. Pick the size canvas you want and the canvas view will open.

Gallery view
Gallery view

Below is the Procreate canvas with icons around the top and right sides. Clicking on Gallery takes you and your current painting to the gallery. Paintings are saved there with their layers intact. The second icon from the left, the little wrench is the Actions menu. Here you can import photos, export the painting, flip or copy the canvas, and get help with the app. You can also save directly to the photos app, upload to Facebook or Twitter, or even email a painting.

The next two icons, Select (lightning icon)and Transform (up angled arrow) are not needed for basic work, but are covered in the handbook if you want to explore using them.

Procreate canvas
Procreate canvas

Moving along the top of the canvas to the right, the next icon is Brushes. Clicking on it brings up a drop-down menu from which you can select the brush you wish to use. There is a large selection of brushes. Clicking on one selects it and a double click on a brush turns the menu over to an options menu for that specific brush. This gives you a lot of variety for each brush.

brushes menu
brushes menu

Next to the Brushes icon is the Smudge icon.  Clicking on Smudge, then rubbing on a painted part of the screen will smudge the colors.  The icon to its right is the Eraser icon.  It uses the same  brushes as the Brush icon and can vary size and opacity using the sliders on the side of the canvas.

Eraser icon drop down menu
Eraser icon drop down menu

After you select a brush, you can vary its size and opacity using the two sliders on the right of the canvas. The top one changes the size, increasing it as you slide up. The bottom one changes the opacity, increasing it as you slide up. Below the Opacity Slider is the undo arrow with 250 undos.

Size and Opacity Sliders
Size and Opacity Sliders

Clicking the colored square icon in the top right corner of the screen opens up the Color popover. There are hue, saturation and brightness sliders that can be adjusted to pick precise colors.

Color Palette
Color Palette

Now you have picked your brush type, size, and opacity and your color. You are ready to start painting. You can use your finger to paint with, or a stylus like the Wacom Bamboo stylus shown below. I like using a stylus, as it feels more precise than my finger and also lifts my hand up off the screen some so I can see the area I'm working on better.

Wacom Bamboo stylus
Wacom Bamboo stylus

The icon to the left of the color swatch is the Layers icon. Clicking on it brings up a drop-down menu showing all the layers. Your first strokes will automatically go on the first layer.

Layers drop`down menuResize by dragging with the right mouse button.
Layers drop`down menuResize by dragging with the right mouse button.

First strokes appear on Layer 1.

first stroke on Layer 1
first stroke on Layer 1

Here you can see the different effects you can get from using various brushes.

To add a new layer, click on the + icon in the Layers drop-down menu. The added layer has a black background meaning it is the active layer. Paint strokes will appear on the active layer. You can change the active layer by clicking on the layer you wish to be active.

Adding Layer 2
Adding Layer 2

Here I painted with different brushes on the second layer.  They appear above Layer 1 both in the Layers drop-down menu and on the canvas.

Layer two is on top.
Layer two is on top.

Here layer two has been moved down below layer one. It shows as under everything on layer one and now becomes the background. You can move layers by holding on the layer you want to move until it appears to lift up. Then drag it to the layer position you want.

Layer 2 moved to bottom
Layer 2 moved to bottom

Now strokes on Layer 2 are below layer 1 strokes.

Layer 2 on bottom
Layer 2 on bottom

Layers are very helpful in working in Procreate. I tend to use a lot of layers and like to keep backgrounds on separate layers and objects that are touching or on top of one another on separate layers.

If I am doing a face, I would keep the outline, the fill color, the face details - eyes, nose, mouth, and hair all on separate layers for working. Then if I want to change the hair, for instance, it is easy to do without messing up the face outline or fill.

When the layers are at a point where you are satisfied with them, then you can merge layers by pinching the layers together in the Layers drop-down menu or by clicking on the layer you wish to merge and click merge up or merge down on the Layers Options pop-up menu that appears. (Sometimes you have to click more than once for the pop-up menu to appear.)

wpid-Photo-Nov-16-2013-926-AM.jpg

A Few Tips for Working: Painting on such a small surface as an iPad makes painting details hard to do precisely. To magnify and get a close-up view, pinching out with two fingers works in the app as it does in Safari and many other iPad apps. I use this option for anything that needs precision.

wpid-Photo-Nov-16-2013-957-AM1.jpg

Also a quick pinch together and then lift of two fingers sizes the painting to fit the shown canvas.

Have fun trying out Procreate. If you would like to show what you have created with it, you can leave a comment with a link to your painting.

New Prints in Ellifolks Etsy Shop

I have added three new prints to my Etsy Shop. In the Afternoon print

"In the Afternoon" is a digital painting made on the iPad.  It includes some of my favorite subject matter - a chair and flowers, and has a feeling of calm relaxing in the midst of some chaos.  Here is it's Etsy page.

Get Down Cat print

"Get Down Cat!" is a digital painting also made on the iPad.  Again there is a chair and flowers.  A mischievous cat is not about to give up her comfy spot on the back of the chair. Here is it's Etsy page.

6 Doll Heads - photo collage print

"6 Doll Heads" started out as a photo of one of my original dolls taken with my iPhone.  I manipulated the photo in several photo editing apps and combined six images into one iphoneography photo collage.  Here is its Etsy page.

 

Illustration Friday - Glow

Illustration Friday - Glow This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Glow". This was created using the SketchClub app on the iPad. I saw Unihorse's wonderful Sketch Club app vector tool tutorial and have been experimenting with it.  It's a lot of fun, but takes a little getting used to.

SketchClub has a recording feature that can record your painting as you create it.  you can see a video recording of some of the work with the vector tool I did for on the "glow" painting on YouTube here.