December 09, 2016

How Kids Art Has Inspired Me

In the past I used to do very tight illustrations- most of my colours were in the lines, things tended to be outlined and I went through a lot of tiny little brushes.
Kids Art
Of course, over the years my art and illustration style has evolved, but I think creating art with kids and watching my kids creating art has definitely influenced my style.
Big sweeping lines- no fear here.
You can feel there's no delicate work here, just bold pasting of shapes and mark making, especially that big swirl up the side.

When Miss 8 was just a bub and starting to pick up some crayons and make marks on paper, I joined her. What liberation! I still remember this very first time we did this together, and I discovered a freedom of creating I had lost a very long time ago!
It was so much fun! We scribbled and made a big mess! We splodged together and splattered together.  Don't get me started on how fun play dough is!

I enjoyed it so much I started to bring more of a loose style and painterly strokes into my artworks.
More bold mark-making - 7 years

I still try to be conscious of the fact that sometimes due to my illustration background I tend to get too rigid; stuck in a small place within the painting with my concentration mode set to high. I have to consciously break away from that and spiral outwards. Shake off the feelings of seriousness and remember to loosen up and bring that playful element back into the act of creating art.

And watching kids create is wonderful. Their unexpected lines and mark making can never be predicted and always surprises me. You almost get a glimpse into the way they perceive their world.
Some amazing line work -5 years

I feel a tinge of sadness when kids get a bit older and they feel frustration and disappointment with their work because they're trying to create something that looks good. And when it doesn't turn out the way they want they criticise themselves and feel that they "can't do art". I'd love to delve a bit deeper into that topic in a future post!
Their influence is evident in this section of one of my paintings.

So I have my kids to thank for the evolution of my art and where it is today. I have learned so much from just watching them create, and I expect many more years of learning from these wonderful teachers yet.

Jules :)

December 05, 2016

DIY Christmas Craft: Paper Mache Lady Ornament


I'm back with another free Christmas DIY craft tutorial for you all. We are getting so Christmas-y around here!
 Gather your supplies:

-Plain Paper
-Scrapbook or Decorative Papers
-Acrylic Paints & Water Based Gloss Sealer
-PVA Glue
-Craft Glue
-Fancy Wool & Threads
-Decorative Trim
-Mini Pom Poms (I cut mine off those pom pom strands you can buy)


-Paint brushes
-Greylead Pencil
-Large Wool Needle
-Drill with 3.5mm (.1378") drill bit
Download and print out your template at 100%. Download the template here. Cut out the template and trace around the cardboard. Cut it out then paper mache the first layer, front and back, with torn pieces of newspaper using PVA diluted with a little bit of water. Do a second layer of paper mache with white paper, so you can see what you've already done. Let dry.
Take your decorative papers and cut a dress a little larger than the body shape. Round the neckline with scissors and glue it on using PVA. I always paint PVA onto the back of the paper and then press the paper onto the shape. If you paint the PVA onto the body first, your paper is likely to wrinkle.) Cut a curved smaller piece of paper for the bottom of the dress and glue in place. Apply some firm pressure to the papers to help them stick in place. Let dry.

Once dry, turn your piece over and trim the excess paper away using your scalpel.
Next, transfer your arm shapes onto your lady using your template. (Rub grey lead pencil over the back of the template, then place directly onto the lady and trace over the lines which will transfer the drawing.) Paint the arms white at first. Then once dry, paint the arms and the head skin colour. I used white with a smidge of yellow and red added. 
Once this is dry, you can transfer the facial features and hairline to the shape using the same method as when you transferred the arms. Carefully paint in the features using a midtone colour, then use a darker colour, such as black, and a tiny paintbrush to paint the eyes, nose and mouth, and the lines in the hair. Dilute a bit of this darker paint with water and paint around the arms a little to make them stand out. 

Paint the sides & back of the ornament with your choice of colour, and then once that's dry seal your piece front & back with a water based sealer.
Take your drill and drill holes in the top of the ornament, and along the dots at the bottom using your template as a guide. You may need to clean up some of the holes a bit with your scalpel. Cut your fancy wool or threads into 6 1/2" (16cm) lengths. You'll need 3-4 lengths per hole, depending on how thick your threads are. Double over a selection of  3-4 threads and poke the folded bits through from the front to the back and hook the ends into the loop and pull tight. In one of the photos above I used a piece of cotton threaded onto a wool needle to get through the hole and then used that thread to pull the lengths through. Fill all the holes with threads and then trim to 2" (5cm).
Lastly, Pull a doubled over and knotted length of thread through the top hole for the hanger, and glue your two pom pom buns onto the sides of the head using craft glue. Glue your fancy trim onto the neckline and the bottom of the dress... and you're done!
I hope you enjoyed that tutorial. Let me know if you make one! She looks quite happy on our tree :)

Jules x

December 01, 2016

Craft Collaboration Announcement

I have an announcement to make :)

Over the next few months I am creating some DIY craft tutorials for Alisa Burke's blog. You can find my first one, a Christmas Owl Ornament here.
Here's an ornament with one of my cards.

I am working on more tutorials, which is why I said in my previous post that my studio had been turned into a shrine of glitter and pom poms! And all that pretty crafty stuff that you always want to buy and then it just sits there on the shelf making you feel like the biggest craft supply hoarder ever. But now I'm actually using the hoarded supplies!
I have found that I really enjoy making up tutorials, and dreaming up original ideas for them. I have a few more planned out and I keep scribbling ideas down on scraps of paper all over the house and then consequently loosing those pieces of paper ;)

So that's my announcement. I'm pretty excited to be featured on Alisa's blog as I've been a reader for a while now and am in awe of her productivity, energy & talent.

Jules x

November 29, 2016

It's a Colourful Creative Life

Recently we attended a dress up party. What happens when you have to go to a dress up party and you have been too busy to organise a costume? You raid the kids dress up box, that's what! 
"We're all mad here" -Alice in Wonderland.
Here's some more colour for you... Miss 6 creating some art that I was intrigued by. I was loving what she was doing. The fish was a bit of a dud creation that I made one day, so I let her use it.
And then I noticed she put pearls in her clam shells! Oh, how they surprise you!
And I have some ace news that I can't wait to share! It's a new crafty collaboration. My studio has been turned into a glitter and pom pom shrine :) It's so fun to be getting crafty lately. I will share very soon!

Plus, I have signed up for a MATS class (make art that sells). It's run by Lilla Rogers, an art agent in the US, and it's a professional course for illustrators wishing to take their work a step further and push the boundaries and learn more about the illustration industry in specific areas. Considering I've been out of the industry for almost ten years it will be a good kick start for me. And fun! Just because I love making art and learning. There's always something to learn. I'm just a bit concerned about who will do all the housework and cooking here though, as I just want to create art!

So I will share my MATS journey here. The MATS A class that I chose focusses on creating illustrations & learning about the markets for bolt fabric, home decor, children's picture books, wall art & gift.

Can't wait!

Jules :)

November 27, 2016

Illustration Friday: Tape

This weeks Illustration Friday topic was 'Tape'. I used to use these topics all the time as prompts for creating art for no other purpose than to create art. Usually in my sketch book, which I couldn't happen to find today, so a piece of cartridge paper it was! (My studio is such a mess.)
This happy little lady is celebrating her love of washi tape. I love washi tape! I used washi tape in the first layer of this piece. It was just a quick one today, and I think it sort of has that 'mixed media art' feel to it. Yay for washi tape!

Jules :)

November 24, 2016

Kids (Girls) Christmas Gifts

This post may contain affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

I'm starting to think about Christmas shopping for my two little human- chickens. It can't all be Beanie- Boos and Pokemon cards. *rolls eyes*

Now, I have two girls here, so I've been searching for toys that they would like.

We, since last year, have taken on the lovely Icelandic tradition of giving a book on Christmas Eve. I wanted to get a couple of well thought about book purchases. I decided and have ordered these two:
The Mouse Mansion for Miss 6. This book looks really intriguing and Miss 6 might just have to fight me for a look on Christmas Eve. I hope it spurs some future crafting & model making! 
Ivy + Bean for Miss 8. I'm not recommending these yet as we haven't read them, but they seem to have a lot of high ratings. The bonus journal will be a hit with my journal/ notebook/ stationary obsessed girl!

I'd love for Santa to pop some Djeco items into their stockings or under the tree. They make really great craft/ art kits. They are well designed and thought out, and look really effective when made up. Their puzzles (we have a couple here) have thought provoking imagery and look very arty and decorative.
I will also be happy for santa to pop some Pure Poppet natural nail polish, water based and non toxic in their stockings :)
Miss 8 has been asking for a Maileg (link to an Australian supplier) bunny now for ages. They sell them in one of our local 'nice' toyshops, and they have all these sweet little outfits that you can buy for them. 
I'd also like to find some time to 'make-under' some Bratz dolls (which have been hiding in my cupboard for a while, I've been picking them up from Op Shops randomly) into Tree Change Dolls if I find the time and motivation! Sonia, who started this whole thing up has generously supplied how-to videos of how to make your very own.

Of course, the girls have written their own lists, but I always do like to find some nice special toys that aren't all plastic-y and dare I say it, wasteful. (Oh the packaging on some toys is so excessive.)

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affliliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.

November 21, 2016

Illustration Friday- Spider

Last weeks Illustration Friday topic was 'spider'.

I did a quick sketch book entry for this one.
And I was thinking about spiders whilst I was creating. And my over-the-top fear I have for them! So creepy. Especially the big huntsman types that like to visit us in our homes, or the whitetails that like to hide in our clothes on the floor. Ugh! We also have a few redback spiders lurking out in the garage that we have to be careful of. I don't think many Aussies go willy-nilly grabbing at old dusty stuff in their garages without being slightly cautious! 
On a particular girls trip to Warburton we encountered a previously settled in guest in one of the bedrooms. We elected to leave it to have the whole room to itself and slept in the lounge room instead ;)
I hope the next time I feel inclined to do an Illustration Friday topic it's one that I feel a bit warmer towards.

Go on, tell me in the comments; spiders: love or loathe?

Jules :)

*Daddy-long-legs are excluded from the freaky spider category ;)

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