Monday, 24 March 2014

Jelly Fabric - March Assignment

It's already been another month on the e-course I'm taking!! Time flies!! 

Between the week we got our theme and the week we found out we were to design for fabric, I tried my hand at gelatine printing, so I used some offcuts to make this pattern. I just love these colours, don't you?

From seeing the work from last month, I knew I wanted to try and create a coordinating collection for this project. So I learned how to index colours in Photoshop, and chose just 8 colours from the design above, and ended up choosing one more colour for the next design.
This one is a basic half drop repeat. 

As there was only 3 icons,  I really wanted to try incorporating more imagery, but that's easier said than done!! I ended up creating a little kitchen scene, with shelves and a dresser. The jelly theme is much less obvious, but there is still signs of it. Again I changed all the colours from the original painting to match the 2 other designs. I find reducing colours quite fun, even though the look of the piece changes drastically from the original!

In the end I only submitted one design, as the thumbnail in the class gallery is quite small, so I'm hoping that by only having the last design it's as visible as possible!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Gelatine printing

I've spent my weekend trying to make a gelatine plate. I first heard of it last week when Lisa Firke, a fellow MATS student showed us her lovely work that she created using a Gelli Pad. You can see her monoprints here.

As I wasn't sure if it was a technique I'd enjoy using but still wanted to try, I had a look if there was a DIY version of it. There is actually a very easy way that only includes gelatine and water, but it only lasts a few days before you have to throw it out. But then I found this recipe, so I tried it out... 5 times, before it actually worked. The recipe itself is fine, it's just me getting things wrong. I can't verify it will last years as I've only made it today but once I understood where I was going wrong, I managed to make a pad and print from it. So if you are interesting in trying to make your own plate, then do try that recipe.

So here are a few things to remember ( I learned the hard way)!

  • make sure, really really sure, that the gelatine is dissolved properly before adding the glycerine. The best way I found was to mix it with the COLD water, then the COLD sugared water, and then VERY SLOWLY heat it up on low heat, UNTIL it is perfectly dissolved! This is the way I went wrong, and even when I tried to re-melt it, the gelatine just wouldn't dissolve. I think I heated it too quickly and I'm not sure whether the glycerine stops it from dissolving too (the 2nd mixture I didn't put the glycerine until I was sure everything was dissolved so I can't tell if it was just the heat the issue or if the glycerine was also a reason the first batch didn't work.)

    See the tin foil? Do not use it!! bad things happened once I tried to get it out!
  • do not use tin foil as a lining of the mould. It seemed like a good idea, as it's heat proof, but no, wherever the tin foil teared, the gelatine broke, and the tin foil really sticks to the gelatine so it tears a lot!
  • do use cling film as a lining of your mould - it was really easy. So maybe it doesn't give smart sides but it's 100% better than trying to get the plate out of the mould by itself!

The plate, after use - the specks of colour are actually in the plate as I had to melt it again after trying the tin foil. I'm hoping the paint won't start to go mouldy but it's acrylic so I think it'll be ok
My favourite one - the photo doesn't do it justice, it's actually turquoise and gold, with a leaf stamp 
torn paper stencil
finger painting
hand carved stamps
I'm glad I bought enough ingredients to be able to try it again after the first batch, and I've had fun doing a few prints. I will now need to create a lot more stencils to make some more interesting textures. I find I have to think well in advance if I want to print like this, but at least now I have the pad, I have one less thing to organise when I do want to print.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Jelly Jell-o!

So this week's mini is Jelly! Wibble wobble! I have seen some interesting (or rather disgusting!) photos of jelly, enough to think twice about eating some again! 
These are the sketches I've done so far, I had to try colour much sooner than last month's assignment - I'm using some faber-castell paint watercolours, but they don't feel like proper watercolours, for one, the colours are so much more intense! I'm also using an old nib pen, it keeps splattering ink everywhere!! 

Had to draw the kiwis - last time I made jelly I forgot to read the instructions and added kiwis... it obviously didn't set!

We were told that sometimes you just have to make bad art

Spot the squiggles from the toddler :) 
I'm planning on making stamps and using masking fluid for some more designs this week.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

I'm taking part in the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap - this year the theme was "create".
I used the idea that nowadays you can create opportunities for yourself, and I also had in mind the saying "if a door closes, a window opens". And that ultimately creation is about life and love. It's such a big concept I don't think I did it justice really, but here's is the card - I'll be sending it all the way to America this week!

Are you taking part in the swap?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Quick Paintings

I think it's a mixture of
  • having my art supplies already out for the e-course I'm taking, 
  • the really helpful community from the course
  • my husband being out for the evening
  • having just read Lilla Rogers' book
  • having seen the sketchbook project from August Wren
but I finally did a few paintings last night - I just tried forgetting about a specific theme and just painted whatever came into my mind. 

Colour has always been a difficulty for me but I want to improve so the more I use it the better it'll get!!


    It was much looser than what I usually produce, and I'm still not convinced I can make it work. I actually want a mixture between this freedom and the more detailed work I usually do.

    We are getting our new assignment on Monday so that should be the perfect opportunity to try out more ideas!

    The link for the book is an affiliate link- if you decided to buy a book buy clicking on the link I get a small fraction of the sale

    Catherine S © 2010 - 2014 No reproductions permitted unless authorised.

    Friday, 21 February 2014

    New Blog Header

    Using the stamps I created for Assignment Bootcamp - 

    Catherine S © 2010 - 2014 No reproductions permitted unless authorised.

    Thursday, 20 February 2014

    Cuckoo clocks - the final reveal!

    I've submitted my design for the February deadline today. The course isn't a competition, so there's no judging, however at the end of each assignment a public gallery is revealed and shared with different companies who may be looking for illustrators, so it's worthwhile keeping to the deadlines!

    Here were my three contenders by this morning -


    By lunchtime I'd also added these two - (yes, I was meant to be narrowing things down not adding more choices!!) 

    Before I reveal which design was chosen, here's a few things I want to do for the next assignment:

    • I want to create co-ordinate patterns - I've seen some amazing example from other students, and it makes so much sense.
    • I want to design a proper presentation document - once again seeing what some others have produced really makes me want to "up my game". 
    • And I want to try and get a more consistent style happening - I know it only happens the more you draw, so this intense drawing time is great, but it is an issue if every design looks too different one from the other! Although there are definitely similarities between my designs, they might not be pronounced enough.

    So, without further ado, and thanks to the help and advice from fellow MATS students as well as friends and family, the grand winner that I chose to submit was...

    Catherine S © 2010 - 2014 No reproductions permitted unless authorised.

    Sunday, 16 February 2014

    Going Cuckoo over the design process!

    Whilst working on my Assignment Bootcamp brief, I've taken quite a few screenshots from the first design to the last. This design actually involved quite a few back and forth decisions, and input from my fellow MATS (make art that sells) classmates.

    First Design                                        Last Design

    In Between ideas - Already so much of an improvement from the first one.

    For some reason I felt as if the orange - which worked well before - didn't work so well now.

    So back to the original pink, and finally I have a working design!
    The clocks are so static in image from that I wanted to add some movement by having some birds in flight. I think it adds more energy to the design. What do you think?

    Catherine S © 2010 - 2014 No reproductions permitted unless authorised.

    Wednesday, 12 February 2014

    Cuckoo clock phone cases - first ideas

    On Monday we found out that the cuckoo clock drawings we'd done in the past week were going to be used on phone covers. 
    Cue me suddenly feeling really stressed! I don't know what happened but I just kept thinking "I can't do this". As an attempt to get my thoughts back in order, I decided to think about a simple repeat pattern, just to get me started.

    If you want to know how to do a repeat pattern using paper and scissors, head over here, it's the best tutorial I've found so far.

    After 2 days of drawing and painting I finished with this piece. I did play with different levels of colour saturations and the one that came up as winner was the brighter one, so from now I'll try and keep to a more intense colour palette for this brief.

    As this piece took quite a while and needed a fairly big level of accuracy with my paint, I then tried a much looser approach. I actually used Brusho for the background. It gives a much deeper and brighter colour than watercolours, and as the finished piece would be printed I'm not worried about colour fading - Brusho is not a lightfast pigment!

    I'll keep on sketching some more ideas in the days to come! Which one do you prefer? 

    Catherine S © 2010 - 2014 No reproductions permitted unless authorised.

    Saturday, 8 February 2014

    Assignment Bootcamp - February - week 1

    Wow, can't believe it's only been a week since the beginning of the course! I've managed to fill half a sketchbook in 6 days, this has never happened! Of course, not all the sketches have any value, but the more I do the more there's a chance of some working! Some days it felt like I was just dumping everything that went through my mind, but I think that is one of the reasons for doing this type of exercise.

    Here's some of my smaller sketches produced.

    On Monday we get the main brief, so we'll find out what we are to produced with the drawings we've made this week. *This is not the royal we, I mean that everyone taking the course will be getting the brief :) 

    Catherine S © 2010 - 2014 No reproductions permitted unless authorised.

    Wednesday, 5 February 2014

    Assignment Bootcamp - February - week 1 - day 1 and 2

    Monday was very exciting as all the people taking part in #makeartthatsells Bootcamp received their first brief including me!

    The theme is Cuckoo Clocks, and I have been busy busy drawing since! So far the clocks have made me think of baking, pretzels, Black Forest gateau, Christmas, The Sound of Music, embroidery, aprons,  and more!


    I haven't sketched this much for ages, so if I keep on a similar buzz for the next 6 months, I'm expecting so much improvement in my drawings and work!

    The first day the toddler actually joined in! I don't expect that to last but any daytime drawing time is most welcome!

    Here's a few of my sketches so far! I'm hoping to do a lot more these next few days!

    By scanning my work I've learned a few things - pencil doesn't scan that great, and a clean scanner bed is better! all these scans have marks for old work! I've cleaned it up so from now on they should be much neater!

    Catherine S © 2010 - 2014 No reproductions permitted unless authorised.