Wednesday 24 June 2009

And now for something totally different....

...I have been doing an online class with Suziblu, and last week we learned how to sketch know the kind we have been seeing for a few years in Cloth Paper scissors that Misty Mawn and DJ Pettit et al seem to create with the heads off to one side.

Well Suziblu has been doing this sort of thing as utube vids, and she is such a hoot to watch that you really get sucked in. I came across her weekly videos last summer, but you should go and take a look. Suzi has online classes that you can take, and the one I'm doing is about drawing faces, colouring them in, then creating a mixed media background around them.

These are some of the faces I sketched last week....and here are a couple that I learned how to colour in this week.

The chicky babe with the striped hat has a dodgy left eye that is slightly in the wrong place, and smaller than the right one...probably something to do with me colouring her in at 1 am when I should have been in bed!!

The next one has nice coloured eyes, but we think she looks a bit masculine...her chin is a bit too pointy I least I can see where I need to improve.

The little pirate was an experiment in masculine and stubble...looks like he was also up all night!

Anyway, just thought I's share with you a snippet of what I have been doing the last few weeks in my spare time.

Sunday 21 June 2009

Viva paint onto metal

OK so I'm being a good girl and reporting back to you the next part of my Viva exploration! The trick to discovering the versatility of these paints is to play around with them!!!

It seems these precious metal colours are happy to be applied onto any surface, but the shinier surfaces (metal, acrylic) do take a bit more effort to build layers initially.

This sample is a painted acrylic tag. First you need to choose some colours, many people find this the hard part, so to simplify, try choosing 3 shades: light, medium, dark....and 2 of those should pistacio (light), blue lagoon(medium), olive (dark), then you can have gold or any 'standard' metallic as an accent. This works really well if you have some texture on the piece to highlight lumpy bits! (see previous post on ferro texture)

Before you start , shake the bottles well until you hear the ball bearing 'clack', and look at the colour to ensure the top half of the bottle is blended with the bottom. Some colours take more work that others! I always replace the lids properly while working, and shake before I use every single time. I find I keep turning the bottles upside down on my desk, so the metallic pigments don't settle too much while I'm working.

Ready to start? Open the bottle, place a square of cut and dry foam over the mouth of the bottle, then tip the bottle up and back down before removing the foam square. You should have a nice round spot of paint on the foam. To evenly dispense this spot on the foam, dab it a couple of times onto your craft sheet, then immediately start dabbing the paint all over the surface you are working on. Dry with a heat tool and repeat 1-3 times until you have a good even base.
TIP: If you don't dry paint well inbetween layers, then you may find that you get 'spots' where the new, wet coat paint might lift off previous layers, so you want to build this base coat with a light dabbing action, and make sure you dry really well in between coats.

Next, colour 2 (medium shade). This could be a slightly darker green (eg lime) or you could opt for a contrasting colour like blue or pink. I like the pearl blue a lot, also turquoise...but whatever you select as colour 2, you should find you need less paint than the first coat. To apply, again, tap your paint spot onto the craft sheet to soften the spot, then starting at the very edge tap gently to apply the colour to the sides of your substrate. I like to work around the sides, and occasionally bring the colour towards the middle. Keep tapping, and renew your spot if it starts to dry out. For contrast it's good to not put colour 2 everywhere, otherwise what was the point of colour 1??? work around the edges, but maybe leave2-3 sections of the edges with colour 1 (base coat) visible. If you do obliterate all of colour 1, the great thing about paint, is that you can come back over colour 2 with colour 1 again...this is also how you build nice depth, by allowing sneek peeks of earlier layers to be seen.

When you are happy with the balance of colours 1 & 2, then you can add colour 3, the darkest. This will only need a small amount tapping on, again starting from the edges works well, or you can apply paint to a stamp with the cut and dry foam, and stamp the paint onto the background. You can see this was done in turquoise on the 'acrylic' sample. Try stamping in your accent metallic (eg gold). If you find you 'zones' of colour are too defined, then using stamped texture images (numbers, textures, script, patterns) across the light and dark sections is a good way to soften the zones between colours 1 & 2.

If you wish to stamp a feature image (face, person, house, castle etc), or a quote onto the painted base, then a dye based permanent ink is best. Stazon ( a solvent ink) will not show up very black on these paints, so I prefer archival jet black (ranger). The quote I stamped in black uses archival ink. It's also better to stamp in black on the lighter sections of your background so that the image is more clearly seen, and try to avoid busy areas (eg script stamped sections in the medium colour), because then your quote will be competing with the dark script/pattern for attention.

To finish the acrylic sample, I stamped the castle SICC7 in black stazon onto aluminium metal, layered the metal to humungo tape and cardboard (tape sandwich technique), then outlined the lines with a pointy teflon tool, and then cut out and stuck down the sandwich to the paint with foam pads or gel medium. (matte gel medium is the safest adhesive for the long term) Finally flower embellishments were also added with a small spot of gel medium, and bling accents work well in the centres. Ribbons at the top finish off nicely.

Ok so let's move onto another shiny surface to paint...metal. This castle sample using SICC4, started life as an aluminium piece of metal. From the precious metal colour Viva paints, I worked with lime green, Blue azure and turquoise . Blend well by dabbing gently. Then I stamped squiggly mini 15 (spots) in gold down the right hand side, and dried that.

I stamped the castle in archival jet black ink....remember, if you paint is not properly dry, you will not be able stamp on top effectively, so take time to add thin coats of colour, and let dry between coats well.

To add texture to the castle and the spots, you need a pointed teflon tool, these come in the basic tool set, or you can buy diff size and styles of teflon tips in the 'eraser' sets which i have in small and medium size. Yes you can use the 'erasers' to remove mistakes from the this on an acrylic mat.....but i love to use the rounded teflon tools to puff out areas, and i use the chisels to refine (flatten) in tricky to reach places, or to define areas more sharply that you can with a paper stump.

Back to the spots. Gently (that means don't press hard! - you don't want to scratch off the paint!) trace around the circles of a few randomly chosen spots. Flip the metal over onto a soft mat from the mat set. Ideally you want to use a ball and cup to stretch the metal working in a soft circular motion, but if you spots don't fit the ball and cup, then you can use a rounded teflon tool, or a fine paper stump to stretch the metal. Flip your metal back over to see if the spots are as deep as you like them, then working on the acrylic mat, use the 'cup' end of the ball and cup and press down over the ball. This flattens the surrounding metal to make the ball 'pop'.

Now back to the castle. Again, take the teflon tool, and outline the castle walls, if you want you can do this on the thin soft mat, or if you don't want such deep texture, work on a wad of paper. How cool is that? You have just added depth to your stamped image...this is why working with metal is so much fun, you can add an extra level of dimension to your work quite easily. If you want to enhance this further, then you can flip the metal over, and puff out the shape a little more as I have done in this green and pink sample. The camera has caught the shadow down the left hand side. of the castle, which helps you see how puffed out the roof and turret sides are.

Maybe you are wondering where this stamp comes from? You probably don't realise it, but the turrets are designed so that you can build your own.

Start with SICC3 (crowns & castles plate 3), and stamp the pointy turret in black archival, remember, you are stamping onto metal, so you need to be firm, but try not to grind on the stamp too hard, or you will stamp blurry lines by pressing too hard.

So we can now lengthen the walls of the turret, and to do this you will need the side wall stamp from SICC1. Make sure your block work on the stamp is facing towards the inside of the turret. There are a couple of tricks to getting the line to match up perfectly. Either place the ez-mounted stamp onto a see through plastic ruler or acrylic block that has a grid...I use Tim Holtz' ruler, but an acrylic block with a grid is even better, because for a small stamp like this a smaller block is easier to handle than a longer ruler. As long as the line of the wall matches the line of the grid, you are fine. You can test on a line ruled on a piece of paper first. The other method, is to draw a permanent pen line on the cling foam , then when your stamp is on the block, you can see a guide line..again, test on paper first.
Once you have lengthened the walls of the turret to your preference, then you can fill any block-work gaps with the block work stamp...just check you have it sitting straight on the block before you stamp.

In a similar way, you can also extend the knobby castle wall out to either side of the turret. The extra knobby bumps are also on Crowns and Castles Plate 1. You can match them up the same way. To make the wall look ralistic, you will also need to stamp extra blockwork below the knobby wall line.

So now you can see how easy it is to build your own castle. From plates 1, 3 and 9 you can create a wonderful vista of castles. Try stamping, cutting out then layering them so you get great depth.
If you did all this on metal you could make an amazing surround for a birthday cake or centre piece for a medievil feast!! Fun fun fun!!!

Next time...stamping onto metal with metal extra stamps, or even flowers to make textured embellishments for all kinds of situations! Oh and I must show you some of the sketches i have been churning out for my suziblu class I signed up for.

Please leave a comment and let me know how you are enjoying crowns and castle stamps, metal or vivia paints! I love hearing what you are up to.


Thursday 18 June 2009

Viva Paint Ideas

I had a lot of fun demoing at the Craft Barn for their June demo weekend, so thought I'd show you a few pics of some of the samples I made before I send them off to Sandy for her to put up in the shop.
I got to demo so many supplies that my desk was a treasure trove of all kinds of goodies. One of the most popular techniques people enjoyed was using the viva decor ferro texture paste. You can use a splodger (spatula/ credit card) to spread it and then stamp into the paste with a damp script or pattern stamp. I used MN44 (french text), and SM08 (squiggly scroll). Leave that to dry (15 mins) and then you can apply Precious Metal Colour paints all over to highlight the texture.

Ferro is available in several rusty colours, so if you want the colour to show, then choose contrasting shades to use on top. I like Gold Iron which is a rusty chocolate colour. Golden orange and Silver Ferro are lighter shades that contrast nicely with pinks and blues. If you opt for a shade like Golden green, it works well with greeny blues like the sample shown here to the left, it's a forest floor type effect.

In this swirly sample you can see more clearly the texture and how I used a few different shades of precious metal colour paints: blue lagoon, green gold, bronze and a touch of violet.

To apply, make sure the paint is well shaken up, place a piece of 'cut and dry' foam over the top of the bottle, then tip the bottle up and back down. Now you will have a spot of colour on the foam and you can easily drag it across the ferro texture lightly. It dries really fast, so you are not waiting around for this at all, it's very instant! I just used a heavy piece of card as the substrate, but you could use grungeboard, chipboard, wood or canvas. The texture is quite flexible, so it won't crack.

This pink sample is on a chipboard base, and then coloured with pink, gold, rose-pink and lilac precious metal paints.

To embellish these samples, I prefer to stamp images from Squiggly Ink Crowns and Castles collection onto copper metal. It's nice to outline the stamped image from the front with a teflon-tipped tool (from the Basic tool set or teflon tool set), then you can flip it over onto a soft mat, and puff out the image with a paper stump. Once you are happy with the depth, fill the metal recess with glossy accents, press onto card stock, and once dry you can cut out the metal image and secure with glossy accents, foam pads or gel medium onto the chipboard as an embellishment.

On this dragonfly sample you can see how the ferro was spread over 3 sections of the card, stamped with the scroll SM08, then painted with precious metal paints in pinks, and highlighted with bronze.

The dragonfly SITT3, and small flowers SITT6 were stamped onto periwinkle and copper metal, layered to card and humungo tape, and then embossed with the pointy teflon tool, and sprayed with glimmer mist. Note how the patterns on the petals catch the glimmer mist. I love how working with metal allows you to give shape to wings and petals. It makes the embellishments so interesting!
On the mini castle sample you can also see the texture of the flowers. The copper was also lightly sprayed with a glimmer.

TIP: If the ferro is too thick when you stamp into it you will get a peaky-frosting effect when the stamp is lifted off. To avoid this, clean your stamp (an old wet toothbrush helps!) thin and smooth the level of the ferro with your spatula and try again. I think it also helps to stamp while the rubber is damp, but the great thing about ferro is you can stamp and smooth until you have the effect you prefer. You do need to clean up that stamp quickly!

This green/brown sample also uses periwinkle metal for the stamped bellies, but they were more heavily sprayed with glimmer, so the colour is less purple and more green/blue. You can also see that I used the croco crackle (gorgeous colours!) around the edges....and I love how once 'cracked' you can see through to the metallic paint underneath beautifully.

Well I am sure you have enough information to give this technique a go! All the paints, stamps, metal and tools are easily found in the shop by following the links in this all you ahve to do is choose which colours to buy!! My advice, start with 3 shades: a light, medium and dark, and 2 of those should contrast...oh and don't forget to get a metallic accent shade for the peaks.... like gold, silver-gold or bronze.

I still have some other techniques I want to show you with metal and the paints, so I'll post those over the coming few weeks.

Have fun and remember...its more fun to get messy than clean the house!


PS. You can now follow me daily on twitter @paperartsy . I promise to tweet interesting facts ... not boring drivvle! LOL .....