Thursday 26 March 2020

2020 #6 Jungle Vibes: Efi's in the Tropics with ZA {by Leandra Franich}

2020 Topic 6: Jungle Vibes

I stumbled across a random Facebook virtual crafting event on Saturday afternoon last weekend. People from the top to the bottom of the UK, plus a knitter from her gorgeous craft room in Oregon. It was nice to craft together, share stories, hear how everyone was getting on working and living from home and facing this new reality.

We shared our crafty projects with each other: knitting, cross stitch, jewellery, embroidery, box painting, even face painting - a fabulous mix. Fascinated by each story and project on the go, 90 mins passed in a blink and somehow I had my 'jungle' project more or less stamped and ready for colour.

It was reassuring in a time of 'almost lockdown' to meet new faces from across the nation (and world) who each had their own concerns, challenges and fears. But we also focussed on enjoying a positive couple of hours sharing our creativity with each other. It seems social distancing can a still be a way to meet people, even if it 'just' a virtual encounter. I suspect that this will become a new way for us to be in touch with each other, although you can't do anything too noisy near your device's microphone or you might inadvertently hog the spotlight! Just as well we are not all hammering eyelets these days so much huh!

~ Leandra

So yes, it's me, Leandra here in a rare appearance, I swear I am literally that nocturnal kiwi that hides in the forest. Here's my Zinski Jungle adventure - it really did help my anxiety levels to focus on colourful blobbing and purple efilumps!

Whether you are new to crafting or a dab hand, there is always plenty of information here on the PA blog that might help us all share a new skill with someone in your life, whether it is you or a loved one, I hope between us we can enjoy some quality crafting time together. 

In this post we are heading into the Zinski Jungle. Of course these Efilumps are in their natural habitat of colourful, tropical flowers and deep foliage above. It looks like they got dressed up specially for Mothers' Day this past Sunday, wearing their Sunday best, they are very happy to pose for a picture and share with you how they got ready!

A blog post starts well when you forget to take photos as you work right!!?? Just shows how out of the habit I am!  If you peek behind the stamping in the pic above, you can see a background! (Oh yes you can!) 

I used the reverse, black side of the a piece of Cut 'n' Dry Foam. Fun foam would work too, or a wedge of polystyrene, but that might have a squeak factor. Regardless, apply literally one tiny spot of paint to a flat foam-ish feeling something and squidge it, smudge it, smoosh it  about randomly. Yup, not hard! Honest!

I did stamp a few spots from my fave stamp from ECF04 too. And finished with some white paint to knock it all back a bit.I always do that before I stamp my images, its always easy to darken a light background later (infusions, sprays, distress ink), not so easy to lighten it!

You can see it here how the paint was just smooched over the cardboard, you can do this step directly onto the inside of a cereal box, that's a nice firm surface to use. I just used a sheet of 300gsm Heavy Smoothy Card.

Then I stamped some foliage (Zinski Art flowers) in black using Elena's ZinskiArt stamps. ZinskiArt Stamp Set 6 (ZA06) has the perfect foliage to create tropical flowers.

The next step is to add some colour to the stamped images, start light and build up some shading. You can see from our paint labels that some colours are opaque, and some are translucent, and some are semi-opaque. If you colour in with one of the more see-through paints, then you will not lose your stamped outline. Any paint can become less opaque if you add a bit of satin, matte or gloss glaze to it. A handy trcik to know!

And there are some useful flowers on ZinskiArt Set 07 (ZA07) too. I love the 'holey' ones!


You can also see that some stencilling came into play here too. {Both these stencils below are from the February 2020 Kay Carley release. See this blog post here for stockist info at the foot of the post.} This fluffy tree is PaperArtsy Stencil 170 (PS170) by Kay Carley, and to add detail I dabbed lots of colours over the green  tree blobs and added some fine pigment pen marks on top for detailing.

At the top PaperArtsy Stencil 172 (PS172) drapes down to create a sense of depth. 

I started with Toad Hall Fresco first underneath, and then I shifted the stencil to the right (bumped it) and applied Sage paint. This creates a shadow along the edge which is a nice trick to add some depth to any stencil really easily. Later on I added some warmer green and yellow to the trunk bits as it needed boosting to match the brightness of the flowers. It was a bit too grey-green initially.

Here you can see all the blobs of colours on the stencilled tree - blobs on blobs! just keep dabbing until they look better!!

Then tiny white dots from a white gel pen.

Here's a close up of the stalks, and how I outlined those and the leaves with pen, and I also splodged a tiny bit of Hyde Park Fresco Paint on the leaves too for added depth. 

For the border at the top, the thick foliage, you can see in this picture how just one stamp created that effect. From EGL02, the stamp top left on the stamp set by Gwen LaFleur shown below. This repeat stamping with paint and ink in increasingly darker colours creates that jungle foliage effect pretty well.

Here is the A4 card with the flowers along the bottom, foliage at the top and the stencilled leaves and tree. I'm pretty happy with it. Next we need our jungle animals to make an appearance!

In the same way I made the first background, for the piece of card for the elephants I smooched paint onto my firm-foam applicator another sheet of card in Blues, Purple-Blues, Greys and White with a touch of Coral for some lift.
{By the way, if you want the latest info on Fresco Paints, the on the Blog sidebar in 'The Classroom' Section, there are the Fresco updates for Aug, Sept, Nov 2019, plus Jan and March 2020, which is of course the most recent.Yes we have made tweaks to some of the older core colours to allow the new families to sit better as 6's.}

As before, I over-stamped some elephants, or as we like to refer to Elena's babies (Efilumps) onto the background from ZinskiArt Set 37 (ZA37).

As the efilumps have a textured background already with a bit of interest, all you need to add is some shading with coloured pencils, paint, or both! I just used paint. Translucent ones like Southern Skies, Glass Blue, and Bougainvillea with the odd patch of Cherry Red. For the record, blue + red or pink = purple! Our translucent shades may look dark from the label, but with a damp brush they can be used as soft tints, perfect for colouring in. The link to all the Frescos listed online is here.

I decided to stamp and paint 3 efilumps as I wasn't really sure what would fit nicely. I eventually decided I didn't really want to cover up my pretty flowers, so that meant I decided to only use 2 in the end. Someone had to all look so endearing...

The colours and textures in the background show through the colour tint. It's effects like this that help make your project look a bit more snazzy and interesting. In general, I tried to add shading in logical 'shadow' zones. Here is Mummy Efi sitting atop a leftover piece of BG, you can see her trunk matches the card, once her eyeballs are white her face comes alive. You may also see I dotted a white gel pen for some more detail, I use the Signo Uniball as it never clogs, and as our Fresco paint is a chalk finish, you really can use any pen or pencil successfully on top as the sort of gritty chalk feel they produce is the perfect 'tooth' for most pens, pencils, felt tips/markers etc. Don't take my word for it, you must try it yourself!

And it is amazing how the efi's look a bit different again once sitting in their jungle home! It does look like they are waiting for Dad to arrive though doesn't it! I know Efi's are (probably) supposed to be grey BUT, in my jungle world normal is not OK, so I really wanted them to 'pop' in contrast to the jungle, and I wanted them to look a bit more jazzy than JUST grey. They could have been yellow, orange, or Purple...... and Purple was closer to that is what and why they are! :)

Onto the story of how Colin the Caterpillar became Willy the Worm. We'll call it artistic licence! Having ditched the large Efilump as his big bum hid the pretty flowers, I needed something smaller, so Colin the Caterpillar fitted the bill. (NB. This stamp set is available exclusively from our stockists, list at the bottom of this blog post here).

But, I cut him out, thinking I would hand-draw the legs and antennae back in place, and then realised that wasn't he had to transition into worm/slug. You can see the before on the Index sheet to the left, and the after, hmmmm.

I'd like to think that he's OK with this transition, but I must admit, he does look a bit sceptical! Perhaps I shouldn't have moved his pupils. He's oozing a pretty 'peeved' vibe!

Here's hoping he settles into his new jungle life, but it looks like he's pretty keen to meet the Efi's!! I hope they don't stand on him or he'll be oozing something quite different! Poor Colin.

I mounted my card onto black foam core for a firm support. Here's a reminder of the finished piece.

That's it from me, each day has been a bit of a bombshell of late, but tell me, how are YOU all doing? I hope you feel safe and secure wherever you may be. It's been a roller-coaster the past few weeks hey? I'm sure you have all been in touch with friends and family across the globe trying to predict what happens next, how we will pay the bills, keep a routine, live our lives. I guess history lets us know we tend to adapt in the face of adversity, and I sincerely hope that is the case for you all. Like you we have significant worries about our vulnerable friends and family, and it is hard not being able to be there physically to support family like we normally would. 

To the internet we all turn, looking for escape, yet close contact. We might be looking for factual information, or to escape in a box set. In this virtual place full of so much content, I hope here on the blog we share some ideas that help you get through. Crafting is a bit like a refreshing walk or a good book or a movie... when you get pulled into 'the now', you forget everything else, even if it is for an hour or two. That forgetting is a relief, so perhaps we can help you on that front. 

I hope this nudges you to pull out the paints and have a bit of a play

Take care and please stay safe

Leandra x


Helen said...

What a beautiful project - I love the Effalumps! Hope you and the family are all staying safe, say Hi to everyone from me!

Miriam said...

Oh my word, this is awesome!

Elena said...

Oh my goodness this colour combo is too yummy for words!!! Absolutely stunning scene you've created 💕

Deb said...

Oh wow Leandra, this is stunning. Thank you for all the tips as well x

Words and Pictures said...

So in love with the colour work here - on the jungle flowers and plants and on the Effis - just beautiful shading of the tones. Bombshell is right - but thank goodness I already have so much in my home to keep me busy/entertained/stimulated/fulfilled - and most of it is in the craft room! Brilliant inspiration here at PA as always.
Alison x

Nikki Acton said...


ginny c said...

This stunning love how you have textured the fluffy trees colours are gorgeous

Etsuko said...

A very peaceful scene and heartwarming LeandraII lovely Efi family and beautiful flowers and Gwen's leaves. I love way you used gorgeous colours combo and layers. xx

A Pink said...

Absolutely love your Zinski jungle scene , Leandra . Amazing creativity throughout ! Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post n seeing all the close ups - I smiled, I laughed out loud and I learnt . Thank you .

Stay safe and keep well
Amanda x