Sunday, 5 July 2015


Summer is here! And nothing says summer like a giant sunflower. And here is Christina's step by step guild on how to paint a sunflower with our Gansai Tambi Watercolours.


To create this piece I used a H2O brush (detailer tip), Millennium Fine-liner 0.05 and 0.1. Finally Gansai Tambi watercolour set. The colours I used were;
33 - Orange
53 - Mid Green
51 - May Green
20 - Black
42 - Bright Yellow
44 - Light Brown
46 - Brown
47 - Dark Brown

1. Sketch a quick outline of your sunflower.
2. Wash the sunflower petals with 42 - Bright Yellow. 
3. Add 33 - Orange to the darker areas of the petals, especially where the petals meet the center of the flower. 
4. Next wash the central circle of the sunflower with 46 - Brown and 47 - Dark Brown. Use Brown around the edge of the circle and then gradually mix with and switch to Brown when approaching the centre of the flower.
5. Now lets get add some colour to the leaves with 51 - May Green. Lightly wash the leaves with this paint.
6. Now that all the main colours are down, I can start adding to the painting with more detail. For this I using different shades of paints and draw in detail with fine-liners. I add colours like 44 - Light Brown to the petals. I outline some petals with a fine-liner to make them petals stand out.
7. Once the petals are done, add more shades of green to the leaves of the sunflower. I added 53 - Mid Green and mixed in 20 - Black to create darker shades. Finally draw in any extra detail using the fine-liners. 
Hope you like it. Please comment and share. If you have any questions ask away :)

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Hi, guys. So thrilled to be back with my new step by step creation, it's an art journaling!

I created the background with Gansai Tambi watercolours and sprayed water: spray just a bit!

Then I used a baby wipe to make it more omogenous

 I created some texture with a stencil and some modelling paste.

 When it dried I colour it with Zig Clean Colour

I  printed  a digi image and colour it with Gansai Tambi

I wrote down the lines of a rhyme about owls using Artist Skeching Pen,  cut out and adhere after glueing some printed paper scraps and adding gesso.

The finished project and some closer up views of details.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Have yourself a cool summer!

June's theme is about Summer and Woodlands Creatures, so I chose to make a card related to Summer this time for the blog. And what's the best thing about such a season? Yes, you're right: icecream!

The products I used:

First thing is to select the colour combo I want to use, so I went for primary colours. I thought they look very summer-ish all together. Luckily I have the three colours (Tones 10, 22 & 37) in my ZIG Art & Graphic Twin pen collection, yay!

I did piece the background together with a technique I love: I painted some stains of color on my plastic sheet and splattered some water on them. 

They mixed so well I obtained a true rainbow, and even if that was unexpected I really loved the result of that when I rub my paper against that. so often, experimenting brings new and good things.

Using my ZIG Art & Graphic Twin pens, I started painting the sketches of some icecream cones I drew earlier with a mechanical pencil. I tried to water the paper surface before colouring (and then after), so the ink did unexpected pools of ink, giving then some interesting texture. I admit I spent some time experimenting about the best way to breathe some life into these icecream cones, and it was fun. The trick is to play with the colour intensity you want to apply to your project, playing with the shadows and lights.

From all my sketching, I chose these three cones, each one carrying a different flavour, for my card.

But I still had to colour their biscuit cones. I used my Clean Color Real Brush in 096 Mid Gray mixed with water to put some nice colour, then drew some lines with my ZIG Metallic Writer (in silver). I used my ZIG Artist Sketching Pen to draw the outer lines of the cone.

There's some happy icecream cone once I took it carefully from the paper with my scissors.

Put some foam adhesive on the back of the little cones and glued them to the background. Then, placed that to the card front, leaving some space at the bottom for the sentiment.

Cut two paper circles and decorated them: brushing the magenta pen on the outer circle, creating a dash line; and mixing the ink with water, creating a polka dot pattern on the inner circle. Wrote then the sentiment with my ZIG Artist Sketching Pen.

I added some fancy ribbon around and the card is ready!

Hope you like my card and got inspired by this and by everything the amazing people from the DT is creating here :)


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

“Being creative is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life”

“Being creative is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life”

A Mixed Media Canvas by Bethany Grace

“Being creative is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life” - this is certainly true for so many of us crafters, artists and creators, and no-one more so than the creators of Kuretake, who this year are celebrating the milestone of 30 years in business – congratulations guys! What I am sure is a small number compared to a lifetime of creativity – may there be many more years to come!

I for one love reading inspirational quotes, especially if they are particularly motivational or thought-provoking; and what better way to be inspired by them day after day, than to create a little bit of home décor with this mixed media canvas!

The Background:
Equipment used: A4 canvas, Forget-Me-Not Woodcraft Marker, Glacier Blue Woodcraft Marker, Moss Green Woodcraft Marker, Harebell Woodcraft Marker, water mister, paintbrush, heat gun, white tissue paper, Sizzix Doily, Laced with Love Thinlit Die, Decopatch paper, PVA glue, paintbrush, diamond stencil, white lace How to do it: I first wet the surface of the canvas using a water mister (in order to keep the paints wet for longer, allowing me to blend them), and then began to build some colour using the Forget-Me-Not and Harebell Woodcraft Markers, merging the shades using a paintbrush.

When I was happy with the blending on this first layer, I used a heat gun to quickly set the paints (the markers dry pretty quickly anyway, but I had added a lot of water…and I guess I’m a bit impatient when I want to get on creating!). As Woodcraft Markers become permanent when dry, they are great for adding detail and contrasting colours to backgrounds, without muddying the layers below… perfect for this technique!

To get the effect seen below, I repeated the process over and over again, gradually building up the colours and creating a tinted edge using the slightly darker Glacier Blue Woodcraft Marker.

Next, I added some pattern to the background. I first glued (using a mixture of PVA and water) some torn strips of Decopatch paper onto the canvas. In the past I have also used patterned tissue paper napkins to add pattern to projects - they work just as well as Decopatch paper, but can be a lot kinder to your purse! To fade the patterned paper into the painted background, I used a paintbrush to dab some Glacier Blue paint (from the Woodcraft Marker - just scribble the marker onto a shiny surface to create a paint palette!) around the edges.

To add a little extra pattern and a lacy-feel to the background, I cut some tissue paper hearts (see above) using the Sizzix Doily, Laced with Love Thinlit Die. I ran the Thinlit through a die-cutting machine, over a well-folded sheet of white tissue paper (I have learned from experience that it is nearly impossible to cut a single layer of tissue paper – it’s far too delicate! However, folding up a sheet creates a thicker layer which the die can easily cut through…top tip eh?). I again pasted these onto the background using a mixture of PVA glue and water.

A few finishing touches…
To bring in some pink to the background, I coloured through a diamond stencil using the Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker. Then I used the Glacier Blue Woodcraft Marker to neaten up the edges of the canvas, and lightly sanded the top edges (see picture top right) to reveal a white border – this really helped to make everything stand out in the finished product. I used PVA glue to stick white lace around the edges of the canvas to give a more vintage feel – the final step of my mixed media canvas background!

The Lettering: Equipment used: chipboard letters, Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker, Moss Green Woodcraft Marker, Gold Wink of Luna Brush Pen, background stamp, lettering stamps, acrylic block, brown StazOn ink pad, glue gun

How to do it: For the wording, I used a combination of chipboard letters and stamps. As I have found for several years, stamping clearly on a canvas can be tricky. However, I now have a fool-proof method that is so obvious I feel stupid for not having thought of it sooner! Simply place a hard book behind the canvas so that it touches the fabric, giving a hard, flat surface to stamp on – voila, no more sagging canvas and smudgy stamps! For this canvas I stamped the letters with brown StazOn, using two alphabet stamp sets for contrast.

To decorate the word ‘hobby’, I simply coloured in the chipboard letters using the Harebell Woodcraft Marker.

I used some larger chipboard letters to create the word ‘life’, colouring them using the Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker. For those of you that are impatient (like me!), do not be tempted to attempt to speed-dry the letters with a heat-gun…it may result in flying letters and paint (I speak from experience…)! I then edged the letters using a Gold Wink of Luna Brush Pen, and lightly stamped them with a background stamp (I coloured the stamp in with the Wink of Luna pen so it matched the edging) to add some pattern and a more distressed feel.

To add some depth, I glued all the chipboard letters on using a glue gun (silicon glue would work just as well).

The Embellishments: Equipment used: MDF hearts, Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker, Moss Green Woodcraft Marker, sandpaper, old scissors, Gesso, paintbrush, PVA glue, glue gun

How to do it: For the heart embellishments, I painted some MDF hearts with the Wild Rose Woodcraft Marker, and then distressed the edges using some paint from the Moss Green Woodcraft Marker. When the paint had dried, I lightly sanded the edges to lift off some of the colour (and by lightly, I mean really lightly…we don’t want to end up sanding away all our hard work now do we?), and glued them onto the canvas with PVA.

This next stage was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment thing. During my usual messy creativity, I had left a pair of scissors strewn across the canvas: a moment of inspiration! I immediately searched out the box hidden at the back of my cupboard, in which lies a jumble of various odds and ends that I use for mixed media pieces like this. Tucked inside was an old pair of children’s’ blunt scissors: perfect.
I first cleaned the scissors up a bit (old things do get a bit grubby…), and coated them in a thin layer of Gesso to prime the metal so that the Woodcraft Markers would adhere to the surface. I then coloured the scissors using the Wild Rose and Harebell Woodcraft Markers, and glued it to the canvas with a glue gun.

The Finishing Touches: Equipment used: buttons, string, pink baker’s twine, clear dew drops, pink paper blossoms, silver gems, darning needle, safety pin, decorative pin

How to do it: I finished off the canvas with some buttons (tied with string and baker’s twine), silver gems, clear dew drops and a few odd knick-knacks from my box of odds and ends (namely a children’s plastic darning needle, which I proceeded to colour using the Harebell Woodcraft Marker, a safety pin, a decorative pin and a few paper blossoms), all stuck on with some PVA glue.

So there you have it: one finished mixed media canvas to (hopefully!) keep us all motivated with the help of a great quote! I hope you have enjoyed the project and feel inspired to have a go at some of the techniques, or maybe create your own mixed media canvas. As always I would love to hear from you all to know what you think, and to see your interpretations and ideas - happy creating!

Monday, 22 June 2015

I have today created a lovely project for Kuretake with the theme of Summer!

As I was creating this rather wonderful Kuretake Design Team project, I had a little song playing in my head called "Summerfly" which is a lovely song by Maura O'Connell. Has such lovely, and also quite haunting lyrics. Nonetheless, I was humming and singing as creating, which I think is a good way to craft!

Feeling inspired by the lovely colours of the paints and flowers growing in my garden, I decided to use a giant Peony stamp from IndigoBlu - seriously, it's massive! - and use the wonderful, gorgeously scrumptious Kuretake Gansai Tambi Japanese watercolour paints. I really love these paints, I can't express how much!

So I started with a sheet of watercolour pape, it's just smaller than an A4 sheet. I covered my paper with a quick swish of water to ensure the paints blended together nicely. Then, using a large brush, I  simply applied diagonally over the paper to create a rainbow effect. I left this to dry. You could also use a heat tool to dry if you wanted to.

I used a waterproof archival ink and stamped the Giant Peony and the Dragonfly stamp to my page. I wanted to add leaves to the flower, so I stamped the Giant Peony stamp onto a piece of scrap card (I only inked the edges of the stamp, this saves ink!) The impression is not what mattered for this - I wanted to make a mask, so I stamped and then cut this out. Cutting is my least favourite thing, so I put on some good music to sing along to! 

Now, I wanted to attach the mask to the paper, but I wanted to remove it easily...therefore I'd like to share another great use of the ZIG Memory System 2 Way Glue Pen! I squeezed a few drops on the reverse of the cut out mask, and left it (it just needs to go clear and be tacky, but due to a hectic couple of days, I left it for 2 nights!!) As you can see in this photo, the glue comes out with a blue tint to it. Used immediately, this will stick your project down. BUT if you leave it, it goes tacky, then you have a re-positionable mask!

 I popped my mask over the top of the peony and then took the leaf stamp (also from the Giant Peony set) and stamped in the desired position. Here you can see where the stamp is over the top of the flower...It doesn't look good just yet....

 But, hey presto!, remove the mask and the leaves are in position and look as though they are behind the original stamped image. I then painted the image using the Gansai Tambi watercolour paints - I'm a little bit obsessed with this particular colour of red - it has a gorgeous pinkness too it!

I wanted to add some words and also to show off how fabulous this next Kuretake product is - the ZIG Emboss pen - now I'm not good calligraphy, so I simply wrote words in, what I hope, is neat writing. I have adjusted the colour hues on this photo just so you can see how the pen looks once used - it has a blue hue to it, which is basically a clear ink, it's waterbased, much like an embossing ink pad would be - but I love this because you can write or draw whatever you want for embossing! I added my embossing powder (I used some ultra-fine ones - see the 'ingredients' below) and then used the heat gun to 'melt' the embossing powder into place.

I wanted to add some words and also to show off how fabulous this next Kuretake product is - the ZIG Emboss pen - now I'm not good calligraphy, so I simply wrote words in, what I hope, is neat writing. I have adjusted the colour hues on this photo just so you can see how the pen looks once used - it has a blue hue to it, which is basically a clear ink, it's waterbased, much like an embossing ink pad would be - but I love this because you can write or draw whatever you want for embossing! I added my embossing powder (I used some ultra-fine ones - see the 'ingredients' below) and then used the heat gun to 'melt' the embossing powder into place.
For those observant humans, you will notice that I've applied glitter to the dragon fly wings... I used the ZIG 2 way glue pen to the wings and then sprinkled a very fine glitter over the top. It's not easy to capture in a photograph (I must buy the Kuretake Wink of Stella pens... I have a feeling they will look awesome on the dragonfly wings!)

And here is the completed project!! I have also used the ZIG Millenium fine liner pen to write a few more words - in fact these are inspired by lyrics from songs. One I mentioned above...I wonder if anyone can recognise the others song I was inspired by? It's an old one!
Thank you for reading my blog. Please feel free to ask any questions. I've listed the ingredients used in this project below for you. I hope you have a play with the Kuretake pens and paints - and I hope you share your projects too!

Peace to all,

Products used for the above project were: