Today I'll show you how to sew cute little paintbrush case that will protect your watercolor brushes from getting damaged or squished in your bag--whether you're traveling across the country, or just walking downtown to the park for an afternoon of sketching.
Case Dimensions and Seam Allowance
The final case dimensions are 9" by 3.5", with the seam allowance at 1/4" (but of course you can always make adjustments to accommodate your brushes or preferences).
Step One: Cut Out Your Pieces
Here are the pieces you'll need to cut:
Step Two: Making the Brush Sleeves
Hem the square (piece B) along one side, by turning the right side of the fabric to the wrong side 1/4" and pressing it with an iron. Fold it over just the same way a second time, and press again. Then you're ready to sew it in place. If you are hand sewing, I suggest using the blind hem stitch here.
With right sides of the fabric facing up, place the piece you have just hemmed (piece B) on top of piece C and line up one of the raw edges perpendicular to the sewn edge (as shown in Fig. 1) and pin together (remember to line up the bottoms, too). Sew 1/4" from the edge.
Next, pin the following side as show in Fig. 2.
Now we're going to need our paintbrushes. I've found it easiest to pin sleeve pockets around the paintbrushes (Fig. 3 above, and as shown in the photo below). That way, you'll be sure they'll fit!
To make it easier to sew the pockets in a straight line, get out a ruler and a sewing pen with disappearing ink, and draw them right along the row of pins. Alternatively, you could use a piece of paper tape as a guide.
Sew each of the pockets, and the right edge.
Step Three: Attach the Sleeves to Piece A
With the wrong sides facing out, sew the bottom of the sleeves to the bottom of the exterior fabric (piece A), 1/4" from the edge.
Step Four: Sew A Button Loop
For this step, you'll need some embroidery thread. Tie a knot at the end of your thread, and pull it from inside to outside. Make a loop about 2.5" in length with the thread, and repeat 3 times (Fig. 4). Pull the thread to the outside to make the first knot (Fig. 5, 6, and 7). Keep tying knots around the entire loop, then pull the thread to the inside of the fabric and cut.
Your finished loop should look something like this:
Step Five: Sew Up the Seams
Fold the sleeves back towards the right side of the exterior (piece A) again. You should have both wrong-sides of the fabric facing outwards at this point. Lay piece D on top of piece A opposite to piece C (the sleeves), as shown in Fig. 8.
Pin the exterior edges of pieces C and D to those of piece A. You'll notice that C and D will overlap a little in the middle. Fold them back so they're even, and press with a hot iron. The space between them we'll leave open until after we've slipped in the cardboard.
Sew 1/4" around the remaining three edges you've just pinned. Trim the corners, then turn the whole thing right-side out, and push the corners square with the end of a paintbrush.
Step Six: Tape the Cardboard Pieces Together
Using masking tape, or duct tape, or whatever kind of tape you have around, tape the cardboard pieces together leaving just 1/8" or so of space between them. I found it easiest to lay the tape sticky-side up on the table, and set the cardboard on top of it. You'll want to cover the cardboard all the way around with tape. Press the tape together in the gaps.
Step Seven: Inserting the Cardboard
Now it's time to slip the cardboard into the case through the slit we left back in step five. It's going to be a little bit tricky, because you'll have to fold the two large pieces of cardboard (pieces E) flat. When folded, one side of the cardboard will stick out farther than the other due to that middle piece (piece F), so make sure that you insert the longer side (pieces E + F) into the longer side of the sleeve!
Use the invisible stitch to sew together the slit.
Step Eight: Sew on a Button
Before you mark where the button will go, be sure to fill up the case with whichever brushes you intend to carry in it, since they'll affect the depth of the case. Then pull the loop over the top cover, and sew on your button to hold it.
Now you're done your paintbrush case!
It should look something like this:
I'm quite happy with how mine turned out. :) If you give this project a try, I'd love to see a photo! Drop a link in the comments, or just use hashtag #paperfrosttutorial on Instagram, and I'll check it out.
Across North America, these little watercolor palettes were flying off the shelves faster than Michael’s could restock them. The high demand–or should we say davenfrenzy–inspired a member of Jane Davenport’s Mixed Media Facebook Group to nickname the twin palates “unicorn items,” along with the equally elusive Mermaid Markers, both part of Jane’s new Mixed Media Collection with American Crafts, which was released in North America in January of this year.
Now that Michael’s has made the entire Jane Davenport collection part of their permanent stock (and it’s available for worldwide distribution), those still waiting to find these watercolors should be in luck soon!
Today I will review the brights palette, a set of 12 half-pan watercolors in an adorable turquoise tin that fits in your hand with a thumb ring to keep it secure. The color set selection features cool-leaning primary colors and fluorescents in fuchsia petal shades!
Also available is its twin, the neutral palette, a set of carefully chosen warm-hued primary colors and earth pigments in a pretty gold tin.
So, are these watercolors really #worththewait?
In my opinion, yes! If you are new to watercolor, or have never splurged to buy premium paints, you are going to be absolutely delighted with the petite palette! The brights–and are they ever bright–wet easily and mix beautifully, which is all you need them to do when you’re just learning.
The pigment load and vibrancy of these paints is good for the price point ($30 USD), which is in line with other quality student watercolor sets. So if you buy them with a 50% off coupon you've gotten a steal of a deal!
These paints are not meant to be used to paint fine art that will be sold or displayed, as many of the colors have low light-fastness ratings. But this is of little consequence to new artists in want of a portable set of inexpensive convenience colors for decorating art journal pages or urban sketching.
Opacity & Staining Swatch
As you can see from my test swatch below, all but one (70s Eye Shadow) of the watercolors in this set are transparent, which means once they’re dry you can glaze over them, layering up color to your heart’s content! Along the bottom of this swatch, I’ve tested for staining properties by lifting up damp color with clean water and a brush.
Pigments & Permanence
Since Jane was thoughtful enough to share the pigment details and light-fastness ratings on her palate product page, I am able to tell you their usual names and tell you a bit about the unique properties of each brilliantly saturated color.
MERMAID – “PHTHALO GREEN” – PG7
This is my favorite color in the Brights Palette! Commonly found in professional watercolor lines, Chlorinated copper phthalocyanine–the pigment’s chemical name–is strongly tinted, which means a little goes a long way.
Though you can certainly lift up highlights to some degree, it is a heavily staining pigment.
Excellent light fastness.
JIMMINY – “PHTHALO YELLOW GREEN” – PG7 + PY14
A combination of Mermaid + Buzzy, this cool lime green is ever so slightly warmer than Daniel Smith’s Phthalo Yellow Green.
Moderate light fastness.
BUZZY – “DIARYLIDE” – PY14
A cool leaning yellow, this student-grade pigment is usually used in inks. Just a small amount of this paint seems to go on forever, much like a busy bee!
Moderate light fastness.
LADYBUG – “LITHOL RUBINE” – PR57:1
Ladybug is made from a synthetic dye also used as a food coloring. And it is scrumptious! This cool leaning red mixes well, and is especially nice for use in skin tones.
Excellent light fastness.
BEST FRIEND – “RHODAMINE” – PR81
Made from a fluorescent dye called rhodamine, Best Friend is 80s Barbie Bright!
The package swatches for this color are inaccurate (why this is so became apparent to me upon attempting to scan and photograph my own swatch). It seems the scanner has trouble picking up Best Friend, and the camera washes it out in bright light. So keep this in mind if you’re planning to digitize your artwork!
The swatch above was photographed in the shade, and brightened digitally in order to accurately represent its vibrancy.
Low light fastness.
FAIRY TALE – “RHODAMINE” – PR81
Fairytale is rosier, and ever so slightly darker than it’s rhodamine sister, Best Friend. Though less so, it also loses some vibrancy when scanned.
Moderate light fastness.
ROYAL – “DIOXAZINE VIOLET” – PV23
Dioxazine Violet is made from coal tar, and has been found in professional grade watercolors since the middle of the last century. It is a highly saturated color almost as dark as black at full strength. When diluted, it is excellent for painting shadows.
Low light fastness.
MYSTIC – “COBALT TIN ALUMINA + DIOXAZINE VIOLET” – PB81 + PV23
Cobalt Tin Alumina is a synthetic pigment that gives Mystic a warmer and lighter hue than it’s parent, Royal.
Low light fastness.
BUTTERFLY – “PHTHALO BLUE” – PB15:3
This color is a staple in most watercolor artist’s palettes! A vibrant, intense, staining blue.
Moderate light fastness.
70S EYE SHADOW – “TURQUOISE” – PB15:3 + PG7
Though this paint is mixed from Phthalo Blue and Green, it isn’t the same as what you’ll get when you mix those two together yourself. This is because 70s Eyeshadow contains just a bit of white paint, making it opaque, like gouache.
You cannot layer over this color, because it will reactivate and smear if re-wet.
Moderate light fastness.
INK – “PAYNE’S GRAY” – PB27 + PR101 + PBK9
This paint contains Prussian Blue (PB27), Red Iron Oxide (PR101) and Ivory Black (PBk9), a combination resulting in a color similar to Payne’s Grey, but slightly bluer (at least compared to Windsor & Newton’s).
It is an excellent pigment to use for darkening other colors in the set. And because you can get such a large range of values with it, Ink is perfect for doing monotone wash sketches!
Excellent light fastness.
FRIDA – “NAPHTHOL RED – PR170
Made from a traditional, but fugitive pigment (that means it will fade in the sunlight), FRIDA is nevertheless a joy to paint with! It is heavily staining, and quite dark at full strength.
Moderate light fastness.
Mixing Colors with the Brights Watercolor Palette
While writing this post, I tested the watercolors by mixing new colors and painting swatches of them, so of course I must conclude by sharing just a few of my favourites:
JIMMINY + ROYAL = NETTLE
While Jimminy might be at home on several members of Class Insecta, including it’s namesake cricket, I often prefer a less saturated green for painting dreary grass and foliage. Mixing Jimminy with just a smidgen of Royal mutes it to a calmer green. “Nettle,” let’s call it.
FRIDA + BUTTERFLY = VELVET
This plush wine color is an almost equal mixture of Frida and Butterfly. I love how deep and rich Velvet becomes when highly concentrated.
ROYAL + MERMAID = SEAWEED
One of my favorite hues mixed from Royal and Mermaid is a teal we’ll call “Seaweed.” Experiment with mixing these two colors yourself, and you’ll come up with some lovely shades ranging from elegant forest greens to denim blues.
02/2018 UPDATE: The Neutrals Palette Set
Since I wrote this review, I received the "Neutrals Palette" a gift. It also has a few artist quality pigments, notably Ultramarine Blue (Blueberry) and Venetian Red (Kiss Kiss). But the whole set mixes beautifully with the colors in the "Brights Palette."
I've combined 20 of the 24 colors into a single palette to utilize for art journaling, and have filled the gold palette with professional grade watercolor pans.
My final rating is: "10/10 would buy again," and I recommend them to any students afraid to "waste" more expensive watercolor paints.
If you already have one (or both) of these palettes, what did you think of them? Did you find any new favorite colors (or color combinations)?
Today I'm going to show you how to use a technique called "tape-resist" to create silhouettes with watercolor backgrounds! Afterwards, you can add details with ink if that strikes your fancy.
Materials You'll Need:
Step One: Drawing the Silhouette
To begin, use a pencil to draw a simple profile onto your piece of tape. You might find it easier to stick the tape onto a flat surface instead of drawing directly on the roll.
I used strips of 2" wide painter's tape.
Step Two: Prepping to Paint
Once you're happy with your drawing, carefully cut out the profile with scissors or an X-Acto knife, and stick the profile to your watercolor paper.
Make sure to press the tape down securely, so that no paint will seep underneath it.
Step Three: Painting
Now it's time to paint! I went for a simple vignette background, but the beauty of this technique is that you can splatter and dab watercolor to your hearts content without worrying about getting paint where you don't want it.
Step Four: Adding Ink
After making sure the paint has fully dried, slowly pull up the tape. (If your tape silhouette doesn't rip, you can reuse it. Mine was sticky enough to be used four times!)
Now you have a lovely blank lady ready to be drawn or painted! I kept mine simple by drawing the features with a black micron pen.
I hope you have fun with this technique! If you'd like to share your results, I’d love to see them! Please feel free to link to your work in the comments, or use the hashtag #paperfrosttutorial on Instagram, where I'll be sure to see it!
Since my last entry, I have been working away in fits and starts. Managed to get into the habit of daily sketching in February, and am continuing onwards. So I think it's about time I resumed posting in the good old digital journal. :)
Back in October, I enrolled in CGMA's eight week Intro to Perspective Class, taught by Derek Kosol and Robert Saint Pierre. When the completed assignments were uploaded to the student gallery for our first week of critiques, I saw that the other students were way more advanced than I was. This made me wonder if the class content itself would be too far beyond my skill level.
But as it turned out, I probably could have pushed myself harder than I did. Now don't get me wrong, the lessons were challenging, and I didn't even attempt nearly the level of detail or complex subject matter the advanced students did (not that I would've known how). However, there were times when I think I chose a safer building than I should have. The class ultimately did encourage me to be braver in my exploration and learning, though, because I never thought I would be able to learn as much as I did in those two months.
Before the class, my usual response to impressive art was overawe. I mean, I don't know how to draw a realistic looking castle. So when an artist has done so, I am rightly impressed by his or her efforts. I'd browse critique request threads on art forums and wonder what could possibly be wrong with, what I considered, a magnificent digital painting. Now, I could tell MY OWN work was off. There was no doubt there. But why was it off? And how exactly?
In hopes of figuring this out, I watched as many of the other students' critique videos as I had time for. (If your work was practically perfect, the critiques were a minute or two. The longest critiques were around ten minutes.) Having aspects of drawing such as value, and lighting, and perspective, and scale broken down and explained through critique, was enormously helpful. Now that my art vocabulary has grown, I can at least put into words what might be wrong with a piece, if I manage to recognize it.
And, furthermore, listening to the critiques of the students who were making professional quality work (or were already pros), reminded me that learning never stops, and that mistakes aren't to be feared. Speaking of mistakes...
The final assignment was a tricky three point perspective piece. Above, you can see my first attempt to block out the hotel I had decided to draw. Unfortunately, I had placed the building too close to the horizon line, and too far to the left of the center line, resulting in distortion.
Here's the corrected drawing:
I highly recommend CGMA to anyone interested. The teachers were excellent, and they covered more principles and techniques than I expected they would (we learned to draw symmetrical spaceships, and plot shadows). Just be sure you understand how to use Photoshop (or Manga Studio) efficiently, if you decide to take the perspective class, because it's essential you know how to manipulate ellipses and things.
Matching horizon lines and eye levels,
Haven't gotten into a rhythm of daily drawing yet, but I thought it was about time I post some of what I've done thus far. Been bouncing back and forth between Loomis's Fun with A Pencil exercises, and the assignments from Matt Kohr's Traditional Drawing Unplugged Series.
I think I'm finally starting to get why Loomis builds the face the way he does. When I first attempted these a few years ago, I'd just look at his final lines, and copy them, entirely missing the point. The shapes create a form, a guide over which to place the lines. It's making sense.
Boobface was my first attempt at adding weight to a face using this method. Should've probably referenced the man to the upper right of her, instead of going with cheek implants... >.<
Matt Kohr's video lessons are SO AWESOME. Even though I have only watched the first few visual measuring videos and done the assignments, I'm already seeing improvement in my approach to drawing. If you're a beginner, go watch them! They are expertly concise (catering to short attention spans, heh), and cover only one concept at a time. I find this helpful because I can go practice fhe assignments as long as I need to in order to grasp the lesson before moving on.
I found myself a little empty box to practice with (Kohr suggests a cell phone, I don't have one). I think I'll keep it around, and do these regularly. Haha, while I was focusing on measuring the angles, I was forgetting about thickness--so, ahem, varies a bit there. xD
In this video, he suggests using a blue pencil to put down your foundational measurements and construction, and then drawing the final lines on top with a micron or pencil or whatever. I like it a lot, because it allows me to draw messily and make mistakes freely, instead of erasing every second line in my perfectionism. So I've been using a blue layer in Manga Studio, too, as you can see throughout this post.
Decided to try some imaginary drawing. Turned out quite badly. xD (Those are supposed to be arms?) Thankfully, I happened to watch Mr. Kohr's video The Learning Curve the next morning. Was reassuring. Without a solid understanding of the basics, it's little wonder my work looks nothing like the version I see in my head. Me and my skipping ahead.Maybe it's like trying to write an epic fantasy novel without ever having studied grammar or history, and in possession of the vocabulary of a five-year-old? If so, then I ought to be patient with myself--and get to work studying the grammar of art.I really need to set aside a time to draw each day, and stick to it. Anyway, however slow the start, I'm excited I've begun. :DSunshine and pencil shavings,
P.S. I know I included Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in my syllabus, but I don't think I'm really going to use it. I read it ages ago, as a young teenager. Jumpstarted my observational drawing, for sure. I completed a week-long class based on Edward's work when I was 20, so I think I'll just leave it there. I really ought to share my experience with her work, though, so I'll get that post up sometime soon.
P.P.S. I feel weird writing such a detailed diary-style post for the internet. xD Never done this before.
I have completed three more lessons on visual measuring from the Ctrl+Paint Unplugged Traditional Drawing series--Gesture Drawing: Spoons, Drawing Shape: Contour, and Drawing Shape: Linear Block-in! The lesson on gesture drawing, something I had never really used because I'd always erroneously thought the goal was to draw perfect contours immediately, was especially helpful (and difficult). Ha!
But the more I practice, the more I find myself naturally incorporating these measuring techniques into my sketching. I think I'm making progress.
I tend to be hard on myself if I don't rise to my impossibly high standards, so I try to remember (as my Grandmother is always telling me), to find something about my work I am pleased with. You know what? I really like how this racoon turned out. (You probably can't tell from my rendering, but I referenced a ceramic my mother owns, which I have always admired. And I think I managed to at least convey the shape of it in my drawing.)
I've watched the next four Ctrl+Paint lessons, and I'm eager to begin the next assignment!
Two summers ago, a local art gallery hosted artist Gerald Cloud, who instructed a week-long drawing class based on the methods explained in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. I attended, and produced this self-portrait over the last two days of class:
It was fun (I daresay the hair was much better than my usual--you should see how frightfully I had previously drawn hair--and I got to learn about visual measuring for the first time to boot), but my favourite part of the experience was getting the chance to watch the other students, some of whom had never really pursued drawing before, as they progressed. Most of their before-instruction-portraits were cartoonish, and while you might've guessed which belonged to who, the drawings hardly bared resemblance their creators. Even so, each one of our final portraits turned out beautifully.
I was regretting I couldn't show you these transformations, when I found a fellow classmate's blog post about the workshop. :D (Go take a look. Seriously. Don't read any further until you do.)
Now, with that proof having been flashed before your retinas, you will believe my next statement. The person who does not think he has an artistic bone in his body will, through Edwards' methods, be surprised to find himself capable of realistic drawing within a short period of time. Now, you won't become skillful artist, just like that. But you'll have hopefully realized that drawing isn't a magical gift granted at birth by one of the thirteen fairies. It's a skill learned with work, just like writing, or anything else. This, I believe, is the most important lesson learned from Edwards.
I think if you can find a local Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain workshop in your area, that would be ideal. But if you don't have such classes available in your area, I have listed the assignments we were given, so that you might try them on your own.
The exercises given during the week were designed to help us accurately observe and record shape and line with less frustration that we otherwise would have experienced. We never needed think, "this is far too complicated for me to draw," because we had only to observe and record in manageable chunks, then react in surprise when our drawings looked better than we expected they would.
Jump ahead in the video to each exercise: ONE [Pre Instructional Drawing] // TWO [Vases Faces] // FOUR [Upside-Down Picasso] // BONUS [Pure Palm Contour] // SIX [Your Portrait]
SOME OF MY STUFF FROM CLASS
The exercises are really fun, and work excellently to push you past your mental I-can't-draw block. But Betty Edwards is really only the beginning! I have barely scratched the surface of my understanding of art, yet I can see that there is so much more to learn--from colour and line quality, to things like constructive anatomy and gesture and tone and a bunch of other things I don't understand yet.
"Edwards’ book is an excellent place to start for someone who has a new or rekindled interest in drawing. I frequently recommend it as the book concentrates of the fundamental and most difficult problem adults face in learning to draw, and that is learning to see what is actually before them, and not what they think they see.
In other words, seek out further teachers (the blog post linked to above has a list of resources, as does my art syllabus post).
If you try, or have already tried, Edward's methods, I'd love to hear about your experience with them! Leave me a comment, and feel welcome to link to any of your work. I'll check it out.
Green grass and cool breezes,
P.S. I'm planning to update my Art Syllabus post with all of this, but it's gonna be tricky cause Weebly glitched out. So it might take a while. xD
Who's that? It's me! I want to learn to draw well enough to effectively communicate my ideas through illustration.
I want to write a comic book, and do the pictures, too.
But I'm the distractible sort. Without focus, I flit from place to place, reading half a book here and another half there, losing myself for hours browsing YouTube tutorials, or staring in wonder at the beautiful work on Deviant Art.
A painting I did at age 8. ^
I sketch from life every now and then, scribble cute comics based on my life in my journal regularly, and do dozens of studies from popular mangas for a few weeks at a time whenever the muse strikes. Once in a blue moon, I'll take an afternoon, and pop out a painting. It's fun. But this kind of sporadic approach to drawing, is not conductive to mad improvement of drawing skillz.
If I want to develop my talent with a pencil, I need goals. And I need a plan. Hence, this post. I'm sure it will evolve as I begin to record my efforts. And I want it to--I hope to update this page with as many details as I deem helpful, and maybe link to blog posts featuring completed assignments.
The courses I plan to complete, supposing the first one goes well and I find myself enjoying art and eager to learn more, are as follows:
Did I just write that? I can't believe I'm actually making this public on the internet. It's scary. It's always scary to begin a new endeavour, at least for me. :P But I'm excited, too. And look forward to learning much. I'm sure I'll be doing a bit of journalling about this process, as well, which will undoubtedly include laments over my level of extreme suckthness. *MORE LATER* :D
The foundation for everything! This is where it all starts. As I would like to be able to realistically convey human beings and their environments, study of anatomy and perspective are essential.
Where perhaps one day I will put assignments, and so forth, arranged within a suggested schedule.
Comic Book Illustration
It is my intent to have developed the foundational skills necessary to start practising with mini comic projects by the time I begin this course. :)
I'll have more ideas by then, and add lots of interesting coursework--hopefully.
"I enjoy writing and drawing on paper, making things out of paper, and words and illustrations on paper in books (especially comic books) created by other people."