Feb 8, 2016

Sketchbook Project - Week 5

This week I managed to make two-page spreads for five of the seven days.  I reached the halfway point of this sketchbook this week as well, so I went ahead and got a couple more.  I'm comfortable with this size, so I'll be sticking with the 3.5" x 5.5" for now.  I'm still surprised by the length of time some pieces take to make.  But I always finish them.  Some days feel like I'm forcing creativity, since I can't decide what to do.  But I've been happy with most things that end up in the book.

Have a look at my pages.  And click here if you'd like to view the other weeks.

Gelly Roll Pen & Prismacolor Colored Pencils
Watercolor & Micron Pen
Gouache background, Prismacolor Colored Pencils
Left: Watercolor & Gelly Roll Pen     Right: Prismacolor Colored Pencil
Japanese Brush Pen & Prismacolor Colored Pencil

See you next week!

Feb 1, 2016

Sketchbook Project - Week 4

I FINISHED A WHOLE MONTH of drawing/painting/sketching something everyday into this sketchbook.  Even though I promised I would be kind to myself if I missed a day, I committed and invested time each day and made it happen.  I've already filled half of this particular sketchbook--at this rate, I'll have five or six finished books by the end of this year.

Just by reviewing this month's work, it's obvious that I have a particular love for flora and fauna. I'm also beginning to see a pattern of using a lot of color. This week I was apparently attracted to warm colors like reds and oranges and pinks.

Japanese Brush Pen and Watercolor
Left: Prismacolor Colored Pencils   Right: Prismacolors/Gouache background

Left: Black Gelly Roll Pen/Prismacolors   Right: Crayola Markers/White Gelly Roll Pen

I have a couple favorites from this month, but I won't tell.  Do you have any favorites yet? 

(You can read about previous weeks here.)   

Jan 25, 2016

Sketchbook Project - Week 3

21 days makes a habit, right?  I really do feel like adding to this book has become part of my day.  It's not necessarily structured--I don't have a specific time that I work on it--but I look forward to it daily.  Even if I'm struggling with deciding what to add, I still relish in the feeling of filling up another page.

I hope you enjoy them.  (If you need to catch up, click here.)

Left: Copic Marker & Japanese brush pen   Right: Japanese brush pen & Watercolor
Gouche background, colored pencil with white gel pen

Left: Gouache, letters cut and pasted  Right: Colored pencil

Crayola marker & white gel pen


See you next Monday with another update.  Have a great week, friends!

Jan 22, 2016

Introducing....Will It Felt?

I want to expand my felting range, so I've decided to start (yet another) project! I'll be experimenting with different surfaces for needle felting.  Normally, I work on a high quality wool felt, so I'll be comparing these new surfaces to my experience with felt.  I hope to have a little collection of blog posts that might serve as a good resource for others who would also like to experiment.

My specialty in needle felting is trying to attain maximum details in my pieces. So, for each fabric or surface, I'll be picking subjects that have a good amount of detail to portray.  For ease of comparison, I'll also be creating a toadstool piece for each fabric.  My toadstool pieces have a good range of techniques, from blending and layering to broad coverage and tiny details, so I feel like they will help me determine the answers to my criteria questions.

Here's my criteria for Will It Felt:

Durability: Probably most importantly, I want to determine how the fabric holds up to the felting process.  I don't want a piece to fall apart after I've worked so hard on it.

Fabric Displacement:  Does it warp? Do the fibers get all wonky?

Pokability:  Is it easy on the needles--does it feel like they'll break?

Availability and Price: Can the fabric be purchased easily? Is it expensive?

Will it Hoop?: I display many pieces in embroidery hoops.  I thought it would be fun to make this a test for each fabric.

Detail Work:  Is it capable of handling details? Do they disappear into the fabric?

So first up....


Durability:  I wasn't sure what to expect with burlap.  But as it turns out, it held up very nicely. I was worried that the needles might break down the fibers.  They might eventually, but I needled it quite a lot, and everything seemed fine.

Fabric Displacement: Because of the looser weave, I expected a bit of displacement, but there was none.  I even tried felting on Burlap "ribbon" (seen below on the right), which is an even looser weave, but even that stayed put.

Pokability: Easy peasy, really. I have to think that continually poking into burlap would wear needles down quicker, though.

Availability and Price: Burlap is not hard to find, and I found it at the price range of $5-8 a yard and in many colors. Not bad compared to $35-$40 a yard for wool felt.

Will it Hoop?  Yup.  It wasn't too easy to stretch when in the hoop, so centering your work as perfectly as you can before you add the outer hoop is key.


Detail Work:  So, burlap can and cannot handle details. I'll explain.  If there is a layer or two of wool already felted onto the burlap, then details are no problem.  But I couldn't really get small details or crisp lines on the outer edges of the design.  Any lines that were adjacent to raw burlap just didn't have enough surface area to cling to, which should be expected in a weave with gaps.

Will It Felt?  It sure will! I recommend trying it--it's a fun surface and creates very pretty finished pieces.

I created a couple more pieces and experimented with a different way of hanging.  I like the raw edges of burlap, but of course they unravel really easily, so I secured them with a thin line of fabric glue on the backside. This is my first time hanging pieces from copper, and I really love this look.

Let me know if you try felting on burlap!  Comment here, tag me on social media or shoot me an email!  And if you have any other suggestions for criteria, or suggestions for experimental fabrics, let me know!

Next up: Linen!