Sunday, 21 September 2014

Six second sketch

Sam had a brainwave recently and suggested I start doing a series of 'six second sketches' using the Vine mobile phone app which records six second videos.

Well, I tried numerous times to draw something (anything!) in six seconds and didn't get very far at all! So I decided that instead of doing the whole sketch in six seconds, I would make time lapse videos instead. I've set up a Twitter page @sixsecondsketch to share my videos and those of other artists/doodlers who'd like to get involved. Please do pop by and say hi if you're on Twitter! If you'd like me to share your little sketches and sketching videos too, just tag them with the hashtag #SixSecondSketch.

Here are the few which I've done this week.

The portraits of Daniel Radcliffe and Eddie Murphy were the last pencil sketches I did and I had in mind that I'd do one every day. I hadn't really thought about how long they would take though, so I think I'll just have to do them when I've got time.

Speaking of small works of art, I've just come across the fantastic miniature watercolour paintings of Lorraine Loot, a South African artist. She's working on a project called Postcards for Ants, a sequel to her 2013 series Paintings for Ants, both of which consist of a tiny painting for every day of the year. Do go and have a look, I guarantee you'll be in awe of her amazing talent!

As well as this new Six Second Sketch venture, I've also been working on some festive paper cut templates (I daren't mention the c-word yet!). Once I've cut them all out and taken photos, they'll be available in my Etsy Shop, so keep your eyes peeled if you're interested.

Apart from that, this doodle is still bumbling along slowly!

Thank you to those of you who commented on my Blogland Tour post, it was lovely to read your comments and I'm really happy to have discovered some new blogs!

Finally, I'd just like to urge you all to go and visit Manon at Lottie Designs & Illustrations. She's made this wonderful doll version of me after I sent her a photo! I can't wait to buy my own copy to download and assemble! I even come complete with a craft knife ready for paper cutting!

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations and Tatertots and Jello.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Blogland Tour

Blogland Tour

Today's post is a bit different from my normal style, but I'm excited to be taking part in my first Blogland Tour. I've been nominated by the lovely Julie from Sum of their Stories.

Julie is a true creative, her blog features everything from baking to crochet. She not only does a lot of different crafts but excels at them all and shares her wonderful creations and techniques.

I love her cute crochet items like this little owl brooch...

...and this gorgeous crochet blanket which she made for her cousin's baby.

Do stop by and visit her blog, you'll find yourself getting carried away browsing through! Julie's Blogland Tour post can be found here.

The Questions

It's not often that I actually talk about me on my blog, it's mostly focused on art and crafts so I suppose although some of you know a lot about what I do, you don't know a lot about me! So before I start answering the Blogland Tour questions, here's a little introduction.

I live and work in North Devon and art is something I do in my spare time. Although I haven't had any formal tuition, it has always been a favourite hobby and I can't imagine life without a project on the go. I studied French, Spanish and Russian at university, so drawing and painting kept me sane!

I live with my boyfriend Sam and our pet fish. Apart from art, I enjoy walking, picnics, cake, tea, travelling, eating out and life's simple pleasures. We've also just taken up sailing which is proving to be a great weekend activity!

Ok, on to the questions...

#1 - What am I working on?

As usual, I'm working on a lot of different projects, which, to my boyfriend's despair, results in a lot of different bits and pieces strewn around the living room. The thing is, whatever I'm working on, another idea always pops into my head, asking to be started! I often end up with lots of things on the go, many of which never get finished. Since I began writing this blog, however, I've been a lot more motivated to see things through to the end; there's nothing like the deadline of a blog post to inspire you to finish!

Here are a few bits I'm working on at the moment.

#2 - How does my work differ from others of my genre?

I'm not sure my work even fits into a genre! I get bored doing one thing all the time so like to dip in and out of different crafts - a bit of drawing here, a bit of paper cutting there.

I know a lot of artists find their niche, or a certain style which they like working in, but apart from loving anything ultra detailed I've never really stuck to one thing!

Here are some of the things I've created recently and over the years.

#3 - Why do I write/create what I do?

I started this blog in Malaysia when Sam and I were travelling as a way to record our adventures and the sketches and drawings I did along the way. I really enjoy blogging because of the feedback and comments I receive on each post and also on a personal level as a kind of diary to look back on what I've done. I don't have a huge following or a broad reach, but I've 'virtually' met some lovely people and continue to discover inspiring blogs of artists and craftspeople on an almost daily basis!

#4 - How does my writing/creative process work?

I think it's probably best to split this into two. My writing process is fairly simple. I sit down at my laptop each Sunday evening, have a little think about what I've done that week, take photos of my projects and explain what I've been up to!

My creative process depends on what I'm making but broadly follows the same pattern each time. A little idea pops into my head, inspired by something I've seen on Pinterest, other artists' work or a suggestion from friends or family. I then sit down and make/draw/paint whatever the idea is, usually over many sittings because the nine 'til five job gets in the way! I take lots of photos to use on the blog, and hopefully, after hours of beavering away, I have something lovely to show for my efforts.

That's it from me, now it's time to nominate a couple of my favourite blogs to continue the Blogland tour next Monday.

Firstly there's my Mum, Alison of Fiddly Fingers. Mum is an inspiration for many reasons, not least because of her crafting skills. Her main love is crochet, but she's dabbled in embroidery, jewellery, dress-making, polymer clay and many different arts and crafts as my sister and I were growing up. One of her most 'famous' creations is Chester, a crochet cat which is very much larger than life...bigger than a fully grown man in fact!

Chester gets up to a lot of mischief, some of his escapades, like this trip out in Dad's car, have featured in Mum's blog.

Mum hasn't written a blog post for a while, but I think with a little encouragement from you lovely peeps it won't be long before Chester or his little friend Taffy make another appearance!

The next blog I'd like to nominate is Desserts and Decoupage, written by my friend Emma.

As the name suggests, Emma blogs about everything from cooking to crafts, interspersed with tips which cover every topic, from advice for first-time buyers to healthy lifestyles.

She's had a few problems with her blog design and settings recently, because of transferring to a new hosting, but do pop by and follow her blog and she'll hopefully have it all sorted and full of inspirational images and content very soon!

I know I'm meant to nominate three blogs, but due completely to myself leaving it to the last minute, I can't nominate anyone else without springing it on them and causing a mad panic! There are many many blogs which I love to read, so I thought instead of nominating some more in the Blogland Tour, I'll list a few of my favourites below.

Lottie Designs and Illustrations - Manon is a true inspiration, she makes art with varied media featuring her fantastic quirky characters, one of which, Lottie, is the blog's namesake. She is an extremely versatile artist and always surprises me with her amazing original designs.

Andrea Joseph - I'm always in awe of Andrea's art, particularly her biro drawings. She has a fun and interesting style

Quirky Artist - I love this artist's beautiful sketches and paintings.

Nina Johansson - I only recently discovered Nina's work and I'm so glad I did. She paints gorgeous pen and watercolour scenes.

That's it from me! Have fun on the rest of your journey through the Blogland Tour!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Detailed paper cut template: World design

Those of you who follow my facebook page will have already seen this, so I apologise if it's old news! I'm very excited that my first proper paper cut template is now available to download from my Etsy shop. The design is based on a paper cut I did a while ago.

It's been a bit of a learning curve as I normally hand draw all of my templates, which is fine for when I'm cutting them myself, but to expect someone else to follow my wonky lines and rubbings out is a bit too much to ask! So I've spent a bit of time a lot of time getting to know a free program called Inkscape which you can download here if you've got the next three days to spend getting to grips with it! Seriously though, it's very good because you can make vector images which is great because they can be scaled up and down with no loss of quality.

Anyway, enough about the design process, this is the paper cut which you can make from the template which can be downloaded from my shop.

paper cut template

For those of you who would like to give it a go, I thought I'd include a few tips in this blog post.

  • When cutting, start from the middle and work outwards; that way you're not weakening the paper around the edge before you've cut the middle. Cutting around the edge of the whole design should be the last thing you do. You can also leave it with a solid border if you like, depending on how you plan to frame it.
  • Use the same rule for cutting each individual element, for example, cut the windows out of the bus before cutting the outline.
  • When cutting the circles I find it easiest to cut half, then turn the paper to cut the other half. I'm better at cutting curves around to the right (if that makes sense) so just find out what works best for you. 
  • For fiddly bits like the countries of the world, use the tip of your finger to hold the paper firm, but be careful not to slip and chop it off!
  • Finally, just take it slowly, make sure your blade is nice and sharp and don't press too firmly. Your movements should be steady but not stiff, else you'll end up with straight lines where you want curves!
I hope that helps, I've love to see how you get on if you give it a go!

paper cut template

Just a short post today as I will be back tomorrow to take part in the Blogland Tour which is a great way to discover new blogs.

I'll leave you with these few photos taken on our bike ride along the Tarka Trail today.

Tarka Trail near Instow, North Devon

Tarka Trail between Instow and Bideford, North Devon

Tarka Trail, near Bideford, North Devon

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations, Nifty Thrifty Things, Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Cycling, doodles and paper cuts!

Just a quick one today because I really haven't done a lot this week!

We've been staying down in South Devon this weekend to see friends and family. I've got a new (second-hand) bike so we went out for a bike ride yesterday from Topsham to Exmouth, stopping for a drink on the seafront before heading back. It's a beautiful route to cycle along the river and quite flat which suited me perfectly! The photo below was taken on my first outing on the Tarka Trail in North Devon.

On Saturday evening we went to our friends' housewarming party, making the most of the weather with a barbecue.

Today we headed home via a visit to a couple of the studios taking part in Devon Open Studios. Heather Jansch's fantastic driftwood sculptures were set out in some beautiful grounds and included the large horse which has been exhibited at the Eden Project. The second stop was in a little village called Luton, where we enjoyed a slice of coffee and walnut cake in the sunshine before browsing the artwork of Angie Carter-Woodwark and ceramic artist Janet Street.

If you live nearby, Devon Open Studios will continue until 21 September and it's definitely worth getting out to visit some local artists.

In response to some people mentioning that they would like to colour the doodle below, I've listed a PDF version in my Etsy shop which you can download and print for £1.50. If you do, I would love to see what you do with it!

I've started another doodle, but haven't got very far, as you can see!

Finally, I've designed a paper cutting template to sell in my Etsy shop, which I've been cutting out this week. It features the Earth surrounded by various modes of transport and is split into a day half and a night half.

It's based on a previous paper cut which I blogged about here. It should hopefully be available to download and print later this week, so watch this space!

Just a little nudge for those who are new to my blog, if you've enjoyed what you've seen and would like to see more, there are several ways you can keep up to date with my artistic endeavours!

'Like' my Facebook page.
Follow me on Twitter @ClareWillcocks.
Follow my blog on Bloglovin.
Or use one of the options on the right.

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations, Nifty Thrifty Things, Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

My heart is complete!

We've had a FANTASTIC weekend! Sailing, a night out, cinema, beach and breakfast out - but it's gone far too quickly as usual!

In between all that, I have had chance to fit in some artwork though. This heart doodle is now finished and I'm relieved because it's been on my drawing board for far too long!

I've been picking it up and putting it down every time I've had a few spare minutes.

It's the most intricate I've done yet and I've enjoyed filling in all the little patterns and details.

Some little bits are quite realistic, others are completely from my imagination. I drew the heart outline first and build up the rest of the doodle around it.

Some doodle artists are able to go straight in with pen, but I find I need to sketch everything out in pencil first and get the order of objects clear.

I'm thinking of adding this doodle to my (currently empty) Etsy shop as a downloadable colouring page. If I were to charge about £1.50 to be able to download the doodle for printing and colouring, would anybody be interested? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments, both good and bad!

That's all for now! See you next week :)

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour and Manon Popje's Illustrations.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A couple of beginnings and no ends

Just a quick one today as we've had a busy day today with a barbecue and are off to a wedding tomorrow - love bank holidays!

I haven't got a lot to show this week and certainly nothing finished! To be honest, I've been a bit lazy after finishing a couple of commissions and it's been nice to work on a few projects of my own.

I've started a new doodle, drawn everything out and am working on the fun bit of filling in all the details.

doodle artist

You can still see the pencil lines I've used as a guide.

doodle artist

In this photo I was in the process of going over the outlines of the individual elements to make the lines bolder.

doodle art

I've also been working on a realistic drawing of an interesting old tap this week. I've actually made more progress than this but haven't got around to taking photos yet.

realistic pencil drawing

I'm not going to reveal exactly what I've got planned for the rest of this piece, just in case it doesn't turn out quite right!

realistic pencil drawing

I had a bit of fun in the early stages by posting the following picture on my Facebook page and asking people to guess what they thought it was. Guesses ranged from duck-billed platypus to the underside of a big coat hanger!

realistic pencil drawing

That's all for today! Back next week :)

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations, Nifty Thrifty Things, Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Coloured pencil drawing tutorial - Molly the cat

It's Sunday afternoon (again! How does it come around so fast?), I'm armed with a cup of tea and ready to share what I've been up to this week.

I've got to admit, that when I started writing this blog, I had no idea how time consuming it would be! I find I have to be really disciplined to get the post written and shared each Sunday. It does force me to find time for art though, as without the deadline of a blog post I think a lot of things I've done would have ended up unfinished. This is one of them: a coloured pencil drawing of our gorgeous, dearly departed family cat Molly.

For those of you who are interested, I thought I'd make this post into a mini tutorial on drawing animals with coloured pencil.

You can draw the outline freehand to start with, but if you want to get the proportions exactly right, using a grid technique to translate the photo into a drawing is the easiest method.

On the computer, overlay your photo with a grid of squares. Measure out and draw the grid onto your blank drawing paper. Working methodically, transfer all the outlines you can see square by square. Think about where the lines intersect the grid, for example in this drawing, the bridge of Molly's nose intersects the horizontal line of the square about two thirds of the way across.

When you've got the outline down on paper, decide on where you're going to start adding colour. In the above photo, I began with the eye. In my case, starting with the eye is risky as it's my favourite bit and once it's done, I'm tempted just to put it to one side and never pick it up again!

I posted a progress photo on my Facebook page though, to try and motivate me to carry on - it worked!

Keep your pencils nice and sharp to make sure that detail is crisp. Begin by lightly shading and building it up, rather than laying down colour heavily to start with which can damage the surface of the paper. Drawing on coloured paper is good because highlights show up beautifully and the dark base gives depth to the finished piece. Pick out the shiny parts of your subject's eyes, and make sure that the dark sections are dark enough to contrast with, and bring out, pale areas.

When you come to adding the fur, look carefully at which direction the hairs are growing in, whether they're long or short and how densely packed they are. Around Molly's eye and her nose for example, the hairs are very short and fuzzy, so require tiny strokes of the pencil.

Build up the hairs, one colour at a time. Again, work methodically out from one place, this will help keep your drawing uniform.

Take your time and make sure you're happy with each area before you move onto the next.

When you've finished, you can add extra highlights with pastel pencils or even acrylic paint as I have done in this drawing to bring out Molly's whiskers.

This is another drawing I've just started. I'll put progress photos up on my Facebook page, so please do pop by if you're interested!

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs:  Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations, Nifty Thrifty Things, Be Different Act Normal and Tatertots and Jello.