Easy Goldfinch and Cosmos in Watercolor Tutorial

Hi friends, here is a bright and cheerful painting you can paint!

P1020714

Clearly I am ready for spring and I love watching these sweet birds on the thistle feeder out my back window. To tide us (in the North) over until warm weather returns you can paint this sweet painting. Watch the video to see how!

Supplies (Affiliate links used)

If you liked this tutorial and want more in-depth instructions for painting birds you may enjoy my class Technique Toolbox: Feather’s and Foul. That class explores painting birds and feathers in detail should you want more:) Thanks for painting with me today and til next time happy crafting!

Advertisements

How to create a rainbow blend with inexpensive markers (water based or alcohol!)

Hi friends! Today I have a video that is part review and part tutorial. I have a couple of sets of markers to review but I also wanted to make the video a useful tutorial on blending. Also I was curious about what kind or marker was quicker to color with. I also wanted to try to achieve the same look with different kids of markers to see how they did.  If you are ready for all of that high-speed marker action buckle up and let’s go!

20190305_132327

There is lots of info in this post, let’s start off with the video:

Supplies: (Affiliate links used. Products provided for review)

Review of the Arrtx Alcohol Markers

pros:

  • Price: 80 color for under $34
  • Color selection
  • Blends well
  • Dual tip (chisel & Bullet)
  • Beautiful & sturdy carring case
  • Colors are very juicy, no dry ones.
  • Easy to tell the chisel and bullet ends because they have square and round color chips respectively. Color chips are pretty accurate but I still recommend swatching.
  • Attractive matte white square barrel (non-roll)

Cons:

  • No brush tip
  • No colorless blender in set
  • caps may be difficult to remove if you have arthritis
  • Caps do not post (you can’t stick the cap on the end of the marker to hold it when coloring)
  • As with most low-priced markers there is no open stock option (although they use the same numbering system as Concept at Jerry’s Artarma so you could get a replacement color if you needed too, it would look different tho)
  • Non refillable
20190305_131659

Card made with the butterfly colored with the Arrtx Alcohol markers. Time spent colring the butterfly: 11 minutes, 30 seconds

These markers are beautiful to look at and color nicely. They remind me of the quality of Ohuhu and they even use the same color number system. Many of the lower priced markers available now are using the same numbering system, I reckon it is because all of the inks are being made in the same factory in China. I have not seen this marker barrel style anywhere before and honestly I really like have the two distinct ends because I can quickly uncap the nib I need whereas with Copics and other markers I often get the wrong end even with the gray band they have for identifying. This saves me time and I like that. Below you will find my color chart for the set of 80 Arrtx alcohol markers.

20190305_134540

Here are the colors I used (in order of appearance) to blend the alcohol marker butterfly: 13, 14, 16, 18, 22, 23, 33, 35, 37, 48, 49, 59, 58, 68, 67, 147, 76  *If you have other markers that use the same color number system great! Use what you have OR use the swatch chart to figure out what colors to use from your stash. If you want to order this set you can here.

Review of Arrtx Watercolor Real Brush Pens 48 color set

Pros:

  • Great color selection
  • Low price (even among other budget priced watercolor marker pens)
  • Caps post (you can stick the marker cap on the end while coloring so you don’t lose it)
  • All colors have a number on the end for identification
  • Includes a reusable plastic carring case

Cons:

  • Non refillable and no open stock options
20190305_131632

Card made with the butterfly colored with the Arrtx real brush pen water based markers. Time spent coloring the butterfly: 6 minutes, 50 seconds

These markers performed well as I would expect. I did have an issue with the plastic color coming off one of the pens but I was able to reassemble it and stick it back into place and I could feel some of the innards of the brush pens moving around so it doesn’t feel as good quality as the Zig Real Brush pens but they are less than half the price. The ink flowed smoothly, like other real brush pens I have used. These are on-par with the Arteza real brush pens but about $10 cheaper. If you already have those, or any other real brush pens, I don’t think these will be very different but if you are looking to try some they are a nice value. Below you will find my swatch of this set:

20190305_134527

These are the markers I used on the watercolor butterfly in order of appearance: 18, 5, 4, 3, 27, 226, 28, 25, 125, 36, 238, 7. Feel free to use the swatch as a reference for matching the colors to what you have or if you want to buy this set you can here.

Review of TouchNew Skintone marker set of 24

Pros:

  • Great selection of earth/skin/hair tones which are often lacking in marker sets.
  • Price (under $17 for 24 markers)
  • Dual tipped
  • Cloth carry bag included
  • Comes with a colorless blender

Cons:

  • No brush nib
  • Bullet tips were dry on a couple of my markers
  • Caps do not post
  • No open stock or refills (but you can order Concept markers from Jerry’s to replace a color)

These markers use the same numbering system as the Arrtx alcohol markers as well as other budget brands. The marker style is the same as the original Ohuhu markers who recently changed to an oval barrel that seems to keep the marker fresher as I had a few of the old style Ohuhu pens go dry prematurely.) I recommend storing them on their sides so the bullet tip doesn’t dry out and having denatured alcohol (or Copic blending solution) on hand in case you need to refresh them.  If you need a set of skintone markers to fill in your set these are a good value but I’d check the color numbers to make sure they are not all duplicates to what you have if you already own markers with the same numbering system. Also because one of the marker is a colorless blender you are really only getting 23 colors. I wish these had brush tips though it is so much easier to blend with a brush tip and you want to be able to get really smooth skin and tones. To be honest tho, if you already had a set of 80 or higher of the Arrtx or Ohuhu alcohol markers I think I would pass on these are there are duplicates and consider investing in a couple of Copic brush tip skin tone markers as you need them because in this instance I think it would be more enjoyable and cheaper long-term to get a refillable marker that performs better. If you have a smaller set of assorted markers this 24 set would go a long way to fill in gaps. It really boils down to what you already have for markers and how much you intend to use them.

20190305_134553

I hope you found this helpful and if you have markers I hope you try creating a rainbow blend. It is a great technique for learning to blend and it’s fun too! Or practice blending colors in general and write down your successful recipes so you can duplicate them later. The truth of truths with markers (especial alcohol markers) is that is takes practice and there is a learning curve to them so don’t jump from brand to brand thinking that one is going to make you a superstar. In fact it could harm your progress as you get used to one kind and then when you try another it’s like relearning because it is a bit juicier or the nib is harder or softer. You have to put in the time. Speaking of time wasn’t it interesting how much quicker the water based markers were to color with? I really wanted to do the comparison because I was curious but also to share that if you are not into spending lots of time coloring you might prefer a waterbased marker. Well, this post is long enough, have a great night and til next time happy crafting!

Got Cabin Fever? No Creative Mojo? Try Frictionless Crafting!

Hi friends! As I write this it’s snowing and already we have about 6 new inches of snow atop what we already had. It’s pretty, I’ll give it that but come March I am pretty stick of cold weather and being stuck inside. Short day and cold temps can have you feeling tired and unmotivated. In today’s video I’ll try to help you overcome it!

It occurred to me that many times when I was lazing on the couch watching TV that I would much rather be creating. Instead I might scroll through my phone hoping to be inspired or start the next episode of a show I am watching. Why am I spending my doing these passive activities when I really want to go make something. The reason is simple. These actions are frictionless.

To start a new project I need to leave the room, think of an idea of what to make, gather supplies, clear a space to work, make the thing and then clean up afterward. It can seem much more appealing to stay put and keep scrolling but you can engineer your crafty time to be more frictionless. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and yes, even YouTube have engineered their platforms to be easy to use and consume more and more. The good news is that you can apply this trick to your crafting!

Overcoming our own blahs…

Complaint: I’m too tired to get off the couch and start a project.

Solution: Keep a portable project kit next to the couch. It can be a knit/crochet project, stamped images and coloring tools, a small set of watercolors or watercolor pencils and a waterbrush and sketchbook or even a subscription box if you have any. That what you can create and not miss an episode of Friends!

Complaint: I don’t know what to make!

Solution: The next time you are scrolling Instagram and a project looks fun stop and go to your supply closet and see if you have the stuff to make it, pull those supplies and save the inspiration photo for reference. Then your workspace will be set up when you have the time to create.
Tip: A great time to pull materials is when you have a 15 minute gap of time like you are preheating an oven or waiting to put laundry in the dryer. Use those “too small to do anything” scraps of time.

Complaint: I hate looking at the white canvas, I don’t know where to start.

Solution: Find a photo of something you want to paint and draw (or trace) it on your canvas. It will be more fun when you return to it if the drawing is done and your materials are laid out.

Basically you are removing as much friction between you and starting that project. You can do it! Think about how easy it is to go on amazon and order craft supplies. It’s frictionless. *Tip, I remove my payment info from my account so if I want to order I have to go find my credit card, see it works both ways LOL! I hope this video inspires you to create today and til next time happy crafting!

Learn to Paint a Loose-Style Lily in Watercolor! Free Beginner Lesson!

Hi friends! I have been fighting a cold this week and it made me miss recording a beginner watercolor Wednesday video BUT I was well enough to record one yesterday! WooHoo! We are going to paint lilies. They are one of my favorites.

20190228_155430

You can switch up the colors to paint the lily you like best. Watch the video to see how:

Supplies:

If you would like more loose style watercolor flower tutorials please check out my Watercolor Flower Workshop.  With nearly 8 hours of real-time step by step instruction and 18 different flowers taught you will be creating oodles of beautiful bouquets and floral designs in no time! If you can’t wait for spring to arrive pass the time by painting posies! Click here to learn more.

Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

Last Day to Save 50% on My New Pastel Class!

Hi friends! I just wanted to pop in to remind you that today is the last day to take advantage of my launch month special for my new Soft Pastel for Beginners online class!pastel_class_thumbnail

I always want to make sure that my friends and supporters get the chance to learn at the lowest possible price and that’s why I launch my classes to you at 50% off. I appreciate you taking a chance on me and trusting me to guide you through your artistic journey.

bouquet

Every time I use pastels in a video I get asked if I will do a class for the basics to walk people through what to buy and how to safely use this wonderful medium. I go over the best bangs for your buck and what you should have and what to skip, where to skimp and where to splurge and I also walk through four finished paintings. Watch this quick overview of what to expect in the class:

I also show you the options for pastel painting so it can be the most enjoyable for the way you like to paint. If dusty fingers and the noise of the pastel scraping on the paper bother you I share alternatives such as pan pastels and applicators and I show you how to adapt the lessons for those if you wish.

flowers

I want to make sure your painting is a safe and fun experience so we will build good safety habits from the start. It is one of the reasons I recommend a student set of pastels to begin, not only do they cost less but they are non toxic too and do not take away from the enjoyment of the medium.

square)sticks

If your goal is to try a new art medium this year I encourage you to give pastel a go! It is a beautiful medium on its own or as a compliment to your watercolor painting. Click here to learn more about Soft Pastel for Beginners and save 50% off today! Use coupon code COLOR if the discount doesn’t appear. Regular price is $79 but you save $39.50 with coupon code COLOR Through 3/1/19.

wavepastel

 

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement and I hope to see you in class soon! Happy crafting!

18 Card Making Tips & Cute Robot Cards!

Howdy friends! I had so much fun making this quirky batch of robot themed cards!

20190226_104719

I’m not quite sure what it is about robots but I have quite a collection of robot themed things, I bet if you searched robot on my blog you would see tons of projects for classroom valentines to cards and probably scrapbook pages. I even think I sewed robot themed pajamas for my kids when they were young. I never really through about it until I was looking through my stamps to make these cards and realized I have a whole binder or steampunk/robot stamps LOL!

20190226_100942

I like themes like this because I feel the cards (although fun and youthful) can be used for a variety of occasions and people. Kids birthdays come to mind first but they could also be used as a get well soon card (these junk yard robots look like they have seen better days LOL) or for a simple “hello!” or thinking of you card for anyone!

20190226_104353

I have a tendency to go for ruffles, flowers and glitter frequently and my frou-frou style would not work as well for all recipients so it’s nice to have some industrial style cards too. As I was working on these cards I kept thinking of tips I wanted to share along the way and there are a lot of them! Don’t try to write them all down, I have listed them below the video & supply list for your convenience:)

This tutorial is sponsored by Top Flight Stamps!  SAVE 10% off your next order with coupon code: thefrugalcrafter10 *USA orders of $50+ ship free!

Supplies (Sponsored & Affiliate Links Used)

20190226_104418

Robot card making tips!

  1. Dust your paper with cornstarch before stamping to remove static and wick away moisture. *I sewed a simple pouch and put a tablespoon on cornstarch inside and stitched it shut and have been using it for years. You can make a no sew option with a baby sock and rubber band too!
  2. Use pigment ink for the most solid impression. I like Versafine.
  3. Instead of using mounting foam, paint the back of your rubber stamps with repositionable glue like Aleene’s Tack it over and over. You will save money and storage space!
  4. For a perfect impression use a curved stamp mount (or a stamping platform)
  5. Emboss your stamped image with clear detail embossing powder to prevent it from running no matter what you are coloring it with.
  6. The raised embossed lines also helps you color within the lines so your coloring looks more professional!
  7. Embossing with clear powder also helps with cutting if using a Scan ‘n Cut machine as the scanner seems to see the image better.
  8. Cut your image before you color (if using a die cut machine) that way you won’t wasn’t the time it takes to color if the machine doesn’t cut right. *Tip, if you have a friend with stamps and dies to match or a SnC machine you can stamp and cut a bunch of things ahead of time and color later!
  9. Put your cut image on a sticky (Post-it) not to hold it while you color.
  10. When using markers in a  small area blend dark to light for quick coloring.
  11. Use the right paper for the coloring media. Use Neenah Classic Crest for alcohol ink and hot press watercolor paper or Bristol board for water based markers.
  12. Look at old stamps, stencil and embossing folders with new eyes. Generic and abstract patterns can be used in most cardmaking themes.
  13. Repeat the same inks (or other media) on different layers throughout the card to make it have a cohesive feel.
  14. If you have old inkpads you can no longer set reinkers for you can add inks, metallic powders and gouache paint to refresh them. These custom pads will give your work a unique look!
  15. Get a rust texture with embossing powder by either using one made for the job or by mixing brown flocking powder with black, brown and orange powders. After embossing smudge on some seafoam green ink for a patina look!
  16. Try and find generic supplies that will work with most projects: Solid cardstock, brads and ribbons that can go with a variety of project are more useful than specialty ones.
  17. For a splash of pattern try washi tape, it is inexpensive, doesn’t take up a lot of space and is self adhesive. No more storing large packs of paper or guilt about s=cutting into a big sheet for a small accent.
  18. Make a batch of cards! If you did purchase a specialty embellishment that you are unlikely to use again make up a batch of cards while your supplies are out. It is more efficient and you won’t have to deal with leftovers.

I hope some of these tips are new to you and you give them a try on your next card! Happy crafting!

Comparison Between Pan Pastels, Jane Davenport Palette Pastels and Eye Shadow

Hi friends, Have you ever wondered how these similar supplies compare? Well so did I am today I put them to the test side by side and the results were pretty surprising!

Each media will present advantages and disadvantages depending on what your needs are and what you want to paint but coverage and application wise they all preformed about the same!

Let’s look at each product on its own

.
Pan Pastels

714Q3p5ddhL._SL1200_.jpg
Pros:

  • Large pans of color
  • Brightest pure (saturated) colors available
  • Pigment numb
  • rs listed on pans
  • Lightfast
  • 94 colors available (including metallics and mediums) and each color can be purchased individually
  • You can mix colors on the sponge before bringing it to your paper

Cons:

  • Price: Each color costs $5-$7 each open stock, less per pans in sets
  • They take up a lot of space on your table

Jane Davenport Palette Pastels

il_fullxfull.1788922439_q2op.jpg
Pros:

  • Come in 18 color sets for $20 (often on sale and can be purchased with a coupon at Micheal’s)
  • The colors fall between the painting and tint sets of pan pastels and can be used with them to expand the range.
  • There are 4 sets available and they all lock together saving space on your work table.
  • Best for portrait work due to color assortment.

Cons:

  • No open stock option so if you use a color you need a new set to replace it.
  • Small pans could be used up quickly if you really like them.
  • Colors are not as saturated as pan pastels so getting deep darks may be difficult if only using these pastels. I think given the size of the palette and the color range these would be best as a final layer over another medium like acrylic, gouache or watercolor.
  • No lightfast or pigment info so I wouldn’t trust them for work to sell

Cheap Eyeshadow

81AXB30o+CL._SX522_.jpg
Pros:

  • Cheapest, I found a 120 color assortment of brights, pastels and neutrals for $12 on Amazon (the set I used was an ELF set for Target I paid $14 for years ago)
  • Coverage was similar to JD pastels and pan pastels so you can see if you like it before investing in the pricier options
  • Compact, takes up less space on your table

Cons:

  • Tiny pans that will use up quickly and no open stock option
  • No lightfast or pigment info so I wouldn’t trust them for work to sell

 

Bottom Line: My advice is to try out one of the cheaper options with the Pan Pastel applicators to see if you like them and then proceed with pan pastels if you find you need more media. The 20 color sets (or 80 color set if you can swing it ) is the lowest price per pan option if you find you like it. They are a wonderful mess free option to stick pastels.

I hope you found this useful and til next time happy crafting!

%d bloggers like this: