Sketchbook Sunday: Chickadee!

Hi friends! Today in the sketchbook I decided to sketch a bird that has been plentiful around my bird feeders: the chickadee!

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I used a reference from the Artist Photo Reference: Songbirds book. I picked up a bunch of the Artist Photo Reference books used on Amazon back in December and they have been the best investment. I highly recommend them if you can grab them at a good price.  Here is a time-lapse video of today’s sketch!

Supplies (*affiliate links used)

If you would like more detailed, step-by-step real-time instruction in painting birds please consider checking out my class Texture Toolbox Feathers and Fowl. Save 20% with coupon code TRYME if the discount doesn’t automatically appear. Birds are one of my favorite subjects to paint and I want to share the skills with anyone else who would like to learn:)

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Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you find a few minutes to sketch in your sketchbook today! It is sunny and warm here today so it would be a great time to sketch outside! Let me know what you are working on in the comments below and til next time happy crafting!

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Make stamp sets more useful by swapping colors!

Hi friends! Colors can effect moods. You can take the same image and color it with pastels for a new baby card or jewel tones for a birthday. You can also take the same stamp set and swap out colors and accent images to apply to different seasons like I did today! These cards feature the Woodland Harvest Stamp set, one of the 5 stamp sets I designed for Rubber Stamp Tapestry!

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Here he have the fall version…

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…and here is the spring!

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Watch the video to see how to make the fall card while picking up some tips for coloring and die cutting. The spring card is made in the same way just using the tree stamp (branches only) for a frame.

Tutorial sponsored by Rubber Stamp Tapestry! Get FREE USA (All 50 States, Puerto Rico & Guam) shipping on orders of $20+ throughout the month of February with Coupon Code: FRUGALFREESHIPPING New to peg stamping? Become a Peg Stamp VIP here and you’ll get an instant coupon for 20% off Rubber Stamp Tapestry stamps plus the deepest weekly discounts available! Coupon only applies to new customers.

Supplies from Rubber Stamp Tapestry:

Other supplies:

I hope you had fun trying the following techniques!
*Masking
*Coloring with alcohol inks
*Accenting with colored pencils
*How color choices affect the overall look of a card
*Shading
*Making wood accents
*Border die cutting tips

Before you go I have a quick question for you

Now that I have hubby editing my videos I can have him edit more out and make them shorter. I realize that 30 minutes is a lot to ask of you to watch a video. So please honestly let me know if you prefer the longer videos like today or an under 10 minute video or if you would like me to alternate long and short tutorials. You won’t hurt my feelings. I just want to make the most useful lessons I can for you! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

Tips for Coloring on Black Cardstock & More!

Hi friends! Today I have a fun project to share using many interesting techniques.

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One technique in particular is coloring on black cardstock with colored pencil. I like this technique for beginners because when you color on black you don’t have to worry about tone as much as value. Here’s what I mean, you can use several shades of blue, some can be warmer, some cooler and they will all blend together fine. Just make sure you have a dark, medium and light color that are reasobly close. I think the translucency of pencils with the back cardstock diminishes the ability to discern between subtle tones so you coloring looks natural! I used several shades of yellow in the parasol and they all looked the same on black so you can definitely get by with a smaller collection of colored pencils using this technique. Intrigued? Watch the video to see this technique and more!

Sponsored by Art Neko  *Save 10% off your next order of any size or get free shipping on orders over $50 (whichever discount is greater you get!) just by mentioning thefrugalcrafter!

Supplies:

  • 5″x7″ white card and envelope
  • Black cardstock
  • Embossing folder
  • Geisha Stamp
  • Happy Birthday stamp
  • Silver pigment ink
  • Silver embossing powder
  • metallic thread
  • Stick-on gemstones
  • Foam tape
  • Gelato crayons
  • Colored pencils (Derwent Coloursoft)
  • Versamark embossing pen
  • Pearl and glitter acrylic paint (Turner Acryl Gouache in Lavender Pearl and Pink Lame’)

 

I am a big fan of investing in tools, coloring media and basic cardstock especially if you are starting out. A stamp and embossing folder can be used over and over and plain solid cardstock never goes out of style. Today I didn’t have a pattern paper in the lavender and aqua shades that I wanted so I used gelatos and paint to get what I needed instead of making a trip to the store. Always see if you have some coloring media or tools on-hand to DIY the perfect supply. The best thing about it is no one will make exactly the same cards as you! I hope you enjoyed this project and til next time happy crafting!

Stamp Giveaway & Fall Card Coloring Tutorial!

Hi friends! I am so excited to offer another giveaway this week and it’s only Tuesday! I will be giving away the stamps I used to make this card and all you have to do to be entered in the drawing is to leave a comment. This is open worldwide! I will pick a winner and notify them via email in one week!

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I used 6 stamps to create this image and I will teach you how to use masking to make your stamps more versatile. The wagon and pumpkins are separate stamps. Knowing this technique will allow you to fill this wagon with many other items so you can use it for more occasions. I bet you have stamps at home that would be more versatile if you tried masking. I will also show you how to color this scene.

Video!

Sponsored by Art Neko  *Save 10% off your next order of any size or get free shipping on orders over $50 (whichever discount is greater you get!) just by mentioning thefrugalcrafter!

Supplies:
Stamps (art neko) Fall Images
Ink: Memento Rich Cocoa
White Cardstock: Neenah Classic Crest
Kraft card base
Patterned paper (My Minds Eye)
Printed Ribbon (Offray)
Buttons
Alcohol Markers (Blick)
Colored Pencils: Spectrum Noir Color Blend
Glue: Beacon 3-in-1

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win. Also I’d love to know if you have a stamp you are going to try the masking technique with, let me know that in the comments too. You guys have really great ideas!

In case you missed it I am giving away a spot in Angela Fehr’s Creative Watercolor Course and offering a 51% discount on it, please check out yesterday’s post for more info:) Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

 

Stamp School: Color Blocking with Colored Pencils!

Hi friends! I want to assure everyone that I have not changed my blog over to a painting only one. In fact today I have a new episode of Stamp School!

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This card uses limited supplies but is so fun to make! No kraft cardstock? No problem, you can use a brown paper grocery bag! Watch the video for a full tutorial!

Video!

Sponsored by Art Neko *Save 10% off your next order of any size or get free shipping on orders over $50 (whichever discount is greater you get!) just by mentioning thefrugalcrafter!

Supplies:

  • Nautical stamps from Art Neko, most of the stamps came from this set except for the sand dollar, it is from the mermaid set.
  • Colored pencils (derwent coloursoft) c570, c530, c330, c720, c640, c340, c080, c300, c590, c130, c550, c050
  • Kraft cardstock (or a brown bag) and blue pearl card (The Paper Cut) for a base

You can use any combination of rectangles to make a color blocked card, you could even cut them out and mat them with contrasting color cardstock. Take the idea and run with it! Size of the boxes on the card: 3 squares were 2″x 2″ and the rectangle on the bottom was 2″x7″ with a 1/4″ border all round:) I hope you enjoyed this weeks stamp school and til next time happy crafting!

Let’s Paint a Cat! A long tutorial by request!

Hi friends! It feels like it has been a long time since we had a chatty tutorial…the last one being the snowy winter scene I think. I kept this tutorial narrated live in real-time for the first 40 minutes (watercolor portion) and I thought the painting was done at that point but I was not totally happy with it so I grabbed some colored pencils to enhance it. You will have to let me know if you liked it better before or after I added the pencil at the end. I did voice over the end of the video because there was a lot of noise and commotion here with everyone around and the colored pencil was an afterthought.

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I used 4 colors of paint: Ultramarine blue, burnt umber, light red (a rusty color) and yellow ochre. I used an assortment of earth toned colored pencils at the end. You can download the pattern here if you do not wish to draw it but I will show you how to draw it in the tutorial. You can find the photo by Lisa Martin I worked from at Paint my Photo. I hope you enjoy this tutorial!

This was fun to paint. I do not often paint animals and I think this is the first time I have ever painted a cat…maybe I did as a child, it is hard to remember. Let me know if you think it was better with or without the colored pencil, I might have been a bit hasty adding it. I think you should probably let a painting sit overnight to decide. All in all it looks quite a bit like the new addition to my house. Maybe I’ll donate it to the humane society if they have an auction. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Are Spectrum Noir Pencils Worth the Money?

Howdy friends! If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I would do a tutorial on Spectrum Noir Pencils I’d a millionaire, well, maybe not but at least a hundredaire!  It was enough to make me spring for these pencils when they went on sale for $16 a set of 24 at Consumer Crafts two weeks ago. And because I am a sucker for free shipping I got all 5 sets and a new WeRMemory Keepers album because the Project Life one I previously ordered in a moment of temporary insanity was not cutting the mustard. Anyway, here is a card I colored with the new Spectrum Noirs, it took all of 15 minutes to color.

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I have a bit of a colored pencil addiction, I love trying out new pencils! Since I have a few of the most popular brands I thought I’d compare them to the new Spectrum Noir pencils and see how they preformed, see my findings in today’s video:

Now, here is where I retract things I said that are wrong. Please refer to the below chart. Koh-i-Noor pencils are available open stock. I have only seen the woodless sets of 12 and 24 so maybe they have another grade of pencils that I am not aware of and maybe there are more colors. Leave a comment if you know.  There was a bit of controversy over the Spectrum Noir pencils being oil based. They preformed most like the Polychromos (the lead in the SNs was thinner and they were a bit less creamy and opaque) but I’d wager they were oil based if I had to guess but there may in fact be an oil/wax blend going on…oh heavens, does anyone care? I do not because they do what they were interned to do extremely well. They layer and blend well. They are translucent enough so I can clearly see my black stamped lines when coloring yet they are opaque enough to stand up on kraft cardstock, a very hip trend might I add. I would not use them on darker cardstocks but on mid-light they preformed very well. Here you can see some swatches and also the retail price for a set of 24 pencils across the brands reviewed (but you can always find them online for much less.)

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That said, the Spectrum Noir pencils would not be my first choice to create a painting with. I prefer the creamier properties of Prismacolor or Polychromos pencils. The Derwent Coloursoft pencils are nothing to sneeze at either but I have been using Prismacolor pencils since I was 5 and loyalties like that are hard to break. Now that brings me to another bit of controversy, Prismacolor pencils are now made in Mexico and their quality has declined (you can check out the Prismacolor vs. Polychromos review by Lachri Fine Art if you want to know more) and it is really too bad because Prismacolor was my favorite. All but 3 white pencils in my Prismacolor box are stamped USA and the ones stamped Mexico had off-center lead. I have not sharpened them yet so hopefully they are adequate, I find the white Prismas to me the most achy-breaky ones in the bunch. I had an imperfect stamped image on my table (the one I demonstrated in the video) and decided to color 4 of the flowers with 4 brands of pencils so you could see a side by side comparison. I think the Spectrum Noir pencils do what they are intended for. Coloring stamped images, I find I can color quickly with them and layer easily without losing the definition of my stamping. If you do not want to see your stamped lines then you can use lighter ink.

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Bottom Line, these are fun. If your goal is to easily color stamped images on white to mid value colored paper these pencils are ideal and a bargain. If you are a colored pencil artist I think you would prefer a pencil with more opaque and creamy lead But since they layer really well and cost less than half of Polychromos pencils you might want to give them a whirl and maybe pick up a few light-colored prismas. Honestly the Polychromos are not terribly opaque either so you might want a wax-based white with those as well. I would be impossible for me to test all of the great pencils on the market (I’m a hundredaire remember…) but these are the most accessible to me and hopefully you. If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’d love to know what your favorite brand of colored pencils are. I have had several requests to compare watercolor pencils too so you can let me know if you are interested in that as well. Thanks for taking the time to read through this long post and til next time happy crafting!

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PS Quick tip! When making a card make the envelope first then use the scrap of leftover paper to embellish your card. Another tip, dig out the old-school deco-scissors and circle punches to cut a cool wavy border on the card. Using a two-tone cardstock like Doublemates makes the look really pop! Happy crafting!

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