Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Surreal Skylines

I've been doing these unusual city scenes lately.

Inspired by a little Sci Fi and surrealism.

I start by drawing a curved horizon line, like the top of a planet or ball, and begin adding buildings.

They become wavy, leaning this way and that.

Then I add bright colours.

A good project to try with the kids at school next term.


- background paper, I used heavy wc paper
- piece of good drawing paper
- a recycled cereal or cracker box
- paint, I used gouache, watercolour, and a bit of acrylic
- tacky glue
- fine sharpie


I'm making this skyline in layers.  Why layers? It's more interesting (little 3D) and you can get a cleaner look.

I cut 2 wavy buildings out of the cereal box.

I placed them on my drawing paper and began sketching out a skyline.

Instead of using a curved horizon line I'm just having the skyline come out of the corner.

Add a few details.  I traced out where the cardboard is going to go.

Add colour.  I used paint to get nice bright colours.

At school we will probably paint the buildings but add the details with coloured pencil and crayon.

Paint the cardboard buildings.

Cut the skyline out of the drawing paper.

Add details to the buildings.

For the background I wanted a deep blue.

The city is a light source so as I work to the corner where the city will be I lighten the blue with some white.

I wanted some stars so I splatter some white paint on the dark blue.

Apply glue to the back of the paper skyline.

By using the corner it's easy to line it up and secure into place.

Glue cardboard buildings into place.

I decided it needed a little something so using the leftover drawing paper I made a lamp post.

Cut out and glue into place.

That's it.  With really young kids we can make some of the buildings out of coloured paper. Should make for an interesting lesson!  I hope I inspired you to give these a try.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More Alphabet Inchie "How To"

I have been getting a lot of requests on how to make the rest of letters so here are some more.
 Please bear in mind that as in all inchie projects each one can be done as large project on it's own. 

There you just have 26 project ideas using whatever theme you want.

B is for button and bubble wrap.

  You need the outline to see the letter but I would make the letter in black FIRST and then attach the buttons. I figured this out after the fact.

The background is bubble wrap placed bubble side down on top of wet disk tempera paint.

C is for crayon and chalk.  I did the crayon first, painted over it with disk tempera and then added some chalk for extra oomph!

D is for drawing.  It's just pencil on top of a dry painted inchie.

H is for Huichol or yarn painting.  Just yarn glued into place to form a letter.  See this post for more yarn painting.

I is for impasto or using thick paint to add texture.  This is powdered tempera mixed thick and applied to a painted inchie.

I used impasto in this project.

Ok J is for Jackson Pollock and I now know it is backwards.  The background looked graffiti like and maybe sub consciously I was going for that look :)

The background as a combo of marble painting and splatters.  The J is just cut from coloured card stock.

Check out this cool website to make your own Pollock on your screen.

L is for line.  Just a bunch of different styles of lines to make a L.

M is for map.  I love using maps in projects!

N is for natural materials.  Another favourite material of mine.  Plain cardboard, burlap, and glued on twigs.

O is for using only a 'one colour scheme' and in this case orange.

The background paper is that white corrugated packaging you find in cookie bags painted with disk tempera.

P is for plaster and Pink.   Plaster and dry wall (joint) compound are terrific for adding texture.  This is actually drywall.  Nice thing about drywall is it's pre mixed and ready to go.  I cut out a P out thin cardboard and then spread it on with my finger.  Dried in a few hours and added a wash with some diluted acrylic.

Q is for quotes.  Using quotes or text as a background adds interest to your project.

R is for resists.  This is just a simple white oil pastel resist.  Apply pastel and then paint over top.

T is for tissue paper.

The background is crumpled tissue adhered using gesso and then painted.  It's the same technique used HERE.  You can also use glue to attach the tissue.

The letter is made from tissue dyed in Easter egg or Pysanky dye.  You could also use food colouring.

U is for under painting.  The square was painted black first and then other colours were added when it was dry.  You want parts of the original under painting to show thru.  Again this adds texture to a piece.

V is for value.  It's hard to see well in this picture but I was painting a value scale on the letter.  Contrast in value makes spectacular art!

W is for using a touch of white and wax paper.  I painted the white acrylic on to wax paper using a stencil.  I then podged it on black card stock. I talk about adding white in a recent post.  Wax paper is another great material.  You can paint on it with acrylics, crumple it to add texture, lay a crumpled piece on top of wet wc or pull an acrylic background for a great effect, use for mono prints, etc, etc.  Cheap too!

Y is for Yantra.  I could of done yupo but I was all out. Now before I get all those emails I know it's not a true yantra, I just focused on the geometrical design use here.

This is just watercolour and fine sharpie outline.

Z is for zentangle.  Hey, Z is a hard one.  This is just fine sharpie on card stock.  The background is just a painted inchie.

You now have all the letters. But really you could do anything to create them.  It was a lot of fun and can't wait to do another set (already in the works).

Hope I didn't put anyone to sleep and I'll see you next time.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Alphabet Inchies

I have been wanting to pull this together for some time....a full set of alphabet inches.

For this set I tried to relate the material or technique back to the letter.

A full set could be a year long project at school.

Or you could focus on names or a single word.

Or you can just do one letter to feature in another project like an art journal page.

Hint: if you keep a stash of extra painted inches you can crank out a letter in no time.

Now I'm not going to show you the "how to" for all 26.....that would probably put you to sleep, just some of my favourites.

One thing I have learned in the last 11 years of teaching art is always make extra of everything!

So when I cut inchies I cut lots.

The ones I used for the alphabet inchies are 2"x2".  Other good sizes are 3"x3" and even 4"x4".

The A is for alcohol (not for drinking) and assemblage.

Alcohol does cool things to paint.  It can be watercolour, tempera, or acrylic as long as it is still wet.

I use an eyedropper or pipette but you can also drop from a paintbrush. Just add a small drop here and there.

E is for eggshell.

Collect some eggshells.  Give them a wash, dry and store in an old egg carton.

At Easter time buy extra egg dye.  I keep my Pysanky dye all year round.  It is amazing on coffee filters, tissue paper, canvas, and regular paper.

Dye your eggshells and then using Mod Podge create a mosaic. (more details on how to do this HERE)

When dry cut out letter.

F is for foam.

This is my favourite way to use craft foam....to make a stamp.

Cut pieces out pieces of foam and stick to a piece of cardboard.  Remember whatever you stamp will be backwards.

Using paint or stamp pad print your stamp.  I like to do a test on a scrap piece of paper.  I also find that my 2nd print is usually the best.

G is for glue resist.

Draw a design with white school glue.  Let dry and then paint over.

K is for kraft paper.

Crumpled kraft paper has such great texture.  To highlight this I added some paint with a Kleenex (another K), just burnishing it on lightly.

S is for splatter.  Check out this post for my splatter technique.

X is for xylography.  OK I know this isn't a true xylograph which is usually a woodcut print but there are not too many X art techniques.

Using scratch foam or a foam plate or meat tray, etch in a design with a blunt pencil, coat with some paint and then make a print.

More details on this technique HERE.

I hope I have inspired you to give some alphabet inchies a try.

See you soon.