Sunday, 2 December 2012

Inspiration: Seeing things Like a Child

My toddler received one of those "kid proof" digital cameras as a gift.  It honestly wouldn't have been something I would have bought for her - it seems a bit crazy (to me) that a two-year-old should have her own camera.  I was enlightened after watching her play with it for awhile.  She took pictures of everything; her ball, her snack, her sister baby, a chair, looking out the window, looking in the mirror... Anything that was interesting, she'd tell it "say cheese" and snap a pic.

In looking through the [200+] pictures she took in the first few days, you could really see though her pictures the things that she thought were interesting.  Her photos were little tidbits of her life that she captured with a childlike curiosity.  No editing. No framing. No posing.  Just capture.

My little girl with her camera inspired me to get outside (during naptime with baby-monitors in pocket) and capture a few pics of things I found interesting in the wooded area around my yard. I wish I could turn off the editing/ framing that is imprint in my brain, but alas, I am a grown-up.  My friend Pablo said it best, perhaps:
“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child” (Pablo Picasso)

Here are a few of my captures:

Here's hoping this encourages you to get out and capture quick pics of some of the things in your life that inspire you!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Tutorial: Family of Foxes Keepsake Box

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a fun  keepsake box with an illustration of a fox family.

Supplies you will need include:
- a blank wooden box.  The one I’m using is ‘cigar box’ shaped and measures 8 ¼ x 8 x 2 inches (21 x 20 x 4.5cm)
-fine sandpaper (220 grit or higher)    -masking tape              -pencil, fine black marker
-wood stain or paint (optional, could leave the wood natural)                       -acrylic paint, brushes
-polyurethane (optional, can use any clear topcoat, even watered-down white glue will work in a pinch).

You’ll need a drawing that you want to transfer onto the box.  You can use anything that has a definite outline.  Colouring books make great sources, if you want to use my drawing of a little fox family,  I’ve provided the template in pdf format here: Fox Family

Give the entire box a really good rub down with the fine grit sand paper. Don’t skip this step!  The finish of the box really depends on the smallest effort sanding at first and in between steps.

Cut out the template and tape it to the box.  Trace around the outside of the template with a pencil.

If you're not leaving the wood natural, use a small brush to stain (or paint) around the box outside the outline.  It’s not a big deal if the stain bleeds a little or if there are a few slip-ups.  Paint can cover any goofs.

Stain the rest of the box inside and out.  You can switch to a bigger brush here if you want. Let it dry.

The next step is to transfer the template illustration onto the box.  You can use carbon paper or something similar, but what I do doesn't require anything but a regular old pencil.
Just scribble all over the back of the stencil.

Flip it your template right-sides-up and re-position it in the unstained portion of your box.  Secure with some masking tape.

Using a mechanical pencil or ballpoint pen, trace over the image.  Use firm pressure, but its not necessary to press into the wood.  The graphite from the pencil scribbling on the back of the paper will transfer onto the box.  (I’ve upped the contrast on the photo here so you could see it.  The transfer is not usually this dark, but good enough to see the illustration to paint it.)

Start painting!  I usually start in the background and work my way into the foreground.  In general, the farther back forms should be darker.  When everything is painted to your satisfaction, let it dry for a good while… like overnight.


Give everything a light sanding.  I know it seems counter-productive to sand your lovely painting job, but this really makes the final finish look smooth.  If you’re using acrylic paint, this will get rid of any ridges that the brush strokes leave in the paint.

Use a marker to outline the illustration.

Using the same marker, add in texture and shadow with cross-hatching.  

As the final touch, I use a micofine brush to add white highlights to the eyes.  

Give everything a couple coats of polyurethane (sand between coats) to seal it.  Now you have a keepsake box worth keeping!

In addition to painting your own, you can WIN THIS BOX
Check out Artisan 82 on Facebook for the details.
Contest closes December 14, 2012

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Brag: Finished Green Storage Bench

The sun was shining today, so I got out to take some pics of my latest finished project.  It's a pine storage bench / tox box.

I'm very happy with how it turned out.  I'm also excited that, after weeks of work, I've got a finished piece.  Here's some photos of my sketched illustrations, and a close-up of the finished panels.

Monday, 29 October 2012

On my desk: Keepsake Boxes

I've been super-busy on craft show stuff.  I've got many things in progress, but not a lot of finished stuff ready to share.  I was staining in the garage all weekend, but the pouring rain is not doing much to help my stain dry!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

On my desk: Forest Themed Sketches

I'm madly working on painting a pile of pine furniture as stock for the "Nick of Time' show at the Buckhorn Community Centre.  (Oh yeah! Buckhorn! What!) Here's a peek at what's on my desk these days:

A quick test of materials.  This won't be a finished project, I'm just making sure that the different products I'm using are compatible.  The birch panel gives me a (cheaper) surface to practice on that is similar to the pine furniture.  

Work in progress on the back panel of a little storage bench. 

... and some more drawings I'm working on for more furniture.  At various points that poor little deer has looked like a goat and a lamb.  I think it's still a little lamb-like... might be the legs... going to have to tweak that methinks. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Tutorial: Custom Logo Stamp

My most recent project has been a custom stamp with the Artisan 82 logo.  Here's a quick tutorial on how it was done.