The new year bought a few new things with it for me, one being a change in daily schedules which gave me more time to get back behind my beloved midrange plus and melt some glass.
First though, there were some changes that needed to be made to the studio, there was an awful lot of soft glass hanging around and mostly getting in the way and my shelves were a bit awkward for the longer borosilicate rods. I had also collected a few things in the studio that were a bit surplus to requirement so it was time to have a tidy up and a reorganise. A lucky find on eBay also got me a new ventilation hood and fan to make some improvements in that department too.
But back to the flame. One of the things I have really been enjoying is making jellyfish. I quite like playing with these to test out different colours as I can see them solid for the cap of the jellyfish and stretched in the tentacles. I also started playing about with smaller ornamental pieces for the fun of it and to practice my use of punty rods, (a rod of glass attached to the piece you are working on in order to hold it) as I did have some difficulties with them being too stuck, extra work to get them off, or not stuck enough, usually resulting in a broken piece or something burning…
One other thing I have had the chance to work more on with the glass is silver fuming, it’s still an area I am working on improving as I try to get the ideal flame chemistry, plus position in the flame as well as the time needed to get the amount of fume I require. This shot was taken from the flame and I was really pleased with the results of this one. I’ve also tried a fully silver fumed jellyfish which was interesting, but it’s very difficult to take a photograph of.
Away from the glass I have also been working on some images from colouring page artists.
Firstly there is this piece from The Hedgepig Workshop. The artist Vicki was looking for someone to have a go t colouring one of her images as she was fairly new to producing downloadable pages for colourists. I had a lot of fun with this one and got to try out a bit of mixed media too. The second image I coloured was for Helen the Doodler, It was lovely to be able to colour some images that the artists could use on their listings and in their books. I’ve also got a couple of other colouring projects ongoing of course.
In other news, I’ve been little red riding hood in panto, been doing work on the journal for Glass Beadmakers UK and learning to live life without most of my white goods, (but that’s another story.)
Sometimes it’s hard to find inspiration for your colouring pages. We can get stuck in a rut always choosing our favourite colours or working in a particular way.
So here’s a list of 10 challenges that you can try, do them all separately even though some may work for a few challenges.
I’ve written these because personally I can get rather uptight about my colouring books and before I get too far into any of them I really need to break the fussiness of each book must be done in a certain way.
I thought that I had to colour all my Johanna Basford books using my Inktense pencils, my Millie Marotta with the Stabilo pens and I had Zen Colouring for my Promarkers. I also really enjoy colouring with shading and blending, but forgot that flat colour can be just as enjoyable.
Is there anything you struggle to do when colouring?
Have fun and enjoy colouring for more than just that one way of doing things.
Use One Colour
This works best with coloured pencils as you can apply different amounts of pressure with the pencil to vary the tone. This will also help you refine the skills in other projects because you have to think more about the amount of pressure you are using.
No Green Leaves
We all do it, when we see leaves out come the green pencils. Break the monotony by choosing different colours for your leaves, if you find it hard to break realistic colours go for an autumnal colour pallet first then progress on to things like purples, links and blues.
Colour With Dots
This one will take a while and is probably best attempted with fineliners or something with a good point, but instead of just filling an area with solid colour fill it with lots of dots.
Use A Colour You Hate
Got a colour that you always avoid using, get it down on the paper as the main colour for that page.
Obviously look at what you are colouring but don’t look at the pen or pencil you are choosing. If you have a really organised colour collection use a random number generator and count from the beginning of the box. This will break colour habits and can give you some really amazing results.
Tip: If you aren’t quite ready to attempt challenges in your favourite books use downloadable pages or get a colouring magazine like relax with art to try out challenges.
Split It Up
Draw a couple of straight lines on the page to break up the image, colour each section differently.
Red, orange, yellow, green blue, indigo, violet. Use the colours of the rainbow, either in order or not, to complete your picture.
Mix Your Media
Using different media can highlight certain parts of the image break habits by working with mixed media in one image.
Back To Your Childhood
Colour with kids crayons, something just for fun if you really don’t feel like anything else.
Leave Some White
You don’t colour the whole picture, choose areas to leave as white use the paper as a point to fade out to rather than an actual colour. In some colouring pages just the line art as the background can look fantastic or try it with something from the foreground.
With no other editions this colouring magazine from Magbook is a bit different from the other magazines. Magbook release individual bookazines on popular topics. This one is also available on Amazon. Priced at £5.99 it’s a little more expensive than I thought it would be, compared to other magazines on the market.
There are 56 Images to colour in this double sided print edition, the publication is split into 5 “chapters” Animal Kingdom, Patterns, Spiritual, Nature and Art Inspired though there are only 3 images in the art inspired chapter and the nature chapter is mostly things that could have easily gone into other sections the splits seem kind of redundant.
At the start of each chapter 3/4 of a page is taken up by a single paragraph of text and the final 1/4 has part of the double spread image, it seems that most of the images would have been fine on just a single page, some of the actual double page spreads are like this too, only taking up half of each page but split across a double.
The artwork is a bit of a mix, there are a few highly detailed images but a lot are really thick lines so not great for more advanced colourists, the paper is also quite thin you can see the print from the image on the other side on practically all the pages.
Knowing there wasn’t any chance of using alcohol markers as it was double sided I tested my stabilo 68’s on the tiny image from the front page. Even though I am light handed with my colouring the colour is obvious on the opposite side of the page.
Even gel pens where the ink doesn’t soak into the paper, so don’t bleed, showed through on the opposite side. So I switched to coloured pencils, which are about the only media you can really use on this paper but you can tell on the opposite side areas that have been filled with pencil, especially darker colours, even though you don’t see the colours coming through.
I would say this one isn’t particularly worth the money. While there are a variety of designs that would be good for anyone that wasn’t sure what style they like to colour the thin pages really let this down because you will see the design on the reverse side.
All right if you only want to use pencil and want the variety of designs this publication has to offer, but it is not one I would recommend.
A colouring magazine from puzzler.com. I didn’t get this one when it first came out but I did snap it up before the release of issue 2 at the end of May. Now we are at the end of June and issue 3 is in the shops.
I left this one untouched for quite a while but one evening as the boys were watching the Avengers I sat myself in the corner under the floor lamp and decided it was time to make a start.
This is another single side print magazine with 24 images to colour and staple bound. Paper quality seems good and the artwork is a mix of single images, full page patterns and contained images, ranging from fine detail to larger areas making it good for any level of colourist. The cover price is 2.99 and is published monthly.
I’m back with my Stabilo pen 68’s and the paper is all right, the colour goes on reasonably smoothly although it does show through on the other side it is single sided so that isn’t a problem.
The first one I completed was the bird, it was my favourite image in the whole magazine. I used a combination of flat colour and a bit of shading. As well as the pen 68’s I also used some of my point 88’s to work on the more detailed areas. It was a really enjoyable image to colour though.
I also had a go on the inside cover with the stabilo pens, the little flower was a great, quick to colour piece. After colouring that though which is a smoother card rather than the paper I was wishing the whole book was printed on that.
I also had a go at a page with my inktense pencils, I did this one using a blender pencil to smooth the colour rather than using water. This came out beautifully I certainly got better coverage with the pencils than the pens.
With Promarkers the coverage can be slightly patchy as the ink dries quickly on the paper, though as I got more used to how the ink was behaving on the paper reducing the size of the circles I coloured in allowed me to get a more even colour.
A reasonable magazine, the range contained in it does make it suitable for anyone though I haven’t bought issue 2 or the recently released issue 3. With such a large selection of magazines available now and considering my collection already I did find a lot of the images to be rather similar and I personally preferred the selection in the later issues of relax with art.
If you are a new colourist though take a look at this magazine along side the others because you might find the artwork more to your tastes and without having earlier magazines there won’t be similarities like I experienced. You can also use any media to colour but make sure you add a sheet of card under the page you are colouring if you intend to use pens and keep your strokes shorter than normal to reduce patchy coverage.
If you were ever struggling to get motivated then this lady is the one that will show you what can happen.
Sarah’s Book Animaux à colorier was released at the beginning of June through the publisher Editions First. But what if I told you that this time last year Sarah wouldn’t draw, she didn’t think she could.
I got hold of Sarah and had a bit of a chat with her, (read as bombarded her with questions) I already knew bits of the story as we are both paper cutters and enjoy adult colouring so we frequent the same groups. But I was really interested in hearing more, Sarah began drawing in around the same time as I started playing with drawing too. Her journey sparked in much the same way and taking such an inspirational direction, let me tell you her story.
A paper cutter since February 2014, leaving 10 years in retail management after being diagnosed with severe depression. Sarah decided to open her own business doing paper cuts and templates under the name Pixie Rah Designs in July 2014. (She also does dog walking and daycare)
I have the most understanding husband who has really supported me through everything that’s happened.
But in December 2014 Sarah began drawing, she wanted to move away from digitally created paper cut templates and be able to hand draw all her designs. As someone with no prior experience she bought a book on zentangle and started to have a go.
There was no right or wrong and that I could make interesting art that seemed to come naturally to me.
Mr Rhino was her first creation, originally intended as a paper cut template when Sarah showed the design to a group of peers within a facebook paper cutting group it came about that he would make a fantastic colouring page. 9 drawings later she had her “African Animals” set which she uploaded to her etsy store to sell as downloadable colouring pages.
Just 4 days after these listings went live Sarah was contacted by a French publishing company who wanted to turn her animals into a colouring book. They wanted 80 animals within 3 weeks!!!
Sarah’s Top Tips
Just by drawing once a day I can see how much I have improved in 6 months.
Draw once a day
Practice is important
There is no right or wrong
Surround yourself with supportive people
Join groups, ask for constructive feedback
Above all. Give things a go!
But she did it, the book was released 4th June 2015 and she was asked to do another book.
Right now Sarah is working on the next book, due for release in October and is currently working on 80 Christmas and winter drawings to submit to the publisher, so far she has 61 done with a week to go on her deadline.
This one I have found harder than the Animals as its quite hard to think of different things to draw!
When drawing Sarah uses Uni Pin pens, 0.8mm for outlines and 0.3mm for the internal details, but she still loves colouring too, her facebook group Adult Colouring has in excess of 2,500 members now all there to enjoy the same things and share their love for colouring. As a member myself I know how supportive the group is as a place for anyone that enjoys grown up colouring and art therapy.
Sarah also has ideas for the future, keep an eye on her because she really is a hit.
The next step was to colour it with my promarkers, now I do occasionally get asked what I colour with and how I colour as I add shading.
So this prompted a video, I set up the camera to record the whole colouring of the ACEO.
I had planned and prepared all the colours in advance as I wanted to just colour and not spend time thinking about what colours I needed next. I chose a dark mossy green blend for the vines, a couple of green leaf blends, a blend of browns for the tree branch, yellows and oranges for the flower centres and purples and pinks for the flowers.
In total I had 17 colours, the entire colouring took around 50 minutes (the video has been sped up) I haven’t provided a colour list but keep an eye on the library as I upload some of my blend combinations there.
Since the beginning of March I have been doing a lot of doodling, mostly Zentangle art but more recently because of the influence of grown up colouring I have started doing some small drawings to colour with my promarkers and cut out as ACEO’s (Art Card Editions and Originals)
Firstly I did a small one, this was because I had been asked about my drawing and so I quickly doodled a little potted flower and coloured it to show them. It was after that I thought it was just the right size for an ACEO.
This one only took a few minutes to draw and a couple more to lay in the colour.
Next I thought it would be interesting to try something a little more detailed. Of course detail takes a little longer. I really do enjoy floral themes as there is a whole variety of shapes and they offer a lot of scope for colour.
Over the course of a couple of evenings I drew this piece, again at ACEO scale (2 1/2” x 3 1/2“) It was a delight to draw and I am really pleased with the result. (If you have been keeping up it was only a few months ago that I felt I couldn’t draw at all for anyone other than my own personal scribbles of designs.)
Using some of the methods I have picked up through Zentangle it has become a lot easier to construct a drawing.
Tomorrow I will be starting to colour, after it has been scanned because I don’t want to loose the line art all together but I also want to work on the original for the card.
To answer the question of why work on such a small scale, simply because I enjoy it more. I find drawing and colouring at a smaller scale more challenging but also easier to work to the space so I see a piece emerge sooner.
Have a creative day and I will see you soon with the final coloured piece.
Grown up (or adult) colouring is a wonderful way to relax, remember how quiet the kids are when they are colouring? well try it yourself and it really does zone you out.
There are many colouring books available but there are also a wealth of free colouring pages some offered by book authors and some just created by artists because they can. There are also loads of indie artists that sell individual pages online.
If you are a colouring page artist and want to be added or you notice a broken link/closed shop then feel free to contact me to help keep this list updated.