Showing posts with label drawing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drawing. Show all posts

Tutorial: Simple Sketchbook Journal Cover

How to personalize a sketchbook or journal cover with recycled artwork or cardboard.I always keep a sketchbook by my side to jot down ideas, draft patterns and outline my blog posts. I am typically working on dozens of projects every week, so this little journal is one of the ways I keep my thoughts and processes organized.

When one sketchbook gets filled, I move on to the next.

Being an artsy-craftsy person, I really enjoy pretty things, so when I recently purchased my newest sketchbook I decided to personalize the cover and brighten it up a bit.

I used an old watercolor painting from my stash that's pretty, but not quite frame-worthy. You could just as easily use a piece of your child's artwork, a scrap of colorful cardstock, an old book cover, a piece of recycled cardboard or anything that is on a piece of heavyweight paper or lightweight chipboard.



As I said before, I used a watercolor design that I painted on a heavy watercolor paper, but you can be creative with your cover material. Just about anything is better than the original cover.
Open the sketchpad to the back cover.
You should be able to gently separate the wire binding and slide off both the back and front covers.
Remember how the covers are placed so you can slide them back on to the wire binding later.
Measure the original front cover and trim your new cover to the same size.
Looks good so far.
Turn your new cover face down and use the old cover as a template so you can lightly trace the binding holes with a pencil.
Next, it's time to punch the holes in your new cover.
Carefully use a paper punch to make holes in all the spaces you traced then erase any remaining pencil marks.
Position the new front cover and the original back cover and slide them back onto the binding wires. Gently push the binding wires closed.
The new sketchbook cover is definitely an improvement.

I think the heart shaped holes match the hearts in my artwork nicely. It's just a little detail, round holes would have been just as functional, but the heart shapes make me happy.

How to personalize a sketchbook or journal cover with recycled artwork or cardboard.

And now I'm ready to start sketching and writing all my design notes in my pretty new notebook.

How to personalize a sketchbook or journal cover with recycled artwork or cardboard.

How will you re-cover your sketchbook or journal?

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Tutorial: Artistic Meditation

Feeling stressed? Try a little artistic meditation to relax and unwind while creating a stunning piece of art.It's no secret that when I have an episode of crafter's block I usually turn to paper and pencil to regain a bit of focus and inspiration. I guess the process is similar to the latest adult coloring book craze. There is something deeply meditative about adding color to a blank page and watching a design grow.

During a recent craft slump I got out my watercolor pencils, paper and a quilt design book. The finished artwork looks quite intricate, but the process is not as fancy as you would imagine.



I started by drawing a quilt block design called Double T onto a sheet of vellum. If you are not comfortable with the drawing part, you can save and print a copy of my Double T drawing onto vellum. Or, if you want to try something different, Quiltivate is a great resource for geometric quilt block patterns that you can save and print.
Next, center a square of watercolor paper over your drawn or printed design and hold in place with a couple pieces of painter's tape. Your watercolor paper should be at least 1 inch larger than the geometric design. Place the papers onto a lightbox so you can see the design through the watercolor paper.
Use watercolor pencil(s) to lightly sketch smaller shapes and doodles onto the watercolor paper using the larger quilt block shapes as a guide. I work in small sections and enjoy drawing a variety of teardrop shapes, but there's no right or wrong way to do this.

Also, I like my design to be symmetrical, but there is no law saying it has to be.Take your time. This is all about relaxation and watching the shapes gradually fill the page.
Remove the papers from the lightbox and color in your design.

Again, take your time and enjoy seeing each little shape fill with color.
Use a liner brush and water to "paint" over the colors.

As the colors soften, let yourself relax.
Repeat the steps. Sketch some small shapes to fill the next section.

It's not a race, so slow down.
Fill the shapes in with color.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.
Add water and let the colors soften.


Repeat the process as necessary until the entire design is filled.
You can use as many or as few colors as you like for your individual meditative masterpiece. In this demonstration, I only used two colors and varied the darkness of each. There is no right or wrong way to create.

Feeling stressed? Try a little artistic meditation to relax and unwind while creating a stunning piece of art.

Breathe. Relax. Create. Be happy!

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Crafter Thoughts: Extreme Adult Coloring

Extreme adult coloring ideas: meditate by creating a geometric painting with watercolor pencils

My husband didn't believe me that there is such a thing as adult color books and that it's one of the biggest current trends in hobbies until he Googled it.

It's no surprise to me that these books have become insanely popular. There's something about adding thoughtfully placed color to the page that is extremely meditating. Think about it. Why do you give your own kids coloring books? To keep them focused and quiet. It works the same for grown-ups.

I've kind of adapted the concept of adult coloring books into my own little art form. I like to start by sketching a geometric design on a piece of vellum.

Next, I position the vellum on the back of a sheet of watercolor paper and stick it on with a couple small bits of masking tape. Then, the papers go over a lightbox (or a brightly lit window) so I can see the design through the watercolor paper.

The meditative part is using watercolor pencils to fill in all the shapes from the geometric design with smaller, softer details.

Extreme adult coloring ideas: meditate by creating a geometric painting with watercolor pencils

I bet you didn't see those butterflies and dragonflies when you looked at my initial sketch, but there they are!

Finally, fill in the gaps. This isn't a speedy process. The entire drawing/painting easily took 8-10 hours, but I love the colors and design so much I framed it an hung it in our guest room.

Extreme adult coloring ideas: meditate by creating a geometric painting with watercolor pencils

Here's a second painting I completed using the same geometric template. I like this one because I used almost all 24 colors in my set of Loew-Cornell watercolor pencils.

Extreme adult coloring ideas: meditate by creating a geometric painting with watercolor pencils

Relax and treat your self to some colorful meditations!

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Crafter Thoughts: The Design Process

When you read a blog post about one of my projects, you may not realize what happens behind the scenes before every tutorial and pattern is published. It's a process that can take hours or even days to complete.

Before I begin photographing the steps or writing the directions I have to design the finished product and it usually takes a few tries to get it right. My Japanese knot bag is a perfect example.

A friend gave me the idea for the bag style, but it was up to me to create the pattern. I got out my big roll of white paper, drawing and measuring tools, and a few circle templates (yes, sometimes I use my plates and bowls to draw circles).

Behind the scenes: The process of designing a sewing pattern

As I was sketching, I realized that even if my pattern turned out perfectly, I wouldn't be able to share it electronically at it's original size, so I had to figure out how to create a printable pattern that readers could easily enlarge.
Then, I got out the sewing machine to see if my design was actually feasible. I ended up making six, less than perfect prototypes. I like to think of them as learning experiences.
After each bag was finished, I  analyzed what features I liked, and which ones needed to be modified. Here are just a few of my pattern drafts.
After finalizing my Japanese knot bag pattern, I was able to get out the pretty fabric and photograph all of the steps in the sewing process, as well as the finished bag.

Behind the scenes: The process of designing a Japanese knot bag sewing pattern

Do you prefer to design your own sewing patterns, purchase paper patterns at a store or find printable patterns on the internet?

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Silhouette StudioTutorial: Draw, Trace and Cut

Silhouette Studio Tutorial: How to use the trace feature to transform hand drawings into cut filesI love my Silhouette Cameo because it helps me create customized projects and designs. I've had my Cameo for about three years (a birthday gift from me to me) and keep finding new ways to use it.

One of my favorite features is "trace." Let me show you how easy it is to transform a simple drawing into a perfectly cut pattern.


  • paper
  • black Sharpie marker
  • scanner
  • image editing software (optional)
  • Silhouette Studio
  • Silhouette Cameo or Portrait


This project began because I want to make a personalized Onesie for my baby niece with angel wings on the back.

I began by sketching out a design with a Sharpie. (This was my final drawing. At least 10 others ended up in the recycle bin.)
Once you have an image you like, scan it and save it as a .jpg or .gif on your computer. After scanning, I like to crop my image and get rid of all the extra white space by using photo editing software. It makes things a little easier to manage once you get into Silhouette Studio.

Open your image in your favorite photo editing software. I frequently use Photoscape. It's free to download and easy to use.

Crop your image to remove the extra white space and save.

Open up Silouette Studio and open your image file.

Even after cropping, my image was still rather large. If that happens to you, too simply resize your image by clicking and dragging one of the corners.

Once your image is the size you would like to cut, select the "trace" icon in the upper right corner of your screen. It looks like a little blue butterfly.

From the "trace"menu, choose "Select Trace Area."

Click and use your mouse to highlight the area you would like to trace.

If your image still has some black areas showing through, uncheck the "High Pass Filter" box.

I want both the inside and outside edges of my image traced, so I chose my Trace Method as "Trace." If you only want the outer edge of your shape cut, select "trace outer edge."

You'll notice the red cut lines around your image. To see them better, you can drag your original image away from the area to be cut.

You can also delete the original image from your Silhouette Studio file.

Finally, cut your image and use it in your own craft project.

If you'd like to experiment with the trace feature before drawing your own image, There are plenty of simple line drawings available for download on the internet or you can download my angel wings drawing. You are welcome to use it for any non-commercial applications.

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