Craft and Karate

My daughter’s masterpiece

Hello! Happy New Year.

I hope everyone survived the festive season and danced, limped or crawled into 2019.

I definitely dragged myself in, whimpering and wishing for the end of days. But what a difference a week (and the kids going back to school) makes.

Regulars here will know I don’t do resolutions – such a negative way to start a year. I must quit this, be that, do more of yada, be a better me. Urgh. What’s wrong with just being you, only maybe a bit more focused and content?

So instead I have two goals: pass my brown and black belt exam in either July or October, and empty the house of crap in case we move (which we might have to do for schools).

Then it’s easy.

Want to eat the cake? Fine. But remember that’s twelve stone of you that needs to do two hours of karate and then a thirty minute exam. Good luck with that!

Want to buy that piece of tat from the charity shop, or ten balls of wool on special offer, or the kitchen gadget from Aldi? No problem, as long as you’re happy to pack it in a box if you move house.

My first complicated cross stitch

So, we’ll see. I’m lying here unable to move without pain because I did my first ever weights class yesterday, so when it hurts even more tomorrow I might not be so chirpy!

The other thing I’m making time for while I still can (because full-time employment is a must if we want to move) is craft.

I discovered cross-stitch before Christmas and I love it. And, after a rather large hint, hubbie got me a travel easel for Christmas. With decluttering in mind, sewing and painting (on board) take up much less space than knitting and giant abstracts. Plus my daughter can happily do both, so that’s a win.

Fame at last! Hee hee

And writing? We’ll have to see. I want to write a story featuring karate, so that might tie into my goals. I started one, but wasn’t sure where it was going. Any ideas or suggestions gratefully received!

In the meantime, I’m still enjoying seeing my books at the local library and, even better, not seeing them because they’re out. It might not mean sales or reviews or a book deal, but mostly what an author wants is to know their books are being read.

Anyway, pets are calling, time to feed the zoo. May the new year bring you contentment, fulfilment and peace, at least for a few moments now and then. Failing that, may it bring you a cup of tea and a stonking good read.

Advertisements

Art in August #28 – Skull and Cross Bones

Skull and Crossbones

Skull and Crossbones

Quick post this morning as we’re leaving for Warwick Castle in four minutes (ahem, or we’re meant to be. I’ve been making picnic for an hour and I’m still in my PJs eating my breakfast.)

This skull and cross bones is copied from the front cover of Zac and the Dream Pirates by Ross MacKenzie and was drawn using FS Paint. The slight cut off on the left is because I’ve edited out the header bar…

Art in August #27 – Dragon Eyes

Dragon eye

Dragon eye

I found a new free art app for the iPad, called FS Paint, which I had a lot of fun with today. As an app it’s a little rough around the edges, something that’s put me off paying for the full version, but the benefits outweigh the clunky format.

For a start, this one allows colour choice, which is nice after Fingerpaint and KidsDoodle, where colour selection is random. There are a range of brush types, sketch, shading etc. The shading effect is in a criss-cross cross-hatch style which takes a bit of getting used to, but can get some nice results.

Of course my first attempts had to be dragon-themed. I’ve always wanted to draw dragon eyes, but have never managed to capture the life and sparkle. These are not perfect but, for first attempts, I’m pleased. It’s great to build up layer by layer.

This is a subtle drawing app that I feel has more to give with practice. Expect to see more!

imageimageimageimage

Art in August #26 – Daughter’s YouTube Tutorial Art

Proud of her robot

Proud of her robot

Today’s Art in August is dedicated to my amazing five-year-old daughter who, inspired by Mummy painting Elsa from a YouTube tutorial, has been drawing from tutorials for the last four hours.

I have never seen her concentrate so hard and work for so long at something without input from Mummy and Daddy. Not only has she focussed and chatted along to the videos, she has produced some excellent pictures.

When no one was watching she didn’t get frustrated at mistakes and, on some of the videos, there were even other children doing the drawings too, so she could see others making errors.

My daughter tells people that when she grows up she wants to be an author and an illustrator. In fact, she will tell people she already is both of those things, because she makes books and illustrates them (I believe in visualisation).

Concentrating hard

Concentrating hard

But today is the first time I’ve seen her really work on her drawings, rather than producing endless pictures of (very cute) cats.

YouTube tutorials are amazing. Children take instruction from strangers much better than family members, or mine do anyway.

And after four hours of drawing with a permanent marker, wearing her best party dress, I think she made one small mark on the table and none on herself.

My little girl is growing up and I am so very proud.

Shout out to the following YouTube channels:

  • DoodleDrawArt
  • ArtForKidsHub.com
  • DoodleKat1
  • Artist Rage
  • MNMarcel

imageimageimageimageimage

Art in August #25 – Elsa from Frozen

My Elsa Watercolour

My Elsa Watercolour

I think this is probably my favourite Art in August piece so far. I have to say a thousand thank yous to Laptop on the Ironing Board for coming up with the Art in August challenge – it has given me an excuse to indulge in some of my favourite creative pastimes without guilt. It’s for the blog, so it’s working, right?

Drawing animated characters is something I have always enjoyed doing. I find it much easier to copy someone else’s drawing than come up with my own, and cartoons have a simplicity to them that give great results without spending hours on shading and detail.

My first attempts at copying animation, back in my teens, were when I became obsessed with drawing stills from the Watership Down movie. Back then, before the handy invention of the tablet, I had to pause the video and copy from the screen – occasionally tracing off the TV (in the days when they had glass screens and you could touch them) but more often sketching from the image and then redrawing in detail.

Pencil sketch

Pencil sketch

Animation was easier to copy then, as the originals were usually watercolours, in flat colour, rather than the modern CGI three-dimensional almost lifelike characters (well, apart from the scary-huge eyes and tiny chins!) The largest Disney drawings I have done are when I painted a four-foot Ariel and a three-foot flying Dumbo, together with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, on the wall of a little girl’s bedroom. I always intended to do the same for my children, but our walls of crumbling plaster don’t really lend themselves. Besides, talk about setting a bad precedent!

Today, I was fortunate enough that the children were off trashing the playroom playing for an hour, so I was able to start the picture of Elsa I’ve been wanting to do for weeks.

As time is of a premium now I have children, I decided to use a tutorial by Mark Crilley for my drawing of Elsa. It meant I could follow step by step, focussing on things like the way the eyes tilt up and the sassy slant of the eyebrow.

After first watercolour

After first watercolour

The tutorial was brilliant, although Mark did much of his shading using coloured pencils. I’m not so good with pencils and finding any that weren’t full of broken lead proved challenging, so I used watercolour on pretty much all of it.

I’m a bit frustrated that I started too close to the top of the paper and couldn’t fit all the hair in, and the shading of the dress isn’t great because I couldn’t see it too clearly on the tutorial, but otherwise I am pleased.

I love Elsa, the “conceal, don’t feel” ice queen. They used to call me the ice maiden when I was younger – a combination of white-blonde hair and shyness that came across as arrogance – and I would give anything to have a hundredth of Elsa’s cool sass.

For now the picture will have to do!

Art in August #23 – More Dragons

Dragon-tastic

Dragon-tastic

Hubbie and I went out this evening without children, for the first time in years, to a friend’s birthday party. Great, food, great live music, great company. It was nice. It was even nicer to come home and swap spanx for pyjamas!

As a result, I don’t have many words or much in the way of art work. So here are a few more dragons I drew while waiting to see the doctor about my chronic tiredness (come back and see us if you’re still tired when your kids are back at school!) while offering unspoken smiling moral support to the mother of a fractious tired child.

Hopefully I’ll manage something new tomorrow. Have a great bank holiday weekend!

P.S. Class Act is free on Amazon today, just click the link on the right

imageimageimageimage

Art in August #22 – Fingerpaint Dragon

Fingerpaint App Dragon

Fingerpaint App Dragon

At 6.30am this morning I still didn’t have a clue what my Art was going to be for today, as I crawled into bed exhausted at 9.30pm last night and spent some time with Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

I thought about using a photo of the kids and photo-shopping it, but I haven’t taken anything special recently. I trawled through my KidsDoodle pictures but I’m a bit bored of that app. And then I spotted a new one in the children’s games folder on the iPad. Fingerpaint.

This app is even more beautiful, annoying and uncontrollable than KidsDoodle. On this one, not only does the colour change randomly mid-stroke, but – depending on the force of your finger stroke – tendrils of colour run off in different directions. I chose ‘pencil’ and so the tendrils were delicate coloured pencil lines that I ache to be able to create in real life.

Oh to be a child of today, with all these amazing ways to create vibrant pictures. Of course, not being a child, I found the lack of control hugely frustrating. It took around thirty attempts to get this dragon. Still, it’s the process, not the end-product, that’s important, right?