Scrapbook Circle September Sketch Challenge

A little late to submit to the challenge but here’s my take on Scrapbook Circle September Sketch Challenge!

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My scrapbook page layout based on Scrapbook Circle’s September Sketch Challenge

It’s not the most well taken photo (my parents took my camera, and how I wish I had bought a printer that is large enough to scan 12×12 pages), and I edited the backing to the layout because I couldn’t get it to not show on the photo without shadows on the page.

But anyway, this is the first time I had stuck to a sketch. I don’t usually start with the sketch, but randomly picking photo(s) that I feel like scrapping at the moment. But the moment I saw the sketch I immediately had the idea to scrap this photo I had wanted to scrap for a long time. I tried to mimic the beach with the layers, so like the sea, the sand and the sky. I originally intended to do a sun up in the top left corner but I got lazy..

Almost all the elements on the page are “handmade”. The “here we go” card is modelled after another journaling card I have but is too big for the page so I scaled it down and scripted with watercolour. If you could tell, the colour I used is dark but isn’t black. I used sort of a midnight blue colour so that it is more cohesive with the colour theme. The volleyball is hand-drawn and coloured with alcohol markers. Despite my limited colours, I was delighted to find the almost exact shade of yellow and blue found on most volleyballs.

The triangle in the top left corner is a white based pattern paper with coloured hearts. Bringing back the white from the “here we go” card and the shirt I’m wearing in the photo. The pinks and reds are also an attempt to draw out the red in the photo as well.

I was having trouble with the title placement because if I go with the horizontal titling on the original sketch I would be left with a lot of space below it which will feel very empty and make it seems as though the title is floating. In the end I managed to avoid all that by forming an arc around the ball. Quite pleased that the spacing worked out too, though now that I look at it the ‘y’ in the ‘volley’ is a little off.

Just a simple design, nothing overboard. Wouldn’t be able to go overboard if I wanted to anyway because it would drive me crazy from all the time I need to put in to think of and make the elements to go overboard with. Still a little reluctant to invest in ephemera packs and stickers and what not because they are ultimately one-use and I find that I don’t have a really cohesive style that I like to scrapbook with.

So yup, that’s my take on the sketch challenge! (Note: you can see some of the other take on the challenge here.)

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Inspired by Jane Davenport

Art Journal page inspired by Jane Davenport
Art Journal page inspired by Jane Davenport

As crafters, we are always inspired by something or someone. For me, most of my creative inspiration comes from YouTube, in which I curate my subscription to follow people who constantly inspire me. I think that is very important, because when you are in need of a creative fix, you won’t be stuck watching videos that don’t engage with the creative part of your mind. Even though I believe that it’s good to have more and varied sources of inspiration (following people with different artistic style and yet still calls out to you for example), I also believe it is equally important to simplify: Don’t just mindlessly absorb everything, but pick only those you really enjoy.

Sometimes though I don’t get enough creative fix from my subscription, because I’m devouring content faster than new content uploads. Hence I would browse the home page, where YouTube selects recommended video based on your video watching history. Watching some of this recommended videos once in a while can a rather refreshing change and might also expose you to new channels that you might want to subscribe.

Today’s post in all about being inspired by Jane Davenport. I do enjoy her style quite a bit, which is beautiful but she is not someone I follow because she’s a art supply junkie, and her method of using many different specific art supplies don’t really resonate with me because I don’t have half the things she uses. But nevertheless, watching her videos once in a while is still enjoyable and rewarding.

This is the video that I was inspired by, in which Jane Davenport uses inktense and gesso to create soft pastel looking yet bright colours. My entire page is done using the particular technique, using mostly my inktense blocks and watercolour pencils. I find that the Inktense blocks gives brighter and more intense colours when mixed with gesso, while watercolour pencils are much lighter and more pastel-y. It could be the amount of pigment that is applied to the page though, because my watercolour pencils are the normal craft grade ones from Staedtler. But other wise, the outcome is rather similar. (Compare the clouds which were done with Inktense, and the blue lines on the dress which were done with watercolour pencils.)

I used the same technique with my Neocolor II crayons as well just to see how the colours will look and how they compare with these two watersoluble medias. The results are pretty similar as well. Moral of the story is this: try new techniques you learn with a variety of similar mediums! (In this case, it would be watersoluble media.)

Ponderings: Blog update!

I’m excited to reveal updates to the blog! Inspired by how some craft bloggers use their own images in their blog design, I have decided to include my own artwork into my blog design too! I have been thinking about this for quite a while but hadn’t had time to do this. And then one fine day as I just sat down at my craft table wondering what to do the designs popped into my head!

The first would of course be the change in the blog logo! It looks a lot bigger than I expected haha. But I think i’ll leave it at that because it’s going to take me a long while to redraw the image, scan it in and colour it again (read: proscratination). The second is of course the “ponderings” title! Since ponderings are a large part of this blog and a permanent feature, I decided to have a title for it! Makes me happy just to look at the logos and the bright colours.

In case you are wondering how I did this, the process is rather simple. Much simpler than I had imagined before I’ve actually done it. First I sketched out my design on a piece of paper, before outlining the final design I want in black marker. Next I scanned it in and edited and coloured the scanned picture in GIMP. GIMP is a programme similar to Photoshop, but it’s a freeware. It is a limited in what it can do compared to Photoshop, but it works fine for my purposes: cropping, stitching photos together, text insertion, digital colouring. I was rather surprised that the digital colouring went on so smoothly, because the programme registered my drawn lines pretty well. I was also able to remove any background colour with a click to make it completely white, since scanning in white paper often result in some tinge of gray.

Now that the process is so clear to me know, I envision myself doing more of this in the future. Perhaps not in the near future, but still, some time in the future.

Monthly Challenge Prompt: Back to School

September Monthly Challenge
September Monthly Challenge

This month’s monthly challenge prompt from Jennibellie’s Journal Workshop is “Back to School”. I actually did this page back in August, using the same prompt, since school started in August for me. Because I am still in school myself, I didn’t approach the prompt in the same manner as Jennibellie (her’s is more like nostalgia, reminiscing her days in school).

Each element on the page represent a part of my school life, both past and present, except for the background which was done way in advance – I just happened to pick this background as the page of my art journal page. It’s just a simple background, with a paper collage, tinted gesso and stamping. The colours I choose for each of the elements are kind of random. I just wanted everything to be a different colour and bright, hence the colours I have chosen from a limited colour palette. I used Neocolor II (set of 15) direct to paper, so no colour mixing there.

On the top left, the “Moosic Notes” was a memo pad gift from a secondary school friend. She bought this in Canada while on university exchange because of my involvement in music. To me, this represents the musical part of me – studying music up to ‘A’ levels, playing in orchestras (then and now), juggling piano lessons with university classes.

Below it, the books represent well, school itself. It’s all the textbooks that have past my hands, all the reference books I have referred to and all the readings that I have to read for my university classes. It is also my lecture notes, and all things words that my eyes see when I’m studying or in school.

The thought bubble on the top right represents daydreaming. It’s all the times that I get lost in class and stare blankly at my lecturers. It’s all the times I lose focus and let my mind wander to things that have nothing to do with the class. It’s also all the times that I get tired and doze off in class, entering my dreamland in the middle of the class.

Lastly, the pencil below the “Back to School” is just a representation of my writings. It’s the notes I write messily in class and rewrite neatly again after class. It’s the assignments I have to write in exchange for a grade. It’s the examinations I have to do at the end of every semester before I get my temporary freedom from school.

That for me basically sums up everything about “Back to School”. It started out because I was restless and wanted to do something. “Back to School” popped up as a prompt because school was about to start (think this was a couple of days before university started) and I couldn’t have done a more appropriate page to the prompt. Hope this does not count as cheating though, to submit a page that was done prior to the release of the prompt even if the exact same prompt was used.

Listening to Adventures in Arting Podcast

Have you ever had those experiences in which you feel bored out by what you are doing, even though it is something you have to or want to do? I know I get them rather often, like when I’m going through the process of a project (bookmaking, book wrapping, just the more “systematic” kind of crafts) and even when I’m playing video games. At those moment I will feel like I’m not utilising my time well enough, because I feel like there is still a capacity in me to multi-task, that I can do more things at the same time.

For, the magic solution is to listen to a podcast. Podcasts only requires me to use my ears, so my hands and eyes are free to continue what I am doing, but at the same time because all of my senses are engage, I am getting more out of my time than I would otherwise. I don’t usually listen to podcasts, because I’m not a iTunes user so the podcasts I do listen to are from people that I subscribe to.

Today I was listening to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Adventures in Arting Podcast No. 37 and I thought I share some of my insights from this podcast:

  • Go with the flow and say yes.
  • When people reject your art, it’s not necessarily because your art is not good, but because it’s not a good fit.
  • Just like how you will look at other people’s work and wish you can emulate that, some people will look at your work and feel the same way!
  • You will always feel less successful if you are going to compare yourself with the things you see on the internet. Remember that what you see have been screened and perfected in order to be showcased to the rest of the world.
  • About keeping your journaling private. If you are not comfortable with sharing your thoughts and artwork with anybody, then don’t post it on the internet where anyone can see them. They also asked the open ended question of how to deal with your art journal if you don’t want your family to read them.

You can find the rest of her podcasts here (it’s a bi-weekly podcast) and I hope you enjoy the podcasts as much as I do!

Rethinking your supplies

If you have noticed through this blog, watercolour is one of the most go-to medium I use, because it’s quick to set up and easy to clean up. All I need to do it to open the lid to my pan watercolours, uncap my water brush and voila, I can do whatever I want. And to clean up, I just need to scribble off the paint on my waterbrush somewhere and then leave the watercolour pans to dry.

I own a basic set of Reeves’ watercolour, with just 12 colours. Which doesn’t really matter to me because I can mix my own colours, and I’m getting better at mixing the colours I want. (It’s also a good way to force myself to learn colour mixing through trial and error and practicing.) But recently, I’ve been getting into a dilemma, for while I can mix almost any colours under the sun with my watercolours, I am unable mix every shade under the sun. I find that with my set of watercolours, I am unable to mix bright colours, something that I am rather attracted to right now from other artists such as Amy Tangerine and Wilna Furstenberg. I really tried, but I can’t seem to mix the bright colours that would resonate with my heart. Both of them uses pan watercolour too, and judging from the pictures I see of their watercolour, their pans originally comes in those bright colours. And so, these couple of days I have been contemplating getting a set of watercolour that has these bright colours and wondering where best to get them.

But earlier today, I had a serendipitous moment. I pulled out my incomplete scrapbook page from last week (I often leave them half complete when I feel like things are not going smoothly or when I get tired), and was intending to work on the title. It’s the last element to be added to my page, and I was contemplating between hand stitching or watercolour scripting but decided on watercolour in the end because as I said above, it’s a lot easier and more convenient. It’s a nice pastel paper from one of Dear Lizzy’s old collection, and I wanted a colour that would match it.

And so I set about mixing a teal green like colour between my blues and greens, but again, couldn’t get the right shade I want. Feeling frustrated and puzzled, I thought to myself why it is so difficult to mix a teal with my watercolours when I don’t have that much of a problem with my inktense blocks? And *ding* there comes my serendipitous moment – I can mix bright colours with my inktense!! It’s so simple I’m hitting my head as to why I didn’t think of it earlier. And so, I took out my inktense block and started mixing, and the title was done just a little while after it.

So learn from my mistake! The point here is, I guess, to have a better grasp of your supply, and that’s it’s always ok to mix supplies around. In this case, watercolours and inktense are both wet media that can work together or in place of each other. And thus lesson learnt now! That there are other medias that I already own that allows me to mix my bright colours. And also feeling happy now that I can do that. ^^

Ponderings: Write the books you want to read

Recently gotten back into reading – it always start off with rereading books that I have read before. Somehow it just seems comfortable, and it’s always the desire to want to get close to the story again that gets me into reading. The same draw can’t be said for new books that I have no connection to. Feel a little awkward sharing this, but my personal favourite is Harry Potter haha. I don’t think I cant get enough of the books, and also recently reading Harry Potter fanfiction as well. Nothing like a good read with good writing. It makes the reading so much more worth it, especially since fanfiction have a great range in quality.

Writing this because this line is always at the back of my mind, popping up every now and then, perhaps because the Forgetters (if you watched Inside Out) decide to push this from long term memory up. A quick internet search and I found the whole context for this phrase as said by Austin Kleon:

“Draw the art you want to see, make the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read.”

Since you are on this blog, you would know that I have already ticked the first one off. The second one is what I would think is a half tick, because I don’t do it actively, but I have done it before – I used to do classical composing for school and I liked to play my own compositions though they aren’t very mature. I try to make my harmony exercise sing, which is probably why I kind of enjoy doing these exercises. There was even a period of time I made up random tunes and lyrics while I was bathing just for the fun of it, and one of them stuck with me even to this day. Again, not a mature song, but I like it because it is mine. Like how I like my art because they are mine, no matter how immature or ugly they may seem to other people. And the last well, I guess this blog is a part of it too, writing about my experiences in my crafting life, the things I’ve learnt and all that. And also, I’m  finally turning my just-before-sleep story making into some actual stories online! Sort of a side hobby, but reading numerous fanfictions online really got me caught onto this, because really I’ve been lying in bed and making up my stories as long as I can remember myself doing.

What’s my point in all this? I guess it’s just my own surprise at realising that I’m more creative than I give myself credit for. And because of that, I’ve come to love myself, and embrace my many manifestations of creativity, and really, just enjoy myself in my creative pursuits. I hope this quote has inspired you as well, to do the things you want to see in this world.

August’s Instagram 2015

I thought I’ll do a monthly sharing review of crafting related pictures on my Instagram account since they won’t appear on the blog otherwise. So here are all the pictures for the month of August:

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My first page in my brand new Midori Traveller’s notebook. I bought the kraft pages one because I thought it would be less see through than white and it has sewn binding rather than staples.
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First proper sketch that I did and I’m quite happy with how it turned out. Done in my morning journal, which I created as part of Amy Tangerine’s creative handbook.
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This was a page from my smashbook, featuring my visit to the Fifty Years of Singapore Design exhibition that I talked about in a previous post.
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A sketch of an orange in my morning journal because I feel like it. Couldn’t manage to get a right shade of orange, but I manage to get over it. Did you notice the texture of the orange slices?
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Another morning journal sketch, featuring a tea bag. And this is also the point where I decide that I don’t like Chai.
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My blackout poem from Amy Tangerine’s creative handbook. This exercise is inspired by Austin Kleon’s trademark blackout poems. It is actually quite therapeutic to be blacking out all the words that don’t matter. Also, I recommend anyone who does creative work to read Austin Kleon! (I read Steal like an Artist.)
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A page spread from my Midori Traveller’s notebook. This is like a scrapbook page, but I wanted to work on something smaller scale than a 12×12 layout so I choose this instead.
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This artwork is the prime example of what Julie Fei-Fan Balzer would call a creative opportunity – I wanted to mix green and blue with a little bit of white but ended up squeezing out a giant blob of white instead and ended up with this pretty colour that I wouldn’t get otherwise. Created on cardboard packaging, and finished up with some fussy-cut stamped flowers and hand stitching of my handwriting script. This is currently adorning a door in my craft cupboard.