Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Canvas Factory Review & GIVEAWAY

This is my Canvas Factory experience. I just ordered my first ever custom canvas print. The Canvas Factory is a global photo to canvas printer. A canvas is created when an image is printed onto canvas and then stretched or gallery wrapped onto a frame ready for display or hanging. Currently there is a limited time store wide special - 65% off Canadian & USA sizes. Delivery to Canada is capped at CAD$12.84 and is free for orders over CAD$129. Delivery to the USA is capped at US$9.95 and is free for orders over US$100.



After browsing their database of 25 million images I chose the above high quality image from their Butterfly Category. You may also upload your own photos. I customized my butterfly canvas by choosing the material and style, size and shape, wrap style and effect. You may also add text, rotate or zoom and adjust your image. When you are happy with your canvas simply add it to the shopping cart, select shipping and pay safely. Gift certificates are available. On March 27 I placed my order. Afterwards I received an email copy of my invoice, followed by a print preview requiring my confirmation. Shortly after my Canada Post tracking number arrived. I used it to track the delivery status of my canvas from China to my home in Ontario, Canada.


On April 12 my canvas arrives safely. Canada Post required a signature. I can't wait to open it! It's packaged in heavy cardboard. Inside, the canvas is wrapped in clear plastic with the corners protected. All I have to do is display or hang it. I'm thrilled!









My 20" x 16" (50 x 40 cm) butterfly canvas.


Neat corners.

Create your own framed prints now at the Canvas Factory. The Canvas Factory has generously offered to giveaway a custom framed canvas print measuring 20" x 16" (50 x 40 cm)! One winner will be selected at random. Open until May 8, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!



Friday, April 06, 2018

Creating Celtic Knotwork Review & GIVEAWAY

Want to learn the art of Celtic knotwork? Get started right away with Creating Celtic Knotwork: A Fresh Approach to Traditional Design by Cari Buziak. It's an in-depth Celtic knotwork instruction book with drawing tutorials. You only need a pencil, eraser, ruler and dot paper. The author makes dot paper from graph paper and uses it as a template for drawing knots. She includes both regular and spiral dot paper templates for photocopying. Or you can make your own. The dot paper helps with the ease and consistency of building Celtic knots. It's ideal for practice. I know nothing about Celtic knotwork though I admire and am curious about it. I gather my supplies and sit down with the book open to page 2 where the author jumps right into the tutorials. I take my time. Between the text and the drawings I work it out - draw, connect, erase - repeat. Continue the exercises at your own pace. The topics covered are shown below in the Contents. You will also find inspirational artwork, information on the art's meaning and history, practical aspects and encouragement to experiment with your own knotwork. This 128 page paperback was released January 16, 2018 from Dover PublicationsGet your copy below!


CONTENTS

The Basics
GETTING READY
BASIC CELTIC KNOTWORK
MODIFYING THE BASIC KNOT
KNOTTING VARIATIONS
EXERCISES
THE TREE FOIL KNOT

Borders & Corners
BORDERS
CORNERS
KNOTTING IN A RING

Crosses
THE CELTIC CROSS
THE RINGED CROSS

Spirals
DOUBLE SPIRALS
TRIPLE SPIRALS 
JOINING SPIRALS

Maze & Step Patterns
MAZE PATTERNS
STEP PATTERNS

Zoomorphics
SNAKES AND DRAGONS
Snake to dragon transformation
Turning a knot into a dragon

CELTIC ANIMALS
The Celtic Hound
The Celtic Lion
The Celtic Bird

CELTIC PEOPLE
Celtic Man
Celtic Woman
Hairstyles & Beards

VINE & CHALICE

Techniques & Materials
TRANSFERRING A DESIGN
PEN & INK
ACRYLICS
WATERCOLORS
PAPER

Biography
Dot Paper
Dot Paper: ring style

 A dot paper square.

Nouvueau Tulips by C Buziak © page 15.

Creating Celtic Knotwork is available worldwide at Dover Publications. Dover, Great Books, Variety & Value Since 1941. Check out their catalog at Dover Publications. Dover has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until April 26, 2018. Canada & USA. Good luck!

Spiral Cross by C Buziak © page 47.

Back cover of my copy of book.








Friday, March 30, 2018

Love Colored Pencils Review & GIVEAWAY

Hey You. Want to learn how to color? Just add colored pencils, a sharpener and blending stump to this fun new book Love Colored Pencils: How to Get Awesome at Drawing: An Interactive Draw-in-the-Book Journal by Vivian Wong. This popular young Instagram artist, known for her fantastical colored pencil illustrations shares the methods she uses to color on large 8.5"  x 10" pages. Publisher: Quarry Books released the 128 page paperback on February 6, 2018. The format is demo and "try it yourself". Vivian demonstrates a technique, or colors in a subject, and then provides a dedicated space for the reader to practice. Chapter One covers techniques. Chapter Two how to color portraits - the eyes, noses, lips, skin and hair. Chapter Three how to color feathers, fur and flowers. Then use your new skills alone or in various combinations to create your own masterpieces. Get your copy below!


 
CONTENTS
Meet Vivian

Chapter One: Tools and techniques
Tool and Materials
Holding your Pencil
Pressure
Hatching
Crosshatching
Stippling
Blending
Vivian's "Go-To" Colors
Color Mixes
Knowing the Color Spectrum
What is Tone?
Bringing it all together

Chapter Two: How to color
Eyes
Noses
Lips
Skin
Hair

Chapter Three: My favorite things
Feathers: Owl
Fur: Leopard
Flowers

Index and Credits

Artist and author Vivian Wong.






















Page 30 and 31. Demo page on the left. "Try it yourself" practice page on right. Large 8.5"  x 10" pages.


My copy the book and colored pencils.

Love Colored Pencils is available worldwide at Quarry Books, a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Check out their unique catalog at Quarry Books. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until April 19, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Apron Book Review & GIVEAWAY

Every time I pick it up I end up reading more than I intended. It's an updated edition of The Apron Book: Making, Wearing, and Sharing a Bit of Cloth and Comfort by award-winning author EllynAnne Geisel. Originally published in 2006 it is now in reprint. A 152 page softcover, with flaps, became available November 7, 2017 from Andrews McMeel Publishing. EllynAnne Geisel is creator of the popular traveling exhibit Apron Chronicles: A Patchwork of American Recollections. Her book is suitable for those who admire, sew or collect aprons. In this meaningful look back at the apron, from function to fashion, the author examines the apron in all its forms. She includes wonderful stories, patterns, recipes, and household hints. Inside is a full-size bib apron pattern and four basic apron patterns - a waist, bib, smock and child's apron - along with a myriad of variations. According to EllynAnne, "Aprons don't hold us back, they take us back" - the very reason for the apron's status as today's hottest collectible. Get your copy today!


CONTENTS

Foreword
Introduction

Chapter 1 Aprons: An Odyssey

Chapter 2 The Anatomy of an Apron

Chapter 3 Aprons in the Kitchen

Chapter 4 All Around the House

Chapter 5 Backyard Daddy

Chapter 6 Maid in America: Aprons on the Job

Chapter 7 Jingle Belle: Aprons for Holidays, Entertaining, Special Occasions

Chapter 8 Not Your Grandma's Apron

Chapter 9 Apron Memories

Photo credits
Acknowledgements
Index


Delightful mini coke bottle aprons from the Erin McDaniels Owens family on page 86. Her story stayed with me.

EllynAnne Giesel

EllynAnne Geisel


The Apron Book is available at Andrews McMeel Publishing. Check out their unique catalog at Andrew McMeel Publishing. Andrews McMeel Publishing has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until April 10, 2018. Canada & the USA only. Good luck!





Thursday, March 15, 2018

Badass Babe Workbook Review & GIVEAWAY

I've been carefully looking over the just released Badass Babe Workbook by Julie Van GrolShe's the illustrator of 100 Days of Badass Babes, a popular social media series highlighting influential women. The series is the precursor to this, her first book. The 176 page paperback features "creative exercises, drawing activities, empowering stories, and fuel for your personal evolution, inspired by over 100 trailblazing women." This energizing workbook is for girls and women. You will meet over 100 accomplished women from very diverse backgrounds. Be inspired by the obstacles they face and overcome. Explore important issues facing women today. Complete a variety of engaging creative exercises woven throughout the chapters. These include drawing, writing and collage. And the most important part - discovering your own unique story. March is Women's History Month in the US. Make your mark! Get your copy below! 


CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
What is this book for?
Who is this book for?
Hearing and telling stories
What will you find in this book?
Assembling your toolkit
How do you do your best work?

SELF-CARE, CREATIVITY AND OUR STORIES
Starting with self-care
Art changes the world
Art facilitates understanding
Art connects us through common experience

STEPS TO EMPOWERMENT
Groundbreaking women
Babes in math and science
Drawing parts of the face
The portrait spectrum
Funny babes (part 1)
Babes in sports (part 1)
Writing tips
Learning from the wisdom the the greats
Activist babes
Musical badasses
Expressive drawing

REDEFINING FEMININE
Challengers of gender constructs
Firsts & boundary-breakers
Defying conventions with fashion
Going head to head with dudes

EXPANDING WHAT WE SEE AS POSSIBLE
Funny babes (part 2)
Babes in sports (part 2)
Drawing the figure
Miscellaneous badassery
Overcoming impossible odds

MORE TALES OF BADASSERY
Advocates for education
Spreading awareness
Challenging arbitrary beauty and body standards
Lady business: babes changing the workplace
Judiciary babes
Contemporary activists

CLOSING WORDS OF WISDOM
Babe index
About the author
Acknowledgements


Kathleen Hanna by Julie Van Grol. 

The text below is from page 108.

Kathleen Hanna is best known as the front woman for Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, both feminist rock bands. She was truly a pioneer for making space for girls and women in the punk scene by making her activism an essential part of her music and performances. GIRLS TO THE FRONT!

Using punk flyers for inspiration, make a cut-and-paste flyer for an event you have coming up or one that you would like to make happen. Even if you're the only one to ever see it, let it help you get pumped. 


This is my flyer for an origami event. I've had some ideas swirling around my head for sometime but it never occurred to me to explore them on paper.

The Badass Babe Workbook is available worldwide at Quarry Books, a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Check out their unique catalog at Quarry Books. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until April 4, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

Stone Painting for Kids Review & GIVEAWAY

Put collecting and painting stones on your summer bucket list! Expert stone painter and best selling author of The Art of Stone Painting F. Sehnaz Bac is back with an issue for children called Stone Painting for Kids: Designs to Spark Your Creativity. The author shares her uncomplicated technique of stone painting with step-by-step instructions, accompanied by large, full-color photographs. Learn how to pick and prepare your stones for painting and what supplies and techniques work best. This kid friendly volume starts with simple projects like numbers and letters, then progresses to more detailed designs - suitable for both girls and boys. It is packed with appealing designs all done using easily found, inexpensive materials -  pencil, acrylic paint, brushes, paint pens and acrylic varnish. Her painting method is well-tested. She sells her exquisite stones on Etsy. There are very clever ideas of what to do with your finished painted stones - some for play and some for learning. Get your copy below.



CONTENTS

Stone Painting: A Totally Fun Thing to Do!

Geometric Shapes
Numbers
Letters
Hearts
Faces
Multipebble Flowers
Mushrooms
Dominoes
Shellfish
Chess
Multipebble Rabbit
Words
Flowers
Houses
Shell Butterfly
Vehicles
The Sky
Animals
Tic-Tac-Toe
Multipebble People
Memory Game
Blackboard Stones
Washi Tape on Stones

Bonus
Stone Play
Mathematics
Scenes & Themes
Story Telling Stones
Spelling Game

About the Author





Stone Painting for Kids is available worldwide at Dover Publications. Dover, Great Books, Variety & Value Since 1941. Check out their catalog at Dover Publications. Dover has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until March 18, 2018. Canada & USA. Good luck!




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Red-crowned Crane by F. Sehnaz Bac




Monday, February 26, 2018

Folk Art Fusion: Americana Review & GIVEAWAY

Learn to draw and paint charming American folk art with a colorful, modern twist in Folk Art Fusion: Americana by Joy Laforme. The self-taught artist and illustrator shares her process of art making layer-by-layer in 16 simple painting projects. Each with large, step-by-step color photos and text instruction. She makes it look easy. Her tools are paper, pencil, pastel pencil, acrylic paint and brushes. She tells what to use for each painting. Her creative process begins with saving inspirational photos, keeping a sketchbook, sketching a pencil outline and creating a color palette. Her work is lovely. Laforme gets her inspiration from nature - gardens, flowers, birds, cottages, trees - and more. Some of the paintings from the book are below, along with some from her web-site. A gallery at the rear of the book showcases more of her quaint paintings and will further spark your imagination. The 128 page paperback was released in February of 2018 from Walter Foster PublishingGet your copy below!


Table of Contents

Introduction
What is American Folk Art?
Tools & Materials
Painting Techniques
Perspective & the Naive Style
Drawing Exercise
Creating a Color Palette

Painting Projects
Wildflower Still Life
Songbird
Wash Day
The Cake Shop
Welcome Home Pineapple
Lighthouse by the Sea
Flower Cottage
Independence Day
Tree of Life
Yarn It All
Pumpkin Cove
The Pumpkin Patch
Christmas Dove
Snowy Night
 Let It Snow
Peace in the City

Inspiration Gallery
About the Author


Colonial Winter by Joy LaForme. 
From Folk Art Fusion: Americana.


Bluejay Cottage by Joy Laforme
Bluejay Cottage by Joy LaForme.
From Folk Art Fusion: Americana.


 The Corner Cupcake by Joy LaForme.
From Folk Art Fusion: Americana.


Stitcherie by Joy LaForme.


Folk Art Fusion: Americana is available worldwide at Walter Foster Publishing, a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Walter Foster is one of the most recognized names in art instruction. Check out their unique catalog at Walter Foster Publications. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy of Folk Art Fusion: Americana! One winner will be selected at random. Open until March 12, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!



Bleeding Heart Still Life (from Folk Art Fusion: Americana) by Joy Laforme
Bleeding Heart Still Life by Joy LaForme.
From Folk Art Fusion: Americana.


Wildflower Still Life by Joy Laforme
Wildflower Still Life by Joy LaForme.


Staffordshire Still Life no. 2 by Joy Laforme
Staffordshire Teapot Still Life no. 2 by Joy LaForme.



Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fanciful Sea Life Coloring Book Review & GIVEAWAY

Creative Haven is a bestselling series of adult coloring books from Dover PublicationsMarjorie Sarnat is a best-selling author and illustrator of the wildly popular "Creative Cats Coloring Book" and "Owls Coloring Book". They have teamed up again to create the just released Fanciful Sea Life Coloring Book. Experienced colorists will appreciate the detail in this enchanting underwater world. This issue contains 31 original illustrations for you to color using your own colored pencils and/or fine markers. Immerse yourself in a variety of images including exotic fish, sea shells, aquatic plants, mermaids and more. There are 3 sample pages below - dolphins (cover), turtle and sea horses. The pages are on good quality 8" x 11" paper, single-sided and perforated so you can easily tear out, share, display and even frame your works-of-art. At $ 5.99 US and $ 8 CDN the coloring book is excellent value. It is printed in the USA. Have fun. Express creativity. Reduce stress. Get your copy below!


Image result for Creative Haven Fanciful Sea Life Coloring Book
Sea Turtle


The Fanciful Sea Life Coloring Book is available worldwide at Dover Publications. Dover, Great Books, Variety & Value Since 1941. Check out their catalog at Dover Publications. Dover has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until March 7, 2018. Canada & USA. Good luck!


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Friday, February 16, 2018

The Little Book of Sketching Review & GIVEAWAY

If you think you can't or don't have time to draw, this 128 page softcover, released November 2017 from Walter Foster Publishing, shows you - you can and you do. The Little Book of Sketching: More than 100 quirky and clever ideas for sketching your way through daily life by Matt Andrews. It includes some pages to practice on. Recapture what you had when you were little and could easily turn out drawings. The format consists of a theme and step-by-step exercises, followed by open pages with drawing prompts. The author's tools of choice are sticky notes, a pencil, ball point pen and humor. Mine is a #2 pencil and journal. You choose yours. Then step-by-step he shows you how to draw your way through the day, finding inspiration in the ordinary, capturing moments of time that may otherwise have passed. He gives you plenty of ideas on how to approach drawing, making it easier to get started. This will get your pen or pencil moving and make you smile. Part of The Little Book of ... series. "In this new series from Walter Foster Publishing, artists and art hobbyists alike will delight in learning a variety of fun and interesting art topics in a portable format boasting a fresh, contemporary design." Get your copy below!


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
How to Use This Book
Supplies

The World Is Your Oyster: Finding Material
A Day in the Life
Coffee Break
A Trip to the Optician
A Quick Drink with Friends

Sketching for Stress Relief
Dr Tooth
The Big Speech
Gotta Pass That Test
Just a Little Blood
Up in the Air

Sticky Note Sketching
On a Conference Call
Friday Afternoon Meetings
A World of Stationery
Going Postal
The Big Business Function

With Friends & Family
All About Baby
Matching Sweaters
Season's Greetings
A Day at the Beach

Travel: Not Just the Destination
Don't You Just Love Airports
I Wish I Were a Bus Driver
Stuck in Traffic
Airborne
One Foot in Front of the Other

Your Home Is Your Castle
Wear Your Badge With Pride
Falling to Pieces
Movie Night
Taking a Line for a Walk
Me, Myself, and I

Once You Start, You Can't Stop
Your Gallery
My Gallery

About the Artist




The Little Book of Sketching is available worldwide at Walter Foster Publishing, a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Walter Foster is one of the most recognized names in art instruction. Check out their unique catalog at Walter Foster Publications. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy of The Little Book of Sketching! One winner will be selected at random. Open until March 4, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!


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Friday, February 09, 2018

The Little Book of Lettering & Word Design Review & GIVEAWAY

Want to create stunning calligraphy and hand lettering? New from Walter Foster Publishing this is The Little Book of Lettering & Word Design: More than 50 tips and techniques for mastering a variety of stylish, elegant, and contemporary hand-written alphabets by Cari Ferraro and‎ John Stevens. Inside the meaty 128 page softback you will find approachable instruction on calligraphy, lettering and word design. It begins with the basic tools and materials of calligraphy followed by techniques and includes numerous stroke-by-stroke alphabet templates and specially lined and blank pages to practice your letters. Part II explores the addition of color, starting with tools and materials and moving on to embellishing with colored lettering, illumination, backgrounds and flourishes - all shown in detailed step-by-step diagrams. Third is creative hand-lettering or doodling with plenty of inspirational samples, letter exercises and practice pages to explore your own style. And finally, put your new skills to use with some lettering projects, in particular lettered wall art. Part of The Little Book of ... series. "In this new series from Walter Foster Publishing, artists and art hobbyists alike will delight in learning a variety of fun and interesting art topics in a portable format boasting a fresh, contemporary design." Get your copy below! 


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction

Part I:  Traditional Calligraphy
Tools & Materials
Basic Techniques
Skeleton
Foundational
Uncial
Runic Versals
Versals
Italic
Blackletter
Contemporary Calligraphic Styles
Brushstroke
Fun & Funky
Quirky & Curlicue

Part II:  Illuminated & Colored Lettering
 Tools & Materials
Lettering in Color
Illuminated Letters
Illuminated Ancient Runic Style
Illuminated Gothic Letter
Backgrounds & Flourishes

Part III:  Creative Hand-Lettering
Fun with Letters & Numbers
Doodled Letter Composition
Doodled Number Composition

Part IV:  Lettering Projects
Brush-Lettered Wall Art
Watercolor-Lettered Wall Art
Gouache & Watercolor Wall Art
Digitizing Your Lettering
Watercolor Gift Tags

About the Authors

A photo I took of page 17, terminology. Ductus in red. The term "ductus" refers to the direction and sequence of the strokes. 

The Little Book of Lettering & Word Design is available worldwide at Walter Foster Publishing, a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Walter Foster is one of the most recognized names in art instruction. Check out their unique catalog at Walter Foster Publications. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy of The Little Book of Lettering & Word Design! One winner will be selected at random. Open until February 24, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!