Friday, September 21, 2018

The Creature Garden Review & GIVEAWAY

The fantastic cover drew my attention. Inside is just as wonderful. WOW! Enter the world of  Zanna and Harry Goldhawk, wife and husband. The Creature Garden: An Illustrator's Guide to Beautiful Beasts & Fictional Fauna. In several pages of introduction the authors open up about their artistic journey from students through starting their own business Papio Press. It includes discussion and valuable advice on topics such as drawing animals, tools, materials, progress, sketchbooks, tutorials and patterns. The bulk of their book features over 50 stunning tutorials showing how to draw and paint mammals, ocean life, birds, insects, mythical creatures and botanicals. I have included a sample below. Each lesson is similar in format. All begin with the armature - which I've learned is the use of basic shapes to draw the animal (circles, squares, triangles, rectangles). You will find plenty of illustration instruction, inspiration galore and tons of art bursting with life. Rock Point Publishing released this 160 page hardcover on May 29, 2018. Get your copy below!






WHITE HARE (Lepus Timidus)

Though some people think hares are rodents, they're not - hares and rabbits have their own genus, Leporidae. Although they may be considered common, hares are extraordinary animals. Their back legs can power them to speeds of up to 45 mph when they're in danger.

STEP 1. Create the hare's armature (see page 22), focusing on the haunches, where it stores the ability to quickly run and jump. A hare in motion is stretched and elongated, so make the rest of the body long and thin.

STEP 2. Using your base color, outline the hare. In a dark color fill i the hares tiny, dark eyes, whiskers, inner ear, and background limbs. Erase or paint over the shapes.

STEP 3 AND 4. Fill in the hare's body with the base color, using long, even brushstrokes. Once filled in, add a few simple accents with a darker color to the belly, limbs, and head.

Whenever I draw hares and rabbits, I always over-exaggerate the ears because they're such recognizable features, but you should also pay close attention to the back legs. Even though they appear to be similar to the shape of many mammals' back legs, a hare's back feet are longer.

Here we've drawn our hare in motion, with its ears and legs in play. As seen above, we used lighter strokes to outline the hare, and applied patterns that appear to fly backward on the body - all of which conveys the speed of a hare as it bounds off a the first sight of the family dog!

Page 90 & 91.

Back cover of my copy.

The Creature Garden is available worldwide at Rock Point Gift & Stationery. Check our their unique catalog at Rock Point Gift & Stationery. Rock Point Gift & Stationery is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until October 11, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

Tuesday, September 04, 2018


In CUT PAPER PICTURES expert collage artist Clover Robin shows how to Turn Your Art and Photos into Personalized Collages. She says 'My collages aren't just a form of self-expression; they are a documentation, a record of things I've seen and done.' This personal element appeals to me very much. She begins with the basics of collage, the tools and materials, how to color and store your papers and inspiration. This includes a basic step-by-step collage exercise. Next Clover breaks down precisely how she composes her collages, layer by layer - from subject to methods and techniques. She includes lots of step-by-step collage exercises experimenting with color, composition, medium and theme. I like to glean all the tips I can, particularly from someone who does it so well. This is a wonderful art instruction book on collage. It's a very pretty book loaded with colorful collage throughout. And as a bonus it includes 12 collage papers featuring unique colors, patterns and styles. The pages measure 8.4 x 10.4 inches (21.3 x 26.4 cm) and are perforated for easy removal. Use for your own collage makingRock Point Publishing released this 184 page hardcover on August 21, 2018. Get your copy below!


About This Book

Collage Basics
Types of Paper
Coloring Papers
Storing Your Scraps
Finding Inspiration
Step-by-Step: Basic Collage

Collage Themes
Flowers and Plants
Bugs and Birds

Lettering and Patterns
Landscapes and Building a Theme
Creating Artwork From Photos
Closing Snips

About the Author
Paper Patterns

Collage artist Clover Robin.

Collage kit.

CUT PAPER PICTURES is available worldwide at Rock Point Gift & Stationery. Check our their unique catalog at Rock Point Gift & Stationery. Rock Point Gift & Stationery is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA.

Back cover of my copy of book.

Seaside collage by Clover Robin

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Crafting with Wooden Crates & Pallets Review & GIVEAWAY

Want to get in on the trend of re-purposing wooden crates and pallets? In her new book Crafting with Wooden Crates & Pallets author Natalie Wright shows you how with 25 Simple Projects to Style Your Home. You will learn creative ways to turn ordinary wooden crates and pallets into useful, attractive and inexpensive home decor. Natalie guides you through building, painting and finishing a variety of clever do-it-yourself projects including making your own crate. Each design includes a list of the supplies you will need and step-by-step instructions accompanied by plenty of full-color photos. Most of the crate projects in this book use 12 1/2" x 18" x 9 1/2" crates. It's a standard size. Other projects use pallet wood or vintage crates. As discussed in the book's introduction, you will need to assemble some basic woodworking tools. These include things like a measuring tape, hammer, screwdriver, drill, saws, safety goggles, sandpaper, wood glue and more. I've included a few of my favorite pieces below. The 160 page paperback was released August 15, 2018 from Dover PublicationsGet your copy below!



How to Build a Crate
Crate Storage Shelves
Hanging Crate Nightstands
Crate Bookshelf
Crate Footstool

Crate Side Table
Crate Bench
Kids' Crate Storage
Crate Desk
Crate Pet Bed

Vintage Soda Crate Storage
Crate Plant Stand
Vintage Crate Fairy Garden
Crate Lemonade Stand
Crate Planter Box

Hanging Flowers Pallet
Pallet Wood Dominoes
Pallet Wood Sign
Pallet Wood Storage Box
Decoupage Crate

Roller Toy Box
Crate Doll Wardrobe
Crate Toolbox
Crate Pet Caddy
Crate Puppet Theater

Crate Storage Shelves page 8.

Crate Bookshelf page 20.

Crate Bench page 38.

Crafting with Wooden Crates & Pallets
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 September 16, 2018. Canada & USA. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Geninne Zlatkis 2018 - 2019 On-the-Go Weekly Planner Review

I prefer a paper planner. I like to write things down. This one is so lovely that as soon as I saw it I had to have it! It's the Geninne Zlatkis 2018 - 2019 On-the-Go Weekly Planner. Every time I look at it I smile. It showcases the delightful avian artwork of Geninne D. Zlatkis. It has all of the desirable features I require - they are listed below. My favorite is it's handy size. The pages are printed on high quality paper. It begins August 1, 2018 so I'm already using it. There are many benefits to using a planner including saving time and making life easier. This 224 page calendar was released May 15, 2018 from Amber Lotus Publishing. Make everyday beautiful! Get your copy below!

Geninne Zlatkis 2018-2019 Planner

  • 5" x 7" weekly planner (10" x 7" open).
  • 17-month calendar — August 2018 through December 2019 — perfect for school and academic planning.
  • Uplifting graphics by Geninne D Zlatkis guide you through the weeks.
  • The perfect gift for creative inspiration.
  • Monthly 2-page-spread views facilitate big-picture planning.
  • Weekly spreads with ample writing space.
  • Extra lined pages to record notes and reminders.
  • Elastic band closure.
  • Inside pocket for storing receipts and mementos.
  • Wire-O binding offers lie-flat ease and convenience.
  • Printed on paper sourced from a combination of sustainably managed forests and recycled materials.
  • Published by Amber Lotus, an independent carbon-negative US company that has planted more than half a million trees since 2008.
  • This calendar features US and Canadian legal holidays, phases of the moon, and important observances of the world's major religions.

The Geninne Zlatkis 2018 - 2019 On-the-Go Weekly Planner is available worldwide at Amber Lotus Publishing. Based in Portland, Oregon, Amber Lotus Publishing is a carbon-negative independent publisher of mind-body-spirit themed calendars, coloring books, greeting cards, and journals. Check out their unique catalog at Amber Lotus Publishing.

Back cover of my copy of this gorgeous planner.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Paint & Frame: Botanical Painting: Review & GIVEAWAY

Display your creativity! Paint & Frame: Botanical Painting: Nearly 20 Inspired Projects to Paint and Frame Instantly by Sara Boccaccini Meadows. Textile designer and illustrator Boccaccini Meadows shows you how to create charming mini watercolors in her coveted style. This kit includes a book, watercolor paper and frames. The full-color instruction book has 17 step-by-step watercolor projects. I have listed them all in the Contents below. I have also included a demo video of the Miniature Cacti project from page 32. In it we get a glimpse of Boccaccini Meadows working on an illustration from beginning to end, including painting the frame. Note the watercolor paper and frame in the video. They are the same ones included in the kit. You get five sheets of creamy 4 x 6" watercolor paper and three white 6 x 7" frames. At the very end of this post I have included the Coneflowers project from pages 24 - 27. It's an example of how well all of the projects are arranged. You can see that Boccaccini Meadows includes a specific list of the materials she uses. You may do the same or choose your own. Boccaccini Meadows makes painting very approachable. With her book I feel like I too can create lovely one-of-a-kind pieces and display them. This 96 page paperback was released July 3, 2018 from Race Point Publishing. Get your copy below!


Playing with Color

Botanical Gardens
Prickly Pear Cactus
Ditzy Wildflowers
Summer Floral Pattern
Miniature Cacti

The Beach

Ferns, Moss & Lichen

My Neighborhood
Stoop Plants

And Finally
Decorating the Frames
About the Author

Check out this excellent demo video by Boccaccini Meadows and see how lovely these handcrafted paintings can be!

Pages 38 - 39 of the Butterflies project.

Paint & Frame: Botanical Painting is available worldwide at Race Point Publishing. Check out their unique catalog at Race Point Publishing. Race Point Publishing is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy of Botanical Painting! One winner will be selected at random. Open until August 31, 2018. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

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Princeton size 2 round watercolor brush 
Watercolor pan 
Holbein Acryla Pale Pink gouache 
Holbein Acryla Beige gouache 
Princeton size 0 round watercolor brush 
Fine Line Black Sharpie 
Sakura Pigma Micron Pen (Size 02) 
Winsor & Newton Perylene Green watercolor paint


These flowers always amaze me! They draw me in when I start to see them bloom in the summertime. I love the wide range of colors they come in and the repetitive patterns they make, especially when I see a clump of them from above.

1. Use the size 2 round brush and a watereddown sepia reddish-brown color from the watercolor pan to begin painting the 'noses' of the coneflowers. I paint these as triangles with rounded edges and dot them sparsely around the page.

2. Now it’s time to paint the pretty petals onto some of the flowers. Use the Pale Pink gouache and the size 2 round brush to create thin umbrella-like petals. I like to vary the color of my flowers, so I only use the pink for a few of them.

3. Finish the remaining flowers using the Beige gouache. Set the painting aside to dry for approximately 10 minutes.

4. Using the size 0 round brush, load it with red paint from your pan. Paint little dots on the sepia 'nose' that you painted in step 1. Set the painting aside to dry completely, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Using the black fine line Sharpie, draw a dotted line between the 'nose' of the flower and the petals.

5. Next, use the Micron pen to add line details to the petals; a single line down the center of each petal adds nice dimension.

6. Finally, use the Perylene Green paint to add the stem and leaves and join the flowers together into a bouquet. Set the painting aside to dry completely, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy your painting!

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Geninne's Art: Birds in Watercolor, Collage, and Ink REVIEW

The wonderful cover of this book caught my attention. Inside is a feast for the eyes. Geninne's Art: Birds in Watercolor, Collage, and Ink: A field guide to art techniques and observing in the wild by Geninne D. Zlatkis. It includes 32 pages of fabulous 8.6 x 10 inch (21.9 x 25.4 cm) original art collage paper. These pages are perforated for easy removal. Geninne shares the intimate details of how she nurtures her creativity. We get to see how she sets up her work space and the tools and materials she chooses. Geninne shows how she uses photography - the details of which find their way into her work. In the chapters on Watercolor, Collage and Drawing with Ink we see her work from field to finish. This book is a keeper. I will read it front to back. I've already had several light bulb moments! The 160 page paperback was released on June 12, 2018 from publisher Quarry Books. Get your copy below!


Birds and Me 

The Studio 
Ways of Working 
Tools and Materials

First Photos
Which Lens and Setting?
Phone Shots
When to Shoot

Vermillion Flycatcher
Notes on Watercolor
The Secret
Mountain Bluebirds

Chilean Pelican on the Rocks
Black-and-White Warbler
Notes on Collage
Cactus Birds
Cactus Wren

Sparrow King
Paint Chips
Notes on Drawing with Ink
Singing Raven
Great Tailed Crackles
Label Birds

Collage Papers
About the Author

Pages 8 & 9.

Pages 4 & 5.

Page 42.

Image on back cover.

Geninne shows you the pages of her book.

Image result for Geninne's Art: Birds in Watercolor, Collage, and Ink: A field guide to art techniques and observing in the wild by Geninne D. Zlatkis.

Birds in Watercolor, Collage, and Ink is available worldwide at Quarry Books, a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Check out their unique catalog at Quarry Books.