• Features

    Kids Artwork – Choosing what to Keep

    It’s a perennial problem – of all the mountains of artwork that young children produce, how much of it should you keep? Maybe you are sufficiently ‘ruthless’  to be able to throw it away without a qualm, but at the other extreme if you are a hoarder like me, you may find it difficult to throw any of it away.  There comes a time however when rational decisions have to be made if you’re not to be swamped. But how to make them? It can be difficult to create hard and fast rules here, because what makes something special for one person will be entirely different for another, and ultimately…

  • Features

    Photographing Children’s Artwork

    If you want to take photos of your children’s artwork for your own projects, perhaps to create your own cards, or to make a photograph, the quality of the photograph is of huge importance. For this reason, I thought it might be worthwhile offering a few simple pointers to getting the best image you can. After all, not everyone has access to a home scanner, and if the artwork is large, then your average home scanner is not an option. At this point I should make it clear that it’s not necessary to have a super dooper all singing all dancing camera to get a good photograph – these days…

  • children's-art-cards
    Freebies,  Projects

    Children’s Art Cards

    The summer holidays are over, and the kids are back at school – I will miss the morning lie-ins, but I confess that it’s with something of a sigh of relief that I’ve waved them back to school – at least now I can get on with the huge backlog of tasks that have lain undone for weeks while they were off. Their childhood is so different from my own. Summer holidays as I remember them were ones where we were left almost totally to entertain ourselves, whereas now I seem to be my children’s entertainment manager. So I have a huge backlog of arty activities we’ve been busy with…

  • Reviews

    Book Review: Fill in the Blank

    I don’t often do reviews on Artful Adventures, in fact I think it’s been about a year since I last did one, at least in response to a direct invitation. This is partly because I don’t seek such invitations, and partly because those products which I am offered for review are rarely either relevant to my subject matter, or of any interest to me. However this one was different. I am a particular fan of books which encourage creativity, and I especially like the genre of Doodle books which invite you to add to them in some way. It’s not that I don’t like colouring books, which I think have…

  • Projects

    Chalkboard Stones

    There’s definitely a trend for all things chalkboard at the moment, and it’s a trend that I love. After completing my chalkboard gallery wall last year, I had a little bit of paint left over, ideal for small projects but nothing more. So far I’ve used it to paint chalkboard labels onto my kitchen storage jars, and now I have used a bit more for this project to create a new twist on a classic children’s art activity.We needed a small gift for the boys to make for their father’s birthday, so I decided to use some of the larger stones I collected from the beach last year to create…

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    Nature,  Projects

    Botanical Papers – Part 2

    So, you’ve scanned in your plant material and created your botanical wrapping paper and tags, but what else can you do with those scanned images? If you have access to some digital photography software it’s really easy to use those images to create some special writing paper. To create the wrapping paper below, I cropped a detail from the original scanned image, and enlarged it to A4 size (you could just as easily make it A5 if you wanted smaller paper). I then made the image semi-transparent by reducing the opacity to about 40% of the original (the actual level varied for each image).     To accompany the writing…

  • Nature,  Projects

    Botanical Papers – Part 1

    This project uses a humble office scanner and foraged natural materials to produce simple decorative papers with a wide range of uses. As regular readers of Artful Adventures will know, one of my favourite creative tools is our home scanner. I love the way it is simple to use, and creates images which are somehow both 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional at the same time. This project is one of those which started off with us all experimenting with the effects we could get using natural materials on the scanner, as indeed we have in the past, but ended up with me continuing alone, to push some of those ideas further. This…

  • Features

    Making Arty Party Pieces

    It’s all been a bit hectic here recently, so I didn’t get a chance to post last week. What with sickness (mine), injury (husband’s), life in general, and the fact that I’m in the process of trying to complete a major project at the moment (watch this space as hopefully all will be revealed shortly) time is a bit short for blogging and creative activity with the kids. So it was rather nice to be invited to a craft themed birthday party for a change. We’ve been to lots of 5th birthday parties recently, the vast majority of which have been in one local play centre or another. The kids…

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    Scribble & Splat Window Clings

    I’m a bit late posting this time, simply because I haven’t had the weather to allow me to photograph this project. We’ve had non-stop rain and gloom, so the light has been really poor. The river outside our front door is in spate, really full and fast-flowing, and lots of places (fortunately not us) have had further flooding. Still, during a momentary gap in the clouds this weekend (and I mean momentary), I managed to grab the camera, so that I could get this post up at long last. These window clings were born of further experimentation with the string-gel medium once again. I had half a jar to use up,…

  • Features

    The Art of Travel

    There is a long history of artwork created while out and about. From the truly inspirational sketchbooks of JMW Turner to the ‘plein air’ art of the impressionists, art produced ‘on the spot’ often has something which art created later from notes, photographs, memory etc. lacks. Travelling or going away on holiday is also no excuse for kids to stop being creative – in fact it offers lots of new sights, materials and inspiration for artwork. The opportunities are not just confined to those while you’re actually away, but the time before and after your trip can also be used to get creative with a travel theme. Here are just a…

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    Materials & Techniques,  Nature,  Techniques

    Fun with Frottage

    One of the things I most love about art is its sensual qualities. Art can be many things, but for me it’s the visual and tactile elements of art that I especially enjoy, and which I think are also particularly fun for children to explore. I’ve always had a particular attraction to texture especially – as an art student, I spent a lot of time seeking out ruined dilapidated buildings to paint because of the wonderful subtle colour combinations and textures you found there – not to mention their evocative atmosphere. A great way to achieve texture on paint is by using the technique of ‘frottage’. This is basically the…

  • Projects

    Art Portfolio Tutorial

    Keeping children’s artwork in good condition can sometimes be a challenge. Even if you are ruthless about only keeping the best, there is a tendency for it to get creased and dog-eared. It makes sense to keep it flat, and a traditional portfolio is the ideal way to do this. Yet the choice of portfolios available for children is limited.  I couldn’t find one that I liked and most were very small, so I thought I would have a go at making my own instead. This proved to be pretty easy and quite cheap to do, with the added benefit of offering the opportunity to decorate and personalise the cover…