• Techniques

    Creating Decorative & Painted Papers

    If you have kids who enjoy painting and drawing, you may find yourself acquiring quite a large stock of painted papers. For every masterpiece produced there will be a whole stack of less impressive artwork, and the temptation is always to put them straight into the recycling bin, but these painted papers can have a second life recycled into further artwork, saving some money in the process. In fact now my kids are older and no longer want to paint and draw (sob) my stack of painted papers is much depleted, so that I now have to create my own! It has however, become one of my favourite occupations, as…

  • Art Materials

    Five Ways to Use Tissue Paper for Artwork

    Tissue paper is a wonderfully versatile medium for artwork which can be used in so many ways, either on its own or in combination with other art materials. It’s translucent qualities give its colours a brightness and luminosity and also make it perfect for layering. It also lends itself perfectly for use with texture. For the purposes of this post I’m going to be looking at ideas for using tissue paper as a medium for 2 dimensional artwork – there are of course lots of ways to use it in 3-dimensional work too, but I think you could probably write an entire book if I was to include that too!…

  • Materials & Techniques,  Techniques

    Creating Abstract Sea and Landscrapes

    No, that’s not a typo! I’ve always been a fan of ‘accidental’ art, and this technique is one of those eminently satisfying yet essentially very simple ways of painting, that can deliver stunning results. That’s not to say that every single piece will create a masterpiece, but that if you do a whole bunch of them, you’ll end up with at least one or two that are frameworthy, and part of the joy of this activity is the very unpredictability of the results. You never quite know what you are going to get! The result is very like the technique that the artist Gerhard Richter has used in his work (on…

  • Freebies,  Materials & Techniques,  Projects

    Botanical Washi-Sticker Art

    We have recently started stocking a new product in the form of rather beautiful rolls of individual washi-tape stickers in the form of individual flowers or petals. The delicacy of the paper makes them almost as beautiful as the real thing, but of course they are longer lasting and less delicate to use. They have a multitude of decorative uses, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in and experiment with them. There are 6 different assorted rolls available, which we are selling as a complete pack. Perfect for making cards and tags, for decorating wrapping paper and journals or anything you choose, the stickers can be used individually or…

  • Techniques

    Easy-Peasy Watercolours

    I remember reading that the artist JMW Turner once advised an amateur artist that her watercolours would be improved immeasurably if she dunked them in a bucket of water. This was not meant as an insult, but I think was a genuine piece of advice. The beauty of watercolour, which Turner especially exploited to its full, lies in its softness and delicacy, but this can be difficult to achieve successfully. Watercolour can be difficult to control, and I for one have come to realise that I perhaps strive to control it too much. So I have been very pleased with the new watercolour markers I recently treated myself to, because…

  • Art Materials

    Drawing with Charcoal

    Charcoal is my all time favourite medium for drawing –  I love the speed and spontaneity of the medium. However there is no doubt that it’s not something used a great deal with young children. This is probably because it can be incredibly messy to use (though washable), and young children could easily end up covered in it – not to mention everything else in the vicinity if you’re not too careful. I think this is a shame though, so I decided to bite the bullet and introduce my younger son to the medium. I would have involved the elder too if he had been willing, but though he took…

  • Features,  Techniques

    Mixed Media Experiments

    It seems to me like the more creative projects I get myself involved in, the more I want to do – my mind seems to be in a state of creative overdrive at the moment so that I have at least half a dozen projects on the go.  Of course I don’t really have time for it all, hence I have been somewhat quieter than usual online! At some point they will hopefully all come to fruition, but in the meantime I wanted to share one of the projects I’ve been working on. This combines several different areas I’ve been exploring of late – layers, spray inks, and oil pastels,…

  • Materials & Techniques

    Experimenting with Oil Pastels

    There’s nothing quite like opening a new set of crayons and seeing them laid out all beautiful and pristine ready to use for the first time. I was offered some art materials to test out for Caran d’Ache, and was happy to do so, because although I don’t do a great number of reviews on Artful Adventures, nevertheless good quality free art materials never go amiss, and I genuinely thought I could turn it to use as a piece that would be of interest to readers. For some reason I was expecting pencil crayons to arrive, but what actually turned up was a set of Caran D’Ache Neopastel artists quality…

  • creative sketchbooks
    Art Materials

    Choosing the Perfect Sketch Book

    Sketch books come in many sizes and shapes – the sheer choice out there can sometimes be bewildering, but at the end of the day, what is a sketchbook? At its simplest level, it’s just a plain paper book – so what’s all the fuss about, surely one sketch book is as good as the next? As a lifelong enthusiast for gorgeous sketchbooks, this is a subject on which I could write at length. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to do that here, since I suspect for anyone other than fellow enthusiasts it would be extremely boring, but I thought it might be helpful to outline some of the factors…

  • leaf-frottage
    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…

  • Materials & Techniques,  Projects

    Paint with Bubbles – 3 Ways

    Bubble painting is a classic children’s art activity, and it’s easy to see why – it’s easy, cheap, kids love it, and the results are pretty good too, but bubbles are also amazingly versatile, we’ve tried 3 different techniques now, and each one has distinctively different results.   Bubble Painting #1     The first technique is the one most people will be familiar with. Here, you mix your paint (in this case tempera) with a little water, and a squirt of washing-up liquid, stir it up and then blow into it with a straw to create lots and lots of bubbles. You then gently place the paper over the…

  • Art Materials,  Materials & Techniques

    Valentine Heart Canvas

    This canvas was created mainly as an excuse to experiment with acrylic string gel medium. String gel is basically an acrylic painting medium that makes your paint more ‘stringy’ or stretchy, allowing you effectively to ‘draw’ directly with the paint by flicking and dribbling it about. As you can imagine, the amount of ‘control’ you have over your ‘drawing’ is limited, but simple shapes are achievable, and I rather like the dynamic spontaneous scribbles you get this way. All in all it’s lots of fun to use.  It is however rather expensive, so before I bought it, I experimented with achieving the same effect with PVA medium.  I found that…