• 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Art Materials,  Materials & Techniques

    Watercolour Spray Inks

    Ever since I first heard about watercolour sprays, I’ve been wanting to try them out. The ones you can buy ready-made are I discovered quite expensive, so I decided to create my own using the new powdered water-colour inks I’ve recently treated myself to. That way I can control the dilution I want, mix the colours, and be much more extravagant with them as they are so economical to use. So, I mixed up my inks, and bought some travel sized spray bottles to put them in. There are quite a lot of  posts around the internet at the moment for using spray paints with kids, more particularly using trigger…

  • Art Materials,  Materials & Techniques,  Techniques

    Dip-dyed Landscapes

    I love water-colour, I love landscape art, and I also love the dip-dyed effect. However in spite of my love of watercolour, I’ve never really mastered it as a technique – as a medium it can be difficult to control – and perhaps that’s where my problem has always been, I was trying to control it too much. I recently treated myself to some new water-colour inks, and decided to just play with them for a while purely for the sheer pleasure of it. Me and the boys did a lot of this while my computer was broken, and you’ll probably see lots more of it on here in the…

  • Art Materials,  Materials & Techniques

    The Art of Mud

    Mud is a versatile and under-rated material, and lets face it there’s a lot of it about.  It has (and still is in some parts of the world) been used for a huge variety of purposes by mankind for millennia, for building, medicinal and beauty purposes, and making pots to name just a few, and of course as a material for making art.   Mud art has lots of advantages, it’s cheap, it gets you outdoors, and it also has an ancient lineage. Some of the very earliest artworks were created with mud – using it not only as a sculptural medium, but also as a pigment, because the colour…

  • Art Materials,  Projects

    DIY Bath Crayons

    I came across a tutorial for making home-made bath crayons the other day, and was inspired by the photograph accompanying it to try my own.  In the end I used the post more for inspiration rather than anything else, because my bath crayons looked absolutely nothing like the beautiful translucent ones shown in the photograph there – all I can say is that I have my suspicions that those may not have been created with normal soap flakes using the very simple method described.  Still, after a certain amount of trial and error based on the instructions given, I did manage to produce some workable bath crayons.  I should point out…

  • Art Materials

    Exploring Wax Crayons

    It’s been a little while since I started this series off with Canvas, and I thought it was about time I continued it.  This time I’m going to look at that staple tool of any self-respecting budding artist – wax crayons.  Traditional, cheap, practical, easy to use, these are so ubiquitous that their creative potential is perhaps sometimes a little overlooked.  Personally I have found that all wax crayons are not alike.  They differ amazingly – you can get short fat stubby, chunky crayons, or long, thin ones.  Some are hard and plasticky, others (perhaps unsurprisingly) soft and waxy.  Some will produce a dense, bright colour, others a pale washed-out…

  • Art Materials

    Art Materials – Kicking off with Canvas

    I am introducing a new regular informative series to Artful Adventures on the subject of Art materials – I’m not sure yet quite how regular this will be, but there are lots of art materials out there, with new ones being introduced all the time so there’s plenty of material to go at (no pun intended).  I thought I’d kick off with canvas, the most traditional ground for painting, which has undergone such a surge of popularity in recent years. Canvas, when used as a support for painting, is usually stretched tightly across a wooden stretcher.  Traditionally, these canvases were then framed, though the fashion today is usually to leave…