Archive for the ‘handmade’ Category

Freebie: Pyrography Designs for Playful Crafting

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Big thanks to KSL’s Studio 5 & Brooke Walker for having me on their show! I had a great time coming up with some clever design ideas for wood-burning and pyrography crafts. Click here to view.

If you’re interested in learning about my local calligraphy workshops, CLICK HERE! I’ve got workshops in October, November and December just about lined up and they’ll sell out fast.

CLICK HERE to register for October’s Brush lettering and Watercolor double-header with Natalie Malan! 

Next month’s workshop is going to be amazing. I hope to see you there! Let’s talk about pyrography shall we? 

 

Supplies needed: 

I found that finely sanded wood surfaces and harder woods (or wood with tighter grain) performed the best. Something to think about when purchasing craft supplies. 

See the spoon on the left? I used the same heat settings and tip, but the tip burned more because of the softness of the wood. The wood block on the right is a harder wood and had a smoothly finished top. I got much finer results. 

Adding elements doesn’t have to be pre-determined. Or stressful. Simple dots or stripes totally work! Add some flora to create more depth too. See above for some ideas. Feel free to use below for inspiration and rub onto your projects. Click on the images below to enlarge. :)

You’re free to use these graphics for personal use. I’d love to see your work! Share pics and tag me @melissapher with images of your awesome projects!

How to Paint Ranunculus Watercolor

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Another YouTube video coming at you this week! It’s taken me forever to get this post out, the end of school stuff just took so much out of my week last week. So here we are posting late. If you want to stay up-to-date on new videos, subscribe over on YouTube! I’d love to see you over there. You can expect to see product reviews, art tutorials and time-lapse/real-time calligraphy work. 

I’m giving you a peek into my process with my 100 days project (follow along here!). It’s a fun but crazy challenge to attack so many of these flowers. And ultimately I’ve come to grips with the fact that I won’t be able to finish them all in 100 days. I’m so far behind. But I’m determined to see this series through, no matter how long it takes!! Here’s what you’ll need (these are the exact materials I used): 

HEY!! Use code Melissa15% at myprimaplace.com for 15% off your order. I tried the Prima Watercolor Confections for the first time with this flower set and I’m loving how the colors blend, lay down, dry and mix. They’re just lovely. And aren’t these little tins just the cutest things ever?!? 

Here are the steps broken down. But I HIGHLY recommend watching the video. I give far more detail in the video. To do: 

  • Start by using your largest brush and mix a light yellow green, bright yellow, and yellow orange. You’ll want all three colors mixed before you start. 
  • Lay down brush marks in a circle with the light yellow green. As you make a larger circle (keep it uneven), start picking up the yellows, then as you get to the outside of the flower, move on to the yellow orange. 
  • Allow the colors to melt into each other creating a subtle gradation from green to yellow to orange. 
  • Let your flower dry fully
  • Next, use the size 6 brush and a darker version of your orange to create smaller concentric circles around, creating the shadows. 
  • While you’re waiting for the flower to dry, add the foliage. Work and frame your flower by branching the foliage back into the flower. 
  • Now get the liner brush with the same color, or just slightly darker (not by much) and add the details to the petals and darken up the concentric lines and the greenery in the middle. 
  • Add any other decorative bits and you’re done!

 

Try changing up your perspective for a full bouquet of ranunculus! I hope you give this tutorial a try. I’d love to see your work if you do! Tag me (@melissapher) on Instagram or message me here if you end up trying this technique out!

This tutorial is free for personal use. Affiliate links are used to products I actually use and have. Your support here makes more content possible. Thank you!

#the100dayproject: What it is, Thoughts, Encouragement & more

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This April 3rd, I started my first 100 day project. It’s a global art-focused (but not exclusive to art) community project of your choosing. In the past I’ve started a passion project at the beginning of the year (#calligraphynameoftheday #calligraphyquoteoftheday), but  this year I decided to do something different and do it in 100 days and with the art community at large. This is not my own idea. I’m not the organizer. The 100 day project originated from senior design critic at Yale University: Michael Beirut. He challenged his students to come up with a project to do for 100 days. Then Elle Luna & Lindsay Jeane Thompson took the concept to a more global format on Instagram. You can read more about their mission right here on the100dayproject.org.

Check out a process/tutorial video of this week’s marigolds right here: 

My project this year is 100 watercolor floral paintings in 100 days. I’m not sticking to doing 1 painting every day format. I’m painting at least 3 every 3 days. So I’m allowing myself the freedom to batch my efforts. But your project could look completely different. The global 100 day project started on April 3, so you’ve got some catching up to do ;), but anyone is welcome to join and start at any time! And you can do whatever strikes your fancy!! 

Here are some tips to make your project successful: 

  • Give yourself constraints
  • Make it simple
  • Keep it specific
  • Do something you’re genuinely excited about
  • Start with tools you already have
  • Use pre-generated content wherever applicable
  • Be nice to yourself

Use constraints: basically make up fake rules to follow. Whether you’re doing art on a specific size canvas or you’re only allowing yourself 10 minutes to do the project each day, keep those things consistent. For me, I’m sticking to the same size paper. 

Make it simple: this art effort isn’t the endit’s the beginning. Don’t look at making each piece or project so crazy and lengthy or complicated. Use constraints to simplify your process. 

Keep it specific: this project is a chance to become an expert in something. If you want to become better at cooking an egg, explore 100 different ways to cook an egg. You’re not exploring any other ingredient, just the egg specifically. 

Use your excitement: I’ve heard, (this is my first time doing 100 consecutive days for a passion project) that day 30-35 are the hardest. If you’re not genuinely interested or excited you’re going to quit. Simple as that. 

Use what you’ve got: this goes with keeping it simple. No need to buy and have to learn to use all new equipment for this project. And chances are, you’ve got supplies or tools that are collecting dust that could use a little love. 

Use pre-generated content: Reducing the amount of decisions you have to make every time you sit down to create is key. It helps simplify. For me, I’ve written down 150 different flowers to choose from. I just go down the list and start from there. I don’t have to research flowers every time I sit down to paint. 

Be nice to yourself: chances are, you may not initially see what you have envisioned in your head when you start this project. But the whole point of the 100 day project is to get better or more comfortable with something. There are some flower paintings that I’ve done (like Cleome and Chrysanthemum) that I wasn’t too excited about. That’s okay. I got it done!! DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT. Learning to be kind to yourself through this whole project is benefit enough to get started, don’t you think? 

So, there you go. It can be as easy as making eggs for 100 days. Making your bed for 100 days. Painting flowers for 100 days. It’s entirely up to you! 

Artists I love doing it too…

I hope you follow along and perhaps get in on the project, too!! 

 

 

Mondays? Mon-YAY!!

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Sometimes I feel so lonely in a world of Monday-haters. I LOVE Mondays! It’s a fresh week. I get so much done. My motivation is fresh. My ideas are fresh. I’m refreshed from a day of rest. They’re the best. 

I did this little real-time calligraphy showing you the stylistic differences between one nib and another. It’s HUGE, right? I didn’t change anything about my style, grip, materials; just the nib. Think about that the next time you’re in a calligraphy rut. If you’re still in a rut after that? Try taking one of my classes!! I’ve been teaching for 8 years, I’m encouraging, thorough and helpful. If you’re in the Utah area, check out April’s local workshops below! If you’re not, the online class is the next best thing with one-on-one feedback and encouragement in each class. Check it out here.

APRIL 6 | 5-8PM | DRAPER, UT

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Learn the foundations of pointed pen and how to apply your own modern personality to your letters in this 3 hour intensive! It’s perfect for beginners or if you’re looking to brush up on your skills. Seats are very limited so we have a small, intimate group. You’ll get lots of one-on-one attention and feedback as we go through the lowercase letters and forming words together. Time allowing, we’ll work through numbers and capitals. I’ll give you the skills necessary to take your practice home with confidence. Materials and snacks included. 

APRIL 21 | 9-5 | BLUFFDALE, UT

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

I’ve teamed up with Natalie Malan & Cents of Style for this day-long retreat! We’ll be covering flourished brush lettering and watercolor florals! The florals will be gorgeous, vibrant loose and modern (like we are all obsessing over these days). And the calligraphy will be with waterproof brushes so that we can create dynamic pieces with our watercolors. Workshop includes lunch, materials and snacks. 

REVIEW: Laser Square & Mat by WRM

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I had the pleasure to check out the latest Laser Square & Mat by We R Memory Keepers. It’s the hottest thing to hit the shelves for calligraphers. It’s basically a replacement for the slider writer (which I have). Now you can’t find the Slider Writer anywhere. Not that you were missing out on much, because the laser never sat still, the apparatus was bulky and only right-handed users really could ever take advantage of the set-up. 

See above for the full video. Hayley & I got to play around with it (thanks to WRM for providing us with product). Check it out to see it in action. Some of the video we took was completely blown out, so there’s not a ton of footage of us using it. :( And speaking of technical difficulties, the mic (we decided to use a new mic) didn’t end up recording, so you get to hear my tinny room instead. #sorrynotsorry I’m not going to fix it. Next video will be better. We’re having fun figuring out this whole film production thing. 

 

TOOLS USED: 

PROS

  • You can take it apart. It’s a little hard to take the square part apart, but you can take the mat off easily and store it in a tight spot. 
  • No erasing! No need for drawing in lines on dark or opaque paper!
  • The laser is a little bit above the surface of the paper so it’s not so harsh on the eyes. 
  • You can set it up easily for lefties or for righties. 
  • The bottom has a grid, so you can easily keep your papers aligned!
  • The gridded mat is self-healing material!
  • The lasers don’t fall out of alignment easily. They stay in place until you want to move them. 
  • The work area is 12×12, allowing you to work on a wide variety of sized papers.

 

CONS: 

  • Each laser requires a 9v battery. 9v batteries aren’t very common, you can find rechargable 9v batteries, and I would definitely recommend getting some because replacing 9v batteries often is expensive!! 
  • The lasers weren’t perfectly aligned with the grid out of the box. I could do some minor 1/2 mm adjustments before using the laser, but ultimately it’s just a little off. But it stays the same degree off no matter where on the ruler you position the laser, so it’s consistent. 

 

WISHLIST: 

  • I wish the laser angles could be repositioned so that I could align with the grid but also so the vertical laser could serve as an angle line. 
  • Hayley brought it up that it would be so cool if there were two lasers per axis point. Then you could set up x-heights or cap heights. 

 

Perfect for house drawings, right? Hayley did the cutest little house drawings using the laser lines as guides. 

This is great for dark envelopes. I really liked the flow. I could easily hold the paper down with my non-writing hand and reposition the envelope OR the laser to get new baselines for each line of text. 

 

VERDICT: I’d put this one in the win column. I think it’s a great tool, especially for envelopes and quotes. I felt like I could quickly and effortlessly write out envelopes and quotes without a ton of planning ahead (you know how lazy I am). Click here to purchase.

 

What do you think? Will you be using one in your future? 

 

Product was provided for free from WRM, but all thoughts and opinions are our own. Affiliate links used help support the continuation of the blog and YouTube videos. Thank you for your support!

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