Wednesday 27 February 2013

My Magic Paper Flattening Machine

I had a message from a friend.

"I see you've gone all high tech," he said,  
(and added as an aside, "about time too").

I am afraid my reply was rather weak. 

I think I said,  "er... I am trying."

He was referring to my new facebook page, and I never thought I'd say this but that page is proving to be a good thing (so far); I am learning to like it. 

Despite my joining of forces with the (high tech) masses,  I must reassure you that Leafy HQ remains firmly (and proudly) low tech. 

Here is my Magic Paper Flattening Machine.
Ignore the monkey's fist - it's just added showing off.

Sometimes, when paper hasn't been pre-stretched, watercolour paintings can get a bit wobbly and won't lie flat.

Here's how to flatten a cockled watercolour (it's not rocket science) :

  1. Dampen the back of your painting carefully with a sponge. Don't make it too wet and don't let any water touch the painting itself.                                                                                                   
  2. Sandwich your damp-backed painting between layers of clean paper or card and lie it on a flat board.
  3. Cover the paper sandwich with another flat board and lots of heavy books.
  4. Leave it for two or three days et voila!
So fret not if your paper wobbles,  it's easy peasy to straighten it out again. 

Next time I'll show you what I was flattening (probably).

For now I must stop posting banalities and get on with some work for a change.

Sunday 24 February 2013

A little bit Giddy with a little bit of Glee

My heart leapt a gleeful leap this weekend as I picked up some copies of Tony Bailey's hot-off-the-press book(let) of poems.  It's always exciting to see your (er...  I mean my) work in print!

If you scroll down into the depths (not too deep a depth) of this blog you can read more about my cover illustration (or just click here and here) and the title which is taken from Andrew Marvell's poem, The Bermudas.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Great Stuff (and clever people)

Sometimes I see something brilliant and I get cross that I didn't think it up or do it myself.  It's been happening an awful lot lately.

Here is something I think is brilliant.  It's by Double Merrick who is much cleverer than me.

(Double Merrick is the internet shop of Merrick Angle, an English designer/illustrator based in France.)

Monday 11 February 2013

A Great Big Thankyou (and another question)

A great big thankyou to all of you lovely voters for taking the time to tell me which was your favourite dogger.  I had twelve votes in all (which is a grand start for me), four here on the blog, six lovely comments on my Facebook page, one secret message on Facebook (you know who you are) and one by email.  It gladdened my heart to hear from each and every one of you and has spurred me on my scribbly way.

'Sniffing the Wind' was the overwhelming favourite, followed by 'Talking to Each Other'.   'Lookout at the Bows' (which I am erring towards) was contrarily the least popular.

I'm now thinking it would be a good idea to make a series of boat dog illustrations (a set of postcards maybe), and for the commission in question I am minded to create a new composition using the best parts of all of the others.  I've got a bit of work to be getting on with...

All this commentability (not a real word but you know what I mean) is very handy.  I am hoping everyone is still in a chit chatty mood because I have another nitty gritty question to ask of you (which has absolutely nothing to do with boat dogs).

My question is this:

Do you think A5 is a fine size for a greeting card? (or is it too big?)

The shelves in my shop are terribly forlorn and empty,  and I would like to stock them up with some nice new cards.

The trouble is, I have a doubter living on my shoulder and he is always whispering in my ear.  I try hard to ignore him but sometimes his whispers are too loud for me to ignore.  On the verge of ordering some A5 cards I wobbled as he whispered...

"Too big!" he cried,  "No one will want them."

Please tell me he is wrong.

A5 is rather big and grand,  it's right for some things and not for others.  I must admit my perfect card size would be a bit smaller but the printers do not offer that option with the budget I have in mind.  It has to be either A5 or A6.  My postcards are A6, and I feel a nice cheerful happy greeting card should perhaps be different and a bit bigger.

Qu'est ce que tu penses?
The world will keep turning whatever size I choose, but my brain is small (and slightly neurotic) and it would be very helpful indeed to know if you think A5 is too big?

A5 is 148mm x 210mm which is half A4.
A6  is 104mm x 148mm which is half A5, and a classic postcard size.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Boat Dogs

A little while back I was commissioned to do a very special painting for a nursery and I have been given full permission to talk about it here, which is very exciting.  I never quite know whether to keep unfinished work under wraps, or whether to flap it around and shout it from the rooftops?

Anyway, I am going ahead with talking about this, even though the piece isn't finished, mainly because I have reached an impasse and am hoping you can help.

In my painting there is to be a dog; a sweet dog with an adventurous little boy sailing away in their dinghy. I've been thinking about dogs in boats (some dogs are good boat dogs and some dogs are definitely not) and wondering what this little dog would be doing?  I've done some drawings and whittled it down to three rough options but can only choose one...
1. Dog and boy talking to each other.

2. Sniffing the wind!

3. Lookout at the bows.

My question is easy.  Which one do you like best?

I'd love your help.  If you're feeling brave, click the comments link below and vote 1,2 or 3....  (it should be easy... you can even be anonymous!)  or hop on over to my new facebook page which is a perfectly perfect place to leave comments and chat. (I'm planning on adding a facebook link to the sidebar on the right here straight away, but if it's not there yet just click here).

Friday 1 February 2013

The English Boat (again)

Phew, that took longer than I thought.
Here they are, all coloured in and singing in hats.

They're looking a lot fancier than in my pencil sketch-  I think I lost a bit of gravitas when the paint came out.

Clicking the picture below should let you read the poem.