Book Review: Creative Girl – Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life

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This article is written by  Teresa Abajo

Hello! Teresa Abajo here and I will be reviewing Danielle Donaldson’s book Creative Girl – Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life. It was published in 2015 by North Light Books, who bring us a number of other wonderful art related titles.

book review

Danielle Donaldson is a graphic designer and has focused her artistic efforts on watercolour and graphite drawing techniques. Her work is wonderfully colourful, with lots of details she adds with pencils and markers.
The introduction invites us to discover our very own creative happy place by organising our time, personalising the process, creating stashes and sorting supplies. Throughout the book, the emphasis is on staying active creatively – never on productivity or creating to a particular standard.

We start (as many art books do) with a list of all of the supplies Danielle uses to create. I’m happy to say there aren’t too many specialised materials required. In fact, you’ll likely find you already own most items, or can substitute with the brand you already use. There are many household items she uses too – things like glass jars, salt, pins and old books.

book review

In the first chapter, Danielle talks about where much of her crafting takes place – on her couch surrounded by distractions I for one would find too much to bear! She puts together handy little stash stations containing creative tools and materials and she indulges in small snippets of creative time throughout the day. Again, the emphasis is on crafting often, rather than crafting for long periods of time. I found I could very much relate to that – I certainly find it easier to steal moments from my day rather that schedule a huge block of time for crafting. Organisation is key, and Danielle explains how she uses and collates Inspiration Folders.

The next couple of chapters focus on watercolour specific techniques and contain lots of ideas for mini projects and art exercises.
In Chapter 5 Danielle covers developing your own signature style – putting ‘you’ into your art work. She walks us through the creation of various girl figures in very simple, well photographed steps. Here’s where I am with these lessons:

book review

The next part of the book gives us lots of examples of “hot mess solutions” or how Danielle fixes components of her work with which she isn’t happy. Cover ups, work arounds, walk aways, let it go – simple self explanatory terminology.
The last part of the book has a beautiful gallery of Danielle’s work. Now that I’ve read her book I feel inspired to deconstruct a piece and have a go at replicating the components that appeal to me.

Creative Girl – Mixed Media Techniques for an Artful Life is part drawing and watercolour play manual and part realistic guide for those of use wanting to inject a little more art into our daily lives. It’s a beautifully presented book, written in simple and encouraging language and I’m sure you’ll be as thrilled as I was to add it to your craft library.

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“Knit the sky” by Lea Redmond – Book review

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This article is written by Catriona Laing

Having read many knitting books in the past, I thought I knew what to expect from ‘Knit The Sky’. If I turned to a random page, I would find a photograph of a finished project, and the precise instructions for how I could replicate that same item. This, however, was not the case. You will find very few definite instructions in this book. Instead, Lea Redmond places an emphasis on creativity, spontaneity, and fun, which is often lost in other, stricter, patterns, as well as mindfulness of the world around the reader. Projects include a purse made from several hexagon shapes, to resemble honeycomb, each of which the knitter is only allowed to make after going outside and smelling some flowers, to remind the knitter of a little worker bee, or a throw rug constructed from many small postcard-size sections, each made after visiting a new place.

Lea Redmond knitting book review

The book itself is a beautiful piece of work. Not a single page is without one of Lauren Nassef’s colourful illustrations, complementing the text on that page excellently. Redmond has succeeded in creating a most inspiring book, which any knitter would do well to own. I myself, for a long time, have been very much a slave to the strict instructions of the pattern before me, though I did not realise it at the time. Now, however, I am looking forward to the new things I can create, with this book as my inspiration.

You can learn more about Knit the Sky on the book’s website www.knitthesky.com

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My name is Catriona. I am currently in my third year of a Biomedical Science degree, and hope to one day go on to study medicine and become a doctor. However, I’ve got a long way to go before I get there, so in the mean time I enjoy hobbies such as knitting, crochet, playing far more musical instruments than are good for me, and I’ve even dabbled in cosplaying. But knitting is my favourite. Obviously. I really enjoy finding new and interesting patterns to try out, and my all-time favourite thing is when I find someone who likes receiving knitted objects as much as I like making them.

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Disclosure: This book was provided by R&M West Coast Enterprises for the purpose of review. All opinions are that of the MixedMediaArt team. Some links on this page may be affiliate links and any purchases help to support the ongoing work by MixedMediaArt.
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Using Irresistible Pico Embellisher for your Mixed Media Art Projects

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This article was written by Melanie Statnick

Irresistible Pico Embellisher

I really enjoy working with a new product. When I saw the Imagine Craft irresistible Pico embellisher I wasn’t sure what to expect with its precise tip applicator and the needle that inserts into it. It was foreign and I wanted to try it.

Irresistible Pico Embellisher

As a visual artist I could see numerous ways to add this texture into art pieces. I love to add details into my art and the Pico embellisher tip is perfect for this. On a piece of Bristol paper I drew up a doodle and gave it a go.

Irresistible Pico Embellisher

Irresistible Pico Embellisher

There is allowance for control with the tip the embellisher has, making lines and dots thick or thin depending on the pressure of how you squeeze. I did notice that the embellisher will suck some air creating bubbles on the next release.

Irresistible Pico Embellisher

Irresistible Pico Embellisher

I dabbed the bubble with a napkin and it broke leaving a ring. Another time I wiped it away and it left a mess. Please take care cleaning up any bubbles that may happen. This could have been something that happens with a first time user. I also wanted to try the embellisher freehand. I think it gives the drawing a needle point look.

Irresistible Pico Embellisher

Irresistible Pico Embellisher

Overall I think the irresistible Pico embellisher by imagine craft is an excellent tool for texture and more. With the verity of colors who know what your imagination will create.

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Author bio: Melanie Statnick is a published artist/writer out of North Carolina. Melanie creates art daily from her private studio. Her style is happy and whimsy. Statnick’s artwork can be found in art galleries and shops extensively in NC with international private collections. Learn more about Melanie view her website at: www.melaniestatnickart.com

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Disclosure: These products have been provided by Imagine Crafts  for the purpose of review. All opinions are that of the MixedMediaArt team.

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Janelle Nichol’s Online Class: Glow-Paint Using Watercolors and Acrylics for a Fantasy-like atmosphere

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This article is written by Peg Rounds

All of the details have been added & the project is now finished

The “Glow” class by Janelle Nichol is perfect for the beginner who wants to learn how to do a mixed media canvas to the advanced person who would love to have some more creative ideas to use.  The class is an online class and is easy to sign up using the Skillshare website.  I found the site really easy to use and get around on to find the videos every time I signed into it.  The class is broken down into 14 videos which is helpful in going through it step by step and you are able to go back to a video and view it again if needed.  The only downside I found was at times the sound was really low and I would have to turn my speakers way up to hear.

Janelle does an awesome job walking you through the supplies you will need and what you can use if you don’t have the same things.  She has a dedicated video just on the supplies, but be sure to also look below the video for a print list as not everything is covered in the video.  There were a couple of things she used in later videos that weren’t mentioned in the supply video or on the list such as magenta paint and chunky glitter so if you can watch through the videos before starting that is very helpful to make sure you have everything.  I didn’t have the glitter and couldn’t get it so I substituted for a glitter I hand on hand.  I, also, could not find locally the same types of materials she suggested for the dress so I have a different type and color for mine.  By using the list and video she has created, you will find that you have many things on hand already and for those that you don’t, you will be able to readily get from your local craft stores.

One of the beginning steps is to create color and texture using Distress Stains and Mod Podge on the patterned paper.  It is fun to watch how these beginning steps help lay the foundation for the rest of the piece.  The heart in the corner of mine was not knowingly created and I found it after the piece had dried.  It was fun to see what happened with it as the layers were added.

Scripted Paper with Inked with Blue & Brown Distress Stain

After several more layers of paint and Mod Podge, you will really start seeing the canvas taking shape.  Again, Janelle does a wonderful job at showing you how to create the fairy to attach to the project.  If you don’t think you can draw a fairy, don’t worry she’s got it covered with the addition of printable pieces to help you create your own.  She, also, helps you with creating the wings which are really easy to do, too.

The fairy & her wings have been attached and the painting of the waistband and hairband are done

You will learn how to finish the fairy and then move on to how to paint the details such as her hair, the waistband and headband.  You will, also, find out how to add shading to her dress, skin and wings.

The trees have been painted and the another layer using sequins have been added to the piece

I found this to be an excellent class to take and the finished project is well worth the time and effort put into it. The videos are easy to follow and the items used are already on hand for most mixed media artists or are easily obtainable.   I would recommend it highly for everyone who enjoys creating mixed media pieces from the beginner to the advanced.

You can jump straight into Janelle’s Glow; Create a Mixed Media Fairy here

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Peg Rounds has been seriously creating many types of art since 2007.  Her focus has become mixed media, card making and jewelry making.  She is often found on social media sites Pegs Crafting Corner where she enjoys sharing all that she has created.

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Disclosure: Access to this course was supplied by Janelle Nichols for the purpose of review. All opinions are that of the MixedMediaArt team. Some links on this page may be affiliate links and any purchases help to support the ongoing work by MixedMediaArt. 

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