Jeremy Shafer shows how to make flexible finger rings that look like reptilian claws by allowing joint movement. He also shows a handy way to maximize the number of squares you can make out of standard printer paper. Read the rest
Print Workshop: Hand-Printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects by Christine Schmidt Potter Craft 2010, 176 pages, 7.5 x 9 x 0.7 inches (softcover) $16 Buy a copy on Amazon
A year after moving, I am still finding miscellaneous books tucked into previously unpacked boxes. Luckily, that means I get to rediscover favorites like Christine Schmidt’s Print Workshop: Hand-printing Techniques and Truly Original Projects. With step-by-step instructions, project templates, and illustrated project and resource guides, this book serves as both an exhaustive guide for the DIY-er just starting out in printmaking, as well as a jumping-off point for artists who need a nudge toward new ideas.
Schmidt, the creative force behind San Francisco’s Yellow Owl Workshop, organizes the book into several helpful and easy-to-navigate sections. She opens with a brief but thorough introduction to the processes of printmaking, followed by a comprehensive guide, complete with photos and drawings, to setting up a home studio and choosing materials. These initial images of materials-for-making reappear in the technique chapters, plucked from the original grid shots to become part of each project, transformed into visual verbs for the printing process.
As someone who has no formal training in printmaking, I was especially interested in the breadth of the form. The “Relief Printing” chapter, for example, hosts a wax seal project, and “Image Transfer Printing” includes refreshingly simple pin-prick stationary. This book is full of fantastic gift ideas (I’ll be making the sweet-potato-printed picnic set for a wedding present, and my holiday preserves are about to get gussied-up with water-slide decal jars), and because printing is made for multiples, I plan to make a whole cache of go-to homemade presents to pull from throughout the year. Read the rest
My kids and I like to sketch together on the weekends. My older daughter and I also frequently go to a weekly figure drawing session here in LA. For me, using charcoal sticks is more fun than pencils or pens, because it's faster and I can work on shading.
The Royal & Langnickel Small Tin Charcoal Drawing Art Set ($6 on Amazon) has a good selection of different kinds of charcoal for drawing. My daughters are starting to like charcoal, too, so I bought sets for them. If you enjoy charcoal drawing, you should also get a white stick for highlights.
Here are a couple of my sketches:
Space artist Alizey Khan painted the moon on a faux-leather bag and will make one just like it for you for just $100. Khan used Angelus leather paints; I can vouch for them as the best I've found, too, both creatively (in that they run and mix like standard acrylics) but have a convincing texture that doesn't crack.
Here's a tutorial she made, too:
I bought a book about rock painting in 2001, and posted about it here. I still have the book, and more importantly, we still have some of the rocks my family painted 15 years ago. The book has lots of inspiring examples of the kinds of things you can paint on rocks. The book is out of print, but you can buy used copies on Amazon starting at just 24 cents, plus shipping. Read the rest
Here in Japan, ’tis the season to make nengajo. Nengajo are specialized New Year’s postcards sent to friends, relatives, acquaintances, former classmates, current classmates, co-workers, and anyone and everyone else in one’s contacts list.
These days, the vast majority of nengajo are either pre-printed or made on a computer and printed at home. Even then, however, many people still make a few cards by hand with stamps and ink. To that end, every year, stores display and sell rubber stamp and ink pads, along with markers, glitter, and all kinds of other utensils and accessories. The stamps are made primarily by two companies: Beverly Japan and Kodomo no Kao (Child’s Face). Both companies produce a full line of New Year’s themed stamps as well as stamps featuring popular characters like Snoopy, Doraemon, and Hello Kitty.
2016 is the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese Zodiac, so, for my card this year I chose a stamp called “Banana Kara Konnichi wa,” or “Hello From the Banana,” and a small banana stamp for accents. I toyed with using a multicolored ink pad but, in the end, I chose a standard black ink pad for the outline. Once I had the outline stamped on all my cards, I colored the cards using stiff brushed markers. I used the same marker to color directly onto the banana stamp in lieu of using an ink pad and it worked very well. What I have yet to do is write individual messages on the cards and then haul them down to the post office to be stamped (different kind of stamp!) and sent. Read the rest
Born in Australia, Ebony Bizys made the move to Tokyo five years ago and hasn’t looked back since. As the founder of the popular blog Hello Sandwich, Ebony has always been obsessed with Japanese culture, as well as cute stationary, colorful home décor, and all things DIY. This 224-page book manages to cram in as many pretty images, kawaii ideas, and adorable craft projects as it can hold. From a whimsical look into Ebony’s daily life and apartment in Tokyo, to tutorials for pom-pom cardigans and handmade camera straps (among many others), to insight into ‘bento’ and even tips for entertaining, Ebony is certainly one talented and creative lady.
For those who aren’t familiar with Ebony’s blog or even Japanese culture, they’re still sure to enjoy this publication for its overload of cute images and inspirational ideas. Ebony’s aim in producing Hello Tokyo was to inspire people to bring more fun and beauty into their everyday life. After reading this book numerous times, I truly believe that she has achieved this. – Melanie Doncas
Hello Tokyo!: Handmade Projects and Fun Ideas for a Cute Tokyo-Inspired Lifestyle by Ebony Bizys Murdoch Books 2015, 192 pages, 7.1 x 9.5 x 0.9 inches (paperback) Read the rest