Sunday, 19 November 2017

Huge collection of free nature & science images & poster tutorial

The Biodiversity Heritage Library provide free access to their recourses, including thousands of scanned copies of books which are no longer under copyright. I've collected a few of my favourite images from the site below. As always, double check the links to make sure that the images are still copyright free when you come to use them in your projects. Scroll down to see how I used one of them to mock up a simple poster design.

Click here

Click here

Click here

Click here

Click here

Poster Tutorial

Open a new A4 document in Photoshop and paste in a copy of the fox image.
Hit M to select the Marquee tool and draw a rectangle around the brown edge. Hit delete to remove it.

 Right click on the Marquee tool and select Eliptical Marquee. Type 10 in the Feather box, this will create a soft, feathered edge to the shape.

Draw an ellipse around the fox and press CTRL C and CTRL V to copy paste it. Toggle the eye on the original fox layer to hide it for now.

Hit I to select the Eyedropper tool, click somewhere on the sandy part of the image to select that colour (try to pick the bit that seems to form the majority of the background colour).

Select the background layer and press Shift F5 to open the fill tool. Select foreground colour and press ok.

Create a new layer behind the fox layer and press B to select the Brush tool. Using a watercolour brush (you can download some for free here) we can start to extend the painting. Use the Eyedropper tool to select the appropriate colours.

Work your way around the edge of the fox image, adding splashes of watercolour where you feel appropriate. Experiment with the different brushes and layering the colours until you are happy with the effect.

Click on the fox image layer and select the clone stamp tool. Holding down the Alt key, click on part of the creamy background colour, next to the Fox 1/3 wording near the bottom. A bullseye will appear.

Hold down the left mouse button and drag the circle over the wording. Keep clicking and dragging until the wording has disappeared. You can find a tutorial on using the clone stamp here.

Type in the details for your poster. I used fonts AdornsS Condensed and Hummingbird.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Competition Time!

It's high time we had another competition. Make sure you've subscribed to the blog (the button is on the front page) then head over to our Facebook page and comment done on the pinned post for an entry into the giveaway. Like and share the post for an extra chance to win.

We'll announce the winner around midday on Saturday 25 November.

Good luck!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Tiny driftwood weaving

I haven't been weaving very long but it's quite addictive. There are tons of good tutorials on the internet but I particularly like Weave With Pat and The Weaving Loom for their easy to follow guides and examples of the different techniques. 

I fell in love with The Weaving Loom's stick weaving tutorial and decided to give it a go. Visit her tutorial here for a much better example of how to do this, or read on for the half-arsed version. 

You will need:
A Y shaped stick (I used some driftwood). Make sure it's strong enough to withstand some tension.
Embroidery threads, wool, roving and whatever else you feel like weaving with.
A darning needle (the blunt with a big hole kind of needle).

Get yourself a good stick. This is not a good stick. It's very small and fiddly.
Tie some thread to the stick. This will be your warp (the vertical threads)

Wrap the thread around the upper stick (where you knotted it) and then bring it over the lower stick and wrap once.

The thread will cross in the middle. Repeat till you run out of stick.

Tie off the end. You want it to be tight but not super tight. Bouncy but not loose.

Thread a needle with contrasting embroidery floss. This will be your weft.

Bring the floss over the first warp and under the second.

Repeat until you reach the end.

Bring the thread around the last warp and repeat in the other direction.

This line of weft should be opposite to the one above (so under then over)

Use the needle to push the woven threads together. Add another line or two of weft.

Cut the thread leaving a tail a few inches long (You can weave it in later).

The picture isn't upside down. I started weaving upside down. It happens. Add a new line of warp. See here to learn how to do this stitch (it's called Soumak)

Push your lines of weft together and admire it at a jaunty angle.

Repeat the Soumak steps in the opposite direction. It looks like teeny arrows. :-D

Add some more rows of regular stitches. Like the first step. They probably have a name.

Add some wool roving. Regret this bitterly because it's too bloody fiddly in miniature.

Fill the rest of space with fat stitches because you've tired of the tiny weaving experiment.
Use the needle to weave the ends in to the back of the weaving. Do a better job than this hot mess.

Ta Da. Behold your tiny messy woven stick thing. 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Papier Mache Pumpkin Tutorial

There are lots of tutorials online for making paper mache pumpkins, this is just the most half-arsed version. If you want to make a umm whole-arsed version instead check out the amazing work of Stolloween or the incredibly talented Ultimate Paper Mache

You will need:

Plastic bag
Aluminium foil
Masking tape
Ready mixed wall filler (optional)
PVA glue
Acrylic paint
Foam clown nose

Fill a carrier bag with crumpled newspaper and tie the handles together

Wrap the bag with string – you want to create the pumpkin ribs by tying the string tight enough to cause uniform bulges

Cover the bag in foil and twist the foil around the bag handles to create the stem. You dont strictly need to use foil, I just love using it to model with.

Use masking tape to stick the foil down. I added extra tape to add extra definition to the ribs.

Cover the top of the pumpkin with a layer of papier mache and leave to dry (or use a hairdryer to speed it up). Once dry, turn it over and papier mache the underside.

Use small pieces of newspaper around the stem
You can either keep repeating these steps until you’ve built up about 5-6 layers of papier mache, or you can cover it all in one layer of ready mixed wall filler. Guess which method I chose. Leave a gap in the middle of the underside of the pumpkin as you’ll be cutting this bit out later.

Looking a lot like a giant garlic bulb

Don't pick it up by the stem until it's totally dry or this will happen

Easily fixed with another layer of paper mache
Let's give it a face!

 Sketch out a face design on a folded piece of paper to use as a stencil. Cut it out while still folded, then draw the design onto the pumpkin.

I woke up like this
Turn the pumpkin over, cut a circle from the bottom and remove the crumpled newspaper and any loose foil.

Cut out the eyes and mouth
Paint the pumpkin with orange acrylic. I left the area around the face white then dabbed a bit of white paint using a dry brush around the edge where it met the orange. This kind of made it look like the white was sitting on top of the orange. Like a clown's face paint would look. Sort of.

Paint the face details using acrylics and paint the stem green.

Hot glue a foam nose on and you're done!

Stick an LED tealight inside and enjoy your horrifying creation :-)