Beginners Drawing Tutorial

This weeks post is a bit different – I’m getting back to my Fine Art roots with an art tutorial! A quick series of 4 drawing exercises to help you begin to draw.

Beginners Drawing Tutorial

I have wanted to do this for ages and decided that as October sees the Campaign for Drawing organise The Big Draw (with events all over the world to encourage people to draw) this was the perfect time to get around to it!. The first thing people usually say to me when they hear I studied Fine Art is ‘ooh you must be very good at drawing!’ Well, I’m not. I actually find drawing really difficult,  and much prefer to paint or take photographs. But I CAN draw. In fact everyone can. Read more

Simple Bookbinding Notebook DIY

Simple Bookbinding Notebook DIY

Learn a simple bookbinding technique to create your own notebooks or sketchbooks!

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

I always carry a notebook or sketchbook with me and when I was at art college I often made my own. In fact a lot of my artwork during that time was based around the idea of artists books. I had pinned a few bookbinding tutorials from the web on Pinterest and noticed they were getting a lot of re-pins.

But I couldn’t find any tutorials for my favorite type, soft bound binding. So I decided to make my own. Soft bound binding combines stitching and gluing pages together, with a flexible card cover. I also decided to add a decorative touch with some patterned washi tape!

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

You will need:
-3 sheets of A4 paper, you can use any type, but a nice cartridge works well
-card for the cover
-washi or paper tape
-thick thread like a linen
-large eye needle
-craft knife and cutting mat
-PVA/white glue and paintbrush
-pencil and ruler
-binder clips
-bone folder, awl,

Preparing the Paper
Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

1. Take one sheet of A4 paper and cut into four equal postcard size pieces
2.Stack them on top of each other and fold them in half. I use a bone folder to make a really crisp fold.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 with the other two pieces of paper.You will now have three small booklets, known as signatures in the bookbinding world
4.Take one signature and using a pencil and ruler, mark 2 holes along the inside of the fold, 3cm from each of the edges.To make sewing easier, use an awl (or your needle) to punch holes at the pencil marks. Do the same for the other two signatures

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

5.Thread your needle with approx. 50cm of linen thread and tie a knot at the other end. I’m using black to make it easier to see, but white generally looks better. Take one of your signatures and take the needle from the outside to the inside
6.Sew through the other hole back to the outside
7. Sew back down the first hole so you are on the inside again.
8.Take the needle under the thread, pull the thread tight so it lies flat against the paper and tie a knot
9.Pass the needle through that same hole, back to the outside and gently pull the knot through the hole so its sits on the spine. Don’t cut the thread at this point
10.Using the same piece of thread (which is still attached to the previous signature) repeat steps 6 – 10 with the other two signatures

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

11.Tie a final knot and trim off the thread tails.
12.Use the binder clips to hold the three signatures together. I like to use some scrap paper to stop the clips from scratching the paper.
13.Spread a generous layer of PVA glue on the spine and leave until its tacky.
14.Add another layer and repeat one more time. PVA glue is flexible, making it perfect for bookbinding.

Washi Tape Binding
Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

15.Cut the card for the back and front covers to size and use the binder clips to hold everything together. Again, I’m using scrap paper to prevent the clips from marking the cover. Cutting a piece of tape the length of the spine.
16.Attach it, making sure you have an equal amount on each side.
17.Smooth the tape down, making sure it is securely attached.
18.Cut a piece of tape for the cover, this time leaving an overlap of a cm at each end. You can either stick this alongside the edge of the spine tape or overlap with the spine tape like I have. I’m using a paper tape from Paperchase (similar here) that is slightly more opaque than standard washi tape, meaning I can overlay them without seeing the one underneath.
19.Repeat for the back.
20.An optional step is to use a corner rounder paper punch (like this one from X-Cut) to round the corners, Moleskine style!

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

Watercolour Paper Flowers

Watercolour Paper Flowers

Learn how to make a beautiful paper flowers with this tutorial/DIY

watercolour paper flower tutorial

I love plants and flowers, but so do my two cats. So much so that they chew them, which is good for neither the plant or the cats! So faux flowers are a much better option for me, and these DIY hand painted paper flowers are surprisingly simple to make and last much much longer than their real-life counterparts.
I’m not sure what flower this is trying to be, part anemone, part rose maybe? You could be more realistic, but I chose to go with something more fantastical!

You will need :

watercolour paper flower tutorial

-Paper; basic computer paper will do, but a thicker drawing or cartridge is even better
-Wire; plastic coated garden wire is great
-Cutters; to cut the wire
-Paints; watercolours, acrylics, even soluble pencils will do!
-Glue gun
-Floral Tape; a stretchy florists tape to cover the wire
-Paintbrush and water container

1. To make the petals, I used my hands to create 7 petal shapes (a bit like balloons!) by ripping the paper. You could use scissors, but I like the ripped effect. Don’t worry that they aren’t all the same shape or size, this actually helps create a more natural looking flower. For the centre of the flower make a rectangle approx 10cm long and as tall as your smallest petal. Make a series of little rips all along to create a fringe.

2.Wet the petal with plain water then apply one colour to the top, rounded edge and another, complementary colour toward the bottom and blend the two together. Repeat for the other petals

3. Do the same for the fringed centre, adding a darker or even black colour to the edges of the fringe.

4. Once touch dry, spatter a darker colour of paint on the petals and centre using your paintbrush or a toothbrush.

watercolour paper flower tutorial

5.Once completely dry, its time to assemble your flower! Cut a 30cm length of wire and fold over one end by a couple of cm and glue this to the bottom (non-fringed) centre strip. Fold the first ‘fringe’ over and glue.

6.Roll the centre strip around the wire, gluing a couple of times to secure.

7. Add some glue to the base of your smallest petal, and stick to the rolled up fringe. Glue another petal on, over-lapping the previous one slightly. Work your way around adding petals, working up to the largest.

8. Once all the petals are attached, start attaching the floral tape from the base of the flower down the stem. This stretchy tape comes in green and white and is available from craft and cake decorating shops. Strangely, it only seems to stick to itself, which makes it a bit tricky to get it started, so use a bit of glue if needed. (If you can’t get hold of floral tape, strips of crepe paper and some PVA glue also work. The tape is just less messy!)

watercolour paper flower tutorial

9. Curl the petals backwards to open out the flower and there you have it, a gorgeous flower that doesn’t need watering!

watercolour paper flower tutorial

watercolour paper flower tutorial

Painted Watercolour Paper Flower Tutorial DIY

Tutorial – Simple Paper Embossing

If you have a die-cutting machine, embossing paper is simple. You buy an embossing folder with the design of your choice and run it through the machine. Hey presto, you have a perfectly embossed image! But what if you don’t have a fancy machine or find the folders too expensive? Well it is surprisingly easy (and ridiculously cheap) to emboss with using this method.

You will need
-Thick card, like greyboard, mountboard
-cartridge paper
-cutting mat
-paper tortillon/stump or a suitably smooth, rounded object (Sharpie pen lids work well!)

This freehand method requires you to cut out a shape of thick card board then use a tool to gently push cartridge paper into the shape.

Embossed paper tutorial heart

1. Start with drawing a simple shape onto the thick card. Rounded shapes like circles and http://www.cpad.org/index.php/en/class/oc-chapter?start=10 hearts are perfect. Leave a good margin of cardboard around the shape and cut out. Now I’m not the best at cutting out, my lines are always wonky, but trust me, it doesn’t matter too much.

2.Turn the card over as if there is any pencil or pen left from where you drew the shape it can transfer.

3.Place a piece of cartridge paper onto top of the cardboard stencil and very gently rub over with the paper tortillon. Paper tortillons (sometimes called stumps) are mainly used by fine artists to smudge charcoal and pastel drawings. However, any smooth rounded object like a Sharpie pen will also work. Go gently and concentrate on the edges of the shape, not the middle for a smoother emboss.

4.Turn the paper over to see the result. Pretty good for a bit of card eh?! You might want to have another go, pressing lighter or firmer until you get it just right, even playing around with it and over-lapping the shapes.

Embossed paper tutorial circles

5.Now try something a bit more complex, like letters or a monogram. Shapes with sharper corners are a bit trickier to get right so don’t worry if the first go isn’t perfect. I had to use masking tape to secure the hole into the ‘R’ which can stick to and damage, the cartridge paper. To help minimise this, I tried to remove the visible sticky areas using a damp cotton bud. Being careful when embossing and only rubbing over the edges will also help.

Embossed paper tutorial monogramEmbossed paper tutorial monogram
Embossed paper tutorial monogram

Have you had a go with paper embossing using this method? I’d love to see the results!