Archive for the ‘technique’ Category

DIY Mary Blair Coasters


Are your drink coasters dull? Are they boring and uninspired? Well, they need not be drab any longer!  Claire Louise Milne has posted a beautiful tutorial on how you can make your very own custom set of coasters!

Posted by Thomas James on 06/21/07 under artists,everyday art,technique,the art of living
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Today in Beauty

I haven’t really done a roundup style post before (it almost feels like cheating), but it seems like I’ve been hit from all sides today with beautiful and curious-making blog entries, so here we go:

From (via, we discover the work of Tim Knowles, who explores the imprints of motion and gives the power of painting to the trees. The tree in the photograph seems to reach toward the easel with a delicate hand. The result is ephemeral and stunning.


From ApartmentTherapy comes some amazing plasma cut pieces from Cal Lane. I am absolutely obsessed with the trend of silhouettes and baroque shapes that’s been around a few years – and these work tools formed into steel lacework sum it up for me. It’s the decadence of removing the utility from useful items.


(Given that I just spent all morning sifting through thousands of doily patterns left forgotten in the back of a closet, maybe it makes sense that I’m all about the metal doilies today). Gallery Page and Strange is showing Cal Lane’s works at Booth M-402 at the Affordable Art Fair in NYC this weekend.

Last up on the roundup of blogs is a grateful bow to the fine folks over at Rag & Bone bindery, whose blog is a daily inspiration and has introduced me to some amazing artists, while helping broaden my definition of “illustration.” Today’s hit (back on the theme of silhouettes) is Virginia Rose Kane, who uses collage, illustration, and paper-cutting techniques to create intricate paper stories.


Posted by Thomas James on 06/14/07 under artists,materials,technique
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Draw Anyway


Draw anyway (when you think you canâ??t and even if you could you havenâ??t got any time and everyone said your last picture was fab, until you told them what it was meant to be, and, look, you never said you could draw, anyway, right?)

Myfanwy Nixon’s new site is great for a little extra encouragement to draw anyway, with daily tasks that are somewhere between fun assignment and inspiring drawing lesson. The image above is from the “Negative Space” task, with some informative tips and great illos describing the method of drawing subjects by drawing the space around them.

Posted by Thomas James on 06/11/07 under artists,everyday art,technique
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The World’s Finest…

Guide to Watercolor Painting is by Bruce MacEvoy.

It may be self-proclaimed, but I do believe it. I could spend years reading it. Too many highlights to highlight. So just go and check it out.

At a time when I am getting bored of watercolors, this has been a refreshing find.

His other sites? A little quirky.

Posted by admin on 06/07/07 under materials,technique
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moleskine girls

julia image!

A selection of lovely moleskine girls by Julia Bereciartu. According to her flickr site she loves drawing, taking Polaroids, moleskines, collages, cooking, cinema and my her friends!

Posted by Thomas James on 05/30/07 under artists,technique
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Ten Minute Drawing Techniques


When I was a kid before the internet was a household reality I would try to get my hot little hands on any drawing instructional book I could find at a library, bookstore or flea market. Knowledge was limited to what I could find and what my budget could afford. These days I marvel at how much information is out there for young aspiring illustrators on the interweb. One such find is Ten Minute Drawing Techniques blog hosted by Mark Chong. A super resource of how-to videos for the aspiring and professional. The internet is an awesome thing.

Posted by Thomas James on 05/15/07 under technique,video
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Lorraine Shulba, my pal.

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Vibrant canola fields, powerful forests and delicate flower petals. She paints an Alberta sky like nobodies biz. When I look at Lorraine’s work I feel the comfort of my home. Like I’m driving out to a familiar place in the country, something from my childhood.

Then in contrast she does this lovely illustrative work on wood:

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The neat-o part is that we’ve been friends for years and have helped each other through many of the ups and downs of self employed life. When you know the artist really well you see his/her personality radiate through every element and brushstroke. Its kind of a privledge in a way.

I hope this summer we’ll get the chance to drive some dusty country roads and draw old barns and horse pasture. (L, if your reading this, take a hint!)

Happy Monday, all.

Posted by Thomas James on 05/14/07 under artists,technique
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Thanks again, Leif!

Illustration by Robert Fawcett

one of my coworkers commented recently that my drawings remind him of Robert Fawcett. i had to google the man but, now that i’ve seen his work (above), i am (1) embarassed that i hadn’t seen it sooner, (2) enormously flattered, and (3) grateful to Leif Peng for his constantly growing archive of classic illustration on Flickr.

Posted by rama on 05/09/07 under artists,technique
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A Painter’s Bible

Everything I Know About Painting by Richard Schmid

I received this book as a gift at Christmas, and I’m currently on my second reading of it. It was recommended by my instructor, Karol Mack, at an oil painting workshop I attended last summer. Karol named this as the be-all and end-all of books on the subject of painting. And I can totally see why.

This book covers everything in detail from the many ways to start a painting (and Schmid’s preferred method), to the subjective nature of color, and everything else in between. And the best part is, for every point Mr. Schmid makes, he explains the WHY. Many things learned in school, in books or from other artists are accepted as truth without a proper explanation. I myself am always asking, wondering, pondering “why?” Why are accurate drawing skills so important? Why do some paintings work, and others do not? Why should I paint at all? Why does anyone? Mr. Schmid offers his theories and they are compelling and inspiring.


Then once he goes through all the best lessons he has learned on the technical aspects of painting and creating, Schmid deals with the less tangible lessons, and much of this revolves around knowing one’s own self. This is a particularly valuable, validating lesson for me.

“Have a warm respect for your art and cherish your affection for it. Never demean your efforts because you think you’re not in a class with Rembrandt. Paint the things you passionately respond to, and use any means necessary to make your work come out the way you intend. (That’s what Rembrandt did.)”

“Even though you share countless similarities with others, you are unique. No one has your mind or your feelings. They do not notice what you notice, and do not have precisely the same sensitivities or fears. No one has the same idea of God as you. No one longs to embrace life or ponders death and beyond as you do. No one is human in the exact same way as you are. Once you understand this, your task is to get in touch with yourself. Find out what moves you, what you believe in, what you truly understand about life, who you are, and what this great experience of being alive means to you. Then put it in your paintings.”

“Somewhere within all of us there is a wordless center, a part of us that hopes to be immortal in some way, a part that has remained unchanged since we were children, the source of our strength and compassion. This faint confluence of the tangible and the spiritual is where Art comes from. ”

Lessons invaluable to any creative, regardless of your medium or your career in the arts.

Posted by admin on 05/08/07 under artists,books,technique
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wertzateria shop

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wertz 1

I might be behind the times but Michael Wertz has a new shop! Lots of lovely prints and illustrated swag to purchase. Also, his blog can be found right over here.

In my snoopings, I also noticed that Michael has done a portrait of fellow IF blogger, Rama (for the portrait party!):

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I’m sure lots of us are very familiar with his work but dang, what talent. Michael (if your listening!), your work has always been an inspiration to me.

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Posted by Thomas James on 05/04/07 under artists,technique
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