Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Pop art photo tutorial

When we moved into our new home, I was so excited to have a space to do arts and crafts. After the birth of our second child, we decided to change my arts and crafts room into a playroom/craftroom. I am so glad that we did, as to be honest a lot of the kids crafting supplies are a lot more fun than mine! I wanted the room to be bright and colourful, so I decided to create a lot of pop art of our photographs of family and friends. 

These are all created with the free software GIMP. 

Here's a how to do it...

Open up the image you would like to use in GIMP. I then use a large white paintbrush to remove all of the background of the image. 

Then you need to use the Photocopy tool by selecting Filters > Artistic > Photocopy. There is a preview that shows you how dark and thick your lines are going to be, so you can play with the settings until you are happy. If it is still not the desired darkness or your white bits are too dark then go into Colors > Levels and move the little black, grey and white triangles until you are happy with how it looks. 

If your lines are dark without gaps you can simply use the bucket fill tool to colour in your image. If however, you have gaps, you will need to click Colors > Colors to Alpha > OK which will create a layer that is transparent apart from the black lines of your image. 

You then need to create a white layer by clicking Layer > New Layer and making sure white is selected and clicking OK. 

You then need to open up the Layers by clicking Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Layers. 

This will bring this box up and you need to make sure it looks like this where the layer with your picture is on the top (you can simply drag them to change the order) and the white layer is on the bottom but selected. 

You can then paint onto the page without going over your black lines and once you are happy, you can merge down the layers to create your final image. To do this click on the top layer then click Layer > Merge Down

You can also layer up different backgrounds and then rub out the layers above, so just the layer you want shows through to create an image like the one below. To do this add a layer as above and copy and paste your backgrounds. I got these different textures from a google search for free backgrounds.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Wedding art

For Valentine's Day a couple of years ago, I created this card for my husband, and although I look back at a lot of my digital art and think 'Oh dear!', I still really like this. 

This is how I created it...

First I opened the image up in GIMP (free software) I cropped the image and then clicked Layer > New Layer and clicked to create a transparent layer. (You may want to name the layer so you know which you are clicking on later)

To make sure that you are drawing on the transparent layer click Windows > Dockable dialogues > Layers and make sure you are clicked on the box that is a grey chequerboard. You can then pick how big you want your brush to be and trace over the image. I think it looks best when you make it look quite sketchy and imperfect. 

Once you have sketched over as much detail as you like then you need to go back onto the Layers box and click on your original image and press delete (the little trash can at the bottom). Then click Layer > New Layer. This time you want to create a white layer. Then right click on the transparent layer and click Merge down. 

The image is now ready for you to colour in as you please or leave as a sketch. Getting the watercolour feel took a bit of experimentation. To get the paintbrush options open double click on the paintbrush. I used the round brush and made the opacity 39%. I changed the Dynamics to Pressure Opacity. This means that you can layer the colour up as every time you click your paintbrush down your colour becomes darker.

Although, I do count tracing in art as cheating, I do think this is pretty cool and simple enough for anyone to have a go!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

My little tinker

My main reason for getting back into art was wanting to create lots of lovely artwork of my beautiful little family. I am planning on creating a wall full of family art. My husband and I are thinking on creating a little comic book for our little boy and I am so excited to start illustrating it. I love this little digital drawing I did of my son. I hope it captures his mischievous nature. This is going to be turned into some little stickers so he can spread that cheeky grin everywhere.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


I did this little doodle a couple of years ago. At the time, I was taking lots of photos and really starting to enjoy photography. This means we have loads of lovely photos from this time, but I must admit it sometimes meant I was so into getting the perfect photo, I forgot to just enjoy the moment. I have started to take a bit more of a chilled attitude to documenting our little ones childhood. I have ditched taking our DSLR out on family trips, and I now take our Sony Cybershot RX100 camera out. It performs really well in automatic mode, so I can just whip it out for some quick shots and get back to making memories. I must admit, whilst I have been at my lowest ebb, showing smiling happy shots on social media felt important, but I try to avoid Facebook now. It shows an unrealistic representation of many people's lives and to be honest I know our kids are cute and I'm having fun, so if people want to see that, come give us a visit! 

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Candy coloured photo tutorial

I love having lots of photographs of family and friends up around the house. I like adapting them so that they look like cool pieces of art. I wanted to see if there was an easy way to make my images candy coloured without searching for the perfect background, shop for specific outifts and then still have to mess with the photograph afterwards. Guess what, there is. Hurray!

Here's how to do it....

I use GIMP (free to download software), which normally does everything I need it to. 

First select your image and make the background white. I do this by simply using a white paintbrush and paint over the background.

Then bucket fill the background, in a pale colour. You are going to alter the colour so it doesn't matter too much what colour.

You then need to click Color > Colorize.

It will bring up a box and if you drag the hue bar until you have found a colour that you like. 

You then need to click Colors > Posterize. You can drag the bar to alter how the image looks. Then click ok and voila your very own candy coloured artwork. 

Friday, 8 April 2016

Doodle diary

Creating art is one of the things that fills me with joy. I love nearly everything about it and even when I have had the most stressful day doing a bit of drawing or painting really helps me to relax. The only thing that I find a little frustrating is that whilst my brain thinks of masterpieces, my hands can't always keep up.

When I am getting frustrated with my hands, I try to remember this quote by Ira Glass...

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
With this in mind, I decided I need to create more art and try not to beat myself up with the ones that do not turn out quite right. One of the things I am so happy I started doing is a doodle diary. Each year we fill up a jar with our happy memories throughout the year, but this year I decided to draw some of my favourite memories each month too. I recommend this for anyone who has lost faith in their creative skills, as its such a quick thing to do and I think it will make a lovely little book at the end of the year.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Happy Little Scribbles

This is my happy little blog. Filled with colour, the things I love, and lots of happy little scribbles. My 100 day happiness planner has arrived and I am so excited to get started and really see if being actively in the pursuit of happiness can make a difference. 

Happiness planner available here