Thursday, November 20, 2014

Makin' loooooove, outta nothin' at all!

Hmm.  Maybe that isn't the EXACT song quote I was looking for, but it's what came to mind.  I made this tiny little mini-zine (8 pages, but it's made from one piece of 8.5x11 paper) from just the scraps on my desk.  It's not long on quality content, but it does go to show that you can do something fun with the bits and pieces left over from other projects, or that you just can't stand to throw away.

See?  Hoarder tendency: justified.

The front

How I plan to take over the world (you'll just have to buy the zine to find out)

The back

Friday, November 7, 2014

Very Pinteresting!

So you know when I'm quiet for a while, I'm clearly up to no good, right?  Well, I accepted a project that has been a ton of fun, and I've been working away at it like a good little elf.  (I'll report on the no-good stuff in a different post.  Heh.)

My sister-in-law found this idea on Pinterest, and asked if I could paint some stair risers for her basement like the ones she was admiring online.  I love painting and I love books, so I jumped on board without a second thought.  This life strategy usually makes me gnash my teeth with deep regret at my impulsiveness, and I don't really recommend it.  Luckily, this time it's been a really fun project all the way through and I don't even hate anybody yet.  She used leftover interior paint to base coat the planks, which is a great idea because now they'll match her house, regardless of what lettering I add to them.

Here's a pic of the whole set, with just the base coat of the lettering done.

And here's a closer shot of three that have the lettering detail done.

I have a couple more risers to detail, then they all need the shading/highlighting that will make them look more rounded, and not like flat pieces of plywood glued to the front of each step.  They might not be photo-realistic when I'm done, but I do hope the illusion will hold up if a viewer squints and has a kind heart.

More to follow...

Love Shelley!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Self-Mailers... they do everything but walk to the mailbox themselves

Okay, they totally don't.  BUT!  They are still pretty cool.  Remember passing notes in high school?  Sometimes you folded them in half, then in half the other way, then in half once more; but other times they were folded in such a way that they stayed together and made a nice stiff little packet that was easy to pass back and forth.

These are like those!  (The second "those," not the first "those".  The first "those" are boring.)

The deal was to figure out a way to fold your letter so it could go through the mail system safely, without going into an envelope.  This fold isn't one that I used in high school but it's actually pretty cool.  When you're done, you end up with a little corner pocket that folds over the top right corner, and loosely keeps it together.  I made sure to cover the edge with a stamp so it holds together until it reaches its new home.  I know the "start here" is pretty tiny - I hope these lovely ladies see that before they just rip n tear into the envelope and destroy it.  I kind of gave myself a mental picture there.  Ha!

Nothing really fancy for the back, just some more decoration and a declaration of what this colourful, extremely light "envelope" is all about.

 All doodled up in pencil crayon and ready to roll  Like me.  Gotta jet.  Bye!

Love Shelley!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Oh, right... the round robin

I guess you want to see MY book too, right?

I started with a small Field Notes memo book, and collaged used postage on the cover.  I wanted it to be really light to mail so it wouldn't cost everyone too much.  In a swap like this, you want to make it as easy as possible for people, so your book doesn't get held up.

It's traditional to put your contact info inside the cover in case it should get lost; and the sign-in page is optional but most people do it.  Otherwise you end up with really cool pages that are signed with an inscrutable mark and later you have no idea who worked in it or when.  And then how do you go about stalking your favourite artists?!  So clearly we need a sign-in page.

Also traditional: do the first spread yourself.  It sets the tone, plus lets the other participants know that you're willing to do some work, that you're not just sending out an empty book to scam art from other people.  (It happens.)

I don't imagine I'll see this book again until around Christmas.  I'm fine with that - it will be a nice juicy surprise when I do receive it!

Okay, now go step away from the computer.  You should get some fresh air.  I'm going to go see what the chickens are up to.

Love Shelley!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I know it's shark week, but...

I like the octopus a lot better than boring old grey sharks.  Lookit the COLOURS!

This is for a round robin journal swap I'm in - everyone does one 2-page spread and then sends it along in a timely fashion, and eventually you get your own journal back, full of all the other participants' glorious artwork.  It's fun to see what books people choose (this one was actually hand-made) and what kind of paper you get to work on.  This one was a very light kraft paper so I knew I wouldn't be able to use any wet media.  I ended up going with Verithin pencil crayons and finished it up with a black china marker.  Unfortunately the china marker sort of took it from "fine art" to "colouring book" but luckily for me, I like it.

Hope you're rockin' your day,

Love Shelley!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In over my head... again.

So a couple (few?) weeks ago I saw a really cool hand-made book online.  I THOUGHT I had pinned it, but do you think I can find it?  Noooooo.  I decided to try to make one myself anyway.

It involves a cardboard box, preferably short and stocky, and an x-acto knife, to start with.

Then about a bazillion pieces of salvaged/recycled/vintage/cool paper to make the signatures.  That part only took oh, about FOURTEEN HOURS.  Then stitching in the signatures, which had me saying a few bad words, while I stabbed my fingers repeatedly.  Don't worry though - I also infused this book with LOVE, not just blood.*

The result is this.  THE chunkiest little book I've ever made.  It's 4 ¾" wide, 5 ¾" high, and 3 ¾" deep.  THREE AND THREE-QUARTER INCHES.  I'm pretty sure that's even bigger than a box of Pop-Tarts.  (Yum, Pop-Tarts...)

Hardly ANY goofs with the binding (that couldn't be covered up with the vintage ribbon).

The front and back cover are both collaged with used postage stamps from various sources**.

The inside is stuffed with over 400 pages (that's over 800 writing/drawing/arting surfaces!) of dictionary pages, illustrations, maps, music, weather reports, ledger papers, things in different languages (including Braille), and all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff.  You'd be surprised how much of your stash you have to use up to create this size of a book.  I'm almost ready to start collecting again!***

Here it is open, in all its glory.  Ready for someone to fill it with memories, writing, doodles, receipts, lists, all kinds of bits and pieces of fun.  It won't be me though.  I love this book but I'm setting it free into the world, on account of it doesn't fit in my pocket and therefore is Not The Book For Me.  I put it into my etsy shop this afternoon.

*Don't worry, there's no actual blood in the book.  So no buying it to do spells.

**Most of which are completely legit, and none of which included this stamp that arrived on today's mail.

***BAHAHAHAHA as if I ever stopped.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Because I sure miss making stuff to post here.  Lately there hasn't been too much creative stuff going on, but today I stole some time from the "should-do" conscience-type stuff and did a page in my art journal.

I started with this handsome fella.  My daughter is completely grossed out and wouldn't come near me the whole time I was working on this page, so now I'm going to make a photocopy of him and put it on a popsicle stick and hold it up when I want to be left alone.

Collage, spray inks, some tape, Inktense pencils and some Sharpie paint pens...

Then a regular brush marker, more Sharpie, and some Warm White gouache...

But then it was too light, so I went back and added some more colour with the Inktense pencils again.  Oh, and a shirt.  Dude was looking a little freaky just hanging there in the middle of the page.

Totally thought about stopping right here and letting the rest go unsaid.  Nice clean areas on the page, could possibly come back later and add to it... but no.

Why stop when you can give him a Where's Waldo t-shirt and then wildly overshare with the internet?

Anyway, the next page is already planned out and it's pretty much a response to this page.  Yes, I know.  That's dumb.  How does one respond to oneself?  Well, stay tuned and you'll see.

Until then...

Love Shelley!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Still Drawing; Not Rich and Famous Yet

This elephant is taking FOREVER.  She's not quite done yet but we're getting there.

Instructor did "surprise life drawing" night - I wondered if he had naked people stashed away somewhere that he was going to spring on us.  But no.  Some people had talked about having trouble getting fabric draping drawn correctly, so he gave us a chance to practice.  He was even kind enough to model for us, although he did yell, "Oh my GOD, it's HIDEOUS!" when he saw my drawing… presumably he doesn't love seeing his likeness any more than I like seeing mine….or, it's a really bad drawing. 

These are the triplet bear cubs from the movie "Brave".  Some days the drawing goes well and some days, not so much.  I drew about three pages of stuff over the course of two days and this is the only drawing I'd even want to show you out of that batch.  Bleah.  

It occurred to me that I might want to learn to draw hair, since most people have some.  

Everything went well with this pic of Andre Braugher until I tried to a) draw his face and b) make his skin black.  Bah.

I reverted back to cartoon characters - this guy is cute AND has a little girl playmate that I plan to draw next. 

 I dug around and found all the different lead hardnesses to start this class, but I've found I use mainly two pencils: a 4H and a Palomino Blackwing.  And a lot of erasing, of course.

These are just the pics out of my sketchbook.  Next time, I'll show you a couple of my assignments.  One even has COLOUR!

Until then,
Love Shelley!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


So this happened.

You may not know this about me, but I have known deep in my heart for the past few years that I would give my left nut to meet Jenny (The Bloggess) Lawson.  Well guess who came to Winnipeg yesterday WHY YES IT WAS JENNY (THE BLOGGESS) LAWSON.

I love this woman.  She has written a gloriously bizarre book, and blogs about things I couldn't think up on my best day.  One of her cats is named Ferris Mewler.  The other is Hunter S. Thomcat.  She's incredibly enthusiastic about dressing up old taxidermied animals in tiny hats and clothes and false eyelashes and makeup and giving them funny names.  She asked Wil Wheaton to send her a picture of himself collating paper, and he did.  She surprised her husband with a giant steel chicken named Beyonce.  If this sounds spectacularly ridiculous, it's because it is.  The flip side is that she has a crippling anxiety problem, mixed in with other disagreeable health issues, and that she speaks openly and honestly about them on her blog.  You'd think this would be a downer, but it's just the opposite.  You may not believe me but if you read her you'll see.  She gives the rest of us hope, no matter what issues we may be dealing with.

I didn't want to spook her with my fangirl glee, but after I stood politely in front of her for a while doing a slightly agitated pee-pee dance, she was gracious enough to let me geek out and have a picture with her.

Please note that I did not try to a) kiss her on the lips or b) put her in my pocket and take her home to show my sister.
I believe I showed admirable restraint.

Knowing Jenny's appreciation for slightly dilapidated preserved animals, someone brought in a stuffed fox to help her feel more comfortable; after it was put it to a vote he was named Derrick, and then Jenny showed up and discreetly pointed out that Derrick was actually a girl.

She's so polite she's practically Canadian.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

So I'm taking this class...

I signed up for Childrens Book Illustration, a night class offered at the community college, and there is A LOT of homework.  Which is good, because it forces me to draw.  Want to see?  Good, let's go!

* * * * *

This was the first assignment I handed in.  We had to draw children in three different age ranges; and in three different states (standing, sitting, in motion).  I used reference photos from the internet, and the bottom two are in pencil, various lead hardnesses.  The flying kid was sketched out in pencil, and then I used a manga set of markers to shade him in.  Sorry about the demon eyes.  I got a little carried away with the marker.

Sketchbook - we're supposed to fill three pages in our sketchbook every week.  Doesn't sound like much, does it?  (ha.)

Again these are all from reference photos.  I wish I had the imagination to make up stuff like this on my own, but nope.  This was all done with a red Col-Erase pencil.  It's a pencil crayon but erasable.  Allegedly.  I was sitting on the couch and was too lazy to get up and look for an eraser, so I just scribbled harder to go over the parts I didn't like.

The cow went on some outgoing mail; I found her by doing a google image search for "cow" and she came up as "curious cow".  She was outlined in a Micron pen and then coloured in with Copic markers, kind of a quick-and-dirty job since I'm really not great with markers (YET).  Then I found a website that is all about character development, (visual, not like working hard and never telling a lie) and it's not in English, but there are a ton of great reference photos.  All the hamster drawings are in pencil.  I love this little guy.  From the website it looks like he's in the Disney movie "Bolt," which I haven't seen.  I figured I'd better start working on some kind of stuff that kids would like, since the final project is to illustrate a 16-page kids' book.  I'm sweating a little just thinking about it.  Then again, being challenged like this is sure to make me grow. Or have a nervous breakdown - one of those two things.

This big momma is a work in progress.  I just got started on her last night.  I hope to finish her tonight, because I still have to complete two more sketchbook pages for Monday, PLUS my assignment.  Yikes.  Anyway, this is from a  reference photo from a National Geographic book I snagged at Value Village.  So far I've only used a 4H pencil and a Palomino Blackwing.  I  might add more values with different pencils, but I'm not very good at that yet.  Since I used to just cross my fingers and hope you could tell what it was supposed to be, I think I've made some progress.  HA!  (Oh, and if I haven't, it's an elephant.)

I have a LOT more work on the go for this class.   I'll post pics as I go along. I'm hoping to see some real improvement between now and the end of  March when it's over.  Critiques welcome - you might see something I don't, so let me have it.

Love Shelley!