Craft-A-Doodle - Book Review

Blogged under Good Books, paper arts by Tammy on Monday 2 September 2013 at 5:28 am

Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises from 18 Artists by Jenny Doh is published by Lark Crafts (who sent me a review copy) and retails for $19.95 in the US and $21.95 in Canada. Amazon sells it for $12 to $10 US. The back cover has a tag line that says “Where Drawing Meets Play,” and that is what came to mind while I was looking through this book. Many of us doodle as a way to keep ourselves occupied and awake when we are sitting in a boring meeting , but the focus of this book is to use the idea of doodling as a method for exploring the art of drawing, but near the end of the book, it also crosses over into other crafts a little like embroidery and altered books.

Before you dismiss this book because you are not much of a drawing artist, that is really a non-issue because many of the various exercises step you through the drawing process using very rudimentary sketching skills. For example, one exercise shows how to draw an owl, and you start by drawing a large U. I think most of us can do that. Some exercises like the owl and doodle cup cake are very specific and show you how to draw the item step by step. Others are more methodology rather than exact steps. The “Sweet Combination” exercise has you start with a list of words, and then you collaborate with a partner to turn this into an art piece.

Each exercise starts with a prompt, and then guides you through a process from there, which includes step drawing and finished art pieces to view. I think this book would appeal to someone who has wanted to pick up some drawing techniques but was not sure how to get started, and it obviously would fit in with in with anyone who enjoys paper arts and, of course, doodling.

Modern Calligraphy

Blogged under Book-Art, Good Books, paper arts by Tammy on Monday 22 July 2013 at 6:05 am

Is calligraphy making a comeback? I have always envied those with beautiful handwriting, and calligraphy to me always looks like someone drew the letters. It is so beautiful and makes a nice touch for invitations, card making, and other paper arts. St. Martins has a new book out for those who want to learn the art of calligraphy. It is written by Molly Suber Thorpe and it’s titled Modern Calligraphy: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started in Script Calligraphy. Here’s some info from the press release:

“Calligraphy is about creating something uniquely beautiful, and if Tumblr tags or pinboards have anything to say about it, the time-honored craft is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Now you can master a fresh take on the lettering style with the help of award-winning designer Molly Suber Thorpe’s MODERN CALLIGRAPHY (St. Martin’s Griffin; September 24, 2013; $24.99).

The first book to teach this bold new style, MODERN CALLIGRAPHY breaks the process down into simple steps so that anyone can learn to create their own stunning wedding invitations, thank-you cards, gift tags, and more. Starting with an overview of supplies—from paper to ink to pens—you will learn how to form letters, words, then phrases by following Molly’s clear instructions and practicing with her provided templates. After mastering letterforms using a pointed pen and ink, you can take it to the next level by learning how to write with watercolor and gouache, or how to digitize your calligraphy for printed use on business cards, menus, and stamps. The book’s twenty projects provide inspiration for weddings, entertainment, and personal stationery. Finally, a handy troubleshooting section solves problems like how to conquer large-batch projects and offers helpful instructions for left-handed calligraphers.

With loads of ideas, practice exercises, and helpful tips, you’ll soon be turning out gorgeous script calligraphy pieces like the ones featured in wedding magazines and on popular websites like Etsy and Pinterest!

AUTHOR INFO
MOLLY SUBER THORPE is the award-winning designer and calligrapher behind Plurabelle Calligraphy. She is known for her original, contemporary lettering styles, combined with modern layouts and bold color palettes. Molly’s calligraphy has appeared in such publications as Martha Stewart Weddings, Country Living Magazine, C Magazine, The Guardian, and I Heart Stationery, as well on hundreds of blogs and in over 80 weddings. She lives in Los Angeles. For more information, visit her website: www.plurabellecalligraphy.com/. “

Cut Up This Book: Book Review

Blogged under Good Books, paper arts by Tammy on Tuesday 23 April 2013 at 5:16 am



Running Press sent me a review copy of a new title called Cut Up This Book: Special Occasions: Step-By-Step Instruction for Festive Decorations, Invitations, and Moreby author Emily Hogarth, and yes, you literally can cut this book up and make all kinds of fun paper-art items like cards, garlands, cup cake toppers, and other adorable decorations. The copyright on this book is May 2013, but I noticed it is already available through Amazon.com. It normally retails for $19 US and $22 Canadian. It has a flexbind cover book, is 144 pages long, and is divided into three sections: Getting Started; Project; and Templates.

In the Getting Started section, it explains about the tools and materials you need to make many of the projects in the book, and it has photograph step out images for the techniques too. My only slight beef about this section (and this could be due to my age) is that some of the text is a little hard to read. It is chock full of information, which means in some cases lots of text on pages, and that text could be larger for some of us over-40 types.

There are 25 projects in the second part of the book, and a good number are clever but also easy to accomplish. For example, there is the “Cake Toppers,” which uses a little paper and tape to make a cute “Congratulations” sign to but on top of a cake, or another favorite of mine are the “Food Flags.” Again, you just cut the paper as described in the step by step instructions (which include step out photographs too), stick it on a toothpick, and you end up with little flags to stick into sandwiches that say “ham” or “chicken.” How easy is that and how practical too?

Finally, you get to actually cut up the book in the third section that has loads of templates and decorative paper. Each page of this section corresponds to projects in section two of the book. There are total of 60 templates, and while you can just cut out what you need directly from the book, the instructions also suggest that you can photocopy or trace images as well. Each template is numbered and includes the project name and page number it goes with also.

Considering all of the templates and papers you get in addition to the projects, I think this is book is a bargain.

PUSH Print Book Review

Blogged under Book-Art, Good Books, paper arts by Tammy on Monday 22 April 2013 at 5:48 am


Awhile ago, I received a review copy from Sterling Publishing of PUSH Print: 30+ Artists Explore the Boundaries of Printmaking (PUSH Series). In the US, it retails for $19.95, and it is $23.95 in Canada. It is what is considered a “gallery” style book where a collection of artists are featured, both their work and their approach to that work. The curators of PUSH Print are Jamie Berger and Keith Berger, who are both print related artists. Jamie is a designer and art director, and Keith is a pressman. Together, they collected the visual works of the 31 book-artists included in this book and interviewed each about his or her approach to this medium.

As you would expect a book about book-art to be, this is a highly visual text with lots of full color images of the artists’ work. Sidebars around the artwork photographs describe the artwork and has a series of questions and answers. The idea behind using “PUSH” in this series of books is (as the subtitles says) to look at artwork that pushes against traditional boundaries. This includes subject matter and also techniques used to create the art. This means you will find innovative ideas and contemporary themes throughout this book.

I have to admit that while I like the PUSH series, I’m not in love with it. Aesthetically, much of the work is hit and miss for me. Some of it I like, some of it I am so-so with, and some I just do not like at all. However, as I read through PUSH Print: 30+ Artists Explore the Boundaries of Printmaking (PUSH Series) a few artist friends of mine came to mind who I know this book would speak to, so if you are a little more adventurous than I am, I definitely recommend taking a look at this book as well as the others in the PUSH series.

Thanksgiving Crafting from Provo Craft

Blogged under paper arts by Tammy on Tuesday 13 November 2012 at 5:39 pm

Thanksgiving is not a holiday that gets a lot of crafting goodness, but if you are into paper-arts then there is a reason to make crafts themed around this holiday (other than it is just fun to do!) You can make decorative items for the home, and considering most of us have company, you can decorate your house and show off your crafting skills at the same time.

Over at the Provo Craft site, there are a number of fun and easy projects using paper products and the company’s Circuit cutting machines. For example, pictured above (with permission from the company) is a 3-D Pumpkin Pie Slice. You can find similar free projects here, each of which has tons of how-to images to take you through the steps needed to create them.