Books on Natural Dyeing Part Two: Traditional Dyeing

While I love indigo, there are so many other wonderful dye plants, yielding a huge variety of  natural dyes and colours and similarly, a large number of books (though not as many as the plants!) devoted to the subject, again each with a slightly different approach and style.

Jenny Dean is an English  natural dyeing expert, having worked with natural dyes for almost forty years. It is well worth reading her interview with The Wild Dyery at: http://thewilddyery.com/interview-with-jenny-dean/, as well as her blog at http://www.jennydean.co.uk/. In a post at the beginning of the year, she mentioned a tantalising One Year Natural Dyeing Course from March 2018 to February 2019 at Ditchling Museum in East Sussex, but given it started last month, I will have to contend with Jenny’s books instead, of which there are over seventy,  two of which I actually possess! I have also discovered that Wild Dyery runs 12 week online courses, which look really interesting as well. See: http://naturalfabricdyeing.com/, but back to Jenny’s books!

Wild Colour: How to Grow, Prepare and Use Natural Plant Dyes by Jenny Dean 1999

This beautiful hardcover book is divided into three sections:

Introduction: This important chapter covers the theoretical background of natural dyeing from its history:

Origins and evolution of natural dyeing techniques;

Development of medieval guilds of master dyers, trade routes and synthetic dyes;

Dye categories (substantive/ vat and adjective);

Other sources of natural colour: Tyrian or Imperial Purple from Murex and Purpura shellfish and a variety of reds: a scarlet Kermes Red, Red Lac and Cochineal from the bodies of scale insects, feeding on oak leaves/ fig and acacia leaves/ and prickly pear cactus respectively);

Specific plant dyes: Red: Madder, Brazilwood and Safflower; and Purple: Logwood and Lichens; and

Application techniques: Discharge Dyeing; Block Printing; Ikat Dyeing; and Blue Printing.

Dyeing Techniques:

Safety Guidelines: For use and storage;

Equipment: Drying and storing plant material; Camping stove; Water source; Stainless steel pots, only used for dyeing; Large bowls and buckets; Plastic containers for leftover dyes; Tongs  and log-handled spoons; Measuring jugs; Strainers or colanders; Weighing scales; Rubber gloves and oven mitts; Labels and waterproof markers; and Record book.

Water pH: Testing and adjusting it;

Materials: Animal and vegetable fibres and their preparation for the dye bath;

Mordants:

Natural: Staghorn sumac Leaves; Rhubarb leaves; and Oak galls;

Chemical Compounds: Aluminium, Iron and Copper;

Premordanting Methods:  To fix the dye to the fibres, including instructions for making mordant solutions, using crystals or your own ingredients; Calculating quantities of mordant required; Mordanting animal and plant fibres; Choosing a mordant; and the safe disposal or storage of mordants.

Preparing Plant Parts for Dyeing: Drying; Quantities; Testing; Experimenting; and Extracting colour from bark, flowers, leaves and berries;

Selecting the Best Dyeing Method: Cool Dyeing; Hot Dyeing; and All-in-One Methods;

Dyeing with Specific Plants: Safflower; Indigo; and Woad;

Colour Modifiers: To extend the range of colours from a single  dyebath to create a number of different shades, giving an example of 25 colours from the one dyebath:

Acidic Modifiers: Produce yellower tones;

Alkaline Modifiers: Usually creates pinker tones, but can change colours dramatically eg elderberry pinks and purples become green;

Copper Modifiers: Makes colours greener or browner in tones;

Iron Modifiers: Makes colours darker and more sombre, as well as improving the rastness of dyes;

Wash Fastness; and most importantly, especially if replication of results is desired,

Recording Natural Dyeing Results: Labelling fibre samples in a record book with the name of the fibre; mordant used; dyestuff; methods; and timing. Even information like the previous season and weather and location/ soil/ climate of the plant can be noted.

However, the largest section of the book is devoted to the Dye Plants themselves: all sixty species of them, with their scientific name and species, photographs, description and history of use; their cultivation and harvest; the extraction of their pigments; and dyeing procedures.

There are useful Colour Swatches for each plant entry, showing probable results when certain techniques are used: Firstly, the Dye Colour on Fabrics (black bucket symbol); Adding an Alum Mordant Before Dyeing (white bucket symbol and Using an Iron Modifier After Dyeing (shaded bucket symbol) or Combinations of all three approaches. The number of different shades and colours, which can be achieved from the same plant is amazing! While some plants like Comfrey (grey-greens), Yarrow (beige, soft yellow and soft khaki green) and Hollyhock (maroon and mauve shades) produce only a limited palette, others like Saint John’s Wort (yellow and gold, green and deep red and a range of browns); Walnut (soft browns to gold, kahaki shades and a deep brown) and Apple (a wide range of different browns and khaki golds to pure gold, scarlet and green) yield many different colours.

Some produce different colour ranges according to :

Part of the plant used : In Betula (birch) and Prunus (cherry, plum, peach, almond and apricot) trees, the leaves produce soft yellow to green shades and the bark a range of pinks, while Eucalypts yield rich rusty reds and deep browns from the leaves and a range of greys from the bark;

Method Used: The colours from dyeing with the leaves of woad vary from blues to pink skin tones and greys, while those of Japanese Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) produce a wide colour range from warm and cool browns to blues and purples, according to the method used.

Some plants are surprising. I would have expected ivy berries and leaves to produce green colours, but the berries only do so with the use of mordants and modifiers, their original unadulterated colour being a soft grey and the leaves yield a range of browns- no green at all!. I also anticipated that pomegranates to produce a red dye, where in reality the fruit and outer skins yield soft ochres and browns, so lacking in brilliance that they are often mixed with turmeric to brighten the colour, however they are rich in tannins, which improves colour fastness and can also be used as a mordant. Rhubarb is a particularly useful plant, as its leaves are a natural mordant and produce greeny-yellow shades, while its roots yield a range of yellows, golds, greens, browns and oranges.

Each page also has an inset box detailing each plant’s range, availability, growing habits, planting and harvesting times, dye stuff (as in flower/ roots/ bark/ leaves and berries) and dyeing instructions.

It is a fascinating and inspirational book, which really makes you want to start experimenting immediately!BlogNatlDyeing3018-02-07 15.25.09

The Craft of Natural Dyeing: Growing Colours From the Plant World by Jenny Dean 1994

My second guide by Jenny Dean is a simpler paperback form covering much the same subject matter: Materials; Equipment; Safety notes; Dyeing a skein of wool or cotton; Record keeping; Mordants; Mordanting techniques; Dyestuffs; Extracting dye colour, Testing for colour fastness; Dye mixing and overdyeing; Colour ranges; and Dye plants to grow.

I found the sections on Mordants and Plant Parts particularly easy to understand in this book and the colour divisions give a quick idea of suitable plants to try. For example,

Yellows and Golds: Weld, Fustic, Safflower, Onions and Nettles;

Greens: Logwood mixed with Weld; Fustic or Onion skins; or overdyeing yellow with indigo; and using an iron modifier on yellow or a copper mordant;

Blues: Indigo and Woad;

Purples, Lavenders and Greys: Cochineal, Logwood, Alkanet and Elderberries;

Pinks and Reds: Cochineal, Safflower and Madder;

Oranges, Rusts and Browns: Annatto, Cutch, Henna, Lichen, Onion skins, Weld, Cochineal, Walnut hulls and leaves, and Madder; or using an iron solution; and

Blacks and Neutrals: Logwood overdyed with indigo or premordanting with tannin (oak galls) and iron.

Overall, an easy introductory guide to natural dyeing, but if I had to make a choice and only have one of her books, it would have to be the more comprehensive Wild Colour.BlogNatlDyeing3018-02-07 15.23.47

Natural Dyeing by Jackie Crook 2007

Another useful guide with a slightly different approach. While the chapter titled: How To Dye covers much of the basic information on dyeing equipment, precautions and techniques, I liked her step-by-step instructions with clear photographs of each stage for cleaning and premordanting, not just wool and cotton, but also silk, as well as the different methods of dyeing (hot water, cool water and vat).

While Jenny based her divisions on plant or colours produced, Jackie has divided the next section based on the plant part used, incorporating 30 different plants and projects, with brief descriptions, requirements and methods, as well as tips, photographs of examples and a colour chart of the effects produced by different mordants (Alum, Chrome, Copper, Iron and Tin). They include:

Roots: Madder, Alkanet, Turmeric and Rhubarb;

Woods and Barks: Brazilwood; Logwood; Cutch; Buckthorn; Sanderswood (Red Sandalwood); Osage Orange; and Querbracho;

Flowers: Gorse; Goldenrod; and French Marigold (Tagetes);

Leaves and Stalks: Henna; Weld; Tea (Thea sinensis); Stinging Nettle and Tansy;

Fruits and Vegetables: Annatto; Elderberry; Walnut; Blackberry; Red Cabbage; Onion; Avocado and Ivy.

There is also a section for Special Colours: Indigo, Cochineal and Lac.

In the back is a simplified chart for quick easy reference of all the material covered, including common and Latin names; their suitability for dyeing silk, wool and cotton; and the form of their dye eg fresh,  dried  or frozen roots/ berries/ tops/ skins, powder; concentrated extract; chips;or teabags, as well as a colour chart showing the colours obtained by using five different mordants (alum, chrome, copper, iron and tin) with each of the 30 dyestuffs.

A useful addition to the library, as it covers slightly different plants (eg Red Cabbage, Avocado, Sanderswood, Osage Orange, Querbracho, Gorse, Tea and Lac) and mordants (chrome and tin).BlogNatlDyeing4018-02-07 15.25.14A Dyer’s Garden: From Plant to Pot: Growing Dyes for Natural Fibres by Rita Buchanan 1995

If you are a keen natural dyer with a large garden, this little pocket guide  is perfect for you! I think that often one of the hardest things about gardening is having the space and the right requirements (sun/ shade; damp/ dry; soil type etc) to fulfill all your needs from aesthetics (garden design) and productivity (fruit, vegetables and herbs) to fragrance, recreation areas, floristry, and of course, dye plants!

Rita is an American dyer with a similar natural dyeing pedigree to Jenny Dean, with over forty years of experience.

The first part of the book is devoted to chapters on :

Plant Choice;

Propagation and Cultivation;

Planning a Dye Garden, including plans for a Daisy-Shaped Bed; a Raised Bed; a Mixed Border; and a Production Garden, as well as a guide to the spacing and yield of dye plants;

Basic Plant Dyeing: Equipment and Materials; Mordanting; Harvesting and storage; Making a dye bath; Dyeing yarn; Additives and afterdips; and Dyeing with indigo and woad; and

Colour and Colours: In this section, Rita explains the myriad reasons for colour variations, including:

Soil type;

Moisture and temperature during the growing season;

Stage of maturity and growth;

Plant part gathered;

Used fresh or stored;

Length of soaking or simmering time for the dyebath;

Mineral content and pH of the water used;

Amount and type of mordant and when and how it was applied to the yarn;

Type of fibre;

Ratio of dye plant to fibre;

Temperature and length of simmering or soaking time for the yarn,

and how this great variation allows for extended experimentation and constant awe, interest and inspiration. It’s certainly a very exciting field and is easy to see why my retired chemist mentor got hooked, line and sinker!

The last and major part of the book presents a portfolio of dye garden plants, suitable for the home garden, including their photo with brief details of Common and Latin names; Climatic Zone; Height; Spacing; and Yield, followed by longer descriptions and notes on related species, cultivation, propagation and dyeing, complete with side panels of colour swatches of the results from using different fibres,  different parts of the plant, different mordants, unusually short or long simmering /soaking times; and different additives or afterdips. Again, a slightly different list of plants, including Garland Chrysanthemum; Sunflower; Zinnias; Purple Basil; Purple Loosestrife; Marjoram, Hops, Bronze Fennel; Peppergrass; and Broom Sedge. In the back is a list of Mail Order Suppliers of Dye Plants and Seeds, though this is possibly out-of-date by now!BlogNatlDyeing4018-02-07 15.24.55With regard to the history of colour, it is also worth reading Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay, which I have already reviewed in: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/01/23/craft-books-colour-design-and-inspiration-part-one/. Next week is my final post on this subject : Dyeing Down Under!

Books on Textile Printing

Textile printing is defined as the process of applying colour to fabric in definite patterns and designs, whereas in dyeing, the whole fabric is uniformly coloured with one colour. While related to dyeing, there are many differences, as are very well portrayed in the following website: https://textilestudycenter.com/textile-printing/.

The colour bonds with the fibre, so it resists washing and friction and retains the colour, design and pattern. Some of the printing techniques on textiles include:

Direct Printing, using hand blocks (wood blocks/ engraved plates/ silkscreen) or machine rollers and dyes and mordants to fix colour on the cloth;

Resist Techniques, using wax or other resistant material to prevent uptake of the dye by specific areas of the material (eg: Batik, shibori and tie-dyeing);

Discharge Techniques, using bleaching agents to remove colour from previously dyed fabric; and

Special Techniques like Flock, Dyed or Burnt Out Styles; Blotching; Air Brushing; and Photo Transfers.

The following books are all concerned with printing and painting fabrics and creating surface designs on cloth, rather than dyeing fabric, which I will cover in a separate post.

Hand-Printed Fabrics by KG Herder 1968

This simple little booklet is still worthy of inclusion, despite its age, because of its very simplicity and clear easy instructions, as well as its quaint designs! It mainly covers stencilling on fabric and block printing with potato stamps and linoleum blocks and suggests a variety of projects from checked aprons and tablecloths to placemats, cushion covers, oven gloves, teacosies and Christmas stockings, tea-towels, banners and scarves.BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.18.49Print Pattern and Colour : For Paper and Fabric by Ruth Issett 2007

This comprehensive guide is a must-have for the textile artist, discussing a range of techniques from simple monoprinting and roller printing to screen printing, printing with found objects, using stencils and rubbing and dyeing effects. There are four main sections:

Getting Started, which describes the workspace and equipment required, including their advantages and disadvantages;

Printing on Paper: Monoprinting; Roller Printing; Print Block (Lino, Foamcore, Found Objects, String Blocks, Cut Print Blocks, Heat and Press and Press Print); Paper Types; Colour Combinations; Using Two Plastic Sheets; Creating Texture; and Geometric Patterns;

Printing on Fabric: Choosing, Preparing and Fixing Fabrics; Print Mediums (including a table detailing their description, use, qualities, fixing and suitable fabric type); and Printing Techniques: Mono Printing, Roller Printing and Block Printing; Using Markal Paint Sticks, Masks and Discharge Paste; Screen Printing and Stencilling; and Stitching and Dyeing;  and

Design Ideas and Development: Building a design from simple blocks; Experimenting with lines; Drawing shapes; Print blocks; and Finding, collecting and organizing design ideas.

The book finishes with a list of suppliers and further reading. It’s a terrific book for encouraging experimentation and play with textile design and so satisfying to create original patterns and cloth.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.46

Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth: Stamp, Screen and Stencil with Everyday Objects by Rayna Gillman 2008

Another inspiring book, that makes you want to race out there and starting textile printing! I feel it has a more informal style to the previous book and it covers slightly different techniques. It covers: Stamping and stencilling with found objects; Random screen printing with stencils made from masking tape, newspaper, freezer paper, found objects, glue resists and soy wax resists ; Gelatin plate printing; Screen printing with thickened dyes, with lots of recipes and step-by-step instructions; Discharge printing with chlorine bleach, bleach gels, thiox and discharge paste; Soy wax batik;  Rubbings with paintstiks and oil sticks, oil pastels and paint; and Thermofax screens.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.16

The Creative Guide to Fabric Screen Printing: Creative Designs for Fabric Printing at Home by Pam Stallebrass 1990

This book was one of my first guides to screen printing and it is an excellent basic guide with some lovely designs for paper, handcut film and light-sensitive stencils and painted screens, with patterns in the back. The chapter on basics includes equipment (screen, squeegee, printing table, inks and fabrics) and instructions for making screens, colour mixing, fabric registration, borders and all over designs, multicolour printing, screen printing, cleaning the screen and heat-setting. Projects include braids, quilts,  jackets and skirts, cushions, rugs and curtains. Instructions to both technique and project are clear and precise from making the stencil and screen to textile printing and assembly of the product.

BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.58

Design and Practice For Printed Textiles by Andrea McNamara and Patrick Snelling 2004

The bible for serious students of textile design, it contains everything you could possibly need to know about the craft! From the glossary of terms at the start and the introductory chapter on the design process, including examples of textile designers, it progresses to chapters on :

Design Resources:  Concept and story boards; swatchbooks; and design briefs;

Colour: Language of colour; Colourways in textile design; Choice of colour; electronic colour;

Mark Making Materials and Techniques:

A.Materials:

Dry media (pencils, charcoal, conte and wax crayons, pastels and chalks and markers);

Wet media (ink, gouache, poster paint, watercolour, oils and acrylic paints, and bleach);

Tools (brushes, airbrush, atomiser, masks/films and stencils, technical drawing and ruling pens, ruler, eraser, cutting tools and boards, scissors, set squares, compass and protractor, adhesives and tapes); and

Surfaces (butcher’s paper, cartridge paper, specialist papers, cardboard, detail paper, graph paper, typography, hybrid tools).

B.Techniques:

Line Work; Solid Form; Cut or Torn Paper; Textural Effects ; Lino or Block Printing; Resists (wax or masking fluid); Wash-Off Technique; Masks and Stencils; Monoprint; Frottage; Photocopies and Overlays; Collage and Mixed Media; and Decoupage.

Computer-Aided Design: Scanning; Drawing onto screen, Repeating motifs to create a pattern; Electronic colour; Using the printout; and Designing a tile;

Pattern: Repeat systems and layouts; Croquis designs; Language of pattern, design styles; Incorporating motifs or designs into a repeat; Production considerations; Colouring the design; Repeat mirrors; and Troubleshooting;

Finishing and Presenting Designs: Painting up the design; Colour chips; Using masks and resists; Cut paper designs; Colour photocopies and computer printouts; Mounting designs; Portfolios; and Record keeping;

Fabrics: Sources, selection and types; Fabric characteristics and uses; Fabric finishes and treatment; Dye or pigment; the Burn test;  and Fabric care;

Setting up a Print Workshop: Overview of textile printing; Print tables; Screen frames; Mesh and squeegees; Exposure units; Pressure and staple guns; and Cooling troughs and drying cupboards;

Printing Fabrics: Preparation and techniques: Artwork preparation; Screen preparation; Laying out fabric; and Printing;

Alternative Methods: Screen preparation (Paper stencils; wax crayon and hydrographs); Resists (wax/ gutta); Polychromatic printing and Direct handpainting;and  Monoprinting (Lino and wood blocks; direct stencils; airbrush; heat transfer; and fabric crayons;

Recipes: Pigments and dyes; Dyebaths; Reactive dyes; and Fixing dyed fabric; and finally,

Careers in Textile Design: Studio assistant; Studio designer/manager; Stylist; Colourist; Freelance textile Designer; Consultant/Predictor; Textile Artist/ Designer/ Maker; Surface Pattern Designer; Textile Agent; Textile Buyer;  Textile Conservation; Textile Chemist; and Education.

Throughout the book, there are also many exercises and briefs to backup the text, stimulate thought and develop creativity and technical skills. While probably contains far too much information and expertise for my amateur needs, it’s great to have such an expert overall guide! In the back are appendices for troubleshooting with symptoms, possible causes and treatments, as well as a bibliography and a list of suppliers in Australia.

BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.20.30

The Surface Designer’s Handbook: Dyeing, Printing, Painting, and Creating Resists on Fabric by Holly Brackmann 2006

Another excellent and very practical guide to surface design. It has a very logical layout and impressively starts with Studio Practices and Safety Guidelines, which is so important when handling dyes and other chemicals.

In Chapter Two, the different types of dyes (Fiber-Reactive/ Acid/ Vat and Disperse groups) are discussed in great detail, with a table specifying dye groups and their brand names, suitable fibres, their advantages and disadvantages and their fastness to washing and light. Fibres and fabrics are also discussed, including cellulose fibres (cotton, hemp, flax, jute, ramie, sisal, lyocell, viscose rayon and basketry wicker and grass); protein fibres (wool, mohair, alpaca, cashmere, angora, and silk); and synthetic fibres (nylon, polyester), as well as the Burn test and Water-drop test.

Colour is the primary focus in the next short chapter- its mixing and inspiration, while Chapters Four to Eight give an in-depth look at Fiber-Reactive Dyes (especially Procion and Cibacron); Acid Dyes (Kiton, Lanaset, Washfast and Union dyes); Vat Dyes (Indigo, Inkodye, Tie-Dye, and Heliographic printing) and Discharge Dyes (Disperse Immersion, Transfer Printing and variations), including their chemistry, safety precautions, examples of use, techniques, factors to consider, recipes for dyebaths; and fixing dyes.

The remainder of the book looks at specialised techniques:

Discharging: Thiox; Jacquard Discharge Paste; Sodium hydrosulphite; Liquid Bleach; and Monagum;

Screen Printing: Freezer/ Contact Paper/ Plastic Screen and Thermofax Screen techniques;

Monoprinting: Thickened Fiber-Reactive Dyes or Textile Paint; and Disperse Dye Transfer;

Stamping: Commercial and improvised stamps and techniques;

Stencilling: Applicators; Cutting stencils; Interfaceing-and-net stencils; Clear plastic stencils and technique;

Resists: Water-soluble resists; Cold Wax; Tie-Dye and Shibori techniques (Bounding/ Clamping/Pole wrapping/ Stitching); and Resist-Scouring Silk ;

Devoré, which I adore, but which is incredibly toxic!: Devoré Paste and Discharge Dyeing;

Textile Paints: Types, use, lustre, heat setting or fixation and Heliographic or Sun Printing;

Embellishments: Foiling; Embroidery; Beadwork and Collage.

Appendices include a Dye Worksheet for record keeping; Steps for preparing fabric for dyeing/ rinsing, washing and drying fabric; Calculations for stock solutions, dye quantities and colour mixing; Thickeners and printing; Steaming; and Weights, measures and water temperatures, as well as a Glossary of Terms, Bibliography and Resource List.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially when it comes to the use of the different types of dyes, as the marketplace is deluged with such a wide variety that it is hard to get a handle on them all!BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.20.16Handpainting Fabric: Easy Elegant Techniques by Michelle Newman and Margaret Allyson 2003

If none of the books so far appeal, you might prefer this older book, which despite its title really covers much of the same techniques with a few minor differences. Here is a list of the contents:

Materials and Tools: Fabric (Silk, velvet and velveteen); Paints and Dyes (Acrylics and silk dyes); Brushes; and Fabric Stretchers (Padded table; sawhorses; and embroidery hoops and frames).

Design: Sources of Inspiration (Mark Making; Photos; Magazines; Doodles and Drawings; Sketchbooks; Travel, Architecture and Nature); Elements and Principles (In particular: Colour; Repetition; Variety; Rhythm; Balance; Emphasis; Economy; Proportion); and Laying Out a Design.

Freehand Painting: Wet and Dry Fabric; Zones of Patterns; Monochromatic; and Colouring-Book Method.

Dyeing: Immersion, Scrunch and Dip-Dyeing Techniques and Working with Thickened Dyes.

 Discharge Process: Preparation; Bleach and Bleach Thickeners; and Velvet Mudcloth.

Making Multiples: Stamping; Monoprinting; Stencilling; and Silkscreen Printing.

Using Resists: Preparation; Stamping; Using a Tjanting; Colouring Book; and Other resists and Steaming.

Special Effects: Salt; Alcohol; Shortcut Shibori; Hidden Objects; Fortuny Pleating; Faux Airbrush; Basting; Layering; Quilting; and Collage. This section is where this book comes into its own!BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.24

Artcloth: Engaging New Visions Curated by Marie-Therese Wisniowski, Fairfield City Museum and Stein Gallery 2009

We were lucky to catch this inaugural international exhibition in 2010, when our visit to Orange coincided with Artcloth at the Orange Regional Gallery, which often holds wonderful textile exhibitions. See: https://org.nsw.gov.au/.

I have included this catalogue as it showcases twenty-one artworks created using many of these textile art techniques, ranging from digital technology, dye sublimation and snow and hydrosulfite discharge to glazes and patinations, deconstructed screen printing, paper and cloth lamination, shibori, batik and natural dyes. Artists came from England, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, United States of America, Japan and Australia, including the aboriginal Ernabella Arts, which I particularly loved. See: http://www.ernabellaarts.com.au/.

In the back are artist biographies, including their exhibitions and residencies, publications and awards. This small booklet gives a wonderful idea of the huge range and potential within this creative field.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-07 15.23.02

The Painted Quilt: Paint and Print Techniques for Colour on Quilts by Linda and Laura Kemshall 2008

While written specifically for quilters, this book is really for all textile artists! It discusses Elements of Design, Sources of Inspiration, Drawing and Collage Skills, Printing Blocks, Oil Pastel and Wash and Stencilling on Paper, and that’s just the first chapter! Health and safety, fabric types and their preparation for dyeing, low water immersion dyeing and making thick dye pastes are the subject of the next chapter, followed by step-by-step instructions for applying colour pre and post quilting.

Colour Before Printing includes: Stencilling on fabric; Rubbings with Fabric Pastels; Block Printing; Basic Screen Printing; and Monoprinting, while techniques for Colour After Printing include: Applying Pastel; Painting; Rollering and Spraying. Removing Colour is often just as exciting as applying it and this section examines the use of bleach and discharge paste, bleach pens and removing or replacing colour after quilting.

Detail can be added with Painted Fusible Web; Gel and other Fabric Pens; Dimensional Paints and Text. Newer techniques include Ink-Jet Printing and Photocopy Transfers. In the back is an indepth examination of some of the author’s works as examples of techniques discussed. It’s a good book for dipping into for inspirational ideas and suggestions rather than an exhaustive guide to textile printing.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.20.06

Not to be outdone, embroiders also have their own handbooks for textile printing! While many embroidery books include chapters on fabric painting, here are two specific examples:

Fabric Painting For Embroidery by Valerie Campbell-Harding 2001

In this book, Valerie looks at a wide variety of Materials: Fabric Paints, Crayons and Pens; Transfer Crayons and Paints, Metallic Powders, Sponges and Brushes, and Techniques: Sticky Paper, Starch, , Gutta, Wax,  Gathered and Stitched, and Thread Wrapping Resists; Thread Painting; Flicking and Dribbling; Rolling; Scrunching and Spraying; Fabric Painting; Stencilling and Screen Printing, including Photographic Screen Printing; Block Printing with cards and card blocks, potatoes, objects, and stamps; Transferring Photocopies, Discharge Dyeing, and Marbling, with photographs of works employing these techniques in the back of the book, as well as a guide to resurrecting disasters, though really nothing is ever a mistake, as it can be added to your fabric stash and if nothing else, serves as a learning tool!!! This book is a veritable cornucopia of ideas and suggestions!BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.18.41From Print to Stitch: Tips and Techniques for Hand-painting and Stitching on Fabric by Janet Edmonds 2010

This book is probably a more comprehensive guide with a more logical ordered approach to block printing, lino and soft-cut lino printing, monoprinting and printing with found objects than the previous book, which is really a grab bag of different ideas. Janet discusses the materials and tools she uses; how she develops a theme and creates a motif and pattern, giving five different examples; colour; and the different types of printing techniques, before specifically focusing on :

Block Printing: Making Foam and Card Blocks; Printing on Paper and Fabric; Overprinting; and Eraser Blocks;

Lino and Soft-Cut Lino Printing: Cutting the Lino; Printing with Lino Blocks; and Creating Texture Using Lino Blocks;

Monoprinting: Creating Texture, Pattern and Line; Mixed Colour; and Using Resists;

Using Found Objects: Potatoes; Washers; Cardboard; Sponge Printing; Collagraphs; and Textured Rollers.

And of course, a large section on Stitching: Hand and Machine Stitching; Embroidery stitches and a Stitch Gallery!

Along the way, she also has instructions and suggestions for specific projects like Origami Boxes; Gathered Bags and Book Covers. I really liked this book, especially its logical progression and its clear simple explanations of each technique.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.39

Finally, no library of books on fabric painting or surface design would be complete without books on batik, a wax resist method used extensively in Indonesia and South-east Asia.  I first studied batik in my final year of school, then revisited it in 2003 with a TAFE workshop on Textile Design (Batik; Stencilling and Tie-Dye and Shibori) with Jenny Evelyn. It was so inspiring and I produced the lovely tablecloth below! Here are some photos showing my rough design, cloth and tools (Drimarene-K dyes and tjantings):BlogPrintingBks3018-02-07 14.45.30BlogPrintingBks5018-02-07 14.44.55BlogPrintingBks2518-02-07 14.59.39 I was so inspired that my husband bought me this beautiful book that Christmas:

Batik for Artists and Quilters by Eloise Piper 2001

While historically, batik is associated with traditional Indonesian designs, this book contains many beautiful contemporary artworks, which really highlight the potential of this medium. It is also a very practical book with comprehensive chapters on :

Equipment, Tools and Materials;

Waxing Methods: Using Brush; Tjanting; Stamps and Incising Tools;

Using Colour :Additive/ Subtractive Systems; Colour Wheel and Properties; Colour Temperature; and Colour Theory;

Using Dyes : Natural; Batik; Aniline; Fiber Reactive; Chemical Dyes with a Dye Chart specifying the brand names, characteristics and suitable fabrics for each; a recipe for Marigold Dye; and in-depth sections on dyeing in the washing machine, direct painting with activated dyes, discharge dyeing and the all-important storage and disposal of dyes.

Removing Wax and Setting Colour:  Ironing Out; Boiling Out; and Steaming.

The final chapters focus on the use of Batik for Surface Design (Art and design considerations; elements and principles of design; and uses for clothing and home décor); Fine Art: Portfolio examples of Landscapes; Still Lifes; Site-Specific Art; People; Photo Realism; and Abstraction; and Quilting.

This is a beautiful and very inspiring book, as well as being providing very practical instruction!BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.20.52

Batik Design by Pepin van Roojen 1994/ 2001

This book however is totally theoretical, exploring the history and different types and patterns of both Classical (originally from the Javan keraton, or royal courts, thus free from foreign influences with a more limited colour palette and highly symbolic motifs) and Pasisir (or Coastal) batik design (which was produced in coastal areas of northern Java and Madura, that were exposed to sea trading and foreign influences eg Indo-European and Chinese influences, so more colourful with motifs from nature), as well as the batik patterns of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula.BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.20.41 It is a fascinating read with lots of beautiful historical black-and-white and colour photographs, but it is definitely for the batik enthusiast, as well as people interested in the history and traditions of the Malay Peninsula or textile history! Here are an interesting link on Pasisir and Classical Batik: http://www.thelanguageofcloth.com/2015/05/17/batik-pesisir-yesterday-and-today/ .

Shibori For Textile Artists by Janice Gunner 2007

Another very practical guide to the ancient Japanese art of Shibori, the dye-resist technique of binding, clamping, pole wrapping and gathering or stitching cloth, so that the dye cannot reach certain parts, thus creating interesting patterns and designs. This technique has also been used in Africa, India and South America and in her introductory chapter, Janice explores the history of the craft in all these countries with some beautiful photographs of examples.

She examines all the different types of resist techniques, complete with in-depth instructions and suggestions for variations, in the following chapters:

Tied-Resist: Tying cloth around pinched cloth or objects like cowries (Nigeria) or beads, nuts and bolts, corks,  marbles or screws: Rasen, Spiral or Shell; Kumo, Spider Web; Ne-maki; and Honeycomb;

Stitched Resist: Uses stitching on cloth: Mokume, Wood Grain; Karamatsu, Larch; Ori-nui, Running Stitch; Maki-nui, Oversewn Stitch; and Maki-age, Stitched-and-Tied;

Arashi: Wrapping around a pole: Hosoita ichido kairyo, Diagonal Stripes; and Hosoita yoko kairyo, Horizontal Stripes;

 Itajime: Folded and Bound/ Clamp Resist: Naname Goshi, Lattice; and

Tesuji: Pleated and Bound: Tesuji; and Yanagi, Willow,

They are followed by a comprehensive chapter on Dyeing techniques: Immersion; Space and Indigo Dyeing with recipes and comprehensive instructions. The book finishes with instructions for a Shibori Sampler Wallhanging to showcase all the techniques, as well as a list of suppliers of fabrics; dyes; threads; and antique and Japanese textiles.

Having practised many of these techniques at a wonderful Indigo workshop with my friend, Heather, I can highly recommend this book!BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.20.58

In my next craft book post, we enter the wonderful related world of textile dyeing, the magical and exciting art of transforming the colour of cloth!

Books on Printing

The word ‘Printing’ is a word from Middle English (1250-1300), denoting the impression made by a stamp or seal and deriving from Old French preinte ‘pressed’, feminine past participle of preindre, from Latin word premere meaning ‘to press’, thereby implying a process that uses pressure.

Printing is defined as the process for reproducing text and images using a master form or template. It started with wood block printing in China before 220 AD, the technique accelerating with the development of the Gutenberg Printing Press in 1450, resulting in the proliferation of books and great strides in communication and education.

I own a number of books on printing in my craft library, however, their content refers more to two specific types of printing:

Printmaking, the process of making artworks by printing; and

Textile Printing, the technique of applying surface pattern to fabric.

This post will focus on Printmaking, with subsequent posts featuring Textile Printing, followed by Textile Dyeing.

Printmaking

The process of making artworks by printing to create a series of impressions (edition) from an original or a specially prepared surface. Prints are created by transferring ink from a matrix or through a prepared screen to paper and textiles. Techniques include:

Relief Printing: Ink is applied to the original surface of the matrix, with any parts of the design not to be printed being cut away, leaving the image raised in relief eg woodcuts and wood blocks; wood engravings; linocut and metalcut;

Intaglio: Ink is applied beneath the original surface of the matrix, usually a metal plate, with the design incised or etched into the surface eg engraving and etching; mezzotint, aquatint and drypoint;

Planographic: The matrix retains its original surface, but is specially prepared and/or inked to allow transfer of the image eg lithography, monotyping and digital techniques; and

Stencil: The ink or paint is pressed through a prepared screen eg screenprinting and pochoir;

Collagraphy: Textured material is adhered to the printing matrix.

These processes are all explained very well in the following theoretical book:

The Encyclopedia of Printmaking Techniques: A Step-by-Step Visual Directory of Printmaking Techniques, Plus Practical Projects and an Inspirational Gallery of Finished Prints by Judy Martin 1993

After an introduction explaining the different techniques; the work environment; printing presses; inks and papers; and proofing and printing, the book explores each technique in detail from Monoprints (one-off impressions); Linocuts; Woodcuts; and Wood Engraving; to Screen Printing (and the use of stencils); Drypoint; Mezzotint; Aquatint; Etching; and Lithography.

Each chapter explains the tools and materials required; their maintenance and / or sharpening; planning the design and cutting the block; proofing and printing; and colour printing, as well as the specialised aspects of each technique, with step-by-step illustrations describing each part of the process.

The final section of the book focuses on design elements common to all artmaking, with the themes of:  Line and Tone; Graphic Impact; Pattern and Texture; Colour; Composition; Mood and Atmosphere; and Style and Content, with lots of photos of artworks produced by a wide variety of printing processes. It is an excellent book for explaining all the basics of print making.BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.17.22I love art prints, but it is quite a specialized field and inevitably requires the purchase of a printing press, quite an expensive outlay requiring serious dedication to the craft. Fortunately, it is still possible to enjoy more simplified printing techniques, with relief printing being one of the easiest techniques to practice at home for the child or beginner, yet still being highly effective. The following swag of books focus on this simple form of printmaking:

Print Making: Practical Techniques for All Junior Printmakers by Elisabeth Harden 1995

A good starting point for children and adults alike!

After a brief look at materials (papers, tools and paints and inks), the book suggests printing mediums from :

Body Parts: Footprints ; Finger and Hand prints and Lip Prints;

Fruit and Vegetables:  Potato prints; Apples; and Broccoli;

Natural Objects: Leaves and Stems; Ferns; and Feathers;

Found Objects: Paper Doilies; Corrugated Cardboard; Collage Blocks; and Coiled String and Wire; and

Rubber Stamps and Cork Seals.

It also touches on: Printing with Bleach; Marbling; Stencilling; Using Photocopiers (to transfer images); Linocutting; Embossing; Rubbings; Etching; Silkscreen Printing and Fabric Printing.

It has lots of fun ideas for making prints cheaply and easily, with lots of suggestions for using these prints as well, including wrapping paper; paper bags and cardboard boxes; cards and envelopes; artworks; book covers; t-shirts, tea towels and cushions.BlogPrintingBks25%Image

Simple Printmaking: A Beginner’s Guide to Making Relief Prints with Linoleum Blocks, Wood Blocks, Rubber Stamps, Found Objects and More by Gwen Diehn 2000

This book has three main sections:

Developing a Design: How to Find Ideas; Doodles; Found Objects; Rubbings; Lettering; Nature Tracings; Photographs; Colour Tracings; Wood Grains; and Tips on Drawing.

Materials and Tools:

Printing Blocks: Wood; Linoleum; Erasers and Soft Rubber Sheets; and Cardboard;

Cutting Tools: Knives; Gouges; Veiners; Chisels; Mallets; Sharpening Stones; Bench Hooks and Clamps;

Printing Materials and Tools: Paper; Inks; Spatulas and Skin Papers; Brayers; Ink Slab or Tray; Barens and  Other Burnishing Tools; and Printing Presses;

Cleaning Supplies and Tools: Razor Scraper or Putty Knife; Rags; and Vegetable Oil.

Techniques:

Transferring a Design to the Block (Photocopy; Charcoal or Graphite; and Transfer Paper); Repairs to Blocks; Printing with Found Objects; Distressed Blocks; Negative and Positive Carving; Multiple Block Prints; Reduction Block Technique; Sawn Blocks; and Collagraphs.

Each section details materials and tools and the process, including different methods and variations, with step-by-step illustrations.

There are sidebars throughout the book with information on the history and traditions of printmaking, including famous printmakers, as well as gallery sections showcasing the work of other printmakers to inspire the imagination and display the potential of the medium.

There are also a number of printing projects with detailed instructions from cards, envelopes and wrapping paper; personalized labels and posters; and book covers  to  children’s books, calendars and jigsaws; paper bag lights, paper fans and lampshades; and materials and cushions.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.16.56Every learning style is different, with people responding very differently to different approaches, so I have included the next three books, as they all slightly differ in style and presentation.

Lotta Prints: How To Print With Anything, From Potatoes to Linoleum by Lotta Jansdotter 2008

Lotta is a Swedish designer, whose lovely prints adorn textiles, leather, shower curtains, bedding, tableware, gifts, stationery, ceramics and product packaging.

After an introduction including notes on inspiration; working environment; printing surfaces; printing materials; inks;  and preparation, she provides step-by-step instructions to a wide variety of techniques and projects, each discussed with the headings: What You Need; What to Do; Tips; and Inspiration.

These techniques and projects include:

Rubber Stamping: Wrapping paper and Ribbon; Labels; and Pant Hems;

Iron-On Transfer paper: Skirts and Shirts;

Leaf Printing: Curtains; Pillow Cases and Cushions;

Stencil Printing: Tote Bags; Runners; Walls; Umbrellas and Scarves;

Potato Printing: Skirt borders; Pillow Cases and Tea-Towels;

Lino Block Printing: Cards; Tags; and Wall Hangings;

Screen Printing: Contact paper/ Screen Filler and Photo Emulsion Methods: Table Linen and Aprons; bags; Ties and Socks;

The book finishes with a List of Websites and Books, as well as an Appendix of Lotta’s Stencils for use in her projects. The presentation is very modern with discrete, long, vertical, grey- coloured bands of text, which I found a little difficult to read, but which did nevertheless separate the different sections quite effectively.BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.17.31Printed Pattern: A Guide to Printing by Hand From Potatoes to Silk Screens by Rebecca Drury and Yvonne Drury 2010

Written by the mother-daughter team behind MissPrint, English textile designers, Yvonne and Rebecca Drury (https://www.missprint.co.uk/), this book has a similar size and shape, contemporary feel and presentation and teaching technique, including seven of their own stencil designs for reader use and a list of suppliers in the back. However,  their style is different to Lotta’s Prints and they only show photos of potential products rather than providing step-by-step instructions to specific projects. They founded their company in 2005 and now produce printed wallpapers, fabrics, cushions, notebooks, lampshades and window films.

The first section of the book is devoted to:

Inspiration: Collating imagery; Composing Mood Boards and Making Sketchbooks; and Design Composition and Layout; and

Getting Started: Printing Surfaces; Basic Equipment; Materials; and  Inks and Colours.

The rest of the book discusses different types of relief and stencil printing techniques, under the general headings of: Materials List; Making Your Print; and Useful Tips, though some of the techniques have extra headings like: Preparing Your Stencil, Screen or Medium.

The techniques (with product samples) include:

Relief Printing:

Potato Prints: Bags and Table Mats;

Lino Printing: Book Covers and Pant Hems;

Rubber/ Eraser Printing: Ribbons, Labels and Tags; and

Vintage Woodblock Printing: Wrapping Paper and Blinds;  and

Stencil Printing:

Stencils: Lampshade, Wall Panel, Cushion and Bag;

Screen Printing: Stencil Method; Stencil Filler Method and Photo Emulsion Method:  Runners, Aprons and Upholstery Fabric.BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.17.38Printing by Hand: A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils and Silk Screens by Lena Corwin 2008

My favourite book of the three, this lovely spiral bound book is divided into four main sections:

Getting Ready to Print:

Materials:

Printing Surfaces: Smooth and Textured Paper and Fabrics; Wood; and Sheetrock or Plaster Walls;

Inks and Paints: Liquid Ink; Ink pads; Acrylic Ink; Block-Printing Ink; Screen-Printing Ink; Spray Paint; and Latex Wall paint; as well as tips on thinning and thickening water-based inks; printing in more than one colour and achieving the desired colour;

Design: Sources of Ideas; Drawing; Transferring a Design; and Pattern Repeats; and

Printing Methods: Their optimal surfaces and artworks; and their surface and artwork restrictions.

Each method is then explored in detail with project suggestions and instructions including a Boxed List of Materials and the Headings: Have Stamp Made; Prepare Work Surface; Test Print; Print; and Clean Up. They focus on Stamping, Stencilling and Screen Printing:

Stamping:

Tools and Materials:

Custom Machine-Made Rubber Stamps; Acrylic Mounts; Foam Sheets; Rubber Blocks; Carving Tool; Soft-Lead Pencil; Bone Folder; and Inks.

Techniques:

Design Transfer; Carved Away vs. Built Up;  Making the Stamp; Mixing the Ink; and Stamping Tips for Printing.

Projects:

Custom Rubber Stamps: Stationery: Cards; Letter Paper and Envelopes; and Traveller Pouches;

Foam Stamps: Japanese Furoshiki Gift Wrap Material; and Notebook Covers;

Carved Rubber Block Stamps: Tablecloth and Napkins; and T-Shirt.

Stencilling:

Tools and Materials:

Freezer Paper (I save the wrapper from the large packets of A4 photocopying paper); Contact Paper; Mylar (polyester film); Hole Punch and Mallet; Scissors and Utility Knife; Soft-Lead Pencil and Bone Folder; Stencil Brush; Inks and Paints; and Spray Mount and Dry Mount.

Techniques:

Standard vs Reverse Stencils; Loading and Stippling; Making the Stencil; and Printing with Stencils.

Projects:

Freezer Paper Stencils: Chair Cushion Fabric; and Handkerchief;

Contact Paper Stencils: Dresser Fronts; and Linen Lampshade;

Mylar Stencils: Walls; and Canvas Tote Bags.

Screen Printing:

Tools and Materials:

Stencils (Paper; Drawing Fluid, Screen Filler Stencils and Photographic Emulsion Stencils); Silk Screen Frame; Mesh; Squeegee; Scraper; and Inks and Retarder.

Techniques:

Making Stencils; Setting Up the Screen -Printing Area; Taping a Screen; Screen Printing; Cleaning the Screen; Artwork for Screen Printing; Repeating Patterns; and Troubleshooting.

Projects:

Paper Stencils: Baby Quilt; and Dog Bed;

Drawing Fluid and Screen Filler Stencils: Artwork;  and Apron;

Photographic Emulsion Stencils: Sheet Set; and Upholstered Chair.

In the back of the book are lists for supply sources and recommended reading, including sources of copyright-free artwork and an envelope of project designs and patterns.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.17.05And finally, some very specific books on printing with natural materials and stamps and Screen Printing!

Hand Printing From Nature: Create Unique Prints for Fabric, Paper, and Other Surfaces Using Natural and Found Materials by Laura Bethmann 2011

While specifically using on natural objects to provide direct impressions of life, this book is similar to the last one in that it also offers plenty of projects to get you started! This ancient art form requires no special equipment or training , just an appreciation of different patterns and shapes, design and colour and textures. In this book, Laura discusses:

Materials:

Natural Objects: Including Vegetation: Leaves; Flowers; Fruits and Vegetables; Seeds; Feathers. She discusses their collection, transport, storage and record keeping, as well as Pressing Plants;

Pigments and Inks: Ink pads; Water-Soluble Block-Printing Inks; Mixing Mediums (Acrylic Retarder or Extender); Flat Sheet Palettes (Glass or Freezer Paper); Fabric Paints; Acrylic Paints; Pigment Applicators (Dabbers; Brayers and Brushes);

Paper: Art Paper; Paper Terminology; Other Printing Surfaces: Fabric, Wood, Terracotta, Ceramics and Walls; and

Other Supplies: Pigment Mixers; Tweezers; Cover Sheets; Watercolour and Coloured Pencils; Spray Finishes; Workable Fixatives; Acrylic Clear Coatings; Fabric and Upholstery Protectors; Pressing Tools; Printing Presses; and Hand Stitching Supplies (threads, needles, scissors, pins, markers, iron).

Printing Methods and Projects: Like the previous book, the author believes in Learning by Doing and provides plenty of practical projects to illustrate and develop direct printing techniques. She starts each description with a checklist of materials and general hints on the use of tools and mediums.

These include:

Printing with Ink Pads and Felt Markers: Personalized Stationery and Note Cards;

Printing with Ink on Paper with a Dabber or a Brayer: Nature Notebooks;

Indirect Printing with Ink: Coordinated Desk Set: Message Board; Lampshade; Tape Dispenser; Pencil Cup; Notecard Holder; and Receipt Box;

Printing with Paint or Ink on Fabric: Apple-Starred Hassock; and Shirt. She also discusses Design and Colour;

Single and Repeated Motifs: Printed-Pocket Tote Bags; Key Holder; Cushions, Pillowcases, Lampshades and Aprons; Boxes and Frames; Furniture: Chairs and Tables; and Ceramic Containers and Plates;

Creating Patterns and Printing Yardage: Shell Hamper; Curtains; Lampshades; Pot Holders; Sheets; Table Runners; Tablecloths and Napkins; Tables and Upholstered Chairs and Footstools; and

Printing Scenes: Wall Hangings; Covered Tin Holders; Screens; Cushions; Art Prints and Wall Murals.

She also has sections on Design and Colour Principles and Lists of Resources and Other References and a Bibliography in the back.BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.16.38Making an Impression: Designing and Creating Artful Stamps by Genine D. Zlatkis 2012

Genina is a wonderful artist, as can be seen if you follow her blog at: http://blogdelanine.blogspot.com.au/. She is also a Stamping Maestro, designing and hand-carving some highly original and delightful stamps. This book shows you how!

She starts with Stamping Basics:

Sources of Design Ideas: Nature; Books; and Internet. She also provides a number of design motifs and project templates in the back of the book.

Tools and Materials:

Rubber Carving Blocks;

Transfer Materials: Tracing paper; Soft-Lead Pencil; and a Bone Folder or Small Spoon;

Cutting and Carving Tools: Paper Scissors; Craft Knife; Lino Tools (Nos. 1, 2 and 5 cutters);

Inks: Pigment Ink Pads for Paper; and  Textile Ink Pads for cloth;

Printing Surfaces: Paper; Fabric; and Painted Surfaces; and

Other Tools and Materials: PVA Glue; Sewing Machine; Embroidery Threads; Beads and Charms; and Cording.

Techniques:

Transferring the Design;  and Cutting the Block.

Design:

Texture; Repetition; Positive and Negative Space; Pattern and Rhythm; Composition; Colour; and Hand Embroidery Stitches.

The majority of the book is devoted to Projects and Ideas for

Stamping on Paper: Eraser Stamps; Gift Tags; Stationery (Letter Paper and Envelopes); Bookplates; Wrapping Paper; Photo Frames; Journals and Book Covers; Postcards and Embroidered Cards; and Heart Wall Art and Posters.

Stamping on Fabric: Embroidered Bags; Coffee Cosies; Beaded Bird Brooches; and  T-shirts and Cushions;

Stamping on Other Surfaces: Clay Lids for Trinket Boxes; Terracotta Pots; Stones; and Wall Borders.

I love her style and this book makes you want to go straight out and start stamping!BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.16.48 The final book also features stamping, as well as stencilling and screenprinting.

Prints Charming: 40 Simple Sewing and Hand-Printing Projects for the Home and Family by Cath Derksema and Kirsten Junor 2010

Another lovely book with a very similar size, spiral binding and straight-forward presentation to Printing by Hand, reviewed three books ago, though a much more restricted subject matter (screen printing) and an emphasis on 40 printing projects. By rights, it could also fit equally well into my next post on textile printing, since most of the projects involve fabric, but I have included it here, because of the similarities already mentioned and because it concerns a specific type of printing and lastly, as a taster and introduction for the next post!

The first section covers the Basics of Sewing and Quilting, including an Equipment List and  a Stitch Guide; and Screen Printing, including a Step-by-Step Guide to Printing; Printing Stripes; and Printing Two Colours and Overprinting.

The majority of the book covers Projects for each room of the house with an introductory page, featuring the projects for each area and a key motif, and pattern sheets in the back:

Nursery: Heart: Cot Quilt; Embroidered Heart Cushion and Mobile; Curtains and Laundry Bag.

Girl’s Room: Bird & Flower: Kimono; Hexagon Cushion; Star Quilt; Treasure Pockets; Book Covers; Bird and Brooches;

Boy’s Room: Star: Singlet; Cushion; Sheet Set; Quilt; and Pinboard

Adult’s Room: Bindi: Bedhead; Quilt; Cushions and Lampshade; Kimono and Scarf;

Living Room: Paisley: Patchwork Throw and Cushion; Footstool; and Artwork;

Kitchen: Candelabra: Tea Towels; Apron; Tablecloth; Napkins and Placemats; and Tea Cosy;  and

Outdoors: Mixed: Beach Bag; Shorts; Sun Shirt; Sun Dress; Umbrella Bunting; and Picnic Rug.

I loved this book, because it combines printing with embroidery and sewing to create highly original and beautiful functional pieces.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.17.14

I shall be exploring further books, combining all these areas in my next craft book post on Textile Printing Books, but next week, I am introducing you to our Tea Garden.

Drawing and Art Library: Part Three: Watercolour Books and Artist’s Journals

Two weeks ago, I started with a discussion of general sketching and painting books in my art library, while last week, I featured some of my favourite art books for children. Because I am enamoured with Watercolour Painting, I own a number of books about the subject and this post will be covering them, as well as a few books about creating Artist’s Journals, another favourite subject area!

Watercolour Books

An Introduction to Watercolour by Ray Smith 1993

A good beginner’s guide, this Art School publication was produced in association with the Royal Academy of Arts and published by Dorking Kindersley, the series thus often being referred to as the DK Art School Series. It provides an ‘all-visual art course’, based on painting projects and exercises and using fully annotated, photographically sequenced instructions for a range of different techniques.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.10

It starts with a Brief History of Watercolour and includes Gallery Pages of works throughout the book by watercolour masters and contemporary artists, which serve to inspire the reader with examples and possibilities. They include: a Gallery of Colour; Brushstrokes; Paper; Washes; and Techniques.

Projects include:  Choosing Paints, Brushes and Papers; Mixing Colours; Colour Harmony; Light and Colour; Using Gouache; Sketching and Composition, Stretching and Toning; Laying a Wash; Tone and Colour; Brushmarks and Marks by Other Tools; Building Up Layers; Sponging Out; and Scratching Out and Resist Techniques. There is a Glossary of watercolour terms in the back, as well as Qualifying Notes on colours, pigments and toxicity, and brushes and papers.

I really enjoyed this introductory book on the subject and learnt so much about watercolours, including how the paints are made; the different types of brushes and their correct care;  the different types of paper and their qualities (absorbency/ surface and weight/acidity and manufacture); as well as the different types of washes.

There are two other watercolour titles in the Art School Series, neither of which I own: Watercolour Colour; and Watercolour Landscape; as well as books about other forms of painting, including  the titles:  DK Art School : An Introduction to Art Techniques; An Introduction to Oil Painting; An Introduction to Acrylics; An Introduction to Drawing; An Introduction to Mixed Media; An Introduction to Pastels; An Introduction to Perspective; Drawing Figures;  and Oil Painting Portraits, all written by Ray Smith. See: https://www.librarything.com/author/smithray-1.

The Complete Watercolour Artist: Materials, Techniques, Colour Theory, Composition, Style and Subject  Edited by Sally Harper 1997

An excellent comprehensive guide, similar in its size and coverage to The Complete Book of Drawing and How To Paint and Draw: A Complete Course on Practical and Creative Techniques, both featured in my first post on drawing and art books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/02/20/drawing-and-art-library-part-one-sketching-and-painting-books/.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.27

Like the previous book, it starts with a History of Watercolour Painting, then progresses to a discussion of Materials: Paints and Colours; Tubes and Paintboxes; Gouache; Brushes; Papers (including step by step instructions for stretching paper); Drawing Boards and Easels; Palettes and Recessed Wells; Other Sundries (eg sponges; blotting paper; cotton wool, tooth brushes, scalpel, and masking tape and fluid) and Indoor Lighting.

The section on Techniques is very detailed and comprehensive, each technique description being supplemented with artworks and useful artists’ tips. They are grouped in their order of application when creating a painting, moving from washes and foundation techniques through brush techniques and colour effects and finally,  to making changes and corrections. Here is a brief summary of each group:

Laying Washes and Foundations: Flat Washes; Wash on Dry/ Damp Paper; Gradated and Variegated Washes; Textures; Granulation; Backruns; Wet-In-Wet; Hard and Soft Edges; Building Up Watercolour Overpainting and Underpainting; Glazing; Using Gouache; Drawing; and Squaring Up.

Brush Techniques, Colour Effects and Alternative Techniques, and Media: Brush Drawing; Brush Marks; Dry Brush; Scumbling (another wonderful word, referring to the technique of scrubbing very dry paint unevenly over another layer of dry colour, so that the first one shows through, thereby creating texture, broken colour effects and a glowing richness to colours, especially in opaque media); Stippling; Spattering; Body Colour and Toned Ground; Blending; Broken Colour; Highlighting; Masking; Lifting Out (removing paint from paper); Surface and Imitative Textures; Sponge Painting and Blotting; Line and Wash; Scraping Back; Wash-Off; Wax Resist; Using Gum Arabic; and Mixed Media.

Making Changes: Corrections and Colour Changes.

The section on Colour and Composition examines a number of principles, common to all forms of painting, which should be learned and understood before breaking them in the pursuit of creativity. They include:

Composition: Size and Shape; Dynamics of the Rectangle; Dividing the Rectangle; Thumbnail Sketches; Similarity and Contrast; Making and Using a Viewfinder; Edges of Paintings; Viewpoints; Composing a Figure Painting/ Townscape or Landscape/ and Still-Life; Balance and Counterbalance; Centre of Interest; Directing the Eye; Tonal Values; Illusion of Depth; Making Value Sketches; Value Scales; Keying Your Values; High-Key/ Middle-Key and Low-Key Paintings; Aerial Perspective; Creating Mood in Landscapes/ Interiors/ Portraits; and Using Limited Tones and Shadows Creatively.

Colours: Choosing Colours (Blues/ Yellows and Browns/ Reds/ Greens/ Black and Greys/ Whites); Paint Qualities (Transparency; Permanence; Mixing Qualities); Colour Relationships; Flower Colours; Mixing Colours; Mixing without Muddying; and White Space.

Again, the text is supported by examples of artist’s works and projects and exercises.

The chapter on Style examines the work of other watercolourists throughout history. In the past, many artists developed their skills by copying the styles of the masters, right up until the Impressionist era, however today, modern artists  tend to make visual references in their work to other paintings, including the use of similar compositional elements or reinterpreting a particular theme. A study of the works of past masters and painting styles aids an understanding of and development of your own stylistic preferences. Art Movements, including practising artists, photographs of art works, key features and projects, include:

Impressionism: Monet, Pissaro, Degas, Renoir, Sisley, Morisot, Cassatt and Bonnard: Working directly outdoors; Relationship of Light and Colour; and Responding to Movement, using light and colour, rather than painting subjects. Projects: Capturing Immediate Impressions and Series Paintings.

Expressionism: Ensor, Munch, Nolde, Kirchner, Bacon, Schiele, Marc and Van Gogh : Composition, Distortion and Stylization; Colours as Expressions; Key Tones; Expressive Mark Making; Projects: Expressing Character and a Sense of Place.

Abstractioning from Nature and Pure Abstraction: De Stael, De Kooning, Sutherland, Davis, Avery, Sparks, Wols, O’Keefe ,Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich, Tothko, Pollock, Louis and Stella: Sources of Absract Imagery; Compositional Elements; Abstractional Styles; Projects: Collage from a Landscape/ Still-Life; a Painted Abstraction and Colour Drawing of the Same Collage; and Geometric and Gestural Abstraction.

The final chapter covers Subject Matter, using a similar format (artists/ photographs of artwork/ key features, artists’ hints and projects) and different techniques and approaches to portray:

Still-Life: Vermeer, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Chardin, Rembrandt, the Dutch Still-Life Painters of the 17th Century: ‘Found Groups’; Themes (Culinary/ Literary/ Pictorial Biography); Backgrounds; Setting up a Still-Life; Plants and Flowers: Composition; Indoor Arrangements; Single Specimens; and Natural Habitat. Projects: Approaches to Still-Life: Objects with personal appeal/ everyday objects/ and objects in the landscape; and Flower Arrangements (Cyclamen/ Persimmon and Plums/ and Narcissi in Sunlight).

Landscape:  English Watercolour tradition: Gainsborough, Girtin, Constable and Turner and the Norwich School: Cotman and Crome: Practical Hints for Painting Outdoors; Trees and Foliage; Fields and Hills; Rocks and Mountains; Clouds and Skies; Light and Shade; Painting Shadows; Weather: Mist and Fog/ Snow Scenes; Water: Light on Water/Moving and Still Water/Reflections; Buildings: Linear and Simple/ Complex Perspective; Inside Looking Out; and  Framing a View. Projects: Distant Hills/  Old Harry and His Wife/ Hot Sun / Moon River/ Trees and Water; and Lifting Out.

Animals: Wade, Jesty, Boys, Dawson and Willis: Sketching from Life; Birds; Domestic and Farm Animals; Wild Animals; Movement; and Textures. Projects: Horse’s Head/Squirrel/ Mackerel.

Portrait and Figure Work: Kunz, Lew, Cassels: Proportions of the Figure and Head; Head from an Angle; Flesh Tones; Shadows and Highlights; Hair and Fabrics (folds, pattern, texture, shadows,  drapery and reflected light); Capturing a Likeness; and Moving Figures; Projects: Young Skin/Hair/ Ribbed Sweater.

It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive book on the subject and I would highly recommend this book!

Now for a few specific books on using watercolours to paint one of my favourite subjects:  My Garden and its Flowers !!!

The Watercolourist’s Garden by Jill Bays 1993/ 1997

As you all know, I love my garden and this lovely book gives me the tools and techniques to portray its beautiful contents!BlogArtBooks2518-01-05 18.02.00

It begins with Basic Art Theory, common to the other art books, with notes on Materials, Colour (including a basic palette) and Complementary Colours; Drawing, Composition, Perspective and Handling Paint (watercolour techniques in a nutshell); Using Photographs and Reference and Sketch-Books; Working Outside on Location and Lighting; and Style and Inspiration.

The following chapters are divided by season and include suggestions for painting seasonal flowers and plants, as well as enlarging on specific techniques and providing step-by-step demonstrations to follow. Here are the subject headings:

Spring: Tonal Values; Wet into Wet; Painting Leaves & Vegetables; Tulips, Bearded Iris & Anemones.

Summer: Experimentation; Still-Life; Flowers in the Landscape; Wild Gardens; Summer Vegetables and Fruits; Wild Flowers, Poppies, Roses and Other Summer Flowers.

Autumn: Garden Painting; Interiors; Mood; Using Containers; Seeds and Berries, Fungi, Autumn Fruit & Vegetables; Autumn Leaves and Berries; Dahlias.

Winter: Still-Life and Landscapes; Dried Flowers; Winter Bulbs; Winter Vegetables, Early Primroses; Cyclamen and Reflections.At the end of the book are notes on Problems with Watercolour ; Exhibiting Your Work; and a Glossary of Terms.

This book was published in Britain, so the seasons are very defined, while we here in Australia have a much milder climate, though we still have seasons in the south, so we have lots of opportunities to use this book!

Learn to Paint Flowers in Watercolour by Marjorie Blamey 1984

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Even though this book covers similar subject matter, with an element of seasonality as well, I have still included it as different approaches suit different people with different learning styles and it is always useful to have advice from a variety of sources. While I personally prefer Jill’s looser style and the more informal romantic feel of her book, Marjorie’s guide probably has a more simple, straightforward presentation. She describes her background and watercolour journey, as well as her reasons for painting flowers, before getting down to the nitty-gritty with chapters on :

Materials and Equipment: Watercolour Tubes and Paintbox; Gouache; Pencils; Brushes; Papers; Mixed Media.

Drawing Techniques: Leaves; Flower Anatomy; Flowers in Perspective; Sketching Outdoors.

Colour: Greens; Flower Colour; Problem Pinks; Poppies and Cornfield Flowers; Surfaces, Shadows and Highlights; Shapes, Spots and Stripes; White Flowers; Tinted Papers; and Summer Flowers.

Painting Through the Seasons: Flowers of Spring, Summer, Autumn Tints and Winter Shades.

Further chapters include: The Broader View: Flowers in the Landscape; Keeping It Simple; and Photography and the Flower Painter.

The Watercolour Flower Painter’s Pocket Palette Volume Two : Practical Visual Advice on How to Create Flower Portraits Using Watercolours by Adelene Fletcher 2000

A lovely little pocket guide and another favourite! While I do not own the first volume, The Watercolour Flower Painter’s Pocket Palette, this companion book still provides an instant and comprehensive guide to painting over 70 different types of flowers, fruit and foliage.BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 11.39.02It starts with a guide to using the book; a useful colour chart and paint permanence ratings (see photo from Pages 4-5 above), progressing to various techniques including: Washes; Amending Colours; Creating Soft Edges; Avoiding Colour Runs; Two-Tone Brushwork; Negative Shapes; Sgraffito; and Impressing.

Flowers are categorised into their different shapes : Bells and Trumpets; Lipped and Bearded; Cup and Bowl; Rays and Pompoms; Simple Stars; Multi-Headed; and Spikes, and then grouped by colour: Yellow; Orange and Red; Pink; Purple and Blue; and White, Cream and Green, each section containing step-by-step demonstrations and concluded by an example artwork. A variety of berries and leaves are covered in the final pages.

Other titles in this series include: The Watercolour Painter’s Pocket Palette; The Watercolour Landscape Painter’s Pocket Palette and The Oil and Acrylic Painter’s Pocket Palette, all written by Adelene Fletcher.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.44And finally, to another favourite category of Art Books:

Artist’s Journals

I love looking at other people’s art and illustrated travel journals. They are always so interesting, highly personal, creative and inspiring and make you want to follow their example. The following three books show you how to achieve your aim and again, all three, while covering similar subject material, all have different approaches and presentations, so one of them should appeal!

Create Your Own Artist’s Journal by Erin O’Toole 2002

BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.02.53I love this hardback book with its thick matt paper pages, its chatty personal text and its logical simple approach. I also like the fact that visual journals can be produced anywhere and can include sketches and paintings of familiar home surroundings and objects, not necessarily images of exotic travels, though I do love those as well!!!  I love her use of quaint illustrations, rather than photographs, to depict her suggestions.

There is a brief history of Erin’s journey, as well as a useful metric conversion chart in the front, followed by chapters on:

Starting a Journal: First Marks; Creating a Routine; Observation Skills; Page Design and Construction.

Materials: Store-Bought and Home-Made Books; Painting and Drawing Media and Equipment; and General Kit: Shoulder Bag; Art Tackle Box; Field Guides and Maps; Camera and Binoculars; Viewfinder; Fixative; Water Bottle; and a Folding Chair. There are also instructions for Making a Book with One Sheet of Paper.

In the Garden: Flowers; Insects and Cocoons, and Birds and Creatures; as well as notes on Dark and Light; Light Angle; Colour; and Garden Plans.

About the Neighbourhood: Architecture; Public Parks; Market and the Zoo; People; Pets and Family and notes on Drawing While Waiting and Sketching in Public.

On the Road: Braving the Elements; Taking the Slow Road; Maps; Historic Places; Farm Animals; Weather; Landscapes in Watercolour; On the Water; and Drawing from Photos.

Drawing Wildlife: Subject Matter and Venues (Wildlife Sanctuaries and Natural History Museums); Line Drawing; Using Binoculars; Unexpected Animals; Wild Flowers; Natural Habitats; and Observation Skills.

Refining and Sharing Your Journals: Hand Writing ; Making Changes and Corrections; Research; Taking Notes; Story-telling; Sharing with Family (Colour Photocopies; Scanning on Computer; Use on Postcards, Cards and Letters; Websites and Blogs); and Submitting Drawings to community organizations, and natural history  groups and historical societies.

In the back is a useful list of Suggested Reading for Art Journals, as well as Books on drawing, watercolour, writing, and bookbinding. I love Erin’s informal, romantic and blowsy style.

Artist’s Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures by Cathy Johnson 2011

Another book with a more modern feel and a bold, common sense approach, which encourages experimentation.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.03.01  It has five chapters:

Getting Started:

Exploring What You Want (Reasons and Desires; Subject Matter; and When and How);

Drawing a Journal Map and Overcoming First-Page Jitters (something of which  I am commonly guilty!); Journal Name; Sharing; Errors; and Jump Right In;

Physical Journals and Other Materials and Supplies, including Different Media.

Test Drive:

Experiment with Different Media and Test Drive Graphite Pencil/ Coloured Pencil/ Pen/ Watercolour/ Gouache/Watercolour Pencils/ Collage;

Page Design and Composition: Positioning Text; Text for Balance; Eye Path; Borders and Grids; and Double Page Spreads.

Exploring Journals:

Different Types of Journal (with hints for producing each type): The Daily Journal; Travel Journal (Physical and Virtual); Memory Journal; Reportage Journal and Nature Journal.

Journals can also be used to document Dreams and Imagination; Dealing with Challenges; Spiritual Journey; Life’s Journey (Integrated Journal), as well as to plan and practice techniques.

Journaling Lifestyle:

Attitudes and Habits: Allowing Time; Developing a Habit; Important Moments and Honoring Milestones; Work Anywhere and Work Fast; Gesture Sketches and Grids; Composite Pages; Weather; Classes and Sketch Crawls; and Using a Journal as a Learning Tool.

Pulling It All Together: Favourite Media/ Style/ Subjects and Journals; Patch as a Design/ Decorative Element; Things That Don’t Work; Rules Don’t Apply; Continue to Explore; Go Online; Follow Your Inclinations; Travel Light; and Daily Practice.

The book finishes with a Section on Resources, complete with websites for further exploration: Contributors; Illustrated Journals and Diaries;  Books on Journaling and Sketching and Drawing; and Instructional CDs and DVDs and Classes.

The Decorated Journal: Creating Beautifully Expressive Journal Pages by Gwen Diehn 2005

A final beautiful hardback guide to creating artist’s journals, the subtitle says it all! It covers many areas and subjects, not covered by the previous books, and has a totally different approach and style.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.03.11The book being divided into four sections:

Materials and How To Use Them: Determined and Neutral Materials; Paper and Blank Books; Binding Styles; Pigments and Paints: Watercolour, Gouache and Acrylic; Brushes; Pen and Ink; Adhesives; Pencils and Crayons; Grounds; and Other Useful Tools: Stencils; Matt Knives and Straight Edges.

How Does Your Journal See the World: Different World Views and their Translation into Journals:

Layered World : Resulting in a Layered Journal, naturally!;

Creative World : Used as a resource of ideas and information for future creative projects;

Wabi-Sabi World: Key tenets are simplicity, humility and modesty; Nature; unconventional beauty; impermanence; and imperfections, hence these journals are simple and rough; made of natural materials, employ warm, earthy, dark colours with low intensity, and use minimal medium;

Naturalist’s World: Functional precise nature observations with maps, diagrams and sketches;

Spiritual World: Journal dimensions form golden rectangles and page elements display golden proportion and rectangles, as well as other proportions and geometric forms from sacred geometry. Journals are covered in sensuous materials and decorated with rich colours and textures, the text is laden with imagery and journals can even include a few drops of essential oils, inviting contemplation, reflection and meditation;

Symbolic World: Dreams and Symbols, Patterns and Motifs; Abstract Colours and Forms; and Collage Elements;

Inner World: Surrealism and Subconscious Imagery; Automatic Writing and Morning Pages; Doodles and Random Marks; Lists of Words; Collections of Ephemera; Patches of Texture; Fragmented Images; Thoughts and Feelings; and Memory Prompts.

Pages in Stages: Ways of Working:

Ways to Get Started: Paper; Poured Colours; Printed Forms; Maps and Diagrams; Copier Transfer; Collage; Stitching; Challenges; Altered Books and Pages; and Patterns Lost and Found.

Middles: Writing; Subtracting Text; Extending Collage; Drawing; Mapping; Painting; Relief Prints , Rubbings and Stamping.

Toppings: Writing; Watercolour Washes; Eliminating Work; Separating Layers; Journaling with Children; Collage as a Link; Collaborations and Group Journaling; and Pauses.

The Reluctant Bookbinder :

How to Make Books: Basics; Three-Minute and Six-Minute Pamplets; 30 minute Multiple Pamphlet Journal; Making a Travel Journal; Two-Hour Journal; Sewing Frames; and

Customizing a Blank Book: Removing Pages; Adding and Changing Elements ( eg Envelopes/Smaller  Piggyback Journals/ Sheets of Watercolour Paper/ Grid Paper/ Coloured Paper/ Tracing Paper/ Specialty Papers); Laminating Pages; Modifying Covers (eg. Encrustation; Collage and Lettering); Altering a Book; and Using an Old Book Cover.

Overall, I would have to say that I’ve saved the best till last, though really all the books are beautiful and have their own individual strengths and advantages. However, I did find that this last book was such an interesting read and I learned so much about a wide variety of subjects: Making ochre pigments; egg tempera, casein paints, and inks from oak galls and charcoal; Historical Inventor’s Journals; The Japanese Aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi; Making a Golden Journal; the Practices of Surrealism; Book Binding Methods and History; and Making the Physical Journal.

Next week, I will be discussing some of my favourite printing books. In the meantime, Happy Journalling and Art Making!

Drawing and Art Library: Part Two: Art Books For Children

Betty Edwards has a large section in her book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, about the creative ability of children and their development as artists as they mature. Apparently, most adults in the Western World do not progress in art skills beyond their level of development at the ages of nine or ten years old and are self-conscious and embarrassed  about their artistic abilities. At this particular age, children suddenly become very self-critical and embarrassed about their attempts to produce less than perfectly realistic depictions, often internalising the derogatory opinions of significant others and then, sadly and abruptly, abandoning their art.

She discusses the different stages of artistic development from :

Scribbling (1.5 to 4 years old) and its different stages. Symbolic and simple, it increases in complexity at 3.5 years old, reflecting the child’s growing awareness and perceptions of the world around him/her. Details of clothing are incorporated at 4 years old and between 4 and 5 years old, pictures are used to tell stories, portray feelings and work out problems.

Between 5 and 6 years old, the child has developed a set of symbols to create a landscape, usually including the ground and sky; a house or home with relevant details (door with doorknob, windows and curtains, and  a roof with chimney); a path and fence; trees and flowers, birds and insects, and maybe people or family members; mountains, clouds and a sun and/or rainbow and rain.

By 9 or 10 years old, that dreaded definitive age (!), children aim for increasing detail and realism in their art. Concern for composition diminishes and drawings are differentiated by gender, due to cultural factors. Boys begin to draw cars, weapons, fighting scenes and legendary heroes like pirates and Vikings, while girls depict flowers in vases, waterfalls, mountains reflected in still lakes, pretty girls and fashion models. Cartoons become more popular, as they enable early adolescents to avoid the feeling that their drawing is ‘babyish’!

By age 10 or 11 years, their passion for realism is in full bloom and when their drawings are less than perfectly realistic, children become discouraged and it is at this point that continued art education is so important to help them understand the artistic process and give them tools and techniques to achieve their goals.

Unfortunately, during my secondary school education, our subjects were streamed in lines and  because I followed academic subjects like languages, sciences and advanced mathematics, I did not return to art study until matriculation. In those days, most people were able to matriculate in one year with four subjects, but because physics and chemistry were studied over two years, and I had already gained results in Biology and Maths, I was able to fill the extra two lesson slots with English Literature and Art. However, because of the lack of tuition in the intervening years and my lack of self-confidence in the artistic sphere, especially compared to the amazing efforts of my fellow art students, I majored in Art History, with Batik as my medium for the practical component!

Little wonder then that I placed such a high value on developing creativity in my own children, who studied art all the way through and past the danger period, becoming very competent adult artists. In fact, my daughter Caroline has just finished illustrating her first book, a self-help publication, written by her sister’s friend, a personal life coach, Hayat Berkaoui. See: http://www.hayatcoaching.com/   and https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=hayat%20ber. This will be the front cover. Look out for it!BlogArtBooks70%IMG_8320Here are some of the books I used to maintain, nurture and develop my children’s artistic talent.

You Can Draw Anything by Kim Gamble 1994

We were lucky enough to attend a talk given by the creator of Tashi at my children’s primary school in Armidale. For information about Kim, see: http://tashibooks.com/Kimgamble.html about Kim, for information about the Tashi books, see: http://tashibooks.com/books.html and for Kim’s illustration process, it is especially worth watching: http://tashibooks.com/illustrating.html. Another excellent video clip can be found on http://tashibooks.com/Creators.html, as well as on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVxuefbKqoI.

I was so sad to discover during my research for this post that Kim had died in February 2016 at the far too early age of 63 years old! See his tribute by Anna Fienberg, his co-creator of the Tashi books at: http://readingtime.com.au/vale-kim-gamble-13-july-1952-19-february-2016/.

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I loved this book with its quirky illustrations, humorous text and imaginative suggestions, using basic shapes (circles, rectangles, squares, ovals and triangles) as starting points, which make the whole drawing process look so easy.  Along the way, he covers: Using a Grid; Drawing Faces and Human Figures, including Action Men; Drawing Animals; Perspective; and Shading and Cross-Hatching.

He includes illustrated instructions for drawing favourite childhood subject matter like cars, planes and trains; fairies and flying witches; castles; forests and flowers; and dragons, dinosaurs and whales!

Drawing should be FUN and the next book by Quentin Blake and John Cassidy is another wonderful addition to your children’s art library!

Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered by Quentin Blake and John Cassidy 1999

Quentin Blake is very well-known for his illustrations for many of Roald Dahl’s books, favourites among children, so the illustrations in this delightful sketching guide are very familiar and appealing to  children, their parents and  Roald Dahl readers. See: https://www.quentinblake.com/; https://www.quentinblake.com/tags/roald-dahl; and http://www.roalddahl.com/blog/2016/march/quentin-blake-collaborating-with-roald-dahl.

BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 09.37.35This book is so much fun and very child-centred in its approach, with its first page dedicated to the child owner’s signature and lots of intentional mistakes, smudges and scribbles. I love the authors’ ‘Gung-Ho approach to art’ (photo below of page 5); BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 09.31.56 and admonition to avoid self-criticism or listen to negative remarks! (photo of page 22).BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 09.33.08The authors encourage children to draw on the pages and this book is littered with my daughter Jenny’s artwork and I’m sure contributed greatly to the development of her artistic talent (see photo below of pages 28 and 29 : Clocks and Candles).BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 09.33.26BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 09.33.36 I love her illustrations of Dogs (Page 60);BlogArtBooks4018-01-07 09.35.47 Birds (Page 63); BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 09.36.20 and Pigs (Page 65). BlogArtBooks4018-01-07 09.36.10The latter photo featuring an illustration of Piglutta, a central character of the annual magazines she produced as a teenager and her first novel, The Adventures of Camel, Piggy and Hippoe 2008.BlogArtBooks3018-01-07 15.58.37 Horses, fish, crocodiles, cockatoos, emotional rabbits, human faces and figures are also covered and, despite its informal and humorous approach, the book still manages to impart valuable knowledge about perspective; light and shadow; and silhouettes.BlogArtBooks2518-01-07 09.34.46Another very effective technique involves asking children to lend their own touch of genius to unfinished drawings. See the photo above of the Greatly Fearded 14-Legged Galumposaurus, Which Needs a Back End (Pages 54 to 55) and the photo below, Mrs Thudkin’s Floppaterasis and the 3-Headed Red-Spotted Gorff (Pages 56 to 57).BlogArtBooks2518-01-07 09.35.34It is a terrific book and even comes complete with a clear pencil case, containing a red and black watercolour pencil and a black ink sketch pen, attached to the spine.

You Can Draw a Kangaroo: The Poems Tell You What To Do 1964/ 1985 Published forthe Australian Information Service by the Australian Government Publishing Service

A delightful quirky old guide to drawing Australian animals from my childhood, which I still use to create embroidery designs.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.08.52 Using humorous rhyme, as indicated by the subtitle, and sequential drawings based on basic shapes (ovals, circles etc ), it makes it easy to produce basic recognizable line drawings of our unique Australian wildlife, including a Kangaroo, Emu, Echidna, Budgerigar, Magpie, Wombat, Platypus, Goanna, Pelican, Kookaburra, Koala, Boobook Owl, Brolga, Bandicoot, Cockatoo, Glider, Swan, Groper, Turtle, Cassowary, Mud-Skipper, Frilled Lizard and Lyrebird. Here is a sample page: The Kangaroo.BlogArtBooks4018-01-07 09.37.15How To Draw and Paint the Outdoors: Practical Techniques for All Junior Painters  by Moira Butterfield 1995

A lovely children’s book and my final book for today! As you all know, I am a great believer in forging the link between nature and children, and this book is a valuable contributor to the cause, as well as developing the child’s passion and ability for drawing and painting. It is written for children between the ages of seven and twelve, a very important make-or-break period for children’s art!BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 18.01.50

There are many wonderful practical examples and easy-to-follow instructions on perspective; light and shade; mixing colours; brush strokes and painting without a brush (stippling, dot/ dash painting, sponging, dragging and combing, waxing and scratching); working with photographs; scaling and enlarging pictures; and the realistic portrayal of a range of subject matter from landscapes, city scapes and industrial scenes to sky, water and waves, and trees and flowers, as well as information on colouring with different types of paints, pastels, chalks and crayons, and more unusual techniques like printing, finger painting, painting on glass, textured rubbings and collages. Other projects include: Making a Portfolio; a Viewfinder; a 3-D Landscape; and Maps and Models.BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (788) - Copy - CopyPlease note that last month’s post on Design and Inspiration also featured some wonderful books for encouraging children’s art and creativity: The Usborne Book of Art Ideas and The Usborne Book of Art Projects. See: https://wordpress.com/post/candeloblooms.com/51827.

Next week, I will be looking at some of my favourite books on Watercolour Painting, as well as Artists’ Journals!  

Drawing and Art Library: Part One: Sketching and Painting Books

All design, art and crafts require a basic grasp of drawing skills, even if only to portray the desired idea, so it is useful to own a few sketching and drawing books. For example, my recent design for a Christmas table runner, based on Eastern European Folk Art and the accompanying Russian wooden spoons. While my sketch is appalling artistically, it only needed to be a rough line drawing to portray the basic design! See the sequence of photos below! My first draft: BlogArtBooks3017-12-02 09.51.34While there are many brilliant books on this subject, here are a few titles, which have helped my journey, even though I will never be totally confident about my skills! While covering similar subject matter, they vary in presentation and approach, so I am sure there will be one that appeals to you! BlogArtBooks3017-12-02 09.51.53Please note that I have divided this topic into three posts, due to its length. Today, I am discussing six Sketching and Painting Books; Part Two is on Wednesday and includes four of my favourite Art Books, specifically written for Children, while in Part Three on Thursday, I am featuring nine books on Watercolour Painting and Artists’ Journals.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 17.35.51

A. Sketching Books

Sketching for Beginners: A Pocket How To Do It  by Geoffrey Elliot 1970

My first proper sketching guide and my starter for a lifetime pursuit of improving my drawing ability, though I think that I have now accepted my limited talent in this area!

This small volume discusses:

Chapter One: Sketching Defined: This chapter looks at the different kinds of sketches and the purposes behind them: the reference sketch for supplying material for your own personal dictionary; the study sketch used for a  definite purpose, whether it be a working drawing for a finished art work or sculpture or a work in itself; the practice sketch to train your observation powers and hand-eye coordination; and the statement sketch, complete as it stands, without the notes and visual shorthand aids of the reference or study sketches.

Chapter Two: Equipment and Media: I LOVE visiting art shops with all their wonderful selection of artistic mediums and tools. So inspiring and make you want to dash straight back home with your new purchases and start using them! This chapter covers the basic equipment required from pencils and erasers; watercolours and brushes; paper and sketch-books to drawing boards and easels; gummed tape; fixatives and sponges; and viewfinders and plumb lines. It discusses a wide variety of media: Pen and Ink; Charcoal; Conté; Pastels; Wax Crayons; Felt Pens; Gouache; and Acrylics.

Chapter Three: Choosing Your Subject: A few notes for beginners on keeping it simple; being kind to yourself and not too ambitious; artistic licence; being interested in your subject matter; and the rigours of prolonged concentration, thereby emphasing the importance of comfort and a fresh eye with plenty of breaks. Subjects include family and home life; still life arrangements; the garden and outdoor scenes (eg parks and beaches); and landscape scenes.

Chapter Four: Observation and Technique: Observation, from all angles and in great detail, and composition; line and tone (I think that I am quite good with line, it’s portraying the areas of light and shade, which I find difficult!); colour (colour range, blending, building up,and glazing); stretching paper for watercolour; mass and detail; texture; and observation and judgement.

Chapter Five: Using Your Sketches: Squaring up and transposing a composition; reference sketches; and framing; with suggestions for further reading and art lessons.

All in all, a good little book for beginners, though it has been superseded by some far more detailed and lavish publications.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 17.55.24

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence by Betty Edwards 1979/ 1989

With a sub title like that, how could I resist! Or any would-be artist for that matter! Apparently, it is the best-selling drawing book in the world, having sold over 1 250 000 copies and been translated into ten languages (now seventeen!) by its second publication.  I actually bought the later publication (Revised and Expanded with a New Colour Selection) after a course on ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ and found both the course and the book to be very illuminating!BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 17.55.48The basic theory is that drawing is primarily an activity of the right brain, the hemisphere responsible for creativity and artistic ability; intuition, perception and spatial ability; and chess, music and mathematics, while the left brain specialises language (both verbal and written), symbols and abstraction; timing and sequencing; and  reasoning, logic and critical analysis. I have a very well-developed critical left brain!! See the photo of her table from page 40 below: BlogArtBooks4018-01-06 11.06.50After further discussion on brain hemispheres and the crossover connections between them, as well as the development of artistic ability in children, the author provides a series of exercises to stimulate the right brain and confuse the left brain, or rather suppress its critical analysis and self-doubt talk!

A prime example is my line drawing of the lady below in glasses. We had to draw a continuous line, constantly focusing on the subject and without looking down at the paper. The minute I did so at the end of the session, my critical left brain kicked in with noticing the different shape of the lenses in the glasses, but on closer observation of the angle at which I had drawn the subject, my rendition was totally accurate!BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 08.19.31Other exercises included: Drawing upside-down; drawing the negative space; contour drawing; and using view finders and sighting techniques.

Other topics include: Perspective (always a tricky problem!); proportion; angles and composition; light and shadow; and colour.

This is a very valuable book for every would-be artist and certainly furthered my artistic ability and confidence! If you cannot find an old copy, you can read the entire book from 1999 online at: https://aimeeknight.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/edwards-the-new-drawing-on-the-right-side-of-the-brain-viny.pdf.

Start to Draw by Robert Capitolo and Ken Schwab 2006

Another small paperback guide for beginners, with similar content, but a far more up-to-date and contemporary presentation, as well as more modern materials, to my original sketching book.BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 17.56.42

Chapter One covers Materials and Tools: Pencils; charcoal; coloured pencils and chalks; pen and ink; paper and other surfaces; erasers; fixatives and scratchboards.

Chapter Two explains the Basic Concepts:

Elements of Art (Line; colour; texture; shape and form; value; size and space);

Qualities of Shading (light and dark sides; highlights; cast shadow; reflected light; and back shading); and

Principles of Composition (Centre of Interest; balance; harmony; contrast; directional movement; and rhythm).

Chapter Three covers :

The Sketching Process: Drawing from photos and observation; and shape and form; and

Ways of Suggesting Depth: Interposition; size and spacing; foreshortening and the use of perspective: atmospheric perspective ; diminishing clarity; and linear perspective: one-point; two-point and three-point.

Various perspective terms are defined: Horizon line; eye level; station point; picture plane; line of sight; vanishing point; parallel lines; converging lines and foreshortening. There is also a simple Still-Life Activity to practice these concepts.

Chapter Four: Working with Images: Cropping and Grids, which has further activities: Making and using a viewfinder to aid composition; enlarging images using the diagonal method or by using a grid; and using the latter to also distort an image.

The next section of the book presents seven projects to develop shading abilities, an area where I require much more practice! They include:

Project One: Smudge Shading on a Contour Drawing: Includes more information about Composition;

Project Two: Ink Drawing With Hatch and Cross-Hatch Shading;

Project Three: Montage Composition with Cross-Hatch and Smudge Shading: Involves the composition of several images and practicing the gradation of values with lines;

Project Four: Random Line Shading with Gesso: Including preparation of the gesso board; transferring the preliminary drawing to the gesso board; shading the drawing; and the use of photos as a source of subject matter;

Project Five: Charcoal Portrait on Toned Paper: Including a guide to facial proportions;

Project Six: Cross-Hatching on Scratchboard; and

Project Seven: Nonobjective Design with Coloured Pencil :  Including using a viewfinder; enlarging the composition; mixing colours with coloured pencils; and colour theory.

An excellent beginner’s guide to sketching!

The Complete Book of Drawing: Essential Skills for Every Artist by Barrington Barber 2006

A terrific book, which must be the ultimate guide to sketching, being a larger size and very comprehensive!BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 17.56.09

The first chapter, First Stages, is quite a lengthy chapter and covers all the Basics: Implements and materials; holding the pencil, using the paper, working at an easel and using rule of thumb to determine size and proportions; lines and circles; 3-D shapes; ellipses; groups of objects; corrections; identifying the source of light; modelling and shading; composition; simple perspective; technical aids; proportions in detail; foreshortening; aerial perspective; drawing plants and choosing landscapes, using hands or a card frame to isolate views; the effect of different eye levels; proportions of the human figure; and animals simplified.

The next chapter, Chapter Two, examines Object Drawing and Still-Life Composition, a good place to start as the subject matter doesn’t move!!! It discusses objects of different materiality; simple still-lifes and shading; exercises in looking and drawing; still-life themes; composition, angles and viewpoints; still-life in a setting; and large objects.

Chapter Three discusses the Experience of Drawing: Perspective views; irregular perspective; constructing a view along a street; areas of light and dark; angles; triangles and rectangles; human architecture; ellipses in perspective; using a common unit of measurement; perspective terminology; relationships in the picture plane; Alberti’s system; field of vision; chequerboard to create an illusion of depth; and dealing with movement.

Chapter Four concentrates on Form and Shape: Architectural forms; shape recognition; creating form; approaches to form; and exercises in simplifying and realizing form; while Chapter Five is all about Forms of Nature:

Plants: Flowers and trees; trees in the landscape and tree growth patterns and shapes; landscapes from different perspectives; experimenting with different media; depiction of earth, water and sky;

Animals: Movement; large animals; and drawing on the hoof; and

Introduction to the Human Figure: Heads; facial features and hair; perspective views; hands; musculature; composition of figures; close ups of joints; and clothing and movement.

Chapter Six enlarges on the latter subject area with Figure Drawing and Portraiture: Drawing from life; different poses; nudes; the torso; movement; proportions; closeups on legs and feet; arms and hands; mouths and eyes; and noses and ears; the head at different angles; facial expressions; juvenile features; form and clothing; expressing movement and attitudes; and spontaneous portraiture, backed up by a series of revision exercises. There is also a section on caricature: its use in satire and art; stereotyping; and modern trends in caricature.

Chapter Seven focuses on Styles and Techniques: Pencil drawing; simple outlines and precision; pen and ink and line and wash; chalk on toned paper; the use of scraperboards; different techniques, including blotting; card-edge and silver-point techniques; line versus tone and experimenting with light; action for drama; and the genius of simplicity.

Composition is the main topic of Chapter Eight: Analysis and geometry of composition; movement and abstract and naturalistic design in composition; interiors; creating and balancing a composition; emotional content; and variations on a theme.

The final chapter looks at the Drawings of the Great Masters: Ancient Greeks; Leonardo da Vinci; Raphael; Michelangelo; Rubens; Holbein the Younger; Rembrandt; Tiepolo; Watteau; Ingres; Delacroix; Turner; Degas; Renoir; Seurat; Cézanne; Matisse; Picasso; and Henry Carr. By acute observation of their works, techniques and methods and economy of effort and by practicing their style, the sketching student can learn so much and can further develop their own abilities.

2. General Guides to Drawing and Painting

Sketching and Painting: A Step by Step Introduction by FC Johnston 1976

Probably more an introductory book about painting, this publication was my husband’s first sketching book. Like me, he too yearned to become a better sketcher, but unlike me, he continues to practice, and is hence better at it!BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 17.55.37 There are six parts to this book:

Part One: Preparation for Painting: The artist’s eye; basic equipment; working outdoors; the selection and arrangement of subjects; and composition and perspective.

Part Two: Painting in Watercolour: Paints, brushes and paper; paper preparation and laying down a wash; monochrome and colour paintings; mixing colours; and trees, foliage and grass.

Part Three: Painting in Oils: Equipment and basic techniques; monochrome and colour painting; colour mixing; trees; and further techniques and painting surfaces.

Part Four: Painting with Acrylic Colours: Acrylic paints; opaque qualities and texture; transparent washes; and knife painting.

Part Five: The Art of Sketching: Using a pencil; studies in pen and ink; pens without nibs; and  sketching with charcoal and conté crayon.

Part Six: Mounting, Framing and General Advice: Mounting and framing oils and acrylics, watercolours and sketches; and final random thoughts and advice.

How To Paint and Draw: A Complete Course on Practical and Creative Techniques by Hazel Harrison 1994

Another excellent guide to painting and drawing, which is the equivalent of Barrington Barber’s book in its comprehensive and thorough coverage of drawing, watercolour, oil, acrylics and pastels. It is hard to believe that there would be any neglected facet of this vast subject area!BlogArtBooks3018-01-05 17.57.06The book begins appropriately with Part One: Drawing, as basic drawing ability is an essential foundation to painting.

It begins with Monochromatic Materials (pencils, conté crayon, charcoal, pen, inks and brushes ; and papers) and techniques for use with each different medium, including:

Pencil: Line and tone; and frottage;

Charcoal: Erasing techniques;

Conté crayon: Paper texture; and working with three colours;

Pen and ink: Scribble drawing; hatching and cross-hatching; line and wash; and brush drawing.

The book progresses to Colour Drawing Materials: Coloured pencils; pastels; inks and markers; and papers, and again, various techniques are discussed for each different medium:

Coloured pencil: Colour mixing; burnishing; and impressing;

Pastels: Mark making; oil pastels; and papers;

Inks and markers: Drawing with coloured inks and markers; textured papers; and wax resist.

The Mechanics of Drawing is then discussed, including the concepts of accuracy; proportions and size; drawing shapes and forms; negative shapes; line, lost and found edges and contours; sketching; subject material; figure drawing; animals; buildings; and perspective, scale and proportion.

Part Two: Watercolor:

Includes: Paints, brushes and papers; advice on mixing colours; colour theory; laying washes (flat, gradated and variegated) and dealing with edges; underdrawings; squaring up; working wet-on-dry or wet-into-wet; brushwork; lifting out; masking; using opaque paint; texturing methods (dry brush; toothbrush or paintbrush spatter and salt spatter); wax resist; line and wash; backruns; paint additives (gum arabic; ox gall; soap; and turpentine); and two special sections, focusing on landscapes and flowers.

I found this section to be particularly useful, as I love the effect of watercolours, but it is quite a difficult medium technically.

Part Three: Oils and Acrylics:

Discusses: Paints, brushes and mediums; palettes and painting surfaces; primary and secondary colours; using a restricted palette; colour relationships; painting white; working alla prima (wet-into-wet) and underpainting; working on a tinted ground; brushwork; impasto; knife painting; glazing; broken colour; removing paint (scraping back; sgraffito and tonking); and special sections, which focus on still-lifes; landscapes; and figures and portraits.

Part Four: Pastel Painting:

Focuses on: Types of pastels (hard, soft, oil),  pastel pencils and papers; line strokes; mixing pastels and building up pastels; experimenting with different papers; tinting papers; wet brushing; underpainting; charcoal and pastel; laying a textured ground; and sgraffito– such a great word (!), it refers to the scratching or scraping of the top layer of colour to reveal another colour below; with special sections on using pastels to portray landscapes, flowers, and faces and figures.

I would love to be better with pastels, but I find it a very messy medium with which to work and often end up smudging unwanted colour with the bottom edge of my hand in the wrong spots!

Each part gives examples of work done in each medium at the start of each section; practical demonstrations of techniques in each medium; and comparative demonstrations to show the different approaches and effects. In the back, there is a list of stockists and suppliers for Australia and New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Next week, I shall be discussing some of my favourite Art Books for Children.

 

Craft Books: Colour, Design and Inspiration: Part One

As you all know, I am a keen craftswoman with quite an eclectic range of interests from drawing, printing, paper craft and photography to a wide variety of textile crafts including knitting and crochet; felting and dyeing; embroidery; appliqué and patchwork; dressmaking; soft toy making and textile history and culture; so this year, I am concentrating on the wonderful books in my craft library, starting this month with those concerning: Colour, Design and Inspiration!

Unfortunately, because this is quite a large post, I have had to divide it into two parts. While many of my embroidery books contain chapters on colour theory, design and inspiration, the books featured in this post have been chosen for their detailed coverage of this topic.

Colour

Collins Artist’s Little Book of Colour by Simon Jennings 2007

This is a very practical guide for artists to the huge subject of colour, covering not only its history and origins, but also providing a Colour Index, a visual reference source of all the most popular artists’ colours for oils, watercolour, acrylics and gouache.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (739) The authors reviewed more than 1500 colours from 11 of the world’s leading paint manufacturers and selected 400 colours for the index, categorizing them by name, medium, pigment, hue and variety.

As can be seen in these colour charts from pages 82-82 (photos below), the same-named colour may vary in hue according to the medium and even within one medium, between different manufacturers. BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (740)BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (741)In the back is a guide to the main suppliers, as well as notes on pigment standards and colour terminology.

Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay 2002

A far more romantic approach and treatment of colour, this paperback is ‘packed with stories, anecdotes and adventures. A full rainbow…as vivid as the colours themselves’ according to the Express. I couldn’t have put it better myself, which is precisely why I have quoted them!!!BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (744)

Victoria writes so well and shares her fascination and passion for the world of colour so easily with the reader. She scours the world for little-known facts about colour from the Neolithic ochre mines of the Luberon in France or Sienna in Tuscany, Italy to the aboriginal ochre traders from Arnhemland and the Tiwi Islands in the Top End; Alice Springs in Central Australia; the Flinders Ranges in South Australia and the Campbell Ranges in Western Australia.

For example, the colours, Black and Brown, are steeped in prehistory and stories in this particular chapter range from prehistoric cave art, charcoal willow and early mascara to the history of lead pencils, including Derwent Pencils and the Pencil Museum in Keswick, Conté’s crayons and Chinese pencils; the manufacture of Egyptian and Chinese inks (the latter, also known confusingly as Indian ink) from soot, mixed with gum or resin respectively, and medieval inks from wasps nests, producing galls in oak trees; and natural dyes (again, the fading oak galls and alum; and the darker, more permanent logwood) and the dubious use of mommia brown, made from dead Egyptians!

There are so many more fascinating stories, illustrated with line drawings and a few colour plates, about the other colours: White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet, that this book is essential reading for anyone interested in history, art and colour!

The same author has also turned her attention to the semi-precious  and precious gemstones and jewels, including Amber, Jet, Pearl, Opal, Peridot, Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby and Diamond (the last four being precious gemstones), with equally fascinating histories and anecdotes. Buried Treasure: Travels Through The Jewel Box by Victoria Finlay 2006 (photo above)  is another terrific read!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (744) - Copy

The Natural Paint Book: A Complete Guide to Natural Paints, Recipes and Finishes by Lynn Edwards and Julia Lawless 2002

BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (748)

This book deals exclusively with natural paints and finishes with chapters on the story of paint; the environmental and health consequences of our choices concerning paint products; and a swag of natural paint recipes using quark (milk curd, the basis of casein paints), lime, borax, cellulose glue, linseed oil, plant dyes and tannins, beeswax, egg yolk and egg white, gum arabic, gesso, and even lager beer!

The book then details a large number of creative decorative techniques and effects, including roller fidgeting; shading; colour washing; layering; sponging; creating texture with a roller ; stippling; dragging and combing; rag rolling, frottage and bagging;  stencilling; wax resist; freehand painting; glazework; oil finishes; liming with wax; distressed casein; clay, Venetian  and coloured natural gypsum plasters; and frescoes.

There is a section on the art of Feng Sui; the principles of decoration (space, style and features, light and lighting, colour, materials and harmony and contrast), as well as design suggestions for interior decoration of each room of the home. This is a very useful book for artists wanting to make their own paints, as well as people wishing to use natural paints in their homes.

I have already covered Colour in Nature by Penelope Farrant 1999 in my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/08/01/our-beautiful-earth-part-four-natural-history-books-reference-guides/.

Design

While many of my books on embroidery, knitting and appliqué have separate chapters on the principles and elements of design, I have always loved the following book:

The Textile Design Book: Understanding and Creating Patterns Using Texture, Shape and Colour by Karin Jerstorp and Eva Köhlmark 1988;

I have always loved this practical and inspiring book!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (751) While specifically written for textile designers, its exercises with sketching unconventional and natural materials; colour; texture; patterns (including stripes, squares, borders and stylised decorations) and design simplification are pertinent to any design medium from painting to collage; fabric and clothing design and dyeing; knitting and weaving; embroidery, patchwork and applique; pottery and jewellery, glass and paper craft; and even interior design and architecture.

Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting by Alice Starmore 1992/ 2011

While specifically written for knitters, I found all the charts in this book very applicable for cross-stitch (and weaving) as well.BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (752)

There are traditional (Norway, Sweden and Finland; Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania; Russia; and South America) and adapted patterns from textiles and other arts like Japanese porcelain and Celtic Metalwork (Celtic; Greece; the Caucasus; Middle East and Far East) and Alice’s original, topical geometric and nature-inspired patterns covering:  Birds and Flowers; Sea and Shoreline; and The Inner Landscape.

Allover patterns; single motifs; and vertical panels and horizontal borders are included for each section and there are practical instructions for incorporating all these into unique designs. The book starts with a section on Designing Patterned Sweaters and finishes with a A Word on Colour. This is an excellent source book for all craftspeople interested in design.

Inspiration

Sources for inspiration are infinite and only limited by your imagination! Where you find your inspiration is really determined by your art practice, as well as your interests. For example, I really enjoy hand embroidery, so some of my sources listed below include books involving line and repetition of pattern, as embroidery is really drawing with thread. For example, books on Mehndi (Henna Art), Celtic Artwork, Pen Illustrations, Zentangles and Mandalas. I also find tattoo art and the abstract patterning of linoprinting inspirational. My interest in toymaking is inspired and informed by books about fantastical creatures, medieval bestiaries, symbolism and children’s novels. My interest in gardening, nature, birds, archaeology and history; and reading, many books of which I have already described in previous book posts, also inspires my work and let’s not forget that modern-day marvel, the internet, including Pinterest, which encompasses information and inspiring ideas from all over the world and over many different time periods. Here is a brief selection of some of the books in my library, which I have found useful, but first, a final word:BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (763)As with the previous book, cross-fertilisation of ideas from a number of different art and craft practices is very beneficial. For example, I have two tiny Paper Salon Catalogues, (photo above and below) which illustrate the various patterns of rubber stamps, available for purchase and used to decorate stationery, greeting cards, envelopes and invitations.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (762) While excellent for advertising, I also have found them to be a wonderful source of ideas for embroidery patterns, and while the patterns are obviously trademarks of paper salon, the designs can be tweaked for originality and will often be thus anyway with the different type of medium and techniques. Here is a sample page, page 7 of the pink book:BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (761) which I used for my French cushion design, a gift for my neighbour’s 60th French-themed birthday!Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-15 16.19.29Nature

Another useful pattern book, complete with a downloadable CD, is: 5000 Flower and Plant Motifs by Graham Leslie McCallum 2011, which includes designs from different geographical areas, historical time periods and artistic styles (Mesopotamian; Egyptian; Greek; Romanesque Byzantine; Medieval; Islamic; Chinese; Japanese; Folk; Art Nouveau and Art Deco) and subject areas: Flowers and Leaves; Fruit and Vegetables; Nuts, Seeds and Cereals; and Trees.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (764) The designs can be copied, enlarged, traced or developed further for creative use in any field from embroidery to ceramics, woodwork and metal work. There are also a number of border patterns and an index in the back.

This book is an excellent source for inspiration, especially if you are a keen gardener as well!  From this book, it’s a short hop to combining those patterns with the following book:

2000 pattern Combinations: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Pattern: For Graphic, Textile and Craft Designers by Jane Callender 2011

BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (768)Slightly more complex, this book discusses a huge variety of technical aspects: Tiles, Tessellations and Grids; Basic Geometric Shapes and their Positioning; Bold Geometric Designs; Colour Theory; Symmetry;  Varying Scale, Tonal Contrasts and Building up Colour; Borders and Corners; The Use of Diagonals and Checks; Abstraction; Disguising the Repeat and Hiding the Motif; Backgrounds; Emphasing Line; Overlaying Colour and Playing with Tone; Shadowing; Shibori; Dots and Splodges; Links; and Damask Patterns.

Art Forms in Nature by Ernest Haekel 1904/ 2014;

Ernest Haeckel (1834-1919 )is a favourite of mine for his meticulous and other-worldly illustrations of life’s miracles.BlogColorDesignReszd2517-11-30 11.40.12While the book begins with chapters on his professional life and his devotion to art and science, as well as instructions for viewing his pictures, and finishes with biographical notes and a list of plates, the majority of the book is devoted to Haeckel’s amazing artworks, reproduced on 100 black-and-white and colour plates, which inspire a sense of wonder and an appreciation of the beauty of nature and all its inhabitants.

Artistic Designs

The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe by Lori Bailey Cunningham 2010

This is a fascinating book, which explores universal patterns and geometric forms in nature: circles and radials; dyads; triangles and squares; pentagoms and hexagons; and patterns including branching, cycles, waves and fractals.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (774) Its explanations are based on the concept of the mandala, which is defined as ‘an integrated structure around a unifying centre’( page 6), a symbol of unity and wholeness in many religions, and an expression of life itself.

There are some wonderful photographs and images in this book, which really get you thinking and inspire a myriad of possibilities for the next artwork! The book finishes with a selection of mandalas to colour in.

The Celtic Art Source Book by Courtney Davis 1988

The Celts were masters of symbolism and decorative stone and metal carving and knotwork.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (777) Like the Islamic faith today, copying or portrayal of the works of the creator (plant, animal, fish, reptile, bird, mammal and man) was forbidden, so the artistic representation of natural creatures is highly stylised and abstracted, with body parts intertwined in intricate patterns.

I love the abstract patterns, the spirals and clever interlacings and the symbolism and mythology behind their artwork.  This book describes key patterns and knotwork designs, like the Thread of Life, the Sacred Dance and the Celtic Cross, as well as spirals, the cosmic symbol; zoomorphic ornamentation and Celtic myths and legends.

Throughout the book are wonderful black-and-white and colour illustrations of their artwork, including borders and calligraphy.

The Art of Mehndi by Sumatra Batra 1999

There are some wonderful symbolic designs and patterns employed in the art of mehndi or henna body painting, which has been practised for over 5000 years in India, North Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (782) Spanning many different countries and religions, it encompasses a wide variety of styles from the fine floral and paisley Indian patterns, the larger floral Arabic motifs drawn on hands and feet, and the bold geometric shapes of African designs. This book describes the history, use and customs and symbolic meanings in each area, including its use in the contemporary Western world, as well as giving practical advice about its manufacture, application and techniques.

However, the best part of this book are the patterns themselves: the individual motifs; spirals and vines and designs for fingers; wrist cuffs, armbands and anklets; hands and feet; necklaces and chokers; and even designs for the back! It includes a list of resources in the back. Not only is it a much more acceptable (in my mind anyway!) and less permanent and damaging  alternative to tattoo art, but like the latter provides much inspiration for other art forms involving line work like hand embroidery and graphic art.

I loved the images in this book and could easily wear them in an appropriate situation, especially if I was younger! Maybe, I am a closet tattoo wearer after all, but I still prefer the monochromatic nature of henna art- to my mind, it is far more elegant, understated and visually appealing then the multi-coloured mishmash of contemporary tattoos!

One Zentangle a Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration and Fun by Beckah Krahula 2012

Another way to get the creative juices flowing is Zentangle Art. BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (785)A more sophisticated and contemporary form of doodling, this meditational art form is also often monochromatic in nature, but can also involve colour. Zentangles are defined as ‘miniature abstract works of art, created from a collection of nonrepresentational patterns on a 8.9 cm square piece of paper called a tile’ (Page 13).

The Zentangle process is described on page 25:BlogColorDesignReszd50%Image (786)

It is unplanned, limitless and judgement-free, as there are never mistakes, only a constant unfolding of surprises. Below is my free-form zentangle:BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (787)

Materials can include thick art paper zentangle tiles (Tiepolo) and sketch pads, drawing pencils (2H and 2B) and white pastel pencils; black pigma micron pens (sizes 005, 01 and 05), Sakura gel pens, watercolours, gelatos (opaque paint sticks), Inktense colored pencils and water-soluble oil pastels, copic sketch markers, Pentel colour brush sets, an ampersand clayboard, plexiglass, gum Arabic and a protractor, although zentangles can really be drawn with anything on anything! Here is my Zentangle Tortoise:BlogColorDesignReszd75%Image (793) - CopyThis book progresses over a six week period with daily practice with chapters on the basics; tangles and value patterns;and  geometric and organic patterns; to understanding and using colour; defining and using style; paper batik and zendalas; and techniques for monoprinting, creating ensembles, painting fabric and using resin, and the use of calligraphy and folk patterns, as well as providing an inspiration gallery in the back. My daughter Jenny is a very accomplished Zentangler, as can be seen on the cover of her CD of original songs.BlogCreativity140%ReszdImage copyChildren’s books, art books, in fact any books, are wonderful sources of inspiration and are the subject of my next post next week. Until then… Happy Dreaming!