Monday, 13 February 2017

My Design for Spoonflower's 'Rainforest Animals' Challenge

My Entry to Spoonflowers Rainforest Animals Challenge by Hazel Fisher Creations. Watercolour and pen illustrations. Surface Pattern Design.
This week's Spoonflower challenge theme was 'Rainforest Animals' so I got out my watercolour paints, pencils and pens to create a tropical rainforest inspired design! I knew I wanted my design to be quite a busy pattern, filled with leaves and initially I researched lots of different animals to include too. For the final design though I decided to narrow it down to just toucans, macaws and blue butterflies.

I made individual illustrations in pen, Inktense (water-soluble) pencils and watercolours on smooth paper.  These were then scanned and arranged into a repeat pattern digitally. I kept some of the leaves as just watercolour, without pen lines, which I think worked nicely for a slightly softer appearance.  I also liked using the pen more on the macaw to add details to the feathers.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the design looks printed onto fabric!


My Entry to Spoonflowers Rainforest Animals Challenge by Hazel Fisher Creations. Watercolour and pen illustrations. Surface Pattern Design.
If you like this design I would really appreciate your vote in the contest! (If the design makes it into the top 25 it will be available for sale as soon as the results are announced!) There are so many lovely designs entered into the contest and it seems that I wasn't the only one to be inspired by toucans! You can view all the designs, and vote for your favourites here:
http://www.spoonflower.com/contests/bucketfeet-rainforest-animals

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Quick and Easy Watercolour Valentine's Day Card

I couldn't let Valentine's Day pass without sharing a card with you.  This one's really quick and easy to make - it's also a good excuse just to play with some watercolours!

[This post contains affiliate links - for more info click here.]

Quick and Easy Watercolour Valentine Card by hazel fisher creations
I used these materials to make this card:
white card blank
red coloured paper
watercolour paper
gummed tape
watercolour paints and brush
heart and arrow digital stamp from this set
white card
inkjet printer
Inktense pencils
Black liner pen
double sided sticky foam pads

I started by making the watercolour background - taping a piece of watercolour paper to a board with the gummed tape around the edge (so that when it dried the paper would be flat, not crinkled). Projects like this are great for using up scraps of paper and I made this card with a small piece in my paper drawer.  It's textured watercolour paper - I think it might have been Bockingford 'Not' rather than the 'Rough' one.

I used different shades of red watercolour paint to make this interesting background. You can play around with your paints - adding wet on dry, wet on wet and dropping water onto the painted areas to create different effects!

Once the paper was completely dry, I cut it to fit my card blank, mounted on some dark red paper and attached to the card with double sided sticky foam pads to add dimension.

I printed the heart and arrow digital stamp onto a sheet of white card and coloured it with my new Inktense pencils (you can read more about the pencils in this blog post) and blended them with water. Once this was dry I cut around the heart and attached to the card again with double sided sticky foam pads.

Finally I added the message 'love you' with black fine liner pen.  If you're not confident with writing the message directly in pen, a good tip is to write lightly in pencil first - then when you're happy with the size and position of the letters you can go over it in pen.


If you've been inspired to make your own version of this card I would love to hear about it! You can leave a comment below, or share your photos on social media with #myhfcmakes and tag me @hazel_fisher_creations on Instagram!

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The digital stamp used on this card was from this set, which I designed from my own pen drawings.  You can find it in my Etsy shop hfcSupplies here.

Quick and Easy Watercolour Valentine Card by hazel fisher creations

Friday, 27 January 2017

How to Finish Tea Towels From Spoonflower

How to Finish a Spoonflower Tea Towel sewing tutorial Toucan Tea Towel Calendar design by Hazel Fisher CreationsIf you are inexperienced at sewing you might be unsure how to finish off tea towels from Spoonflower - it's really quick and simple when you know how, so this tutorial is for you!  There is a great range of tea towel designs available to buy for Spoonflower (I have 3 in my shop including the Toucan design featured in this blog post).  You can purchase them either as a single fat quarter of fabric, or 4 on 1 yard (Linen-Cotton Canvas is the best fabric to choose for tea towels).  When you receive your tea towel you will find it comes as an unfinished piece of fabric, which you will need to sew a hem around to neaten the edges.

To finish the tea towel you will need:
dress making scissors
soft pencil or tailors chalk
ruler
piece of card
iron
sewing machine (and thread!)

Step 1 is to trim the edges, so that you have straight sides to work with.  I use a soft pencil (4B) and a long ruler to draw on the fabric and measure approximately a 1cm border away from the edge of the printed design, before cutting the fabric.

How to Finish a Spoonflower Tea Towel sewing tutorial step 1 by Hazel Fisher CreationsNext you need to turn and press the edges of the fabric - first press 6/8 inch hem on each side, then press a 3/8 inch hem.  You can do this by just carefully measuring with a tape measure or ruler, but I found a great tip online which made this a lot easier! Take a piece of card, A4 size or similar would be good, and draw a line along the long edge 3/8 inch away from the edge of the card and another 6/8 inch away from the edge.  Then use this as a guide for pressing your hem.  I tried this for the first time when I made up this tea towel - it made the job so much quicker! You can keep the card to use again and even add other measurements for when you need to press different sized hems in other projects.

How to Finish a Spoonflower Tea Towel sewing tutorial step 2 by Hazel Fisher CreationsStep 3 is to trim the corners. I've drawn on mine so it's easier for you to see in the photos, you might find it helps to drawn on your fabric too (make sure it's on the back of the tea towel!).  You can see there's a little square between the 3/8 inch and 6/8 inch fold lines.  Draw a diagonal line through this, then cut away the corner.

How to Finish a Spoonflower Tea Towel sewing tutorial step 3 by Hazel Fisher CreationsThen turn back along the diagonal, so the folded corner is at the point of the 6/8 inch pressed edges line.  Then fold back where you pressed the 3/8 inch hem and again along the 6/8 inch hem, so that the raw edges are enclosed inside the hem, and pin.  It should look like this...

How to Finish a Spoonflower Tea Towel sewing tutorial step 4 by Hazel Fisher CreationsNow you can sew! Set your sewing machine to a standard straight stitch (I like to test the stitches are ok on one of the fabric offcuts first). I sewed around the tea towel 2/8 inch from the edge.  Sew right to the edge of the fabric, then go back along your stitching a little way at each corner to turn, then do the next side. Repeat until you are back where you started, snip the threads and tie off the ends.

How to Finish a Spoonflower Tea Towel sewing tutorial step 5 by Hazel Fisher CreationsThe tea towel is now ready to use or you could hang it up and display like I this!...

How to Finish a Spoonflower Tea Towel sewing tutorial. Finished Toucan Tea Towel Calendar Design by Hazel Fisher Creations

Monday, 16 January 2017

2016 Review and Goals for 2017

Happy New Year!  I hope that I am not too late to say that, as we are now already starting the third week of 2017!  The start of a new year is a good time to take stock of things, remember achievements from the previous 12 months and look forward to planning the next.  I've not really made new year's resolutions but instead thought about goals I would like to achieve, or work towards.

So first, here's a quick look back at some of the things I did in 2016...

The top 5 most popular blog posts for 2016 were mostly craft tutorials...

5.  3 Techniques to Decorate Pencils
3 ways to decorate pencils by Hazel Fisher Creations

4.  DIY Matchbook Notebooks
DIY Matchbook Notebooks tutorial by hazelfishercreations

3.  Rainbow Colours and Free Printable Planner Page
Rainbow Colours my sketchbook hazelfishercreations

2.  Learn How to Make Your Own Sketchbooks
How to Make You Own Sketchbook - learn this bookbinding technique to make sketchbooks, journals and notebooks! hazel fisher creations

1.  Origami Box Tutorial
Origami box tutorial, summer strawberries papercraft project Hazel Fisher Creations

I have to also mention the Printable Advent Calendar Village - this post from 2015 was also popular in 2016, as was the village in my Etsy shop (which is still available to buy from my shop if you missed out for 2016).  I'm so glad that so many people enjoyed making up their own Advent villages!  I'm planning to design some new Advent / Christmas printables ready for the next festive season.

Christmas Church and Advent Calendar Village - printable boxes to colour in a make up yourself - available from hfcSupplies on Etsy. Hazel Fisher Creations

One goal I set for 2016 was to blog at least once a week on average - I'm pleased to have achieved that with 59 posts.

Other things that happened in 2016...
I joined thortful to sell some of my card designs.
I also published my first class on Skillshare.
I also made lots of new designs for my Etsy, Spoonflower and Society6 shops.
I made a dress using fabric I designed from Spoonflower (I'll share some photos of this soon hopefully!).

I find that it's really important to remind myself of all the things I have done, because actually a lot of the time I feel like I'm trying really hard to do all sorts of things but mostly feeling like I never quite get 'enough' done, or what I have done isn't good enough.  So for 2017, I'm trying to set myself realistic goals - what do I think I can actually achieve in a day, week, or month.  That isn't to say I don't intend to challenge myself, but I want to do it in an achievable way.

For 2017, I would like to continue to grow my business and look for new ways to expand but also try to streamline and connect the different things I do more.  Amongst the many things I regularly do for work are: selling on Etsy, Spoonflower, Society6 and thortful, blogging, sharing things on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. So many things to do!  I'm going to try to plan ahead more and link up these different things - so work on one design theme at a time and use it to produce content across all these channels.
Blog wise I would like to average at least 1 post a week, and post more craft tutorials and sketchbook/ art work.
I also plan to publish more classes on Skillshare, and practise using video to share elsewhere too (like on Facebook/ Instagram - did you see my 'Happy New Year' video?).
Craft projects I would like to do in 2017 include: knitting a cardigan, sewing another dress, a handbag and a coat (I have seen a pattern I really like and although it says it is 'easy' I expect making a coat to be quite a challenge!)

What are your goals for the year?

Saturday, 31 December 2016

#BeInspired Cass Art Challenge Part 2 - My Artwork

Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - What Inspires you? Be inspired hand lettering by Hazel Fisher Creations drawn with ProMarker, fineliner and Inktense pencils
Yesterday I shared a review of the materials I received from Cass Art for taking part in their #BeInspired campaign.  Today I can share with you some of the art work which I made using my new materials!
Some of the materials are similar to things I already use and some have been completely new to me but I have really enjoyed trying all of them out.  It has been great just to play around and see what happens and not to worry so much about what the finished piece will be like.  I definitely want to do this more and am planning to get some new sketchbooks and spend more time in 2017 experimenting with different materials in them!

The campaign is called Be Inspired and I have been thinking about what inspires me in my art - there are so many things! I'm inspired by the things around me, nature, my garden, wildlife, birds, my pets, places, things I see on tv, in magazines or find on Pinterest. I'm also often inspired by other artists, designers and crafters from the colours in their art, techniques and materials they use or subjects they draw etc.  There are so many places to find inspiration!

Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - What Inspires you? Be inspired hand lettering by Hazel Fisher Creations drawn with ProMarker, fineliner and Inktense pencils
I've made 2 pieces with my new art materials to share with you today.  The first piece was inspired by the theme of this challenge.  I started by sketching out a rough design in pencil.  I'm really enjoying playing with hand lettering at the moment so wrote 'be inspired' - using the ice grey Promarker pen, which I outlined with pigment liner pen.  The Inktense pencils produce such great vibrant colours I wanted to draw something colourful, so added the flowers (which were inspired by the marigolds I grew in my garden in the summer).  I also used the liner pens to draw the flowers and leaves, using different thickness of pen to add variety to the design.
I used a sheet of smooth watercolour paper (which I already had and didn't come in the art pack) for this piece - I thought that the ProMarker worked well on this.

My second piece was inspired by winter sunsets - I was out a few days ago when the sun was setting and the colours of the sky were beautiful, with silhouettes of winter trees.  As it got darker the stars appeared, as well as a very bright light, which I think was Venus. I took a few photos and referred back to these to make this...

Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - What Inspires you? Winter Sunset by Hazel Fisher Creations drawn with soft pastels, Inktense pencils and fineliner pens
I worked on another sheet of smooth watercolour paper, sketching in pencil first, then drawing the basic tree trunks and horizon in liner pen.  Next I used some soft pastels to colour the sky, using kitchen paper /my fingers to blend them.  I then used the Inktense pencils to make the colours more intense and blended with water.  I've only ever used soft pastels dry before (I didn't know you could use water with them!) but liked the way they worked with the pencils and water. I added more details to the trees using the finest pen.  Finally I added some stars using a tiny amount of white acrylic paint (which I already had and didn't come in my art pack).

Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - What Inspires you? Winter Sunset by Hazel Fisher Creations drawn with soft pastels, Inktense pencils and fineliner pens
I hope that you've enjoyed seeing what I made! If you would like to find out more about the materials I used, check out my review of the art pack which includes links to where you can buy them from Cass Art.

If you would like to see what other people have been doing as part of the Cass Art Challenge, search for #BeInspired and if you've been inspired to make something yourself let me know - I would love to see what you make!

[This is a sponsored post and includes affiliate links - Cass Art sent me an Art Pack in return for me reviewing the package and creating art as part of their #BeInspired campaign, all opinions expressed in the post are my own - for more info click here.]

Friday, 30 December 2016

#BeInspired Cass Art Challenge Part 1 - Art Pack Review

I'm so excited to be taking part in Cass Art's #BeInspired campaign!
Making art brings so much pleasure and anyone can be creative.  It doesn't matter if you think you're not very good at making things, you can still enjoy the process - and just like anything else, the more you practise the better you get!

Cass Art wants to encourage everyone to explore their own creativity - they are on a mission to fill every town with artists!  They are dedicated to supporting artists and keeping their art supplies affordable - so that making art can be accessible to everyone, which I think is great! (You can find out more about Cass Art here, I found the history of their family, which they recently blogged about, really interesting too.)

The #BeInspired campaign is all about inspiring people to get creative and finding out where people find their inspiration from.
Cass Art have sent me a Drawing and Graphic Art Pack filled with new art materials to play with! I'll be reviewing the pack in today's blog post and sharing some artwork I made with the materials in another blog post tomorrow.

[This post contains affiliate links - for more info click here.]

Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - art pack Hazel Fisher Creations
Before I go on to tell you about the art materials, I have to say that I was really impressed with how the pack was packaged.  First impressions are really important and receiving a package sent with care is such a joy to open!  The items inside had been wrapped in tissue paper and the shiny blue padded envelope just added to the excitement!

This was what I found inside...

Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - art pack Hazel Fisher Creations

Cass Art Soft Pastels
This box of 20 half stick, professional quality soft and blendable pastels is from Cass Art's range of own brand products.  I like the range of colours included.  I haven't used soft pastels much, so I'm looking forward to experimenting with these more!

Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - review of my art pack by Hazel Fisher Creations. Cass Art Artist Soft Pastels

Derwent Inktense Pencils
As the name suggests, these pencils give intense colours! You draw with them like an ordinary pencil, then wash over with water to blend. Once dry they are permanent too.  I like the range of 12 colours in this tin, which includes some more muted tones (more colours are also available).  You can also use these pencils on fabric, I'm interested to see how that works too!
Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - review of my art pack by Hazel Fisher Creations. Derwent Inktense Pencils

Staedtler Pigment Liner Pens
I love to draw with fineliner pens so I can add in lots of details.  These are a different brand to the ones I usually use, but I've enjoyed drawing with them so far.  They draw smoothly and I like the range of sizes in the pack - from the super fine 0.05mm to 0.8mm and a chisel tip.  The ink is waterproof, so can be used with watercolour washes too.
Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - review of my art pack by Hazel Fisher Creations. Staedtler Pigment Liner Pens

Derwent Line and Wash Sketching Set
This set includes 6 sketching pencils (2H, H, HB, B, 2B and 4B), 2 water soluble sketching pencils (HB and 4B), a waterbrush, eraser shield, paper stump, sharpener and eraser - all in a neat tin. There's a good range of pencils included in this set - I like to draw details, so it's nice to see some harder pencils included.  I've not tried watersoluble sketching pencils before so I'll enjoy testing those out!

Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - review of my art pack by Hazel Fisher Creations. Derwent Line and Wash Sketching Set

Winsor and Newton Marker Pens and Paper
I received a selection of pens in this tin, along with a Winsor and Newton Pigment Marker Pad of paper. The paper pad has 50 sheets of A5 light weight (20lb/ 75gm2), smooth coated paper and is designed for use with Winsor and Newton's marker pens.
I haven't tried any of the pens from the tin before, so the card describing how they work was very helpful!  The pens I received were...

Liquitex Paint Marker (cadmium yellow light hue)
This is a water-based acrylic marker with a chisel tip.  It worked really well on the Winsor and Newton paper, with the paint flowing nice and smoothly.  The Liquitex markers can be used on a range of surfaces - I tested it on some different papers, including black card.  The yellow paint is quite opaque and stood out well on the black.

Winsor and Newton Pigment Marker Pens (Quinacridone Magenta and Colourless Blender)
I tested this out on different papers, including cartridge paper, too but it worked best on the Winsor and Newton paper.  I've now read that they can be used on other surfaces, like tracing paper - but something that is non-absorbent is best. These pens come in over 100 different colours and the blender pen can be used to create an even wider colour palette.  I just have the one colour, but the blender pen can still be used with this to produce a range of shades. I found that it worked best by using some of the blender pen on the paper first, then drawing with the magenta, then using the blender pen again. Using the magenta first then the blender didn't blend very well (see below left).  The pens also are dual tipped - one end has a broad nib and the other a fine nib.

Winsor and Newton Watercolour Marker Pen (turquoise)
After drawing with this pen you can use a water wash to blend the ink, it can also be used with watercolours.  I found again that this pen worked better with the Winsor and Newton paper, when I tested it on watercolour paper it didn't blend as well.  It has a fine nib on one end and a soft brush nib on the other.  I have the turquoise pen to test out but it is also available in over 30 other colours.

Winsor and Newton ProMarker Pen (ice grey) and Winsor and Newton BrushMarker Pen (forest green)
I was excited to receive these as I've often wondered what it's like to use alcohol based markers! The ProMarker has a fine nib one end and a broad nib on the other end.  The BrushMarker has a brush nib and a broad nib. As you can see below, I tested these out on the Winsor and Newton paper but preferred how they looked on some of the other papers I tried.  I still need to experiment with these more.
Cass Art #BeInspired Campaign - review of my art pack by Hazel Fisher Creations. Winsor and Newton marker pens and paper

In my next post I'll be sharing some art I've made with my new materials!


[This is a sponsored post - Cass Art sent me an Art Pack in return for me reviewing the package and creating art as part of their #BeInspired campaign, all opinions expressed in the post are my own - for more info click here.]


I've included links to each of the items I've reviewed - just click on the names of the products to find out more.  You can also find them by searching on Cass Art's website.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Spoonflower Contest - Ditsy Mistletoe

This week I had fun creating a festive, mistletoe inspired design for Spoonflower's 'Ditsy Mistletoe' contest.  I was also more than a little excited to have learnt a different way of designing patterns (more on that below!).
Of course one of the first things to come to mind when you think of mistletoe is the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe, but Spoonflower's brief for the contest also talked about the plant being a symbol of peace in Scandinavia, under which enemies would declare a truce.  So my design is inspired by love and peace and incorporates mistletoe with doves and hearts.

Spoonflower Ditsy Mistletoe design challenge - my Mistletoe and Dove design by Hazel Fisher Creations
As usual, my design started off life in my sketchbook, with sketches of mistletoe and ideas of how I could make it into a pattern.  I then made some pen line drawings to scan into the computer.  I added some details onto the dove, inspired by Scandinavian patterns, and the heart shapes are based on the mistletoe leaves.

Spoonflower Ditsy Mistletoe design challenge - my Mistletoe and Dove design, work in progress vector pattern design made in Serif Drawplus by Hazel Fisher Creations
Usually I would then work in Photoplus to create my pattern.  I wanted to use my pen drawings, to keep a hand drawn feel to the design, but I didn't want the black outlines, so decided to work in Drawplus and convert the drawings to vectors.  I have worked this way a bit before, but usually end up taking the pattern into Photoplus to create the repeating pattern.  After a quick bit of research online and some experimentation I found out how to create the whole pattern in Drawplus!

Spoonflower Ditsy Mistletoe design challenge - my Mistletoe and Dove design, work in progress vector pattern design made in Serif Drawplus by Hazel Fisher Creations
After converting the drawings to vectors and colouring them, I arranged the elements to create a pattern ready to repeat.  I then selected these elements and created a 'Vector Fill'.  Next, I drew a rectangle shape and filled it with the 'Vector Fill' I had just made. The 'Fill' tool then has options which allow you to adjust the spacing and alignment of the repeat.  I loved this part because it quickly allows you to see how your repeat is working and where any gaps might be.  With a bit of backwards and forwards, filling in the gaps I made new 'Vector Fills' until the pattern worked seamlessly.  I'm looking forward to trying out this technique again for other patterns!

Spoonflower Ditsy Mistletoe design challenge - my Mistletoe and Dove design, work in progress vector pattern design made in Serif Drawplus by Hazel Fisher Creations
For the Spoonflower contest I entered the version of my design with a blue/grey background.  I also really like how it looks with a dark grey background, so once I have test swatches printed, I will make both available to buy in my Spoonflower shop.

If you like this design I would really appreciate your vote in the contest! (If the design makes it into the top 25 it will be available for sale as soon as the results are announced!) There are also lots of other lovely mistletoe designs to see - view all the designs, and vote for your favourites here: http://www.spoonflower.com/contests/ditsy-mistletoe

** UPDATE ***
Thank you so much if you voted for my design in the contest - it made it to 12th place (out of 240 entries)!! That means the design is now available to buy on fabric from Spoonflower - you can find it here.  The version with the dark background will be available too as soon as I have a test swatch printed.