Monday, 2 March 2015

A little Bird told me...

Hello there!
Thanks for pooping in.
Bit late again, but better late than never, as they say.
If I leave it any longer, I shall be able to say,
“The early bird catches the worm!”

Been real busy today, pushing things forward,
moving proposals through,
finalising new designs, and so on.
There really is a lot more to being a manufacturer 
than one thinks!

So it was quite a relief to get back upstairs to my little arty den this evening, and lose myself in some art.

Blogging every day is a real pressure release for me personally.
I don’t think of it as work; it’s the opposite!

Here goes.

I decided to get out my favourite stamp set 
from yesterday’s TV Show.

I wanted to bend the branch into a curve 
on one of our Mega Mounts,

 and try out the new Spectrum Aqua Pens 

together with the Spectrum Noir Pencils.

Sara Davies, the owner of Crafters Companion, mentioned to me that they work well together, so I wanted to see in which way.

First I stamped the curved birds onto a piece of Water-colour paper, which had been coloured with the Spectrum Aqua Pens 
(see Saturday’s Blog for a How to).
Black Archival ink pad is good, 
because we are going to add water and all sorts!

Now the birds are in, 
it’s time to build a branch with a Micron Pen.

Work your way around, making a funky frame, 
and overlapping the lines as you go.

Add a few little flowers on one side, using a couple of Distress pads.
Tumbled Glass, Scattered Straw and Picked Raspberry 
fitted the background well. 
And they were on the table - still from Saturday!
Loosen up the lineart with a damp paintbrush.

Paint the birds with the watercolour pens. 
They’re really nice to use.
I painted each bird with a little water 
before I added the pen colour;
the colour came in much softer.

The water colour can be moved so perfectly.
Look here:
I painted the branch with an Aqua Pen.
The end is a little rough.

Run a wet paintbrush into the branch at the end. 
Perfect blending.

Aqua Pen to paint the ribbon weave frame. 
When it got too tight for the brush nib, 
I simply went to the other end for the fine point. 

Here are the colours I used.

Now it was time to mix in some depth with the pencils. 
Oh boy!  This works so well!

The pencils are brilliant over the top of the water colour wash. 
Sara knows what she’s talking about!

I wanted to create a 3-D illusion with shading.
Let’s get in close and check out the birds.
Here, I lightly ran a Slate Aqua pen around the birds.

Then I loosened up the harsh line, and was left with a really soft shadow. Great.

Just kept working on the under carriage of the branch and the birds, until the 3-D started to happen.
Jumped between the pencils and Aqua Pens. 

Could go on, but it’s time for bed, 
and I think you get the picture!

much love,


  1. I must get myself some of the pencils to use with my pens, love how 3D they look and such a sunny feel x

  2. I have these on order and so will be using some of the top tips you have put in this blog like the one with the slate pen as it really does make them ping off the page doesn't it ? Great work as usual Barbara x

  3. Hope all is well with your poor brother. Love this background and how well it works with the beautiful new birds. It feels like Spring which we need with the weather forecast today. Right, back to my painting (canvas not house) and I will have at go at this technique when that is finished. Have a good night's sleep xxx Maggie

  4. A stunning piece of artwork, I love the subtle colours, just beautiful. x

  5. Oh Barbara this is fab as ever
    I love the pens and I tried the pencils on top but mine was utter rubbish. ..looks like i need a bit more practice I will try again. I am not a fan of birds ..I am frightened of them... but these are quite cute x

  6. A beautiful piece of art Barbara. I really like this stamp set and have been dithering about the Aqua pens - looks like they'll have to go on my must have list too. Hugs xx

  7. This set was my favourite too. I love what you've done here, the shading gives such an effective faux decoupage look. Great choice of wonderful sunny colours that make me happy. Gorgeous. Xxx

  8. Really lovely - been waiting all day for the Blog. I am a "grass widow" at present and finding it difficult. Poor thing - people far worse off. I am writing my birthday wish list and all these on my list - Clarity reigns!! Looking forward to the rest of the week's blogs and then off on hols for some sunshine.
    Best wishes
    Anne (Reading)

  9. Lovely. The colours are really soft and the overall effect is so 3D. Did you get that kit clean? Wonder who'll be doing the washing in California.

  10. So pleased you have demoed with aqua pens as got mine last week so is helping me know how to get best from them don't the little birds look beautiful xxx

  11. Wow Barbara stunning how a stamp makes such a a beautiful piece of art work xx

  12. Beautiful piece of artwork!! Looks so spring like. Better than looking out my window tonight at the snow.

  13. Got the pencils, waiting for the birds, guess I'll have to get the pens now! Love what you've done with them Barbara, you're truly inspirational.

  14. Hi Barb
    This is quite beautiful. I can understand why this lovely set was your favourite. I hope you have lots of stock at the NEC. Thank you for the background technique using the Aqua Markers.
    X Chris

  15. this is beautiful. love the 3-d effect with shading. it makes everything pop. beautiful colours here too. i so need these stamps xx

  16. Have the pens, have the pencils so please hurry Mr Postman with my stamps! Just love the whole illusion of 3D, yet another great technique to try! ;~}

  17. You are definitely convincing me that I need these AquaPens (and the birds) but they might have to wait until my bank is happier with me. Thanks for the useful tips though and Ireally like how you've used both the pens and pencils Your birds are so sweet . They are something else on my wish list along with the fairy wee folk. I'd best get saving up for when I come to the retreat in July. Love Jeanette xx

    Ps. Your second line made me smile. I really do hope we didn't poop ourselves lol xx

    1. Had to look, so funny. Auto correct strikes again! The other day auto correct made my comment from 'I want to see the moonbeam' into 'I want to wee the moonbeam!' :)

    2. On no Donna! I don't think you want to do that on a moonbeam. lol!

  18. Love these birds on the branch. Very striking how you've made them ping off the page.xx

  19. Beautiful, so 3D looking! Will be getting these birds with my next Clarity order, and the flowers are great with the line art and the solid. Absolutely better late than never, always look forward to seeing your next great idea! Xx

  20. This has got to be one of my favourite stamps, it's definately going on my wish list. The colours look so pretty, I got rid of all my watercolour pens, guess I should have kept some.
    Thanks so much for the inspiration Barbara, and for your fab blog, that I always enjoy reading when I go to bed. Xx

  21. Stunning! Loving the colours and I feel some more pens coming on let alone the stamps! Have a feeling I'm going to ask for Clarity vouchers for my retirement pressies! Xx

  22. Hi Barbara I love these stamps too, they look quite cheeky birds sat in a line, bit like the sparrows that keep sitting on a branch by my dining room window. They make such a noise sometimes but they do make me laugh at their antics! The colouring is stunning, even the edges look like they are curling up whilst the birds pop out from the page. Hope you are tucked up in bed by now. Night night sleep tight. Love Diane xxx

  23. Fabulous. Thank you for sharing this lovely piece. So artful. Don't think I have any room left for anymore stash...I might have to have a sale of some stock to make room.
    Night night xx

  24. Hi Barb, this is absolutely brilliant, love how you make it look so easy to get the 3D effect. I was watching the recorded shows again, and loved the birds on the show especially with the top hat. Will give the 3D effect a go. My sale parcel arrived, so I am going to try have a bit of a play later. Have a great day. Bx

  25. Barbara, fantastic! ........ do I NEED these pens??!!!! loving what you have done here - those birdies need names now!
    Much Love
    Kim xx

  26. Pooping in?! Hahahaha. Just read my own s**t! Xx

    1. You did give me a giggle last night when I read that :-) xx

  27. Silly Barb! Lovely birds and artwork. Can't wait for them to fly home! xx Margaret Col.

  28. Great tutorial and love to see you at work!Mirandax

  29. Hi Barb,
    Sorry I didn't get to comment last night but went to bed before you posted the blog - was developing a migraine, but caught it early enough. Anyway, it was a lovely thing to open this morning, especially as it's so Springlike as opposed to the snow that's covering the garden! I really like what you have done here with the pens and pencils. I tried doing a background yesterday and it did just look like scribble! Obviously not wet enough but I will keep trying until I get it right. Think something like this could work with my favourite set if the show - the Spring set ( the circular verse, and tulips). I'll just have to get the stamps now!!! Thanks for all your inspiration, love Alison xx

    Ps not too sure about the " pooping" though!

  30. Hello Barbara

    What a lovely piece of work. I am glad to hear you find blogging relaxing. I do worry that it is yet another stress you put on yourself.


  31. Hi Barb,
    Thought I'd poop in to say this is fab!! xx

  32. This is lovely and the 3d effect is amazing
    Jackie x

  33. I need I need those pens and pencils I've heard crafters companion say they work well together but now you have said it I will think about buying. Lovely art work barb thank you xxxxxxxx

  34. Watched your demo of this on TV, but I chose to buy the tulip set, and I didn't see a demo of that, which was a shame.

  35. I love these birds Barbara and love he soft and pretty colours you have used, and the shading really makes them pop (that is pop not poop) x

  36. Hi barbara, love the birds and the colours.

  37. These are gorgeous Barb and such lovely soft colours too.

    Love & Hugs

    Jacquie J xxx

  38. Cool Barbara, love this, everything so lovely and bright and the 3d effect on everything is amazing. I must have a go. What is it about the pens, can't exactly the same be done with watercolour paint /inks? (I've got to think carefully about what I buy, and choose wisely.) You can post as late as you like Barbara, I never take it for granted and am always very appreciative of each and every one of your posts. Glad to hear you get a lot of benefit from making your blogs, as it should be - a two way thing :-) Love Brenda xx

  39. Love, love, love this stamp - will be on my wishlist for next time Ernie comes up trumps and I can place an order!!! Susan x


Thank you for your kind messages and I hope you get inspiration from my ramblings.

Barb x