Ugh! Marbling failure!

Our minor success of the afternoon!

Our minor success of the afternoon!

It’s a sad day.  We have utterly failed to produce what we wanted to today.  We have something to show for our efforts, and have added brief “how-to” section below, but… well, there’s always tomorrow.

Our aim right now is to create endpapers for a couple of books.  We love those beautiful combed pattern papers which you see in old volumes. I’ve made them before using commercial marbling inks, and it was super easy to achieve the effects which we wanted to reproduce today.  The little problem we had today was that we couldn’t find the inks – I’m not even sure if they’re in our house, at my parents, or the casualty of a house move.

Knowing that there are other options, we tried to marble without marbling inks.  This is good, we thought, because we’ll find a cheap alternative.  And honestly, do you really need proper marbling inks?  Unfortunately, it’s been a sorry mess (seriously, my hands are better marbled than the paper).

Even so, you can achieve results with perseverance – you just need to experiment a lot with consistencies and perhaps even with which paints you use.  I’ve got to say honestly that with commercial inks, you can at least just get on and experiment with design rather than simply trying to make it work.

We experimented with:

  • oil colour
  • acrylics
  • faux marbling using some gel colours for Easter eggs
  • nail polish (that actually worked – hurrah!)

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Book review: Trace & Paint Watercolour from Search Press

Remember painting by numbers?  Artists Terry Harrison, Geoff Kersey and Arnold Lowrey help you to achieve quick watercolour painting results in a similar way with the added advantage of plenty of guidance along the way.  There are no block colours here, though!

Trace & Paint Watercolour is a kind of learn by osmosis book rather than a traditional tutor book, and part of a huge range of similar reasonably priced items from British publisher Search Press dealing with a wide range of arts and crafts.  The range is distributed overseas, so if you are on the other side of the world, you should have no problem finding any of their titles through your usual book stockist.

This is my version of Geoff Kersey's

This is my version of Geoff Kersey’s “Snow Scene” from Trace & Paint Watercolour. I found this image particularly appealing, as it echoes the winter scenes in the forests surrounding our village. A range of five standard round brushes is called for in the instructions, ten colours and masking fluid in addition to the 300 gsm rough paper – nothing too excessive!

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Is your life lacking in glitter?  Do you feel that it can sometimes be, well, a bit dull?  Do you want to try out arty things but are not sure where to begin?


Never fear!  We will bring you a small project each month to tempt you into an art or craft which could be completely unfamiliar to you (sometimes, it is to us).  But we won’t stop there; we will give you step-by-step instructions to create small projects in your spare time and give you some ideas on how to develop your new skills into something greater.  You will also find reviews of art and craft books aimed at beginners and improvers in various fields, links to online materials which have inspired us, and guidance on materials, tools, and where to get them.  Even if you are already good at art, it can be refreshing to try something new.  As our contributors show, we all have to start somewhere!

Our first project is a small needle-felted owl in completely unnatural colours which we hope will inspire you to try out a marvellously therapeutic craft which involves stabbing soft squishy things with sharp pointy things.