Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A miniature dinosaur garden - tutorial

Here's the low-down, my son loves dinosaurs.


Five minutes with him and you'll not only learn something new but tie your tongue in knots attempting to repeated the bloody names.

He's such a show-off :)

So what do you do for your dinosaur-obsessed kid? Make him his own dino garden, of course! This would be a wonderful gift for any adventurous young soul and can be customised for jungle animals, dogs, fairies, you name it.

  • Large shallow tray with holes in the bottom (you can buy from a garden stockist but mine came from the recycling centre)
  • Old newspapers or junk mail
  • Potting mix
  • A selection of small plants
  • Plastic animals (or figurines made from an outdoor-friendly material)
  • Rocks, twigs, nuts, sand etc

  1. Grab your tray and line it with newspaper/junk mail
  2. Fill the tray 3/4 full with potting mix
  3. Lay out your plants (still in the pots), figurines and ornaments until it looks just right
  4. Plant your plants and mould the potting mix to achieve hills and valleys for your other adornments
  5. We added a rock path, scattered some sand over the top and sprinkled in some flower and lettuce seeds (to feed the dinosaurs of course!)
  6. Find a good place for your miniature garden, keep in mind the preferences of your plants. The idea is that the kids can play with their garden, but it would be best not to keep moving it about
Then let them get grubby!

To make this an ultimate gift how about:
  • Package all the materials into a DIY garden
  • Include a gift basket with a completed garden. With little garden gloves, a packet of seeds, mini watering can, extra animals and a little vial of fairy dust for fairy gardens
  • Make a custom sign for the garden with the recipient's name on it

It's giveaway time!

Thanks to Sew, Mama, Sew! The great Giveaway Day is back again. December 12 to 16 you will find links to amazing giveaways on their page. Each giveaway is different, and hosted by a different blogger, but the prize with be either handmade, or materials for making handmade.

This year I'll be joining in the fun and putting some of my own artwork up for grabs!

The artwork in question will be revealed at the time of the giveaway and the competition will be open to everyone worldwide.

If you want to host your own giveaway or just keep an eye on all the great prizes you could win for yourself, head over to Sew, Mama, Sew! and follow the fun!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Community Garden signage complete!

Our Community Garden was involved in the Gold Coast Harvest Festival last weekend and needed a nice bright sign for the event. As volunteer graphic artist for the group I created a hand-painted sign :D

In keeping with the colours, plants and vegies currently in bloom, the sign has become a favourable addition to the Garden.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The music festival I'd want to attend :D

So, one of my final assignments turned out really well so I wanted to post it on here. We had to do up a whole bunch of advertising and merchandising for an imaginary music festival. Please note, turning up to The Spit next year will not bathe you in the dulcet tones of Norah Jones or the rhythmic rapping of Eminem. Just sayin ;P


 bumper sticker

 cd sleeve

 drink bottle


skate deck


I am especially proud of the piano key wings. This was a great way of practicing how getting the logo, colours and fonts right the first time, paves the way for creating great, unified additional marketing materials.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Clockwork Heart

Thanks to my amazing tutors at TAFE I have completed my first ever photo manipulation piece. It's been a fantastic journey and while I will continue to grow and learn I am really very proud of this work. Next year I get to delve deeper still and adventure into digital painting and illustration, woo hoo!

This is a culmination of a stock photograph of the naked model, various clockwork and mechanical photos and many, many hours of digital painting and Photoshop manipulation. The icon in the background is also my own work, created in Illustrator.

So I give to you, My Clockwork Heart. Comments are always welcome :D

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Celebrating a 21st musical birthday

My incredibly musical sister Clair had her 21st birthday today. What better to give her than a Grammy-inspired digital portrait with the lyrics to her favourite song?

Happily she loves it and was really pleased. Yay!

This was my first foray into digital portraiture of this style. I really quite enjoyed it. I added in handmade vector details for her face, arms and earphones to give it a little detail.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Zombear needs braaaaiiiinnnnsssss

So, my adorable sister (in-law) is in hospital getting all types of scans on her brain. They think there's something abnormal, I think unique just translates badly to CT scans.

So I spent the morning making her this, my first ever vector zombie and pretty damned cool if I do say so :D

and the inside:

At least it gave her a laugh :D

Saturday, November 12, 2011

And then it all went pear-shaped

I have no idea why pear-shaped is bad, but it is.

After carefully sketching, masking and taping I added the inks and then shit happened. The paper warped, the ink pigment separated and I ended up with a wet muddy mess.

So I started again.

A decent artists' watercolour paper this time, taped to the board and sketched. AGAIN. By this time I was becoming right royally pissed with winged horses. Do you KNOW how many muscles and shit a horse has? Unless you have studied horse anatomy it makes drawing them a pain in the ass. And here I had to draw it about five times.

Anyway, it's done now. You can see the progress here:

 sketch penned in

body outline thickened, hair detail in

first wing detail

 second wing detail

contour lines and ink laid on

gouache backdrop in, water and splash detail in


So there you go, a little glimpse into the progress of my mixed media drawings :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This is how the inking starts

Just a little insight into how my ink pieces develop.

After sketching the design and finalising my proportions, I sketch the image onto watercolour paper, giving thought to how much background I want to show. Then I grab some masking fluid and a rubber sculpting tool and mask off all the areas I want left the paper colour first.

Once the fluid is dry the background goes on. That's up later :D

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Feeling the dinosaur love tonight.

Keeping up with my homework, I was working in Illustrator and attempting a typography portrait (a major task. Google 'typography portrait' and be blown away, I dare you) and decided on a friendly steggy. I blame my son for my dinosaur state of mind. If that kid doesn't become a paleontologist I'll be amazed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

An early Christmas present for you!

As we rapidly approach the season of overspending celebrating, I have been thinking hard about what the holidays really mean. I planned a handmade holiday this year for a variety of reasons.
  1. Christmas/Yule does not revolve around who gets what, but rather celebrating our lives and appreciating our loved ones
  2. All the work and money spent on a single day is, quite frankly, fucking ludicrous 
  3. In order for my children to appreciate quality, meaning and the joy of putting your heart into a gift, they have to experience it properly
  4. I am so sick of cheap, sweat-shop, useless, meaningless crap and my house needs less, NOT more
Step 1: make presents meaningful and incorporate more activities into the season to spend with loved ones.

Step 2: make all of December a great big occasion and plan various outings, events and doings for everyone to look forward to and be excited about

Step 3: Xavier is big enough now to understand that some things break easily and the difference between quality toys and crap but still needs to learn that handmade = better made. He is starting to realise that sometimes he really wants something that just doesn't exist. BUT if someone could make it for him, he would have exactly what he wants and no one else would have one. He is also learning the joy of making but giving his art work to us as gifts, and how proud he can feel from handmade. This year he can experience how it feels to give someone a handmade gift and see them light up, and what it is like to receive a thoughtfully handmade gift.

Step 4: Quality. Seriously, is it really that hard to understand? Breakages, sweat shop workers and lead paint scares aside, the crap we buy from big stores is severely lacking on anything resembling craftsmanship, individuality or meaning. I'm not the same as the next person, I don't want what they have. I want my own thankyouverymuch. I want custom-made not factory-made!

When did consumers decide that individually crafted is inferior to big-box, same-as-the-next-person stuff? A matter of decades ago, custom orders were a show of taste, fashion and wealth. Now handmade is seen as folksy, cute and *shudder* childish. WTF?

So, in order to further the Handmade Holidays, I give to you this A4-sized printable to share, post, email, link and otherwise spam the world with.

[Copyright Eveningsong Ink, personal use only. Not to be redistributed as your own creation, mass marketed, sold, or used commercially. Please mention/link back me when sharing with others. Linking back to me on blogs and websites is fine as long as you give credit and follow the rest of the copyright mumbo jumbo :) For commercial use please contact me. ]

Click > Show Original > Right Click (Save as)

I will also be posting this on my Facebook. Jump on over and share it share it share it! Spread the word and give yourself a fun and happy holiday season. Also available via Hand Made-n's crafty blog.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting our holiday crafts, tutorials and recipes. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Liquid chalk = love

Oh liquid chalk markers, how I love you!

I grabbed a couple of these suckers to decorate the windows for Halloween and fell in love with the bright colours. Going to clean them off the windows and they cleaned off with a tissue O_O. Yeah Baby.

Christmas is going to be full of chalky goodness. I think all I need to decorate the house now are random acrylic sheets tacked up everywhere waiting for some penmanship...