Thursday, September 26, 2013

How I Paint Canvas Shoes

Hey hey!!

 I have been very busy working on some non-blog related stuff and I haven't really had time to post anything new.  Please don't hate me!   Now that I finally have a minute to work on my own stuff  I finally have a little tutorial for you... I'm going to show you how I made these bad boys:

My cousin had asked me a couple of months ago if I would paint her a pair of Toms.  Of course!  She wanted something Totoro.  I searched around until I found this adorable picture:


Now onto the actual shoes...

 Grab a clean/new pair of canvas shoes (Toms, Bobs, whatever).   Next you are going to stuff some plastic bags inside the shoe.

The plastic bags bulk up the shoe and make it easier to draw and paint on. 

 Then we are going to start sketching out the design in pencil.  The perk of pencil is that you can completely erase it off of the shoe if you make a mistake.

Once you are happy with your pencil drawing you are going to go over your design in a permanent, acid-free, waterproof art pen.  As you can see from the above picture I use Staedtler brand pens.  I actually used the .1 size and not the .7.   The .1 is much finer and you'll be able to get much more detail in.

Now that the design is outlined we can move onto the painting stage.  However, before we jump into it I want to tell you what I use and what your options are. 

I use just simple craft paints with a textile medium mixed in.  I basically make my own fabric paint, but you can easily just go buy fabric paint.   If you already have craft paint (or any acrylic paint) lying around it may be cheaper to buy the textile medium and make your own.  However, if you are already buying paints for this, you may just want to buy the already made fabric paint.

Also brushes:

For shoes you are going to need TINY brushes.  Go to your local craft store and ask for detail brushes.  The might look intimidatingly small, but I promise the size will make getting all the little details in so much easier.

Now we can move onto the painting stage.


The painting is more time consuming than it is challenging.  You pretty much just have to color in the lines.  This is also where those tiny brushes come in handy...

WAIT!!! I almost forgot...

The biggest tip I have for painting canvas shoes is to use very small, dabbing strokes.  If you take anything away from this tutorial let that be it.  Because of the deep weave of the canvas you really have to dab the brush in there to get the paint even.   You may have to do a couple of coats of paint to get an even color.  The canvas tends to soak up the paint a bit. 

Just keep painting in the lines until you are finished! 

 Ta da!!!  You're all done.  Let them dry for 24 hrs before wearing them.

I hope you found this helpful!  Leave a comment if you have any questions.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How I Paint: Part II - Overpainting

Last post I showed you how I start a painting by underpainting.

Now I'm going to quickly show you how I finish out a painting. Thankfully, once the underpainting is finished most of the hard work is over.  I just follow the underpainting and put in the colors I want for the finished project.

First I take my underpainting from last time...

Then I start filling in the background.

I usually start with the middle tone of the color and while it's still wet I add in the shadows and highlights.

Next, I started filling in the vase and the tablecloth.  I didn't worry about covering up the flowers with the vase since I'll be painting those back in later.

Next up was putting the reflection detail into the vase.  I didn't worry too much about the top of the vase because again that would be covered up.

I put in a bit more shading and highlights on the table cloth and I roughly painted in some greenery for the flowers.

I painted back in the flowers that I had to cover up with the vase earlier.

The last thing I did was add a bit of yellow to the flowers and darken up the centers. 

And that is about it.  I know it is not too excitingly detailed but at least you get the idea of my process.

Also if you are noticing that the overpainting I just showed you doesn't exactly match the underpainting I showed you in the last post... well, first, good eye!  You are right.  I actually made three paintings that go together. 

I hope you found this helpful! Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How I Paint: Part I - Underpainting

In the past, I've had people ask me about my painting technique.  In the last post, I showed you a little bit of the process but I wanted to do a more formal post on the subject.

Typical Disclaimer:
This post isn't really as much a tutorial as it is just an explanation of my personal painting progress.  One of the perks of painting, and art in general, is that you can do whatever the hell you want.  There is no TRUE way to paint.  I can't stress enough that you should just try a bunch of random techniques and stick with what you like best. Have fun with it!

I paint exclusively with acrylic paints.  I'm too impatient for oils to dry, and I never got the hang of controlling watercolors.  I don't really use one specific brand of paint, I mix and match and use whatever brands are on sale at my craft store.  I know that will make a few painters grasp their pearls but hey... I'm cheap!  Just use whatever you can afford.  I will say that the more expensive paints do have higher pigment concentrations so you will get brighter richer colors with less paint.  If I'm painting a commission or something I plan on selling later I will go with the highest quality paints I can afford at the time.

Alright, now onto the actual "tutorial"...

If I had to choose one technique that I've learned over the years that helped my painting improve the most it would hands down be underpainting.  "What is underpainting?" you ask... it's exactly what it sounds like.  An underpainting is a quick and rough tonal painting that will literally be underneath your finished painting.

I've seen some artists just do an underpainting with only black and white paint, however, I would strongly recommend that you throw in an actual color in there too.  You should only have to use three colors of paint (black, white and whatever color you choose).

 Now which color should you choose?  That actually depends on what "family" of colors you want your finished painting to be.  If your finished painting will have mostly cool colors (blues and greens) your underpainting should be warm colors (reds, oranges, or browns) and vice-verse.  You want the opposite.   I know that seems a bit weird but I promise it will add a "depth" to your painting that will make it even more visually appealing.  The underpainting will show through the finished painting a bit and add a nice contrast. If your finished painting doesn't have one over all "cool" or "warm" feel I recommend using a brown or burnt sienna color.

The other huge perk of an underpainting is you can quickly work out the composition of your painting without risking any details by going back and changing it later.  It also makes finishing the painting much faster and easier when you just have already worked out all the kinks and can just put in the details.

-  I start with a pencil sketch that I then go clean up and go over with an artist marker.  DO NOT use a sharpie! Sharpie will bleed through the paint. I use Faber-Castell brand artist pens.  I prefer the brush tipped one.

- Then I go through with thin paint and block in the basic tones of the painting.

- I add the very basic shades on a few objects and then I finally I move onto the details:

-  This is my finished underpainting.

"Why in the hell would I paint that much just to paint over it?" "You're not even going to see it!"

Yeah, I get it.  It seems pretty pointless but I promise it isn't. It really helps you keep the tones and shades once you start adding in different colors.

You also don't have to get as detailed as I did if you don't want to.   Or you don't have to do an underpainting at all if you don't want to.  I will very strongly recommend that if you don't want to do a full underpainting, at least do complete wash of a complimenting color.  That way if a little bit of something peeks through it will be a color and not the white canvas.

Next up I'll show you how I finished off these paintings!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Painting Progress and Etsy Sneak Peek

It's been awhile since I've posted because I've been busy working on some new art projects.

 I'm trying to get my Etsy shop back up and running and to do that I need to get some art stockpiled so I can keep it stocked.  You know, if people actually buy it... *fingers crossed*

I wanted to share with you some of the stuff I will be selling.

One of the new items I am making is hand painted hard cover kindle/ipad/tablet covers.

They are basically a hard cover book that has little elastic straps that holds your kindle/tablet.  The outside cover is wrapped in canvas paper and the inside is cotton lined. I have some others that are wrapped in faux leather and are suede lined.

The paintings wrap all the way around the cover.

I also wanted to show you a few progress shots on how I painted the cats...

That's about all I've got to show you for right now.  I just really wanted to update you guys so you didn't think I'd jumped ship! 

 Have a great week, all! I'll have a few more things to show you soon. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fan Art I've Found...

So I've been pretty busy working some personal little art projects and still trying to get our new house decorated and together.

I hope to show you the art stuff as soon as it is finished and  I will show you the house stuff as we get it completed.  I think we've figured out pretty much exactly what we want to do with the house, however we just need to wait until we can afford to get started. Since we are broke newlyweds, this renovation is going to be one little project after another as we can afford it.

No worries, you'll be right there along with us as we do it.

One thing I've really wanted to do in at least one room of the house is to add some steampunk elements.  Thankfully my husband agrees.  We've decided that the best place to add these elements without it being too weird is the bathroom.  I think it's easiest room to have a "theme."

I can't tell you how excited I am to redo the guest bathroom.  I have so many ideas, but we are just going to have to wait on that for right now.

Lately, We've been trying to figure out exactly what we want to hang on the walls in each room.  Let me tell you, we have found some seriously awesome stuff to hang on the walls in the bathroom.  Again, I am SO excited for this room.

Before I show you what we found I should probably let you know that my husband and I are pretty big video game nerds. I'm also a huge fan of game fan art. You'll see what I mean in a second...

Bioshock Fan Art

via CoeyKuhn

via CoeyKuhn

via CoeyKuhn

 These incredible pieces were found over at CoeyKuhn on Deviantart.  I love all of the Bioshock games but Infinite is probably my favorite.  They entire feeling of the game is just so incredible and the artists really captured it perfectly with these.  Also they have an etsy shop where they sell prints of their most popular pieces.  Please go check them out. All of their art is fantastic and not all of it is fan art if you aren't into that.


via Zakeno on Deviantart

I absolutely love the whimsical feel and texture of this one.  I also really loved Songbird from the game so this one really stood out to me!  Please check out the rest of her gallery.  She has so much incredible art for you to look through.

Art Deco Posters

I also have love art deco style posters.  The simplistic yet bold nature of them always really stood out to me.  I especially love the trend of making art deco style fan art.  Here are a few of my favorites that I found:

via Rodolforever on Deviantart

via Rodolforever on Deviantart

Rodolforever has really mastered the art deco style in his posters.  He has tons of amazing posters in his gallery.   He also has an entire series of Greek mythology inspired posters and I love him for that! 


Did I mention that I am really excited to decorate my bathroom? Because I am!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pinterest Picks: Last Minute 4th of July Craft Ideas

Where the hell did June go?

Seriously, I'm asking.  It feels like I just got married a week ago, and it's been almost 2 months.  I don't even know how that is possible.

I wasn't really prepared for the 4th of July getting here so quickly, so I've spent the morning searching the internet for some last minute craft ideas.

Patriotic Oreo Pops

via Makoodle

- Makoodle has a great simple tutorial on how to make these Oreo pops.  They are an easy and fast little patriotic treat that would be a fantastic addition to any 4th of July celebration. Go check it out!

Confetti Paper Rockets

via Alphamom

- Now these look like so much fun! This is definitely a craft that would be great to do with the kids, or just the kid at hearts.  You want to know why?

via Alphamom

Because they explode!!  The rockets may seem too complicated to make yourself, but I assure you that Brenda over at Alpha Mom made the tutorial very detailed and easy to follow!  Give it a shot! You will have a ton of fun with these.

Patriotic Rose Cake 

via I am Baker

- I Am Baker has a wonderful video tutorial on how to make this beautiful patriotic cake.  She goes as far as to dye the cake actual red, white and blue, but you wouldn't have to if you are more crunched for time.  You could simply do the colored frosting on any box cake mix to save time.

Cheap Decorations

Swing by your nearest party supply or craft store and pick up a few little odds and ends:

- Red, white, and blue crepe paper streamers can easily be wrapped around railings or banisters and hung across doorways for a quick pop of color.

- Deco mesh now comes in every color known to man, and can be found in red, white and blue.  Tie a large bow around the lamp post in your front yard, or tie bows around the backs of all your dining room chairs.

- Patriotic ribbon can be tied around your napkins for napkin holders or tied into a bow on your clear glass vases for another little pop of the ole' red, white and blue.

You don't have to go crazy with the red, white and blue or American flag everything. Subtle touches here and there set the mood much better, and is also much easier on yourself and your wallet.

Don't stress over all the little details.  Remember to relax and enjoy your friends and family this 4th of July! Be safe!


We don't have anything big planned for our 4th.  We are just having a simple family lunch. What are your plans? If you don't celebrate the 4th of July, have an awesome Thursday!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wedding Post Round Up

 I'm awful at posting anything in an organized fashion, so I wanted to do one last wedding post with all of the tutorials in one place.   I'll also be showing you some of the professional photos from the wedding so you can see how my tutorials turned out.

All the photos on this post are from the wonderful Adie and Jarreth over at Twin Town Studios.
 If you are in the area I couldn't recommend them enough! They were amazingly calm and sweet, and made the day go very smoothly.

via Twin Town Studios

Alright, let's just jump right in... 


The Bouquets 

via Twin Town Studios
via Twin Town Studios

How to paint the flowers

How to make the garden roses

How to make the peonies

How to make the standard roses

How to assemble and wrap the bouquet





via Twin Town Studios


via Twin Town Studios

via Twin Town Studios


Oversized Crepe Paper Flowers



via Twin Town Studios

How I made my guestbook


And just because I can...

via Twin Town Studios

A random little picture of my cake, because I love it in all of it's simple textured glory! 

I  hope that you found these tutorials useful!
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