Sunday, December 13, 2015

Two Skaters on A White Winter Background

I have been making Christmas designs and cards for friends and family. I love this time of the year. Instead of my usual angel designs, I've been thinking more of my grandson who loves to skate. So along with the Winter Piggies I now have some skaters.
 I will print them out with my Canon Pixma printer on Canon Matte finish photo paper and then I will paste them onto Strathmore greeting cards and then I will give them to my friends and family at Christmas this year. It is pouring rain in Vancouver and it is nice to think about how beautiful and cheering a scene of white snow can be.
And I am feeling optimistic because I have five manuscripts for Picture Book Ideas ready to send out. Almost. I just need to write cover letters and then figure out who to send them to.
If you click the image it should come up larger on the screen so you can see the detail.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Winter Piggies Diorama

I have made a WINTER PIGGIES Diorama for kids and grown ups who haven't quite grown up.
I think they also make fun finger puppets for kids with imaginations for stories.

I have made a pdf file which I would be happy to send to anyone out there who might want to print and download their own set.

It is fun to do and I know because I just finished cutting them out to test them. This is really cute even if I do say so myself.

If you want a set in pdf format just comment here and we can figure out how to send it along to your email address.
Happy Holidays have begun! Woohoo!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Back To Piggies

I have been so busy writing and taking courses but I thought I would post my little piggies choir. It has appeared in the midst of Lynne Chapman's course on CRAFTSY in creating interesting characters. I love playing with this and I am always glad to be able to learn new techniques.

And then I took them into Corel Painter for color. And a little digital nudge of the legless guy to pull him up on the page and add some shoes.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Racoon Character

I couldn't help myself. Had to post this little guy. I think he needs a story and a name. I am really enjoying Lynne Chapman's course in drawing characters.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Trying New Ways

Back to blogging. I hope. Where does the time go? As usual I have been doing too many things all at the same time. Just for fun I thought I'd try taking a course from one of my favourite British Illustrators since she recently blogged about taking a trip to the US to film a session of videos with a company called CRAFTSY. I had never heard of them but I looked them up and signed up for their newsletter. Two days ago they launched Lynne Chapman's new series about drawing. So I decided to give it a try. Now I am learning about her style and approach to drawing. I must say I am so happy to be trying this out. I am kind of bogged down in my own old ways of drawing and having some new ideas from a master's approach to illustrating for children is absolutely inspiring. She is a great teacher and the course is quite thorough and reasonable price of around $40 for a very extensive set of videos and one can do it all on one's own time.
Here are some of my sketches. I have taken them further into my own software, CorelDRAW for vectors and then Painter for details, which is my own way of finishing things up. It's the drawing part that is so much fun really. I highly recommend her course to anyone interested in drawing animals and children for picture books. All you need to start is paper and some nice soft pencils.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Creative Process Again

OK. So I got carried away with ideas for Halloween. Wrote a silly song when I was bored and playing with my iPad. Added verses. Realize I have a picture book manuscript here. Some of the characters are slugs.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Halloween on the Drawing Board

This is what I have been working on this week. Off on a Halloween tangent.
All the years when I had my day job, I missed not being able to just play around with this kind of silly kid stuff which is what I love to do.
These characters seem to be waiting for me to find them, and I have!
It's a good thing there is nobody around here to tell me to get serious.
In truth I really am serious even if it may look frivolous.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Halloween Song with Loopy APP

Woohoo! Who knew what fun one can have with an iPad.
I created a Halloween Song for kids with LOOPY on my iPad.

I sent it to SoundCloud and if anyone is interested in listening to my song here it is.
Rotten Apples by M.J. Muir.

I am sure teachers could have creative times with their classes if they are lucky enough to have iPads with apps like this one.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Two doodles with Procreate

I thought I'd post a couple of little doodles. Procreate is a neat little drawing APP for iPad that plays back the process of drawing.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Two Percolated Sketches

Since I do have some time to play, I thought I'd post some past experiments from my iPad in case there is anyone out there who might be interested in making art with an iPad.

To make the first sketches, I used Art Rage App. If you give it a try, remember to save your design to your photos files and then open them in  Percolater App. You might be surprised at how interesting your image becomes.
Click on the image here to see a larger view on your screen.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Playing with Waterlogue

To my iPad friends out there who like to play with art making apps...
I took my iPad to the park and snapped some photos of a couple of kids playing with a Jack Russel named Eddy. I changed the images to watercolour effect in Waterlogue App just for fun and to conceal identities.
For a closer look, if you click the image it will come up larger on your screen I think.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Percolated Card Designs

I made some cards today   which I will be giving away over the next months to friends and family for birthdays and special occasions. I thought I'd share them with my friendly readers here.
The flower images are like little treasures found on my walks around the neighbourhood with my dog over the spring months this year.
I discovered that Percolator app creates some amazing effects with a flower photo as I have said in previous posts.
I have also tried Superimpose APP to play around with the flowers to pull them up out of the Percolator abstract circles.
I print out these images from my Canon Pixma printer onto matte photo paper. I can get three-up when I lay them out in CorelDraw on my PC.
I am sure most people have a photo editor on their PC and I think you can usually print in two or four on a sheet.
I buy Strathmore blank photo mount cards and envelopes and I use the little stickers that come with the cards or a glue stick to mount the photos on the cards.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

iPad Fun

Ipad fun.
Left - A photo taken with my with my iPad camera.
Right - Photo converted with Percolater app to create the circles effect.
Lightened and cropped it with Photoshop Express App.

Iris photo manipulated with Percolater App and then Adobe Phototshop Express.

When printed out in colour these images are lovely as personalized cards.

I print them out and cut them and paste them to pre-cut Strathmore Photo mount Cards.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Alien Finger Puppets

The children created wonderful little aliens for the display. I took photos of each character. With a few tricks with Corel Draw I converted them to finger puppets.
the children were thrilled with their puppets and I realized how much seeing their own work reproduced and turned into finger puppets makes them incredibly proud and happy. Another thing that surprised me was that they wanted to have as many other puppets as they could cut out.
I printed out a set for myself and cut them out and I sent a pdf copy of the whole set to the teacher.
I think they are adorable.
Any comments or questions are always welcome.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Display

Today we finished the project and it turned out quite nicely. The children took so much pride in their work and everyone's creation is unique and fun. Spaceships. Aliens and Red moons. Twenty four children. 7 and 8 year olds, mostly boys...And we did it! The teacher was patient and supported the project all the way.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Red Moons & Aliens

The project on Aliens and Spaceships took on a life of it's own. The plan was to place all the art on a large sheet of black paper. But the school roll of black paper was all used up so we decided to make individual planet landscapes with blood red moons. Here are a few photos.
As always I am feeling privileged to be working with children. Each one of them gave total focus to this project. Once they began the landscapes of alien planets with red moons, they had so many stories to tell me about each creation. Where aliens lived, what they eat for lunch, the structure of houses or caves, how they swim and fly all over the place rather than walking.
I think they connect easily with their imaginations and brain power when they use pastels.
So even though they are messy, pastels are the best medium to get into the flow of creation. This is just my opinion of course. And so many pros out there know so much more than I about children and artistic process.
I really appreciate how their teacher has been open to the creative process as we adjusted the project along the way.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Aliens Project

I thought I'd post my experiment for a school project with grade 2/3's.
From a drawing
painted in watercolour,
photographed with my iPad Mini camera,
adjusted the image in Percolater
and then adjusted with Photoshop Express.

I am hoping the children's creations can be photographed in the same way and then perhaps I can show them how to use the APPS to explore the digital possibilities for their art making.

My plan is to inspire the children to draw characters from their imagination. So far they have created space ships for the project. We are creating a large space mural which fits their class time studies about the recent red moon. I am hoping we can work on a larger scale in the next session. We used cut out colored papers for the space crafts but I am looking forward to the next session where drawing will take priority. I think that cutting out papers made them too worried about perfection with straight lines etc. and I think I failed them with that exercise.I am not sure what will happen with this drawing and markers idea. I am only in the planning stages so I may invent a better way to do this. On the other hand I sometimes get too many ideas and it is probably better to keep it simple.

Photo above: My experimental alien painting converted digitally with Percolater APP on iPad.

Photo - Spaceship building with colored papers and glue sticks.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Friends Asked

So many have asked me how I created the butterfly design,I thought I'd explain in case there is anyone out there with an iPad and they want to have some fun making images do unexpected and sometimes beautiful things.
If you click the image it should come up larger on the screen.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

At The Beach In March

I took Maggie to the beach yesterday.
That's downtown Vancouver way in the distance.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring Blossoms

These photos were taken on March 13 while I was walking with Maggie, my little dog.
I used the camera in my iPad Mini and adjusted images with Photo Shop Express APP. A free app which is useful to adjust photos. One thing is for certain. Spring in Vancouver is beautiful.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Sunshine and Spring flowers all over the place. After so many months of grey overcast skies the earth is coming alive again. What a relief!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ipad Drawing Pad App & Percolator App For Effects

I used an app called Drawing Pad to draw the fist part. Then I took the drawings into Percolator App.
Green Fish - Took a photo of a watercolor green wash into iPad. I brought it into Drawing Pad from Photos and used it as a background. I took an eraser brush and created the fish drawing. I saved the drawing to iPad photos. Then I opened Percolator App and brought green fish up and adjusted Percolator until I found one effect I liked best.
With the second fish, I took a photo of a watercolor wash, saved it ti the iPad photos. Then in Drawing Pad I brought it in as a background. Then I painted black all over the screen on another layer.  Then I erased from the black to create the fish drawing.

Then I saved the image to iPhotos and then into Percolator.

I hope this does not sound complicated. It isn't complicated really.
I recommend one just play and fool around a bit and have fun.

I think anyone with an iPad can play and create. Who knows what one will come up with. Just have fun.