Category Archives: Book Review

2017 Twelve Months of Paper Calendar

I’m so excited to finally have in my hands Helen Hiebert’s 2017 Twelve Months of Paper Calendar. There’s a paper project (along with instructions) for each month of the year. Plus, there’s a bonus month, December 2016!

2017 Twelve Months of Paper Calendar plus the paper pack.

2017 Twelve Months of Paper Calendar by Helen Hiebert plus the paper pack.

In addition to the calendar, I also ordered the custom paper pack which includes all the materials to complete the projects. It has papers, beads, bamboo skewers, book board, balsa wood and tea lights. You can see them in the above photo.

12 Months of Paper Calendar by Helen Hiebert.

12 Months of Paper Calendar by Helen Hiebert.

I’ll be making these projects throughout 2017, so be sure to stay tuned and see how they turn out.

Link to purchase your own calendar: 2017 Twelve Months of Paper

Enjoy, Candy

DIY Halloween Envelopes

With Halloween just around the corner, I decided I wanted to make and send Halloween envelopes to some young friends. Again, this year, I took my ideas from Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book. You can check out a review I did of his book: Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book.

I love these dancing skeletons.

I love these dancing skeletons. They go well with the pumpkin postage stamp.

I have been traveling to Junction City, Eugene, and Portland, Oregon for the past few days, and this project has been easy to do while on the road. I brought along some envelopes, black pens and my address book. I purchased the Halloween postage stamps in Eugene.

This is a great Haunted House! The name and address go on the right.

This is a great Haunted House! The name and address go on the right.

I took three of the photos as my friend, Sharon’s house in Portland, Oregon. I usually photograph on a white background, but Sharon has this absolutely wonderful fall tablecloth which I couldn’t help but use for my background. I love how things seem to work out serendipitously.

This was my first attempt at skeletons. Although accidental, I like the way they grow taller as they go across the envelope.

This was my first attempt at skeletons. Although accidental, I like the way they grow taller as they go across the envelope.

I love making Haunted Houses, but I must admit that they take an awful long time to complete. The skeletons took much less time, and I think they look great! I think I’ll be making a bunch more of the skeleton envelopes this year.

This envelope was made using the instructions in Ed Emberley's Halloween Drawing Book.

This envelope was made using the instructions in Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book.

There are so many ideas for making all sorts of Halloween drawings in Ed Emberley’s book. I think it’s perfect adults as well as children. I know that my adult friends have loved receiving these envelopes in the past.

This is a #10 business envelope with the address written with a white gel pen.

This is a #10 business envelope with the address written with a white gel pen.

I should have started making these envelopes a month ago so I could send them to all my mail art and other friends. Maybe next year. So much art to do and still only 24 hours in a day.

Enjoy, Candy

Book Review – Italic Letters: Calligraphy & Handwriting

Periodically I get asked to either teach calligraphy or recommend a book for learning calligraphy. My answer to both requests is to recommend Italic Calligraphy by Inga Dubay and Barbara Getty.

Italic Letters: Calligraphy & Handwriting by Inga Dubay and Barbara Getty is my number one recommendation for anyone wanting to learn italic calligraphy.

Italic Letters: Calligraphy & Handwriting by Inga Dubay and Barbara Getty is my number one recommendation for anyone wanting to learn italic calligraphy.

First, I must say that I feel that italic calligraphy is the most versatile of all alphabets. It can be written friendly or formal. It can be written plain or highly flourished. It can even be written with a ball point pen (called monoline italic). If I had a favorite alphabet, it would be italic because of its versatility.

This is an envelope I sent to Jean Wilson. If you are interested in mail art, check out Jeans blog pushingtheenvelopes.

A very free italic written on an envelope.

So, when my friend, Anna, came to me and asked for a recommendation for a calligraphy class or book, I heartily recommended Italic Calligraphy. I think italic is the best alphabet to start learning calligraphy. And the presentation by Inga Dubay and Barbara Getty in this book makes learning italic so much easier than any other book I have ever seen.

This is a simple italic of mine without many flourishes on a watercolor background.

This is a simple italic of mine without many flourishes on a watercolor background.

The book starts with writing monoline italic, thats just a fancy name for writing with a ball point pen or a pencil. It’s so non-threatening. You get to learn the letter shapes before having to concern yourself with an edged pen and trying to hold the pen at a 45 degree angle and writing at a slight slant.

One of my more popular posts from 2013.

I like to combine italic calligraphy with other alphabets. Here the “war” is written with a pointed brush and the text is written in a simple italic.

It’s the perfect book for someone learning calligraphy on their own. When I last taught italic calligraphy, this was the book I used. I can’t say enough positive things about this book. It’s so rich with information.

Another example of combining italic calligraphy with pointed brush calligraphy

Another example of my combining italic calligraphy with pointed brush calligraphy

While the book suggests you write in it, please don’t. You will get so much more out of the book if you can repeat pages as you practice. So, I suggest you get some quality writing paper and take that to your local copy shop and copy the pages you want to practice onto that paper. One such quality paper is Gilbert bond. Any paper that works with your pen and gives you crisp lines is fine. What you don’t want is a cheap paper where your ink bleeds.

Another example of my italic calligraphy.

Another example of my italic calligraphy.

Write on, Candy

Halloween Envelopes Based On Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book

I did a review of Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book a couple of years ago, but it’s something I thought I’d write about again. I love this book. Although the book is written with children in mind, I had ever so much fun drawing using Ed’s directions.

This is a 6" by 9" manilla envelope. The address will go to the left of the Spooky House.

This is a 6″ by 9″ manilla envelope. The address will go to the left of the Spooky House.

The instructions are easy to follow. Ed uses just a few basic lines and shapes for most of the drawings.

This is my copy of Ed Emberley's Halloween Drawing Book. There is a newer version currently in print.

This is my copy of Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book. There is a newer version currently in print.

Making Halloween envelopes sounded like fun. I love sending and receiving mail—real mail, the kind delivered by the post office—and I love to make special envelopes for my friends. For the first envelopes I made for this project, I used an 02 Pigma pen because it was what I had handy. It took me a long time to color in the black, so I would suggest a larger nib if you decide to make some of these yourself, especially the Spooky House. When I got to coloring the ground, I used my Pentel brush pen to color it and that took much less time to do.

This is a #10 business envelope with the address written with a white gel pen.

This is a #10 business envelope with the address written with a white gel pen.

The step-by-step instructions in the book are very easy to follow. There are symbols below each step of the drawing, and it is easy to see the progression. I purchased my copy of the book years ago, so I checked on Amazon to see if it was still available, and it is, in what looks like an updated version at a higher price. Ed Emberley has a series of books, and though I have only tried out this one book, I think his other books would also be a whole lot of fun for children (and some adults too).

Enjoy, Candy

Tiny Winter Walk Book

I found this tiny book as a downloadable file in Camille Riner’s Etsy shop last week. I had never made this type of book, so I just had to try it. It’s made from a single sheet of 8 1/2 by 11″ paper which you print on both sides of the paper.

This Winter Walk book measures 1.5" square when closed.

This Winter Walk book measures 1.5″ square when closed.

When you purchase the book, you get 2 .pdf files. One is for the book itself and the other is the instructions. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. I was so excited to try out making the book that I printed out two separate pages before I realized that I was supposed to print the second image on the back of the paper.

Winter Walk book finished (on left) and showing all the components cut out for a second one.

Winter Walk book finished (on left) and showing all the components cut out for a second one. When you purchase a digital file, you can then make it again and again, each time improving your skill.

One of the nice things about purchasing a digital file is that you can use it multiple times. I tried making this book with a couple of different papers. I found that I liked a 32# text weight matte presentation paper. Camille suggests a thin matte photo paper, but I didn’t have that so I decided to use what I had on hand. I also tried a heavier paper, and although it worked, I liked the lighter paper better.

Winter Walk book designed by Camille Riner and available as a digital download in her Etsy shop.

Winter Walk book designed by Camille Riner and available as a digital download in her Etsy shop.

I love tiny books. I guess they’re officially called miniature books. There’s something about the intimacy of miniature books that I enjoy. This was a fun book to make. I may need to go out and get the paper that Camille recommends and see if I like it even better than the one I used.

Winter Walk book, open and closed.

Winter Walk book, open and closed.

You can see more of Camille’s work on her website www.camilleriner.com and you can purchase either the finished book or the downloadable version from her Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/CamilleRiner.

Enjoy, Candy

Halloween Envelopes and Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book Review

This is a 6" by 9" manilla envelope. The address will go to the left of the Spooky House.

This is a 6″ by 9″ manilla envelope. The address will go to the left of the Spooky House.

After a hectic week that included driving over 20 hours in three days and attending the funeral of a dear family friend, I decided I needed to make some upbeat, crazy fun art. So, I got out my Halloween box and fished around until I found a book I had purchased a number of years ago, Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book. The book is written for children (hey, I’m a kid at heart) and uses just a few basic lines and shapes for most of the drawings.

This is my copy of Ed Emberley's Halloween Drawing Book. There is a newer version currently in print.

This is my copy of Ed Emberley’s Halloween Drawing Book. There is a newer version currently in print.

Making Halloween envelopes sounded like fun. I love sending and receiving mail—real mail,the kind delivered by the post office—and I love to make special envelopes for my friends. For the first envelopes I made for this project, I used an 02 Pigma pen because it was what I had handy. It took me a long time to color in the black, so I would suggest a larger nib if you decide to make some of these yourself, especially the Spooky House. When I got to coloring the ground, I used my Pentel brush pen to color it and that took much less time to do.

This is a #10 business envelope with the address written with a white gel pen.

This is a #10 business envelope with the address written with a white gel pen.

The step-by-step instructions in the book are very easy to follow. There are symbols below each step of the drawing, and it is easy to see the progression. I purchased my copy of the book years ago, so I checked on Amazon to see if it was still available, and it is, in what looks like an updated version at a higher price. Ed Emberley has a series of books, and though I have only tried out this one book, I think his other books would also be a whole lot of fun for children (and some adults too).

My next project will be to make a drawing based on the instructions in the book, scan it into my computer and then print multiple copies of it. After all, it can take a significant amount of time to make some of the more complex drawings, and as lovely as they are, I have other art I want to be doing too. However, for keeping children occupied, maybe you will want to suggest they make all their drawings as originals.

Enjoy, Candy