Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer



Monthly Review: Perspective & Composition

Last week I talked a bit about the online art course I’ve started and how one unit had been focusing on perspective (link). The unit prompted me to dig a bit deeper into the subject and today I’ll be reviewing the book ‘Perspective & Composition’.

Image result for Barrington Barber perspective


Full title: Essential Guide to Drawing; Perspective & Composition

Author: Barrington Barber

Price: £4.99 – £23

Where to buy: WaterstonesBook Depository, Amazon, ebay

About: An instructional guide to the ‘rules’ of perspective and composition, with step-by-step exercises.

I first came across Barrington Barber’s instructional drawing books when I was a teenager and used to lap up the art books in The Works. Although this particular book claims to be ‘practical and inspirational’ I’d argue that the former is at least true! As someone who loves step-by-step instructions both written and with visuals, I do like Barber’s books. However, this more methodical, instructional tone doesn’t exactly get you fired up with creative ideas. The covers of Barber’s books tend to be quite tame with a ‘school’ vibe about them and the interior looks almost text-booky. However, the contents is quality.

The layout is logical, with a clear font, sub-titles and diagrams so is good for all kinds of learners, be they visual or more text-based. There are also mini projects throughout to ensure you understand the concepts being explained so there’s a good balance of theory and practical.

I think this book would be best suited to art students, particularly around GCSE and would be useful in a classroom or tuition setting. Although, it would also be useful for those teaching themselves. One section mentions ‘Compositions by Master Artists’, which could potentially encourage further research and study.

Another thing I like about this book is that although it’s short it tries to keep the users interest by covering different ways of using perspective, for example when drawing people or objects in addition to just landscapes and scenes.

Although this book wouldn’t encourage me to purposely seek out any more of Barber’s books I did take something away from it and it’s worth a read if you’re really struggling with the concept of perspective. For me, the best way to learn about perspective is to practice, practice, practice and learn to trust your eyes; draw what you see, not what you think you should see.


Monthly Tutorial: Neatening a seam by hand

As well as being an illustrator I’m also an eco clothing designer and sew all my clothing entirely by hand. Over the years I’ve learnt some basics that have roved invaluable and that I use time and again. Today I’ll be guiding you through how to beat unsightly, fraying seams, using my latest project (a skirt).


So you have your sides sewn neatly together and are left with a raw edge. Turn your work inside out. Trim the edge using pinking shears if you didn’t do this when cutting your initial pieces of material. The zig-zag will prevent further fraying. You’ll need to make sure you have at least 1.5cm excess.



Fold one edge over on itself until the tips of the zig-zags slightly overlap the sewn edge, and pin into place. Do this all the way along, taking care not to accidentally pin to the excess material on the other side.





Do a simple running stitch all the way along to hold the fold, like below. Keep the stitches quite small and close together so it will look neat on both sides.



Finish off in your usual way (I use a double knot)



You now need to do the same with the other bit of excess material. Repeat steps 1-5 on this bit.



Once you’ve done steps 1-5 on both edges, use a hot iron to press your hem open.




Turn your garment the right way, and you’ll be left with a neat, subtle line like the one below.




Painting Clouds with oil paints – tutorial

Welcome to my first monthly tutorial! In this post I’ll be showing you how to use water-mixable oil paints to create realistic clouds.

I love using water-mixable oil paints in my work as they’re so wonderfully versatile! I began experimenting with normal oil paints 7 years ago and was somewhat put off by the stubborn nature of the paint – the never quite clean brushes, the lengthy drying time. Then I discovered Reeves water-mixable oils. If you’re on a tight (or student) budget, I can recommend Reeves as a fantastic affordable alternative to the bigger names, such as Winsor & Newton, though I tend to use both as Winsor and Newton offer the benefit of being able to pick individual specific colours, whilst you’ll usually find Reeves in a set. Use Reeves as a ‘starter’ and Winsor & Newton to build on this.

The set is available in The Range and can be found on their website.

Here are some examples of where I’ve used the following technique in my work:

Above: ‘Moo Shoe’ water-mixable oils. Below: ‘Rush Hour’ Water-mixable oils & gouache. Hanna-Mae Williams

Here’s how to do it:

You will need:

  • Water-mixable oil paints in: Lamp black, yellow ochre, burnt umber, raw umber & white
  • Liquin original (available at most art supply stores such as The Range, Hobby Craft etc)
  • Paint brushes
  • Optional: liquid clear oil paint





You need a base. This technique is all about building up layers. Begin by mixing some white with a little black and add liquin and liquid clear until the mixture is quite loose (oils are usually quite stiff and thick) In this instance we’re making a grey base but once you get the hang of the technique you can alter this. I sometimes use blue.



Cover your area with your base colour, then add some more black to create a darker tone. Roughly paint the outline of a cloud. You’re going to repeat this shape over your piece.




You need to add depth to your clouds and now’s the time to stop using liquin. Using a circular dabbing motion, blend some black into the grey of your clouds around the bottom/edges, and introduce some umber.



Remember this is all about layering. To add dimension we’ll be adding to the background/foreground as we progress.



If you look at storm clouds they often have a yellowish tinge to them. This is where the yellow ochre comes in. You only need a hint, so dab and blend around the bottom of the cloud/where the clouds meet.



It’s time to add white. Using a smaller brush, dab and slightly blend around the tops of the more prominent clouds.



Continue working through the steps until you have the amount of clouds you want. You can use your finger to slightly smudge the clouds – particularly to make the typical ‘cloud’ shape less defined.



Now make cleaning up easy! Choose the right brush cleaner by reading this review.



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