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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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pastels

Monthly mini review: Derwent pastel pencil set

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Product name: Derwent Pastel Collection

Price: £16.00 – £53.98 (for 24 piece set)

Rating: 3.5/5

About: A tin containing 24 pieces: 8 conté-esque hard sticks, 14 pastel pencils, 1 sharpener, 1 putty rubbergood

  • If, like me, you tend to use a lot of detail then pastel pencils are for you! I found I had much more control than when using stick pastels and was able to do finer details.
  • Whilst pastels can be quite mucky, the beauty of these pencils is that they leave your hands clean.

 

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  • This set can be pricey, and prices range hugely depending where you look.
  • Availability of individual/replacement pencils can be limited. My local hobbycraft didn’t stock them.
  • One thing I feel would make the set more complete is a blending stump.
  • Not suitable for large areas.

 

conclude This set gave me an excuse to get stuck in to a medium I don’t use of a regular basis. It’s suited to those who’ve dabbled, but want to gain more experience in this medium, and those who have struggled with larger pastel sticks. This set is great for detail enthusiasts, rather than those who prefer to work on a larger scale, and more for those with a real interest in art as opposed to being something you drag out on a rainy day for the kids. Although not my favourite medium, I enjoyed experimenting, and plan to use them again.

ELLIE
‘Thirsty work’

 

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Osnir Narcizo ‘Heisenberg’

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Hannah (Melomiku)  ‘Tobi the Recon/Spy’

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Susan Mitchell – ‘Work in progress’

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Monthly tutorial: Alternative Easter oatcakes

This recipe is so easy and versatile and suitable for vegans/vegetarians.

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  • 100g oats (to make these more nutritional I like to use a mixture of oats, oatbran and multigrain)
  • 20ml oil (I’ve used olive this time, but avocado has worked well, as well as rapeseed)
  • Any ‘extras’ such as seeds, chopped nuts, herbs, spices etc (I’m making ‘cheese & chive with sesame seeds – violife offer a range of vegan cheese flavours. Nutritional yeast gives a cheesy flavour and extra vitamins)
  • A generous glug of warm water
  • Cookie cutters in any shape you want

method

 

 

step1

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Set your oven to 160 Celsius (fan oven) and measure out 100g of your oats/grains.

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Add 20ml of oil, and stir well until all the oats are coated.

step3oatcake13.jpgAdd your extras (see ‘flavour ideas’ below for inspiration) and mix in well.

step4oatCollage2.jpgAdd a glug of warm water, stir through, and ‘work’ your oats until they begin to combine. Keep adding water slowly until your oats bind together easily.

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Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

step6oatCollage3.jpgGet a cookie cutter and teaspoon ready, and take a small amount of your mixture. Depending on how thick you want your oatcakes, add more/less, and press it firmly into your cookie cutter on your baking tray.

step7oatCollage4.jpgUse the back of your teaspoon to press the mixture firmly in, and the handle end to get into all the smaller spaces. Tip: the simpler the cookie cutter, the easier it is to get out after.

step8oatcake3.jpgUse the handle end of the spoon to gently push your shape out, and gently press with your finger tips to flatten slightly on the baking tray.

step9When you’ve made all of your shapes (depending on thickness you can usually expect to get around 6 out of this recipe) it’s time to bake! Put your baking tray in the oven and bake for approx. 30 minutes until lightly golden. The time will vary depending on thickness, but for an extra crunch leave them in longer. If you like a really soft oatcake, go for 20 minutes.

step10Once your oatcakes have fully cooled it’s time to think about presentation. There are so many places on the high street and online where you can get beautiful boxes. (Cup)cake boxes are perfect for your oatcakes, and if you’re on a strict budget these can be picked up in discount stores, such as HomeBargains, B&M bargains, or if you’re looking for something extra special and want to support small businesses, it’s well worth taking a look at what the sellers at esty have to offer (you can view them here – link). I made my own label and stuck it to a cute pre-made box.

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flavour

 

artyAfter much agonising over the pastel piece I’ve been working on in my art group, I’ve finally finished working on the still life piece. I’d been wanting to re-acquaint myself with pastels for a while, as I don’t feel it’s a medium I’ve really mastered. As someone who mainly works in small formats and has a strong inclination to include a lot of detail, I found the ‘bulk’ of pastels to be quite challenging. Enter the pastel pencil! This year so far has been an experimental one in terms of mediums. I’m shying away from my usual instinct to get out my oil paints, and exploring what’s out there, particularly as I now feel I have a ‘grip’ on oils.

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Keep your eyes peeled for a review of Derwent’s Pastel Collection next month!

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After investing so much mental energy into developing experience with this medium, I decided my next project would be one for pure enjoyment, so I’ve resumed my love affair with fine liner (something which had been somewhat squashed during three years studying illustration at university). I’m afraid I’ll forever be a fan of the clean line and definition it can produce.

colouringpagecright.jpgIt felt exhilarating to feel a sort of ‘freedom’ with this piece – to let my instinct and understanding of pattern/line (and natural inclination towards detail) to lead the way without too much thought. However, I took the decision to use watercolour pencils on this and feel it took away from the stylised feel of the piece. So what began life as a relaxed piece has now morphed into another art challenge! Bring it on! I’ll be updating you on my progress through twitter and facebook (facebook.com/hanna-mae-illustration) and twitter (@HMWIllustration).

As for my eco clothing, I’m in the process of working with an etsy seller to get some sew-in labels made as a finishing touch. The process is a lengthy one, but I want my labels to reflect what my clothing is all about. I’ll be showing you the finished product in the weeks to come, along with pictures of the postcards I’m having made.

nextweekMonthly Review: Derwent graphitint pencils review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Wednesday words of wisdom

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When working on a fine-detail drawing, to get an extra sharp pencil point use both a sharpener and then gently run a very sharp craft knife over the tip. I use Kum Extra Long Point Pencil Sharpener and Jakar Hobby Knife.

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If you use turpentine to thin your oil paints or oil pastels, a cheaper yet just as effective alternative is to head to the DIY section/shop and look out for ‘white spirit’. Price comparison: Winsor & Newton ‘Artists White Spirit’ (turpentine) from The Range – £7.99 per litre. Wickes ‘White Spirit Low Odour’ – £1.90 per litre. Note: Please follow environmental/safety advice provided with turpentine/white spirit.

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Save jam jars, marmalade jars, coffee jars etc. Especially if you are using oils/water-mixable oils, you will need to replace water jars several times a year as grime builds up.

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I was delighted to discover B pencils that exceeded the usual 6B maximum you often get in sketching sets, yet, in my personal experience 7B-9B pencils offer not much more depth. To get deeper shadows, try cross-hatching using a fine-liner. I use Pilot DR drawing pens in 01 and 02. BE WARNED: Use a light touch to avoid crushing the nib!

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And whilst on the topic of fine-liners…don’t be tempted by pens that aren’t designed to be used in art work as they may bleed. Some things are ok to scrimp on, whilst others in the long run will cost you more. Plastic palettes and rulers – yes; paper, brushes, and mediums in general – no.

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