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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

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Monthly tutorial: Using Body-Chan model for artists

Last week I reviewed Body-Kun models for artists and as promised this week I’ll be showing you how to use them. As I’ve been experimenting with children’s book illustration lately I’ll be creating a character in this style.

The instructions that come with some Body-Kun sets show one way to use the sets but I like to use them just as direct references. You can take a photo using your phone then upload it to Photoshop and go from there (there are plenty of videos on youtube showing this) but I’ll be showing you how to develop a character in a more traditional way.

Start off by getting your model in to your desired pose. Body-Kun dolls are just the right size to be used with dolls house furniture, so you can use props. You can use the stand if you’re using a flying or standing pose, but as mine was able to balance on its own I didn’t use it.

NB: Apologies in advance for the not so great lighting!

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Once you have a pose you’re happy with, place the doll at the right height depending on what perspective you want. I wanted mine straight-on, so placed it at eye level.

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This is your reference, so now you just start drawing! Don’t worry about clothing etc at this stage, just draw what you see. Below I’ll show you the steps I went through.

 

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Once you’ve finished drawing out the basic shape, make your lines more fluid. I think that when it comes to children’s illustration the lines are much more soft, less angular. I’ve just drawn some guidelines on the face, though with children’s illustration characters don’t have to adhere to any real measurement rules.

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Once you’ve smoothed off your silhouette, rub out the inner lines and begin drawing in your clothes. I’ve decided my character will be a gardener.

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Keep adjusting as you go along until you’re happy with the shape and how the clothes sit.

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Once you’re happy with your body/clothes you can add your face and hair. Don’t forget to rub out the inner lines.

 

 

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Once you’re finished with the drawing stage you can begin to add colour. I decided to outline mine with fine liner first.

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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.

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‘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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sea love

This Valentine’s day I’m showing some love for sea life and bringing you the very first instalment of the promised new vegan recipe feature. This recipe for vegan sushi uses basmati/quinoa instead of the traditional white sushi rice, as it’s higher in fibre and nutrients. This recipe is also lower in sugar than ‘traditional’ sushi, and packs in some extra veggies to contribute to your 5 a day.

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ingredients

 

 

 

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♥ Tilda wholegrain basmati & quinoa (dried) or similar

♥ Rice vinegar (own brand is perfectly fine – try Sainsbury’s)

♥ Sushi nori (dried seaweed sheets – brands can be pricey, but Tesco sometimes stock a cheaper version, with more sheets)

♥ A fresh lemon

♥ Seasoning (I used lemon pepper)

♥ Vegetables of your choice (I used aubergine, broccoli and mushrooms)

♥ Fresh root ginger

♥ Optional extras: sesame seeds, spirulina powder

method

 

 

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Cook your rice/grains as instructed on the packet and drain off any excess water using a sieve. Put in a large bowl.

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Now to add the flavour! Sprinkle in any seasoning you like – I opted for lemon, lemon pepper, and ginger (grate in as much or as little as you like). Add a generous tsp of rice vinegar (this will help add moisture to stick the rice together/to the seaweed later)

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This step is optional, but I’d recommend including it! Lightly toast sesame seeds under the grill (no need to use extra oil) and add this to your bowl of seasoned rice. Sesame seeds are usually used on the outside of sushi, but I find they add a nice texture and flavour when mixed in. I also added spirulina for an extra protein hit (but be warned, you only need tiby amounts as it has a very distinct earthy taste!) Spirulina can be expensive in health food shops, so keep an eye out at food markets where you can sometimes be lucky to pick up unusual ingredients for a fraction of the price.

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Now to prep the veg – grill sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced aubergine, and cook your broccoli (using frozen is fine, or steam fresh florets, but make sure it is thoroughly drained by dabbing with kitchen towel) You’ll need to turn your mushrooms/aubergine half way through to get both sides cooked evenly. NB: with such thinly sliced aubergine the ends can slightly burn – don’t panic! pull/cut these bits off. You can use any veg you like, including strips of courgette or even butternut squash.

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Chop the heads of your broccoli so they almost resemble small grains. To save time you can use a mini food processor, I used a mezzaluna, but a sharp small knife will do just fine. Add to the rice mix and stir well.

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You now need to apply a thin, even layer of your rice mixture on to a sheet of your dried seaweed. Press lightly with a spoon.

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Arrange your vegetables – in this case the slices of aubergine and the mushrooms.

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Take another sheet of dried seaweed and press it gently over the rice/vegetables. You’ll need to make sure it’s in contact with the rice mix otherwise it won’t soften. Once you’ve made sure it’s pressed down well, leave for 5 mins. This should be enough time to allow it to soften.

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Time to roll! Start at the edge closest to you and aim for quite ‘tight’, pressing as you go along.

cuttingcollageYou’ll need a sharp knife to cut your sushi roll otherwise it’ll fall apart! I used a sharp breadknife (you’ll also notice I’ve ‘tucked in’ the ends – this is to stop any escaping rice!) Start by cutting your roll in half, then divide up into smaller sections.

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All that’s left to do is make your sushi look extra appetising by arranging it nicely on your plate. You can add any extras, such as soy sauce and wasabi.

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Monthly review- Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been putting Derwent’s Inktense watercolour pencils to the test with interesting results. As promised, here’s everything you need to know…

Product name: Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils (24 set tin)

Price: £18.99-£40.75

Rating: 4/5

About: A tin of 24 watercolour pencils which can be used with or without water.

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Having relied on the same brand of watercolour pencils for the past 9 years I was excited to try these and, I admit it, slightly sceptical that they would live up to their implied vibrancy…but I was pleasantly surprised!

Although it took me a little while to get used to the softness of the tips (more on this later) when I got stuck in I was delighted to see a vibrant drawing begin to emerge. The quality of these pencils are evident, and provide an intensity I personally find hard to achieve with other, ‘normal’ watercolour pencils.

What I like about these pencils is the control you get. They’re very versatile in the way that they offer the best of both worlds; if you want a softer, subtler effect this can be achieved by using light pressure, whilst if you want the promised ‘inktense’ effect this is achievable by layering and applying the right amount of pressure. The fact that the drawing may be left as it is, or diluted/smoothed over by applying water with a brush afterwards also demonstrates this versatility. I found I was happy with the effect I had achieved without feeling the need to add water.

However, as you can tell from the comments above, it would take someone who has at least some experience with watercolour pencils to understand about the amount of pressure you need to add, which is why these wouldn’t spring to mind when thinking of children or beginners. I feel these pencils are suited more to practicing artists, particularly as they’re quite expensive.

As I mentioned earlier, the tips of these pencils are very soft. Whilst watercolour pencils are often very soft in comparison to ‘normal’ coloured pencils, these seemed softer than the average. So, if like me you like to work with a very sharp tip you’ll need to sharpen these often and with a scalpel/thin craft knife. Due to the soft nature of the tips they’ll become ‘blunt’ quicker, particularly if you’re using them with the aim to produce that promised vibrancy.  This makes them less cost-effective so there’s a bit of a trade off: vibrancy or pencil life?

To conclude I’d say that these are a genuine pleasure to use, which will be picked up by artists who appreciate their materials. They’re something I would use for a special piece, or if material costs were included in a commission, otherwise, these are good to put on Christmas and birthday lists!

wherebuyThe most competitive prices seem to be on amazon, but these pencils are available in stores too. The Range stocks Derwent Inktense 24 tin (as well as 12) at £29.99, whilst Hobbycraft stocks them for £30 and are currently offering those who join the Hobbycraft club 15% off their first online order.

 

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Undiluted watercolour pencil drawing, Hanna-Mae Williams

 

 

 

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watercolour pencil drawing with ink background. Hana-Mae Williams

 

 

 

 

A confession…

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I have a confession…one that may surprise those who have never met me…I struggle to eat. What most people would find appealing, and indeed class as ‘every day’ foods; noodles, toasties, curry, spaghetti, you name it, I probably don’t eat it. But in the interest of my health, which determines how much energy I have to work on what I love – art & design – I’m embarking on a quest (yes, this challenge feels so monumental that I feel justified in labelling it in such a way!) to challenge the compulsion that finds me reaching for the exact same foods every day.

I’m inviting you, my readers, to follow me on my journey to discover and create nourishing vegan recipes to support both body and mind. Veganism and vegetarianism has always been an influencing factor in my life, fuelling my interest in creating eco-friendly clothing, and using our natural world as inspiration for a great deal of my artwork. In next month’s ‘tutorial’ spot, I’ll be bringing you the first recipe instalment – vegan sushi. In the mean-time, here’s a list of some inspiring and useful vegan-related sites:

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Vegan Huggs – A blog packed with recipes, reviews, and more!

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Wear Your Voice – A website I’ve mentioned before where a passion for art meets a passion for animals, with truly unique illustrations printed on to t-shirts.

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Vegan Supermarket Finds UK – A super useful facebook group run by vegans, for vegans, where you can share your surprising vegan finds, as well as get some great tips on where to find all manner of vegan goodies!

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In the interest of keeping myself distracted whilst re-building my strength, I’ve been revisiting a seascape I began last year, yet lost the motivation for. Well the itch is back! and I’ve been compelled to dip in here and there. The tones of blue in the sea are proving to be a source of intrigue, as they’re not as straight-forward as they may seem; in order to achieve one elusive tone, I found myself cautiously mixing phtalo blue, cobalt, a tiny dot of ivory black, and an atom of yellow ochre, before deciding to substitute the black for burnt umber.

The relationship between colours and how they combine fascinates me! Explaining to those who don’t practise art that a blue can contain  brown, black, and even ochre, feels as though I’m revealing some clandestine key.

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Whilst my home studio is a base for all my inspiration and tools – my pattern folder, old art/craft magazines, art postcards etc, over the years I’ve grown fond of inhabiting a quiet corner of a library – a haven from home. This week I’ve been squirrelling away in the reference section (often good for exquisitely illustrated nature books) trying out Derwent Inktense pencils and making notes for next month’s review.

Costing £29.99 in the Range (£40.75 on Derwent’s website) for a tin of 24, it;s understandable you’d want to ‘try before you buy’, which is where I’ve done the work for you! Look out for the full review next month, which as always will be straight to the point and up-front.

 

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Finally, I want to tell you about the Winter Exhibition at Y Galeri Caerffili, which is displaying a whole range of styles and mediums, and at which my piece ‘One For Sorrow’ is currently on show. The exhibition will run all this month and directions can be found on their facebook page: Y Galeri Caerffili facebook. If you can’t make it in person, you’ll find some images of the artwork on display on their page and on the website.

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‘One For Sorrow’, graphite & oils, Hanna-Mae Williams

 

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