Tag Archives: art

The Year of the Coloring Book: Coloring with Inktense

We’ve declared 2015 the Year of the Coloring Book! Johanna Basford has a new one coming out in February (Enchanted Forest) and that’s what kicked off our excitement, but it just seems like coloring is overall having a moment — there are some incredible new titles that we are having so much fun with.

Today I took home a new one from Peter Pauper Press called Joyful¬†Designs. It’s in their Studio¬†Series and it’s illustrated by Joy Ting. A couple really nice things — the art is printed on one side of each page only, so you can use pens, markers or even watercolors and it doesn’t matter if the color bleeds through to the back. And the pages are micro-perforated, so if you want to you can tear them out (or you can leave them in).

I started a design with Inktense colored pencils by Derwent. I’ve had these pencils for a while but never used them much. I bought them intending to use them on fabric (they’re permanent after being wet and then dried), but that project never got off the ground. So I had them hanging around and decided to try them on this project.

And I love them!

I started by coloring the whole design with the pencils. Then I brushed water over some parts of the design to get a watercolor look. In other areas I brushed water and then colored over the areas again — that gives some really intense color saturation. And I also tried dipping the tips of the pencils in water and adding accents that way. I found that I almost got TOO much color on the page with that technique, so I used it sparingly. Here are two pictures — one with the first layer of color, and the second after I added water and additional ink.

The colors got so intense that it’s sort of like a 1970’s look — very groovy.

Joyful Designs page colored with Inktense pencils

Joyful Designs page colored with Inktense pencils

Joyful Designs page colored with Inktense pencils, with water and additional ink

Joyful Designs page colored with Inktense pencils, with water and additional ink


Hands on with Master Kitz: The Starry Night

It was a little bit of a quiet day at Pufferbellies. (Yes, we get those every once in a while!) So Susan F and I decided to get some hands-on experience with a Master Kitz art kit by Kidzaw. Master Kitz guide children (and grownups) through the process of creating art inspired by masterworks — in this case, The Starry Night by van Gogh. We’ve carried these kits since last year, but I’d never had the chance to really use one before. I’m sorry I waited so long.

The kit has everything you need — a texture roller, a foam roller, acrylic paint, oil pastels, a gorgeous “composition stencil,” and high-quality art paper in a great size for framing (16″x20″). Plus, you get beautifully written step-by-step “inspiration” (not instructions!). You get the colors you need to capture the feeling of the original piece — the oil pastels are white, light blue, dark blue, orange and yellow, and the paints are blue, white and black. Instead of saying, “you can mix yellow and blue to get green,” the inspiration sheet simply says, “don’t be afraid to mix colors.” These words are clearly chosen carefully — I wanted green for my fields and the famous cypress tree in the foreground, but there wasn’t a green pastel. With the gentle encouragement to not be afraid, I was able to make many shades of green using the pastels in the kit — and I felt a little surge of accomplishment!

I’m so pleased that I got to spend some time with this kit today — it’s so well done, and I learned a lot about the artist and about the art itself. While we worked, Susan and I found ourselves talking about van Gogh’s life, asking questions about the materials he used in the original painting, and even hopping online to learn about the ingredients in oil pastels and acrylic paints. We were so taken with the project, we just wanted to keep learning more.

Kidzaw recommends the kits in their line for ages 5 to 105, and that seems right on the money to me. This would be a fantastic gift for a teenager or adult interested in learning about art and creating something beautiful — and, of course, a lovely gift for a child. At $30, I think it’s worth every penny. There’s so much to learn and experience, and you’ll end up with two simply gorgeous works of art to hang in your home or give as gifts.

master kitz the starry night

My "masterpiece" inspired by van Gogh's The Starry Night. Created with the help of Kidzaw's Master Kitz.

Crafternoon today – doily art

Our resident art major, Susan F., came up with a great project for Crafternoon today. With some doilies and Do-A-Dot markers (one of our favorite art supplies in the whole entire world), you can create a beautiful piece of art. Drop in between 3 and 5PM today to join us. Can’t make it today? We have Crafternoon every Wednesday. See you soon!



Stained-glass window Crafternoon

We’re having so much fun with our new weekly Crafternoons. Every Wednesday between 3 and 5PM, we invite kids of all ages to come make an art project with us and enjoy a free cookie. The crowds are beginning to grow, so we might even expand the program this summer. Yay!

This week, we made fancy stained-glass windows from tissue paper, waxed paper and liquid starch. Katie S. was kind enough to send us these great photos from the event.

Our friends Rob and Claire are Crafternoon regulars and wonderful artists.

Miss Susan designs a special art project for Crafternoon every week.

The finished product.

If you missed Crafternoon this week and you’d like to make your own stained-glass window at home, check out this video to see how it’s done:

Wednesday Crafternoons at Pufferbellies

Every Wednesday from 3PM to 5PM we host a great new program called Crafternoons. It’s free and fun for kids of all ages. We do a fun craft or art project at our big play table, and bake up fresh cookies to share. Here are a couple videos of our most recent Crafternoon projects — we hope to see you soon!