Thursday, 8 December 2022

Christmas Foliage Graphics...and a Quiz

Hello there

Hope you're well and thriving, and ready for some fun, as well as a not one, not two, but three freebies to download, as befits the approaching festive season.

You're welcome to use any of the set of three graphics in this post, in any way at all that matches my angel policy. Just right-click, tap or click (depending upon your device) on the graphic(s) you'd like to use, and the graphic should download.

And if you're not in need of freebies right well as if you are, this post is also a quiz.

Christmas Foliage Watercolour 2
Picture 2: Right-click, tap or click here to download

Each of the pics in this post was created in a different way. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to decide which method (A, B or C) matches which Picture 1, Picture 2 and Picture 3.

Free Christmas Foliage Watercolour Picture 3
Picture 3: Right-click, tap or click here to download.

Painting and Drawing Methods Used

Which of these methods do you think matches which picture? (You may have to scroll up  from here to see the pictures again).

Method A One of the pictures in this post was created using 100% digital watercolour painting and digital ink sketching,  in the wonderful Rebelle 5 app, (not an affiliate link, I just enjoy using it).

Method B One of the pictures was created by wetting hot-pressed, (ie smooth) 300g Bockingford Watercolour paper, splashing colours into wet areas, and then, when the areas were dry, inking in details with a black waterproof pen.

Method C One of the pictures in this post was created by sketching onto 300g cold-pressed Bockingford Watercolour Paper first, and then painting in details wet-on-dry (though white highlights were still added later).

Your answers

When you think you have your answers, check the PS at the bottom of this post, to see if you're right.

Please note, this quiz is just for fun, there are no prizes, and the answers are at the very bottom of this post, in the P.S. section.

Whilst I'm in the business of making sure that there's enough text here to obscure the answers, this is probably a great point to remind you that my Redbubble shop is still a great place to look for gifts (most still in time for Christmas, or of course, any other time of year), and that  the printable designs in my Craftsuprint shop can be downloaded 365 days a year.

With that said, I hope you had fun with this post today, and/or found something you wanted in one way or another. It's only left for me to wish you a happy week, and promise that there will be more from me soon as well as...

A P.S with the quiz answers...

And the answers are:

Picture 1 was painted using method B. The surface is smooth (ie hot pressed) and the end result has a pretty sploshy wet-in-wet look.

Picture 2 was painted using method A, and is therefore, 100% digitally painted, (even though the digital paper behind it has a really convincing rougher/"cold-pressed paper" look).

Which means that Picture 3 used method C, with its rougher paper and penwork that am feeling now might have been a little over-the-top :-) .

Whatever your answers, hope you had fun, and see you next week.

Thursday, 1 December 2022

A (Hopefully) Topicalish Football/Soccer Cartoon

three players are surprised when their team bus in the desert turns out to be a camel train...

Hello there. Hope you're doing well this week.

It's been a while since I posted a cartoon here. So, this week, as a football-mad family member enjoyed this on his card a few days ago, thought would share it on the blog to raise a smile.

Note: if football (soccer) isn't your thing, you have my sympathy. It isn't so much mine, I just have *lots* of family members who like it.

Disclaimer number one: yes, in case anyone asks, I *know* that in reality there were buses of the more conventional kind.

Disclaimer number two: if by the time you're reading this, any team which you happen to support is no longer in the competition, v. sorry, and hope this can at least help you have a laugh. 

In any event, this is just a bit of fun that I hope you enjoy it at a busy time of year.

For which reason, I'll stop waffling, but wish you a happy week.

More soon.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Free Gratitude Animated Gif

Animated Gif spelling out the hand-leeters of the word gratitude, each on a different colour of the rainbow in the background, in watercolour.
Gratitude animated gif-click, tap or double-click here to download

Well hello there. I know that many people who visit BoundingSquirrel are from the USA, so if that's you, and you celebrate it, hope you are enjoying that.

If you are, then you probably have lots else going on, so I'll be brief. This "Gratitude" animated gif is a freebie, there's nothing to buy. Please just download, use it as much as you want, for Thanksgiving and *any other time* you want to thank someone or be grateful. (For those who like this kind of thing, my terms of use are generous, and located here).

For the rest of us (and I know that also includes some people in the States, it's just that this isn't a political blog) then it still can't harm to spread and feel some gratitude in the world, can it? 

For what are you grateful, happy and thankful? And if that includes a person or group and you'd like to use this gratitude gif to say so, please do. 

(Or this image from a previous year, if you prefer...I'm British, but love the chance to express gratitude so overtly every year...and am aiming to be less bashful about it the rest of the time too).

Thank you so very much for being here, and for being you.

Have a lovely weekend, and more soon.

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Driving Gnome for Christmas...

Hello there-hope you're having a great week.

It's definitely time for some silliness, whimsy, and quite possibly the worst pun I've ever inflicted upon anyone....In the form of the new "Driving Gnome for Christmas," design...

This Card in CHristmas red and white features a watercolour gnome who's driving, and the caption, "Driving Gnome for Christmas".
Buy and customise this card on Zazzle...

If you like the gnome but not the caption, you can customise it as much as you'd like by clicking here.

And if you'd like some red and white whimsy that's quite a lot more subtle, the gnome theme turns into red and white paisley-type patterns in my Redbubble shop.

To see what I mean, take a look at the pattern on:

Ever-popular cushions and pillows...

Christmas Gnome Cushion/Pillow

An apron that could really kick off some festivities...

Photo of a gnome-patterned apron
Christmas Gnome Apron

A nifty alternative to the Santa sack...

Photo of a gnome patterned drawstring bag

A great gift for any gnome-lover with an Iphone...
(What an interesting Venn diagram that would be...)

Photo of a gnome patterned iphone case.
Christmas gnome Iphone soft case

Or a stylish alternative to the Christmas jumper...

Photo of a smiling girl in a gnome patterned red and white top.
Christmas Gnome Sleeveless Top

Hope that these spark some ideas for you, or in any event, make you smile.

Onto something very different in the next post, I promise.

More soon.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Why I'm Leaving Facebook and Instagram

Cartoon showing a woman texting her determination to leave a social media site.
"Social Media Break-Up," Cartoon by Clare Walker
Hello there

And you can probably tell from this cartoon what kind of a week it's been here.

It all started last Saturday, when I realised that had spent a huge amount of precious weekend time...Relaxing? Oh no, no such luck. In touch with friends...Nope, sadly.

No, I'd spent it wading through "communications" within BoundingSquirrel's Facebook and Instagram accounts, that whilst purporting to be from real people, were little more than spam,

Why on earth (for example, there were many more) would someone contact an *art* channel wanting to know if I would promote their sportswear for example? (Trust me, for anyone who *really* knows me, that's even more of a joke than you might think :-) ).

And those emails were about the best of it. Suspicious, scammy messages from strangers wanting to "wholesale," but strangely not mentioning which products were of interest? Yup, they were there.

And more that were yuckier and even more phishing in their intent than that.

Yet whatever I do, FB and Instagram keep prompting me to "reply" to this nonsense.


And the number of comments from real people, wanting to make a *real* point?

There was one, just one. (And if you're reading this, I suspect you know who you are...Thank you, and as you well know, if everyone sending messages were like you, this post wouldn't be happening).

And anyway, how could I blame anyone for being silent, when even getting BoundingSquirrel posts seen these days seems like a matter of pure chance?

Worse still, being seen in friends' posts (and thereby being able to be helpful/cheerful/ do some wider good, or whatever), seems just as unlikely these days as well.

Thinking the unthinkable...

My enormous frustration then led me to think the unthinkable. Could I "break-up" with these sites?

As an experiment, I tried going without both sites for the next five days.

And they were the most productive five days I've had for years. (Yes, there will be pics, am just addressing this topic first).

The upshot

The upshot is that I won't be posting on Facebook or Instagram for the foreseeable future. (I would say never, but trying to get rid of those accounts made breaking into Fort Knox look like a walk in the park).

But I'll still be posting here on BoundingSquirrel (and probably more often, now that a huge amount of stress around it has lifted).

If you want to keep following...

Sooo, if you want to keep following (and yes, of course, in fairness, this is a great opportunity for you to assess that as well) then please click on this link and sign-up

With luck, this blog will be back to the kind of, "peep into my sketchbook," calm that it always used to have.

Thanks so much for reading this

Take care, and more soon.

Friday, 4 November 2022

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...A Great Debate?

Hello there. 

And as you an probably tell from the distinctly festive picture below, it's that time of year again.

No, not the time of year for Christmas itself, but the *contentious * time of year. That time of year in which the super-organised (I salute you, really I do) have all their lists under control, and are champing at the bit to begin, or even to finish, their Christmas shopping...And the rest of us...aren't.

So, you may be thinking, as someone who clearly identifies with the second group, why oh why would I be peppering this post with images of new Christmas card early November? Have I turned into an ultra-cynical marketer? (Before we go anywhere else on this, let me say to that last one, I so very much hope not).

I certainly always used to be the sort of person who never thought about Christmas at all until December 1st. That was, in part, a bid to keep things feeling seasonal special (if you know anything about me from the BoundingSquirrel Blog, it is, after all, that I love a bit of seasonally-appropriate art, and actually, historically anyway, have found it really difficult to create items which feel seasonally different to the prevailing vibe around me).

Am also very aware that lots of people celebrate wholly other festivals, or prefer to lead a celebratory life day-by-day, rather than one centred around any festivals at all.

Why think about Christmas now?

This though, is a distinct disadvantage to being a designer who puts Christmas off, in a world in which:

 a) The aforementioned wonderously-organised people also live,

 b)  The design industry routinely asks people to design for Christmas in July, if not earlier (there is documentary footage from a "How do they make that" type of TV programme that was on last year here in the UK,  showing the people in the Woodmansterne factory doing just that...I salute them, too), 

c) Department stores open their Christmas shops in September,

d) People may need to order by post (as with print-on-demand cards from Zazzle) and supply chains and postal services across the globe are are, shall we say, not as robust as they used to be, and

e) Anyone making cards to sell (which you can absolutely do if you print out the card sheets sold in my Craftsuprint shop, by the way) needs time to make and sell them before Christmas,

f) Shopping earlier can often be cheaper, 

g) I've experienced people saying, "I would love to have bought your cards, but they came out too late for this year," one too many times., and...

h) Above all, Christmas is supposed to be about peace, love and joy, and having any excuse to spread those around can never be a bad thing, can it?

A peaceful solution

So, in the interests of bringing some of that peace to this great debate (OK, I know it's a minor one really, but let's start somewhere, hey?) I propose a solution as follows.

I make this one post now, so that all you lovely, wonderously-organised people know that you can find all these cards to customise here, and to make from sheets you print out, here

And then...

Picture of the 14 illustrated watercolour Christmas card sheets, backgrounds, embellishment and verse sheets that make up this mix 'n match kit.
*Starry Christmas* Mix and Match Christmas Bumper Kit

And then, though I might reference the upcoming season or post some pics about new designs that happen to be on the drawing board (after all, it's good to share excitement and joy, right?) I'll do my best to ensure that the blog posts talk about lots of other lovely things instead.

Update November 10th 2022: It turns out that quite a lot of people who like it here are wanting Christmas designs right now. Which is something of a relief, as that's most of that which I'm working on at the memoment.

So, I'll be posting simply that which I've done and is there to be shared, from now on, if that's OK with you.

More soon.

PS. Thanks also for reading down this far!

Thursday, 27 October 2022

Free Happy Halloween Gif (and a Sale...)

Hello there.

Now, before I go any further with this post, if you are scared of spiders, please know that, I am as well.

Which made it both bizarre even to have *had* the idea for the Halloween gif below, and essential that the spider therein be the cutest and most smiley, goggley-eyed creature I could muster.

A spider appears and disappears ina web against an orange background, with a Happy Halloween message in a scary font appearing and disappearing as well.
Click, right, click or tap here to download and use this gif if you wish

I hope therefore, that everyone can enjoy this gif, however they feel about spiders (please do download and use this image if you'd like, ready for 31st.). Alternatively, there is also a Halloween, "Friendly Ghost," gif from a previous year here. (Terms of use for all my freebies are here).

Nothing spooky about this sale, though...

In other news, I just wanted to let you know that *all* the printables in my Craftsuprint shop (over 450 of them, now) are on sale from today 28th October to the 31st October 2022. This is the last full sale of these that I plan to run before Christmas, so it's a great time to stock up on any printable sheets you've had your eye on.

Here's the link to the shop again:

Equally, if you're reading this after Oct 31at 2022, the sale will be over. The link will still point to shop goodies though :-).

And with all of that said, it's time just to wish you a lovely weekend (or day, if you're reading this later).

Friday, 21 October 2022

An "Autumn Bounty" Thank You Design...

          A picture showin how the "Autumn bounty card would look made up as a thank you card. The card features a watercolour leaf arragement on the front, and rich autumnal reds, golds and oranges.

Hello there and hope you've had a good week.

I'm posting this later than I'd like, for reasons to do with minor home improvements that *finally* finished today and will leave us better-prepared for winter...Yay!

So there was time after all for this week's card sheets, which are perfect for this season, and all designed on the theme of rich autumn or fall colours, autumnal bounty, falling leaves, and the idea of thanks and thankfulness. (They should all be available in my Craftsuprint shop by the time you read this).

Because, whatever is going on in the world at large, it would be pretty difficult to feel anything but thankful for some of the beautiful, golden-washed scenes the Computer Man and I have been lucky enough to enjoy and capture this year...and whose colours were a *big* inspiration behind today's sheets.

Like this shot of a pergola in Southwark Park...

A photo of red and green autumnal leaves over a pergola in Southwark Park, London.

Or the changing colours in the lesser-known little gem that is Downhills Park...

Photo of trees i9n Downhills Park, each in a different shade of autumn colour.

We've been so spectacularly lucky with the conditions this autumn, that even our neighbour's rosebush has come over the wall and got in on the act. (Who knew that roses could make an *autumnal* spectacle too?...Maybe everyone but me ;-) )...

A photo of a rosebush with golden leaves

I guess the point is, whatever's going on in this particularly crazy world in which we seem to be living right now, beauty and nature are constants, and whatever else is also true, I'm so, so, grateful for that colour, beauty and joy.

Friday, 14 October 2022

A Cute Halloween Cat for the Spooky Season...

Hello there, and I hope all's great with you.

Every year, around the Halloween season, I face the same dilemma. Pictures, card sheets and products for it are supposed to be spooky. And yet, "spooky," isn't my natural stamping ground, whereas "cute and whimsical," ideas come more naturally.

A smiling illustrated black cat against an orange background.
Halloween Black Cat image by Clare Walker
Click here to see it on stickers at Redbubble.

So am hoping that this Halloween cat can cover both bases, and be useful to you this Halloween season, whether you need him for crafting and card sheet purposes, or on some ready-made stickers and other goodies.
A hand crafted black cat halloween card in several layers
Halloween Black Cat Design by Clare Walker,
Papercrafting and photo by Marion Kimberley-Scott

Once again, the wonderful Marion Kimberley-Scott has demonstrated far better than I ever could, the wonders you can make if you choose this cat as a printable card sheet (see the pictures above and below). Thanks so much, Marion (and for the permission to use your pics)..

And with that, will just wish you a happy weekend (or day, depending on when you're reading this.

More soon.

Friday, 7 October 2022

Rebelle 5 Initial Review, and Cosmos in a Field...

Hello there and I hope you're  doing well, wherever and however you find yourself today.

Update on Oct 14th: This post originally referred to a Rebelle 5 sale, through which I bought Rebelle 5, but which  has now closed.

The review, the resulting picture, and that which the picture became, still hold good, though. :-)

Digital pen and wash painting of cosmo flowers wafting happily in a summer field.
Cosmo Flowers in a Field, by Clare Walker, BoundingSquirrel.Com.
Digital Watercolour in Rebelle 5.

This is in no way a full review,  (just an initial one) as this is my first outing with Rebelle 5. But the painting above took only about two-and-a-half-hours (and that's including watching an introduction video or two and getting re-acquainted with the user interface). My first thoughts from all that are:

-It is incredibly intuitive and easy to use.

-Unlike other apps and software, it seems to focus primarily on bringing the feeling of using "traditional supplies," to the digital user.

-I loved the mixing possibilities, and the huuuuuge sizes and resolutions at which it seems Rebelle 5 can now export files (all whilst keeping a painterly look and not having to vectorise them-that's a big plus).

-The real paint granulation, textures, splatters and paper textures are incredibly authentic. (I admit it, I squealed with joy when I saw some of them in action...). You don't even need to take my word for this, as the effects are right there in the painting above.

On the other hand...

Should probably also add that I'm probably now ready for Rebelle in a way that I wasn't when testing it for the first time. I'm using a faster computer, and a small Wacom tablet, for one thing. 

But more importantly, I now have a lot more experience and practice in traditional watercolour than I did then. And I think that that experience really helped me to "hit the ground running," this time.

There's more...

Rebelle 5 also includes lots and lots of brushes and tools that aren't watercolour, such as digital acrylics, which do look great fun to try (and would probably put me off with their messiness in a traditional art context...I may be the only art person anyone knows who *hates* the feeling of extreme gunk on their hands...:-) ).

It looks like it's going to be a fun winter of digital painting ahead around these parts. :-) :-) :-).


One person who has already visited the shop for these is the wonderful Marion Kimberly-Scott, whose lovely pic of the cards she made as a result are is featured below, with her permission, and my grateful thanks.

Photo o a hand nade card featuring pink cosmo flowers in several  layers.
Card made by Marion Kimberly Scott
from a design by Clare Walker.
 (Photo used by kind permission of Marion also)

Take care, and more soon.