Friday, 29 July 2022

Free Poppy Watercolour August Illustration

Hello there

Hope all is well with you.

Over in these parts, the spirit of summer is alive and kicking...Not least in the free illustration for August, which is these watercolour (watercolor in the US, I know!) poppies. Which I have (again!) finally remembered to post just before August, so that you can use it (if you'd like)  ahead of time in your projects, blog posts, newsletters or pretty much whatever you fancy.

Red Poppies against green stalks and a blue sky with fluffy white clouds, in loose watercolour/watercolour, with splashes. August is handlettered in white against the sky, like a wispy cloud.
Loose Watercolour Poppies August Illustration by Clare Walker
Click, right-click or tap here to download.

Terms of use are here. And as ever, just right-click on the image and save, or tap and save, depending on your device.

These poppies are (still reasonably unusually for me) done in traditional line and wash watercolour, using Inktense paints. They are (even more unusually for me) done "wet-in-wet" (ie the paper and the paint are both soaking wet and the whole thing is a deliberately sploshy and runny experience...Hmmm, it looks like our hot summer is having more of an impact on me than I realised).

They hail from (yet again) that birthday which I can't stop harping on about. Jim and I, and our friends on the wild and windy day out took loads of photos of the poppies...Which were stunning, and a testament to the amount of wildflowers being put back into the landscape (yay!).

When I was a small child having birthdays in a similar part of the country, the reverse was happening. So it's great to know that some things really have got better with time, and that very often, the wheel turns in ways that are beautiful, and beneficial, too.

(By the way, if you've read this blog for a while, and you're thinking that I have a bit of a, "thing" about poppies, you're right. The evidence is here, and here amongst other places).


You'll never believe this, but I was actually going to to put info about a new release into this post too . (How did I ever think that would fit or work? Slaps forehead.) 

Think will save that for next week, as this is turning into a long post itself (as ever, thank you for reading down this far). However, if you're the kind of person who likes hints and sneak peeks, an old friend that I know a lot of my customers like (thanks so much for your support) the Happy Crab makes a re-appearance in the new sheets too...

A happy red crab in digital line and wash...
"Happy Crab" illustration, by Clare Walker, BoundingSquirrel.Com

Finally, should also just let you know that there's a previous August illustration if you prefer sunflowers to poppies (Or want both. Why choose? Go on, go wild...).

And on that note, will wish you a lovely week.

More soon.

Friday, 22 July 2022

New "Snowy Cottage" Design, and a A *Christmas in July* Sale

Snow Cottage Christmas Card in line and wash watercolour
Click or tap here for details about this design

Hello there

Hope you're doing well (and beating the heat, if that is affecting you too).
Though things are fresher now, but this week's post came from a big need to cool off around these parts.

"What better way to do that," I thought, "than to offer some more Christmas designs..."

So, the "Snowy Cottage," you see above  was a welcome refuge from the heat (as was the insert sheet that goes with it). It's based on a line-and-wash traditional watercolour of mine, with added digital glitter effects in the background.

Christmas in July, for 30% off...

But to bring in even more that's cool  (in all senses) I hope, **** from July 22nd-29th 2022*** I'm running a 30% discount on 12 of my best-selling Christmas designs

Perfect if you want to make cards for sale at autumn fairs, grab a bargain...or just fancy cooling off with some more snowy fun. You can see and buy everything on sale by clicking or tapping here.

Happy Christmas-in-July!

More soon.

Monday, 18 July 2022

Cute and Sleepy Dog Animated Gif

Animation showing a sleeping yellow dog who sometimes snores, going zzzzz
Tap or right-click to download and share if you wish

Hello there

If you're feeling in need of a "sleeping dog" animation, (and who wouldn't be, really?) this is for you. Whether (like me today) you're feeling hot and sleepy, or a need to be cosy, or just love dozing pups and pooches...You're welcome to download and share this image.

More soon (and if you're in a heat-affected area, stay cool, too)

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Thursday, 14 July 2022

And All Because I Promised to Send a Postcard...

Hello again, and hope you're well and feeling good.

So, last week's post was ultra-short, and I promised to tell you why.

Basically, I had a birthday (one of the ones that people more numerically-minded than me appear to get more stressed about than I did).

And so much unexpected loveliness got thrown at me (thanks everyone, you know who you are!) that I was (and still am, really) totally out of kilter. (Not complaining in any way, mind you, just saying :-) ).

Just one of the pieces of loveliness was this nifty-looking "paint your own postcards" set.

Photo of a Paint your own postcards set

I would link to it, but can't find it anywhere on the web. Though its makers, Flying Tiger, do seem to make do lots of other and nifty eco-minded products. 

How does it work?

The basic premise is that it's a pack containing, *25* postcards. Each postcard sheet is detachable, but-and this is the clever bit-each sheet also comes with a detachable palette of six colours, the paint in the palette being fused to the paper, but easily water-soluble.

Obviously, I was hooked...

Obviously, I was hooked, just on seeing the set (it comes complete with a small flat brush as well). So hooked in fact that (knowing how much fun it was  going to be to play with this) I blithely promised the donors that *of course,* I would send them a thank you postcard very shortly.

In fact, I was planning several thank-you postcards, including for these beauties...(They are so beautiful, and still going strong, well into their second week of crazy-high's amazing).

Photo of a beautiful bunch of purple, pink and white flowers in a vase

After all, in the joy of using fresh supplies, what can *possibly* go wrong? :-)

And so, I sat down to use the paints...

Having learned an absolute ton from the wonderful Lindsay Weirich's art lessons on YouTube, I know that it's really important to "swatch out" the colours in any new art supply or set. This is so that you can see what they actually look like when not in a palette form, and when blended together, using various brushes. And, thanks to Lindsay, that's what I always do.

I soon discovered that, whilst I had a personal preference for using them with  my trusty Pentel Water Brushes (yes, that *is* an affiliate link, they're amazing) the paints themselves were lovely, mixing and granulating to beautiful natural colours, as the swatch card made on the back of the pack cover, shows...

Photo of paints swatched out

Then, came the postcards themselves...

I had already noticed that the surface of the cards was somewhat shiny. "Maybe that's because they have to resist the watercolours enough to survive transit and arrive in one piece, " I reasoned.

The "grams per square metre," measurement ( I think it's  a weight measurement...the upshot is that it lets you know how thick a particular piece of paper is) had already had me wondering too...

At 180 gsm, I wondered if it would withstand the amount of water you need to use to get watercolours to, well, look like watercolour. (Standard watercolour paper, by the way, is usually 300 grams per square metre, or approximately 110 lbs per square inch, I believe, in the USA).

But even that didn't ring too many alarm. Depending on the paper, with an old envelope or silicone mat behind the paper, and gentle water usage, I've  easily got away with180 gsm before...

Except that...

This time, I couldn't get away with it. The colours were lovely, and *such* fun to use... I wanted to see them blend and granulate. Which somehow, they couldn't seem to do without my having to soak the postcards 'til they buckled.

I was always brought up to believe that, " a bad workman always blames his tools,". So am more than happy to admit I was probably doing something wrong, and would be happy to be corrected by anyone with more knowledge of these postcards than I have. I will update this post immediately if that happens.

But the net result was that I ceased to aim for the beautiful and complex vase of flowers...and just about pulled off some roses before the paper buckled completely...

Photo of a pink watercolour rose painting

Which, with a trip through the scanner and some digital cossetting, became the design in "last" week's post (which may or may not get added to again, in its digital form).


I still had that promise to keep, remember. If the watercolours didn't seem to work on these cards (for whatever reason-maybe even the extreme heat here this week) what else might? And, what else might that could itself withstand transit in the post?

I tried pretty much every art supply I own, (heck, that was fun...) and ended up using...the chunky magnetic whiteboard markers we use to add things to the shopping list board each week.

Yes, they are very good for our whiteboard, and hence this is an affiliate link too, but not necessarily a first-choice for postcards...:-) :-) :-). 


Finally, I was able to send  sent the promised card anyway...

A thank you postcard

And to the people receiving this card, please know that a) I still love the gift, b) it was massive fun to use, c) I now have supplies I know I can wreck (which is true freedom).

And so...

If you're still reading down this far, thank you, and you're amazing. You're now also pretty much up-to-date with everything arty around here (which is more than I am ;-) ).

But some things never change, and so, as ever, have a happy weekend, and...

More soon.


Friday, 8 July 2022

New Design: Cottage Roses

Hope you're doing well, whatever the latest in your corner of the world. This week's post is ultra-short, but there is a happy, happy reason why, I promise.

 Just wanted to pop on here and share this pic with you as a quick peek, in preparation for the full story behind it which I'll post in a few days' time.

In the meantime-happy weekend!


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