Thursday 30 March 2023

Bits, Bobs and Two Unexpected Visitors...

Hello there, and as ever, hope that life is treating you well.

Now, this is the time when you get to peep behind the curtain, and see how creativity really works, instead of the, "yes, one-neat-product-appears-every-week," version of events into which this blog might (accidentally) have lulled you before now.

line and wash digital watercolour sketch of a sunny park garden bench with wisteria around it.
"Wisteria Bench" Work in Progress
Digital Watercolour Sketch
in Rebelle 5,
by Clare Walker

First up, there's a park/garden  bench sketch. I drew it mostly to celebrate humble-but-wonderful  benches in the sun, and a vague idea that, when finished,  it might one day join what I might (in a grandiose moment) call the "garden art series,"...The start of which is in my Society6 shop, at least for now.

Line and wash digital watercolour sketch of a ball of pink roses on top of a be-ribboned pole.
"Roses on a Pole"
Digital Watercolour sketch
 in Rebelle 5, by Clare Walker

Next there's these roses-on-a-pole. The start of a wedding design? Maybe. Something for May Day? It could happen. But they got created because they were fun and reminded me of summer on a rainy day. Which is much more in line with how creativity really works than the "uploading-on-a-schedule," online world might suggest.

And then there's this post itself. For a perfect Easter post, in a world of productivity-over-creativity, there should be bouncing bunnies or similar. (And yes,  it's with some relief that I can announce that there'll be a more "correctly" seasonal post (if you want to call it that) *next* week.

Those Two Unexpected Visitors...

But if I had gone along with that particular script this week, then some real life inspiration which landed in the window box,  three feet away from my keyboard, wouldn't have got a look-in, almost literally.

Let me introduce you to the first of them. Both these photos were taken by my husband, so massive thanks to him (a.k.a. often on this blog  as, "The Computer Man").

Photo of a very round robin on a window box.
Round Robin-Photo by Jim Fernbank

Yes, it's a robin. That most famous of Christmas birds (in the UK, anyway), gracing us with his presence (like the snow of  a couple of weeks ago) much closer to Easter.

I had a vague memory from childhood that robins like to eat tiny pieces of cheese.

That turned out to be the understatement of the century. He clearly *adored* cheese. And soon had us trained to leave out cheese for him in response to loud and disappointed squeaks each morning.

But the cheese kept disappearing *so* quickly, that we became suspicious. And sure enough, a second, sleeker robin is also dining at the window-box buffet.

Photo of a more svelte robin bird on a window box.
Sleek Robin- Photo by Jim Fernbank

Which, combined with the fairly recent memory of snow, now meant that a snowy Christmas design just had to be begun, at least, even though you might not see a final, end result,  "on" something, for months.

Line and wash digital watercolour work in progress sketch, featuring a red robin in the snow.
Red Robin Sketch
Work in progress digital watercolour
by Clare Walker

(And yes, I know that my robin sketch features a red bird, and these robins are distinctly orange. But I'll save that debate (and the huge, bizarre, difference in popularity between robin designs in each colour) for a post nearer Christmas.

It's *all* OK...

Thanks for reading down this far. This post has rather wandered and wound its way round, a bit like how creativity itself seems to work. Am hoping that it's been fun to read, and that it might explain why things don't or can't always seem to appear, "When they *should*". 

Most of all, I hope that it may have inspired you to follow through on creative ideas, whenever and however they appear for you. It's all *OK,* and you, I, or anyone else, all have permission to follow those inner-and outer-promptings, as they happen.

 Even if that does mean that you draw robins at Easter :-) .

That's all for now. But my current plan is to be back a little sooner next week, with some genuinely spring-like or Eastery treats.

More soon.


Thursday 23 March 2023

Poppies...In April?

Hello there, and hope you're thriving out there.

The image shows a line-and wash watercolour red poppy poster, with the (editable) text Stand Tall and Be Proud
Click or tap here to get this as a printed or printable poster at Zazzle
(and change the wording, if you wish).

The reason for today's title will be clear if you're in the still-chilly-where-is-the-Spring-we-were-promised UK, anyway (and maybe other places in the Northern Hemisphere).

In the Southern Hemisphere, I guess poppy season is at hand, or just finishing.

Anyway, am guessing that you weren't expecting poppies today, so I'd better explain how come they're here.

Basically, I've been taking time to do Karen Abend's, "Sketchbook Revival," challenge this year. No, not every one of the 26 sessions. But there are some great ones, especially if you're looking to establish (or re-establish, like me) a daily sketching practice that actually feels *fun*.

Close up of a line and wash sketched watercolour red poppy.
Close-up of these poppies in their original sketch...

For example, these poppies were inspired by a Jeanne Oliver video, in which she championed both contour botanical drawing (ie drawing first without taking the pencil off the paper if possible) *and* sketching in odd periods of time that crop up during the day, instead of a longer (but potentially more pressurising "session".

And so, the first sketch for these poppies was done in a stray 20 minutes before heading out, rather than a specially-allotted time. That felt incredibly liberating.

Yes, there was scanning and some extra digital work to get the final result, but joyful and easy production were definitely the name of the game with this one.

If Sketchbook Revival sounds like something you'd enjoy, then, as I type this, I think you can still sign-up. (That's not an affiliate link or anything, I'm just enjoying the sessions).

Photo of Red Poppies Watercolour line-andwash sketch by Clare Walker, BoundingSquirrel.Com
Yes, these poppies were originally in my sketchbook...

The sessions are free, and going out at the rate of two a day until the beginning of April. After which there's a decent interval in which to watch anything else you missed before it disappears. So as I type, it's still very much worth checking it out if you want to.

As far as I can tell, this runs most years. So if you're reading this later on and Sketchbook Revival has closed for now, have a look and see if you can sign-up for any kind of reminder next year. On the basis of that which have experienced so far, I can definitely recommend it.

On that note, it's time just to wish you a great week.

Thursday 16 March 2023

Pretty Pink Tulips for Mother's Day (and Beyond)...

Hello there

Do hope the week's been treating you well.

Picture shows a line and wash digital watercolour sketch of pretty pink tulips
"Tulips," by Clare Walker

The news from here is that my obsession with "garden flowers in interesting containers," seems to continuing, as you can see from these pretty pink tulips. (They are digital watercolours in Rebelle 5, but painted stroke by stroke with a graphics pen, as ever).

Could it be that this little run of paintings and drawings is turning into the very thing I once swore I'd never do...a series of related drawings and paintings :-) ? Watch this space...

Mother's Day is Coming...

If you're reading this soon after I type it, UK Mother's Day is this Sunday (March 19th 2023).

But fear not, because (whenever and to whomever you actually want to send it) you can still personalise and download this card on Zazzle.Com.

Picture shows pink tulip design on a physical card and its digital alternative on a phone
Click or tap here to see the card on Zazzle

And if you're reading this in March and feeling puzzled (because you live somewhere else), then know that this will also be available for when it's Mother's Day with you, later in the year.

Come to that, if you like the design, but want to send it for another reason, that's fine at any time, because both the physical and downloadable versions of the card can be changed to say whatever you want.

Finally, last but *not* least, the craft-kit version of this and all the "garden series" designs will also be up in my Craftsuprint shop, hopefully by the time you read this (a lot of painting also means a lot of uploading too :-) ).

Hope all of this helps, and have a lovely weekend, whether it's Mother's Day with you or not.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Escape Into a Secret Garden...

Hello there

This week's post is an invitation, to step into the imaginary world of a whimsical secret garden, full of cascading lavender,

Image shows a line and wash watercolour of a garden border, in which the focal point is purple lavender, cascading out of a large terracotta pot. The pot is laying on its side, which allows the lavender within it to cascade over a pale yellow garden gravel path.
"Lavender Cascade" by Clare Walker

quirky plant holders,

Image shows a digital watercolour line and wash sketch of a pair of green wellies (rainboots) filled with small pink flowers.
"Wellies and Flowers," by Clare Walker

and flower-filled planters...

Image shows a digital line and wash watercolour of a stone planter against the summer sky. The planter is full of small purple flowers and green leaves, some of which trail down the central column of the planter.
"Purple Floral Planter," by Clare Walker

In part, this images were a lovely way to escape from the really-very-cold-for-the-time-of-year weather here. And on a practical level, yes, they are likely to make an appearance in some downloadable craft sheets soon.

But they were also fun, relaxing, a homage to lovely parks and gardens everywhere...and something am feeling I might like to draw more often. Escaping to an imaginary secret garden, it turns out, isn't only for children...

For now though, hope you've enjoyed this, and that you have a great weekend.

More soon.

Thursday 2 March 2023

Instant Downloads Are Here

Hello there

Hope all's well with you, and that it's OK to be *really* excited in this post.
Because finally, finally (and can I say it again...*finally* :-) it's time to announce something have been wanting to share for weeks...

You can now instantly purchase download and print ready-designed funny greeting cards from my CartoonsbyClare  store on Zazzle, like this one:

Funny card which states that as beer contains hops, and hops are a vegetable, then beer must be healthy too. Statements have cartoon illustrations of beer and hops beside them, and the card has a golden background.
Beer Logic, now available as a download too

Zazzle beta-tested this for ages before making it all fully live (or advising any sellers to shout about it). Which was wise, but has also meant that have been keeping this secret since well before Christmas...And it's now March...

Why is this such a big deal?

 "Why is this such a big deal?" you may be asking. Fair point. Well... 

Before now, the (excellent quality) Zazzle cards had to be printed and arrive in the post? Well, they still can if you would like that. But instead or as well as that option, instant downloads mean that you don't have to wait for any cards to arrive in the post.

You can just download and print them straight after purchase. Which means that if need the card quickly, or live outside the USA, you can still have exactly the card you want, but now, you can have it instantly.

This is also great news for the planet, in terms of all the packaging and transport miles saved.

Can I still personalise the card before I buy it?

Yes, you can still personalise/personalize the cards before purchase. Here's an example of a card that people enjoy personalising. Eg. by changing the name of the recipient:

Card shows a girl with a large pony tail, surrounded by clothes and accessories on her bedroom floor, drawn in a cartoon style. THe caption reads "Cara wasn't untidy, she just preferred on-floor storage solutions"
Click or tap here to order the download or print
version of this card.

See this and lots more downloadable cards in my Cartoons by Clare Store on Zazzle.

What if I like sending or making physical cards?

Zazzle can still print your cards physically if you'd prefer that. And outside the Zazzle universe, for people who enjoy making cards from the (also instant-download) sheets and kits in my Craftsuprint store, there will still be new sheets and kits to enjoy.

The instant downloads option is designed for people who want the convenience and/or eco benefits of downloading, but don't want to make or design the cards themselves.


As a final note, I'd add that this isn't just for funny cards. You can download all sort of other cards, like the one below, and prints and posters too, from BoundingSquirrel, and the wider Zazzle site.

Hope this news feels as great to you as it does here...have been waiting a *long* time to make this post (and used to wish it were possible, well before Zazzle even suggested it to sellers).

If you're even just a bit curious about it, do have a look at some of the cards, and see if my downloads are something you might like.

And in any event, thanks so much for being here, and for reading down this far.

Have a lovely weekend, and more soon.