27 November 2013

Simple Robin Card 'How-To'

For a couple of years I have been making these robin cards and selling them at craft fairs, to friends and family, and, frankly, anyone who will buy one! Whilst I am not complaining about making a few pence, I thought I would let you all in on the secret because they are really so simple and you can adapt the technique for other things too. I have made baubles and Christmas puddings using this watercolour technique too.

What I love about watercolour is the lack of control you have over where the colour is going to end up. The more water you add the more 'colour bleed' happens and you end up with beautiful puddles of colour that are rich and glossy in places and transparent and matte in others. Here are some pictures to illustrate the various stages I take (written description below!):

 photo robin-cards_zps3a21038e.png
1. Dip your brush in water and paint a watery circle on the card. This allows the card to absorb some water and be ready for the watercolour paint.
2. Add your base colour to the circle of water and brush out two wings on the side (I use a reddy-brown shade) - at this stage I take a dry, bristly brush and flick the ends of the wings to look like feathers.
3. Get another shade (I use a darker brown) and load the brush with water and paint and drop it onto the robin so that the colour 'bleeds' out. If it is looking too full of water just use some kitchen towel to absorb the excess. The idea is to add base tones to the robin to form the main shape.
4. Allow this to dry completely and then repeat process. It is better to add thinner, more transparent layers and let to dry - this way you can see the layers once dry, which I think is beautiful.
5. Wet the middle, tummy, section of the robin and add oranges, reds and darker crimsons to form the red breast. I usually apply two layers, leaving to dry completely in between.
6. When the painting is done you can draw in the beak with coloured pencils or pens or stick on some coloured paper. Finally draw in the eyes and feet and you are done! (For an extra special festive touch why not cut out some red tissue paper or card for a Santa hat and add some cotton wool for the bobble - just for extra cute appeal!)

This is a simple little craft to do with your kids. With the younger ones you could just do some Christmas baubles. Make a large watery circle on some card or thick paper and drop lots of paint on - it will stay inside the circle and create some gorgeous patterns. Once dry add some glitter and hey presto!

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