07 Jun

Printing onto fabric

A good friend of mine and I were talking about different ways to personalise shoes and apparel. So behind the scenes, I have been experimenting with different print methods. I have tried to get one-off print jobs done but I couldn’t find people willing to print just one t-shirt, so, I thought, I would just do it myself.  I can hand paint onto fabric and this does last a long time but it also takes me a long time and I wanted to offer something else, a little cheaper. If you’d like to have a go yourself, here is a summary of my research so far:

Did you know that you can print your own shirts and bags using your printer and freezer paper? All you do is reverse the image, print it onto freezer/greaseproof paper and immediately (it has to be immediately) iron it to the shirt.  It lasts longer if you use a fixative substance like Retayne.  So simple, and a method available to anyone with a printer, and iron and some non stick kitchen paper.

Again using the printer you already own, you can buy photo transfer paper which like the freezer paper you print onto and then iron onto your choice of shirt, or even shoe.  It helps here if you have a clear image.  I used an image of a pug and it worked ok, but the colours looked a bit murky and on a t-shirt, there is a definite stiffness, a coating on the fabric.  I don’t know whether that was my budget printer ink or the method itself, or even if I needed a bit more practice but I felt that method was handy to know but not what I was seeking.  It has washed well, but cracked over time. I tried applying the image to a shoe but it’s kinda hard ironing onto a small curved surface and I messed it up.

Photo transfer medium lets you print onto normal printer paper and transfer it to your  desired surface.  This is an interesting method, with no irons involved and it works really well but does leave too much of a stiffness on the fabric which is not ideal for a fabric such as a t-shirt. It has not cracked in the wash though and the design lasted through different temperatures.   It would work better on an already stiffer fabric like denim , or on a bag, or even a wood block maybe. It’s a bit like a glue, you put the stuff on, pop the printer paper on, (following the instructions on the product) wait for it to dry and then rub the paper off. Magic!

I have wanted to learn about printing for a long time and have been eyeing up courses locally but they are prohibitively expensive and require early and daily attendance which is just not possible for a single mother.  Then by sheer luck, I stumbled across an online course called Learn How to Screen Print.  So I dived right in.  It’s an extremely intense course and requires a fair bit of familiarity with Adobe Photoshop, but I figured I could handle that. The learning curve is steep but right from lesson one , I realised that screen printing was the thing I had been looking for.

Before I had finished all of the modules I had built my own press for less than a tenner (and some wood I had round the house, I’m an inventor, I hold onto useful things), ordered a couple of inks, a screen and a squeegee and printed my first t-shirt using the stencil method, with a less than cheap but still very useful and eternally versatile Silhouette cutting machine.

Screen printing by hand is so satisfying and the waterbased ink I use is such a wonderful smell.   Unlike other methods or other inks, the waterbased ink becomes one with the fabric and lasts as long as the shirt does, with no peeling or cracking.

I think I’ve made every schoolgirl printing error now, so, if you know of any fixes to common mistakes or have tips on how to avoid them, please, let me know in the comments below.  They will be gratefully received.

20 May

#shoutoutrevolution – MTMT Designs

A massive shout out to another shoe artist here:

Who are you and what do you do? 
I’m Maggie, a proud Malaysian, graduated university with a business degree and I like to call myself as a creative person as I am one with many roles. My day job is managing food and beverage marketing for 10 different outlets; I am also working part time for a beauty company on affiliate marketing; and I leave my free time for my passion – art. Other freelance roles include emceeing, dancing, and copywriting.

When did you begin your art journey?
My parents signed me up for art classes when I was about 7 years old. I won a couple of art competitions in school and actually thought of pursuing art for my tertiary education, but was turned down by my parents because they don’t think it will be a career. The actual art journey began during my university days where it started off as a gift giving gesture for a friend’s birthday, my work then became a topic on social media and were increasingly demanded among my friends, so I eventually decided to turn my artwork into a customised shoe painting business back in the year 2010, I was 19 then. I name the business MTMT designs, it represent the initials of my full name. Till date, as paint works evolved into different mediums as well, I have clients from close to 12 countries globally, about 10 pieces of public murals in Malaysia and taught close to a 100 students for workshops. Services provided include customized shoe painting, canvas painting, mural works, painting workshops and also CSR projects.

I mainly use acrylic for my painting, and I’m trying to pick up watercolour and chalk to broaden my art capabilities.

MTMT Designs will continue to strive for a better position towards the contribution of Malaysia’s art scene.

What inspired you to create your form of art?
I particularly enjoyed recreating an art piece of an artist, it gives me a sense of achievement of being able to achieve what they created. I’m also slowly moving into a phase where I can create my own style and designs, it’s taking me a while to get there because I am still not having the right confidence with my creations.

What is your one essential tool that you cannot live without (for your art)?
My paint brush! (and paint!) It’s brutal to keep this to ONE haha.

Where can I find you on the web?
I use to have a website but closed it down because I don’t have time to manage it, right now it’s mainly on my social media platforms:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mtmtdesigns
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mtmtdesigns

What do you like to do when you are not creating?
Working out at the gym, playing with my dog, reading, travelling

Have you got any pets?
Yes! A toy poodle with the name Jasper. He’s our first family pet and he’s a bundle of joy. Always bumming around the house looking for snacks and he loves playing fetch in the house.

What is your favourite art book? (or, what are you reading at the moment, your choice)
No particular favourite art book, I’m reading “Blue Ocean Strategy” at the moment.

05 May

#shoutoutrevolution Twotone Art

Introducing Twotone Art:

Who are you and what do you do?
Hello, my name is Clare and I am an Artist. It took me a while to admit that I was one, I never felt good enough within myself. But I’m there now, even though my family and friends are rolling their eyes as if to say “Well, duh, we told you that ages ago! So it’s all good!

My main form of art is drawing in Graphite pencil, although, when I started being more serious with producing art, I used a lot of Black Indian Ink. (Hence, Twotone) I LOVE faces! Drawing faces is my first passion. To be able to capture their essence within a drawing is a true delight. Although now writing this down, I do sound like a dark witch! Hahaha! But its true. If I don’t get their sense of who they are when I draw their eyes, I know it’s not going to come out as good.

I have recently, began to try new things. I’m giving acrylic paints a go. It’s different and I’m enjoying the journey. Colour always frightened me, I never knew what colour went where. Now though, I just go with it. Having fun is a priority, just create! And even if I create more art with colour, Twotone will always be me.

When did you begin making your two toned art? 
I came up with Twotone about 6-7 years ago now I suppose. I was drawing a lot with ink, so it was only natural for me to use it as a logo. I didn’t even pick up a pencil until 2003. I never thought I could draw. It was only when the car was bashed into and had to get repaired that I was stuck on what to do. My husband bought me a watercolour set to keep me busy, I never felt comfortable with that medium, but it gave me the kick I needed and it went on from there.

What inspired you to create your form of art?
Easiness! Hahaha! Or, what I thought was easy. But it never is as plain sailing as you first think. But with all forms of art, you evolve, you change the way you first do things. It’s natural. When I look back at what I did at the beginning, it’s nothing to how I create now. But I don’t see my past drawings and go “Oh my God! How awful.” Because, at that time, it was the best I could create.

Don’t ever think what you create is rubbish, hard I know, because we are our own worse critics. What you create, whatever medium you use, it’s a part of you. You put your time and effort into creating it so don’t demean what you’ve done.

What is your one essential tool that you cannot live without (for your art)?
That would be my mechanical pencil. A close second is a blending stick. My mechanical pencil has drawn many things with me, it’s never failed me.

Where can I find you on the web?
http://Www.twotoneart.co.uk/
https://www.instagram.com/twotoneart/
https://www.facebook.com/TwotoneUK/
https://twitter.com/twotoneart
I’ve also put some of my art on Redbubble, not too long ago, so things are still fairly limited. Here’s the link if you so desire to pop along. https://www.redbubble.com/people/TwotoneArt

What do you like to do when you are not creating?
Thinking about what I can create! Ideas keep popping up at the oddest of times. I have a notebook with me at all times, even though if someone else reads what I’ve written it’ll look like a weird code as my brain is way to fast for my writing. So, for example, it’ll have “Nebulas, get thingy paint, and scribble down parts.” Very professional as you can see.

I also love gardening. To be out with the plants and trees is just so energy giving. I also love walking around where I live. I have fields all around me, and there’s a beautiful stream nearby, where I love gathering my thoughts… And new ideas for art.

Have you got any pets?
I do! I have a rescue staffy dog named Jazz. She is just coming up 9 and she is a bundle of bounce. There’s also Runner Ducks and I’m hoping soon enough to bring in some rescue hens.

What is your favourite art book/what are you reading at the moment?
I don’t have a specific art book that’s a favourite, but I do love looking at other peoples art.

I swear on my IG, I am scrolling and liking other artists pieces. There’s SO much amazing talent out there. And they need to know that they are supported. My favourite ‘go to’ book though is Jane Eyre. I have read it so much, I don’t really need to read the words!

13 Apr

The back story

I often get asked when and how I started to draw on shoes.  The timeline around that era is fuzzy in my memory because it was a time of extreme stress, as you are soon to find out.

I’ve been an artist since mid 2015, after a 25 or so year break.  I got  D in design at school and was steered towards more academic subject matter, though I used to spend hours and hours drawing as a teenager.  Before I was a mother, I worked as a lecturer in IT.   My qualifications are post-grad Computing.  I had drawn on my sons shoes before, he likes batman and superhero stuff, so it was a nice way to brighten up a pair of shoes for him and make them unique.  I used to use sharpies but they have a tendency to bleed a little into the fabric, so it’s hard to get a good thin line.

Some time around 2015, I had some faded old Toms that still had loads of wear left in them but had got muddy and tired.  I dyed them black and painted a little dandelion on them with some fabric paint (I think it was) and stuck a little twinkly bit on them.  Way cheaper than a new pair!  I continued to upcycle my own things to save money.

Back at that time in my life I began to be aware that I was being stalked.  Things had been happening that I couldn’t understand but what I did not know was that my son’s father was stalking me.  We were going through the family court system at the time and when the court was presented with the evidence that he was stalking me, they gave him the go-ahead to continue, saying that because of the ongoing proceedings, it was “research”.  The police thought differently though and after several breaches of a restraining order he went to prison, for a very short spell.

In 2015 I was working as a blogger and sometime web designer but because of the stalking I closed down that business and would have been out of work had I not painted a few pairs of shoes as a thank you gift to some amazing people who helped me get through the family court and stalking traumas and get myself and my son to safety.  The amazing Dawn from thinkitchangeit.com (p.s. she also cured me of my bird phobia) had some friends who had seen my work and they wanted pairs too.  She encouraged me to set up an Etsy shop and the rest of the year became busy , particularly around the Christmas period.

While I am painting I am totally involved in what I am doing, so it helped me through this period of extreme stress.  The main way that I am being stalked is online (yes, it’s still happening) and it was so nice to be able to do something a little offline, and something meditative. It’s lovely because I can do it while I spend time with my son, and he gets to see how life works. My techniques and skills have refined with practice and my supplies have expanded.  I work from a tightly organised 3.5*4.5ft area of my living room.

 

 

 

22 Feb

#shoutoutrevolution – Cara Lou Paper Cuts

This week I am introducing Emma from Cara Lou Paper Cuts, a multi-award winning business and artist who hand cuts the most incredible designs out of paper.

Who are you and what do you do? 

I’m Emma, a self-confessed rainbow addict, mandala loving, typography techie. I’m a Paper Artist.  From my home studio, I design and hand cut a range of art, mostly centred around the beauty and symmetry of the Mandala, but also incorporating my love of typography.

I also offer a range of printed designs to enable everyone, of every budget, to enjoy a Cara-Lou piece. After all, I believe everyone should get to experience art.

What inspired you to create your form of art?

My Children, I know it sounds cliche, but 5 years back I found myself in a pickle with my health, and not very much to look forward to, when my children described me as “oh Mummy doesn’t work, she sleeps” I knew it was time to do something drastic, ever the craft lover I discovered Paper Art 2 years later and the rest is history.

Is your artwork physically tough to create?  Do you obtain injuries from all that paper/blade action?

This is a tough one, it can take its toll, I have to schedule in regular rest breaks to prevent me getting pains etc in my rusty old body. But overall I would say no, something I consider to be physically tough is something that’s physically demanding like farming. Touch wood I have been extremely lucky regarding injuries, with the odd minor cut from lack of concentration, other than that I’ve been pretty lucky. I have had a few paper mishaps when the blade slices off an important part of the design, then its time to start all over again, even if its a 20 hour piece and I was 19 hours in, its the luck (or not so luck) of the draw.

Where can I find you on the web?

I’m like a bad penny! I’m everywhere you turn! but if you want to seek me out I’m at the following links:

Website:  http://www.caraloucuts.co.uk/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/caraloucuts
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/caraloupapercuts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cara_loucuts
Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CaraLouPaperCutsGB (I use Etsy to sell my designs to other Artists)
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD35V5rAY__oMmA-DBbyyTw (I dabble in YouTube occasionally)
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cara-lou-paper-cuts-552493141/

What do you like to do when you are not creating?

When I’m not designing or cutting, which, might I add, is rarely, you can find me snuggling my sausage, Frankenstein, the dog or helping to run my Husbands Martial Arts Business! I live in Greater Manchester with my Husband, Craig, aka Chief Brew Maker and My 2 daughters, Katie aka Little Cara-Lou and Kiera aka Littlest Cara-Lou.

Do you have any pets?

Yes! I have a gorgeous little Pug called Frankenstein, He’s only 10 months old, and is like the little boy I never had. I also own the most beautiful black cat known to mankind, He’s almost 5 and he’s called Fluffy, he’s extremely cuddly and was feral, he lost his mum when he was born on a farm because he doesn’t know how to miaow!

What are your reading at the moment?

I am currently re reading 19 minutes by Jodi Picoult, I have 95% of her books so far and this particular one got me into reading as an adult. It’s a phenomenal book if you can handle her style of writing.

21 Feb

Custom Nikes, Doc Martens, and other lovely stuff

Custom Jordans, custom Nikes, hand painted Doc Martens or even your choice of leather footwear or apparel will make you stand out from the crowd this season with warm and dry toes.

ShoeTattoos can now boast a really decent stack of Angelus brand leather paints which are the very best paints available for leather customisation.

I can paint the leather, midsole, heel tab and bumper. The soles can be done but you’ll need a sole protector if you want the paint to last there.

All designs are my own except for the calf boots, which are fan art taken from a picture by the incredible artist Tom Lewis. He’s absolutely incredible, well worth a click through and browse.

24 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Sue Kerrigan-Harris

So, who is Sue?  Sue Kerrigan-Harris is a pastel portrait artist based in Marchwood in Hampshire which is on the edge of the beautiful New Forest. She specialises in amazing realistic pet portraits and child portraits.  She works from photos and beautifully captures the character and energy of the person or animal she is painting.
Where can I find her? She’s active on Facebook mostly and dabbles with Twitter and Instagram.

How did she become a professional artist?  Sue has honed her skills over 40 years not thinking that a career in art was ever possible, but when she had her son and could no longer run her private tutoring business she started drawing in earnest and sharing on Facebook.  With the huge encouragement of her friends and family she started getting commissions of children.  She was then asked to paint pets so she gave it a go.  Having spent all her life drawing people, she discovered that she could paint pets right off the bat and so begin a budding pet portrait business and also the child portraits – it turns out that people love their pets way more than there children as she gets far more requests for pets!  Haha, that is just a joke, I’m sure that’s not the case.  Our pets are only with us a short time and don’t change how they look whereas our children are changing constantly – I’m sure this has something to do with it.

What is her favourite artbook? Eternal Truths for Every Artist by Harley Brown*.  He’s a renowned pastel artist primarily but also oil.  It’s a delve in and out of book and he says at the start that he wants the book to end up dog eared and full of notes which I love the idea of.  His use of colour and the use of the Munsell Colour system is mesmerising and he has a lot of good tips.  I read it all the time delving in and out of it.  It almost feels like you have Harley in the room with you – you can feel his personality through the book.

*Amazon associates link
22 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Phantom Art Drop

Phantom Art Drop is a beautiful project akin to the Random Acts of Kindness movement.  Rather than dropping notes and acts of kindness, Phantom goes a whole leap further and drops her/his beautiful artwork in a public place with an accompanying handwritten note attached.

The project tickles my soul, and as soon as it stops raining so damned much I am going to join in.  Part of my fear of involvement is a fear that someone will trash my hard work, either binning it or otherwise vandalising it.  It takes a brave soul and a leap of faith to transcend this.

The Phantom Artist’s concept is beautiful, spiritual and heart blossoming.

So, I asked a few questions:

Who are you?  I’m a hopeless idealist. An anonymous artist who believes that through art we can learn to care for each other more. Strengthen the bonds of community and recognize the need for kindness without the want of fanfare.

Where can I find you?  I’m found in the Caribbean. I live a life of sand, sea and sun. In a way it influences my art. The people and the island life, it’s all apart of me and who I am.

On the web:

https://www.instagram.com/phantomartdrop/

https://www.facebook.com/fantomuartdrop/

What made you come up with your unique idea?  I can’t attest to the novelty of the idea but the reason behind it stems from the need to truly make a connection with someone. To reach out and provide both solace and inspiration.

How I’ve chosen to do it simply happened as a result of my skill set. Honestly the ‘what’ and ‘how’ could have been anything so long as the ‘why’ was satisfied.

So the art and the handwritten letters were my means of doing that. And that’s really the point. For each to take what they have as a gift or talent and give that freely to another in an effort to touch their life positively.

How can I join in?  I encourage any and everyone to take up this cause for kindness. I think we live in a time where it’s desperately needed. Love has become so conditional. Favor and kindness are typically only served if reciprocated with attention and adulation.

This is why I remain anonymous. It’s not about who does it but rather; simply; that it’s done for its sake and nothing more. So to join, do a kind thing for someone for no other reason than to see them smile. Using whatever God has given you. The Phantom Art Drop project is a notion of selflessness and giving… One that I hope we all can embody in our own way.

Note- creatives try leaving a random gift out in the open for anyone to receive. I promise it’ll give you a fresh perspective on life. ?

Can you recommend and amazing art book?  Oh wow hmmm, I quite like ‘ The Story of ArtThe story of art‘ by E. H Gombrich*. It outlines how art developed alongside the people it was made for and how it helps shape and transforms civilizations. It forces one to consider just how influential and important art is or can be.

I love the style of the Phantom Artist, what do you think?

*Amazon associates link

02 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Kathy Grillo Design

Happy New Year!

What better time to start on new voyages than the beginning of January.  Last was fairly traumatic (see previous posts) and when I have had life difficulties in the past I’ve always found that instead of getting angry and bitter, if I do random acts of kindness, I get back to the positives much more quickly.

Kathy Grillo is an a artist that I’ve been following on Instagram for a few months now and she dedicates her valuable time to supporting other artists.  I loved this idea so have just joined her #shoutout revolution and will dedicate blog posts here to finding out a bit more about some of the artists that I follow and giving them a little shoutout of my own, right here

So, who is Kathy?

Kathy Hartwig Grillo is a digital artist and illustrator from Michigan specializing  in custom pet portraits.  Working from several photos she paints portraits with attention to detail.

She is very active in the social media art community and can be found on several platforms sharing her Art and doing Live Art Broadcasts

Where can I find her?

Www.facebook.com/kathygrillodesign
Www.twitter.com/kathygrilloart.
Www.instagram.com/kathygrillodesign.
https://www.pscp.tv/kathygrilloart/follow
https://www.youtube.com/user/msryllo


I asked her what gave her the idea to help and encourage other artists?

Recently returning to creating after a 20 year hiatus I have discovered the amazing social media community. Social media is a game changer for creative people as it gives us a platform to share our Art with the world.  As much as I do share and put myself and my art in front of the people I do remember how scary it was when I first decided to do so.

Maybe it is because I am a mother that I found myself naturally reaching out to support those that were bravely showing that creative side.  I quickly learned you get what you give and welcomed answering questions and giving tips, passing along things I have learned along the way.

Then I started getting the solicitations from places offering followers and features for the small price of……..  These companies taking advantage of people who just want to gain an audience and have exposure really ticked me off. So I decided last year to dedicate myself to sharing and feature one artist every day of the year on Instagram. This has naturally  flowed over to other social  media and I have been blessed with some amazing friendships, opportunities like this, and connections around the world.”

It costs me nothing more than a few minutes a day to share wonderful art that will hopefully encourage that artist and also introduce others to the art that is being made.

Finally, can you recommend an amazing art book?

I am reading one right now that is neat.  I just bought it at the Museum book sale.  It’s all about artists, musicians and writers when they were young and just starting out. *

 Here is a selection of her amazing art:

 *Amazon associates link
15 Aug

Wild Bunny Arts

If you are here looking for ShoeTattoos, do not worry – we have just had a little makeover, and hope that you like it.

We like to keep moving forwards, and now offer low run and one-off hand screen printed items in addition to our hand painted apparel.

Don’t blend in, stand out! Blaze a trail for others to follow in your new hand painted, custom designed footwear and apparel.  Be sure that nobody else is going to be wearing the same outfit as you, by asking the Wild Bunny to work her magic on your favourite trainers, boots, jacket or bag.  No job is too big or too weird. We like weird, here! But we are rather fond of your furry friends. Pets are good 🙂

We can upcycle your trusty denim jacket or make a pair of leather boots look spectacular.  Have a wedding or special anniversary coming up? Let us save your feet by customising a pair of Converse or Vans to dance the night away in.  Just like to be original? Let the Queen of Shoe Tattoos (awarded by The Royal Connection on October 2017) know your ideas and she will wave her magic brush and make it happen.

Check out what her delighted customers have to say on Facebook and Etsy.

Want to see what she does? Look upwards and click the Facebook or the Instagram icon, which will whisk you away to her latest projects and inspirations.  Check the Facebook albums, which are categorised for ease of viewing.  A short portfolio is available by clicking the Portfolio tab above.

The FAQ’s above are well worth a read because they contain all the common questions that get asked :p There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

Order directly via Facebook chat, or the order now tab above.  Or order via Etsy, on which platform you can request a custom order or grab one of her one-off hand painted denim jackets.

Here’s a few of her proud awards:

#Twittersisters winner

#Queenof Shoe Tattoos

#SmartSocial Winner's trophy

Keep scrollin’ if you want the Blog…..