Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Issue 23: The Frida Edition!

Woohoo! Issue 23 (the Frida Kahlo edition) is now available for free download! We have lots of fun projects inside:


  • Beach Ladies: Poses through Stick Figures
  • Ideas for Architecture: AKA Cute Little Whimsical Houses
  • Gallery: In celebration of Frida
  • Frida Kahlo: An Easy Amigurumi Pattern
  • Skulls & Roses Pin Toppers
  • Musings of a Self-Trained Artist: A Laywoman’s Laycolumn
  • Walk-Through: Frida in Mixed Media
  • Altered Bingo Balls
  • Frida Kahlo Rag Doll 

Download Issue 23 (Summer 2014) here! 6.3 MB


Once you've finished with our latest issue, please visit our Past Issues page to download 22 issues from 2008 - 2014. There's tons of great reading there!

Freebie templates for issue 23 can be found in the Freebies! section of the ArtTrader Mag website.

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Issue coming July 14th!

Our new issue will be available online on Monday, July 14th We have lots of fun Frida art and tutorials along with cute little whimsical houses and drawing stick figures. Yes, you read that right. Drawing stick figures! Actually, it's a little harder than it sounds. Andrea Melione takes you through drawing a beautifully done action pose using simple stick figures. All coming up next week, after the holidays in Canada and the USA. Happy Canada Day and happy Independence Day!

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Whimsical Mermaid in Markers by Andrea Melione


Start with a clean line drawing (erase all pencil, as the graphite will muddy your marker colors when you add them.









Now you can lay in your base coats. I have used Canary Yellow and Spanish orange.  Outline first, then fill in with color.









Now I add mid-tone color. I am using Spanish orange for the canary yellow mid- tone, and Orange as a mid-tone for the Spanish orange.



 Now I add the dark tones. Orange goes over Spanish orange mid-tone and Burnt Ochre goes over orange mid-tone.
Here I’ve added a Violet background, Light Violet for the wings, and Avocado for the seaweed.
 Here I’ve added a cyclone shape in the background for a school of fish, and detail on the wings
To the left is the finished ATC! I Added the school of fish and other highlights with a white gel pen. In addition, I re-inked the drawing with a pen - to make the line work bolder. Finishing touches were made with Stardust Pens (a Sakura product.)







Prismacolor Markers:

• Canary Yellow
• Spanish Orange
• Orange
• Burnt Ochre
• Violet
• Light Violet
• Avacado
• True Green

Novelty Pens:

• Green and Purple Stardust pens
• White Gelly Roll (med)
• Uni-ball Vision Roller Ball Stick
• Water-Proof Pen (Fine and Extra-Fine weights)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Issue 22 (Spring 2014) Now Available!

Here's what's inside:

  • Design 911: Paper Dolls - The gateway to creative problem solving! 
  •  Do It Five Ways: Stencils 
  • Look! Altering Your Glasses Case 
  • Musings of a Self-Trained Artist: A Laywoman’s Laycolumn 
  • Artist Inspiration Dolls
  • Anti-Art-Journaling: Chronicles Project Online 
  • Walk-Through with Markers: Whimsical Mermaid Reader’s
  • Gallery: Art Journal Pages 
  • BunnyMonster Art Doll 
  • Reader’s Gallery: Owls 
  • Whimsical Houses: Keeping things in perspective
  • Gallery: Whimsical Houses 
  • Altering a Doll Head with Epoxy Clay and Paint
Download Issue 22 (Spring 2014) here! 6.3 MB


Once you've finished with our latest issue, please visit our Past Issues page to download 21 issues from 2008 - 2014. There's tons of great reading there!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Self Portraits: Collage Style

Musings of a Self-Trained Artist: A Laywoman’s Laycolumn
By Ann D'Angelo
This article originally appeared in ArtTrader Magazine, Issue 17

Last year, I received an invitation to join a Self-Portrait swap, and in fine neurotic fashion, I freaked out, my internal monologue sounding roughly like this:  What if I make myself too young?  What if I turn out all hot and skinny, like the love child of a Victoria’s Secret model and a number 2 pencil?  What if people start sending me books like Self-Delusion & You: How to Get a Grip on Your Actual Height, Weight, and Bone Structure, You Ninnypants? Despite my misgivings, I wound up joining the swap because it had this caveat: I had to collage. 

Collage, as it turns out, liberates the artist from that entire dilemma. Since there is no way to create a realistic portrait of the self using images of others, the artist must look past the appearance to behaviors, personality traits, and internal conflicts.  This exploration of the self can be lighthearted or truly searching, but in either case, the exercise is so satisfying – both emotionally and artistically – that I am hereby recommending it as an excellent way to kick off the New Year.

The Example

In this card, which I made for the swap, I decided to try having a little fun at my own expense.  The central joke here is that I created myself out of an image of Napoleon, with whom I seem to share the overachieving desire to conquer the world, along with a certain smallness of stature and some seriously questionable hair.  The Speedball pen references not only my writing aspirations, but also my wish to succeed quickly on all fronts.    (Logging the hours?  Gaining experience?   Bah humbug!  I want to bowl a 289 right now, please.)

As for the artistic process, I found that the layering of accomplishments – the A, the row of stars, the pair of ones– served the piece both thematically and visually, creating dimension while expressing my ridiculous yearning for marks of approval.  On a literal level, the pink glasses signify that this woman is me, but the repeated use of the same pink color across various symbols of achievement suggests that this need colors my vision.    

Although my desire for approval is not something I particularly like about myself, I’ve been working on finding ways to laugh at my faults, instead of burying them deep in my underground shame tunnels. In that respect, this card proved wonderfully therapeutic. I don’t think anyone has ever said that collage is the best medicine, but maybe someone should.

The Suggestions

By way of conclusion, I have a few suggestions for anyone who wants to undertake this cool exercise in artistic introspection.

1. Choose the focal images first; figure out what they mean or express afterward. 

2. Be open-minded. An image of a man might convey something about a female artist even more handily than an image of a woman. The same holds true for images of two people. (Who doesn’t sometimes have a two-way argument going inside their brain?)

3. Make conscious decisions. Choose colors, snippets of text, and supporting images that express the theme.

4. Create a series. When it comes to self-awareness, who couldn’t stand a little more?

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