A Free Tutorial by Carla Sonheim adding PanPastels to the Silliness!

Mini-Tutorial: PanPastel Critters by Carla Sonheim

I am really looking forward to returning to Art Camp for Women in just a few short months! We will draw and paint using a variety of media — including PanPastels! I fell in love with them over a year ago and have come up with several new ways to use them since then (that I will present for the first time next October).

The following mini-tutorial shows the process of how I created the creatures on the cover of my book, “Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals: A Mixed-Media Workshop with Carla Sonheim.”

Imaginary Animals Cover

Supplies Needed:

3-5 colors of PanPastels (or regular soft pastel will work, too)
paper towel or white cotton rag
ballpoint pen
kneaded rubber eraser
hard eraser (like the end of a pencil)

Pan 1
Using the paper towel or white cotton rag over your index finger, lay down several splotches of one color.

Pan 2
Repeat Step 1 with a second color. Do not try to “make” anything at this point, but just lay down colors fairly randomly (though close together).

Pan 3
Repeat with a third color.

Pan 4 STEP 4
Using your kneaded rubber eraser, apply medium pressure over the whole shape and blend the edges into each other. This will also lighten the colors a bit. (Some of the pastels will adhere to your eraser; simply “knead” it out and it will go away.)

Now, look at the shape you have started. Do you see anything? I kind of saw a bird at this stage, so…

Pan 5

… I took the eraser and “drew” the bird shape in by erasing areas to define the beak, chest, etc. So Step 5, then, is take your eraser and define your animal (or face, house, plant, flower, or whatever else you “see”).

Pan 6

Add other colors with your rag and finger to define it more; add darker areas if desired for shading.

Pan 7
Use your kneaded eraser to back off any areas that are too heavy-handed compared to the rest of the piece, or the pencil eraser to pull out finer details (like the hair on this bird).

Pan 8STEP 8
Outline your drawing with ballpoint pen. Use shorter strokes rather than one continuous line (click to enlarge to see detail).

Pan 9STEP 9
Using more short strokes, add shading. I imagined that a sun was peeking from the upper right corner, and so shaded the areas underneath the bird’s beak, face and chest (which would be in shadow if there was a real light source there).

Pan 10STEP 10
Finish your drawing by adding details such as wings, eye pupils, etc. You might also need to touch up areas around the drawing with your eraser if the pastels have smudged. Done?

Pan Final
Even though your drawing is finished, there are ways you can improve it digitally if you would like to share it online. In this case I lightened the background and made sure the color was even. I used the “clone” tool in Photoshop to touch up some of the pastel remnants (under the bird’s face, for example). I even took liberties with the cropping so the bird was now flying rather than almost sitting.

NOW it’s done!
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EXTRA! EXTRA! Read All About It! Carla Sonheim’s Book-Early Release!

Imaginary Animals Cover

Imaginary Animals Cover - Shipping Now!

I  guess that heading dates me…but I am so excited that Carla’s new book is now shipping!

Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals, A Mixed-Media Workshop with Carla Sonheim, is Carla’s newest book.  If you love Carla’s work as much as I do click on the link above to purchase immediately.

There was some confusion about when the book would actually be ready – of course that kind of confusion is normal when you have  TWO BOOKS  scheduled for release within a month of each other! So this book is shipping about 10 days earlier than expected and I cannot wait to get it in my hands!

Carla’s first book, Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun, released in 2010, was my first introduction to Carla Sonheim. Her relaxed and almost silly approach to drawing returned me to my early love of drawing and had me sitting in bed with my (then) 9-year-old and 11-year-old, drawing kitties within a day of receiving it.

Don’t you just love it when something profound happens without all the significance?

Carla also has ongoing online classes on her website but when I had a chance to take a class with her in person  – I grabbed it. I was not only not disappointed – I was catapulted to another level of skill, imagination and fun!

Now the really amazing part!

Carla has another book, The Art of Silliness, A Creativity Book for Everyone, scheduled for release this fall – I won’t even say the official date as that would just be more silliness. But it is available for pre-order now!  Yes, book number 3, could be in your hands as early as well – just sayin’ – soon.

Book #3, The Art of Silliness, A Creativity Book for Everyone

Book #3, The Art of Silliness, A Creativity Book for Everyone

I am wishing/hoping/praying and planning on having both books in my hands for in-person, face-to-face signing at our fall session of Art Camp for Women where the fabulous Ms. Carla will be teaching our Mini-Deluxe session October 9 – 12!

I. Cannot. Wait!

The Art of Bookmaking with Carol Sloan

Art Camp for Women welcomes Carol Sloan as our Guest Blogger this week. Carol will be teaching mixed-media bookmaking at Art Camp for Women in June 2012. She will be teaching at Deluxe Camp as well as “The Works!” Camp! Welcome Carol.

Carol Sloan Spirit book

Carol Sloan Spirit book - Wanna make one too?

I am so excited about teaching at Art Camp for Women this year!

I think that we, as women, have so many responsibilities in our lives that we often put our need to express ourselves creatively last on the list. We spend our days meeting the needs of everyone but ourselves.

It’s so important for each of us to be able to tell our stories…to express what we have lived through, what we are dealing with or how we are feeling. And doing this in a creative manner is often just what the doctor ordered!

Everyone has a story to tell, whether it’s about your own life, a loved one or a made-up tall tale. It’s there just waiting to be shared.

Imagine being surrounded by caring, loving women that truly understand your yearning to express yourself creatively. Being in an atmosphere where your lack of skills (or your imagined lack) is no longer an issue.

Imagine having every tool, every little item that you need to create a stunning piece of artwork right at your fingertips…everything.

Every tool every item

Every tool, every little item at your fingertips.

Gourmet food waiting at the table. Wine poured for you.

Dinner is Served!

Dinner is Served!

Smart, talented and funny instructors that understand your fears and hesitations. We have a knack for helping those that think they can’t be helped…

Imagine finding your tribe. That special group of women that share your likes, your experiences, that love the same things that you do. You speak the same language when it comes to being creative.

THAT is what Art Camp For Women is all about.

It’s about connecting with like-minded women and spending a few days wrapped in the cocoon of creativity away from all the distractions of everyday life.

I’ve spent the last couple of months creating a special class for the June camp. I wanted everyone to be able to create a book that they can use for whatever purpose they choose to use it for, whether that is an art journal, sketchbook, writing journal or as a piece of art in itself.

Carol Sloan Painted pages

Carol Sloan Painted pages

I also wanted to consider the brand new book maker as well as the experienced one. I did a lot of research on binding stitches and feel that the combination I worked into the book will be perfect for our purpose and range of experience. It lies completely flat when opened, goes together beautifully, incorporates found items or treasured keepsakes and the paper is heavy enough to use watercolor paint on.

I wanted to keep it simple enough so that everyone could go home and put another one together on their own and not feel frustrated.

I also wanted to include more than one binding stitch. In planning the workshop book, I’ve included three different stitches in the binding. All easy as pie but beautiful!

They really show off the thread color too. I’ll be bringing lots of thread colors to choose from too!

Here are a couple of photos of sample books that I’ve been working on.

Carol Sloan Handmade Books

Carol Sloan Handmade Books - Don't you want to take one home?

I had received an email or two asking about what could be expected from the class – what will we learn kind of questions. So I thought I would list that out.

Here’s a partial list, as I tend to include all kinds of extras when I teach. I’m one of those teachers that like to share as much as they can. It’s not in my personality to hold things back…

Basic book structure

  • Building a cover with various elements
  • Designing and creating a cover collage (to make it uniquely yours)
  • Differences in bookbinding threads (and how to choose what to use)
  • Using household items as art supplies
  • How to use acrylic mediums (what, when and why)
  • Making your cover durable/waterproof
  • Using vintage linens/laces in collage & bookmaking (great ways to use those vintage linens that you’ve been hanging onto)
  • Making signatures
  • Collage methods to create beautiful book pages
  • Three different bookbinding stitches with resources for more
  • Discuss paper differences (with samples of each)
  • Pulling it all together (the book, that is)
  • Using power tools (small ones!) in bookmaking
  • Using non-traditional supplies in bookmaking
  • Proper measuring/marking for binding stitches
  • Discuss different binding structures for different types of books
  • Background painting for book pages

That’s the list that I can think of just sitting here…there will be more but not in an overwhelming way. I also provide several pages of instructions to take home with you – complete with hand drawn stitching details.

We will have lots of book making books for you to look through also.

One thing that I still find so exciting is that the participants don’t have to bring their own supplies to the retreat! How cool is that??! Everything is provided for you, with many things to choose from and make the book special for you.

You owe it to yourself to investigate those creative urges that you feel. Art Camp is one of the few (if not the only) retreat that pampers you the way that they do. No carrying a huge stash of art supplies, no wondering and second guessing if you’re taking the right tools… It’s all there – waiting on you.

So, if you’re looking for a retreat that allows you to investigate your own creativity in a safe and nurturing environment, then this is your place.

You give so much of yourself to the other people in your life, it’s time that you started treating yourself the same way!

Carol Sloan Antelope Book

Carol Sloan Antelope Book



Stitch Paper, Fabric Paper and Free Motion Sewing ala Kelli Nina Perkins & Beryl Taylor

Being a very Jill-of-all-trades type of person, I can pretty much do anything I put my mind to.  Once in a while though, I find myself trying something and becoming frustrated because I cannot do it the first time I try it.

Napkin fabric-paper

Napkin fabric-paper - duds to practice free-motion stitching on

Often I just throw my hands up and give up.  Such has been the case with free-motion sewing. I read Kelli Perkins blog, see her beautiful stitch paper and other projects and think, “Oh I can do that – that looks fun.”  Or I read about the fabric-paper in Beryl Taylor’s book and begin a project, only to come to a screeching stop at the part that involves a sewing machine.

Last summer I was introduced to the Bernina Super-Machines and since then my excuse has been that my sewing machine sucks and if I had that $4000.00 model all would be well. Well, my dear, I would just like to say, “have you seen the machine embroidery coming out of Pakistan, Guatemala and other equally impoverished places?”  I’m sure they are mostly using old treadle Singer machines.”  (Yes, I talk to myself too.)

I have made a few pieces that involved a bit of sewing, mainly by muscling my way through, starting and stopping, using the presser foot on the machine. Then a few months ago I bought a free-motion sewing foot and have tried it three times. The last time, yesterday, I ended up pretty much in the same place as the other two times, swearing and frustrated with three or four broken needles. To add insult to injury, I am in the middle of a severe allergy/hay fever season, so my nose was running too.

Couldn’t I just follow the path of least resistance and be someone who doesn’t sew?

Epiphany? Insight?

I woke up early this morning and had an epiphany. This is a three-day, holiday weekend. No one expects anything of me, what if  I apply myself to figuring this out. How about if for 10 minutes out of every waking hour I try to free-motion sew. Practice makes perfect – right?

First three sessions

First three sessions from the back.

And what about a plan. Instead of just jamming ahead willy-nilly,  what if I work on something specific like perfecting making spirals and then other circles of various sizes. If it goes well I can try some other things.

First three sessions - front

First three sessions - front

What could deflect me from my chosen path this weekend? Well we could have disastrous weather and given the way the wind is blowing, we just might. Or the grand kids could come by – they are more distracting than the worst of storms – I should be so lucky.

Session 4

Session 4 in which I started breaking needles again!

What else, well at the rate I’m going I could run out of sewing machine needles.  “My dear, you have great coupons from both Michael’s and JoAnne’s you can get more needles.”

Well what if I do all that and still cannot make spirals and circles or anything else? I just have to say, that I will be better at it than if I don’t try – I probably couldn’t get any worse – so what have I got to lose? HA!

So as soon as I get dressed, it is now 5:45 am,  and get through my exercising, I will begin. I will keep you updated. Coffee.

12 hours later

Now it is about 5:45 pm and here is the update – I am getting better! AND this is going to take more than a little bit of practice. At some point I started worrying about the upper thread tension and went to YouTube and found a tutorial that addressed the issue within 2 minutes!

What have I learned so far?

Session 4 - Front

Session 4 - Front

1. Some things take more than one try. (Or more than many tries.)
2. Some things are worth working at over time.
3. I am a bit embarrassed to put these photos up.
4. This is fun, I like the look, even the kind of scrappy, primitive (i.e. bad) sewing.
5. I’ll be back at it as soon as possible, if not tonight – it’s my turn to make dinner – then tomorrow.

Gosh, my business partner is a master at art quilting and might disown me when she sees this post. Nah…

Weaving Wonderment with Kelli Nina Perkins

Click here to join us this fall October 11 – 17 in Winter Park Colorado