Friday, August 30, 2013

This Week's Contest Winners

Congratulations to this week's contest winners! They will each have our Steampunk Sourcebook collection added to their DoverPictura account absolutely free!

Bernie@OneMixedBag: I have wanted to venture into playing with steampunk for a while now. 
April Barton: I've been using Dover design books since college. Always found inspiration in the pages. Now that I am teaching, I use them to illustrate design and drawing techniques to my students. My high school art classes would greatly benefit from the steampunk inspired designs.

Teddee Grace: Oh, the flying machines, the women on tricycles and that dragon doorknocker! Count me in!
stampgram: Oh I would love to play with this collection...big big fan of steampunk!...and DOVER!

vivie: I love steampunk...I also have a nice collection of Dover graphics books, so this would be a nice addition to my collection! What an awesome chance!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dover Very Victorian Craft Contest Entries: Steampunk Sourcebook

Our Very Victorian Craft Contest, celebrating the art, fashion, and design of the mid to late 1800' well as the Steampunk movement it inspired, is in full swing! Here's a selection of our favorite entries that utilize the Steampunk Sourcebook collection:

William Charlebois- Digital collage
Theresa Pearson- Mixed media mosaic
Melissa Teague - Goggles
Diane Hannah - Digital collage

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner. The story behind the collection: Steampunk Sourcebook

Once in the midst of a most fascinating conversation with Prof. MC Waldrep, she coerced me into a guessing-game as to what her initials 'MC' stood for. In payment for each correct guess she agreed to tell me the name of a university from which she had procured one of her three doctorates. My correct guess that the 'C' stood for 'Crinoline' had garnered the tidbit that she had earned a Doctorate of Theoretical Physics from Humboldt University of Berlin. Encouraged, I hurled a flurry of 'M' guesses at her— Marjoe? Mathilde? Mariposa? Mary??? She quickly grew bored with my guesses; she was pulling away, lured back into the labyrinthine siren-song of her own inner dialogue…

I was desperate to keep the conversation going because I had been charged with writing a short bio on her, and nobody really knew that much about her past. She was my only source. As small-talk I jokingly asked her whether the image on the cover for book Steampunk Sourcebook was her portrait or self-portrait. The withering silence radiating from the telephone receiver (yes, I was on a dial phone) let me know that I had just committed an incredible faux pas in the eyes of the good Professor. 

A long pause ensued, then, all seriousness:

"You should know that the women in my family stopped smoking pipes several generations back–about the time we were given the suffrage", she said. I was non-plussed, I had no idea what she was talking about. Pipe? what pipe? I scoured the cover looking for someone smoking a pipe. No one was smoking a pipe. Was she toying with me in her Professor Moriarty-ish way?

"Um, what pipe are you referring to, Professor?" I asked.

Again, just silence. Then, "Nevermind."

In this quick sketch you can get a sense of what's its like working with the Professor. She's brilliant, a little touchy, sharp-tongued, enigmatic, occasionally wrong. Turns out she was looking at the Steampunk Sourcebook cover on the website:

I was looking at the actual bookcover:

—different covers, different pictures. She thought my reference to the pipe-smoking woman on the cover was a dig directed at her because she grew up in the hill-country of Arkansas—some sort of a 'Mammy Yokum' type thing…

Well, Prof. Waldrep hasn't been terribly communicative since then, so regarding the story behind the collection, I'll just have to rely on my memory and my keen sense of embroidery. Let's see, what did she tell me all those years ago….

I believe that the idea came to her while she was riding on the Long Island Railroad to Dover's state-of-the-art campus in Mineola, NY. At the time I don't think that she actually knew what Steampunk was, nor had she even heard the term. Typically, while riding the LIRR she would speed-read pulp novels—an addiction she had acquired while pursuing a Ph.D. in Comparative Athabascan Languages, at Northwestern University. But on this day she was distracted. Sitting across from her was an attractive young woman clad in a fantastic and intricate ensemble, quite unlike what one usually sees being worn heading east on the Island. The Professor was at a loss to put a name or a phrase to the style. It vexed her. She'd spent years as costumer in NYC theater, yet her encyclopedic memory could assign no name for what she saw before her eyes.

She leaned forward, "Excuse me Miss, I was just admiring your outfit. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it. It's marvelous-where did you find it?"

The girl replied that she hadn't found it, she'd made it. And that it was 'kinda a steampunk thing…'


That was it, the hook was set. Prof. Waldrep grilled that girl like some sort of a fish in a fish metaphor. The train stations flew by: Mineola, East Williston, Albertson, Roslyn…Oyster Bay—and then the train stopped, but not before Prof. Waldrep's head was filled full of bold, crazy, new ideas. She rode the return train back to Mineola in a contemplative silence, a brown study, as it were.
The next few weeks were spent researching this new passion with a ferocity unmatched since the third year of her Doctoral work in Numismatics, at the London School of Economics. All other work was pushed to the side—Women Illustrators of the Golden Age was nearly forgotten!

However, what was to emerge from this complete and utter immersion was one of the world's most renowned experts in the discipline of Steampunk—Professor MC Waldrep; and in her hands she held the evidence of her genius—Steampunk Sourcebook.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Victorian Tussie-Mussie

While thinking about what tutorial to feature this week, I realized I couldn't imagine a project more utterly Victorian and suited to our clip art than the tussie-mussie.

Victorian Lady Tussie Mussies by Alice M. Wingerden on Flickr
A tussie-mussie is a small flower bouquet, often created using herbs and flowers with symbolic meanings, and wrapped in a decorative paper cone. While the term tussie-mussie comes from the Victorian era (1837–1901), nosegays and other small bouquets have been a popular gift since Medieval times.

Today, many crafters and artists create beautifully decorated tussie-mussie cones that can be filled with flowers, hung as an ornament, used as a unique wrapping for small gifts, or hung on a mantle as stockings at Christmas. Here's another example from Suzie Crafter Designs on YouTube:

Now, the challenge is that this project is SO simple, I'm not even sure how to put it together in a tutorial! You simply create the paper cone, and go wild embellishing to your heart's content! So, instead, here's a list of supplies

Here's what you'll need to create your own tussie-mussie cone:

Decorative paper cut into a square of approx. 12" x 12" (use a bigger square for a larger cone) You could use:

scrapbook background paper
sheet music
paper you've stamped, painted or printed yourself

Embellishments are limited only by your imagination! Of course, we recommend starting with any one of our vast selection of Victorian clip art, which you can use royalty-free. But you might also use:

scrapbook embellishments
silk or paper flowers
pearls or beading
tissue, lace, or other trim
jewels and jewelry bits

There you have it! What do you think? Will you be trying your hand at your own tussie-mussie? Tell us in the comments!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Win This Collection: Steampunk Sourcebook

We're nearly at the halfway point of our Very Victorian Craft Contest! Have you created your entry yet? If not, have no fear- this week we're focusing on our super collections that celebrate the Victorian Era! We have 20 to choose from!

This week's featured collection is Steampunk Sourcebook, a one-of-a-kind collection that combines futuristic technology and Victorian romance to explore the influence of the steampunk style. More than 500 images range from dirigibles and sea vessels to corsets and pocket, a gallery of original art completes the volume!
Download the full collection of nearly 540 images for $15.99 or individual image sheets for $1.99!

Want this great collection added to your DoverPictura account absolutely free? Comment on this post any time throughout the week and on Friday afternoon we'll choose 5 comments at random to win the entire Steampunk Sourcebook collection.

Friday, August 23, 2013

This Week's Contest Winners Plus a Review of Little Kids Stuff

Congratulations to this week's contest winners! They will each have our Little Kids Stuff collection added to their DoverPictura account absolutely free!

Funcards: What a cute collection! Really adorable drawings in such lovely colors. A really wonderful addition to your collection!

: Oh this is so sweet! Absolutely perfect for scrapbooking children layouts, making birthday cards and party invitations!

: I'm a cardmaker and these images would take my childrens cards and other cards to another level.

And here's a great review of Little Kids Stuff by one of our own blog community members, Diana!

Wow, these designs are just astoundingly, outrageously adorable! I could not take my eyes away, and I could not stop smiling, as I scrolled through this collection of Little Kids Stuff.

All the old standbys are here: Teddy bears, cakes with candles, duckies doing various activities, a cute frog, five different dinosaurs, a turtle, lettered signs, "Party; It's a boy; It's a girl; Happy birthday."

Noisemakers, pacifiers, wrapped gifts, a star, an angel, a ladybug . . .

Then, two pages of Valentine art. Then, art through the year --- St. Pat's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, autumn, Halloween, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year's Day.

The last page is all nine digits, with cheerful colors, polka dots and stripes.

This is just the thing for a grandma like me.

In the photo of me with my dad, I would have been the right age for these designs. That was about 63 years ago, but, I still love them now.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Hope you create something wonderful!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Michelle Powell Smith: Crafting with Kings, Queens and Courtiers

With an academic background in art history, I quickly fell in love with the new Kings, Queens and Courtiers collection, which is made up of portraits of royalty and nobility. Dating from the Renaissance through the 19th century, the collection includes portraits in a wide variety of styles, from Cranachs northern Renaissance princesses to Rococo royalty. These are, by and large, formal and posed portraits. 

Im especially fond of the earliest pieces in this group, from the German princesses to the images of Tudor royalty. While I think these would make lovely notecards, stationery, or papercrafting projects, Im not a papercrafter. I looked at these images and quickly pondered small project bags, tote bags, journals or even t-shirt transfers. Obviously, to sew with these images, they have to be transferred to fabric in some way. They are quite detailed, so they require a transfer method that allows for some amount of detail, as well as color.

My preferred method for putting images on fabric is an easy one, and one many crafters know already. I have to squeeze time for crafts in with work and parenting, so quick and reliable are high priorities. For this method, youll need freezer paper from the grocery store, a lightweight, smooth fabric, your iron and your inkjet printer. Cut the freezer paper and fabric to the size of printer paper or the largest size your home printer can manage. Iron the freezer paper to the fabric, matching the wrong side of the fabric and the shiny side of the freezer paper. Insert the fabric sheet into the printer paper tray, making sure to arrange it correctly for printing on your printer. Size your image to fit the fabric sheet and print, using the highest quality settings available. The end result is a crisp, full-color image of your favorite king, queen or noble on fabric; however, its not washable and wont survive getting wet.

In order to make this work for totes, journals and makeup bags in my house, its going to have to be waterproofed and at least wipeable for clean up. I live with four children, several cats and dogs. Non-washable fabric that simply cant get wet just isnt going to work with my lifestyle.

Im opting to rubberize my prints with silicone caulk. I laid out my fabric prints and applied a heavy line of silicone, then pulled the silicone down the printed fabric. With our printer, there was no fading or bleeding during the silicone application. After a few failed attempts, I realized this works best before peeling away the freezer paper backing. Ive not done anything with my rubberized royalty yet, but I have tested the newly created fabric and my old Singer Rocketeer sewing machine will sew it with ease. Right now, Im planning a tote pieced with heavy canvas with a Cranach print on each side and possibly pencil cases for my teens with Henry VIII out of my prints.

Other alternatives I considered included covering the prints with a layer of clear vinyl or experimenting with different sealants. Im planning to try some other options, including heat setting, with this collection and others to make these designs fabric-friendly. Theres no reason that amazing historical and artistic resources like the Kings, Queens and Courtiers collection have to be limited to paper crafters, digital artists and others. Those of us who prefer fabric can bring these designs into the sewing room with ease. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Inside the Collection: Art of Children

It's with great anticipation that I open new collections of paintings curated by Carol Grafton. Carol almost always embraces a much broader sweep of painters than I do—seldom showing more than works two by each artist. I love this approach! It always exposes a few more branches in the tree of art history to climb out on….so it is with Art of Children.

Looking at this collection, I'm immediately inclined to try sort it. The collection divides nicely along the lines of Genre vs. Portrait. Genre paintings depict scenes from everyday life, portraits portray the visual appearance of individuals or groups of subjects.

My own tastes run toward the formal and conventional– the portraits are always more interesting to me. That said, there are some very appealing paintings among the genres–the Winslow Homer selections remain incredibly fresh and innovative today, one can imagine the impression that they would have made in the 19th century.
Snap the Whip, Winslow Homer

There are a number of images in the collection that seem to cross the line between genre and portrait—perhaps this only to my eye. For example, Sargent's The Daughters of Edward D. Boit, while clearly identified as a portrait, has an informal, situational quality that heads in the direction of genre painting.

The Daughters of Edward D. Boit, John Singer Sargent

One of those aforementioned 'new branches' to climb out on are the George Bellows portraits. I guess I've never explored his work beyond his famous 'fight' paintings. These group and individual portraits are quite striking, and have a slightly dislocated, Manet-esque quality to them.

Emma and Her Children, George Bellows

Best in show? You cannot deny the classics—Thomas Gainsborough's homage to the Master (Anthony van Dyck): The Blue Boy.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Make Your Own Woodcut

Our 1930s Woodcuts of Travel clip art collection, now available on DoverPictura, is quickly becoming one of my new favorites. I love the texture of these striking images- they have such an organic feel. Curious about the art of woodcutting and woodblock printing, I began searching for a list of supplies (which I'll share below) and stumbled across this great little video depicting the whole process!

Looks fun, doesn't it? You can draw you own design or transfer your favorite image for DoverPictura and carve away!
Here's a basic list of the supplies you'll need to get started:
  • Small piece of wood - around 2-3" square will work nicely
  • Gravers and chisels for cutting - these can be found in the woodworking aisle of most craft stores
  • Printers ink - water or oil based, depending on your personal preference
  • Glass for spreading the ink
  • Roller for rolling the ink
  • Paper- you may choose to practice on scraps, but be sure to have some nice thick paper on hand for the final prints.
While this tutorial shows the final print being made with a book press, you can try using any heavy object, or you can place the paper on top of the wood block and rub the print onto the paper!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Win This Week's Featured Collection: Little Kids Stuff

This week we're focusing on our latest and greatest- four fabulous clip art collections new to DoverPictura.  Browse our newest clip art collections.

This week's featured collection, Little Kids Stuff, features cheerful images of baby ducks, teddy bears, cupcakes, dolphins, and much more. Additional graphics include background patterns and border designs, plus snowmen, Easter bunnies, and symbols of Halloween, Valentine's Day, and Christmas. Perfect for party decorations, birth announcements, invitations, stickers, greeting cards, and more!

Download the full collection of more than 250 cute, cuddly, and colorful original JPG images for $14.99 or individual image sheets just $0.99!

Want this great collection added to your DoverPictura account absolutely free? Comment on this post any time throughout the week and on Friday afternoon we'll choose 5 comments at random to win the entire Little Kids Stuff collection. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

This Week's Contest Winners and Craft Inspiration From the Beach

Congratulations to this week's winners, who will each receive our best-selling Sea Life clip art collection:

Carey Burns Oh the things I could create with this...
Lady&theForest Absolutely LOVE your stuff! Dover is my go-to first for all my crafts before anywhere else for ideas!! And I love my emails with free stuff in them every week!!!

Wendy Wow...this is an awesome collection of underwater images. I would love to win this set and create some collages with the images.
tcandkk Looking at these images creates flashbacks of the joys of beach vacations as a child.
John Payton What a great collection. I live close to the Atlantic Ocean, and just seeing this artwork makes me want to visit the beach, but it is oh so very 'hot'...guess I will just stay home and create something...if I only had a nice sealife collection :)
Barbara Moore I love love love Dover!

And, now, for this week's inspiration...we've created a Pinterest mood board full of beach, sea life, and coastal decor and craft ideas that you can bring to life using our Sea Life collection!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Guest Post: Michelle Powell Smith on Vintage Bicycle Posters

Each Thursday we're opening our blog to hear from talented crafters in our community. This week's guest blogger is Michelle Powell Smith, who takes a look at one of DoverPictura's latest collections, Vintage Bicycle Posters.

Hello! As a longtime Dover customer, I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to share my fondness for everything from vintage images to coloring books with you. My first Dover purchases were coloring books, but have, over the years, been followed with needlework charts, art reproductions and more. I love the advertising of the late 19th century, but this collection also makes me think of date night--one of the ads is reproduced as a mural across the street from my favorite local steak house. 

The DoverPictura collection, Vintage Bicycle Posters, features bicycle advertisements from the late 19th century. Often these ads were the work of well-known and recognized artists, including Alphonse Mucha, who, while also known for their paintings and other works, were the first graphic artists, creating art as a marketing tool. Today, these bicycle posters are highly collectible and often reproduced, allowing you to print and enjoy them on your walls or in creative projects of all sorts.

Advertisements like these brought art to the masses, using lithography to create bright, colorful, clear and inexpensive prints. Lithographs are printed using a slab of limestone coated in wax. The slab is quite durable, allowing for a nearly unlimited print run. In the 1880s, technology improved to allow color lithography, revolutionizing the advertising industry. Prior to the introduction of color lithography, images could be printed in black and white, but had to be hand painted or colored, increasing the cost and time required to produce them. Color lithography allowed for print runs of the finished product, ready to hang and distribute.

While the posters included in Vintage Bicycle Posters vary, you’ll find that nearly all reveal traits of Art Nouveau. Known for its use of sinuous and sweeping lines, portrayal of women, and fluid forms, Art Nouveau is perhaps best remembered for its public role in the posters and advertising of the late 19th century. While line and movement distinguish the style, many pieces share similar elements, whether the advertisement is selling wine or a bicycle.

Like other Art Nouveau lithographs, bicycle advertising of the late 19th century often included images of women. While women were a favorite subject, they may be portrayed in a wide variety of different ways. Some of these depictions of women are the focus of the ad, as the woman sits or stands draped over a bicycle, as in the Cycles Perfect ad by Alphonse Mucha. In others, she appears an active participant, riding her bicycle in a riding outfit, with the sometimes-scandalous bloomers in place of a skirt, and looking quite fresh and modern. Advertisements already, in the late 19th century, provided an idealized image, enticing the buyer to shop for and invest in these items. In the bicycle ads, the viewer is invited to imagine rides in the countryside with a suitor or happy and peaceful family outings.

Today, advertising surrounds us, from television ads to the online advertising on social media. Billboards and city buses remind us to shop, but few of these ads offer the beauty, artistry or skill of these late 19th-century lithographs. Whether you’re creating a craft for a bicyclist or simply taking advantage of the work of an Art Nouveau artist, the Vintage Bicycle Posters collection offers a subject-specific look at the art of the late 19th century. Or maybe, like me, you’re just hoping for a bike ride into the countryside like the happy couple in Antwerp above.

To read more, see these articles:
Metropolitan Museum of Art- Art Nouveau
Metropolitan Museum of Art- Lithography in the Late 19th Century

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Story Behind the Collection – Sea Life

Ah, the Dogs Days of Summer...where I'm from, summer is all about the ocean. Sailboats and seascapes, ocean liners and windsurfers?- pah! none of that really registers with me. At the ocean I am obsessed with what lies beneath. That could have been the subtitle for this week's featured collection, Sea Life: What lies beneath.

Sea Life began to percolate as an idea one summer, well before I had begun actually making collections for Dover Publications. The month was December, but I was in Venezuela, so summer was just beginning. I was there making marketing films for an eco-tourism company of which I was a part-owner. I had a partner named Antonio who was the head guide on our trips into the Venezuelan jungle; he'd spent a lot of time in that jungle–perhaps too much. His idea of a good time was to fill all of our heads with visions of exotic and scary things to come, up river: jaguars, muta-muta snakes, 24-hour ants, tarantulas and pythons. The one vision that really got to me was his promise that we would all go swimming in a river where the piranha would playfully 'kiss our legs'. To my protestations that that sounded like an insane and unlikely idea Antonio insisted that I not worry–"...they're not going to hurt you–they're going to make love to you..."

Not quite a piranha, but close.
I'm not sure how it is for you, but dark bodies of water potentially full of biting things have never been the same for me after the movie Jaws. Pre-Jaws I never gave a thought as to what lurked beneath the surface; afterward, forget it! My imagination could run wild. So in the Venezuelan jungle I spent about nine days dreading my impending date with these kissing piranha. Every river we crossed, every waterhole we passed, even large puddles–became ominous and suspect. Apparently, I was not the only member of our entourage upon whom the thought of this promised (or was it threatened) activity preyed.  In fact, piranha became kind of a quiet, 'pet' topic amongst us all– especially when Antonio wasn't around. 
    As luck (or Antonio's machinations) would have it, we never did get to the piranha place—unforeseen circumstances steered us away from that part of Canaima National Park, and the pleasures of gently nibbling piranha is still outside of my repertoire of experiences. However, there was this one meal before the end of the trip, at which we were served a fish dish which had a very peculiar flavor, and which Antonio refused to identify. During the meal he kept laughing and asking–"now who's kissing who?" (his English, not mine). 

The net result of this experience, from the vantage point of many years out, is an amplification of my fascination with what might be lying just below the surface. After a while this interest became perhaps a little fetishistic, and mannered–a little like your crazy neighbor who collects anything with an elephant on it...  

As I became more professionally involved with graphics all of this fantastic sea life content started to surface around me, and to feed this burgeoning obsession. John Riess at Dover began showing me rare collections of color plates of fish he was collecting; in the Archive I found very old natural history encyclopedias with fantastic sea life engravings in them. We found a copy of Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, and a collection of Ernst Haeckel's Art Forms in Nature. 

The resulting collection ranges from microscopic animals, to shellfish, jellyfish, corals, mollusks, sea mammals, and sea birds. 

But really, the stars of the collection are the fish...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: DIY Glassware Using Sea Life Clip Art

Today's tutorial comes, once again, from Walter of Mod Podge Rocks!

Our Sea Life collection turns simple glass plates and a trifle bowl into a stunning table scape, perfect for outdoor entertaining!

Says Walter "I am very pleased with the results. SO easy. 98% of all my items from Walmart were Made in the USA, which was also a very important factor in my purchase decision!"

Want to give this tutorial a try? Read the full instructions on Mod Podge Rocks! and enter to win our Sea Life clip art collection by Friday 8/16/13!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Win This Week's Featured Collection: Sea Life

Take it easy. The dog days of summer are here. Lean back. This week on the blog we'll take a look at a number of collections that speak to the carefree ease of the last sultry days of summer- a time when you'll want to lounge by a body of water, take a trip, or even just go on a leisurely bike ride.  Take a look at our Dog Days of Summer clip art picks.

Take the plunge into an ocean of inspiration with this week's featured collection, Sea Life. From seashells to squids, starfish to penguins, plus whales, dolphins, sharks, and giant jelly fish — this stunning array of images includes fish great and small, real and fanciful. Fine-quality art for professionals or anyone who wants to design like one offers a feast for the eye and the imagination.
Download the full collection of more than 280 full-color illustrations for $15.99 or individual image sheets just $1.99 - $2.99!

Want this great collection added to your DoverPictura account absolutely free? Comment on this post any time throughout the week and on Friday afternoon we'll choose 5 comments at random to win the entire Sea Life collection. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

This Week's Winners and Some Alphabetical Inspiration

Congratulations to the winners of this week's featured collection giveaway, including
flipdoodle who said "I love letters which take the form of animals best." We hope you create something wonderful with Letters and Alphabets! (and better yet, come back and share your results!)

Stuck in a creative rut? Let's get your creativity back to the ABCs with these simple tutorials that use letters in a variety of media:

Decoupage Letter tutorial from the letter k

Moss Monogram from Eight by Five

Vintage sheet music "Joy" sign from An Oregon Cottage

iPhone/Computer Wallpaper from Primp and Paper

Monogram Mugs from Design Mom

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dover Crafting Ambassador Gigi Floyd on Her Latest Art Show

Dover Crafting Ambassador Gigi Floyd reached out to us this week to let us know about her latest art show. How wonderful to see what her gorgeous beeswax collages look like hung in an exhibit!

Says Gigi: "This is just a quickie, as I'm fried (but happy!) after the successful launching of my art show last night. Here's a fun pic from my reception, as I can identify at least nine Dover images in the pieces in the background."

"An article about my art appeared in Friday's Eureka Times-Standard. It contains a brief shout-out to Dover!"
Mixed-media artist Gigi Floyd will be showing her artwork during August and September at Los Bagels, 403 Second St. An opening reception will be held during Arts Alive! on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m., and again on Sept. 7.

This show will feature a hot-off-the-press series of Floyd's melted beeswax collages, which she creates by fusing multiple layers of beeswax and collage elements to canvas. Her use of quirky, vintage-themed imagery lends a sense of nostalgia and whimsy to her work. Floyd is especially excited about this latest series because, as she says, “Through both serendipity and by design, 2013 has brought an absolute avalanche of new imagery my way. People are always wondering where I find my imagery, and my answer is -- EVERYWHERE!”

Floyd says that the hunt for imagery is a big part of the fun. Yard sales, rummage sales, auctions and the lens of her own camera provide many of the building blocks for Floyd's signature pieces. Most of the romantic couples, flappers and floozies come from her “huge collection” of vintage French postcards, while many of the more “classical” characters come courtesy of Dover clip-art.

”But best of all have been the generous friends and community members who have spontaneously offered 'treasures' after seeing my work,” said Floyd.

“Vintage song sheet covers, rhinestone jewelry from the 20s and even a yellowing stack of 1951 Humboldt Standard newspapers that had been stuffed inside an ironing board. It doesn't get much better than that!”

To contact the artist and see more of her work, visit

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All about ABCs–Pictures of Letters

There's something slightly contraire or subversive about the practice of turning letters into pictures. Letters are abstractions—abstract marks used to represent sounds in speech, which when strung together create an abstract representation (a word) of something real or imagined or hypothetical. The whole point of the system of writing seemed to be to move us away from signification–of making pictures of things–yet for centuries those scribes, copyists, penmen and scriveners who most relied on the efficiency of the system of writing, were some of the strongest forces in undermining it–they scribbled fanciful shapes on the margins...bless them.

The use of letters and the practice of typography are aimed at inducing a nice flow– a steady, even rate of consumption. But in the midst of this we find these decorative capitals, drop-caps, ornate initials, arresting our flow, inviting us to pause and linger and decode. This appeals to me deeply. There's something too modern, too efficient about writing; ornate letters reintroduce an element of chaos and freshness into the mix.

With the collection Letters and Alphabets we wanted to present a survey of sorts, which gave examples across the spectrum of approaches to the decoration of letters. In it you'll find three basic types of ornate letters.

First there are letters that simply become stylized and sometimes intricate.

They have a more modern feel, and you can imagine using them in advertising and logos, or as design elements in larger compositions, as in the image below.

The second basic type are letters decorated with ornamentation. These letters are often works of art unto themselves. They encompass a broad range of decorative styles— from semi-abstract floriation (the 'L' below), to full-blown pictorialization (the letter 'V' with fairy).

Potential uses are unlimited: everything from stand-alone decorations to complex compositions. The can very useful in establishing a narrative in an illustration:

And finally, my favorite– letter-shapes constructed from real-world objects. The 'ABC'  at the top of the post is a superb example. Often these letters are parts of whole alphabets—fanciful alphabets. They are incredibly entertaining in their own right–when presented as a group. But, as with the ornately decorated letters, their potential uses are unlimited. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Carmen's Carved Eraser Veggie Stamps and Notecard Set

Today's tutorial comes from our awesome Dover Crafting Ambassador, Carmen Flores Tanis, who gets us all in the back-to-school mood with some adorable little stamps made from erasers! (We've abbreviated things a bit, but you can read the full tutorial on Carmen's website.) 

Take it away, Carmen!

It is so easy to carve rubber erasers into little stamps and an easy way to add artwork to the stamps is to use clipart.

You'll need:

1. Select your image: Instead of hauling out my heavy scanner, I just photographed the page with my iPad. I then used the ArtStudio app to size and flip the artwork so that it would fit on the erasers. (Be sure to flip your artwork so that it prints correctly!)

(DoverPictura note: the artwork Carmen uses in her tutorial comes from one of our out-of-print books that's not yet available on DoverPictura, but if you scroll to the bottom of this post you'll see some great suggestions for collections that feature similar art!)

2. Transfer image onto rubber eraser: I transferred the veggie artwork onto the eraser by using a piece of carbon paper and a pencil. Then I used a kraft knife with a sharp blade to carve away the extra rubber so that just the veggie outlines remained. (You could use a Speedball linoleum cutter but I prefer a kraft knife to get really precise cuts.) After a few minutes, the stamp was carved and ready for printing!

3.  Carefully carve your stamps: Stamp carving is addictive so of course I had to make a whole set of stamps!

4. Print:
I printed the stamps on blank white index cards using ink pads in blue and black. (I also cut away the extra rubber around the outside of each stamp to keep from accidentally printing unwanted areas.)

5. Color:
I printed the little girl on the envelope flaps and added color to all the printed images with colored pencils. Easy!

6. Add finishing touches:
As a finishing touch, I made a band to wrap around my new stationery. I cut a strip of green construction paper and after stamping the checkerboard pattern on it with blue ink, wrapped it around the bundle of notecards and envelopes. Finally, I used a Kool Tak adhesive pad to adhere a copy of the little girl onto an orange construction paper rectangle and then attached that to the green strip with another adhesive pad.


Suggested images for this project:

Whimsical Animals Illustrations 0486999734 $12.99

Denslow's Wizard of Oz Illustrations 0486991466 $12.99
Old-Fashioned Children Illustrations 0486995933 $12.99