Strathmore Art Blog is a resource for artists to find more information about our products such as newly released items, frequently asked questions, greener options and helpful technical information. We also create articles of interest including artist features, project ideas, events and contests.

Toned Sketch in 3 NEW Formats!

| Artist Tiles | Creative Cards | Green Products | News | Products | Toned Paper |

We are excited to introduce our popular Toned Sketch paper in 3 new formats! The warm tan and cool gray papers are now available in:

1. Greeting Cards
2. Artist Tiles
3. Full Sized Sheets

Toned Greeting Cards:Toned Cards
Share your artwork and continue the long-standing tradition of hand-written correspondence with these full-sized toned greeting cards. These heavyweight cards (80lb, 216gsm) measure 5”x6.875” and come with matching toned envelopes.
Click here to learn more about Toned Cards

 

Toned Artist Tiles:Toned Tiles

Heavyweight Artist Tiles in toned tan and gray make for special surfaces for pattern drawing and meditative art. Using bright highlights and dark shadows in patterns makes drawing and designs pop.  Toned Tiles are available in 4”x4” packs, and are 80lb, 216gsm.
Click here to learn more about Toned Artist Tiles

 

Toned Sheets:
Zebras on Toned Tan
Art by
Wendy Beresford

Toned Sketch papers in large sheets are perfect for creating larger pieces of art using light and dark media. They are available in 19”x24”, and are 80lb, 118gsm.
Click here to learn more about Toned Sheets

Here’s a reminder of what makes our Toned Sketch papers unique and so fun to work with:

  • Starting your artwork using mid-range tan or gray paper allows for unique sketching & drawing possibilities by providing the middle value that would otherwise need to be rendered by the artist.  
  • A wider range of values from light to dark can be used, and the middle tone makes it easier for the artist to deliberately place shadows and highlights.
  • Keeping the value of the paper as one of the values in the drawing not only saves time, but allows the artist to use graphite or other dark media to push darker values and white pencils or other light media to add highlights, making sketches and drawings pop. 
  • Our Toned papers are 100% recycled, contain 30% post-consumer fiber, and also contain kraft and bark fiber inclusions which adds visual interest.

Also don’t forget about all the other formats that this surface comes in, including pads, hardbound & softcover art journals, and rolls! Learn more about the full line here.

Strathmore Toned Products

100 Series Youth - Art Papers for Kids!

| Kids Art Materials | Products |

Youth Sketchbook

Did you know we have a complete line of products designed for the young artist?

Providing quality materials for artists has always been top of mind at Strathmore, and that’s no exception when it comes to kids products. We believe the best way to nurture talent and enhance the creative process is to provide materials that work and give kids the best possible results.

We’ve got a wide range of paper types that allow young artists to explore their interests and develop their craft. Take a look at the full line which includes items like Drawing pads, Sketchbooks, Paint pads, Imagination Packs, Story Drawing Books, Art Journal Kits, Construction pads, Marker pads and Mixed Media pads.

Specially marked products include two project ideas on the inside covers with instructions to help get the creative juices flowing.

We also have a page packed with art project ideas and simple instructions. Check out the example below and see the full page with more projects here!

Sunflowers Project

 

Summer Artist Newsletter

| Artist Tips | FAQ | Featured Artists | Newsletter | Printmaking | Products |

By Gail PiazzaThe Summer Edition of our Artist Newsletter is here!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

In this Issue:

My Muse by Gail Piazza

Featured Artist Gail Piazza's M.O. from early in her career has been illustrating stories through the expression on children’s faces. See some of her favorite pieces where she’s captured the intensity and emotion behind her subjects eyes. Also get an in-depth look at her process with information ranging from types of materials used, video demonstrations, tips on lighting your subject, and more.

2014 Online Workshop Series

Workshop 3 of our 2014 Online Workshop Series starts on September 1! In this workshop entitled Watercolor Sketching & Journaling Artist Gay Kraeger will start by showing you the basics, then move into using quick sketches, page design, lettering and more watercolor techniques to give you all the tools you need to keep a special illustrated journal of your surroundings. Register and get started for free today! Workshop 1 and 2 are already availalbe for viewing, and the workshops will remain open until December 31, 2014. Get more details in the Artist Newsletter.

Featured Product: Strathmore Printmaking

We’re excited about our new, complete line of Printmaking papers for recreational, student and professional artists! Learn more in the Artist Newsletter on the full line which includes 300 Series Lightweight Printmaking paper, 400 Series Heavyweight Printmaking paper, and 500 Series RiverPoint®100% cotton Printmaking paper.

Questions from our Website

In this issue we explain how paper weight is measured in both pounds and grams per square meter. Also see our helpful chart with common basis sizes and weights for various fine art papers.

DOWNLOAD THE SUMMER ARTIST NEWSLETTER

Bronx Girls
WIP by Gail Piazza

2014 Online Workshops - Workshop 3 Watercolor Sketching & Journaling

| News | Workshops |

Watercolor Journal _ Fish

Workshop 3, Watercolor Sketching and Journaling, with Artist Gay Kraeger starts in one month! On Monday, September, 1, lesson 1 will be released at 9am CST. The workshops are free and self-paced and will remain open from their starting dates until December 31, 2014.

In Workshop 3, Gay will guide you through learning watercolor one step at a time. She will start by showing you the basics, then move into using quick sketches, page design, lettering and more watercolor techniques to give you all the tools you need to keep a special illustrated journal of your surroundings.

Watercolor Journal - Bridgepoint

Here is the supply list for Workshop 3:

Strathmore Products

Materials:

  • Permanent pens (waterproof)
  • Synthetic bristle round brushes
  • Waterbrush
  • Pencils (#2 or mechanical)
  • Lightweight plastic palette
  • Watercolor paint
  • Viewfinder made from watercolor paper (Instructor will demonstrate how to make)
  • Acrylic plastic cut to size of journal

Registered students will receive an email prior to the start of the class with instructions on how to access the online classroom. If you are already registered, watch your email.

If you haven't registered yet, click here.

Also, don’t forget Workshop 1 and 2 are open for viewing!

Workshop 1: Back to Basics with Earnest Ward
Workshop 2: Visual Journal Fodder with the Journal Fodder Junkies

Patterns for Meditative Drawing

| Artist Tiles | DIY Art Projects | Products |

If you're looking to relax this weekend and maybe even relieve a little stress, try out our Artist Tiles for pattern drawing and meditative art.

Strathmore Artist Tiles

The process of creating patterned drawings by combining repetitive marks, circles, lines and forms to create small pieces of art is a great way to clear your mind, and let yourself become more focused and relaxed. It’s also an approachable and easy to learn art form that anyone can try, regardless of skill level. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, and it’s a great way to let go and enjoy the emotional benefits that art can bring.

We've got a full line of the right surfaces in small, approachable sizes that are perfect for this art form. Learn more about the full line which includes Bristol Tiles, Watercolor Tiles, Black Tiles, and a Recycled Sketch Journal here.

If you need a little inspiration to get started, our very own Jane Oliver created a free template with a variety of fun & beautiful designs.

Pattern 1 Pattern 2

Pattern Designs

Download the template from the link below and give it a try!

DIY Watercolor Gift Tags

| Artist Tips | DIY Art Projects |

Watercolor Tags

We had a blast creating these colorful watercolor gift tags using our 400 Series Watercolor paper!

These are great for adding a little pop of color and a personal handmade touch to any gift. See how we made them and give it a try for yourself or use these as inspiration to create your own personalized gift tags!

Supplies

  • Free downloadable gift tag template (link at the end of this post)
  • Strathmore Watercolor Paper - we used 400 Series Watercolor
  • Printer (or permanent ink pen if you'd rather do your own hand lettering)
  • Watercolor Paint - (we used Golden's new QoR Watercolor)
  • Watercolor Brush
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • String
  • Corner Punch (optional)

First we trimmed down our 400 Series Watercolor paper to 8.5"x11" size so we could run it through the printer. Please note we do not typically recommend our watercolor paper for printers, but in this case it worked well with the template.

Strathmore Watercolor Pad

WC Tags Printed

Next, we watercolored the entire sheet before cutting out the individual tags. The fun part of watercoloring the whole sheet at once is seeing the unique design that each individual tag has after it's cut down.

We used Golden's new QoR Watercolors, which have a unique formulation to accentuate the luminosity and brilliance of pigments even after drying.

Watercolored Template

Watercolored Template - Close Up

After the watercolor dried, we cut out each individual tag. Some corners were rounded and others were cut just at the top corners. We used a hole punch at the top of each tag and strung a string through. What a simple way to brighten up a special gift!

Close Up Finished Tags

Finished Watercolor Tags

Paper Permanence and Longevity

| Artist Tips | FAQ | Technical Paper Info |

Factors affecting paper permanence

Paper permanence is a very important aspect to consider when creating artwork. Acid is the main factor that affects paper permanence. It deteriorates the fiber, causing brittleness and yellowing.

Fine art paper is tested for its acid content by using a pH scale. Less than 7.0 on the scale is acidic, 7.0 is neutral and greater than 7.0 is alkaline. Acid free papers should have a pH of approximately 7.5.

pH Scale

Artists concerned with permanence should not only use acid free papers, but also consider all the elements that come into contact with the paper. This includes drawing and painting materials, quality of water being used, materials used when mounting and framing, and also the environment.

Some important factors to remember concerning the permanence and longevity of paper and artwork inlcude:

  • ACID: As mentioned, acid is the main factor that affects permanence, so if you’re concerned about longevity remember the most durable and long lasting papers are acid free.

  • OTHER ART MATERIALS: Paper permanence refers not only to the acidic level of the finished sheet of paper, but also to factors that affect the paper after it is made, like what comes in contact with the sheet (paints, oils, fixatives, etc). Make sure you are using safe materials if you're concerned about longevity.

  • LIGHT: Sunlight fades all color. Ultraviolet and fluorescent light accelerates fading. Light energy is converted into heat and a minute amount is absorbed by paper, causing fibers to become brittle. Be sure to protect your artwork from the sun and hang it where it won't be directly exposed to sunlight. Consider installing UV shields on fluoursecent lights to prevent accelerated fading.

  • TEMPERATURE: Typically a lower storage temperature of paper makes it last longer (although extreme cold can cause brittleness). The life of paper is doubled with every decrease of 10˚ F. Too hot of a temperature can cause mold. In general, the average room temperature range is safe, and it's best to keep artwork in a place where there won't be a 20˚F fluctuation within a 24 hour time period. For example, a garage may not be the best place to hang artwork if it gets down to 50˚F at night and up to 90˚F during the day.

  • HUMIDITY: Too low a humidity increases paper brittleness. Too high a humidity increases the chance of mold. Cycling (temperature/humidity fluctuations) weakens and breaks down paper fibers by causing fibers to expand and contract due to the water contained within them. On average 5% of water remains in a finished sheet of paper after the paper making process is complete, so think of paper as being alive... it can be affected by changes in the environment.

  • STORAGE: The main consideration is not to let anything acidic touch your paper. Acid free interleafing can be used to store artwork. Acid free tissue paper is a cost effective option. Glassine paper can also be used, or museum barrier paper. They all prevent acid from touching your paper. Do not use a stiff cardboard container to crate your portfolio as the acid in the cardboard can enter your paper. We’d recommend making a container out of either an acid free illustration board or acid free mat board.

DIY 4th of July Watercolor Cupcake Toppers

| Artist Tips | DIY Art Projects | Products |

Patriotic Cupcakes

It's 4th of July week! We dressed up some delicious cupcakes and made them patriotic by creating watercolor cupcake toppers! If cupcakes are on the menu for your 4th of July celebration, see how we made these and give them a try for yourself! We've included a free downloadable cupcake topper template at the end of this post.

Supplies

  • Free downloadable 4th of July cupcake topper template (links are at the end of this post)
  • Strathmore Watercolor Paper - we used 400 Series Watercolor
  • Printer
  • Watercolor Paint - Red & Blue (we used Golden's new QoR Watercolor)
  • Watercolor Brush
  • Toothpicks
  • Tape and/or glue

First we trimmed down our 400 Series Watercolor paper to 8.5"x11" size so we could run it through the printer.

Strathmore Watercolor Pad

Please note we do not typically recommend our watercolor paper for printers, but in this case it worked well with the template and we hope it works well for your printers at home, too!

Printed Template

Next, we watercolored the entire sheet before cutting out the individual circles. We used Golden's new QoR Watercolors, which have a unique formulation to accentuates the luminosity and brilliance of pigments even after drying. We put a wash of water over the sheet first, then dropped, painted and splattered watercolor onto the page to give it a firework-looking effect.

Watercolored Toppers

Watercolored Toppers Close Up

After the watercolor dried, we cut out the individual circles.

Watercolor Toppers Cut out

Next, either tape or glue toothpicks to the back of the toppers. First we taped the toothpick to the back of one topper, then glued a second topper to the back of the first topper so the toothpick was in the middle and both sides showed our watercolored image.

Stick them in your cupcakes and enjoy!

Finished Cupcakes

Calling All Card Artists!

| Art Requests & Contests | Creative Cards |

Strathmore Cards

We are looking for fun & fresh fall and winter themed artwork created on our greeting cards! There is still time to submit for a chance to win cash prizes and Strathmore Card products! Submissions are due by Friday, July 11.

Get all the details and submit your cards here.

We will be selecting 3 featured artists from our fall/winter card artwork submissions to receive the following:

  • 1st place - Awarded $500, plus $200 retail value of Strathmore® card products
  • 2nd place - Awarded $250, plus $100 retail value of Strathmore® card products
  • 3rd place - Awarded $100, plus $50 retail value of Strathmore® card products

For information on our full line of cards, click here. We've got a wide variety of cards in a range of paper types including watercolor, canvas, mixed media, stamping and more.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, Opus Art Supplies has a great how-to video featuring artist Leslie Redhead as she creates a fall-themed watercolor greeting card. Click here to see it.

Leslie Redhead's Watercolor Card

Card created by Leslie Redhead on Strathmore Watercolor Cards.

Sandra Wolfson's Printmaking Workshops

| Printmaking | Products | Workshops |

Sandra & SherrieIf you’re in the California area, check out Artist & Instructor Sandra Wolfson’s printmaking workshops this summer! Sandra is a Printmaking Instructor at Orange Coast College and an Artist Educator for Strathmore. She will be sharing her printmaking knowledge in two Workshops:

Screen Printing & Painting: A Colorful Combo at Open Ground Studio in Seaside, CA from July 14-18. Click here for more information on this workshop.

Mix it Up! At Orange Coast College Printmaking Studios on July 12 and August 2 in Costa Mesa, CA. Click here for more information on this workshop where Sandra will team up with Sheryl Seltzer to guide artists through relief, etching, monotype and screen printing techniques. Sounds like a blast!

 

 

Sherrie (left) & Sandra (right) at OCC Printmaking Studio

You can also try out Strathmore’s new Printmaking papers in Sandra’s workshops! We’ve got a brand new line of soft, strong & absorbent printmaking papers for the full range of needs for beginners, professionals and everyone in-between. Get all the details on the full line here.

Strathmore Printmaking

Sign up for Sandra’s workshops or look for a printmaking workshop in your area this summer and give it a try for yourself!