Thursday, 26 April 2012

How to survive a GCSE Art Exam.

I have finally finished my exam.
All of those loving hours laboured since January on my Sketchbook and plans have been taken and locked away following 2 days (10 hours) in my Art exam.


From this though, I have gained wisdom, and I offer them to you now, as plainly simple or stupid they may seem, so those who read it can prosper within an Art Exam where one must be silent for ten hours with no music or anything else as a distraction.
They work. Trust me.

And, appropriately, as the exam took 10 hours, I offer you 10 tips.

~Take up as much space as you want/need~
It is not fun working in a small, cramped space. If you need an easel, make sure you get one. If you need TWO easels, you should be allowed to have both. I took up two entire tables with all of my vague wandering pieces of artwork, and nobody minded at all. Obviously, there are limits: you can't have an entire classroom to yourself. That would be weird.

~If you have long hair, tie it back, out of the way~
There is nothing worse than having to pick pieces of clay, or streaks of paint, out of your hair.

~Bring enough food to sustain you~
When you are faced with ten hours without any interaction from anyone other than the teacher, food will always be your comfort. Just make sure not to bring anything that will become sticky over your hands, or involve wrappers.
I brought sweets, muffins, brownies and cheese straws...
~Make sure you have enough equipment~
Sounds stupid, I know, but by the end of the year, the schools seem to run out of art supplies. Like Paint. And brushes. Bring your own if you can. They'll be more familiar, and you won't have to worry about not having enough.
Another thing, don't leave buying a canvas until the last minute: chances are, everyone else from your school and the surrounding area will be having the same problems and buying the same things.

~Tidy up as you go along~
It is not fun having to clean brushes that have been dried with paint on them. Or palettes.

~Set your own, realistic targets~
Some people work quicker than others, so set your targets for your pace. Ignore the fact that someone may be doing something huge, or something small. Estimate your pace, and ignore everybody else. You want to be able to at least finish it.

~Make sure you have stuff to do when your finished~
I can tell you this from experience. I finished early, and having annotated and stuck in everything for my book, on all of my mounted sheets, I was kind of stuck. I ended up plaguing my teacher for things to do.... extra studies to fit in here there and everywhere. Have a plan for afterwards, something that wouldn't entirely matter if you didn't reach it though, mind you.

~Don't talk, it's not worth it~
One girl in another class nearly got disqualified. That means your entire exam, your entire Art GCSE gone by a few words slipping out. Not a good idea.

~Wear an apron~
Paint, unless watercolours, does not come out of trousers, or jumpers, or shirts. I know you may hate your school uniform (I do) but that is no excuse.

~Make sure you know you can handle the deadline~
Another class thought they had an extra two weeks to finish their sketchbooks. You don't. As soon as that exam finishes, they want those books. Make sure you remember that. Don't get sucked in and still having loads to do, when you just don't have the time. This is when people end up staying up until midnight trying to finish it.
Because it HAS to be finished.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Craft Review: Week 17: Sunday 15th April- Saturday 21st April

I.e. Practically non existent.
I did art.
All week.
My exam is on Wednesday.
I'm freaking out.
I still have annotation to do.
Oh God.
I do apologise. I hate to be boring, but I'm afraid this is necessary. Come this time next week, I won't be able to touch it, or see it again, until the exhibition, or even, until I take it home.

However, I do offer you some music.
I find this very comforting, strangely.
I hope you all had a better week than I did.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Craft Review: Week 16: Sunday 8th April - Saturday 14th April

I had a bad day yesterday.
That's my only excuse for not posting this yesterday.
Not entirely.
But I will speak of that later.

I did far too much art this week - I was meant to be off school, yet I still have this inexplicable urge to work my nose to the grindstone. It may have something to do with the fact that my exam is ONE WEEK AWAY and I am FREAKING OUT. If I have not mentioned it, I assure you. I did something


I made some cards for the honesty box I have at my mum's work... I can't remember whether I actually took a photo of them... I don't think I did. They had pretty silver buttons on them, and the colours were white and pale blue.


I finished crochet-ing that bracelet! It looks quite nice, but I'm going to save it until someones birthday is sprung on me from out of the blue. I'm sure there are some of them coming up soon....


I went into school today and did some printing, some clay and some painting. All for my exam.
I hate clay.


I did not knot my two other house-scarf squares, but I did knit two thirds of a sorting hat square, which I will show you once finished.


I made this pink.... thing..... for my sister. Far too much pink for my liking. Far too much.


Pencils, Pastels, Split pins.... you name it, I had it. In a bumper art session that left me exhausted.


I painted Skye!

I do think she's my favourite.

My other reason for not posting yesterday was this.

and this.

Two AMAZNG Books - Not what I would usually read, but they kept me hanging on so badly. They were brilliant. I will say absolutely nothing about the covers.... I fume over ones with photos and these are no exception. I just blatently ignored it and made my own concoction of character.
They're good.

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Next Character up, Skye, and a particular favourite of mine... I have plans for her..... Evil plans....
She seemingly has no talent, she is good at nothing combative and she skims the basics of academia. Her chapter is either the penultimate, or the last.

She is often depressive, but finds comfort in Ian, who worries for her constantly ( I will post him later). She is good at playing the piano, and that is the only thing that seems to truly make her smile.
She's Italian, but one of her defining features is her big blue eyes.... This is the first time I've actually felt sorry that I don't paint their faces. In my mind, her eyes stand out above everything else. I have tried to reflect them, in her necklace, and the jumper, but it's not the same.

"In the corner, the source of the music was found, a grand piano stood majestically. A girl turned from it, surprised to have been interrupted from her playing. She had viciously curly, dark brown hair, and olive skin, but her eyes were a startling, deep blue."

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Felt Hearts : Craft Tutorial

These have become a favourite of mine.... I seem to use them for everybody.

I made one for my mum's birthday.
I made one for my Godmother for Mother's day.
And those two above have yet to have a purpose... whether they are a gift or to be sold is currently undecided.

This one is for my sister.

The idea originally came from 'Kirstie Allsopp's Craft', one of the books I got for Christmas. But, I have ended up adapting the pattern slightly. Here's my version.

1) Cut out 2 felt hearts, and cut a matching or contrasting piece of ribbon as such that you can have an equal amount above and below the heart for hanging and tassel. ( I suggest having a loop of about 10cm above the heart, so, add on the double of your hearts' height and add on an extra 10 cm.)

Example: My hearts are 5 cm tall, so require a piece of ribbon about 30cm long.

2) Stitch a contrasting coloured button to the centre of one of the hearts, making sure it's secure.

3) Fold the ribbon in half and pin between the two felt hearts.

4) Using running stitch, stitch around the heart, making sure to catch the ribbon at both the top and the bottom. Stop when you only have room for a small pocket.

5) Unpin and stuff with your favourite stuffing material, or even some dried lavender.

6) Close of the rest of the heart with running stitch.

7) Tie a knot in the loose ribbon ends and taper at an angle so as not to fray.


They are incredibly versatile and could be used for practically any colour scheme. And, they're quick and simple to make, so it's easy to make a few very quickly.

I hope you enjoy some felt heart love!

Monday, 9 April 2012


I have recently, it would seem, acquired my first follower via blogger, but due to some complications, I cannot view who it is!
Who are you my mystery follower? For I would very much like to view, and, more likely than not, return the favour to your own blog.
Anyone else, I would very much like it if you followed also! It would make me very happy!
I think that is all...
Toodle Pip!


This is my bookcase. I say bookcase singular, because it is my more impressive bookcase... the other three are dwarfs compared to this monster.
I have decided to share my bookcase with you as I think it is the part of my room that sums me up most.... Including my love of books, of school, and my extreme tendencies for hoarding and being untidy.
Also, I am doing art today and I'm taking a break, staring longingly at my bookcase, but today I cannot read....

So yes. You have met my lovely gorgeous bookcase and you may observe or peruse whatever books or objects I have on these shelves. but do not judge me for them.
Here, I am referring to the Winnie-the-Pooh kitchen towel...

Au revoir

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Craft Review: Week 15: Sunday 1st April - Saturday 7th April

As  it is half term, I have had plenty of time to do art and craft. Admittedly, an awful lot of that was taken up by my Art Exam prep, which I have been annotating faithfully, as well as adding the experiments for at least another 6 pages in my book (A3). I haven't done much of my other work though yet, so I'm going to have to try and get that done this week....


I made two more hearts. These are not designed to specifically given, but I am beginning to build up my stocks as my Mum says she might let me have a stall at her school's summer fair, to sell my crafts. I'm awfully excited, as it would mean I would have something to prepare for after my exams, and an easy way for me to earn a little bit more money. It's a win-win situation!
If anyone has any tips or tricks they'd like to share, or even any ideas for what I should sell, please comment and tell me!

These hearts are very simple to make, and I've re-adjusted the pattern from the book 'Kirstie Allsopp Craft'. These ones skip out beads and nonsense, and look far more rustic with shorter tails and a knot. Once I've assembled all of the equipment, it takes me only about 5-10 minutes to assemble them, and they really are gorgeous. Perhaps I shall share a pattern later...


On Monday, I painted little Ida... I love that shade of blue...


I finished the last few rows of My second Fluffy Buckbeak Scarf, and I then spent the entire day doing my Art Exam Prep. I even got my acrylic paints out to do a fair few studies. I love this project so much, but  the exam is looming and I'm beginning to panic...


I knitted another square for My (long-neglected) Harry Potter Blanket! This is a Gryffindor House Scarf Square, and it's a really simple pattern, which I will share when I have finished all 4 of them.


I spent the morning knitting, and the afternoon painting. I knitted a fair few more rows of my Ravenclaw scarf, my faithful WIP, and then I painted Erick. Not bad for a day's work in my opinion. 


Today, twas another art day. But I forced myself (it's such a strain... *sarcasm*) to knit another Hogwarts Scarf Square for my Harry Potter blanket. I hope to do Slytherin and Ravenclaw next week, and perhaps even a couple more, of various descriptions.


I had my first experiment with crochet today! And I have to say, it's looking rather successful. It took me a while to to figure out how it works, I'm completely self-taught here, except for the tutorial I was basing it on, and I think I'm beginning to get the hang of it. I chose to experiment here, because I have lots of friends who like bracelets, and I don't, and this seemed a nice way to get rid of the bracelets without making it look too obvious.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Step-by-Step: How I paint

Our Glamorous assistant being, Erick.

(Yes, I do know it's Edmund from Narnia....)

But, he does provide the base for my Erick.

First, I sketch out all of the basic pencil outlines.

Then I watercolour in the base colours for each section.
Wait for that to dry...

Paint in the shadows....

And finally, ink in all of the outlines.
These have to be quick and sketchy, accuracy is not the aim of the game here. I find it gives them more character this way, more undefined details.

Very simple, yet quite effective.

And very good for characters. As I've said before, I dislike knowing precisely what a character is supposed to look like. I use a reference image, yes, but more often than not it is a mash up of two or three different images... or even people! It is within avoiding facial features which allows the imagination to truly run riot.

If there are any questions, referring to my story, or the art, I will be glad to answer them. If anyone would like to read it, I will take suggestions on how to go about it in the comments.


Character 5, Erick (and he gets annoyed when people misspell his name, just like Allan). His chapter is most definitely one of the last ones... He is an archer, like Ida, and he is in charge of that branch, descended from Sir Tristan.

I haven't written much yet for Erick... But I do know he's very kind and empathetic. Painting him was fun too, and someone had asked for a step-by step of how I paint these, so I will do that in a separate post. It gave me something to do today, as I was rather bored... I think the green is a nice colour, and it suits him.

"There were scrapings of chairs, and muttered sympathetic apologies to Kate. Erick patted her shoulder, smiling encouragingly, and murmured into her ear."

Greek Rock (how descriptive....)

Sorry! I seem to have neglected my coursework Posts for a while... This one is still following the theme of 'Surfaces'.

This was a double page spread, plus an A3 enlargement painting that I created for my project.
The inspiration came from my visit to Rhodes, the Greek Island, in one of the previous summers. I had found this piece of carved rock, perhaps once a pillar top or part of a cable, and it fascinated me. I loved how intricate the carving was, how intricate and delicate it was. And it made me think of how much history it must have seen, made me dream up all sorts of wonderful stories as to how it had fallen, or who had touch it. I love history.

For this page, I started with a pen and ink study of the painting, which I then photocopied, and worked into with Watercolour.
The result was beautiful, one of the best things I think I've done. It captures light and shadow, and the stone wheel in the background is gorgeous. Everything about this painting, I love completely.
I thin did an acrylic painted study, using heightened colour and a small section of the rock for enlargement. I used the paints 'dry' giving it that stony, scratchy look.
I love these, for their history and how successful the mediums were. This was a good way to continue my Surfaces project.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Character 4, this is Ida. She'll be narrating one of the later chapters, depending on when I get round to deciding whether she'll be in first or third person... She's an archer, descendants of which I have attributed to Sir Tristan.

I have found that Watercolours are particularly difficult to keep light, without losing the colour. Ida is meant to be Scandinavian, and I wanted her to have really pale hair and skin. I have to say the photographs are better than the original for conveying that, but her hair is still a bit too dark. I tried repeatedly to make her hair lighter by adding several layers of white on top, but they don't seem to have worked.
I think the lesson learnt here is to not try and paint things that are too light....

"The rally continued for several more flying retorts before Ida got fed up and threw something at him. It must have been Ida, it was her aim and the speed that it flew at, and the sound of his pain caused by the direct impact; it could only have come from an archer."

Monday, 2 April 2012

Happy Hunger Games!


I think that just about sums it up.
I'd read the books, and loved them, and this film stayed so true to it, everyone was cast perfectly, and they kept near everything as I had imagined.
This is seriously beginning to provide competition for Harry Potter.

Maybe not....

But, I still had a brilliant day out! (after I had stopped panicking about missing trains, tickets, food, etc...)

I like trains.


We also managed to smuggle food into the cinema!

In this bag.

Food which included: Sweets, donuts, and, weirdly, Hot Cross buns.

Yes, I did just say Hot Cross Buns.

We are Strange.

Oh how horrible, a picture of me....

In honour, I plaited my hair like Katniss.

And I wore a dress that reminded me of Rue's flowers.

And a feeble attempt at a MockingJay pin, which I will only show as a vague reflection, as it's that bad.

See? Bottom left!

Ah. I'm still hyper on sugar.....
Have you seen the Hunger Games yet? What did you think? Do you love it as much as I do?

Sunday, 1 April 2012


Character number 3, Maya. I think she will end up narrating Chapter 8... but everything is set in custard at the moment....
(Yes. That is a technical term.)
Maya, like Allan, doesn't know her ancestor, at least not yet. I plan to reveal several of them throughout writing, and I think she might know hers by the end...

Maya is calm, determined and one of the oldest in the group, but not in charge. This riles her sometimes, but she's generally a nice person, but has that mischievous side to her.
She's an interesting character, I'll tell you that, and while painting her, I debated what colour she should wear... I think the pink works well, doesn't it?
If anyone has any questions, please just ask, and I'll be willing to help.

"Her name was Maya, and she had deathly pale skin, and shoulder length dark brown hair. Her eyes were colder, but there was a sparkle, a cunning glint, and her smile was mischievous."

Craft Review: Week 14: Sunday 25th March - Saturday 31st March

This week mainly comprised of Art...... Which I in no way mind, but please notify me if you find it boring/tedious. Likewise, if anybody has a request for a drawing or a painting, please let me know. I would be thrilled to oblige.


I Painted my lovely Rugby Players today. I love them, they're gorgeous. In all sense and meanings of the word....
Tehe. I love them.


I did some knitting for my second Fluffy/Buckbeack Scarf....


I did after school art, but as it is exam work, I am not showing you because I like to keep things secret.


I painted Matthew on Wednesday.... I was just extraordinarily busy and couldn't get to the computer to take a photo of him until Thursday...
I love Matthew also... His references were made from a combination of my favourite Rugby Player (anyone willing to guess?!) and the gorgeous Luke Smith from The Sarah Jane Adventures...


Four hours of Art Exam prep work.... Joy.... and I mean that without the slightest hint of sarcasm. I love art, and I don't see it as a strain


I painted Allan (very late at night) and I nearly fell asleep in the process. Explaining for his arrival on only Saturday.
Allan, I'm not quite as in love with, but it's a nice painting, and he is growing on me...


Yesterday, I actually painted Maya, but I forgot to take a picture... But I have now.