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1  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Re: fixative for printer image on: April 01, 2009 09:48:51 PM
I am sure some people will recoil in horror at this suggestion, but I am offering it for your consideration. I paint a lot with watercolors, then turn my mini paintings into lots of other and bigger things. And watercolors smear, spot and ruin easily. I have tried spraying them with a wide variety of things even tho it is dangerous to inhale that stuff, but was dissatisfied with the results. Now, I use satin Minwax varathane. I paint a light coat over the watercolor and let it dry either outside or in a shed until it has outgassed, as the fumes are toxic. I have a cute little metal rack I improvised that I cover in the insect season. While I love collage, I dont particularly enjoy suicidal insects stuck to my art.

The downside is that varathane discolors.  I love the look I get from 20 or so coats, sanded in between coats, but they get really dark after awhile. But just one light coat, while altering the colors a bit, does such a super job of sealing that I do it anyway. I have used it on color copies, as well.
2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Re: Anyone know where I can find nature scenes?? on: April 01, 2009 09:31:31 PM
My local library gives away their magazines as they become outdated. Both the downtown and south side branches have boxes by the door where they dump the old magazines for people to take. For several years I went thru them every time I went to the library. I carried a giant cloth shopping bag (hand sewn with carpet thread, made out of canvas) to pack them home.

What an adventure. The magazines were about EVERYTHING and I learned a lot as I highgraded (cut out all the good stuff) them. When I took classes at the local college, I found a similar box there. Often, I would find catalogs and calendars. I am planning to travel in my motor home for 3 years and will have to get rid of tons of files I have collected over the years. Sob. But the joy was in the collecting and I am scanning a lot.

As far as a site goes, the quality of free art may not be what you are looking for and the paid clip art can get pretty costy. I found some great pictures in hunting magazines and National Geographical, and such. It probably isnt legal to use those photos as they are, but I collected them for drawing reference.

When I was in college for the 3rd time (dont ask) my Commercial Art class first taught us how to steal art, then taught us how to get away with it. Ah, the good old days. Now the copyright laws are tighter and more closely enforced, as they should be, and the tricks I was taught would be questionable now. Still, there are ideas to inspire us.
3  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Re: a book from single pages? on: April 01, 2009 09:11:52 PM
The problem with perfect binding is that it isnt. Perfect, that is. My Christmas gifts to family, in the distant past, were books of poetry. My daughter and my youngest son wrote poetry in those days and I would print, illustrate and bind their poems for family and friends.

Perfect binding is basically the same as making scratch pads, except you use a glue instead of liquid rubber. Any pages that are not totally even against the spine will fall out.
No, they are not supposed to. And they must be in a padding press or very carefully heavily weighted down immediately after gluing or they will warp. No it isnt supposed to warp. 3 cement blocks minimum. And you will want to bind at least several extra pages to the front and back because they will get ruined. No, they...well, you know. After it has properly dried and cured, and you have trimmed off the ruined pages and glued a binding on the horrible truth comes out. It will not open out flat. But you cant read it closed. So you open it as wide as you can, and the spine cracks. This happens a lot even on commercially bound books. To me, anyway. I ended up folding the pages and staple binding them. But that makes for smaller books.

The best binding is large sheets sewn in booklets and these booklets are sewn into a larger book which is glued as described. It is a tad sturdier.

I keep lots of reference materials, too. I used file folders in cabinets for years. And for materials I used often, large loose leaf binders. Neither was totally satisfactory. Now I have been trying to scan my files, and I am not totally pleased with the quality of my scans in relationship to the size of the files. Some people are impossible to please.

My most satisfactory method at this time is to create a really cool pouch of upholstry-weight fabric and place the sheets of reference materials in it, drawing out the materials as needed, then returning them. I have to limit the embellishments because of my feline roommate who gets bored and chews them off. I have a lovely large basket that holds several pouches.
4  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Re: What kind of paper? on: April 01, 2009 08:39:35 PM
I like to use Vellum Bristol, a light weight cover stock that I used when I owned a print shop. It is heavy enough to resist bleeding, absorbent and toothy enough for ink and pencil, and it is relatively inexpensive, usually under $10 a half ream (250 sheets) and comes in white and pastel colors (I like the ivory, tan and peach for caricatures) and for slightly more $$ you can get it in 11X17. The only drawback is that technical pens give a very soft line (kinda bleeds) due to the absorbency of the paper. For the same reason, you wouldnt want to use watercolors on it. I buy Vellum Bristol locally at Paper Zone, but you should find it at any store that caters to small printers. Some large paper companies will sell to individuals, but most dont want to be bothered for just a ream or so. If all else fails, you can have a print shop order it for you, but they will tack on a profit.
5  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Re: How to journal/scrapbook while travelling? on: April 01, 2009 08:23:49 PM
When I travel, I like to collect almost everything I can get my hands on: brochures with photos, feathers, tickets, strange and unexpected things that may or may not have a use, but capture my imagination, such as a rusty little part found in a puddle or the colorful piece of a plastic toy or an odd looking seed or leaf. These things not only stimulate the imagination but, later in your journal, stimulate memories the way words cannot. My suggestion, therefore, is to carry plastic bags (I like the large freezer kind that are sturdy) and as they fill up, mail them to yourself at home. Also, carry notebook paper for sketches and notes. Notebook paper is lighter weight than copier paper and has those light lines that dont interfere with your sketches. Again, mail them home as you fill them up. I think about 6 sheets of copier paper in an average envelope go for one first class stamp, so you should get 7 or 8 notebook sheets in. The post office will sell you an envelope with postage printed on it so you save the weight of a stamp and the need to carry envelopes.

An advantage of the plastic bags is that wet or dirty things you may want to collect (I know, you think you wont want anything like that until you find something you could never have imagined and suddenly you are SO grateful for the plastic bag!)

Your trip sounds grand. I will be leaving in the fall for a 3 year trip around the US with my roommate, SniQi. She has fur and claws and stays in the motor home. I will journal as I go.

I havent been to Europe yet (that will be 4 years from now) but I spent 3 months in Japan on a government contract, and people constantly asked me about my home and my family. I had pictures of my children, of course, but had not thought to put together a few photos of the area I lived in (the mountains and Puget Sound) so people could have an idea what my homeland was like. When I travel now, I carry photos. My daughter lives in Paris (France) and traveled Europe extensively while she was in college there. She found that it was helpful to carry small, inexpensive (perhaps hand crafted) gifts to give to families she stayed with on her travels. When foreign visitors stayed with me during an international competition in my area, they gave me a tiny ornament from their country, and I loved it as much as I enjoyed their visit. Something to think about....

If you have a reservation in Europe, you could mail yourself a package of little gifts in care of the hotel or hostel to lighten your load on the trip over.

Most important, have a wonderful time!
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