Thursday, January 01, 2009


Happy New Year!

This was my holiday card a few years ago, and I've decided to use the proverb as my new year's resolution this year - I'm giving up on my usual ones to lose 10 pounds and get organized, seeing as the 10 pounds have been joined by a a bunch of friends and my level of disorganization has also grown incrementally. Instead, this year I'm going to concentrate on hoping, chewing, breathing, saying and loving more. (Okay, I'm hoping I magically lose 20 pounds and get organized in the process). I'm sticking a copy of this picture on my fridge this year, and you can too by downloading the high-res pdf here. (It's not a great image, because I gave away the original and this scan was made from a copy I had - sorry.)

I love making this type of papercut, although I haven't done any for a couple years. To make one, I do a soft pencil drawing, indicating all the black areas on high quality tracing paper, and then transfer the areas that will be black to the back of a piece of silhouette paper (which you can buy from Dick Blick Art Supply here). (I use a wooden tool with a point to rub over the penciled areas.) Next I cut away all the parts I don't want to be black with a craft knife, starting with the thinnest/smallest places. I then use the tracing paper drawing again to transfer the shapes of the non-black sections onto the backs of colored papers and cut those shapes out. Finally, I carefully glue the colored papers to the wrong side of the silhouette paper. I use a toothpick to apply the glue very carefully to the black areas, which can be very thin so it's a bit painstaking; other artists glue the colored papers in position and then add the black on top. Some paper artists call this technique "paper applique,"and it's known in Japan as kiri-e

One of my favorite illustrators/fine artists, Aki Sogabe uses this technique with greater skill than I can muster. You can visit a website with samples of her art and a discussion of her technique here.

Here's one more example of my applique cut paper art. This picture was a sample of final art for a picture book I've never sold (But I Won't Share My Bear). All the black areas are connected, except the eyes, nose and the circle things on the baseball cap. My oldest son, Kyle, posed for the drawings; he turned 21 yesterday. Can't believe how quickly the years have gone!

Wishing all of you fun experimenting with new crafts and ideas, the thrill of discovering more wonderful books, and the pleasures of sharing time (and those wonderful books) with young children in 2009!

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