Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Brilliant Boxset Giveaway!!

I thought it was time to give all you lovely Cinnadoodles a lovely little (or big!) giveaway :)
Which of you would like to win this brand new boxset of 12 different Cinnabar Art items?!

This boxset contains 5 x greetings cards (Shown at the back) and 7 of my best-selling postcards! All complete with envelopes and encased in a white box with a bright coloured ribbon (Pink, Orange or Yellow).

Who wouldn't want to win this beautiful set?

Now for the rules for entering the giveaway:

  • Share the post about the boxset on your facebook page (you can find the post here) and comment on my post that you have done so.
  • Secondly, email me that you have taken part so that I can notify you if you happen to win! (email address is:
  • Get as many people as possible to come look and take part, too! :)

That's all you have to do to enter this fab giveaway :)

The giveaway will run for two weeks, starting today! The winner will be announced first through email (hence why emailing me is step number two!) and then announced via facebook, too.

Good luck to you all! xxxx

Friday, 26 April 2013

Tea and Cake with ... Nugget Says

This week I interviewed one of my many loyal followers: Hazel Porter :) Hazel runs and owns 'Nugget Says' and she creates some really beautiful pieces! Here is what she had to say ...

Hazel and little Nugget (how cute is she?!?)

What made you start crafting? Where did you get your business name from?
I’ve been crafting since I was a little girl with whatever I could get my hands on really! My hands need to be doing something whether it’s stamping, painting or a bit of embroidery.

My business name comes from my hamster ‘nugget’ who went to hamster heaven this time last year! Being inquisitive, she would get rather involved with whatever I was doing. Her favourite thing was to roll in her ball right up to my pincushion (me working on the floor as usual) and drag pins in through the gaps! Very naughty.
I liked the idea of being able to write ‘nugget says.. thanks’ or ‘nugget says..hi’.

What is your favourite thing to make/draw/create?
I’m a bit of a ‘heart’ person and all things ‘country/seasidey’ so my work usually involves those things! Oh and usually lots of birdies

Is there anything that inspires you to create? Other Artists? Music? Nature?
It’s usually things I want myself and if I find something I love, I will think about what I can make it into! The trouble with that though is I end up with a lot of my own pretty things as I can’t bear to sell them

What is your workspace like and why does it work for you? Is it messy and chaotic, an organised mess or spic and span?
I live in a little place at the moment with a very tidy man so am a BIG fan of a pretty storage box (or 24)
As I don’t have a set workspace it all gets packed away ready for next time! I guess you could say that it was ‘spic and span’ in that respect! It’s all highly organised!!

Have you always been a crafty person?
Oh yes! My Nan taught me how to cook and sew from an early age and my other granny is a poet and a potter. I think it’s in my blood

Do you have any dreams or goals you would like to reach? Crafty and/or personal?
I would love to have a little boutique by the sea selling my work and other local handmade cuteness (who wouldn’t though, right?)
I’m just enjoying it all for what it is and hopefully one day I can do it full time!

What's your favourite cereal? For all the cereal lovers out there ;)
I am partial to a big bowl of coco pops with really cold milk!

What piece are you most proud of and why?
I like everything I make really, that’s why it’s hard to let go sometimes but getting a design in your head and holding it in your hands after you’ve made that first one is a pretty good feeling

A little taster of the things Nugget Says produces!

We did enjoy our interview with lovely Hazel. She is such a lovely lady and very supportive of others' work. I think you should all go and pay a visit to her lovely page!

Find her on Facebook: Nugget Says

If you want to be a featured interviewee, email me at: 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Tea and Cake with ... Beth Hutchison Art & Illustration

I first stumbled across Beth's fabulous page whilst networking for Cinnabar Art and instantly fell in love with her use of colour! Some of the pieces Beth creates really get me inspired to splash out with the colour in my pieces. What better way to get to know Beth and her arty ways than with a quaint little interview :)

What made you start crafting? Where did you get your business name from?

I've always liked drawing and painting. Growing up my family would give me brushes, pencils and sketchbooks for birthdays. I even used to draw on ther blank end pages of books because I couldn't see why else the paper would be left blank! I've finally named my business under my (soon to be) maiden name, and am working on streamlining my Etsy shop and email address to match – they were set up before I really settled into my practice so the names don't match. I gave up trying to think of unique and catchy names – my work is a constant exploration of my self, so my own name seems as good as anything.

What is your work process like? Do you use a sketch book to get final ideas or just draw as they come?

I tend to draw ideas as they come, and usually it is the act of mark making which forms the idea. So I have to start making marks first, without knowing what is going to happen. I usually have a feel of the kind of thing I want to do first, but that's all. I react to and interact with what is happening on the page so it is very much in the moment. Occassionally I get a definite idea, a fixed image, and it happens and works but generally having a plan doesn't work for me. It creates a pressure, and expectation, which I find can deaden the outcome and my interest in what I'm doing.

What is your favourite thing to draw? 

I love to let wet media bleed and bloom and create the image for me. At the moment I'm doing a lot of abstract shapes and forms. I love to draw from obserervation too though – gardens, trees, plants and people mostly. And quite often my cat. I think even when you're making abstract work you need to still draw from life alongside. It informs all my imagery and keeps the eye/hand/drawing team in shape. I have a secret side which loves drawing female fashion models too, something I might start experimenting with again soon.

Is there anything that inspires you to create? 

Lights, colour, movement, pattern - moments of these in any combination. Usually in nature. I love artwork which is all about these things. I like it when I see a painting which makes me want to go and paint, for example. An artist friend told me 'That's what it's all about isn't it?' and I think he's right.

What is your workspace like and why does it work for you? Is it messy and chaotic, an organised mess or spic and span?  

It's a space within an old fish processing factory. It's by the window overlooking part of Falmouth harbour. I still need to get some shelves and storage solutions in there. Mostly it's very messy, especially when I'm really engaging in my work. I'm working at an easel at the moment so the table is just cluttered with stuff I might need. Once in a while I have a tidy up to clear my mind. It's affordable, and ten minutes walk from my flat. It works because it takes me away from everything else - a space dedicated to creating. No distractions (and I'm easily distracted!)

Are there any other artists/crafters that inspire you? 

There are so many, but I am rubbish with names so if I can recall one then it means they are definitely special to me. I love Shinichi Maruyama ( I adore Chinese artwork, the traditional calligraphy based things and landscapes – it's all about the brushstrokes and the moment. I also love the recent work of my old coursemate Caroline Pedler: Antidote ( - I think we are looking for the same things from our creativity.

 A little bit about Beth. Have you always been a crafty person? 

The art thing has always been around in my life and has always felt like a part of me which needed to happen. I didn't grow up in a family of artists or anything so it's been a really personal journey. That said, my Grandma was a teacher and did a little drawing - she introduced me to watercolours at a young age. I've tried other crafts but it always comes back to drawing and painting, that's where I feel at home and really the only thing which I don't lose interest in.

Is Beth Hutchison: Art & Illustration your main job or do you have other jobs, too? 

I work part time in an office at Falmouth University. It lets me have time each day in the studio and ensures I can just about cover the bills even in quieter months. It's lovely to still be in touch with the higher education environment since finishing my MA, and the job itself isn't too mentally demanding so it keeps the grey matter freed up for creating.

Any dreams or goals for the future? Crafty and personal related? 

I'd like to reach a point where my artwork, plus a part time job keeps me on a fulltime wage fairly regularly. It's not a massive ambition but one of the key things I took away from my postgrad course was the suggestion that you can define your own idea of success – what is my idea of success? Not having to work a fulltime day job. That would do me fine. I'd quite like a solo show one day, but I'm not quite ready yet. As for personal goals, I'm getting married this year. I've been with my partner for 11 years and I look forward to growing old with him and still laughing as much as we do now.

What's your favourite cereal? 

I love them all – except shredded wheat. I like swiss style muesli – the one with all the added sugar. Not healthy at all

What do you enjoy most about design?

The process of making it. And coming back to a piece later on and being able to see properly whether it worked or not. I can't tell straight away. I can be really excited about a piece, come back the next day and realise it's not all that. Or I can not like it, only to return and realise it's got something. Above all that, I love the accidents most. The way I work, sometimes things happen that you can't design. Or at least I couldn't. You just have to spot them when they are happening and take advantage of them right there and then. Sometimes that means not touching them at all.

What piece are you most proud of and why?

I did a couple of pictures before starting my MA which meant a lot to me – one of a poppy field and one called Happy Green Land. They were both so much fun to make, and the first time I consciously decided just to let go of any commercial objective and enjoy the process of creating. They made me realise there really was something else bubbling under the surface of my artwork that I wanted to coax out and learn about, rather than just a feeling that I wasn't where I wanted to be yet. They are both on my blog and Poppyfield is here: 

Poppy Field 

A few more of Beth's incredible pieces!

Thank you very much, Beth! Such a lovely lady and clearly very passionate about her work :) I'm sure we'll see lots of more wonderful things from her yet!

Follow her blog at:  Order Is Optional

Find her on Facebook: Beth Hutchison Art & Illustration 

If you want to be a featured interviewee, email me at: 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

How To: Drawing Eyes

As I enjoyed developing the last tutorial on layering and polychromos pencils, I decided to ask you what you all wanted to see another tutorial on. You all came back with some brilliant answers and I decided to address one of my favourite parts of a portrait to do: the eyes (Or Eye in this case).

I would encourage people to follow along with this tutorial, get your pencils out and get drawing!
I have drawn this tutorial on ordinary cartridge paper using polychromos coloured pencils, but you can use whatever types of materials you wish.

For this tutorial, I am drawing a Tiger's eye, but these techniques work and apply with every single kind of eye. I chose a Tiger purely because I love the shape and curve of their eyes. Simply beautiful.

We have the general shape of the eye sketched out with a 3B pencil. I have just penciled in the general shape of the outside of the eye, the cornea, the pupil and most of the highlights within the eye.

These are the colours I have selected for this tutorial. I have a very wide palette choice but I find limiting the amount of colours you use encourages you to blend colours to create unique combinations instead of generic tones. Mixing is always better in my book :)

Here are the basic tings to consider when beginning to colour the eye. A shows where the light enters the eye, therefore making it the lightest part of the Iris. B shows where the darkest or shadowed part of the eye lies. This is usually directly opposite part A as light travels in a straight line through the eye. C shows where the brightest highlight within the eye lies. This is the reflection of background images off the eye. The direction of light will determine where this lies, unless it is artificial light. D shows the main colour of the eye.

Now let's begin with the colour.

Here I have filled in the surrounding fur parts of the eye, just to give you all some context and not just a plain Iris floating about on the page. There are three grey line just below the line of the iris which will form the highlights within the eyelids.

Next I filled in the cornea of the eye with some grey tones. As the light is coming from below the eye, the darkest parts of the cornea would be along the upper eyelid. You can just about see the subtle difference in shades as they transition darker. The highlights along the lower eyelid are now more prominent.

The next pert I tend to do are the highlights on the eye and the pupil. I use the lightest colour first - in this case 'Cream' and then layer some darker tones on top to give the highlight some depth. (Read my previous tutorial on layering colours if you want some tips in this area). I have added a some tones of blue to the highlight, along with some sienna, too. This gives the eye more depth as the highlights in the eye reflect the environment and surroundings. If you pay close attention to the detail in the highlight of the eye, you are set to creating a realistic looking one.

Now it's time to start adding some colour to the iris! I have started with the lightest colour found in the Iris which is a very light yellow. There is a faint reflection around the outside of the eye which I have coloured using a red/brown. I have then proceeded to colour the entire eye using the light yellow colour.

Then it is time to start adding some darker yellow tones (following the same techniques as the previous layering tutorial). I start by adding them around the place where the light yellow is prominent. If you refer back to the annotated picture before any colour was added, you will see that I have added darker tones around the place where the light enters the eye. 
By adding a darker yellow tone, we start to give the Tiger its 'Golden' eye colour.

After adding a few more darker yellow layers, I add a soft brown into the mix, colouring where the darkest part of the eye is - just below the upper eyelid. The eye is starting to take shape and form. I have not necessarily coloured in 'blocks' but have used directional strokes. If you look closely at an eye, it contains 'lines' of colour. You can see how I have used this just underneath the pupil. Tiny little lines of soft brown help the eye form a natural looking state.

We're almost done! I have added a few darker 'lines' within in the eye, mainly over the top of the soft brown, again this is to give the eye more depth. I have also darkened around the highlights of the eye. Now you can see clearly where the light enters the eye (at the lower lid) and the shadowed part directly opposite (at the upper lid).

The eye is now complete after adding some orange tones around the brown 'line' areas. This helps the eye all blend together and look cohesive. It's come quite a way from the light yellow colour, and that is only after just a few layers!
With the limited palette, it has helped the eye not look too messy and 'rainbow' like as I prefer to put it :)

Hopefully your eye looks somewhat like mine!

This tutorial should apply itself to any kind of eye you attempt to draw, even ones photographed in artificial light.

I would love to see your attempts at drawing eyes! I would also love to hear your feedback on how useful this tutorial was, or if you have any suggestions for future 'How To' articles.
Email me your eye pictures and any other comments on:

Monday, 15 April 2013


I have been looking at some funky patterned sketchbooks (little and large ones) that I can carry around and draw in at any time. I have ordinary 'generic black covered' sketchbooks in my studio, but they never scream 'Draw in me!'. I need something that will invite me to draw in it, something that looks pretty on the outside for all the lovely creations inside. I have found a few sketchbook that I like and just need to narrow it down :)

This ones is from Dusted Sunshine and is absolutely FAB! I love the way it is bound and covered, plus it is totally handmade! There are also some other colours available, as well as special watercolour sketchbooks, too.

I'm in love with all the fabric covered books and other items from PipingHotPapers. Although the paper used would not be thick enough for what I need it for, I just can't stop oggling the beautiful array of paper products! These would make ideal gifts for people.

I may very well buy this sketchbook! I love the pattern of it and it is just ideal for what I want/what I am looking for. Despite coming all the way from America and costing more in shipping than the actual product, this sketchbook would inspire me a great deal. A good investment? I think so!

Gorgeous Coptic binding! This one makes me think of all sorts of summery goodness :) RedBarn Studios

If anyone knows of where to get sketchbooks similar to these ones (that aren't from America) please let me know! I'm desperate for a new place to draw :)

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Tea and Cake with ... Card Arte

Ah, my first interview with the very lovely Carrie-Ann Coxon of Card Arte! Carrie-Ann makes some truly amazing cards, birdie and otherwise ;) (The birdie ones are my particular favourite ... I'm not biased :) ). I have tried card crafting myself when I was younger and loved it! Nowhere near as good as this lady's though. 

The beautiful Carrie-Ann :)

What made you start crafting? Where did you get your business name from?
I've always been into art & craft, but I'd been making cards for family & friends when I heard about a local business start-up centre.  I spent a few years on and off trying to decide if it was the right thing for me - it's one thing doing something for a hobby, but was I ready to start up in business?!  It took quite a few years before I decided, then I found a Business Centre that I clicked with - InBiz.  They were understanding of my passion and gave me the knowledge and confidence to follow through with it. I think it's a real shame that funding for these schemes is being cut because I feel it's important to support new businesses and to help people to follow their dreams.

Hmmmm...the name Card Arte just seemed to work, especially since it uses my own initials - Carrie-Ann.  It was originally Card Arte with an accent on the 'e' but it soon got dropped.

Why cards? What made you choose them out of the bazillions of other crafty hobbies?
When I was young, my Grandparents didn't want me spending my pocket money on cards for them, so always told me to make one myself.  It developed from there!  Years later, I was still doing the same ... but hopefully better!! :D

What are your favourite type of cards to make/draw?
Birds!! Haha.  I love nature and the variety of colours makes eye-catching cards!  It always asstounds me how colourful even common birds are when you look closely at their feathers.  Art tutors at college could not get me to use colour.  I loved the use of it, but lacked the confidence to apply it myself.  Then recently, I tested some colour work out and it seemed to be really cheerful and eye-catching and now those are the kind I like to make / draw more than anything else. The more the better!

A little sneak peek at the prints of some bird designs

Is there anything that inspires you to create?
Walks in the local area.  It's amazing what you can find on your doorstep!  Nature reserves are always a good place to find inspiration.  Also, I get quite enthusiastic when other people are doing art / craft work - if I see someone else drawing, I want to join in and create my own work.

What is your workspace like and why does it work for you? Is it messy and chaotic, an organised mess or spic and span?
It varies!  If I'm coming up with new ideas, I have paper, pencils, pens, gems, tape and glue and other materials all over the desk ... and the floor.  Why restrict yourself to a small space?! haha  When I'm making cards up, I prefer it to be tidy, so I know where everything is.  Not that it always stays that way, but I try.

How about this for a tidy workspace?! There's no way Cinnabar HQ could ever look like this

Are there any other artists/crafters that inspire you?
There certainly are.  Cinnabar Art of course!  Being a fan of birds, I'm always excited to see what you create next.  When possible, I like to buy from other artists / crafters and if I could, I'd have my own personal Cinnabar Art Gallery!!  Also, Bumble Bee Artzzz and Craftzzz.  Beata is very supportive of Card Arte and I love her care for the environment - she uses recycled materials in all her work.  Her photography is particularly inspiring - captures the natural world beautifully and nothing inspires like nature!  Also, there's nothing like Beverley from Little Red House Handmade Gifts for giving me lots of new ideas and suggestions.
Antonio's (Carrie-Ann's Boyfriend) photo's of birds inspire me greatly, so I've included a couple here.  He manages to capture colours in birds that you wouldn't normally notice.

A little bit about Carrie-Ann. Have you always been a crafty person?

I was quite young when I started crafting.  I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents, staying there at weekends - it was the place I could get paper and glue out and have it all over the floor without getting into trouble!!  My Grandad would encourage me to draw too.  I particularly remember his "how to draw hands" book and I'd try and copy them.  He was a sign writer, so he'd teach me how to draw out lettering.  Also, they lived next door to a lady who took me to her crafting group.  We'd make cuddly toys, do cross stitch and such.  She attempted to teach me knitting, but I usually started with 20 loops and ended up with about 30!!   It was very different back then - hardly any young people attended the group.  Crafting is quite different now - I think people have realised it's not just for 'the retired'.  It's a great way to be creative!! 

Is Card Arte your main job or do you have other jobs, too?
Card Arte is my main job.  I like to give it 100%

Any dreams or goals for the future? Crafty and personal related.
I am hoping to expand my range for Card Arte - I am looking into doing prints & having the bird designs printed onto cushions.  Also, I'm hoping to attend more craft fairs to get out there and interact with people more directly. 

What's your favourite cereal? For all the cereal lovers out there ;) (Mr Cinnadoodle is curious, he likes Lucky Charms but he can't find them anywhere :( )
Hmmm I'd have to say porridge - with lots of honey or golden syrup. :P

What do you enjoy most about design?

How just one line can lead to another, one colour leads to another and Voila! You've transformed a blank piece of paper into a colourful piece of artwork.  When creating 'fantasy' birds, it's exciting to exaggerate certain features of birds - letting creativity take over.  Then sometimes realising that such colourful and detailed birds do actually exist! haha.

You don't realise how much your work is changing until you look back on previous designs, and see how it's changed / developed.

What piece are you most proud of and why?

"Plume" - it was the first piece that really got noticed.  I was so focused on it, as it was one the first big pieces I'd drawn for a card.  I posted my progress on Clearly Crafty Community and I was very surprised with how much attention it received!  From there, more and more bird cards were designed.


Some of Card Arte's Character Cards

Carrie-Ann and Card Arte are such inspirations to me! I admire her work greatly as an artist and I am sure she will reach new heights with her absolutely fabulous cards!

Thank you very much, Carrie-Ann :) x

Like the look of her work? Why not visit the Card Arte Facebook Page and give her some lovely new likes!

If you are interested in being a featured crafter and would like an interview, drop me an email on:

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Works In Progress - Fabric Button Covers

I have been looking at ways to make some pretty looking pin badges for the Fun Dog Day event in May and happened across self-cover buttons (with a little point n the right direction from a certain Miss Magpie). I ordered a set of metal buttons pieces in 22mm size. They come like this:

You just snap them together once you've covered them with whatever you like! 

Ideally I would like to cover these buttons in my dog alphabet designs but I just couldn't wait to try it out so I went ahead and printed some of my latest drawings onto some fabric transfer paper which I tend hot pressed onto calico fabric (kindly supplied free with 'Crafty' magazine!).

They come out okay, not entirely how I had pictured them to transfer. I had a few attempts before I got it (sort of) right. I had the iron too cold, held it on too long and even stuck a piece of the fabric transfer paper to my tea towel =S
As the buttons are only 22mm in diameter, the images that I printed had to be fairly small. When printing that small, all the detail is lost and the image sort of looks like an orange blob. I have the answer to this sussed out! Buy bigger buttons! I thought 22mm was going to be quite big, but apparently not. Bigger is the way to go in order to get a clearer image.

The sheep image was the best one which turned out. It's still a little small but the image was clearer. It was my first attempt at covering one of these and I must say it turned out pretty nifty!

A couple of my birds printed. These turned out a fair bit better than the Cockerel but still with the obvious size problem (no jokes please!).

A little more practice with the heat of the iron and size of the image should see the problems set right.

As a whole, it was a good fun activity :) When the sizing issues are sorted and the dog alphabet illustrations finished and printed, they should make a great set of pin badges for the dog fun day!