Jurassic June Did Not Go To PLan

I had every intention of drawing one dinosaur illustration each day throughout June and posting it to my social media feeds. I spent time creating my list and separating them into the three eras of the dinosaurs, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. I really love dinosaurs and I wanted to create a book about dinosaurs, I had hoped that this month long challenge would act as research for that project. However I struggled to complete the challenge and only managed the first twelve days. I was not feeling inspired by the list of dinosaurs and perhaps I should of made prompts instead of a list of dinosaurs. Since making the decision last year to reduce my use of social media (for mental health reasons) I also struggled to post the ones that I had created. It is hard to gather traction on a monthly art challenge without a strong social media presence.

List of dinosaurs.

Despite all of the issues, I am happy with the dinosaurs that I managed to create, they are cute and fun. It isn’t the dinosaurs fault, it is all me! I didn’t feel like I wanted to continue to create them if I wasn’t inspired, they all started to blend together.

Perhaps the decision that I made early on to keep to a minimal colour palette, which I had enjoyed and worked well in my book A Sloth, A Parade and a Stench , had blocked my creativity. I definitely made it more difficult to illustrate some of the dinosaurs that are thought to have been as colourful as birds of paradise.

My favourites are Clint the Chindesaurus and Ellie the Eoraptor but I don’t think that either of them are strong enough yet to build a story around. It has given me some insight into what I don’t want in my dinosaur story though so lessons have been learnt and Jurassic June wasn’t a complete waste of time and pixels.

Which dinosaur is your favourite?

One of the best parts of Jurassic June for me was nothing to do with the art challenge but seeing Jurassic Park Dominion with my lovely family who happily encourage my dino enthusiasm! We really enjoyed the movie and will be buying it the day it is released on DVD. It won’t ever beat the original Jurassic Park but it is very epic.

Harrison Webbling and Bumpy at the cinema.

Hopefully next year I might have more stamina for Jurassic June (If I don’t attempt Mermay), if I do then I will be creating prompts rather than a list. I will be drawing plenty of dinos between now and then though and perhaps one of them will become the star of one of my stories.

Thank you so much for reading my ramblings,

I hope June was wonderful for you and that July will be just as great.

Samantha.

I made A Paint Palette And I Love It

Anyone who has read even a little of my blog will have realised that I am a hoarder of art supplies, I can’t help it, they make me so happy, far happier than rubies or emeralds ever could! When I paint with watercolours I always use ceramic palettes (or if I can’t find one a dinner plate will usually do). On a ceramic palette the paint will puddle nicely instead of separating as it does on metal which means that you can keep your colour mixing much more consistent. I have two ceramic palettes and while they are lovely flower shapes, I really wanted to make one myself that would be special. I have used polymer clay a lot for my craft business Moby and Puddle but I didn’t think that polymer clay would be too good for a palette because it would wear down eventually if used a lot and the colour of the paints may soak into and stain it.

I contacted our local pottery painting studio and asked if they do any classes in clay sculpture, I was so excited when they said yes and I booked straight away. In the meantime I designed my palette. I was torn between a dinosaur and a bear but in the end the bear design just looked better. I printed it out and took it along with me.

My design.

The clay studio is called Hands2gether but sadly closed its doors just one week after we were there due to rising rental costs. Plymouth has lost an amazing place and I really hope that they are able to start up again after their much needed break.

When we arrived the Webblings chose a piece of pottery to paint each, Lilly a bowl and Harry a dinosaur. I was given a flat sheet of clay that was around a half inch thick and shown how to cut the clay, join pieces and smooth everything out. I put the template on to the clay and cut around it. I scooped out the wells where the paint mixing will happen. I was told to make it as smooth as possible because once the glaze is on any sharp edges will be as sharp as glass, so I smoothed, smoothed, smoothed and smoothed some more. I plan to use it a lot so I don’t want to accidentally be creating a deadly weapon!

Smoothing.

I decided that it looked better without the extra ear that I added in my design, I was also not very confident at attaching it to the base layer smooth enough for no water to get under it, it didn’t matter with the nose because I won’t be mixing paint on his little nose.

I had time and clay left over so I made a quick paint brush holder, it isn’t great and can possibly used as a deadly weapon if absolutely necessary. You can tell that I didn’t prepare the design in advance.

We collected the finished pieces two weeks later when they had been dried, kilned and glazed. To say I was excited opening it would be a huge understatement.

Finished polar bear and his leaf.

It isn’t perfect, not by a long shot but I could not love it more. The palette is exactly what I wanted it to be. It is a nice heavy weight and has no sharp edges! (The leaf is lethal!) I am so proud of it and I know that it will get used a lot because it already has been.

Polar palette in use!

He looks so cute in his colours, almost like he is wearing a jumper. the paint puddles nicely in the wells and there is just enough of them for me to work easily. Having never used clay like this before I am amazed that I managed to make something so pretty and functional in under two hours, Hands2gether were amazing and I am so grateful to them for finishing it off so beautifully for me and for the clear and easy to follow instructions.

We all had a great night, we spent time as a family and I really loved trying something completely new. If you have chance to get to a clay studio then definitely go and give it a go. Your first attempt won’t be perfect most likely but you will love it because you made it with your own hands.

You will find lots of pictures of my palette on my instagram feed I am sure over the years so you will be able to see how he holds up. Maybe I should name him, any suggestions?

Thank you for reading,

Samantha x

When Georgie Grows Up is Available Now!

When Georgie Grows Up is available now!

I am so excited to be able to finally share my new book with you all, after months of planning, writing, rewriting and drawing, I can honestly say that I am truly proud of the finished book. It is bright, colourful and really fun. It does have a message about eating your veg but really it is just a whole lot of fun!

When Georgie Grows Up is the story of a very imaginative child who, like most of us, is not too keen on the thought of eating vegetables.

When asked “Don’t you want to grow up big and strong?” Georgie’s imagination takes them to all of the amazing things that the future might hold, each more magnificent than the next. But will it be enough to get Georgie to eat the vegetables?

Full of colour and fun, When Georgie Grows Up is a fun fictional story that will hopefully get you all wondering just what you would do when you grow up (if you could take all the sensible answers away of course!). Go on fantastical digs to the centre of the earth or up into the sky on a trampoline, there are no limits to the imagination.

Written and illustrated by Samantha Webb (that’s me!) and published by my own independent imprint Moby and Puddle Books, this bright and bold book will get your imagination flowing, perfect for bedtimes to drift off to sleep wondering about all of the fun that you will have when you grow up.

Available now on Folksy and Amazon.

The Webb family all have big ideas for when they grow up!

Jamie, Lilly and Harry have all helped to celebrate the release of my newest book, they even shared what they would like to do when they grow up!

Alfie (shown below) told me that when he grows up he wants to be a diplodocus which makes me very happy indeed and his beautiful baby sister Betsy loved all of the bright colours!

Alfie even has a hidden Cornling in his photo!
Betsy and her mummy enjoying When Georgie Grows Up.

I would love to hear what you think about Georgie and her wild imagination,

Thank you for reading,

Samantha Webb.

Webb Review – The Bee Like Me by James Gibson

Written and illustrated by James Gibson, The Bee Like Me is the story of Molly who loves to be outside and enjoys living a wild existence until she realises that her actions are having a negative impact on the wildlife around her, specifically one special little bee. Molly learns all she can to help the little bee get better.

The story is inspirational, Molly has a problem and she takes very assertive steps to solve it. Researching and working hard to find out what she needs to do to make up for her destructive behaviour. Molly goes on a real soul searching adventure in this delightful story but don’t worry it isn’t preachy or condescending at all. The narrative is cheerful and has a great rhythm.

All of the illustrations in the book are charming on the surface, the cover is particularly engaging. Dig a little deeper, take a look at what s going on in the backgrounds and the illustrations are actually pretty hilarious, the tiny details and added storylines are not to be missed and really elevate the book to a new level. The additional children’s drawingesque images in the blank spaces fill the entire book with colour and fun. James Gibson is a fantastic illustrator, it is great to read his story too.

The Bee Like Me is an amazing book with so many positives to tell you about, this might be one of the best books that Harrison and I have read in a while. I am not sure that putting any kind of glue on a bee is a great idea but honestly in the context of this story it fits and is perfect.

The inclusion of the main characters unique characteristics comes later in the story and I do not want to give it away in this review but I think that Molly is a real role model and perhaps her incredible abilities should be bought to the attention of the readers beforehand since this book could really be beneficial if it were in the hands of the right audience. My apologies if that is completely cryptic but buy yourself a copy of the book and you will understand, I would recommend you have it in your collection anyway!

The Bee Like Me is Available now from Shookbop.

We awarded 5 out of 5 webs.

Harrison gives The Bee Like Me 5 out of 5 webs because the story was enjoyable, the pictures were brilliant and Harrison thinks that the more bee books the better!

Thank you so much for reading,

Samantha and Harrison x

Mermay 2022 Didn’t Go To Plan

I really enjoy Mermay and have taken part many times but this year did not go to plan at all. I had assumed that I would not be able to do 31 illustrations due to other commitments but I had hoped to do at least a few. I started strong with my day one Mermaid who I thought was very cute and could potentially be a character that would see me through the month but alas it was not to be!

Day 1 – This little mermaid was shocked that it was May already! Where is the year going?

Then I didn’t manage to draw another until May 4th which I could not resist, I am late to the Star Wars party since I didn’t watch any until last year but I have fallen head over heels in love with Ewoks, who wouldn’t?

May The Fourth Be With You!

And then it all went quiet … I was caught up in other endeavours and I didn’t get chance to create more images. I have also limited my use of social media somewhat and do not want to get back into the frenzied frame of mind, that I have to create something new every day to post on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter because that lead me to feeling very insecure and unsure about my artwork last year and is something that I have worked hard to avoid since.

With my own mental health in mind I decided to scratch the creative itch in a more fun way that didn’t involve posting the images.

My fun night of colour!

I sat and watched a movie with my Webblings and created the image above. I really let go and just had fun with it. I used my art crayons and coloured pencils. I did not have any end goal in mind when I created the full page of colour and I had a great time.

Mermaid Tails

I flipped the page and drew in as many mermaid tails as I could fit on it. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to use them and I did it on the reverse so that the patterns would be completely random. I then cut them out which took forever. The hoarder in me wanted to save all of the scraps because there must be something I can do with loads of colourful bits of paper, right? I was well behaved and put them in the recycling though. One of the hardest lessons to learn (and abide by) with traditional art is that you only have so much space and the more you fill with scraps the harder it is to find what you actually need! Are all artists hoarders? I am pretty sure all the ones I have met in my life have been so far.

It hurt to throw away such colourful scraps.

I was really happy with the tails, I think they came out really cute. I photographed them all individually, I am not the greatest photographer but I wasn’t aiming for perfection, I was aiming for fun! At this point I still did not have an end goal just a lot of little mermaid tails.

I was tempted to just post tails, they are bright and colourful but maybe a bit too macabre, maybe I could of added a bone like the little ‘Among Us’ characters that Harrison Webbling loves so much but that isn’t really my style and so after a few days of deliberation I decided to turn the colourful tails into digital collages. I wanted the colourful tails to stand out the most so I kept the face and bodies sketchlike, with a little colour in the cheeks. I didn’t manage to do one for every day of Mermay but I did as many as I liked until I felt happy that I had created enough, which is 16.

Some are better than others but I enjoyed making each and every one. I have a lot of tails that were not used, I have put them all in a draw, maybe they will come in handy in the future? I feel like I really bought the fun back into Mermay for myself by taking all of the pressure off. I wasn’t focused on completing 31 days, I wasn’t focused on creating a final piece and probably most importantly I wasn’t focused on social media interaction.

For some artists social media is a great way to get seen, I know I love to look at other people’s artwork and Instagram is probably my favourite place to do that but I am aware that you don’t see the stress and anxiety behind those posts or the need for validation. I am prone to bouts of imposter syndrome and feeling like a complete failure (career wise) and that is exasperated by low performance on social media. Which is why I am so happy with how I have tackled Mermay this year. It did not go to plan, I had hoped to post every day originally and to create every day but honestly May just crept up on me so fast and has sped by, I never stood a chance. I took the pressure off and had a lot of fun with my mermaids. I really do hope you like them but at the end of the day (and the month) I like them and I am learning that liking my work and the process behind it is the most important thing!

Happy Mermay Everyone!

Anyone doing Junicorn? (Haha!)

Samantha Webb.

All The Pretty Pastels – Derwent Pastels Unboxing

Hi, my name is Samantha Webb and I have an addiction, to buying art supplies! I have two beautiful paint pallets that have pastel colours (both by Art Philosophy) but I couldn’t help myself when I saw the shades that these paints came in. I ordered them with my Christmas money so I have to say thank you to my Grampy for them.

I couldn’t resist the pretty box.

Even the box is beautiful with lovely pink flamingos on the front. The box comes with twelve shades, a water brush and a sponge to clean your brush. I am not a fan of water brushes so I did not test that out in this review, it is a pretty standard brush though and I am sure that if you like them it would be a good brush.

I was annoyed when I opened the box to find lots of pigment crumbs all over the outside of the box, I thought that the insides must have got crushed in transit and that it would be a huge mess so I opened it reluctantly and found that the paint pans were in good condition. I do wish that the pans were individually sealed like most watercolour paint pans are but they are already open with just a plastic film over the pans to keep them in place.

The contents of the box also include a swatch card which is printed on vellum which gives you a good idea of the colours but the colour is always dependent on the paper that you use so I always make a swatch on watercolour card which will stay in the box for me to use in the future. I also make swatches in my swatch book which helps as a handy reference when choosing a pallet despite the paper having a cooler tone than most of my watercolour paper.

Swatches and Swatches.

You can see there are slight variations in tone depending on the paper used so when you are beginning any piece of art make sure that you swatch them on the paper you intent to use first.

The pigment is strong, I was expecting it to be a lot more translucent than it is. It picks up very easily and paints very smoothly onto the paper, I was impressed that it didn’t dry chalky at all, it dries like any other watercolour and soaks nicely into the paper not sitting on top of it at all.

Always Time For Tea

I wasn’t feeling inspired by the colours honestly so I painted what I always paint when I can’t think of anything else, cups of tea because tea is life! This little exercise is useful because it shows me that the colours behaved more like a gouache than a watercolour and I guess it doesn’t actually say that they are watercolours on the box. The yellow layered brilliantly on top of the pink to make polka dots. The colours don’t layer or glaze very well, once they are down it is hard to build them up despite the description on the front saying you can layer them to make them brighter.

Rainbow Dragon

I wanted to try blending the colours and I didn’t draw this little guy before painting and I really should of, look at his goofy little face and his uneven body, he is a funny dragon. The colour blend really well, they transition well from one to another, I used wet on wet technique to blend the colours where they touch one another. I do wish that I had planned him a bit better because he could of turned out really well but I will smile when I see his face in my sketchbook.

Troll!

Trying to think of any way I could use these colours in one of my illustrations it occurred to me that the best way to use all the colours was of course, a troll! I love trolls, love, love, love them! As a child I had hundreds in all different sizes and I still have a lot of them now, the old Damm Trolls and Russ Trolls are my favourite and inspired this little guy to creep into my sketchbook. It was easier to mix a flesh tone than I was expecting although the warm tone of my sketchbook helped with that too. The colours managed to stay nicely separate on the hair too since they seemed to dry quite fast too.

I didn’t create anything spectacular but I think that I gave the paints enough of a trial to confidently say that I enjoy using them and they will make a nice addition to my collection. I don’t think that I can use them on their own because they don’t layer well so adding shadows is difficult however they would be a great accompaniment to a standard watercolour set which would give you a nice variation. I wouldn’t recommend them as a first set or an only set but as a set to play with or to add to your collection it is beautiful. I am glad I bought it for that peach and coral pink alone, they are beautiful and I hope that I have a reason to use them soon.

Thank you so much for reading my post, I hope it helped you if you are trying to decide if these are the set for you and if not I hope you enjoyed the artwork regardless.

Samantha x

New Book Cover Reveal … When Georgie Grows UP

I am so excited to share the cover for my new book with you, I really hope that you love it because Georgie is very excited!

Brand New Book Cover!

When Georgie Grows Up is the story of a very imaginative child who isn’t really sure that the promise of eating their vegetables is really worth growing up big and strong for! A 32 page long picture book in full colour which will take you to the moon and to the depths of the ocean.

Georgie is an intentionally non-binary character so that as many of the children reading the story can identify with Georgie’s wild imagination as possible!

What do you want to do when you grow up? Are your dreams as outrageous as Georgie? Read my brand new story when it is released on 20th June 2022.

You can preorder your copy now from my Folksy shop or get it on release day from my Amazon book shelf! All preorders will come with an extra special gift too!

When Georgie Grows Up Blurb.

The book is almost ready to go to print and has been dedicated to three of my beautiful nieces and nephew, Bonnie, Betsy and Noah. Being surrounded by children keeps me young and my imagination overflowing, I am very lucky to be their aunty.

Thank you for joining in with my excitement as it draws closer to launch day, there will be plenty to look out for across my social media accounts!

Samantha x

Have You Heard Of Kingart? Art Crayon, Gel Stick Review

Since stumbling across art supplies in TK Maxx late last year I have been scouting out the shop each time we go past looking for obscure art supplies or just bargains. I was not disappointed on my latest visit!

Kingart Mixed Media Gel Sticks

After trying Fabre Castell and Marabu art crayons in a limited amount of colours I had been looking online to increase my collection so I knew as soon as I saw these art crayons sat on the shelf that I definitely wanted them. I had never heard of the brand ‘Kingart’ before and as usual I had no signal in the store so I couldn’t even Google them but at £24.99 for 48 gel sticks it didn’t seem like too much of a crazy risk. They had packs of 12 and 24 too, it seems to be a popular brand for the store since they also had brushes, acrylic paints and canvases by Kingart. 

The packaging is lovely and bright, when you open them they are split into four sets of twelve gel sticks each in gorgeous sparkly cases which I really appreciate because it means that I can carry a set of 12 when I take them out and do not have to take the entire 48 which are actually quite heavy if you plan to take them into the wild. 12 of the 48 are metallic colours. 

One of the gel sticks had a defect in the plastic casing but I do not think this will affect the use. 

The actual gel sticks are the same design as the Marabu art crayons which I received in a Scrawlrbox. They have a nice ergonomic holder which is nice, I wasn’t brave enough to try and twist them up because the others I have do not go down once they are twisted up. I believe they may be manufactured by the same company and have just been packaged for different brands, I will still review them though since I definitely wanted to give them a good try. 

Twins!

The gel sticks have no scent at all which is nice since the Fabre Castell ones had a strong chemical smell. They are just like drawing with a lipstick and are water soluble. The initial swatches are lovely, they are vibrant and clear, the colour selection is brilliant, I don’t think it is missing any necessary colours. The colours smudge just like pastels, they are messy! 

Swatches

I created some watered down swatches too, as expected the colours are less vibrant once watered down but you are spreading the pigment so that makes sense. The colours do not dissolve completely so you are still left with almost the same marks as you made on the paper initially. It’s almost as though the water just creates a ghostings effect. 

The sparkly gel sticks are beautiful and really shimmer in the light, the glitter does spread as you dissolve the pigment on the paper. All of the colours including the metallics are more vibrant on watercolour paper possibly because of the grain in the paper which picks up more pigment than the smooth paper. 

I tried to blend the colours on the paper and although they do blend in the dissolved state the fact that the pigment is still very much present on the paper definitely detracts from the blending of the colours so I would not suggest these crayons if you really like to blend colours on the paper. 

I had fun playing with a pineapple. I tried to make the most of the staining effect and ghosting effect by drawing the pineapple outline first and then dissolving the pigment to colour in the pineapple. 

I wanted to give these a really good go because I can definitely see me using them for more collage work but I wanted to draw an illustration too. This little bear holding a meeting in the forest is created with the Kingart gel sticks and a black fine liner for bears little details. You absolutely cannot get tiny details with this art supply so everything had to be loose and chunky. The colours do blend when they aren’t being dissolved and they layer really well too. It is hard to get a really dark colour without using the black which soon fades if you try to dissolve it. The main thing that I like about all of the art crayons that I have tried though is that they are so much fun, you can’t get lost in tiny details so you are forced to be more fluent and free with your mark making. They have no information on them about light fastness which is unfortunate, where an art product has no light fast information it is always best to assume that they have little to no light fastness and should be kept out of the daylight. 

I enjoyed these so much I even bought a set for a friends birthday too. They are such good value, I am not sure how long they will last me. Not as long as the set of lipsticks I own because these are more likely to get used! 

If you see them and they are in your budget then I think they are worth having a play with. 

Forest Meeting by Samantha Webb.

Thank you for reading my review, I hope it was helpful,

Samantha Webb.

Our Planet Week Illustrations

I decided to join in the Our Planet Week illustration challenge this year because in my small way I would like to raise awareness of environmental issues especially where it concerns the animals who inspire my artwork. Our Planet Week was founded by artist Asia Orlando and you can find out a lot more about it on the website.

There were six prompts to follow with the added incentive that if you completed the prompts then One Tree Planted, a charity which plants trees around the world, promised to plant a tree for every post tagged with the hashtag #onetreeplanted during the challenge dates.

These are my six illustrations for the challenge …

  1. Earth Day –

Did you know that ants are amazing? As they grow their ant homes below ground, twisting mazes in the soil, they are aerating the soil and allowing nutrients to be recycled which helps new plants grow, thereby reducing the need for chemicals!!!

Tiny but mighty Earth protectors.

Super Ants

2. Green Living –

When we went to Dartmoor Otter and Butterfly Sanctuary last month we had an amazing day seeing how they help these adorable creatures. Their website is a wealth of information on all species of otter if you would like to know more! Sanctuaries like this exist around the world to help animals who are effected every day by climate emergencies and human errors. Visiting can help them raise valuable funds and raise awareness of how we can live greener to protect them.

Happy Otters

3. Oceans –

Did you know that seals are helping scientists to study climate change? By wearing tracking devices, which help to monitor water temperature, salt levels and animal behavioural patterns. Monitoring changes in the Antarctic Ocean can help us understand the effects of climate change and devise plans to slow and stop it where possible! Sadly they are also one of the animals suffering most from climate change and who need our help the most.

The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is an incredible place helping these beautiful creatures and is well worth a visit if you get the chance. The seals are absolutely enchanting!

Helpful Seals

4. Breathe –

Did you know that alligators are really important for the ecosystems that the inhabit? They dig holes and leave trails throughout marshes, they create habitats for fish and marine life. They also keep invading plant life from destroying ecosystems. Without these ecosystem services, freshwater ponds and shrubs and trees would fill in coastal wetlands in the alligator’s habitat, and dozens of species would disappear. They help the environment to breathe deep!

Alligators are a species who need protection.

Lily Gator

5. Climate Heroes –

These little creatures sure are heroes!

Did you know that beaver populations help to control water flow which is vital during times of extreme weather fluctuations such as drought and floods! Beavers natural instincts to create dams means that they are building ponds which attract plant life, birds and even fish! The dams themselves create homes for other mammals such as otters and mink too!!

Places like The Cornish Seal Sanctuary are helping the beaver population to regrow!

Feels like rain.

6. One Tree Planted –

It’s the last prompt for Our Planet Week and I chose a squirrel because amazingly they plant many many trees simply by forgetting where they buried their stashes of nuts (seeds). Luckily they don’t keep all of them in one place so they hopefully have plenty to eat but those forgotten seeds often sprout into beautiful trees!

Snowy Squirrel.

I hope you enjoyed my illustrations as much as I enjoyed creating them, it was a lot of fun to do more research into how these amazing creatures help our planet to survive and how they are vital for helping different species coexist in this crazy world.

What is your favourite animal? I bet it does a lot more for the environment than you could ever imagine, perhaps even more than humans will ever know.

Samantha x