Surprise In Lidl Aisles! Fluid Art Watercolour Review

We went to Lidl honestly just to indulge in the bakery section (the brownies are incredible!) but I am physically incapable of going into a Lidl supermarket without looking in the middle aisle at all of the random items that they have available. We have been known to pick up Sonic pyjamas and some bargain lego now and then. I know they do have art events but since we rarely go I never know when to expect it. So on our adventure to get junk food for our movie night I randomly came across two watercolour, fluid art sets. I could not resist. I have played with alcohol inks by Marabu in the past so I knew that it wasn’t too much of a gamble buying both.

I got the Winter and Spirit selections.

Each box comes with five colours, a water brush and 10 sheets of watercolour paper. If I had been less excited (and impulsive) I would have noticed that they both contain yellow and pink so I would probably have only chosen one of the sets but I can’t be too mad about that since they were only £5.99 a set.

This is what comes in each box.

On first impressions I think that the paints are a good size for the price, I am not a huge fan of water brushes personally so I won’t be using that but it is a standard brush, nothing special and the paper is incredibly thin, it did not give the weight of the paper so I was quite sceptical that it would handle any paint at all.

Swatching time, swatching is one of my favourite things in the world to do and is one of the reasons that I buy so many different paints. I taped the paper down and sectioned it off.

SWATCHING!

Between the two sets I had eight separate colours. I started with the green and was a bit disappointed because it was so watery and had very little pigment in it. I gave it a bit of a shake and then tried again which seemed to help a little, still I wasn’t very impressed. However the rest of the colours definitely packed a better punch and were much more vibrant. The paper took a lot more water than I was anticipating too and wasn’t trying to lift up too badly.

Melancholy Mike The Clown.

So I think the fact that Mr Webb has been away for work most of the month was a factor in my theme for the test picture, poor Melancholy Mike The Clown’s balloon has deflated but he expected nothing more! actually really loved painting with these paints. They would of been a lot easier to use if they had a pipette topper but I used a paintbrush to transfer each colour to my ceramic palette. The colours are vibrant when used straight from the bottle, they can be diluted really easily with water as you would imagine. They are a little tricky to mix but it isn’t impossible. I was quite happy with sad little Mike.

Look! A Giant!

I wanted to give the paints a really good try and thought that a Hilda inspired full spread would be a good way to do it. The paper curled and bent which was unfortunate, there will be no using this paper for full illustrations in future. It was very difficult to layer the paints and lay it down without getting blooms (like in the sky) so I tried to use that to my advantage and bloom even more with the sky.

The paint also lifts really easily even when dry which means that layering and glazing the watercolour is difficult and trying to be very gentle with the glazes lead to even more blooms. I attempted to lift excess water from the yellow field to avoid a bloom and it tore the paper which had become very delicate whilst wet.

The details were completed with pencil crayons. I kind of like how it came out but I am a massive Hilda fan!

I think that I need to try the paints with some higher quality paper because that may be what is letting it down but it dried vividly and is not chalky to the touch like some cheaper watercolours can be. Honestly I think that if you see this for £5.99 then it is definitely worth your hard earned cash, you will get some good results with it and it is a fair price. Just make sure you have some tape to tape all of the edges of the paper. I have not been able to find any additional colours online either.

What do you think? Would you give them a go?

Thank you for reading, Samantha x

Webb Review – Small Tom’s Big Adventure by Marian Pierce and Mark Lockwood

Small Tom’s Big Adventure was written by fox enthusiast Marian Pierce and is a wonderful story of one fox named Small Tom who helps a couple of lost cubs try to find their way home. With the help of a fox lady who is never shown but who helps keep the local dens fed and warm, Small Tom goes on his big adventure.

Small Tom is great in the fact that he knows when he can help but also knows when to ask for help too. Their is a whole community of foxes and they all come together to help each other stay safe, warm and dry. It is genuinely a heartwarming tale that made for a fantastic bedtime story.

The story is a little wordier than most picture books but is not too long at all, if you have a child who wants the same book read over and over again in one night then it might be one you want to start a little earlier in the night but it certainly won’t be one you would mind reading more than once.

The illustrations are beautiful, all of the foxes are so fluffy especially the baby ones who were Harrisons favourites. There could have been a way to make each one a little more identifiable as once the fox community comes together it can be hard to keep track of which fox is which. The foxes may also benefit from just the slightest highlight in the eyes to make them appear just a little more approachable but that may just be personal opinion.

The book also highlights the importance of The Fox Project which helps foxes in the UK who may be displaced, hungry or injured. It is a very worthwhile charity which links nicely to Small Tom’s Big Adventure. Find out more now http://www.foxproject.org.uk

You can purchase this beautiful book, available now from Shookbop.

Awarded 5 webs out of 5

Harrison awarded Small Tom’s Big Adventure 5 webs out of 5, his favourite part was the sleeping foxes in their dens and the thought of humans being able to help foxes in their neighbourhoods.

We were delighted to receive this book for review from the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and all of the opinions are our own.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison x

New Year, Same Journey, Same Me!

Happy New Year everyone, this is obviously my first blog post of 2022 and I am going into the year feeling really hopeful which honestly is rarer than I would like. I am not starting the new year with big declarations or huge goals (maybe I am getting wiser now I am 35?) that I will no doubt trip myself up with but I am recognising that in 2021 I made progress and I hope to continue on that journey.

Happy New Year 2022

I made a lot of mess in 2021 because for the first time in (what feels like) forever I allowed myself to experiment and to try new things even if I wasn’t sure they would work. I tried printmaking, fluid art, zine creation and collage for the first time. I stopped posting every single drawing on social media which freed me up from feeling like every piece of artwork needed to be complete and presentable, that in itself has been liberating.

ArtVartist Instagram post.

My Art V Artist instagram post shows just a glimpse of some of the experimentation I have been playing with, these are the bits that came out well but I couldn’t of created them without the messes that I made in my various sketchbooks before that. I also released three picture books which is pretty amazing considering I was homeschooling Harry Webbling for part of the year too.

This is the gushy part of my yearly review, feel free to skip it if it makes you nauseous! I have to say a huge thank you to my amazing husband and children for really believing in me, for inspiring me and especially Jamie for giving me the freedom to take some time off when my mental health became a barrier, without his hard work and dedication to his business I would not of had that luxury and I am incredibly grateful to him for that (I probably would of given up without that break). Thank you to my amazing friends who have listened to me moan when I have had bad days and helped me celebrate the good, you know who you are and I love you. 2021 was hard but you made it infinitely easier than it could of been.

Thats me hiding in the back!

So yes its a new year but it is absolutely not a new me, it is the same me on the same journey that I have been on for the last few years. I have no destination in mind, no end goal and I am having so much more fun with my art work than I had been previously. I put way too much pressure on myself, got massive imposter syndrome and started doubting everything that I created especially if it didn’t get social media attention. I am growing, I am learning and I am hopeful that I will make a lot more mess in 2022. I hope you are along for the journey.

Happy New Year and may a little of my hopefulness rub off on you, if not just go and make a little mess because it is fun!

Samantha x

I Finished Another Sketchbook!

I have a lot of finished sketchbooks now, I am not really sure what to do with them all. I have done videos in the past but my anxiety at the moment is really affecting me and I don’t feel confident enough to talk on camera right now. I thought that showing you a flip through on here might be a good compromise. I hope that you enjoy it.

This is a Hahnemuhle watercolour book in A5. 200gsm fine grained paper. I absolutely loved painting in this book which made me more excited to paint. I took it away with me a few times because it is a really good size to fit in my mini backpack. It lays flat and both sides are the same. I would buy another in the future. I started on 11th July and completed it on 30th November. I always have two or three sketchbooks on the go at any one point.

This little floral dino was a Draw This In Your Style challenge on Instagram set by @calliandco I am hoping to do a whole blog post on DTIYS challenges in the new year.

I had a lot of fun drawing guinea pigs on international guinea pig day! These even inspired one of my Gnomevember paintings too.

Lots of experimentation especially with paint doodles, painting without drawing beforehand. I also drew a few familiar characters, Lumpy from Winnie the Pooh was a challenge to see how small I could paint him and Ponyo was because I got the Art Of Ponyo book for my birthday and was really inspired to paint her.

This poor dinosaur doesn’t know what is going on!

I have been trying to challenge myself with new styles and push myself out of my comfort zones, I know that adding more detail to faces is a way for me to add more emotion to my illustrations so it is something that I am experimenting with. I want it to be a natural progression of my style and I feel like I am going in the right direction.

Expecto Patronum!!! Lilly and Harry had been taking Pottermore quizzes to find out their patronus’, Harry had a black swan and Lilly a bunny so I thought it would be fun to paint them casting the spells.

These are very much just doodles, practice and exercises. The Narwhal is inspired by a painting Harry created that I will show further down this post. The flowery green lady on the top row is actually a repaint of a similar illustration that I created with Brusho.

OK, I completely chickened out of painting my little cat because I was so happy with how he came out! I did try to colour him digitally but it didn’t look anywhere near what I was hoping for, I may share it in future but for now its on the digital scrap heap! I was however really proud of the little devil, the paper took so many layers of paint and they all blended beautifully.

Character development of Noah the Gnome the I drew for the entirety of Gnomevember began life in this little sketchbook.

I wanted to try gouache paint in my sketchbook, the donkey is the Caran Dache studio gouache and the swing is the gouache background with watercolour girl. They smudged a lot in my sketchbook so I regretted painting in there with them but the images came out ok. I am not a fan of a heavy black outline but I was proud of the little girl swinging onto the next page.

I wanted to try some full page illustrations, this paper is a dream to paint on and doesn’t warp or bend so it was perfect for edge to edge illustrations. These aren’t finished illustrations but they are about as far as I come in this sketchbook and I am genuinely really proud of them all even though they are so different.

Christmas is coming fast and I really wanted to draw some fun elves. The robin was inspired by Robin Robin movie on Netflix which is so sweet and adorable, we all really enjoyed it. The cow is random but who doesn’t want a cow in their sketchbook? I have a real weakness for drawing candy canes, I just love to draw them and I have no explanation why.

These are the last real illustrations in the sketchbook. just some painting doodles without lifework, I like them, they aren’t perfect but they are fun. The top left is just a little fun mindless paint while I was swatching mini paints from Cats Arts, it helps me to see how the paints will look together whereas swatches help see them individually.

The last page of my sketchbook is my absolute favourite, the left side is just more swatching and playing. The pallet is the travel one that I was carrying with me at the time, its an amazing little creation by a company called Go Draw which I found on Etsy. It is the right hand side that I love the most, Mr Narwhal painted by Harry Webbling. I always let the children paint or draw in my books if they ask to because I get to keep it and carry it with me. This was totally from his imagination and inspired the Narwhal that I painted earlier, of all the images in my sketchbook this is the one I will cherish the most.

That is it, my full sketchbook, the good, the bad and the ugly! Do you have a favourite? I can’t help but feel proud of myself for finishing another sketchbook, I put my heart into it and I can see the improvement each and every time I complete one. I am already part of the way through two and have another I am about to start so if you like this post I may do more photographed flip throughs in the future.

Thank you so much for reading, Samantha x

Webb Review – Bertie Bird And The Chilly Little Snowman By Stacy Bax and Anita King

We absolutely love Christmas books and Bertie Bird and the Chilly Little Snowman is no exception. With beautiful bright illustration by Anita King and the lovely story by Stacy Bax this really is a great book for the holiday season and one that you would enjoy cosying up to read on a cold night.

Poor snowman keeps loosing his nose, luckily he has someone who is watching over him and trying to solve his problems. It is nice that the snowman has a friend because Bertie Bird is a cheeky little robin who both Harrison and I agree, needs to learn to ask before he takes things. It really is sad for the snowman.

The illustrations are enchanting and they make us want snowy days and snowball fights, to make our own snowmen and then snuggle up with hot chocolates. If you are making a story book advent calendar then this should definitely be included, alternatively it would make a great addition to a Christmas Eve box too. It has all the charm of a warm and cosy Christmas story and is laid out beautifully.

Get your copy before Christmas, available now from Shookbop.

We really enjoyed the playful nature of Santa in the book and think you will too. Who decided that a carrot was the correct nose for a snowman anyway? You will have to read the book to see the humorous alternatives.

4 Out of 5 webs.

After a very lengthy discussion Harrison decided that this story deserved 4 out of 5 webs, he really wanted to give it 5 but felt that Bertie Bird took what he needed for a good reason but could of explained himself beforehand so that Snowman didn’t get so sad. I love that this book began a discussion about stealing for the sake of good and about being honest with your intentions. I feel like Harry learnt from the story at the same time as enjoying it.

We gladly received this book for review from the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and the view are all our own.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison x

Noah completed Gnomevember!

Okay, No more drawing challenges from me for a while now! I must concentrate on my new book! If you see me even suggest that I am going to complete a drawing challenge just nudge me back to my ‘to do’ list please and I would be very grateful. These drawing challenges are a lot of fun but it is potentially not the wisest decision to do one straight after another, a few months break should be mandatory. I just couldn’t help myself and once I had created Noah the Gnome I could visualise all of his adventures so clearly, really I had no choice and I loved every exhausting moment of it. Month long challenges are not for the faint of heart. But here he is on all of his wonderful adventures, Noah the Gnome.

The gallery is backwards because I am technologically challenged and actually thought I had managed to do it the right way this time! I definitely have a few favourites (why can’t I manage a Gnomevember without at least one naked gnome?) and some of them are a little darker than I would of liked but it is November and the lighting is really not kind to sketchbooks at this time of year.

All of the images were painted in watercolour and have been photographed and backgrounds removed where necessary. I love to see the texture of the paper come through with watercolours and adding a few digital effects like the wizard sparkles has been really fun experimentation. I added a full digital background to the rocking horse image which is really simple but I felt it added a little to the story. I have also been trying to create more diverse backgrounds and I had so much fun with the woolly mammoth illustration that I think it is a background which I would like to explore more in the future.

The prompts that Noah followed.

All art challenges are difficult and the longer they span the harder it is to complete them. I do cheat, I do many before the day they are due to be posted and even posting every day is a commitment. I have failed more than one art challenge and that is okay too but seeing a completed challenge all together in a gallery is almost as satisfying as seeing one of my books in print. I have loved drawing Noah, maybe he should get his own book someday too? I feel like Noah completed the challenge with me.

I would love to know which illustration is your favourite or maybe you can think of an adventure for Noah that I haven’t even thought of?

Thank you for reading, Samantha x

Colour Friday! Shop Small, Shop Local and Support INDEPENDENT Artists

Holly Tucker, founder of Holly Co. began the Colour Friday campaign to promote shopping with small businesses, supporting local businesses and helping independent artists instead of partaking in the very bleak Black Friday of the big brands. Shopping small and locally is something that our family believes in and tried to get behind all year round so I thought that it would be good today to share with you some of the amazing creatives that we have personally purchased from and would happily recommend that you spend your hard earned wages on. So join the Colour Friday campaign, when you shop independent you are making a family like mine happier, healthier and more enthused to colour this world than ever.

Who will you support today?
A Quirk Of Felt

Based in Cornwall, A Quirk Of Felt is an amazing business that is run by needle felt artist Kathy who is honestly amazing. Not only does she create whimsical characters but she can teach you how to create them too. Get in touch now across all social media!

AbbiLauraDesigns

AbbiLauraDesigns create beautiful stationary, jewellery, decorations and more. I found them via Instagram and had to make a purchase! When my order arrived it was even more gorgeous than I had anticipated and honestly I look forward to buying more, look how adorable them toast earrings are!

Epic Laser Designs

Epic Laser Designs are a new business but they are creating some amazing and unique items, I have commissioned a very special Christmas gift which I can’t share with you just yet but it is amazing, the level of care and customer service from Epic Laser Designs is second to none and I really hope that the new business keeps on in the direction they are heading!

Lucisaurus

For those who know me on social media or real life will know that I am a real fan girl for Lucisaurus who is one of my favourite artists and who I am lucky enough to say is now one of my very best friends. Meeting through the art community and bonding over our own journeys in the art world. I love to support other artists and Lucisaurus makes that easy with her cute creations and highest quality prints.

Holly Bushnell Illustrations

Holly Bushnell is an incredible illustrator with a really fun style, we own her childrens book and it is amazing. I hope to buy more as they become available. Holly is such a lovely person and when our order arrived it was like Christmas, everything was packaged with such care and attention. I am an avid follower of Holly on social media and love to see her artwork in my feed.

Dragons Of Shropshire

If you want to learn about innumerable species of dragons then this is definitely the place you want to go! Each one is needle felted and they have so much personality. Run by artist and founder Ceri Smith, I have been lucky to purchase some of Ceri’s work as gifts and honestly it is magical! I have worked with Ceri on some illustrations of her dragons and branding, I have loved every commission and I really hope to collaborate with Ceri on a dragon guide in the future!

SimonsNest

I discovered Simons Nest during lockdown and to say that I have become a fan is really underestimating the amount that I love this brand! I wear the perfume daily and have the wax melts burning all the time too. The fragrances are just sensational and it makes me wish that you could smell them through the internet because honestly they are divine. The whole aesthetic of the business drew me in but the quality and attention that goes into each and every package (I think I’ve had 4 now) makes them feel like a real gift to open.

Money talks, what is your purse/wallet/pocket saying about you? Mine is saying that I can’t always afford to buy the best but when I can I will always look to independent artists, creators and shops.

As well as these incredible businesses I would like to give a shout out to some more amazing small businesses …

If you are local to St Blazey or happen to go past (lots of people do on the way to Cornwall) then you should stop by St Blazey Post Office and Stores, a real hub of the community run by the Haughton-Jones family who are just now celebrating the addition of their beautiful baby girl Betsy. They often run charity events and shoebox appeals and have a real old time heart of gold.

My own incredible husband Mr Jamie Webb, he is an extremely talented photographer and his portfolio is beautiful, don’t trust me though just look at his clients reviews and recommendations. He will make you feel at ease and make any shoot fun. He is one of a kind and yes I am biased but his work speaks for itself!

The Nurture Programme is a business that helps so many families overcome the burdens and stress that comes with dealing with various authorities that can become a hinderance to neurodivergent families. The work they do means so much to the families that they help and I am honoured to be able to work with them on various projects. If you need a caring hand that genuinely understands the struggles then they will not steer you wrong.

Moby and Puddle

It would be silly of me not to include my own small business in this mix because every sale helps to support my family, it makes me so happy to be able to follow my dreams and show my Webblings that they can achieve theirs too. As well as my illustrations I also create bears and own Moby and Puddle which just turned 10 years old.

SO this Colour Friday I want to thank everyone who has purchased from my shop, liked and shared my posts and helped me to grow. I hope to continue to do so for a long time but all of us small businesses need your help!

Thank you for reading,

Samantha x

P.S. Here is a shameless plug for my shop … By Samantha Webb.

Webb Review – Always Good by Gary Heskins and Kerry Sullivan

Always Good is a full colour children’s book written by Gary Heskins and illustrated by Kerry Sullivan, it is the story of a boy named Bobby Mac who sees the world differently to everyone around him. Teaching that the world is full of more than just material possessions and that you can be happy without all of them. Happily Bobby Mac sees his family as the richest treasure he could have. It is a feel good story with a heart of gold that tries to see the best in not having much.

Bobby has a wonderful family and they have taught him a lot about gratefulness and I think that it is a great lesson especially for children that aren’t in a position to have all of their wants met straight away. For the even children that are lucky enough to have everything, this story teaches to be a little more humble and to look at what really matters in your life.

Harrison and I really enjoyed this book, it is bright and colourful, has a clear message and was easy to read. It helped us to discuss what we take for granted in our life and how we could be more grateful for what we have too.

The illustrations by Kerry Sullivan are great, the style is very friendly and appealing to young children and old with lots of action going on, Harry particularly enjoyed the illustrations of the animals and the children playing football. Every page is jam packed with colour and energy, the characters really stand out.

The book is let down by a lack of punctuation which is very hit and miss, some pages have capital letters and full stops and others have no punctuation at all which does bother me when reading aloud especially. It could use the help of a good editor to just polish off what is a great story.

I was concerned that the book promoted an unhealthy, ideal version of being ‘always good’ however the main character does admit that he does have bad days too, which was a great addition to the story in my opinion because it is hard to be happy all of the time and is an unrealistic expectation to put on yourself or other people but it is possible to always be grateful for what you do have.

Always Good is available now from Shookbop.

Harrison and I think that this book would be great for children who are struggling to see that other people live different lives and have different lifestyles but it doesn’t make your life any less valuable. We all have moments of envy and this book would be a good one to read in those moments.

Awarded 4 out of 5 webs.

Harrison awarded Always Good 4 out of 5 webs, the story is great and the illustrations are beautiful, it just needs some work on the punctuation and grammar.

We were sent this book by Stour Valley Publishing for review, the thoughts and opinions are our own.

Thank you so much for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison.

I Drew My Week

Inspired by the prolific art of Gary Scribbler and the charming illustrated diary of Sam Stoner (both of whom I follow on Instagram) I wanted to try illustrating my week. I am amazed at how both artists manage to consistently post a new illustration everyday, perhaps it becomes quicker and more of a habit but I set my sights on a week because I felt that it was manageable for me.

Tools at the ready!

I purposely chose Half Term week because honestly most of the time we have the same routine of school runs, painting and lots and lots of naps. I wanted to draw the week where we had plans not only to have seven different images but also as a little diary for myself of the fun that we have had over half term. Believe me our usual week is not this exciting, there are less fireworks and swimming is an incredibly rare treat!

MONDAY

The Webblings stayed with Nana while we went to Tesco, I genuinely bought Halloween decorations and Christmas treats. It made me feel like I need to really crack on with my Christmas shopping.

TUESDAY

OK I know I said we had an exciting week and so far it has been a trip to BIG Tesco and now a whole load of washing but it did have to be done! Also at this point in the week I was a bit too scared to draw anyone besides myself, it is totally OK to butcher an image of myself but I was wary of messing up images of other people. It gets more exciting I promise! (I secretly did enjoy the empty washing basket at the end of the day, it was a little bit exciting!).

WEDNESDAY

I know lots of people go swimming regularly and some of my crazier friends go sea swimming a lot! I am not that brave. This is the first time that I have been swimming since my accident in 2019, the thought of slippery floors and lots of children running around scared me off but we managed to book a private pool so all I had to worry about was looking like a hippo in my swimwear, luckily hippos are cute! I even braved drawing the Webblings who had a great time finally getting to swim again.

THURSDAY

I don’t know about you but I absolutely love to nap. I have fibromyalgia and the busy days and entertaining the Webblings took its toll so I dozed while we watched Sonic The Hedgehog and other movies. I am lucky that Lilly and Harry are so understanding of my limitations, they enjoyed reading and drawing while I gained some much needed energy for the weekend ahead. I secretly think they were happy to have a day at home too.

FRIDAY

Domestic Goddess? Hahahaha so far from it, my poor husband does 90% of the cooking and just as much of the cleaning, he is my rock! But when it comes to baking I am not too bad really, if you keep it simple! I do love to decorate cakes and cookies though. Harrison wanted to make Halloween cookies for the tea party at his Nana’s house on Saturday so we made chocolate chip eyeball cookies and they tasted pretty good.

SATURDAY

Saturday was jam packed, we went to a Halloween tea party, arms full of yesterdays eyeball cookies and then we were invited to join our friends on a trip to Lappa Valley Steam Railway to see the end of season fireworks. It was hard to choose what to illustrate for Saturday but this here was my favourite moment of the entire day. I was finally brave enough to draw Jamie too and although he hasn’t seen it yet I really do hope he likes it. The fireworks were beautiful and the spooky train ride was magical too.

SUNDAY

And as if by magic we were transformed into a kangaroo, a hippie, a wolf and red riding hood! Mr Webb does not like to dress up but he got in the spirit of it with some fluffy wolf ears to be the wolf to my red riding hood! Harry wanted to be the most scary of all animals, a kangaroo!!! Lilly is 13 so she played me like a fiddle and chose her costume around the outfit that she wanted which was nothing to do with Halloween! The pumpkins were carved and we spent the night watching The Mummy movies and eating pizza.

Happy Halloween from the Webb family.

Half term was crazy but magical. Drawing your day really helps you focus on the happy moments in a day and even when you have a bad day or a painful day if like me you suffer from chronic pain there is some part of your day that you can look back on and smile. It is not something that I will be doing on a regular basis because it is a big commitment but there will definitely be more doodles of my day in my planner from this point forward.

If you would like to see how it is done properly take a look at

Gary Scribbler – http://www.garyscribbler.co.uk/finding-joy—doodleaday.html

Sam Stoner – https://www.instagram.com/talking_scribble/

Thank you so much for reading my blog,

Samantha x