Webb Review – Six Year Old Sidney The Skateboarding Boy

Six Year Old Sidney The Skateboarding Boy is written and illustrated by Dan Bryant, the story of a six year old who loves nothing more than skateboarding and who practices really hard so that he can compete in a skateboarding competition. He is determined to compete even when his old skateboard is feeling more tired than it ought to for a competition.

Sidney is only six but full of passion.

The book is bright and colourful with the bold blue of the cover working as a background for the text. The illustrations are fantastic, they remind me of an old show on Nickelodeon called Doug and just like those, the illustrations are full of life and energy. I just adore how Sidney sticks his little tongue out while he is concentrating, possibly because both Harrison and I do that too.

The story is really empowering and teaches that if you keep showing up and putting in the effort then people will take notice, you may not get exactly what you were hoping for but you might get exactly what you need and that might just be even better than you hoped. Harry was really intrigued by the idea of a six year old being so great at a sport like skateboarding, it is very impressive.

Harry really likes Sidney.

I had thought at first that you needed to know some skate terminology and other than a few bits I picked up from Mr Webb playing skate games on the playstation many moons ago, I have no idea what some of them meant. So I was very glad to find the glossary in the back of the book that explained some of the terms to us. Despite being 10 and owning two skateboards, I am sad to say that Harrison is not a skater and much prefers to keep his feet firmly on the ground. The glossary of terms was very useful and Harry has been inspired to give his skateboard another go soon.

The story is great and the illustrations are charming, perhaps we will get an update when Sidney skates in his next competition.

Harrison awarded 5 out of 5 webs.

Six Year Old Sydney The Skateboarding Boy is available now from Shookbop.

This book was sent for review by the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and the opinions are all our own.

Thank you so much for reading our review,

Samantha and Harrison.

Scrawlrbox Sale – Posca Pencils

I am a sucker for a bargain especially when it comes to art supplies and I really don’t think you will find a better bargain than the Scrawlrbox sale. Throughout the year the previous subscription boxes are reduced, sometimes as low as £5 which includes postage. You have to be quick though because as you can imagine, they sell fast! 

I really like the minimal packaging.

In the latest sale I managed to buy the May 2021 box. An added perk being that you already know what is in the box unlike the subscription. I have been tempted by the subscription many times because even at full price it is still a bargain but I find them to be a bit over zealous with the pens which I know I am not fond of. 

I chose the May box for two reasons, the first being that I wanted to try the Posca pencils and the second because I have never tried Pearl Burnish before, I’ve never even heard of it. 

All the pretties!!

The box arrived impeccably and quickly as I have experienced before. Everything is wrapped nicely and they always include a sweet which is a nice touch. This box included the scrawlrzine, a menu card that explains what the supplies are, an art card from the featured artist, 6 Posca pencil crayons, Pearl Burnish, Derwent black fine liner, paint brush and a 16 sheet pad of cartridge paper. 

Swatches.

The pencils are the main part of this box and the selection of colours are beautiful. They are some of my favourite colours in fact and make a lovely set. I swatched them out on the cartridge paper and had a play to see how well they blend too. I am not an avid pencil crayon user because I do struggle to blend and layer them. These blend really nicely however the colours do not get more intense when layering unless you layer on top of a darker colour. Most pencil crayons will get more vibrant as you layer or press harder but the Posca pencils did not. They are extremely pigmented right away though without cramping your hand to get maximum colour like some other brands. They are a very soft pencil, perhaps this is why they blend so easily. I did try smudging too but it had little to no effect. 

Blends nicely

The Pearl Burnish is a liquid white pencil crayon which is sort of like Tipex only more vibrant. It was extremely opaque at covering the swatches in my test but didn’t lay down smoothly. It is intended for highlights to finish the work and I was excited to try it on an actual piece. The tiny bottle is very adorable.

The fine liner is much too fine for my tastes honestly and it was scratching at the paper right from the start. I would assume that to have it this thin it must be reinforced to stop the tip snapping which causes the scratching but I could be completely wrong. 

I drew out my little mermaid, it was a May box so I suppose I had Mermay on my mind but they also seem like mermaid colours to me. I used the light orange Posca to draw an outline and the fine liner to go over a few bits. The fine liner did not like drawing over the pencil at all, it skipped, jumped and went all over the place. It will not be a permanent addition to my pencil case!!

Scratchy fine liner.

I coloured the mermaid in, it’s not a very adventurous piece but she has some charm I guess, she has found a human planter on the bottom of the sea and intends to take it home. The pencil crayons are lovely to colour with but I think to get the kind of results you see in the scrawlrzine you need to do a lot more layers than I was willing to do. This was five or six layers of each colour and that’s enough for me. 

A mermaids garden.

I tried to use the paintbrush to apply the Pearl Burnish and that was a disaster, this brush is an absolute waste of time! It washed off ok and I managed to do some little spots on the mermaid tail but it was frustrating and an odd choice to add into this box.

Strange choice of brush for detail work.

I managed to create an illustration with everything included, it isn’t my favourite illustration by a long shot but for £5 it was an hour of fun experimentation. 

Finished illustration.

The Posca pencils were one of the reasons that I chose this box, they claim to be able to colour onto light and dark paper, wood, metal, glass, plastic and stone. I thought that sounded amazing since I always seem to make a mess when I use Posca Pens but as a family we are big fans of pebble art which we hide in the local parks for people to find. I had a pebble handy that I decided to turn into a dragon face. I used the Posca pencils to draw and then colour it, the Pearl Burnish to add the white of the eye and a trusty Sharpie marker because that fine liner had been thrown across the room! I could not find any information online that said wether the Poscas were permanent so I will be sure to varnish the dragon before we hide her. 

Posca pencils on pebbles.

I really enjoyed this box, I think with a little practice I could get used to using Pearl Burnish for highlights on my watercolour illustrations and I would use the pencils again for ideas and doodles in my sketchbook, beautiful as they are I just don’t have the patience to get a fully rendered illustration out of them. The paintbrush and pen have been popped straight into the Webblings art supplies so they won’t be wasted. 

I hope whoever finds the dragon pebble likes her! 

Thank you for reading my blog,

Samantha. 

10 Titles Available!!!

I have always loved children’s books, I have kept a collection throughout my life and it keeps growing. I wanted to be a children’s author my entire life and I didn’t truly think that it would be possible. So I can’t get my head around it, I am celebrating, it seems unbelievable to me but I now have 10 books available on Amazon. All children’s books but they are done in a variety of art mediums. I love creating books but love to learn about new techniques and to combine them where possible. If you have read much of my blog you will see that I really enjoy experimenting with all kinds of art supplies. Five of the ten have been created from fibre art (felting and embroidery), two have watercolour illustrations and three have digital illustrations. They each have their own benefits and I have two books which I am currently working on, one with watercolours and the other with digital illustrations.

10 books seems like a milestone and an achievement despite the fact that I am pretty useless at marketing so my sales are slow. I am really proud of every single one of my books and I really feel that they are getting better and better with each book.

I have heard rumours that the Amazon algorithm gods are pleased once you reach 10 books and will start placing your titles higher in the searches but I am yet to see any evidence of this, maybe I will do in the coming months. I am aware that getting reviews on your books helps the most but it is very difficult to get the reviews because when Amazon sends books out to people I never find out who purchased it or where in the world it even went.

Amazon books are great quality in my experience. I have had one really peculiar book arrive that had different pages inside but Amazon were really good at replacing it straight away. I do feel a little out of control with the books because I can’t quality control each and every one of them before they are posted out but having the print on demand available on Amazon has meant that I can produce quality books without a massive upfront cost which I wouldn’t be able to afford so my stories would be relegated to my sketchbooks forever. I am really grateful to Amazon for allowing me to follow my dreams.

If you are thinking of publishing your own book on Amazon, through Kindle Direct Publishing it can seem daunting at first but you have unlimited amounts of edits before you press that ‘publish’ button and you can even order sample copies of your books before they get published so that you can check everything is as you want it. I would suggest that you purchase your own ISBN numbers though, you can get free ones from Amazon however if you use these then you are not permitted to sell your books through other avenues. I personally choose to sell through Folksy so that I can offer signed copies, I have books in a couple of independent book shops and I sell at festivals and events which would not be possible with the Amazon ISBN allocated numbers. That feeling of holding your final product in your hands after months of hard work is one of the best feelings in the world. Seeing a child enjoy your story tops that even more!

My characters make me very happy.

I feel like I am just at the beginning of my creative journey, I have not even got off the starting spot when it comes to marketing and I have so many more stories to tell. Have you read any of my books? which is your favourite? I would love to hear from you.

Harry says he would give all my books 5 out of 5 webs but he is completely biased!

Harry in Sass’s forest.

Thanks for reading my blog,

Samantha x

The winner of the Sass Feels Lonely giveaway is @kindshop.co.uk thank you so much to everyone who entered on Facebook and Instagram.

Sass Feels Lonely Update

Sass Feels Lonely is the first book that I have written with very simple sentence structures which appeal to younger readers and reluctant readers or those who struggle with more complex books but still want a bright picture book to read. The pages only have one sentence each and children can learn the book easily through repetition which in my experience (as a mummy having to read the same stories over and over again) gives children a sense of accomplishment which can guide them towards a love of reading in the future.

Sass Feels Lonely now available on Amazon and Folksy.

My original story for Sass was much longer and more in depth but as I was writing it I became aware that Sass could tell his story through the images as much as the text which would give children more freedom to develop Sass’s story in their own imaginations.

Sass is very proud of his book.

I am incredibly proud of Sass so when the publisher sadly had to withdraw from publication and close down, I knew that I wanted to independently publish Sass Feels Lonely under my own publishing brand Moby and Puddle Books. I have spent the last few weeks taking the necessary steps to do so and I am happy to announce that Sass Feels Lonely is now available on Amazon.

Very proud author pic!

I also have limited amounts available on Folksy which are the first edition copies that I have purchased from the now defunct publishers. You can even find keyrings there too!

Sass is so fluffy!

To celebrate the release of the second edition of Sass Feels Lonely I have decided to run a giveaway across my facebook and instagram accounts. It will run until Midnight on Monday 4th April and winner announced on my blog Tuesday 5th April. There will be two winners, the first will win a signed copy of the book and a soft toy that looks a little like Sass (a cousin perhaps?) and the second will win a signed copy of the book with a Sass keyring and sticker. Due to ongoing postal issues the giveaway will be exclusively UK based.

Ends April 4th 2022.

I hope that however you get your hands on your copy of Sass, that you enjoy it and that you fall in love with this big fluffy creature who lives in the forest just as much as I have. One setback won’t stop him, after all Sass is on the lookout for more friends!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Samantha Webb.

Sass loves reading about Sass!

Webb Review – Professor Von Schmell and his Fart Powered Bike by Leon Howlett and James Gibson

Written by Leon Howlett, Professor Von Schmell and his Fart Powered Bike is as random as they come. It is a little bit of mayhem wrapped up in a glorious story about inventors and a race. If you don’t like your children to read books about farting, burping or other bodily functions then at least it is right there on the cover for you to see and keep away from. It isn’t hiding anything or pretending it is some great moral story, it is however blatant fun in the form of a picture book.

Harry is 10 years old and he finds farts and burps hilarious, why wouldn’t he? life is far too serious as it is, especially at the moment, so seeing him giggle and chuckle as we read this book was brilliant. He is also a massive fan if inventors and crazy inventions (he adores Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs) so this book definitely fell into the hands of its target market and we thank Stour Valley Publishing for sending it to us for review.

If I had to pick at anything, (As seems to be the thing that I complain about most in childrens books) it would be the lack of punctuation. It really makes it a lot more difficult to read out loud, maybe this is just me? But the right punctuation or even the wrong punctuation but in the right place really does help the rhythm of a book keep going, especially when it is a rhyming book. This book is not great with punctuation and has very little on some pages. When it has a second edition which I think it will, this would be a massive improvement.

The illustrations by James Gibson are fantastic, our favourite being the parrot in his dressing gown which really is worth buying this book for. James has a way of creating humour within the story and also in the background with so many different details that keep you lingering on each page more than you otherwise would. I am a big fan of James Gibson’s work and think that the book is worth getting to enjoy the artwork as much as the story.

Available now from Shookbop.

5 out of 5 webs awarded.

Harrison awarded 5 webs out of 5, ignoring the lack of punctuation due to the amount that the book made him laugh and laugh. We are sure to read this one again and look forward to reading more from both Leon Howlett and James Gibson.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison.

First Try – Marabu Art Crayons

Marabu Art Crayons

I received these Marabu art crayons in a Scrawlrbox and had never tried them before. They came in these three colours and were all individually sealed. They were sealed really well too because it took me forever to get the wrapping off of them. They feel really nice to hold in your hands because of the black grip and the lids fit to the bottom of the crayons while you are using them which is always handy if like me you are prone to loosing lids whilst you are working.

I swatched them in my sketchbook, they are super creamy and they remind me of the Gelatos by Faber Castell. They do not have a pointy tip so they are hard to draw with just like the gelatos too.

Swatches.

I smudged the colour swatches and used water on a paint brush to see how far they would spread. The smudges weren’t overly impressive but the water soluble swatches came out better than I could of hoped and you cannot see much ghosting from the original square that I drew at all. They really do dissolve in the water and stay very vibrant.

Be careful, do not twist up.

You need to be careful when winding them on, they twist upwards like a lipstick but do not twist back down. I wanted to see how much pigment you actually get because it is encased in a pretty heavy duty casing but I didn’t dare see how much further it went once I realised it would not go down again.

I used water and a paintbrush to take pigments off the end of the crayons but they were so pastel and translucent that the teddies above took layer upon layer to build up the smallest amount of pigment. I think they are definitely intended to be used colour straight onto the paper.

They look like jelly bears to me.

I used the crayons once the teddies were dry to add a textured outline. I was trying to use them way too small for how big the tip of the crayon is but they still have a little charm to them I think.

I wanted to see if they would blend or if I could make more colours because I was feeling a bit uninspired by the colour choices. I managed to create a really nice orange but the purple mixing with the other two just looked muddy. I feel like a blue may of been a better choice when giving three colours so that I could of created a green and a purple so keep that in mind if you are buying them separately. The crayons do not have colour names on them either which is frustrating.

My poor unloved teddy.

I decided to add some black finaliser and create a little multicolour teddy bear. The crayon was drawn straight onto the paper and then spread with the water. I think that it creates a nice fluffy bear effect and even though I really do not like this illustration (sorry bear!) I do like the texture in the pink and purple. The yellow is the most water soluble and the texture completely disappeared. When moving from the purple crayon to the yellow I hadn’t cleaned the brush thoroughly enough so it caused a big mess than around his mouth which doesn’t endear me to him either.

I did not have the best time with these crayons, they didn’t smell particularly great although the smell goes once it is dried on the paper. You cannot get any fine detail and you cannot get variation in the saturation, it is either completely watered down or far too vibrant when used without water. I think the colours were a factor in the fact that I didn’t enjoy them, the yellow just melted into the paper and could hardly be seen and the other two really compete with each other. Perhaps with a better combination of colours I may of had better results.

I will use these again but in conjunction with other art supplies, possibly in collage. I am glad to have tried them with scrawlrbox because it gave me the opportunity to try them out without spending a fortune first.

I hope that my first test has been useful or entertaining for you, what would you have created with these colours?

Thank you for reading,

Samantha x

Webb review – The Boogie Woogie Monster by Shyam Gharial and Dan Mynard

Harrison and I really loved the style of this book, the illustrations are vivid and full of texture. There are lots of hidden details to look out for in the backgrounds of each page too which meant that we spent longer chatting about the extra details as well as the story itself. The Boogie Woogie Monster is a story that teaches the value of not making rushed judgements based on appearance. The story flows really well and there were no slow points and the story made sense from start to finish, it was clear, concise, fun and heart warming.

The Boogie Woogie monster is lonely but he keeps trying to make a connection with Moe, the main character in the story, and keeps protecting him even after he has been shunned by the boy. The monster is very self aware and knows that the boy is scared. I think that makes him a lot more loveable despite the claws and teeth.

Harrison really enjoyed the inclusion of some of his favourite characters, Santa and the tooth fairy which are hilariously laced into the story with some great consequences. I particularly liked one spread that shows a group of monsters because most children have the occasional monster lurking under the bed, even some adults too.

This book is fun and is colourful, it is a great story and will be one that we will read more than once. It might be helpful for children who are struggling with sleeping in the dark although it might have the opposite effect since the art work is so fantastic. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a little uniqueness with a great story to go with it.

Available now at Shookbop.

5 out of 5 webs

Harrison gave The Boogie Woogie Monster 5 out of 5 webs. He really liked the idea of a monster being more than he first seems.

We were sent this copy from the publisher and the review is our own.

Thank you for reading,

Samantha and Harrison.

Brusho First Try And A Lot Of Mess.

A whole box of Brusho.

I saw Brusho first used on a Youtube video and I am sad to say I can’t find the video that I watched which intrigued me but there are lots on there if you fancy watching people who know what they are doing but this is my first experience of this very messy medium.

Available colours.

You can get Brusho in a range of colours, I got the starter set of colours because it worked out much cheaper, mine were purchased on Amazon and arrived quickly. They come boxed and in little tubs, my box came with some wax sticks too for adding extra details which you will see later.

Labeled pots.

After watching videos and seeing just how messy this can become I decided to use the method of poking a hole into each tub instead of opening them properly. I also labelled them at the top because I will be keeping them in the box and it is easier to see than reading the labels each time. The labels do not have colours on.

First swatch.

Brusho is a pigment that comes in powder form and you can use it in a variety of ways, for my swatches that will be kept for reference in the box I decided to wet the paper first and then sprinkle the Brusho pigments on top. I taped off each square and I am glad I did because these pigments are hard to control. Each pot has a range of colours to make up that particular colour and you can see how it spreads. I was a little overzealous with the dark brown and it spread into the Emerald so quickly.

Swatch two.

I decided to try more swatches because this medium is like nothing that I have tried before and I wanted to see what the difference would be. So this time I sprinkled a little of each pigment onto the square and then spritzed each one with water. This was even harder to control.

Swatch 2 – so pretty.

I really love the chaotic movement of the sprayed pigment, the pigment did spray all over my desk though and went everywhere so you need a lot of extra space around you or things you don’t mind getting covered in different colours.

Experiments with dry and wet.

I thought that I would give a galaxy a go but it was so hard to actually control where the pigment went and how it blended. It would probably look ok with some stars on it but I gave up since it just reminded me of a bruise by this point.

Resist with wax.

I thought that I would try the resist with wax, this did not work for me, it leaves the white somewhat how I wanted it but the wax is hard to get any refined shapes, you can’t draw or paint over it after at all so it isn’t good for masking and again the colours were just uncontrollable. I think that this might of worked better with a hot press watercolour paper which is smoother but I tend to use all cold press and the resist just didn’t work well.

Since the resist didn’t work I got out a Molotow masking fluid pen to try. I wanted to work with the unpredictable nature of the Brusho and thought some hand lettering might be nice. The masking fluid did not want to leave the paper though and since I sprinkled the pigment on first and then added water there was still a lot of pigment left on top of the masking fluid which just smudged and spread all over the place! This was so messy and my hands were stained for the rest of the day!

I wanted to see if I could use the pigments in my usual way, I popped a little of each colour onto my pallet and used them like watercolour but I tried not to mix the pigment into the water too much so that you could still see the different hues in each colour. I also tried to mix a colour on the paper as you can see in the middle image above but it soaks into the paper and can’t be refitted, this stuff stains your paper and fast. I think the little bear came out cute and I like the way the colours haven’t fully mixed in the water. This effect is much easier and cleaner to do with standard watercolours though. They also don’t layer the same colour well as you can see from bears snout.

I really wanted to make an illustration that used the best of the Brusho effect, being unpredictable and having so much texture but in one of my illustrations and I think this one was my favourite. I added water first to the hair, put sprinkle after sprinkle of the brush and moved it around where I needed it to be with a paintbrush trying hard not to mix it. Once it was all dry I took off the masking fluid trying not to smudge the excess pigment and then painted in the rest of the image. I honestly think that if I use Brusho in my illustrations then this is the best use of it for me. It is never going to be easy to control but with practice you can get some really organic looking effects.

This was my second attempt at using the Brusho like a watercolour or ink. I think it came out well but doesn’t show the beauty of the chaos that is Brusho. Brusho is a lot of fun, a lot of mess and you never know what you are going to get. I will be using it when I make collages in future and to add some crazy backgrounds to my digital art.

Thank you so much for reading, if you have any tips or tricks I would love to hear them. Samantha x

Webb Review – Stick It Brit And The ABC Picnic Surprise By Jenny Neal

The second book in the Stick It Brit series by Jenny Neal won’t disappoint fans of the original. It is a fully illustrated children’s book that will delight even if you are not familiar with the first book in the series.

Stick It Brit returns!

This alphabet book focuses on food with Brit and baby Amy putting on a picnic for their toys. Once again Brit is covering everything with sticky notes and causing a little chaos at the same time. Young children will not realise that this book is helping them read, it isn’t at all preachy or stagnant, it is a real story all the way through.

Once again Jenny Neal has created a bright and colourful book with really wonderful backgrounds that have so much energy. The illustrations are simple and playful, they really capture the relationship between the sisters.

Harrison enjoyed Stick It Brit and the ABC Picnic Surprise.

Harry thought that baby Amy pouring the drink over her own head was hilarious and Brit’s reaction was perfect for a big sister. I have a soft spot for the teddy Captain Spy and hope he makes more appearances in further Stick It Brit titles.

Captain Spy.

The Q part of the alphabet is Quavers which I thought was a little risky, any brands in a book can age them but then again I think Quavers will likely be around for many years to come (I hope so at least, they are delicious!). I will warn you though, if you plan to read this book, do not do it at bed time like we did, we had no choice but to get top and have snacks and a glass of milk! This book will make you hungry! It is good that the majority of the foods are healthy snacks and mostly vegetarian but some vegans may not like the inclusion of eggs if reading to vegan children (we love veggie ham and sausages so we didn’t mind that!) Honestly though you would have to be pretty strict to let that stop you from enjoying the story.

Harrison awarded 5 out of 5 webs!

We both really enjoyed the second instalment of Stick It Brit and hope that it won’t be the last.

Stick It Brit and the ABC Picnic Surprise by Jenny Neal is available now from Shookbop.

This book was kindly sent to us for review by the publisher Stour Valley Publishing and it completely our own views.

Thank you so much for reading,

Samantha and Harrison.