Halloween Whimsy Art Tutorial

Hello my lovelies! I love letting seasonal events inspire my art and I really wanted to create a cute Halloween witchy girl. I recorded the process and you can view the video tutorial below:

If you prefer a photo tutorial instead of video, fear not and keep scrolling!

Supply list:

-water spray
-ink spray (Dylusions)
-high flow acrylics  (Golden)
-fluid acrylics (Golden)
-charcoal pencil
-black and white pens (Uniball Signo)
-watersoluble crayon (Caran d’Ache)
-stamp pad (black)

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h25m15s117Preparing the background. I tend to create several backgrounds at the same time at this stage. Use high quality watercolour paper. Spritz the water liberally with water spray. Then use spray inks and high flow acrylics on the page. Spray more water and let everything merge into each other. You can pick up the paper and hold it vertically to let the paint drip into different directions

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h25m57s37Sketching the figure. Start with a round shape for the head and put a horizontal line a bit below the halfway point.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m06s142Sketch eyes on this horizontal line, a little nose & mouth in the middle.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m12s215Add a witchy hat, hair and a simple shape for a dress.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m20s45Sketch a swirly shape for the moon, simple stripey tights and some pumpkins

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m25s86Apply gesso to the face & neck area

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m32s143Shade the face with brown paint, going from light shading to dark.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m41s245Add colour to the irises and mouth with a small brush

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m50s47Use a black gel pen (I use Uniball Signo) to add pupils and white for highlights

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m01s198Use the same pens to fill in the  tights. Use orange paint for the hair and pumpkins. Add some white gesso to the pumpkins for shading and some blue paint underneath as a shadow.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m19s114Use the white & black gel pens to fill in the moon with swirls

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m38s48Add some text or numbers (I chose ’31’) to finish off.


Halloween WhimsyI hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you create your own whimsy or Halloween inspired art, I’d love to see it! Please share it on my Facebook page.

Art Journal & Tutorial Videos

It feels like when I do a lot of one thing, something else gets left behind! My focus these days has been on creating videos, which means I haven’t been blogging a lot. A few weeks ago I blogged a lot, which meant I wasn’t doing as much art. It’s hard to fit in all the things I want to do, because I want to do so much! I absolutely love being on this creative journey and all that goes with it: creating art, blogging, making videos, art supply shopping (..I think I have a slight addiction), connecting with other artistic people online. It’s awesome!

So in this post I bring you my most recent videos!

Every time I create a video I learn more about how to do this well. How to edit, what works, what doesn’t, what I need to be aware of when talking on camera. It’s a fun learning experience!

I’d love to know what you like when you watch an art video. Short or long? Talking or no talking? On screen text or no text?

Now – Art Journal Tutorial Video

In my free art & inspiration guide there are several sections with art supply ideas, colour schemes and tutorials so I thought I’d create a video series in which I basically follow my own guide and show you the process!

The other week I went on a bit of an art supply binge at Atlantis (big art supply store in East London). I got a good haul!

I got some black gesso which I’ve been experimenting with a bit in my art journal and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

In this video you can watch me create a journal spread using just black gesso, a white paint marker and neon gel pens.

Follow along and show me what you create!

Now | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
Now – black gesso, white paint marker & gel pens in A5 journal

Now detail | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Now detail | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

A couple of other pages I’ve created recently with black gesso:

Fireflies In The Garden Of My Mind | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
Fireflies In The Garden Of My Mind – black gesso, white paint marker & gel pens in A5 journal

Do You Know What You Want? | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
Do You Know What You Want? – charcoal pencil, white & black gesso in A5 journal

It is so freeing to use a limited number of supplies (and to know what you’re working with when you start). These are some of my favourite journal pages lately despite being a self-professed art supply junkie!

Have you created anything with a reduced number of supplies or a limited palette?

Trust {it will come} – Art Journal Video

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Video by www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

I’m so excited to share a new art video with you all! I really want to create at least one art video a month, but I’ve been struggling to do it because it’s just so time consuming. But hey, tell you a secret, I’ve noticed that I’m getting faster at doing them. Who knew, practice makes me perfect speedy!

Watch me create a happy cheerful art journal page!

There are two specific reasons I’m so excited about this journal page.

ONE I received an email the other day from the lovely Lisa at Artist Cellar telling me I had won a giveaway for a set of stencils!! I love free stuff as much as the rest of us, but omg I WON something (I never win anything, not even at the funfair!) and I won STENCILS!!! I was literally jumping up and down. I think Andrew (my husband) really didn’t understand why I was getting so excited about this, but please tell me you understand. Art supplies are totally worth getting excited about lol!

So you can see me using these stencils in the video. They’re a joy to work with. Very sturdy and I just adore the patterns. I love stencils that can add texture to my backgrounds without being too much someone else’s style. It makes them really versatile.

TWO I actually really like this page! I’m getting to a point where I’m starting to enjoy my own art more and more. Big departure for me as my inner critic used to go completely rampant (before creating, during, after, in between, while I was asleep etc). I was trying to just be quick & free and it WORKED.

For me the meaning of the quote is that I need to trust that things will come along (not that trust will come, but you could read it that way if it resonates better with you!). I find it so hard to trust that my journey is ‘right’ and that I will get the ‘results’ I want. I’m always doubting and doubting some more. So I need to trust that things will come as long as I work hard, and they will come at the right time, and they will be in line with what I need. TRUST.

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Page | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Page detail | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Page detail | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Page detail | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Supply List

Dylusions Spray Inks (yellow, orange & red), Golden Fluid Acrylics (yellow & orange), Blick matte acrylics (yellow), Americana craft paint (red), Golden gesso, Artist Cellar Quasi stencil, Sharpie paint marker (black), Uni Posca paint marker (white), walnut ink, stamp ink pads (brown & black), letter stamps

What have you been journalling lately?

Butterfly Whispers – Permission to Grow and Learn

I’ve been excited about doing a new art video for a while now, so on Tuesday I sat down to create a new art journal spread and recorded the process to share with you. Voila, here it is, I hope you like it!

By doing so I’ve realised something. I find it hard to create when I’m feeling watched (i.e. recording myself). Recently I’ve been working in my art journal with such freedom and wild abandon. I work quickly, intuitively, grab colours, don’t stop to think. I wanted to share this intuitive, fast paced process with you. However, when recording I feel inhibited, not free, I get stuck in a ‘what to do’ or ‘what to do next’ thought. My mind is partly on the painting, and partly on the camera, how much battery life, is the angle right, is the lighting OK? I cannot immerse myself and lose myself into the painting.

The next thought in my mind is self-critical. Why can’t I just be myself on film. Why can’t I share what I want to share. Why can’t I get ‘in the zone’? Then I started thinking that this process is like any, I haven’t done it much before so it requires practice. My first video is not going to be the best super amazingly awesome one. Neither is the second. But it’s never going to get better unless I keep doing it!

I was encountering some harsh self-criticism while working on this spread. The proportions on the face were off. She looks weird. Then I took a step back and tried to look at it critically. Not in a ‘I’ve made a bad art piece, I suck’ way, but in a ‘how could this be improved, why am I not enjoying it as much as I could?’ way. And I realised that the placement of the nose and mouth is slightly lower than ideal. Aha!! Lightbulb moment. Wow!!

It transformed my experience of the piece. I know what to change next time (or what to do if I were to want to create a similar face – after all, if it’s on purpose then I can call it style! =p ) and in the meantime I can enjoy the piece for what it is. I love learning lessons like these through process!

Thank you for reading & watching! Share with me the lessons you’ve learned through your art recently lovely you!





Materials used:
2B pencil
2B graphite crayon
Scrapbook paper
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II
Dylusions spray inks
Craft paint
Matte medium
Posca paint pen (white)
Sharpie paint pen (black)
Blending stump
Stamps (border, music & butterflies)
Crown punch

Little Tour Of My Art Studio


I thought I’d do a quick video to share my art studio with you all.

My art space is small but packed with all the things I use. My desk is usually a really big mess, just enough room for the journal/canvas! It’s how I like to work, but you’ll see I actually tidied up a bit before filming.

I absolutely love this little space I’ve created! It’s a sacred place I can retreat to and be free to create, experiment and continue my artistic journey.

Please share your creative space with me! I’d love to see where you work.

New Beginnings – Video & Giveaway


I’ve been arty & crafty for a long time, but recently it has felt like a new beginning. A renewed enthusiasm unlike any time before and a much greater connection with my artistic self. It is ironic, as it was through focussing on the journey (i.e. being less occupied with the end result) that I have actually gained a much greater sense of direction and purpose with regards to my art.

One of my tentative goals this year is to make more art videos. I love browsing art videos on YouTube, I find them a great source of inspiration. I really want to add to the happy arty videos and hopefully in the process entertain and inspire people to also create. I’m currently figuring out the best workflow in terms of recording myself and editing. I can assure you there has been much swearing!! The editing is SO time consuming (and not my favourite part admittedly!) so for the moment I will try to aim for a new video every 1-2 months.

This first video has an exciting giveaway that you can enter to win this painting.





So to enter the giveaway leave a comment on this post. For a bonus entry into the giveaway share the link to this article (http://iris-impressions.com/2014/01/new-beginnings-video-giveaway) on your blog, Twitter or Facebook and let me know where to find it (make sure anything you post is public).

I’m going on a big adventure holiday to the US soon, MEGA excited!! I will draw the winner once I am back on Tuesday 4 March.

The Heart of Art – A Free Art Course

I just wanted to let you all know about my wonderful friend Tam. She is literally one of the nicest, kindest and most generous souls you will ever meet and I feel so privileged to call her my friend! I could probably write a whole blog post about how wonderful she is, but I’m getting off topic!

Since a couple of years ago Tam has been running several art classes online. World of Whimsy where you learn to create whimsical characters and complex mixed media backgrounds. Awesome Art Journal, a course about everything to do with creating art journal pages. Fabulous Faces where she teaches how to create more realistic portraits and the rules/techniques behind front facing, three-quarter and profile portraits. All of these courses were (and are, as they are available on DVD) incredible and helpful, however the only downside for a lot of people was that you did have to pay for them.

To help out those that can’t afford her courses, she is now offering a FREE COURSE!! It is a four week course that will cover some really exciting techniques and will also focus on healing through art. I seriously can’t wait! Below is a video where Tam explains about the course.

Head over to willowing.ning.com and sign up! I know I mentioned this before but IT IS FREE!! (Classes usually cost around $60) Another great thing about her courses is the amazing community of people who take them. It’s such a nice place to share art and get inspired around like minded individuals who won’t judge you. Hope to see you there!!

I’ll Just Wait Here – Art Journal Video

After many many years (2, pretty much) of not creating any art videos, I finally made one again!

When I moved house (the first time, and the second time as well), I finally got an art desk. I’d wanted this for a long time: a dedicated space to do my art and leave all my supplies out rather than having to tidy everything away after doing art (which was very inhibiting). That did mean though that I couldn’t do any art videos anymore as I recorded them with my webcam which has to be attached to my computer (which is at my regular desk) to function.

I decided to get myself an ‘entry level’ camcorder. I didn’t want to spend too much money as I was not sure (and still am not, given my propensity to have fleeting intererests) if I’d stick with it. So I went with the Toshiba Camileo S20. The reviews were very good (for the price & size) and it does pretty much everything I need (although it doesn’t have an optical zoom which is the only real downside).

I’m still trying to figure out how to get the best angle on the art work. I have a small desk tripod (it came with the camera) which I used for this video. It came out alright but next time I would like to have the point of view a little more ‘face on’, so you can really see the details of what I’m doing. I’ll have to see if I can figure something out. Maybe a more sophisticated desk tripod would work. My art desk is in what is currently the storage room (we’re hoping to convert part of our house, so haven’t unpacked lots of boxes yet) so there isn’t enough room for a proper tripod. If you have any suggestions or tips I’d love to hear them!

Anyway, in the video below you can see me create this page in my art journal. I hope this is the start of more regular art video updates you’ll see from me!

A Short History of Nearly Everything

I bought A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson about 4 or 5 years ago. It has spent a long time sitting on my bookshelf unread because to tell you the truth I was a bit scared of it. I expected it to be full of confusing dates, names & numbers like a dry and boring history book.

Having read a couple of chapters I can let you know it does include a lot of dates, names & numbers. However it is also utterly compelling, interesting and most importantly readable.

The reason I picked it up now of all times, is because Andrew and I were reading some Wikipedia articles about how old the earth is and about when dinosaurs walked the earth (these are the things you do as a married couple, you see). It is so easy to get caught up in your own life and small circle of experiences that it hit me with the force of a meteor (har har): this is the same earth that dinosaurs walked on.

Now you might think “DUHHH”, but I find it seriously mind boggling to wrap my head around the fact that this ball of earth has seen creatures as fantastical as that, all in the same place where we now build our houses and schools and Burger Kings. Moreover, that creatures like that came into existence and evolved in the first place, that then they got wiped out and that then mammals evolved and we became us.. us who compared to the age of the universe have only been alive for a fraction of time.

It made me realise how temporary we are/could be. Not in terms of our individual lives (you are born and hope you live around 80 years and then you die), but the longevity of humans (or mammals and the rest of the animal kingdom in general). Looking at the history of the earth and seeing that all life was annihilated almost in its entirety several times and then started up again in a completely different configuration… It isn’t hard to assume that this will happen again (although on average it only seems to happen every several hundred million years or so.. so for now we’re safe to continue browsing the internet, going to the cinema and eating Ben & Jerry’s).

All of those thoughts came from reading a couple of Wikipedia articles and it made me want to know more, and the why and how of things. Hence I finally picked up the book and started reading. My only criticism so far is that it glances over how people found out about certain things. It will tell you so and so had a theory and it was proven blablabla, but to me, a layperson and certainly not a scientist, it doesn’t really explain those parts enough. What was it that really proved something in such a way that it was adopted as the mainstream scientific explanation of something? I am quite ready to believe scientific explanations ‘because scientist x’s research said so and y number of scientists agreed with the theory’ but I’d like to know how they came to that conclusion without having to learn the discipline.

I am crap at updating so it is safe to assume I will not share any further thoughts on this book or this subject in the future (although I will think about it lots and write numerous draft in my head with a much better style of prose than you’ll ever read from me). See you in 2011.

Ah yes, and in case you are not interested in reading my random philosophical musings, here, have some videos of my cat:

(If you are reading this post through RSS you will probably have to go to my actual site to see these)