Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Thanksgiving Place Cards from PaperCrafter's Corner

Our friends at PaperCrafter's Corner are back with another great tutorial for using DoverPictura clip art- this time to create simple yet splashy Thanksgiving place cards using Full Color Holiday Vignettes, and glitter embossing! See the full tutorial here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Featured Collection: Snowflakes Vector Designs

With the first flurries hitting the northern states and our Winter Wishes Craft Contest now in full swing, our full selection of holiday clip art is your perfect excuse to retreat to the cozy indoors and create something!

This week's featured collection is new to DoverPictura- Snowflakes Vector Designs. No two are alike in this generous collection of more than 100 snowflake images- from realistic to more fanciful. The compilation features a tremendous variety of geometric designs that appear as lacy white patterns against royal blue backgrounds. 

These images  are also perfect for teachers creating festive winter bulletin boards for their classroom!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inside the Collection: The Art of Music

This collection, another superb one from Carol Grafton, was for me 'just for looking'— the luxury of looking. I'm sure that all the crafters out there can think of a 101 projects to do using these images, but what I liked to do was just peruse the images and ruminate. In this case, to quietly look at images of music being played—without the hearing of the music; it's like watching television with the sound off. I enjoyed the disparity between the dominant theme of the visuals (sound, music, noise) and the experience of consuming the images in silence....for a while, anyway. Eventually it began to drive me a crazy— I started to obsess about what music might be being played. Some of it was easy to imagine, in other paintings I didn't have a clue. Take for example these three paintings from the Art of Music (nos. 010, 025, 030). The women are playing a Virginal, and it's the 17th century. I have just a vague notion of Dutch music of that period, and my imagination tells me that a Virginal is probably similar to a harpsichord or clavichord.

I did a little poking around on the web, and found a few samples of Dutch Virginal music from the time of Vermeer. Check out the samples if you'd like to hear what it may have sounded like—or don't; leave the mystery intact.

This turned into a pretty good game for viewing the collection. Sometimes it's a little hard to find just an audio file—without distracting videos attached. Here's a few more samples that I was able to dig up:

In these two paintings it's the Lute. I had a little bit better idea with that, but 16th-17th century? Hmm.

Here's a link to what they all must have been playing. Sample 3

A favorite painting, by a favorite painter: Manet's The Fifer. (The model for this painting may actually have been Manet's female acquaintance Victorine Meurent -just FYI).

Here's a good example of distracting video (the drama!), but it's genuine French martial fife music. Sample 4

And finally, a little Americana—although with Cassatt you really cannot say if it's America, because she painted so long in Europe.

My best guess as to the audio? Sample 5

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Thanksgivukkah Kids Craft

Once every 79,043 years, the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide. So, Thanksgivukkah is a big deal! There are YouTube celebrations and parodies, activities, and recipes. There was even a Kickstarter campaign that involved a turkey-shaped menorah - a Menurkey.

While I'm not a crafter and I've never been this close to Mod Podge in my life, I have a houseful of kids coming this weekend, so I thought it would be fun to do a craft project. The idea is that they can create a keepsake for Thanksgivukkah, which they can pull out and dust off for the next time. It may require a lot of dusting after 79,043 years.

  • A glass platter or plate
  • Some clip art, printed on regular printer paper
  • A "Happy Thanksgivukkah" caption, also printed
  • Mod Podge - I used the glossy type but any would work
  • Gold or silver paint or sparkle glue
  • Tissue paper, for the back

I bought a glass plate at the dollar store. I painstakingly peeled off the sticker. That was maybe the hardest part.

I downloaded a bunch of images from Happy Chanukah, a really sweet DoverPictura collection. Yes, the Chanukah spelling is preferred there. We probably spent several hours debating how to spell Chanukah on that title. Guess what? There's no standard spelling for Thanksgivukkah either! 

I put the images into a Powerpoint, and typed Happy Thanksgivukkah onto a slide. I got those all at the size I wanted, and did a similar thing to the images I pulled from Full Color Holiday Vignettes. So, now there was an easy way of printing out a caption and my images. A better Photoshop hand would have made some fun compositions. 

Now I get it when they talk about clip art. You cut them out!

I picked some pink tissue paper to be the background. More on that later. Because I'm lazy, I didn't cut out each letter. I just took some colored pencils and colored the white background pink to match the tissue. I placed the images on the plate, and and brushed Mod Podge on the back of the plate. It was $9.99 at the store, but I found a 60% off coupon. So, I have a huge tub of the stuff. Beware of more Mod Podge postings.

Then my son came back from hockey practice. He did not approve of the pink background. So we switched it to brown. So much for the pink colored pencils, huh?
I crinkled up the brown tissue paper, and spread more Mod Podge over the whole back of the plate. Then I stuck the paper on the back of the plate, behind the paper cutouts. I left it to dry. Then I rummaged in a drawer with all kinds of crafty things left in the house, and found some gold sparkly glue/paint in the back of the drawer. I squeezed that all around the edges, covering up the edge of the tissue and the sides of the plate. I have a latke plate just in time for the big day! 
Here's the reveal:

My husband said charitably, "That's the most beautiful Thanksgivukkah plate I have ever seen."
$4.46 for the Mod Podge - with coupon. 97% of the bottle is still left.
$1.07 for the plate with Massachusetts sales tax
$2.97 x 3 for the images, which we'll reuse 

Thanksgivukkah joy = Priceless!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Royalty-Free Thanksgiving Clip Art from DoverPictura

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! And we have an abundance of festive images to whet your creative appetite- from 120 Great Paintings of Food and Feasting to Full-Color Holiday Vignettes just perfect for place cards and invites.

Feast your eyes on our full selection of royalty-free Thanksgiving clip art. You can feel thankful knowing that with images available to buy by the sheet you only have to purchase what you need. Though with such an inspiring spread of mouth-watering clip art, don't be surprised if you gorge yourself!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

41 Pilgrims and 44 Turkeys: near parity

Thanksgiving connotes many different things to different folks, but it always seems to sustain a built-in dichotomy; there's the notion of coming together–bridging the gap between oneself and others, inclusion, sharing, the offering of thanks in general and specific ways.  Besides the 'us & them' getting together motif, there's also its opposite—the 'us vs. them'.  This is typified in the football connotation of Thanksgiving—where I come from it's the annual Melrose/Wakefield Game. Inevitably the holiday seems to revolve around pairs, friendly and otherwise.

Interestingly, in the realm of our image collections the most natural Thanksgiving pairing (based on the historical basis of the holiday), Indians and Englishmen, is pretty much under-represented. The central twosome really seems to be Turkeys and Pilgrims.

I spent some time recently looking at the Thanksgiving section of Vintage Holiday Cuts (0486998290).  It's a large collection with over 500 total images, of which about 93 have to do with Thanksgiving.

Within that group there are 41 Pilgrim images and 44 Turkey images. I'm kind of partial to them both, but I guess I prefer the Pilgrim ones because they don't have that dark overlay of living/cooked....

There's plenty of cooked turkey images here, but I prefer the living...

And even more, the aggressively living.

On the Pilgrim side we have a whole spate of takes on the motif:

Pious to dutiful...

Besieged to betrothed...

To the slightly Washington Irving-ish bizarre....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Quick Kitchen Artwork

This week's Thanksgiving promotion on DoverPictura got me thinking. When it comes to artwork, one of the most often overlooked areas in the home is the kitchen. But, it shouldn't be! In fact, the kitchen is one of the most fun rooms to add a little art to because you can really go wild with themes related to food and drink before people start to question your sanity.

And best of all, the kitchen is also one room where you don't need to fuss much over the materials either. You can make a big impact with something as simple as clip art glued to a canvas and plopped into a frame or hung directly on the wall. Just ask Debbiedoo's!

Image from Debbiedoo's Blog

Monday, November 11, 2013

Win This Week's Featured Collection: Toons

DoverPictura is known mainly for our unique and rare high-quality clip art collections. And often they're a bit highbrow. But, sometimes we all need a break just to get silly!
That's why this week's featured collection is Toons. Artist Jim Steck presents 250 wacky "toons": colorful cartoon images of animals, monsters, robots, and other creatures from real life and fantasy worlds. Rendered in a style similar to the well-known Ren & Stimpy cartoons, the illustrations include themes related to holidays, sports, food, romance, work, school, and many other subjects.

Want this great collection added to your DoverPictura account absolutely free? Comment on this post any time throughout the week and on Friday afternoon we'll choose up to 5 comments at random to win the entire Toons collection. 

While Toons was just added to DoverPictura, that's not all that's new so be sure to browse all of our new collections.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Congratulations to Our Latest Contest Winner

We asked you to tell us how you use DoverPictura in your craft or design work, and we chose rcgirl's comment at random to win a Pictura collection of her choice! Here's how she uses our unique clip art:

rcgirl_ma: I am forever using images for making personalized cards and bookmarks for friends (and myself, too!). Some of these cards are colored in by hand or by using graphic art programs, and some I just love to use a color image to be the focus on the card or bookmark. The images I use range from Vintage Christmas to Art Nouveau and beyond.
I find it a lot of fun to use some of the digitized images in memes! A mix of creativity and humor with Regal collection and others.
For my own personal enjoyment I love to look through the collections of patterns, motifs, designs, etc. I have bought many of the Allover & Repeating Designs/Patterns collections and cultural/ethnic ones as well. They fill me with inspiration to draw my own doodles and designs. And they sometimes get incorporated into stationery I create for birthday and Christmas gifts for people who love to write letters and thank you notes.
And it's always a delight to feast upon the eye candy of new collections I have not yet been able to purchase. Believe me - I often can spend an hour or two just being enamored by one single collection, whether by its beauty, intricacy, design, or anything else that draws me in!
Thank you, Dover, for making these collections available as downloads (and single sheets, too)! This idea of DoverPictura was pure genius!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This Editor's Picks

I thought that I'd use this week's post to chime in with my own favorite collections, here are three: first is Steampunk Sourcebook edited by MC Waldrep, it's product number on the DoverPictura website is 0486481115.

One of the things makes this collection so great is that it exemplifies the vintage clip art phenomena—images from a past era brought forward in time to the present, where they are put to contemporary uses; in this context these classic images are imbued with a new life. What makes this extra cool is that there''s a kind of 'double-return' on that temporal twist—because the organizing conceit for this collection is 'steampunk' a description of their use could read something like:

'19th century images used in the 21st century to create fanciful representations of an alternative future to their original era'. 

Hmmm, I wonder what Prof. Waldrep would have to say about that?

The other thing that makes it so good is that MC's editorial eye is just flawless. She combed through thousands of images, unerringly choosing the best, both thematically and technically— she doesn't go off key once in the 539 images. Below is an example of some of these Steampunk images in play:

Next I'd like to champion Snakes and Reptiles (048699192X).

I'll admit it—I'm a Natural History junkie. Nothing satisfies my dual hunger for aggressive imagery and superb execution the way that exotic animal and botanical illustrations from the 18th & 19th century do. I was going to tout the collection Mammals (0486996387), but the illustrations are B&W, and while that presents some great opportunities for those inclined to coloring, for fait accompli, full-color images my vote goes to Snake and Reptiles. The majority of images come from Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Curiosites, with a fair helping of images from an early 19th-century, illustrated French encyclopedia. Many of the illustrations have been hand silhouetted, which makes them ready-to-go for graphics projects. Just look at these useful little devils:

And finally there's Chinese Stencil Designs (048647516).

This collection is as close as I think I'll get in life to having a difficult child. What I love about it is that—given all of it's inherent difficulties—we didn't just back away from the content. The difficulties stemmed from the original artwork–a tattered, hand-stitched collection of barely-visible Chinese stencils—they were beautiful in a very subtle way, but flawed nearly to the point of being unusable.

I thought that the images would be great for creating patterned backgrounds in more complex compositions. There was so much 'visual noise' (gunk) in the originals that the images seemed to beg for remediation. First we tried to 're-draw' them by tracing what we could see of the original marks; this didn't work—all the subtlety of the originals was lost. Standard cleaning techniques removed the gunk, but took away too much of the original art in the process.      
       After several days of experimenting we hit on the idea of making Photoshop brushes from the images. We innovated by creating two brushes for each image: one, clean and high contrast, the other, kind of dirty and textural. They worked wonderfully with each other. We developed myriad techniques for effecting the brushes—the results are the images that you see in the pages of this collection. Below is one such sample.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tutorial Tuesday: Packing Tape Image Transfer

Stephanie from our partner PaperCraftersCorner.com recently shared this awesome video tutorial for creating an image transfer using packing tape and DoverPictura clip art! Take a look:

Monday, November 4, 2013

This Week's Featured Collections: The Best of Our Editor's Picks!

This week we asked our editors and staff to pick their favorite collections. Here are some of their great quotes!

Art Deco Fashions
The images in this collection are elegant, with a touch of whimsy. They're so French! I used them to create business cards for a sewing business and they were on point for the industry. - M.C. Waldrep, Editor-in-Chief

Art Nouveau
On my blog, I like to use border pieces and other ornamentation to break up the copy blocks. The DoverPictura collection I turn to time and time again is Art Nouveau. With nearly 300 amazing images to choose from, I don’t think I'll run out anytime soon. But if I do, luckily Art Nouveau Second Series is available!
- Tom Flynn, Copy Chief

Dragons, Birds and Incredible Sea Creatures
[T]here is one that knocked me off my feet when I saw it for the first time—and I still think it's an amazing collection of period beauty and technique coupled with fantastic imagination. These are terrific studies of Sea Creatures and Birds, that any naturalist could appreciate—but done with remarkable attention to their application to design. Outstanding, Art Nouveau design. The Dragons are almost as convincing, and fit in beautifully with the rest. The pages themselves are pieces of art, being great inspiration to my own creative work.
- Jeff Menges, Dover Cover Designer and Occasional Art Editor

See all of our Editor's Picks here.

And don't forget...we want YOU to choose what collection you win! Is there a collection you've had saved for ages on your wishlist that you're dying to get your hands on? Would you love to be able to pick one collection spur-of-the-moment without fear of not already having a project mapped out? If so, you'll love this...

Tell us in the comments how you use DoverPictura. It could be for crafting, graphic design, or simply to enjoy the beautiful images. If we choose your comment you'll not get to choose the collection that gets added to your account, but your comment will be featured on the DoverPictura site!

So let us know- which DoverPictura collection(s) do you love and why? 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Peek Inside Gigi Floyd's Creative Process- Beeswax Collage Demo

We've gushed on and on about Gigi Floyd's beautiful beeswax collages- and at long last she's given us a sneak peek of her process. Take it away, Gigi!

What you'll need: Crockpot, canvas, natural beeswax (available in the 'candle making' section of many craft stores), quilting iron (also available in craft stores), natural bristle paintbrush, detail scissors (Not pictured. My faves are 'cutterbees'.) and imagery. In my collage, the Dover imagery can be found in the “Kings, Queens, and Courtiers” and “Redoute Flowers and Fruits” collections. I've also used a decorative paper napkin, and a scan of an antique board game.

Heat the beeswax in the crockpot. When melted, brush on three or four layers of beeswax, making sure all of the canvas is well-coated. As I like to wrap my imagery all the way around my piece, I coat the sides, and brush one layer on the back as well.
Cut out your imagery, and position the first few pieces on the beeswaxed canvas. Heat up the quilting iron, making sure to avoid touching the extremely hot metal parts. Begin to 'iron' your imagery, a little bit at a time. To keep the paper from buckling, hold it taut with your other hand, being careful to keep the iron away from your fingers. The beeswax under the piece will melt and saturate the paper, fusing it to the canvas below. When planning your collage, note that the saturated paper will become translucent, allowing glimpses of previous layers.
Continue fusing collage elements with your quilting iron till everything is in place. If you don't like a particular element, or where something is placed, re-heat it with your iron, and peel it off a tiny bit at a time. You might have to re-apply more beeswax to area where you removed the piece. If you decide to build up multiple layers, brush a single coat of beeswax between each layer before fusing.
As a final step, brush on another coat or two of beeswax, making sure that all of the cut edges are sealed underneath. If you'd rather not see the brushstrokes, use your quilting iron to texture the surface. Add some hanging hardware, and your masterpiece is ready for the world to see!