Do you know Usborne Publishing? They are a UK publisher of children’s books of uncommon quality and beauty that I’ve admired since Samantha was a baby. I think our first Usborne product was a jigsaw puzzle book and from there I became obsessed with their art instruction and activity books. They should really market them to adults; you certainly don’t have to be a kid to enjoy them and be able to produce rather amazing works with their assistance – if I do say so myself!
You can find Usborne pretty easily in the shops around here. Last Christmas I even found an Usborne color-your-own advent calendar at Linden Tree Books in Los Altos. The tissue paper lovebirds and crayon and water color roses came from Valentine Things to Make and Do, a soft cover book from a Scholastic school order. These are two techniques that will last way beyond Valentine’s Day.
Tissue Paper Lovebirds
To make these, tear some simple bird shapes and glue to white paper with white glue (I dilute with a little water) or glue stick. I tried both and found my UHU stick a little easier to use. Then, use a pen to outline the shapes of your birds and to add whatever doodles your heart desires. I pretty much followed the book’s lead there. Isn’t it lovely the way the tissue paper resembles watercolor paint?
Crayon and Watercolor Roses
To make these you need to use a wax crayon that the watercolor will resist. I used a Crayola and it worked fine. Use your crayon to make a spiral on the paper. Begin in the center, spiral out, and then spiral back to center. Don’t hestitate to thrown in an angle here or there or to make it a bit messy – that will only make it more rose-like. Then, use a light color watercolor or colored ink to paint around your spiral, and again don’t be afraid to go outside the lines of your spiral and get a little messy. Let dry and add a darker shade of your color here and there for variation. I already had some variation in my first layer of watercolor, so I just stopped there. You could add leaves with other watercolor colors, maybe even tissue paper.