Welcome to Inspiring Designs

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Welcome to my site, take a look around! You can learn about me or jump right in and check out my portfolio! Leave comments and let me know what you think or email me at FontaineN@inspiringdesigns.ca

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram & Twitter @noelle_fontaine for live updates!

You can also purchase illustrations & products on my RedBubble page: FontaineN

 

Thanks for visiting!

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LocalSolo Freelance

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YEG ARTWALK 2018

Events, illustrations, Uncategorized

I will be participating in the YEG Artwalk for the second time this year, July 6 – 8th from 10am – 5pm, be sure to come out and say hi!

I am very excited to be participating for the second year in a row. You can find my bio, and many other talented participants, on the YEG Artwalk Webpage. I will be located in the tent area just off Whyte (82) Ave, down 105 St – between “C” and “D” on the below map.

Hope to see you there!

 

Santa’s Holiday Blitz Event

crafting, Events, Holiday

I will be at the Stony Plain Heritage Pavilion this weekend (Nov. 25 & 26, 2017) selling holiday related goodies & prints! Come out and say hi if you are in the area!

Fun fact, I designed the poster & banner for this event, let me know what you think!

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter for sneakpeaks!

Pikachu Cake – Nephew’s 9th B-day

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I am very late on posting my Nephew’s B-day Cake (his birthday was in June) lol and will probably be late posting my Niece’s cake as well (her Bday is on October) due to Inktober 2017 & working/helping promote Night Of Fear Festival…Anyway!

Due to some time restraints and strange planning, I decided not to make his cake from scratch so I used boxed cake and icing – I know, I know don’t judge me! its great in a pinch! Because this was going to be a pickachu cake I choose a yellow, Lemon cake (which worked out perfect as it does not contain soy, flax or tree nuts great for those with allergies in the family), the box had enough batter for two 9″ round cakes.

The shape of Pikachu’s head is not a perfect circle with his slightly chubby cheeks and pointy ears, so I needed to cut both cakes to create the right shape of the face and ears. This resulted in quite a bit left over, so I decided to try my hand at making cake balls to later ice like poke balls. Basically you take your extra cake, chop it up into finer pieces then add a fair bit of icing, start mashing them together with your hands to bind the cake together, roll it into a ball and vuala – cake balls!

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Now I did not have any small cake ball sticks, making these were not apart of my original plan, but I did have an abundant amount of popsicle sticks so I used those instead; though the cake ball sticks would of probably worked better, I added some icing to act as a “glue” to better secure the cake in place. Once “sticked” I placed the cake balls in the freezer to harden while icing/decorating the cake and prepping some melted chocolate to dip the cake balls in. If you decide to melt white chocolate, be sure to buy candy melts and not chocolate chips (the white ones do not work as well as the dark chocolate chips – not really what they are for either lol candy melts however work best). Not having a self warming bowl that melts chocolate and not wanting to use the microwave (did not want to keep having to remelt the chocolate) I created my own double broiler using a small sauce pan, colander & bowl. Just add some water to the pot (not too much, you do not want the water to touch the colander or bowl, let the steam do its magic) and place the colander into the pot with the bowl inside. Once this starts to heat up, add your chocolate melts and mix with a rubber spatula until they are evenly melted.

Once this was ready, I removed the cake balls from the freezer and began to dip them into the melted chocolate, sticking the sticks into cardboard (be sure to make pre cut slots, a styrofoam block would if been best) to allow them to dry. I later added red food colouring to the white chocolate (would recommend using red candy melts as the extra liquid from the food colouring slightly altered the chocolate’s consistency) and dipped the top half of the cooled white chocolate cake balls. Once cooled, I coloured some of the leftover yellow icing (used for the main cake) black, placed it into a sandwich bag as a make-shift piping bag and decorated the seam around the poke balls, finishing them off with a white chocolate chip button.

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Once the poke balls were complete, I added my final touches to the cake with fondant. Starting from the lightest colour, working my way to the darker colours; colouring the white to red for the cheeks, then the leftover red to black for the tips of the ears, base of the eyes, nose and mouth. I like to use americolour food colouring for icing & fondant, find it has the best results.

Finally, using some water I “glued” the white eye details to the black fondant circles. If you have ever worked with fondant you know the key is to use confectioners sugar like flower to roll out, colour and shape the fondant to prevent sticking, making a light white dust appear on your fondant, but no need to worry as this can be removed with lightly brushing water over your fondant pieces to give them that nice, clean shine.

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Let me know what you think and don’t forget to follow me on instagram or twitter for realtime posting.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Inktober Logo: Inktober.com

*POW* Inktober 2017 *SMACK*

illustrations, Uncategorized

Soooo stoked to start Inktober for my 3rd year in a row!!

Last year I decided to do a horror theme, this made planning and illustrating much easier! This year’s theme is going to be *insert drum roll here* Super Heros!!

My focus this inktober is to work on figure drawing with these dynamic characters. This is also the first time I am using the inktober prompt list.

I am super (no pun intended) excited and will be posting them here and to all my social media pages, so be sure to follow me on instagram or twitter for live updates!

More about this awesome challenge can be found here: Inktober – Where it began

Click here to view my Inktober 2017 results.

Don’t forget to Check out my Inktober 2016 and Inktober 2015 and let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Graduating To “Official” Watercolours

illustrations

Taking what watercolour pencils taught me (previous post) not only made me more comfortable but gave me the trial and error I needed without as much frustration to go back to using official watercolour paints.

The first time I used watercolour paints (excluding those sets you get when your a kid) was in university for an illustration course, where we were assigned 1 landscape watercolour project – it felt like the hardest project I have ever had to do – landscapes are a bit challenging on their own, but throwing watercolours into the mix made it exponentially more difficult. My professor was a bit surprised as I really enjoyed doing washes with ink, acrylic and gouache but found watercolours a completely different beast to tame! So after all the practice with the watercolour pencils I have decided to “graduate” myself to using “official” watercolour paints and the first piece done using the medium in almost 5 years!

The subject chosen for my first “official” watercolour illustration/painting was inspired by a blogger/photographer I follow on Instagram: @bumblebria (check her out!)

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The lighting, composition and colours of this lemon lavender loaf caught my eye, encouraging me to recreate a version in “official” watercolours. I took a screenshot for reference, and to note the photographer’s handle so I could tag them when posting my WIP (work in progress) and final outcome online.

I started with a light pencil outline, using a mechanical pencil and Fabriano Studio Watercolour Paper.

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The sketch actually sat in my sketchbook for a little while, I decided to watch a couple watercolour tutorials online for different techniques and tricks before painting; really enjoying the image I did not want to mess this piece up, even though it is more for practice to grow my skillset; that said, I am a perfectionist and am trying to embrace the imperfections of art as it makes things more organic and interesting…not to mention a lot less stressful and more fun!

A couple of days before starting he painting process of this piece, my boyfriend actually bought me some new watercolours (not knowing I have a little stash as he has never seen me use “official” watercolours before lol) and some water-brushes for us to try out. I bought a water-brush a couples years back but was not a hundred percent sure how to use it and was afraid to wreck it; a silly thought as this is what they are made for, but again the perfectionist and fear of messing up took over so I never actually used it (more to come on this topic in a later post). These water brushes are a but of a game changer!

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I was excited to try “official” watercolours again already and the new brushes made me even more enthusiastic to “graduate” myself to the next level of watercolours lol

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The level of control with the water-brush made my experience more relaxing and fun – I was not worried about using too much water or accidentally dripping water or pigment somewhere else on the page when filling the brush with more paint. I would highly recommend getting one of these and trying them out, they are pretty inexpensive (depending on where you go).

I thought I was done the piece when I recorded this video removing the tape, but something just wasn’t right and I HATED the dark background – I wanted it to feel more like a marble finish but was not able to create the perfect cream colours, so I tried to use some blue tones – clearly I had a brain fart – there is already blue in the cloth that the background then blended them together; so in a dire attempt to fix the background, I attempted to make it look more like the cracked concrete in the original photo…I was not happy with this and even debated on making a new background and just cutting the old one out and pasting a new one in.

Looking at the piece a couple days later, it began to grow on me, but something still was missing. Taking a black studio gel pen, I outlined the edge of the cloth that meets the background – looked like I was onto something – then went over this with some black watercolour to make a shadow that created more contrast. Later, I used the same gel pen to add some subtle outlines to other areas to really pull it all together as a finished piece.

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Not going to lie, I am still not 100% happy with the final outcome but am glad it turned out much better than expected using “official” watercolours. I am trying to not be so hard on myself and embracing imperfections, especially on pieces like this where my intention is to better learn the medium and just have fun experimenting.

Please let me know what you think and about your watercolour experiences/preferences.

Don’t forget to follow my on Instagram and/or Twitter for live updates.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Faber-Castell Watercolour Pencils

What Watercolour Pencils Taught Me

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If you have read my previous posts, follow me on instagram or twitter, you are aware that I really enjoy using watercolour pencils, because they are kind of like watercolours for dummies lol in this I mean the user has much more control over the medium and can manipulate and blend the medium with a lower chance of getting a ‘muddy’ image. Now don’t get me wrong, they are not fool proof; trust me I have made some ‘happy little accidents’ and some not so ‘happy little accidents’ with these as well, but it is with these accidents that one learns how to correctly use medium.

Some of the mistakes & lessons I have learned from using the watercolour pencils that can transition to when using ‘official’ watercolour paints are as follows:

  1. Blocking in colour: I would start by illustrating a subject (usually lightly with a pen, occasionally pencil) and would then proceed to block in all my colours. Once the colours were all in place, using the brush that came with the set, I would add water to start blending the colours.
    Problem: If you block in all your colours then try to add water to blend, ALL the colours start to blend together. So if there is an orange fading to yellow section and blue fading to purple section side by side the water may start to bleed into each section (this can happen if either too much water is used or if for instance the yellow section is still wet and you start to blend the blue section that is beside it), resulting in a colour(s) you may of not wanted.
    Solution: Colour in 1 area, blend with water and allow this section to dry before adding colour to the next section; preventing 2 wet colours from becoming 1 unwanted colour or mud puddle.
  2. Adding Black: Be sure to do this last, once all the layers are dry.
    Problem: If you add black to the colours before blending the colours in with water, that section will become very dark and muddy.
    Solution: Allow all the layers to dry, add small amounts of black to areas you want to have shading (remember to build up, do not add too much at once). Another option is to use a scrap piece of paper: add black to the scrap paper, wet it with your brush (adding as much or as little water to it in order to get the desired transparency) and do a wash over the desired areas.
  3.  Substrate: Watercolour paper obviously works best when using watercolour, it is made to handle the medium; hence its name. But some sketchbooks claim they can handle wet mediums.
    Problem: When paper becomes wet it can begin to warp or tear and water just sits on top, flowing all over.
    Solution: Test the substrate to see if it actually handle wet mediums; if it tests are good, still be cautious not to use too much water, some of lower limitations than others. Use the appropriate substrate for the job, watercolour paper (thought not all created equally) is probably the best to use when using the medium…it’s all in the name after all.
  4.  Using too much water: This can really mess up your substrate, technique and final outcome you are trying to achieve (unless this is the outcome you are looking for).
    Problem: Tearing, pilling (paper starts to ball up on the surface and in paintbrush bristles) & warping that can cause pooling.
    Solution: Use a scrap piece of paper or paper towel to remove any excess water from your brush. Allow layers to dry completely to prevent pilling of the paper which can lead to tearing. Using good quality watercolour paper tends to prevent some warping, but if this is not in your budget or you want the paper to stay as flat as possible, just tape it down to a board with masking or painters tape (be sure to remove some of the tackiness of the tape by sticking it to your pants or shirt a couple of times before taping down the paper to prevent tearing your substrate when removing the tape); a flat, secure surface also prevents the water and pigments from pooling.
  5. Be Patient:  When working with watercolours it is very important to be patient, allowing for areas/layers to dry.
    Solution: Have another project you can work on or do something else like read a book/article, laundry, go for a walk, etc.
  6. Practice, Practice, Practice!  

you can tell which illustration had more experimentation and which is more polished in my Bear Watercolour Illustration post.

Buffalo Dreams

illustrations, Redbubble Shop, Skulls

I made an abstract post a while back called Playing with Pastels that had close ups of this piece as a work in progress…though the piece was finished quite a while ago I did not post the final outcome because I wanted to have it professionally framed – fun fact, this is the first piece I have ever gotten professionally framed!

This started off as a quick pencil sketch I did at the end of inktober 2015 (this was the first inktober that I participated in, more about that here).

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Inspired by a piece I did about 2 years ago, where I wanted to experiment with a couple of black canvases I picked up from Michael’s and my tinted charcoals (more about this piece here) where I took my #31 inktober 2015 piece as inspiration to build upon.

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Inktober 31

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Using my small sketch for reference, I penciled an outline on a black 18″x24″ canvas, then applied layers and layers of pastel, pencil crayons & charcoal; constantly switching between the three mediums until I was sure the piece was complete.

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Due to the dusty nature of chalk pastels, I started at the centre of the subject and worked my way out, saving the background for last; not wanting to risk smudging any loose pigment onto the black surface.

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This sat around in my studio for months, I was afraid to transport it anywhere!

Now I know what you are thinking “isn’t there a protective spray you can use to prevent smudging?” believe me, I tried it! The drawback of the protective spray was that it was not 100% protected – chalk pastels being more loose than graphite there is also risk of some loose pigment being scattered among the work – plus it dulled the colours, so I needed to go over the piece again with the pastels to revive this lost vibrance.

When it came time for framing I carefully wrapped the piece in brown packing paper. I am very proud of this piece and due to the risk of smudging I was pretty leery to leave it in the hands of strangers. Not sure if there were any good framers in the area, I decided to go to our local Michael’s, where they made a special note to be vary careful with the piece as it is prone to smudging; needless to say the staff there did a fantastic job and were very gentle with the piece 🙂

I couldn’t believe how many different combinations and choices there are for frames & matting; in fact, we probably spent about an hour looking at different matting choices!

For me the frame was simple, I wanted something a bit more modern and black – fortunately they had a 40% deal when I went in (framing this 18″x24″ beast was just under $500 CND and would of been over $700 CND without the deal…highway robbery if you ask me lol but they need to run their business too lol). The matting on the other hand is what took the most time, is was very interesting to see how different combinations looked with the piece and how it could go from a strong masculine piece to a dainty feminine piece in a flash! Personally, I prefer a more masculine, modern look (makes sense with what I have learned about my work during my first Artwalk haha). So I chose a black frame with charcoal grey, pomegranate red wine and black matting – I really wanted to have the red wine accent colours pop – some of the other matting was either just not the right colour combinations or were too much like the dominant colours that the piece felt pale and blended with the matting.

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I also asked if I could write the name of the piece & sign the matting – since this was my first original being framed I thought it would be a nice touch – and the staff were more than happy to oblige. When the matting arrived, they called me and I went in (bought a couple of jelly roll white pens) and decided upon the name “Buffalo Dreams” and signed the matting.

Buffalo Dreams seemed like a perfect fit for the piece, making it whimsical and spiritual. Growing up my mother had a huge dreamcatcher – made of red wood with purple crystals, black leather ties and feathers – when we had nightmares my mom would either put the dreamcatcher in our rooms for the night or longer if need be (probably to keep us in our own beds to get some proper rest, smart lady!). That was until she got us our own small dreamcatchers. She would tell us that they are made special to protect us in our sleep; if you have a nightmare it cannot hurt you as the dream catcher acts like a spider web, catching all the negative dreams, spirits and thoughts to purify or trap them in the crystals so you can sleep safe and sound.

If you have a piece that is special to you or are very proud of go ahead and spoil yourself a bit and get it framed! I find frames (even cheaper ones from department stores) really make a piece look polished and complete.

Prints and other swag available in my Redbubble shop of this piece (more about my shop can be found in an earlier post here Redbubble shop). If you are interested in purchasing the original please contact me and I can let you know the price and we can work out shipping/pick up arrangements.

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Remember to follow me on Instagram & Twitter @noelle_fontainec to see what kind of creative mischief I have gotten myself into.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Pink Whale

Pink Whale Watercolour

illustrations

Completed this whale illustration I started during #artwalk & it is also available in my Redbubble store

For this piece I used Royal & Langnickel watercolours, watercolour paper & watercolour pencils (see my watercolor post for details on the pencils & paper used here), Liquitex muted inks & Fabre-Castel artist pens.

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Pink Whale Illustration

Please let me know what you think of this piece & don’t forget to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for the most up to date info on new creations & promotions!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Bear Watercolour Illustration

illustrations, Redbubble Shop

This illustration came about while on a family camping trip, near crows nest pass. I was sitting at our picnic table with my watercolour pencils & paper (more on materials here), when I noticed one of my watercolour illustrations was tucked between some of the blank pages; my geometric buffalo illustration.

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The combination of finding this lost illustration with being surrounded by beautiful trees & mountains inspired me to create a similar piece with a woodland creature – bears in particular – these beautiful, gentle, yet fierce animals who rule the mountain side.

Wanting to make the new illustration more powerful in colour & shapes, I planned the geometric designs/patterns out in pencil before outlining in ink (instead of inking on the fly like the buffalo), which made the inking process quicker & colour choices a bit easier; allowing me to play with different shades of colour opposed to the inking to give the piece more dimension.

Overall, this illustration is much more solid & put together compared to the buffalo. I am very pleased with the final outcome & have received a lot of positive feedback at artwalk & online.

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Bear Watercolour Illustration

This illustration is also available in my Redbubble shop as prints, appareal, gifts & more! Check it out here: Noelle Fontaine’s Redbubble Shop

Please let me know what you think of this piece & which you prefer – the Bear or the Buffalo.

And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for the most up to date info on new creations & promotions!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Jolly Rancher Skull Studio Pouch

My Redbubble Shop

illustrations, Redbubble Shop

It has been a while since I made my account on redbubble.com, just never really could make the time to create or post illustrations; However, I find myself with some more time on my hands, which allows me to create and post to my shop!

I will have many of my illustrations up on the site as t-shirts, tank tops, laptop cases & skins, phone cases, bags & so much more!

You can check it out here: Noelle Fontaine’s Redbubble Shop

Take a sneak peak at my wares:

Here is some information: About Redbubble

Also, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for the most up to date info on new creations & promotions!

Thanks for reading 🙂