Tuesday, 15 April 2014

digital inspirations

Well, here's a super-massive post for ya, peeps!

If you follow my adventures on Facebook (and I certainly recommend you do; what with the hours in the day being so limited, I do end up posting on there much more than I can here!) you might already know I've been experimenting a lot with digital illustration techniques these past few months. 

Like all of my color pencil illos, I start these off in just the same way: with a fully-realised black and white preparatory sketch, which is either photographed or scanned in at super-high resolution, like 600 dpi (I like the option of making them bigger if I can, without compromising the quality of my mark-making). 

Then I add a series of layers and transperencies in Photoshop, which effectively creates a sort of digital collage, which I blend, manipulate, mask, warp and tint to create an entirely new artwork. Using a texture~ let's say it's something really simple like some paper for instance~ I think for my work, is a million miles more convincing and interesting than colour-blocking with flat digital colour, which can look, well, overly digital. 

That said, I love that digital allows me to be so much braver and bolder with my mark-marking: good art and photography, I have learned, is almost all about good lighting. I am trying to learn how to be braver in the way I light my characters; that was one of my personal goals for moving forward this year.

I'm really after a handmade look to my pictures, so I love textures with imperfections, with a 'tooth' or grain. I make a lot of the textures you see in my work myself (the one below, for example, is about 50 layers worth of my scribbles, splatters, doodlings and colourings, which culminates in a lot of weird and sometimes grubby looking scrap-papers floating around my studio!) I use alllll sorts of strange and wonderful things to create the colour and patterns you see in my pictures, and have been collecting them for years! One of the textures in my texture bank was a rubbing I took from the fireplace of a house we lived in in Tooting, London!

Below each picture you'll find some helpful links and websites where all sorts of wonderful people go about researching, collecting and photographing all sorts of things that fall into the realm of Creative Commons. 

Copyright is always something I consider very, very seriously~ as should all artists, especially those of us who collage! ~ and there are a range of really good resources out there, written in plain English which I recommend you familiarise yourself with if you create stuff too. The laws are very different depending on where you live and create in the world, and also where and what time the stuff you're using was made. If you're in Oz, the Australian Copyright Council is an excellent place to start learning about Copyright. 

 
'vanilla meow and the cardamom foxlet'

Very special thanks and acknowledgements to the following people for so generously making such wonderful resources for artists like me to use:  
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of antique patterned wallpapers, fabrics, stained and coloured papers and a whole range of other awesome stuff;
~ Lost and Taken for their gorgeous damask fabric textures and stained papers; 
~ Obsidian Dawn for their incredible Photoshop eyelash brushes (hehe, really great to help make my charaacter's eyes pop!)
~ Photos Public Domain for their excellent array of colour paper textures (much more convincing than just colour-blocking with Photoshop flat colour; these ones especially have a really nice 'tooth');  
~ rainbowd00dles for creating a stellar freckle texture (oh, but I do love me some good freckles!);
~ Jen Furlotte at Pixels and Ice Cream for her gorgeous damask pattern.



'freyja'

Very kindest thanks to: 
 ~ The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful antique floral engravings and decorative frames and labels;
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of antique patterned wallpapers, fabrics, stained and coloured papers and a whole range of other awesome stuff.




'poppy'

Best thanks to: 
 ~ The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful antique engravings and scientific illustrations she collects;
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of vintage fabrics, and stained papers.
 
 


'beatrice'

My very nicest thanks to:
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of antique patterned wallpapers, lace trims, and stained papers;
~ Obsidian Dawn for their uber-awesome eyelash brushes;
~ rainbowd00dles for her awesome freckle overlay.




'the future's so bright, i gotta wear shades'

My goodest acknowledgements to:  
~ Timbuk3 for creating such a cool song with such sassy lyrics!;
~ CG Textures for their excellent flower photographs;
~ rainbowd00dles for her fabulous freckle texture;
 ~ The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful antique floral engravings;
~ Media Militia for some excellent watercolour splatters; 
~ Christopher Hansen for his wonderfully distressed font, Beyond Wonderland.
 


'monsieur toof' 

And lastly, thanks a bunch to:
~ The Graphics Fairy for the beautiful antique cards and labels on her lovely site;
~ CG Textures for their glorious photographs of antique patterned wallpapers and stained papers;
~ John Holmdahl for his fabulous font, 1942 Report.

 Phew! 

You can find all of these beauties very shortly in my Etsy shop, or from little 'ol me in the flesh, on the loose at a market near you! Check out my Facebook page if you'd like to catch me in Melbourne; I'm travelling all over and post regular updates about where you can find me out and about on the weekends. 

Have an awesome rest-of-the-week you sweet peeps!

♥  Mel x 


Thursday, 20 March 2014

I'm a Finalist! ~ The Reginald Portrait Prize for Softies

I've been keeping a secret, and now I can finally share it with you! 

You may or may not know that I love Dolly Parton, and that I also share a birthday with her. This is my tribute to her, which I very quietly entered into the Centre for Adult Education (CAE) Reginald Softie Portrait Prize, and, which I found out last week, earned me a place in the finals! Hardest week of my life, keeping this incredible honour a secret! 

You can make a huge difference to one of the amazing finalist entries, by voting for your very favourite in the People's Choice Award right here: http://reginald.com.au/vote-for-peoples-prize/ 

 
Scroll right down til you see a grey button marked 'Start Survey'. You will be asked for your name, email address and your favourite softie portrait. It takes less than a minute to enter.

Thank-you in advance for supporting the fine art of softie-making!

dolly parton mel macklin 1.jpg 

dolly combined 

http://reginaldprize.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/dolly-parton-mel-macklin-51.jpg

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

good-bye darwin




It is very nearly almost official: I am leaving Darwin and heading for the big-smoke in Melbourne!

To celebrate new beginnings, I'm having an exclusive studio sale on Saturday, 19th October. 

If you're local to Darwin and keen to snavel something from me in person, this will very likely be my last weekend of business. For an invite and further details, all you have to do is send me an email!

Sorry to all my lovelies interstate and across the oceans, it's only an in-person kinda thing, and won't extend to my online shops (postage would be ridonkulous for most of the beauties on offer, unfortunately). 

I am going to Mindil as much as I can, but at this stage I don't anticipate being able to see the season out: I'll be packing up all my treasures the week after the 19th, and if I manage to get to Mindil after this weekend, it'll be a bit of a bonus. Also, the weather approaching the wet season and becoming increasingly volatile- well, I don't really like to go when it's raining, being a shop that sells paper goods!

My online shop is still open for biz, and I'll be merrily shipping pretties worldwide til around the 18th October. If you were hoping to get a little somethin' spesh for yourself or someone you love this Christmas, now's your last chance!

Unfortunately it looks like I'll have to shut down my online shops for an extended period (maybe 1-3 months) when I move to Melbourne. All my artsy detritus is set to spend at least a little while in storage, so I won't be able to take orders until I'm settled in a new place. Unfortunate and annoying, I know! I will of course, keep you all posted when that changes. 

Speaking of staying up-to-date, I may not have a whole lot of computer access in the transition period either, so I most likely will post any updates via my Facebook page (as enterprising as it is, it's still much easier to update than the blogger app!). 

 Thank-you, as always, to each and every one of you who support what I do. Looking forward to sharing a new chapter with you very soon x

Friday, 23 August 2013

Pencilled Pretties, Pastel Pilgrims and Peculiar Pets


Most. Exciting. Update. Ever! (And, also, a little bit cringe-worthy, too!)
 
I made an itty-bitty film! If you have twelve minutes to spare you can watch it- that is, you can laugh at me making a giant tit out of myself and also, talking a little bit about my work. Oh, and there's some super-cute footage of my puppies the day after we bought them home! What's not to love about that, hey?
 
A huge, squishy thanks to my gorgeous fella Dave, who, as well as filming the whole thing, has spent weeks worth of evenings staying up until the wee hours putting this all together for me. I think he's done an awesome job- hope you do too! ♥

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

mindil site for sale

Photo: Guys! If you know of anyone who would love an awesome permanent site at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, I'd love if you could pass this on! 

Price includes:
★ prime spots on both Thursday and Sunday evenings; ★ product list including tote bags and wearable art (handmade jewellery); 
★ 3m x 3m gazebo, with matching waterproof detachable walls x 4 and shade awnings x 2; all great condition and waterproof;
★ Fully tested and tagged electrical equipment and leads; 
★ 7 x assorted tables and 2 x chairs. 
(Doesn't include my artwork, but I'd be delighted to chat to you if you about prices if you wanted to continue selling it through the stall!) 

I'm asking for $2,000, which is a bit of a super-bargain! The only reason I'm selling up is obvi, it'll all be a bit tricky for me to run from Melbourne! Get in touch via PM if you're mustard-keen! <3 

Guys! If you know of anyone who would love an awesome permanent site at the famous Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, I'd love if you could pass this on!

Price includes:
★ prime spots on both Thursday and Sunday evenings; 
★ product list including tote bags and wearable art (handmade jewellery);
★ 3m x 3m gazebo, with matching waterproof detachable walls x 4 and shade awnings x 2; all great condition and waterproof;
★ Fully tested and tagged electrical equipment and leads;
★ 7 x assorted tables and 2 x chairs.
 
(This price doesn't include my artwork, but I'd be delighted to chat to you if you about prices if you wanted to continue selling it through the stall!)

I'm asking for $2,000, which is a bit of a super-bargain! The only reason I'm selling up is obvi, it'll all be a bit tricky for me to run from Melbourne! Get in touch via email if you're mustard-keen! 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

your thoughts wanted




I am SO excited to be doing a filmed interview with the gorgeous girls from The Skin Deep Project next week, and I'd love to hear from you!

Oh, and right after you leave me a question or ten, you can check out the amazing work the Skin Deep Project does at http://skindeepproject.com/

Saturday, 10 August 2013

beauty in sadness



One of the greatest misconceptions about art, I think, is that sad subject matter cannot equal a happy picture. There is beauty in sadness, too
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